Transcribed by Timothy R. Meador, Jr.
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We resume the publication of the old records of the Quarterly Court and Pleas of Smith County, the court sitting at Fort Blount, now in Jackson County, Tenn. The time is Wednesday, June 17, 1801. The record is in quotations marks. (See Note by R. D. Brooks)
“Court met according to adjournment. Members present: William Walton, Moses Fisk, Charles Hudspeth, James Hibbetts and Peter Turney, Esquires.”
Here we find that five members of the Court were present for that third and last day of the Court 150 years ago. William Walton resided at the present Carthage, Moses Fisk, we believe lived in the present Clay County. Charles Hudspeth lived, we understand, in the present Clay County. James Hibbetts lived a few miles south of Lafayette. Peter Turney lived on the present Bud Garrett farm, about two miles northeast of Dixon Springs.
“Ordered that Leonard Jones be appointed Overseer of the road from the top of the Ridge between Peyton’s and Defeated Creeks, to Michael Murphy’s, and that Peter Turney, Esquire, furnish said Overseer with a list of hands.” Now after a lapse of 150 years we do not know whether this dividing ridge was that at the head of the hollow about the old Willie Boze farm, or that at the head of the Green Hollow, but one or the other is surely meant. Michael Murphy lived at the present Pleasant Shade. Leonard Jones is believed to have been the ancestor of the late Luther Jones, who died about two years ago on Defeated Creek at the age of 93 years. We also know that Uncle Luther’s father lived for many years not far from the head of the Green Hollow. If the road under Jones’ care was the present Sloan Branch Road, he was less than a mile from where the old Jones home was; that is, to begin his work and move westward. If, on the other hand, the road meant was that down by the present Pleasant Shade, then he was perhaps two and a half miles from the extreme end of the road under Mr. Jones’ care.
”Ordered that Henry Huddleston be appointed Overseer of the road from the top of the Ridge between the waters of Peyton’s Creek and Defeated Creek to the top of the Ridge between the waters of Defeated Creek and Salt Lick Creek, and that all hands living on Defeated Creek work under Him.” So reads the next item. If we knew just where the work of Leonard Jones began or ended, we would know where Huddleston’s work was to start. But it is quite evident that Huddleston was overseer of that stretch of road running from point about two miles west of the present Difficult to the ridge north of the present Kempville, by way of the present Defeated Creek Baptist church. We judge that Huddleston lived in the vicinity of Difficult.
“Ordered that Pleasant Kearby be appointed Overseer of the Road leading from the top of the Ridge between the waters of Defeated Creek and Salt Lick Creek, to the ford of Salt Lick Creek where the Kuykendalls live and that the hands living above Kuykendall’s work under said Overseer.” We have already “presumed” that Pleasant Kearby or Kirby was the ancestor of the present Kirby family in Macon and surrounding counties. It is presumed that at the time of his appointment as Overseer that he lived in the vicinity of the present Kempville. As to “Keykendalls,” we may add that this is a misspelling of the name, which is spelled in other places in the record correctly, Kuykendall. We are quite sure that the east end of the road over which Kearby was overseer was near the present bridge across Salt Lick, about a quarter of a mile west of the present Smith’s Chapel Methodist church. But even the oldest residents of the Salt Lick section cannot recall my Kuykendalls as having lived on that stream.
According to the above appointment and order of the Court all hands living on Salt Lick Creek above said ford were to work under Kearby.
“Ordered that James Roberts be appointed Overseer of the road from the crossing of Salt Lick Creek at Kuykendall’s to Fort Blount, and that all the hands living on said creek below the crossing, including all the hands on the River above said Creek on the north side of the River up to the mouth of Wartrace Creek, work under said Overseer.” We suppose from the above that James Roberts lived 150 years ago not far from the present Gladdice, but old resident of the section do not recall the names of any members of the Roberts family as having lived on Salt Lick Creek. However, there are some Roberts in other parts of the county. The distance from the mouth of Salt Lick Creek to the mouth of Wartrace Creek is only about two miles.
“Ordered that William Pryor be appointed Overseer of the Road from the head of Snow Creek to Stephen Oldham’s, and that William Walton furnish said Overseer with a list of hands.” We do now know where William Pryor lived, but suppose that he resided in the vicinity of the present Elmwood in Smith County. Stephen Oldham is a newcomer to the pages of these old records, and we may as well admit that we have no record of him whatever. He was the first of the name we have found so far. We have a curiosity about whether the “copyer” did not get the name wrong, that maybe after all it was Stephen Odum. We do know that George Oldham arrived on Peyton’s Creek in the autumn of 1805. He was the ancestor of all the Oldhams we ever knew. If any reader of the Times knows anything about Stephen Oldham, please enlighten us. Snow Creek rises in the vicinity of Chestnut Mound and flows through the present Elmwood.
