The Fentress County Historical Society is pleased to welcome a new student intern who is now working on special projects at the Society Museum in Allardt.  Jonathan Taubert, a student at Roane State Community College’s Jamestown campus, has been working on special projects at the museum during the winter semester and will return for the spring semester. “We are very pleased to have Jonathan at the Museum,” said Mary Robbins, Chairman of the Museum Committee.  “He is working on a project to catalog and compile and create a database of the Fentress County Historical Society Museum holdings.  This is an important step forward for the Museum and the Society is pleased to have this resource made available both for in-house use and to make available to the public.”

Jonathan is a Fentress County native and a 1993 graduate of York Institute.  The son of Jessie Taubert and the late Charles Taubert, he has lived out of the area for many years, returning due to his parents’ failing health. “During the years that I lived away from Fentress County,” he said, “I visited a lot of historic places and found myself drawn to learn about the sites, the areas where they were located and the people who had lived there.  So, it was only natural, when I returned home to continue that interest and do research into the history of my own home county”

This interest led him to the Fentress County Historical Society where he found a need for his research and extensive computer skills.  Fortunately, he was enrolled in the SERV 1010 course at Roane State.  This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to discover more about their community by serving with a local not-for-profit organization.  Jonathan immediately approached the Society with the offer to serve the organization at the museum.  This work-study arrangement is proving to be very worthwhile to both the Society and to Jonathan. “SERV 1010 is a great course,” he said, “and I am enjoying and learning from the projects that I am doing for the Fentress County Historical Society.  This quarter and my first project are just about completed; but I am looking forward to continuing with my work here in the spring.”

If there are other Roane State Community College students in Fentress County who are interested in and eligible for the SERV 1010 course, they are urged to contact Mr. John Brown, Professor of Political Science, at brownjn2@roanestate.edu.

Jonathan Taubert

2016 Pumpkin Festival Activities

Is this year’s Pumpkin Festival on your schedule for this Saturday?  If not, be sure to pencil it in!

There will be a full day of activities, good music and good food.  And, of course, opportunities to visit with family and friends and be amazed at the size of those pumpkins competing for prizes and bragging rights!  It’s all conveniently located in and around the Allardt City Park.

While you are in Allardt for this great annual event, don’t forget to stop by the Fentress County Historical Society Museum, which is located in the old Gernt Land Office next to Burnett’s gas station at the four-way stop.

The Museum will be open from 8am to 4pm.  Historical Society members will be present to welcome visitors and answer questions about the Museum’s artifacts and documents.  There will be a bake sale and a book sale.  In addition to a variety of delicious baked goods, there will be canned goods and other food items as well as hot and cold beverages for sale.  If you want to learn more about the history of Fentress County and, perhaps, the history of your own family, more than likely you can find a book here that will include helpful and interesting information to further your own research.

If you would like to become a member of the Fentress County Historical Society, board members and volunteers will be on hand to accept your membership application and answer any questions you might have about the Society, its purpose, programs, activities and goals.  They will also be glad to discuss the Museum’s volunteer opportunities with you.

We look forward to seeing you, Saturday.  In the meantime, if you would like additional information, visit our website, www.fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org or our Facebook page.  You may also call the Museum at 931-879-7592.

An Overview of the Civil War with an Emphasis on Tennessee and Fentress County, presented by Thomas Potter


Thomas Potter, local attorney, will speak at the Fentress County Historical Society’s May program.  His topic will be An Overview of the Civil War with an Emphasis on Tennessee and Fentress County.  

The program will be presented in the large courtroom of the Fentress County Courthouse, Thursday, May 19, 4:30 – 6:00pm.  Mr. Potter, who is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law, received his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Middle Tennessee State University.  Having been interested in the Civil War since high school, he found that being surrounded by many sites significant to the history of that war was a strong incentive to learn more about this period in Tennessee history.  He soon became knowledgeable enough about sites such as Stones River Battlefield, the Beech Grove Confederate Cemetery, the Franklin Battlefield and others, to take visiting friends and Relatives on informal tours. His interest in Civil War history has continued till today; and he is an avid reader of such authors as Ed Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, Thomas Cartwright, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the Battle of Franklin, Eric Jacobson, who is also nationally recognized as a Civil War historian and scholar, and, of course, Shelby Foote, whose massive Civil War trilogy, The American Civil War, is a must-read for serious students of that war.  

Besides sharing information gained from time spent exploring significant Civil War sites in Tennessee and years spent reading the works of authors knowledgeable about the subject,  Mr. Potter will also discuss how this war affected Fentress County and the locations of some of our own important sites and the events that took place there.  Thomas Potter is married to Nancy, his wife of thirty-eight years.  They have two daughters, both of whom, like their father, are graduates of Middle Tennessee State University.  He is a Rotarian and a member of the Board of Directors of the Fentress County Historical Society.  In addition to adding to his knowledge of the Civil War, he enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, camping and target shooting.

The Fentress County Historical Society invites everyone to come out to the Fentress County Courthouse, Thursday, May 19, 4:30 – 6:00pm for the program, Overview of the Civil War with Emphasis on Tennessee and Fentress County, presented by Thomas Potter.  There will be opportunities to ask question and a list of books about the war will be available.  Refreshments will be served.


Arts and Crafts Bloom at Spring Roundup

Photo by Nelson Matthews

Photo by Nelson Matthews

The Fentress County Historical Society’s Spring Heritage Day Roundup is less than two weeks away, and excitement is building as the event continues to grow. The focus of this year’s event, the twenty-sixth, is Fentress County Arts and Artists: Past and Present. The Roundup will be held at York Elementary School, Saturday, April 30, starting at 9am and continuing till 3pm. Perhaps one of the largest in recent years, the 2016 Spring Heritage Day Roundup will be spread out on the school grounds and continued inside the cafeteria and the gymnasium. Many artists, craft artists, musicians, storytellers, authors, genealogists and others are expected to be on-site to demonstrate, exhibit, perform and share their knowledge of history, genealogy and more. Several participants will also offer their work for sale.

Participants are continuing to register for the Roundup and a final list, along with the day’s schedule, will be printed in the Courier, next week. Below is a partial list of individuals expected, along with the art form that each will be presenting:

  • Shelia Hall: Quilt maker and seamstress. Embroidery demonstration.
  • Debby Johnson: Children’s book author. Will talk about how her first book, Anya and the Secrets of Cupola, relates to history. Quill pen maker.
  • Angie McLain: Pastel artist. Works in watercolors and creates one-of-a-kind handcrafted greeting cards.
  • Kerry McLaughlin: Creates glass art, yard art, designs for shepherd’s hooks, bird feeders, and more.
  • Nelson Matthews: Outdoor photographer. Photography exhibit.
  • Denise Reagan: Photographer. Photography exhibit.
  • Johnny Roysden: Woodcarver. Demonstration and animal carving exhibit.
  • Cliff Thacker: Blacksmithing. Tool exhibit.
  • Kenny Tompkins: Woodworking exhibit and shaving horse demonstration.
  • Nancy Upchurch: Oil painting and print exhibit.
  • Jude Urbanski: Author. Will discuss her book about Chanute and several other books.
  • Jeff and Pam Wilson: Creators of handmade mosaic tiles. Exhibit and demonstration.
  • Lester Wilson: Chair maker and furniture refinisher. Exhibit and demonstration
  • Mrs. Lester Wilson: Makes corn shuck dolls and handcrafted soaps. Exhibit and Demonstration.

Also expected are: Dustin Mills, who uses a metal detector to research old building sites. He will demonstrate the use of the metal detector for those who are interested in learning to use it for their own research. Shawn Gray, who researches and writes in several Upper Cumberland counties, will have a book table. He is active in the Overton County Historical Society. Michael Bonioi, with the Cumberland County Archives, will also be present, as will Bruce York, who has a large Fentress County genealogy database. Kathy Williams will present the First Families of Fentress County and the Fentress County Historical Society will have local history books for sale.

