Community of Crowson's Cove
Sevier County, Tennessee:
An Ongoing Project
Updated 3 Dec 2009
We started this project to help us find where in Sevier Co., TN, this community was located and perhaps let us find some of our missing relatives' graves. In particular, we wanted to know where Isham Gwin's farm was. Now that we have proven its location, we want to continue the project to find as much as possible about our ancestors' home.
For the most part, we're using Land Grant Deeds to the various properties, which deeds contain written survey instructions (as well as other important information, such as the names of neighbors with adjoining land, etc.) of the respective properties. I've been using those instructions to make these maps. (For a tutorial in how one might do that oneself, please go to my Isham Gwin page and follow the links or go directly to the tutorial page itself.)
So, where was Crowson's Cove? That was the big question for years, according to George and Juanita Fox, because almost all of the deeds that have "in Crowson's Cove" in them also say "on the waters of Walden's Creek," and everyone knows that Walden's Creek is the next hollow to the north from Wear's Cove. But now we know and have proven that Crowson's Cove was another name, perhaps the first English name, for today's Wear's Cove. And George had a theory that we now know is true, that today's Cove Creek was originally called Walden's Creek, and that the names of many of the waterways in the area were changed right around the time most of these grants were surveyed. (1) He found an early map of the area dated about the same time as these deeds, and on it, today's Cove Creek is clearly labeled Walden's Creek. (2) Indeed (no pun intended!), when you get to the deeds below numbered four and five--to Jacob McGhee and Noah Haggard, respectively--notice that both properties share a common border, the creek itself. Yet on one deed it is called Cove Creek, and on the other, Walden's Creek--and what's more, both surveys were done on the same day and by the same person! (3) The deed for what is called the "Meeting House" on neighbor Peter Brickey's deed is actually made out in the name of the congregation of the Wear's Cove Baptist Church. (4) In July of 2004, I traveled to Sevierville (the Sevier County Genealogy Library there under the direction of Mr. Sam Maner and his excellent staff) and Wear's Cove and found proof that the map I made (shown in segments below) fits almost exactly (within just a few feet) with the USGS map of Wear's Cove enlarged to the same scale as my map.
Updated 4 Dec 2004
NOTE: I'm told that these maps may take quite a long time to load, depending on how fast your machine is and how many other applications you have open.
OK. How do I get there?From Sevierville, the seat of Sevier Co., TN, drive south on U.S. 441 about four miles to the junction of U.S. 321, which take to the right. Almost three miles later, you'll pass Walden's Creek Road on your right--don't turn there! Continue on up the hollow into Wear's Cove or Wear's Valley. About three miles later, when you come to the little community of Hatchertown, you'll be in the north end of Crowson's Cove.
You'll see Valley View Road to the left with another sign pointing the way to Valley View Baptist Church (see first picture). Take this left, then a few hundred yards later at a mailbox marked "3340 Valley View Rd." (see second and third pictures), follow the fenceline up the rise to your right on the grass road. This will level out atop the hill and curve around to the left, leading to the little cemetery you see in the next pictures.
This is the Crowson Cemetery with Aaron Crowson's grave in it (far right). His gravestones--the older one above, the newer one below--read, respectively:"AARON CROWSON BORN MARCH 18, 17?? DIED ????"Other stones include that of "PERCEVAL (PERCEFIELD) -- KILLED BY INDIANS 1794 -- FIRST BURIAL IN WEAR'S COVE." (But see the 1972 "Legend" article below for newer information.)
and"AARON CROWSON -- FIRST WHITE SETTLER IN CROWSON COVE WEARS VALLEY 1792 -- BORN MAR.18, 1774 -- DIED FEB. 18, 1849."
You'll be standing on the western edge of Aaron Crowson's 95.75-acre property just south of the property marked in green and labeled "Brumley and Company" (see map SEGMENT ONE, Plat(2) below). [John M. Gwin Note: Some new information (the 1972 "Indians" article listed below) names a "Clabo's Store" that could be the descendant of this 1807 "Brumley and Company" enterprise.]
