Tag Archives: Margrave Street

The Town That Temperance Built

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

That Harriman, “the town that Temperance Built” was named after Civil War Union General Walter Harriman, a former governor of New Hampshire, whose son was one of the directors of the East Tennessee Land Company. Originally, many of the directors wanted the town to be named Fiskville after Clinton B. Fisk, founder of Fisk University, Prohibition Candidate for President in 1888 and the first president of the East Tennessee Land Company. But at a Board meeting, it was decided that there were too many “villes” in Tennessee already. The next day the directors were horseback riding and visited the old Margrave house on Margrave Street, where they found an elderly disabled man sitting on the porch. When asked if he had lived there during the War, he said yes, that he had always been “too crippled” to enter military service. Then he was asked if he remembered when some Northern troops camped on the flats for a few days waiting to be joined by some others. He said “Yes, and they used to come up and get some water from the spring in the ravine back of the house. When they did, the Colonel used to come up to the porch and talk with me. He said, “I remember he said once that this would make a fine place for a town, and now you’ve gone and done it.” When asked if he remembered the Colonel’s name and he replied, “Yes, Colonel Harriman. He was a very friendly man.” At the next directors’ meeting, it was voted to name the city Harriman.


(Civil War Union General Walter Harriman)

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, October 2012.