Boyd’s Creek is the major water course in the west end of Sevier County, South of the French Broad River. It empties its waters into the French Broad River at the end of Buckingham Island a few miles upriver from the Knox County line. Boyd’s Creek was named for one of the pair of traders from Virginia who were murdered in 1775 on a trip to the Cherokee towns. Boyd’s watch was later found in the creek that bears his name. Gist Creek lies several miles east of Boyd’s Creek and runs roughly parallel to it into the Pigeon River near its mouth.
The land in the lower end of the county tends to be rich, rolling bottom land or hilly tracks, which was historically more accessible by water and by road than parts of the upper end of the county. From this end of the county, the Smoky Mountains are a distant vista on clear days. Cemeteries in this end of the county tend to be larger community cemeteries, with fewer private plots than in the mountainous upper end of the county.
On December 16, 1780, John Sevier inflicted a major defeat on a war party of Cherokee Indians in the immediate vicinity of Boyd’s Creek. White settlement began soon after. Early settlers included Thomas Buckingham, Ephraim Buckingham, Samuel Newell, William McGauhey, Capt. Nathaniel Evans, and Thomas Sharp. Also prominent were the Chandlers, the Brabsons, and the Creswell’s. Early fortified stations were McGauhey’s Station on Boyd’s Creek and Newell’s Station was the meeting place of the first county court of Sevier County, during the days of the State of Franklin. As late as 1935 Will E. Parham noted a marker that was “in Sevier County, in 20 feet of the old pike, Knoxville to Sevierville, in memorial of the ‘McGauhey fort of before 1790’.”
One of the oldest churches in the county is the Boyd’s Creek Baptist Church, founded in 1802. Its current building, the fourth, which was built in 1949, stands next to the old church cemetery.
Among the other older churches are the Trundles Crossroads United Methodist Church, which was established in 1854, and the Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church, which was established in 1874. Among the older institutions of education were the Rocky Springs Academy, no longer in existence, and Harrison Chilhowee Baptist Academy, originally established in 1880 under the name McCrockey School. Harrison Chilhowee was adopted by the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 1932, renamed, and rechartered. The oldest brick house in Sevier County, the Buckingham House built in 1794, is still standing above Island and the French Broad River.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The cemeteries in this section were transcribed by Steve Cotham, Grace Etherton, Thelma Greene Reagan and Omajane Meridieth. Estalena Rogers Brabson helped locate several of the small cemeteries in the area, and shared her special knowledge of the history of the Boyd’s Creek section. Others who aided in locating and identifying cemeteries include Mrs. Cecil Johnson, Jane Crouch Williams, Lee Ogle, Mrs. Preston Clark, Floyd Moore, Bill Keener, Ralph Houser, and Tim Houser.