Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was created 06 Sep 2008

Reflections Of The Past: Glenmary

Contributing Columnist

Before there was a Scott County there were people living along the creeks, in the coves and on top of the ridges in the area that became Glenmary.

Two of the creeks, Webb and Davis, were named for early settlers. Some of the first settlers living along Black Wolf Creek at the head were named LEWALLEN, HAMBY, YOUNG and PEAK. Henchie Redman lived below where Black Wolf and Davis Creek join, the area that now belongs to Dr. GEORGE KLINE. The DAVIS family had extensive land holdings in this area and above the JOEL McCARTT place. It was on Dave’s place that a gristmill was operated by water power for grinding corn into meal. The McCARTT and WEBB families were also among the early settlers in Morgan County before this area became a part of Scott County. MATHEW YOUNG lived in the Campground area beyond Coal Hill. He was a very influential man in the early community as there was a church and a school provided on his land holdings. He was closely associated with the early Methodist circuit rider, A. B. WRIGHT, and was a relative of W. JABE CROOK from Ohio. JABE CROOK with JOHN HEAPS from England opened the first coal mine at Coal Hill in 1878.

With the coming of the railroad in 1800, and the building of a side track to the tipple, the coal and coke production began. In 1884, JABE CROOK sold his holdings to a group of businessmen from Lexington, Kentucky. The new company became Glenmary Coal and Coke Company. By 1889 this company accounted for most of the coal dug in Scott County. The coke production began in 1885 and continued until 1904.

The year 1880 was the year Glenmary got its name from a railway official who had two daughters, "Glen-man" and "Mary". He combined the two to make Glen-mary. This was the year a post office was established by the same name. Before that the post office had been Redman and Black Wolf Creek.

By 1806, there were 400 people living in Glenmary and about 5 times that many at Coal Hill. By 1888, there were disagreements between the work force and management at Coal Hill. In 1891 a contract was entered into to do away with periods of shut down at work. There was a Knights of Labor lot in the Halfway area for men to campout on when workers were put out of company housing. At the beginning of the coal operation, there were no skilled workers in the area.

Many of these came from England, Wales or Scotland by way of Pennsylvania. This is evident by tombstones in the White Cemetery that show place of birth. Such names as HEAPS, NEATHERLY, DAVIDSON, CONNERS and TOOMEY. Many colored came, some who had worked on the railroad construction, others from the South.

By the turn of the century, Glenmary was the largest community in Scott County and one of the busiest.

The first lumber mill at Glemnary was known as Tennessee Coal and Lumber Company. It was to saw, cut and surface poplar, pine and hemlock.

The following from "Strolling" with BERT VINCENT was related by OTIS PEMBERTON while he was in the East Tennessee Hospital. OTIS remembered the covered bridge over Wolf Creek, one mile from Glenmary.

"We used the covered bridge to run into when it rained," he said. "The bridge was covered with lumber from virgin timber. My father, GATEWOOD PEMBERTON, cut the timber and logged it. "That place used to be known as Haggimore Town. It was named for BARB HALL HAGGIMORE who came down from Cincinnati.

"OTIS laughs in remembering the first sawing this Cincinnati man had cut from that timber tract. "You see, BART HALL didn’t know too much about sawing logs into lumber. So, says OTIS, the first log rolled into the saw carriage, it was about 18 feet long and as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

"He says Bart Hall got behind the carriage and sighted down the crooked log and then told his sawyer, HENRY BARGER, to move the crooked log over a little this way and then that way. HENRY BARGER did just what he was told.

"So, OTIS says, when Mr. BARGER started that saw it went right on through that crooked log, sawed the log into and about 12 feet of the whole log dropped off.

"Well, says OTIS, that was good for a big laugh from everyone but BART. After that no more crooked logs were sawed."

The HAGEMEYERS changed to a mill that would make hardwood flooring. Started in 1906, it also made weather-boarding and ceiling. This production called for dry kilns of which the company had 3 of the most modern at that time. Later they sold their interest here and moved on to Verdun, south of Oneida.

The HAGEMEYERS had a housing project along the Nydeck Road, in the area of the covered bridge and as early as 1916 oil and gas was discovered by drilling in this area. These homes were heated by gas. This is important to note because this was about the time coal mining shut down at Coal Hill. The lumber business was in full swing much of the timber was brought to the mill by wagon over the Nydeck Road from neighboring counties.

The lumber company had houses for laborers on Red Hill. The houses were built on the same pattern and near a spring that is still flowing. Later a well was drilled in a central location for all to use. Only one house was different from the others. The one used by the mill foreman, SYLVESTER WRIGHT, was largest to accomodate his large family.

