This week we go the extra mile in an attempt to uncover the history behind the name of the small community of Ten Mile. The unincorporated community sits about 17 miles south of Kingston and 13 miles north of Decatur on Highway 58 in Meigs and Roane Counties.
Despite the best efforts of county historians and residents of Ten Mile, documented proof of the origins of the moniker for the unincorporated area remain in the distance.
Ten Mile resident Herman Woody has lived in the community for the entire 86 years of his life, with the exception of a few years spent in World War II as well the time spent in Knoxville obtaining his undergraduate and master's degree from the University of Tennessee.
"The first members of the Woody family to come to Ten Mile were my great-grandparents in the nineteenth century," said Woody. "My grandfather actually fought in the Civil War. That is when he became familiar with this area."
In Woody's time in Ten Mile, the unincorporated community's loose borders have expanded by several miles.
"Ten Mile used to only be about a five mile area from north-to-south on the highway in Meigs County. Now Ten Mile goes all the way into Roane County and over to Watts Bar Lake at the Lakeside Community," said Woody.
The expansion of the borders is due in large part to the relocation of the Ten Mile post office closer to Watts Bar Lake.
"They moved Ten Mile to the lake," laughed Woody. "To me that is Watts Bar Lake. That area is not Ten Mile as I knew it most of my life."
To find the heart of what was originally Ten Mile, just head to the intersection of Ten Mile Road and Old Ten Mile Road. From there you can see the old school that had one teacher, the Baptist Church founded in 1870, and the Methodist Church. The intersection also sits next to Ten Mile Creek.
"The creek flows through all of this farmland. It starts up in Roane County just across the border and flows down into Meigs towards Decatur," said Woody. "I was always told the area was named for the creek, but that is all hearsay."
Roane County historians researched the topic and agree the community is named for Ten Mile Creek. However, there was nothing definitive in the archives to specifically document who named the stream Ten Mile Creek or why.
Based on early maps of the area, the best educated guess is that the distance of the creek measures approximately 10 miles
"That's the only answer I know. It's just hearsay, you understand. From its start to where the creek runs into other water is about 10 miles, I suspect," said Woody.
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Note: Namesake is the renamed title of the series formerly known as 'Why do they call it that?'
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