May 10, 1951
Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
* CALíS COLUMN *
††† Tuesday, March 19, 1801
†† "Court met according to adjournment. Members present William Walton, Tilman Dixon, Moses Fisk and James Hibbetts, Esquires." One man present the day before, Peter Turney, was absent at the beginning of the day's session, although he lived only about two miles from the place of meeting which was in the old Tilman Dixon home, which stands just below Dixon's Springs. The two large, two - story rooms with a hall between, are still to be seen in the old home, to which later, two - story† brick rooms were added at each front corner of the original house. The walls of the original rooms are of log, well hewn and showing a high grade of workmanship for 150 years ago.
†† "On motion of George Smith and John C. Hamilton, Esquires, to grant a new trial in the suit, John L. Martin versus Michael Murphy; and, on solemn argument heard as well on the part of the Plaintiff as the Defendant, the Court decided that no new trial be granted." We presume that George Smith and John C. Hamilton were lawyers. We have not the least intimation from the old records as to the matter under litigation. John L. Martin was the Sheriff for 1800, according to the first matter of business attended to by the Court on the preceeding day, Michael Murphy was a resident of the present Pleasant Shade section, living just back of the old Bob Williams Mill. A session of the Court was held at his home in the year 1800. Anyway a new trial was denied.
†† "Ordered that Hugh Lamb be appointed overseer of the road lately laid out from Stephen Copeland's to where the northern boundary of the State crosses Line Creek, to begin at said Copeland's to the head of Mill Creek, and that John Overturf be appointed overseer from the head of Mill Creek to the Cumberland River, and that Moses Fisk, Esquire, be appointed to furnish overseers with a list of hands. And that John Black be appointed overseer from Cumberland River to where the northern boundary of the State crosses Line Creek, and that all the hands living above the waters of Jennings' Creek on the north side of the Cumberland River work under said overseer." Two or three points in this are not clear. One is concerning Hugh Lamb. It is to hard make out whether this is the correct name, as the writing is hard to decipher. Whether this is correct will have to wait further action and more legible handwriting. Stephen Copeland lived somewhere in the present Clay County from the best information we have. We know that Line Creek leaves the present Macon County about a mile south of the present Gamabel (?), in the extreme northeast corner of the county. So this must have been one end of the road, and Copeland's home at the other end. We do not know where Mill Creek of the Cumberland is. According to the above item it appears that there was some sort of overlapping of overseers. It appears that the road wherever it began and wherever it ended, was somewhere north of the waters of Jennings' Creek, judging from the latter part of the Court's order. We know that Jennings' Creek rises in the east end of the present Macon County and that it drains a large area of hills and valleys. The next stream up the Cumberland above Jennings' Creek is known as Locke's Branch now, Brimstone is another creek, but we have no knowledge of Mill Creek of Cumberland River.
†† "Ordered that Harmon Grags (?) be appointed overseer of the road lately laid off by John McDonald, Simon Huddleston and John Morgan, to begin on the South bank of Obed's River, to the top of the Ridge at the head of Eagle Creek, and that all the hands living between Irons (?) road and the Indian Boundary on the South side of Obed's River work under said overseer. And that George Smith be appointed overseer of the said road from the North bank of Obed's River to the State line and that the hands ( work said road ) living within the following bounds: Beginning where the State line crosses Spring Creek, thence a direct line to the Indian Boundary and along same to where it intersects the Northern boundary of the State and North along the same to the beginning." Here is a rather long item, part of which is not clear. We doubt if the name at the beginning "Harmon Grags," is correct, as we made our record for this article from the copy which is in the State Library and not directly from the old records themselves. In other words, we believe a mistake was made by the party copying the old records for the Library. The South bank of Obed's River meant the right - hand bank of the stream as one ascends the little river. Where Eagle Creek is, we do not know. Perhaps some reader can tell us. We suppose it is a stream running into Obed's River from the south or southeast. The Indian Boundary, as has already been set forth in a previous article, embraced a large territory extending from the Kentucky line southward to the present Caney Fork River and eastward, we suppose, to the Cumberland Mountains. It took in the upper part of Obed's River, which the Indians called "Ooccoahustehee." How long it was continued as a reservation for the Cherokee Indians is not known to the writer.
