FROM THE EARLIEST TIME TO THE PRESENT; TOGETHER WITH AN HISTORICAL
AND A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF FROM TWENTY-FIVE TO THIRTY
COUNTIES OF EAST TENNESSEE, BESIDES A VALUABLE
FUND OF NOTES, ORIGINAL OBSERVA-
Chicago and Nashville:
THE GOODSPEED PUBLISHING CO.
CHEATHAM COUNTY is bounded on the north and northeast by
Robertson County, east by Davidson, south by Davidson and William-
son, west by Dickson and northwest by Montgomery. The county is lo-
cated on the Highland Rim, and is geologically on the Lithostrotion
bed of the siliceous group of the lower Carboniferous age. The Lilth-
ostrotion bed is the prevailing rock and is valuable for building material
but is not much used. Small caves are numerous and mineral springs
are abundant. Kingston Springs, on the Nashville & Northwestern Rail-
road, furnish red, white and black sulphur water; Sam's Creek, red and
white sulphur water. Harris' Sulphur Springs, on the county poor farm,
King's Sulphur Springs and others of less note are in the county. The
Cumberland River runs through it in a northwesterly direction, dividing
it into nearly two equal portions. The Harpeth River along the western
boundary, Sam's, Marrowbone, Sycamore, Half Pone and other creeks
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 2
flow into the Cumberland, and thus furnish excellent drainage for the
county. The face of the country is broken, and the uplands rise to an
elevation of nearly 300 feet above the Cumberland River. The soils of
the county may be divided into the calcareo-siliceous, white clay and
alluvial. The first is found on the hilly and heavily timbered lands. It
has a dark clayey surface soil, and red clay subsoil, and is very product-
ive. The second is found mostly in the northern part of the county, on
the level table-lands, covered with a light growth of oak timber, and is
not very productive. The alluvial soils are found in the valleys of the
streams and are the most productive. Sidney's Bluff of stratified rocks,
forming a nearly perpendicular wall of immense height, on the west side
of the Cumberland opposite Ashland City, is one of nature's grandest
scenes. Sunrise Bluff and other bluffs along the Cumberland are much
admired. There are numerous mounds along Harpeth River which were
made by a former race of people. The rapid fall of the streams through-
out the county furnish numerous opportunities for excellent water-
power. Only a few have been developed, the most important of which is
the one at Sycamore Mill, and next the one at the narrows of Harpeth,
where a fall of fifteen feet is obtained by conducting the stream through
a tunnel cut through a narrow neck of a bend in the river, seven miles in
its circuit. It is the site of the once celebrated iron works of Montgom-
Agriculture is very much behind the times, and will remain so while
the present mode of farming is continued. Tobacco is raised to the ex-
clusion of almost everything else. Many farmers buy feed for their
stock instead of raising it. Most of the plowing is done with one-horse
plows, which cultivates the surface of the soil only about two inches in
depth. Many fields have been cultivated in tobacco or corn until the
soil has become exhausted, then abandoned to grow up with briars and
bushes, and others cleared to be subjected to the same exhaustive proc-
ess. When the farmers abandon their little plows and pulverize the
soil with breaking plows to a proper depth and fertilize it with clover
and the grasses, and adopt a regular rotation of crops, then agriculture
will pay. Clover and the grasses, the best fertilizing materials known
to agriculture, are too much neglected. Less tobacco, better cultivation,
more clover, grass, corn and oats, should be the motto of the farmers.
The only turnpike in the county is the Hyde's Ferry turnpike, owned
and controlled by the Sycamore Manufacturing Company. Bridges over
the streams and better improved highways are much needed.
The people are domestic in their habits and observe primitive cus-
toms and dress, and wear a great deal of home-made clothing. They are
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 3
genial, kind and liberal in their views, and pay due respect to the opin-
ions of those opposing them. Their hospitality is not easily excelled..
As a class they are strict adherents to the cause of temperance. How-
ever, they have suffered in their reputation from the curse of intemper-
ance. A few years ago their county seat was infested with a number ot
saloons, and these crime-breeding sinks were scattered elsewhere about
the county. The recent murder of H. C. Adams, of Ashland, which oc-
curred a few miles north of the town, was undoubtedly caused by "strong
drink" obtained at the last saloon in the county, located about four miles
north of Ashland. By enforcing the act of the Legislature known as the
"four-mile law" the people had driven all the saloons out of Ashland,
and the last one was holding forth in a spot where the law was not en-
forced. It may now be said, to the credit of the people of Cheatham
County, that the law is so enforced that not a single drinking saloon
remains within the county.
It is not known just when or where the first settlement was made in
the territory now composing the county of Cheatham. The earliest ac-
count is that of Adam Binkley, who settled with his wife and sons, Ja-
cob, Peter, Joseph, Frederick, Henry and Adam, Jr., on Sycamore Creek,
near the present village of Sycamore Mills in the year 1780; but this is
probably a mistake as to date. The first settlements were made along
the streams where many sparkling springs were found. Benjamin Dar-
row settled near Sycamore Mills about the year 1790, and married soon
thereafter, and his sons. Christopher and James. were among the first
born in the county. About the same time John Hyde and Howard Al-
ley settled near Pleasant View. John Hunt settled near the latter place
in 1796 and about the same time Braxton Lee, John Lee and Rev. Rob-
ert Heaton settled near the present town of Ashland City. the latter on
the place now occupied by Mr. J. J. Lenox. A large tract of land, 3,840
acres, on the Cumberland River below Ashland. was granted to James
Turner, of North Carolina, on account of the Revolutionary services of
Jacob Turner, and James Wilson of that State purchased the land and
moved his family to it about the year 1800. He gave 2,000 acres of the
land to his son-in-law, Henry Williams, who settled upon it soon after.
Prior to the year 1800, Marvel Lowe and his family settled three miles
north of Sycamore Mills, at the place where Lowe's Church was after-
ward erected. About the same time Thomas Williams settled on a large
tract of land where Pleasant View now stands, and soon after Joseph
Bradley came from North Carolina and purchased the land of Williams
and settled thereon, and most of the tract is still owned by the Bradleys.
Mr. Williams settled on another tract near the Cumberland River, where
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 4
some of his descendants now reside. Near this time (1800) Asa Bry-
ant. David and Daniel Mosier, with their parents and families, Matthew
Harris and family, his sons being Henry, James and Nan, all settled
near the site of Sycamore Mills. Allen Hunter, Matthew and William
Ryburn, the Shaws, S. Wilson and Nicholas Shoat all settled in the vi-
cinity of Thomasville. Shadrack Hunt, William Shaw, Nathan Morris,
Robert Pennington and Dempsey Hunter settled near the present village
of Pleasant View, and the Eatherlies and Stewarts near Cheap Hill.
In 1807 Peter Woodson and family settled on a large tract of land
adjoining the present site of Pleasant View, and Peter H. Woodson, his
son, and a prominent citizen of the county, now reside upon it. About
the year 1808 Abner Gupton and family settled in what is now known
as the Gupton neighborhood, and James Mallory and family near Thom-
asville postoffice, and Nicholas Hale on Sam's Creek. In 1810 William
Lanox, father of James Lenox, from whom the county bought the site of
Ashland City, and grandfather of J..J. Lenox, now residing at the latter
place, settled at Sycamore Mills, on the place where Maj. Lewis, super-
intendent of the powder-mills, now resides. William Crocket and J. B.
De Munbreun were among the earliest settlers on Marrowbone Creek.
Neal Thompson settled, prior to 1800, on the farm now occupied by
William Hamble, near Kingston Springs. About the same time the
Hannahs and Coopers settled in that vicinity. S. W. Adkinson, Thomas
Osborn, Maston Ursory and J. L. Bell were also among the earliest set-
tlers near Kingston Springs. David and William Nichol settled at
Sycamore Mills in 1835. They were mechanics, and assisted in the
erection of the first mills at that place. One of the earliest settlers of
the county, south of the Cumberland River, was John Hooper, who died
at a very advanced age in 1885, leaving, as it is claimed, nearly 100
The early settlers who came here prior to the year 1800 had to en-
dure the usual hardships of frontier life where roving bands of Indians
still remained. The details of any individual encounters with the In-
dians which they may have had cannot now be ascertained. The oldest
inhabitants now living, who were born near the beginning of this cen-
tury, cannot relate any traditions concerning the Indians. It is most
probable that no hostile remained after 1800. According to tradition a
block-house was erected by the first settlers for their protection in the
northern part of the county at the forks of Half Pone and Raccoon Creeks.
