The History of the Lookout Valley Community


Richard Alexander McKeel

Chapter Two

“First White Settlers”  

            The first Europeans to enter Lookout Valley were probably the Spaniards in the mid-1540s led by the Spanish Conquistador, Hornando De Soto. The next group of Europeans would be in 1783, with the Continental Army led by Tennessee ’s Future first Governor Colonel John Sevier who entered Lookout Valley during the American Revolution. Colonel John Sevier attacked a Native American Village in Lookout Valley in a skirmish with the Cherokees.

The Boydston Family

Some of the first settlers of our community were the Boydston Family. The first members of the Boydston family to enter Lookout Valley were that of Thomas Boydston. Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth Newport stayed in this area before pushing on to Ripley , Tennessee . Thomas and Elizabeth had three sons, John, Cavanaugh born in 1796, and Thomas Junior. When the parents moved on to Ripley , Tennessee , Cavanaugh and his brothers John and Thomas Junior stayed behind and lived peacefully in Lookout Valley for many years.

1. Cavanaugh Boydston

Cavanaugh Boydston and his wife, Polly Slape Boydston, built a log cabin not far from the Old Post Road (Brown's Ferry), where they had twelve children. Cavanaugh lived in the area from 1796 until his death in 1871. A very religions man Cavanaugh was an elder at the Lookout Valley Primitive Baptist Church . Cavanaugh Boydston is buried in Boydston Cemetery sadly his tombstone has been destroyed by vandals some time after 1933.

2. John Boydston

John Boydston and his wife, Sarah Condray Boydston, were still in Hamilton County at the start of the Civil War. John married Elizabeth Cummings after his first wife, Sarah, died of tuberculosis.

3. Thomas Boydston Junior

Thomas was a land owner and lived in Lookout Valley until his death in 1866.  Served as a member of Lookout Valley Primitive Baptist Church until his death.

4. Confederate Scout James “Uncle Jimmy” Boydston

One of Cavanaugh’s sons, Jim Boydston, served as a scout in the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Jim was caught and sentenced to an Union prison; until 1865. The family still has James’s released papers upon his release. Jimmy lived in Lookout Valley in his father’s home until his death in 1911. James Boydston according to the Chattanooga Times the last twelve years of his life he was blind. The obituary also reads that the only time that James Boydston left Hamilton County was during the “War between the States.”

James Boydston and Family


Sadly the old Boydston Homestead in which, Cavanaugh Boydston built and lived in till his death was destroyed by fire in 1970. In Lookout Valley today, many of the direct descendants of the initial Boydston family still live in Lookout Valley today.

The Fryar Family

Another, one of the first settlers to enter in Lookout Valley was the Fryar Family who crossed the threshold of Lookout Valley in the late 1790s early 1800s. The family consisted of the brothers of John, Joseph, and William Fryar all died in the Mexican-American War. 

1. Jeremiah Fryar Junior


Another, major Fryar who entered in, Lookout Valley was that of Jeremiah Fryar, Junior born in 1809, in Roane County , Tennessee . Jeremiah’s parents were Jeremiah Fryar, Senior a veteran of the War of 1812 under the command of Captain William Christian. Jeremiah Fryar, senior past away in 1850, in his native Roane County . Jeremiah Fryar, Junior started a business of repairing wagons on the present day site of Ross’s Landing until 1837. Jeremiah Fryar, Junior was married twice the first time Martha Lovelady and the second time to Ingobo “Engie” Hixson.  

In 1851, Jeremiah Fryar, Junior purchased a house at the foot of Lookout Mountain this would later be known as the “Old Fryar Homestead” that was built in 1802 that was created by Casper Vaught the same man who designed Brown’s Tavern and the house was first occupied by Silas Williams. The house can be seen in the James Walker’s painting “The Battle of Lookout Mountain.” Unfortunately the house was burned sometime in the early 1940s. Jeremiah Fryar, Junior and Ingobo had ten children. On September 27, 1860 , Jeremiah Junior died; however, one of his daughters, Rebecca Fryar married John Cummings in 1862; who eventually became a great land owner with in the Lookout Valley Community.

Jeremiah Fryar Junior Tombstone Found in the Fryar Cemetery

2. William “Bill” Fryar, Junior

            William “Bill” Fryar, Junior born in 1857 son of Jeremiah Fryar, Junior and Ingobo Fryar was a wealth land owner of the Lookout Valley area and was a juryman for the Fourth District. In September 1897, while riding his buggy his horse was spooked and Bill was thrown from his horse. He lost consciousness and Bill never regained conscience and on November 3, 1897 , he passed away. William Fryar, Junior is buried at Fryar’s Cemetery in Cumming’s Bottom.

3. Sevier Fryar

            One of the sons of Jeremiah Fryar, Junior and Hixson Ingobo Fryar  born in 1849, who lived in Lookout Valley all his life. The only time he left Lookout Valley was during the American Civil War where he fought for the Confederacy.  He purchased Brown’s Tavern and sold the tavern in the 1911. He died on January 14, 1921 , and is buried in the Fryar Cemetery .

Sevier Fryar Grave Found in the Fryar’s Cemetery


            Today, in Lookout Valley the Fryar Family still have numerous descendents located with-in the Lookout Valley .

