Carter County Commission designates bridge in honor of ‘Fruitcake Man’ McCloud

Published 9:31 am Friday, February 23, 2024

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By Robert Sorrell
Star Correspondent
The Carter County Commission has recognized Nathaniel “Tom” McCloud, known by many as the “Fruitcake Man,” and designated a bridge in his honor.
On Tuesday, the commission unanimously approved a resolution honoring McCloud’s life. The resolution also recognizes a bridge on Danner Road near Holston View Drive in Stoney Creek as the “Nathaniel ‘Tom’ McCloud Memorial Bridge.”
McCloud was known to make more than 4,000 fruitcakes each Christmas holiday season, which resulted in the title of “Fruitcake Man.” He sold his fruitcakes throughout East Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Florida, New York and even as far as Canada, according to the resolution.
McCloud said baking fruitcakes was a labor of love which he carried on for more than 60 years.
He usually made the fruitcakes in batches of seven and it generally took two hours to mix the ingredients and two and one-half hours to bake each batch, according to a 2021 article in the Elizabethton Star.
McCloud was meticulous about his baking, the article said. He sliced the cherries that went into every cake, so as to ensure that there were cherries in each bit. His recipe was more than 150 years old.
The resolution states that McCloud was born in 1932 to Walter P. and Oiveen McQueen McCloud. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict during which he was held as a prisoner of war for about 33 months.
When he returned home and recovered, he and his wife, Billie Jean Shankles McCloud, began making fruitcakes for their family and friends for Christmas. Later, they began to sell the fruitcakes as a fundraiser for the building fund of Unaka Baptist Church, where they were devoted members.
McCloud died in December of 2020.
The resolution says the bridge on Danner Road will always bear the name of McCloud regardless of the future necessity for replacement of the bridge.

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