The Spring Roundup would not be complete without the performing arts. The lineup for this year’s event, includes: Leonard Anderson, folk musician; The Singing Rexroats, Southern Gospel singers; Alice Bowden, Heartstrings; Denise Reagan, folk and ballad musician; The Fentress County Bluegrass Boys, and “Elvis” (Justin Miller) will recreate the King of Rock.

Storytelling will be very much a part of the program. Jim Buck, local storyteller, will tell his story of The Forgotten War. Dr. William Lynwood Montell will tell ghost stories from his book, Ghosts Along the Cumberland. Linda Jones, of Grey Gables, will tell stories of early life in Rugby and exhibit and talk about clothing that was worn by the ladies of the British colony during its early years.

Barbecue plates will be available for lunch in the school cafeteria.

The sound system for the day’s program will be provided by Justin Miller.

According to Willie Beaty, Chairman of the Fentress County Historical Society, and Debbie Delk, Society President, registration is still open for the Spring Roundup; and Fentress County artists and craft artists are encouraged to contact the Society for more Information or to register:

Willie Beaty: 879-7622 or Tom Potter: 879-3006

The Fentress County Historical Society Spring Roundup 2016 is free and open to the public. It is an event that families and friends can enjoy together while learning about the history and heritage of this place we call home – Fentress County, Tennessee.

Bill Landry visit’s Fentress County and becomes an honorary citizen

Bill Landry autographing his books for attendees at his program at the courthouse.

Bill Landry receiving the Honorary Citizen of Fentress Certificate from First District County Commissioner, Jimmy Johnson.  John Mullinix, with the Fentress County Historical Society is on the left.

Heritage Day to be held in Fentress County April 30th

For twenty-six years in a row, the Fentress County Historical Society has held a History Week and Roundup event with excellent attendance and participation from local historians, genealogists and visitors from Carolina to California. This year’s one-day event now being billed as Heritage Day Roundup will be at the York Elementary School on April 30, 2016 beginning at 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The theme chosen for this year is “Fentress County Arts and Artists: Past and Present,” and will feature inside displays that exhibit the history of some of Fentress County’s most notable artists of all kinds, pictures of their particular art forms, plus spell-binding stories told by local storytellers and live musical performers. In addition, numerous outside exhibits and demonstrations of historical and current art forms will be set up around the grassy area. These “show and tell” artists and craftsmen will take you back to an earlier time, when such skills were used for both life sustenance and pleasure, and some will have their artistic results for sale.

Genealogy lovers will be able to browse and purchase some of the many books that have been published by local Fentress County residents including those printed or re-published by the Fentress County Historical Society. Bruce York will be on site with his over 350,000-name database of individuals who have lived in, or passed through Fentress County. If you have a “brick wall” that you haven’t been able to break through, come and ask Bruce for help. He might be able to take you back another generation or more in your family tree. We are inviting local artists to participate by setting up a tent or shelter and whatever is required to exhibit and demonstrate their art forms. The categories of art forms and artistic expression are numerous, and all are welcome. Here are a few examples:

  • Storytelling
  • Basketry
  • Blacksmithing
  • Weaving
  • Woodcarving
  • Chair Making
  • Horseshoeing
  • Appalachian, Folk Ballad, Bluegrass and Southern Gospel Music
  • Soap-making
  • Quilting
  • Painting (oils/pastels/watercolors/pencil)
  • Face-painting
  • Pottery
  • Churning
  • Literature/Poetry (authors present)
  • Photography
  • Calligraphy
  • Printmaking
  • Puppetry
  • Ceramics
  • Jewelry Making
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Lace Making
  • Embroidery
  • Doll Making
  • Designing & Making Greeting Cards
  • Traditional & Unique Musical Instrument Crafters  (dulcimer/fiddle, canjo’s etc.; both creating and playing)
  • Welding
  • Knife-making
  • Games (Marbles/Jacks/Jump Rope, etc.)
  • Toy Making
  • Grave-dowsing
  • Gravestone carving
  • Gravestone cleaning

