John Smallwood Keebler was born in Dutch Valley in Anderson County in 1850 to Samuel Keebler and Rosenia Rose Johnson.
J S Keebler married Laura Adelaide Tadlock in 1880 in Anderson County. Laura was a younger sister of Barbara Ann Tadlock who married Dr Henry C Sienknecht. Most of Dr. Sienknecht's patients paid him with farm produce, a situation that required he set up a country store. He enlisted the help pf his brother-in-law, J S Keebler to partner in a large general store which was named J S Keebler at the corner of Main and Roane Street about 1885-6. The fine J S Keebler home on Roane Street was built in the 1890's. There is a fine old photo that has the Keebler home along with the Keebler Barn that was located close to the railroad tracts. At this time cows are shown in this fenced in area. The photo also has in the background the old Presbyterian Church that burned. The other church in the photo is the old 1st Baptist Church on the hill.
About 1899-1900 J S Keebler and Dr Henry C Sienknecht decided to dissolve their business partnership and J S Keebler continued under the name of Keebler & Son. J S Keebler continued to operate the business and live in the home until he went out of business in the 1920's. Millard Duggins and Dora Smith, A.W. Anderson and possibly others operated stores in the Keebler building until it was raised in the early 1930's to make way for the new HWY 61 through town. J S Keebler would later move to Asheville, NC where he died in 1931. The home was sold to and remodeled by, Frank L Ladd. It was at this time bricked. There was a spring house on the property that was later removed and a small pond is now there. Frank Ladd died in 1930 and the home passed to his son Lenoard E Ladd, Mary Richards lived with the Ladds in April 1940 after her sisters were murdered in the Richards Mansion.
It was later sold to James E Taylor, the father of Faith and Ruth Taylor who moved some time after 1942 when he sold the Taylor Hotel. C E Evans and his wife Faith Taylor Evans also lived there. Faith Taylor was a longtime beloved educator in Oliver Springs. The home is now owned and is being restored by Terry and Jane Holland. The house was also used as the interior of the Homer Hickam home in the movie, "October Sky."
Photo credit to Terry Holland
The home of Dr Jessie Thaxton Hayes and Daisy Ella Sienknecht Hayes at 111 Roane Street. Daisy was the daughter of Dr. Henry C Sienknecht who built the two story brick Sienknecht store on main street that still stands today.
Dr. Hayes was born in Smithville, TN and received his medical training at Tulane University. He began his practice in Oliver Springs at the Piedmont Coal mines with an office at the rear of the Commissary. He later had an office between the Mitchell's store building and Dr. Joe P. Walker's office next door to the railroad. He married Daisy in 1910, having met her while she worked at her father's department store.
Dr. Hayes was one of the first doctors to go from the saddle horse to a Model-T. As his practice grew he moved his office to the second floor of the Tri-County Bank building that still stands today. He first built a brick home at 202 Spring street that I will discuss later. He then built a two story brick building that adjoins the lot on Roane Street. Dr. Foster had a dental office on the second floor. He and Daisy lived in an apartment in this building for a time. He then built this large bungalow brick house in the early 1920's after tearing down an old two story home/boarding house in 1916 that previously sat on this lot
Dr. Hayes served as a member of the school board until the city turned over the system to the county in the mid 1930's. In the latter years of his practice he was in declining health and died from complications in 1940 from a fall from a ladder while working on his office building. Daisy sold the home in 1941 and moved to Knoxville with her sister Lula. The home was later owned by who many know as Miss Alice Davis, at that time there were two apartments upstairs and one in the basement. The home is now owned by retired TVA historian Charles Tichey.
I've attached a photo from when the house was just completed that show, James Theodore Sienknecht, Lula Jane Sienknecht, Frederick Christian Sienknecht, Nettie Sienknecht Richards and Daisy Ella Sienknecht Hayes are also in this photo with other relatives that I haven't identified just yet. Dr Jessie Thaxton Hayes.
Also included is a colorized photo I did of the family the same day, Front row, left to right--James Theodore Sienknecht, Lula Jane Sienknecht, Frederick Christian Sienknecht.....back row Nettie Sienknecht Richards and Daisy Ella Sienknecht Hayes.
The Sam Tunnell at 115 Roane Street, built in the early 1900's. Later it was also the Luther Cross Hotel, the Galbraith Hotel, Edna Roberts Hotel, the Goddard Hotel and the office of S.J. Van Hook, Jr.
Sam Tunnell remains a mystery for now to me, there are a number by that name in Roane and Anderson County. One Sam Tunnell that was a banker I found interesting, he was shown as born in Texas 1863 and was living in Oliver Springs with two boarders in the vicinity of present day Strutt Street. By 1920 he was living in the house. For now I'll look at what makes this house significant, it's history as several Hotels and office.
The Cross Hotel was operated by Luther A Cross (1878) and wife Delia Wright Cross. He was a well know man in Oliver Springs history, He had a small store on Estabrook across the tracks from the old post office where Luther would also be postmaster by 1915 and his wife Delia was a postal clerk. Luther and Delia were renters in the house by 1920. They had on son Sam, a graduate from the University of Tennessee. Luther also operated the first moving picture shows in the old Simmons Store building, and he also was one of the contractors of the old Oliver Springs-Coalfield Road. He was city recorder for two years. He lived his later life in Dutch Valley close to Lake City.
