Historical Markers in Washington County

Washington County
Washington County Historical Marker
Established 1777; named in honor of George Washington, Colonel in the Colonial Army; Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Army and first president of the United States of America.

 

 

 

Alfred Eugene Jackson
Alfred Eugene Jackson Historical Marker(U.S. 11 E, on the Jonesborough by-pass between 104 and 106 Oak Grove Ave. Jonesborough, TN)
Born January, 1807, this native Tennessean became one of the areas most successful businessmen, achieving prominence as a merchant-trader and as financial agent for the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, which he helped found. During the Civil War he was appointed a brigadier general in the C.S. Army and assigned to duty in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, fighting with particular distinction at the Battle of Saltville in 1864. After the war he continued his economic interest until his death in 1889. He is buried in the family plot in the Old Cemetery.

Alfred Martin Ray
Buffalo Soldier
Circa 1849-1917
(Corner of Woodrow and 2nd Ave., Jonesborough, TN)
On July 1, 1898, Lt. Ray planted the United States flag on San Juan Hill, Cuba, amid a hail of enemy bullets during the Spanish-American War. For his heroic courage in action, Ray received a battlefield promotion. He served in the U.S. Army from 1872 to 1903, first in the Indian Wars as a Buffalo Soldier, (10th U.S. Cavalry. Colored), later in Cuba and the Philippines. Born a slave on he Ray farm near Jonesboro, he purchased Woodrow Avenue property in 1904. Alfred M. Ray is buried in College Hill Cemetery.

Andre MichauxAndre Michaux
1746–1803
(at the Tipton-Haynes Historical Site, S. Roan St.)
In May 1795 and March 1796, Michaux stayed at the home of Col. John Tipton. During his visit, he made notes about the spring wildflowers he found blooming in abundance. On March 21, 1796, he remarked that the mountains were covered in several places with bloodroot, spring beauty and trout lily.

Boone’s Creek Church
(U.S. 23, opposite William Bean’s Cabin marker)
1 1/2 miles southwest, this Christian church was organized 1825 by Rev. Jas. Miller. Here, Aug. 17, 1829, was held the first recorded conference of Christian churches in East Tennessee. Other elders present were Jeriel Dodge, Robt. M. Shankland, Jno. Wallace and Wm. Slaughter. They reported 472 members in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Brush Creek Campground
(Johnson City, at corner of Jackson St. and Watauga Ave.)
On September 2, 1811, James Nelson deeded to trustees William Nelson, William Duzan, James King, Jacob Hoss and John R. Boring, 4 acres and 8 poles to be used by the Methodist Episcopal Church for a house of worship. For many years a campground for religious meetings was maintained here with a central permanent tent and many family tents. During the Civil War Col. Robert Love’s 62nd N.C. Regiment, CSA, used the ground as a camp.

Buffalo Ridge Church
(U.S. 23, 3.15 miles north of jct. with State 34)
This pioneer Baptist Church, established in 1779 by the Rev. Tidence Lane, was the first Baptist Church on Tennessee soil. The church itself has been moved to Gray’s Station; the cemetery remains. Here is buried the Rev. Jonathan Mulkey, 1752-1826, who was its second pastor.

Carter’s Raid
Dec. 30, 1862
(Washington-Sullivan County line, near railroad bridge over Watauga River.)
Arriving here near sunset, having captured enroute a locomotive in which Col. Love, CSA was a passenger, Brig. Gen. Carter’s task force dispersed or captured the Confederate garrison and destroyed the railroad bridge over Watauga River. Crossing to the south bank of the river, and with pursuit building up on the flanks and rear, they moved northwest to Kingsport.

Cherokee Church – Holston Baptist Association
(State 81, 4.5 miles south of Jonesborough)
This Baptist church was organized the first Saturday in September, 1783. Here, the fourth Saturday in October, 1786, Holston Association was organized with Tidence Lane moderator and Wm. Murphy clerk. Seven churches were represented. This was the first Baptist Association in Tennessee.

Chester Inn
(Main Street, Jonesborough)
Built in 1797 by Dr. William P. Chester of Lancaster, Pa., it has been continuously occupied as an inn, a hotel, and an apartment house. Among the guests here have been three presidents of the United States: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, as well as John Sevier, Governor of Franklin and first Governor of Tennessee. President Andrew Jackson held a reception for his friends on the porch of the inn in the summer of 1832.

Christopher Taylor
(State 81, south of Jonesborough)
100 yards north of this road is the house built by this officer, veteran of the French and Indian War and major in the Revolution, in 1777. He is buried in the family cemetery nearby. Andrew Jackson lived there while practicing law in Jonesborough, 1788-89.

