†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† June 10, 1954
* CALíS COLUMN *
†† We continue again this week with the publishing of the sale of the personal property of Nathaniel Brittain in 1806 and some of our own comments. The next item is as follows:
†† "King Carr, one single tree, $0.51." King Carr, we presume, was an ancestor of perhaps the numerous Carrs who† now live in Macon and the east end of Sumner counties. In 1820 there was only one Carr family listed in the census, that of William Carr. He had four males under ten and two females of the same age group. He might have been a son of King Carr, the man above mentioned† in the sale. William Carr was a substantial farmer in 1820, having a total of five negro slaves. At that time William Carr was between 26 and 45 years of age and so was Mrs. Carr. If any reader of the Times can give us a history of the Carr family, we shall be more than glad to publish it. We have some information on the Carr family. It is as follows:
†† Julia Miller married J. M. Carr; her sister, Susan Miller, married Henry Carr. Julia and Susan Miller were daughters of Samuel Hunt Miller, son of Peter Miller. This family lived in the vicinity of Johnson City, in East Tennessee. Emeline Hartsell married James Carr on Nov. 15, 1836. In the gifts of the father of Emeline, Capt. Jacob Hartsell, the folowing was donated to the daughter, Mrs. Carr: 1 article -- one saddle and plated bridle, $27.50; one cow and heifer, worth $13.00; one bureau and dressing table, worth $33.00; one bedstead, worth $35.00; household furniture, worth $25.00; one sorrel mare by name of Fenox, $85.00, which will make her, by not staying so long as Hannah, ( another daughter ), nine or ten dollars more than she ought ( to have ).
†† Dorothy Carr married George Twiggs or Triggs about 1748, and lived only three months. Whose daughter she was we do not know. This was in Virginia. George Twiggs was born in 1702, the son of Thomas Twiggs, the son of George Twiggs.
†† Jack Carr married Sally Cage, daughter of William Cage, born in Virginia in 1745 and moved to Chatham County, North Carolina prior to 1776. He died in Sumner County, Tennessee, on March 12, 1811. Since Sally was a daughter of Major Cage's first wife, the former Miss Elizabeth Douglass, who died after she had borne the Major ten children, Sally was born perhaps as early as 1785. We would judge that King Carr was a descendant of this Jack Carr. We have in Macon County a Jack Carr, perhaps a direct descendant of King Carr. The Cage family was one of the most prominent in the early history of Middle Tennessee.
†† On Sept. 6, 1809, Richard Carr married Milly Sawyers in Wilson County, Tenn. Thomas Carr signed the marriage bond and John Allcorn performed the ceremony. In the same county in the year 1809, Sally Carr married Tillman Betty, with Samuel Meredith performing the ceremony.
†† On April 3, 1821, Walter Carr became surety for John Cowger when he purchased his license to wed Meecy Hill in Wilson County, Tenn. On May 11, 1821 in the same county, Nancy Carr married Phillip Johnson. On January 27, 1827, Richard Carr, perhaps the same man who had previously married Milly Sawyers, as above set forth, married Jemima Glenn. On Jan. 31, 1828 in Wilson County, John Carr married Mary Biddle. Now we do not know what connection, if any, these Wilson County Carrs had with our Macon County family of the same name.
†† A single tree is the pulling "piece" used by one horse or one mule in drawing loads or in pulling a plow or wagon. They are sometimes called swingle trees. One of our preacher friends in the years gone by had a rather lazy plow mule that paid but little attention to his master's order to "come up." Growing exasperated over the animal's refusal to heed his master's call to duty, the minister decided that a good "kicking" would help the mule. So the preacher stepped forward to give the mule a solid kick. Just at the time of the minister's drawing his foot back for the "kick" the mule tightened the traces with the result that the preacher's toe struck the single tree a resounding blow, with force enough to remove a toe nail in the action. This preacher has told the writer that in all his life he was never hurt so badly as he was with the loss of his big toe nail which, we believe he reported to us, was in his sock when he removed it as soon as he could, after aiming a hard kick at the lazy mule. We would prefer not to give the name of that preacher who learned that quick anger does not pay off with any profit.