Plats I've Already Mapped Below
| Plats I've Not Yet
(Boldface names represent deeds we now have and
for which we were platting the maps--up until about 2002.)
Haggard, Henry (II?)
Wear's Cove Baptist Church...
.....(by William Davis)
Here is a piecemeal but perhaps adequate
of most of the Crowson's Cove properties listed above in green.
The numbered, colored names in the gray shaded section to the right are the owners of the properties in corresponding colors in the map to the left.
Below it are seven enlarged segments of the map with notes.
Some of the notes include things that are there today.
(09) William Hatcher
(10) Henry Haggard
(11) Peter Brickey
(12) Wear's Cove
(13) Charles Coulter
(14) William Lovelady
(17) Abednego Boaz
(18) Jonathan Thomas
(19) William Davis
(01) Henry Haggard
(02) Aaron Crowson
(03) Brumley & Co.
(05) Noah Haggard
(04) Jacob McGhee
(06) Richard Shields
(07) Isham Gwin
(08) Charles Bennifield
(15) Joshua Sims
(16) William Maddox
(Plat 1)--This blue plat represents Henry Haggard's 180 acres, the northernmost property in Crowson's Cove I've mapped to date (15 Jun 2004).
Cove Creek enters his land at the southwest corner and
southwestern boundary line. It then continues north through the
of his property, exiting to the north to where it will eventually leave
the cove and follow the hollow--actually more of a canyon cut years
through the rock for the road--before joining today's Walden's Creek
emptying into the river near Sevierville.
WHAT'S THERE TODAY: Look at Henry Haggard's blue-colored plat. Do you see the word "Hazel" with the arrow pointing to corner number 17? This is very close to the intersection today of Wears Valley Road and Valley View Road
[John M. Gwin Note: I've
page for this Henry Haggard, since he moved from Crowson's
to middle Alabama about the same time that John
Gwin married Jane
and moved to Dallas Co., AL. This is most likely the land of Rev.
Hazelrigg Hatcher, Sr., who moved from here to Bibb Co., AL, where
he pastored a church, lived to his mid 90's, died, and is
See plat no. 10 below.]
WHAT'S THERE TODAY: Crowson
in the valley, being buried here on his own land in the
Cemetery (see photos, above) located somewhere just south of the
border of what is marked in green here and labeled "Brumley and Co." In
fact, Valley View Road, on my USGS map, crosses Crowson's land at
the same place as this southern border of Brumley's land and at exactly
the same angle (S65E), leading me to believe that the road may have
there in 1807 and perhaps formed this southern boundary!
(Plat 4)--The 93.75 acres represented by this mauvish plat was first owned by Richard Shields who sold it to Jacob McGhee.
Cove Creek, originally (and on this deed!) called Walden's Creek, enters the property from the southwest, crosses it northerly, and becomes its northeastern boundary, exiting at its northernmost point.
WHAT'S THERE TODAY: This
today's Cove Creek still follows this line almost exactly!
Noah was either the son or grandson of (1)--Henry Haggard, now his next-door neighbor to the north.
Shields, whose property is
by this blue-bordered plat, was my gggg-grandfather Isham
Gwin's neighbor to the
I've not seen a period drawing of where Cove Creek crossed his
but it had to be something like the penciled lines indicate, from south
to north. Click
His was the first deed I found and the first map I drew in this entire project. I oriented all the others from it--i.e., I added Bennifield's plat to it using their common border as a starting point, then added Shields' in the same way, then Brickey's (orange), and continued on around in a counter-clockwise direction, using common borders to attach each to the one drawn previously.
Whatever margin of error existed, then, because of my own errors due to mistranscription of the deeds, the tiny scale of the drawings, the imprecision of my instruments, etc., was multiplied six to eight times by the time I arrived at the Kinsey Veach plat, which clearly does not yet quite fit into the puzzle.
Additionally, we've yet found neither deed nor surveyor's
the George Amerine property; we've only
his name referenced in other deeds as a neighbor of the given
Nevertheless, if and when we can make Veach's plat fit, we should have
a picture of Amerine's land by process of elimination, since it is
by all the others.
