Discover Hancock County 2022

Page 1

Discover

HancockTennessee County

VOLUME 6 — 2022

SNEEDVILLE • KYLES FORD • MULBERRY GAP • TREADWAY • ALANTHUS HILL • XENOPHON


2 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Serving Hawkins County and Surrounding Areas

Give me or any of my agents a call for all your Real Estate needs! Give us a call! JOEY HAUN Affiliate Broker/Apprentice Auctioneer 423-748-7181 josephhaunrealtor@gmail.com

SKYLER CANTRELL Affiliate Broker 828-380-0327 skylercantrell22@gmail.com

SUE KING Affiliate Broker 423-736-8640 sking505@hotmail.com

KELLY LEWIS Affiliate Broker 423-742-5663 kelly.lewishomes@gmail.com

JAMES OLLER Affiliate Broker 606-670-9539 jroller.realty@gmail.com

WILBER HITE Affiliate Broker 423-923-1097 wilberhite@yahoo.com

LISA MCBRIDE Principal Broker / Auctioneer 423-748-1081 clinchmtnrealty@gmail.com

TIM RUTHERFORD Affiliate Broker 423-231-3176 trutherford1272@gmail.com

KIM YOUNG Affiliate Broker 727-542-9733 clinchmtnrealtykim@gmail.com

MISSY SEAL Affi liate Broker 423-300-2201 missyseal@yahoo.com

PHYLLIS REED Affiliate Broker 865-748-3325 phyllisreedrealestate@gmail.com

ANGEL LAWSON Affiliate Broker 423-258-1146 angellawsonrealtor@gmail.com

AMANDA CUTSHALL Affiliate Broker 423-620-8110 amandacutshall1@gmail.com

www.ucclinchmountainrealty.com


Discover Hancock County is published by Hawkins County Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 100 | Rogersville, TN 37857 www.therogersvillereview.com 423-272-7422

MANAGEMENT Richard Clark Editor and Publisher EDITORIAL Randy Ball Discover Hancock County Contributor Rita Dykes Discover Hancock County Contributor ADVERTISING Abby Swearingen Marketing Consultant Regenia Grant Creative Services/Production Advertising rates and information available upon request.

inside

Discover

Hancock County Tennessee

Discover Hancock County • 2022 3

Story suggestions, inquiries should be made to Richard.Clark@therogersvillereview.com

Additional copies of Discover Hancock County 2022 may be picked up at the Review office and are available at no cost. We will gladly mail at a cost of $4 per copy to cover postage and handling. Copyright: 2022, Discover Hancock County 2022, Hawkins County Publishers, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the newspaper’s management. Reproduction of advertising and design work is strictly prohibited due to the use of licensed art services and agency agreements.

4

10 18

Modern Day Homesteading

w

A Drive Through Vardy Valley

w

w

Precious Memories

Pencil Drawings and Unique Impressions By Christi

23 Hancock County

w A Brief History of

29 River 44

w The Clinch

w Circle V Farms

Features a Cozy Silo Home Retreat

on the cover Artist Christi Fleenor of Precious Memories Pencil Drawings and Unique Impressions


4 Discover HancockCounty Hancock County••2022 2022

Modern Day

Homesteading

By Rita Dykes

Discover Hancock County Contributor

hen thinking of homesteading, many probably have memories of their parents or grandparents tending to crops and livestock as their livelihoods. Modern homesteading isn’t much different except that it incorporates more contemporary aspects of life, such as working a job away from the homestead or utilizing modern conveniences. Homesteading basically means living off the land and growing your own crops. Homesteaders may also raise cattle for milk and beef, chickens for meat and eggs, goats for soap, milk and cheese, or pigs for meat. This often includes growing grain and hay to feed the animals and much more. Modern-day homesteaders can either produce on a

W

large or small scale.Samantha also wanted to give back to the county not only by providing a great place for women to shop but also in other ways as her business grew. Many homesteaders utilize every portion of the plant or animal for sustainability and to live in a waste-free environment. Composting is commonly used as an effort to recycle plant and food waste into the dirt and produce a nutrient-rich mixture. Beneficial plant nutrients and organisms, such as worms and fungi, work as fertilizer for the next crop of vegetables and fruits. continued to page 5


Discover Hancock County • 2022 5 Beekeeping is another viable and much-needed trade that people are getting back into on their homesteads. Quilting and sewing are also labors of love for many homesteaders. Harvesting fruits, vegetables, and meat are the most common goals of homesteaders. Many hours of canning, freezing and drying of foods takes place during harvest season to ensure a bountiful supply that will feed the family throughout the year.

