DEER LODGE, TN
This information is from "A History of Morgan County Tennessee", compiled by Ethel Freytag &
Glenna Kreis Ott.
The first known settler on the present site of Deer Lodge was a man by the name of GRIMES
in 1810. Later in 1813 one James DAVIDSON bought this farm. In 1861-1862 this farm was
used as a recruiting and training ground for Civil War soldiers.
The first school was established about three miles south of Deer Lodge near the Walton Emory
Highway; built of logs, a stick and clay chimney, with Moses COX, teacher at a salary of
$12.50 a month, teaching ten hours each day.
The first established church known as Osage Church was organized by the Primitive Baptists
two miles south of Deer Lodge in a log school house known as Oak Hill.
The first public road established through this section was in the year of 1787, known as the
Knoxville and Nashville turnpike toll road. The first blacksmith shop was located on this road,
Knoxville and Nashville, about seven miles west of Deer Lodge by one Hack HENDRIX.
The remains of a pioneer by the name of Samuel HALL lies in a lone grave in the barn lot of
his old home. By his request he was buried there so he could hear the guineas holler. On
the tombstone is the following inscription:
Samuel Hall, born Dec. 20, 1820, died Oct. 7, 188u7.
He was a farmer and a hunter by trade road and hunted he killed 1800 deer with 1 gun he
cared in about 4 at a time on his mule and he marked it on his gun stock he had 4000 or
more squirrels and turkeys, and coons not be numbered he willed his gun to his young son
The first post office on the present site of Deer Lodge was “Dead Level” about 1870.
Ambrose A. PARMLEY was the postmaster.
James Davidson built the first industry in the area, a water grist and saw mill combined, in
1845, another mill of interest was the old Bowmer which was three miles west of Deer Lodge
on Witt Creek.
James Davidson sold land to Peter FOX and in 1884, Abner ROSS, promoter, purchased the
Peter FOX six hundred acre tract and began planning his new town. So, Abner ROSS became
the father of Deer Lodge.
Deer Lodge was at the start primarily comprised of northern people. Some of the earliest
colonists were in fact brought by Mr. ROSS from Ohio. Names such as MITCHELL, BOND,
MASON, HODGE, HORTON, DUNSMORE, LYTLE, POOLE and CHERRY.
Deer Lodge boasted its own planning mill owned and run by the WHIPPLEs, in which was
manufactured architectural decorations such as paneled doors, woodwork and gingerbread.
In the 1890’s we find the following business advertised in the Southern Enterprize, the
newspaper printed in Deer Lodge: “M.H. SMITH, groceries, hardware, tinware, drygoods,
notions, hats, drugs and shoes; C.M. STEARNS carpenter, builder and general mechanic;
realestate including houses and land advertised by A.L. ROSS; Lumber by M. STOWERS;
carpenters shop and general repairing by Perry BOND; Mrs. J.R. STUBBLE operator of the
Mountain View Hotel advertised her hotel as a charming spot to spend the heated term.”
The little red school house on lots 4,6,8, and 10 of School Street was built lin 1887.
Mount Hope Cemetery was officially dedicated August 10, 1894.
Deer Lodge had a cornet band before the turn of the century. The advertisement of the band
says: Will play for picnics and other gatherings. Prices moderate. (They have over one
hundred and sixty-five pieces to select from). Charles L. Mason Band Master, Miss Bertha
Deer Lodge had an Ephriam Langley Post Number 51 and Summit Lodge number 236, IOOF
which met every Saturday night.
One found the following description of Deer Lodge in the Southern Enterprize September 1,
1898, page 3:
Charming Homes on the Cumberland Plateau at a very reasonable cost at Deer Lodge,
Morgan County, Tennessee.
The natural sanatory of America, Pleasant all the winter and summer, no healthier place on
earth, The invalid’s paradise, The businessman’s best opportunity, Chances for all mechanics
(heaving means to begin with).
Homes for young farmers (with small start), New fields for all professionals (of all acceptable
classes), Producers of any and all kinds can do well here; Capitalists – large or small can
find safe, profitable investment.