Clarksville Iron FurnaceClarksville Iron Furnace
(State 107, 13 miles south of Jonesborough)
1.7 Miles south are the ruins of the Clarksville Iron Furnace. The stone stack was built in 1833 by Montgomery Stuart, Elijah Embree and Edward West. The ore used was hauled in wagons across the mountain from the mines in Bumpass Cove. The iron produced was used locally and also was flat-boated down the river as far as Alabama. Operations ceased in 1844.

Daniel Boone
(U.S. 23, opposite Boone’s Creek School)Daniel Boone Historical Marker
0.2 mile along this road is the waterfall under which Boone hid himself from raiding Indians; the falls were then about 4 ft. high. 1.1 miles along the road, a marker indicates the site of the beech tree where “D.Boon cilled a bar in year 1760.”

 

 

 

 

David Crockett
(U.S. 11 E, in Limestone)
1.8 miles S.W. near the confluence of Limestone Creek with Nolichucky River, a flat limestone slab marks the site where this pioneer was born in 1786 in Greene County. Before his death at the Alamo Massacre in 1836, he had been soldier, trapper, explorer, member of the State Legislature and Representative in Congress.

DeVault Tavern
(State 81, 2.5 miles west of Jonesborough)DeVault Tavern Historical Marker
Two and one-half miles west stands the two-story brick tavern finished in 1821 by Frederick DeVault. It served as a stage coach stop on the eastern route from Abingdon, Va., to Nashville. This route ran through Blountville, Jonesborough, Greeneville, Newport, Dandridge, to Knoxville. The original bar remains unchanged in the building today.

 

 

Dungan – St. John Mill
(Near Washington-Carter County line on Watauga Road)
This stone manor and mill were built in 1778 by Jeremiah Dungan on property purchased from the Watauga Association. It was taxed in 1779 in North Carolina in the first year the state levied a property tax. Dungan’s family ground grain until 1866, at which time they sold the mill to George W. St. John. The mill has been operated by the St. John family since that time. In 1996, during Tennessee’s Bicentennial celebration, the mill was honored as the state’s oldest business, with more than 200 years of continuous operation.

East Tennessee State UniversityETSU Historical Marker
(TN 381, Johnson City)
Created by the legislature in 1909, East Tennessee State Normal School was built on land given by George L. Carter. Official state flag was first raised at dedication ceremonies on October 10, 1911. The school became a teachers college in 1925, a college in 1943, and a university in 1963. The Quillen-Dishner College of Medicine opened in 1978. Original classroom building was named for first president Sidney G. Gilbreath.

Fiddlin’ Charlie BowmanFiddlin' Charlie Bowman
(at the intersection of Bobby Hicks Hwy and Rosco Fitz Rd., Gray)

Charlie Bowman, Hall of Fame fiddler, recording artist, vaudeville performer and writer of Nine Pound Hammer and East Tennessee Blues, toured with the Hill Billies and other music groups, one performing for President Calvin Coolidge. Two daughters, Jennie and Pauline, were among the first sister act recorded in the country music genre. Charlie and brothers Elbert, Walter, and Argil played for Congressman B. Carroll Reece’s campaigns. Charlie and wife, Fannie, reared 12 children in a log house on Rosco Fitz Rd.

First Abolition Publications
(West Main Street, Jonesborough)
On this site, in 1819-1820 were published The Manumission Intelligence and the Emancipator. Edited and published by Elihu Embree and printed by Jacob Howard, these were the first periodicals in the United States devoted exclusively to the abolition of human slavery.

First Court of Washington County
(State 67, Carter Co., between Johnson City and Milligan Colleges)
On Feb. 23, 1778, 0.6 mile NE at the house of Col. Charles Robertson, Trustee, on the “east (catbird) Branch of Sinking Creek” was held the First Court of the newly formed County of Washington, North Carolina, with John Carter, Chairman; John Sevier, Clerk; Johnson McMahon, Register; Valentine Sevier,Sheriff; and James Stuart, Surveyor.

Gillespie Stone House
(U.S. 11 E, near Limestone Station)Gillespie Stone House Historical Marker
This was built 1792 for George Gillespie by Seth Smith, a Quaker stone mason from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. An early fort originally stood on the site, and was the dividing line between Washington and Greene Counties 1783. This house was purchased in 1842 by Jacob Klepper and has been preserved by his descendants.

 

History on Knob Creek
(U.S. 11 E, north of jct. with U.S. 23)
About 0.3 miles east stood Twin Falls Grist Mill, belonging to Peter Range, an early immigrant from New Jersey. He bought this land in 1804-08 and built the 2-story and basement stone house, standing today. His limestone marker read, “P. Range, Oct. 10, 1817. In Memory.”

