Friday, April 12, 2013

Exploring Meigs County Tennessee #2

Chapter 2 of our exploration of our historical scavenger hunt in Meigs County Tennessee… Sometimes I can find a lot of specific site information on the Internet and sometimes I’m amazed at how little I can learn about these historic sites or properties.  In this case, readily available information was limited at best for two of the sites we found.  

 
This is the John Stewart House near Decatur Tennessee.  It looks like the old farm house is starting to fall apart… The chimney is partially gone on this end of the house and it’s leaning against the second floor at the other end of the house.  From what I can tell, this house dates back to 1825.

John Stewart's place in the history of Meigs County was guaranteed when the first Court for the new county was held at his home in 1835-6.

John Stewart was one of the earliest settlers of Meigs County and in the early 1800’s, he was probably one of the most respected men of the community.  He was born in Maryland on September 25, 1792.  He was allegedly a stage coach driver between Knoxville and Nashville and he met his wife Lettie in Knoxville.  By 1825, they had moved to Rhea County Tennessee…settling in the portion that later became Meigs County.  He acquired quite a bit of land north of Decatur, eventually totaling nearly 2,000 acres.  The photo shown above was borrowed from Wikipedia…
Besides farming the Stewarts also operated a commercial distillery and "Stewarts Landing" on the Tennessee River. According to some accounts he also imported salt from Virginia and sold it to the community.  John and Lettie had 14 children…

Laurie and Dawn Marie liked this old farm specific Aberdeen Angus sign.  For over 150 years, the Stewart Century Farm served the needs of the surrounding agrarian community, from providing transportation for area farmers to supplying hay in times of drought.  It is among the most significant properties in East Tennessee. 
When he died at the age of 82 in 1874, John Stewart willed his son Matthew B. Stewart 400 acres of the family property.  It has been passed down through the family for these many years and today, 188 years after it was acquired, David Stewart is the owner of the land.

This is the old Meigs County Bank on Courthouse Square in downtown Decatur.  From what little I could discover, this former bank was founded in 1907.  It looks like a great structure in a busy location… Someone should be able to find a use for it! 

Based on its current appearance, it’s hard to imagine that part of this structure dates back to 1850.  This is the Decatur Methodist Church on Vernon Street in Decatur… It was originally built in the gothic revival style…but, while I’m sure that it’s a very functional structure, its historic appearance is greatly modified.
Decatur was founded in 1836 to serve as the county seat for the newly formed Meigs County.  The town was named after Commodore Stephen Decatur Jr., an early 19th century American naval officer and war hero.  He served in the 1st and 2nd Barbary Wars as well as in the War of 1812.  He was killed in a duel with a fellow officer and Commodore at the age of only 41.  For more on this American hero's exploits, you can go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Decatur.  
Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and participating in our historical scavenger hunt!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave   

6 comments:

  1. You sure know a lot about history. American history was my favorite subject when I was growing up in New York. In fact I know more about American history than Italian history. That picture of John Stewart is amazing. Your posts are always so interesting. I would love to visit Tennessee...especially Memphis:)

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  2. Dear Dave, I love learning about the history of our country and the people who came before us. It is inspiring at the achievements and contributions they made. They built things to last and built them with both pride and beauty.
    Blessings, Catherine

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  3. You live in an area so rich with history and lore. I'm so glad you share it with us. I hope your wekend is off to a great start. Blessings...Mary

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  4. Can't remember if I've ever been to Decatur, but if so it would have been when we went down to look at the Sandhill Cranes a few years ago.

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  5. Love this house David, always love antique houses like this, love this so much!

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  6. What an interesting family – and 14 kids! When we moved to Georgia we lived in Decatur, GA which is outside of Atlanta. I checked then and found out that there were at least 15 other states with a city named Decatur. They did like to call their cities the same name in the US. I think I read there are 108 New Hope - well named town, how about 213 Fairviews and 119 Mount Pleasant.. I guess even though the people came from diverse areas the towns always seem to have English names – how about Chinese names? So many Chinese came to build the railroads … this is an interesting subject, which has nothing to do with your post, sorry.

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