Our Heritage
By
Reba Caughron Hood
1976
 
There are several things that cannot be separated in our Middle Creek heritage. The early settlers, the Middle Creek Camp Ground, the Middle Creek Methodist Church, Parsonage, The Middle Creek Academy and Middle Creek Cemetery certainly made an imprint on the lives of our forefathers - as well as ours.
In 1976 the Church is still our guiding light. When we climb the hill to the Cemetery and look at the markers of our friends and loved ones, we realize how hard they worked, sacrificed and even died so that we can live in this valley as free people.
According to the Shields History, Robert and Nancy Stockton Shields with their family (10 sons and one daughter) plus the Archibald McMahan family left Virginia in 1784 for the long journey to East Tennessee. Mrs. McMahan and Mrs. Shield were sisters.
At Big Lick (Roanoke) Nancy Shields and part of her family went to relatives in North Carolina. The Archibald McMahan and two Shield in-laws stayed at Watauga for the next year. At the Watauga Land Office, Robert Shields bought a tract of land on Middle Creek. Robert and his five older sons traveled by foot to their destination.
Nearly four years were required to complete the Shields Fort. It was in this fort that Robert Shields, his children, and grandchildren lived for nearly twenty years. Later the McMahan family and some of the Shields children established homes outside the Fort.
There is some speculation as to the exact location of the Fort. Mrs. Beulah Linn located an article written by Mr. Jimmy Lawson. He said the Shields Fort, The Lawson Fort, and The Huber Fort were the same.  The Lawson Fort was said to have been located where the Conley Sims farm is today. (1976) There is a small cemetery on the hill above the Sims' house. Robert Shields and his wife died at the fort about 1805 and were buried in unmarked graves on a nearby hillside. Two members of the Shields family were killed by Indians. Several of the Shields family migrated to Indiana. Mr. Jimmy Lawson said after the death of Robert and Nancy Shields, the family sold the fort to Andrew Lawson. On of the Lawson daughters, Eleanor, married Jacob Huber. Sometimes the fort was given Jacob's last name. The writer of the Shields' family history placed the Shields Fort on the T.D.W. McMahan farm.
{ note written on the side of the paper more information, On Sept 25, 1844 John Trotter, Sr and his wife Asa White Trotter gave six acres of land to the Middle Creek Campground. Correction made by Nell Lawson Jacob Huber’s daughter Eveline married Col. Andrew Lawson.}
Middle Creeks early settlers were followers of Christ. The Shields and Butler family names were recorded at the Fork of the River Church. The Lawsons, McMahans, Trotters, Marshalls and many other were dedicated Methodist families.
John Trotter was the son of William Trotter and the grandson of James and Mary Trotter who came to Pennsylvania from Ireland on October 12, 1738. John was born on December 8, 1777 in Maryland, died on January 5, 1856 and was buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery. It is not known when Mr. Trotter came to Sevier County from Virginia. He secured an occupancy grant. His sons who are mentioned in church records are Archibald, John Sevier, William Harrison, Isaac and James. His brother James Trotter, along with John Butler, witnessed the signing of the deed when John Trotter gave land to the Middle Creek Methodist Church on Feberuary 25, 1851.
William Harrison Trotter deeded land to the Middle Creek Academy on June 4, 1866. John S. McNutt was appointed trustee of the accadeny on February 19, 1859. The school was located near the present Middle Creek United Methodist Church. It proved to be one of the outstanding schools of the County. The academy was destroyed by fire during the Civil War. However, another building was established and the school continued to rank high in the field of education. Notations from Miss Nora McMahan said the school was rebuilt in the winter of 1876 and spring of 1877.
Mr. Joe Sharp stated that the Shiloh Methodist Church once stood where the Shiloh Cemetery is located. Andrew Lawson (grandfather of Mrs. John Stott and Mrs. John Ogle) is said to have given the first site for the Shiloh Church and Cemetery. It is believed to be the first church of this denomination south of the French Broad River. In 1808 Bishop Francis Asbury first resident Methodist Bishop in the United States, preached in the small log church. As early as 1787 Methodist Circuit Riders were holding service in the homes of early settlers.
Mr. Joe Seaton said the Middle Creek Camp Ground was started in 1822. He also stated that when the weather permitted, services were held under a big tree. A shed was built to protect worshipers from bad weather. Families built log huts to live in during the camp meetings.
The French Broad Circuit records show that Steward John Trotter was present at the third quarterly meeting held at Middle Creek on July 28, 1844. Archibald and Isaac Trotter, sons of John Trotter, were very active at the quarterly conferences. Isaac Trotter was appointed trustee for the Middle Creek Camp Ground in place of Aaron Runyan on June 29, 1850 at the third quarterly meeting. The meeting was held at Sevierville.
Early records from The French Broad Circuit show the collections included 1/4 cent and ½ cent.
Mr. Glenn McMahan stated that on September 25, 1844 his great, great grandfather, John Trotter, Sr., and his wife, Asa White Trotter, gave six acres plus to the Middle Creek Camp Ground and Church. The trustees were William Harrison Trotter, Daniel Emert, Archibald Trotter and others.
On the 25th day of February 1851, John Trotter deeded land to the trustee in trust for the Middle Creek Methodist Church. They were Archibald Trotter, John S. Trotter, Isaac Trotter, W. H. Trotter, Jessie Webb, Henry Butler and N. W. Emert. He gave the land for the love he had for said church and Christianity. This land was to be placed in the hands of said trustees and their successors in office, forever, in trust, for the use of the members of the Methodist Church. They were to erect or build a Methodist Church or meeting house for the worship of Almighty God.
Henry Butler, the great, great grandfather of Mayford and Joe Seaton, Anna Marshall Rainwater and Florita Butler McMahan, was one of the early settlers of Middle Creek. He was born in 1761 in Maryland. He died in 1867 and was buried at Middle Creek. The family home was the log house across from Mr. Rex Rainwater's residence. In his will of June 1847, Henry Butler stated, "My Negro Ginn, I leave her free to live where she pleases." This will was not probated until June 6, 1858. Ginn was not listed in the 1850 Census. So Ginn died not knowing she was free. Ginn is thought to be the first person buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery.
Henry Butler's son, Horatio, was born on October 29, 1797 in Virginia and died in 1850 He was the second person buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery.
Horatio Butler and Mary Trotter (daughter of Archibald Trotter) were married on February 21, 1822. They established a home in the house where Mrs. Della Fox now lives. (1976)
The Middle Creek Cemetery was started before 1850. The general belief 5 is that Henry Butler gave the land for the Cemetery.
{note written on side W. White was buried in 1844}
On January 10, 1877 Tilman Fox, grandfather of James Lee Fox and Glenn McMahan, deeded one and one-half acres to the Church trustees, John S. Trotter, William H. Trotter, John Butler, Tilman Fox, J. M. Rambo, A. W. Nichols and Nelson Fox in exchange for some land on the west end of the campground. This land transaction was made to get a suitable location for the church. This church was near the road and faced the Tilman Fox residence.
Mrs. 0. E. McMahan talked to her family about a log church. A picture reveals that the church built after 1877 was a frame building.
Mr. Fred Matthew's in History of Sevier County states that on April 12, 1879, John and Emeline Butler gave a lot to A. W. Nichols, A. C. F. Trotter and N. E. Trotter, trustees, for the purpose of building a parsonage. Miss Nora McMahan said the parsonage was built in the year of 1882.
John and Emeline Bogart Butler, great grandparents of Mrs. Ray Myers, lived on the hill above Uncle Bob Marshall's store. The store is opposite the parsonage.
The Trotters and Butlers played an important part in the early history of Middle Creek. It is Mr. Dave Butler's opinion that they had been friends in Virginia before coming to Sevier County.
The following article appeared in the Montgomery Vindecator (a Sevier County weekly newspaper) on April 24, 1901.
 
