Wednesday, January 5, 2011

the first frontier

We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.
--John Hope Franklin (1915-2009) historian

Facing west to portray the pioneers westward movement into the "First Frontier," this impressive monument honors Henry Massengill and his family who ventured from North Carolina to the Watauga Settlement in 1769. The statute stood from 1937 to 1990 in north Johnson City at the intersection of the Bristol and Kingsport highways. But road widening and expansion in that area resulted in the 24-foot statue being moved to its current location in Winged Deer Park in 1990.

The monument reads:
"Erected to the memory of Henry Massengill and his pioneer family. Came from North Carolina to the Watauga Settlement in 1769. His plantation near the mouth of Boone's Creek adjoined William Bean's, who was the first permanent white settler west of the Alleghany Mountains. In 1775 was appointed to an office in the Watauga Association which adopted the first written constitution for the government of American-born freemen. Built the Massengill house of worship, 1777, served two years as sheriff of Washington District. In 1778 was chairman of the Committee of Safety. Served on the staff of Captain William Edmiston in General's Shelby's expedition against the Chicamagua Indians in 1779. Furnished three sons to the Revolutionary Army."


  1. I am curently reading a book about the pioneers who settled this country,through hardship,sorrow,and just plain grit! the pics are so pretty,I am following your blog, you are welcome to follow mine,Blessings Jane

  2. I'm scanning old family pictures and found one of my father at the Massengill monument, taken in the 1940s. I had always wondered where in the world that photo was taken. Your blog helped me solve the mystery. Thank you!


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