†† "Abraham Brittain, one backband, $0.61." This was the same Abraham Brittain referred to in last week's paper. He was the administrator of the estate of his father, Nathaniel Brittain, whose personal property was being sold. "Backbands" were that part of the gear of a horse or mule used to hold up the chains on the side of the pulling animal. They are now generally of a heavy, woven fabric or of leather. In our boyhood our father made all his backbands of tow sacks which had been cut to the proper size and sewed together. We still recall that in our boyhood we were somewhat ashamed of the homemade backbands our father used 50 years ago or more. And yet when we look back over the past, we wonder just how, with almost every possible economy, he managed to make a living for his ten sons and daughters, himself and our mother and also send his children to school even as much as he did. Our brother, Thomas M. Gregory, and the writer some few years ago paid a visit to our old home place at Mace's Hill in Smith County. Our brother asked "How in the world did our father manage to make a living on this farm for so large a family ?" We take our hat off today, almost 40 years after the best man we ever knew passed away, to that father of ours, "Pappy," to the writer and he will always be our "Pappy." The good man could not read nor write until he was 21 years of age when he had to go to Carthage on some legal matter. He had to sign his name by mark and this embarrassed him so greatly that he came home determined to learn how to read and write. And I say today with pride, That he learned to be a fair penman and also could read very well. He had a habit of calling some words in a sort of awkward way, but he was certainly "an expressive" sort of being and could let others know the meaning of what he said. The writer taught him all the arithmetic he ever knew after we became some ten years of age and our father was 39 to 40 years old. He soon learned adding and subtracting, but multiplication and division were beyond him. When the writer was a 16-year-old boy, his father sent him to Bowling Green to school. There we did pretty well for a green country boy. On learning that his first-born was leading his classes in some things, our dear "Pappy" said "I reckon he is doing pretty well for a "clodhopper," which, to the writer, was perhaps the greatest compliment he ever had. God bless the memory of the father we thought to be real old at the time of his death at 52. The writer is now nearing his 63rd anniversary and he hopes he may be pardoned for saying that he does not feel nearly as old as we thought our father to be at the age of 52 years.
†† "Abraham Brittain, one hackle, $2.70." This is the same man who bought the backband in the account just given. A "hackle" or more nearly correctly spelled, "hatchel," was an implement for cleaning flax or hemp, consisting of a board with a set of iron teeth. The flax was drawn through these teeth and broken and the woody fiber removed. Perhaps not a great many of our readers know that flax was grown on nearly all the farms of Middle Tennessee 150 years ago.
†† "James Simpson, one pair of hames and traces, $4.33 1/3." James Simpson or a man with the same name, lived in Smith County in 1820, 14 years after the sale. He had the following family: Three males under ten, one male from 10 to 16 years of age and himself between 26 and 45. His females were: One female under ten, one between 10 and 16, and one from 26 to 45, no doubt his wife.
†† Mary Simpson seems to have been a widow in the year 1820, and could possibly have been the widow of the James Simpson first mentioned above. She had one male from ten to 16, one from 6 to 18; and one from 18 to 26. Females included: One from ten to 16, two from 16 to 26; and one from 26 to 45, Mary, herself, no doubt. She owned six Negro slaves. Lawrence Simpson is the last head of a Simpson family mentioned in the Smith County census for 1820. He appears to have been a young man with a rather large family. He had one male under ten, one male from ten to 16 years old, and two males, one himself no doubt, from 16 to 26. There was one female, between 10 and 16, in the family. Judging by their ages, this was probably Lawrence Simpson and a group of his brothers and one sister, perhaps. We are having to do some guessing in this case and do not take these things as known facts. If any reader has knowledge of the family, let us know.
†† The price for the hames and traces was four and one third dollars, which was the highest price paid for anything thus far in the sale except the "different" articles bought by Mrs. Brittain for ten dollars. Hames and trace chains were well known to every ten-year-old farm boy of 150 years ago and of much later date. Our father would not often allow us to ride a horse or mule wearing a collar and hames and chains withour fixing the chains so they would come loose in case we fell from the horse and became entangled in the chains. This precaution saved perhaps many lives, and was generally adhered to by most fathers of small boys.
†† "King Carr, one open ring hook, $.36." This name is the same as that above referred to. An open ring hook is believed to have been a hook fastened into the yoke used in working oxen. We have often seen the closed ring in the yoke, although we seldom saw the "open ring" sort.
