following is from my book Ancestors and
Descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with Related Families, based partially on the
work of Freeman Worth
In a tape recording made New Year's Eve, 1968, by Edward East Barthell, Jr., is the following:
....After I got out of the Marine Corps in 1918, I went myself to Stearns, Kentucky, and spent a year doing everything from "mucking" (which means digging up mud in the coal mines) to being Postmaster at Barthell, Kentucky, the first mine down the mountain from Stearns. And during the year I spent down there I went to Jamestown, Tennessee, and Scottville, Tennessee, where I saw in my father's handwriting in the records were he apparently had made indexes of all real estate transfers from the date of the Revolutionary War on up.... and they are still there and are the official records.
East Barthell was attorney for the Stearns Coal &
Lumber Company, headed at first by Justus Smith Stearns and later by his son,
Robert Lyon Stearns, whose wife was Laura Freeman Stearns, sister of Edward's
Stearns, Kentucky, was founded on May 22, 1902, when Michigan surveyor W. A. Kinne and Nashville attorney, E. E. Barthell, road horses three miles north from Pine Knot to a Cincinnati Southern siding known to the railroad crews as the Gum Tree Tie Yard. Acting as agents for Justus Stearns and the Stearns Salt & Lumber Co. of Ludington, the two men, using a briefcase as a desk under the big black gum's boughs, signed documents which incorporated the Stearns Lumber Co., the Stearns Coal Co., and the Kentucky & Tennessee Railroad. That was the beginning locally.
The town site, one square mile purchased
from the Bryant family, was uninhabited at the time but a fairly well known place in the region. Riley Sellars had owned a farm there (now the site of the Stearns
golf course) where General Ambrose Burnside's
troops had camped in September 1863 on their backcountry march to take
Al Kinne, lived in Stearns the rest of his life and was a
There's a lot of material in my next book on Stearns Coal & Lumber Company and Justus S. Stearns, who married Paulina Lyon, sister of my mother's paternal grandfather, Thomas R. Lyon. This book is the Lyon-Rice one which will have my Grandfather Barthell's Mountain Stories as well as some really funny stuff written by Robert Lyon Stearns.
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