was granted for use of this material
Homer and Effie Lones
50th Wedding Anniversary, November 1, 1985.
Memory of Mrs. Effie Lones
Lones, passed away January 5, 2002.
She was a very talented and respected lady
and will be missed by many family and friends.
Lones lived in her beloved Niota and
dedicated this book to her late husband, Homer.
Mrs. Lones used the vast research of James E.
and resources from many others in the writing of
used excerpts from Mrs. Lones' book with her
and I am very grateful to her for allowing me to
She still has the book for sale and if you would
interested in purchasing a copy you may contact
Niota City Hall for pricing.
Niota City Hall
201 E Main St
Niota, TN 37826
Niota in the late 1800s
original name was Mouse Creek and later became
Niota through a
very interesting way.
Before Niota was renamed there was also a town
named Mossy Creek, now
Jefferson City, Tennessee. With growth of the two
towns problems arose with
mail and freight between the two towns often
being mixed or delayed.
Both towns knew something had to be done, but
didn't know just what to do.
problem was still being considered, a wedding
took place in
Mouse Creek. Ice Cream was ordered for the
reception. All went well and the
wedding took place but when the people gathered
for the reception
there was no ice cream. It had been ordered from
Knoxville or Chattanooga
and would come in on the train. Our local dairy,
Mayfield's was not close at
that time. Days later it was learned that the ice
cream had been left in
Mossy Creek where it sat on the freight wagon and
the straw that broke the camel's back!
The "town dads" went to work. They
contracted the Superintendent of
Railroads and asked that Mouse Creek Station be
He asked for suggestions. The men gathered at the
depot and made
their suggestions. The Stationmaster, James L.
Burn, suggested Movilla.
He was accustomed to using Morse Code and MO was
the call for Mouse Creek.
He added villa, and came up with Movilla.
the suggestions were placed in an envelope, John
Boggess, the postmaster,
came with his suggestion. He had been reading a
novel in which there was
an Indian Chief, Nee-o-ta. He put this name in
When the answer came back from the Superintendent
he had chosen Mr. Boggess' suggestion and had
changed the spelling to Niota.
Creek Station became Niota April 15, 1897.
has not found the meaning of the Indian name
Nee-o-ta. In a news
article in the Athens Post several years ago, it
was stated that Attorney
Tom Taylor, a prominent Athenian, had said he
thought it meant
"nigh onto heaven."
T. Burn had the name changed to City of Niota
serving as a member of the State Legislature.
had its' share of famous and not so famous people
that have done wonderful things for Niota and in
some cases for the United States.
Harry T. Burn played a very important part in the
Equality for Women and the ratification of the
Nineteenth Amendment which
gave women the right to vote.
Harry T. Burn, Sr.
Born November 12, 1895
Died February 19, 1977
Burn had been elected as State Representative
for the counties of McMinn, Monroe, Polk, and
He was the youngest member of the Legislature,
being only 22 years of age when elected.
Nineteenth Amendment, Woman Suffrage,
had been passed by Congress but had to be
thirty-six of the forty-eight states before it
could become a law.
Thirty-five states had ratified it and in the
summer of 1920
four states were asked to call special sessions
and vote on the issue.
Three of the states refused to call special
but Tennessee agreed to do so. This session was
called to meet in August 1920.
had planned to vote "nay" but a letter
mother, Febb Ensminger Burn asking him to vote
"aye" changed his mind.
After much debating and arguments the vote was
his vote broke the tie.
He asked to speak to the House the next day and
told them he
changed his vote because his mother asked him to
and he had been
taught that "a good boy always does what his
mother asks him to do."
opinion he may have cast the vote, but the women
of the United States
have his mother to thank for raising him with
October 1, 1988 six women were elected to run the
Effie Lones was elected as mayor, Mabel Young,
Grace Forrester, Nellie Finley, and Boots Snyder
were elected as commissioners.
The last four named commissioners ran as write-in
None of the women had served before on the city
The women were on national and international
television and the town
was recognized as having the only female board in
the country at that time.
The earliest all-female board known about was in
New Albany, Kansas in 1935.
its' share of old homes, some are on the National
of Historical homes.
The Niota Depot is the oldest depot left in
Tennessee and houses City Hall.
It is also used as a community gathering place
for special events.
Niota is still considered by its' residents to be
"Nigh onto Heaven"
and has grown with new homes and businesses.