The history of Piney Flats is very unique. It began in the late 1760's when Henry Massengill Sr. built his plantation near the banks of the Watauga River. He was one of the earliest permanent settlers in the area. Yet before his arrival many people had traveled through this area. Long hunters use to hunt this area. Daniel Boone, the famed trailblazer, blazed his famous Daniel Boone Trail through what is now Austin Springs Road in 1769. He had spent a great deal of time in the surrounding areas having established a hunting camp near Boones Creek, the spot where he carved into a tree that he killed a bear, in the early 1760's.
After Massengill established his plantation, William Cobb built his home called Rocky Mount just across the valley from the Massengill home. Mr. Cobb's home became the capital of the Southwest Territory in 1790. Governor of the territory, William Blount chose this location until the permanent capital in Knoxville was complete. Governor Blount held business at Rocky Mount for 18 months. Today Rocky Mount is a living history museum with all the guides portraying life during the time of Governor Blount's administration there.
Over the course of the next fifty years, settlers established residency in the area now know as Piney Flats. Several of the earliest homes including, Rocky Mount and the Devault-Massengill Mansion, are located on the National Register of Historic Places.
Andrew Shell setteled the area that became the center of Piney Flats in the 1840's. Until 1858 the area was known as Shell's Crossing or Shell's Crossroads. In was in 1858 the railroad built a depot in the area and named it Piney Flats beacuse of the gradual slope of the land and the abundance of pine trees.
For the next one-hundred years the community will flourish. John Wolfe provided much of the employment for the citizens that did not rely solely of farming. His Wolfe Brothers Furniture Factory was very successful. In addition to his factory, Wolfe established a phone system and a power plant that provided electricity to residents for the first forty years of the twentieth century.
The New Bethel Presbyterian Church was established in 1782 by Samual Doak, but it's congregation started as early as 1777 a the Massengill House of Worship which was burned by Tories during the American Revolution. The session at New Bethel is the oldest continual governing body in the state of Tennessee.
The Union Church of Piney Flats was established in 1873. It housed the worship of four different denominations; Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal Church South (until the 1930's), Baptist (until the 1950's), and Presbyterians. This union lasted until 1959 when the Presbyterians established their own church.
The Mary Hughes School was established in 1897 and became a four-year high school in 1923. By 1968 the county commission agreed to consolidate the high schools of the county. Mary Hughes became a Junior High until 1977 and now is the only K-8 school in the county.
The train depot was torn down in 1958, the Union Church disbanded in 1959, Mary Hughes was no longer a high school in 1968, the new highway came shortly after forcing annexation battles with neighboring towns all contributed to Piney Flats taking on a new shape. Nevertheless, Piney Flats had adjusted to its many changes and continues to maintain its identity as a unique place to live.http://www.angelfire.com/tn3/pineyflats/page3.com