Also, here are two marriages I found in next-door Blount Co. occurring some 40-50 years later: AMERINE, Richard, married WELLS, Serena J., on 30-JAN-1851; and AMORINE, Perlina, married ELLIS, John, on 16-DEC-1855.
WHAT'S THERE TODAY: In July 2004 I visited the Sevier County Genealogical Library in Sevierville, TN, and saw where someone else had already drawn similar maps to these and placed Crowson's Cove in the Wear Valley. Sure enough, the maps coincide almost perfectly (see my notes on "margin of error" two paragraphs above). The quarter circle formed by the east side of Bennifield's land and the SE side of Gwin's land, including its easternmost point, goes around a small mountain today called Buckeye Knob. The west side of Benefield's property pretty much coincides with Katy Holler Road.
Further, today's Wear Valley Road
through the center of Peter Brickey's land, with the gas station at the
intersection of Wear's Valley and Roberson Roads being very
the geographical center of his property. Roberson Road then continues
a southeasterly direction almost parallel to and very near the line
by Gwin and Amerine.
And while Veach's plat fits all three of its bordering properties perfectly, it doesn't fit them at the same time, which means we'll have to redo the entire map and readjust each plat until Veach's fits.
I'm just not sure I'm up to that right now. Maybe we'll have to fudge a little bit.
(Plat 9)--William Hatcher (top, begun in green, in pencil) owned 160.25 acres north and east of Shields' two properties. While I've been able to establish for certain several of the borders as being common with Shields', I've not yet been able to make the ends meet. Thus, only a penciled estimate can be shown at this time.
(Plat 10)--A similar problem exists for this 81.75-acre second property of Henry Haggard. We have the surveyor's sketch map (and thus the shape), but we've not yet seen the deed with precise survey instructions. So for now, the penciled estimate, begun in mauve, will have to do. It is not clear, however to which Henry this property belonged. We have learned that Rev. Henry Hazelrigg Haggard, Sr., was one of the first settlers in the valley, and it makes sense, then that his would be one of the first farms one would cross when entering the valley (see number one above). He may have owned this land, too; however, he also had a son, Henry Hazelrigg Haggard, Jr., who may have been the owner.
(Plat 11)--At this point let me acknowledge the invaluable assistance of TWO FRIENDS, without whose help this project would still be just an idea. The first is my cousin, Barbara Ward, who saw what I was doing and searched for, found, and sent me the copies of Peter Brickey's, Richard Shields', and Charles Bennifield's deeds. She challenged me to continue seeking to expand our knowledge of the Crowson's Cove community.
Brickey's plat appears here in orange. At that time, it was the westernmost portion of the community known to us. And now we knew that a "meeting house" existed, the property for which extended at least partially into Brickey's land, but we knew nothing else of it.
Enter the second, George Fox, who, with his wife, Juanita, both historians and genealogists with roots in Sevier County, published the book that originally led me to (6)--Isham Gwin's deed. I'd been in touch with him a year earlier to ask permission to use portions of their book in this website (they graciously consented).
Unbeknownst to me, however, they had long been searching for the site of Crowson's Cove as well, and they had concluded that this "meeting house" was none other than the Wear's Cove Baptist Church. They contacted the Tennessee Baptist Association, who told them that the church itself was long gone, but the marked graves of (2)--Aaron Crowson and others seemed to indicate the church's location. They drove there and took pictures, and when he learned of our progress on this end, he sent me copies of these many deeds and surveyors' sketches and other helpful documents which have enabled me to make these many more maps. To Barbara, George, and Juanita, here's another giant
(Plat 12)--The relatively tiny, three-acre property of the Wear's Cove Baptist Church (plat shown here in yellow) was clearly carved out of the (9)--Haggard and (10)--Brickey farms. The land was purchased by William Davis for the congregation.
