October 5, 1999 from The Knoxville News Sentinel (p3) - Headline - Amerine's Forge made iron ore king of Blount County
The brothers James and Robert Gillespie owned one of the very first ironworks in Blount County, but the title of having the first official forge goes to Daniel Foute, ho opened a bloomery on Abrams Creek in Happy Valley. But it was left to George Amerine to start the largest forge in the county. Amerine was born in Pennsylvania but settled ultimately in Blount County. It is said he owned from one ridge top, across a valley and on to the next ridge top. In 1845 he built his bloomery forge to make pig iron. Amerine apparently had an excellent eye for land. The ore on his property was good enough to keep his operation going when others had closed. He ran two bloomery fires. The hammer that pounded out the impurities in the iron ore was driven by water power. In those days, a top forge cost about $17,000 to start up and could produce several tons of iron. Amerine's bloomery hammered out 15 tons of bar iron a year from Chilhowee Flats ore. ---- Beginning in 1845 Amerines wrought iron was shipped all over the region to make such things as nails, aces, and hoes. He stopped production in about 1856, just before the start of the Civil War. Slag from his operation can still be found today. The historical marker is at Highway 321 at Walland.