History of Tennessee
The Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago and Nashville, 1887
Scan and OCR from pp. 912-921 by Sullivan Combs Researcher C. Hammett
SULLIVAN COUNTY lies on the Virginia border immediately west of Johnson County from which it is separated by the Holston Mountain. The surface of the county is undulating, and the soil generally good. The principal valleys are Denton, Holston Cook and Beaver Creek. The largest stream is the Holston River, which traverses the eastern portion of the county, flowing in a south westerly course until it reaches the Washington County line where it is joined by the Watauga. It then runs in a north westerly direction to its confluence with the North Fork at Kingsport. Its chief tributaries are Sinking Creek, Beaver Creek, Fall Creek, Kendrick Creek, Muddy Creek and Reedy Creek.
The date at which the first permanent settlements were made in Sullivan County is placed by Haywood and Ramsey at 1769. Some local antiquarians, however, assert that a much earlier date is the correct one, but they offer little satisfactory evidence to support their assertions. The fort on the Holston River opposite the upper end of Long Island, an account of which is given in another chapter, was built by a regiment of British troops under Col. Bird, in the autumn of 1758, and was occupied by them during the following winter. At this time a few settlers located in the vicinity, but they were soon compelled to retire to east of the Kanawha. During the next ten years many hunting and exploring expedition parties traversed the Holston Valley, but no permanent settlements were made as low down as the present Tennessee line, until late in 1768 or early in 1769. On November 5, 1768, a treaty of cession was made at Fort Stanwix, N. Y., with the Six Nations, by the terms of which, they and their descendants relinquished all rights and title to the lands north and east of the Tennessee and Holston Rivers. On October 14 of the same year, a treaty was made at Hard Labour, in South Carolina, with the Cherokees, who also claimed the territory. By this treaty the boundary lines of the Cherokee hunting grounds were fixed.
These two treaties afforded opportunity for the expansion of the settlements which had been made on the Holston in Virginia. The colonists who had been waiting upon the frontiers longing to plunge into the wilderness to locate claims, or to take possession of grants already surveyed, lost no time in doing so. Haywood relates that early in 1869(sic), Gilbert Christian, William Anderson, John Sawyers and four others entered upon an exploring expedition down the Holston. They penetrated as low down as Big Creek in Hawkins County, where they met a large party of Indians and were forced to retreat. They turned about and went back up the river ten or fifteen miles, and concluded to return home. About twenty miles above the North Fork they found upon their return a cabin on every spot where the range was good, and where only six weeks before nothing was to be seen but a howling wilderness. When they passed by before on their outward destination they found no settlers on the Holston, save three families on the head springs of that river.*
Prior to 1779 the portion of what is now Sullivan County north of the Holston was believed to be in Virginia, and the first grants were issued by that State. The earliest one of which there is any record was issued to Edmund Pendleton in 1766, for 3,000 acres of land on Reedy Creek. Of the early settlers only a few of the most prominent can be here mentioned. One of the largest and most highly respected families were the Rheas. Joseph Rhea, a Presbyterian minister, came to the Holston settlements from Maryland, and was upon one of the expeditions against the Indians. He returned to Maryland, but in 1776 he came again to the settlement, this time accompanied by his son, John Rhea. He bought land on Beaver Creek, and while in Maryland the next year, preparing to move his family, he died. In 1778 Mrs. Rhea came with the family. Of the sons, John became the most prominent. He was the first clerk of the county court, and early became a leading attorney. In 1796 he was chosen a member of the constitutional convention, and also represented the county in the first and second General Assemblies. In 1803 he was elected to Congress, and continued a member of that body until 1823, with the exception of two years, 1815-17. He never married, and died about 1837, leaving a large estate. He had six brothers: Matthew, Joseph, William, James, Samuel and Robert. Joseph lived where his grandson, Joseph Rhea, now lives; William, in the same neighborhood, and Matthew, just above Bluff City.
Gen. George Rutledge came to the county about 1777, and located on the small stream known as White Top. About three years later, he removed to the farm now occupied by his grandson, William G. Rutledge, where he died in 1813. He commanded a company in Col. Shelby's regiment at the battle of King's Mountain, was a member of the constituent convention of 1796 and of the Territorial Assembly, and after the organization of the State, was a member of the Senate until his death.
Gen. Evan Shelby located on Beaver Creek, at what was known as the Beaver Dam Bottoms, in 1771, where he erected a fort on an eminence overlooking the site of Bristol. He was born in Wales in 1720, and before coming to Tennessee had taken an active part in the French and Indian war on the borders of Maryland and Pennsylvania. He commanded a company of militia from Sullivan County at the battle of Point Pleasant, and was the leader of the famous Chickamauga expedition. Afterward he was appointed by Virginia a general of her militia. He died in 1794, and was buried in the old family burial ground at Bristol, which was removed a few years ago. His son, Isaac, was made a lieutenant of militia in 1774, and as such participated in the battle of Point Pleasant. In 1776 he was appointed commissary, which position he held at the battle of Long Island Flats. Prior to the extension of the boundary line between North Carolina and Virginia, he served a term in the Legislature of the latter State. His last public service in Tennessee was as commander of the regiments at King's Mountain. Evan Shelby, Jr., was a major in his brother's regiment at King's Mountain. In 1790 he went to Kentucky, where he was killed by the Indians about three years later.
