Restoring the Wilderness Road

 Historic pioneer pathway will return to original course, and, hopefully, to original look, Sorry link did exspire and it costs money to get archives from the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Here is an article that is appearing regarding Cumberland Gap though.
CUMBERLAND GAP CAVES BEING RESTORED (Knoxville-News Sentinel, October 24, 1999)

Picture taken from Middlesborough: The first century, by Lou DeRosett
Did you know that Middlesborough England was considered the world's first Railroad town.

Cumberland Gap, Claiborne County, was named for a passage in the Cumberland Mountains between Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, discovered in 1750 by the explorer, Dr. Thomas Walker, and named by him in honor of the Duke of Cumberland of England. It has an altitude of 1,304 feet. The main highway that serves the "Gap" is U. S. 25-E. The construction of a four- lane tunnel through the Cumberland Mountain began in early 1980 and was opened in October of 1997.   It connects Kentucky and Tennessee and allow access to the remote counties of East Tennessee with their beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers.
The Cumberland Gap Parkway begins in Barborville, Kentucky, just off Interstate I-75 and runs to White Pine, Tennessee where it connects ot Interstate I-81. It should be a favorite route for those of you coming to Dollywood and the Great Smokey Mountains for you vacations. From the Pinnacle, the lookout situated in the Cumberland Gap National Park, one can see 5 mountain ranges that encompass three states. The Park will be restored to its natural state and will be open to tourists. Other interesting attractions while visiting Cumberland Gap :

To give you an idea of just how hard it was to be recognized as a new county I will offer two examples: (From 'Standing on the shoulders of giants' ...the Yoakum pages.
  • On highway 63 between LaFollette, Tennessee and Cumberland Gap stands a Fort Yoakum Historical Marker. It reads:
    The 1771 Holston Treaty prohibited settlers from entering the Cherokee lands in the Powell Valley, however, recipients of North Carolina land grants moved into the area. President Washington directed the pioneers to leavethe valley. Captain Richard Sparks and Captain John Wade read the executive order to the settlers at Yoakum Station one mile southeast in February 1797.
    The Treaty of Tellico (1798) resolved the controversy.
  • Another is the transcriptions of letters from the people of Powell's Valley trying to persuade the government that their land was worth defending. (below)

    The following is from the book "Old Speedwell Families", by LARWENCE EDWARDS, who was a freshman English teacher at LMU and accomplished author from Powell Valley, Tennessee.

    From: The Executive journal of Governor JOHN SEVIER, edited by S. C. Williams, printed in East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, pp. 159 ff., Jan. 1931 

    Knoxville, 7 November 1797

    The People of Powell's Valley


    Your letter of the 4th Instance, I am duly honored with.

    Nothing ever came before me that could yield me more pleasure than it would to render you relief on the present distressed situation of you, and your families. I have done all the Assembly empowered me to do, which was to send before the President, and Congress; and it is thought by some of our members that relief will certainly be extended towards you; and I feel a strong certainty, in my own mind, that your sufferings will surely meet with a remedy. In the mean time, I know nothing better to advise you than to bear your misfortunes with patience, and fortitude, until you hear the result of Congress on the subject. It is painful to me in the extreme to hear of your hardships and sufferings, and was it in my power to render you redress, GOD knows nothing could give me more satisfaction than to do it, in the most speedy manner.


    Knoxville, 1 February , 1798

    The inhabitants of Powel's Valley

    Friends and Fellow Citizens:

    It is with much pleasure I announce to you I have just received the pleasing information from our members in Congress, that your grievances and sufferings will shortly be redressed. your submission to the laws and orders of the General Government has gained you great reputation, and contributes very much to your interest on the present occasion; and a continuance of a similar conduct cannot leave a shadow of doubt but you will inevitably be relieved from your distresses, which is the sincere wish of your friend.


    Knoxville, 12 April, 1798

    Friends and Fellow Citizens:

    By late accounts from the delegation of this state, I have received information that the treaty (Sen. ANDREW JACKSON wrote to Gen. JAMES ROBERTSON, January 11, 1798: "Policy dictated to us that the only thing that could strike at the root of opposition, and secure a treaty with the Cherokees. Opposition is on the decline, and I have no doubt but a treaty will be ordered." President Adams appointed commissioners, but spring and summer dragged out and it was October 2, 1798, when a treaty was finally completed at Tellico Block house, signed for the United States by GEORGE WALTON and Col. THOMAS BUTLER.) as I am now informed are now in this state, coming on to this place, and I expect that the Commissioners will arrive in a day or two. By the general government there is a large sum appropriated for the purpose of extinguishing the Indian claim, and I have no doubt but that it will be effected. Thus gentlemen you see the disposition of the government is to relieve your distresses; and, as such is the case, permit me to recommend to you patience and fortitude, hoping, as I do, that a very short period will relieve your sufferings and reinstate you all at your homes and plantations. I sincerely lament your sufferings, and shall always conceive it my duty, and feel a happiness in rendering you every service in my power.



    From what I am aware the first circulated newspaper in Claiborne Co., was the Cumberland Gap Progress, published between the years 1878 - 1894. The Editor GEORGE LIVESAY (My Great Grandfather), was a staunch Republican and editorialized at will. There are microfilm copies of the early issues of this paper available at the Family History Centers, of the Church of Later Day Saints. I am not quite sure when it became the Claiborne County Progress and the editor became Henry Haynes. (Check Favorite Links under Sources for microfilm)

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    click on image for enlargement

    Cumberland Gap, Tri-State Marker, ca. 1898

    L. G. Payne - Mattie (Bob) Payne - A. Yoakum (sister to Mattie Mason Payne) - Lydia Brown - Robert W. Payne and Birdie Mae Stone

    (My father's father).........................................................................(My mother's mother)

    Children in background