Goodspeed's History of Unicoi County 1897
lies almost wholly in the Unaka Mountain belt, on the border North
Carolina, immediately south of Washington County. It has an area of
about 480 square miles, of which only a comparatively small proportion
is adapted to cultivation. Greasy Cove and Lime Stone Cove, however, are
among the most beautiful an fertile spots in the State.
Its mineral and timber
resources are exceedingly abundant. The iron ores embrace both the red
and brown hematites and the speculum. Manganese is also found in large
quantities. These resources when developed will render Unicoi one of the
wealthiest counties of East Tennessee. The principal streams in the
county are the Nolichucky River which traverses it in a northerly
direction, and the two tributaries of this stream the North Indian and
South Indian Creeks.
The first settlers of
this county located in Greasy Cove not long after the first settlement
was made on the Nolachucky. The first to enter the cove were James
Acton, Jonathan Webb, Robert Hampton, George Martin, Richard Deakins and
-- Judd, and a little later came Baxter Davis, Enoch Job(e), Jesse Brown, Pheleg and William Tilson. William Lewis located on the upper part of
Indian Creek, where in a short time his wife and seven children were
killed by the Indians. One of his sons escaped, and a daughter taken
prisoner was afterward ransomed for a gun. Among the earliest settlers
in Lime Stone Cove were Richard C. Garland, whose six sons, David,
Gertredge [Guthridge], Elisha, William, Stephen and Ezekiel, all located
in the vicinity. Edward Banks, Richard Colyer, John Chambers a
Henry Grindstaff also settled in this cove. About 1785 a Baptist
Church was organized and at the formation of the Holston Association.
It was represented by Richard Deakins and James Anton who, with Robert
Hampton and their families, constituted the church. After 1791 the
name of the church disappears from the minutes of the association and it
was doubtless disbanded.
The next Baptist Church
established was the Indian Creek by Jonathan Mulkey, Uriah Hunt and Reese Bayless, June 29, 1822, near the present site of Erwin. The original
members were John Edwards, William S. Erwin, John Rose, Thomas Edwards,
Joseph Longmire, Nancy McGinsey, Polly Rose, Elizabeth Brown, Hannah
Longmire, Jemima and Diana Job, Elizabeth, Mary and Lucy Edwards, Rachel
and Ella Tilson, Hannah Black. B. Odom, Elizabeth Webb, Ginsey
Brown, Jesse Brown, Abel Edwards, William Odom, James and Elizabeth
Williams, Peleg Tilson, Margaret Carroll, Rachel Ambrose, Barbara
Wright, Hugh Harris, Jesse Bayless, Rebecca Deakin, William McGinsey,
John Peterson. Abraham and Mary Adle, Stephen and Nancy McLaughlin,
Enoch Job and Jacob McLaughlin. The pastors of this church have been as
follows: Reese Bayless, 1822-53; J. B. Stone, 1853-54 also 1859-60, and
1865; William A. Keen, 1856; J. W. Hooper, 1857-59; J. H. Hyder,
1867-72; H. W. Gilbert, 1874; J. H. Moon, 1874430, and since 1883; A. J.
F. Hyder, 1880- 83. In 1842 a church was constituted at Flag Pond, with
John, James, Elizabeth and Riley Keith, Washington, Ellis, James, Ruth
and Barbara Higgins, John and Jennette Tilson, John Stroud, Jacob C.
Sanes, Henry Hensley, Alfred Murray, Leodica Carter, Nancy O. Murray,
Biddy Stroud and Eleanor Justice. Later Shallow Ford Church was
constituted with Nancy Parks, James Brown, Elizabeth Brown, William and
Rebecca Ferguson, Samuel May, William S. Erwin, Katharine Erwin, Nancy
Lawrence, Emeline Gillis and James and Nancy Tinker.
The other Baptist
Churches in the county at the present time are Coffee Ridge and Paul's
Gap. There is also a General Baptist, and a Christian congregation in
The first Methodist
Church was organized near the center of Limestone Cove, where a small
log house was erected, some seventy-five years ago. As a result of this
church, a large part of the inhabitants of the northern part of the
country are adherents of the Methodist Church. The churches in the
county at the present time are Ervin, Jones Chapel Limestone Cove,
Patton's Chapel and Anderson's Schoolhouse, at nearly all of which
places services are held by both branches of the church. The act
establishing Unicoi County. was approved March 23, 1875. The
commissioners appointed to organize it were Thomas J. Wright, David
Bell, R. N. Norris, J. V. Johnson, C. R. Blair, William Mclnturff. J. B.