The Jackson Family

The Jackson Family entered Lookout Valley from sometime in the early or mid-1800s from the Virginia Area. Rufus Sevier Jackson, came into this area sometime after Tennessee became a State and married Sara Durham and they had several children. The Jackson family owned land around Cash Canyon and William Island where they were farmers. The Jackson family descendents still live in Lookout Valley today.

There are many other families in the history of Lookout Valley including those of the Douglasses, Rowdens, Durhams, Covingtons, Cummings, Kelleys, O’Barrs, Parkers, Thompson's, and Tinkers. These families are important; however, there are not many records of these families’ early the histories.

When the first citizens came into Lookout Valley they established many homes, businesses, and even a post office was built. In fact, the first post office was under the control of the Rowden Brothers, Isaac C. Rowden and Samuel Rowden, who serve the post office as its Post Masters to the late 1800s.

The Mysterious John Brown

John Brown was a man, who has become a legend in Lookout Valley . There is not much known about the early life of this half Caucasian and half Cherokee. What is known is that he is listed as one of the first settlers of the city of Chattanooga ? He established a tavern off the Tennessee River and later the tavern was moved to the Old-Post Road present day Brown’s Ferry Road that was built in 1803, by Caspar Vaught. The tavern was built on a knoll along an ancient trading path where cattle an other supplies were brought up to the hinterland from the coast of Augusta, Savannah, and Charleston The tavern was called either the Brown’s House or Brown’s Tavern. According to legend John Brown robbed and killed many of the people who stayed in the tavern and their bodies were dumped in the Tennessee River or buried around the tavern.

The Tavern of John Brown

The Tavern was built with heavy logs and is two stories tall. The porch across the front of the front facing the river and in the middle of the porch it has a “dog trot” in the middle. On both sides the tavern are fire places with a width of over eight feet wide. The fire places can accommodate logs up to five feet long. The stair case is boxed in leading to the second floor, which has three extra-large rooms.

Outside the tavern had a hewed-logged kitchen, a smokehouse, log stables, a log barn, a mild house, stables and a hen house. Sadly only the outdoor kitchen remains. The orchards that John Brown had consisted of pear trees, apple trees, and peach trees; furthermore he also had a huge open field used to plant corn for grazing many other foods. According to legend Chief John Ross and his wife Quatie who was a relative of John Brown spent their honeymoon at the Tavern.

            During the 1830’s one of the saddest part of our nation’s history took place when President Andrew Jackson removed most of the Native Americans tribes from their ancestral homes. On this forced march more then five thousand men, women, and children were to die. This happen because many white settlers wanted the land because gold was discovered in Dahlonega, Georgia , and nothing else cause of greed.  Brown’s Tavern was an important place because many Cherokee were placed here and it was a location where many Cherokees last place they stayed before the march began.

 John Brown is supposedly buried on his 347 acre farm, which was land that surrounded the tavern. When John Brown passed away sometime in the 1840s; his second wife Elizabeth Brown sold the 347 acres of land and the tavern to William Cummings the father of John Cummings in 1847. In 1857, Jeremiah Fryar, Junior purchased the house and his family owned the house until the American Civil War.

In 1903, Edger Boydston purchased the house from the Sevier Fryar Family. In 1911, 127 acres and the tavern were sold to the West Chattanooga Land Company. The house was occupied by the family of Daniel Monroe Jackson, his wife Lula Caledonia Brown Jackson, and there ten children in the 1920s . The property was bought in 1952 by Dr. and Mrs. S. S. Marchbanks and they began its restoration. In 1960, much of the land that was designated as the farm land of John Brown was purchased by Hamilton County to build Valley View Elementary School .

 Today, the tavern is owned by Mrs. Joan Franks who keeps the tavern up and restored to its original condition. Also, the tavern has the distinction of being the oldest house in Hamilton County , in which in 2003 it celebrated its bicentennial. On September 25, 2004 , a marker was dedicated at Brown’s Ferry Tavern establishing it as a part of the Historic Trial of the Trail of Tears. Mrs. Franks, owner noted, "I am elated to finally realize that the significance of 200 year old house is being recognized as a historical site on the National Historic Trail of Tears."

John Brown’s Tavern

Christopher F. Ruolf

Franz’s father left for American in 1848, from Munich , Germany , and came to settle in Kingston , Tennessee . In 1859, he married he married a young lady from there all is know her name was Amanda. Franz founded the Lookout Flouring Mill in 1871, that operated by a 100 horsepower engine. The niece of Franz Ruolf, Mrs. John L Divine, and Frank A. James owners of the Smartt and Oenmig Shoe Firm lived in Lookout Valley in 1869.      

The Iron Horse Comes to the Valley

            Of course one of the earlier forms of transportation into the community of Lookout Valley was the railroad. The old Chattanooga- St Louis Railroad Line used to go right through the middle of Lookout Valley . Also, legend has it that former President, Franklyn D. Roosevelt and friend of Judge Will Cummings entered Lookout Valley by Presidential Train. Today, the railroad is used by Northfork Southern and the CSX railroad company. In fact, CSX now uses the old Wauhatchie Station House currently to this day.


A Railroad Adventure at the Tennessee Valley Railroad 

A Steam Locomotive like one that maybe had gone through the valley and a present day CSX Diesel Locomotive that runs along Wauhatchie Pike.



The Old Wauhatchie Station currently used by the CSX Railroad


The old Railroad Tunnel of the Chattanooga & Nashville-St Louis Railroad Line





Richard Alexander McKeel

Copyright © 2004