Historic Markers Across Tennessee



Old Deery Inn



Marker ID:  
Location: 3397 Bristol Highway, Blountville, TN
County: Sullivan
Coordinates: N 36° 31.987    W 082° 19.57
  36.53311666    -82.32616666
Waymark: None
 



Text:

Old Deery Inn
Refuge from the Storm


In September 1863, Confederate Gen. Samuel Jones’s command and Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s forces contested control of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad a few miles east. On September 22, Union Col. John W. Foster’s brigade engaged the forces of Confederate Col. James E. Carter at Blountville. When the firing began, the women and children gathered the sick and elderly and sought refuge in the cellars of the most solid buildings; the St. John residence and the Old Deery Inn. “In the thick of the fight and more dangerously exposed than the soldiers of either side were the fleeing women,” historian Oliver Taylor wrote in 1909. “In the confusion of such a hasty departure distracted mothers became separated from their children; cavalrymen dashed across their path, while bullets and bombs whistled above them. They went through Brown’s meadow and finally found a safe retreat beyond the hills.” Exploding shells set much of the town on fire.

William Deery constructed this trading post and tavern, later known as the Old Derry Inn, early in the 1800s. As Deery prospered, he added to the building, including a three-story hewn stone structure in the rear. After his death about 1845, his widow lived here until the Cate family purchased it after the Civil War.

Although Deery’s children had left Sullivan County years before, they did not escape the war’s effects. Eldest daughter Martha married Col. William Churchwell, who died at Cumberland Gap in 1862. Seraphina, the youngest daughter, married Col. Randal McGavock, a colonel in the 10th Tennessee Infantry Regiment (CSA) who was killed at the Battle of Raymond.

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.