†† The George Smith appointed overseer on the north side of Obed's River may have been the same George Smith, referred to as probably an attorney or lawyer. We confess our ignorance in this matter.
†† "In the suit, Jordan Roach against Lazarus Cotton, on motion of defendant attorney for a new trial in the above suit, and solemn argument heard as well on behalf of the Plaintiff as the Defendent, the Court decided that a new trial be granted." We do not know who Jordan Roach was, the name, so far as we know, being no longer known among Smith County citizens. Lazarus Cotton was previously mentioned in one item of business in the year 1800. What the suit embraced we do not know.We wish we had a record of the early suits but that is only wishful longing.
†† "Ordered that in the suit, John L. Martin against Michael Murphy, all the costs which accrued in the above suit by summoning witnesses who have not attended, together with the cost of issuing such subpoenas, be taxed on the Plaintiff." Here we learn that Martin, the Plaintiff, was taxed with the costs of issuing subpoenas and of the officers summoning of witnesses who did not appear. We are certain that summoning witnesses was a hard job in that day and time where there were no real roads and the onlu means of travel was on horseback or on foot. Just think of summoning witnesses over Smith County which at that time embraced a strip of land extended from Sumner and Wilson Counties on the west to the Indian Boundary on the east and from Kentucky on the north to Alabama on the south.
†† "Peter Turney and Armistead Stubblefield, Caviators against Willis Cherry, Cavitee, on motion of Defendant attorney: to set aside the jury who attended upon the premises, and to order a new Jury to be summoned, the Court overruled the motion and confirmed the verdict of said Jury." Armistead Stubblefield is supposed to have been the ancestor of the Stubblefields of Hartsville, or at least a relative of theirs. The words, "Caviators," and "Cavitee," are incorrectly spelled, and we are not trying to appear smart. The first word is correctly spelled "Caveator." We find no word answering for the latter word, "Cavitee." "Caveat" means in law; A formal notification to a court or ministerial officer warning him from taking some particular step till the notifier is heard; a caution; warning; as, a caveat filed against the probate of a will." We would say that in the above Peter Turney and Armistead filed a caveat against Willis Cherry, but just what was involved is not set forth at all. We have no knowledge whatever of who Willis Cherry was. The word Caveat really means, "Let him beware."
†† "In the suit, John Sevier and George Gordon against Aaron Robbins, Benjamin Seawell, Esquire, moved to amend the Declaration in Ejectment. The Court determined that no amendments should be made and that the suit abate accordingly by the agreement of the Plaintiff's attorney." Seawell was an early lawyer. We presume his name would now be spelled Sewell. John Sevier and George Gordon were large land owners in those early days, and it appears that an effort was being made to "eject" one Aaron Robbins from property claimed or owned by Sevier and Gordon. In Seawell 's effort to amend the Declaration in Ejectment, the Court ruled against the Plaintiffs. We have no idea who Aaron Robbins was, this being the first time, if memory serves us aright, that the name has appeared in the old records of a century and a half ago.
†† "Ordered that Moses Fisk, Esquire, and Sampson Williams be appointed to survey a disputed† claim wherein George Gordon and John Sevier are Plaintiffs, and Alexander Suite, Defendant; the said surveyors to meet on the 11th of April next at thre house of John Sprowls, and that the Plaintiff's be directed to furnish said surveyors with all the title papers to establish their claim." Reference has been made numerous times to Gordon and Sevier. Also we had some comment to offer about Alexander Suite, who, we suppose, was very probably the father of Elder William N. Suite a Baptist† minister at a later period. The future minister was born in October 21, 1825, and lost his father while he was perhaps in his teens. He was a resident of the extreme west end of Smith County, on the south side of Cumberland River. If the writer should be in error as to Alexander Suite being the father of Elder William N. Suite, we would be glad to be corrected. We believe that some previous reference to John Sprowls has already been made in these articles.
