Tag Archives: Knoxville

University of Tennessee vs American Temperance University

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Even though it is a few months away from the start of the football season, it is interesting to note that the University of Tennessee football team played a game in Harriman, Tennessee. The American Temperance University in Harriman, under Chancellor John A. Tate, fielded both a football team and a baseball team beginning in 1903. From 1903 to 1906 the football team played the University of Tennessee three times.

In Knoxville, on October 7, 1905, the teams met, and the final score was 104 for the U.T., 0 for the American University. The next year the teams played again in Knoxville, and surprisingly enough U.T. only scored 10 points. Unfortunately, the American University didn’t score any points.

Fifteen days later another game was played between U.T. and the American University. This time it was in Harriman. It was to mark the dedication of the football field at Harriman. A fight broke out during the game, and the American University players walked off the field and refused to play. The game was forfeited when the American University players would not come back onto the field. U.T. was declared the winner by 6-0 by virtue of the forfeit. After this, the teams never played again.

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

American Temperance University

1903 Tennessee Volunteer Uniform


Florence E. and B.J. Campbell

{Robert Bailey, County Historian}
Prof. B.J. Campbell – Prof. B.J. Campbell was born in Cleveland, Tennessee and died Jan 24, 1926. When young he moved with his parents to Knoxville and later he taught in the city schools of Knoxville. He married Florence E. Smith in 1893 and moved to Harriman and became principal of the Harriman Colored School for about fifteen years. In 1914, Prof. Campbell and his wife moved to Rockwood, and he became the principal of the Rockwood Colored High School, and she became a teacher there. The Rockwood Colored High School later became Campbell High School (which was named after him) and was the only high school for all black students in Roane County.

His wife, Florence E. Smith (1872-1922) was the first black teacher in Harriman having come to Harriman in 1891. She was born in Canada and was convinced to come to Harriman from Maryland to teach by her father, John A. Smith, who came to Harriman in 1890 because he was a strong prohibitionist.
























































Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, December 2018 and February 2016.

The Controversial Dike in Kingston

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

In 1939 – 1940, the Tennessee Valley Authority drew up plans to create a dike on Highway 70 at Kingston which would keep the waters of Watts Bar Dam from flooding the town of Kingston. This plan was supported by TVA and many of the citizens of Kingston and Roane County. The dike allowed traffic to travel directly on Highway 70 West from Knoxville, instead of the route which had for many decades required drivers to turn right onto Kentucky Street coming from Race Street and then turn left on Cumberland Street. The plan was controversial, in that there were people who were for the dike and those who opposed the building of it. Those for the plan pointed out the amount of land that it would take up and the amount of flooding that still would occur if the dike was not built. Plus the costs would have included Roane County having to replace Roane County High School. Still, there were some citizens who were opposed to it. However, many of these opponents would have ended up with lakefront property. But the plans continued as originally designed.

The following article appeared in The Rockwood Times, July 3, 1941, about the completion and the description of the dike.

“Work on Kingston Dike Against Lake Nears Completion. Roadway On Structure To Make Beautiful View Of Lake Area Available.” The much talk of the dike being erected by the TVA to keep the backwaters of Watts Bar dam from inundating the town of Kingston is now receiving the finishing touches. The main construction has been completed and the roadway on top of the dike has been aided with a temporary rock surface which will be later converted to concrete or asphalt. The main dike is tied into the hill just beyond the home of Hugh E. Wyatt and extends out through what was the Wilkey bottom through the Evans, Muecke and Oran lots coming to grade at the intersection of Cumberland Street and Harriman avenue where the dike and Highway 70 or Broadway of America come together. The highway has been raised too, so as to become a part of the dike on out to the old Clinch River Bridge. Most local travel will now go down Cumberland Street and go on the new highway where the dike and highway come together. The main travel through town will come down Race Street which has been raised to go onto the dike near the M.E. Church property. Highway 58 intersects with Race Street at the junction with Kentucky Street and the travel going over this highway will go into Race Street and on over the dike. The dike itself is approximately 35 feet high, 160 feet wide at the base and is 1550 feet long. The top is 40 feet wide with a roadway and sidewalk on the side. The north side of the dike is being sodded (sic) and the south or lakeside is being rip-rapped with a heavy stone. At the west end of the dike, a boat ramp and parking area is being erected. From the top of the dike is one of the best scenic views in all the TVA territory and thousands will stop and gaze upon the beauties of the lake extending down the Pellissippi (sic) to historic Southwest Point and the main lake of the Tennessee River. The boating and fishing of this immediate lake cannot be surpassed in all the country of the Tennessee Valley.— “Roane County Banner.”

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, February 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.

How Dyllis Got Its Name

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Sometimes it is very difficult to find the origin of the names of the many rural communities in Roane County. However, we know the origins of the Dyllis Community. It was named after Dyllis Hendrick, the daughter of Claude Hendrick. Claude was the Mayor of Harriman (1901- 1915) and the Harriman City Treasurer (1895-1901). He also served on the Harriman City School Board. He was also involved in the Railroads. A railroad line was run from Harriman to Dossett, and an excursion was made from Harriman to Knoxville. One of the stations was called Dyllis, and the other station was named “Elsa” after Claude’s wife. Today it is known as Elsa Gate.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May 2015.


{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Pruneface was the character in the 1990 movie “Dick Tracy” which was played by a veteran actor named Robert Golden (R.G.) Armstrong, Jr., who had Roane County roots. After his parents, Robert Golden & Ermyne (Robbins) Armstong, Sr., were married here in 1915, they removed to Birmingham, Alabama where R.G. Jr. was born in 1917. He went to college in North Carolina and became friends with Andy Griffith. He guest starred in almost all of the Western series in the 1950s and 1960s including Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Big Valley, and Maverick among others. Besides appearing in Dick Tracy, he also appeared in two other Warren Beaty films, “Reds” and “Heaven Can Wait.” He appeared with James Earl Jones in “The Great White Hope” and with Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator” among the over 30 movies that he appeared in. Shortly before his death he came to East Tennessee and made an appearance on the Marshal Andy Show on the Knoxville PBS station.

Robert Golden Armstrong, Jr.

R.G. Armstrong as Pruneface

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, April 2015.

Guido and Hindo – The German Police Dogs

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Thomas L. Brown (1866- 1931) was one of the best known (notorious?) Roane County “characters” of his time. He was superintendent of the Roane Iron Company’s Chamberlain ore mines, south of the Tennessee River. Besides owning two ferries that operated in Roane County, he also was the owner of a steamboat that operated between Knoxville and Kingston. In today’s terms, he would be a multimillionaire. In a time when very few people in Roane County owned automobiles much less seen them, Tom Brown could be seen driving with his German police dogs, Guido and Hindo, riding with him. When he died in 1931, he left a trust of $1,500 in his will to take care of his two dogs. Today, $1,500 would be about $23,000. Tom Brown is buried in the Bethel-Kingston Cemetery in an unmarked grave. It is not known when Guido or Hindo died or where they are buried.

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