Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was updated 06 Sep 2008

Robbins revisited: exciting era in local history

Contributing Columnist

It’s hard to write about Robbins without bringing in all the small surrounding communities. Several of them were settled and cleared before Robbins became a community, especially Brimstone, Black Creek Cross Road, Indian Fork and the West Robbins area.

I was born in Robbins. My parents had migrated from Pickett County, as well as several other families in the early 1900’s, coming to public works.

The ELLISes, SHOEMAKERs, GOADs and STONECIPHERs were already here; some having come from Morgan County and others possibly from Kentucky. The early settlers were blacksmiths and traders used to clearing land and raising crops. They began to first build log houses. As time progressed they built mills, made lumber and began to build frame houses.

Some of these early settlers had land grants from the Government in payment of serving in the war.

The HUGHETT family is one that came from the Brimstone area and settled in Robbins. SQUIRE HUGHETT was the father of JASPER HUGHETT, Mrs. MARY WALKER, Mrs. RACHEL NEWPORT, Mrs. M. J. ROBBINS, Sr., and possibly some others that I don’t remember hearing about, but all of these people had nice, well built homes when I can first remember being in Robbins.

There were LEWALLENs, GRIFFITHs, NEWPORTs, WALKERs, BROWNs, ROBBINSes, PEMBERTONs and HUGHETTs in the area when Scott County was established in 1850.

Scott County was established from parts of Morgan, Campbell and Anderson counties.

The railroad coming from Cincinnati to Chattanooga made many changes in this mountain country.

Shortly after the railroad was built in 1885, a Congregational Church was established. Up until this time all denominations had been meeting and worshiping together.

WILLIAM E. BARTON came here from Berea College in Kentucky. He became a circuit rider and held church at several places outside of Robbins, including Glenmary. His son BRUCE BARTON; was born in Robbins.

The HUGHETTs gave the land for the Robbins Cemetery and also for the Barton Chapel United Church of Christ.

The BOB JUSTICE family lived north of town near the beginning of the tunnel. Mr. JUSTICE worked one shift at the tower. Mr. FRANK McINTYRE worked another shift and J. C. MADDEN worked the third shift, seeing the trains got through the tunnel safely.

Robbins had a school which went to the eighth grade; then, later, through two years of high school, and finally four years of high school, beginning in 1917 or 1918.

The young men of town had a baseball team. GEORGE HUGHETT, HORACE HUGHETT, CLAUDE JEFFERS, EARL JUSTICE, WILLARD WALKER, WILLIARD NEWPORT and two of the BOLES boys were on the team.

There were two or more boarding houses in Robbins.

Dr. PITNEY PHILLIPS’ mother kept a rooming house or hotel for the drummers or travelers who came in on the train and would have to stay over.

PETER BYRD and his wife kept a boarding house down the railroad about one-quarter of a mile from town. Men who worked at the brickyard or sawmills who lived out eight or 10 miles would board by the week.

The brick plant also had what they called a "club house," and officials of the plant who came in from Chattanooga or Alabama stayed there.

Several families came into Robbins and Mountain View from Pickett County. Among them were the STOREYs, the STAILEYs, the FLOWERs, the CLARKs, the WILLOUGHBYs, the MULLINs and the DIXONs.

PLES and ALICE STOREY were the father and mother of CLAUDE, LOYD, ARNOLD, PLES, Jr. and two or more girls. PLES worked around the depot hauling goods. When CLAUDE grew up he secured a job with the railroad and eventually most of his boys ended up with jobs on the railroad. GLEN and NORRIS still work for the railroad.

Robbins was chartered in 1892. A copy of the Charter is available.

There was a bank in Robbins, the Robbins Bank & Trust Company. B. L. SADLER was the Trustee of the bank. Southern Clay Manufacturing Company, No. 1 Providence Building, Chattanooga, held controlling interest in the bank. The following were stockholders in the Robbins Bank & Trust Company: MILLIE JANE JEFFERS, M. J. ROBBINS, C. E. STOREY, Mrs. BESS HARGROVE, Mrs. AUDREY COX, Adm. for J. R. T. REDMAN Estate, A. B. ROHER (Harriman), C. C. NEWPORT, HOWARD BAKER (Huntsville), GEORGE T. WEBB, Mrs. DELPHIA ROBBINS, Mrs. DELLA SHAWL, M. J. ROBBINS, Jr., W. C. BROWN, J. F. HARGROVE, E. G. FOSTER (Huntsville), MARSHALL LASHLEY, G. W. BOLES, JASPER HUGHETT, ETHEL HUGHETT, Mrs. MARY HUGHETT, ERNEST HUGHETT, MILLIE JEFFERS and HORACE HUGHETT.

The bank closed during the Depression years and M. J. ROBBINS went on to Oneida to First Trust & Savings Bank.

There was also a large store at the Brickyard. Mr. J. F. HARGOVE and Mr. McNALLY operated it. Mr. E. G. STRINGER had a store in the upper end of Robbins. CHURMLEY PEMBERTON had a store across the railroad from the depot and he kept it open for years.