George Maxwell, one of the captains under Isaac Shelby at King's Mountain, came to Sullivan County about 1771. He rose to the rank of major of militia, and in 1781 was one of the representatives of the county in the Legislature of North Carolina.
The Looneys, who were among the first settlers of the county, came from Wales, and lived for a time in Virginia. Col. David Looney lived on Muddy Creek, two miles above the Holston, where he erected a blockhouse. Samuel Looney located on the Holston, one mile below the mouth of Beaver Creek.
Of other early settlers there were in the fork the McKinleys, McCorkles, Scotts, Hodges, Greggs, Torbetts, Dinsmores, Hughes, Kings, Hogans, Sharps and Grosses. Col. William Christie [Christian] lived near where Kingsport now is, on the south side of Reedy Creek. The same neighborhood was the birthplace of Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines. Long Island and much other land in the vicinity became the property of Richard Netherland, the father of Hon. John Netherland. Fort Womack, which stood two miles east of Bluff City, was built by Jacob Womack. It afforded protection for the people who lived in the territory now covered by the Fourth, Sixteenth, Ninth and Twentieth Civil Districts. It is said that when on one occasion the people were forted here a marriage took place between Hal Massengill and Penelope Cobb. From this union have sprung a large number of descendants, many of whom still reside in the county.
The Bledsoes and Beelers located on land adjoining the Shelbys. The Beelers owned the tract of land on Cedar Creek known as Sapling Grove.
At the foot of Eden Ridge (originally Heaton Ridge) on the east side was built a fort known as Heaton's Fort. It was erected by the settlers of Reedy Creek and Cook's Valley, and was one of the first structures of the kind in the county. The Yancey Tavern, a famous house of entertainment, was built near this fort. Russell's fort stood on the Snapp's Ferry road, about six miles from Blountville.
The first or one of the first mills in the county is said to have been built by John Sharp, an Indian trader. It was a small tub-mill, and stood on the spot occupied by the mill built a few years later by John Spurgeon at the mouth of Muddy Creek.
As the majority of the first settlers of the county was Scotch-Irish the first religious organizations were Presbyterian, and it is said that as early as 1778 two churches had been constituted. These were Concord and Hopewell. Very little is known of them, except that Samuel Doak preached to them for two years preceding 1780. One of them is thought to have been the old "Weaver Church," between Bristol and Union, which, tradition says, was founded by Rev. Joseph Rhea, while on one of his trips to Tennessee. The oldest church of which there is any definite knowledge is New Bethel, which was organized in 1782 by Rev. Samuel Doak. James Gregg, Sr., John Allison and Francis Hedge, Sr., are supposed to have been the first ruling elders.
The first Methodist family in the county was that of Edward Cox, who lived near Bristol from 1775 to 1777. He then removed to a tract of land which he entered, about one mile northeast of Union Depot. It was at his house that the first conference in Tennessee was held, by Bishop Asbury. The first Methodist society in the county, and, it is believed, in the State, was organized some time between 1785 and 1790, about two miles from Blountville, where a house of worship known as Acuff's Chapel was erected. It was a log structure 20x30 feet. Among the first members were the Acuffs, Vincents, Crofts and Hamiltons.
Blountville Circuit was established in 1824. and J. G. H. Speer and Creed Fulton were assigned to it. Among others who had charge of the circuit during its early history were George Horne and D. Fleming, 1825; William Patton, 1826; W. Keener, 0. F. Johnson and George Eakin, 1828; James Y. Crawford, 1829-80; J. B. Doughtry, 1881; R. Gannaway, 1832; W. C. Cumming, 1833; Thomas Rice, 1834-35; R. M. Stevens, 1836-37; H. Johnson, 1838-39: George Eakin, 1840-41; 0. F. Cunningham, 1842; R. Gannaway, 1843; W. H. Rogers, 1844; J. D. Gibson, 1845; George Eakin. 1846.
The first Baptist society in the county was Kendrick Creek Church, organized by Jonathan Mulkey some time prior to 1786. Among the first members were Peter Jackson, Anthony Epperson, William Nash, David Parry and Nicholas Hale. A second church was organized on the Holston in 1788, and in 1795 a congregation was formed at the Ferry Meeting-house, at Long Island, by Richard Murrell and Abel Morgan. Double Spring Church was also organized by Richard Murrell in 1805. Muddy Creek Church first appears on the minutes of the association in 1826, when it was represented by Amos James and John Spurgeon. In 1846 two new churches were organized, Union and Eden's Ridge. The former was first represented in the association by James White and John Longmire, and the latter by Samuel Bachman and N. Roller.