McNeil Funeral Home We offer a complete range of high quality, affordable service options to assist you during your time of need. Traditional Funerals • Memorials • Cremation Pre-Planning Services • Grief Support 124 Church Street • Sneedville, TN

423-733-2246

www.mcneilfuneralhome.com

Homesteaders Kelly and John Myers moved to Hancock County in 2021 and started Muddy Paws Homestead. Prior to moving to East Tennessee, the couple had limited space, so they began homesteading by utilizing containers and small raised garden beds. The scaled-down version still provided them with approximately 300 quarts of canned, frozen, and dehydrated food plus what they ate fresh. continued to page 6

Harrison’s Farm & Home Supply

We carry everything you need for Home Improvement: Lumber • Doors • Windows • Flooring • Roofing WE CARRY APPLIANCES! HOT POINT • LG • GE • BOSCH • FRIGIDAIRE • SAMSUNG Check out our website:

www.harrisonsfarmandhomesupply.com

Phil Harrison, Owner Main Street • Sneedville, TN 37869

423-733-2958

A Gathering Place formerly know as Old Town Store

Now opening for Coffee and Crafts Mid February ~

Come Gather with us!

1097 Main Street Sneedville find us on facebook


6 Discover Hancock County • 2022 Reflecting on her early days of homesteading, Kelly recalled, “My grandparents owned a sizable amount of land and grew food for the family. I remember it being a family affair of harvesting and canning in large form, so you’d think that skill would come naturally to me but no…no green thumb for me til the past handful of years when suddenly this changed. I began growing a few tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets on the deck to prove it could be done. They took off…growing huge and were so fruitful! It was an amazing feeling for me. I did that?! The following year, a few buckets turned into 20 and buckets turned into raised beds and so on and so forth. I realized I was good at this and that gardening had become almost therapeutic in a way. My husband joined in my new-found passion and our dream of bigger and better brought us here.” continued to page 8


Discover Hancock County • 2022 7

Kelly and John are excited to turn Muddy Paws Homestead into a two-acre space filled with beautiful growing vegetables. They are currently in the process of installing a multitude of raised beds due, in part, to the clay dirt in the area. Kelly said that clay dirt is normally very fertile and rich for growing, but the compact nature of this dirt doesn’t allow for proper root growth. “Raised beds offer many benefits and are my preferred way of gardening. We grow everything from herbs to tomatoes and carrots to potatoes. We’ve even grown gourds on trellises,” Kelly added. “We plan on bringing some chickens to the property by late summer for eggs and meat, which would be a new experience for us both, but we are excited to learn new skills in this area.” continued to page 8


8 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Brian and Ronni Alphonso, another avid homesteading couple, packed up their homestead in Las Vegas lock, stock, and chickens. It took them nine trips, more than 2000 miles each trip, to relocate everything to Sneedville. Although they moved their livestock, their new beginning wasn’t easy. Ronni said. “We were pretty self-sufficient in Las Vegas, and now it’s almost like starting over. But we love it so much here.” The pair carried on the name of their Vegas homestead, Alphonso Home Farm, as they settled into Hancock County. Recently, Brian and Ronni had a bit of excitement when the farm’s first calf, Starr, was born. There never ceases to be some sort of excitement on the homestead, from the first bloom of the season to the last harvested crop of the year as it makes its way into a jar. continued to page 9


Discover Hancock County • 2022 9

Spring of the year is absolutely stunning in the mountains and valleys of the region. Unlike the desertlike surroundings of Vegas, Sneedville brightens up with lush greenery and the sounds of new life. Although the move was a very long one, Brian and Ronni are loving their new riverside Tennessee home.

If you would like to learn more about homesteading or connect with fellow homesteaders, follow East Tennessee Homesteading and other homesteading pages on Facebook.

ACCOUNTING WORLDWIDE BOOKKEEPING & TAXES

423-724-8572 NICOLE TURNER, EA

nicole@accountingworldwide.net

WWW.ACCOUNTINGWORLDWIDE.COM

Rehabilitation • Skilled Nursing • Long Term Care

Authorized Dealer

Hancock Fa me s

Here to Serve You Mon.-Fri.: 8-4:30 · Sat. 8-Noon

192 Jail Street • Sneedville, TN

423-733-2255

www.hancockfarmerscoop.com

1423 Main Street Sneedville, TN 37869

423-733-4783

Fax 423-733-2944

www.hancockmanor.com


10 Discover Hancock County • 2022 The Mahala Mullins Cabin

A DRIVE THROUGH

Vardy Valley


Discover Hancock County • 2022 11 By Randy Ball Discover Hancock County Contributor

J

ust a short distance from Sneedville is the Vardy/ Blackwater Road. A drive down this quiet road is almost like stepping back in time. Except for the

occasional newer residence, the Vardy Valley doesn’t change very much. The Vardy/Blackwater Road is not a road most people would just stumble upon; you have to want to be there! It is in a remote area, which accounts for a great deal of its charm. From Sneedville, take Newmans Ridge Road. Go down the north side of the ridge and you will see the sign for the Vardy/ Blackwater Road. continued to page 13 The quiet solitude of the country


