Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Second Visit to Eastern Tennessee Part 1

I made a second visit to East Tennessee in June of this year. I stayed in Jonesborough. When I took a bus tour of the area as a part of the "Tennessee First Families Reunion" we went through Jonesborough, but didn't stop. I thought that town was so cute I wanted to spend more time there. I also had ancestors who lived in that area, and wanted to do some research there.


I flew into Jonesborough from Charlotte, North Carolina. I actually live in California, but found it was cheaper to fly to North Carolina and backtrack to the Tri-Cities Airport near Jonesborough. I was a little skeptical of the plane, which had outboard propellers. Once I was airborne I realized it wasn't much different than any other plane. The view flying over the mountains was beautiful! The endless chain of beautiful green mountains was dream like.  The ride to the Inn I was staying at was also very scenic too.

Some Pics of the town of Joneborough


I stayed at the historical Eureka Inn (the serve the largest, and best breakfasts I've ever had) . My room was the Laura room dating back to when the hotel was built in 1797. Jonesborough was sited on a historic stage coach route, and stopping off point for the journey west. "The Oldest Town" in Tennessee it was the capital of the state of Franklin.

My 1797 room

My ancestors William McPike born about 1750, and his wife Obedience born about 1755 (maiden name said to be Holloway) were early settlers in Washington County, Tennessee. They originally settled in Carter's Valley on Puncheon Creek in the 1770's. He transferred his land grant soon after receiving it. He returned to Virginia briefly, maybe due to his father's death? When the family returned to Tennessee in the early 1780's they settled in the Fall Branch area. of Washington County, Tennessee. Fall Branch borders the counties of Greene, Sullivan. and Hawkins. It appears sometimes William McPike was considered to be a resident of Greene, and other times a resident of Washington County for tax purposes.

I'm grateful to the staff of the Washington County Archives for pinpointing the Fall Branch area as the area my ancestors lived. The archives recently opened to the public in a renovated 1915 bank building in the town of Joneborough. You can search what is available at that location here:

Many old churches line Main Street. Their steeples, and the clock tower of the courthouse, are the most prominent buildings you see as you enter Jonesborough. Many of the churches and other buildings date to before the Civil War.

My ancestor William McPike worked on a road from his home on the northern county border, to the courthouse in 1783. The original courthouse is long gone, but an early 20th century courthouse now stands on the same site.

A side trip with my cousin Kenneth Edmondson was also very scenic. We went through Johnson City (a city owing its existence to the railroad) and Elizabethton. The Doe river covered bridge in Elizabethton is really picturesque. It was built in 1882.


Visiting the Carter Mansion was another highlight of our side trip. The mansion was built between 1775 and 1780 by John Carter, a prominent early settler of the area. This house is still 90% original. Many of the glass window panes are also original, with their wavy thick glass.

John Carter was an entry taker for land entered in East Tennessee, then North Carolina. He signed William McPike's land survey. It was so exciting standing in the room where my ancestor's document was signed!

The desk where William McPike's survey was signed in 1779 by John Carter


It was so interesting seeing this slab, or brick, of tea. This is the way tea was shipped to early America, I never knew that. The tea thrown off the ships during the Boston tea party would have looked like this.

Heading back to Jonesborough we passed this beautiful farm.

Some more photos from the town.


1 comment:

Randy said...

Thanks for all these photos.