The first Lutheran immigrants to the Holston Valley located in Sullivan County, Tenn., and Washington County, Va., near the close of the last century. They settled in the neighborhood of Line Church, on or near the headwaters of Reedy Creek; of Buchler's Church, near the headwaters of Cedar Creek; of the Dutch Meeting-house, between the south fork of the Holston River and the Watauga, and of Roller's Church on Falling Creek.
The first ministers who are known to have visited East Tennessee were Revs. Paul Henkel and John G. Butler, and it is thought the first churches were organized by them. The first regular pastors in Sullivan County were Revs. Jacob Zink and Adam Miller. Until 1811 the Lutheran Church in East Tennessee had no regular synodical connection, but in that year they united with the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, with which they were connected until 1820. The Tennessee Synod was then formed, and the churches of East Tennessee remained with this body until January 2, 1851, when the Evangelical Lutheran Holston Synod was organized at Zion's Church in Sullivan County. It embraced ten ministers of whom only three are now living. They were William Hancher, A. J. Brown, J. M. Schaeffer, J. K. Hancher, J. B. Emmert, J. Fleenor, A. Fleenor, J. A. Seneker, J. Cloninger and J. C. Barb.*
*Condensed from sketch by Dr. A. J. Brown
Sullivan County was the second county formed in what is now Tennessee, and included all the part of Washington County lying north of a line formed by the ridge dividing the waters of the Watauga from those of the Holston, and extending from the termination of this ridge to the highest point of the Chimney Top Mountain. The act was passed in October, 1779, and in February, 1780, the county court was organized at the house of Moses Looney, at which time a commission was presented appointing as justices of the peace Isaac Shelby, David Looney, William Christie, John Dunham, William Wallace and Samuel Smith. Isaac Shelby exhibited his commission dated November 19, 1779, appointing him colonel commandant of the county, and D. Looney of the same date appointing him major. Ephraim Dunlap was appointed State's attorney, and John Adair, entry-taker. The court adjourned to meet at the house of James Hollis. As the records of this court were almost destroyed during the civil war, but little is now known concerning it. For a few years the courts were held somewhere in what is now the western part of the county, at the Yancey Tavern, near Eaton's Station, or at the house of Mrs. Sharp, near the mouth of Muddy Creek, and possibly at both places. In 1786, Hawkins County having been erected, the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act to remove the seat of justice to a more central location, and appointed Joseph Martin, James McNeil, John Duncan, Evan Shelby, Samuel Smith, William King and John Scott as commissioners to select a site for the county buildings. Meanwhile the courts were ordered to be held at the house of Joseph Cole. For some cause the seat of justice was not permanently located until 1792, when James Brigham conveyed thirty acres of land to John Anderson, George Maxwell and Richard Gammon, commissioners appointed by the county court to erect a courthouse and jail. These commissioners seem also to have failed to do the duty assigned them, for in the act of the territorial assembly establishing the town, passed in 1795, James Gaines, John Shelby, Jr., John Anderson, Jr., David Perry, Joseph Wallace and George Rutledge were appointed to complete the courthouse. This was a hewed-log structure, which stood on a lot nearly opposite the present courthouse. The jail was built in the rear of this lot. Some time between 1825 and 1838 a brick courthouse was erected on the lot occupied by the present one, which was built about 1850. During the war the latter with its contents was burned, but the walls sustained but little damage and it was rebuilt at a comparatively small cost. The second jail was built in the rear of the courthouse. It was superseded by the present building about 1870. The first building on the site of the town is said to have been a dwelling erected by James Brigham on the north side of the street near the bridge. The first storehouse was built by Walter James, a prominent trader, who located in the vicinity about 1785. This structure now forms a part of the Easley House, and was not entirely completed when Mr. James White, on a trip to Baltimore, met in that city William Deery, an Irish peddler, who had traveled among the settlements of Tennessee. He proposed to sell his house and lot in Blountville to Mr. Deery, and a trade was finally made. Mr. Deery bought a stock of goods, which were loaded into Mr. James' wagon, and together they returned to Blountville, when the former began a long and successful career as a merchant. At his death he was the wealthiest man in the county. Late in life he married a Miss Allison, and became the father of three sons and two daughters. His sons, James A. and William B., were the owners of the famous "Allisonia Mills," in Middle Tennessee, and also the steamer "Cassandra," the only steamboat that ever entered Sullivan County. James Rhea, John Fain, Sr., and Jesse J. James were also early and successful merchants. At a little later date, and from that time until the war, the most prominent business men were Samuel Rhea, Shaver & Gammon, J. R. Anderson & Co., W. W. James, John Powell and William Dulaney. Nearly all of the above named men accumulated large fortunes, and Blountville became the center of an elegant and cultured society. Among other citizens of the town during its palmy days was Lawrence Snapp, who for many years kept the leading tavern, and James D. Rhea, a lawyer of fine ability, who, however, abandoned the profession for the more peaceful pursuit of farming. Dr. Elkanah Dulaney was one of the first physicians of Blountville, and several times represented the county in the Legislature. He was the ancestor of a large number of physicians, one of whom still lives at Blountville. Col. John Tipton, the hero of the Tipton-Sevier battle, is said to have lived for a few years before his death at or near Blountville. John K. Snapp, a prominent stockraiser, and Jacob Storm, the first mayor of the town, are also remembered among the early settlers.
