Yeah I know. I've looked and looked for a death cert, but TN didn't really make it a law to do death certs until 1908. So it's possible he died and had the gall to do so before 1908! :)
OR...he just left the family. OR...they were never married (can't find a marriage license either)
But it just occurred to me that Knoxville has a complete set of city directories dating back to the mid 1800's. Perhaps that might shed some light on the situation. Thanks for the reply!