Transcribed By Janette West Grimes
March 26, 1953
* Cal's Column *
The next item in the old records is as follows: "Ordered that John Gordon be allowed a tavern license to be kept at his own house, and that he be rated according to the rates for others, and gave security accordingly."
We have no knowledge of John Gordon, but would suppose that he was either the ancestor or a relative of the Gordon for whom the present Gordonsville, in Smith County, was named. Any information that any reader can give me will be appreciated.
"Ordered that William Sullivan, Sr., Robert Rowland, John Warren, Judd Strother and Michael Williamson be a jury to view, mark and lay off a road leaving the Fort Blount Road at the Defeated Creek Hill, thence along Sullivan's Road to Buffalo Creek, thence down said creek to the mouth, thence up Cumberland River on the south side, the nearest and best way to Walton's Road, and that they make a report to the present term of Court; and said Wm. Sullivan, Sr., to have leave to keep a ferry on Cumberland River near the mouth of "Buffelow" Creek, and that the ferry kept by the said Sullivan three miles up above said creek be discontinued." Here we have an item that is not entirely clear. We have no comment to offer at this time on the members of the jury. The starting point for the new road is hazy to the writer at least. The Defeated Creek Hill was the point on the Fort Blount Road from which the new road was to start. We would judge this to have been at a point a short distance north of the present Kempville in Smith County, and not far south of the old Oak Grove School. Here, there is still a hill and a road leading across same down the stream know today as Little Salt Lick, up which the old Fort Blount Road originally ran. However, we never heard the road leading southward from this hill to the present Kempville called Sullivan's Road, but there are many things that the editor of the Times does not know. We do know that the same road extended farther south leads to the present Buffalo Creek, which today is called Buffalo, with the creek part omited. At the mouth of this stream which empties into the Cumberland, a ferry was provided for , as they dispensed with Sullivan's older ferry, three miles higher up the river. Walton's Road in the long ago was on the Chestnut Mound Ridge and extended down Snow Creek via the present Elmwood, and westward to Carthage, and from Carthage on to the west through Dixon Springs, etc. The name "Buffelow," is misspelled by the Clerk in the old records. It should have been "Buffalo."
"Ordered that George Leeper, Henry Sadler, William Calhoun, Thomas Williamson, Michael Williamson, John Kellensworth, William Anderson and Charles Carter be a jury to view, mark and lay off a road from Squire Walton's Road, directly at the head of Barton's Creek, down said creek the nearest and best way to John Williamson's Ferry on Cumberland River, from thence the nearest and best way to William Road, and make report thereof to our next Court." Here we have an item that has Gregory badly mixed up. It may be that there was an error in copying, and we are going to decline comment in the hope that when we get to their report at the next Court, we can better understand just where this road lay.
"Ordered that all persons who have failed to give in a list of their taxable property in Smith County for the year 1802, make return thereof any time during the present term." No comment.
"Deed, 320 acres, Pleasant Emerson to Robert Furlong, acknowledge by said Emerson and ordered to be registered." No comment.
"Court adjourns until tomorrow morning, nine o'clock." Thus closes the work of the Quarterly Court and Court of Pleas of Smith County, Tenn., for Monday, September 20, 1802.
"Court met according to adjournment. Present: Charles Kavanaugh, John Lancaster, Jesse Roberts, Esquires, Justices, etc." Here we have Court opened with only three members in attendance. We have sought in vain thus far, to find how few members could transact business.
"Deed, 240 acres of land, Thomas Hickman to Elijah Gaddy, proven by the oath of Charles Kavanaugh, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto." Perhaps Thomas Hickman was a relative of a descendant of the Hickman for whom Hickman Creek in Smith County was named. Elijah Gaddy is another of whom we know nothing, although the mother of the late Dr. J. Frank Norris was a Gaddy. The land in this deed is supposed to have been somewhere in southwest Smith County, as that is the part of the county from which Kavanaugh came.
"Deed, 200 acres of land, Henry W. Lawson to John Harvey, proven by oath of Zaddock McNew, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be registered." All these are "complete strangers" to Cal.
"Deed, 100 acres, Henry W. Lawson to Henderson Rude, proven by the oath of Zaddock McNew, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Ordered to be registered." Two of these names were in the preceding item, but we just as "bad off " when it comes to knowing anything about Henderson Rude.
