Remembering Clifford Steiner

Clifford Steiner Mini House

It was a dark and stormy night, as Snoopy would say, when a young Terry Miller first tried his hand at driving, thanks to his uncle Clifford Steiner.

Twelve-year-old Miller was out for a ride-along from Maynardville to Caryville and back with Steiner when the older man became too sleepy to continue the drive. In a heartbeat, Steiner decided Miller was old enough to transition from passenger to driver. This began a lifetime of adventures for Miller with his uncle Clifford and he has never looked back.

Union County native Clifford Steiner was an adventurer, but according to Miller, he was so much more.

“Uncle Clifford loved a challenge,” said Miller. “He inherited the family trait of honesty and was extremely straightforward.”

Miller told a tale of how the Steiner family would support revenuers and often fed the men before directing them to illegal moonshine stills. Inheriting the honest gene, Steiner served in the State Assembly during the 1960s and wanted to stop the lobbyists when he became aware of bribes and money passing hands.

A licensed pilot, Steiner is credited with starting the first newspaper in Maynardville, the first theater and developing the first airstrip. Miller’s memory of the first time he was set to fly with Steiner is not necessarily a good one, but humorous.

“My wife Patsy and I were at the airstrip in Maynardville waiting for Uncle Clifford to fly in,” said Miller. “We watched him crash the plane as he was landing. He wasn’t hurt and the next time he invited us to fly we went with him anyway.”

Miller related Steiner’s employment at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. Steiner worked at the fair in numerous positions but the one he talked about most was when he was responsible for alerting Mickey Rooney for his stage call.

While in Chicago, Steiner was diagnosed with tuberculosis and advised to check into a sanatorium. He refused stating, “I will beat this.” To help in that respect, Steiner chose a small piece of land on his parent’s property and built a miniature house.

“He built a tiny house before tiny houses were popular,” said Miller’s wife, Patsy.

Steiner surrounded himself with books and stayed cloistered in the one room house for more than a year. His mother would bring meals and leave them outside the door. Steiner would leave the house only to go to the outhouse and then go right back. Miller remembers the time well.

“I was just a kid and I missed my uncle. When I would go visit my grandparents I would walk by Uncle Clifford’s window and wave to him for that year he spent alone. But he said he would beat it (tuberculosis) and he did.”

Soon after Steiner received a clean bill of health, he married and brought his bride to live in the tiny house while he built his second home for the two of them. Steiner had no college education but according to Miller was blessed with common sense. Learning as he worked, Steiner went on to build more than ten houses in Maynardville and Knoxville. Most are still standing; including the original tiny house on Main Street.

Not one to remain idle, when Steiner was denied admission to the military because of the tuberculosis, he decided to start a forty seat movie theater in Maynardville. Steiner often traveled to the original site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory during WWII to show movies since workers and residents there had to stay on-site.

He went on to build five more theaters, including the drive-in theater in New Tazewell. All of the theaters thrived during WWII but none remain open today. The drive-in stayed in business the longest, closing a few years ago. The original theater building on Main Street in Maynardville was built by Steiner and is still standing, as is the original Maynardville post office, also built by Steiner. The printing press for the newspaper still holds down the floor in the basement of the old theater.

Miller, also a licensed pilot, recalled one of the first times he flew out of Tennessee alone.

“I needed to make a round trip flight and I was nervous. I had no idea until I landed back home that Uncle Clifford had followed me in his plane all the way there and back.”

Miller says that in later years when he flew with Steiner, cars were traveling at speeds up to and over sixty miles per hour.

“In the small planes it took three hours to fly to places that we could have driven in two. But it was all about the fun and adventure.”

Miller says he has only one regret when it comes to his uncle Clifford

“I was working in banking when he told me he was going to drive to Alaska and wanted me to go along to help with the driving. It was a five thousand mile drive and would take about a month.”

Miller says the offer came at a time when he didn’t think he could afford to be absent from work for that length of time.

“If I had it to do over again I’d go just to have spent the time with him. There has never been a man quite like Clifford Steiner.”

Clifford Steiner passed at the age of eighty-four after a bout with cancer. He was born and is buried in Sharps Chapel.

Terry Miller, Clifford Steiner's nephew




Making Notes

Making Notes

So you think you don't have enough memories to write your life story? You are wrong. They just need to be brought out to the here and now. There is an excellent way to do it, take notes. It will take time, but you will see results.

There is nothing to stop you from writing your memories down on a note pad or in an exercise book. But memories rarely arrive in chronological order and when you start writing your book of life stories, you will be forever flicking backwards and forwards through the pages trying to find the note that you want.