12 Discover Hancock County • 2022 The beauty of the Hancock County hills

Sulphur Springs Missionary Baptist Church

An old church...imagine the history


Discover Hancock County • 2022 13 Several cemeteries are found near the road

The drive through the valley features farmland with cattle and horses, barns, country churches, some old abandoned structures, and above all beautiful mountain scenery. Four miles down the road is the community of Vardy, which includes the Mahala Mullins Cabin, The Vardy Presbyterian Church and a small information center. Here you can learn about the history of the Melungeon people. There has been much study and speculation about the origins of the Melungeons. When the first white settlers came into the area they were surprised to find a group of non-native people already living there. Visitors can read the various theories about these fascinating people at the information center. The cabin was moved from the side of Newmans Ridge. Mahala Mullins was a legendary Melungeon moonshiner, and her story is also shared at the information center. This also was the location of the Vardy Community School, which unfortunately is now gone. Vardy is named for There are not stores in Vardy Valley, but there are some enterprising farmers

Vardeman Collins, an early resident. continued to page 16


14 Discover Hancock County • 2022 The Mahala Mullins cabin has been moved from Newmans Ridge and restored

A plaque near the church recalls the Vardy Community School

The Vardy Presbyterian Church. The church did mission work with the Melungeon people.

Greene’s IGA Super Market

Michael’s Family Diner 135 Campbell Lane Sneedville, TN

138 Jail S eett • Snee ille, TN 37 69

423- 733-4218

423-733-4163

The best chicken I have eaten! Good people and great food! — Trevor

They take extra care to make sure their Broasted Chicken is excellent. The best in East Tennessee. We have sent our friends there. — Connie

Serving Breakfast • Lunch • Di Dinner inner Broasted Chicken Buffet - Saturday & Sunday


Discover Hancock County • 2022 15 A hazy summer morning In Vardy Valley you can learn about the Melungeons

Early morning


16 Discover Hancock County • 2022 Past the Vardy community the road turns from pavement to gravel for a while. The road eventually

The road turns to dirt

comes to an end at the Blackwater community. In today’s fast-paced world, a drive through Vardy Valley is a peaceful diversion and a reminder of a quieter time. There’s not much traffic in the valley

Fall beauty on a Vardy Valley farm


Discover Hancock County • 2022 17 A quiet day in the country

There’s nothing prettier than a country church

The crunch of gravel under the tires

A quilt square on a barn

Another view of the Mahala Mullins cabin


18 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Precious Memories

Pencil Drawings and Unique Impressions by Christi By Rita Dykes Discover Hancock County Contributor

W

ho knew that the comedic antics of Snuffy Smith would lead one little girl to become an amazing artist? As early as age 10, Christi Fleenor loved to draw the newspaper comics and enlarge them to a full sheet of paper. Soon, she realized she was an artist.

Being raised in the picturesque mountains and valleys of Hancock County, Christi also drew inspiration from the beauty that surrounded her. She said, “Hancock County is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The fall colors, snowfalls, waterfalls, swinging bridges, and landscapes are works of art that appeal to most artists.” continued to page 19


Discover Hancock County • 2022 19

Artist Christi Fleenor

Christi comes from a very talented family. She said, “My love of all crafting, sewing, reading, painting, drawing, crocheting, and quilting comes from my mom, and my love of music and playing musical instruments is from my dad.” Christi’s dad and brother are talented woodworkers, and they make most of the frames for her artwork. Christi’s sister also loves to paint as does Christi’s oldest daughter, Kelsey. “My daughter and sister are both very athletic, and my daughter also has an eye for photography,” Christi said proudly. Her entire family is very supportive and has always lent a helping hand to her when needed. continued to page 20

Photo by Kristen Barlowe


20 Discover Hancock County • 2022 Christi credits both her mother, Rita, and her mentor, Wendy Leedy, for being two of the most influential people throughout her journey as an artist. “My mom has always encouraged me, and when I was a child, she provided the materials for any project that I wanted to attempt.” At the age of 25, Christi and her mother decided to attend art classes taught by Wendy. While training with Wendy, Christi realized that she had also been given the gift of drawing people. Portraits of humans and pets soon became her passion. Many people have commissioned Christi to draw precious memorial portraits of their loved ones, both human and animal. When finished with a piece, Christi feels a sense of accomplishment followed by the joy of bringing happiness to others through her art. Customer Jacqui Lawson said, “Christi has been drawing for our family for several years. I love her continued to page 21


Discover Hancock County • 2022 21

work! Her sketches are truly beautiful and so life-like.” Michelle Hopkins also sang Christi’s praises. She said, “Christi is the most talented person I know! It doesn’t matter what I request, she always impresses me! Her artwork is amazing, has such fine detail, and it doesn’t matter what she is drawing...babies, adults, or pets. She can draw them all! I love her work!”

Large Selection of

Wine & Spirits

One meaningful piece drawn by Christi was commissioned by her church. It was a portrait of the pastor’s late mother-in-law and was given as a Christmas gift to the pastor’s wife. The drawing was also used as an engraving on her tombstone. continued to page 22

Gary W. Hicks, Jr.

