Transcribed by M. Carter
January 18, 1951
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We resume the publication of the old records with out comments on those points about which we have a little knowledge. We have had some favorable comment on the publishing of the records of a century and a half ago, while others find them dull and lacking in interest. We are not asking those who do not enjoy reading the old records to read them anyhow, but we are quite willing for those who find them dull to pass them by. But we do feel these old records and the places mentioned in them ought to be preserved for those who may come after us.
The opening of the fourth meeting of the Quarterly Court is in the following words: “Peyton’s Creek, Monday, September 15, 1800. Court met according to adjournment, the following members being present: viz.: Garrett Fitgerald, Tilman Dixon, Moses Fisk, James Hibbets, Thomas Harmond, and Peter Turney Esquires.” Here we have an item of interest, at least to the writer. The place of the meeting was at the present Pleasant Shade, in the home of Michael Murphy, which as we have already noted, stood in a field just at the rear of the present home of Mrs. Bob Williams. Two of the above-named Squires must have ridden right by the spot on which this writer was born 91 years later. These were Tilman Dixon and Peter Turney. Dixon lived only about a mile and a half down the stream on which we were born. Our old home stood on the side of the Fort Blount Road, which, we are quite sure, these two men traveled on that September morning to attend the meeting of the fourth Quarterly Court of Smith County. However, we are quite sure that practically all the upper part of the Young Branch on which Turney lived was then a wilderness. So far as we definitely know, there was not a house above the old Turney place to the present Mace’s Hill.
“John Chambers, foreman of the Grand Jury, John Fisher, Francis Patterson, Frederick Turner, William Gregory, David Keilough, Charles McMurry, Arthur Hessian, Hugh Stephenson, William Simpson, Francis Ridley, Jeremiah Taylor, Joel Dyer, Edward Settle, Grand Jury, elected and sworn.” Here we have a total of 14 men for jury service. Perhaps two of them were substitutes, although the record does not say. We presume John Chambers was the ancestor of the present Chambers family in Smith County. John Fisher was one of the earliest settlers in the vicinity of the present Lafayette which was not established until 1842. We have no knowledge of Francis Patterson, Hugh Stephenson, William Simpson, Francis Ridley, and Jeremiah Taylor. We have already offered some remarks as to Turner. William Gregory was a brother of our ancestor, Bry Gregory, our great-great-grandfather. He lived in 1800 in the present William Nixon Hollow about three miles south of Pleasant Shade. We will have more to offer about David Keilough later on, we hope. Charles McMurry was a resident of Dixon’s Creek and the ancestor of Tandy and Britton Stubblefield, of Hartsville. He was their great-great-grandfather, we believe. Arthur Hessian was the first member of the present Hesson family of whom we have any record in Smith County. Joel Dyer was the builder of the first mill on Peyton’s Creek. Edward Settle lived near the present Mt. Tabor Baptist church.
“And Silas Jernigan, Constable, (was) sworn to attend them.” We met on last Sunday Elder Jernigan, Church of Christ minister of Portland, Tenn., who does not know of his descent beyond perhaps his grandfather. He is a relative of Uncle John Jernigan, Springfield, but we do not know if Silas was their ancestor. If any reader has this information, we shall be glad to publish same.
“Ordered that Michael Murphy be allowed a ‘licence’ to keep an ordinary at his now dwelling house, and that he be rated agreeable to the common rates within this county.” Here we learn the first place of selling drinks and eats publicly in the present Pleasant Shade was in the home of Murphy, where the Court was then in session in his own or “now” dwelling house.
“Bond, Martin Armstrong to Josiah Payne, ordered to be recorded.” We have no information as to Josiah Payne, although we presume he was a relative of perhaps the ancestor of the Payne family of Smith County. Martin Armstrong is another “unknown.”
“Ordered that Nicholas Perkins be admitted as a practitioner of the law, he having produced a ‘licence’ in due form.” Above we placed in single quotation marks the word “licence” just as we have done in the last item just recorded. We did this because of the misspelling of the word, which should be spelled “license.” Nicholas Perkins is unknown to us. The oldest Perkins of whom we have any record is Gabriel Perkins, who is supposed to have been born in Cumberland County, Virginia, and who settled near the present Maggart in Smith County. He died as an old man about 1825, the father of William, Polly, Betsy, Hulda, Letitia, Permelia, Judy, and Henry Perkins. Whether Nicholas Perkins was related to Gabriel remains to be seen.
“Deed, John Matheral to Lee Sullivan, was proven b the oath of Willie Sullivan, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. John Matheral is wholly unknown to us, his name being the very first we ever saw of Matheral. Now we do know that the Kittrell family used to be called Catherall, but Matheral is a brand new name to the writer. Lee Sullivan, we presume, was a member of the family for whom the present “Sullivan’s Bend” on the Cumberland River was named. We find frequent references in the old record to Sullivan’s Ferry and to various members of the family. Lee Sullivan, William Sr. and William Jr. are three names we have found thus far in our searching of the old records. Whether they were related to our Sullivan family of Macon County is not known. We do have a Willie Sullivan residing three miles west of Lafayette. We have also Will Hall Sullivan, one of our leading promoters.
