CENTENNIAL CHRONICLE, July 12, 1956. EARLY SETTLERS OF CRAB ORCHARD. An article From the Crossville Chronicle, August 18, 1938, by the late S. C. Brown. Conclusion. Editor Chronicle: Last week we left E. G. Haley owning the old turn-pike stage toll road.
During the time that Robert Burke and wife kept tavern at Crab Orchard Inn, among the distinguished guests stopping there was Andrew Jackson while President in making his trips from the Hermitage to the White House.
The brick that went into the large and commodious inn were made and the lime burned there on the farm, the brickyard still being discernible. I am told by George A,. Haley, of Crossville that his father, Dr. E. G. Haley, told him that Robert Burke brought nine brick layers from Knoxville to erect the building and that a man by the name of Rowan moulded the brick after the mortar was made. At Robert Burke’s death, his stepson, afterwards known as Doctor Haley, took over the inn and operated it until 1859. Robert Burke owned the Crab Orchard farm of fifteen hundred acres on which the inn was located at the time of his death, part of the farm being in Morgan County and part in Bledsoe County, Cumberland County not yet having been formed. The Inn must have been in Bledsoe County, very near the county line.
There was only one child born to Robert Burke and his wife, a boy, named John Burke, a half-brother to E. G. Haley. After Robert Burke's death his estate was divided between E. G. Haley and John Burke. Robert Burke also owned a large farm and mill property in Roane County. He and his step-son, E. G. Haley, had entered and had granted to them from the State of Tennessee two five thousand acre tracts of land north of Crab Orchard. In the division of the estate the Roane county farm and mill went to John Burke who had married and was living on the property, also the two five thousand acre tracts of land north of Crab Orchard. The Crab Orchard fifteen hundred acre farm and the turnpike stage road went to E. G, Haley, he assuming the payment of $6,000 indebtedness against Robert Burke who had become responsible as surety on notes for his brother, William Burke, a Negro slave trader, who went South with Negroes for sale and was never again heard of. In 1859, after the division of the Robert Burke estate, E. G. Haley sold the Crab Orchard farm and inn to Sam Johnson.
Soon after the Civil War the property was purchased by C. J. Wheeler, of Louisiana, and was occupied by him and his family until his death. His widow married W. C. Renfro and they occupied it until his death when the property descended to the Wheeler heirs.
Different readers of the Chronicle having requested me to write some more with reference to Crab Orchard and that community is mainly my reason for writing this article and I must give my old friend, George A. Haley of Crossville, credit for the material facts upon which it is based. This article is too long to include the Dr. E. G. Haley family to whom I expect to give attention next week. S. C. Brown.