423-393-1166

4017 Hwy. 66, Suite A Hwy. 66 Pla aza Rogersv villle Store Ho ours: Monday — Thursdayy 9am to 8pm Friday — Saturday 9am to 9pm m

State Representative It is an honor and a privilege to seerve the citizens of Hawkins and Hancock Counties. 301 6th Avenue North, Suite 206A, War Memorial Bldg. Nashville, TN 37243 Phone 615-741-7480 • Fax 615-2 253-0307

rep.gary.hicks@capitol.tn.gov Paid for by Rep. Gary W. Hicks, Jr.


22 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Another very special piece was a drawing of a cabin built by a father and son that was later destroyed by fire. The family wanted to keep the memory alive of the cabin that once housed the many military medals the son earned while serving the county. Christi does much more than pencil drawings. She also incorporates ink and acrylic into her artwork, and she crochets, sews, and quilts. She uses her talents to give back to her community. She makes memory bears and pillows for those who have lost loved ones, including prayer bears with crocheted hearts full of prayers. She joins HOPE for Hancock Cancer Group in raising funds for people fighting cancer, and she spends much of her free time crocheting hats and blankets for cancer patients. Christi also donates drawing certificates for fundraisers, and to round off her community service, she volunteers with the Girl Scouts. Christi’s goals are to open a shop and develop a website to support her dream of creating art full time. Currently, most people initially contact her through Facebook.

Follow Precious Memories Pencil Drawings or Unique Impressions by Christi on Facebook to commission a drawing of your special person or animal! If you are lucky, you might also find her set up at area craft festivals.


Discover Hancock County • 2022 23 The quiet little town of Sneedville is Hancock County’s county seat

A Brief History of

Hancock County

By Randy Ball

Discover Hancock County Contributor

H

ancock County has a rich and colorful history. Hancock County was formed from parts of Hawkins and Claiborne Counties. The act to

create Hancock County was introduced in 1844, but some Hawkins County residents protested and Hancock County finally came into being in 1846. The county was named for Revolutionary War patriot John Hancock. Knoxville attorney William Sneed represented those interested in forming the new county in the litigation, and the county seat was named Sneedville. continued to page 24

Hancock County is mountainous and remote


24 Discover Hancock County • 2022

The Hancock County Courthouse stands in the middle of downtown Sneedville

Hancock County shares much of Hawkins County’s early history. Hawkins County was originally in North Carolina. For a brief period it was Spencer County in the lost State of Franklin, when an effort was made to form a state in what was to become northeast Tennessee. Eventually Tennessee was separated from North Carolina and Hawkins County, Tennessee (including most of what would become Hancock County) was born. Native Americans were the first to occupy the area. A letter dated 1673, explorers reported the presence of “white” people living in the county when the first explorers came to the area. These were the Melungeons, a mixed-race people who had settled in the Newmans Ridge/ Vardy area. Their origins have been speculated on since they were found living here. This VFW statue watches over the courthouse lawn

continued to page 25


Discover Hancock County • 2022 25

Jimmy Martin, the King of Bluegrass, was from Sneedville

Their origins have been speculated on since they were found living here. The first European/American influx included Dr. Thomas Walker of the Loyal Land Company of Virginia in 1750 and Elisha Walden with a group of long hunters in 1762 on Blackwater Creek. The first settlers of European descent settled in the Greasy Rock community, near present day Sneedville.

The old Sneedville jail is now home to the Hancock County Historical and Geneological Society

Some of these early settlers included Joseph Lamb, Jonas Lockmiller, John Ray, Enos Matthais. William McCully and Daniel Stavins. Hancock County has been primarily a farming area. There have never been any railroad tracks in Hancock County, which hampered its early industrial continued to page 28

Overhome Cabins Hancock County, Tennessee

The River Bluff

For more information, or to make a reservation call 423-300-9283 Or check us out on the web at: www.overhomecabins.com

The River Bluff Lodge features seven bedrooms, six baths and is perched on a bluff overlooking Clinch River, in rural Sneedville, TN. Located in Historic Hancock County in Northeast Tennessee, we have some of the most beautiful views and abundant wildlife in the state. From our wrap-around porch, you can see for miles. This is a a great place to bring your family! Directions: From Morristown or Rogersville, turn on Hwy. 31 from 11W. Go about 17 miles and turn right onto Duck Creek Road. Go 1/2 mile and turn onto River Bluff Drive. From Sneedville, go South across the River Bridge on Hwy. 31. Go past the boat ramp and turn left onto Duck Creek Road. Continue 1/2 mile and turn left on River Bluff Drive.

556 River Bluff Drive • Sneedville TN 37869 • 423-300-9283

Stewart Farms 1211 Main Street Sneedville, Tennessee, 37869 423-300-6097 Monday-Wednesday 7 am - 7 pm Thursday 7 am - 2 pm Friday 7 am - 7 pm Saturday 8 am - 2 pm Sunday Closed Stewart.farms2021@gmail.com stewartfarms.business.site


26 Discover Hancock County • 2022

The Sneedville, Tennessee post office

A quiet morning on Main Street in Sneedville

Highway intersections at Kyles Ford


Discover Hancock County • 2022 27

Old and new bridges at Kyles Ford

The view from Newmans Ridge

The Clinch River runs through Hancock County

Elrod Falls has evolved from a hidden treasure into a touriset destination


28 Discover Hancock County • 2022 Dozens of beautiful country churches are found in Hancock County. This is Big Springs Missionary Baptist.