Between the hours of 10 and 2 pm, there will be a variety of storytellers and musical performances to entertain and help you reminisce about the simple pleasures and challenges of life as it was lived “back then”. Plate lunches and drinks will be available for purchase. For more information about how to participate in Heritage Day Roundup 2016 please call Debbie Delk 931-704-9299 or Willie Beaty 931-879-7622 or email wbeaty@twlakes.net .

Bill Landry of WBIR TV’s Heartland Series to be hosted by the Fentress County Historical Society

Bill Landry, narrator, host and co-producer of WBIR TV’s Heartland Series will present “A Celebration of a People andDisplaying 1936273_122469229056_2733137_n.jpgBill Landry of WBIR TV's "The Heartland Series" a Land”, Tuesday, March 8, 4:30pm and 6:00 pm, in the large courtroom of the Fentress County Courthouse.

A presentation of the Fentress County Historical Society’s Visiting Author Series, Bill will also sell and autograph his books, including Appalachian Tales and Heartland Adventures, Tellin’ It For the Truth and Buddy, Dog of the Smokies.

Bill has received two Emmy Awards for directing Heartland Series episodes and the prestigious Education in Appalachia Award from Carson-Newman College.

For over thirty years, he has written, produced and performed in his one-man play, Einstein the Man, which has been presented over 1,000 times in thirty-eight states and Canada.

He is deeply rooted in the Appalachian Region and serves on the Princess Theatre Board in Harriman and the Sequoyah Birthplace Board in Vonore. He also serves on the Tennessee Historical Commission, having been appointed by Governor Bill Haslam.

A graduate of Trinity University, the Dallas Theatre Center, with a Master of Fine Arts degree and a BA in literature from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Lincoln Memorial University and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The Fentress County Historical Society invites everyone to be at the Fentress County Courthouse, March 8, at 4:30pm or 6:00pm, to meet Bill Landry, hear his presentation and get autographed copies of his books. Refreshments will be served between presentations. Reservations and/or tickets are not required. Just come on out and enjoy this rare event!

Interested in learning more about the Fentress County Historical Society?  Visit our website at www.fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org and our Facebook Page. We would also like to have you visit the Fentress County Historical Society Museum at Allardt, open Saturdays 10am to 1pm (limited winter hours through March).