The undersigned building committee will receive sealed bids until Monday,
July 1, 1901,   for the erection of a new Methodist Church at Middle Creek,
Tennessee. Persons desiring to bid on said work will find the plans and
specifications in the hands of the Cashier of the Bank of Sevierville and all
bids may be handed to said Cashier or to anyone of the undersigned.
The committee reserves the right to reject any and even all bids on said work.
The person whose bid is accepted will be required to enter into proper contract
before the work is awarded to him. The committee will meet at said bank Monday,
July 1, to open bids and let contract.
 
T. D. w. McMahan
A. C. F. Trotter
John Ogle
Building Committee
                                                                                                            yellow        
Mr. Earnest McMahan related haw the community contributed the white pine timber for the present church. His father, Mr. T. D. W. McMahan went to the forest and carefully selected the trees to be sawed into lumber. Mr. Jim Roberts said Mr. Bud Fox (John Ernest - father of Bill Fox and Gladys Rawlings) hauled the needed material from Knoxville by wagon.
Mr. Cisco Williams was the builder. Mr. Jim Butler told about Mr. Williams' wood working ability. With few tools he did the beautiful altar of the church.
Notations from Miss Nora McMahan tell about the church dedication on May 18, 1902. Rev. J. A. Ruble preached the dedication sermon. Rev. J. D. Lawson preached the first sermon. Mr. Lawson was a widely known circuit rider, preacher, singer and farmer from Wears Valley. He preached many times at the Middle Creek Camp Ground.
 
Known ministers before 1900 were Rev. R. C. Clendennon, Rev. W. M. Brickey, Rev. Pyott, Rev. Rippletoe, Rev. Muncey, Rev. Amos Rule. Known ministers between 1900 and 1930 were Rev. M. C. Bruner, Rev. A. B. McKenzie, Rev. Christian, Rev. J. S. Jones, Rev. Boleng, Rev. Burnett, Rev. Byrd, Rev. Joseph T. Genthnev, Rev. W. S. Reagan, Rev. J. F. Lynch, Rev. Russel Huff, Rev. Kirby and Rev. Goss.
Mr. Wilson McMahan and Mr. Amos Trotter were two very important men in the building of the new church (1901). People past 55 who have been raised on Middle Creek can remember them.  Also to their memory comes a very tall stately woman, Mrs. Jane Walker. She was a sister of Mr. Amos Trotter. To her we owe a debt of gratitude for the lovely handmade linen covers for the communion table. They are approximately 70 years old. Mr. John Ogle (another member of the building committee) always took his place at the front of the church. Mr. Bob Marshall, Mrs. Rex Rainwater's father, served as Sunday School Superintendent. His kindness made a deep impression on young children. When age caused these men to step aside, Mr. Earnest McMahan and Mr. Bob Rambo became guiding lights.
Mr. Rex Rainwater compiled a list of ministers who served the Sevierville circuit between 1930 - 1976. Middle Creek is on the Sevierville Circuit.
 