There were several stores in Robbins in its early days. JASPER HUGHETT owned a general store and traded and bartered for all different kinds of merchandise. It was in continuous operation until the fire of 1958.

Mr. HUGHETT himself had several interests and he had others working for him. JOE ROBBINS, his Sons GEORGE, HORACE and ERNEST, also his son-in-law, CLAUDE E. JUSTICE. The Post Office was operated from his store at one time. Mr. BERBIN ELLIS operated the Post Office.

C. C. NEWPORT’s Store was operated earlier also. He went to Oneida, then LAWRENCE KLINE opened a store where C. C. NEWPORT’s was and it was in business at the time of the fire of 1958. Mr. KLINE had mining and other interests and his wife kept the store going for a long time.

The REEDs had a store on the corner of the street which turned in to the school. They had an upstairs and they rented it to a Dr. McGILL for a number of years. It burned in the fire also. JOHN WEST, their son-in-law, had the Post Office in their store at one time. NORA, their daughter, taught school.

At one time, Dr. PITNEY PHILLIPS had an office here in the same building with his mother’s boarding house.

Dr. W. W. FOUST also had a home and office in Robbins. Dr. FOUST was killed at the school during a silent movie in March, 1927.

It was after this that Dr. McGILL came to Robbins. The MCGILLs lived here several years.

I talked with the Post mistress in Robbins and she told me that the Post Office serves about 600 families daily. That includes the West Robbins, East Robbins, Glenmary, Elgin, Black Creek and Mountain View areas.

The Brickyard was running very well, working between 100 and 125 men until World War I and possibly a few years after. The following people were listed as workers of the Brickyard in the book, Scott County, Tennessee And Its Families:

1. A L. BOLES (Link) worked at the Brickyard as a night watchman.

2. GEORGE BOLES, son of A. L., graduated from Robbins High School in 1918. He began working at Southern Clay Manufacturing Company weighing coal. He secured a position in the office and worked there for 20 years.

3. ALONZO (Bud) CHITWOOD was operating a small steam train at the Brickyard in 1921 at the age of 16.

4. CLEOPHUS A. DIXON, born in Pickett County, came to Robbins and worked at the Brickyard. Also, his father, WILLIAM M. DIXON, and his brothers LOUIS and MATHEW worked at the Brickyard.

5. DAILEY HALL and son-in-law, ANDREW GIBSON, both worked at the Southern Clay Manufacturing Company.

6. ED MITCHELL from Elgin.

7. EMMITT RAINES and his brothers, LAKE and TOM.

8. JESSE VINSANT REED came from Overton County to work at the Brickyard.

BEN SMITH had a barber shop just back of the bank building between Hughett’s Store and barn, He also had clothing samples and did tailoring. I’m lucky enough to have one of his irons.

There was also a blacksmith shop in the area between the Hughett barn and the home of M. J. ROBBINS.

In the fall of 1958 about all of the town burned. The Dr. FOUST home and office, Dr. PITNEY PHILLIPS’ home and office, LAWRENCE KLINE’s Store, J. V. REED’s Store, the bank building, HUGHETT’s Store and BEN SMITH’s Barber Shop all burned.

Many of the young people of Robbins, when they finished high school, prepared themselves to become teachers. There were several schools scattered over the lower end of the county, so teaching became a profession.

A number of the business people in Oneida and Huntsville today were formerly from Robbins and outlying territories.

There is a Masonic Lodge and an Eastern Star organization in Robbins.

The schools supported various clubs such as Cub Scouts. Teachers were always ready to assist in any way that they could.

Robbins had a Scott County Homemakers Club and has had one continually for 35 or more years.

We had a Business and Professional Women’s Club at one time which was sponsored by the Oneida B&PW Club.

I grew up in Glenmary and went to school in a three-teacher school until I was in the sixth grade, then we had four teachers. Most of our teachers came from Robbins, therefore, I learned early about Robbins and looked forward to the day when I could go to high school in Robbins.


I won’t say too much about the Brickyard, but I did live there in the early 1930’s. I knew the men that came in from other places to work. BASIL McCARTY, my father-in-law at that time, was superintendent of Production, and GEORGE W. BOLES worked in the office. Mr. J. F. HARGROVE was in charge of the store.

KEITH HENRY wrote such an excellent term paper (reprinted in FNB Chronicle, Summer, 1990) for his history teacher, there is little I could say about the clay or the making of brick.

Many families did live in the area northeast of the store. Several three room "gunshot" style homes were there. There was a two story house on the corner lot and LEONARD WRIGHT’s family lived in it.

JAMES BOLES and wife, HAZEL, were my close neighbors. We each had a four room house. Later we (HARRY and I) moved to the brick house which is partially standing today. We stayed there until the plant closed down.

FNB Chronicle, Vol. 2 No. 3 – Spring 1991
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
(p1, 4)

Scott Co, TN Homepage

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