- Godspeed’s History of Johnson County (1896)
- Learn about Johnson County
- Johnson County History – from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture
Communities & Places
Baker’s Gap – 1851-1929 Historical Post Office. Postmasters: Henry Haney, Hiram McBride, Thomas Ward, Wm. C. Wilson, John Farthing, Walther H. Farthing
“Butler, a small town of approximately 200 families, is situated on the banks of the Watauga River in Johnson County. the people are largely agricultural, at least they depend on agricultural products which they produce on small tracts of land for home consumption. Several prominent families are extensive land owners on Watauga River and Roan Creek.
Butler was built around the lumbering activities of the Whiting Lumber Company. Watauga Academy is situated in the corporate limits.” (Russ Calhoun C0llection)
Carden’s Bluff: “The Cardens were among the first settlers in the district. They were not only early settlers, but they had large holdings, including the area which has become known as Cardens Bluff.”
“Cardens Bluff community, more properly described as the area between Dividing Ridge church and Watauga River, is inhabited by a large number of industrial families who work in the plants at Elizabethton. Perhaps 85% of the people in this area depend directly or indirectly on the plants for support.
The terrain is rugged in most of the area. Very small strips of land are suitable for agricultural purposes. Prior to the advent of TVA, Cardens Bluff School served the area. Since this school was demolished it is proposed to transport children to the schools at Hampton. Hampton and Elizabethton are the principal trading centers.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
The Cardens Bluff community was settled by the Carden, Campbell, Lewis, and Smith families before the Revolutionary War. It was named for Ancil Carden, who owned the bluff now known as Cardens Bluff. These early pioneers were of Anglo-Saxon origin, who loved their land and liberty. The soil of this valley, which lies along the Watauga River between high mountains of the Unaka range in Carter County, is still owned, loved and worked by men who have that heritage. These people also share in the benefits in the governmental and social services of the area.”
Carderview – 1948 -1953: Named for Rev. M. H. Carder. Name changed from (old) Butler, 1948; changed again to Butler, 1968. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: Troy Tucker, Edna Courtner.
From the Mountain City Elementary Webpage: http://www.mce.k12tn.net/johnson/history/1900/butler.htm
“In 1941 President Roosevelt signed a bill to initiate the Tennessee Valley Authority. Part of this bill was construction of dams along the major rivers in Tennessee to help control flooding which had caused major damage to the area in the part. The Watauga Dam was a part of this Tennessee Valley Authority project. In order to construct this dam one hundred families had to be removed from their homes in and around the Butler area.
On April 3, 1947 Rev. M. H. Carder, pastor of the Cobbs Creek Baptist Church, called a meeting at the Butler schoolhouse. At the meeting he announced that they had acquired option to buy the I. W. McQueen farm at the edge of the site of the new reservoir. Carder proposed this farm to be the site for a new town and everyone was excited at this prospect. Planning for the town soon began. The new Butler-Cobbs Creek Land Corporation with Preacher Carder as president bought 208 acres of the McQueen farm. The new town was called “Carderview” in honor of Rev. M. H. Carder. Twenty percent of the residents displaced from Butler moved to this area.
A 200 acre tract of land adjoining Carderview had been developed by the Bowers Brother Land Company of Elizabethton. This area became known as “New Butler” and is today the town of Butler. Many others moved to this area. When the project was completed a total of 761 families were removed. Timber was cleared from 1663 acres, 54.9 miles of roads and highways were built, three bridges were built, 66 miles of utility lines were constructed, and 1281 graves were removed. In the town of Butler approximately 500 to 600 residents had to move. Also lost were a post office, the Masonic lodge, elementary and high schools, three grocery stores, two furniture stores, two hardware stores, one drug store, two restaurants, three gas stations, two barber shops, one shoe shop, and two physicians and one dentist offices.
A celebration is held the second Sunday weekend in August to remember the old town of Butler. This celebration is called Old Butler Days. At the festival you may find music, games, exhibits, and food.”