There are many Indian burying-grounds throughout the county the most
noted of which is at the mouth of Marrowbone Creek. Here an idol, sup-
posed to have been worshiped by the Indians, was found, and it is now in
CHEATEAM COUNTY. 5
the possession of Dr. I. B. Walton, at Cheap Hill. From the great amount
of arrow-heads and other relics found on the farm of I. J. Adkinson, south
of Ashland, it is evident there was once an Indian town there. Graves
have been opened in some of these burying-grounds, and the mode of
interment thus ascertained. A flat rock forms the bottom of the grave,
and at each side a flat rock is set edgewise, and another flat rock forms
the cover. A skeleton of an Indian thus interred was recently ex-
humed on the farm of Preston Newland. It was very large and in a
fair state of preservation.
About the beginning of this century Marvel Lowe erected a grist-
mill on Rose's Branch, at the crossing of the Clarksville and Nashville
"dirt pike." Another was erected by an early settler named White near
the mouth of Sycamore Creek; another by a Mr. Swigart on the farm
where Mr. A. H. Williams now resides, near Pleasant View. There is a
large cave there under a rocky bluff from which a stream of pure, cold
water constantly flows. Mr. Swigart built his dam in the mouth of this
cave, which made his "mill-pond" within the cave, and thus obtained
the water-power to turn his mill. About the year 1825 George Brown
established a paper-mill on Spring Creek, about four miles southwest of
Pleasant View, and ran it a few years. All these mills have long since
decayed. Nearly all the early settlers of the territory composing Cheat-
ham County came from Virginia and the Carolinas.
An act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, passed
February 28, 1856, provided that a new county should be established.
to be known and distinguished by the name of Cheatham, composed
of parts of the counties of Davidson, Robertson, Montgomery and Dick-
son. "Beginning at a point on the line dividing the counties of Rob-
ertson and Montgomery eleven miles north of the month of Harpeth
River, running thence west two and one-half miles to a post oak and
black gum marked with the letters M. C.; thence south forty degrees
west, crossing the stage road leading from Nashville to Clarksville at
two miles 204 poles, and crossing the Cumberland River in all six and
one-half miles to the south bank of said river; thence up the said river
with its meanders to the mouth of Barton's Creek; thence up said creek
with its meanders to the mouth of the Barren Fork of said creek; thence
up said creek with its meanders to the road leading from Clarksville to
Charlotte by the road; thence a due south course four and three-quarter
miles to a point in the Dickson County line; thence east with said line
one mile to a large rad red oak, and pointers one-half mile north of the
Family Forge; thence south seventy-two degrees east, crossing said Bar-
ton's Creek at 120 poles, and the road leading from said forge to Weak-
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 6
ley's ferry, at one mile and 120 poles, and the road leading from said
ferry to Cumberland Furnace at three miles and ninety poles, and cross-
ing Johnson's Creek at five miles and sixty-eight poles, continuing in all
seven miles, to three hickories on the east side of a hill; thence south
forty-seven degrees east, crossing the road leading from Charlotte to the
mouth of Harpeth River, at ninety-eight poles, and crossing said
Harpeth River at one mile and 120 poles, and again at two miles
and eighty poles, and again at three miles 104 poles, about ten poles
above the mouth of Mann's Creek; thence south from the mouth of
Mann's Creek with the Davidson County line seven and one-half miles to
the Charlotte turnpike; thence east with the pike ten miles to a stake;
thence north in a direct line until it intersects the original line of Cum-
berland County heretofore established, of which this is in lieu; thence
north twenty-one degrees east, crossing Big Marrowbone at five miles
and sixty-eight poles, continued in all six miles to a chestnut and poplar
east of the north fork of said creek; thence north five degrees west
crossing the stage road from Nashville to Clarksville at two miles and
eleven poles, and the road by the Pinnacle Bluff, on Sycamore Creek, at
three miles, 151 poles, and continued in all five miles and sixty-eight
poles to a beech on the south bank of Sycamore Creek; thence down
said creek with its meanders to the mouth of Hollis' Mill Creek; thence
up said creek 140 poles to the month of Jackson's Branch; thence up
said branch three-quarters of a mile to a sugar-tree and hickory stand
ing at the mouth of Edward Smith Church's Spring Branch; thence
north seventy-three and one-half degrees west, two miles and thirty-four
poles to a small black walnut and red oak standing on the east side of
the road leading from Springfield to the mouth of Harpeth River; thence
a direct course to a point one-half mile east of the point of beginning
thence west to the beginning."
The act also provided "That all officers, civil and military, in said
county should continue to hold their offices, and exercise all the powers
and functions thereof, until others should be elected under the provis-
ions of the constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof. And that
for the due administration of justice, the different courts to be held in
said county of Cheatham should be held at Sycamore Mills until the
seat of justice for said county should be located and a suitable house
erected for that purpose, and that the county court in the intermediate
time should have power to adjourn to the seat of justice whenever in
their judgment the necessary arrangements were made; and that the
county court at their first term should appoint some suitable person
open and hold elections in each civil district in said county, on the fif-
CHEATEAM COUNTY. 7
teenth day of May, 1856, for the purpose of electing county officers, and
that B. F. Binkley, of the county of Davidson; Henry Frey and Wiley
Woodward. of the county of Robertson; Pleasant Bagwell, of the county
of Montgomery, and Benjamin C. Robertson, of the county of Dickson
be appointed commissioners, to meet on or before the twenty-first day of
April, 1856, and proceed to fix on a suitable and eligible site for the seat
of justice and for the county town within three miles of the center of
the county, and to purchase fifty acres of land at such site for the use
of the county, and to name the county town, and perform other specified
duties; and that John M. Joslin, of the county of Davidson, be ap-
pointed to ' run and plainly mark' the boundary line of Cheatham
County, and ascertain the number of square miles within its limits., and.
if necessary, to change the original line so as to make it include three
hundred and fifty square miles, provided he did not run nearer than
twelve miles to the county seats of the old counties from which said
county of Cheatham was taken."
The question of forming a new county, as provided by the act, was
submitted to the people included within the boundary of the proposed
county, at an election held on the first Saturday of April, 1856. At this
election a majority of the votes were cast in favor of the new county
and after the report of the survey of the boundary line was submitted
the governor issued his proclamation that the county of Cheatham had
become a constitutional county. By subsequent acts of the General As-
sembly several slight changes have been made in the original boundary
line of the county, the most important of which makes Harpeth River
below Point Rock Bluff, the line between Cheatham and Dickson Coun-
The first county court in Cheatham County was held at Sycamore
Mills, on Monday May 5, 1856. The justices of the peace present were
B. F. Binkley, J. M. Lee, E. L. Hooper, Jesse Hooper, N. Crochet, J.
S. Majors, R. T. Gupton, W. W. Williams, A. J. Bright, W. L. Gower
and R. H. Weakley. The court was organized by electing W. L. Gower
chairman, and F. A. Harris county court clerk pro tem., and Williamson
Gatewood sheriff pro tem., and an order was then made to hold an elec-
tion on May 15, 1856, for the purpose of electing county officers, and
Williamson Gatewood was ordered to open and hold said election. The
court then divided the county into civil districts, and appointed Samuel
Watson, W. G. Shelton, E. G. Hudgins and Joseph Hudson to lay out
the county seat of Cheatham County, and superintend the erection of pup-
The next term of the county court was held at Sycamore Mills on the
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 8
first Monday of June, 1856, and Samuel Watson, Esq., county court.
judge-elect for Cheatham County, appeared and qualified, and took his
seat as the first judge of the county court of Cheatham County. And at
this term the commissioners appointed by the act of the Legislature to
locate the county seat submitted their report, which sets forth that they
met April 15, and, after examination, found the center of the county to
be on the land of James Lenox, on the north side of Cumberland River,
and selected a portion of said land for the site of the county seat and
county town, and named said town Ashland, and purchased of Mr. Lenox
fifty acres for the sum of $713, and procured a deed for the same. At
the close of this term the court adjourned to meet at Forest Hill on the
first Monday of July, 1856. This place is half a mile south of Ashland.
Here the court continued to hold its sessions until November, 1857, and
on the first day of that month it convened for the first time in the town
At the June term of 1857 the county court ordered the commission-
ers appointed to superintend the erection of public buildings to proceed
forthwith to contract for the building of a court house, and ordered that
$2,000 be paid by the county that year, and that the balance of the cost
of said building be paid by the county subsequent to the year 1857, and
that the county should not be required to pay over $6,000 in all, and that
they should reimburse the county for any moneys thus advanced by the
sale of town lots in the county town. By a subsequent order these com-
missioners were required "to construct a temporary building where the
sessions of the court could be held until the court house could be built,
and to build said house suitable for a public house, to be rented as such
to some inn-keeper, or for court purposes, as the court should direct."
