Transcribed by Elsie Sampson
May 13, 1954
* CAL’S COLUMN *
After an absence of several weeks, I am resuming the publication of the old records of the Smith County Quarterly Court of Pleas. The time is Wednesday. Dec. 22, 1802, and the place of meeting appears to be Dixon Springs, although this is not entirely clear. We begin with the following item.
“Deed, 50 acres, John Sedgley to Henry Dancer, proven by the oath of Daniel Burford, a subscribing witness thereto. Ordered to be registered.” Where this land lay, we do not know. Some information as to Henry Dancer has been given in previous articles. However, there is not one Dancer family in Smith County in the year, 1820, according to the census record for the year. Nor is there today a member of the Dancer family residing in the present Smith County. The same facts also apply to John Sedgley.
Daniel Burford was a Baptist minister of the long, long ago. The following sketch is taken from Grime’s History of Middle Tennessee Baptists, page 409:
Nothing is known of the early life of this pioneer minister. He was one of the constituent members of Dixon’s Creek Church. He was ordained by this church on the day she was constituted, March 8, 1800; by a presbytery consisting of Elder William Phipps, Joshua White and Clifton Allen. He entered at once upon the pastorate of this church and served them until 1807. Perhaps as early as 1805, he became Register of Smith County and moved to the town, or near the town, of Carthage. He then established a preaching point near where Caney Fork River empties into the Cumberland. This work was prosperous, and in June, 1806, Dixon’s Creek church extended an arm there. That fall they constructed seats, where the town of Carthage now stands, and elected Elder Daniel Burford as pastor of this arm. The next year he resigned the care of the mother church and gave his time to building up this new interest and conducting the County Register’s Office for the support. His work here was considerably blessed and resulted in the constitution of Hogan’s Creek Church, in 1810, he making one of the constituting Presbytery. He also assisted in constituting Salem Church in 1809. In 1814 he moved into the community of Liberty, DeKalb County, Tennessee, and cast his membership with Salem church in August of that year. Deacon William Martin says he was a preacher of the first order. Such endorsement from such a source is an honor of which anyone might be proud. He has a grandson, Major Burford, who is still living at Dixon’s Springs, Smith County. Where he sleeps, we know not, but God will find him in the resurrection at that day.
We return to the old court record. The next item is: “Bill of ‘sail,’ Jonas Dancer, Sr., to Jonas Dancer, Jr. proven by the oath of Daniel Burford, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Ordered to be recorded.”
“The word “sail” is incorrectly spelled and should have been “sale.” We do not mean to be critical, for men had but few educational opportunities 152 years ago.
“Bill of ‘sail,’ Jonas Dancer to Thomas Shoate and Manuel Hunter, proven by the oath of Daniel Burford, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto.” We suppose this Jonas Dancer to have been one of the two Dancers referred to in the preceding item from the old records. But we do not know which of the two men is meant, as there is no way to identify them from the record. Thomas Shoate and Manuel Hunter are two of whom we know nothing.
“Deed of gift, James Dancer to Henry Dancer, to children, proven by the oath of Daniel Burford, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto.” Here we have an item that is not clear. It appears that James Dancer is deeding Henry Dancer and others a gift, which is presumed to have been land. So it would appear that Henry Dancer, referred to in the deed for 50 acres, was the son of James Dancer. Who the other children were does not appear on the record, not here at least. We would suppose that James Dancer and Jonas Dancer, Sr., were most probably brothers.
“Ordered that the following hands work under Daniel Alexander, overseer of the road, viz. Elisha Oglesby, James Oglesby, Hugh Stephenson, Josiah Howell, Joel Holland, Thomas Wimbs (Weems), John Kennedy, Joseph Sullivan, Owen Sullivan, Isaac Sullivan, Thomas Larrimore, John Nichol, Richd. Barver (Boquen?), Peter Startuck.” It is presumed that the road here referred to was that that led up Middle Fork of Goose Creek, through the Gap of the Ridge and down Long Creek to the Kentucky line. We deduce this from the fact that we know that part of these men lived either on this road or near same. Elisha Oglesby lived not far from the present Pleasant Valley Methodist church on Middle Fork. He is believed to have been the ancestor of Mrs. F. D. Gregory and Mrs. H. H. Howser, whose father was named Elisha Oglesby. Mrs. Gregory states that one of her great-grandmothers was a Miss Alexander, and this would be in line with the above item, which includes Daniel Alexander as overseer.
The Sullivans of a long time ago are known to have lived in the general vicinity of the Gap of the Ridge, and so did the Weems family live there. The road hands of 152 years ago, we presume, had to be at least 21 years old before they were subject to road work. Then the men above named were born between 1750 and 1781. There once lived near the Gap of the Ridge Isaac Sullivan, but he was born to late to have been the Isaac Sullivan who worked the road in 1802. The Isaac Sullivan, of whom we have some record, was the father of Mary Jane Wix, born in 1825 and the mother of the late Halum Wix, whom we met first in 1914. Although it is possible that the father of Mary was the Isaac Sullivan of the above item, it is not likely. We are inclined to think that the Isaac Sullivan of 1802 was the father of the Isaac Sullivan, whose daughter, Mary Jane, was born in 1825.