Who Were the Longhunters?

Who Were the Longhunters?

Robert Kato, a Longhunter reenactor, speaks at the June 9, 2018 meeting of the Nicholas Gibbs Historical Society.

Groups called Longhunters [18th century explorers and hunters] were the first to blaze the trails into the American wilderness across the United States. Elisha Wolfe led a group of Longhunters as early as 1761-1765.

Augustus and the Norris Reservior

Augustus and the Norris Reservior

Years before Harry Potter inspired older children to keep reading, Augustus inspired me, late in the primary grades, to keep reading. We were about the same age when we met at the school library. Eventually I grew up, but I never forgot him. In my imagination, he will always be out there somewhere on the Mississippi River with his kind, well meaning, but somewhat dysfunctional family.

Augustus' family not only lived in a houseboat on the river, but also lived off the river. What could be more exciting to an eight-year-old boy?

The Miracle of Plants

The Miracle of Plants

As an amateur naturalist I have a curiosity to know how things work. In college I once saw the chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis laid out on a large poster. This all-important method plants use to make food for themselves (and ultimately us) was incredibly long and complex. It is so complex that it’s tempting to simply say that plants bring in carbon dioxide and water, add sun energy, then a miracle happens and out comes oxygen and food. While there is truth there, let me elaborate on the miracle part.


Spine Osteoarthritis Patients and Those Under 65 More Likely to Use Opioids to Manage Pain

Spine Osteoarthritis Patients and Those Under 65 More Likely to Use Opioids to Manage Pain

A large percentage of patients with knee, hip and spine osteoarthritis use opioids to manage their chronic pain, especially those who are younger or have symptoms of depression, according to new research findings. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common joint disease affecting middle-aged and older people. It is characterized by progressive damage to the joint cartilage—the cushioning material at the end of long bones—and causes changes in the structures around the joint.

Milk and Cornbread

Milk and Cornbread

We all have that one special treat that we look forward to having. For me, it’s a tossup between something chocolate and somebody doing the laundry. My Mamaw Jo had a treat that I could never understand: milk and cornbread. In all fairness, I did try it, but I didn’t like it. For one thing, milk and I don’t get along.

Blackberries and Dumplings

Blackberries and Dumplings

I spent my early years in Michigan. The last thirty years I have been here. If I had known how wonderful Tennessee was, I would have been here long ago. Don't fault me for being from Michigan. We all have to be from somewhere. I will try to keep the secret of how wonderful East Tennessee is. After all, there is only so much room for former Yankees down here.

Commission Approves 2019 Budget, No New Taxes

Union County Commission

Passing a budget and setting a tax rate in June has now become best practice in Union County. For two consecutive years, Ann Dyer, County Finance Director, and County Mayor Mike Williams have diligently worked with County Commission led by Chairman Gary England and the Budget and Finance Committee to complete the budget process before the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. Their combined efforts have solidified the budget process into a transparent, accountable, and responsible fiscal practice that has set Union County on a course toward improvement and maybe even prosperity.

Cyn Taylor joins Authors Guild of Tennessee

Cyn Taylor

Local author Cyn Taylor was recently vetted by the Authors Guild of Tennessee and welcomed as a new member of the group in May.

A Knoxville native, Taylor writes Southern Contemporary Romantic Suspense staged in the Smoky Mountains and surrounding area. Smoky Mountain Mist is Taylor's first series. Blue Mountain Sky, Red Morning Glory and Dawn's Gray Light are the three books completing that series.



Prayer for Community Worship & Revival

This is an update of the information for the Luttrell Community Worship and Revival...
Several pastors from different churches are going to the worship site once a week to pray. We invite anyone who feels led to pray at the site to go anytime the Lord impresses on them to go there to pray. Please join us in prayer for the revival.
Dates to remember....

*Thursday, May 10th at 7 PM - Pastors and deacons pray at Luttrell Ball Field, the worship site.

*June 21 at 7 PM -Pastors and deacons pray at worship site

*Revival July 30, 31, and August 1 @ 7 PM

Meet-the-Candidates Tuesday, June 26 6PM-8PM

Dear Candidate:

Thank you for being a candidate for public office!

You are invited to participate in a Union County Meet-the-Candidates evening gathering on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 6 PM - 8PM at the Union County Senior Citizens Center.
This event is intended both to help our citizens cast an informed vote on August 2 (or earlier) and to help introduce you to your voters. Palm cards, written materials are welcome. (A surrogate for the candidate who cannot attend is welcome.)

Union County Board Of Education


The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.