Isaac Hammer
(U.S. 23, near outskirts of Johnson City)
0.8 mile northeast on the Old Stage Road, this pioneer, a minister of the church of the Brethren, built this two-story, with basement, log house in 1793. While not actually an inn, it was a stopping place for travelers in early days.

Jacob Brown
(State 81, south of Lamar School)
About 1 mile S.W., this pioneer from S.C. settled on Nolichucky River in 1771. Brown’s purchase of 2 tracts of land from the Cherokee on Mar. 25, 1775, was made beneath a great oak tree still standing nearby. His sandstone marker reads “Jacob Brown, d. Jan. 25, 1785.” The brick house nearby was built by his grandson, Byrd Brown, about 1800.

Jesse Duncan
(U.S. 23, 2 miles north of jct. with State 34)Jesse Duncan Historical Marker
Two and one-quarter miles east, on a ridge to the north of the road, is the grave of this pioneer, who was killed and scalped by Indians in 1765. He was the first white man known to have been slain in this area. A monument marks the site.

 

 

 

Johnson City
Johnson City Historical Marker(U.S. 11 E, in Johnson City, now on the grounds of new Science Hill High School)
Incorporated — December 1, 1869. The town was formerly known as Green Meadows, Blue Plum, Johnson’s Depot. Haynesville, then Johnson City. It is situated on land grants of 1782 to Robert and Joseph young and in 1792 to Joseph Tipton. The town charter was repealed in 1879, but reincorporated in 1885. The name honors Henry Johnson, prominent merchant and postmaster. As industrial and educational center, it is the home of Milligan College and East Tennessee State University.

 

Jonesborough: Oldest Town in Tennessee
(U.S. 11 E at TN 81)
Formally established in 1779, by the General Assembly of North Carolina, as county seat of Washington County, first county west of the mountains. In 1784, the State of Franklin was organized here with Jonesborough as its first capital.

Knob Creek Church of the Brethren
(Corner of Knob Creek and Fairridge Rds., Johnson City, TN)
Organized circa 1799 by Elder Samuel Garber of Virginia, the Knob Creek Church of the Brethren was the first Brethren congregation in Tennessee. Isaac Hammer was the first minister. Daniel Bowman preached in English and Michael Krouse preached in German. First communion was held at the Krouse home. Worship was in homes until 1834when a log church was built. The present church was built in 1905.

Langston High School
1893-1965
(Corner of E. Myrtle Ave. and Elm St., Johnson City, TN)
This building housed Johnson City’s first African-American public high school. Named for U.S. Congressman, John Mercer Langston, an educator, lawyer, and the first African-American elected to public office in the United States (Ohio 1856). Langston High School was established in 1893. “Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve” was the school’s motto. In the spring of 1897, Langston graduated its first class. Due to court-ordered racial desegregation, its last class graduated in the spring of 1965. By the fall semester of the same year, Johnson City Schools were completely integrated.

National Soldier’s HomeNational Soldier's Home
(now known as the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Mountain Home, Tennessee)
Approved by an Act of Congress on January 28, 1901, the Mountain Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was created through the work of Tennessee Congressman Walter P. Brownlow (1851–1910). Known locally as Mountain Home, the original site comprised 447 acres and opened in October 1903. Peak enrollment reached over 2,500 Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans. In 1930, the National Soldiers Home system became part of the Veterans Administration.

Old Dutch Meeting House
(State 81, 4.5 miles south of Jonesborough)Old Dutch Meeting House Historical Marker
1 1/4 Mi. is the site of the Immanuel Lutheran Church and cemetery. Organized about 1807; reported in 1811 to the North Carolina Synod , and became charter member of Tennessee Synod in 1820. In its early years, services were held in both German and English. The church was disbanded about 1870.

 

 

Providence Church
(State 81, south of Fall Branch)
4 miles SW., This Presbyterian church was organized, 1780, by Rev. Samuel Doak. Hanover Presbytery met here Aug. 20, 1783, with Samuel Doak, Charles Cummins and Hezekiah Balch present. On Aug. 21 Rev. Sam Houston, ordained with Doak as moderator, was the first Presbyterian minister to be ordained in Tennessee, he later returned to Virginia.

Robin’s Roost
(Johnson City, South Roan Street)
William T. Graham built this house in 1890. Robert Love Taylor bought it in 1892 and named it. Taylor went from here to his third term as Governor. His brother, Alfred Alexander Taylor, bought it in 1900, living there until 1903. The latter was Governor from 1921 to 1923.

Salem Church
(U.S. 11 E, at jct. of road with Washington College marker)
Organized 1780 by Rev. Samuel Doak. Here, the first Tuesday in August, 1785, was formed Abington Presbytery with Doak as moderator. This first presbytery on Tennessee soil was taken from Hanover Presbytery; it included churches south of New River and west of the Appalachian Mountains. Members were Hezekiah Balch, Charles Cummins, Samuel Houston, Adam Rankin and David Rice.

