Plaque at Deery Inn
by W. Dale Carter, copyright 2001, Kingsport, TN
Plaque showing incorrect date of 1785
A plaque on the southeast corner of the Deery Inn in Blountville, placed there by the Tennessee Historical Commission, contains the statement “Built shortly after 1785 by William Deery”. This statement is misleading to say the least. The Deery Inn could not have been built before 1801.
On 18 August 1801, William Deery purchased two town lots from the town commissioners recorded in Sullivan County Deed Book 3, page 418 as lot numbers 10 and 11. He paid the Commissioners $93.00 for the two lots, and the deed was registered 22 February 1802. Deery most likely began construction of the first phase of the Inn after the registration date. Surely Deery would not have begun construction of the Inn before he had a legal title to the lots it sits on.
In 1785, the town of Blountville did not exist. The site of the future town was owned by James Brigham by a land grant he obtained from the state North Carolina, 23 October 1782, recorded in Deed Book 1, page 163. John Anderson, George Maxwell, and Richard Anderson were appointed commissioners to purchase a tract of land to be the county seat of Sullivan County on which a Courthouse and Jail was to be located. The site chosen was a tract centrally located within the bounds of the James Brigham land grant. On 11 December 1792, a deed was made by Brigham to the Commissioners for 30 acres of his granted land. The deed is recorded in Deed Book 2, page 602. The Commissioners had the land surveyed for a town plat, and the plat contained 37 lots laid out on both sides of the main street. The dimensions of the lots were 42 feet by 264 feet. The first lots were sold by the Commissioners 25 Aug 1795 being 10 lots. Two lots were reserved for the erection of a courthouse and jail.
The notion that the Deery Inn was built shortly after 1785 is absurd. The town was not laid out into lots until after 1792 and the first lots were sold in August 1795, ten years after the date shown on the Deery Inn plaque. Deery purchased the lots on which the Inn is located 18 August 1801. The information on the plaque should be corrected to read “Built shortly after 1802 by William Deery”.