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Bumpus Mills in Stewart County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Great Western Furnace

Stewart County Iron Industry 1820-1927

 
 
Great Western Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 4, 2019
1. Great Western Furnace Marker
Inscription.  For more than a century Stewart County, Tennessee, was an active industrial iron producer in an agricultural south. The ruins of this limestone slab furnace are all that is left of the Great Western Iron Works, once one of eighteen such iron manufacturing centers in the county. The Great Western operated for just one 34-week period in 1855-56. During that time it produced 1,350 tons of high-quality iron.

Several circumstances contributed to its short life. The furnace owners, William E. Newell and John H. Pritchett, were heavily in debt over the purchase of 9,957 acres of land, acquired for the ore and timber needed to produce iron. Mismanagement, limited sources for iron ore, and a nationwide economic recession all made the furnace a doomed enterprise.

The Great Western Iron Works was offered for sale by its owners, December 20, 1856, in the Clarksville Jeffersonian newspaper.

“…furnace, 8 wood slides, 4 yokes of oxen, 12 wagons and gear, 1 set of carpenters tools, 1 set of blacksmiths tools, 2 extra steam engines 1 grist mill, 8 horse carts and harnesses, and 80 likely and valuable Negro men, experienced furnace

Great Western Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 4, 2019
2. Great Western Furnace Marker
hands.”

Charcoal, hematite ore and limestone needed to make iron were carted by hand over the bridge and dumped into the ore box.

Great Western Furnace was ten feet wide by forty feet high inside.

Temperatures in the ore box reached 3000 F

Once the ore was melted, a plug was removed at the bottom of the ore box, and the molten iron flowed into sand moulds to cool.

Stem pumps powered a set of bellows that provided the blast of air needed for the fire to reach 3000 F – hot enough to melt the ore.
 
Location. 36° 38.438′ N, 87° 58.538′ W. Marker is in Bumpus Mills, Tennessee, in Stewart County. Marker is on Tennessee Route 49 0.1 miles from Crockett Branch Rd, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bumpus Mills TN 37028, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Great Western Furnace (here, next to this marker); Drummer Boy at 7 (approx. 6.4 miles away in Kentucky); Laura Furnace / Iron Made in Kentucky (approx. 6.4 miles away in Kentucky); Advance on Fort Donelson (approx. 9.2 miles away); Site of Fort Henry (approx. 9˝ miles away); Fort Henry

Great Western Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 4, 2019
3. Great Western Furnace Marker
(approx. 9.7 miles away); Golden Pond (approx. 10.4 miles away in Kentucky); St. Joseph's Parish (approx. 10.4 miles away in Kentucky).
 
Also see . . .  Iron Furnaces in Land Between the Lakes. (Submitted on July 16, 2019, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Great Western Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 4, 2019
4. Great Western Furnace
Great Western Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 4, 2019
5. Great Western Furnace
 

More. Search the internet for Great Western Furnace.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 16, 2019, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 16, 2019, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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