The saga of the Melungeons is an important part of the county’s history. This old image shows the Vardy school in its hayday.

development. Zinc was discovered near Treadway and the mine employed over 200 people in its most productive times. • The first state-owned public television station, WSJK-TV Channel 2, was built in Hancock County. • At 223 square miles, Hancock County is the eighth smallest of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The 2010 census counted 6,819 people, which makes Hancock County the 4th least populated county in the state. • Sneedville is the only incorporated town in Hancock County. • Other communities include Kyles Ford, Mulberry Gap, Treadway, Alanthus Hill, and Xenophon. • Hancock County is a beautiful place, with the mountains and the Clinch and Powell Rivers; but its greatest asset is its friendly, down to earth people.

The King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin

Six generations of the Stewart family have been cooper. Alex Cooper became famous late in life as a craftsman.

Legendary Melungeon moonshiner Mahala Mullins operated from her cabin on Newmans Ridge


Discover Hancock County • 2022 29 The Clinch River flows through Hancock County

By Randy Ball

The Clinch River

The Clinch River enters Hancock County on its

Discover Hancock County Contributor

northern boundary with Virginia. The river flows

H

close to the county seat of Sneedville. Farms and

Tazewell, Virginia, and it ends where it flows into the

Kim Belcher shared their memories and photos of the

Along with the surrounding mountains, the Clinch River is one of Hancock County’s most prominent natural landmarks. The Clinch

River has its origins on Buckhorn Mountain near Tennessee River near Kingston, Tennessee. It flows for about 337 miles with much of its journey going through Hancock County.

In summer the rich bottom land is covered in green foliage

homes dot the landscape near the river. Stan Cody, Paul Davis, Rhonda Hurd, Dwain Brewer, Rick Stewart, Peggy Mabe. Carl Hilton, and Clinch River for this article. continued to page 30

The Clinch River passes by just outside of Sneedville


30 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Farming Farming in the river bottoms was once a top economic activity in Hancock County. Dwain Brewer grew up on a river bottom farm. “I remember filling up the tobacco setter with water from the river. We had our gardens, hay and corn in the river bottoms. The crops always did really well.” Stan Cody can remember seeing mules pull sleds of tobacco across the frozen river. Rhonda Hurd recalls “we had an old gas pump that we’d use to pump water from the river when the pond went dry.” Paul Davis remembers “My family had a farm on the Clinch River about three miles below the Kyles Ford bridge. We grew corn, tobacco, and hay. Sometimes the river would flood and destroy our crops and we would have to replant.”

The Flood In the past flooding of the Clinch River has been an issue in Hancock County, including damaging floods in 1964 and 1977. The flood of 1977 is still remembered for the devastation it caused. Rick Stewart recalls “I remember how the river looked so big. The river roads had lots of mud and muck on them after the water dropped. Many barns and other sheds had damage or were completely washed down river.” Dwain Brewer was five years old when the flood of 1977 hit; “I remember they were packing stuff up, about 5:00 in the morning the water started coming in continued to page 31


Discover Hancock County • 2022 31

under the door. We walked through the woods to a neighbor’s house, which took about an hour. Everything was covered with mud. I remember the sound, the roar of the river. We saw barns and buildings float by. I still remember the mud, the smells and the power being off.” He added “People

were always nervous when there was heavy rain after the 1977 flood, but now I’ve noticed people building houses in the river bottoms.” continued to page 32

80

Celebrating Years of Service Hancock County Celebrating toYears of Service to Hancock Cou ounnty Customer Service is our TOP PRIORITY!

Matthew Seal, Pharmacist

Ken Smith, Owner/Pharmacist

S Smith-Turner 140423-733-2322 T DRUG STORE Church Street • Sneedville, TN Mon. - Fri.: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. • Sat: 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.


32 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2022

Stan Cody said “We lived near where Bird Creek went into the river. The water almost got up to the house. We tied two johnboats together to move stuff across the creek. We had everything from our freezer in two metal washtubs. Some of it fell out of the boat and a neighbor jumped into the water to save the food. I remember seeing log barns floating down the river. I saw a corn crib float by with a rooster sitting on top crowing. One light pole would snap, causing fire to fly. Then that pole would pull on the next one, breaking it. There were houses with water up to the roof.” Kim Belcher’s parents owned Willis Market at Kyles Ford in 1977. The store was two floors with a basement. “The water got up to the breaker box in the basement, knocking the power out. We moved everything that was stored in the basement up to the main floor: seed potatoes, tobacco canvas, salt

blocks, and chicken feed. We moved the frozen and refrigerated food to neighbors’ houses on higher ground. We finally went to bed that night with water under us in the basement. We were just too tired to care.” Paul Davis remembers “The Clinch River can spread all over when it floods and I have seen complete houses come down that river.” Rhonda Hurd shared that “when the river floods it blocks us from leaving our property. We keep non-perishables on hand, and like others when bad weather is predicted, we get our milk, bread and toilet paper.” continued to page 33


