Crossville Chronicle Articles
"First Settlers of the Head of Sequachee Valley," a series of articles from the Crossville, Tennessee newspaper in 1905 that relates the story of how Reuben Brown, Andrew Lowe, and Greenberry Wilson first came to the area in 1797.
The articles were copied from microfilm, scanned, and edited to better fit on-screen. I have higher resolution copies of these images; e-mail me if you would like these.
Greenberry Wilson is my 5th great-grandfather; his great-granddaughter Sarah Wilson Oxsheer married William C. Sutphen.
May 24, 1905
Subtitled "Reuben L. Brown, Andrew R. Lowe, and Greenberry Wilson are the First Settlers - Humerous Incidents of Their Journey from Maryland to Sequachee Valley."
June 7, 1905
Subtitled "They Discover and Explore for a Short Distance the Great Cave at the Head of the Valley - Lowe Decides to Locate and Marks the Spot for His Home."
This cave is now called Devil Step Hollow Cave in Cumberland County, Tennessee; it is the head of the Sequatchie River. This cave contains some of the earliest known petroglyphs in Tennessee. The property is currently for sale; read an article from the Chattanooga Time Free Press about it, and see the property information.
June 21, 1905
Greenberry Wilson fights a bear with a sledgehammer and knife, Brown marks the location for his home, they head back to Baltimore to prepare for the move.
July 5, 1905
Brown, Lowe, and Wilson set a meeting on September 20, 1797 to organize the group of settlers and set rules for the group. The colony will leave Baltimore on October 12, 1797. Discussion on rules regarding courting - "moonshine walks and kissing was incorporated as one of the organtic laws of the colony."
July 26, 1905
The Mayor of Baltimore orders all businesses closed to send off the settlers on the morning of October 12, 1797. They make camp after traveling 16 miles.
August 9, 1905
The company travels to Harper's Ferry, down the Alleghenys to Big Stone Gap, follow the Clinch River to Tennessee, and pass through Rogersville, Morristown, Knoxville, and Kingston. A small dog (fice) is sentenced to be hanged for causing a fight among the dogs.
August 30, 1905
The group reaches the mountain above the head of the valley on November 18, 1797 and camp near the big cave. A large storm blows in that night, and John Phelps calms the settlers and becomes their spiritual advisor.
September 13, 1905
The settlers descend into the valley and camp at Lowe's location. A council is called with all white members over age 14, both men and women. Wilson's house is started, and six buildings are complete by December 10, 1797.
This house was still occupied as of a few years ago, and probably still is. See a picture of the house from 1989.
September 27, 1905
The settlers explore the valley in December of 1797. Three wagons are sent back to Knoxville and Kingston for supplies while materials are prepared for Lowe's buildings.
November 1, 1905
Lowe's house is built in January of 1798 on a round knoll of yellow poplar logs. It has a second floor with a crack all around 3 feet above the floor to give a clear view, so the building can be used as a fort.
November 22, 1905
Lowe hosts a party lasting two days and nights to celebrate the completion of his house in February of 1798.
December 13, 1905
The settlers explore the great cave and nearby Indian mounds in February of 1798. Wilson, Lowe, Brown, and fifteen others are rescued from the cave after five bears were seen entering; they had become lost when their torches went out.
I believe the series continued in 1906, but I don't yet have those articles.
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