The academy provided for Sullivan County by the act of 1806 was named Jefferson Academy, and William Snodgrass, John Punch, E. R. Dulaney, Abraham Looney and William Baird were appointed a board of trustees for the institution. In 1817 Matthew Rhea, Jr., Audley Anderson and Samuel Rhea, Jr., were appointed additional trustees, and it is probable that at about that date a building was erected and the school opened. The building was a log structure, which was used until about 1836. It was then removed and replaced by a brick building, which, in a comparatively few years, was found to be unsafe. It was torn down, and the present building erected. Among some of the earlier teachers in this institution were Mr. Wilhelm, Rev. Andrew S. Morrison, John Tyler, William Roberts, Archimedes and Jonathan Davis, and George K. Snapp. During the three or four years prior to the war Dr A. J. Brown was the principal. About 1830 a female department was opened in a small building standing upon the Masonic Institute lot. This was succeeded by the latter institution a few years before the war. The Masonic Female Institute was established jointly by Whiteside Lodge. No. 13, F. & A. M., and the trustees of Jefferson Academy, which institution furnished $3,000.
The first church in Blountville was the Methodist Church, which was organized early in the century. At about the same time a two-story brick building, 40x30 feet was erected for a house of worship, the two principal movers in the work being Col. William Snodgrass and Thomas Rockhold. This building became a place of worship for all denominations that chose to use it, and later was used for school entertainments and political meeting. Afterward it was repaired, and was again kept sacred to religious purposes until about 1855, when it was removed and the present church erected. It stood on the north side of Main Street nearly opposite the Easley House. The Presbyterian Church was established in 1820. The next year fifteen persons were received into the church, and in December, 1821, Rev. A. Campbell became pastor. The first ruling elders were James King, Samuel Evans and Samuel Rhea. Mr. Campbell remained as pastor for about two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. Andrew S. Morrison, during whose pastorate a house of worship was erected. He continued until 1830. Among his successors have been T. G. Potts, Daniel Rogan, James McLin. John B. Logan 1855-61; J. P. Briscoe 1862-73, John R. King, A. S. Doak, R. F. King and James B. Converse, who has served the church very acceptably since 1881. The Baptist Church of Blountville, was organized in 1842 by Rev. William Cate, and the next year was represented in the association by James Poindexter, Noah Cate, Stephen Fisk and E. Rader.
The second oldest town in the county is Kingsport. which for several years was also the largest and most important. It was at first known as "Boat Yard", and prior to the advent of railroads it was the shipping point for the greater part of the salt from King's salt works in Virginia, besides a large amount of iron, castings and produce. The salt works were established about 1800, and in 1833 4,000 barrels of salt were shipped annually by flatboats. At this time Kingsport had a population of 317, while Blountville had only 209, and Bristol had not been thought of. Among the merchants of the town at that time and subsequently were John Lynn, Lynn, Wall & Co., Daniel Hogan, and Zadock Simpson. The water power at this point is exceptionally fine, and three or four factories, of considerable extent for this time, were established. Lynn, Wall & Co. had a cotton spinning factory; Frederick A. Ross a cotton factory, which made a sheeting of a coarse grade, and Jacob Meyers a hemp factory. A Presbyterian and a Methodist Church was organized in the early history of the town, and a house of worship was also erected by each. Since the advent of railroads the town has steadily declined, and now is represented by only a few straggling houses.
Paperville, a small village about twelve miles east of Blountville, was founded by a man named Burkhart, who at a very early day established a paper-mill there. He continued as proprietor for a number of years, after which the business was conducted under the style of Marsh & Burkhart. Prior to the organization of a Presbyterian Church, at Bristol, a strong society had been maintained at Paperville for thirty or forty years. A Methodist Church was also founded there some time previous to 1840. Among the trustees were Thomas S. Henderson, Daniel W. and Samuel J. Crumley, Phillip Bushong and William B. McCroskey.
Bluff City is a thriving little town on the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad, at its crossing of the Holston River. It has, undoubtedly, changed its name as a postoffice and village oftener than any other place in the State. It was originally known as Choate's Ford. Upon the establishment of a stage line from Abingdon to Knoxville, it became known as Middletown, but when it was laid off as a town, after the completion of the railroad, it was named Union. During the war it became Zollicoffer, but in 1865 the former name was restored, and it continued to be known as Union until July 1, 1887, when it received its present name. The site of the town was originally owned by Elisha Cole, but subsequently became the property of David McClellan, who was the owner when the railroad was built. The town now has a population of about 500.