William Crouch Heirs to Crabtree & Williams

William Crouch Heirs to Crabtree & Williams


Fentress County Courthouse

Warranty Book L, page 547


“This Deed of Conveyance made by S V Bowden Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court of Fentress County Tenn to H. W. Williams a Citizen of Said County and State Witnesseth that whereas on the 8th day of April 1869 Jane Upchurch filed her Bill of Complain in the Chancery Court at Jamestown Tennessee against Elizabeth Crouch Martin Crouch Mark Gennings Anna Gennings James Kidd Martha Kidd Elias H. Crouch, George W. Crouch Admn. Of William Crouch decd. Alfred Jones Mary Jones James K. Redmon Margaret Redman Stokely Crabtree and Elizabeth Crabtree all residents of this State and Alexander Rich Elizabeth Rich Anna Cypress, Sarah Cypress, James Evans Nancy Evans David F. Crouch John R Morgan Elvira M. Morgan Timothy Buck Sarah Buck non residents of the State Alleging in Said Bill that William Crouch died intestate in 1868 leaving the above named parties complaints and defendants his only heirs. That said William Crouch at the time of his Death was the owner of Certain Real Estate in Fentress County and praying in said Bill for a sale of the same for Distribution of proceeds, and whereas all proper process issued as to the residents defendants and publications made as to non residents and whereas on the 7th August 1869 Martin Crouch and Elizabeth Crouch filed their Joint and Separate answer in Said Cause admitting the death of William Crouch as Charged in the Bill and That the heirs were correctly set forth and that he the said William Crouch died seized and possessed of Considerable real estate and the said Elizabeth, as the widow of the Said William Crouch asked that Dower be assigned her out of said realty and the said Martin Crouch agreed in said answer to a sale of said land and asked that his interest in the proceeds thereof be decreed to him, and whereas the following proceedings were had and Entered of record in said Cause to wit: At the October Special Term 1869 of said Court it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that all the residents defendants had been regularly served with process more than five days before the previous Term of said Court and that the non residents were regularly in Court by publication and that they had all failed to make defense Except Martin Crouch and Elizabeth Crouch Judgement for Confessed was rendered against all the other defendants and the Cause set for hearing exparte as to them   Their said Cause came in to be reheard before the Hon. H. C. Hamsted holding the Chancery Court at Jamestown Term upon Bill Answer of Elizabeth Crouch and Martin Crouch and Judgement of Confessed against all the other defendants when if appeared to the satisfaction of the Chancellor that William Crouch deceased died seized and possessed of the land mentioned in the pleadings and that Complaints and defendants were entitled to inherit the same as heirs and nearest surviving kin of the said William Crouch deceased Except Elizabeth Crouch who was the widow of deceased and Entitled to dower therein and the Court decreed accordingly and ordered the Clerk and Master to sell said land on a Credit of Six and twelve months Except the sum of Three hundred Dollars Cash in hand subject to the widows right of dower fixing the minimum price at Eight hundred dollars  At the December Tern 1870 the Clerk and Master B O Bowden made his report of sale from which it appeared to the court that after giving the legal notice the Master on the 11th day of December 1869 sold in obedience to said decree of Court the following lands to wit:...”


Aaron Astor cover

Fentress County Historical Society has announced that they will host the author of a recently released book on the Civil War featuring Fentress County and the Cumberland Plateau. The event will take place in the large court room in the Fentress County Courthouse on Thursday, July 16 between the hours of 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. Dr. Aaron Astor, Associate professor of history at Maryville College, will make two separate presentations of his newest book The Civil War along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and will repeat the same presentation at 6:00 p.m. for those who cannot make the 4:30 time. The 1-1/2 hour program will begin with a reception and refreshments provided by members of the historical society, followed by a powerpoint presentation, a time for questions and answers, and will conclude with an autograph party for those who purchase a copy of the book. “The Fentress County Historical Society is pleased to have Dr. Astor in our county to present and make available copies of his newest book on the Civil War, which recognizes and features the significant role of Fentress County and the surrounding Cumberland Plateau region during this devastating and divisive five-year conflict in our nation’s history,” stated Willie Beaty, a member of the Society. Although no major battles were fought in Fentress County, some of the worst ravages occurred here and along our neighboring Cumberland Plateau counties. Dr. Astor made a visit to Fentress County in early 2014, visiting civil war sites, interviewing others, and has spent considerable time in researching this part of our history,” Beaty concluded. Aaron Astor, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of History at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. He has written numerous articles, conference papers and book chapters on the Civil War era, focusing especially on the Upper and Border South. He is the author of the book, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri, 1860-1872, published in 2012 by LSU Press for its Conflicting Worlds: New Perspectives on the Civil War series. The History Press released his most recent book, The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, in May 2015. He has also written eleven articles for the award winning New York Times Disunion series, addressing such topics as guerrilla warfare, battles and campaigns in the Western Theater, popular politics, emancipation and race, and regional identity in the Appalachian South. Dr. Astor teaches at Maryville College, a private liberal arts college in Tennessee, where he covers a wide range of topics in American history from the Revolution to the present. He contributes to several Civil War preservation and public education organizations in Tennessee, and regularly speaks about the Civil War and regional identity in the Upper South. He is currently the President of the East Tennessee Civil War Alliance. He serves on the membership committee of the Southern Historical Association and the Society of Civil War Historians. He is currently working a book project that explores the 1860 Presidential election as a grassroots phenomenon from the perspective of four distinct American communities. Dr. Astor graduated from Hamilton College in 1995 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. Astor then entered Northwestern University where he earned his Master’s Degree in 2001 and Ph.D. in History in 2006. He has taught at Maryville College since 2007.