Deer Lodge is now the leading settlement of the Plateau. Liberal inducements are offered to
all moral, temperate people desiring to establish homes for health, pleasure or profit.
The surroundings country is adapted to fruit and vegetables culture, stock raising or general
farming and is now fast settling up with farmers and producers, from the North.
The climate is charming. The water is pure and soft. The soil varies as in most Eastern
States, and while not as rich as the western prairies, it yields to fertilizers and can produce
any and all kind of grains, grasses, vegetables and fruits.
The timber consists of oaks, chestnut, hickory, poplar, maple, gum, dogwood and white and
The wild lands are covered with an indigenous grass on which, cattle, sheep or horses thrive
and fatten. The mass of nuts and wild fruits sustain the hogs.
The games consists of deer, wild turkeys, grouse, quail, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, fox ground
hog, possum, coon, etc.
The prices of land are very low now, but are gradually rising. Those who buy now, from
perfect titles, make safe and profitable investments.
Deer Lodge is six miles west of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad. Two Hundred Thirty-One
miles south of Cincinnati and 105 miles north of Chattanooga. The surveyed lines of the
Crawford road to connect Knoxville and Nashville pass through Deer Lodge.
A warm welcome is extended to all new comers.
If you want further knowledge of this beautiful “Cumberland Plateau” subscribe for: “The
Southern Enterprize”. P.S. Mail one dollar and you will receive the paper regularly for one
year from date of your first number. Address: J.A.P. Mason, Deer Lodge.
Deer Lodge had one newspaper printed in Deer Lodge beginning in 1899. This paper was
called THE SOUTHERN ENTERPRIZE. It was a weekly paper, published every Thursday in a
printing office on Knoxville Avenue. The editor was J.A.P. MASON. This newspaper was
printed until after the turn of the century then was changed to another name.
The first telephone line through Deer Lodge was from Sunbright through Deer Lodge, Genesis
and Crossville to Sparta in 1888.
Abner ROSS was interested in all the things that a small town needed to grow. This interest
is shown by the fact that he encouraged the school and sold 4 ½ acres of the land in the
subdivision for a Baptist Church. He gave 5 lots on Ross Avenue to American Missionary
Association for the building of a Congregational Church. This church was built in 1889. In
1890 Mr. Ross presented the church with an organ.
Deer Lodge was a flourishing little town for a few years but about 1900 the great exodus from
Deer Lodge began, with removal of the Whipples and their mill from Deer Lodge.
A 1919-1920 school bulletin gives the following description of Deer Lodge:
“On a very level part of the Cumberland Plateau is situated the town of Deer Lodge. It has
two daily mails and an auto line over a good pike to Sunbright just seven miles east.
Excellent water, an elevation of 1598 feet and a pleasant climate combine to make this a very
desirable location. Settlers from the North & East locating in this vicinity adding to the wealth
and population of the country. This town has three churches, two good hotels, two general
stores, a blacksmith and repair shops and good telephone service. Here is located the
Morgan County Fair Grounds where each year can be seen samples of the prolific crops grown
in our county, exciting the admiration of all visitors”.
Deer Lodge in 1967 is a small town with a post office and an elementary school with an
enrollment of 144 students and 4 teachers. Deer Lodge has three churches – a
Congregational, Baptist and Catholic.
Deer Lodge had no large industry. Besides farming there are several small businesses.
These small places of business as they were issued licenses are given below: Mildred’s
Beauty Salon, Herman Smith Repair Shop, Deer Lodge Snack Bar operated by Ida BEASLEY,
Spurlings Service Station operated by Shirley SPURLING, Austins Motor Sales, Delous
MORGAN operated a beer package store. Merchants – Farm and Home Store operated by
Kenneth Lee DAVIS, Stanley JONES, Elmo LYONS, Mrs. O.F. AUSTIN, Ross ADKINS, Adams
Grocery operated by Polly ADAMS, John Henry SMITH, C.E. BARNETT, Martha BRANSTETTER,
Ella C. SMITH.
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