†† "Widow Brittain, one hoe, $.80." A hoe was one of the most useful tools to be found on the farm 150 years ago. They were generally shop made and were large and heavy. They were of three kinds, the light, weeding hoe, the heavier, "sprouting" hoe, and the "grubbing" hoe. We have used each kind in our lifetime, the first we recall using having been the light, "weeding" hoe. They were of two varieties in our boyhood, the heavier being the shop-made sort with an "eye" for a handle. We used this kind more than 55 years ago. Later the popular "goose neck" hoe came into use. Then the heavy, shop-made hoe was used largely for the purpose of removing sprouts from stumps and roots. The "grubbing" hoe is a "boy killer," if there is such a thing in the world. We have "grubbed" locust and nearly all other kinds of bushes. These hoes had a small axe or cutting part on the part opposite the "hoe." We generally digged about the small trees and exposed the roots which we cut with the cutter on the hoe. We have tried to cut the rather soft roots of many bushes and have beaten them into the ground with a dull thud, thud, until we almost wished that "grubbing" had never been "invented." To set in to "grub" the black locust from an old field was one of the most discouraging† forms of farm work we ever knew. But it could certainly build up a keen appetite. In trying to cut the roots, we often found that the soft ground about the roots of the trees would give way and the hoe would rebound, not cutting scarcely any into the wood. This is very "disencouraging," as one of our preacher friends once said in West Tennessee. We used to take a grubbing hoe to the grindstone and remove some of the dullness. Ordinarily sharpening a grubbing hoe was done in a blacksmith shop by heating the hoe part and then hammering it thin toward the cutting edge, and then tempering it. A hoe would sharp but a few minutes in a rocky, gravel land on our father's old farm. We hope that we have largely "graduated" from the use of the grubbing hoe of our boyhood days.
†† "Richard Brittain, one saddle, $6.62 1/2." Richard and Abraham were brothers and sons of the man whose personal property sale is here recorded. The Brittain family was very fond of good horses, and a saddle is a "must" if one is to enjoy horseback riding. We suppose saddles have been in use for hundreds of years, but saddle making is now almost a lost art. The Brittain family raised some racing horses, as well as other kinds; and the record of their horse-racing would make some very interesting reading. W. C. Brittain, of Hendersonville, is a descendant of Nathaniel Brittain, and the love of good horses courses through his veins very strongly. In fact he has attended many of the modern-day races and has gotten a "kick" out of same that perhaps he never got from any other form of activity.
†† The first saddle the writer ever owned was bought with the very first money he ever got from teaching. On Aug. 8, 1910, we began teaching our first school in life, at Dean Hill, on the extreme upper end of Salt Lick of Cumberland River. We received $40 per month for teaching, paying $8 per month for board and washing. This $8 we paid to Mrs. Jennie Donoho, wife of Alvis Donho. We got our first pay on Sept. 2, 1910 and recall that we paid $14 of our month's salary for a saddle. It was of the "long-skirted," "quilted-seat" variety, with a "squeak" we can still remember as clearly as if these things happened yesterday instead of nearly 44 years ago. The "long skirts" of the saddle were wanted to protect our trouser legs from horse hair and mud. We "rid" that saddle thousands of miles and sold it at the time we came to Lafayette in 1930. We doubt if we ever bought anything for only $14 that gave us the enjoyment of that saddle nearly half a century ago. We may add that another thing that was much in style back there with young men was a "showy" saddle blanket. Of course we had that sort of a blanket, as did nearly every young, single man of 40 to 50 years ago. Many of those who rode on good saddles had very poor horses, which does not make good sense unless we look into the reasons thereof. A good horse cost quite a lot of money 50 years ago, whereas, a good saddle could be bought for a much less sum. And then a lot of boys seemed to have an idea that a good saddle "dressed up a horse" so that even a "plug" animal with a good saddle on his back passed for a riding horse." We never owned a real good horse in life, although we confess that even now a good, high-stepping horse "catches our eye."
†† The girls of 40 to 50 years ago were, in many instances, excellent riders and could ride horses almost as fast as they could run, even in the day and time when side saddles were commonly ridden by all the women and girls. When women first began to ride men's saddles, it created a lot of unfavorable conduct and caused a lot of "sassy" things to be said of the women by the men. We recall that our new saddle, above referred to, was left at a Carthage livery stable. Later we went back for our horse and saddle and we were unable to find that saddle we prized so highly. But we learned that it had been "borrowed" by a young woman to ride in some sort of a contest, and that without the owner's consent. We admit we did not like this "one bit," even though the lady rider was a young and beautiful and the writer was at that time a single man. We "kindly" raised some criticism of the livery stable owner, who said he looked for Gregory, but could not find him and felt that it would be all right to let the young woman have our new saddle. We were then very timid and soon "subsided."
(To be continued)