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The Beginning Of Gatlinburg

William Ogle found his “paradise” in the mountains of East Tennessee teaming with wild food and game. He was determined to bring his family here. He found the best cold water spring he could find and deadened the trees around it. If other white settlers ventured into the area they would know the land had been claimed and would search somewhere else. William went home to raise crops and to prepare for the move. In the process of moving, he was stricken with fever and died in 1803. His widow, Martha Huskey Ogle, wanted to see the land of paradise, and she moving here in 1807. She came with her children, their spouses, and other family members. Other families moved to the area, making a community which they named White Oak Flats.

Radford Gatlin, his wife and a female slave moved to the area in the mid 1850’s. He began to buy property, and registered for a land grand of 5,000 acres. He opened a store in competition with a Mr. Ogle who already had a store. He placed an application with the federal government and was granted permission to open a post office in his store which he named Gatlinburg. Gatlin opened his own church which he called the New Hampshire Baptist Gatlinites. He continued to do things contrary to local customs, and began to anger the citizens. One day some milk cows invaded Mrs. Gatlin’s flowerbed. She began to beat on the cows, but was stopped by the owner of the cows. Mr. Gatlin intervened, and a fight began. A Mr. Ogle, who owned the cows, sued Mr. & Mrs. Gatlin for assault and battery. Many court cases occurred as each side sued and counter-sued. As a result, Radford Gatlin departed Gatlinburg.

In the early 1900’s logging became popular. Andrew Jackson Huff had several lumber camps in the area. Salesman came to the area to buy his lumber, but they had no place to stay. In 1916 Andy built the Mountain View Hotel. The lumbermen went home and described the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. The word spread, and tourists began to visit the area. Stephen Whaley and his son, Dick, built the second hotel in 1937, which they called the Riverside. R. L. Maples, Sr. built the third hotel, the New Gatlinburg Inn, in 1937.

Guest Blog Post by:
Theresa Williams, Genealogist
Sevier County Public Library System