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




A Union County Perspective on the Civil War

Civil War Map of East Tennessee

East Tennessee geographically is situated almost in the center of the late rebellious states; Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and the Middle and Western Divisions of the state on the west. The question arises why it should stand out almost alone in its devotion to the Union. When the state cast its fortunes with the Confederacy through the dominating influence of the civil and military authorities, a large majority of the people of East Tennessee adhered to the Union cause.


James Heiskell Celebrates 51 Years in Business

Keith, James and Jason Heiskell

A lot of traffic has gone past the intersection of Highway 33 and Ailor Gap Road since 1968, a lot of cars and a lot of people with stories to tell, but one business has been there through it all. Heiskell's Service Center has used a lot of names over the years. It's been a Boron, an Exxon, a Gulf and a BP. But one thing has remained constant, and that's the dedication of owner James Heiskell to making this Union County landmark a success.

Fifty-eight Years of Giving

Patricia McKelvey

Union County native Patricia McKelvey has spent most of her life sharing her knowledge and aiding the students of Union County. A college graduate at the young age of nineteen, McKelvey viewed her future as a chance to give back. Raised in Union County by a widowed mother of three who was also a teacher, McKelvey is no stranger to hard work.

“I started working right out of high school at American Clothing Company making $20 a week,” said McKelvey. “Once all of us kids were out of the house, my mother went back to school and got her degree in Education.”

Paint the Town

Cadie Chappel Painting Li'l Jo's for Paint the Town

The Union County Art Council has sponsored a project called “Paint the Town” and several local businesses have jumped on board to participate. Union County Property Assessor Randy Turner was the first to have UCHS Senior Cadie Chappel to paint the windows of his office at the UC Court House. After telling the Art Council what he hired Cadie to do with the windows in his office, the Art Council came up with the “Paint the Town” Project. He said “he gets compliments all day” on his windows.

What Do You Really Think?

Ronnie Mincey

Two weeks ago I shared an instance in which I let the preconceived notions of others affect the way I felt about my work study supervisor. Last week I shared instances in which I have incorrectly judged a person to be kind. This week I will relate instances where impressions have come into play for (and against) me.
Sometimes I am around those who give their honest opinions about various things and people. I have myself said of some, “If s/he was standing on a stack of Bibles shaking hands with Jesus himself I wouldn’t believe a word s/he said.” I always find it amusing if someone then asks me, “What’s your real opinion?”

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Has there ever been an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips place around here? I consider their fish the best ever. I read on Facebook that there is one located somewhere in Ohio. That won't help my yearning for their fish triangles. But I do have the recipe that I will share with you.

You know, copy-cat recipes are published for popular restaurant dishes from time to time. Usually, they only taste somewhat like the desired item. There are even cookbooks published that claim to have prized recipes. This is the only recipe I have ever found to be as good as the original.

Lunch at Kresge's

Kresge's Menu

When you lived in the country, shopping in town was an all day affair. You would plan to eat lunch there. For me, it was the highlight of the trip. I planned my route and time to take me to my favorite spot for lunch. Isn't that a deliciously sounding word - “lunch”? I made a list of my shopping needs. I knew which store sold what at the price I could afford. I always planned to afford lunch.

The Spring Green Light

Sun Face

For all you warm weather people out there, your time has come. The vernal (spring) equinox is upon us, which is the official beginning of Spring, arriving this year on March 20.

The event is not only a promise of warmer weather, it also plays a key role in determining what date Easter occurs, which can move around quite a bit year to year.


A Faithful Witness Will Not Lie

Wash Smith Monument

"Tonight perhaps a happy mother sits on the threshold of her humble cabin and sings a lullaby to her babe or perchance has the children at her side and tells them stories about father’s return. Anxiously she listens for the clashing of the horse’s hoofs upon the road, she awaits the ring of the chains upon the front gate heralding her husband's approach-she listens in vain. The shadows of night veils that home in darkness, a flickering candle is placed in the window to guide his footsteps when he returns: the mountains cast their gloom over the place.

Runt And The Luttrell Fox Hunters

Runt Kits 1984

My Papaw Kitts, known as “Runt,” was a fox hunter. He was my mom’s dad and the oldest of ten kids. His real name was Samuel Ernest Kitts, otherwise known as “S.E.” or just “Runt” Kitts. He had a brother, William Cloyd Kitts, known as “Poss” Kitts, who also shared this love of fox hunting – east Tennessee style.



Small Business Expo At Maynardville Public Library

Maynardville Public Library along with the Union County Business and Professional Association and The Canton of Hochwald will be hosting a Small Business Expo on Saturday March 24th from 9am until 1pm at Maynardville Public Library 296 Main Street, Maynardville. The Expo is for all small businesses in the county and everyone is welcome to attend this event! This is a FREE event where patrons will be able to visit businesses and purchase from them if they desire. The Farmers Mkt. will have a popup here come check them out.

Music In March

Music in March

Hello March, I have Big Plans For You...
Music in March at The Winery!!

2 Amazing Bands and Delicious Food Truck

Live Music From:
The Lick Skillet Band Noon-3:30pm
KUDZU: The Band 4- 8pm

Delicious Food From:
Cubish Food Truck

Please consider carpooling if at all possible. Parking is limited. The parking crew THANKS you in advance.

