Monday, September 16, 2013

Chapter the Seventh: Use Primary Sources!

New Market isn't much of a town and though its zenith is long past it has never been historically of much account either. In most histories of East Tennessee it merits a 3 sentence entry in the laundry list of small towns with nothing much to recommend them.

In Historical Background of Jefferson County by J.B. Malone we read: "About 1819 James Tucker opened a house of entertainment ten miles northwest of Dandridge on the stage route from Knoxville to Abingdon, Virginia. The place became known as Tuckertown, and during the next few years a small village grew up in the vicinity. As the town became established it provided a new market for produce and passengers on the stage route and was later given the name of New Market."

In Touring the East Tennessee Backroads by Carolyn Sakowski the same information is repeated: "In 1819, James Tucker started a house of entertainment on the Great Stage Road. The village that developed was known as Tuckertown until a general store opened that sold its wares for anything that was available for barter. People in the area started talking about "the new market" and the name stuck."

So that's the official story, Tucker builds his tavern in 1819 and the area becomes known as Tuckertown and then morphs into New Market as people begin to settle the area. Except that the Jefferson County Court Minutes don't support that story at all. I've been doing the deed research for a few months and have wandered down several interesting rabbit trails, one of which is the history of James Tucker and his tavern. I decided to look at the Minutes book last week and began reading it page by page starting in late 1818.

On Friday March 12, 1819 about 1/3 of the way down the page we read: "James Tucker Jr hath leave to keep an ordinary at his own house in New Market who entered into bond with security for the faithful discharge of his duty therein and took an oath more effectively to prevent gambling." And with that we turn history on its ear. He established the tavern in a place already known as New Market and I have yet to read of any mention of a "Tuckertown", I'm not saying I won't come across it, but I haven't yet.

 I am reminded again why it's so important to go back to the original sources whenever possible and not just repeat the words of another writer/researcher. It takes more time, but in the end we are assured that the facts we are stating are indeed facts and not fantasy.

1 comment:

  1. My late husbands family was from New Market. I have heard many tales about the early days. The one claim to fame was Nance's Ferry. Enjoying your blog


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