Accordingly a two-story frame building was erected in the year 1858 on
the corner of Main and Cumberland Streets, and used as a court house
until 1869, when the county sold it and the lots belonging thereto to
Mrs. E. M. Hooper for $1,926. This building has since been used as a
hotel, and is now known as the "Central Hotel."
The new court house, which is a substantial brick structure, 42x48
feet, with the county offices on the first floor, and the court room on the
second, was completed in 1869 at a cost of $12,000-just twice the
amount originally ordered to be expended by the county. Soon after the
organization of the county a small and substantial log jail was erected,
which is still standing. A new brick jail, 20x26 feet, has recently been
completed by Thomas Lowe, who contracted with D. J. Johns, W.L.
Robertson and Hon. S. D. Power, jail commissioners, to erect the same
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 9
The asylum for the poor is located on Cumberland River, two miles
south of Ashland, at the mouth of Marrowbone Creek, it being the place
known as Harris' Sulfur Springs. The farm consists of fifty acres.
with a dwelling house thereon, 16x82 feet, and the asylum is a frame
building, 16x82 feet, with an L 16x28 feet. And the whole cost the
county $3,700. The asylum was built in 1874. There are only two
paupers there at the present writing. The number annually cared for
ranges from two to four. The asylum is conducted at an annual cost to
the county of about $400. Before the asylum was built the few paupers
there were in the county were kept by appropriations made at the quar-
terly sessions of the county court.
The earliest source of revenue to the county was the sale of town lots
and since then the revenue has been derived from the tax on property
and the receipts for merchants' and peddlers' licenses, and other privi-
leges. The method of keeping the public accounts is such that the books
do not show what the annual receipts and expenditures have been. The
receipts for the last fiscal year, as nearly as can be ascertained, were
$4,304, and the expenditures $4,055. This pertains to the county rev-
enue only, and not to school and other funds. The total taxable property
of the county, both real and personal, was valued for taxation in the year
1885 at $880,164; and the total tax levied thereon for all purposes was
The following shows the names and dates of election or appointment
of the several county officers who have served since the organization of
the county: County Court Clerks-F. A. Harris, pro tem., 1856; Wiley
W. Williams, 1856 and 1860; Warren Jordan, 1865; G. W. McQuary,
1866, 1870 and 1874; T. A. Turner, 1878 and 1882. Trustees-S. F.
Evans, 1856; N. J. Alley, 1860; Edmund Felts, 1865; N. J. Alley, 1866;
C. W. Binkley, 1868; N. J. Alley, 1870; E. Vt. Felts, 1872: G. L.
Sloan, 1876; R. Weakley, 1878; M. Tomlin, 1882 and 1884. Revenue
Collectors-James R. Binkley, 1860, 1865 and 1868; Alexander Work,
1870 and 1872; John J. Bradley, 1874. Registers-G. Vt. Harris, 1856
and 1860; W. A. Henderson, 1865; W. E. Clifton, 1866; G. L. Sloan,
1870; W. H. Hooper, 1874; 5J. R. P. Carney. 1878 and 1882. Sher-
iffs-Williamson Gatewood, 1858; E. G. Murphy, 1856 and 1858;
W. H. Stewart, 1860; Joseph J. Garrett, 1865; E. F. Miles, 1866: James
N. Osborn, 1868, 1870 and 1872; G. W. Maxey, 1874, 1876 and 1878; J.
N. Hooper, 1880; W. C. Reed, 1882 and 1884. Surveyors-G. W. Mc-
Quary, 1856; F. A. Harris, 1860; G. W. McQuary, 1865; F. A. Harris,
1866; Moses Jones, 1870; A. F. Binkley, 1874; Vt. Williams, 1878; D.
J. Johns, 1882 and 1886.
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE 10
The first election held in Cheatham County (referred to in the or-
ganization of the county), was held May 15, 1856. This was a special
eldction held for the purpose of electing the first county officers and
magistrates to compose the county court, and complete the organization
of the county. At the presidential election of 1856 the vote was as fol-
lows: for Buchanan and Breckinridge, Democratic, 465; Fillmore and
Donelson, American, 423. The record containing the presidential vote
of this county for the year 1860 appears to be lost. The voting popula-
tion in that year in the county was 1,388. At the election held June 8,
1861, when the questions of separation or no separation from the Federal
Union, and of representation or no representation in the Confederate
Congress, were submitted to the people, the vote was for separation, 702;
for no separation, 55; for representation, 697; for no representation, 59.
And at the election held in 1861 for President and Yice-President of the
Confederate States, there were 150 votes cast for Davis and Stephens.
Under the franchise law of 1866 there were registered 112 voters only.
And at the election held August 1, 1867, to elect a governor of the State,
the vote was as follows: William G. Brownlow, Republican, 207; Emer-
son Etheridge, Democratic, 58. In 1869 there were registered under the
franchise law 320 white and 133 colored voters. The following will show
the vote at the several presidential elections since the close of the late
1868,Grant and Colfax. Republican, 73.
" Seymour and Blair, Democratic, 30.
1872,Greeley and Brown, Democratic, 703.
" Grant and Wilson, Republican, 284.
1876, Tilden and Hendricks, Democratic, 899
" Hayes and Wheeler, Republican, 267.
1880, Hancock and English, Democratic, 794.
" Garfield and Arthur, Republican, 292.
1884, Cleveland and Hendricks, Democratic, 959.
" Elaine and Logan, Republican, 335.
Population in 1856 estimated at 7,100; 1860, census 7,258; 1870,
census 6,678; 1880, census 7,956; 1886, estimated 8,500. According to
the United States census of 1860 the county contained 278 slave holders,
and 1,882 slaves, and in 1870 the free colored population was only 1,470,
being 412 less than the number of slaves in 1860. And the white popu-
lation in 1870 was 168 less than 1860. The civil war and the large ex-
odus of colored people soon after its close accounts for the decrease in
population from 1860 to 1870.
Considerable mention has already been made of this court in the or-
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 11
ganization of the county. It met and held its regular sessions until the
civil war compelled it to suspend business-the last session being held
in February, 1862, with James W. Hunt, chairman, and James H. Lee
and W. H. Scott associates. The usual amount of business seems to
have been done at this term, but the adjournment was informal-the rec~
ord not being signed. This court did not convene again until June.
1865, and the officers then composing it received their authority from the
governor, wbo appointed them to resume business under the new regime
after the close of the civil war. The magistrates thus appointed and
present at this term were John A. Hudson, P. H. Woodson, J. H. Bink-
ley, W. B. Nichols and Randolph Simmons. They organized the court
by electing John A. Hudson chairman, and P. H. Woodson and Randolph
Simmons, associates; and to raise the county revenue, they levied 20 cents
on each $100 of taxable property, $1. on each poll and .50 cents per $100
on all purchases over $1,000, and fixed the price of a merchant's license
at $5; peddlers on foot, $5; peddlers in wagons, $10; selling goods at
auction, $25; tipplers, $25, and 10 per cent on all sales over $250.
The court then appointed W. B. Nichol, J. H. Binkley, P. H. Woodson
Jack B. Turner, B. B. Gibbs, R. T. Gupton, R. H. Weakley, A. S. Will-
iams, G. W. Maxey, Joseph Harris, J. M. Thompson and William Jones
as revenue commissioners, to list and appraise the taxable property of
the county; and thus the local government was again restored. In 1866
and sexennially since then, full corps of magistrates have-been elected
who have composed the county court and performed the duties thereof.
The magistrates at the present writing are as follows: First District, A.
Boyte, J. J. Lee, J.M. Etherly; Second District, P. J. Johns, J. R.
Binkley; Third District, D. C. Cullum, William Sterry; Fourth District.
J. J. Wilson, G. W. Shaw; Fifth District, B. F. Stewart J. E. Teasley:
Sixth District, J.J. Gupton, G. W. Weakley; Seventh District W. H.
Plaster, W. L. Robertson; Eighth District, L. F. Smith, S. W. Patter-
son; Ninth District F. P. Lovell, D.M. Jordan; Tenth District, John
Finch, L. L. Pack; Eleventh District, J. P. Clark, 5. B. Winbourn:
Twelfth District, J. W. Pegran, I. N. Jones; Thirteenth District, G. W.
Hiland, S. L. Scott; Fourteenth District, J. J.. Bradley, J.L. Girard:
Fifteenth District, D. B. Hunter, W. H. Frazier.
The first term of this court was held at Sycamore Mills, beginning
on the third Monday in October 1857, with Hon. Wesley W. Pepper
judge of the Seventh Judicial District presiding.
The court being opened by proclamation the following named persons
were selected as grand jurors, to-wit: J. W. Hunt, J. M. Lee, William
Clifton, P. H. Woodson, W. J. Gossett, B. L. Darrow, B. T. Gupton,
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 12
Thomas Bell, Sr., J. W. Pennington, Henry Hunter, B. F. Walker, John
Forbes, B. F. Binkley, with J. W. Hunt as foreman. The attorney-
general, James M. Quarles, being absent. E. F. Mulbury, Esq., was ap-
pointed attorney-general pro tem. The first act of the grand jury was to
return "two bills of presentment against H. C. Pace for tippling," and a
'bill of. indictment against Michael G. Turner for an assault with intent
to commit murder in the first degree," the assault being made with a
cane on the body of Benjamin P. Persons. Pace and Turner, on being
arraigned, pleaded guilty, and the former was released on payment of
costs, and the latter on payment of costs and a fine of $2.50. The second
term of this court was held at Ashland in February, 1858. and Judge Pep-
per continued to preside at its sessions, with one or two exceptions, until
June, 1860, after which Judge T. W. Wisdom presided over it until its busi-
ness was suspended in October, 1861, by the civil war. This court convened
again, in pursuance of law, on the third Monday of June, 1865, with
Judge T. W. Wisdom, presiding. A grand jury was selected, and this
branch of civil authority was again restored. At the next term, held in
October, Judge John Alex Campbell presided, and he continued to pre-
side until February, 1867. Among the important trials of this court are
the following: The cause of Gupton vs. Gupton, was brought in the
June term, 1860, to contest the will of Abner Gupton, Sr., deceased. The
property involved was 7,700 acres of land (three acres of which lay in
the city of Clarksville), about $6,000 in money and nearly 100 slaves.
The case underwent many changes, and was finally decided at the June
term, 1866, the slaves having been liberated and the widow having died
while the suit was pending, the will was sustained and the remaining
property divided according to its terms among the seven surviving heirs.
State of Tennessee vs. E. B. Harris: Near the close of the war the defend-
ant, while conducting a company of Federal scouts through the county,
met Mr. William De Munbreun, and shot and killed him, without provoca-
tion as it is claimed. After the war closed Harris was arrested by the
civil authorities of the county, and before arraigning him for trial at the
February term, 1866, Judge Campbell, who was then presiding, received
an order from the military authority at headquarters post of Nashville,
to dismiss the proceedings against the defendant, Harris, for the reason
"that he had been tried and acquitted by a military commission for that
act, and that he was in the service of the Government when the act was
committed." This was signed by W. K. Shaftner, colonel commanding
post, Nashville, Tenn., by command of G. H. Thomas, R. W. Johnson.
This order was spread upon the record, together with the following pun-
CHEATHAM COUNTY 13
The foregoing military order is directed to be spread upon the minutes of this court
because it issues from a power superior to the physical strength of the officers of this
court; and because the civil authority should for the time being avoid a collision with the
military it is directed that the prosecution against Elias B. Harris be discontinued. But
this is done under protest, as there is no law authorizing it. and because the exigencies of
the times or the circumstances under which the court sits do not call for a precedent so
dangerous to the supremacy of civil law and liberty and high prerogatives of the Federal
branch of the Government. This court sits to administer justice according to the ancient
laws of the land, as handed down to us by the fathers of the republic.
If there be any reason why the defendant should not suffer the penalty of' the law, if
found guilty, the executive of the State, and not the physical strength of the military,
should be invoked. JOHN ALEX'R CAMPBELL, Judge.
In the same year (1866) this man Harris and one Stephen W. Mar-
tin shot and killed Hardy Brinkley, in Ashland, for hurrahing for Jeff
Davis. They were tried together for the murder and sentenced to the
State prison for ten years, but were pardoned by Gov. Brownlow before
entering the prison. The cause of Barton vs. Barton was brought in
1859 by Bavid B. Barton, administrator of the estate of Mary Hale,
against her brothers to compel them to account for the hire of a large
number of slaves, and the sale and distribution of the proceeds of sales
of said slaves. It was the origin of much other litigation, and the orig-
inal suit was never settled until March, 1886. It is said that nearly all
lawyers who ever practiced in the county have been engaged either in
the original suit or the litigation growing out of it, and it is jocosely
remarked that in this, as also in the Gupton case, "the lawyers were
finally the best heirs."
From the organization of the county to 1870 the circuit and chancery
courts were combined, and since then have been separate. The first
term of the chancery court was held in October, 1870, and was presided
over by Judge Charles G. Smith, who continued to preside over it until
1875. From 1875 to 1878 Hon. Horace H. Lurton was the presiding
officer, and Judge George E. Lee has presided ever since. Judge James
E. Rice presided over the circuit court from 1870 to 1878, and since
then Joseph E. Stark has presided. Hon. T.C. Mulligan served as at-
torney-general from 1870 to 1878, and Hon. B. D. Bell from 1878 to
1886. The clerks of the circuit court were A. J. Bright, from organiza-
tion of the county to 1867; W. B. Nichol, from 1867 to 1874; Joshua
Carney and 5. N. Ozborn, from 1874 to 1882, the Latter filling vacancy
caused by resignation of the former, and V. A. Stewart, from 1882 to
1886. The chancery court clerks were L. J. Lowe, from 1870 to 1872;
J. N. Allen, from 1872 to 1877; John J. Lee, from 1877 to 1886. R
W. Ray was the first resident lawyer in the county. He was a young
man of much promise, able and eloquent, and had a fair practice estab-
lished when the war began. Deeming it his duty he entered the Con-
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 14
federate Army, became a lieutenant and died in the service. Hon. J. B.
Brown, now of Nashville began his legal practice and established his
reputation as an able attorney in this county. Hon. A. J. Lowe, who
left the county in 1880, has established his reputation as a good lawyer
and a good speaker. Hon. A. J. Lenox, the oldest resident lawyer, was
licensed to practice in 1861; a gentleman of Christian character, and has
a good practice; is an excellent counselor, also a farmer. Hon. John J.
Lee clerk and master in chancery, practices in the other courts. Hon. R.
S. Turner, recently retired from the profession of teaching, was licensed in
October, 1885. He has good ability, and will soon "make his mark" in
the legal fraternity. Capt. Samuel B. Power, last but not least (except
perhaps in stature), came here in 1870, and has established a practice
extending to the courts of adjoining counties; he is attorney for the
county, and has perhaps the largest practice here, which decides the
question of his ability.
Among the early settlers of this county were a number who served in
the war of 1812; but there is reliable information concerning only the
following: Capt. Robert Sanders, Rev. W. L. Gower, Allen Thompson,
Isaac Sanders, Dempsey Hunter, Jacob Mokes, William Pace, Holloway
Hudgins, Green Hunt, James W. Hunt, and Gad Blankenship. Among
those who were in the Mexican war, Levi Satterfield and J. M. Jackson
are the only survivors now living in the county.
At the approach of the war in 1861, the people of this county had
their full share of the public excitement; public meetings were called,
and the people addressed by Col. Bailey, Col. Dick Cheatham and others
from abroad, and Dr. I. B. Walton and other local speakers, and the rally
to arms immediately followed. The first men who enlisted from this
county joined Capt. Mallory's company at Charlotte, in Dickson County,
about the 1st of April, 1861. This company was assigned to duty as
Company E, Eleventh Tennessee Confederate Infantry. The following
is a list of their names: T. J. Adkinson, appointed quartermaster ser-
geant, and afterward promoted to first lieutenant; H. R. Shacklett, ap-
pointed quartermaster; J. P. Adkinson, W. J. Osborn, W. J. Jones, B. F.
Hannah, J. B. Osborn and B. T. Scott. All these, except two who were
discharged, served to the end of the war. The Ashland City Guards-
Company E, Eighteenth Tennessee Infantry-was organized in April,
1861, and joined its regiment the next month. The first company officers
were: Captain, Gideon H. Lowe; lieutenants, Randall M. Ray, G.W.
Hale and John C. Hale; sergeants, Morris W. Hiland, A. W. Stewart,
D. C. Pardue, and C. J. C. Shivers. The company was captured with
its regiment at the fall of Fort Donelson and carried to prison at Camp
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 15
Butler, Ill., the commissioned officers to Camp Chase, Ohio. The com-
pany was exchanged in September 1862, and reorganized at Jackson,
Miss. Capt.. Lowe was re-elected, and A. W. Stewart, D. C. Pardue anti
M. M. Stewart became the lieutenants; B. P. Bradley. S. H. Bradley, C.
J. C. Shivers, Jonathan Hollis and T. B. Pardue became sergeants.
Lieut. G.W.. Hale escaped capture at Fort Donelson and joined Forrest's
cavalry. Lieut. John C. Hale returned home after the reorganization.
Lieut. A. W. Stewart returned home in 1864, and P. C. Pardue then be-
came first lieutenant and acting captain, Capt. Lowe having been ap-
pointed inspector-general on the staff of Gen. J. B. Palmer.
The following were killed in battle: William Morgan. at Fort Donel-
son; Joe Bryan, Thomas Felts, Joe Bidwell and Thomas Miles. at Mur-
freesboro; Spencer and Samuel De Munbreun, Henry Felts and Thomas
Williams, at Chickamauga; James Thaxton and Benjamin Parker. at
Resaca; William Smith, at New Hope Church, Ga., and Capt. Lowe at
Bentonville, N. C. The following died of disease: Lieut R.M. Ray,
Frank Thaxton, George Shores. W. W. Carney, Brit Nicholson, Jacob
Binkley, James Douglas, and Thomas Perry. The first three died in
prison. Discharged on account of disabilities: R. C. Pardue, Henry
Pool, Sr., L. L. Williams, B. F. Batts and Green Hunt. The following
took the oath of allegiance to the United States while in prison and were
released: Isaac Russell, A. H. Pool, N. P. Pool and A. C. Galloway.
The following, together with officers already named, served to the close
of the war: E. W. Carney, William Carney, S. A. Thomas, A. T. Shores,
J. T. Nicholson, Thomas Williams, Pat Galligan, Henry Pool, Jr.. John
Pool, Thomas Pool, A. J. Perry, A. J. Simmons, John Green, Charles
Green, E.J. Hall, H. W. Cain, Calvin Tomlin, Andrew Cain, Washing-
ton Morris, Joe Morris, Gilford Morris, J. T. and N. J. Fambrough,
Richard Bryan, Thomas Bradley, William A. Eatherly, B. H. Eatherly.
William Eatherly and John Boyd. This company was composed of 100
men, and was in all the important battles fought by the Confederate
Army of Tennessee, excepting Shiloh.
Company G Forty-second Tennessee Infantry. This company was
raised in the northern part of the county in June, 1861, and joined its
regiment in September of that year. At the election for officers Dr. I. B.
Walton became captain and Dr. James F. Cage, George M. Pardue and
A. H. Morris, lieutenants. The sergeants elected were G. W. Weakley,
I. W. Watson, J. D. Council, J. D. Nicholson and G. W. Pickering. This
company was also captured at the fall of Fort Donelson, and carried to
prison at Camp Douglas, Chicago. Capt. Walton and Lient. Cage made
their escape and avoided the prison. The latter then joined Forrest's
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 16
cavalry and served to the close of the war. The company was exchanged
in September 1862, and reorganized at Clinton, Miss. Capt. Walton then
became chaplain of the regiment and Lient. George M. Pardue became
captain of the company, and G. W. Weakley, O. P. Mallory and Robert
Weakley, lieutenants. And the newly elected sergeants were Thomas
Weakley, George Holt and J. W. Pardue. J. D. Council and I. W.
Watson were re-elected. A. J. Gupton was commissioned assistant sur-
geant of the regiment.
The following were killed in battle during the war: George Dye, at
Fort Donelson; Thomas Weakley, J. W. Pardue and Jesse Shearon, at
New Hope Church, by the bursting of a shell; Rufus Weakley, E. P.
Morris, Jesse Durham, J. K. P. Weakley, Samuel Harper, George Blank-
enship and A. G. Lowe, at battle of Franklin; Scott Williams, killed by
accident. The following died of disease: Wesley Trawler, Thomas
Pickering, Robert L. Weakley, John Weakley, Jonathan Smith, William
and Thomas McDaniel, William Eambrough, Henry Stack, S. 0. Neb-
lett, Frank Teasley, Aaron Smith, Green Hogan, Marvin Miles, G. W.
Murphy, William Weakley and J. Beardon. The following, together
with oflicers already named, are supposed to have survived the war: Rob-
ert B. Bigger, John and Joseph Byrnes, George and Ede Holt, T.T.
Balthrop, Robert Weakley, Moody Page, J. E. Turner, T. A. Turner,
Richard Rosson, John Elliott, T. W. Hunter, Samuel McDaniel, G. W.
Stack. James and William Rinehart, James Heflin, George and William
Reynolds, A. T. Neblett, A. R. and Shade Wilson, J. J. Alley, A. S.
Blankenship, John Lowe, Wiley Woodall, W. Page, T. D. Hunter, Jacob
Woodson, Z. T. Shearon, T. D. Council, James Kelly, Henry Nanney,
W. L. Robertson, J.W. Fielder, T. J. Miles, W. Ransdale, E. M. Nolen,
Samuel Weakley, Joseph Powell, James Miles, W. H. Pace, J. T. Batts,
John B. and James Cain, Joseph Gray, Robert Foust, B. M. Davis, W.
K. Hollis, Alsey, Hiram and Milton Jones, E. Gupton, W. C. Patrick,
I. N. Smith, W. Walker, W. Manwanen and T. A. Turner. This com-
pany consisted of over 100 men.
Company K Forty-ninth Tennessee Infantry was raised in the coun-
tv in the summer of 1861 and joined its regiment in the fall of that
year. The officers elected were captain, W. A. Shaw; lieutenants,
William Evans, L.F. Teasley and B. F. Shaw. Capt. Shaw was pro-
moted to the lieutenant colonel of the regiment. Lieut. Evans then
became captain and William Majors third lieutenant. This company was
captnred at Fort Donelson and taken to prison at Camp Douglas, Chi-
cago. and exchanged in September, 1862, and reorganized with same
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 17
The following were killed in the battle: Capt. William Evans, An-
drew Smith, Daniel Watt, and John Moody, at Atlanta; Capt. L. F. Teas-
ley, William Murff, and Robert Hunt, Jonesboro, Ga. Iverson Frazier,
John Murff, Michael Krantz and William Major, at the battle of Frank-
lin. The following died of disease: John, Willis and Henry P. Harris,
William Fox, Benjamin Basford, Lum Denney, John Mohorn, John Maxey,
Thomas Jones (2d), Joseph Van Cook, Benjamin Hunt and James Teasley.
The following, with officers already named, served to the end of the war:
James Everett, T. J. Gad, Burgess and Thomas Harris, Thomas Jackson,
G. B. Nicholson, William Whitworth, John Basford, Wesley, Jack.
George and Benjamin Stack, Shade and Robert Penney, Robert Stewart,
Henry Smith, Thomas Maxey, James and William Pace, Thomas Jones
(1st), Hardridge Hudgins, Benjamin Smith, Claib Sanders, Benjamin
Hudgins, William Nicholson, Buck O'Neal, Benjamin King, H. Stalsey,
William and Henry Pool, Dempsey Major, James and Robert Moreley,
William Teasley, H. Pinson, George Cantrel, Rufus and Alva Felts, B.
F. Wilson, William Frazier, and Brit and Dyer Nicholson
Company 0, Fiftieth Tennessee Infantry. In the fall of 1861, a
number of men, named below, went from this county to Fort Donalson
and joined this company. At the fall of that place they were also capt-
ured and taken to prison to Camp Douglas, Chicago. They were ax-
changed in September, 1862, and at their reorganization Samued Mayes,
one of their number, was elected captain of the company. H. A. Shelton,
who was orderly-sergeant of the company, was killed in battle. The fol-
lowing died of disease: Gabriel De Maubreun, Abner Patton and A. J.
Shearon; and the following, together with Capt. Mayes, served to the
close of the war: T. M. Hale, Abner Page, William Shearon, John Gal-
laher, Hunter Gower, Owen and Claiborne Hooper, D. T. Dozier, Mashac,
Stephen and John S. Hale, G. W. Miles and W. W. Thompson. Jeff
South was lost at Fort Donelson. The foregoing does not give the
names of all the soldiers furnished by this county for the Confederacy in
the late war. The failure to do so is because the rolls have been lost
and the names could not all be obtained. The county furnished a large
number of soldiers, and though they fought in a lost cause, their valor
on the field of battle, their patriotism, and their love of home and coun-
try, have never been excelled.