1930 -                   Rev. J. F. Coldwell                      1931 - 33       Rev. G. L. Shupe
1934 - 36              Rev. W. L. Roberts                      1937 - 39       Rev. Wilbur Hart
1940 -                   Rev. A. N. Daily                          1941 – 42      Rev. C. Walter Marten
1942 -1/2 yr.        Rev. R. L. Stapleton                    1943 – 44  Rev. Russel Huff (1 1/2 years)
                             Rev. Stapleton died while serving the Sevierville Circuit.
1945 - 46              Rev. K. W. Cox                           1947 – 48       Rev. John L. Cupp
1949 - 50              Rev. G. E. Pagans                        1951 - 52        Rev. Frank Davenport
1953 -                   Rev. James Benson                      1954 – 57       Rev. M. E. Deakins
1958                     Rev. Sam Koser                           1959 - 60        Rev. R. B. Conner
1961 - 63              Rev. Frank Bostick                      1964               Rev. Claude Grace
1965 - 66              Rev. Lawrence Castle                  1967               Rev. Larry Caylor
1968 - 70              Rev. Ewing Kidd                         1971 - 73       Rev. Paul Cluck
1974 -                   Rev. Wayne Campbell
 
The following people contributed to the Middle Creek Church between October 1924 and November 1927.
Mrs. Vola Ogle Bogart, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Butler , Fannie Carr, Mr. P. H. (Dock) Caton Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Caughron, Reba Caughron (Hood), C. C. Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Sam   Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Von Clabo,Mr. and Mrs. Carl Denton,  Ashley Dixon, Mrs. Sara Duggan, Mary Fleming, Mr. and Mrs. Walker Fleming, Gus Fine, Hater Fine, Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Fine,  Riles Fine, Roy Fine, Mrs. Charlie Fox, Mrs. Ellen Marshall Fox, Mr. and Mrs. George Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Grady Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Fox, Mrs. Martha Fox, Mr. and Mrs. Mell Fox, Roy Fox, Estus Goss, Mrs. M. F. Goss,  Marie Goss, Mrs. Elizabeth Helton, J. R. King, Mr. and Mrs. Pink King, Mrs. C. L. Kirby, Nell Kirby, Addie Lawson, D. H. Lawson, Miss D. L. Lawson, Mary Lawson, Maxwell Lawson, Stewart Lawson, Verna Lawson, Anna Marshall (Rainwater), Eula Marshall (Mrs. Riley Fine), Mrs. E. C. Marshall, Henry Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Marshall, Mr. Job Matthews, Dorothy McMahan, Mr. and Mrs. Earnest McMahan, Earnestine McMahan, Elizabeth McMahan, Elsie McMahan, Glenn McMahan, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. McMahan, John McMahan, Nora McMahan, Mrs. M. C. McMahan, Roy McMahan, Wilbur McMahan, Miss Grace Montgomery (school teacher), Mrs. Vola Newcomb, Mr. and Mrs. John Ogle, George Ogle, Susie Ogle, Mrs. John Patterson, Otis Proffitt (school teacher), Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Rambo, E. L. Rawlings, Edger Rawlings, Della Roberts, Mrs. Martha Roberts, Mrs. Mary Jane Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Roberts, E. J. Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Robertson, Mrs. Julie Robertson, Earnest Seaton, Mrs. Elic Seaton, Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Seaton, Mr. and Mrs. George Seaton, Mrs. Jake Seaton, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Seaton, Mrs. Melinda Seaton, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchel Seaton, Mayford Seaton, W. L. Seaton, Mrs. Laura Snapp, Mrs. Lee Duggan Stinett, Ethel Stott (Mrs. Hubert Iowe), Ruby Stott (Mrs. Jim Maples), Mrs. J. C. Stott, Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Stott, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Sutton Hugh Trotter,     J. L. Trotter Louis Trotter, Mary Trotter, Nellie Trotter, Flora Stott Turner, Mrs. Jim Vance.
 
