The Nesbitt Bottling Company Inc. was incorporated on June 11, 1948 with William M. Fleenor, Lacy E. Fuller, Mrs. Leta Bond Fleenor, and Mrs. Alta Edwards Fuller signing.(3) The June 23, 1948 issue of the Kingsport times announces the granting of their charter on June 23, 1948. William M. Fleenor, president of the company, is the same person who started the Nesbitt-Fleenor Bottling Company in Kingsport in 1940. William's wife Leta B. Fleenor is Vice President, Lacey E. Fuller is Secretary Treasurer, and Conley E. Brookshire is manager. They are bottling Nesbitts Orange along with taking over the Cheer Up franchise from Beverages Incorporated whose building at 206-208 West New Street they are now occupying. Quinton Castle was made manager of the company by January 6, 1949.(2)

Apparently there was an issue with the city re-zoning the area of Kingsport where the company was located as a retail shopping zone. It is noted in an article in the March 20, 1953 issue of the Kingsport Times that the previous bottling company had been out of operation for more than a year, which would have it closing in late 1951.(2) The new owners of the bottling company, James W. Bond, and Earl T. Kilbourne of Big Stone Gap, VA, had their plans to reopen the plant provided all loading and unloading of the trucks was performed within the plant to prevent obstruction of traffic.(2) James W. Bond was acting as manager of the company, which has added Barq’s to their lineup which already included Nesbitts Orange and Cheer-Up. Although famous for Root Beer, Barq’s had evolved into a flavor line by this point, and was based in Biloxi Mississippi.

There seems to have been another change of hands which finds Clifton E. Snodgrass is listed as Manager in 1955, and listed along with P. C. Heglar in 1957.(1) On August 29, 1957 the Nesbitt Bottling Company is incorporated with Joe W. Worley, William T. Gamble, and Mary Frances Clear signing.(3) There is a P. A. Heglar, possibly meaning P. C. Heglar, who in March 1958 sought authority to move a bottling plant to a new location on the corner of Shelby Street and Main.(2) He was denied due to the location being in the main business district when the zoning ordinance stated that bottling works must be in industrial zones.(2) The Nesbitt Bottling Company once again stood before the Zoning Appeal Board in July 18, 1958 to ask that they be allowed to move to the Shelby Street location based upon a loophole they found in the zoning law, the request was referred for study.(2) It appears that credit issues would lead to the ultimate demise of the Nesbitt Bottling Company by December 1959.(2)

This is the location at 206 West New Street

7oz Cheer-up bottle dated 1953

8oz Barqs Root Beer bottle dated 1953

Barq's Root Beer and Lemon Soda caps

10 oz Barqs Root Beer bottle dated 1956

Barq's Grape and Strawberry caps

While this Nesbitts bottle doesn't have a town name on it, it was part of twenty four bottles that I bought along with the crate you see below, and was most likely used by the company

This is a Nesbitts bottle crate from the Nesbitts Bottling Company of Kingsport, TN.

A different Nesbitts bottle crate from the Nesbitts Bottling Company of Kingsport, TN.

This page is only part of a much larger site. To see the rest then just click TAZEWELL-ORANGE.COM and the contents on this site are copyrighted by Joseph T. Lee III except where otherwise noted see Terms of Use.


(1) Baldwin's Kingsport, Tenn City Directory

(2) The Kingsport Times News

(3) Sullivan County Court Records