Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Another Search for Great Pizza in East Tennessee!

Our inability to find really good pizza here in East Tennessee has been one of our few frustrations about living here in ‘paradise’, with its beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, rocks and trees that define this area. 

Recently, a chain of pizza parlors opened a location in the Knoxville area and despite its distance from our home we went out of our way to give it a try!

If you’re from the Chicago market, you are well aware of Rosati’s and their pizzas.  The Rosati family has been in the restaurant business and specifically the pizza business for many years…5 generations in fact! 

The family has franchised their restaurants and they are expanding across the country.  Currently there are 58 Rosati’s locations in 11 states, with 28 of them being in Illinois.  In addition to Illinois and Tennessee, Rosati’s restaurants can be found in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.

Note: If you look closely at the cars that are lined up for delivery service, you may spot the only BMW pizza delivery car that I’ve ever seen! (Back left)

Much to our disappointment, Rosati’s is really a take-out and delivery operation.  There are 4 or 5 small tables inside with an equal number outside if the weather allows.  Other than the sauce for sale, it’s pretty much a bare bones operation…

We ordered separately as we wanted to try a couple of different items on the menu… Laurie went for the 14” thin crust pizza with Italian Sausage and Pepperoni. ($19.00) She knew that it would be big enough for me to try a piece or two and that she’d still be able to take some home for lunch the following day.

The pizza was very, very good!  The crust was crisp but not burnt, the tomato sauce wasn’t too sweet and there wasn’t too much of it.  The cheese, sausage and pepperoni were all top notch and distinctive, i.e. you could taste them separately.  Another plus was that Laurie grew up with square cut pizza…easier to eat…and this pizza fit her image of what a pizza should look like.

Now for the downside… Even though we were ‘dining in’, the pizza was delivered to us in a closed pizza box.  On the tiny table, just opening the box and trying to remove pieces of pizza to eat was a major challenge!  Without some type of serving tool, we struggled to serve ourselves with plastic ‘silverware’ and flimsy paper plates.

Sorry for the mess!  I’d started working over my Crosstown Classic Combo ($8.00) before I remembered to take a photo.  This Chicago standard offering comes with an Italian sausage link and Italian beef on French bread.  I should have ordered hot peppers (50 cents) to go with it but it didn’t occur to me until after I started eating.

To say that this was messy to eat is an understatement…but I expected that as it is standard with this sandwich.  The sausage was very good but the Italian beef lacked any real flavor and it was a bit drier than I was used to in Chicago.  It was huge sandwich!

The menu at Rosati’s also includes appetizers, wings, salads, calzone, and a number of pasta dishes, several other sandwiches and dessert.  In addition to thin crust pizza, they also offer Double Dough, Gluten Free Crust, Stuffed and Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas.  Despite the difficulty of ‘eating in’ at Rosati’s, their thin crust pizza is now our mutually agreed on “best pizza” in the Knoxville metropolitan area!  Of course, everyone has their own opinion about pizza...

Rosati’s in Knoxville Tennessee is located at 234 Brookview Centre Way, #109.  Phone: 865-602-2211.  Now if they just had a location in Farragut we’d be close enough to take one to go so we could eat in the comfort of our home.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by and participating in our continuing search for great pizza!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 24, 2016

Harrison TN – Residential Historic District

Our exploration of Roane County Tennessee’s historic sites led us to Harriman and its Cornstalk Heights Historic District.  This is a huge historic site, encompassing several streets and 134 ‘contributing’ or historic structures!  Needless to say, we only photographed a handful for this posting...

This expansive residential district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1990.

I can’t identify this handsome home in my notes or on the listing at the National Register of Historic Places. (NRHP) The sign in front of the home doesn’t show a house number but it does state Davis-LeDuc 1908.

Historically, this Queen Anne style home is named Bushrod Hall.  It was built in 1892 by a lumber mill owner.  Then in 1895, the American Temperance University bought it for its school of Domestic Sciences for Young Ladies.

The American Temperance University opened in 1893 in Harriman.  In its second year of operation the institution enrolled 345 students from 20 states. However, it closed in 1908.  Bushrod Hall was named for Bushrod Washington James, A.M., M.D. (1836–1903) He was an American surgeon, homeopathist, writer and philanthropist who lived in Philadelphia PA.  He donated this house to the University.