MIDDLE CREEK UNlTED METHODIST CHURCH
OFFICIALS FOR YEAR 1976
 
 
BOARD OF TRUSTEES:                                                                          PASTOR-PARISH RELATIONS:
 
Kelly McCarter    77                                                                   Mr. Rex Rainwater, Chair.
Fred Clabo  78                                                                                            Mr. M. N. Seaton
Cam Lindsay              76                                                                      Mr. Odes Clabo
 
WORK AREA CHAIRMEN                                                                    COORDINATORS:
 
Ecumenical Affairs                   Mrs. Conley Sims                  Children                Mrs. Ray Merry
Education                                    Mrs. Susie Chambers                             Youth                 Mr. Homer Fine
Evangelism                                 Mr. Homer Fine                                      Adult                   Mrs. M. M. Seaton
Missions                                       Mrs. Rex Rainwater                             Family                  Mrs. Toy Roberts
Social Concerns                         Mrs. Faye McCarter                              Youth Member James Lee Fox III     
Stewardship                                Glenn McMahan
Worship (Communion)             Mrs. Kenneth Seaton
Mrs. Johnny Sims                                                                                                      PARSONAGE TRUSTEES:
 
                                                                                                                                      Mr. Roy Seaton - Parsonage Treasurer
LAY LEADER                                               Mr. Rex Rainwater                           Mrs. Tottie Knight Mrs.
                                                                                                                                      Fred Clabo
CHAIRMEN COUNCIL ON MINISTERS-Mrs. Charlotte Fox                        Mr. George McCarter
 
SECRETARY OF ENLISTMENT                  Shannon Sims
                                                                                                                                      MEMBERS AT LARGE:
HEALTH, WELFARE REPRESENTATIVE--Mrs. James Wilson
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Darius Fine
SUPERINTENDENT OF STUDY PROGRAM-Mr. James Sarten                    Mrs. Joe Roberts
                                                                                                                                      Tommy Miller
CHURCH TREASURER:                                        Mrs. Joe Sutton                    Mrs. Pauline Allen
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Bertha Denton
FINANCIAL SECRETARY                                     Mrs. James Sarten               Mr. Wilford Allen
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Fred Clabo
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY                               Mrs. Rhonda Fox                 Mrs. Glen McMahan
                                                                                                                                      Mr. Johnny Sims
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. James Fox
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE                                 Mr. Carmey Ogle
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Grady Lindsey
Mr. Joe Seaton           Chari.                                                                                     Mrs. Tommy Miller
Mrs. James Fox                                                                                                          JoAnn Isom
Mrs. Homes Fine                                                                                                        Mrs. Kelly McCarter
                                                                                                                                      M. M. Seaton
COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS & PERSONNEL:                                      Darius Fine
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Reba Hood
Mr. Darius Fine                           74 Chair.                                                              Aaron Atchley
Mrs. Tommy Miller                   78                                                                           Mrs. Tottie Knight
Mrs. Reba Hood                        76                                                                           Mr. Roy Seaton
                                                                                                                                      Mr. George McCarter
                                                                                                                                      Mr. Arthur McCarter
                                                                                                                                      Mr. Ode Sarten
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. Jane Walker
                                                                                                                                      Mrs. James Waters
 
