Gatlinburg Was Named After the Most Hated Man in Town

Before it was known as Gatlinburg, our Smoky Mountain city was named White Oak Flats, (because of the area’s beautiful white oak trees). In the early 1800s, Martha Huskey Ogle and her family became the first permanent white settlers in the region. If you visit Gatlinburg today, you’re likely to run into an Ogle or two, as many of Martha’s descendants still live in the region.

While the Ogles were the area’s most prominent family, it was Radford Gatlin who would inspire the city’s modern name. Gatlin only moved to town in 1854, but because the post office was located in his general store, people started to call the city “Gatlinburg”.

Although the city bears his name, Gatlin was hated by his neighbors for feuding with the Ogles and supporting the Confederacy in the Civil War. East Tennessee was a stronghold of pro-Union sentiment, so Radford Gatlin was actually chased out of town in 1859!


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