A Presbyterian Church known as Pleasant Grove, was organized near this place on November 16, 1850, with forty-five members. The ruling elders were David Woods, Alfred Carmack, Joseph Rhea and Adam Thomas, Jr. A house 40x30 feet had already been completed, and services had been held by Daniel Rogan, who gave this congregation one-fourth of his time. January 29, 1882, Holston Church, which may be deemed the successor of Pleasant Grove, was organized in Union by Revs. John R. Key, J. B. Converse and H. H. Delaney. The members at that time numbered twenty-four. James D. Rhea and Adam Thomas were chosen ruling elders, and E. A. McClellan and Charles C. Chamberlain, deacons. A Methodist Church was organized in Union about 1855, and a house of worship was erected soon after. Within the past few years a Baptist Church has also been established.
The largest and one of the most enterprising towns in upper East Tennessee lies on the border between Tennessee and Virginia, and is known as Bristol, Tenn. As regards municipal government, however, this name applies to one-half the town only, the portion on the Virginia side being known as Goodson. In all other respects it is one town, and is so regarded in this sketch.*
*Written mainly from notes furnished by Mr. J. R. Anderson
Ed. Note: Today Bristol and Goodson are both known by one name, Bristol, with the state line running down the north side of Main Street separating Sullivan Co, Tennessee and Washington Co, Virginia.
The site of Bristol was purchased from Rev. James King by J. R. Anderson, of Blountville, on July 10, 1852. It consisted of 100 acres, forty-eight in Virginia and fifty-two in Virginia(sic). He soon after had this tract laid off into streets and lots, and contracted for the building of a dwelling-house and store at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets, which he occupied in September, 1853. It then stood in the midst of a large meadow, without a road leading to it, and during the first year a crop of corn and grass was raised upon the ground. The town was surveyed by Henry Anderson, county surveyor in ______. Main Street was laid off wholly in Tennessee, because the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad Company would not permit their grounds to be crossed. Nearly opposite Mr. Anderson's dwelling, and distant from his front door about seventy feet, was a large cherry tree, which had been adopted by Henderson & Walker as a State line tree, and from it as a starting point, Main Street was located. However, in laying off this street, instead of beginning at the center of the tree, the line was run from the south side of it; thence, the street runs south of west one-half a degree, and all running from it on the Tennessee side, extend in a course one-half a degree east of south. The first plat of Bristol was changed somewhat upon the survey of the Tennessee & Virginia depot grounds by C. H. Lynch. He located Shelby Street, and the reserve made by Mr. King of the old burial ground, wherein reposed the remains of Gen. Evan Shelby, and several of the near relatives of Mr. King until 1872, when they were removed by order of the mayor and aldermen. The Virginia & Tennessee depot grounds were laid out prior to the purchase of the site of the town by Mr. Anderson. Mr. King gave six acres and Col. Goodson nine acres for the purpose. The depot building was erected in the summer of 1854 by James Fields. It was destroyed in 1863 by the Federal troops. The Tennessee & Virginia depot was built in 1858, and burned during Stoneman's raid in 1864.
The second house in the town was built by Dr. Zimmerman, and is now owned by his heirs. The first boarding-house was opened in the old dwelling- house of Rev. James King on Solar Hill, by Dr. W. A. M. Willoughby and John P. Hammer in 1855-56. The first hotel was built in connection with a store house by Nelson & Loyd, and was known as the Columbia House. It stood on the lot now owned by J. R. Dickey, and was burned in 1860. Another hotel which was twice burned and twice rebuilt was erected in 1857 by Peck, Langham & Snyder. It was known as the Magnolia House. It was rebuilt the last time by T. C. Lancaster, and is now known as the Virginia House. The Thomas House was built as a dwelling in 1858 by William F. Butler, and after the war was converted into a hotel by J. W. Thomas. The Exchange Hotel, now the Nickels House, was built by J. R. Anderson as a grain commission house in 1858. The next year he remodeled it, and in 1860 it was opened as a hotel by Thomas W. Fancy. During the war it was used as a Confederate hospital, and was then sold to W. H. Nickels.
The first house of worship in Bristol was a small school house which stood on the lot where William Brown now lives. It was also occupied by a Sunday-school, and the first division of the Sons of Temperance was organized there . Mr. King soon sold this building, and erected a large one on the lot now occupied by the Presbyterian Female Institute. It was used for the same purposes as the other. The teacher of the day school being James B. Crabtree, and the preacher Rev. James King. On September 5, 1858, the first Presbyterian Church was dedicated by Rev. James McChain, Rev. James King and Rev. I. N. Naff, appointed by the New River Presbytery. After the dedication an organization of a congregation was formed by the election of Alexander Susong, George L. Worley, Alfred Carmack, E. H. Seneker and Joseph R. Anderson, ruling elders; Joseph R. Anderson, clerk of the session, and Rev. James King as stated supply. The members numbered about thirty, the most of whom had formerly belonged to the church at Paperville. The second stated supply was Rev. Andrew Blackburn, who continued to March 30, 1859. He was followed by Rev. James King, who was ordained pastor in May, 1859. In December of that year Rev. Daniel H. Rogan was elected assistant pastor. This union continued until March, 1861, when the latter went north. In May, 1862, Mr. King was succeeded by Rev. J. M. Hoffmeister, who continued until his death January 31, 1864. Mr. King supplied the pulpit until May, 1865, when Rev. George A. Converse was chosen as stated supply, and on February 27, 1869, was installed as pastor, which position he has since continued to fill. In April, 1882, the old Presbyterian Church was torn down, and the present large and imposing brick edifice was erected upon the site, meanwhile the congregation worshiped in what is known as the Z. L. Burson's Church. The building is 90x55 feet and cost $11,500. The membership at the present time is 350.