The history of Ashland City begins and is connected with the or-
ganization of the county. It was surveyed and platted in 1856 under
the direction of the commissioners appointed by the first county court
for that purpose. The public square on which the courthouse stands is
300x600 feet, and the town lots are of various sizes-some 50x135 feet,
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 18
some 50x150 feet and some 50x300 feet, there being 160 in all. The
town is located on the north side of the Cumberland River, on a
regularly inclined plane from the base of the high hills and the river.
The courthouse is two-thirds of a mile from the river landing at the foot
of Cumberland Street. Two public sales of town lots were made the
first October 6, 1856, and the other November 1, 1858. At these sales
sixty-five lots were sold for the aggregate amount of about $10,000.
The lots were sold on twelve months' time, and the purchase money,
when collected, was paid into the county revenue, as required by law.
The first lot sold was No. 9, and it was purchased by Joseph Willis for
$155. The lowest price paid for a single lot was $32, and the highest,
$400. Thomas N. Hooper purchased Lot No. 2 for $400. The most lib-
eral purchasers at these sales were G. W. McQuary, B. F. Binkley, Will-
iam Stewart, J. T. Carney, Cooper Gupton, A. H. Williams. G. W. Con-
nell, David Nichol, A. F. Carney, Thomas N. Hooper and W. H. Town-
send. The balance of the town lots were sold from time to time at pri-
vate sale. Among the first to build houses and take up their residence
in the town were James Smith, Jesse Shadoin, John C. Hale, J. N. Alley,
Arnold Allen and A. J. Bright. For the erection of the public build-
ings the reader is referred to that heading.
In 1856 David McKelly and William De Munbreun opened the first
blacksmith shop in the town. The first merchants were Burk & Yergin,
who opened a general store in the temporary courthouse, on the corner
of Main and Cumberland Streets. W. W. Sanders opened a general
store in 1858. G. W. Hale, J. N. Allen and Arnold Allen were also
merchants before the war. In 1860 J. J. Lenox commenced merchan-
dising in a general store, and in 1865 his store, building and goods,
located on the corner of Main and Cumberland Streets, were consumed
by fire. He immediately purchased goods and opened a new store, and
in 1868 formed a partnership with William W. Sanders under the firm
name of Sanders & Co., and this firm has continued in business ever
since. They are the leading merchants and have a capital of $15,000
invested in the business. E. B. Carney & Son were in mercantile busi-
ness from 1867 to 1877. Wilson Maxey was a merchant in the decade
of the sixties. The first boot and shoe shop was opened in 1857 by J.
N. Alley. J. W. Smith opened a boot and shoe shop about the year
1867. W. 0. Morgan, the only boot and shoemaker now in the town,
opened his shop in 1879.
The present merchants, besides Sanders & Co., are J. M. Duke, who
opened a store in 1883, and has since connected the undertaking business
with it. Carney & Justice began business in 1880, Adam Binkley in
CHEATHAM COUNTY 19
1863 and Enoch Dozier in 1885. All these men keep a general line of
merchandise, and all seem to be doing a paying business. H. C. Flint-
off, who keeps a drug and grocery store, commenced business in 1884.
A tobacco factory was erected in 1868 by J. J. Lenox and J. T. Edwards.
For about three years, from 1873 to 1875, they manufactured plug and
twist tobacco, and since then the factory has only been used for prizing
leaf tobacco and preparing it for market. In 1880 J. J. Lenox, Enoch
Dozier and others erected a flouring-mill, sawmill and planing-mill, all
combined. The capacity of the flouring-mill is fifty barrels of flour per
day, that of the sawmill is 12,000 feet of lumber per day, and that of the
planing-mill is from 15,000 to 20,000 feet of dressed lumber per day. In
1884 John Tyson, the present proprietor, purchased these mills for about
$10,000, and still continues to run them.
By an act of the General Assembly, passed December 3, 1859. Ash-
land became incorporated as a city under the name of Ashland City.
the original name having been only Ashland. The act provided that a
mayor and six aldermen should be elected, and at the election held in
January, 1861, for that purpose, W. C. Charlton was elected mayor and
John C. Hale, G. W. McQuary, W. W. Sanders, Jesse Chadoin and
James Gray were elected aldermen. In a few years the city officers grew
negligent and failed to meet and perform their duties as such, their rec-
ord showing that the last meeting held by them was in April 1870. By
an act of the General Assembly, passed March 29, 1883, the act of incor-
poration was repealed and the charter abolished.
Ashland City Lodge, No. 827, F. & A. M., was chartered soon after
the close of the civil war with A. J. Bright, W. M..; William M. Carney,
J. W. and J. N. Allen, S. W. The charter of the lodge was suspended
in 1885, nearly all the members having either died or moved away.
The first newspaper established in the town was The Cheatham
County Plaindealer, H. B. Stewart, publisher, and Capt. S. B. Power,
editor. The first number was issued November 29, 1877. In 1878
Stewart sold out to Hooper & Murff, and the same year they sold to
Doak & Bro., and about a year later the latter sold to J. T. Craig, who
let the paper collapse. In 1882 the New Era was published by the New
Era Publishing Company, with Capt. S. D. Power as editor. It existed
a few months and then suspended. The Reporter was established in
September, 1883, by W. H. Hooper, who sold it in August, 1884, to S.
W. Barbee, the present publisher. It is a six-column weekly democratic
newspaper, ably edited by the publisher. It has a fair circulation, which
is constantly increasing. The advertising and job departments pay well.
Dr. Joseph Hudson was the first physician in the town. He located
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE 20
here when the town was laid out, and remained here in the practice of
his profession ten years. Dr. John Hudson practiced about two years,
commencing in 1859. Dr. H. B. Carney began the practice in 1861 and
still continues. Dr. Robert Dozier commenced the practice in 1884 and
still continues. Dr. W. P. Lawrence practiced about three years, com-
mencing in 1881. There is one school, the Ashland Institute, and two
churches, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Christian Church.
The postoffice was established in 1857 and J. N. Allen was the first post-
master. He was followed by A. J. Bright and W. W. Sanders, the pres-
ent postmaster, who was appointed in 1868, and has held the office ever
since. Prior to 1867 there was only a weekly mail; from that date to
1877 the mail was semi-weekly, and since that date it has been daily ex-
cept Sundays. When the courts were first held at Ashland City James
Lenox, Sr., entertained the lawyers and others in attendance. James
Smith opened the first hotel about the year 1858, in a house on Main
Street, which has since been destroyed by fire, and the following year
Jesse Chadoin opened a hotel in the "temporary court house," known
as the Central Hotel. This hotel has changed hands frequently, and at
present is kept by Mr. G. W. Adams. Mrs. Mary H. Mallory, relict of the
late Dr. Rufus J. Mallory, keeps a boarding house and also entertains
the traveling public. The population of Ashland City is about 250.
Sycamore Mills is located in the picturesque valley of Sycamore
Creek, at the terminus of the Hyde's Ferry Turnpike, and about four
miles north of Ashland City, and is the site of the famous sycamore
Powder-mills. The scenery round about it is "romantic and wild," and
beautiful beyond description. The bluffs on either side of the valley
rise to an elevation of about 200 feet. The best view, perhaps, is ob-
tained from the site of the old Millwood Institute, where one may stand
and view the hills of equal altitude beyond the village, and observe that
the tallest sycamore trees in the valley will not reach half way up to the
line of vision. The waterpower at this place is considered the best
within sixty miles of Nashville. Its available power for all seasons of
the year is equal to 250 horse-power. A pointed bluff extends into the
valley from the south, and gradually descends and narrows down to a
width of about thirty feet, at which point it is only a few feet above the
creek, and then it rises and widens gradually, forming a long ridge, and
comes to a point about 100 rods farther out in the valley. The foot of
this bluff and ridge is washed by the creek, which travels a distance of
two miles in a horse-shoe bend and returns to a point within 600 feet
from the narrow place in the ridge above described. At this place the
creek is dammed, and the water conducted through a race-cut across the
CHEATHAM COUNTY 21
ridge, and a fall of twenty feet is thus obtained. The water is then turned
onto several wheels along the west side of the ridge, and these wheels
turn one continuous line of shaftings 1,600 feet in length, and thus
the motive power to the extensive mills is supplied. This famous power
was first developed by Messrs. Seay & Shepard, who built the first
dam on a small scale, and erected the first mills about the year 1835.