Too bad that they had to cut down this big tree in front of this historic home at 514 Cumberland Street.  It did make the home easier to photograph.  The Cassell-D'Alessandro House (aka. Monte Vista) is a 2 and 1 half story Colonial Revival home that was built ca. 1890. 

From Dawn Marie’s notes, I surmise that this is the Edwards-Foster House at 509 Cumberland Street.  This Queen Anne style home was built ca. 1890 and the property also lists a one-story shiplap frame building that served as servant’s quarters.   

This is the W.H. Russell House at 525 Cumberland Street.  Laurie didn’t want me to take this photo… not all old homes are attractive after years of ‘improvements’ or remodeling.  This Eastlake style house was built in 1890.  It was the first house built on Cumberland Street and its original owner was the President of the East Tennessee Land Company.

This terrific looking Colonial Revival style home is located at 621 Cumberland Street.  The Haven House, aka. W.H. Julian House in the NRHP listing was built ca. 1890 or 1892, depending on whether the sign in front is correct or the listing is correct.  Many signs in the area differ from the original listings.  The property also features a carriage house that was built in 1895.

This large and lovely home is on a big lot at 629 Cumberland Street.  The Williamson-Jones House (aka. Lane House) is a Folk Victorian home that was built in 1893.    

Go Vols!  Obviously, the Hopkins-Sutton-Coleman House at 725 Cumberland Street is currently occupied by some University of Tennessee Volunteers fans.  This Folk Victorian home was built ca. 1890 as a Presbyterian Manse.  Among other more encompassing definitions, a 'manse' is defined as a 'house occupied by a minister of a Presbyterian church'.

Although this home has a sign out front that reads Nottingham-Webb House with a date of 1890, I couldn’t find it listed as part of the historic district… As matter of fact, there weren’t any homes in the listing that have an address that begins with 412.

With the glare from the sun, this isn’t the best photo but the history of this home dictates that I include it in this posting… The Winslow House at 802 Clinton Street is a Queen Anne style home that was built in 1895 by Henry Winslow, the Harriman Land Company Manager.  Henry’s son, John lived in the house until the 1970’s…but he lived in just one room!  He left the rest of the house as it was on the day his mother died and numerous ghost stories are attached to this property.  BOO!

The size of this district and the quality of most of the homes was a bit overwhelming.  To learn more about the Cornstalk Heights Historic District you can go to  The other source is the NRHP where every property should be listed and described.  Go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chili’s Grill and Bar – Lenoir City Tennessee

We’d been out and about running errands and it was time for lunch.  We were in Lenoir City and we’ve been around here long enough that there just aren’t very many places…other than fast food…where we hadn’t eaten.  We were driving along US Hwy. 321 toward I-75 when I decided on our destination.

This is the Chili’s in Lenoir City.  Now some might ask, if you’ve lived around these parts for a number of years, why haven’t you visited Chili’s before?  It is a fair question… After all, it’s been there longer than we’ve lived in the area.

The problem was my memory of a couple of previous Chili’s experiences from many years ago.  In general, ‘southwestern’ cuisine isn’t my favorite and I had an image frozen in my mind of everything being cooked with bell peppers!  I don’t like the smell, much less the flavor, of cooked sweet or bell peppers. (No problem with jalapenos though!) Since so many years had passed, I decided that the menu had to have changed and I should be able to find something I’d like to eat.   

The inside of Chili’s was clean, bright and shiny…with a big bar and lots of television screens. 

Chili's Grill and Bar is a casual dining restaurant chain that features Tex-Mex-style cuisine.  The company was founded in Texas in 1975.  Chili’s is currently owned and operated by Brinker International.  The brand and the company have been pretty successful.  They have company owned and franchised restaurant operations in at least 34 different countries… As of 2015, there were 1,580 Chili’s locations worldwide!

As it turned out, this photo illustrates one of my 2 gripes with our dining experience.  I asked for coffee never suspecting in a sit-down waiter service style restaurant that my coffee would come in a Styrofoam cup…

With visions of sizzling green peppers in my mind and my nose on the alert for this odor, I took a look at the menu.

The first pleasant surprise was the depth and variety just on the Appetizer menu.  From wings to southwestern ‘egg rolls’ to varieties of flatbread and fried pickles, there was a wide variety of items that sounded good even with my limited palate.

