Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

August 13, 2013

Much of TN once an ‘open range’ state

Driving around the county I've noticed several remnants of old gateposts in various places. It occurred to me that maybe some people didn’t know what they may have been, and were curious as to why they were standing all alone in someone's front yard, or out in a field.

All of Cumberland County as well as much of the state of Tennessee, used to be an “Open Range” state. Open Range is the roaming of livestock freely regardless of land ownership. Anyone's cattle, sheep, hogs or other livestock could freely eat grass or mast from any property. It was up to each individual family to erect their own legal fence to keep other animals out, and also their own animals inside their lands.

Last week our article was about Henry Oren Cox Jr., whose mother, Amy Young Cox, shared this note about her memories of Open Range, “Cattle, sheep and hogs were not fenced in but kept on open range where they fed on wild grass and acorns.” We also have Open Range Road, in the Homestead community.

In order to keep animals out of your “front yard” and thus enable you and your family as well as visitors to come and go from your home without having to keep their eyes always glued to the ground being careful where you walked, people would fence their yard as well as also fencing their fields.

These gateposts are the remains of the entries to homes during the open range years. Most of these homes also had some kind of walkway up to the house, which were usually made of flat native stone. The walkways were especially useful in times when you had as much rain as we had this year, so you kept excess mud out of your home. If you look closely, or dig down under the ground a few feet it is possible that you might find some of this native stone walkway still in place. In many cases the walkway was dug up when the fence was taken away, or eventually was removed for ease of mowing the lawn.

It would be interesting if those reading this article would contribute photos of old gateposts they find across the county. Email your photos to the Chronicle with the location of the community where you have taken your photo.

• • •

Old Uncle Gib is a weekly historical feature published each Friday. Old Uncle Gib is a pseudonym that was used by S.C. Bishop, who founded the Chronicle in 1886. Bishop actively published the Chronicle until 1948.


Text Only
Area News
  • Police: Couple sets up house in Tansi pool

    A Lake Tansi couple who suddenly found themselves without shelter set up a temporary home in an indoor pool area at the resort/retirement community, according to police arrest reports.

    April 16, 2014

  • certifying machines.jpg Certifying early voting machines

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mobile Vet Center in town Wednesday

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will have a Mobile Vet Center (MVC) in Crossville at the Cumberland County Community Complex 1398 Livingston Rd. on Wednesday, April 16. MVC 844 will be at the Community Complex from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    April 15, 2014

  • The Palm Tree Revisited

    Palm Sunday is right around the corner. Since we don't have palm trees in our neck of the woods, there probably aren't many people who think about their unique characteristics. Several years ago I read a devotional by Dr. Cecil A. Fayard Jr., “The Palm Tree Revisited,” and want to share some highlights.

    April 15, 2014

  • Crossville breakfast rotary.jpg Rotarians support United Fund

    On Wednesday, March 26, Crossville Breakfast Rotary President Jeff Vires presented a $1,000 check from the Crossville Breakfast Rotary Club to Carmen Wyatt, board president of United Fund, and Holly Neal, executive director of the United Fund. The United Fund of Cumberland County, Inc. provides administrative and other central services for the public and private health, welfare, character building and recreation, education service, charitable and philanthropic agencies and community organizations and the general public of Crossville, Cumberland County and the vicinity.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • tree of distinction.jpg Tree of Distinction?

    In the articles on Trees of Distinction, the Crossville Tree Board usually highlights a tree in the community that is an exemplary specimen of the species.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bids OK'd for used oil collection program

    Several bids were approved recently by the Cumberland County Financial Management Committee for the purchase and installation of equipment for a used oil collecting program from an oil grant awarded by the state for the county's solid waste and recycling department.

    April 14, 2014

  • No show burglary defendant pleads to 8 years

    A Cumberland County man who at least twice failed to appear in court for his trial on burglary and theft charges pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Criminal Court and received an eight-year prison sentence.

    April 14, 2014

  • Panel wants rid of portables

    Members of the Cumberland County Board of Education have begun a study of school enrollment, capacity and facility needs as the open enrollment period for the school system nears in June.

    April 14, 2014

  • I-40 wrong-way driver to serve 2 years

    The man who led local authorities on a pursuit in the wrong lane on Interstate 40 in December by-passed grand jury action on charges against him and pleaded guilty to an information filed in Cumberland County Criminal Court.

    April 11, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar