Tag Archives: Civil War


{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

There have been several planned towns or cities that no longer exist. One of those was Bushtown, a town developed for former slaves in Kingston. During the Civil War, many of the farms in Roane County became in disarray, and there were very few jobs left on the farms. Many former slaves moved to the cities. Several moved to Kingston, and a separate town on the outskirts of Kingston was created. This became known as Bushtown. It is not known how the name came to be. Streets were laid out, and lots were sold. One lot was set aside for a church, which may be Braxton Chapel AME Church today. The original plat shows that it was made in August 1866. It is not known when Bushtown ceased as a town, but the name still exists in deeds in that area.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, October 2017.

Mary Love

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

March is Women’s History Month and we recognize a Roane Countian who made her mark in history. The story of Mary Love (1823-1887) occurs during the Civil War. We know about brother against brother, but what is not often discussed is a sister against brother and her family. That is the story of Mary Love. Mary and her family lived in a house that was located on the main road from Knoxville to Kingston on what is now called Lawnville Road. Her brother, Josiah T. Love was a surgeon in the Confederate army. Even though her family was confederate she carried a dispatch to the Union forces at Knoxville. The following is a report to the Senate of the United States, dated Jan 13, 1873, that was submitted in the following words: “The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the memorial of the Miss Mary Love, having considered the same, make the following report: During the siege of Knoxville, in November 1863, General Grant desired to send an important dispatch from his headquarters, at Chattanooga, to General Burnside, at Knoxville, through the investing lines of the Confederate forces under General Longstreet. This dispatch was sent to Colonel Robert K. Byrd, commanding at Kingston, Tennessee, with orders from General Grant to get it to General Burnside ‘at any cost and at all hazards.’ Colonel Byrd caused five copies of said dispatch to be made and sent them in different directions. One Charles Francis lost his life in the attempt to get through the confederate lines with one of them. No one of them reached General Burnside except the one of which Miss Love was the bearer. Miss Love was a loyal woman, but she had a brother in the Confederate service and was less exposed to suspicion by the Confederate guards for that reason. She was promised by Colonel Byrd that she should be well paid for her services and the peril she encountered. She traveled alone some twelve miles, but at dark, she procured the Rev. Thomas P. Carter to accompany her, and they passed through the Confederate forces to Louisville, Tennessee, which place they reached about midnight, making thirty-three miles traveled by the complainant. At Louisville, she caused the dispatch to be sewed into the vest of a lad, one John T. Brown, about 13 years of age and sent him successfully to Knoxville, where he delivered the dispatch to General Burnside. It was of a very important character, and probably saved the forces of General Burnside from surrender and East Tennessee to the Union Army. Your committee reports a bill for paying Miss Love the sum of $2,000.” She received the $2,000 in payment for her services to the Union. She is buried in the Love family cemetery off of Lawnville Road with the rest of her family.

General Burnside

General Longstreet

General Grant

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, March 2016.

Roane County at the End of the Civil War

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Even though the Civil War ended in 1865, animosities continued in every aspect of life. One of those was the petition sent in 1865 by the Paint Rock Baptist Church, located South of the Tennessee River, to all of the Baptist churches in the Hiwassee Baptist Association in which part of it stated, “Whareas some of our brethren and sisters have beene engaged in bringing about the rebellion of 1861 which has brought the deth of many of our sones and daughters made widows and their children orphans and drenched our land and country in blud” . . . “do hearby denounce discoutynence & protest Aganst the wicked Rebellion & will exclude from among us all such as may have pertisipated in said wicked Rebllion by premetated acts of aid or comfort to said so cald confedersey or to the advancment of Rebllion & Aganst Eney & Aganst enney acts of enney or our Bros. & Sisters May have commited whitch wood desfanchise & in(?) chredous n A govermentle point view & consiquuenely so soon or as fast as we may arive at proper testimony of Enney Such transgressor among us. Resolved that we will rid ourselves as A Church of all such offenders by a strict corse of diseplen ordering such offenders up for an investigation of ther wicked conduct & Apon convicttion unless an ackowledgment & satisfaction on ther parte & Exclusion shall Be ther distney.”

