War on the plateau came in a different form. It was not the battles we’ve come accustomed to. It was terror and abuse of local businesses. Reason being is the plateau’s unique geography.
“Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau is a physiographic region of stunning beauty, imposing rock faces, geologic oddities and paradoxical importance in the geography of Tennessee… it is clear to any observer that the Cumberland Plateau is an actual, distinctive geomorphic region with a continuous elevation along the rim at around 1,800 feet. It is also a region that experienced war that both resemble the kind of internecine conflict found elsewhere in Appalachia and resembled nothing else at all.” (The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 11)
The geological paradox that is the Cumberland Plateau caused problems with the Civil War soldiers tasked with controlling the region. As a result a multitude of guerilla gangs and raids took place in the area. “It is also the longest hardwood forest plateau in the world.” (Astor, p. 16)
“The small-scale, guerrilla-style raid mixed forces of enlisted soldiers and ad hoc militiamen, many of them kin to one another, foreshadowed the kind of fighting that would take place throughout the Cumberland Plateau region during the Civil War.” (The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 9-10)
“John Walker had his blacksmith shop out at what was later Howard’s Spring’s on Frost Road and did a lot of horse-shoeing at gunpoint during the war. ‘A band of scoundrels (wrote J.W. Dorton in one of his columns) would come along one day, claiming to be from the South and compel him to shoe horses for them all that day. The next day another band would come along, claiming to be for the Union, and he’d have to shoe their horses all day. He had to do all this without pay, but he did learn how to be an expert horse shoer.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53-54)
“Confederate guerrillas came up from the south through Flynn’s Cove and Champ Ferguson’s Raiders, a strong band of rebels, came from Sparta. Gen. George Dibrell from Sparta ran many Union sympathizers out of Cumberland County. ‘Tinker Dave’ Beatty and the Beatty Gang operated for the Union from their base in Fentress County and the Bushwackers and Harve Shilling, also Union, were based in the northern part of the county between Clear Creek and Wyatt Creek in the old Indian hideaway. Between them they burned a great many houses and stands, notably the Lowry Stand. It was burned to the ground by rebels in 1863.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 54)
Much of Cumberland County did not see actual war but were terrorized by the gueriilas, espescially businesses. Imagine trying to support your family and live quietly in the community that you and others had just established, but guerillas of war refuse to leave your family and business in peace.
“New residents from the North were especially in danger from guerillas. Down in Grassy Cove was a family named Palmer which had settled on a rocky hill on the bank of White’s Creek. They built a large fine house and put out an apple orchard and many small fruits, such as currants, raspberries and gooseberries, which they were the first to introduce. When the war broke out, so the story goes, they were threatened many times. Finally, one night their house was surrounded and they were fired upon. Mrs. Palmer loaded the guns while her husband fired them and they managed to hold out, although all the windows were shot out. The next night Mrs. Palmer mounted a horse and with one child in her lap and the other behind her, rode into the woods where she stayed until daylight. The next night she rode with the children to Dr. Haley’s place at Haley’s Grove and her husband joined her there a few nights later. Their house was burned to the ground.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 54)
“…the census of 1870 are proof enough of the desolation of the war, for in a land where 5.8 children was the family average, the ten-year increase in population was exactly one human– from 3,460 in 1860 to 3,461 in 1870.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 55)
The residents, approximately 3,460 (including slaves) of the newly formed Cumberland County did not have long to enjoy their accomplishments. On April 12, 1861 the Civil War began.
