Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Town of Knox

In Knoxville, near the Tennessee River, stands a monument inscribed with these words from an 18th century traveler through the area. This isn't exactly the quaint little old frontier town that some would present Knoxville as being. And oddly enough, it sounds vaguely familiar to the sight one might come upon on a Saturday during the fall when there happens to be a home game.

"In the infant town of Knox the houses are irregular and interspersed. It was County Court day when I came. I saw men jesting, singing, swearing; women yelling from doorways... Whiskey and peach brandy were cheap. The town was confused with a promiscuous throng of every denomination -- blanket-clad Indians, leather-shirted woodsmen, gamblers, hard-eyed and vigilant. I stood aghast. My soul shrank back to hear the horrid oaths and dreadful indignities offered to the supreme governor of the universe.... There was what I never did see before on Sunday, dancing, singing, and playing of cards.

It was said by a gentlemen [sic] of the neighborhood that the devil is grown so old that it renders him incapable of traveling and that he has taken up in Knoxville and there he hopes to spend the remaining part of his days.... as he believes he is among friends."

- James Weir, 1798

1 comment:

Tennessee Jed said...

Many times I have seen and touched the Weir stone on the landing! Another carved stone down there is from a world traveler who quoted that this river valley is very diverse in flora and fauna. He goes on to liken it to some valley in China. I guess it is a gathering place for all sorts which gives the devil as much room as anyone else gets.