November 29, 1951

 

This Article Appeared In The Times

But Was Not Actually Titled Calís Column

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Transcribed by Janette West Grimes

 

Caruthers Writes

_____

 

†† Some weeks ago we received the communication below given from Mr. Abe Caruthers, 3013 East Greenwood Avenue, Nashville. We have been too busy to get to it earlier, and for this we apologize. We are always glad to have articles form this man who remembers so well events of a forgotten day and time, in the Dixon Springs-Hartsville section. His communication is as follows:

 

"WOODBOAT"

 

†† In the middle 1870's my father cleared a Cumberland River bottom opposite Cedar Bluff, of about 200 acres. The timber on this land was beech, oak, yellow poplar, elm, ash and hickory. Mr. James Nollner had charge of the clearing of this land. The yellow poplar was floated in rafts to Nashville. I recall that Mr. Nollner selected 100 poplar logs 35 inches in diameter and 35 feet in length, and floated in one raft. The oak was rived in boards. Mr. Nollner was an expert with a broad axe and hewed select beech logs with 20 to 30 inch faces, from which were erected several large log residences, tobacco barns, stables and corn cribs. The elm and ash were sawed into lumber and framing. The beech, which predominated, was cut in cord wood. Many of the beech trees measured from 24 inches to 36 inches in diameter.

 

†† The river packets bought cord wood for fuel. Mr. Nollner constructed a wood boat. The gunwales were of yellow poplar, about 60 feet in length and perhaps 36 inches wide. The bottom was of oak, treated with coal tar. The deck was also of oak. This boat had a capacity of 15 to 20 cords of wood. The wood was loaded on the boat above described. The river packet left Nashville Saturday evening, arriving at Cedar Bluff about ten o'clock Sunday morning. They would lash the wood boat along side and then proceed upstream, while the deck hands would transfer the cord wood to the deck of the packet. This would require time enough to travel a distance of 10 to 20 miles before the wood was removed from the wood boat to the packet. Then the wood boat was released and left to float back to its dock. The wood would sell for $1.50 a cord and during the boating season, we would sell several hundred cords of wood. At that time there was no market for beech except for cord and stovewood. I recall that my great-uncle, Robert Looney Caaruthers, who lived in Lebanon, each year arranged with some of his legan clients to furnish him with thirty cords of stovewood, to be of cedar [all red], hickory and beech.

 

†† Back in those days, as you wended your way about supper time you would get the aroma of burning cedar and country ham from most households.

 

†† We youngsters were always aboard the wood boat when it was lashed to the river packet which we would then board and roam its entire area from the pilot house to the boiler deck till the wood boat was cut adrift to float back to its mooring. The youth of this age have a myriad of gadgets to engage and amuse, but the youth of that age found many diversions to entertain them and much in the community life that taught them Americanism and independence.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abe Caruthers

 

†† In addition to the above, Mr. Caruthers writes us in a more personal way as follows:

 

Dear Mr. Gregory:

 

†† From your "Cal's Column" of Aug. 23, 1951 I quote: " Ordered that Richard Brittain be appointed overseer of the road leading from near Samuel Caruthers. Evidently Samuel Caruthers lived near extreme south end of the road which would mean about the place where Middle Fork empties into the East Fork of Goose Creek."

 

†† Solomon DeBow's wife was Betsy Caruthers, a sister of my grandfather, and I think Samuel Caruthers was her father. Solomon DeBow lived, and owned a farm, on Goose Creek in that area. Some time since in one of your "Columns" you mentioned that there was an old family burial ground in which there were DeBow tombstones, and that this graveyard was on a place owned by or near where a Wakefield lived. If you can inform me where this burying ground is, I will appreciate it. Thought maybe that Samuel Caruthers by some chance might have a marker in the cemetery.

 

†† Thanking you for any information you may give me, I am

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Very truly yours,

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abe Caruthers,

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2013 E. Greenwood Ave.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††Nashville, Tenn.

 

†† N. B. In the article I sent you some time ago naming the residents of the Dixon Springs-Cedar Bluff region, the family that lived at the Rock House on the pike was W. Y. Yater.

 

†† [Editor's note. We appreciate the above article and the letter that follows. We are sure that our readers will enjoy the letter about the "Wood Boat." As to the article some time ago written by the editor concerning the DeBow burial ground, we may say that it is at the home of Wakefield Oglesby, not far off the main creek and a short distance below the juncture of the Middle Fork and the East Fork of Big Goose Creek. We have not had time to investigate and see if there is a marker there to Samuel Caruthers, but will try to see shortly and so inform Mr. Caruthers. The Oglesby place is located in the lower part of what is now called the Woodmore Hollow.

 

†† We are sorry for the two errors we made in the name of the family that lived at the old Rock House place in the long gone years. We printed it one time as Gates and another time as Yates, and both were incorrect. The name was Yater and we are glad to stand corrected.]