Lobelville, located in Perry County, TN was established in 1854 along the Buffalo River as a trading post by the french trader, Henri de Lobel. It never fulfilled its promise as a successful fur trading outpost because of the proximity of the Tennessee River. De Lobel stayed in the area for 17 years before returning to France. Lobelville’s citizens used agriculture and logging as a way to sustain their families in the early days. In the late 1880’s a watermill was built, and several industries were born, and some electricity was produced.
Growing peanuts became the primary agricultural endeavor, replacing cotton until so many blackbirds appeared it interfered with the peanut production. Many people went on blackbird hunts, but eventually the residents looked for an easier way to make a living and the making of whisky was the number one industry until after the Civil War, when a tax was enforced, of over $1.00 a gallon. Whisky making went underground, and until the 1950’s there were still many illegal stills in Lobelville.
In 1944 Natural Gas pipelines were constructed in the area, and a pumping station in Lobelville was built. This brought many businesses to the area that are still there today.
Here is a link to a video produced by the local historical society in 2007
We left Nashville with high hopes for our visit to Lobelville, in Perry County. Our last name is Lobel. Perry is named Perry. It was kismet! Or was it? My attempts to reach anyone in advance in the town were unsuccessful, so when we arrived, we went into the local hardware store, told the 2 minute version of our trip and were met with a chuckle. I asked if he perhaps had a hat for sale that said “Lobelville” but they were all out.
We stopped at the post office to mail some postcards and get the much in demand “Lobelville” postmark. We told our abridged story again, and the employee smiled. We asked if she had postcards but she was all out. I had wanted to mail postcards to our extended Lobel family with the postmark, but it was not to be.
Near the post office an enterprising citizen had placed an ice machine and soda machine in front of his house.
There was a cool Civil War Mural on a building downtown.
Finally we visited Cane Creek Market, which I had read was run by a traditional mennonite community. It stocked lots of bulk items, such as oats, flax, and honey. They also had a deli that made a delicious sandwich. I again related the story of our travels, and received another chuckle. While in the market several members of the mennonite community came in. I was a little disappointed to see they arrived in gas buggies, and not horse drawn carriages.
That was our experience in Lobelville. It seems as if they are still without a king. Missed opportunity.