‘Uncle Frank’ Galbraith was a Concord standout

Mona B. SmithFarragut, Our Town Stories

(Updated as to dates)

In researching the history of the small community of Concord and Farragut in the early 1900s, one might look to the reasons for the growth and success that it enjoys today. Perhaps it was the marble industry, the railroad or river traffic that ­­­­­­­­­­increased the economy of the area. However, one cannot overstate the impact of the individuals who were leaders in the community. Their work ethic and culture of entrepreneurship developed this area into an enjoyable place to live and raise a family.

Galbraith is the surname of a founding family of Concord. Alexander Galbraith (1712-1792) came to America from Scotland, and his son, John Galbraith (1752-1813), wasted no time in fighting for liberty in Virginia during the Revolutionary War. He is recognized as a Patriot by the Daughters of the American Revolution. John Sr. and his son John Jr. (1794-1848) migrated from Virginia to Tennessee and settled in the Concord area sometime after the war. Both are interred in Pleasant Forest Cemetery in Farragut.

It was Lee Temple Galbraith (1833-1919) and his wife Nancy who followed in his father John Jr.’s footsteps in the Concord area. This story is about one of his sons, Frank Pate Galbraith Sr., whose contribution and legacy this area still enjoys today.

Frank P. Galbraith Jr.
(From Farragut High School Class of 1919. Photo courtesy of Lori Seaton Whitson)

Frank Pate Galbraith Sr. was born in 1867. Frank married Mamie Lowe who was the eldest daughter of Squire C.R. Lowe from Anderson County. He was part of the Lowe family that operated Lowe’s Ferry, a necessary mode of transportation across the Tennessee River from Blount County.

Early in his career, Mr. Frank became a successful livery man who operated a livery service at Clinch and Henley Street along with his brother Charles Galbraith. The rental of horses and rigs would be comparable to today’s rent-a-car, and it was essential for promoting tourism in this area. One article in a Knoxville newspaper wrote of a cattle wreck on the railroad in 1897, but thankfully Frank escaped unhurt.

History does not relate how he moved from a successful livery business to an undertaker, except that the young entrepreneur apparently saw the need and seized the opportunity. His residence was at 1013 Clay Street in Concord (the house is still there), and he operated his undertaking establishment directly across the road for 12 years before he became a salesperson for Southern Casket Company.

“Uncle Frank” was widely known and greatly admired by the children and young people in the community. His obituary reported that his mother was one of the pioneer Presbyterians of the Concord Community, where she organized the Concord Presbyterian Church. Upon his death in 1941, he was the oldest deacon where he had attended church services from childhood.

Frank Pate Galbraith Sr.’s strong leadership and Christian influence can still be seen and felt in the area today. His grandchildren are still exhibiting those inherited strains of guidance. Their careers reach from a widely known history lecturer and teacher, a church music ministry leader, a song writer and record producer in the Nashville music scene, to the streets of Madison Avenue and the New York Stock Exchange, and they are just getting started! All are graduates of Farragut High School and have not forgotten their “roots.”

Thank you, Uncle Frank. You set the bar for standards, and you would be proud of the community you helped design, and your family who carries on your legacy.

Mona Isbell Smith is a retired computer systems analyst who enjoys freelancing

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