History of Campbell County, Tennessee
History of La Follette

 Time Line

Information from this article was extracted with permission from Dr. Miller McDonald's book Campbell County Tennessee USA: A History of Places, Faces, Happenings, Traditions, and Things, Vol. 1.
From 1806, the area of Campbell County presently known as La Follette was a primitive and unsettled area. By the middle 1830s, activities were centered around a trading post operated by Moses F. Rainwater. He opened a post office on July 24, 1835 which he named London after the capital of his native country. By 1836, the trading post failed, and the post office was discontinued. However, the small community continued for the next 25 years under the name of London.

Before the Civil War broke out, the name Big Creek Gap replaced the name London. United States maps during this time period showed prominent geographical features of the area. Among them were Roger's Gap, Walker's Gap, and Big Creek Gap. On April 18, 1875, another post office was established in the area and named Big Creek Gap. The post masters were 
  • John F. Graves, April 16, 1875 - March 24, 1878
  • Martin L. Sharp, Mar 25, 1878 - May 21, 1879
  • William S. Bowman, May 22, 1879 - March 21, 1883
  • Isaac M. Ayers, March 22, 1883 - June 11, 1884
  • John W. D. Douglas, June 12, 1884 - April 8, 1889
  • William W. Burket, April 9, 1889 - November 22, 1891
  • James H. Wright, November 24, 1891
  • William H. Wright, August 21, 1893 - March 3, 1894
Every small community has its focal point where people gather to socialize. Big Creek Gap was no different. Its focal point seemed to be the Ausmus Flour Mill built and operated by John Franklin Ausmus in about 1885. Ausmus was born in Speedwell in 1862 while Big Creek Gap was under occupation during the Civil War. His father was Thomas Ausmus, who was killed by an Indian named Anninias Honeycutt. After the death of his father, John and his brother went to work caring for their widowed mother and young sister. Eventually, they were able to buy a 700-acre farm known as the Betty Van Bebber Farm in Speedwell. Construction on the Flour Mill began. Due to the large farm area of that day, wagons of grains would be lined up outside and waiting outside the mill. Some days as many as six to eight wagons were lined up waiting. The mill was prosperous until about the mid 1920's when Ausmus got caught up in the depression and lost the mill.
In 1892, Harvey and Grant La Follette came to Big Creek Gap from Thorton, IN and organized the La Follette Coal, Iron and Railway Company. Harvey served as the president and general manager while his brother, Grant, served as director and assistant treasurer. In 1895, the residents passed around a petition to have the name of the town changed from Big Creek Gap to La Follette. In order for the town to grow and prosper, Harvey realized that railroads were needed. In 1897, he linked La Follette to the Southern Railway Line by completing the track from Vasper, TN to La Follette.
On March 13, 1894 the name of the post office was officially changed from Big Creek Gap to La Follette. The postmasters were
  • Alvis J. Carr, Apr 7, 1896 - Jan 17, 1899
  • George W. Graham, Jan 18, 1899 - Mar 14, 1902
  • Evan T. Warner, Mar 15, 1902 - Jan 6, 1905
  • James W. Taylor, Jan 7, 1905 - June 25, 1910
  • John P. Rogers, June 25, 1910 - Jan 23, 1912
  • William H. Delan, Jan 24, 1912 - June 5, 1914
  • A. M. Riggs, June 6, 1914 - May 6, 1919
  • William Mozingo, May 7, 1919 - January 22, 1920
  • James D. Miller, Jan 23, 1920 - Jan 31, 1922
  • Alfred F. Agee, Feb 1, 1922 - Oct 4, 1933
  • Irene Miller, Oct 5, 1933 - Nov 3, 1952
  • Charles H. Russell, Nov 4, 1952 - May 20, 1953
  • Alan T. Murray, May 21 1953 - Apr 24, 1954
  • Joe M. Carden Apr 25, 1954 - Aug 7, 1958
  • William F. Parrott, Aug 8, 1958 - Aug 8, 1983
On May 10, 1904, tragedy struck the small town when a fire broke out at the Cumberland Inn and destroyed most of the town. It was believed that that fire broke that the fire started in closet at the front of the Inn. This closet, located under the entrance steps, was full of mops, lanterns, and brooms.

About 5:15 in the morning, Dr. Louis Winkler, who owned Winkler's Drug Store near the Cumberland Inn, was making ice cream for the day's trade. When suddenly, he heard a commotion and someone yelled "Fire!" The commotion and the blaze awoke patrons of the Cumberland Inn. Dr. W. C. Adams broke his leg jumping from the third floor of the building. J. H. Heinrichs left the inn in an old fashion dressing down and clutching his eight-month-old son.

During the course of the fire, some 220 men working at the La Follette Coal, Iron, and Railway Company rushed over to fight the blaze. For most of the day, the men worked fervently to put out the blaze. Of the 35 buildings destroyed, thirteen of them were saloons. It was a miracle that no lives were lost.

Time Line



Bible Records Cemeteries Census Court Records Death Certificates
Deeds Family Photo Album FAQS Goodspeed's History History
Letters Lookups Mailing Lists Maps & Place Names Marriages
Migration Military Newspapers Obituaries Published Resources
Queries Research Helps Local & Family Reunions Search Engines Site Map
Campbell Tennessee and Beyond  

You are our  visitor to this page since January 1, 2005.


Campbell County TNGenWeb Host is campbell@tngenweb.org
TNGenWeb State Coordinator information can
be found at http://www.tngenweb.org/contact.html

Copyright 2004 - present by SM Pratt
The contents of these pages are the property of the Campbell County GenWeb,
and/or private contributors. Any reproduction and/or use of this material for any use other than personal,
unpublished and not-for-profit research is expressely prohibited.  Publication of material on this website on
other websites is also prohibited.

The Campbell County TNGenWeb Project makes no claims or estimates of the validity of the information submitted and reminds you that each new piece of information found should not be taken at face value, but should be researched and proved or disproved by weight of evidence.

Links to external web sites are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or approval of any of the products, services or opinions contained in any external web site

This site is a member of the free, all-volunteer
A TNGenWeb Project-Affiliated Site

TNGenWeb is a subset of
The USGenWeb Project


TNGenWeb project logos are the copyrighted property
of their respective owners and used here with permission.