On April 29, 1955 Mr. Lee Fox gave one-fourth acre to the Middle Creek Church. This was located on the south side of the church.
Successors were not named to take the place of the original trustees of the Middle Creek Academy. Since no trustees were named, it was necessary for a special act of the legislature to be passed. Mr. 0. E. McMahan and Mr. Glenn McMahan became recipients of the land. They in turn deeded the one and one-half acres to the trustees of the Middle Creek Church.
The Middle Creek Cemetery trustees have been very active throughout the years. The cemetery has been enlarged, landscaped, and roads added. We owe a debt of gratitude to Glenn McMahan for supervising the care of this lovely hillside. In the springtime when the beautiful jonquils make their appearance in the woodland, at the entrance of the hallowed spot, we realize how indebted we are to Elizabeth McMahan Adamitis. She planted these flowers from her mother's flower garden.
The Directors of the Middle Creek Cemetery in 1976 are Glenn McMahan, Bryan Blalock, Hugh Trotter, Joe Seaton, Rex Rainwater, Frank Morton and John McMahan.
Abdill Stott felt that all men should be free. He moved his family from South Carolina to Alabama and enlisted with the Northern forces. The Civil war brought him to Sevier County, where he later returned with his family.
Abdill's son, John Stott, became a Methodist minister. Mrs. Frances Valentine Sharp said he left a deep impression on her as he would always shake hands with her as he did grown-ups. Mrs. Joe Seaton recalls that he was very spiritual. Rev. Stott was a licensed exhorter in his be­loved Middle Creek Methodist Church for more than twenty years. He rode horseback to many churches, preaching the gospel and saving souls.
A number of dreaded diseases plagued this valley. Medical help was scarce. It is said that Judy Caldona (Dana) Chance Stott (Mrs. John Stott) was very helpful in caring for the sick. During her later years, she talked a lot about riding a side saddle and attending the Middle Creek Camp Ground meetings. She was a remarkable woman.
Preacher Bob Mershall, (deceased), son of the John and Catherine Bohanan Marshalls, was a great Bible scholar with a profound knowledge of Greek. He spoke of visiting the city of the dead (the Greek for cemetery) when he walked through the Middle Creek Cemetery. Before 1936 it was almost a wilderness. The commity was distressed about the condition of the cemetery. Any project takes some money and the depression years had been felt in Middle Creek, as well as the rest of the county. In the summer of 1935, Mrs. Priscilla Clabo, Mrs. Horace McMahan (Aunt Mag), and Mrs. Laura Seaton (three sisters) stopped at the Middle Creek Store operated by Rex Rainwater. They were disturbed about the deplorable conditions of the plot where their loved ones were buried. Mr. Horace McMahan, chairman of the cemetery trustees, pledged his support to the beautification of the cemetery.
In the winter of 1936, Rex Rainwater was asked to take donations. Mr. Walker Fleming agreed to oversee the work. Mr. Jim Vance and sons (Almeda Adams father and brother) were hired. Enthusiasm for the project spread and untold hours of labor were donated by the community.
Mr. and Mrs. Walker Fleming later moved to Virginia. When they went to their reward, their daughter, Ruth, returned them to the land of their birth.
Rex Rainwater, a descendant of Milas Rainwater and Adam Fox, came to this community from Chestnut Hill, Tennessee, in 1929. He married Anna Marshall, daughter of the late Robert Hammer and Sally Snapp Marshall. This couple has been a shining example of the church and community.
Joe and Mayford Seaton are the sons of the late Jacob and Jemima, Marshall Seaton. Middle Creek Methodist Church has been their church home since childhood. Mr. Joe is the oldest man in the church (1976) and has taught a Sunday School class for twenty-eight years. Mr. Mayford has held many offices in the church. He is a Sunday School teacher, endowed with great leadership ability.
Thomas O. Marshall and Melvin Stott, former members of the Middle Creek Methodist Church, felt the call to preach the gospel. Mr. Marshall was the son of the late Horatio Butler Marshall and Caroline Trevena Marshall. He was the grandson of the late Robert Marshall, Jr., and Asa Anna Trotter Marshall. T. O. Marshall was a Methodist minister for over thirty years. A tribute to Rev. Marshall appeared in the Holston Conference Journal. It stated that he started nine buildings during his years of service. The tribute described Rev. Marshall as a very compassionate man who loved young people.
Melvin Stott is the son of the late Joe and Hannah Lamon Stott. Rev. Stott is a dedicated minister. Poor health forced him into early semiretirement. He now resides in Tampa, Florida (1976).
Many young men have stepped forward to defend our great country in wars and conflicts. Several from our midst made the supreme sacrifice. They were: Civil War: Anderson Chance (great grandfather of Roy Seaton and Reba Hood), Caleb Chance (great grandfather of Icelana Cates, Nell Chance McCarter and Gene Catlett), Micajah Butler (relative of Florita McMahan and Dorothy Myers); World War I: Frank Fine (Homer Fine's brother), Arlie Ogle (Roy Seatan's uncle); World War II: Lyman Newman (son of Wi11 and Debbie Newman), Ted Huskey (Mrs. Alice Huskey's son), Frank Henry (brother of Roy Henry), Ray Henry (Mary Proffitt's brother), Lloyd Robertson, Jr. (son of Mrs. Lloyd Robertson and a relative of Iva Atchley), Lon Robertson (brother of Faye Seaton) and Vietnam: Jerry McCarter (grandson of Amos McCarter).
Mrs. Victoria Snapp King, mother of Thelma Ann Rice, is no longer with us. She was a great lover of flowers and shared them with the church and community. Mrs. Rice occasionally places flowers an the church altar in memory of her mother.
Elsie Newman, Anna Rainwater, Iva Atchley, Dorothy Myers, and others are very thoughtful about sharing their flowers with the church. J. L. Clabo (a member of the Middle Creek Church) occasionally sends flowers in honor of his parents, Bill and Eva Clabo.
Many people have worked to keep the Middle Creek Methodist Church in good repair and a comfortable place to worship. Personal sacrifice and danger were involved. Newton Trotter fell while painting the church and broke his hip. The Middle Creek Church was located approxirastely 120 feet from the Middle Creek School. Mrs. Fred Rawlings recalls that she was attending classes at the school when lightning struck the church steeple. It ran down the corner to the foundation. The comer stone (a large limestone rock) was split. Mr. John McMahan said this event took place in 1913. Mr. Spence Lawson used his outstanding carpenter ability to repair the damage. Ropes secured him when he repaired the steeple. Mr. Lawson added the first concrete church steps. Luther Roberts relied on a wagon and a team of horses to haul rocks to underpin the church.
In the mid 1940's electricity came to this valley. Middle Creek Methodist Church had previously depended on a carbide system for lights. It was installed by Spence Lawson around 1910.
In 1950 plans were made to install a furnace. Limestone under the church posed a real problem. Von Clabo, Fred Clabo, Odes Clabo, Amber Wilson, Carl Denton and others faithfully worked to carve a space under the church large enough for a furnace. Grady Myers, using his stone mason's ability, built the chimney for the new heating system. My beloved father, Gregory Caughron (a former Sunday school teacher) was always interested in any form of progress. By 1951 he was in failing health. The Lord let him live long enough to attend church on the first Sunday of February, 1951. Another dream had become a reality. A furnace had been installed.
 