“Order that Charles Carter be appointed Overseer of the road lately ‘layed’ out from William Anderson’s to Anthony Pate’s by way of the great Salt Lick, and that all the hands living on the waters of Martin’s Creek and above the same and on the river up to the said Salt Lick work under and Overseer.” (1) Here again we have an item that is far from clear to the writer. William Anderson lived on the present Martin’s Creek which empties into the Cumberland not far from the present Granville. The “great Salt Lick” referred to was most probably a salt spring or lick and was not the Salt Lick Creek which empties into the Cumberland about four miles higher up the river than the mouth of Martin’s Creek. If we are in error in this “surmise,” please feel free to correct us. We are always subject to correction for any error we might make.
“Venire Facias to the ensuing Court: William Martin, Vincent Ridley, Elias Johns, John Gray, Phillip Day, Charles McMurry, William Hargis, Grant Allen, Daniel Mungle, John Brevard, Richard Brittain, Andrew Greer, Anthony Samuel, James Bradley, James Cochran, Josiah Howell, John Shelton, John Johnson, John Douglas, William Saunders, Henry Dancer, Thomas Bowman, Robert Bowman, blacksmith: Edward Settles, Daniel Alexander, Charles Smith, Thomas Wimbs, William Gregory, Thomas Sutton, Aaron Hart, Edmond Boaz, Jeremiah Taylor, Frederick DeBow, William Roper and Isham Beasley.”
Some comment is here offered on part of the above. William Martin was a Virginian by birth, and was a leader in the early history of Dixon’s Creek Baptist church. He was one of the most prominent men in Smith County for many years. His old home was not far from Dixon’s Creek. He is said to have divided his smokehouse in the center and to have given half its contents to his pastor, John Wiseman, for many years the minister of Dixon’s Creek Baptist church. For any new or late reader of these articles, we may add that Dixon’s Creek Baptist church is located about one and a half miles northeast of Dixon Springs and has had a continuous existence since its formation on March 8, 1800. Much more should be said about William Martin, but lack of space forbids it.
We know nothing of Vincent Ridley. Elias Johns, married Esther Ballou, a sister of our ancestor, our own great-great-grandfather, Leonard Ballou, about 150 years ago. James Ballou was a brother of Leonard Ballou and Esther. Elias Johns lived not far from the present Dixon’s Creek Baptist church. A number of Elias Johns’ descendants left the Dixon’s Creek section and vicinity and went overland to the Oregon Country in 1835. Descendants of the family still live in Oregon and Washington. Elias Johns had a son, Benjamin Johns, as well as a large number of other children. We have already related the incident connected with the discovery by Leonard Ballou of a certain tract or strip of land lying on Dixon’s Creek between the Johns farm and the Ballou farm. Ballou is said to have informed Johns of the fact that neither had a title to the land which belonged to the government. Ballou suggested that the two men go to the county seat and there file on the land and divide it, each taking a half adjoining his farm. Later Ballou had a bad let-down when he discovered that Johns had slipped away to the county seat and filed on the entire tract. Ballou, outraged by such unfair treatment by his own sister’s husband, declared he would not live by a man who would treat him in such manner. So he sold his farm on Dixon’s Creek and went to Peyton’s Creek and bought a square mile of land just above the present Pleasant Shade and moved to it. This was in 1808.
We have no information of John Gray, Anthony Samuel, James Cochran, Henry Dancer, Daniel Alexander, Charles Smith, Thomas Sutton, Jeremiah Taylor, or William Roper.
Phillip Day lived on the waters of Dixon’s Creek and still has living descendants. Charles McMurry was an ancestor of the Stubblefields at Hartsville. He also lived on Dixon’s Creek. William Hargis lived also on Dixon’s Creek, but we know nothing of his descendants. Grant Allen lived near the mouth of Dixon’s Creek. It was in his home that Dixon’s Creek Baptist church was formed on that March day in 1800. Daniel Mungle lived on the main stream of Big Goose Creek, not far from the present Linville shop. John Brevard lived just below the present Hillsdale, the site of his old home being marked today by nothing except old bricks and pieces of broken chinaware and earthenware. However, the old graveyard is not far from the location of the old house and also the old spring is still known. The Brevards apparently left Smith County before 1820, for the writer failed to find any record of the family in the census of that year.