Coal Pit Hollow: “Coal Pit Hollow is a small neighborhood in the Upper Watauga community. There are only a few families in this neighborhood and they derive their principal income from farm work. Most of them are owners who cultivate narrow strips of land on steep hillsides. Children are transported to the village of Butler by school bus.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Cobb’s Creek: “Cobb’s Creek is a neighborhood in the Butler Community. the original families are subsistent farmers. They supplement their income by farm labor and part time industrial employment. The people of this community, as a whole, have family ties and are God fearing, devout people. The Cobb’s Creek Baptist Church and School serve the neighborhood.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Cook Hollow: “Cook Hollow is a neighborhood just outside the city limits of Butler. No particular name has been given the community in which these people live. Cook Hollow is a farm section. The few farmers who reside there depend entirely upon farm activities. They attend church in Butler and send their children to the city schools in the village.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Cowanstown: “the people who live here cultivate small tracts of farm land adjacent to the river’s bank. There are good access roads to this community; therefore, a number of people come by taxi to Elizabethton to work in the rayon plants. School buses run from Butler but children of grammar school age attend the school at Gregg Station.
Cowanstown is an old neighborhood in the Upper Watauga community. The people residing in this area are not as progressive as those further down the river toward Butler. The land is not as productive and the terrain is more rugged. The farm land that is available lies along the bank of the river. The production of beans in this area is becoming a major cash income crop.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Cracker’s Neck – Named for a wrestling match which occurred between a side show wrestler and a local farm boy. The farmer broke the wrestlers neck.
Doeville – 1889 -1955: Named for large deer population that existed here. Changed from Howards Iron Works. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: Andrew Bradley, Callie Rambo, Samuel Rambo, Jacob L.Stout, Kemp Stout, Jacob S. Stout, Mrs. Stanley Simcox, Mrs. Cleo Simcox, LaVerne Simcox.
“Doeville community derives its name from the former railroad station and post office which were known as Doe. It is located where Doe Creek enters Roans Creek. Before the railroad was washed out, this was a thriving community due to the railroad which enabled the people to sell wood, bark and lumber in the markets of Johnson City and Bristol.
Most of the farms are small and are located along the creeks. Tobacco and beans are the principal crops, supplemented by some stock raising. A great majority of the people in this community are Stouts and Grindstaffs. There are three stores and one mill in this section.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Eastman-Farthington: “The development of this community is attributed to the lumber activities in this area several years ago. Two men, Mr. Farthing and Mr. Curtis, acquired the land almost in its entirety before it was cleared of timber. Over a period of years, the timber was cut and the land subdivided into small tracts. These small tracts were attractive to people of moderate means. The land was sold on a partial-payment plan, and over a long period of years with the accumulated interest the ultimate amount paid may appear unreasonable. However, most of the people are owners of these small tracts which are free of indebtedness. The roads are first-class chert highways leading through the valley. The principal cash crops are beans and corn. The children of high school age are transported to Butler.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
East Ridge – 1882- 1887 Changed to Mit. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: Joel Eastridge, Morgan M. Whitaker, Isaac Hayes.
Edom – 1889- 1902. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmaster: Calvin Arnold.
Essex – 1892- 1903 HISTORICAL POST OFFIC. Postmasters: James Parks, Alfred Dotson.
Fiddler’s Rock – Sometimes known as “Screaming Rock” . Link to Ghosts of the Prairie Website by Troy Taylor.
Fish Springs – “The community of Fish Springs is comprised of a number of small family farm operators. They do not depend entirely upon the income from the farm for support, as almost every family has a representative in the plants in Elizabethton. The children of elementary school age attend Fish Springs School and White Brothers’ Store serves the community for their purchases of general merchandise.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Fleet – 1898- 1903. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmaster: Daniel B. Baker.
Frog Pond: “The area surrounding the former Frog Pond school site is known as a neighborhood by the same name. Since Frog Pond school was washed away by the flood of 1940, the children are transported to school at Butler. The people who live in this community are largely agricultural, deriving their principal income from this source. The trading center is Butler. However, some merchandise is purchased from local country stores at Gregg and at Courtner’s store across the river.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Furnace – 1882- 1902. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: George Butler, Andrew Wagner, Jennettie Cross.