The Joseph Sullivan, mentioned in the court record, was most probably the ancestor of our own Will Hall Sullivan, whose father, Jeff Sullivan was born about 80 years ago. His father was John J. Sullivan, born about 1840, and the son of Joseph Sullivan. But we are of the opinion that this Joseph Sullivan, father of John J. Sullivan, was not the Joseph Sullivan who worked the road in 1802, but it is our opinion that Owen Sullivan was the ancestor of many of the Sullivans who now reside in the Fairview community and vicinity.
Joel Holland, of the item above was most probably a relative of Miss Dollie Holland, who married Jimmie Jenkins, the great-grandfather of the writer’s wife, the former Miss Betty Jenkins. Jimmy Jenkins was born in 1805 and died in 1890. His mother was named Martha, but we are not positive as to her family name. We believe it to have been Walton.
We find the above items from the old records were published last March, but made the discovery only after having added a lot of comments that the earlier published report did not contain. So we are allowing the above to be re-printed in part.
“Ordered that John Jenkins be overseer of that part of the road where Henry Huddleston was the late overseer, and that the same hands work under him as were liable to work under the late overseer, with the addition of Francis Capps and William Richards.” By going back to the old records for the June Court, 1801, we find the following : “Ordered that Henry Huddleston be appointed overseer of the road from the top of the ridge between Peyton’s Creek and Defeated Creek, to the top of the ridge between Defeated Creek and Salt Lick and that all the hands living on Defeated Creek work under him.” From this record we would judge that John Jenkins lived on the waters of Defeated Creek. We believe that John Jenkins was a brother of the Noah Jenkins above referred to, and to Roderick Jenkins, who lived in the long ago on the extreme upper waters of Defeated Creek above the present Bennie A. Sutton farm. Just where Henry Huddleston’s work as overseer was to begin, we do not know. There are two crossings of the ridge between Peyton’s Creek and Defeated Creek. We used to cross both of them daily in the years gone by when the writer was carrier on Route one out of Pleasant Shade. One of these crossings was on the old Fort Blount Road, and the other was about two miles further north. There is no way to judge from which of these crossings Huddleston was to be overseer and later Jenkins was to fill the same position.
That there was still another brother to Roderick, Jimmy and John Jenkins seems evident from the old records. He appears to have been Jacob Jenkins, the ancestor of the present Jacob Jenkins, a merchant at Bakertown, about two and a half miles southeast of Red Boiling Springs.
“Ordered that the report of the jury who viewed and marked the road from the line between Smith and Sumner Counties, and the ridge between Goose Creek and Barren waters to Tandy Witcher’s be received and that Stephen Montgomery be overseer to open and keep same in repair, and that all the hands living on said ridge below where the Fort Blount Road crosses the ridge work under said overseer.” This item is not clear, at least to the writer. The Smith-Sumner line began at the Kentucky-Tennessee State line, not far from the present Haysville, and extended south, crossing Long Creek, a short distance from its northernmost end. It crossed the present Austin Peay Highway, near the Gap of the Ridge and continued southward a short distance east of the present Hartsville. But the Fort Blount Road came across water of Goose Creek through Mungle’s Gap which is only about four miles from Hartsville. But the records says: “All the hands living on said ridge.” There were no people living on the narrow ridges between the various creeks to the south of the Highland Rim. So it would appear that the Ridge, as we call it, or, in other words, the Highland Rim, was the ridge meant. But we do not know how to reconcile what appears to be a sort of discrepancy in the wording or order of this item. If any reader can offer a solution, we shall be glad to publish same.
“Ordered that William Marchbanks and William Caldhoon (Calhoun) open and keep a road, as laid out by a jury down Martin’s Creek to Williamson’s Ferry and from thence until it intersects Sullivan’s Road; and the hands on the waters of Martin’s Creek work under them.” This road was in that section of Smith County known as the Forks of the River, and lay northward from the present Chestnut Mound. Martin’s Creek empties into the Cumberland and Williamson’s Ferry was on that river or stream.
“Court adjourns until tomorrow at nine o’clock.” Thus closed the fourth day of the meeting of the Court, just before Christmas in the year 1802.
(To be continued)
This Article Appeared In The Times
But Was Not Actually In Cal’s Column
The following letter has been received from one of our readers, on Route one, Dixon Springs:
Dear Brother Gregory:
With great pleasure I will write to you after reading about the Cornwell family in last week’s paper. I see you have many names I can remember hearing my folks call; but of course, I know but little of the history of the family.
Fushie Cornwell was my grandfather. He married Sallie Martin Garrett. They had seven children, whose names are as follows: Martha, who married Archer Ferguson by whom she became the mother of one son, Archer was killed by a tree on the Jane Brooks farm. Later she married a Burrow. Her first two children by Burrow were boys who died in early life. The third child was a daughter, named Mary, who married Cicero Gammon, by whom she had three children, one daughter, Sallie, who married Gilliam Gregory; Boady, who married a Pipkin; and one son died in college.
A daughter of Fushie Cornwell was Amelia, my mother, who married Burrell (Bud) Roark. His son, Fushie, resides near Hartsville.
The next was Robert Cornwell, who married an Oldham. Sam Cornwell was the youngest child.
These things are inline with what my mother taught me. I once had a record of the family, but I am not able to find it now. Don’t think I mean to be hasty about writing this. I put the record away, but I am forgetful these days.
I really do appreciate your paper when you throw it out to me when passing.
Mrs. Maggie Towns
(Editor’s note. We thank Mrs. Towns for the additional information on the Cornwell descendants. We are glad to have any information about the family.