At one time, Boyd’s Creek was a busy community with its own Post Office, general store, gristmills, and the Knoxville Sevierville and Eastern Railroad, which ran through the community. The KS&E, or as the locals who traveled on it called it, “The Knoxville Slow and Easy” began in the early 1900’s and quit running sometime in the 1960’s.
One of the most interesting persons I met at the Boyd’s Creek Market where so many of the old tales get told was William Ermal Ballard who was 89 and had lived in the area most of those years. I would sit and listen to Mr. Ballard’s tales of his youth and think “what a treasure.”
He told me the story of the time he was herding 75 hogs to the stock barn at Oak City to be loaded on the train for market. He said that when he got to Oak City, he only had 66 hogs, the others having drowned while crossing Boyd’s Creek. Since then, they’ve put in a bridge or two.
Or the time he hit a homerun in his last baseball game played at the Highland View School, (that’s the old school building that sits back off the road in a field and looks a little sad, as if it’s wondering when everyone is coming back), and the opposing pitcher met him at the plate with a shoulder nudge and said, “Hey, are you trying to make me look bad?”
Mr. Ballard said, “He really looked bad after I hit the second one.”
After telling his tales he would tap the table and say with a smile, “I never will forget that.”
Sadly, Mr. Ballard passed away on June 16. It was his passing that gave me the idea to try to gather the tales of other longtime residents. In the coming weeks and months I hope to be talking with as many of them as will share a tale or two, and will with their permission, periodically relate them to you in these pages.
I would like to take this opportunity to say, “Farewell and rest easy, Mr. Ballard.”
Anyone who has a tale they would like to share about the history of this area can contact Mr. Sawyer through the Herald Newspapers at (865) 577-6609.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.