Photo credit: Tammie McCarrol Burroughs
The site of Unitia, south of the Tennessee River on Cloyd Creek near its confluence with the river, was the location of a Cherokee encampment before 1770.
Unitia was settled by Quakers in 1791. The original name of the community may have been Unity. The community got its first post office in 1818. It closed in 1823, but reopened in 1824 and operated until 1903. In 1825, James Jones, a Quaker, commenced two decades of service as postmaster. The community was identified as a "post village" in 1860. In 1895, a Rand McNally atlas listed Unitia as a community with a post office, a population of 142, and no rail service. Before Loudon County was formed in 1870, Unitia was part of Blount County.
It was listed as a town in Blount County in 1834, along with: Maryville, the seat of Justice, Louisville, Unitia, and Morganton. There are also post offices at Chota, Mount Pisgah, Nine Mile Creek, and Cloverhill. (Source: The Tennessee Gazetteer, Or Topographical Dictionary, Eastin Martin, W.H. Hunt & Company, 1834, p. 16)
Historians identify Unitia and the nearby community of Friendsville, which was also established by Quakers, as "stations" on the Underground Railroad.
From Rev John Dyke Knox Co Tenn
In September last I commenced a protracted meeting in a neighborhood where a few of the members of Unitia church live for their accommodation. At the beginning of the meeting, I felt that it was almost in vain to labor there, but soon our drooping spirits were revived. The Lord commenced a precious work in the beginning of the meeting and during its progress 20 were hopefully converted. Many more were still inquiring. What shall we to be saved? Afterwards 10 more added, on examination, as the result a meeting at the Unitia church. Since that time 10 more have presented themselves as desiring to become members of this. church The work is still going on prostrating sinners on every hand. (Source: The Home Missionary, Volumes 15-17, 1843, p. 20-21)
10068 From Louisville, by
Friendsville, to Unitia, 10 mil
and back, once a week,
Leave Louisville Tuesday at 12 m ;
Arrive at Unitia by 4pm;
Leave Unitia Tuesday at 8 a m ;
Arrive at Louisville by ll 1/2 am.
Bids for two trips a week invited.
(Brownlow's Knoxville Whig. (Knoxville, Tenn.), 28 Feb. 1866. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045629/1866-02-28/ed-1/seq-4/>)
Accompanied by two of the brethren, I
visited Unitia, in the same county, seven miles
from Lenoir's station. This place is named tor the great unity that prevailed in its early settlement, which was about eighty years ago, by the Quakers, who, up to this time, I believe, have the largest
church membership. Tms was perhaps the most thorough Union settlement in the State. My home at this place was with Brother Donaldson, one of the members of the Legislature elected by the State at
large. I found him one of the most hospitable men in the State, and such is his proverbial character. He informed me the people are at present harmonious and condemn a violation of this principle. They have a good school and four churches in the neighborhood.
(Source: Nashville union and American. (Nashville, Tenn.), 01 June 1871. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Link)
FRIENDSVILLE QUARTERLY MEETING
Established Fifth month 20, 1871, by Lost Creek Quarterly Meeting. Held third Seventh day in Second and Fifth months and Fourth Seventh day in Eleventh month at Friendsville and third Seventh day in Eighth month at Hickory Valley. (Hickory Valley was the name of the Quaker Meeting in Unitia)
Meeting of Ministers and Elders Sixth day preceding quarterly meeting at 2 Clerks TK Lee and Elizabeth C Greer Friendsville Tenn
1 Friendsville first Seventh day, Clerk Samuel L Greer Friendsville, Tenn, Preparative Meeting of Ministers and Elders at the rise of monthly meeting, preceding quarterly meeting .
2 Hickory Valley second Seventh day, Clerk EA Jones, Unitia, Tenn, Preparative Meeting of Ministers and Elders at the rise of monthly meeting, preceding euarterly meeting.
MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP
1 Friendsville First and Fourth days at 11
2 Hickory Valley First and Fifth days at 11
Total membership 473
(Source: Book of Meetings: Containing an Account of the Times and Places of Holding Meetings, By Society of Friends, W. G. Hubbard, 1878 , pp. 82. 82)
Brief Items Evangelistic services are in progress at Unitia and Big Spring churches Rev RL Houston is helping Rev EW Hall at Big Spring and the Methodist pastor at Unitia is assisting Rev Isaac Messier A men's Bible class of thirty members has been organized in Park City Sunday school. (The Interior, Volume 53, 1922, p. 1576)
In the 1940s, Fort Loudoun Dam project by the Tennessee Valley Authority, inundated the part of Unitia that lay closest to the Tennessee River, including Main Street and some homes and commercial establishments.
"Bussell-island-vicinity-tn1" by United States Geological Survey; Brian Stansberry - United States Geological Survey – National Map. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - Link
The Fort Loudoun Dam project required the purchase of 16,200 acres of land and flowage rights. 317 residents, 6 cemeteries, and over 60 miles of roads had to be relocated. The Tellico dam (built in the 1970's) flooded the locations of the 18th century Overhill Cherokee towns of Chota, Tanasi,Toqua,Tomotley, Citico, Mialoquo, and Tuskegee, as well as several prehistoric sites dating to as early as the Archaic period. The port of Morganton was also submerged. Fort Loudoun was excavated; dirt was deposited to raise the site 17 feet, and the fort was rebuilt in its original location.