A Little History
A narrative written by Floyd Poe upon his father’s death and given to family members.
In 1778, two years after the Declaration of Independence was signed and ten years before the government of the United States was organized and a Constitution adopted, Hasten Poe was born near Appomattox Court House, Virginia. His early life was spent on the Virginia plantation until young manhood, when the spirit of adventure, which was so prevalent at tat time, took possession of him also and he, with some other relatives came into that new territory of what was later to be called Tennessee and settled in that which was to become Meigs County, upon the Tennessee River. He, however, did not remain here very long, but came into the norther part of what was afterwards Hamilton County and took up a grant of government land running about five miles along the foot of Walden’s Ridge. Through this land from north to south, would at a later date run the old Washington Pike. He built for himself and family a home, which was at that time a pretentious dwelling. There was some controversy about the right of the government to sell him this grant and so he had to settle also with the state of North Carolina, to which all this territory belonged, before it ceded it to the United States. This homestead of Hasten Poe soon became known as the “Poe Tavern” and was the stopping place for travelers through this sparsely settled district. The body of this old house still stands, though built over by modern improvements by Mr. Bert Poe, a great, great grandson of the first Hasten Poe.
In 1796 Tennessee was admitted to the Union. Hamilton County was established by an act of the legislature passed Oct. 25, 1819. It was named in honor of Alexander Hamilton. It comprises its present territory, although James County was later takeoff its Eastern boundary. This anti of the legislature provided that all courts should be held held at such a place as might be designated by a committee composed of Messrs. Charles Gamble, John Patterson, and William Lauderdale. This committee immediately proceeded t designate the house of Hasten Poe at the foot of Walden’s Ridge where the Poe Turnpike crosses this mountain into Sequatchie Valley. Thus the old Poe Homestead, Poe’s Tavern, became the first court house of Hamilton County. For a number of years this was the County Seat of Hamilton County. Court was later held in the house of John Mitchell, near by and then on the farm of Ahasiel Rawlings (this was later called Dallas). In 1840 the county seat was changed to Harrison, which was sorely called “Vann Town,” after an Indian Chieftain. Thirty years later Chattanooga was made the county seat; this was in 1870.
Samuel Poe lived in the house with his father, Hasten Poe, until the time of his death. He was of the usual Souther planter type. His faith in the success of the South in the Civil War was illustrated by the fact hat he was in Atlanta buying slaves for his plantation when the war closed. He died at the age of 45 years, leaving behind him four sons and one daughter, William, Hasten, John, James and Sarah. The daughter married Mr. James Putnam and moved to the head of Sequatchie Valley, where she lived until the time of her death. Her five children live in and near Pikeville and are highly respected citizens. The four sons lived on different parts of the old Poe plantation until the time of their death, which occurred in the following order, William, James, Hasten and John. Most of the children of these four sons still live on different parts o f the estate, which has been divided and subdivided so that each has his share. The town of Daisy has grown up around the old Poe Tavern and now has a population of about two thousand people. Here are located the plants of some of the bast tile manufacturers in the United States.
As this sketch concerns especially the life of John H. Poe, we now give some of the facts of his history. He was born in the old Poe Tavern where he later held the court of justice for all the North Side. Judge Lewis Shepherd used to tell interesting stories of practicing in this court of "Squire" John Poe. Mr.John Hill Poe married Miss Sara Louise Bean, daughter of' Maj. William H. Bean, another old settler of this section and one of the early officials of the county and a direct descendant of Wm. H. Bean, the first white man to build a home on Tennessee soil. Russell Bean, a son of Wm. H .Bean, was the first white child born in Tennessee. To this union were born eleven children, nine of whom came to man hood and womanhood at Daisy. Early in their married life Mr. and Mrs. John Poe moved to the house at the foot of the mountain where the road starts across to Dunlap. In this home they lived for nearly fifty years, and here all the children were born, except the first three.
On Sunday morning, Dec. 1 1 ,1927, at 1:30 o'clock, John Hill Poe died at the ripe age of 78 years. But not until after he had lived a life of great usefulness. From early manhood he assumed a place of leadership in his community. He was repeatedly elected the Justice of the Peace for his section of the county. He was instrumental in securing the services of father Aleck Hickman, a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, and together they organized a Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Daisy. He was an elder of the church for forty years. For twenty years he was superintendent of the Sunday School, here he was found regularly every Sabbath with his family. He was frequently on the school board for this district, and his voice was always raised in behalf of religion and education. He held high ideals before his family and his neighbors when high ideals were at a premium. He never lowered his standards before any pressure. He worshipped God and 'loved his fellow man. He gave the land where the first three schoolhouses were built, and where the first church was erected. His home was the center of the social life of his community. His home was also the home of the visiting clergymen. Hisfamily were all given a musical training and the presence of various musical instruments in the Poe home made it the musical center of the community. When he was not in public office he was engaged in farming and merchandizing. "There were giants in those days" and he was one of them. Large of build in body and character, far-visioned, his descendants have a great heritage. He was by birth and training an aristocrat and yet he never became a snob, and all men respected and loved him at the same time. His voice is stilled but his influence abides.
He leaves behind him to carry on his good work his widow, Mrs. John H. Poe, who lives at the home place with two of the daughters, Mrs. Mae Poe Blacker and Mrs James Larrimore. Mr. Larrimore is connected with the Hood Brick concern of At- lanta. Ga.; Mr. Bert Poe, who lives in the old Poe Tavern with his son. Mr.LesliePoe, conducts a merchandizing business at Daisy; Dr. Floyd Poe, minister o f the FirstPresbyterian Church of El Paso, Texas; Mr. Coster L. Poe of Clemons, Ky.; Mrs. B. C. Gann, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mr. Gann is one of the District agents of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.; Mrs. George Eichorn of Daisy; Mr. Eichorn is the owner of the clay pits which supply materials for fine brick and tile manufactury; Mr. B.C. Poc, who died in early young manhood; and Mrs. Effie Poe Richey, who recently passed away. The following grandchildren also live in Hamilton County: Mr. John Charles Poe, city editor of the Chattanooga News; Mr. Leslie Poe; Miss Anita Gann, student at Shorter College; Master Billy Gann, Messrs. Guy and Vaughn Eichorn, Miss Virginia Eichorn and Master George Eichorn, Jr.; Mr .Garnett Poe ; the little Miss Jane Poe; Betty Mae Blacker; Martha Poe Larrimore; also Helen Louise Poe of El Paso,Texas; the twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Charles Poe; the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Poe; the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Eichorn; and the daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Vaughn Eichorn.
"Squire" John Poe, as he was familiarly called, was buried from the old home Church on the afternoon of Dec. 13th, with his minister, the Rev. Mr. James Davenport, in charge, and the Rev. Dr. O. E. Gardner, a classmate of Dr. Floyd Poe, preaching the sermon. The choir of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, the church of the B. C. Gann family, sang the hymns. The Masonic Orders had charge of the burial service. The floral offerings and the large attendance attested the great place he had in the hearts of his people. He was laid to rest in the old Poe Cemetery at Daisy, where five generations of Poes already sleep. Because he loved his community and because he wanted it a wholesome place for his children and grandchildren, he lived for it and gave largely for its upbuilding. The improvement of all the North End of Hamilton County never lacked a champion so long as he lived. Those who come after him will recognize his dreams and his ideals ever in advance of their planning. His descendants will find it a supreme task to meet the challenge of his life.