Posted by | January 19, 2007

“Tweetsie is a nickname for a passenger train on the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. The width of track is 3 feet, therefore is called a narrow gauge road, this road terminates at Boone, North Carolina a distance of 65 miles from Johnson City, Tennessee.

“At the given signal, we leave Johnson City, with five coaches and one observation car. The first five miles seem almost effortless. Then we come to the Watauga River. Watauga, in the Cherokee Indian language, means “beautiful” and beautiful it is. Away from its banks covered with cedars, hemlocks, and laurels stretches a fertile valley called the Watauga Valley. It was in this valley that our forefathers established the first free and independent government west of the Alleghenies.

“On our right stands the marker of the old Watauga fort, while on our left we find Sycamore Shoals. It was here that our progenitors assembled before marching up the Doe River, crossing the Roan Mountain and defeating the defiant British general, Ferguson, at King’s Mountain. This battle, known as the turning point of the Revolutionary War in the south, gained for us a great portion of the freedom that we have so long enjoyed. In this valley today is found the purest strain of Anglo-Saxon blood in America.”

Walter R. Allison
Engineer on the E.T. & W.N.C.
Railroad for over 34 years

transcribed from the
K.E. Wilhoit Collection
Archives of Appalachia
East Tennessee State University

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