“With the state formally casting its support for separation from the Union in June and the subsequent addition of both the state and its army to that of the Confederacy in July, the first major wave of military enlistments on the Cumberland Plateau was for Confederate regiments. Turney’s First Tennessee Volunteer Regiment was organized as early as April 1861 and immediately drew men from Franklin and surrounding counties.”(The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 72)
“Once Governor Harris and the state legislature passed a secession ordinance on May 6, the governor began organizing regiments into what was called, temporarily, the Provisional Army of Tennessee. It proved to be a cumbersome process to recruit, train, equip, arm and mobilize a Confederate army in Tennessee. Manpower was rarely the problem, but organization was made difficult by Harris’s decision first to declare independence from the United States and then to form a ;defensive league with a Confederate government more interested in protecting its new capital at Richmond then in shoring up its western heartland. Between May 6, when the legislature adopted the secession ordinance (to be ratified on June 8), and July 31, when the Provisional Army of Tennessee was formally handed over to the Confederacy, more than twenty-five thousand Tennesseans enlisted in more than fifty regiments across the state.” (The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Astor, p. 73)
“Down in the Valley boys hurried to Spring City to join the Confederate Army, west of the Caney Fork they went to Sparta and did likewise. In the central, eastern and northern sections sympathies were generally for the Union, though everywhere families were divided and bitterness broke out.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
“Chris Ford down in Grassy Cove saw his father go off to the Confederate Army never to return. A man of strong feelings, Chris vowed he would not shave until the Southern Confederacy achieved independence. They say that years later whenever Chris road horseback, his flowing beard would cover his saddle horn.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
“Five Ford brothers and four Loden boys from the Cove joined the South, while Mose, Jim and Az Dorton, John Swan and Bill Brewer joined up with Company D 2nd Tennessee Federal Infantry, organized and led by Capt. Robert C. Swan. Out in Yellow Creek the Hamby brothers went both ways, W.A. was a rebel and Hebbert and Rueben joined the Union Forces. There were many more of these divided families, and many other soldiers.” (Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak, p. 53)
Although many went off to war, the local wars that hit Cumberland County were of a different type… to be continued.
*photos and newspapers courtesy of the Library of Congress
Theodore Roosevelt on the pioneers of Tennessee, “Their grim, harsh, narrow lives were yet strangely fascinating and full of adventurous toil and danger; none but natures as strong, as freedom-loving as theirs could have endured existence on the terms which these men found pleasurable. Their iron surroundings made a mould which turned out all alike. They resembled one another and differed from all the rest of the world– even the world of America– in dress, in customs and in mode of life.”
In total three attempts were made to establish Cumberland County. In 1837 the attempt created Cheatham County and in 1844 no result came of the attempt. Finally, in 1855 Cumberland County presented its own petition and was granted the county created from the six far corners.
In the year 1855, Cumberland County was finally made official. Taking land from White, Morgan, Bledsoe, Rhea, Putnam, and Fentress Counties. On November 16, 1855, the Legislature passed an act entitled: An Act to Establish the County of Cumberland in this State.” (Bullard & Krechniak, Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, p. 48)
First political offices in Cumberland County:
County Superintendent, 1865: Thos C. Center
Registers, 1856: David Norris
County Court Clerk, 1856: William D. Lawson
Circuit Court Clerk, 1866: J.T. Narramore
Sherriff, 1856: J.L. Narramore and Craven Sherrill
County Judge, 1880: D.K. Young
Chairman, 1880: Wm. Whitlock
County Trustee, 1861: J.F. Greer, Jr. (Tax Collector)
Clerk and Master of Chancery Court, 1888: S.C. Brown
“Section 1. Be in enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, that the new county is hereby established by the name of Cumberland: beginning at Jack Officer’s in Putnam County, running thence a south direction to the thirteenth mile tree, on the turnpike road leading from Sparta, in White County, to Kingston, in Roane County; thence, continuing in the same direction, to the Bledsoe County line, by the way of the Forked Ford on the Caney Fork river, and so as to include the place where George Thomas lives, in the new county; thence running eastwardly to Hiram Stone’s; thence to Tollett’s mill, on the head of the Sequatchie Valley; thence to Thompson’s mill on the Stock road in Rhea County; thence to, C.G. Gibson’s; thence northwardly to the Turnpike road before mentioned, leading from Sparta, to Kingston, and where the same crosses Mammy’s Creek; thence, to the Bridge on Daddy’s Creek; thence to Davis’ Ford, on Obed’s River with its meanderings, to the mouth of Otter Creek; thence, to the mouth of Wolf Pen Branch at Clear Creek; thence, up Clear Creek, including T. Tabor’s place, and to the Emory Road west of Brice’s Creek, and east of Lee Taylor’s stand; thence, with said road to the beginning: including portions of White, Rhea, Bledsoe, Morgan, Fentress, and Putnam Counties.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 48-49
The beginning of hope, the beginning of prosperity, the beginning of our beautiful county, Cumberland County.
The Wilderness and road that created our beloved county took some time and holds numerous stories. Some unheard of, some unproven, and some almost too gruesome to relive.
One in particular that is nearly unheard of, is the Harpe Brothers, America’s first true serial killers.
Micajah “Big Harpe” and Wiley “Little Harpe”, roamed Tennessee on their way to Kentucky from North Carolina committing many of their crimes. But what is unknown to many here in Cumberland County, is that one of their victims found their fate along the Walton Road near Crab Orchard, TN.