During the late  ‘50’s the Middle Creek United Methodist Church began to think about an educational building. Tentative plans were formulated under the guidance of Rev. R. B. Corner (1959-60). The plan became a reality then Rev. Frank Bostick was the pastor (1961-63). Galloway and Guthrey, connected with the Holston Conference, were the architects. Homer Fine, a church leader and a Sunday School teacher for twenty-six years, was the chairmen of the building committee. He was assisted by Shannon Sims and Reba Hood. Homer Fine, Roy W. Fox and others donated many hours of labor on the building. Carry Ogle was the builder.
In 1976 another step was taken to add to people's comfort while worshiping. Air conditioning was installed in the sanctuary and the educational building. A new furnace replaced the old one. Homer Fine, George McCarter and Jack Sarten served on the committee.
In order not to overwork the very efficient church treasurer, Mrs. Joe Sutton (Elizabeth), the administrative board selected Mrs. Glen Fox (Rhonda) to serve as treasurer for these projects.
People have worshiped in our present church for seventy-five years. Mrs. Della Trotter Butler, a daughter of Newton Trotter, was the first person to join the church. Many people have taken Christian vows since then.
Women have always played an important part in our community and church. We are very fortunate to have Toy Roberts in our midst. In her very quiet manner she does many community services.
Today the woman's church organization is called 'United Methodist Women (U. M.W.). The 1976 officers are
President - Mrs. Ronnie Chambers (Susie)
Vice-president - Mrs. Conley Sims (Lavana)
Secretary - Mrs. Faye McCarter
Treasurer - Mrs. Johnny Sims (Charlotte)
Mrs. Joe Roberts (Olvia) brings devotions to the group monthly. Her original poems are inspirational. Years ago the women's organization was called Ladies Aide.
Middle Creek has always been blessed with wonderful young people. The present name for the youth church group is Methodist Youth Fellowship (M. Y. F.).
The 1976 officers are:
President - Lee Fox
Vice-president - Sharon Seaton
Secretary - Karen McCarter
Treasurer - Joan Huff
In former years the youth organization was referred to as the Epworth League.
In the early 1930's, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was formed. Many families had to re-locate. The Nenman family chose Middle Creek. Pam Isom, daughter of James and Jo Ann Isom, grand­daughter of Roy and Elsie Newman, was honored in 1976 for having three years perfect attendance in the M. Y. F.
There has been very little shift in population in our area. A number of families are living m the same farms occupied by their fore­fathers. The two 1976 Century farm awards went to James Lee Fox and Glenn F. McMahan.
Several people have the privilege of Worshiping with their grand­children. Mrs. Wilfred Allen (Pauline) warships with her great-grand­daughters. These little girls are the great, great,- great, great grandchildren of Abdill Stott.
Most of our senior citizens would attend church if health permitted. Mrs. George Fox (Miss Mary) is at her home. Mrs. Dot Myers' father, W. Arthur Myers, Mrs. Jane Ward and Mrs. Dot Fox reside at the Sevier County Nursing Home. Mr, and Mrs. Amber Wilson are at Care-Inn in Jefferson City, Tenn.
A special tribute goes to an outstanding family in our midst. Mr. and Mrs. Cam Lindsey (Sara V.) have taken more than eighty foster children into their home, loved the little ones, cared for them, made the children feel wanted, and given them Christian training. Cam is a church trustee and Sara V. has been a Sunday School teacher for twenty years.
Leona Wilson, Mary Clabo and Toy Roberts have rendered a great service to our elderly and sick. They have spent untold hours caring for them.
Middle Creek is blessed with being very neighborly. 'When problems arise someone is there to assist. Flowers help when sadness comes to us. Mrs. Arthur McCarter (Charlene), Mrs. Jack Sarten (Geneva), and Mrs. James Lee Fox (Charlotte) are members of the flower committee. For years Mrs. James Wilson (Leona.) volunteered her service in this capacity.
The Middle Creek people owe a debt of gratitude to the Homer Fine family for giving them an opportunity to worship in an immaculate church for twenty-three years. The Darius Fine family have assumed the responsibility for the care of the church and grounds.
In 1976 the Middle Creek Sunday School under the effective direction of James (Jack) Sarten touches the lives of many people. Rachel Fine manages the Sunday School finances. Mrs. Ray Myers (Dorothy) and her staff instruct our children. Katherine Miller, Tootie Knight, Lavana Sims and Barbara Seaton along with the choir sing praises to our Heavenly Father.
Our very able minister, Rev. Wayne Campbell, guides our church. Mrs. James Sarten, financial secretary, Mrs. Joe Sutton, church treasurer, along with the committee on finance, Mr. Joe Seaton, Mrs. James Fox and Mrs. Homer Fine, supervise our finance. Many people, like their fore­fathers, enter Middle Creek Church each Sunday to worship Almighty God. They are the salt of the earth!
 
The following is the 1976 Middle Creek Sunday School roll;.
 