[ Until today, I had thought that George and Juanita were right in saying that the grave of Aaron Crowson marked the site of this church. However, today I was able to compare my plat maps with two current USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps of the area (the Gatlinburg, TN, and Wear Cove, TN, quadrangles). For at least the following four reasons, it looks to me like this Wear's Cove Baptist Church property generally coincides with the site of the present-day Wear Valley Church located on the east side of and right beside the Wear Cove Road and just south of Hatchertown:
1. I used my protractor and ruler to measure the linear distance from the present-day Wear Valley Church to the Crowson Cemetery, according to these USGS quad maps, at about 1.05 miles at an angle of N37E. When I translated that to the plat maps I'd drawn, starting at this Wear's Cove Baptist Church property and going N37E 84 chain and 20 links (an equivalent distance), I ended up very near the SW corner of Aaron Crowson's property! (See (2) above and the four photos at the top of the page.)
(Plat 13)--Charles Coulter owned 82.75 acres sandwiched between (10)--Brickey and (13)--William Lovelady. It is not yet clear whether Cove Creek crossed onto his land or not. Click here for some recent developments.
(Plat 14)--William Lovelady owned 176 acres of Crowson's Cove. Cove Creek crossed his land at about its center. His nearly rectangular plat appears here with a mauve border.
Friar, Jr. had owned quite a bit of land adjacent to
and south of Veach and Boaz (shown as Boze
but by 1807 he had sold most if not all to several different people,
this 74.75-acre L-shaped tract shown in green, to Joshua
Maddox also owned 53.25 acres of what had been John
Fryer's land. This almost triangular plot is represented here in
largest single parcel of ground in the Cove we've seen was that
of Abednego Boaz'
shown bordered in orange. Cove Creek crosses it from
to northeast (for some reason I erased the creek lines, but you can
see them going through the word "black" in "black walnut" and through
"s" in "Acres").
M. Gwin Note,
Oct 2013: A descendant of Jonathan Thomas has contacted me. She's
ready to do more research on JT's line and has invited anyone who would
like to share data to contact her: shawnee45
at msn dot com .]
(Plat 18)--See what I mean about that line going north instead of south for Jonathan Thomas' land? Now it all matches up.
M. Gwin Note, Oct 2013: A
descendant of Jonathan Thomas has contacted me. She's getting
ready to do more research on JT's line and has invited anyone who would
like to share data to contact her: shawnee45
at msn dot com .]
now see that the problem I had with the William
Davis property is solved. And while Person Davis'
is not yet correct, those parts shown in pink are, leaving a very
almost triangular piece of "Vacant Land" in the middle. I look forward
to comparing this to the today's map of the Cove and perhaps finding
why this land was not purchased.
In the Addenda section below, I have published below the
20) of Person Davis
here in pink) and the complete (Plat
21) of Susanna Richardson,
against the western side of Person Davis' land.
This property belonged to a Parsons (Person?) Davis. I suppose he was related to the William Davis living next door to the eastsoutheast (Plat 19). I've not been able to find the error that is keeping me from connecting the lines in this survey, but you can see, from the three pink segments, that it certainly does connect to the Jonathan Thomas land, vacant land, and William Davis land, north to south, respectively.
To the southwest (bottom left), you can see my sketch of the Susanna Richardson property which she had just sold to David Denton. Denton, you may recall, married Elizabeth Gwin, whom I believe to be the daughter of Isham Gwin (Segment 3, Plat 7, above).
A map of the Richardson/Denton property appears below.
|David Denton purchased this 36.5-acre plat from Susanna Richardson sometime before, I assume, the 16 Mar 1807 survey date. Compare this map to the one above to see how it connects to the Parsons Davis plat.|
|An Ezekiel Johnson owned this eighty-seven-and-a-half-acre plat. Our only clue as to where in the cove it was located are the two orange sides which were shared borders with a property of Mary Renfro. I have a very light, illegible (in places) copy of the Renfro deed, but I've not yet been able to draw the map or tell where in the cove it was loctaed.|
1B The Pigeon Forge Anvil April 20, 1972
From Indians to Boy Scouts:
178 Years of Wear's Valley History
By Diane Wilkinson
of The Anvil staff
Mrs. Lillian Hart, a descendant of Aaron Crowson, found Aaron's date of birth, 18 March 1773, recorded in an old Bible owned by Dr. Wayne McCulley of Cleveland, Tennessee. Mrs. Hart thinks the marker giving the date as 1777 was a repacement of an older marker, and an error was made in copying.
