(Editor’s note: This is the first part of a three-part story detailing the origins of some of Whitley County’s smaller communities. The second part of this story will appear on next month’s bicentennial page in the News Journal.)
They have names like Boston (not the liberal place in Massachusetts mind you), Emlyn and Goldbug. They are the communities where people live and work in Whitley County.
While many people are familiar with their names, did you ever wonder how these places came about?
Below is a history of some of the communities in Whitley County, and how some of the received their names.
• Bon Jellico was located about two miles west of Williamsburg near the intersection of Highway 92W and Bon Hollow Road. It was named after the Bon Jellico mining community. The mine operated from 1912-1937 and employed 350 workers producing nearly 100,000 tons of Blue Gem coal annually.
The town around the mine included 75 houses, a three-room school/church and a company store. About 1,500 people lived in Bon Jellico over the 25-year period that the mine operated. When the mine closed due to the coal supply being depleted, so, for all intents and purposes, did the community.
• Boston and Lot are both located as far south as you can get without being required to know the words to “Rocky Top.”
Boston was named after Boss Faulkner, an early resident and storekeeper.
Lot was named for the level land of the Bible. Local residents wanted to have a small town in the area, and several one-acre lots were surveyed.
• Canadatown is located about nine miles northwest of Williamsburg and 15 miles south of Corbin and is accessible via Highway 204.
The community is named after half-brothers Joshua Canada, who was born in 1849, and Andrew Jackson Canada, who was born in 1852. The brothers married sisters Abigail and Mary Penelia Richardson, and bought two farms on Young’s Creek where they began to raise their families. Each couple had 10 children. Some of their descendants still live there today.
• Carpenter is located in southeastern Whitley County near the Knox and Bell county lines. The waters of Poplar Creek run through it, and it is accessible via Highway 92E.
Carpenter is named after Dr. Ensley A. Carpenter, who practiced medicine in the community many years ago. He reportedly ordered his medicine in gallon jugs from North Carolina to treat various ailments.
The first settlers of Carpenter were John G. Tye III, his wife, Mollie, and their children. John Tye built the first known house in Whitley County around 1786.
Poplar Creek Elementary school was located in the community until it was torn down and replaced with Whitley East Elementary School in 2007.
• Clio is located about six miles north of Williamsburg, and is accessible by Craig Road.
The community wasn’t named for the Greek muse of history, but rather for Camp Clio, which was a Union Army Camp that had been at Burnside in Pulaski County. Many Union soldiers from this area were stationed at the camp.
The first post office by the name Clio was located in a store owned by the Murphy family near Young’s Creek Church. The post office stayed there until 1934 when it was moved to a store operated by L.G. Fuson on Cumberland Falls Highway.
• Dog Slaughter is the name of perhaps the second most famous waterfall in Whitley County and its accompanying creek.
There are two trails to this area, which are located off a forest service road off Highway 90 before you enter Cumberland Falls State Park. The first trail is three miles long and the second trail is one mile long.
Old settlers reported that the area got its name from the slaughter of dogs in the area by wolves. The Moore family reportedly brought Irish Wolfhounds with them from Virginia that they used for protection.
As legend goes, one night all the wolves in the area gathered together and killed all the dogs resulting in the name “Dog Slaughter.”
• Emlyn is located south of Williamsburg near Pleasant View, and is accessible by US25W. The community was named after the daughter of a coalmine operator, who employed several miners in the area.
• Mid-Springs is the name of a voting precinct in Whitley County. Its name is derived from a man named Mid Meadors, who lived nearby, and from a water spring beside a large tree. It is located between Canadatown and Seed Tick.
• Mountain Ash was named by Welsh coal developers, who opened a mine around 1890, and named the camp after a town in Wales. It is located south of Williamsburg near Buck Creek Road.