AN UPDATE ON THE KNOB CREEK DISTRICT
April 21, 2013
AN UPDATE ON THE KNOB CREEK DISTRICT
By: Judge John L. Kiener
The period of significance listed in the Knob Creek Historic District designation is 1750-1799 and 1925 to 1949. The description of the “diamond-shaped” area stated that it included nearly 137 acres with Indian Ridge on the northwest, an unnamed ridge on the southeast, the Clinchfield Railroad on the southwest and State Route 137 on the northeast. The railroad tunnel in the district is currently the subject of replacement planning by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. In all likelihood, it will have an adverse effect on the historic nature of the property. Holley has written the following updates and corrections to the original Knob Creek Historic District Nomination Form –
Ruth Krouse House. It was not built in 1934 but in 1912 by Jacob Krouse, Margaret’s great uncle and brother of her grandmother Isabell Krouse Sherfey. He and his wife Martha Pritchett and children lived in the home until 1916 when Jacob built a weather board house to the left of the Krouse residence. The house has now been moved to another location. The original home was located near what is now the North Point Medical Building. A large spring on the property is bubbling up as a rough and wet place at the intersection of Oakland and Market Place Blvd.
The barn on the property was pushed over and burned. The same is true of other outbuildings on the property. The stone chimney for the log house built about 1800 was not the foundation for the home built in 1934. There was a log house that Margaret’s Uncle Jake lived in with his wife Martha Pritchett while building the Ruth Krouse home. Ruth was his granddaughter. The log house was a few feet to the west of the Krouse home. Ruth sold the log house to Charles Roller and he built another house out of the logs.
Ruth and her brother J. C. Krouse sold their land and buildings in about 1994. In 2013, they still live in Johnson City.
The Homer Sell House, now standing as a restaurant called Café Pacific, was built in about 1915. There was a shed roofed open barn that was torn down by the owner Dr. Donald F. Tarr.
Margaret comments that in the Genealogy & History article dated September 25, 2012 under “Property Abstract” the land description to the Bashor Mill states the real estate is on the water of Knob Creek & Indian Ridge with title granted to William Cox. From the book titled “NORTH CAROLINA LAND GRANTS IN TENNESSEE, 1778-1791” complied by Goldene Fillers Burger, the Cox property was not on Knob Creek. It was on Millers Creek.
The initial Grant Number 512 of 400 acres to Charles Duncan was issued on November 10, 1784 but was not entered until November 28, 1778 in Deed Book 69, Page 109 describing the property as “on Nobb Creek.” Subsequently, Duncan had a second land grant of 113 acres issued August 16, 1787 “on the waters of Knobs Creek” and recorded as Tennessee deed No. 496 (Grant Number 759).
The Historic Register Nomination Form says the house at the mill was built in 1915. It does not seem possible that the Henry Bashor children were born there since Henry and his wife left Tennessee sometime before 1866.
SOME OTHER PROPERTIES
The Charles Duncan House was built about 1785 with an addition in the 1930s. The present owners, George and Margaret Holley, restored the log house in 1995. Margaret’s mother, Mrs. John Sherfey, was not a resident of the Duncan log house in 1906. She arrived on Knob Creek after her marriage to John Sherfey in 1921. She died in 1991.
Charles Duncan’s daughter Stacy married James Melvin. Mary Duncan married William Melvin and Joel Duncan married Jane Melvin.
The Sell house build in the 1830s partially burned down in 1988. Later it was torn down. The location is now the parking lot of Kohl’s Store. Marian Sell is deceased.
The steeple on the Knob Creek Church of the Brethren was added in 1997 or 1998. The Church was built in 1904. Religion was important to the settlers. Many of the families were of German descent, including the Krouses and the Bowmans, who established the Church. The Knob Creek Church of the Brethren was sometimes called the German Baptist Church. The congregation built a log house in 1834 to hold services, but that was replaced in 1905 by the present structure. Oak Hill School, built in 1886, was moved to Jonesborough and is now used by the Heritage Alliance to give students an experience in 19th century education.
The Miller House, built between 1810 and the 1820s, and was owned by George W. Hamilton at the time of the nomination for Historic District status. The home was torn down but the house logs were saved by Hamilton’s son.
Danver Minga, owner of the Peter Bowman house on the date of the nomination, is now deceased. Robert Minga, owner, then allowed developers to tear down the house and barn.
The Bowman Cemetery is now cared for by the Knob Creek Church of the Brethren. The Carathers-Tester Cemetery is also known as the Duncan-Melvin Cemetery. It was established in the 1840s but today is not very well maintained. Charles Duncan is buried there.
Samuel Fain received a land grant in 1783. The location of Fain’s home is not known. His land grant was west of the Charles Duncan House. The reference to a Peter Baldwin’s house as “four-square” with a hip roof should be to Peter Bowman’s home. A later building, the Homer Sell House, combines the “four-square” and a bungalow to form a semi-bungalow house.