We decided to order and share an order of Fried Asparagus. ($6.49) The asparagus was lightly battered and quick-fried.  Then it’s topped with crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of chimichurri sauce.  It was served with roasted garlic aioli on the side.

The asparagus was cooked perfectly with even the thicker ends being firm but tender.  Laurie and I agreed that this was the best fried asparagus that we’ve ever eaten!

Laurie decided to order what she thought was a lighter lunch so she ordered the Loaded Baked Potato Soup as an accompaniment.  The soup was topped with Applewood smoked bacon, fresh chopped green onions and a 3-cheese blend.  She really liked her soup!

For the other part of her “Lunch Combo”, she ordered the Smoked Chicken Quesadillas. (Combo Lunch cost = $7.00) Her quesadillas/flour tortillas were stuffed with smoked chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, sautéed red and green bell peppers, caramelized onions and jalapeño aioli sauce.  This was another winner…and she said that she’d order this meal again!

For my lunch I ordered the Prime Rib Tacos. ($10.99) The 3 tacos were filled with pieces of prime rib over Jack cheese, then topped with chimichurri sauce, house-made pico de gallo, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and queso fresco. (I don’t care for avocado either so I had that left out of my tacos) For my sides, I had the citrus-chile rice and black beans. 

There was nothing about my lunch that I didn’t like!  The beef was tasty and tender with everything else in my tacos working together in harmony.  I liked both the beans and rice too…and mixed them together.

An order of seasoned French Fries either came with Laurie’s lunch or the kitchen made a mistake.  This nice container of fresh and flavorful fries was delivered to our table…a bit late in the meal. We still managed to eat about half of them and they were good!

Our waiter, Gage, was very helpful and personable… Laurie said something to him about trying out for a role in a ‘Magic Mike’ movie and he happily posed for this photo.

My only other complaint is more of a warning… Do not touch one of those little machines on your table!  They are not for ordering…they are for playing games.  Once I figured that out, I put it down asap.  However, a second caution, always examine your bill.  As I wrote this posting I finally took a close look at my bill and noted a $1.99 charge for ‘table entertainment’.  Heck, I just touched the dang thing and played with a couple of the buttons... 

My minor gripes aside, we really liked our dining experience at Chili’s and this very large restaurant chain is back on my ‘positive’ list!  The Chili’s Grill and Bar in Lenoir City Tennessee is at 320 Fort Loudon Medical Center.  Phone: 865-988-4061.  Company website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for lunch!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Another BBQ Chain Comes to Knoxville

Laurie and I like BBQ, but we really appreciate great BBQ and most of what we’ve found so far here in East Tennessee is just OK or average.  So, when a new BBQ outlet opened in the area we just had to give it a try… How does the saying go?  …Hope springs eternal!

This is the relatively new Dickey’s Barbecue Pit which is located in Knoxville’s Turkey Creek Shopping area.  The color of the awning does catch your eye as you drive past the plethora of stores and restaurants in Turkey Creek.

Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. was founded in 1941.  The company is based in Dallas Texas.  As of 2015, Dickey’s had 530 locations across the USA and the company reported revenues of $520,000,000.  Franchises are available…

These photos show the interior of our local Dickey’s Barbeque Pit.  The wood walls and checkered table coverings evoke visions of downhome BBQ…in an urban environment. 

In addition to dining in, Dickey’s offers catering, online ordering, holiday meals, a number of retail items…and in some markets, outside delivery is available.

There are printed menus available but most people order from this menu board hanging near the beginning of Dickey’s ‘production line’.  This is a ‘fast casual’ restaurant where you go to the counter and place your order…and then follow it along until it’s ready to hand to you at the register.

The person taking the order then processes the meat portion of your meal…and that seemed to cause a little stack up of customers in line as they waited for the order ahead of them to be passed on down the line for other meal add-ons and finishing touches. 

Laurie ordered the Pit Boss Deal…a luncheon special.  For $13.50 she got a roll, potato chips, asiago cheese creamed spinach, a large 'take with you Dickie's logo cup' with lemomade and 5 BBQ ribs.  She really liked the creamed spinach and she thought that the ribs were pretty good too. 