Discover Hancock County • 2022 33

Fishing and Recreation The Clinch River is home to many species of fish, including largemouth bass, rock bass, redbreast sunfish, long-ear sunfish, bluegill, musky, black crappie, drum and channel and flathead catfish. The river is also home to 48 “imperiled and vulnerable” animal species, including 29 varieties of freshwater mussels and 19 species of fish. In addition to recreational fishing, the Clinch River has recently become known for canoeing, tubing and rafting. These activities bring visitors to the area and help boost the local economy. continued to page 34

The Clinch River in the northern part of the county


34 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Rhonda Hurd said “Horses are a big thing with us. Riding the road next to the river is one of the most enjoyable pastimes. Rocking in the saddle and listening to the water flow over the shoals is so peaceful.” continued to page 35


Discover Hancock County • 2022 35

Life on the River There are many memories of growing up on the river. In some cases the old days don’t seem that long ago. Dwain Brewer; “We didn’t fish a lot, but I remember a friend’s dad would take us fishing, We skipped rocks more than anything else, and finding mussel shells was something that fascinated us.” Paul Davis; “We liked to drift and fish, putting our boat in at the Kyles Ford bridge and drifting down to our farm, an all day journey sometimes. In the fall when there was a break from farming, we would put in a trot line and dig mussels for bait. Some mussels are endangered now but back then they seemed plentiful and there so many varieties of them. Sometimes we would catch enough fish on the first day or two we would have enough to quit, other times maybe nothing. In the winter when it was really cold for several days on end the river would freeze completely over with ice. You could walk across it. People moved cattle and other belongings across the river on the ice.”

Paul remembers his family’s homemade boats: “We had a wooden riverboat that we kept at the river. It was a quiet way to maneuver on the water and not scare the fish. My dad and my uncles would build these boats with just lumber, nails and a little tar. Once you put the boat in the water it would swell up and not leak .If we weren’t going to use the boat for a while we would sink it so it would keep swollen up and wouldn’t leak.” continued to page 37


36 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2022

The River Place on the Clinch, a commercial enterprise utilizing the river


Discover Hancock County • 2022 37 The beautiful Clinch River with fall colors

Kim Belcher: “Growing up, I was in the river every day. In the fall we had boots on, playing in the water. In the winter we were gouging for ice with sticks. One time we walked out on the ice and herded some ducks over to the bank. We kept those ducks for years. Some people used to race canoes and boats… we thought that was the coolest thing.”

Peggy Mabe lives on Chestnut Ridge along the river. Some of the good things about living on the Clinch are “the view from my front porch, the sound of the water, The people on the water having fun in the summer, watching the beavers build a dam, the eagles swooping down to grab a fish, the deer swimming across and the fall leaves.” Carl Hilton has lived on the river most of his life. He used to fish and liked eating the catfish he caught. Now he enjoys watching others float, swim and fish. He lives on his family’s property and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else.

She remembers the bridge at Kyles Ford was at one time a toll bridge (one of three toll bridges in Tennessee). “There was also a low place, a “ford” where it was possible to cross. A guy named John didn’t want to pay the toll, so he tried to drive across the ford. He got stuck, had to pay a man with a tractor to pull him out, and still had to pay the toll to cross the bridge.“ Kim taught herself to swim. She remembers it was a big deal to “swim the river”. Her mother Alice naturally worried about the kids being in the water. She said people would see her in the water and stop at the store and tell whoever was around the storefront “tell Alice that Kim’s in the river again.” continued to page 38


38 Discover Hancock County • 2022

Autumn brings a different look to the river

Kim remembers the store sold a lot of Ivory soap;” It floated…. The teenage boys would get the Ivory soap after working all day. We knew they’d be bathing in the river.”

when we finished a row we could play in the river for five minute. We’d work ourselves to death.” “We used the river for a lot of things, fishing (we ran trot lines), washing, watering plants.”

“We had tobacco, corn and beans near the river. The kids would have to hoe the crops and the rule was

continued to page 39, 40


Discover Hancock County • 2022 39 The Clinch River and the mountains are a paradise for nature lovers

The Shepherd’s Corner op h S Save money while helping your local community. We have many items to choose from including:

Name Brand Clothing Shoes Accessories W at-nots • Toilietries Wh Through your support we average serving over 20,000 people with good and services valued at over $1 million dollars!

The Shepherd’s Corner

Jail Street • PO Box 393, Sneedville, TN 37869

ws.edu

423-733-1505

The money made here goes back to help local needy people.


