Transcribed by Timothy R. Meador, Jr.
June 19, 1952
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We resume the publication of the old records and our comments thereon. The time is Monday, June 21, 1802. The next item in the old records is as follows: “Deed, 300 acres, James Montgomery to John Kennedy, proven by the oath of Dempsey Kennedy; one of the subscribing witness thereto.” We know nothing of either of these parties. We presume that the Kennedys were perhaps brothers, and members of the present Kennedy family of Smith and adjoining counties. Some members of the family have shortened the spelling to Canada, so were are informed.
“Deed, 20 acres, John L. Martin to William Alexander, proven by the oath of David Cochran, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be registered.” No comment.
“Deed, Thomas and Mourning White to Richard Pryor, proven by the oath of William Pryor, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto.” Readers perhaps have noted how few of the wives of 150 years ago had their names on the deeds. Women’s rights then were not nearly so many as they now are, and deeds were not required to have the signatures of the wives of those making the deeds. Thomas White’s wife, “Mourning,” certainly had a very unusual name. We do not know who Thomas White was, although the writer’s wife’s mother was a Miss White prior to her marriage to William F. Jenkins about 50 years ago. “Mourning” White is another of whom we have no additional information. But we do have a little comment to offer on names. Children of today may be surprised to learn that “Mourning,” “Patience,” “Charity,” “Faith,” “Hope,” “Lovejoy,” and many other names derived from words found in the Bible were frequently applied to girl children, and to a lesser degree to males. We suppose most of our older readers heard the old tale a long time ago about the very discouraged young man whose girl friend apparently was not impressed with him. The youth approached her father, who had another daughter named, Patience, and sought to enlist the old man’s help in winning the hand of the fair damsel sought by the love-sick boy. The old man counseled perseverance in the boy’s suit and added, “Have patience!” The youth replied, “I don’t love her and I don’t want her. It is her sister that I love.”
In the land transfer above mentioned by which Thomas and Mourning White disposed of real estate, did not mention the number of acres involved in the deal, nor do we have the slightest idea as to where the land lay.
“Deed, 320 acres Duncan Stewart to Robert Bowman, proven by the oath of John Chambers, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be registered.” We would presume this land lay in the vicinity of the present Riddleton, as Robert Bowman lived just east or northeast of that place. John Chambers also lived in the general vicinity of Riddleton. We know nothing of Duncan Stewart.
We are sorry that we do not have available the old census records of North Carolina and Virginia for 1790, which are to be found in Nashville in the State Library. Many, many of the earliest settlers in Smith County were from either North Carolina or Virginia. The census for the years 1800 and 1810 were largely destroyed by the British when they captured Washington in the War of 1812. However, the census records from 1820 are available at Washington. These form a very interesting account of the counties from which various Smith Countains came to Tennessee. For instance, the Gregory family came from Chatham County, North Carolina. The Reeds were from Bertie County, in the same State. The Jenkins family came from Buncombe County, North Carolina. The Fuquas came form Bedford County, Virginia. The writer has connection with the Reed family, from Bertie County, North Carolina. Christian Reed, sometimes known as Christopher Reed, had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Isaac Kittrell. Elizabeth was born in 1787. Isaac Kittrell was born in December, 1777, in Granville County, North Carolina. Isaac and Elizabeth were married on Dec. 5, 1805. A daughter, Mary R., was born on September 25, 1806. Mary R. grew to womanhood and on Nov. 5, 1829, married Lorenzo Dow Ballou, of Peyton’s Creek, Smith County, Tennessee. He was one of the writer’s great-grandfathers, and was the son of Leonard Ballou, born in Botetourt County, Virginia, on April 4, 1767, not far from the county seat, Fincastle.
