Skip to main content

SCOUT

Special Collections Online at The University of Tennessee

Wolf Creek Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3858

This collection documents the Allen family and, to a lesser degree, the Peck family of Wolf Creek, Cocke County, Tennessee. Materials consist primarily of correspondence in the form of personal letters, envelopes, telegraphs, and postcards. In addition, there are wills, legal and business papers, newspaper clippings, photocopies, photographs, negatives, a glass negative, a book, an herb/wildflower journal, several periodicals, land deeds, and surveys.

The collection consists of four series: Binders, Allen Family Papers, Peck Family Papers, and Wolf Creek (Cocke County, Tenn.) Land Deeds.

Dates

  • 1810-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1880 - 1912

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (2 record boxes, 2 flat boxes)

Abstract

This collection documents the Allen family and, to a lesser degree, the Peck family of Wolf Creek, Cocke County, Tennessee. Materials consist primarily of correspondence in the form of personal letters, envelopes, telegraphs, and postcards. In addition, there are wills, legal and business papers, newspaper clippings, photocopies, photographs, negatives, a glass negative, a book, an herb/wildflower journal, several periodicals, land deeds, and surveys.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Allen family lived at Wolf Creek near the French Broad River in Cocke County, Tennessee, for almost 150 years. Their original log house dated back to the mid 1700s and, for a time, was considered the oldest house in the county. Through the years, the structure was expanded and eventually became a popular stagecoach inn, Wolf Creek Inn. By 1858, it had become a U.S. post office and telegraph office, and in 1867 it became a railway terminal which saw many travelers on their way to and from Hot Springs and Asheville, NC. In addition to an extensive boxwood garden designed by Reuben and Polly Allen’s daughter, Emma, the grounds include a 105 foot bald cypress, designated a Historic Tree in 2016. Several presidents including Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson stayed at the inn, and during the turn of the 20th century, it was a summer retreat for musicians and artists such as the famous painter Catherine Wiley and her sister, Eleanor Wiley. The inn burned in 1975.

The first Allens living at Wolf Creek were Reuben Allen and his wife Mary (Polly) Jones. They married in 1805 and settled in Cocke County not long after. Their children were Rachel, James R., Margaret, Elizabeth (Eliza), George Washington (Wash), Nancy, Greene, Cynthia, Emma, and William, who died young. James R., George Washington (Wash), Greene, Cynthia, and Emma all lived at and/or owned land at Wolf Creek during their lives.

Cynthia Allen (1817-1910) married John Cowan and managed the Wolf Creek Inn for many years. She brought Margaret (Maggie) Gentry to Wolf Creek from Arkansas when Maggie was a young girl, and Cynthia raised her there.

James R. (b. 1807) married Ann Nichols and had eight children in Bristol, Tennessee. After Ann died, James returned to Wolf Creek and married Rebecca Clark. Together, they raised David (D.W.), Louise (Lula), Emma, and Elizabeth, who died young.

David (D. W.) Allen married Maggie Gentry in 1879 and became the owner of Wolf Creek in the late 1800s. He was a respected businessman and landowner in the area. In addition, he wrote an editorial column for the Newport Plain Talk about both local and national politics. Together, he and Maggie had five children: Emma, Helen Peck, Louise, Nell, and Harry. In March 1912, D. W. Allen was found dead in his office at Wolf Creek with a gunshot wound to the head. While the cause of his death was reported a suicide in the Newport Plain Talk, notes on various records in the collection read that Allen was “killed” on March 21, 1912. A little over a week before Allen’s death, another well-known scion of the county, J. B. Huff, with whom Allen had been involved in a long-standing land dispute, had been murdered by another man, A. J. Hixson, over a separate land dispute. After a week of staying in a cave above Wolf Creek, Hixson was captured and told authorities that he had spent the night after the murder at Wolf Creek with Allen. At the time of Allen’s death, authorities were investigating whether he was involved in the killing.

Emma went to college in Athens, Tennessee and after, lived at Wolf Creek.

Helen Peck Allen married D.H. Dashielle. Their children were David Dashielle and Helen Dashielle Utley.

Nell Allen married Ned Walker. After a brief time in Statesville, NC, Nell and Ned came back to Wolf Creek and managed the inn and grounds until Nell’s death in 1953. Known children were Cowan and James Ward Walker. Ward took over the Wolf Creek property after his mother died and married Betty Walker, who donated this collection.

Helen, Nell, and Louise were all teachers in Falfurrias, Texas after graduating college.

Harry Allen became a telegraph operator and worked in South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Gainesville, Daytona, and Jacksonville, Florida. Harry's aunt, Mary Heiss, lived in Nashville, and his friend Jean Comfort lived in Knoxville.

Louise (Lula) married John Fred Crawley Jr., whose sisters were Mattie Lee and Ida Jolly Crawley, both well-known artists in Asheville, NC. Fred and Lula’s children were Lewis, Frederick, Allen, and Linnie Crawley. Linnie married Walter Ramsey Sr. and their son, Walter Ramsey Jr., lived in Gallatin, Tennessee, and frequently corresponded about family relationships and history with the originators of this collection, Betty and Ward Walker.

Isham Talbot Peck, his wife Emma E. Peck, and family resided in both Oakland, Tennessee and Lake City, Florida. Their children were William, Charles, Edward, Ashby, Louis, Ada, and Paul. Ada died at age five in 1859. The Peck family also had relatives living in southern Louisiana and Mississippi. They were neighbors of the Allen family in Cocke County, Tennessee, where Dr. Isham Talbot Peck owned land and practiced medicine. Dr. Peck was a surgeon during the Civil War and also owned land in Louisiana.

Arrangement

The collection consists of two full-sized record boxes which house the Allen Family content from Series I and II. Oversized material from these series are housed in a separate flat box as is a book from Series I, which is located separately in its own custom box. The Land Deeds, Series IV, is housed in an oversized box.

Previous Citation

Parts of this collection were previously listed as Wolf Creek (Cocke County, Tenn.) Land Deeds, MS.2624, and the Peck and Allen Family Papers, MS.2852.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480