Richard Brittain was the ancestor of W. C. Brittain, well-known farmer and stockman of Hendersonville. Richard is supposed to have lived near the present Meadorville. Andrew Greer is thought to have resided on lower Middle Fork of Goose Creek, not far from the present Rankin farm. There is still a Greer hill in that community. James Bradley is thought to have resided in the vicinity of Dixon Springs. Josiah Howell is supposed to have been a very early resident of the vicinity of the present Lafayette which was laid out about 108 years ago. The old Howell farm lay about three or four miles southeast of Lafayette.
John Shelton is believed to have been the father-in-law of the James Ballou, above-mentioned, as it is known that he married a Shelton. John Johnson is believed to have married a Ballou, a sister of three Ballous referred to above. John Douglas is thought to have been a close relative of the Douglas family of Sumner County. The writer’s great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Gregory, had a daughter who married a Douglas, but we do not have his name at hand just now.
Thomas Bowman and Robert Bowman are believed to have been brothers, but this is not definitely established. Robert Bowman, blacksmith, seems to indicate that there might have been another Robert Bowman, who was not a blacksmith. However, a gifted and capable blacksmith 150 years ago, was considered one of the most useful of men. Even George Washington was said to have been an expert blacksmith. Robert Bowman was past middle age when the county of Smith was formed. He resided near the present(2) Riddleton and the stream east of that town is still called Bowman’s Branch.
Edward Settles resided on Peyton’s Creek, just below the present Pleasant Shade. Thomas Wimbs is supposed to have been Thomas Weems., the surname being familiar to many of our readers. William Gregory was called Squire Bill, and was a son of the Thomas Gregory mentioned just above. He was a brother of our ancestor, Bry Gregory, who was our great-great-grandfather. Squire Bill lived the present Nixon Hollow about four miles south of Pleasant Shade.
Aaron Hart is supposed to have been the ancestor of the Hart family, some of whose members have lived in Smith County for more than a century and a half. Whether he was related to the Hart for whom Hartsville was named, we are not prepared to say at this time.
Edmond Boaz was supposed to have been the ancestor of the numerous Boze family still in the county, the name now being spelled in a way that differs from the old spelling of Boaz. Frederick DeBow is thought to have lived on the waters of Big Goose Creek, not far from Mungle’s Gap. Isham Beasley was an early and prominent citizen o Smith County, a soldier of the American Revolution. He married Polly Andrews and later lived southwest of Dixon Springs. Later he bought a fine, large farm in Sullivan’s Bend and died there more than 100 years ago. He left some 16 children and his will is on file at Carthage. He is the ancestor of all the Beasleys we know in Smith and surrounding counties.
(To be continued)
Note by R. D. Brooks that appeared in his Book:
Cal’s Column says that the Smith County Court met at Fort Blount in Jackson County, Tenn. A correction is in order here. When the new county, Jackson, was first formed, Fort Blount was still in Smith County. Sampson Williams was still the clerk. I have been puzzled for years over why Brook’s Bend property was registered in Smith County instead of in Jackson County. We are indebted to historian, Carmack Key, of Carthage, Tennessee for the explanation. This part of Jackson County remained in Smith until the State Assembly took six miles off Smith county from Ft. Blount toward Defeated Creek in the Summer of 1805. Davidson County ordered Smith County in 1801 to sell 3840 acres of Land that belonged to Land Office Agent, John Armstrong, heirs deceased. The old Indian fighter of German descent, Frederick Stump of Eaton Station of East Nashville bought it for $900.00. Stump, in turn, sold it to old Matthew Brooks, Sr., called “Matt” for $1,300.00. Matt came to Eaton Station in 1801/1802 from Stokes County, North Carolina. In April 1805, Matthew Brooks, Sr., sold the Brooks Bend tract to his sons, the Hollomans, Bingal Crook, and others. Matt sold the last part of the tract to his son in law, Micajah Duke, and that part is know in Smith County today as the “Duke Hollow.” When six mile of territory was taken off Smith, this left Sampson Williams in Jackson County, Tennessee, and a new clerk was then elected for the Smith County Court.
(1) The original text does not include the closing parenthesis, however a reading of the text would indicate it is appropriate at this point.
(2) The word was spelled “persent” in the original text.