Wednesday, October 17, 2012

History, a Little Food and Great Scenery!

Laurie and I decided to drive over to the area around Tellico Plains Tennessee.  We had two motives…History and Food!  First we had to make a stop at our favorite stop for cookies, scones and other sweet baked goods...and one of our favorite bakeries for bread as well.

This is Tellico Grains Bakery in Tellico Plains.  Let’s see… We bought oatmeal raisin and coconut cookies…plus a scone, a muffin, a loaf of banana bread for company and a loaf of bread.  When we’re in the neighborhood, we usually eat lunch here too, (great sandwiches on fresh bakery bread!), but we had other plans on this date. (I’ll talk about our lunch in another blog…)

We heartily recommend the Tellico Grains Bakery!  It’s located at 105 Depot Street in Tellico Plains Tennessee.  Phone: 423-253-6911.  The website is:
OK…enough food for today.  Now we’re on to the exploration and history part of our day.  This is the entrance to the Charles Abner Scott Manson which is just outside of Tellico Plains.  As you might gather from the plaque, this property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Our big concern was that this was about as close to the mansion as we could get without trespassing…
We didn’t get any closer to the mansion…but the Internet…with the wide-world web saved us again.  This photo was ‘borrowed’ so we could actually show what this NRHP listing was all about… Charles Scott built this neo-classical revival mansion between 1908 and 1912. 
The interior apparently, is at least as impressive as the exterior.  Mr. Scott sure didn’t spare the expense when he had this home built!

Charles Abner Scott was born in 1866 and he died in 1930.  He was born in Tennessee and he moved to the area around Tellico Plains around 1890.  He was actively involved in developing the town…selling off or donating large portions of his 15,000 acre holdings for the growth and expansion of Tellico Plains.  He ‘recruited’ the Stokely Company to open an operation here and he financed local schools.  Beyond these contributions, Scott is recognized for his experimentation with lime fertilizer, crops and different cattle breeds…influencing regional farming techniques.
Oh yes…Scott’s property includes this beautiful little rustic chapel.  How did we come up with these photos?  Well, much to our surprise, the mansion and the remaining 191 acres of the original estate was or perhaps still is for sale.  The asking price is $2,950,000!  At one point in recent history, the home was operated as a bed and breakfast...
This is the estate’s old barn…located adjacent to the driveway leading to the house.  In addition to the chapel and the barn, other structures include a log guest house, a garage, a horse barn, a large outdoor swimming pool plus an equipment shed.  The 4,160 sq. ft. house has 6 fireplaces, 4 bedrooms, 12 foot ceilings, hardwood floors, terrazzo porches, etc., etc.  For more information and other photos, just go to
This is a view of the foothills of the Smoky Mountains…with the mountains themselves off in the distance.  Laurie took this photo from the road along the valley just below the Scott Mansion.
As we cruised along the back roads through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, we came across this very substantial brick church.  We were impressed as many of the churches away from the main roads in this area are very small and they don’t look very prosperous.  The population here in the foothills is very spread out…but they do go to church!

When Laurie took her photo, she discovered that this is a Friends or Quaker Church.  According to one website that I visited, there are only about 6 Friend’s Meeting Houses remaining in East Tennessee.  At one point there were many Meeting Houses and this religious group was a powerful voice for freedom.  All Quakers’ slaves were freed by 1787.  Their position on slavery prior to the Civil War caused great controversy and thousands of Quakers or Friends migrated north to the ‘free states’ as they were attacked and harassed for their stance on the issue.  Many of those that stayed behind helped escaped slaves flee north via the ‘Underground Railroad’.  “Manumission”, the freeing of slaves, became a critical social concern to the Quakers…
Information about the Rafter Road Friends Church can be found on Facebook at

We were on Rafter Road searching for another listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Elisha Johnson Mansion, (above), is shown as being located at 332 Rafter Road… We couldn’t find it!
Elisha Johnson moved south to join his son who had fled the north after killing a man in a duel.  The son had fled to Florida and then worked his way back up to Tennessee.  Then he told his father, the onetime mayor of Rochester NY, that he’d discovered a promising iron works in Tellico Plains.  The family bought and expanded the business…but it was destroyed by General Sherman during the Civil War.  The mansion itself was built ca. 1846.  The home was passed on through a number of owners…at various points it was unoccupied or was operated as a summer hotel or boarding house.
I think I discovered why Laurie and I couldn’t find the Johnson mansion… I stumbled across a news item from 2001 that said that the mansion was carefully being torn down and that the structure was being carefully cataloged so it could be rebuilt over the next few years.  Apparently a bad roof combined with fire damage had done enough damage that all agreed that an eventual rebuild would be the best…perhaps the only option for saving this 150+ year old home.  In any case, it appears that the reconstruction hasn’t happened.  If anyone knows something different, please let me know.
So while we were on Rafter Road searching for the Elisha Johnson Mansion, we came across this interesting little structure.  The signs…Mudhole TN Community Center…Pop 13 and Indian Boundary caught our eye.  When Laurie got out to take the photo, she discovered that this is a memorial structure.  Someone built this to commemorate the passing of Ken Sherman (1939 – 2009) He was apparently active in the Rural Volunteer Fire Department and the Monroe County School District.  He must have been a great person to deserve such a special memorial!

Thanks for joining us on our little exploratory adventure!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. I'm really enjoying your travels. The Charles Abner Scott Manson is pretty impressive

  2. Dear Dave, I enjoy reading the history. It is so interesting to visit these places with you and Laurie. Thank you for taking the time to post these travels.
    I hope that you and Laurie have a nice weekend. Blessings, Catherine

  3. Literally right across the Mudhole shack, down in the gully is an very old derelict home. It's about 10 feet from the stream. It's super cool. The area was known as Mudhole by locals.