John G. Sanburn opened Knoxville's first general store in this cabin
in the spring of 1832. When he
moved to Knoxville in 1832 to open his store, he purchased or secured
a large portion of all the lots in town. He married Althea Owen and
they had seven children. He was the first County Clerk, first Clerk of
the Circuit Court, first Recorder, first Probate Judge. first Postmaster
of Knoxville and later in his life, was the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees
of Knox College and a trustee of Ewing Female University. He died
April 14, 1865, the same day President Abraham Lincoln was
The cabin was discovered in October 1963 when a house, owned by Bernice
LaFolette was being demolished. The butternut timbers, squared and
put together with clay and hay, were uncovered when the siding was removed.
The cabin had served as the kitchen of the home. The original roof
had been cut into. The demolition work halted until the cabin's
origins were researched.
The Knox County Historical Sites, Inc. immediately began to raise funds
to move the cabin to its current location near the Old Knox County
Courthouse. The cabin was restored the following year. A fireplace
chimney was added, made out of native stones gathered from nearby creek
beds by local youth. The inside of the cabin was restored to represent
a general store from the era.
Museum artifacts are displayed on the shelves to give the cabin an
authentic atmosphere. It is the only restored remnant of Knoxville's
log cabin era although several more old homes in Knoxville are said to have been built around log cabins.
Inside the Cabin
Outside the Cabin