Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was created 06 Sep 2008


The History of the Dahl Family

By BECKY BROWN WEST Contributing Columnist

Frank Otto Johanson and Louise Christine Pettersson were born and raised in a rural area of Central Sweden. She was from the village of Rurnskulla in the province of Smoland and he was from Krokshndt. After they were married, they lived in Eksjo where he worked in a state school for the handicapped. The two oldest children, Hilda and Esther, were born there.

The name Dahl was chosen when a member of the family in Sweden entered the military. How long this name had been used we do not know.

Esther Dahl Brown

Frank and Louise Dahl had ten children: Hilda, Esther, Frank, Anna, Hulda, Jennie, Carl, Albert, Julia and Inez. The two oldest children, Hilda and Esther (my great-grandmother) were born in Eskjo, Sweden before their parents came to America. They emigrated from Goteborg, on the west coast, to New York City in 1888. He had three brothers: Daleen, Victor, and Charlie and two sisters: Lena Swindell and Hannah Rogers in Pennsylvania, who were their sponsors. There were two sisters, Hulda Charlotta and Ida, who remained in Sweden.

In 1907 they moved to Konnarock, Virginia where he became the logging contractor for the company. The company moved everyone from Pennsylvania to Virginia to the area which is now Mt. Rogers State Park. They built a power plant, sawmill, store, church, school, hand pavilion, boarding house and several houses for their workers from their own lumber. The primary transportation was a narrow-gauge railroad from Abingdon, Virginia to West Jefferson, North Carolina, with a daily train which was called the "Virginia Creeper." The crews also were transported into the woods by rail, and the logs were hauled out by rail.

The company also paid for several school teachers, with an ordained minister serving as principal, and was pastor of the non-denominational "Konnarock Christian Association."

"Great-Grandma" Dahl ran the boarding house which had rooms for the single men and town visitors. It was a family-run operation, and one by one the children went off to school or were married. This is where my grandfather Meredith Brown met his wife, Esther Dahl

In 1915, Frank was injured in an accident and died a few days later in an Abingdon hospital. The elder brother, Elmer, finished the remaining terms of the logging contract, and the family moved to Johnson City, Tennessee in 1918.

Great-Grandma Dahl was raised a Lutheran, the state church of Sweden, but she joined the First Christian Church when she moved to Johnson City. She requested immersion but told the congregation that she had been baptized but she wanted to be immersed. Grandma died in her own home in June 1947, and is buried in the Sinking Springs Cemetery in Abingdon, Virginia next to Papa Dahl.

Dahl Family (1913) First row, from left: Jennie, Ruth, Esther Dahl Brown, Anna, Margaret, Hilda, Louise Christine Peterson Dahl (mother), Raymond (grandson), and Frank Otto Johanson Dahl (father). Back row: Mildred, Julia, and Inez.

I asked my Aunt Kathy Symanski why her mother had cone to America. She said it was for "freedom" and because of the Irish Potato Famine. My grandmother was born in Eksjo. Sweden.

William Meredith Brown was born on January 11, 1885 in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He was the son of John Robert Allen and Gisie Caroline Shumaate Brown. There were seven other children: Martha, Rhoda, Major, Fletcher, Quincy, Monroe and Millard. He was a lumber inspector for Ritter Lumber Company. He had gone to Konorock, Virginia, and was staying at the boarding house run by my grandmother's mother, Louise Christine Petersson Dahl. This is where he met my grandmother, Esther Dahl. They were married on May 12, 1913.

My grandfather, William Meredith Brown, died on March 23, 1969, in Virginia. My grandmother, Esther Victoria Louise Dahl Brown, died on October 14, 1935. William Meredith Brown was active in the Methodist Church throughout his life. He was the Sunday School Superintendent, song leader, and a Sunday School Teacher. My grandmother Esther was also a Sunday School Teacher. She died in 1935 from cancer.

Their sons Laurence and Ralph were born in Coburn, Virginia, and their son Bill (my father) and their daughter Kathy were both born in McClure, Virginia.

My father, William Meredith Brown, Jr., was born on September 21, 1922 and came to Scott County with Ritter Lumber Company. He was the bookkeeper and lived at the store in New River when he met my grandmother, Clara Jo Smith, the daughter of Laurence (Star) and Thelma Tallasen Smith. She was born on June 8, 1930. He had an Indian motorcycle that he rode when he first came to the county. He and my mother were married on June 3, 1940 in Oneida. Tennessee. They had four children: Sylvia, myself, Meredith and Michael.

My father was Sunday School Superintendent and Treasurer at the First United Methodist Church in Oneida. This was the church in which I was raised.

My mother, Clara Jo Smith Brown, died on July 17, 1988, in Knoxville, Tennessee. My father, William Meredith Brown, Jr., died on August 15, 1998, in Clinton, Tennessee.

Sylvia Louise Brown Billingsley was born May 4, 1951 in Whiteville, North Carolina. She graduated from St. Mary's School of Nursing in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is employed as a Registered Nurse by the Scott County Health Department. She married Don E. Billingsley. They have four children: Byron Don, Welsey Roy, Seth Jordan, and Jacob Andrew.

Byron is married to Bethany Richard and they reside in Cookeville, Tennessee. They have a son, Elijah Gray. Wesley married Michelle Chambers, and they reside in Cookeville. Seth married Jahohn Whitford and they live in Smithville. They have a daughter, Samantha Brook.

My brother Michael Brown was born February 13, 1955. He graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee in 1978 with an undergraduate double major in Microbiology and Zoology, and earned his Masters in Public Health, with an emphasis in Occupational Safety and Health, in 1980. He has worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in various jobs since 1980, and currently works for the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities; Division of Human Development and Disability. For the last four years he has had oversight responsibility for the Division's $55+ million budget, and has the direct responsibility for the expenditure of approximately $6 million for the SGDD Team (he is the project officer for all their contracts and cooperative agreements). He lives in the Grant Park neighborhood in Atlanta, in a home originally built in between 1902 and 1905 that he has been restoring.

Becky Brown West was born on December 31, 1952 in Whiteville, North Carolina. I married Frank West, son of William E. (Champ) and Wilma West of Scott County. We have two sons, Joe Franklin of Oneida, and Lance Dustin of Helenwood. Joe lives in Oneida and was married to Tiffany Phillips and their son is Houston Cole. Lance married Misty Anderson and they reside in Helenwood. Their, children are Lance Austin and Gabriel Phoenix.

I have been employed at the Tennessee Technology Center at Oneida for the past 36 years. Frank is an owner and vice president of Denim Processing in Oneida.

My brother William Meredith Brown, III was born May 14, 1962 in Oneida. He graduated front Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro in 1985, and began his own business, Serve Tech Industrial Products and Services. His business is in Murfreesboro, where he resides with his wife, Chinicia Leonard Brown. He has two step-children, Shane, 16, and Joshua, 6.

William Meredith Brown
(1885-1969)

William Meredith Brown, Jr.
(1922-1998)

Brown siblings (from left) Laurence, Ralph, Kathleen, and W. M. (Bill) Brown, Jr., children of Wm. Meredith and Esther Brown

Brown siblings (from left) Becky Brown West, Michael Brown, Meredith Brown and Sylvia Brown Billingsley.

Bill and Kathy Brown

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 18, No. 1 Fall 2006
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
(p6-7)


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