In 1874, owing to some dissensions which had arisen in the congregation, concerning the enlargement of the church building twenty-four members withdrew, and on January 26, of that year, with five members from other churches organized, the second Presbyterian Church, with John H. Winston, Victor Doriot E. B. McClanahan and V. Kubler as ruling elders, the latter, however, resigned. Rev. J. D. Tadlock supplied the pulpit, and services were held in the Episcopal Church, which was occupied by the congregation until the spring of 1878, when a neat frame house was completed at the corner of Moore and Cumberland Streets in Goodson. The preachers who have supplied the pulpit since Mr. Tadlock have been Revs. J. W. Rogan, B. W. Mebane and J. Albert Wallace. The members of this church now number ninety-one.
The Goodson Baptist Church was constituted in 1858, by Rev. William Cate of Jonesboro, one of the most indefatigable and best beloved ministers in Tennessee. The original members were W. P. Hamilton, Arthur Edwards, W. J. Betterton and wife, J. W. Morgan, Arthur Stewart and Mrs. M. B. Coleman. The organization took place in the old Temperence Hall, where services were held for several years. In 1869 a frame building was erected upon a lot donated by J. R. Anderson, and was dedicated by E. W. Roach. It was occupied until the fall of 1886, when an elegant and commodious frame edifice was begun; it was completed at a cost of $5,000, and on the first Sunday in June, 1887, was dedicated. The pastors who have had charge of this church have been Revs. William Cate, J. D. Chambers, M. B. Wharton, J. T. Kincannon, R. B. Boatright, B. G. Maynard, J. L. Loyd, - Worley and R. D. Haymore. Rev. Mr. Kincannon served the church at two different periods, and during the latter, in 1871, a part of the members to the number of twenty-three, taking offense at the doctrines preached by him, withdrew. These, on November 5 of the same year, met in the Episcopal Church, organized themselves into a new congregation and installed Rev. J. G. Talbott as pastor. Owing to the informal manner of the organization the forty-five members then belonging were re-constituted as the Bristol Baptist Church, by Revs. James Luster, George C. Thrasher and N. C. Baldwin. The last named then became pastor. In 1873 he was succeeded by Rev. L. L. Burson, who, in 1880, was succeeded by A. M. Stewart. Services were held in the Episcopal Church until ____, when Mr. Burson individually completed a brick church edifice 74x40 feet, at a cost of $7000. The organization was maintained as a member of the Southern Baptist Association, until September 7, 1885. when an honorable adjustment of the difficulties with the parent church, was effected, and the two organizations were merged together, under the name of the Bristol Baptist Church.
The Christian Church of Goodson owes its origin largely to the efforts of Rev. Samuel H. Millard, who as early as 1854, began preaching in the depot.
The next year a brick church on Virginia Hill was completed and a society organized. Among the early members were Alfred, Hugh and Thomas Millard, Nathan Worley, Peter Jones, John McCrowell, William and John Rutherford, Andrew Meyers, J. L. C. Smith, Isaac Sharrett and their families. Mr. Millard continued as pastor of the church for about fifteen years. His successors have been John Haymaker, James Masters, Anthony Ferguson and David Buck.
Emanuel Episcopal Church of Goodson was constituted by Rev. Mr. Mowbray on January 24, 1862. The vestry was composed of the following men: M. W. Hutcheson, W. B. Williams, L. M. Hall, George W. Yates, A. K. Moore, R. W. Broadanx and W. J. Martin. Previous to this time the present house had been erected, and soon after was furnished. The rectors of the parish have been Rev. Charles P. Rodefer, Rev. E. H. Engle, Rev. (now Bishop) Penick, Rev. Pendleton Brooks, Rev. J. B. Funsten and Rev. J. S. Sykes. The membership of this church has never been very large, and much of the time the pulpit has been vacant.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Goodson dates its origin from 1856, when Rev. George W. Miles, then in charge of the Blountville Circuit, made the house of Jesse Aydelette, of Bristol, a preaching place, where a society consisting of nineteen members was soon organized. Col. S. E. Goodson then donated a lot on Scott Street upon which about 1858 a church edifice was erected. The trustees at this the were William F. Butler, John Fleming, John Moore, D. W. Crumley and W. W. James. In 1860 it was made a station, and William Robeson was assigned as pastor. Since that time the church has steadily grown in membership, which now numbers 400, under the pastorate of J. T. Frazier. The present large brick building, with a seating capacity of from 600 to 800, was completed at a cost of about $8,000. In ____ a church was erected on Mary Street by Mr. A. D. Reynolds, and a mission station established with Tobias F. Smith as the first pastor.
