Driving along Highway 330 northeast of Oliver Springs, the morning dew often freezes and creates a glistening glaze along the Anderson County landscape. The area also includes a small community with the equally frosty label of Frost Bottom.
"We get a lot of frost here in Frost Bottom. We get a lot more here than they do nearby on the mountain," said long-time Frost Bottom resident Albert Lively. "It has something to do with the humidity and the creeks."
The main thing that springs to mind for Lively about Frost Bottom is the natural water that rarely freezes.
"We have this old spring house. It is a natural spring where you can still get water even when it is freezing outside. Years ago it was used for wash water and house water. There are still a lot of old-timers who come back here and have a big personal attachment to this spring," said Lively.
Although the name Frost Bottom is fitting during the winter months, the moniker has nothing to do with the weather or anyone's frozen posterior. The origins of the community and its frosty nickname date back to the late 18th century.
"The Frost family moved here to Tennessee from Virginia," said Lively. "The father, Thomas Frost, bought a few hundred acres of land in the late summer of 1795. They lived near Raccoon Valley, not far from where the Bull Run steam plant is today. They were the first white settlers in what is currently Anderson County."
In the same year of 1795, two sons of Thomas Frost bought an additional 1,000 acres of land. The property chosen by Elijah and Micajah Frost was the flat land nestled between steep ridges. The community is now known as Frost Bottom. It is technically named for Micajah Frost since his name is on the deed.
"Micajah was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and he was a preacher. The whole Frost family was full of church-going people," said Lively.
The Frost clan's faith fueled life in Frost Bottom and beyond. The Reverend Joshua Frost played an integral part in establishing the first associational Baptist churches in Anderson County. All told, Joshua Frost is said to have played a part in the creation of more than 20 churches in East Tennessee. That includes churches in Oliver Springs, Clinton, and Frost Bottom.
Many of those original churches continue to exist today, although some of the church names have changed. Likewise, there are still descendants of the Frost family in Anderson County, but the surname Frost has evaporated from Frost Bottom.
"It is interesting to me that the Frosts were the first to move in here, yet there are none left here with the name of Frost," said Lively. "Most of the men moved away. To my knowledge, a lot of the original Frost family is buried in Crossville. A lot of the daughters married into other families that are still around here like the Duncans and the Siebers."
The surname may no longer exist among Frost Bottom residents, but the Frost legacy lives on in the name of the community.
"We like it here because it is kind of isolated," said Lively. "It is a beautiful place with good neighbors. It is a good place to live to me," said Lively.
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