Exhibitors, Musicians & Storytellers Part of Heritage Day Roundup This Saturday!

The 25th Annual Heritage Day Roundup has “lengthened their stakes and strengthened their cords” for the 2015 event taking place between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm Saturday, May 2nd at York Elementary School.

This year, the Historical Society will also be selling plate lunches with choice of chicken quarters or pulled pork barbeque with baked beans, coleslaw, dessert and drink for $6.00. Exhibitors will be set up on the outside of York Elementary on the East parking area. All other activities will take place inside the cafeteria. Exhibitors will range from blacksmithing to sketch artist Ricky Wright and others, to crocheting, embroidery, to woodworking, chair bottoming demonstrations, how to make a canjo,  and white oak basket making. All exhibitors will have items they have made for sale.  Musicians will include Leonard Anderson, Casey Crabtree and the Fentress County Blue Grass Boys, Denise Reagan, and members of Heartstrings. Storytellers include Linda Konig, Peggy Sawyer, Jim Buck, Patsy Littrell and Kathy Williams.

A variety of displays and exhibits inside will broaden the theme of “Old Fashion Crafts, Music and Art Forms, and unusual ways of “making do” with what could be made by hand around the home and on the farm in the 19th and 20th centuries.



May 2, 2015

9:00 am – 3:00 pm


York Elementary School

218 School Avenue

Jamestown, Tennessee 38556

 Program Schedule

9:00 am - Register, enter name for door prizes, browse, displays & Demonstrations


9:40 am - MUSIC: Leonard Anderson Sings

9:55 am - STORY: Jim Buck “The unanswered Question”

10:15 am - MUSIC: Casey Crabtree & The Fentress County Blue Grass


10:30 am - STORY: Peggy Sawyer – “The Kate Bradford Stockton


10:50 am - FIRST FAMILIES PRESENTATIONS & Door Prize Drawing

11:00 am - BREAK FOR LUNCH

11:45 am - MUSIC: Denise Reagan – Songs from her New CD


12:00 pm - Scholarship Winner – Amy Wood

12:05 pm - STORY: Peggy Sawyer – “The Kate Bradford Stockton


12:25 pm - MUSIC: Janice Rich & Friends with members of


12:40 pm - 2nd Door Prize Drawings

12:45 pm - STORY: Linda Konig – “The Story of Miss Lizzie”

1:00 pm - MUSIC: Casey Crabtree & the Fentress County Blue

                     Grass Boys

1:15 pm - STORY: Kathy Williams – “Joe Kelly Kills a Bear”

1:25 pm - 3rd Door Prize Drawings

1:30 pm - STORY: Patsy Littrell “The First Baptist Quilt Story”

1:45 pm - ANNOUNCEMENTS (extra food)

2:00 pm - ENJOY THE DISPLAYS (inside & outside) BUY SOME





(For coming to Heritage Day Roundup 2015)

Some Facts about the Fentress County Historical Society

  • Organized May 22,1968 with 12 Charter Members
  • First President, Ruble Upchurch
  • Two Charter Members still active: Wanda Hatfield & Christene Barton
  • Present Membership: Over 100
  • WEB SITE: fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org
  • facebook.com/fentresscountysociety (Social)
  • Obtained 501c3 Status from IRS in 2011. Donations to FCHS are Federal Tax Deductible
  • Operate a Museum in Allardt since 2012
  • Eleven Monthly Meetings Currently 2nd Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Jamestown
  • Christmas Open House at the Museum (Time TBD)
  • New Members are Always Wanted & Welcome!


P.O. Box 1431

Jamestown, TN 38556

Celebrating our 25th Year of Roundup!