The Reed name is variously spelled as Read, Reid, Ried, Riud and one or two other spellings. It is said to be of German origin, although we had originally thought it to be of English origin. The census of North Carolina for 1790 lists Christian Reed as the head of the family, that he lived in the Edenton District of Bertie County, North Carolina, that his family included three males over 16 years of age, two males under 16, five females, and 23 slaves, which was a very large number of Negroes for 162 years ago. We have also an item which shows that he was captain of a ship.
After another rather “wide detour,” we come again to the old Court records. “Ordered that the inventory account of the ‘sail’ of Reuben Alexander, deceased, be received and entered of record.” Readers will note that the Clerk nearly always managed to spell the word, “sale,” as “sail.” Reuben Alexander, was, we are quite sure, the ancestor of the numerous Alexander around Dixon Spring at a late date.
“Ordered that William Fisher and Freeman Burrow be appointed Constables, who came into Court, gave security and qualified according to law.” We understand that one of the earliest families of the present Macon County was named Fisher, that they resided on the Ridge or Highland Rim, about two miles east of Lafayette, and not far from the head of the “Dark Hollow” of Dry Fork of the East Fork of Big Goose Creek. We do not know that the William Fisher was of this family, however.
Freeman Burrow, we believe is here listed for the first time in the old Court records. We would suppose that he was the ancestor or at least a relative of the numerous Burrows that have since lined on Big Goose Creek and elsewhere in the territory once embraced in Smith County, Tenn.
Recently we received a letter in which information on the Meador family was sought. So far we have found no reference to the family in the old Court records, as memory now recalls. It appears that they came to Smith County perhaps about the year 1808, and we are six years short of that time in our publication of the old Court records. However, we have recently come across the following: Isham Meador was placed on the Revolutionary War pension list in Smith County, Tennessee, for an allowance of $20.00 per year, on an application dated April 6, 1833, when he was 73 years old. Joel Meador, of Smith County, Tennessee, applied on same date, and was then 75 years of age, and was allowed a pension of $30.00 per year. Evidently these men were brothers and both fought in the American Revolution. We hope shortly to publish a fairly complete list of the earliest members of the Meador family in Smith County and their descendants.
We have learned recently some more of the Shoulders family. We had long known that Malachi Shoulders married Polly, daughter of Bry Gregory, perhaps about 150 years ago, or even earlier. Malachi was the only member of the family, so far as we have learned, to come to Smith County. However, we have lately learned that in Bertie County, North Carolina in the census of 1790 the following heads of Shoulders families are listed: Benjamin Shoulders, Hare Shoulders, James Shoulders, John Shoulders, John Shoulders, Thomas Shoulders and John Shoulders. Some of them spelled the name as given above, while other spelled it “Shoulder.”
“Deed, 320 acres, Duncan Stewart to John Chambers, proven by the oath of Robert Bowman, one of the subscribing witnesses.” Here we have the same names as given in one other item, above referred to. This time John Chambers is the purchaser, and the same man that had previously sold 320 acres of land to Bowman, now sells a half square mile to the witness to the first-named land deal. This further confirms our idea that John Chambers lived in the vicinity of Riddleton. Perhaps the lands sold adjoined and were part of what was once a square mile of hills and valleys, as land was generally “taken up” in square-mile tracts.