40 Discover Hancock County • 2022

The native people of the area regarded running water as a spiritual entity. This still lives on today as

baptisms in the river. I was baptized in the river, a lot of churches still use the river for baptisms.

many local churches have a special use for the Clinch River. Dwain Brewer said “Churches always had

continued to page 41


Discover Hancock County • 2022 41

In a photo from the 1980s, the ideal country life on a farm on the Clinch River


42 Discover Hancock County • 2022 Devon Blevins holding a freshwater drum

Devon Blevins with a bass

Working at River Place on the Clinch, I have been able to enjoy the River and all it has to offer. It’s peaceful, just a place you can escape the world for as long as you want. A place that brings out true joy everytime I fish, canoe or kayak in it. It’s a place where I know I can catch a smallmouth bass at anytime, about anywhere in it. A natural work of art that supplies an astonishing habitat for all kinds of species of fish and other animals. It’s just one of a kind and it gives you a special feeling every-time you fish it. So many breathtaking places all up and down the Clinch River, that hardly anyone will ever see, unless you take the time to drift slowly, open up your eyes and ears, and look and listen to all God has provided for us to enjoy.

– Devon Blevins –


Discover Hancock County • 2022 43

100 Baldor Drive | Rogersville, TN 37857 423-235-1550 | www.abb.com

We are proud to live and work in the Rogersville community. The Hancock County Sheriff asks all citizens to work with local the Police Department and Sheriff’s Department in fighting crime. Report violations. Information will be kept confidential. Either call 911 or the Sheriff’s Department

423-733-2250 or 733-4475 or 733-2249.

We urge everyone to be safe in your daily activities and especially safe when driving.

Thank you, Sheriff Brad Brewer

265 New Jail Street • Sneedville, Tennessee 37869

Ci y of

Sneedville

Dean Rhea, Mayor Steven Harrison, Vice-Mayor Gail Collins, City Recorder COUNCILMAN Kenny Reed • Janet Collins • Myshone Collins • Michael Gibson

P.O. Box 377 | Sneedville, TN 37869 423-733-2254 | Fax 423-733-4112 Email: sneedvillecityhall@yahoo.com

Hancock County Schools Proudly Serving Hancock County's Students in Grades PreK-12. Charlotte Mullins, Director BOARD MEMBERS David Jones, Chairman Jerry Hopkins, Vice Chairman Dennis Holt Jack Mullins Kyle Livesay Freddie Mullins Jamie Stanifer 418 Harrison Street I Sneedville, TN 37869 I Office• 423-733-2591 I Fax• 423-733-8757

www.hancockcountyschools.com


44 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2022

Circle V Farms

Features A Cozy Silo Home Retreat


Discover Hancock County • 2022 45 By Rita Dykes Discover Haancock County Contributor

H

ave you ever driven down a country road in Northeast Tennessee, where the beauty of green fields and grazing cattle leads your eyes to a tall silo in the distance? If not, you must visit the breathtaking and bountiful farmland in Hancock County. Circle V Farms can treat you to more than a gaze across those fields. At Circle V Farms, you can spend days on the farm as you make yourself at home in a gorgeous renovated silo. The charming Circle V Farms is tucked away in a very narrow valley approximately 15 minutes north of Sneedville. The rural location attracts visitors searching for a peaceful and relaxing getaway. “Our main attraction is the pure beauty our Appalachian valley provides. The beautiful fall colors of the valley are an added highlight for people from the city,” commented the owners’ son, Richardt. “Many enjoy watching the Jersey Cattle graze the valley in the morning while they are sitting outside having coffee, enjoying the hot tub or fire pit.” If visitors are looking for a little added adventure during their stay, they can hike one of the various trails on the farm or try continued on page 46


46 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2022

their hand at catching a fish or two in the waters throughout the property. Tom and Estie Visser, the owners of the farm, live there with three of their six children. The couple moved to the United States from South Africa in 1991. They later purchased a small lot in Hancock County and, over the years, have acquired more land to add to their little piece of paradise. Richardt said that the land where the farm is today was a forest when they first purchased it. “After clearing the trees, the land was used for cattle and crops. My brothers and I built grain bins to support the harvest of beans and corn.” Approximately two years ago, the Vissers discontinued using their farmland for crops but continue to raise cattle for beef and milking. continued on page 47


Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County••2022 2022 47 47 The Visser family is full of talented individuals. Being an engineer and an inventor by trade, Tom enjoys designing and building unusual items. While living in Florida, he invented and patented a large orangeharvesting machine. At that time, the family custom harvested oranges in the summer and spent their winters at their favorite place in Tennessee. Estie taught their children in school as they grew up and has always had a knack for making something homey and cozy by using the simplest of objects. Currently, Richardt maintains, up-keeps, and does most of the carpentry work needed on the farm. He loves working with his hands and finds much enjoyment in improving things around the farm to make them better and prettier. His other two siblings and their children also live on the farm and help maintain the property. Richardt said, “It is a family venture that everyone enjoys, even the in-laws.” continued to page 48


