Bon Jellico Families

The Melton Lovitt Family


    In the fall of 1910, the Lovitt Family – Melt G and Flora Meadows Lovitt and children Luther (b. 1897), Hester B. (b. 1899), Minnie (b. 1902), Earl (b. 1905), Virgil (b. 1909) moved to Briar Creek into the four-room house on the Mike Richardson farm where the Snyder family had lived. They came to Briar Creek so that their five children (later seven) could have a better chance to attend school. They moved from Rians Creek (a tributary of Jellico Creek) in two horse drawn wagons to Brair Creek to sharecrop for Mike Richardson on the farm later owned by Mrs. A.C. Meadows. The 10-mile move was an all day job with the road running up the creek and the creek running down the road. The road followed Paint Creek through the gap at the top of the mountain, which is now Highway 92 and then down Briar Creek to the Richardson’s. They moved into the rent house where the Synder family had lived. The house was one of the last standing at Bon Jellico until it was burned in 1998.

    Mr. Lovitt hauled coal from the seam of coal on the Richardson property two miles to Williamsburg and unloaded it by hand and a No. 3 Red Edge coal shovel for $.50 a load (a ton). By getting up early and working late, he could haul two loads the first day and bring another load off the mountain. In this way the second day he could haul three loads.

    In the summer of 1912, Bon Jellico Coal Company bought the part of the Richardson farm where the Lovitt family lived and began the coal operation that lasted 25 years. Mr. Lovitt worked for this company the first and the last days they operated and every day in between. After the mines closed the Lovitt family purchased the house and continued to live there for a total of 40 years.

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