Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Exploring Meigs County #5

This is the final chapter regarding our early spring exploration of Meigs County Tennessee’s listings in the National Register of Historic Places.  Once again, I was frustrated by a lack of historical information and background as regards the structures we viewed.  In this case, we viewed 2 historic locations or places and 2 historic barns that were listed in the NRHP.

The Blythe Ferry was established ca. 1809 by William Blythe and his Cherokee Indian wife.  Ironically, it became the gathering point for the Cherokee Removal, aka. the Trail of Tears, when thousands of Cherokee were forced to give up their homeland and were forced west to settle in what is now Oklahoma. 

This photo shows the old ferry boat ramp on the Meigs County side of the Tennessee River/Chickamauga Lake near TN Highway 60.  You can see the matching ramp on the west side of the river…
Over 9,000 Cherokee and 300 Creek Indians were held not too far from here and it took several weeks for all of them to be ferried across what was then a much smaller body of water…the undammed Tennessee River.  Blythe sold the ferry and made the trek west to Oklahoma with his wife…

The Blythe Ferry, pictured above, operated until the mid-1990 when it was replaced by the nearly finished bridge which appears in the background.

Laurie took this artsy photo of a bole on an old tree right next to the ferry landing...
The Cherokee Memorial Park is adjacent to the ferry crossing.  For information about this park, just go to  Located nearby is the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge with its famous annual gathering of Sandhill Cranes.  For more information on this event, go to

This is the G.W. Shiflett Barn, also known as the Lawman Barn.  This isn’t to be confused with my previous blog which covered the H.C. Shiflett Barn.  From what I could determine, this particular structure was built ca. 1875.  It is well maintained.  I did note that a George Washington Shiflett who was born here in 1832 and died in 1859.  Perhaps the person who built the barn was his son…

This was far and away the prettiest and best maintained structure from the NRHP listings that we located in Meigs County.  An NRHP plaque is even mounted on the corner closest to the camera.  This is the Bradford Rymer Barn…aka. the W.H. Lonas Barn.  It was built in 1925. 
We loved the stonework!  Dawn Marie slipped through the fence and wandered around the barn to take these pictures…with a bit of direction from Laurie.

This outbuilding sits just west of the barn.  Note the stone footings supporting the structure.

Both of the ladies loved this artistic photo of an old file on the wall of the barn just inside the door.  Sadly, other than a footnote about the TVA having to account for any possible impact on this NRHP site in their preparation for construction of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, I couldn’t find any background or history re: this beautiful barn…

This is the plaque on TN Highway 30 that marks the area where the Washington Ferry crossed the Tennessee River/Chickamauga Lake.  As noted, this ferry linked the east side of the river with the river village of Washington…once the largest town in Rhea County and that county’s original county seat.

This is a photo of the west ramp for the Washington Ferry which is also known as the Hastings-Locke Ferry.  The ramp on the east side is readily visible.  I like the fact that the sign is still in place announcing that there is “No Night Ferry”…or, in actuality there is “No Ferry”!
Here’s a photo of the Washington Ferry at work…just before it was put out of business by the bridge in the background.  During the Civil War this was a major crossing on the river…and it was heavily used by the Union Army. 
From what I can determine, there is only one operational Ferry Boat remaining in Eastern Tennessee.  It’s located at Sharps Chapel Tennessee.  The Helms Ferry connects portions of Union County that are separated by the Powell River.  For those who are obsessed with ferry boat rides, you can learn more at
The question is…which county here in East Tennessee do I focus on next?  Hopefully, I’ll have better luck with historical documentation with my next choice!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for the final chapter of our exploration of Meigs County Tennessee!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. I really like the barn shots.

  2. That barn is fantastic. The patience it must have taken To place and stack all that stone! Dave, take a look at Bloglovin as a replacement for the google reader come July. I think you'll like it and there is no charge for its use. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

  3. Dear Dave, I love wandering through the history of these beautiful and interesting barns and homes and all that goes with them. It makes you wonder of the lives that were spent.
    Thank you for the time and patience you put into writing these posts. I enjoy it.
    Blessings to you and Laurie, Catherine