I wasn’t as impressed with the ribs as she was.  The flavor was OK and they were relatively ‘meaty’, but they weren’t anything special.  It probably didn’t help my opinion when I watched the ‘meat server’ pull some ribs wrapped in Saran Wrap from a warmer, unwrap them and then cut them up into her serving… It wasn’t an appetizing experience.

I ordered the Original Westerner for my lunch. ($7.50) This sandwich consists of sliced brisket and Polish kielbasa sausage, topped with cheddar on a toasted hoagie bun.  The kielbasa was just fine but the brisket was much too dry and as a result, it was fairly bland.  The toasted roll was a plus and the BBQ sauce was fairly decent… I’d buy it for use with my own BBQ at home. 

One happy plus for meals at Dickey’s is the small cone of soft-serve ice cream that comes free for the taking with your meal.  I opted out but Laurie really enjoyed this little post-lunch treat.

My search for good barbeque here in East Tennessee continues.  Dickey’s is OK for quick meal but I wouldn’t seek it out… Given the company’s growth they must be doing something right, but it isn’t great BBQ.

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit in the Turkey Creek is located at 11483 Parkside Drive in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-675-8227.  The company’s website can be found at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for lunch…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, October 17, 2016

Historic Places Around Rockwood Tennessee

During our exploratory drive through parts of Roane County Tennessee, we spent a bit of time in Rockwood checking out 4 different historic places, all very different from each other… 

As we approached Rockwood on US Hwy. 70, we diverted onto Post Oak Springs Road to the intersection with Old US 70.  The Post Oak Springs Christian Church was built in 1876.  This is an independent, non-denominational Christian church, associated with the Restoration Movement.  It is said to be the oldest Restoration Movement Christian Church in Tennessee.  The congregation was formed in 1812 and this was the 3rd building occupied by the church.  Services are currently held nearby in a newer facility…

The Restoration Movement is a Christian movement that began on the United States frontier during the Second Great Awakening (1790–1840) of the early 19th century.  This movement sought to reform the church from within with the goal "the unification of all Christians in a single body patterned after the church of the New Testament."  It has been described as the "oldest ecumenical movement in America".  Since the mid-20th century, members of these churches do not identify as Protestant but simply as Christian.   There are 3 main branches in the US: the Churches of Christ; the unaffiliated Christian Church/Church of Christ congregations, and; the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The Rockwood Post Office is a Colonial Revival style Federal building constructed by the Works Projects Administration (WPA) in 1937.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.  The grounds are landscaped with original Japanese Hollies.

We should have gone inside!  Research revealed that this post office features a terra-cotta relief sculpture by New York artist Christian Heinrich.  It’s the only ceramic post office decoration in the state.  Entitled ‘Wildlife’, the seven by three-foot panel weighs approximately three hundred pounds and depicts a family of three deer.

OK…This photo at the National Register of Historic Places listing in Wikipedia for Roane County, allegedly shows the historic Molyneaux Chevrolet Dealership/Fire Department facility.  It totally threw me off base on this search and posting.  First of all, the address on this building is 230 and it’s on the wrong street as well!  On the other hand, it obviously is the old showroom and it is better looking than the correct structure turned out to be…

Laurie and Dawn had taken the photo of this structure at 104 North Chamberlain Street in Rockford.  Even though the address matched the listing, I couldn’t imagine that this was the correct building as per the NRHP.  Well, when I subsequently researched the listing on the actual National Register of Historic Places site, I discovered that the ladies were right.  This was the place!  To see the photos that were originally submitted with the building’s justification for its listing on the NRHP, you can go to

This structure was built in 1923.  It’s constructed from poured concrete.  It was poured in forms with reinforcing rods, which resulted in the block-like pattern.  It was constructed as a single building to house 2 separate operations.  Historically, the fire hall was in the easternmost bay, and the Molyneux Chevrolet Company was located in the 3 western bays.  This building housed the city's first fire engine as well as John Molyneux’ auto business.  That dealership was later recognized as the oldest Chevy dealer in the state. 


Former Union general John T. Wilder noted the iron ore and coal deposits of the Cumberland Plateau region while operating in the area during the Civil War.  After the war, Wilder and Ohio-born Knoxville Iron Company founder Hiram Chamberlain purchased 900 acres at what is now Rockwood.  They selected the location due to the ore and coal resources, the proximity to the Tennessee River and based on an assumption that the encroaching railroads would descend the Plateau at nearby Emory Gap.  The Roane Iron Company was chartered in 1867 and it was producing iron by late 1868…the same year that the town was founded.  The Company closed operations in 1929 but remnants of the operation remain near the edge of town.

