William McCamey Fox III: The Concord Prophet

Mona B. SmithFarragut, Our Town Stories

Inconvenience and planning are seldom thought of today if one needs to run to the store for some last-minute staples or for something to wear for a special occasion. But in the earlier years of the Concord-Farragut community, one had to plan for those shopping trips and ingredients to have on hand. In the early 1950s, the majority had only one car per family and many relied on public transportation to the big city of Knoxville.

Dub Fox with an early bus.

William McCamey Fox III and his wife, Polly McClellan Fox, owned and operated Fox Motor Coach Lines. “Dub” as the community called him, was the third in the lineage of the Fox progenitors (by kin or marriage) that were instrumental in many known surnames of the Concord-Farragut community today. In addition to Fox, a few are: Nelson, Hobbs, Benson, Donovan, Vance, Broyles, Shell, Bevins, Brashier, Warren, Harris, McNutt and Tallent.

Dub’s father, William “Will” McCamey Fox Jr., began the area’s public transportation in 1915 with horse-drawn buggies. With the dawn of the automobile, the horse transportation was abandoned in favor of a 1917 T-Model Ford bus.

The Fox transportation business became popular for commercial charter trips and soon began adding routes including several yellow school buses for transporting children to and from Farragut elementary and high school.

The most popular commercial route ran from Hobbs’ Store to West Emory Road and on to Bluegrass Road, Ebenezer Road, Lowe’s Ferry Road, and on to Knoxville. Other routes to Knoxville were via Hardin Valley to West Emory and Kingston Pike. Routes even ran to Sweetwater, Rogersville and Morristown. Family member Ginger Benson Fox says that during World War II, Fox Motor Coach Lines owned and operated eight buses, covering 1,650 miles per day.

After Dub’s father passed in 1948, he assumed the management of the bus lines until it was sold around 1964. During that time, Fox Motor Lines also provided employment for bus drivers and maintenance techs who lived in the area.

Riding on the Fox Lines was always an enjoyable experience. Dub was a good-natured type of man. He was often seen with his pet squirrel, Fallout, on his shoulders or perched on his hat. The squirrel was named Fallout because he fell out of a tree and Dub rescued him.

Dub always had a current joke or two to share, and traveling on the bus was a good way to meet friends and neighbors and to visit and share news on the way to Knoxville. Anyone who happened to have a seat up front within hearing distance would be privileged to hear Dub’s sermonette of the day. One of his favorite topics dealt with the Second Coming of Christ and passengers heard the message whether they wanted to or not! It was because of Dub’s exuberance to share the Word that he soon became privately known as the Concord Prophet.

It is said that one day on the way home from Knoxville, Mr. Fox stopped his bus at Bearden Hill and pulled to the side of the road. A silence came over the passengers as they wondered what had happened. Some probably thought they had encountered mechanical failure. When Dub had everyone’s attention, he said something like the following: “I want everyone to look down this road as far as you can see. I predict that someday this very road will be filled with businesses and houses and full of traffic.”

Ironically, Dub’s very prediction has come true. For all that knew Dub, we stop and fondly remember the Concord Prophet, especially as we wait in lines of traffic on Bearden Hill and the miles west to Farragut!

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