Transcribed by Rae Wayne
May 1, 1952
* CAL’S COLUMN *
We continue with the old records. The next item found therein is as follows: “Ordered that William Haynie and John Crosswhite be released from their securityship for Rachel Clark, now Rachel Stalcup, for her daughter, Dorcas, from the commencement thereof; and that Samuel Stalcup be appointed guardian for the said Dorcas Clark, who gave Daniel McFarland and Richard Clark, his securities, who came into Court and were approved of.” This is a rather long sentence and very loosely formed. But we are sure that it signified that William Haynie and John Crosswhite, who had been on the bond of Rachel Stalcup, were released from their obligations in this matter with the appointing of Samuel Stalcup and new sureties. We are of the opinion that William Haynie was the father of Elder E. B. Haynie, a noted Baptist minister in Smith County for many years. However, we are always subject to correction. We would judge that Dorcas Clark was the daughter of Rachel Clark by her first husband, who evidently left some property which was inherited by his minor child, Dorcas. Later, it appears that her mother married Samuel Stalcup, who became the child’s guardian. Richard Clark, we would surmise, was a brother of Rachel’s first husband. We know nothing of John Crosswhite, Daniel McFarland or Samuel Stalcup.
“Edward Cage’s stock mark, an underkeel in each ear, ordered to be registered.” Cage is supposed to have been the founder of the family in the county, which is now very few in numbers.
It is something of a tragedy that some of the leading families of early Smith County history have virtually disappeared from the earth. One of the county’s leading citizens 140 years ago was Squire Henry Tooley who owned much land, was a member of the County Court and an out-standing man. So far as the writer can learn, not one of his descendants lives in the county today, and only a very few of his descendants are left elsewhere.
Another group that has disappeared was the O’Bannon family, once prominent here in Macon County. Perhaps there are some members of the family in some other part of the world, but none of them remains here.
The Brevard family, once living just below the present Hillsdale, and headed by John Brevard, has left Middle Tennessee, and only a very few members of the family are to be found anywhere. John Brevard was of French descent and was a large landowner, and possessed in the census of 1820 about 20 Negro slaves.
Many, many other families have grown smaller and smaller until it is only a question of time, if the present trend continues, until they will be but memories.
“Ordered that an election be held for Sheriff, whereupon, the Court made choice of John Douglass unanimously, whereupon the said John Douglass came into Court, gave security and qualified according to law.” Elmore Douglass was also a prominent early settler in Smith Co. His will is still on record at Carthage. We do not know whom he married, but a Thomas B. Douglas married a Miss Gregory about 150 years ago. This woman was the daughter of 1 of our great-great-great-grandfathers, Thomas Gregory, who died in Smith County in the early part of the 19th century. This Thomas Gregory was soldier of the American Revolution as were his sons, Bry and Squire Bill. Settlement of his estate was made on February 22, 1827, each of the sons and daughters receiving $1,539.29 from their father’s estate. In Cisco’s History of Sumner County, there is a reference to Douglass marrying a Gregory, but we do not know what relation, if any, Thomas B. Douglass and John Douglass were.
The sons and daughters of Thomas Gregory were: Mrs. Thomas B. Douglass, Mrs. Isaac George, Bry Gregory, Abraham Gregory, William Gregory, Hardin Gregory and Thomas Gregory, Jr. The last-named son married Phoebe Hawkins in Virginia in 1787, but died prior to his father’s death. In the settlement of the estate of the senior Thomas Gregory, the heirs of Thomas, Jr. were as follows: Mrs. Richard Brown, Mrs. Basil Burch, A. J. Gabriel and Thomas (Big Tom) Gregory. William and Hardin Gregory were the executors of the old man’s will.
But coming back to the old records we find: “Ordered that John Lawrence be allowed to return 1,000 acres of land for taxation for the year 1801, lying at the juncture of the Caney Fork with the Cumberland and in the forks thereof.” There is no trouble in identifying the location of this land. But we have no knowledge of John Lawrence, for we do not recall any members of the family still living in Smith County. However, quite a number of Lawrences live in Macon County at the present time.
“Ordered that Isaac Walton be land, entered in his own and Moore Stephenson’s names for taxation in the year 1801.” Here we have the same family name as that of the famous Izaak Walton, born in 1693 and died in 1783, as well as something of the same given name. Izaak Walton wrote a book, “The Compleat Angler,” which gave him a fame that has lived till the present time, and even now, fishermen are referred to as “Izaak Waltons.” Whether Isaac Walton, above mentioned, was a brother of William Walton, Carthage’s first settler, we do not know, but presume they were closely related. Moore Stephenson was another prominent Smith Countian of his day.
“Thomas Walker was cited to the present term of Court by David Ventress to show why the said David Ventress should not extend his mill dam across Goose Creek on the lands of the said Thomas Walker, who came into Court and gave satisfactory reasons why the mill dam should not be extended as aforesaid; and the Court directed that Thomas Walker should be discharged from further attendance, and that the said David Ventress should pay all costs of such citation.” Here we have an item, about which we offered some comment a few months ago. David Ventress was then written David Venters, and he wanted a permit to build a mill on Goose Creek, near the big spring, of which we have not learned anything so far. Just where the mill site was, we do not know. We commented on the name, “Venters,” stating that we had an idea that it was “Ventress,” which now appears to have been correct. However, we are wondering if the name does not finally resolve itself into the name, “Vantrease.” If the proposed mill on Goose Creek was ever built, we have no information to that effect. The name, “Venters,” or “Ventress,” is not now borne by any Smith Countians, although there are numerous members of the Vantrease family still in the county.
