Transcribed by Janette West Grimes
May 20, 1954
* CAL'S COLUMN *
We continue with the publication of the old records of the Quarterly Court and Court of Pleas of Smith County, in the year 1802.
"Friday, Dec. 24, 1802. Court met according to adjournment. Members (viz): James Hibbetts, Elmore Douglass, William Kavanaugh, Esquires, Justices." This meeting, so far as we have been able to learn, took place at Dixon Springs, in Smith County. Only three of the magistrates of the county were present and still we have not learned how many magistrates had to be present to form a quorum.
James Hibbetts lived on what is now called the Carter Branch and is buried on the present Burrow farm. The break in the dividing ridge between Dog Branch and Pumpkin Branch is known today as Hibbetts' Gap, and we are sure that it was named for James Hibbetts, above referred to. This was the last gap through which the travelers from east to west passed before reaching the Hibbetts homestead.
Elmore Douglass was a member of a prominent family that lived principally in Sumner County. His place of residence in 1802 is believed to have been somewhere in the general vicinity of Carthage. William Kavanaugh lived 152 years ago not far from the present New Middleton.
"Ordered that William L. Alexander, Isham Beasley and Anthony be patrollers in Capt. Samuel's Company." We would suppose that William L. Alexander lived in the vicinity of the present Dixon Springs; that he was most probably related to the Daniel Alexander who was in that distant day and time overseer of the road leading up Middle Fork of Goose Creek, through the Gap of the Ridge and thence down Long Creek. Isham Beasley's Bend, south of Dixon Springs, until he removed to the Sullivan's Bend section, north of the present Elmwood. Anthony Samuel was perhaps the Captain Samuel referred to in the same item. A patroller of 152 years ago looked after runaway slaves among other duties and was a dread and a terror to slaves, who used to mention the patroller in some of their songs. We have heard some of the old songs that indicated the dread and terror on the part of slaves toward the patrollers.
"Ordered that Charles L. Love be fined the sum of five dollars for his non-attendance as a juror at the present term, and that execution issue immediately against him for the aforesaid sum. Fine remitted." Here wwe have a case of a court showing at least some measure of mercy. We do not know who Charles L. Love was, although it is possible that he was the ancestor of the numerous members of that family who still reside in the west end of the present Macon County.
"Ordered that William Hagland be overseer of the road from Snow Creek on the Caney Fork Road to Charles Kavanaugh's, and that Zachary Ford's, Mr. Thurman's and Mr. Shoemake's hands work under the said overseer." We are of the opinion that the name William Hagland was not correctly copied from the original records. The writing is faded and much of it is very hard to read. This road began on Snow Creek, which rises in the head of the hollow above the present Elmwood, but we do not know which way it extended except that it ran generally in a southwesterly direction to Charles Kavanaugh's, somewhere in the vicinity of the present New Middleton. We have no information at this time on Zacariah Ford, Mr. Thurman or Mr. Shoemake.
The next item is as follows: "Veni. Fa. to the ensuing County Court, viz, Benjamin Clark, Solomon Harpole, Hezekiah Woodard, Robert Dugan, Edward James, David Looney, Jeremiah Taylor, Richard Brittain, Job Bass, James Hunter, Robert Ward, James W. Wright, Harris Bradford, Andrew Greer, William Martin, Vincent Ridley, William Douglass, Philip Sitton, Elisha Oglesby, George McWhirter, Benjamin Barton, Henry Tooley, Frederick Turner, John Barkley, William Penny, John Rankin, James Givson, Micrum ( ? ) Henry, Isham Beasley, William Stalcup, Grant Allen, Jeffrey Sitton, John Johnson, of East Fork of Goose Creek; John Rutherford and William Cage."
