Friday, August 23, 2013

The local grist mill and Tom Dooley

Whenever we leave the farm to go into town, we pass through a small corner of northeastern Tennessee into a town called Trade.  This morning Sandy and I visited the recently closed, but fully restored Grist Mill.

The wood flume or raceway above the wheel uses an artesian well for water to turn the wheel.

 Some very attractive stonework by 19th Century stone masons.

The grist mill was built as early as 1803 and has been owned by several families.  Early in this century it was restored to working order and for a while thrived by grinding flour for local residents and selling its own products to tourists and locals, but, unfortunately, it closed in 2012.  The old school house is on the grist mill grounds and today both are maintained as a community center and park.

Trade City is the oldest unincorporated community in Tennessee.  The first English speaking person travelled here in 1673  (340 years ago).  The community came to life in the 18th century when it was called "The Trade Gap" and was a trading post established by Native Americans, pioneers and fur traders.  An old buffalo trail ran through the area. Adding to local history is the fact that Daniel Boone used this very buffalo trail in his travels into East Tennessee and  Kentucky. If you are old enough to remember the folk song about Tom Dooley then you might find it interesting to know that it is about Tom Dula, who was suspected of having murdered his young fiancee in Wilkes County, NC. The posse caught up with him in Trade.

Fortunately, we don't see posses anymore here in Trade or elsewhere for that matter.

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