Samuel Cole Williams
January 15, 1864 – December 14, 1947Samuel Cole Williams Historical Marker
(Johnson City, on grounds of the old Mayne Williams Public Library; now Munsey Methodist Church property)
Culminating his career as an attorney, teacher, codifier of law, and justice of the State Supreme Court, Judge Samuel Cole Williams–the Dean of Tennessee Historians–provided in the 1940’s the leadership and inspiration for a reawakening of interest in Tennessee History. Judge Williams contributed immeasurably to the written history of Tennessee through Samuel Cole Williams Side 2exhaustive research, scholarly and prolific writing, and the reprinting and editing of important documentary works. As Chairman of the reactivated Tennessee Historical Commission, Judge Williams enhanced the historical consciousness of Tennesseans by inspiring others to write state history, by leading in the preservation of significant landmarks, and by guiding the observance of Tennessee’s sesquicentennial anniversary of statehood.

 

Science Hill Male & Female InstituteScience Hill Male & Female Institute
 (N. Roan St., Johnson City)
Tipton Jobe, on Feb. 14, 1867, gave land on this hill above Knob Spring where members of Science Hill Literary Society then built the first brick building in the area to house this school. It was the first public building in town. It was dedicated Oct. 27, 1867. The dedicatory sermon was by Elijah E. Hoss, later a bishop in the Methodist Church.

State Flag
(U.S. 11 E, at the west city limits of Johnson City; moved to Oak Hill Cemetery, 205 Whitney St., where Col. Reeves is buried)State Flag
In 1905 the Legislature adopted as the state flag one which was designed by Colonel Le Roy Reeves, a native and resident of Johnson City. The three stars represent the three grand divisions of Tennessee. The flag was first raised by Company F of the National Guard on October 10, 1911 during the dedication ceremonies of East Tennessee State Normal School.

 

State Seal
Tennessee State Seal(U.S. 11 E, east of Jonesborough city limits)
One quarter mile SW on the main street of Jonesborough stood the silversmith shop of William and Matthew Atkinson, designers and engravers of the Great Seal of the State of Tennessee. Although authorized by the Tennessee Constitution of 1796, the seal was first used on April 24, 1902 by Archibald Roane, the second governor. Because of legislative failure to provide for a seal, the first governor, John Sevier, used personal seals during his first three terms.

 

Thomas EmbreeThomas Embree Historical Marker
(Old State Route 34, 5-7 miles from Joneborough city limits, below Telford)
In 1791, Seth Smith, a Pennsylvania stonemason, built the house 0.6 mile W. of Telford and 300 yards N. of the road for the Quaker father of Ellihu Embree, an early abolitionist, and his brother, Elijah, an early ironmaster. The family came from New Jersey. Sarah Hawkins, first wife of John Sevier, is buried near the house.

 

Thomas Emmerson
(Academy Hill site, Main St., Jonesborough)
Born in Brunswick County, Virginia, June 23, 1773. Moved to Knoxville in 1800 where he practiced law. First mayor of Knoxville, judge on Superior Court and State Supreme Court. Charter member of Board of Trustees of East Tennessee College, now the University of Tennessee, and one of the founders of Knoxville Female Academy. Settled on a farm near Jonesborough and was editor of the Washington Republican and Farmer’s Journal. He died July 22, 1837 and is buried 100 yards north of the marker.

 

Washington College
(U.S. 11 E 5 miles west of Jonesborough)Washington College Historical Marker
Washington College, First Institution of Learning West of the Alleghanies.
Founded in 1780 by Rev. Samuel Doak
“Apostle of Learning and Religion in the West” Whose Body Rests in the Cemetery Adjoining the Campus, Has Done Service on the Site from the First.
First established as Martin Academy It was later called Dr.Doak’s Log College and in 1795 received its present name on a motion by John Sevier. Dr. Doak died Dec. 12, 1830 at the age of 80.

William Bean’s Cabin
William Bean's Cabin Historical Marker(U.S. 23 3 miles north of jct. with State 34)
About 1 1/2 miles to the east on a knoll beside Boone’s Creek, a monument marks the spot near where William Bean, first permanent white settler in Tennessee, built his cabin in 1769. The site was previously used by Daniel Boone as a hunting camp. Russell Bean, first child of permanent settlers, was born here.

 

William Nelson Home
(U.S. 11 E in Johnson City, at Knob Creek Road)
1 mi, N. was the home of William Nelson. A native of Virginia, he was on of the earliest settlers in this region and served in the Revolutionary War. Francis Asbury, early Methodist bishop, held annual conferences here in 1793, 1796, and 1797. Asbury called Nelson’s house “An ancient home of Methodists and Methodist preaching.”