A history of Clear Creek farms includes a mini-history of Giles and Lawrence Counties in southern middle Tennessee.

In the late 1700s/early 1800s families tended to move together and settle near each other. Thus, when the Dickey family moved to Giles County in 1808 from Livingston County, KY, it wasn't long before the Hillhouse family also appeared in Giles County. Both families edged into "Indian Territory" - land belonging to the Creek Indians - prior to the treaty of 1816 which allowed settlement in this area. By 1817 the Hillhouse family was in the soon-to-be established Lawrence County living in what is now the Fall River Community.

Into this same area, near what is now the Mt. Zion Community, were the McMasters and Alsups. In 1832 Anderson Alsup received a land grant for 102 acres bordering Clear Creek. In 1840 Eliza Alsup, daughter of Eleanor Springer and Anderson Alsup, married George Dickey Hillhouse. When George D. Hillhouse died in 1845, Eliza left her two sons for her parents to raise.

In 1867 John J. Hillhouse, oldest son of Eliza and George, married Mary Caroline (Polly) McMasters and raised his family near one of the many springs on the property. Upon the death of Anderson Alsup in 1868, John Jefferson Hillhouse purchased the farm from the estate.

When John Jefferson Hillhouse died, the original home place went to his daughter, Estelle Hillhouse Glover. But a few years later, Estelle sold the farm to her youngest brother, Oscar Hillhouse. The 4-room home that John J. Hillhouse built in 1880, where son Oscar and grandsons Ozro, Oswald, Paul, and Hoyte were born, still stand today.

Prior to his death in 1966, Oscar Hillhouse divided his property with half going to sons Ozro and Oswald and the other half going to sons Paul and Hoyte. Paul and Hoyte divided the property once again with Paul getting the old home place along with the original land grant.

In 1968 Paul and Bertie Jackson Hillhouse's youngest daughter, Patricia, married Kenneth Motes of Hanceville, Cullman County, AL. Kenneth spent many years in the Army, retiring in St. Louis, MO in 1990. In 1997 Patricia's Army job transferred to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, and in December 1998 the Motes move back to the farm in Tennessee was completed.

But this was just the beginning of the fun.

Prior to the actual move, trees had to be cut and a road had to be built across a ravine. Water was a problem since we are nowhere near "city" water, so a ram pump was installed to pump water up a 150 foot incline from a nearby spring. Water is stored in a 550 gallon tank at the top of the mountain to be pressure-pumped into the house, so a "pump house" had to be built - our one and only attempt at building with concrete blocks.

After moving, we learned to build big time! First trees that were felled during a straight-line wind were harvested and taken to a Mennonite sawmill northwest of Lawrenceburg. There Jonas Miller took our old oak, poplar, sassafras, cherry, and walnut trees and gave us back beautiful, inexpensive unplaned boards. Plans for the barn were drawn, and the building began. Initially we were simply building a facility to store John, a 1953 model John Deere tractor Ken had as a child, and all John's buddies: a blade, a disk, a bush hog, and a boom. Bertie told us this huge building we were building was way too small; we couldn't believe it!

But, before we finished the initial barn, we decided to raise goats, so an "annex" was constructed on one end of the barn - a room large enough to hold feed, medicines, and a feeding/bedding area. Next we learned to put up fences.


Finally we were ready. We had the barn built, a "lot" fenced, and a larger pasture completed. So off we went to buy critters. We got Dixie, a 9 week old Great Pyrenees, from a family in Albertville, AL. Next we got 3 barn cats (6 week old kittens we named Mr. Einstein, Tigger, and Pooh). Finally we purchased 3 three month old half-Boer goats from Mr. Solan Bivens.

Two months later we added Alma, a full blood Nubian, and Bertha, a half-blood Boer - both supposedly bred. And we waited. Patiently. Impatiently. Five months. No kids. Hmmmm. Apparently they weren't bred after all.

In the meantime we had purchased Flossie and Gloria (both bred) from Ricky Harris, so we went back to Ricky and borrowed Topper 1, Ricky's full South African buck. Of course, we didn't know he was a full SA buck; we only knew he was a 100% buck who went to work the minute he got off the truck and bred both Bertha and Alma immediately.

And suddenly we were in the goat business.


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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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