Their reign of terror mostly in the 1790s. “According to several written accounts from the 1800s, it was in December 1798 that the brothers entered the Gap, heading for Crab Orchard, a point where roads diverged to Louisville and Cincinnati. By this time, all three women (their wives) were pregnant. The group entered John Farris’s tavern, looking for food, but they were turned away because they had no money. Stephen Langford from Virgninia took pity on the miserable looking troupe and bought them breakfast. He then asked if the party wanted to join him along the Wilderness Trail. Historians report that Langford’s remains, mutilated almost beyond recognition, soon were found along the trail.” (Kelly Kazek, Forgotten Tales of Tennessee, p. 20-21)
The Harpes and their wives were eventually captured and taken to jail in Danville, KY, but true to their reputations, the men escaped leaving behind their wives. Despite being left behind, the women all gave birth, and were then acquitted for their crimes returning to their men on the run.
A pose of men who’s families had been murdered by the Harpe brothers formed and trailed them till each brother was dead. Their wives moved on, remarrying and retiring from their life of crime.
“Their friends and neighbors were enraptured with the glowing descriptions of the delightful country they had discovered, and their imaginations were inflamed with the account of the wonderful products, which were yielded in such beautiful profusion. The sterile hills and rocky uplands of the Atlantic country began to lose their interest, when compared with the fertile valleys beyond the mountains.” (Ramsey, Annals of Tennessee, p. 97)
The first settlements along the Cumberland Plateau were either by accident or by men who sought opportunity along the road. With a multitude of travelers coming along Walton Road, the need for food, shelter, and necessities while traveling continuously grew.
Many travelers did not see the use in settling in the Wilderness (Cumberland Plateau) with its rocky terrain and thickets, but there were some who ventured and found the luscious plains and crab apple trees.
The earliest settler on record was John Ford, Sr. His family along with about 50 others traveled from Virginia seeking a new start. He chose Grassy Cove to start his farm. Other families who chose to settle there are the Willises, Stubbses, Lodens (Logans), Gibsons, Newtons and Kemmers.
Soon after, many other families began to settle in the area bringing trades and business with them.
The Tabors came from North Carolina in 1806 bringing the craft of woodworking making chairs and wagons with them. “…they were looking to find stands of hickory and chestnut. After passing Graham’s Stand on the Obed River, they came to Terry’s Stand at Black Drowning Creek. They took off up the creek and found what they wanted at a place still known as Tabor. Here they began to produce the sturdy, functionally handsome chairs which their descendants are still making– using some of the same sort of tools. The Tabor chair industry thus celebrates its sesquicentennial this year, being both the oldest and the only craft which has continued uninterrupted since the first years of settlement.” (Bullard & Krechniak, Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, p.22-23)
With John Bristow and his family came the trade of tanning. The Wilderness offered an abundance of elk and deer for their trade.They also came from North Carolina but chose to settle in the Grassy Cove area.
In Crab Orchard, the area now known as Haley’s Grove is named after the widow Haley who had an inn in the area now known as Ozone Falls and the Crab Orchard Inn replaced Sidnor’s Stand in 1827. It was built by Robert Burke. “According to the tales handed down to us, brick for brick the inn was made on the farm by slaves, who also burned the lime for it from limestone taken from the mountainside. Burke brought nine bricklayers from Knoxville to erect the walls. Inside was a unique stairway said to have been built by a local carpenter. In Famous Inns of the Southwest this inn is credited with being one of the finest in early times. It was a landmark on the Great Stage Road for more than 50 years.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 23)
Graham’s Stand also built another inn on the other side of the Obed River after 1800. Then following their inn, Robert Johnson and his wife, Ollie, built their stand on the Walton Road at the head of the Caney Fork. “In 1806, Johnson and his sons erected a new building of hewn logs with a riven board roof. The inside lumber was whip-sawed and the whole was held together with wooden pegs and wrought iron nails. It is still standing and in use– now the oldest structure in Cumberland County, and this year celebrating its sesquicentennial.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 23)
Lowry’s Stand was the first of what today’s motels looked like. It was the biggest in the county with thirteen log cabins and a main inn.