These parties continued in business until 1844, during which time they
erected and operated the grist-mill, saw-mill, cotton factory and the first
powder-mills. In 1844 Judge Samuel Watson came from Boston and
secured an interest in the business, and the firm name was then changed
to Cheatham, Watson & Co. The cotton factory was quite extensive, and
many hands were employed therein, and all grades of cotton yarn and do-
mestics were manufactured until the year 1858, when the building of
railroads so increased the price of the raw material that the company
was obliged to suspend the further manufactures of cotton goods. The
other mills continued to be operated by Cheatham, Watson & Co., until
after the fall of Fort Donelson in 1862. The manufacture of powder
was then suspended, and the grist-mill leased to David Nichol, who con-
tinued to run it until the close of the civil war in 1865. The company
then resumed business and built a new dam, and began to improve the
The present Sycamore Manufacturing Company was established by
an act of the General Assembly of the State, passed in 1865, with a cash
capital of $100,000, with authority in their charter to increase it to
$300,000. About 1868 the company bought the entire machinery of the
Confederate Powder Works at Augusta, Ga., and moved it to Sycamore
Mills and put it in operation. And the following year Cheatham, Wat-
son & Co. conveyed the entire property by deed to the new company.
The business of the company was then superintended by its first presi-
dent, Judge Samuel Watson, until his death, which occurred in 1876.
Then F. L. Kneeland, of New York, was elected president, and served as
such until his death, which occurred in 1884, and since that date Mr. E.
C. Lewis, has been president and general manager, and is thoroughly
posted in the details of the business. He has been connected with the
company many years, and ably filled the positions of secretary and gen-
eral superintendent. The company has a steam engine of 200 horse-
power, with attachments to apply it to run the machinery in case of a fail-
ure of the water supply. But the latter has been so abundant that the
steam-power has only been used two weeks in the last five years. The
powder-mills consist of the following buildings: one refiner, one char-
coal retort, two pulverizing-mills, one mixing house, six incorporating or
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 22
rolling-mills, one press house, one cracker-mill, one graining-mill, one
glazing- mill, one packing-house and four magazines. The capacity of the
powder-mills is 400 kegs per day. In connection with the water-power
and mills, the company owns a farm of 2,000 acres, which is cultivated
by the same management. The company employs about twenty-five
men. Six wagons are constantly used in conveying the powder to Nash-
ville, the shipping point. Aside from the several mills the village con-
tains one union church, one very handsome schoolhouse, about thirty
dwelling houses, a blacksmith shop and one general store-all owned by
the company. The Baltimore & Ohio Telegraph Company has an office
located there. The residence of President E. C. Lewis is the finest
dwelling in Cheatham County. The general office of the company is at
No. 25 South Market Street, Nashville, Tenn.
The thriving little village of Pleasant View is situated in the north-
ern part of the county on the mail and telegraph line between Nashville
and Clarksville, and equi-distant from those cities*. It was named
Pleasant View in 1870, when the first post office was established there
with H. E. Hyde, postmaster. It has nearly all been built in the last
twelve years. On the site where the village stands a country store was
opened by B. W. Bradley about the year 1840, and ten years later another
was opened by Mr. Foster. And at the close of the late civil war John
Bainbridge opened a store here, and about the year 1870 Joseph Justice
opened another. Not more than two of these early stores existed at the
same time, and none of them now exist. No regular survey and plat of
the town has been made. The lots have been sold in sizes to suit the
purchasers. The original proprietor of the land was Benjamin Bradley,
the father of Squire J. J. Bradley, who is now postmaster, and one of the
leading business men of the place. At this date (1886), the present mer-
cli aiits are T. M. Walker, the oldest resident merchant, who opened his
store in 1872, and now does the leading mercantile business. In 1873
the senior member of the present firm of J. J. Bradley & Son opened a
store and has since taken his son into partnership. A. J. Sanders sold
liquors from 1877 to 1882, and since then has kept a dry goods and gro-
cery store. G. P. Mallory, who now keeps a general store, commenced
business in 1879. Robert Head & Son, and Justice Murrah & Co., and
G. A. Winters opened their stores since the year 1880. These merchants
all keep a general line of dry goods and groceries, and some of them
keep hardware and agricultural implements. C. D. Orndorff and A. C.
Shivers each run a harness and saddle shop. W. J. Hunt and J. W.
Smith each have a boot and shoe shop. The former opened his shop in
*It has a population of about 300.
CHEATHAM COUNTY. 23
1876, the latter in 1883. Hallum Bros. & Davis, keep the only drug
store. The Central Hotel was opened in 1881 by Mr. M. P. Frey. Mr.
O. W. Barriett is the present genial and accommodating landlord. The
first and only flouring-mill was built by Bainbridge & Justice about
the year 1869. Afterward Newton & Tyson bought the mill, and attach-
ed to it a sawmill and a planing-mill, and the whole is now owned by
Newton & Basford, who are doing a prosperous business. There are two
blacksmith shops, one owned by Joel Knave, and the other by James
Simmons. The undertaking business for Pleasant View and vicinity is
managed by Mr. N. W. Newton, whose shop is in the village. There are
five tobacco factories at this place, where tobacco is prized in hogsheads
and prepared for shipping. The several persons and firms engaged in
this business are W. M. Coleman, Justice Bros., 0. P. Mallory, Hallum
Bros., and Murphy. Bradley & Co. There are over 400 hogsheads of
tobacco shipped annually from Pleasant View. The Weekly Herald, a
four-column newspaper, was established in February 1886 by J. T. Craig,
editor and proprietor. It has already reached a circulation of 400 and
is rapidly increasing. The job and advertising departments are well
patronized. Sycamore Lodge No. 255. Free and Accepted Masons. was
chartered in 1850, and opened at Bose Bower three miles south of Pleas-
ant View. The following were the charter members: W. W. Williams,
W. M.; Alex Lowe, S. W.; Henry Hyde, J. W.: P. H. Woodson, R.T.
Barnes, James Ryan, J. E. Turner, F. R. Harris. George W. Hunt, A.
H. Williams and J. A. Wilkins. In March 1874, this lodge was moved
to Pleasant View. The present principal officers are W. T. Bracy, W.
M; W. H. Walker, S. W.; J. B. Woodruff, J. W.: P. H. Woodson, Treas.
and A. G. Felts, Sec. It has a membership of thirty-six, among whom
"peace and harmony" prevail. There are three churches and one school-
house at this place.
Kingston Springs is located near the mineral springs of that name.
and near Harpeth River, on the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad
twenty-four miles from Nashville. It has a fine freight and passenger
depot and telegraph office combined, one Methodist Episcopal Church,
postoffice, blacksmith shop and a dozen dwelling houses. The railroad
was completed to this point in 1861. A. O. Lynn and J. H. Hendrick
were the first merchants, and opened their stores soon after the close of
the civil war, but did not continue long in business. The only merchants
now are W. W. Thompson and M. L. Moore. They each keep a general
store. Considerable lumber is shipped from this point. Henrietta, Nep-
tune and Cheap Hill, in the northern part of the county, and Junktown,
Pegram's Station and Craggie Hope, in the southern part, are all post
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 24
villages, with a country store at each place. There are many sawmills
in the county, and a large quantity of lumber is shipped from it.
The first schools were known as private or subscription schools, and
were taught by individuals who charged a certain price per scholar,
and who contracted with the parents to teach spelling, reading and writ-
ing and the fundamental rules of arithmetic. Those who could teach as
far as the "rule of three" were considered experts. Schoolhouses were
built here and there in old fields which had been abandoned and allowed
to grow up with briars and bushes, and hence the name "old field
schoolhouses." These houses were usually made of round logs, with
sections of one cut out for windows, and a fireplace with a stick and
mud chimney placed in one end. Many of them were without floors or
ceilings, the ground being leveled for a floor and the roof answering for
a ceiling. Benches were made of puncheons, in which wooden pins were
inserted for legs, and the splinters in them would sometimes rend the
boys' homespun trousers. Writing desks were made of planks sup-
ported next the wall on wooden pins driven into a log. There was no
classification of text-books, all kinds being used, and there was no classi-
fication of pupils, each one recited alone.
A prominent gentleman of the county relates that he attended one of
these schools at Salem, where the schoolhouse was on a more modern
plan. It had a floor in it under which the hogs slept the year round,
and produced an abundant crop of fleas for the amusement of the pupils.
Here the textbooks were Webster's and McGuffey's Spellers, Walker's
Dictionary, Pike's old arithmetic, etc. Any kind of a book answered
for a reader. For the latter one pupil had "Lilies From Lebanon," and
after reading all about Abraham, Moses and the bulrushes, the teacher
ordered him to bring another reader, and then he took "Baxter's Call to
the Unconverted." A patron of one of these early schools received from
his congressman a certain document, which he gave to his boy for a
school reader, and when the boy was called to recite, the teacher beheld
in his hands a patent office report-a queer kind of a text-book. In
those days they called "books in" and "books out " when the shadow
of the sun reached a certain mark cut on the door or in the window.
