Boones Creek

Contributed by Ruth Hodges and Wayland Crouch

Tennessee’s first community got its name from Daniel Boone, the long-hunter, explorer and scout that had been in the area as early as 1760.  Legend has it that Boone hid under the falls of a creek in order to hide from the Indians.  While on a hunting trip he craved “D. Boon Cilled A Bar on the Tree in year 1760” on a beech tree growing near the falls.

In 1765, Jesse Duncan became the first known white man to be scalped by the Indians and buried in what is now Tennessee.  Duncan’s grave is located on the Helvey farm in the Boones Creek community.

On a four hundred acre tract of land, bounded on the north by Boones Creek and the Watauga River, William Bean built a cabin in 1768.  In 1769, William’s son, Russell Bean, was the first white child to be born in the land that was soon to become the state of Tennessee.

The Boones Creek community is bounded on the south by Indian Ridge and on the north by Buffalo Ridge; it is northeast of Jonesborough and north of Johnson City.  The community consists of two valleys; one of Boones Creek and the other Carroll Creek, which empties into Boones Creek about three hundred yards from the Watauga River.  The community extends up the Watauga River to Highway 11E at DeVault Bridge.  Interstate 181, U.S. Highway 23 and Tennessee Highway 36 cross the community from north to south.

Flourville, a small village near the mouth of Boones Creek, had two stores, a post office, blacksmith shop, a tannery, flour mill, grist mill and a saw mill.

William Bean built the first gristmill near his cabin.  There were five other mills on Boones Creek before 1860.  Charles Cox built the first cotton spinning plant with eighty-four spindles, in 1831.

There were two post office:  Flourville and Blizzard.  The stores before 1900 were the Galloways, Crouch Brothers and the Hales stores in Flourville, and the Fall Store near the Boone tree.  In the 1900’s the Keefauver, Hunt and Crouch families had stores in Boones Creek; there was also one still house in the area.  Today, there are many stores and plants in the community.

Many of the farms in the Boones Creek and Carroll Creek valleys have good beef and dairy herds.  In earlier years, three of the dairies bottled and sold milk in Johnson City.  Several of the beef herds were of national prominence.  These farms also raised tobacco and other crops.

The first pastor of a congregation in Tennessee, Tidence Lane, lived in Boones Creek and was a neighbor of William Bean.  He was a pastor of the Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church, established in 1778.  Boones Creek Christian Church (now Boones Creek Church of Christ) was built in 1825; other early churches were Boones Creek Baptist and Boring Chapel Church.  Several other churches have been added in later years.

In 1851, the Hodges School was built on Boring Chapel Road.  There was also the School on Red Row, located between Cedar Point and the mouth of Boones Creek.  In 1853, the Boones Creek Male and Female Institute was built; later, a dormitory was added and it became a boarding school.  Other schools were Valley View, Columbia Institute, Simpson (a black school), and Oak Grove.

Early homes include those of Cornelius Bowman (or his son, John) in Flourville on property now owned by Joe Hale, and the Dee Hale home, now the James Hale residence.  The Galloway property came in a land grant from the State of North Carolina to William Stone; George Crouch owned a part of this land.  A cemetery was established, and Galloways and Crouches are buried there.  A log house built in 1856 on what is now the John Glaze farm was torn down and replaced with the brick home of the Glazes.  Farther up Boones Creek, a two-story log house was built by a Bowman family in 1812 (this date was found in the house when it was torn down).  Others were the Worley house (later the Range house), the Pennybaker house, the Jenkins house (later the Sulenbargers), the Larimer house, the Carroll house, the Deakins house (now the Sims), and the Reeves house (later owned by John Clark; now the Bud Clark home).  A log home built by Alfred Crouch between 1845 and 1850 was located on Indian Ridge near the entrance of the present Shadowood subdivision on Highway 36; there was also a cabin for slaves, a blacksmith shop, and a loom house on this property.  On the upper part of Boones Creek, on the fork, John Crouch and four sons were buried on the farm that is now owned by Alex Williams; this land also came in a land grant.  The Martin Kitzmiller house, on Highway 36, and “Seth” (John Kitzmiller house), on Old Stage Road, were both stone house built in the early 1800’s; “Seth” was a stagecoach stop.