This eye-catching Tennessee Highway Patrol building in Rockwood is located on the corner of Kingston Avenue and Nelson Street, actually on the original State Route 1/U.S. Highway 70 in Rockwood.  Built in 1936, the building was used as a sub-station for the Tennessee Highway Patrol until circa 1952 when a new facility was constructed.

This 80 year old highway patrol building is an excellent example of Tennessee's response to the expansion of motorized traffic and the public’s concern for safety along the new and expanding system of highways.  The building is an excellent representation of the use of Crab Orchard stone.  In addition, the Craftsman influence of the building can be seen in the cut stone and use of clay tile roofing.  This building is an example of the huge impact the automobile has had on American culture and life.

As small as this building is, it not only served as a workplace, but also as living quarters for unmarried patrol officers.  The back room of the building was fitted with beds and contained a kitchen and bathroom.  A former patrol officer recalled that this arrangement kept officers’ working day and night.  The front room was used as an office and it’s where they had a desk, did paperwork, and provided tourist information.

This building may look much like the 1936 facility…but it was actually built in 1952 to replace it.  One reason that it looks much like the original building is that it was also built using Crab Orchard Stone.

The ‘new’ building is located on the same piece of land as the original but it was situated so that it faced the ‘new’ US Hwy. 70.  Its back faces the back of the older Highway Patrol building.  After this facility was constructed, the 1936 building was used only for storage.  Later it was abandoned!  Fortunately, local preservationists have ensured that the original building has been restored…and even nicely landscaped. 

That’s all for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gypsy Vanner Horses in East Tennessee

During our drive through Roane County Tennessee searching for a number of historic places, I decided that the ladies would truly appreciate a diversion from our mission.  I set course along the back roads to take a look at a relatively newly recognized breed of horse…the Gypsy Vanner.

My route led us to the LexLin Gypsy Ranch near the eastern shore of Watts Bar Lake and south of Rockwood Tennessee.  The ranch was founded by Eric and Mechelle Barton.  They fell in love with Gypsy Vanner horses in England and Wales.  When the opportunity presented itself, they decided to build a business breeding these interesting and beautiful horses here in the USA.

The Barton’s, with their family of 5 children, started building LexLin Ranch with their importation of 7 Gypsy Vanners or Cobs from England.

At 35 years of age, Eric Barton had stepped aside as the President and CEO of Reylant.  RELYANT Global is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business headquartered in Maryville Tennessee that employs approximately 200 staff worldwide.  Established in 2006, the company specializes in construction, military munitions response, environmental services and global development support services.  The company operates in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the United States, the Pacific and South America.  They provide construction, spray foam insulation, life support, vehicle maintenance and a variety of other services to government and commercial clients in the Middle East and elsewhere. 

Eric served as a Marine beginning at the age of 17.  At one point he served as a Senior Analyst for the Combined Joint Task Force at the Horn of Africa/National Intelligence Cell.  He also served as a chaplain.  In addition to LexLin Gypsy Ranch, he operates an overseas manpower and training organization. 

This photo of a team of beautiful Gypsy Vanner Horses pulling a traditional looking gypsy or Roma wagon was borrowed from the Internet.

From about 1850, travelling people (Gypsy, Roma or Pavee peoples) in the British Isles began to use a distinct type of horse to pull their vardos, the caravans or wagons in which they had just begun to live and travel.  The color and look of these sturdy horses were refined in the years after World War II.  Horses of this type were first imported into the United States in 1996. 

What a beautiful 'borrowed' photo of a beautiful and powerful horse!

The Irish Cob or Colored Cob, Gypsy Cob and Tinker Horse, known as the Gypsy Horse or Gypsy Vanner in the United States is a small, solidly-built horse of cob conformation.  They are often, but not always, piebald or skewbald.  These are the only broken-colored horse breed of the British Isles.  There was no stud-book or breed association for horses of this type until 1996.  It is now considered a breed and they can be registered with a number of breed associations. Other names for this breed include Gypsy Cob and Tinker Horse.  

