Taken from a letter to Mrs. Dave Mosier, Thomasville, TN from Wyatt Shaw on April 27, 1937, Ashland City, TN
Donated by Bill Mosier to Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association September 1998
Cheatham County is located on the Highland Rim, one of the several different geological divisions of Tennessee, and is bounded on the north and northeast by Robertson County, east by Davidson, south by Davidson and Williamson, west by Dickson and northwest by Montgomery.
It is not known exactly when the first settlement was made in Cheatham County but the earliest account is of one Adam Binkley, who settled with his wife and children on Sycamore Creek near the Old Sycamore Powder Mills in the year of 1780. The first settlements were made along the streams where many sparkling springs were to be found. Benjamin Darrow settled near Sycamore Mills in 1790 and his son, born soon after, was probably one of the first white children born in this county. Along about this time, John Hyde and Howard Alley settled near Pleasant View, and John Hunt settled near Pleasant View in the year 1796. About the same time Braxton Lee, John Lee and Rev. John Heaton settled near Ashland City.
The early settlers who came here prior to 1800 had to endure the usual hardships endured by pioneers. There are very few accounts of any encounters with the few remaining roving bands of Indians in this territory then and it is most probably that no hostile Indian remained after 1800. There are Indian burying grounds in several parts of the county, the most noted of which is perhaps at the mouth of Marrowbone Creek. Skeletons, idols and Indian weapons have been unearthed here. Most of the early settlers of Cheatham County came from Virginia and the Carolinas.
An act of the General Assembly of the state of Tennessee, passed Feb. 28, 1856, provided that the present county of Cheatham be established, and that it was to be composed of parts of Davidson, Robertson, Montgomery and Dickson. An election held in April of that year resulted in favor of the creation of the new county and a proclamation to that effect was made. The first county court was held at Sycamore Mills on May 5, 1856. During this year the commissioners appointed by an act of the legislature to locate the center of the county for the county seat, submitted their report which stated that the center of the county was near the present site of Ashland City, and they purchased from Mr. James Lenox 50 acres of land. In 1858, a temporary two-story building was built, by order of the court, to serve as a courthouse located on the corner where Guy Ragan’s store now is, and later known as the Central Hotel. This building was sold by the county in 1869 and a brick courthouse was built at a cost of $12,000. This building has since been remodeled twice.
The town of Pleasant View, located in the northern part of the county, was named Pleasant View in 1870 when the first post office was established with H. E. Hyde as the postmaster. It is almost equidistant between Nashville and Clarksville, and between Ashland City and Springfield. A store was opened on the site where the town now stands, by B. W. Bradley about the year 1840 and about ten years later another was opened by Mr. Foster. At the close of the Civil War, John Bainbridge opened a store at Pleasant View and about 1870 Joseph Justice opened another. No regular survey or plat of the land has been made but lots have been cut up and sold in sizes to suit purchaser. The original proprietor of the land was Benjamin Bradley.
At one time, 400 hogsheads of tobacco were shipped annually from Pleasant View. A newspaper known as the Weekly Herald was established in 1886 at Pleasant View and at one time had over 400 subscribers but has long since been discontinued. J. T. Craig was the original editor and proprietor.
Pioneer ministers were among the first settlers of Cheatham County. They did not depend on the tithes of the Church for their support but also, cleared the land and tended little patches of ground. Many of the early settlers are indebted to them for not only their religious training but for their educational training also as the ministers were so often both preacher and teacher. For many years there were no large building or churches to accommodate the people and consequently the people without regard to denomination chose their early campgrounds along the streams and beneath the beautiful groves of trees to be found there. Among the early camp-meeting ground was Mallory’s near Thomasville, Forest Hill near Ashland City, Ebenezer near Woodwards’ Place, Hickory Point near Neptune and Shaw’s near Pleasant View. In early times when the country was thinly settled people would travel great distances to attend these meetings. But with the increase of population these camp meetings began to be done away with and churches began to be organized. The Methodists and the Baptists seem to have been the pioneers and after the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church it also took an active part. Among the first church organizations was one of the Free Will Baptists, established on Blue Spring branch near Sycamore Mills by Rev. Robert Heaton.
Cheatham County has grown much since its organization. Today churches are to be found in or near every community and within the reach of everyone. Schools are conveniently located and the educational system of the county has not been excelled in this county in the past. Roads have been greatly improved, and one can travel with comfort and ease to almost any point of the county. Some of the most picturesque spots of the county are Sydney’s Bluff and Sunrise Bluff near Ashland city, the Narrows of Harpeth near Kingston Springs and the Indian Mounds near Kingston Springs. There is one railroad which serves a large part of the county running about through the center of it passing through the county seat. Since the three fires which swept the business section of Ashland City in the past 15 years, the town has been rebuilt and is quiet an attractive and modern incorporated town today with electric lights and waterworks. Today, Cheatham County has a population of about 9,500, most of who are engaged in agricultural pursuits.