During his time, Lewis C. Buckner was a well-known carpenter, cabinetmaker, and house builder. He and his work were well-known in Sevier County, Tennessee. Buckner was born to a white father and an African American mother in 1865. After the American Civil War, he and his mother were released in 1865.
Buckner began his career as an apprentice in Sevierville following the Civil War. He began his cabinetmaking business in the 1870s, and he was listed as a cabinetmaker in the 1880 census. In 1875, he married Jane Bryant and found success in the construction of furniture and houses.
Buckner built beautiful embellished homes throughout Sevier County from 1880 to 1921. The majority of the houses were built in the Victorian style. He typically built an entire house and lived on the construction site.
He frequently embellished otherwise plain farmhouses with decorative details such as porches and staircases. He also built ornate pews and a pulpit for the New Salem Baptist Church in Sevierville, a historic African American church built in 1886 by Isaac Dockery.
Because of their significance and unique architecture, several of Buckner’s flamboyantly styled houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Buckner is buried in an unmarked grave near Millican Grove at Union Hill Cemetery.