"Deed, 50 acres, Henry W. Lawson to Green Berry Dickson, proven by the oath of Zaddock McNew, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be registered." We Have no more knowledge of Green Berry Dickson than we had of others in the preceding three items, although we suspect that the name Dickson was later spelled Dixon.
"Ordered that Nathaniel Brittain, Esquire and Magistrate of said county, report that whereas a warrant had issued against Zachariah Wade and Aaron Milstead ( ? ) under hand and seal of said Brittain, for having with "fource" and arms cut down a bee tree and carried away the honey of Samuel Carothers in said County, that judgement (against) said Zachariah and Aaron, and recognizance to appear at this term of Court, with the proceedings thereon, were in the possession of the said Nathaniel Brittain, Esq. and that said papers have been lost, stolen or misplaced--be recorded."
Here we have an item of a little levity, we think. Nathaniel Brittain lived 150 years ago just below the present Linville Shop on Goose Creek, where George Burnley now lives. Samuel Carothers lived at the place where Jim Tom Cunningham lives today. If we understand the situation right, Zachariah Wade and Aaron Milsread, although there is some doubt as to the name "Milsread," being intended, had forcible entered the land of Samuel Carothers, and had cut down a bee tree and carried the honey away. The old records spell the word,"force," as "fource." Here we have two men with Bible names, Zachariah or Zacharias and Aaron, who cut down Carothers' bee tree and the old man, as we suppose him to have been at the time, gets out papers before Squire Brittain who was his nearest neighbor to the north, and then when Court meets, the Magistrate discovers he has either lost the papers in the case or they have been misplaced or stolen. We wonder if it could have been that the honey stealers also stole the legal papers in the case in which they were involved.
One hundred and fifty years ago honey was just about the only sweetening available to the pioneers. Some did make maple sugar, but this was a slow and tedious process, requiring a lot of time and hard work and with but little "sugar" after so much work and time spent. We once helped our father to make maple or sugartree sugar. Our father had about 60 trees of the variety commonly called by our country people, "sugar trees." They are now putting out buds and can be distinguished on our hillsides and in our forests of today. But to return to our story. They had but few receptacles or vessels in which to catch the flowing sap. Buckets, except for the old "Piggin," were out of the picture for tin buckets and pails had not been even dreamed of. To catch the water, it was necessary to fell a tree, generally a buckeye, to cut lengths of about two feet and then split them into rather large parts and then chop out a sort of though in which to catch the sweet sap that flowed in the late winter from the maple trees. Then followed the tapping of the trees and this required a good sharp axe and something of an expert in matters of chopping. Next there had to be an auger or bit to bore into the bottom of the cut made in the tree with the axe. Then a cane quill or spout was inserted in the sugar hole and then the trough was placed beneath the end of the cane, as soon as the right weather condition developed, the tree began "to run" drop by drop and sometimes a little faster.
During warm nights in the sugar making season, the trees would "run" at night. Then the sugar-hungry farmer had to stay up and gather the flowing sap, lest it be lost as soon as the troughs in which it flowed from trees became full.
We do not recall positively, but feel sure that at least 40 gallons of the raw sap were required to make one gallon of syrup or molasses. Much wood for the fires was required, and the efforts of that day and time to obtain sweets would appall the average person of today who can earn enough in a day's time to buy sweets enough for weeks.
Anyway Carothers had Wade and Milstead taken up and given a hearing before Squire Brittain, who was unable to find the papers that had been served on the "honey stealers" when Court met. We have curiosity to know just where the bee tree of a century and a half ago stood, but we will have to leave this desire on our part ungratified as we have in some other matters in which records have been lost or have not been made.
"Ordered that Martin Young, William Donoho, Reuben Goad, Tandy Witcher and Peter Dagner ( ? ) be a jury to view, lay off and mark a road leading from Michael Murphy's to Daniel Witcher's and report our next Court." This road was to begin at the home of Michael Murphy's at the present Pleasant Shade. It was to end at Daniel Witcher's, whose home was on Long Fork Creek in this county, not far from the present home of Leo Whitley. We judge that this road led up the main stream of the present Peyton's Creek, to the top of the Ridge, thence through the present Union Camp and down Long Fork to Witcher's. Reuben Goad was a son-in-law of Daniel Witcher, and Tandy Witcher was a son. William Donoho was known as Uncle Billie Donoho and was a great bear hunter, a fighter of Indians, a keeper of bees and the ancestor of the Donohos now living in Macon and Jackson Counties. Whether he was related to the Hartsville Donohos is not known to the writer.
( To be continued )