Although the early schools were very inferior on account of the illiteracy
of the teachers, there were a few classical scholars then engaged in
teaching, prominent among whom it is proper to name Rev. Sterling
Brewer, but these were exceptions to the general rule. Mr. Pitman,
Lemuel Clifton, W. W. James and Shadrack Smith were some of the early
The class of schools above described continued with some improve-
CHEATHAM COUNTY 25
ments to the beginning of that late civil war, during the continuance of
which they were closed. Since the inauguration of the free school sys-
tern, the schools of the county have been classified, graded and otherwise
improved. Hon. S. D. Power was the first county superintendent under
the act of 1873, establishing a uniform system of public schools. He
reports that there were then established twenty-nine white and thirteen
colored schools, and the average wages paid to teachers was $38.50
per month. Mr. Power was succeeded in office by George F. Murff, and
he by T. J. Atkinson, and he by W. H. Hooper, and he by R. S. Turner,
the present incumbent, and from Mr. Turner's last report (1885) are
gleaned the following items:
Number of schools in county -White 37, colored 15. Scholastic pop-
ulation -White, male, 1,238; female, 1,100; colored, male, 342; female,
275; total, 2,955. Enrollment in schools -White, male, 986; female, 922;
colored, male, 253; female, 234; total, 2,395. Cash receipts, $6,514.48.
Of this amount $5,387.32 was paid to teachers, and the balance was paid
out for school sites, buildings, superintendent's salary, etc. Number of
teachers -White, male, 29; female, 8; colored, male, 8; female 7: total,
62. Average compensation paid teachers per month, $30. Average
number of months taught in each school, 5.
Millwood Institute, located on a high hill overlooking the beautiful
valley at Sycamore Mills, was established in 1852, by a stock company,
in which Judge Samuel Watson was the principal shareholder. The
building, which is large and commodious, was erected that year, and the
school was opened under the supervision of Prof. Pease, who was
assisted by his wife and Mrs. Boswortb. Under this management the
school was conducted until 1855, when James Rains (who afterward be-
came a noted Confederate general) took charge of it and taught about
two years. He was followed by Prof. Marvin, who taught one year;
and in 1859 Prof. C. D. Lawrence, assisted by his wife, and Profs.
Maasberg and Twining took charge of the institute and managed it
until 1862. Under this management it reached its highest success as a
classical school. After the war closed Prof. James Brewer, son of Rev.
Sterling Brewer, taught one year, and then its doors were closed. The
building is now occupied by families employed at the Sycamore Powder-
Ashland Institute is located at Ashland City and consolidated with
the free school. The house was built in 1880 at a cost of $3,000. The
school was opened in September, 1880, and taught one year by Prof. S.
A. Link, and Miss Jennie Davis, assistant. Then Profs. S. A. Link
and B. S. Turner, assisted by J. W. Osborn and Misses Nannie G. Halsell
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE 26
and Maggie Reding, taught four years. And since September 1885, the
school has been under the successful management of Prof. B. H. Malone,
assisted by his wife and Miss Hennie Harrison. During the school year
there has been about 150 pupils in attendance. English, Latin, Greek,
the higher mathematics and the sciences are taught in this institute,
and the school is in a very prosperous condition.
Pleasant View High School is located at the village of Pleasant
View. This school was established in 1884, and is consolidated with the
free school. It was opened under the supervision of Prof. W. I. Harper,
and the number of pupils has already increased from 75 to 120. English,
Latin, Greek, the higher mathematics and the sciences are taught.
Miss Alice Blakemore is the efficient assistant. The school has a very
good reputation. Prior to the opening thereof a handsome and commo-
dious building for the purpose had been erected in a very pleasant and
Pioneer ministers were among the first settlers. They had a living
faith which they accompanied with diligent physical and spiritual work,
They did not depend upon tithes from the church for their support. but
with their own hands cleared their little patches and planted the seeds
and trusted in God for the increase. Likewise they sowed the seeds of
Christianity, and lived to see the results of their own good works. And
many children of the early settlers are indebted to them for their educa-
tion, as they not only made themselves useful as preachers but as teachers
also. For many years there were no houses other than the rude dwell-
ings in which to worship. Consequently the people, without regard to sects,
chose their early camp grounds along the beautiful streams, where in the
summer months they met under the leafy bowers and mingled their de-
votions to Him through whose mercy they had been enabled to secure
homes on the wild frontier for themselves and their beloved children.
Among the early camp-meeting grounds was Mallory's, at Thomasville;
Forest Hill, near Ashland City; Ebenezer, near Woodward's Place
Hickory Point, near Neptune, and Shaw's, near Pleasant View. In
early times when the country was thinly settled, the people went a great
distance to attend these camp-meetings. But when the population in-
creased and sectarian churches began to be erected, the people began to
neglect the camp meetings, and they have long since been discontinued.
The Methodists and Baptists seem to have been the pioneers, and after
the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, it also took an
active part in early Christian work. Among the early ministers of which
we have any record., were Rev. Wilson Gower, Rev. Robert Heaton, Rev.
Gideon H. Lowe and Rev. Sterling Brewer. Among the first church or-
CHEATHAM COUNTY 27
ganizations was one of the Free-Will Baptists, established on Blue
Spring Branch, near Sycamore Mills, by Rev. Robert Heaton. And
about the same time "Vicks' old meeting-house" was erected in the Bos-
ton Hills, about four miles northeast of what is now Ashland City
and Lowe's meeting-house was built about three miles north of Syca-
A Methodist Church was organized on Spring Creek at the crossing
of the Clarksville and Nashville dirt pike. Peter Woodson, Sr., Will-
iam Shaw, Christopher Williams and Shadrack Hunt were the organiz-
ers. They have long since departed this life, but the organization they
then effected still exists, though not in the same place. It was afterward
moved to Shaw's crossroads, two miles south of Pleasant View, and in
1872 it was moved to the latter place. Bishop Morris, Peter Cartwright.
John Johnson and other noted divines preached occasionally for these
people in early times. This church now numbers about 100 members.
A Union church edifice was built of hewed logs at Forrest Hill, near Ash-
land City, and this and the others mentioned were all established in
the early part of the present century. The latter was used as a Union
Church until the close of the civil war, when the several denominations
conveyed their interests to the Cumberland Presbyterians, who continued
to worship there until 1884. In 1835 Braxton Lee conveyed two acres
of land, where this old log church still stands, to the following trustees:
Gideon H. Lowe, Matthew Harris, Jonas Manafee, Thomas W. Shearon
and himself, as a trustee. A part of this land has been and continues to
be used as a public cemetery.
In 1859 the Methodists withdrew from the Union Church at Forest
Hill, and in connection with the Masonic fraternity built the first church
in Ashland City, the Masons occupying the second floor. The present
membership of this church is about 150; and in connection with the
church a Sunday-school was organized in 1870, with Samuel D. Power as
superintendent, who continued to act as such until the year 1877, since
which time Mr. J. J. Lenox has filled that position. A Christian Church
was organized in Ashland City in 1873, with D. S. Binkley and B. B.
Binkley; as deacons, and D. H. De Munbreun and A. J. Simmons, elders.
Rev. A. J. Smithson was the first minister. Revs. W. B. Wright, James
H. Jackson and William Lipscomb have since occupied the pulpit. The
original membership of the church was thirteen. It now numbers about
160. The church edifice was built in 1876, at a cost of $1,000. A Sun-
day school was organized in this church in 1884 with Prof. R. S. Turner
At Pleasant View the Cumberland Presbyterians organized a church
HISTORY OF TENNESSEE. 28
in 1881, with Harris Dowlen, Wiley Frey and T. M. Walker, as elders,
and erected a suitable church edifice. The original membership was
eighteen, and it remains the same. No regular minister is yet employed.
The Christians also erected a church in Pleasant View in 1882. They
have a membership of fifty. No regular minister employed. The Meth-
odists and Cumberland Presbyterians conduct a joint Sunday-school at
that place with Prof. Harper and Amos Felts as superintendents. At
Kingston Springs the Methodists organized a society in an early day,
and worshiped in the Muddy Creek schoolhouse. In 1866 it was reor-
ganized by the efforts of Revs. John W. Hunter and W. P. Hickman,
with a membership of thirty. In 1867 this society erected Dunn's
Chapel at a cost of about $800. The present membership is forty, and
Rev. S. M.. Cherry is pastor. Every village and thickly settled neigh-
borhood throughout the county is now supplied with churches and
church edifices, sufficiently convenient for the public worship of the
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