While on the subject of Sullivans, we might add that we have a brief record as follows: Jordan Sullivan, most probably from North Carolina, married Becky Dillard. He settled near the present Elmwood, having come to Tennessee about 1795. He fought under Jackson in New Orleans in 1815. Much later in life he moved to Marion, Kentucky and died there. He was a believer in witches, fortune-telling, and kindred “arts.” He left numerous descendants in Smith County. His children were: Hezekiah Sullivan to Missouri; Mordecai Sullivan to Illinois; Ira Leland Sullivan married Annie Ray, moved to Kentucky and thence to Illinois; Emily Barbara married McKinney; and Becky, of whom we have no record. Ira Leland was the father of: Joe, Tandy, Albert, Jane, Ora, and Martha Sullivan. Avin Sullivan of the Caney Fork River section is a descendant of Jordan Sullivan.
“Letter of Attorney, Josiah Redditt to Thomas Howell, ordered to be recorded.” This was our modern “Power of Attorney,” and gave Howell the right to act for Redditt in signing certain legal forms, papers, etc. We know nothing of either Redditt or Howell.
“Ordered that Robert Price be appointed Constable, who came into court and gave bond and security and qualified according to law.” So reads the next item. Robert Price is a familiar name today in Macon County. In fact Bob Price lived near Lafayette up to his death two years ago. Benton Price, Lorn Price, and other familiar names are recalled, but we do not know if Robert Price was their ancestor a century and a half ago.
“Ordered that Tilman Dixon, Henry McKinney, Peter Turney and William Sanders appointed as Venire faceas to Superior Court.” We plead ignorance to the word “faceas” and do not know what it means. It may have been misspelled and then it may be our lack of information or knowledge.
“Ordered that John F. Johnson be allowed as a practitioner of the law, he having produced a ‘licence’ authenticated in manner prescribed by law.” We do not know who Attorney Johnson was, so far as any descendants were concerned. More than 150 years ago, one of the Johnson men married a Miss Ballou, but we do not know if he ever attained the ability to practice law.
“Ordered that Thomas Armstrong, Vincent Ridley and Godfrey Fowler be appointed searchers or overseers of the patrols in Capt. Bradley’s Company.” So reads the next item. We presume that the patrollers needed someone to oversee their work, but this is only a guess, the word “searchers” hardly fitting into such a definition. “Searchers” carries with it more of the idea of looking for or chasing and returning runaway slaves than it does of overseeing others who were engaged in this very kind of work.
“Court then adjourned tomorrow nine o’clock. Sampson Williams, Clerk.” Thus closes the work done that September Monday more than 150 years ago.
The following letter has been lately received from Rev. W. J. Gammon, a Presbyterian minister of Montreat, N. C. Rev. Mr. Gammon is laboring under the impression that Cal is some person other than the editor, Hence the idea as given in his letter. The letter follows:
Box 323, Montreat N. C.
January 4, 1951
Dear Mr. Cal_____
As a subscriber to the Times of Rev. Gregory, I have read with interest many of your articles, especially those of history from county records. Lately you mentioned the Brevard family. The Daughters of the American Revolution of our home town, Jackson, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, where we lived until 1933, asked me to take part in a program of their organization there in placing a marker on the grave of Brevard. Robert, I think, was his name, a soldier of the Revolutionary War. The history of which I consulted told of John Brevard in this state, I think, who had six or seven sons in the Revolution, so loyal that the British burned his home in retaliation. If requested, I could look up the history of the family. We have a town in the county, south of Asheville, named Brevard.
I wish to request that if you find any reference in your research in county records of the name, Gammon, please inform me. I visited your county at one time, looked over Smith County records, found almost no early marriage records in the county. But the Gammon family came from Pittsylvania County, Virginia to Smith County, Tennessee about 1800 or before. Jeremiah Gammon bought land on Dry Fork of Goose Creek from Henry Shrum in 1817. John Gammon sold land to Thomas Lovelady in 1820. John Gammon bought land on Dixon’s Creek in 1806, from John Patterson, 217 acres. James Gammon bought land of Nicholas Shrum on Dixon’s Creek in 1807. Levi Gammon bought land from Hiram Casey on Barren River in 1821. John Gammon, Jr. , bought land from Gideon Gifford in 1826. In 1829 Levi Gammon bought land from Gabriel McWhorter, of Monroe County, Kentucky, on Long Fork of Barren River. In 1808 James Gammon sold to Nicolas Shrum 124 acres on Dixon’s Creek. John H. Gammon, in 1837, gave mortgage to Jeremiah Brawner.
I will be glad to have any information of Gammon family in Smith or Macon Counties at an early date. Also any on the early Brawners who intermarried with the Gammon family in Virginia. Please let me hear from you. Thanks.
William J. Gammon
We are publishing his letter in full for the information it contains as well as to ask for information about the two families mentioned. We have some data on the Gammon family, but it is not ready for publication. Jeremiah Brawner married Sallie Shrum. Jeremiah was the son of Dozier (?) and Jennie Brawner. We published an article on the Brawner family recently, and we wonder if Brother Gammon got hold of a copy of that issue. He can write us in case he failed to obtain our write-up of the Brawner family. As to the Gammon and Brawner families intermarrying in Virginia, they also intermarried in Tennessee. Henry Brawner, a brother to Jeremiah, married Polly, daughter of Jim Gammon, while a son of Jim Gammon, John by name, married Betsy, daughter of Dozier and Jennie Brawner, and a sister of Henry.
We appreciate the above letter and invite others who have information that will help make this column interesting, to write us.