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County Information



Before The White Man
The Pioneers
Early Settlements
The Forming of Johnson County
Johnson County and the Civil War
The Twentieth Century
The Story Behind the Name
The Town of Butler
Nick the Hermit
Tom Dula
Why you should Visit

Johnson County Trails Association
MainStreet Tenneessee
NorthEast Tennessee Tourism Association
Sunny Side Trail
Tennessee Vacations
TN 3 Star Community
TN Trails and Byways

Natural Attractions

Physical Features
The Appalachian Trail
Backbone Rock

Early Settlements

By 1820 the area which is now called Butler was populous and new businesses began to move in. One of the first businessmen to come was Zeke Smith, who built a grist mill on the bank of Roan Creek. A community grew around the mill was named Smith’s Mill.

By 1840 the town of Taylorsville had grown to approximately 150 people. Johnson County’s population in 1850 was 2,658. Settlements were established in Doe, Laurel, Roan Creek, and Shady Valley by this time.

Unlike most mills that are fueled by water pressure of a creek or river the mill at Silver Lake is is powered by a spring. The spring is located between two small mountains. An earthen dam was built causing a lake to form. The Silver Lake Mill was built by Alexander Doran and later purchased by Nat Wills. The original mill burned down and the present one was rebuilt at the same site