Along the level land by Davis Creek, were homes, stores, saloons, boarding houses and one even called a "Bee Hive" for housing people. Dr. PITNEY PHILLIPS had an office above the PEMBERTON store until the late 20’s. In the early days he rode a horse from Robbins to Glenmary for his office visits. House calls were also made by the same transportation being used. Across the railroad tracks there were two company houses complete with bathrooms. These were for company officials. Above the Redman house and store there had also been a doctors office before Dr. PITNEY PHILLIPS’ time. A boarding house, saloon, hotel run by BABCOCKS, the depot and a school.

This school building was also used by the Baptist Church. Four academies were chartered in Scott County between 1881-1883 on the Secondary level. One of them was located in Glenmary. This school may have been one of them, since one of the TOOMEY girls told me about being in the 9th grade here. There were colored schools in Robbins and Glenmary from 1894-1908. A normal for colored teachers was held in Robbins in July 1894-95. Many local people from this area who could afford it went to the A. B. Institute at Burrville or to normals held for teachers at Huntsville.

By 1907 the Presbyterian Church at Glenmary was built. With this church came ministers, teachers and social workers from outside the area. The school connected with the church was of subscription type —parents paid for children attending. The lumber company even helped by cutting men’s wages about $2.00 per month to help with school expenses. This same year, 1907, a school was built at Halfway to accommodate pupils from both Coal Hill and Glenmary. School continued here until 1922 when a new 4 room school was built on top of the Hill above the Town of Glenmary and to the left of Red Hill. School continued here until the early 60’s when we had the school consolidation movement. Along about 1907 there was another connection with the outside area there was a telephone exchange operated by SHORT WRIGHT and later by IDA BURTON.

Glenmary was the Town for social organizations such as the Junior Order of the America, Masons and Eastern Star, and the Woodman of the World. Twice this year (1989) I have had descendants of people, who lived in Glenmary at this time and belonged to the J.O.A.M., bring badges to my house for my sisters and I to explain what they were. All of the social activities of Glenmary were not carried out in the saloons as these orgamzations provided social suppers, picnic and dances. They tried to teach patriotism by sponsoring such things as Flag Day. they also tried to encourage legislation that would bring about respect and love of country. However, there may have been times when members were "fired up" by spirits from the saloons. Glenmary was a rowdy town known for the many killings here. Many times fortified with drink from the saloon, armed with a gun which seemed to be the prized possession of most men and with tempers flaring easily, often a "killing" seemed to be the only way to settle a dispute. The most unusual one was in 1906 when GEORGE TODD and KINDRICK PEMBERTON became involved in a dispute, but only onç had a gun. When he had shot his oponent but did not kill him, the opponent took the gun and shot the owner. Both men died from the injuries they received. You might say "two men with one gun."

ANDREW R. LEWALLEN should be mentioned here, born in Morgan County in 1849. He was very active in politics and community affairs and was known as "Squire" LEWALLEN during his politically active years. He was a 50 year Mason before his death in 1937. Two of his sons, HOLLIS and CALVIN K. were teachers in the Glenmary area. HOLLIS was also a County Squire for many years. One son, JOHN G., became a preacher.

Not as politically inclined was a member of the WEBB family, Rev. JOHN WEBB, a Baptist minister who was ordained in 1885, performed many funerals and weddings before his death in 1925. A niece of his, MARGARET WEBB, became a teacher and was married to C. K. LEWALLEN, son of ANDREW R. LEWALLEN. They taught school at the same time in the Glenmary Presbyterian Church.

After the close of coal production, the laboring men just came to the lumber mill at Glenmary to work or to work on the railroad which had to be kept up. Then came World War I and women were used to work in the needed production of lumber boxes. BESSIE PEMBERTON ROSENBAUM, NELLIE LEWALLEN and PAULINE STEWART were some who did this work. This was a first for many young women who previously had only been able to work in homes as "hired girls."

One family, the GERNTS, had two hired girls. Two young women of that day also were able to work in the company store. EVA WALKER LEWALLEN England and MARGARET DAVIDSON BELL. This is interesting to note due to the fact it was near the time the 19th amendment to the Constitution was passed giving women the right to vote.

The 1920’s was a period for things to happen in Glenmary. Soon after World War I, an airplane came to Todd’s Bottom between Glenmary and Elgin, landed and spent the night. The pilot employed GUY "Shortie" SMITH to stay with the plane overnight. Everyone was curious to see this method of travel in the sky and the show of performance it could do. About this time cars made their appearance before there were suitable roads for them to run on. Then came the construction of U.S. 27 highway in the middle twenties.

In the Spring of 1927 there was a disastrous event. The lumber mill was destroyed by fire and many were heard to say, "there goes our living."