Business rivalries began with Gordon’s Turnpike trying to take Walton Road’s business. Gordon Road was built starting at Post Oak Springs and entered Cumberland County north of the confluence of Mammy and Fall Creeks, then through Grassy Cove to the Dawson Stand and to the Lowry Stand, and there it joined the Great Stage Road as part of a military road.
“General George Gordon received, from the State of Tennessee in 1829, a grant of 3,000 acres for this road; the only grant of its kind in Tennessee. The land lay about the spot where the stand was built and only a part of it was in Cumberland County. It is referred to in a grant of 1826 as the ‘Gordon and Lincoln Turnpike’ which included Dawson’s improvements at the crossroads where the road from Greer’s to Sequatchie Valley (Post and Mail Road) crosses said Turnpike.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 24)
Much like many sports rivalries today, the Walton v. Gordon road was heated.
A Gordon’s Turnpike road sign once read, “Gordon’s Turnpike, nearest and best road across the Cumberland Wilderness. Fire and provender at each stop. Ordinaries and taverns every ten miles.”“Joshua Moore was agent and drummer for the Great Stage Road. One night he tied a brush to a long pole and blackened out the sign board of the Gordon Road. Gordon did not have it relettered but put up another board below with this: ‘The above blackboard to be kept for erection over the grave of Joshua Moore upon which the devil will write his doom. Amen.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 25) Incidentally the act and board drew attention and visitors to the Gordon road. The old sign post was kept up till the ‘60s as a reminder.
Many other roads followed along with businesses on each one and each road serving a purpose throughout the county and wilderness. Ross Road began at Dawson’s Stand, Post and Mail Road was built to carry mail before 1826. Kentucky Stock Road was built just as the name says, to drive cattle north.
“All of these roads were operated under contracts with individuals who were assigned certain portions of a road. Each contractor had to maintain the road and the mile posts; he was permitted a specified number of turnpikes at which he collected a specified toll for each traveler on horseback and for each wagon. At Crab Orchard Inn these tolls were $0.25 for a horseman and a dollar for a wagon. Sometimes receipts here totalled $75 a day in the fall of the year when the traffic was heaviest.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 26)
“Each stage driver carried a bugle and four or five miles before he reached a stand he would get out the bugle on top of a mountain or a rise, and blow a blast on it as a signal for the stand to ready his change of horses. Then he would pause and blow one toot for each passenger who wanted lunch.” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 27)
It is said that Andrew Jackson traveled the Walton Road on his way to be inaugurated for his presidency. “The travelers reached Abingdon July 27, (1836) and Kingston, Tennessee on the 30th. Here the President wrote to Andrew Jr.: ‘We arrived here to breakfast and will sleep at Capt. Thos. N. Clark’s, Kingston. We have been in mud from the City (Washington) and now rest part of tomorrow and reach Mr. Brown’s foot of the mountain or perhaps go 12 miles farther to the Crab Orchard.’” (Bullard & Krechniak, p. 29-30)
“All the pioneers were brave, hardy, patient and ambitious. Yet the Tennessee backwoodsman was the sturdiest of all. The daily menace of Indians, the bear, the panther, the wolf, and the rattlesnake, and their isolation from the thickly settled communities of the East caused them to be self-reliant and independent.” (Moore, The Volunteer State, p.320)
“It was not till the year 1776 that a wagon was seen in Tennessee. In consequence of the want of roads– as well as of the great distance from sources of supply– the first inhabitants were without tools, and of course, without mechanics– much more, without the convenience of living and the comforts of house-keeping. Luxuries were absolutely unknown. Salt was brought on pack-horses from Augusta and Baltimore and readily commanded ten dollars a bushel. The salt gourd, in every cabin, was considered a treasure. The sugar-maple furnished the only article of luxury on the frontier; coffee and tea being unknown, or beyond reach of the settlers, sugar was seldom made, and was only used for the sick, or in the preparation of a sweetened dram at a wedding or the arrival of a newcomer. The appendages of the kitchen, the cupboard and the table were scanty and simple.
“Iron was brought at a great expense from the forges east of the mountain, on pack-horses, and was sold at an enormous price. Its use was for this reason confined to the construction and repair of ploughs and other farming utensils. Hinges, nails and fastenings of that material, were seldom seen.
“Could there be happiness or comfort in such dwellings and such a state of society?” (Rasmey, p. 716)
The people of Cumberland County have an ancestry of perseverance. This town was built out of determination and pure ambition. Those that chose to settle here and start their businesses began this town and began its way of life. Whether your family is from here or not, the history of this town and its people is truly a story to be heard and appreciated.
