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TN History for Kids

Loudon County

The Blair Ferry Storehouse

There aren't many structures built in 1834 that are still standing, and only one (to the best of our knowledge) whose ownership became the subject of a pre-Civil War Tennessee Supreme Court case.

We're talking about the Blair Ferry Storehouse, which was built by entrepreneur James Blair in 1834 and then claimed (along with the entire town surrounding it) by a Cherokee Indian named Pathkiller. It took 15 years, but in 1850 the court ruled in Blair's favor. He died the next year, and the name of the town was later changed to Loudon, in honor of the French & Indian War fort that used to exist in this part of Tennessee (although the fort's name is spelled LoudoUn).

And here's an interesting story told at the Lenoir City Museum, a wonderful little place to learn about this corner of Tennessee:

The Lenoir Cotton Mill
PHOTO: Library of Congress

During the Civil War, the largest employer in town was a cotton mill, owned by Dr. Benjamin Ballard Lenoir (whose father founded Lenoir City). When the Union Army got to town, they burned the Lenoir’s general store because the family supported the Confederacy.

But before they got to the cotton mill, Dr. Lenoir gave the secret Masonic handshake to several of the Union officers – so they didn’t burn it down. (The Masons are a secret international brotherhood.)

The cotton mill survived the Civil War and the 130 years that followed it, only to be burned to the ground in the 1990s by an arsonist.

Today the site of the mill is maintained as a local historic park.

 

 

 

The Loudon County Courthouse was a challenge to photograph, since it was late in the afternoon and the sun was setting fast.

Loudon County

County seat: Loudon

Population (2015 estimate): 51,130

See also: Lenoir City Museum