The Amis Store Account Book 1782-1789, Hawkins County, TN

Before Tennessee became a state in 1796 and before the State of Franklin was formed in 1785, the area that would become Hawkins County, Tennessee was the frontier and was known generally as Watauga.

In 1775, the grandparents of Davy Crockett, a future member of the United States Congress from Tennessee and hero of the Alamo, settled in the Watauga colony in the area in what is today Rogersville near the spring that today bears their name. After an Indian attack and massacre, the remaining Crocketts sold the property to a Huguenot named Colonel Thomas Amis.

In 1780/1781, Colonel Amis built a fort at Big Creek, on the outskirts of the present-day Rogersville which was then in Sullivan County, NC.

That same year, about three and one-half miles above downtown Rogersville, Amis erected a fortress-like stone house around which he built a palisade for protection against Indian attack.  This is known as the Amis Stone House, shown below and with directions and other photos here.

Amis house

The next year, Amis opened a store; erected a blacksmith shop; and built a distillery.  He also eventually established a sawmill and a gristmill. From the beginning, he kept a house of entertainment which was also a stage-coach stop, a place for travelers to rest and spend the night as well as locals to gather.  Of course, it was a tavern too.

Built as a defensive garrison in addition to a trading post, the upper part of the house originally had rifleports instead of windows.  In later years Amis’ daughter Mary said that she frequently wakened to hear Indians grinding their knives and tomahawks on her father’s grindstone.

Thomas Amis also kept an account ledger book which is, thankfully, still in existance.  This is one of the only documents that shows who lived in this area in the early years.

A big thank you to Hawkins County archivist, Jack Goins, for allowing Thomas Amis’ customer list to be included here.  Melungeon researchers will notice two Melungeon family names, Bunch and Boling.

amis 1

amis 2

amis 3

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About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Melungeon, North Carolina, Tennessee. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Amis Store Account Book 1782-1789, Hawkins County, TN

  1. soclairesays says:

    Very interesting post! I love Tennesse..

  2. Denise Smith says:

    Seems some of these may be travelers and names I recognize. More to research!!! THANK YOU for posting so much GREAT information. I LOVE THIS BLOG!! and recommend it to everyone searching for the Native heritage of our area.

  3. G.C. Nichols says:

    Your web. site is great, I have run in to a complete dead in on my G-Grandfather, F.D. or Farrell D. Nichols. Birth Feb.1863, Death 1947, buried Forkedoak Cem. Paden, Ms. In the Amis Store Acct. Book 1782-1789 a James Nichols traded with this store. G-Grandad had only one son ( I think ) J.D. or Joseph D. Nichols my Grandaddy also buried in the same Cem. in Paden, Ms. I was wondering if anyone knows if James Nichols could be in our blood line ?

  4. Randy O'Guin says:

    I love all the incredible information you write about. Thomas (Jefferson?) Amis was my 5th great-grandfather through my mother’s female line. Thanks for the additional information on him!

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