Business men and women in those days started with nothing but a trade or an idea much like people do today, but back then it wasn’t just business, it was survival and a way of life. They were building a society and a community that we still cherish today.
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States.
Seven. Seven comes up a lot in business studies. The rule of marketing says that if a customer sees or hears an advertisement seven times they will remember it. It is also speculated, although it may not be true, that money turns over seven times in a community. While it can not be proven fact by economists, it is a good thought to keep in mind when shopping in town.
Small businesses keep towns alive and money in people’s pockets. So, if money turns over seven times in one community, think of the impact.
Let’s say you work for a local business. Payday comes and you deposit your check in a local bank, that’s one; you buy gas at a local gas station, that’s two; you buy groceries, that’s three; you donate money to a local school or church, that’s four; you buy dinner at a local restaurant, that’s five. Now, that leaves two more to be spoken for, but let’s look at each establishment that got part of your paycheck, each one will turn that dollar over one way or another. They will either pay an employee or buy goods or services for their business.
So, whether or not the thought that a dollar turns over at least seven times in a community is true or not, the money still stays local for the most part. It is important to sustain your local economy. Even if you shop at a Walmart or McDonalds those businesses pay local employees.
Crossville is full of local businesses. Our “Beginning Cumberland County” series focuses on the history of those businesses and how they began our town but let’s focus on today.
How does a local business impact a town other than money turnover?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. A new report shows that they account for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity.”
Every community has expenses and upkeep in order to maintain a satisfactory level of infrastructure. Not only do small businesses provide jobs, they also generate local taxable revenue that provides funds for local projects and maintenance.
Local businesses also rely on other businesses in their area for services that they cannot provide themselves. For example: signs, printing, IT, supplies, cleaning, and so on.
Diversity is also a huge factor in small businesses. A report that Verizon put out says that, “36 percent of small businesses are owned by women, 9 percent are owned by veterans, and 14.6 percent of small businesses are owned by people of color.”
Small businesses are incredibly important to the economy, both local and international. So, whether it is “Small Business Saturday” or not, shop local, work local, love your community.
“The adventures and the perils of Tennessee pioneers, their hearty sacrifices for the general good, their character for conduct and courage in war, their uniform devotion to the honour and greatness of the country, their rapid advance, and the impress of their wisdom, valour and patriotism which they have stamped upon their descendants, invite to the early history of their state the attention of every American, and secures the deepest regard of every Tennessean.” (Ramsey, The Annals of Tennessee To The End Of The Eighteenth Century, p. 13)
To truly understand how Cumberland County came to be, you have to go back to the beginning, the beginning of pioneers like Daniel Boone. More often than not, when reading historical books about Tennessee, you will see the words Cumberland that are referring to the Cumberland River, but on occasion, snipits of the words Cumberland Mountain come across.
What is now the Cumberland Plateau was mostly a hunting ground for the Cherokee, but much of it was uninhabited and unexplored.
“The top of the mountain is described as being then, a vast upland prairie, covered with a most luxuriant growth of native grasses, pastured over as far as the eye could see, with numerous herds of deer, elk and buffalo, scarcely disturbed in their desert wilds at the approach of man, and exhibiting little alarm at the explosion of his rifle or fright at the victim falling before its deadly aim. The frowning cliffs and precipices, that every where surrounded the mountain, and the dark laurel thickets, that obstructed the entrances and ascent to its summit level, had hitherto, excluded even the hunter and Indian from an easy access to it in pursuit of game; and the boundless natural nipotent masonry, presented to the first intruders, the aspect of primeval solitude, quiet, and security. This aspect it wore no longer. The mural escarpment and the mountain waterfall, yielded to the energy of the troop and the guard. Nature doffed her power, her beauty, and her dominion, and succumbed to the reign of art and civilization.” (Ramsey, 501)
When frontier men like James Robertson, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and others came down to Tennessee from Kentucky or over from North Carolina they were looking for solitude and hunting land or simply exploring. While that may be what brought men to Tennessee and began its settlement, that is still not what created the county. Although, that is what created the reason for Cumberland County to be explored.
A road, a specific road, was the beginning of the Cumberland. In 1785 it was decided that a road needed to be guarded by no less than 300 men for the protection of the Cumberland Settlements near the Cumberland River, when the General Assembly of North-Carolina took notice of the exposed conditions of the people of Davidson County.