In this photo, Dawn Marie is petting a young Gypsy stallion.  The breed is calm and gentle, has a great temperament and is eager to please and work.  They make great family horses…

LexLin Ranch is in the business of breeding and selling top quality Gypsy Vanner Horses.  The ranch is one of the largest Gypsy Vanner ranches and breeding facilities in the United States.  When you consider that the first of these horses wasn’t imported into the USA until 1997, the growth of this horse’s popularity is stunning.  There is at least 1 Gypsy Horse Ranch or breeding farm in 39 of the 50 States.  Tennessee has 4 and Florida has so many that the list of facilities in that state is broken into 3 different alphabetical groupings!

We drove on past the main stable toward the offices.  We parked and some staff members working with the horses told us that we could look around.

Laurie took this photo of one of the stallions.  I went on-line and I’m pretty sure that this is TN Honey.  This Gypsy Vanner/Gypsy Cobb stud stands 14.2 hands tall and he weighs around 1,100 pounds.

Two of the ranch’s staff members were in a nearby corral tending to and getting attention from a large group of mares.  Nearby stallions were all paying close attention to the activity!

Feathering or "Feather", long hair starting below the knee of the front legs and the hock of the hind legs and running down the leg to flow over the front and back of the hooves, is a highly valued attribute of the Gypsy Horse.

Laurie took this photo of a mare and her foal... This photo with the stock fence as a reference, gives you a good idea of the typical size of a Gypsy Vanner horse.  They have an excellent disposition and they're very curious.

Gypsy horses tend to be very hairy! Most will have a long mane and tail.  Some even have a double mane, where the mane is as thick and long on both sides of the neck.  But they also have lots of body hair…beards, shaggy winter coats, long belly hair.  Some will have this coveted “lucky mustache” on their upper lip.  

A true Gypsy breeder (in England or Wales) would supposedly never clip or trim the mustache or beard, but some breeders in the USA tend to go for a cleaner look.  I borrowed this photo from the Internet but only because we didn’t get clear photo of a mustache on one of LexLin’s Gypsy’s. 

To learn more about LexLin Ranch and to see videos and photos of their Gypsy Vanner Horses, just go to  To learn much more about Gypsy Vanner horses, you can go to

Our next stop was just off of US Hwy. 27 between Rockwood and Harriman Tennessee.  This is a side view of the old John C. Martin home on Martin Road.  It’s part of the Valley View Farm property which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1997.  The last permanent Martin resident of this house moved out to a nursing home in 1994.  The current Martin family lives in a new home nearby so the old farm house, part of which dates back to 1870, is unoccupied.

After all of these years the farm itself, with about 259 acres, is still operating.  As per the application for the listing on the National Register, the entire property has much the same appearance as it did back in 1932.

This is a view of the front of the old Valley View farmhouse.  The historic Emory Gap – Jacksboro road flanks the east side of the farm.  That road dates back to between 1798 and 1805.  In addition, there are 2 cemeteries on the property, one dating back to 1901 and the other dating all the way back to 1865. 

The older burial ground on the Valley View property is called the Carter Cemetery.  Many of the folks buried there were from Browntown, a former mining community that has faded into the past and is now part of this historic site.  Many Browntown residents in that cemetery were victims of the 1918 flu epidemic.  Some remnants of Browntown and the mining efforts as well, are evident at the west end of the farm.  I couldn’t find any other information about Browntown except some death records that mentioned deaths of people from the town…

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by to see what we’ve been up to!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Kingston Tennessee – Historic Sites

After visiting Fort Southwest Point at the south edge of Kingston, we continued with our exploration of portions of Roane County Tennessee. Our goal was to locate a number of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
The city of Kingston was our first stop...

Our first stop was an historic cemetery.  The Bethel Historic Cemetery was established in 1811.  Over the years it has been known by several different names to include:  Presbyterian Hill Cemetery; Kingston Cemetery; Old Burial Ground and Old Bethel Cemetery. 

