Transcribed by Timothy R. Meador, Jr.
The first item of business transacted in the Court of Monday, September 20, 1802, is recorded as follows: “Deed, Thomas Lancaster to Jesse Powell, 363 acres, proven by the oath of William Powell, one of the subscribing witnesses.” We suppose that Thomas Lancaster was perhaps a brother of the John Lancaster mentioned in the list of Magistrates making up the Court. Jesse Powell and William Powell, we presume, might have been brothers. We have no information as to either of the three men.
”James Wood’s last will and testament was produced in Court and proven by the oath of Thomas Vance and Samuel S. Greer, subscribing witnesses. Jean Wood, who was nominated Executrix of the said will, qualified accordingly and thereupon it was ordered that letters testamentary be granted to her.” We have no information as the James Wood or his wife, Jean Wood, as we suppose her to have been the wife of the testator. The witnesses to the will are also unknown to the writer.
“Ordered that Isham Beasley be appointed overseer of the road from Peyton’s Creek to Saunders’ Ferry in the room of Henry Tooley, with the hands that were under Tooley.” Isham Beasley lived first in Smith County in what is called Beasley’s Bend, to the southwest of Riddleton. In fact we understand that the Bend took its name from Isham Beasley. Peyton’s Creek is a stream about 20 miles long that rises about seven to ten miles east of Lafayette, flows generally southward and empties into the Cumberland not far from Riddleton, above mentioned. But we confess that we do not know exactly where the road over which Isham Beasley was appointed overseer, left Peyton’s Creek. If there was in that distant day and time a road leading westward from Peyton’s Creek except that which came through the present Riddleton below the Fort Blount Road which came through the present Pleasant Shade, we confess we never heard of it. However, it is possible that the road here mentioned might have had its origin at Riddleton, not far west of Peyton’s Creek. In fact it is not more than a mile from Peyton’s Creek to Riddleton at the nearest point. We would thus judge that Beasley was overseer of the road that now leads into the bend back of Riddleton, but we do no know where Saunders’ Ferry was. Another point in favor of this being the road mentioned is that Henry Tooley was a resident of the section between Riddleton and the river in the long ago, a bend just back of Riddleton having been called Tooley’s Bend long ago.
We have quite a number of items concerning Isham Beasley which we hope to give in a later article. This man was form North Carolina, and served in the American Revolution. He married Polly Andrews and by her, was the father of perhaps 16 sons and daughters. After having lived for some time in the section now known as Beasely’s Bend, he removed to the Sullivan’s Bend section higher up the Cumberland where he became wealthy for his day and time, owning hundreds of acres of good land and scores of slaves. His will is on file at Carthage and we may publish it at some future time. He is listed as the head of a family in the Smith County Census Record for 1820, as follows: One male under ten, one male 10 to 16, one male 16 to 18, one male 18 to 26, and one male from 45 upward. We suppose that he was the male above 45. Females were: Two between 10 and 16, one from 16 to 26, one female from 26 to 45, and 30 slaves. There is not one family of Tooleys listed in the 1820 census, so we are to infer that the family had removed from Smith County by that time.
“In the room of” in the old records meant in the place of, just as the Bible tells, us in Matthew 2:22, about the son who reigned in the room of his father.
“Grand Jury, viz: James Bradley, foreman; Boalting Felts, Joseph, William Shaw, Phillip Sutton, John Shelton, William Stephenson, George Thomason, John Ward, Alexander Piper, Henry Moore, Jeffrey Sutton, Alexander Wilkerson, impannelled, sworn, charged and sent. Jacob Turney sworn as Constable.”
Here we have the names of 14 men of whom we have but little knowledge. James Bradley is supposed to have been a relative or the ancestor of the rather numerous Bradley family once found in the Dixon Springs and Riddleton sections. Boalting Felts, we suppose, was none other than Bolling Felts as the name appears in other places. The surname of the man listed as Joseph is not given, but we wonder if it was not Shaw. William Shaw is next in the list and we have an idea that he was a relative of the Jerry Shaw we knew as a child at Dixon Springs. Phillip Sutton is incorrect, we are sure. The name should have been Sitton. We are informed in the old records of Dixon’s Creek Baptist church of Joseph Sitton, and also of Geofrey Sitton listed above as Jeffrey Sutton. However, the name Sitton, has long since ceased to be the name of any family residing in Smith County, just as many other names have either “run out” or its members have moved away. The name “Brevard” is one of the latter class, the members of this prominent French family having removed to west Tennessee about 125 years ago and none of them remain in Smith County. The O’Bannon family of Macon County in other years, has “run out,” and there is no person of the name now in this county.
We believe that John Shelton was perhaps the father-in-law of James Ballou, who was a brother of one of our great-great-grandfathers, Leonard Ballou. He lived so we are informed, not far from the old rock house that once stood about half way from Hartsville to Dixon Springs. We have no information on William Stephenson.
