Tag Archives: Fort Southwest Point

Rachel Rose Parker

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Rachel Rose Parker, of Kingston, passed away February 16, 2017. She was Roane County Historian from 1994 until 1996, when she resigned, and I (Robert Bailey) became the county historian. Rachel and her husband, J. Clyde “Babe” Parker, the banker at Kingston Bank and Trust, were very much interested in Roane County’s history. Rachel and “Babe” were instrumental in saving the Old Roane Courthouse and preserving the Fort Southwest Point site. They also collected many photographs and historical records which are now stored at the Old Roane County Courthouse. She was born “south of the river” of which she was proud. She married “Babe” in 1939 in Loudon County, and they had one son, Frank Parker. Except for a short time during the depression when her family moved to Ohio, she lived her entire life in Roane County. She was very much interested in politics. She ran for Kingston City Mayor in 1973 and lost to Jim Henry. From there, Jim Henry went on to serve in the Tennessee House of Representatives and is currently deputy to Governor Haslam and chief of staff. Those who knew her know that she lived a full life, probably enough for 20 lives. She will be remembered for all of her adventures and stories that Babe told about her including the time that she almost got arrested in Russia and the time that she won a pig in a contest held by Brownie Ellis. She made Babe hold the pig in the back of the car while Rachel drove. Fortunately, her father was able to take the pig to his farm. She was a special lady.

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

Fort Southwest Point Helped Lewis & Clark?

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back had a Roane County connection. In the fall of 1803, four soldiers from Fort Southwest Point were recruited to travel with them on their trek which took two years to complete. Three of them were from Captain John Campbell’s 2nd Infantry, those being Privates Hugh Hall, Thomas Proctor Howard, and Corporal Richard Warfington (Worthington, Worbington, etc.). Hall was originally from Pennsylvania. Howard was from Massachusetts, and Warfington was from North Carolina. Private John Potts (who was born in Germany) was recruited from Capt. Purdey’s Company. Warfington was the only corporal in the group going on this expedition. He became well respected by the captains in the group. However, Hugh Hall stole from his comrades and received fifty lashes as punishment. Clark noted that Hall drank and was one of the most adventuresome of the party.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, November 2014.

How Kingston Was Named

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Kingston became a town before Roane County became a county. It was created by an act of the Tennessee State Legislature on 23 Oct 1799. It is about the eighth oldest city in Tennessee. It is named after Robert King who gave the land for the creation of the city. When Roane County was created in 1801, as Kingston was the only town in the county, it became the county seat.

In 1807, Kingston became state capital for one day. This was to fulfill the requirements of a treaty with the Indians in which the land around Fort Southwest Point was ceded to the State. The State Legislature met at the home of James Gordon which was located on the corner of Race and Third Street across from the current courthouse. The Roane County Court made many improvements to the house in order that it would be adequate for the state legislature to meet. Unfortunately, after meeting in Kingston for one day, the state legislature voted to return to Knoxville, the former state capital. It is interesting to note that in 1844, Kingston was considered again for the state capital. The Senate voted for Kingston while the House voted for Murfreesboro. As a compromise, Nashville was chosen as the permanent state capital.

Throughout its history, Kingston has had many ups and downs. When the river was king, steamboats traveled from Kingston to Knoxville and Chattanooga. Also, many of the roads leading west passed through Kingston. However, when the railroads became a major part of transportation, the river declined. At least two times in the 1870s and 1880s, the citizens voted to dissolve the city. Rockwood and Harriman had surpassed the importance of Kingston. One of the main reasons that Kingston survived where other towns have disappeared is that Kingston was still the county seat. In the 1890s there was a move to make Harriman the county seat as it was difficult to get to Kingston because of the rivers. At that time the only way to get across was through ferries. In dry weather, one could also ford across the Clinch River. County Court then decided to build a bridge that connected to the other side. With the coming of Oak Ridge and T.V.A., Kingston became a bedroom community. The coming of Interstate 40 also created more traffic in Kingston.

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