Gatlinburg, Tennessee has a population of only about 4000. There is little chance of that number being increased by urban sprawl, because the town is bordered on all sides by the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
|Gatling gun patent drawing|
Surprisingly enough, he didn’t found Gatlinburg and he was eventually kicked out of town. Gatlinburg was founded in about 1790 by British settlers from North Carolina. They called the town White Oaks and that was its name when Radford Gatlin arrived in town in 1855. He opened a second store and post office, which were so popular that the area began to take its name from them – Gatlinburg. He was also a preacher and founded The Gatlinite Baptist Church. The town discarded the more generic name of White Oaks. Radford Gatlin enjoyed his fame and popularity until he made a huge mistake. He chose the wrong side in the Civil War. He opted for the Confederacy, while the locals were very much on the side of the victors, the Unionists. After the war, the locals sent him packing and confiscated his property. He spent his old age in Union, South Carolina.
The name of the town continued as Gatlinburg. Surely, it would have been a bigger punishment to change it? Anyone can leave property and possessions, but few have a famous town named after them.
This piece, written by Bob, was originally posted on our website on October 11, 2008.