Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Exploring Meigs County Tennessee #1

This has been a relatively cold spring season here in East Tennessee.  Nevertheless, Dawn Marie was visiting us from Miami, the weather was sunny if brisk, and all three of us were restless…

I’d been researching the National Register of Historic Places for another county in East Tennessee to explore…and it was a beautiful day for a drive.  Meigs County was the site for what Dawn Marie termed as ‘our historical scavenger hunt’.  
This is the R.H. Johnson Stable, also known as the Edgemon Barn.  It’s located at approximately 30275 TN Hwy 58 and it’s readily visible from the highway.  The structure dates back to at least 1888.  This stunning old barn or stable has been well maintained… 

The great majority of Meigs County’s thirty-eight (38) listings in the NRHP were accepted and published in 1982.  I’m guessing that it was a community effort spurred on by some dedicated residents who had an interest in preserving the county’s history.  In 1985, a quilt was made which depicted several of the historic sites or buildings in the county.  The R.H. Johnson Stable was one of those structures.  That quilt and many other exhibits now reside in the Meigs County Historical Museum located at 200 Smith Avenue in Decatur Tennessee. 
Photos of some of the exhibits, including some nifty old pictures can be found on the museum’s website at  The museum is only open for a few hours on Fridays.  For further information, you can contact the museum coordinator at 
This is the Mt. Zion Church.  It’s also pictured on that special quilt at the Meigs County Historical Museum.  This Methodist Church was organized ca. 1830 and this particular structure was built around 1850.  Due to flooding in its former location, it had to be moved and rebuilt at its current site.

The last member of the church died in the 1930’s…but “Homecoming” is held on the 2nd Sunday in June each year.  To quote: “Visit your ancestors and hear stories of those still in the area or just eat the great southern food they bring and listen to the music”.  The church is only open for Homecomings, Funerals and Special Events.  Interested parties are instructed to contact Ricky Crabtree, who happens to be the Vice President of the Meigs County Historical Society.
This is the cemetery that adjoins the Mt. Zion Church.  For information on this cemetery, (i.e., the cemetery’s ‘residents’), as well as photos of the headstones, you can go to   

Laurie’s photo above shows the ‘Boggess Corner’ of the cemetery.  Six members of the Boggess clan are documented as having been buried here.  Boggess Crossroad is still listed in Wikipedia as a populated place in Meigs County.  I found records showing that members of the family fought in the War of 1812, the Civil War (Confederate Army), World War I and World War II.  Captain Abijah Boggess (Jr.), the family member who fought in the Civil War, was killed in the battle of Bentonville NC.  This battle in March of 1865 took place less than a month before the end of the war.
Note: Members of the Boggess family still reside in Meigs County.  I noted a couple of fairly recent real estate transactions and Taylor Boggess was named to the Class 5-AA Girls All District Basketball Team for 2012.  The family line can be traced back to Robert and Mary Boggess and a son, who arrived in Virginia from England in 1656.
These are two of the tombstones enclosed in the little walled area from Laurie's previous photo.  Abijah (Sr.) and Susan were very early settlers in the area.  The Boggess family had a long history in Meigs County.  Abijah is recorded as being a veteran of both the War of 1812, during which he would have been between 17 and 20 years of age, and the Civil War, when he would have been 65 to 70 years old!

Abijah and his wife Susan had 13 children.  Despite having that many children back in the early 1800’s, Susan lived to be 72…but Abijah, despite serving in 2 wars, lived to be almost 88! 
One of the most interesting of Abijah and Susan’s children was Captain Irby Holt Boggess. (Also a Civil War veteran) He was born in 1835 and died in Texas in 1914.  This colorful character is considered a north Texas pioneer and he helped found the town of St. Jo Texas…current population of just under 1,000.  There was a divorce, shooting and lots of business dealings… For more information you can go to or
I had to toss in this photo for viewing by those of you who are into history and/or the restoration of historic sites.  This is the newly restored Stonewall Saloon that was built by Captain Irby Holt Boggess in St. Jo Texas.  It is now a western museum.  A tremendous amount of work went into this building restoration…

This photo was ‘borrowed’ from the museum’s website.  For more information on this north Texas attraction, just go to
This is what remains of the Big Sewee Creek Bridge.  It was built ca. 1914 but the basic iron structure still stands… The Champion Bridge Company erected this truss bridge.  It contains one 94.5 foot span on concrete abutments and its 17 feet tall with a ‘curb to curb’ width of only 11 feet.  
Meigs County barricaded and closed this bridge to traffic in 1985.  It remains intact as a historic ruin.  Laurie liked the way that Mother Nature is having her special ‘artistic’ way with the steel frame that remains…

FYI… This was also known as the Hickory Flat Road Bridge.
As you can see from this photo, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Meigs County and the Federal Highway Administration, built this replacement bridge in 1988.  While the new bridge is safe and very utilitarian, it lacks the beauty and romance of the old structure…

Well, that’s about it for this chapter of our tour of Meigs County Tennessee.  More will follow in the weeks to come… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this historical and architectural tour with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. You guys have learned way more about this area in a couple of years than I have in 44 - of course it's hard to see much from my chair.

  2. and what a scavenger hunt you had!!

  3. I'm always amazed to find how long some families have been in certain regions. Talk about roots:-). Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. I like posts like this, full of history of a place. Families were large then – 13 children! I also liked the Stonewall Saloon – I would have enjoyed getting a drink there back in the days when it was popular.