WILLIAM PARHAM VISITS WALLAND AND TOWNSEND
Maryville Enterprise, Wednesday, June 10, 1925
A collection of Mr. Parham’s letters and research is on file in the Blount County Library
Inserted notes in red by Marilyn Myers Byrd regarding route and other clarifications.
This interesting story, written by newspaper correspondent William Parham, recounts an automobile trip made in 1925 to the mountains of Blount County; specifically to Walland and Townsend via of the old road Tuckaleechee Pike. Will Parham and circuit court clerk John L. Law and other members of a party of sightseers were impressed by what they saw and marveled at the changes that had been made over the years; the improved roadways, two concrete bridges, neatness of homes, yards, and care provided to cemeteries. Lastly, they celebrated the markers placed in cemeteries for those who fought for freedom. Along the way the writer gives us a good record of the history of this area: people, places and events. Comments in red are added here for clarification. In the year of the article date, 1925, the highway as we know it now from Maryville to Townsend had not been constructed. To reach Walland and Townsend you either took the train from Maryville or traveled a circuitous route via of Tuckaleechee Pike starting at a right turn off below Blount Memorial hospital. (present location of Smith’s Mortuary)
The route taken by the ‘sightseers’ on their trip from Maryville to Townsend- departing from the Blount County Courthouse-- turning right at the present Smith’s Mortuary(the highway from BMH toward Townsend had not been constructed) onto Tuckaleechee Pike following the same until it crossed the present existing highway at Hubbard Station. From there the party drove along Tuckaleechee Pike(later called Old Walland Highway) via of Coulter’s Bridge traveling on toward Walland and on toward Sunshine—after crossing the concrete bridge at Sunshine- the road went behind Wilson’s restaurant( passing by Tuckaleechee Chapel Methodist Church/Cemetery (this is where the you could take a right turn to Dry Valley/Rich Mt. road to Cades Cove). Wishing to visit Townsend, the traveling group stayed on Tucklaeechee Pike, soon reaching the white frame Campground Methodist Church, which connected with the Old Highway 73 going through Townsend along Little River. Taking a short detour along a gravel road to see Myers Cemetery they returned to Highway 73 soon arriving at Sam Law/Art Emert’s Store; at that juncture they crossed the old concrete bridge (still standing) leading to Wear’s Valley. Their last stops were at the Brickey Cemetery and nearby Cave Spring.
Mr. Parham writes:
A few days ago your correspondent and John L. Law and other sightseers left the court house in Maryville early in the morning, going on the pike by Hubbard Station, passing by the place of John Coulter, on whose place was the old fort, which was located near the home of General J. Pershing’s mother, and where in 1792 a son of Samuel Weir was killed by the Indians. From there the party moved on beyond Hubbard Station, they crossed Little River on an up to date concrete bridge located about one quarter of a mile south of where the old Indian trail crosses the Little River as it goes toward McTeer Station. This concrete bridge (crosses the river a few hundred feet north of the old Gamble Fort, the later place known as George Snyder’s Ford, and earlier known in 1786 as the Snoddy Ford.
The party swept on the banks of Little River near the Davis, Jim Waters and Josiah Gamble farms, these farms being originally entered by the Henrys and believed to be the most productive and most level farms on the river. The first house on the left, as one enters the little town of Walland, is the Chilhowee Inn, covering the grounds where the loyal mountaineers in 1862 erected a pole with the United States flag nailed to the top and which was saluted by Captain White and his company, of the Confederate Army because Judge Jesse G. Wallace of Maryville had told Capt. White it would be dangerous to attempt to injure it as the mountains swarmed with men who were deadly with their rifles. This incident had been related in the public press, especially by the National Tribune, in an article written by Major Will A. McTeer of Maryville- who says the incident was told to him by Captain White’s brother at a Sunday School convention. Recently, Major McTeer had published a sequence article related to him by one of the sightseers of the other side, telling how they had ambushed the Confederate company, and would have destroyed every man. Major McTeer received his information from Joe Hatcher of the Second Tennessee Calvary, now crippled and aged, living about one mile east of Walland in the neighborhood where he was born an reared. (Leading up to the Civil War, a rally of hundreds of loyalists (against secession- Union Sympathizers) was being held at the Chilhowee Inn site at Walland; the Loyalist were concerned about the recent actions of those supporting secession—they raised the U.S. flag in sign of their allegiance to United States. At that same time a Confederate band was traveling through the same area t to collect arms—On hearing of the rally by the loyalist, the Confederates had considered taking down the flag—they thought otherwise after being warned about the certain swift reprisal that would surely come from heavily armed mountaineers. Fearing a reprisal from the local loyalist they saluted the flag and went on their way averting violence.)
The sightseeing party passed rapidly along in an auto by the new, beautiful school house, erected and maintained by the Schlosser Leather Co., then up continuing the east bank of Little River traveling over beautifully smooth, graded roads, and only crossing Little River twice in the twenty miles of travel, and then on concrete bridges, while formerly the old dirt road meandered across and across again until the same distance forded seven times, and not always to do if it come a hard rain.
The next stop was at the beautiful and famous summer resort of Sunshine. The little town is built up on both sides of Little River, the pike on the east side and the Little River railroad on the west side, and in summer time the river in between filled daily with swimmers of both sex, most of them fleeing from the heated metropolis of Knoxville. Claude Reeder is Mayor of this famous resort. It is at this place that veteran members of the G.A.R. have had their June picnic and annual gathering.
