Lenoir City (first known as Lenoir's Station) was
named for the patriarch of the Lenoir family, General
William Lenoir, and was founded by his eldest
son General William Ballard
Lenoir. General Lenoir was born on May 8, 1751
in Brunswick County, VA and was the youngest son of
Thomas and Mourning Lenoir. At age 8, the he moved
with his family to Surry County, NC.
General Lenoir had an
extensive military and political career. Prior to
the Revolutionary War, he went out on numerous expeditions
against the Indians. During the Revolutionary War,
he first served as 1st Lieutenant under Colonel
Cleveland and then voluteered as a private
during a forced march to overtake Ferguson at King's
Mountain. After the war in 1795, he became a General
in North Carolina Militia. As a reward for his military
service, North Carolina awarded him 5000 acres located
along the bank of the Tennessee River. Unfortunately,
he could not occupy his lands, because others claimed
ownership of the land. Finally in 1809, after a lengthy
court battle, all claims were resolved, and the courts
determined that General Lenoir was legally entitled
to the land. In September 1809, he deeded this land
to his eldest son Major William
After finishing his military career, General
Lenoir embarked on his political career. He
served two years as a Clerk of Wilkes County, NC.
He was appointed Justice of the Peace and later served
in both branches of the legislature. During his last
term in the Senate, he served as President of the
Senate. Later, he became the first President of the
Trustees of the University of North Carolina.
On May 1, 1833, he applied for a military pension
for his Revolutionary War Services (Pension S7137).
On May 6, 1839 he died.
Major William Ballard Lenoir
married Elizabeth Avery
of Wilkes County NC. After his father gave him the
Tennessee land, he moved his wife and four children
to Lenoir's Station (then located in Roane County).
He and his wife completed their family with eight
more children. Five of his sons were Albert
S. who married Katherine
Welker in 1837, William,
Israel Picks, Waightstill Avery, and Dr.
Dr. Benjamin Ballard Lenoir
was born March 5, 1821 in Lenoir's Station. On November
27, 1855 he married Henrietta
R. Ramsey. Henrietta died on May 25, 1864.
Dr. Lenoir then married
Margaret V. Siler on
May 14, 1872.
Major Lenoir and his
sons built several buildings in Lenoir's Station.
Some of these include the family home (1821), the
general store, the cotton mill (1834), the flour mill,
the Lenoir Inn, and Trinity United Methodist Church
(1867). Major Lenoir
died in 1852. William, Israel
Picks, Waightstill Avery, and Benjamin
formed the company William Lenoir and Brothers to
continue to run these businesses.
During the Civil War, the Union troops invaded Lenoir's
Station and began burning down many of the buildings
because the Lenoir's were Confederate Sympathesizers.
The general store and the railroad depot were the
first hit by the fire. The Union troops were planning
on burning the cotton mill, but it was spared at the
last moment. Tradition has it that Dr.
Lenoir walked up and down the troops frantically
making the secret Masonic sign until he found members
of the Masonic Order. He then talked them into sparing
the cotton mill.
Many of the buildings and homes built by the Lenoir
family are still standing today. Some of these include
the Albert Lenoir Home,
the Major William Ballard Lenoir
Home, the Walter Franklin Lenoir
Home, and the Lenoir Cotton Mill.