Prior to 1867 the schools of Bristol had been only those of a private character, conducted somewhat after the manner of the oldfield schools. In the fall of that year what was known as the Bristol High School was opened by Dr. J. D. Tadlock, in a building which had been built in 1857 by D. D. Tyler as a residence. It was occupied by him until 1862, when it was sold, and subsequently came into the possession of Rev. James King, by whom it was donated with twenty-five acres of land to Holston Presbytery, Synod of Nashville, for a college for the education of young men for the ministry. In 1868 the institution was chartered as King's College. Dr. Tadlock continued as president until 1885, when he was succeeded by Dr. J. Albert Wallace, who had filled the chair of mental and moral philosophy since 1885. The institution justly ranks high among the colleges of the South, and while the attendance is not large the standard of education is high.
The education of young men having been provided for by the founding of King's College. the Methodist Episcopal Church South decided to undertake the education of young ladies. In September, 1868, a school was opened in the Episcopal Church by Mrs. Chanceaulme, who had taught a school the previous summer in the Keller Block. The next year Rev. Dr. D. Snubs assumed charge of the school, which was then removed to the old King residence on Solar Hill, where a boarding-house was opened in connection with it. Mr. W. W. James, through whose efforts the work had thus far been carried forward, then succeeded in purchasing eight and one-fourth acres of land lying in front of the King residence, and upon this tract was laid off the present site of the college building, which was soon after erected at a cost of about $10,000.
Dr. Sullins continued as president of the institute until 1581, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Dr. D. S. Hearon, who remained five years. He then resigned to accept the presidency of Martha Washington College, and L. L. Carlock was chosen his successor. During the summer of 1887 an addition to the present building will be made at a cost of about $8,000, to supply a pressing need for more space. Recently Mr. James, to whom is due the establishment of the college, donated $2,000, to be known as the "James Aid Fund," and to be used in assisting indigent young ladies to secure an education.
The first newspaper established in Bristol was the Bristol News published by J. A. Sperry, whose office was in a small building on Fourth Street. He began in May, 1857, and continued until the office was burned during Stoneman's raid. He also published the Presbyterian Witness, edited by Revs. A. Blackburn, James King and J. McChain.
In 1865 John Sack established the newspaper since known as the Bristol News, which he edited and published until 1869, when he sold out to I. C. Fowler. A few years ago Mr. Fowler was appointed clerk of the United States District Court at Abingdon, and the paper has since been published by A. C. Smith. In 1871 John Slack established the Bristol Courier which line continued to edit and publish until appointed postmaster in 1885. Since that time it has been edited and managed by his son, C. H. Slack, an energetic and enterprising journalist, who issues over 1,400 copies of the Courier weekly. The Bristol Reporter was established in December, 1879, by T. J. & J. H. Burrow, the present proprietor. Among the other periodicals published in Bristol have been the Goodson Gazette, established about 1867 by Coleman & Rice; the Daily Argus published for a few months about 1880, by John Barnes and Z. T. Hamnmer; the Souvenir a monthly literary magazine published by W. M. Burrow, and the Holston Methodist which was issued from the Courier office for about three and a half years.
The Bristol National Bank was incorporated in 1874, as the successor of the Bank of Bristol, organized as a State bank with a capital of $25,000. The capital was $50,000 until 1887, when it was increased to $100,000. The first officers were Henry Cain, president, and J. H. Anderson, vice-president. The present officers are J. R. Anderson, president, and John H. Caldwell, cashier. A. Fulkerson, George W. St. John, J. R. Anderson, J. H. Caldwell and John L. Ray constitute the board of directors.
The growth of Bristol in population and wealth has been constant, and during the past few years remarkably rapid. Its site is advantageous both for manufactories and commercial enterprises. Those of the former already established are as follows: The Bristol Cotton Mills, established about 1875 by Fulton & Sparger; the Bristol Woolen Mills, operated by C. H. Lewis; a machine shop and sash, door and blind factory, conducted by McCrary Bros.; a veneering factory, by Aldridge & Co.; a machine shop, by Buffam & Co.; a carriage manufactory, by Brown Bros.; a flouring-mill, by T. F. Wood; a tobacco manufactory, by A. D. Reynolds, and a furniture factory, by T. H. Mattox. The leading mercantile firms are Anderson & Carr, Seneker & Taylor, T. C. Pile & Co., Kendrick & Co., Z. L. Burson & Son, Pitzer & Co., W. W. James, Jr., and J. M. Barker, dry goods; T. J. Betterton, Leonard & Boudurant. J. T. Powell, R. H. Waskey & Bin., W. P. Dick Bros.. R. H. Overstreet and T. D. Moore, groceries; Dickey & Anderson, Rives Walker, and Bunting & Son, drugs; Ferguson & Thomas and C. L. Sevier, hardware; Brewer & Sweet, tinware and stoves; S. J. James & Hedrick, A. S. Gump and S. A. Gump, clothing; J. H. Thomas, W. F. Cooper and R. J. & F, Carter, jewelry; J. L. King, books and stationery; A. S. McNeil and T. H. Mattox, furniture; R. B. Overman and W. B. Gale, musical instruments; T. H. & C. L. Headrick, queensware and glassware; Norveli & McDowell, boots and shoes; W. W. Davis and T. Hicks & Co., produce; Campbell & Trammell, lumber.
