Where are you? You are in south central Hamblen Township, one of the very earliest areas to be settled in Brown County. It is now known as Gatesville but in earlier years the area was Taggart.
James Taggart, born 1714 in North Carolina, found his way across the Smoky Mountains to settle here in Hamblen Township. He was active in creating elections and held the first of township officers in his log home. There were no good roads coming and going to this valley and people nearby were soon defined as Ridge People to the north, Pinehurst People or Sherman People down on Salt Creek in the settlement known as Sherman. There were no luxuries and people didn't have much so they learned to stay close to home. Eventually, there was a dance hall for entertainment but there is no record of who built it or where the entertainers came from. It was written that the "good folk" shunned the dance hall and preferred the two churches in the area for social gatherings. There were two schools. We know there was a church and a school built near the Taggart Cemetery, which is nearby on Hoover Road.
Taggart Cemetery located on Hoover Road, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the county on property James Taggart bought from the United States Government in 1828. The oldest tombstone dates back to 1833. Within the cemetery is a circle of stones surrounding a marker which reads: "Chimney stack marks where stood first schoolhouse and church." James Taggart was buried 1852 along with other members of his family in this cemetery named after him. There are over 133 graves in Taggart Cemetery. As in all historical cemeteries there are many unmarked graves, and some marked with rocks.
The history in this historical cemetery tells so much about the settlers who came here, not the complete story but enough that encourages genealogical research. One curious marker list the children from several families that died from a communicable disease. Another is to imagine the design in the monuments that were hand carved without electricity, using hand tools and oil lamps or daylight.
Enjoy your time spent in Taggart and imagine a time long ago.
Self Guided Tour Stop # 7
Direction to Gatesville General Store Stop # 8