Nursery
Teacher - Sara V. Lindsey
 
David Lindsey
Chad Loveday
Kevin Seals
 
Kindergarten Class
Teachers - Geneva Sarten
                  Dorothy Myers
 
Kristy Allen
Stacy Allen
Le Ann Bohanan
Eric Chambers
Dara Fine
Eric Hurst
Robbie Knight
Jerry Lindsey
Todd Lindsey 
Steve McGill
Jamie Miller
Stephanie Myers
 
Primary Class
Teachers - Mary George Lindsey
                 Tootie Knit
 
Richard Lindsey
Tammy Maples
 
Junior Class
Teacher - Kathryn Miller
 
Alice Agee
Eric Blalock
Denise Fine
Amy Huff
Keith Hurst
Tracy Knight
Sandy Miller
Kenny Seaton
Jo Ann Sellers
 
Senior High Class
Teacher - Homer Fine
 
Karen Agee
Cookie Blalock
Angela Fox
Bill Fox
Lee Fox
Lisa Fine
Terry Gates
Joan Huff
Pam Isom
Becky Knight
Rickey Knight
Scott Knight
Dennis Maples
Dennis McCarter
Jeff McCarter
Karen McCarter
Mark Pullen
Thomas Rice
David Sarten
Eric Sarten
Philip Sarten
Karen Seaton
Sharon Seaton
Bryan Sellers
Catherine Sellers
Scott Sellers
Scott Sims
{Hand written in Cyndie Stewardson, Sabra Fine, Tammy McCarter}
 
Young Adult Class
Teacher - Mayford Seaton
 
Helen Allen
Anita Blalock
Ronnie Chambers
Susie Chambers
Carolyn Fine
Darius Fine
Rhonda Fox
Charles Huff
Charlotte Huff
Gail Lindsey
Max Lindsey
Arthur McCarter
 Charlene McCarter
Tommy Miller
Barbara Seaton
Charlotte Sims
Johnny Sims
 
Women's  Bible Class No. 1
Teacher - Reba Hood
Assistant Teachers - Della Sarten
                                 Clessie Seaton
Almeda Adams
Iva Atchley
Joan Bohanan
Alliene Caylor
Mary Clabo
Bertha Denton
Eva Hurst
Jo Ann Isom
Jane Lawson
Sara V. Lindsey
Velma McCarter
Dorothy Myers
Grace Myers
Jewell Myers
Elsie Newman
Edna Ogle
Mary Lou Pullen
Margaret Rabb
Juanita Rayfield
Toy Roberts
Vicki Seals
Hettie Seaton
 
Women's bible Class No. II
Teachers - Rachel Fine
                  Florita McMahan
                  Ruby Ogle
                  Faye Seaton
                  Lavana Sims
 
Pauline Allen 
Velma Clabo
Dicie Floyd
Charlotte Fox
Vesta Kaight
Faye McCarter
Margaret McCarter
Georgia Newman
Hazel Rabb
Anna Rainwater
Thelma Ann Rice
Olvia Roberts
Elizabeth Sutton
Leona Wilson
 
Men' s Class
Teacher - Joe Seaton
 
Wilfred Allen
Aaron Atchley
Fred Clabo
Odes Clabo
James Isom
Harris Lawson
Cam Lindsey
Grady Lindsey
George McCarter
Kelly McCarter
Glenn McMahan
Coy Myers
Ray Myers
David Newman
Carney Ogle
James Pullen
Houston Rabb
Rex Rainwater
Joe Roberts
James Sarten
Ode Sarten
Roy Seaton
James Wilson
 