1. Discuss School Trips

· None at Time of Publication

2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer

County Commission will meet in Special Called Session

County Commission will meet in Special Called Session

The County Commission will meet in Special Called Session on Thursday, June 28, at 7:00 to finalize the budget amendments and transfers of the current budget to facilitate the filing of the Annual Financial Report. The public is encouraged to attend.


Thursday, June 28 2018 – TIME 7:00 P.M.



Teresa Ann Greer

Teresa Ann Greer, age 44, of Maryville, TN passed away peacefully on June 16, 2018. Preceded in death by mother Judith Ann Greer. Survived by children, Courtney Ann Thomas and fiancé Brandon Yeaman, Justin Joe Bradburn, and Madison Ann Bradburn; father Bobby Joe and wife Deborah; grandchildren John Mason and Eli Blane.

James Paul Myers, Jr.

James Paul Myers, Jr. age 70 of Knoxville, passed away June 15, 2018. James was a Vietnam veteran. He was of the Baptist faith and pastored many churches in his life. Preceded in death by wife Janet Myers; parents James P. Myers, Sr. and Juanita Myers; sister Helen Wrinkle. Survived by sons Jay Lloyd Myers and Stephen Myers; very special brother David Myers; several nieces and nephews. Family will receive friends 6:00p.m.-8:00p.m. Wednesday June 20, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with service to follow, Rev. Clyde Lakin and Eddie Myers officiating.

Anna Mae Shelby Davis

Anna Mae Shelby Davis-age 78 of New Tazewell passed away Friday morning, June 15, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center following a long illness. She was a member of Raccoon Valley Baptist Church. Preceded in death by daughter, Kathy Ann Davis; parents, Jim and Louella Shelby; brothers, Willis Shelby, Troy Milton Shelby; sisters, Grace Shoffner and Viola Shelby.

Gary Lynn Anderson, Sr.

Gary Lynn Anderson, Sr.-age 72 of Luttrell passed away Thursday morning, June 14, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center. He was preceded in death by parents, Rev. Frank J. and Mildred (Hundley) Anderson; brothers, Robert (Bob) Anderson, Paul Anderson; sister, Cheryl Tyson; grandson, James Thompson; great-grandson, Skyler McClure.

Betty Jane Patterson

Betty Jane Patterson-age 91 of Maynardville passed away Sunday morning, June 10, 2018 at Beverly Park Place, Knoxville. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Sevierville. She also enjoyed square dancing and was a member of Good Times Square Dance Club. Preceded in death by her husband, Clinton Patterson, Sr. in 1998; three sisters, Dorothy, Jean and Alla.

Beulah E. "Gose" Walters

Beulah Elizabeth Gose Walters-age 99 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday morning, June 12, 2018 at U. T. Medical Center. She was a member of Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. Beulah was a retired Post Master of the Luttrell Post Office with 30 years of service. She was preceded in death by husband, Tom Walters; parents, John and Lora Gose; sisters, Hazel Chandler, Bonnie Lawson; infant brother, Leon Gose; grandchildren, Karen Seymour and Tony Walters.

Earnest Ray Norris

Earnest Ray Norris – age 80 of Knoxville, went to his Heavenly home on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. He was a member of Grace Baptist Church in Halls. Ray was saved on May 17, 1975 at Milan Baptist Church in Maynardville and served as a radio minister for several years.

Maria Elaine McMurray

Maria Elaine McMurray – age 71 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, June 8, 2018. She was a member of the Northwest Baptist Church.

Elaine is survived by her husband of 45 years, Jim McMurray; daughters, Tara (Duane) Brown and Julie DeMarcus; son, Scott (Maria) Blatemore; grandsons, Tyler Allen and Jared Blatemore; sister, Teresa Helton; and several nieces and nephews.

Joyce Dorothy Cox Smith

Joyce Dorothy Smith-age 76 of Andersonville passed away peacefully Friday, June 8, 2018 at Norris Health and Rehabilitation. She is preceded in death by husband, K. L. Smith; son, Johnny; parents and brothers.

Survivors: son, Mike Smith and wife, Becky; granddaughters, Jackie, Jennifer and Michelle; three great-grandchildren, sister, Shirley Phibbs and special friend, Barbara Hooks. A host of other family and many friends.

L. D. Nicley

L. D. Nicley-age 68 of Maynardville went to his eternal home Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Elm Springs Baptist Church. He enjoyed many years driving eighteen wheelers, fishing on the lake and spending time with family and friends. Preceded in death by parents, Taylor and Della B. Nicley; sister, Dian Williams; daughter, Kim Nicely.

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