The land for the cemetery was donated by “Indian Chief Riley”.  A sign posted in the cemetery names this chief as John Riley and the reason that he donated the land was “so his children could attend Rittenhouse Academy…which was located here”.  
From what I read, it’s probable that John Riley was the son of a white man, Samuel Riley and, Gulustiyu Doublehead, one of the daughters of Chief Doublehead, a fierce warrior from the Eastern Cherokee Nation.  Actually, Samuel married 2 of Chief Doublehead’s daughters.  Depending on the source document, Samuel Riley apparently had 16 or 18 children with his wives.  Samuel was a trader and ferry operator at Fort Southwest Point.  Samuel died in 1817 and John Riley died in Oklahoma in 1845. 

In any case, this cemetery is definitely full of historical burials!  No less than 17 “Steamboat Men” are buried here, with the earliest ‘steamboat related’ burial occurring in 1870 and the last in 1959.  It should be noted that despite the difficulty, in 1828 the Steamboat “Atlas” made it eventually up to Knoxville Tennessee, while regular traffic between Knoxville and Decatur Alabama was in place by around 1835.

This is the Byrd family burial plot at Bethel Cemetery.  Robert King Byrd, (1823 – 1885), was an American soldier and politician.  A slave owning Southern Unionist, he commanded the Union Army's First Tennessee Infantry during the Civil War.  He saw action at Cumberland Gap, Stones River, and in the Knoxville and Atlanta campaigns.  

Byrd represented his native Roane County at the pro-Union East Tennessee Convention on the eve of the war in 1861.  He also served one term (1879–1881) in the Tennessee Senate, and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in 1880.  He was a persistent advocate for railroad construction and navigational improvements to the Tennessee River during the two decades following the war.

The town of Byrdstown Tennessee, the County Seat for Pickett County, was named in honor of Byrd in 1879.  In 1890, the East Tennessee Land Company purchased Byrd's 10,000-acre plantation for the establishment of the city of Harriman Tennessee.

This is the original hitching post from the Bethel Presbyterian Church which was located on the current cemetery grounds.

This cemetery has one other sad but notable distinction.  At least one veteran who served in every American war from the Revolution through Vietnam is buried on these grounds.  Colonel Gideon Morgan, who served in the Revolutionary War, is the first of the burials. (More about Colonel Morgan following the next photo) Other wars include the War of 1812, the Mexican War, Civil War (both Union and Confederate armies), the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Semi-Related Factoid:

·       The 2010 movie, “Get Low”, starring Bill Murray, Robert Duvall, and Sissy Spacek, was based on the true story of a Roane County man, Felix Breazeale. Breazeale was a local hermit who opted to throw himself a funeral while he was still alive.

This is the Colonel Gideon Morgan House in Kingston… This Federal style two-and-a-half story home was built between 1810 and 1813.  

After serving in the Revolutionary War in his home state of Massachusetts and living for a while in Virginia, Colonel Morgan moved to Kingston in 1809 and he established a trading post.  Although this structure served as his residence, part of it was also opened as a well-known ‘ordinary’ or tavern.  The town was platted at about the same time that Morgan’s home was being built…

Colonel Morgan was the founder of a long line of prominent military and civic leaders.  Among his notable descendants was his son, Colonel Gideon Morgan, Jr., who commanded the Cherokee Regiment in the Creek War;  John Tyler Morgan was a Brigadier General In the Confederacy and was for many years a United States Senator from Alabama.  Another grandson, Samuel D. Morgan, of Nashville served as president of the committee for erecting the current capitol of Tennessee.  Finally, the elder Morgan's great-grandson was the Confederate General John Hunt Morgan of Civil War fame.

This is the old Roane County Courthouse in Kingston Tennessee.  It sits directly across a busy street from the Colonel Gideon Morgan home.  The courthouse was completed in 1855 using local lumber and bricks made on site by slaves.  No nails were used in the original structure of this combination Greek Revivalist/Federalist style building.  This is 1 of only 6 antebellum courthouses remaining in the state of Tennessee. 

The building was used in the Civil War by both Confederates and Union forces as a hospital.  Graffiti can still be found on the walls written by soldiers who were hospitalized here.  The building was the active courthouse of Roane County until 1974 when the new courthouse was completed.  At that point the old courthouse was deeded to the Roane County Heritage Commission.  The Heritage Commission maintains extensive historical records and serves as a center for genealogical and historic research.  Website:

FYI...the law didn’t always control matters in Roane County… To read some interesting stories about murder, mayhem and mob lynchings, just go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a short historical tour!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave