The History of Pine Knot
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Submitted by Peggy Wilson
Following the disastrous election and losing the county seat, Pine Knot continued to grow.
The Stephens Grist Mill was built in the early 1800’s and was probably one of the earliest in this area. The 1850 Whitley County census indicates that Joshua Stephens, born 1785, was a “miller,” Joshua obtained a 50-acre land grant on the waters of Marsh Creek. “The Mill” is mentioned in the will of Joshua Stephens. His sons Elijah and Lewis were operating the mill during the Civil War. Historians tell us that the mill was located near the Jacksboro Road, an important north/south route. The mill was used for wheat grinding and wool-carding. “Millers” worked for a “toll.” He didn’t grind for money. It is not known how long the The Stephens’ Mill stayed in the Stephens family.
Christopher King bought the mill in 1931. Obviously, the “mill” was still operational. Mr. King sold the mill sometime after 1959.
There were several mills located in this area. The Stephens Mill was operational longer than other mills.
Early business that grew in the beginning of Pine Knot, on Railroad Street, with the Creekmore Hotel, John Morgan, and J. J. Wilson store. (The John Morgan store was one of the largest, with a large selection of dry goods). Later, there was a pool hall, Morgan Café, the 2nd post office, and The Tom Wood Store.
More Pine Knot, Stores and churches were built
The Planing Mill
The “planing Mill” was built by Manuel Creekmore in the early 30’s with very modern equipment and employed several men. Mr. Creekmore also owned a store on Pine Knot’s Main Street, selling hardware, groceries, shoes, and livestock feed. There was an eight room apartment upstairs where the manager of the store lived.
Coffey Cordell, another Pine Knot entrepreneur, had big dreams for Pine Knot. He owned hundreds of acres in south Pine Knot. “The Coffey Cordell Mines” were very productive for a time, with “Cordell Script.” He had a very large home with the only “landscaped garden in Pine Knot for his wife.
The I.W. Davis general store and Café
I.W. Davis General Store and Café was known for special meals and as a meeting place for different organizations. This is where their daughter Anna met and married Mitchell Fannin, who was staying at the Can Baird Hotel.
Mr. Fannin built and ran a skating rink and clothing store, south of The Davis Café. Mitchell later became a legislator in Frankfort and brought many needed improvements to the county
Homes in the south end of Pine Knot and across from the depot on the east side included Ms. Sallie Davis, who owned a two-story house/boarding house. Photographer Cal Chaney built a large Victorian home with wrap-a-round porches. Another fine home belonged to Myrtle Davis, who was the only taxi service in Pine Knot. The Galimores also built a large two-story home.
Note: That is just a few fine homes that were built in this growing town.
The Congregational Community Church was built by a group from New England. The pews were designed in the shape of a cross, with stained glass windows. Bible school and high school classes were held there. The church didn’t survive and was later sold to The Pine Knot Christian Church.
surrounded Pine Knot
Cal Hill: Cal Hill was named for pioneer settler Calvin Stephens. The community was made up of several farms: The Harmons, The Garlands, James and Lottie Kidd, Sid Stephens Sr, and later Sid Jr.. A large (Jr. OUAM) Hall was built, and missionary schoolteachers came to the community and taught school in the “Jr. Hall” before a public schools was built.
Creekmore: Their post office was established on January 3, 1893, and was named for their first postmaster Embry Creekmore. Also, Hayes Creek, located near Creekmore.
Pleasant Run and Holly Hill: Pleasant Run got its name from Peasant Run Creek; at one time called/named “Ashton.” Duck Run, located in on the area known as the “three C. Road,” also known as Bear Wallow.
Strunks Lane/Strunk- Silerville: The Post Office was established as Strunks Lane on February 18, 1892, The name was changed to Strunk in 1894 ,probably named for George W. Strunk.
Toe-Wad Mine: Owner Coffey Cordell, on land given to him by the L. E. Bryant Land Company, who had done work for them. The mines were very small and had very poor working conditions and did not last long. The Toe-Wad Pond primary use was for steam trains, but was used for baptizing.
The “Marrying Place: Yes, there was a “marrying place”!” the late surveyor Al Kuester showed me on a map where this place was located. If you see this on your ancestor’s marriage certificate don’t be alarmed! I changed mine to “The Marion Place” until I learned of this special place.
(continued in next week’s Voice)