HISTORY OF SUBURBAN HILLS SUBDIVISION

by Mary Frances Meek, a Founder and Ex-President

February 2002

 

Suburban Hills Subdivision is on a part of what was the Land Grant plantation of Charles McClung and his wife, Margaret White (b. 1771, Rowan Co. NC, m. 10/20/1790 and d. 1835, Knox Co., TN) who was a daughter of General James White (c. 1747 Rowan Co., NC-1821 Knox Co., TN) and his wife, Mary Lawson (1742 Rowan Co., NC-1819 Knox Co., TN) who were Knoxville Founders and lived in a log fort near the First Presbyterian Church.

Charles McClung was born in Lancaster Co., Pa. on 5/13/1761 a son of Matthew and Martha Cunningham McClung of Scotch-Irish descent. He was a surveyor who came to this area in 1788 and laid off the town of Knoxville naming Gay and other streets for those in Philadelphia. He had an interest in the firm of McClung and Campbell at Campbell’s Station and was the clerk of the first Knox County Court in 1792. In 1796 he was named with William Blount, a signer of the United States Constitution, to draw up the Tennessee State Constitution. Among the McClungs’ many friends was revolutionary soldier General John Sevier, a hero of the battle of King’s Mountain and the first governor of Tennessee.

In 1810 Charles and his wife, built "Statesview," a fine home that is on Ebenezer Road near Kingston Pike (the old stagecoach route from Washington to the west frequented by Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk). Nearby is the handsome "Peters Home" that saw action during the War Between the States when this area was foraged by both armies. Charles McClung died on 8/9/1835 in Harrodsburg Springs, Kentucky where he had gone for his health but his remains were returned to Knoxville and are buried in Old Gray Cemetery.

The McClung land was divided and in the 1950s some of it was purchased by Morgan Schubert who developed Suburban Hills Subdivision. He had roads cut to follow the contour of the hills and laid off residential lots reserving parcels on either side of Suburban Road at Kingston Pike for commercial development where he built an entrance consisting of wooden fences supported by square brick pillars with the subdivision’s name in large white letters. Schubert deeded the land and structures to adjacent landowners after 30 years. Early homebuilders were Sam Patterson, William Bennett, and Ralph Kinzaloe. Lee and Mary Frances Meek became the first residents on November 30, 1960.

Most brush had been scraped away so snakes were not a problem but killdeer, bluebirds, skunks, and opossums were numerous. There were few buildings or trees nearby and wind howled over the hill so views were long and kite flying was great. A twin funnel tornado that would destroy a boat dock on Fort Loudon Lake passed to our west, but horses grazing in the valley ignored it. Later that afternoon the setting sun projected a brilliant double rainbow over the Smoky Mountains. Vapor around rockets fired in Virginia was visible, gas balloons have passed low overhead, we have seen blimps on their way to football games and watched as Air Force One with Ronald Reagan aboard came down to land at the airport. At night the Russian Sputnik sailed overhead blinking among the stars. Lighted railroad passenger cars passed in the southwest, decorated Christmas trees outside Deane Hill Country Club were visible, and until I-40 and I-75 were opened there were no lights in the north and no traffic signals between here and Bearden.

Some of the Founders of our association met in 1963, set our purpose for collecting dues; nominated Jack Mills, an attorney, Treasurer and Bylaws Chair; Barbara Carter for President; Clarice McWherter, President-elect (replaced by Paul Kurtz Grounds Chair); and Irma McGuffey, Secretary and Roster and Membership Chair (Irma and Mary Frances Meek obtained Area Representatives and Lee Meek hosted our Annual Meetings at East Tennessee Natural Gas Company for more than 15 years). All of our 60 households paid dues of $10.00.

The Membership Roster of 1964-1965 shows that 80 households paid dues. Nominees were elected including Executive Board members Joe Duncan, Claude Smith, A. C. Cole, and C.B. Alexander and Mrs. Maynard Carter to serve ex-officio. Nominees for 1965-1966 were Mrs. Lee Meek, President; Jack Mills, Vice-President; Mrs. Roger Street, Secretary; Charles Jones, Treasurer; and an Executive Board of Claude Smith, Jeff Sogard, C.B. Alexander, and H. Richard Fox. Committee Chairs were Mrs. James McGuffey, Membership and Roster; Jack Mills, Watchdog; Claude Smith, Grounds; and Mrs. W.W. Luttrell, Telephone and Hospitality. Mrs. McGuffey served ex-officio.

We appreciate our Founders’ wisdom and leadership that brought about beautiful, quiet Suburban Hills Subdivision worthy of constant vigilance, 100% cooperation, and good will.

References: Tennessee Cousins by Worth Ray; The McClung Genealogy by the Rev. Mr. William McClung; and the Suburban Hills Community Roster, 1964-1965 and 1965-1966.