Lynn Store :: Kingsport
Lynn Store :: Kingsport
Lynn Store Rediscovered
Bill Dunn ~ November 2005
When Vurl Hammond bequeathed Hammond House to the
association (Netherland Inn/Exchange Place Association) in 1996, several adjoining properties were included.
One of these, was the building at the northeast corner of Netherland Inn
Road and Shirley Street that had a rental apartment over a garage. Thanks
to some research by Evelyn Helton, we rediscovered the historical
importance of the garage. The hand molded brick walls, beamed ceilings
and old window frames of the garage formed the Lynn Store.
John Lynn Sr. with his partners, John and James O'Brien built the
old brick store in 1815. The old account books used at this store disclose
the importance of the Lynns as leading merchants in East Tennessee.
Their general store stocked every kind of merchandise needed in the
Farmer's and resident's homes in the small towns of East Tennessee. The
store sold boots. shoes, harnesses and saddles, plows. farm tools, woodsmen
tools and hardware and a wide variety of household items. The Lynn
Store operated here until well into the twentieth century.
John Lynn Sr. (1769-1839) igured prominently in the development
of Christianville (Kingsport). He and his wife Martha Fleming Lynn (died
1824) were married in Ireland in 1793 and lived in Antrim where their
first three children were born. John was implicated in the Rebellion of
1798, and was ordered to leave Ireland. He sailed immediately, leaving
his family in Ireland, and landed in Virginia where he lived and worked
for two years before earning enough to send for his family. A short time
later in 1801, he heard of William King's success at the Saltworks in
Washington County, Virginia. Since John and William King were old
friends in Ireland, within a year John was employed by King to attend
to receiving and forwarding salt and selling goods in the Boatyard
(Kingsport). Soon after William King's death, John Lynn, Sr. and his
partners built the Lynn store and erected warehouses across the road on
the Holston River banks on land they purchased from Robert Christian.
This prominent company, called John Lynn & Company, developed an
industrial center at the eastern end of Christianville where they built and
operated a saw and grist mill, a tilthammer shop and foundry, cement
mill and storm ironworks and wharfs.
The Lynns raised a large family of eleven children, three daughters
and eight sons. The sons became plantation owners, ministers of the
Christian gospel, and leading businessmen.
The O'Brien brothers, partners in the store, were also prominent
members of Christianville's commercial enterprises. Four O'Brien brothers
came to East Tennessee from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1813. They
were skilled in iron making and established the Tilthammer Ironworks
and Foundry here in 1815. A daughter of James O'Brien married the
famous Parson William G. Brownlow, Governor of Tennessee and a
United States senator.
Perhaps the Lynn Store may some day be restored. (Reference: The
Sullivan County Historical Commission and Associates, Compiled by
Muriel Spoden, Historic Sites of Sullivan County, (Kingsport, 1976), 48.)
Historical Sketches and Traditions of Jackson County
By Lewis K. Smith, formerly of Gainesboro, Tennessee
Sept. 13, 1935.
(Jackson County Sentinel, September 19, 1935)
I have a diary of Lt. George H. Morgan covering the movements of Gen. George G. Dibrell's brigade, Tennessee Cavalry, from August 8, 1864, till the close of the war when they were paroled near Washington, Georgia, on May 11, 1865, the return of the Tennesseans to their homes. Lt. Morgan reached his home in Jackson County on the 22nd, having traveled 334 miles from Washington, Ga. On the 23rd he wrote: "My career as a soldier ended yesterday, at least for the present. I expect to keep sacred the obligation taken and believe the U. S. Government will keep their agreement sacred also. I am proud to feel conscious that I have done my duty to my state and country. I have nothing in my course to regret. Four years in my youthful life have been spent in the apparently fruitless struggle. I will not murmur. "Man proposes. God disposes." Sic transit Gloria Mundi."
Sept. 16, 17, 18th - Continued to march through Hancock and Hawkins counties. Camped on the Carter Valley road at Watersons 8 miles from Rogersville on Sunday evening Sept. 18th.
Monday, Sept. 19th - Moved camp to Lynn's Store on the stage road on the Holston River.
Sept. 20 and 21st - Remained at Lynn's Store.
Sept. 22nd - Moved up the Holston, crossed near Kingsport.