The Galbraith Hotel operated by Robert Lansdon Galbraith (1886) and his wife Lola Canter Galbraith. They were shown as renters in the house by 1930. They also worked in a store.They are both buried in the New Fairview Baptist Church Cemetery.
The Edna Roberts Hotel was operated at sometime by either the daughter Mary Edna Roberts (1919) or the mother, Mary Edna Silvey Roberts who lived with her husband Charles Monroe Roberts on Roane Street. The daughter was for a time the bookkeeper for the Booth Funeral Home.
The Goddard Hotel was operated by David Martin Goddard (1874) and his wife Nancy. They are shown as owner as early as 1935. They were both originally from Morgan County. Nancy seemed to run the hotel while her husband was a taxi driver.
Dr. S.J. Van Hook, Jr. opened his first practice in Oliver Springs in 1947. He leased an apartment from Joe Ernest on Roane Street, and opened his office in the Masonic Building on Estabrook Ave. In 1948 he built a home-office combination on the corner of Roane and Pine Streets. In 1956, he bought the former Tunnell home with the long Hotel/Boarding house history from Mrs.Lorene Thomas. His medical practice remained here until he retired. The Van Hook family retain ownership of the house to this day.
The interior of this building was used in the movie, "October Sky".
The 2nd home of James K P Butler. After selling the home know as "Rose Terrace" that he built in the 1880's to W.S. Geers and his wife Martha Wiley Geers, James K Butler then built his home at 209 Roane Street in the 1890's, which has since been remolded into the Sharp Funeral Home. James K Butler was a coal mine operator and was a decedent of the prominent Butler family that settled the Poplar Creek area in the 1790's. James married Laura Frances Walker of Blount County in 1880, together they had six children.
He was an extensive property owner, owned and operated coal mines, owned a commissary at the site of the Emmett Hall home, did much work on the building of the First Baptist Church on the Pine Hill site in 1905 and served as a Deacon of that church. James K Butler died in 1930, his wife Laura in 1933 and is buried in the Oliver Springs Cemetery.
The home would later be sold to William "Bill" F Sharp Jr. Sharp Funeral Home was founded in 1938 by the late William F. Sharp, Jr. Bill married the daughter of Edd and Mary Ellen Taylor. Ruth Taylor Sharp who had a long and successful teaching career in Oliver Springs. Their children, Bill and Becky Sharp both have homes on property adjacent to the funeral home. The funeral home operated successfully under his expert direction for 53 years. The funeral home building underwent three restorations and additions during Sharp's ownership. Under each re-construction the building was enlarged into what it is today.
Following the death of William F. Sharp, Jr. the funeral home was purchased by Jimmy and Brenda Smith in June of 1992. Jimmy, a third generation funeral director, and his wife brought a long history in the funeral service to Oliver Springs, having owned and operated Mt. Pleasant Funeral Home is Harlan, Kentucky for 12 years.
Today, Premier Sharp Funeral Home remains a locally operated funeral home, focusing on providing quality funeral and cremation services to families in Anderson, Roane, and Morgan Counties. .
Since May is National Historic Preservation Month, I thought it might be good to look at some properties in Oliver Springs and what makes them important to preserve. Next we will look at the home of Moses Franklin "Squire" Cox, 312 Roane Street that was built in the late 1880's. Squire Cox was born in Gibson County, TN to James A Cox and Margaret C Cox in 1852, one of the most prominent families there.
He first married Mattie Ida McLeary in 1874 and made his home in Crockett County, TN where they would have five children. There he served as constable and Deputy Sheriff where he made over 500 more arrests than any other officer of the county. After Mattie's death in 1885, Squire Cox left for Oliver Springs and a position with the Big Mountain Prison.
He married Rhoda Jane Hoskins in 1897 and had four more children, 1.John, who worked at Sienknechts store. He married Myrtle Davis of Coalfield. John later bought the Mary Wiley home and went into a partnership with Tom Abston to build the garage next door, he later sold his interest to Mr. Abston and moved to Ridgely where he became very well-off financially before he died in 1985. 2. Clara, who left Oliver Springs in her teens and is said to have made movies in Hollywood. One report said she was a stand in for movie star, Clara Bow, she later settled in Philadelphia where she died. She is buried in Knoxville. 3. Linda, left for Knoxville and married twice, she worked for Millers Department store until she retired. 4. Charlie, who many of the current Cox in our area are from, his children are, Grady, Charles, Rhoda, Tooter, Mickey, Pug, Butch and Brenda Sue. Rhoda died in 1909 and then Squire Cox married Amelia Elrod.
Squire Cox was a early Oliver Springs Recorder, first elected in 1905 and later elected for 10 terms.He also had a store on Estabrook Avenue where he held court in the same building. Squire Cox died in 1921 and is buried in the Oliver Springs Cemetery. Many may remember the home later as the Johnny Vann home. Gladys Tallent also lived here for many years. The home is owned by Maurice Phillips today and he has done a lovely job restoring it.