This is a long list of prospective jurors and we would suppose this list contains some of the leading citizens of the county in the year 1802. We have some comment to offer on part of these men. There was a Benjamin Clark in the Smith County census for 1820 and he was then between 26 and 45 years old. Perhaps he would have been too young for juror duty 18 years earlier. In 1820 this Benjamin Clark had three sons under ten years of age and his wife was between 25 and 45. Also listed in 1820 was Robert Clark, in the same age group as Benjamin. He had one son under ten and two from 10 to 16. He had three females under ten, and one female over 45. This was very probably his wife, older than her husband. It was quite common in the long gone years for a man to marry a woman older than he. However, in this case is it only a surmise, as Robert Clark could have been a widower with six children all under 16 years of age. One other Clark, James, is found in Smith County 134 years ago. He had two males under ten, one from ten to 16; one female under ten, one from ten to 16, and one from 26 to 45 years old, the same age group into which James fell.
Solomon Harpole is not listed in the Smith County census for 1820. Nor is there a person of the name of Harpole listed in the census of 1850. We are quite sure there is not a member of the Harpole family living in Smith County today. However, John Harpole is mentioned in the Wilson County, Tennessee records as having been a bondsman for Thomas Dill in getting his license to marry Agnes Hopson, on Feb. 3, 1806. On Aug. 28, 1806 in the same county Solomon Harpole was surely for George Allen, when he secured his marriage license to wed Sally Johnson. This would signify that it was very probably the same man in the Wilson County records as the man summoned for jury duty in Smith County nearly four years earlier. John Caplinger (Caplenor?) married Catharine Harpole in Wilson County in 1812, his bondsman being Aaron Harpole. Adam Harpole secured his license to marry Polly Bettis on April 15, 1812, with George Harpole as his surety. We have some other information relative to the Harpole family if any reader desires to know more of the family.
Hezakiah Woodard is the next man summoned for jury duty. There are still many Woodards in Smith County, the name being quite frequently found in the county records. Robert Dugan was next in the list. There was not a member of the Dugan family listed in the Smith County census for either 1820 or 1850, so the family had either died out of had moved to another location. On Sept. 7, 1824, in Wilson County, James Duggan was surely for Nelson Owen who was obtaining his license to wed Peggy Duggan. Robert Dugan was born in Buncomb Co., North Carolina, in 1814, died in 1861, and is buried in Philadelphia Cemetery, 13 miles south of McMinniville, Tenn., but this was not the Robert Dugan of the old Court records, for he was at least 21 years of age as early as December, 1802. In the same cemetery also is buried Mary Dugan, born in 1791 and died in 1829, the wife of William Dugan, born in South Carolina in 1785 and died in 1867 and is also buried in the same cemetery. We read more than 40 years ago that Paducah, Kentucky, got its name from Pat Dugan's wood yard where steamboats stopped to load on wood which was used to fire the boilers on boats a long time ago. From a corruption of the name of Pat Dugan, we have the name of Paducah of today.
The next prospective juror named in the above list was Edward James. We find two James families in Smith County in 1820, Edmund James and Minze James. But these both were between 26 and 45 years of age in 1820 and would have been too young for jury duty in 1802, even if the names had corresponded. Grime, in his History of Middle Tennessee Baptists, tells us that Leroy James was ordained as a deacon by Macedonia Baptist church, now located at New Middleton, in Smith County. Edmond James was ordained as a deacon by the same church in 1849. He also had a picture of Mrs. Mary Susan James in his history. She was the wife of Leroy James. We would judge that Edward James was the ancestor or a relative of the men of a later day. There are still some members of the James family or were a few years ago, living in Gordonsville.
David Looney was the next summoned in the above list for jury duty. He is quite frequently mentioned in the old records, but we do not know the place of his residence. Elisha Looney lived in Smith County in 1820, with the following members of this family, males: Two males under ten, and two females under ten, two from 10 to 16, and one from 26 to 45, and one Negro slave. He was most probably a son of David Looney. Abraham Looney, born in 1780, died in 1841, is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, but we do not know where this cemetery is. His wife, Elizabeth Looney, born in 1776 and died in 1838, is buried in the same cemetery. There is a Looney family graveyard, now called the Lonas Cemetery, some six miles southwest of Knoxville, Tenn. The oldest member of the family, of whom we have any record was Absalom Looney, a soldier of the Revolution, who lived near the present cemetery. However, it would perhaps be in order to state that the family spelled the name Absolm. His wife, Sarah, died in 1833. Other Looney's buried there are: Alexander, Absolum, Jr., Zebella, wife of John; Moses Looney, died in 1817; and Nancy Looney,died in 1827.
