Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Why was Beaver Creek area one of the first settled? I am only referring to what is now Karns. I will cover Ball Camp and Solway later.

On the east side of this valley Copper Ridge rises somewhat abruptly, and beyond the ridge is Beaver Creek Valley [19th District], which is one of the richest in the county, and was one of the earliest settled. It is divided through the middle by the creek whose name it bears. Lying between Beaver and Black Oak Ridge is the section of a valley known as Hine's Valley [9th District], the lower half of which is watered by Hickory Creek, a tributary of the Clinch. The soil of this valley is generally light and thin, but is well adapted to grass, and is capable of improvement. The fertile section bounded by Black Oak and Webb's Ridges is known as Grassy Valley [11th District]. It, unlike the others, does not slope gradually from northeast to southwest, but is crossed transversely by small ridges and depressions. Black Oak Ridge constitutes the water-shed between the waters of the Tennessee and the Clinch. Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee, Knox County, pg 928

The pioneers would settle in location with transportation links to potential markets. Emory Road was one of the first established roads and was used by early travelers. The old Indian trail from Campbell Station, established in 1787, going north, passing through the gap into Beaver Ridge, Ball Camp area, then following old Emory Road over Copper Ridge crossing into Anderson County, 4th District, was used by the families that settled in this area.

Early Roads were listed in the land records as Indian path, wagon road and other roads carried the simple names of the destination; road to Campbell Station, Ferry Crossing, road to Clinton. Emory is the only road to be named in early land records. 1823 Emory Road was part of the Knox County road system. Originally 10’ wide, during bad weather it became impassable. • January 27, 1823 Emory to Reed Mill to top of Copper Ridge. Present day Beaver Byington and Henderson Road

• April 1829 Clinch River to Beaver Creek

• April 1831 Emory to top of Copper Ridge crossing into Anderson County

• October 1831 Lowes Ferry Road to Black Oak Ridge Cobb/Solway Ferry following Old Solway Road to present day Hardin Valley Road

Looking at early maps, several small roads or foot paths crisscrossed the landscape. They would often follow the diving lines of the farms. A few wagon roads developed allowing the community to bring their goods to market. Most of the residents would go to Campbell Station. Before rail the only way to ship was by wagon overland or steamboat that would dock at Old Concord. One of our early residents Hugh Clark owned and operated a general store in Campbell Station. His family owned property Harden Valley Rd and Lovell Rd.Two of the Callaway brothers would start a store and boarding house in old Concord where the steamboat's docked.

The first Church in Beaver Ridge Copper Ridge Road April 21, 1815 the Beaver Ridge [Church] free meeting house and grave yard was established. Thomas Reed deeded one acre and 20 poles for the purpose of a free meeting house and graveyard to John Scott and David Hall, deacons of the Beaver Ridge Baptist Church. The following exception being that the Baptist Church will have the preference of meeting the fourth Saturday and Sunday in every month, this being their regular meeting days. All other days to be free for all Christian denominations to hold their meeting according to their form of worship. The graveyard to be free to all persons.

The church building was made of poplar logs cut in the area, and after being hewed to be placed in the building were 35 inches in diameter. The 20 X 40 log structure had one window and one door. It was located next to Beaver Ridge Cemetery on Copper Ridge Road north east of Emory Road. This building also served as the school until 1874.

The first mills both established before 1800 Now know by locals as Trotters Mill, on Beaver Creek. Thomas Reed operated a mill on Beaver Creek. His property was located on the land that would become part of the old Karns elementary school.

Now known by locals as Coward Mill, on Beaver Creek.Jessie Council operated a mill on Beaver Creek. His property was located near the present day one lane bridge on Coward Mill Rd the old dam can be seen from the bridge.

Both of these mills were in operating until the early 1900's

The first Postal Delivery 1835 Beaver Ridge Post Office Established First Post Master was James England. His father, Ezekiel, was a merchant and trader and operated a store in this area. Ezekiel arrived in this area by 1799 from Wilkes County, North Carolina. His wife was Charlotte Council, her brother Jessie owned and operated the mill, present day Coward Mill Road. He owned 920 ac west of Ball Camp.

Mail arrived once a week. Depending on the Post Master you would pick up the mail at his home, mill or store. Ball Camp did not get a post office until 1852.

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