The party rapidly traveled on to the lower end of the old Tuckaleechee Cove passing by the Baptist Church ( I think he was referring to Tuckaleechee Chapel Methodist Church unless there was a previous Baptist Church there in 1925) and graveyard where turns to the right the fine, graded pike road that allows one to quickly enter the beautiful Cades Cove. However, this party was on their way up Little River, passing next to the old Emert Cemetery and where Rev. Frederick Emert established a Methodist Episcopal Church in the early pioneer days ( Campground Methodist and Cemetery); then through lumber town of Townsend where the liberal gift of Col. W.B. Townsend has provided the Methodist people with the beautiful church in memory of his sainted companion. The lumber company, which Col. Townsend represents and is president, maintains a fine public school, the building that the company built and equipped.
The party next passed the old Myers Cemetery, and the writer was permitted time in which to go through this cemetery. He found the neighborhood had sent in representatives and were cleaning up the cemetery, making ready for annual decoration. In fact, it might be said right here, that every cemetery that we passed that day, it was found that workers were there cleaning and straightening up the stones. The wrier has visited a number of cemeteries in Blount County, but in none has it been found so many graves with markers, which show the parties born previous to 1800; indicating two things: one, long life, the other, devotion to our departed relatives, by marking with simple, yet substantial stones. It was found in this cemetery the grave of old Peter Snyder and his wife, Mary, he having been born in 1776, died, February 21, 1867; she being born February 16, 1777, died March 20, 1869. These are the parents of the first white child that was born in Tuckaleechee Cove. Mr. Snyder was an early settler and warned by a friendly Indian, he moved out of the cove because of the danger that was threatened him, but in later years he returned and entered and owned much land around and in Tuckaleechee Cove. The white child that was born was named George Snyder, he having been born about 1807. A peculiar thing about each the father and son; they made their wills twenty years before they died, and each lived to be near 91 years of age. The next oldest stone that was found in this graveyard was Samuel Cameron, born February 18, 1778 died December 21, 1846. Then James McCampbell, born February 11, 1783 died February 11, 1874; the next oldest being Levi Dunn, Sr. October 3, 1785 died January 13, 1873; Elizabeth Dunn born October 5, 1785, died February 29, 1872; Daniel Dunn, born December 26, 1787, died October 10, 1844; Henry Webb died September 23, 1864 age 75 years; Jane Myers born October 20, 1792 died December 2, 1864; John Myers born October 26, 1792 died March 10, 1854; Elizabeth Shields born January 20, 1793, died August 5, 1845. Nearly forty names were secured from this graveyard, but they were born afterward 1800 and previous to 1830.
The party went on up the river to P.A. Emert’s store, he living on the farm entered by his ancestors in Willie Blount’s day, possibly the oldest grant of any of the lands adjoining his. The party has now passed the stakes placed by the new proposed road that will connect Blount and Sevier County over the mountains. The stakes are followed, placed by the surveying crew, under the County Engineer of Highways, Earl B. Barnawell, and find that it leads us with fine grade and well located above marshy land and will be ideal for high speed into Wear’s Cove, named for that Sevier County pioneer and Revolutionary soldier and first Clerk of Sevier County courts, General Samuel Wear. The party is now thirsty and asked at a farmhouse for a drink. The family pointed to a place hear one hundred feet to their house where a natural tunnel, and by going down some twenty rock steps, a magnificent stream of water was found flowing bolding and cooling, not only to the thirsty throat, but the current of air created by itself like a refrigerator(referred to as Cave Spring by some)Nature has well provided for the long lives of these people who inhabit this section.
Next the party passed the old Brickey Cemetery, and there was found several markers furnished by the United States government to its departed soldiers, namely John Abbott, Co. B. 6th Tennessee Infantry, Sgt. W.J. Brickey, Co. H. 47th U.S. Infantry; William Brickey, Co. D. 2nd Tennessee Cavalry; G.W. Lemmons, Co. C. 3rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry; Dock Brewer, Co. B, 4th Tennessee Infantry, Spanish American War. Each cemetery of the mountains carries a number of names of those who fought in the various American wars, indicating that the mountain men were always patriotic and under anyone, even General Andrew Jackson, volunteers, for the preservation of American’s institutions and liberty. There was Colonel J.W. H. Tipton in the Myers Cemetery, born December 7, 1822 died November 25, 1894 who had fought in the Mexican and Civil Wars, while his grandfather, William Tipton, a Revolutionary soldier, whose grave has long been sought for but not found. He formerly lived on Ellejoy Creek.
Going on the party reached the foot of the mountain where part of the party stopped, others going on to examine some timber lands. At this point our minds thought over what we had passed on the way and could not help but rejoice to see how much improvement had been made in the buildings, neat yards, out buildings and cultivated soil, so little of the old ragged fence rows and undergrowth to be seen. On meeting the children we could not help but see the brightness of the countenance, the expression of the eye, the tones of the voice and the appearance of neatness, with their school books under their arms, showed that schools and education had come a long way with the good roads and modern appearance of business and inventions for labor saving had brought everyone in closer contact with the uplifting influence of our modern education.
William E. Parham 1925 (please share clarifications or additional notes)