The William Thompson family, who are thought to be the first residents, included William, his wife Rebecca Wallace Thompson who was the daughter of a Revolutionary War veteran, and their seven children. Thompson was a farmer, politician, land dealer, and “substantial” citizen. Thompson children hunted arrowheads and other Indian artifacts in the plowed fields and along the creek. Mary Reese, one of the Thompson daughters, married Samuel Anderson, son of Dr. Isaac Anderson who was founder and first

president of Maryville College. Her sister, Martha Wallace, wed Dr. Calvin Post, a physician who sought gold and other minerals in the Cades Cove area.
Ownership of the land and the house passed through several hands at the mid-nineteenth century. Rev. William Beard Brown purchased the property in 1867 and his family occupied the place for sixty-seven years. A Presbyterian clergyman, Brown had graduated from Southern and Western Theological Seminary in Maryville. During the Civil War, Brown lived in north Georgia where he ministered to wounded and dying soldiers and their families on both sides of the conflict. He wanted a good education for his children, but war-torn north Georgia offered no opportunities. He moved his family to Maryville where his offspring could attend Maryville College, the successor to his alma mater. Brown children collected Civil War relics; bullets, canteens, uniform parts - from the fields, leftovers probably from Sherman’s encampments in 1863.
Brown died in 1879. His widow, Mary Elizabeth Bicknell Brown, and his son John

continued to operate the farm. At the turn of
the century they established Brown Brothers Cedar Grove Dairy, which was the first in Maryville to deliver milk house to house. John Brown and his wife, Sarah, brought up nine children on the farm. Their house and especially its Cedar Grove were poplar-gathering places for the young people of the town.
By 1934, some of the older Browns having died and the younger ones having moved on, the place was transferred to Maryville College. The college operated it as a dairy farm into the 1960's. For several years a caretaker lived in the house. As the college began to develop the land, Blount County

bought the house and its immediate environs in 1975. The plan was to tear down the house and build Blount County Health Department on the site. But it was the nation’s bicentennial, historic preservation were popular, and a group of Maryville College students spearheaded an effort to save the log house. Siding was even removed to “prove” it was a log house!
Blount County Historic Trust formed to take up the preservation effort and the county agreed to build the health department on the back of the lot. The newly formed Smoky Mountain Visitors Bureau became interested in the house as a welcome center and together with the Historic Trust saw to restoration and some renovation. This partnership held until the Visitors Bureau opened new centers elsewhere in the early 1990's. Blount County owns the property. Keep Blount Beautiful currently occupies the house. Blount County Historic Trust maintains an office in the house and contributes advice and money toward its continued preservation.

September 1998