48 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2022

Christmas at The Little Dipper

After Tom and Estie’s two older sons moved away to pursue other ventures, the farm was left with vacant grain bins and unused farmyards. The family then decided to utilize one silo in another way than storing grain. Richardt said, “After seeing some pictures of silo houses online, we decided to do it ourselves, and let others enjoy it!” Already being in the short-term rental business with two other places on the farm, the family began to renovate the silo in the spring of last year. Tom, Estie, Richardt and the rest of the family turned the crop-storing silo into a gorgeous living space in just a few short months. The silo was ready to be listed as a vacation rental by October 2021. The Visser family plans to expand their rental offerings by creating a larger and more elaborate living space out of two connected grain bins. The new space will be large enough for a family holiday getaway. Richardt concluded, “We plan on pushing

ourselves to be more creative, unique, and original with its indoor and outdoor design. We are also in the process of updating and remodeling our other rental properties. We are putting a lot of time and effort to upgrade the groundskeeping so that our guests are comfortable and that their visit is sure to bring beauty in all aspects.” Future goals for Circle V Farms include the addition of multiple larger silo retreats with more amenities for guests to have a resort feel while visiting. The Vissers also hope to utilize their farm as an event venue.

For more information and pictures, visit www.circlevgetaways.com or follow the farm on Facebook. For reservations, visit www.airbnb.com/users/show/6949028.


Discover Hancock County • 2022 49

YET ANOTHER GREAT

FEATURE THAT

COMES

STANDARD

Get more tractor for your money. At LS Tractor, our commitment to delivering exceptional customer satisfaction starts with exceptional dealers. • Our dealers understand your passion for working your land • They take the time to learn about your needs, explain features and operation • They The more you’ll see why LS Tractor is the smart choice for your next tractor. lstractorusa.com

© 2015 LS Tractor

2042 Main Street Sneedville,TN (423)733-2272

Excel in your field™

www.greenestractor.com

— Photo by Randy Ball

Mail this coupon or call 423-528-0659!

30 Day

Risk FREE Trial! Yes! Send me The Rogersville Review

*

Mail To: The Rogersville Review: 30 DAYS FREE! P.O. Box 100 Rogersville, TN 37857

30 Days FREE!

Name ____________________________________________________________________

*This offer is available to non-subscribers. Gift subscriptions available. www.therogersvillereview.com

________________________________________________________________________

Address___________________________________________________________________

Phone____________________________________________________________________


advertisers

Discover

50 Discover DiscoverHancock HancockCounty County• 2022 • 2020

A GATHERING PLACE COFFEE HOUSE & CRAFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 ACCOUNTING WORLDWIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 BALDOR DODGE / ABB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 BLUE RIDGE PACKAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 CHRISTIAN-SELLS FUNERAL HOME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 CITY OF SNEEDVILLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 CREEK COUNTRY REAL ESTATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 EDDE CHEVROLET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 GIBSON TAX SERVICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 GIBSON TAX SERVICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 GIVENS NELSON REALTY, INC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 GREENE’S IGA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 GREENE’S TRACTOR COMPANY, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 GREENE’S TRACTOR COMPANY, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 HANCOCK CO BOE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 HANCOCK CO GOVERNMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 HANCOCK FARMERS CO-OP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 HANCOCK MANOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 HARRISON’S FARM & HOME SUPPLY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 HICKS, JR, GARY W. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 MCNEIL FUNERAL HOME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 MICHAEL’S FAMILY DINER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 OF ONE ACCORD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 SMITH & TURNER DRUGSTORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 STEWART FARMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 UNITED COUNTRY/LISA MCBRIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 WALTERS STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39


Discover Hancock County • 2022 51

Melissa Nelson Affiliate Broker 423-921-2410

Caitlin Morrow Affiliate Broker 423-736-1797

Guiding you through one of life’s most difficult experiences since 2001 Locally owned by Chris Christian and James Sells

Voted BEST of the BEST ten years in a row.

1520 East Main Street • Rogersville, TN 37857

423-272-0555

24-Hour Obituary Line: 423-272-2244 www.christiansells.com “Come and Experience the Difference. It’s Just a Different Way of Doing Business.”

E

dde Chevrolet Company is a family owned and operated dealership located in the small town of Rutledge, TN, near Knoxville — serving you since 1959 with quality new and used cars, truck and SUVs. We are away from all the hustle and bustle of the big cities, so take that beautiful drive down to your local Chevrolet dealership in Rutledge today!

2022 Chevrolet Blazer

2022 Chevrolet Colorado

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe

2022 Chevrolet Equinox 2022 Chevrolet Silverado

Come see these new Chevys and lots more at...

EDDE CHEVROLET COMPANY, INC. 8700 Rutledge Pike | Rutledge, Tennessee 37861 Sales and Service: 865-828-5233 | www.eddechevrolet.net


Serving Hancock, Hawkins, Claiborne & Grainger Counties Specializing in all RURAL lands & housing, farms, homesteads, raw acreage, & riverfront properties