Of the three railroads centering in Bristol, the Norfolk & Western is the oldest, having been completed as the Virginia & Tennessee in 1856. Two years later the East Tennessee & Virginia was completed. In 1877 the Bristol Coal & Iron Narrow-gauge Railroad was chartered to run from Bristol to Big Stone. Of this road Ma]. H. C. Wood became president and W. W. James vice- president and general manager. Work was begun in 1879, and after grading about eleven miles the company transferred its charter and franchise to the South Atlantic & Ohio Railroad Company who have the road in operation as far as Estillville, Va., and will soon reach the coal fields of that section.
Bristol was incorporated in February, 1856. The first board of mayor and aldermen was constituted as follows: J. R. Anderson, mayor, and L. F. Johnson, E. P. Cawood, Dr. S. R. Anderson, J. W. Morgan, William Carmack, F. L. Hartman and T. W. Farhey.
Goodson was incorporated in 1857 with John Appling, mayor and F. W. Moor, H. T. Wilber, John Moore, Jesse Aydeletts, J. C. Ayres and W. L. Rice.
In 1879, by an act of the Legislature, a law court and a chancery court were established having exclusive jurisdiction over all cases arising in the Seventeenth Civil District of Blount County. Permission is also given parties living in the First, Second and Nineteenth Districts to bring suits in this court when the matter in controversy is in those districts. The clerks and masters of the chancery court have been E. A. Warren and George T. Hammer, the present incumbent. The clerk of the law court is the deputy of the clerk of the circuit court of Sullivan County. The attorneys of Bristol are N. M. Taylor, W. D. Haynes, Charles R. Vance, B. G. McDowell, W. D. McCroskey, M. L. Blackley, James P. Rader and Hal. H. Haynes; those of Goodson are J. H. Wood, Col. A. Fulkerson, D. F. Bailey, W. F. Rhea, A. H. Blanchard, A. F. Miles, W. S. Hamilton. Samuel V. Fulkerson and W. T. Hudgens.
The officers of Sullivan County so far as could be determined have been as follows:
County Clerks - John Rhea, 1780-87; Matthew Rhea, 1787-1820; Richard Netherland, 1820-32; G. W. Netherland, 1832-36; John C. Rutledge, 1836-44; Jacob T. Messick, 1844-48; Thomas P. Ford, 1848-52; John C. Rutledge, 1852-65; William C. Snapp, 1865-66; George L. Yates, 1866-67; N. B. Simpson, 1867-68: David Pence, 1868-70; J. P. Roder, 1870-74; A. J. Cox, 1874- 82; Page Bullock, 1882-86; N. D. Bachman, 1886.
Sheriffs - Nathan Clark, 1780-85; Archibald Taylor, 1785-87; George Rutledge, 1787-92; William McCormick, 1792-94; John Scott, 1794-96; Isaac Shelby, 1796-98; John Anderson, 1798-1800; Francis H. Gaines, 1800-02; Thomas Shelby, 1802-04; Thomas Rockhold,1804-06; James Phagan, 1806-29; Thomas White, 1829-30; Jacob K. Snapp, 1830-36; Amos James, 1836-40; John B. Hamilton. 1840-44; M. Massengill, 1844-46; John W. Cox, 1846-50; N. M. Hicks, 1850-54; R. L. Delaney, 1854-58; A. Odell, 1858-60; A. G. Lowry, 1860-65; Henry Olinger, 1865-66; G. W. Sells, 1866-68; Thomas H. Easley, 1868-70; Nathan Gregg, 1870-76; 5. L. Miller, 1876-80; E. S. Worley 1880-81; J. S. Gunning, 1884-86; G. W. Sells, 1886.
Registers - William Wallace, 1780; Stephen Major, 1789; W. C. Anderson, 1790; * * * F. Sturm, 1840-65; N. J. Phillips, 1865-66; F. Sturm, 1866-70; 0. M. White, 1870-78; John W. Farmer, 1878-86; E. D. Baumgardner, 1886.
Clerks of the circuit court - Thomas Shelby, 1810-20(?); William Anderson, 1820(?)-36; John Irvin, 1836-* ; Samuel Evans, from death of Mr. Irvin to 1848; John Cox, 1848-62; John W. Cox, 1852-60; William James, 1860-64; Abraham Cox, 1864.65; J. O. B. Cloud, 1866-70; A. H. Bullock, 1870-78; G. L. Clay, 1878.82; W. S. Anderson, 1882.
Clerks and toasters - George F. Gammon, William Mullenix, 1865-70; N. J. Philips, 1870-82; William H. Fain, 1882~86; A. F. Martin, 1886.
*Died in office
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