From Ramsy's Annals of Tennessee, we learn a great deal about David Looney. We would suppose that this is the same David Looney listed above. His name appears first as a Justice of the Peace in Sullivan County, in East Tennessee. This was in the year 1780, when the court of that county met in the home of Moses Looney, supposed to have been a member of the same family. David Looney was appointed by Governor Caswell of North Caarolina, a Major on Nov. 19, 1779.
In this connection we would like to add that we have found that one Benjamin Clark was a commisioner to lay out Jonesboro, the first town in Tennessee. This was in 1779. Another Commissioner was Jesse Walton, believed to have been the father of the wife of Noah Jenkins, mentioned in last week's paper. The same David Looney voted for the formation of the State of Franklin, and the date of this vote is believed to have been in August, 1784. In 1785 David Looney is again mentioned by Ramsey as a member of the convention that sought to set up the State of Franklin. David Looney was one of 19 who signed a protest against part of the proceedings in connection with the State of Franklin. David Looney was a member of the first Legislature of Tennessee in 1796, being a member of the Lower House. He represented Sullivan County. The same man also was one of those who voted to refuse to admit to testimony in Court any atheist. This occurred about 1796.
Now we are not positive that the same man is referred to every time we find the name of David Looney. But presume the man summoned for jury duty in Smith County to have been the same David Looney, formerly of Sullivan County. If we are wrong on any point we shall appreciate correction.
The name of the next juror appointed by the Court in December, 1802, was Jeremiah Taylor. He was a leading citizen of Smith County in the long ago, and had the following family in 1820: One male under ten, one male from ten to 16; two males from 18 to 26, and Jeremiah was then above 45 years of age. He had one female between 10 and 16, one from 16 to 26, and one above 45, his wife, we presume. He owned at that time six slaves.
Additional investigation indicates that Jeremiah Taylor most probably lived on what today is called the Taylor Branch of the East Fork of Big Goose Creek, just above the present Hillsdale. He is believed to have been one of the maternal ancestors of C. C. Merryman, secretary of the North Central Telephone. Co-operative and a leading citizen of the Hillsdale section. In fact he lives only a few score yards from where the Taylor Branch empties into the waters of East Fork of Goose Creek. His mother was a Miss Taylor prior to her marriage. We hope for additional information on the Taylor family soon.
The Taylor family was in 1820 in Smith County quite numerous. The following heads of Taylor families are listed in the Smith County census for 1820: William Taylor, Richard Taylor, Joseph Taylor, Jeremiah Taylor, Jamers Taylor, David Taylor, John Taylor, Tabitha Taylor, Drewry Taylor, David Taylor, Wilson Taylor, Nancy Taylor, Henry Taylor, Barziller Taylor, David Taylor, William Taylor and Canellum Taylor. Jeremiah Taylor appears to have been the wealthiest member of the family in Smith County in 1820, judging by the number of slaves he owned. The family came from Virginia to Smith County in its early history.
Richard Brittain is next in the list. He resided on the main Goose Creek, not far from the present Linville's Shop. He is supposed to have been the son of Nathaniel Brittain, who was one of the earliest members of Dixon's Creek Baptist church. He was the man who "lent his mare to run in a course race," and was "churched" for same. This occurred about 150 years ago. The Brittains were great lovers of fine horses and kept a number of race horses on hand a century and a half ago. Nathaniel Brittain was a member of the Court in 1802. This family either lived on the present Jim Tom Cunningham farm or on the present George Burnley farm. We have asked for something definite and there seems to be a difference of opinion as to which was the original home of the Brittains. W. C. Brittain, one of our readers who resides on Route one, Hendersonville, is a direct descendant of Nathaniel Brittain and the love of fine horses still flows strongly through his veins.
( To be continued )