By this time the virgin timber had been cut and it did not seem profitable to rebuild. In 1929, there was a flood that even washed some of the buildings along Davis Creek from their foundations. Soon after came the bank failures that affected our whole country, next was the depression.

The only work left now for people in the area was that of the railroad. The railroad had been a very important part in the birth and development of Glenmary. It was

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not only a shipping method out for the coal mined here from the early 80’s until about 1915, buy Glenmary was a coaling station for engines on the Southern Railroad until about 1912. It was also for many years later, a "water station" as well as at the beginning. Just south of the depot was the water tank. A pumper pumped water from nearby Davis Creek and wells drilled in the creek bed. This was necessary for the steam engines but with the coming of the diesel engine in 1953, water was no longer necessary and the water tank was torn down.

By 1912-14, there were two local daily passenger trains in addition to four or five fast or through passenger trains daily. A telegraph office and express office were also located in Glenmary. It was a usual event for local people to ride one train up the track to the nearest station, get off and catch the next local back.

This was a Sunday event and usually was a social activity for the younger set — boy meets girl affair. There are still people working on the Southern Railroad who are the third generation of the same family from this area. Some of them are the LEWALLENs, JONES and GUNTERS.

One of the major train wrecks in Scott County on the Southern Railroad happened near Davis Creek at Glenmary. It happened after the flood in 1929 when the land along the track was still swampy and marshy. The train was a passenger train but the cars were of metal construction which offered protection to the many passengers. The engine left the main line and about half of it was embedded in the soft earth. All of the metal parts were not removed. There was considerable damage done to the rest of the train, but only the fireman and head breakman were killed. This was the wreck of "The Ponce DeLeon".

From MARISTON CHAPMAN’s book The Happy Mountain on Page 2, although the names of places are not exactly the same, the description of Glenmary is as true as it was in the early 1920’s.

"Sunk between Craig (Coal Hill) and Red Hill, Glen Hazard (Glenmary) had the look of being dropped in the hollow by four winds. The General Store, The Company Store, the Hotel and two or three sagging warehouses made up the town, but it seemed crowded owing to the stacked lumber surrounding it on all sides and bounding its black cinder streets. The trains had but just room to get through it and the Hardwood Lumber Mill, belching smoke and steam beyond the depot and covering the town with grime almost equal to a city’s blocked the low valley to the north. The bridge over the creek narrowed down traffic to the company store and the four legs of the water tank took up some space. The townsmen lived in box huts hung up on the sides of the two big hills that shut in the town from east and west; while on the south, where the railroad tracks snaked through the gap to the outland places, the deserted trestles and dumps of a worked-out coal mine spread their black skeletons. By the time saddle horses had been hitched in the town’s center and wagon teams slung to trees up the slopes, there was no more than free walking space in Glen Hazard."

The Happy Mountain was published in 1928, it was written by MARY ULSLEY CHAPMAN and STANLEY CHAPMAN. They combined the first part of each name to give them the author’s name MARISTAN CHAPMAN. MARY’s father, Mr. ULSLEY was an Englishman who bought 50 acres of land through the Board of Aid Land Company at Rugby. According to deed records at the Courthouse, he paid $272.00 for this land to ROBERT WALTON. The land was located on the Glenmary-Sunbright Road beyond Red Hill. He built first a home for himself then one for his daughter. This land was part of a tract, about 250 acres, conveyed to ROBERT WALTON by JOHN BUNYAN DAVIS and his wife for about $50.

The U.S. Highway 27 constructed in the middle 20’s and the Southern Railway are still there. The trains no longer have reason to stop — no passengers and nothing to ship out of the community. The highway is used by local people to drive other places for food, clothing, or to see the doctor, to work or just to leave the place. The only farming done in the area is that by Dr. GEORGE KLINE on the farm that once belonged to GROVER PEMBERTON and before GROVER, his father, GATEWOOD, and before the PEMBERTONs — the REDMANS.

From an area that once produced coal, coke and lumber from its natural resources, there is little left today for one to see of the town that used to be.

As a memorial to this place, we need to look at the Presbyterian Church built in 1907. The land was given by LINDSEY REDMAN, a Ms. CONNERS gave much of the material and furnishings. The bell was given by the JAMES TOOMEY family and cost $10.00 at time of purchase. The original windows and the building is the same the seats were built by ROBERT McCARTT and possibly some other men who worked at the lumber mill. There has been continuous service here, however, there never was a full-time Presbyterian minister, only supply persons. Before the church became Congregational in 1929, according to the Presbyterian Historical Society, the General Assembly Minutes do not show a minister at the church until 1920 when the Rev. RAYMOND C. RANKIN is listed as Stated Supply, however, he was also listed as Moderator in 1919. There was a period when there was no pastor or leaders but Sunday School was carried on by local people — Mr. and Mrs. FRED NEELY, Mr. and Mrs. JOHN MATTHEWS and Mr. and Mrs. EARNEST SUMMER. Then about 1936 the Congregational took over and have provided a pastor since that time. They continue to have service at the church although attendance is small.

