Town of Mosheim, Greene County, Tennessee


Mosheim, TN

Area History


    Mosheim, originally called "Blue Springs" after a spring that flows through the town, was settled circa 1800. Many of its initial settlers were German Lutherans. In 1872, the Lutherans established a local college at Blue Springs known as Mosheim Institute, after the German theologian, Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1693–1755). That same year, the name of the town was officially changed to "Mosheim", after the college.

    The Civil War Battle of Blue Springs was fought near Mosheim on October 10, 1863. The town of Mosheim held reenactments of this battle every year from 1991 until 2008. Several participants of the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy, including noted potter Alex Haun, hailed from a community known as "Pottertown," which was located just outside of Mosheim.

    Some of the "Bridge Burners" are buried in the Mosheim City Park located on Pottertown Road. It is listed on the Civil War Trail

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More Mosheim History

A little history about Mosheim.

    Mosheim owes its origin to two factors of geography, the large spring of blue water close beside the pioneer wagon road through Greene County, plus the fact that the spring was located near midpoint between Greeneville and Bulls Gap on the early thoroughfare.

    The blue spring attracted special attention due to its reflection of the sky. So marked was the reflection that the village, now known as Mosheim, early assumed the name "Blue Spring". As the midpoint between the two early towns, it was inevitable that with the advent of the stage coach Blue Spring would be a main stopping point.

    The village offered the Swamp Hotel, eating establishments, shops and trading posts for the many travelers. In 1858, the Virginia-East Tennessee Rail Line came directly through the young village. Along with growth and prosperity the railroad also brought tragedy and destruction to the area in the form of the Civil War. As the most important rail line in the south at the time, the Virginia-East Tennessee Rail Line was the focus of much attention and fighting throughout the conflict. Although there were frequent skirmishes, only one developed into a full scale battle named The Battle of Blue Springs. Fought on October 10, 1863, the battle lasted about nine hours and involved thousands of troops, ending with the Confederates being driven into Virginia, never to return to capture East Tennessee.

    In 1896 the village was known for being an educational and cultural center for two postwar social developments, an institution of higher learning, and the development of that school into a college.

    The initial school was the product of a determined effort by enterprising local citizens; its development into a recognized college was the result of sustained dedication by the Lutheran Church, which purchased the school property soon after its establishment. The "Old College", a substantial two-story brick building erected about 1870, stood north of the big spring. Soon after the property was purchased it was named after a renowned German theologian, Johann Lorenz von Mosheim. The Mosheim College was so successful the village assumed that name as well.

    In 1913 Mosheim College property was purchased by the Greene County Board of Education for the establishment of a public four-year high school. In 1924 the old college buildings burned and were replaced immediately by a large brick building on the original foundation. For several years Mosheim High School was the only Grade A high school in Greene County. It continued to be so for several decades and was the largest rural school in the county. In 1966 it was consolidated, forming a new school which is called "West Greene" High School.

More Moshiem Information provided by Terry Paxton

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Bulls Gap

    In 1792 John Bull, a gunsmith from Pennsylvania, received a North Carolina land grant for 55 acres of land on Bays Mountain. Bull settled in the area and operated a trading post and stage line through the natural passageway which became known as Bulls Gap.

    In 1857 the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad began construction of a rail line from Bristol to Knoxville which made use of the gap. During the Civil War the gap and rail line were important to armies on both sides.

    In the early 1900s the rail lines serving Bulls Gap became part of the Southern Railway System and developed into a major railroad hub.

    Country entertainer Archie Campbell, star of the television show “Hee Haw,” was the town’s most famous native son. A museum containing memorabilia from his career, samples of his are work, and a replica of his childhood home located beside town hall. Although plans are to relocated that museum to the former Gilley’s Hotel.

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    More Area Histories coming soon . . . .

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