Sams, W. E. Tilson and F. E. Hannum. An election to vote upon the
organization of the new county, was fixed for July 22, 1875, but a bill
of injunction filed by William Phillips and others delayed it until
October 21, 1875. The election was then held with the following result:
Carter, fraction 119 votes for and twenty-three against, and the
Washington fraction 228 for and forty against. John Wolf, Jesse B.
Erwin, Joseph Tucker, E. Burchfield and David Bell, were then appointed
to lay off the county into ten civil districts, and in November the
election for county officers was held with the following results: L. A.
White, circuit clerk; J. B. Erwin. county clerk; John Mclnturff,
sheriff; Nelson McLaughlin, trustee, and Samuel Wright, register.
On January 3,1876, the
county court was organized at the Old Baptist Church, on North Indian
Creek. The magistrates who were present and qualified were Henry
McKinneys, D. T. O'Brien, M. C. Burchfield, Alexander McInturff, James
M. Norris, R. L. Rowe, J. M. Anderson, G Garland, William Mclnturff,
Baptist McNabb, J. S. Yader, William Parks, Alexander Masters, B. B.
Hensley, G. F. Tompkins, Isaac W. Gilbert, B. W. Woodward and A. E.
Briggs. The court continued to meet at the church until after the
erection of the present brick courthouse, in the summer of 1876. This
building has since been occupied, but is not fully completed at the
present time. In April, 1878, a contract for building a frame jail was
let to John K. Miller, but he failed to complete it. It has since been
finished. however, sufficiently to make it a safe place for the keeping
The commissioners who
organized the county seat, located at the place long known as Longmire
post office. The land in the vicinity was entered by Joseph Longmire,
who divided his estate between his sons, John and Charles; the latter
was a merchant and postmaster for many years. The town was laid off in
1876 upon thirty acres of belonging to D. I. N. Ervin, who donated
one-half of the lots to the county, and reserved the remainder for his
own use. A donation of five acres by William Love, and two acres by G.
Garland, was also made to the county. The name of the town was at first
Vanderbilt, but the Legislature of 1879 changed it to Ervin, in honor of
D. J. N. Ervin. The post office department, however, made a mistake in
changing the name, and it has since been called Erwin. The first
merchants of the town were J. P. S. and William Ryburn, who were selling
goods when the town was laid off; C. T. Bowers & B. K. Campbell, C. H.
Baker, John K. Miller and J. P. McNabb. The business interests are now
represented by J. F. Toney, & Co., W. C. Emmert, L. W. White, W. F.
Brown, C. L. Phillips, general stores, and L. D. Scott, grocery; the
physicians are H. C. Banner and J. P.S. Ryburn, and the attorneys, W. C.
Emmert and R.W. H. Gilbert. In April, 1887. The Erwin Unakean
was established by R. R. Emmert and W. B. Clark. It is a very
small three-column folio, but is an enterprising and readable newspaper.
The only other village
in the county is Flag Pond situated in the southern part of the county.
It has a flourishing school known as Flag Pond Academy and three stores
owned by J. B. Sams & Co., W. F. Guinn and L. Gentry respectively.
The officers of the
county since its organization as follows:
Clerks- County Court: J. B. Erwin,
1875-78; H. C. Banner, 1886.
Clerks -Circuit Court: L. A.
White, 1875-78; J. F. Toney, 1872-82; L. A. White,
1882-86; R.R. Emmert, 1886.
Clerks and Masters: G. C. Bowman,
1878-82; John K. Miller, 1882-85; W. B. Tilson, 1885.
Sheriffs: John McInturff, 1875-78;
J. P. McNabb, 1878-80; William Mclnturff, 1880-86; L. R.
McLaughlin, 1875-76; W. W. Bailey, 1876-50; M. F. Booth,
1880-86; S. J. Watts, 1886.