Not all of the records of these churches survive. The Paint Rock Baptist Church minutes are among those missing. Of those that survive, the largest number of members removed was at Shiloh Baptist Church, located South of the Tennessee River. There were 99 members removed including the minister, Rev. M.H. Sellers, who was charged with “Loaning his gun to the rebels & saying that wasent able to gaw himself but he had his gun in hands that would use it & for joining a company.” Interesting enough, Jonathan Barnard (who was pro-union), had given the land for the Church, closed and locked the door to the Shiloh Church to the members who had joined or aided the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederate supporters created another Shiloh Church and the two Shiloh Churches remained split until 1879 when “. . . that in the year 1865 there arose a division in the Shiloh church which remained until the present and it has long since been found that said division has not been beneficial to the cause of the Lord & master but instead thereof we feel satisfied that it has proved detrimental to the cause of Religion in the vicinity of our once happy church. Therefore we the surviving members mutually agree to rescind all our acts of exclusion. Note this is intended to embrace only those exclusions that were declared against each other for political principles or that had their origin from politics.” In the minutes of other churches, Cave Creek Baptist Church excluded four members. In the Smyrna Baptist Church minutes, there is approval of the petition but no exclusions of members. At that time the Smyrna Church only had twelve members. Also, there is mention in the Hickory Creek Baptist Church minutes of the petition but no record of any removal of members. In the Hinds Creek Baptist Church minutes, the petition is not mentioned at all. John H. Acuff, who had two sons in the Union Army and two sons in the Confederate Army (one of which died in the war), led the uniting of the Post Oak Springs Christian Church, located near Roane State Community College, by arranging for a Communion Service at the church. At the close of the service, he invited all of the people there to partake. His two sons from the Union Army and the one from the Confederate Army came forward and sat down together to have Communion. This marked the beginning of the healing of the Post Oak Christian Church. [The words in quotations are transcribed as they are written.]


Cave Creek Baptist Church (1943)

Paint Rock Baptist Church

Paint Rock Baptist Church

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, November 2015 and January 2016.

Poisoned Wedding

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

What should have been a very happy day turned into the worst mass murder to occur in Roane County’s history. The tragic event occurred at the wedding of Joel Dallas Hembree and Mary Jane Dail in November 1880. Mary Jane Dail was the daughter of Col. James I. Dail and the marriage took place at his home near the Emory River, three miles from Kingston. As this was a great social event, many prominent families from this area attended the wedding. Forty-seven guests were in attendance. After the marriage ceremony, the guests were invited to sit down to dinner around noon. That night and the next day, nearly all who ate became sick at the stomach. Six people died: Katie Lowry (age nine years), Robert Dail (the brother of the bride), Rosie Dail (granddaughter of James I. Dail), Albert Gallaher, Mike May (a relative of the groom) and Jim Fields (a colored servant). At least 30 others were sickened.

There was much speculation as to whether the poisoning was accidental or intentional. It was finally decided that it was done on purpose. It was determined that the poison was sprinkled on the turkey and the center cake. All those who became sick partook of at least one of these two items. A month after the event, the body of Katie Lowry was exhumed and tested. The tests showed that it appeared that the poison used was antimony which has the same effect as arsenic. Much speculation was brought forward through the years about the murderer. At the time some said that a man named Jack Isham did the deed. The Ishams were Union while the Hembrees were Confederate and that this was done in revenge for the murder of the father of Jack by rebels. Through research done by Alvin Hembree, there is speculation that a sister of Mary Jane Dail may have done it out of jealousy. Or she may have gotten someone to do it. No one was ever charged, and this mystery will always remain unsolved.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, September 2013.