Gregg: “Gregg is a neighborhood in the Upper Watauga community. This name was derived from a family of the same name. The people depend largely on agriculture but do supplement this income by work in the plants in Elizabethton. The land is highly fertile and produces an abundance of almost any crop planted on it.
Gregg School serves the children of elementary school age. Those of the high school age are transported to Butler.
One store, that of Charles Culver, serves the area but the general merchandise required is purchased at Butler.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Gregg Station: “Gregg Station neighborhood in the Upper Watauga community is comprised of agricultural families. Some of these agricultural income are supplemented by work in the Elizabethton plants. The school at Gregg serves children of elementary school and Watauga Academy at Butler is attended by the children of high school grades.
In the vicinity of Gregg neighborhood the agricultural land is highly productive and situated alongside the river’s banks. Tobacco is the principal cash crop. However, the production of beans is fast becoming a major operation.”
“One store, that of Charles Culver, serves the area but the general merchandise required is purchased at Butler.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Haney – 1899- 1904. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: Thomas Moreley.
Horseshoe (Carden’s Bluff area): “The people residing in this community are a semi-industrial class, many of them earning their living by part-time or steady employment at the plants in Elizabethton. A number of families are owners. The Cardens Bluff school served the community until the advent of TVA.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Midway “Midway community begins about a mile and one-half north of Butler and extends north for about two and one-half miles. The community is strictly rural, consisting of small farms from 20 to 60 acres. Most of the land is in a good state of cultivation and lies along Roans Creek and highway 67. About 80% of the people live in the valley, while the other 20% live in the hollows extending down to the valley from the high ridges. Several people from this community work at the rayon plants in Elizabethton. As a whole the people maintain a fair standard of living. They raise all their food on the land and can enough during the summer to supply them during the winter months.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Mountain City (county seat; formerly Taylorsville)
Piercetown: “The community is a small one lying along the road side of U.S. 67 and extending up the branches and draws emptying into Watauga River. the people are closely attached to the soil and earn the principal part of their living thereby. However, many of the families are represented at the NARC plant in Elizabethton. Piercetown School serves the children of elementary school age. Others are transported to Butler and Hampton.” (Russ Calhoun Collection)
Roan Creek – “In the area across Roan Creek and in the confluence of this creek with the Watauga River reside a number of farm families. They are considered within the corporate limits of Butler, but since they are separated from the village proper they contribute very little to the activities of the community. A good percentage of these people are farm families although they may supplement their farm income by work in the plants at Elizabethton. Their principal employment is that of farming. The children attend Watauga Academy at Butler.”
Shady Valley – formerly Crandall (1900-1936). Name changed to Shady Valley, July 1936. HISTORICAL POST OFFICE. Postmasters: James Faulkner Jr., Charles Lowe, John Hutchinson, Maggie Hutchinson, Adrian Cole, Roy Blevins.
Slemp Hollow – “Slemp Hollow is a small neighborhood in the Upper Watauga area. The people residing here are farmers. The valley is narrow but highly productive. The buildings and outbuildings are in a good state of repair throughout this neighborhood. The land has been built up over a period of years through intensive farm methods.”
Spring Branch Hollow “A small neighborhood in the Upper Watauga community. The people derive their income largely from agricultural operations. However, a few family representatives are employed in the plants in Elizabethton. In the past, lumbering has been one of the principal means of earning a living. Children of elementary school age attend Frog Pond school prior to the flood that destroyed this building in 1940. Now they are transported by truck to Butler, which is also the principal trading center.”
National Register of Historic Places
- A.J. Wright Farm – located in Shady Valley
- Alfred Johnson Farm – located in Mountain City
- Butler House – home of Colonel Roderick Butler; located in Mountain City
- Morrison Farm and Store – located in Laurel Bloomery
- Dr. Wiley Wagner Vaught Office – located in Mountain City