Around 1931, GEORGE WATTS had a brick house built by the right side of U.S. 27 going south and just opposite the left turn off that goes across the railroad. He employed a brick mason by the name of Frank Saddawich who had been with the Southern Clay Brick Company at Robbins for years. It took two local men NOBEL BARGER and FRED STOREY to keep him brick and "muck" handy for the laying of the brick in the two story building. The lower floor was used as store and post office. The upper story was used for living quarters for the WATTS family since 1932. The building is used today by a grandson, GARY WATTS.

Land was acquired and dedicated in the late 30’s for the Baptist Church that now stands where the company barn once stood. It was puchased from GATEWOOD PEMBERTON for $50.00. The building was not finished until 1944. According to HERMAN and NETTLE JONES who are charter members of the church and still reside in Glenmary on the East side of the railroad. The first pastor of this church was DEWEY THOMAS. The attendance is good and the church is growing. Just last year there was additional classroom space added.

As you drive through you will see signs that say "horse ride". There is a group made up of people interested in horses and riding. They participate in wagon rides and trail trips in various parts of East Tennessee.

They use secondary and unpaved roads around the area. There is a campout place for the riders at the old JOE McCARTT place now owned by JIMMY YOUNG. This place is located about 3/4 mile beyond where you turn off to go to the coke ovens.

The only other activity going on in the community is the dismantling of the Redman house which was built about 1902.

The future is hard to predict for a town almost gone. There are no resources left except the land and the remaining people.

The little towns of Glenmary and Coal Hill were so much a part of each other that in 1940 when the urge for a reunion took place, the place decided upon was underneath the large oaks at Coal Hill. These events were well attended and continued until 1956. They were attended by both white and black people. There was a stand for gospel singing, and for those who wanted to speak. Food was either brought from home or purchased from food stands put up for the event There was visiting all day — if you didn’t know someone or memories had slipped about an acquaintance, there was an introduction and renewal right away by saying I’m so and so and who are you.

According to H. Clay Smith in his book Dusty Bits of the Forgotten Past, he found a message from Mr. Wallen which had been delivered on June 19,1949 to the reunion at Coal Hill. The words were to the effect that it had been good for the people to be together again that, it could be the last time but that there would be another meeting in that great homecoming in the sky when time on earth shall be no more.

The following poem is another persons thoughts about the reunions. Notice they called it "The Reunion at Glenmary, Tennessee". The poem pretty well sums up how important feelings were about friends, memories, school, church and yes, the cemetery at Coal Hill and similar to Mr. WALLEN’s speech, the end of life comes on earth when crossing into eternity comes. This poem was written by Bertha Neatherly Bryant


There’s a day in each year so dear to us all,
And that day is coming soon
When we hold our reunion at Glen Mary, Tenn.,
On the twentieth day of June.

There we meet our friends and loved ones
Who have drifted miles apart;
We greet each other with laughter and tears
And joy in each of our hearts.

Of course there are more beautiful places,
But none so dear to us;
As we gather together from far and near,
By automobile, train and bus.

There are many memories so dear to our hearts,
But right here I’ll give you a hunch;
You may look the wide world over,
You can’t find a more jolly bunch.

As time and tide go marching on,
These memories grow more dear;
When we think of the days so long ago,
We pause to wipe a tear.

There’s the little church by the side of the road,
Where we learned the golden rule;
But the little white house has long since gone,
Where we spent happy days in school.

There’s a hallowed place on the brow of the hill,
Where our loved ones peacefully sleep;
But we’ll be re-united in the sweet bye and bye,
When the Good Shepherd gathers His sheep.

As we meet together year after year,
There’s always an absent one whom we love
That the Angel of Death has removed from our view,
To that "grand" reunion above.

On the day when the twentieth of June comes around
I would not for all the world miss
Seeing all the faces of my childhood friends,
Just to laugh, sing, play and reminisce.

When the curtain of Life for us goes down,
And we cross that crystal sea
I know there will be one corner reserved
For our "reunion" from Glen Mary, Tennessee.

So we hope the sky will be sunny and bright,
But should it be cloudy and gray,
Just look for us both — it will take more than rain
To keep Charley and me away.

— Bertha Neatherly Bryant

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Summer 1989
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
(p4, 8)

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