On December 19, 1976, Mr. Jack Sarten recognized the people who had perfect Sunday School attendance in 1976. They were Eric Hurst, Eva Rhea Hurst, Keith Hurst, James Isom, Joe Ann Isom, Pam Isom, Kathryn Miller, Dorothy Myers, David Sarten, Eric Sarten, Joe Sarten, Barbara Seaton, Hettie Seaton, and Joe Seaton. Jack Sarten was also in the perfect attendance group. Those who had missed one Sunday were Homer Fine, Sandy Miller, Elsie Newman, Philip Sarten, Clessie Seaton, Karen Seaton, Kenny Seaton, and Sharon Seaton.
According to Mrs. Laura Ward Beal, about sixty-five years ago the Presbyterians established a mission on Ridge Road. Roseville, near the Grady Fox farm, was built under the direction of Rev. Wright and named for his beloved wife. Mitchell Carr gave the land for the church. Miss Sara Cochrane, director of the mission at Juniper on Wilhite also directed Roseville. Horse and buggy was the first means of transportation between the two missions. Later a Model T Ford was provided. Riley Fine was hired as the driver.
A number of ladies came to Sevier County as employees of the Northern Presbyterian Board U. S. A. Aura Lawson (Mrs. Grady Fox) from wears Valley and Vera Williams (Firs. Lee Fox) from Jamestown, North Dakota came to Roseville and remained in the Middle Creek Community. These ladies, blessed with great leadership ability, proved to be an asset to our area. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Fox's children, James Lee Fox, Mary Claire (Mrs. Frank Morton), and Jean (Mrs. Lynn Rawlings, Jr.) continue to live in Middle Creek.
In the early 1940's Alice Robbins came to this area as Sevier County's public health nurse. For many years she worked very hard in this capacity. Her knowledge of the people of the county was outstanding. She went the second mile to help people unable to help themselves. Mell Trotter, the assistant postmaster of Sevierville and a descendant of the first John Trotter who came to Middle Creek from Virginia,, married Alice. Mell, Alice and their daughter Virginia Sue established a home Middle Creek. The Lord called this dear lady home in 1970.
In 1945 the Holston Conference hired rural workers. This was under the direction of the Woman's Society. In 1967 the work was put under the board of missions on September 1, 1968, Miss Mildred Beliamy came to Sevier County in this capacity. She has proved to be a very faithful and dedicated worker.
The Henry Butler house across from Rex Rainwater's residence and the Horatio Butler house (present home of Mrs. Della Fox - 1976) near Joe Roberts' store are the oldest on Middle Creek. The only house included on the National Historical Register is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn F. McMahan. It was built by Dr. Will H. Trotter (Mr. McMahan's great grandfather) in 1848.
The McMahan cattle barn was built by Spence Lawson. Wilson McMahan (a son-in-law of Dr. Trotter) and Mr. Lawson journeyed to Blount County, probably by surrey, to get ideas for the barn. A painting of this barn called The Barn on Middle Creek by Robert Allen can be seen at Allen's Gallery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Spence Lawson's construction ability was recognized beyond the boundary of Sevier County. The contractor for the building of Henley Street-Bridge found it necessary to request Mr. Lawson assistance.
Mr. Jim Trotter of Sevierville was credited with bringing the first telephone system to Sevier County. Telephone customers were responsible for the upkeep of the lines. The switchboard in Sevierville was operated by Jim Trotter, Maude Fox, Willie Trotter and Fred Rawlings. The switch­board at Pigeon Forge, in the home of Jim Householder, was operated by Kate and Matt Householder. Both switchboards served Middle Creek. Around 1918 the telephone headquarters for Pigeon Forge was in the home of Dr. Gibson. His house burned and the service was never restored.
In the frontier days the church bell was tolled to alert the community of a death. It was used at the end of World War I to let people know that members of their families would be returning from Europe. Not until around 1950 did the community enjoy the use of a telephone system again.
In 1913 Mr. Jim Trotter secured the Ford Agency. He sold Lee Fox (James Lee Fox's father) and Grady Fox the first Ford to be brought to Sevier County. Dock Caton and Spence Lawson were the next people from Middle Creek to purchase cars.
O. E. McMahan bought a Westinghouse radio from C. L. Thurman in the early 1920's for $200.00. On Nov. 15, 1925, Grady Fox purchased an Atwater Kent radio from K. Rawlings and Co. for $110.00. These were possibly the first families to own a radio in this community.
The invention of glass canning jars made preparation for winter much easier. Before that food had to be dried in the sun or stored in crocks.
Potatoes and turnips were stored on a well-drained location. A ven­tilator was placed in the middle of the vegetables. They were then covered with straw and soil. The mound was topped with some type of waterproof covering.
An ash hopper was near most farm houses. Ashes (hickory ashes were favored) were saved and placed in the hopper. The pioneer families made lye soap for washing their clothes with lard or grease plus the lye water from the hopper. Hominy was made from weak lye water and shelled corn from the crib.
Years ago many families depended on a few stands of bees to supply honey for their tables. In 1975 Coy and Jewell have many stands of bees. They operate a market near their home.
For years Joe Roberts and his daughter Mrs. Glen Smelcer (Betty Joe) have operated the community store and filling station. Betty Joe, an artist, has coordinated the businesses.
Carding of the wool from the sheep and cotton from the fields as well as spinning thread were once common place in this community. Our great grandmothers made clothes from linsey cloth. They wove woolen blankets and coverlets on huge looms. This is almost a forgotten art. Another art that is fading fast is quilting. However, a number of ladies of Middle Creek are very skilled in making quilts and quilting. Some are Velma Clabo, Toy Roberts, Bertha Denton, Mary Clabo, Margaret Rabb and Mary Lou Pullen.
We have become very dependent m electricity. In our past history borrowing fire was a part of the culture. At bedtime the fire was banked. Live coals were covered with ashes. In the event the fire went out, it was necessary to borrow fire from a neighbor. No doubt our forefathers welcomed the invention of matches.
In 1976 it is hard to realize that there was once a post office, stores and train depots on Middle Creek. The Middle Creek Post Office was at Mr. Tilman Fox's house, presently the home of the James Lee Fox family. It was later moved to the Fox Store. Rural Free Delivery took the place of many small post offices.
Mr. George Fox operated a store. Mr. Fox went to Texas and Mr. Stewart Trotter took over the operation. This store was on the Fox property across from the present church. Later Mr. Bob Marshall built a store across the road from the parsonage.
About the time of World War I a passenger and freight train traveled through Middle Creek on its way to McCookville. There were three depots on Middle Creek. One was located on the Amos Trotter farm below the home of Wilfred Allen (1976). The second was on the camp ground land across the creek from the present church. The third was on the Bob Rambo farm.
This resume covers almost 200 years of history. Life styles have undergone many changes. We are proud of our heritage, our Church, our community and our homes. Each night before we retire, we should give thanks to our Father in Heaven for the privilege of living in this lovely green valley on or near the water of Middle Creek.
 
Compiled by Reba Caughron Hood
                                                                                                                      1976