Several sources state that Aaron Crowson and his wife, Jane Barnes, had three daughters and seven sons, but Mrs. Hart found Bible records that list four daughters and one son: Sarah, Hulda, Elizabeth, Mary (Polly), and Richard West Crowson. There could possibly have been other children. [John M. Gwin Note: The genealogical data Edd Clardy sent, above, lists seven children (five girls and two boys): Sarah, Hulda, Elizabeth, Mary, West, Aaron, and Lydia.]
Ms. Inez Burns (History of Blount County, Tennessee) states that a petition from Aaron Crowson in the Tennessee Legislature, dated 10 June 1820, stated that his father William Crowson and a Mr. James Ross both possessed the right of occupancy and pre-emption to a tract of land in Cades Cove, dated 6 February 1796. Ms. Burns is a granddaughter of Elizabeth Crowson and James Burns.
|The Pigeon Forge Anvil
1972 (day and
month missing--possibly summer or fall)
Legend of Crowson's Cove may be older than thought
From the Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wears_valley
Wears Valley is named after Samuel Wear (1753-1817), a Revolutionary War veteran who erected a fort near the entrance to the valley in what is now Pigeon Forge. The original name of the valley was "Crowson Cove," after its first settler, Aaron Crowson (1774-1849). While no one is sure why its name changed, the valley was using its current name by 1900.
Crowson arrived in Wears Valley from North Carolina in 1792 along with his friend, Peter Percefield. This was a period of elevated strife between the Cherokee and the fast-encroaching Euro-American settlers. Wear's Fort was attacked in 1793, with Wear leading a punitive march against the Cherokee village of Tallassee shortly thereafter. In May of 1794, Percefield was killed in a Cherokee attack. Crowson rode to Wear's Fort to get help, but the Cherokee had fled by the time he returned. Several settlers marched onward to Great Tellico to the west, where they murdered four Cherokee while they slept. Percefield was buried on a hill in the eastern half of Wear Cove in what is now Crowson Cemetery. Later that year, Crowson received a land grant for this plot of land.
Sometime after the war, Alfred Line (1831-1897) established a farm at the base of Roundtop Mountain, near the southern half of Wear Cove. [John M. Gwin Note: I believe that this is part of the same farm where my gggg-grandfather, Isham Gwin, was granted and bought 249 acres (see Plat Map #7, above). He sold the farm to an unknown buyer when the Gwins, Veatches, Dentons, and others moved to Indiana before 1820. Mr. Line must have bought it from that buyer or a subsequent one.] Line Spring, a clear mountain spring which flows down from the slopes of Roundtop, gave its name to a small recreational area that developed in this part of the cove. In the 1880s and 1890s, mineral-rich mountain springs were thought to have health-restoring qualities, and provided an early form of tourism for the mountain regions. In 1910, D. B. Lawson, the son of a circuit rider who had purchased the Line farm, constructed the Line Spring Hotel. The hotel boosted the valley's economy by providing a market for local farmers.
|From: Steven Thomas shawnee45 at msn dot
Date: February 16, 2011
Subject: Crowson's Cove
You have a great site. Thank you for sharing. We are from the Jonathan Thomas lineage of Crowson's Cove.
Jonathan was Aaron Crowson's uncle, but more his own age. Jonathan was born in 1769 Bladen Co., N.C., and was the baby brother of Mary Thomas-Crowson.
Jonathan migrated to Ball play area of Monroe, Co., Tennessee. We have reference of him using Isaac Thomas of Sevier Co. for legal work.
In the future if you have anyone looking for the Thomas family of Eastern Tennessee, would you share our email address? Thanks so much.