†† "Ordered that the following Gentlemen be appointed on the Venire to the Superior Court: viz: Andrew Greer, Daniel Mungle, David Cochran and Edward Settles." Comment has already been offered on each of these early citizens.
†† "A Venire for the ensuing County Court: viz: Thomas Draper, James Draper, Henry Huddleston, Lee Sullivan, William Sullivan, William Anderson, Uriah Anderson, John Fitzgerald, Christopher Fuller, William Robertson, Willeroy Pate, Edward Pate, Booker Pate, James Roberts, Isaac Green, Jacob Bowerman, Charles McClennan, William Marchbanks, William Kelton, Elijah Hedgecock, John Steel, Nathaniel Ridley, Thomas Keaton, Henry McKinney, Charles Carter, Thomas Williamson, Esom Graves, Jacob Jenkins, George Ausbrooks, James Fisher, James Armstrong, Thomas Wallace, Henry Sadler, William Holliday, George Leeper and Benjamin Holliday." Here we have a list that included some of the leading Smith County citizens in 1801. We have offered comment on practically all the number. We are still in the dark as to Lee and William Sullivan. Were they related to our present Sullivans in Macon County ? We also would like to know what connection there was between, Willeroy, Edward and Booker Pate. William and Uriah Anderson claim an interest in our inquiries. Were they brothers ? Did either of them have a son, Johnson Anderson, who married Dillie, the daughter of our great - great - grandfather, Jerry Gregory and his wife, Barbara Rawls ? We believe that there are two news names in the list, those of Elijah Hedgecock and Thomas Wallace. If we have found them in the records prior to March Court in 1801, we do not recall same. We also believe that William and Benjamin Holliday "newcomers" to these records. We wonder if George Leeper† was related to the Leeper family that previously settled at Nashville. We also wonder if the Holliday mentioned above were related to the Holliday who had lived with Thomas S. Spencer for a time, at Castalian Springs,† who wished to return to the old settlement and who was accompanied to some part of Kentucky where the two men parted, after they had broken the one hunting knife they owned and each had taken a part of the knife as they separated.
†† "Ordered that Moses Fisk, Grant Allen and Peter Turney, Esquires, be appointed to settle with the administrators of the estate of William Young, deceased, that they report such settlement together with the vouchers relative thereto, to our ensuing† Court." We believe we have mentioned the fact that Grant Allen lived near the mouth of Dixon's Creek, but we may have not reported that fact previously. He was connected with the early history of Dixon's Creek Baptist church, which was formed in Allen's home on March 8, 1800,† a year before the Court which this article is a part of the record. There was also a preacher named Clifton Allen, in that distant day and time, but whether he was a brother of Grant Allen, we are not informed. Anyway, Clifton Allen was not of the ministerial members of the organizing Presbytery that formed that church on March 8, 1800. We might add that the church is still very much alive today, and most of her records are intact. We do not know who the administrators of the estate of William Young were, although there may have been some reference thereto in the old records that have already been given. It is hard to remember all that one would like to recall.
†† "Pleasant Kearby and wife versus Philip Draper and wife. On motion of Defendants' attorney, the above suit abated on the pleas of the defendants." Pleasant Kearby is believed to have† been the ancestor of the numerous Kirby family of the present day in Macon and Smith Counties. We have no knowledge of Philip Draper, nor the nature of the suit.
†† "Ordered that the fine and double tax incurred on 640 acres of and lying on Roaring River be remitted for the year 1800. This vague and indefinite record lacks the name of the land owner. It also looks like there was no other land on Roaring River except the 640 acres but we know that this is incorrect. It was another example of the sad act that our ancestors kept but few records and many of them kept none at all. Tracing family history, today is an almost hopeless task because our people in the long gone years kept but few records and some did not keep any.