George Thomason is believed to have been the ancestor of John Burton McDuffee, 94-year-old citizen of Hillsdale, this county, who is thought to be perhaps a great-grandson of George. There is a George Thomerson listed in the 1820 census of Smith County, having two sons, 10 to 16 years of age, and one male in the family from 45 and upward, and we would judge this to have been George himself. One female is listed above the age of 45 years, his wife presumable. Another George Thomerson is also listed, with one male in the family from 18 to 26; and also a female under 10, and one female between 16 and 26, presumed to have been his wife. But this could not have been the George Thomason, who was given Grand Jury service in 1802, for he would have been far too young. Other Thomersons listed in Smith County in 1820 were Adam, Thomas, Edward, Joseph, Samuel and Elias Thomerson. The family is now non-existent in Smith County or in Macon.
Alexander Piper is believed to have been the founder of the Piper family in Macon and Smith Counties, Tenn., although Abram Piper was a comparatively old man in Smith County 130 years ago. Benjamin Piper was between 18 and 26 years of age in the year 1820. Since Alexander Piper is not listed in 1820, we wold judge that he had died prior to that year or else had removed from Smith County.
We have nothing of interest on Henry Moore, but we believe he lived in the vicinity of the present Carthage.
Alexander Wilkerson was a member of an early family in Smith County, about which there is some difference in spelling. Some spelled the name Wilkinson, others Wilkerson. Other members of the family in Smith County 133 years ago in the census were: Archibald, Brooks, Turner and Rachel Wilkerson. We have no information as to Jacob Turney, the constable sworn in, we presume, to “wait on the jury.”
“Deed, 270 acres, Samuel Shaw to James Birmingham, proven by the oath of Richard Taylor, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Ordered to be registered.” We confess that this is the first time we ever saw the family name, “Birmingham.” We wonder if any reader has ever before seen this name except as a city. We know nothing of Samuel Shaw. We suppose that Richard Taylor was a relative or the ancestor of the present Taylor family in Smith and adjoining counties.
“William Smith, esquire, produced his license as attorney at law; and thereupon, was admitted as a practicing attorney in this Court.” No comment.
“Thomas Bowman’s stock mark, half a crop off the upper side of the right ear, and an upper keel off the left.” We confess we do not know exactly what this stock mark looked like in reality. We recall our father’s stock mark, a split in the left ear. Thomas Bowman, we presume, was perhaps a brother of Robert Bowman, or his son. Robert died about 1807, if memory serves us right. He was the ancestor of the Bowman family around Riddleton.
“Deed, 640 acres, William McWhirter to George McWhirter, by the oath of George Purtle, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Order to be registered.” We know but little of the McWhirter family. In fact there is now not one member of the family so far as we can recall in either Macon or Smith County. However, Henry McWhirter or McWhorter lived in the vicinity of Red Boiling Springs as early as 1820. He was the clerk of the Union Christian Church on Salt Lick as early as that date. The name Purtle is now spelled “Pirtel” by its members today.
“Deed, 320 acres, Robert Hays to William Bratton, proven by the oath of George McWhirter, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Ordered to be registered.” We have no idea as to where this land lay, but we have a sort of suspicion that it lay in the bounds of the present Macon County. The George M. McWhirter is the same man to whom William McWhirter sold 360 acres of land, as set forth in the preceding item from the old records. We have no information on Robert Hays, but wonder if our town of Haysville was not named for him or some one of his descendants. If any reader knows for whom Haysville was named, please write us. Robert Bratton is the first head of a family of that name listed in the Census for 1820. Readers need to recall that our own county of Macon was largely formed from what was once the north part of Smith County, in the year 1842. Robert Bratton was a young man in 1820, having one male under 10, and himself being between 26 and 45. He had one daughter under 10, and his wife in 1820 was between 26 and 45 years of age.
Rachel Bratton is the next head of a family in 1820 of the name Bratton. She was evidently a widow with a very large family. Two males under ten, and one male from 18 to 26; and eight females under ten, three from ten to 16, and one female between 26 and 45, (herself, we presume,) were listed as making up her family. But we confess that ten children ten years old or younger is quite a family in so short a time. She must have either taken in some other children or to have had five sets of twins in ten years’ time. If any member of the family can enlighten us on this point your help will be appreciated.
Joshua Bratton was another member of the family according to the census of 1820. He had one male between 18 and 26, and he himself was 26 to 45 years of age. His women folks are listed as: Three females of ten or less years, and one female between 26 and 45, evidently the wife.
James Bratton is the next in the list. His family is listed: One male between 10 and 16, one between 16 and 18, and one above 45, evidently himself. His wife is listed as being above 45 years of age and one other female from 26 to 45.
Joseph Bratton was a young man with no family in 1820 except himself, between 18 and 25, and his wife, between 16 and 26.
Thomas Bratton appears next in the record. He had two males under 10, and one from 26 to 45, evidently himself; and two females under ten, and a wife between 16 and 26.
Next in the list is our land purchaser of the last item given in the Court records. In 1820 this man had one male between 10 and 16, one from 16 to 18, two between 18 and 26, and himself, above 45. The females are grouped as follows: One under 10, and one above 45, evidently the wife of William Bratton.
David Bratton, is still another head of a family listed in 1820. He had one male under 10, one from 16 to 18, one from 18 to 25, and one between 25 and 45, evidently himself. Females in the family are grouped: One female under 10, and one between 16 and 26.
The last Bratton head of a family listed in 1820 was Thomas Bratton, with one male, himself, from 26 to 45; two females under 10, and his wife, from 16 to 25.
(To be continued)