“During this year, the road, as directed in the act, was opened, from Clinch River to Nashville. Emigrants had heretofore reached Cumberland, by the original route through the wilderness of Kentucky. Hereafter the route was more direct– for not only horsemen, but wagons, and immense numbers of the more wealthy people of the Atlantic sections, sought the Cumberland through the new road, which ran nearly over the same track still pursued as the stage road, by the way of Crab-Orchard, the Flat Rock, and etc.” (Ramsey, 501)
This road was the true beginning of settlement and civilization on the Cumberland Plateau. Its paths mirror what is now I-40 and Highway 70.
Cumberland County is not just a town. Crossville is not just a city. They are a home, a community of people, a safe haven for many who return, a fresh start for newcomers, and back then opportunity.
This road brought immense opportunities for aspiring business men and women. People traveling the road between Davidson County and what is now east Tennessee had to eat, sleep, find a safe haven from crime and weather, and if needed, help.
Now, the Cherokee did not make it easy for the white man to settle on the Cumberland Plateau, especially Cherokee Chief Doublhead. He murdered and ambushed many white men near Crab Orchard.
“The first day of April, 1774, found him near Crab Orchard, on the road from Knoxville to Nashville. On top of a steep hill he secreted his party and lay in wait for the unhappy traveler who might find it necessary to venture across the Wilderness.” (Bullard and Krechniak, Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, p. 12)
Despite the Chickamauga Cherokees’ fight to preserve their Wilderness the settlers and travelers pressed on. The road and paths were too important to ignore or leave to the Cherokee.
On October 25, 1805 the Cherokee Chief Doublehead saw opportunity and signed the Tellico Treaty handing over the title to their ancient land. Shortly after he was killed by his own people for giving away their Wilderness.
“Immigrant travel over the road grew heavy and a bi-monthly mail was established. In between runs, however, travelers willingly carried mail just as they always had whenever it was entrusted to their care. ‘Stands,’ afterwards called ‘taverns,’ were built at intervals for the travelers’ convenience. Hugh Dunlap’s at Rockwood was the first. In the ‘Wilderness’ were David Haley’s Stand at Piney Creek, Sidnor’s near Crab Orchard, Graham’s (called Grime’s Stand in this county) at Obed River and Johnson’s at the head of the Caney Fork.” (Bullard and Krechniak, p. 15)
This was the beginning of business and settlement on the Cumberland Plateau. These stands, or what would become taverns and inns, were crucial to travelers and families making their way to Davidson County. But what’s even more important is how pivotal those businesses and first families were to our community. They built the town we now call home.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” —Vince Lombardi
How a person carries themselves says a lot about them. Professionalism in the workplace says a lot about the business and the two are directly correlated.
An employee’s attitude, communication, first impression, and appearance matter. Reputations can follow a person or business for a long time.
Let’s look at an example:
Imagine it is your first time visiting a dentist’s office. You arrive for a simple cleaning. The receptionist is professional and courteous. Your paperwork process is simple and quick. The lobby is clean and nice and finally, after a short wait the hygienist comes out to greet you and takes you back for your cleaning. Once seated and ready to begin, the hygienist comes over and begins checking your teeth and assessing what needs to be done. While lying in the dentist’s chair you smell body odor and it isn’t yours. Then, the hygienist’s colleague comes in complaining about a fellow coworker right in front of you.
As a customer, you may not want to pay hard earned money to repeat this experience. Their first impression was not good and also their reputation in your mind will remain as an unprofessional establishment. If you were to write a web review, it would not be favorable to their business. If a friend was to ask your opinion, I doubt you would recommend that office.
Not only does your etiquette affect you but also the business you work for. An employer is looking to hire someone they trust to represent their business well.
Professionalism boils down to one specific point, respect.
If a person has respect for themselves it will show in their appearance, attitude, work ethic, and manners. The same is to be said for an employee who has respect for their employer. If a person respects those who hired them they will do their best work daily and with each task. Professionalism seems to be dying and needs to be revived.
SmallBiz Professionalism Tips:
Be committed and own up to those commitments.
Be a good worker. Be attentive to the task at hand and be proactive. Employers love a proactive attitude.
Be a positive and engaged part of the workplace culture.
A good leader leads by example and is not afraid to help their employees out.
There is a time and place for personal matters. If it is necessary for your boss to know something that is going on in the home front then schedule a time to meet with them, but otherwise work stays at work and home stays at home.