“Ordered that a road be ‘layed’ off, agreeable to law, from the Jackson County line to cross Cumberland River at or near the mouth of Wartrace Creek, to intersect the road that leads up Salt Lick to Wakefield’s at the most convenient place; and that James Draper, Esom Graves, Jacob Jenkins, James Wray, Jr., Sampson Williams and Thomas Draper be a jury to view the same and make report thereof to the ensuing Court.” Some points in the above are not clear and this is to be expected, as we are 150 years removed in point of time and perhaps several changes in boundaries have been made in more than seven score years. The mouth of Wartrace creek was evidently then in Smith County, although it is now some three miles from the present Jackson-Smith line to the mouth of Wartrace Creek. The next item tells about how that James Wray was given the right to operate a ferry at the mouth of Wartrace Creek, and this shows further that that section was then in Smith County. Apparently a road from the south side of Cumberland River to lead northward to the crossing of the river, and thence westward to the present Salt Lick Creek, was contemplated. This would have brought the new road to intersect with the Salt Lick Creek, was contemplated. This would have brought the new road to intersect with the Salt Lick road at or near the present Gladdice. We would judge that the parties named as a jury lived somewhere in the general bounds of the territory through which the proposed road was to be built. This would mean that we have the approximate locations of the early homes of James Draper, Esom Graves, Jacob Jenkins, James Wray, Jr., Sampson Williams and Thomas Draper. We know further that Sampson Williams lived in the long ago at the place later called Williamsburg, the early county seat of Jackson County, not far from Fort Blount. We are of the opinion that James Wray was the same as James Ray, the family being among the earliest in all that section. We read recently about how the Dixon’s Creek Baptist church, formed on March 8, 1800, sent out an “arm” to Wartrace creek about 1802 or 1803 and that among the members of the church received on Wartrace Creek were several members of the Ray family.
We are of the opinion that the Jacob Jenkins mentioned above, was a brother of Roderick who lived in the vicinity of Russell Hill; and Noah, the ancestor of the wife of the writer, formerly Miss Betty Jenkins, who was on Long Creek as early as 1805. We are also of the opinion that Jacob Jenkins, a merchant now living at Bakerton, near the corner of Macon, Clay and Jackson Counties, about three miles southeast of Red Boiling Springs, is a descendant of the Jacob Jenkins appointed on that jury a century and a half a go. But by 1820 this first-named Jacob Jenkins had evidently moved out of Smith County into Jackson, or else the boundary line had been changed, thus placing him in Jackson County in the census of 1820, which showed him to be above 45 years of age at that time, 132 years ago. A John Jenkins was also listed in the same county. We are of the opinion that John, Jacob, Roderick and Noah were brothers.
“Ordered that James Wray be allowed to keep a ferry at the mouth of Wartrace Creek on Cumberland River, and that he be allowed the sum of 12 ½ cents for each man and horse; 6 ¼ cents for a single man or a single horse; 12 ½ cents for each pack horse, and for each head of horned cattle 6 ¼ cents; and for all other livestock, two cents for each. For each wagon and team, one dollar; for each cart and team, 50 cents; for each four-wheeled carriage of pleasure, for the conveyance of persons, one dollar; and for each two-wheeled carriage of pleasure, 50 cents, who came into Court and gave security according to law.”
This shows the boundary line between Jackson County and Smith County in the year 1802 to have been above the mouth of Wartrace Creek, which is above the present Fort Blount location. For a man riding horseback, the charge was 12 ½ cents for “setting” them across the river. “For a single man or a single horse,” certainly did not refer to a man who was not married, but to one who crossed the river alone, as the same charge for a single horse could mean for putting one horse, without rider, over the Cumberland. Pack horses were common in that day and time when roads were mostly bridle paths and just trails. Horned cattle were to have a charge made for ferriage to the amount of 6 ¼ cents. Muley cows, sheep and hogs were to be put across the river for two cents per head. Each wagon and team commanded a fee of $1.00. Each cart and team were crossed over for just half as much. Few now living ever saw an old-fashioned cart with its two high wheels, to which oxen were worked part of the time.
The “four-wheeled carriage of pleasure” was the sort used by the “elite” of that day and time for travel, but we suppose such conveyances were few and far between. The “two wheeled carriage of pleasure” was a cart, to which one horse was worked generally. We have ridden in this sort of vehicle and it was nearly everything but a pleasure to ride therein. Just imagine a youthful swain calling for his best girl to take her riding in a steel-tired, homemade; two wheeled cart. But then the girls were not so choicy as they are today, when we look back over the old pictures which showed men with whiskers a foot long and with only their eyes, nose, upper cheeks and foreheads visible through the “foliage” that once adorned the features of most of our male ancestors.
(To be continued)