“Henry Tooley’s stock mark, a swallow fork in the right ear, and an under bit in the left; ordered to be recorded.” This is the man above referred to and is the first member of the family that we have found in Smith county. He lived, so we understand, just south of the present Riddleton, and one bend of the Cumberland was once known as Tooley’s Bend. One of his descendants, so we understand, is our own citizen Burford H. Tooley, local businessman. However, the Tooley family had left Smith County by the time the census of 1820 was taken. Squire Henry Tooley was for a number of years, one of the most prominent citizens of the county and a member of the County Court for perhaps 12 years.
“Ordered that Elmore Douglass, Esquire, take the list of taxable property and polls for Captain Bishop’s Company; Thomas Smith, for Captain Lancaster’s Company; John Looney, Esquire, for Captain Kavanaugh’s Company; Lee Sullivan, Esquire, for Captain Pryor’s Company; John Patterson, for his own Company; Nathaniel Brittain, for Captain Gifford’s Company; David White, for Captain Casey’s Company; Peter Turney, Esquire, for Captain Ballou’s Company; William Gregory, for Captain Settle’s Company; James Roberts, Esquire, for Captain Pate’s Company’ and James Draper, for Jenning’s Creek and Barren waters.”
Here we have a lengthy item, part of which is “Greek” to the writer. We presume that these men appointed to “take a list of taxable property and polls,” were the tax collectors of that day and time, “polls” signifying a poll tax. We know nothing of Thomas Smith, nor of several others mentioned. John Looney is thought to have resided about two miles east of Lafayette at one time, but he had evidently moved to the south side of Smith County, where Captain Kavanaugh lived. We presume that Lee Sullivan lived in the present Sullivan’s Bend section, and that Captain Pryor also lived there. John Patterson lived in the long ago on the waters of big Goose Creek, and we believe he was called “Blacksmith John.” Nathaniel Brittain lived about where the present Meadorville is located, from the most reliable information available to the writer. The Giffords were early settlers in the vicinity of Hillsdale.
We have no information as to David White or Captain Casey. Peter Turney, Esquire, lived on the present Bud Garrett farm, about a mile and a half northeast of Dixon Springs. Captain Ballou was James Ballou, a brother of our own great-great-grandfather, Leonard Ballou. He resided about four hundred yards below the present Dixon’s Creek Baptist church, in a house that stood either on the site of the present Charlie Brooks home or nearby. Just below his home the Fort Blount Road crossed Dixon’s Creek. James Ballou married twice, once to a Miss Shields and once to a Miss Shelton.
Peter Turney was the grandfather of the former Governor of Tennessee, Peter Turney, and was a prominent citizen of early Smith County.
William Gregory, appointed for Captain Settle’s Company, was a brother of another of the writer’s great-great-grandfathers, Bry Gregory. William H. Gregory is said to have married Martha Bledsoe, by whom he reared a large family. William H. Gregory was familiarly known as “Squire Bill” Gregory. He was the very first Gregory to come to Middle Tennessee, arriving on Peyton’s Creek in the autumn of 1791, and was soon followed by his brother, Bry Gregory; his father and many other relatives. Our former County Court Clerk, Fred D. Gregory, is a great-great-grandson of Squire Bill. And there are numerous descendants of this man still living in this county.
Captain Settle was an early Peyton’s Creek citizen. The family was then called almost universally “Settles.”
James Draper, Esquire, was selected to take a list of taxable property and polls for Jennings’ Creek, where he is believed to have resided, and the waters of Barren. “The waters of Barren” meant that part of Smith County whose waters emptied into Barren River. At that day and time Smith County extended from the Kentucky line to Alabama, and eastward to the Indian Boundary, some miles east of the present Gainesboro. So Draper was to collect the taxes for most of the north side of Macon County and part of the present Clay County, as well as for Jenning’s Creek.
“Ordered that Richard Taylor be appointed overseer of the road leading from the ford of Peyton’s Creek to the ‘sidling hill’ between that and Walton’s Ferry, and that hands belonging to that part of said (road) who were liable to work under William Walton, shall work on same.” We suppose this meant that Richard Taylor, and we presume Richard Taylor, was the ancestor of the Taylor family still in the Monoville section, was to have charge of the road leading from the ford of Payton’s Creek, just below the present Monoville, to the top of what later became Hall’s Hill, where the “sidling road,” leading to Walton’s Ferry began. Walton’s Ferry was located at the juncture of the Caney Fork and the Cumberland Rivers. “Sidling Road” is certainly a good description of the road into Carthage from the West. Richard Taylor, we judge, had charge of the work on the road from below Monoville, through that village, southeastward to the top of Hall’s Hill, a distance of about three miles.
“The Court adjourned until tomorrow nine o’clock.” Thus closes the work of the County Court and Court of Pleas of Smith County, Tennessee, for Tuesday, March 16, 1802.
(To be Continued)