Transcribed by Brenda Wills
June 28, 1951
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We resume with the record of Tuesday, June 16, 1801. The next item in the old records is as follows: “Bill of ‘Sail’* Joseph Teas to Henry McKinney, proven by the oath of James Blackburn, and ordered to be recorded.” We are doubtful if the name, Joseph Teas, is correct. If it is, we have never before heard of the name, there is not one man of the name in all of Smith County at present, and we find no reference to the name anywhere else. Readers will perhaps understand that the record I am using is a copy of the original, the Column being taken from the typed matter which is in the State Library, and the original still being at Carthage. The original records are very hard to read in many instances, the ink being spotched and part of the paper a decided brownish color, and then a copyist perhaps was not striving for accuracy. We do not say this actually occurred, but it is reasonable to believe such to have happened. Who Joseph Teas was, or what was sold, is not revealed. The witness, James Blackburn, is supposed to have resided on the waters of Roaring River, one part of which is still known as Blackburn’s Fork. Henry McKinney is supposed to be the ancestor of the McKinney family of Smith and surrounding counties today.
“Ordered that Benjamin Blackburn be allowed to keep an ordinary at his now dwelling house at the Double Springs, and that he be rated agreeable to last year’s rates, who gave bond and security accordingly.” The Double Springs, we suppose, means the present Double Springs between Gainesboro and Cookeville, and not far from the extreme upper end of Blackburn Fork of Roaring River. Whether James and Benjamin Blackburn were brothers, we do not know. If any reader knows the connection between the two, please write to us.
Next follows an item not clear to Cal. Perhaps the error was made in copying or by Cal himself. Here it is and we are sure it is incorrect in some point at least: “Bond, Williams, deceased, to Hardy Williams, proven by the oath of Peter Turney, one of the subscribing witnesses.” We know nothing of either Williams. Peter Turney lived where Bud Garrett now lives about a couple of miles northeast of Dixon Springs.
“Ordered that a road from William Anderson’s on Martin’s Creek be laid out, agreeable to law, and that the following jury view the same: William Anderson, William Marchbanks, Thomas Keaton, Sampson Williams, Charles Carter and James Carter and that they report the same to our ensuing Court.” Here we learn definitely that William Anderson was a resident of the Martin’s Creek community. This stream rises not far from the present Cookeville and flows in a northwesterly direction into Cumberland River between the mouth of Caney Fork River and Flynn’s Creek, below Gainesboro. We believe we had previously offered the suggestion that Thomas Kkeaton may have lived on Jennings Creek; but, from the above item it would appear that he must have lived in the vicinity of Martin’s Creek, and the same also holds true of William Marchbanks and Charles and James Carter. Sampson Williams lived across the river some distance from the mouth of Martin’s Creek, in the vicinity of Fort Blount, or rather more particularly at the place later called Williamsburg. Just where the proposed new road was to end is not set forth.
“Ordered that the Grand Jury be discharged from further service,” reads the next item. We gave the members of the Grand Jury in a recent article and comment is not needed at this point. However, we would have been glad to know how many true bills were returned, against whom they were presented and for what crimes or law violations. This, we are sure, would make interesting reading.
“Deed, 40 acres. Michael Murphy and wife and William Marchbanks to Hardy Williams. Acknowledged in Court and ordered that the same be certified to the County Court of Lee in Virginia.” Here we have another item that gives a slightly different angle to the second article above this. We know that Michael Murphy lived at the present Pleasant Shade, and was perhaps its first settler. We know that a Court was held in his home more than 150 years ago. We know that in the sitting of the Court which we are reporting that a certain man was named overseer from Michael Murphy’s to the mouth of Peyton’s Creek and all this ties in with Murphy’s living at Pleasant Shade. Just where he and Marchbanks owned jointly 40 acres of land is not clear. We offered the suggestion in the article above that Marchbanks probably lived in the vicinity of Martin’s Creek. Here we have Hardy Williams again. We suppose he was a relative of the County Court Clerk of that day, Sampson Wiliams, but we do not have any proof as yet. At a very early date members of the Williams family lived on the present Defeated Creek, for the present Difficult was not known for many years, and is still called by some, Williams Cross Roads.
Just what the connection was between Lee County, Virginia, and Smith County we know not. Just what angle involved the certifying of the transaction in Lee County, Virginia, is now anybody’s guess. We are sure that at least one of the parties to the transaction was from Lee County, Virginia. There may have been minors in the sale and various other angles any one of which would necessitate the certifying of the sale on the records of the County Court of Lee County, Virginia. Jonesville is the county seat.
“Ordered that the following hands be liable to work under John Steel, Overseer of the road leading from Fort Blount to the top of the Ridge at the head of Flynn’s Creek: Christopher and Williams Robertson’s hands, and as high up the River as to include Chaffin’s Settlement, and all the hands on Flynn’s Creek.” From the above item we would judge that John Steel lived somewhere in the vicinity of Fort Blount, and also that Christopher Bullar and William Robertson were residents of the same general section. Chaffin’s Settlement was supposedly somewhere on the Cumberland River above the mouth of Flynn’s Creek. We know that a large number of Chaffins still live in the present Jackson County, in which Flynn’s Creek is largely located.
“Bennett Lee’s stock mark, crop off the left ear and also a swallow fork, and an overkeel in the left ear, ordered to be recorded.” We know nothing of Bennett Lee. Any information about him will be appreciated.
“Allen Watkinson’s stock mark, crop off the left ear and a hole in the right ear, and brand letter W, ordered to be recorded.” We find the name Watkinson for the first time in all our life of more that 50 years. It may be a familiar name to some but we confess that we never before saw the name until old records revealed it. Any light on the name or history of the family will be appreciated.
“Moved to adjourn to meet at eight o’clock tomorrow.” Thus ends the record for June 16, 1801. We hope to continue to give an account of the old records from time to time.
Sail for the original spelling for Sale in the original records.
It would be interesting to check the original microfilm of the Court Minutes of Tuesday, June 16,
1801 to see if the name of John Teas was actually transcribed correctly.