†† "Ordered William Russell, James Taylor, Smith Hutchins, John ( unreadable ), John M. Roberts, John Burlison, Isham Russell and Stephen Capeland be appointed a Jury to view, mark and lay off a road, agreeable to law, from or near the head of Eagle Creek, where the road lately marked by John McDonald and others stops, to intersect the Fort Blount Road at the most convenient place for the Roaring River settlement, and that they report the same to our ensuing Court." Here we have two or three new names. Isham Russell, Smith Hutchinson and John Burlison are all here mentioned in the old records for the first time, so far as we can recall. We have absolutely no knowledge of either of them as to ancestors or posterity. We believe Eagle Creek is a stream running into Obed's River from the South. The Fort Blount road began at Fort Blount, now in Jackson County, and extended many miles westward. So it appears that the new road was to be laid off from the vicinity of Obed's River or its waters southward by way of Roaring River, which empties into the Cumberland just above the present Gainesboro.
†† "Ordered that Silas Jernigan, Peter Turney, Tilman Dixon, Nathaniel Dickerson and Moses Fisk be appointed a Jury to view, mark and lay off a road, agreeable to law, from Dixon Springs to Peter Turneys' and that they report same to our ensuing Court."
†† Here we have an item of peculiar interest to the writer. Here we find the viewing, marking and " laying off of the first road Cal ever traveled to get to the town nearest to where he was born. For Peter Turney lived in the same valley in which Cal was born almost 80 years ago. Previous to the above order of the Court the old Fort Blount road came down the same valley, but turned† to the northeast† very near the Peter Turney home, crossed Dixon's Creek just below the present brick church house on that stream, thence across the hills toward Hartsville, by passing Dixon Springs by a distance of nearly two miles. So a road was planned directly from Dixon Springs to Turney's home. No doubt this road intersected with the Fort Blount Road in less than a half mile of the old Turney home, which was on the present Bud Garrett farm. One new name appears in the list of jurors appointed for the laying out of the road, that of Nathaniel Dickerson. We have no knowledge whatever of him and any information will be appreciated.
†† We might† add that the above proposed new road, so far as the writer can learn, largely followed the bed of Dixon's Creek to the mouth of the present Young Branch, which was known in 1801 as the East Fork of Dixon's Creek. Turney lived on the East Fork, about a mile from where it empties into Dixon's Creek. Later the road was moved away from the Creek in places, extending by the old Duffy place, now the home of Mrs. Ella Phillips, thence to a ford in Dixon's Creek, now replaced by a steel bridge and eastward to Turney's place.
†† Scores of memories for Cal cluster about that old road. We used to take it when we went fishing, we followed it on our first visit to Dixon Springs, which occurred when we were only about nine years old. It was on this road our father traveled to the stores at Dixon's Springs and over it came most of the sugar, coffee and other groceries of our childhood. It was on this road that our father's old mare, Dinah, kicked the "stuffing " out of the headlight on the early automobile many years ago and which we have already reported in our Column. It was at the ford above mentioned that our father had to leap from the wagon and hold up the head of the mare that fell over the wagon tongue while trying to put down the hind foot with which she had sought to dislodge a fly on her neck and which got bad caught in the check line between the harness and the mare's mouth. Our father, "Pappie," to the writer, did not like water any too well and that early spring day while the water was still cold, he leaped into the water nearly waist deep and held up the mare's head until his brother cut the gear or harness and saved her life. Our brother Tom and the writer asked at almost the same time, on learning of the upset, "Why didn't you let the old fool drown ?" Our father's answer comes back to us over 40 years of time, "You ain't got a bit of sense." And we see now the silliness of our question, but we were disgusted† with that old foolish, silly mare and did not much care if she drown.
†† "Ordered that Court adjourn to Fort Blount until Court in course Sampson Williams." Here we find the end of a session of only two days. The previous Courts had lasted three full days.
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ( To be continued )