Need A Ride To Church

Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" Margaret Chesney

U.C.B.P.A. Prayer Breakfast " 2018 Second Chances"

U.C.B.P.A. Prayer Breakfast " 2018 Second Chances"

Prayer Breakfast Good Friday March 30 @ 8:00 am, Aaron Russell will be the speaker. Breakfast is by Teresa's Bakery with all the fixins . Tickets are $10.00 each .
Prayer Breakfast--Besides the obvious benefits of prayer and words of inspiration, proceeds from the Prayer Breakfast fund donations to Lion's Club, Friends of Maynardville Public Library, UCPS Music Department, 4H, and Union County Children's Charities (Under the Tree). Come and be a part of this celebration on Good Friday at 8:00 at the Senior Center in Maynardville. [$10] March 30

Bake Sale

Bake Sale

Let the WMU ladies of Alder Springs Baptist Church do your Easter baking for you! We will be having a bake sale on Saturday, March 31st from 9:00 A.M. - Noon. Three locations: Oakies Pharmacy, Guided by Grace Boutique, and Union Farmers Co-op. All proceeds goes to WMU projects.


Charlotte Alana Ridenour

Charlotte Alana Ridenour-age 69 of Knoxville passed away Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Ft. Sander’s Regional Medical Center. Preceded in death by son, Randy Ridenour; parents, mother, Eula Vee Ridenour; fathers, Lillard Ray and Wade Ridenour; sisters, Pat (Spooks) Ricker; Bobbie Ray; brother, Jack Painter. Charlotte was a loving mother and grandmother.

Anna Mae Mason

Anna Mae Mason – age 91 of Maynardville, was called home at 1:18 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. She was a longtime member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by husband, William Berl Mason. Anna is survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Gerald and Debbie Mason and Kenneth and Shelia Mason; five grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; sister, Margaret Ellen Williams; brothers, Tommy Perry and Fred Perry; and several nieces and nephews.

Brenda Kiser

Brenda Gail Kiser – 68 of Maynardville, went to her Heavenly home on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer. She passed away at home surrounded by loved ones. Brenda was of the Baptist faith.

Michael Shane Guinn

Michael “Shane” Guinn age 40 of Knoxville passed away March 18, 2018. He was a loving son, brother and uncle. He was preceded in death by his father William “Randy” Guinn survived by mother Kathy Quinn, sister Jessica Guinn, niece Brittany Thomas, nephew Michael Woody and great niece Breelyn Gordon. The family will receive friends 5:00p.m. until 7:00p.m. Wednesday at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel. Please leave online condolences at

Paul Douglas Corum, Sr.

Paul “Doug” Corum, Sr.-age 68 of Luttrell passed away Sunday evening, March 18, 2018 at Willow Ridge. Preceded in death by son, Dudley Corum, Jr.; father, Luther Corum; mother, Edith Corum; brothers, Leslie and Jerry Corum; sister, Naomi Corum.

Allan Buck Smith Obituary

Allan “Buck” Smith, age 77, went to be with the Lord on March 15, 2018. He was a member of The Church at Sterchi Hills and was retired from KUB. He was preceded in death by wife, Judy Smith; parents, Paul and Carrie Smith; sisters, Joanne and Lois; brother Ed. He is survived by son, Neil Smith (Tina); brother Tommy; sister, Sylvia; granddaughter Kaitlin and numerous extended family and friends. The family will receive friends at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel on Sunday, March 18th from 6-8pm with a service to follow.

Ruby King Obituary

Ruby King, age 95, of Knoxville, Tennessee, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 15th, 2018. She was a wonderful mother who will be greatly missed. Ruby was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years Pinkton “Pink” Tolbert, son Donald King and daughter Peggy Seavers. She is survived by daughter Pat Bradley, 8 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great-grandchild, and numerous extended family and friends. The family will receive friends on Monday, March 19th, 2018 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Mynatt Funeral Home, Fountain City Chapel.

Steven Powers

Steven Powers, age 68, of Knoxville, TN, passed away on Thursday, March 15th, 2018. He was preceded in death by parents Lewis and Mary Powers, grandmother Anna Arnold, aunt Laura Henderson, uncle Joe Church, brother-in-law Kenneth Trent, niece Michelle Durbrow, great-niece Holland Durbrow. He is survived by sisters Debra Trent and Diane Vineyard, brother-in-law Donnie Roach. The family will receive friends on Sunday, March 18th, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Mynatt Funeral Home, Fountain City Chapel. Family and friends will meet at 12:45 p.m.

Frank Hayes

Franklin Danny Hayes – age 75 of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away at home surrounded by family on Thursday, March 15, 2018. He was born March 31, 1942 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was saved in 1956 at the age of 14 during a revival at Hines Creek Baptist Church and is a member of Community Baptist Church. Frank retired from Coca-Cola after 25 years of service and enjoyed working outside, sports, and his grandchildren.

Jonathan Michael Whitson

Jonathan Michael Whitson – age 45 of Maynardville, passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2018. He was of the Baptist faith.

Michael is preceded in death by his father, Johnny Whitson; and grandparents, Virgie and James Whitson. He is survived by his sons, Jonathan Nicholas and Jaylan Shane Whitson; mother, Rita Grahl; sisters, Chaunta (Chuck) Boggs and Angela (Billy) Wilkerson; brother, Darren (Kim) Whitson; nieces, Hannah Whitson and Kaylee Wilkerson; and nephew, Hunter Collins.

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