Transcribed by Kathleen Hastings Whitlock
November 30, 1950
“Harden Gregory’s stock mark, a crop and slit in the left ear, and a hole and half moon in the right ear, ordered to be recorded,” reads the next item from the old records. We know who this man was. He was a brother of our great-great-grandfather, Bry Gregory, and was the son of Thomas Gregory. Harden Gregory was one of the two executors of his father’s will, the other being his brother. William H. Gregory, the ancestor of our present Fred Gregory, former County Court Clerk of this county. Harden Later left Smith County and went to Giles County, where he is supposed to have died. We do not know who his wife was, nor do we know of any of his descendants. If any reader can furnish any information on this line, we shall be more than pleased to receive same.
“Ordered that Henry Dancer be allowed to retail Spirituous Liquors in his own house on the same terms as other tavern keepers are rated in the county, which rates are to be in “fource’ until next Court and no longer.” Who Henry Dancer was, or where he lived, we do not know. Perhaps later items may reveal more of his place of residence, etc.
“William Gregory’s stock mark, a crop off the left ear, ordered be recorded.” This William Gregory is the same above referred to, as the brother of Harden and Bry, and the son of Thomas Gregory. He lived on the waters of Peyton’s Creek, in what is now known as the Nixon Hollow, not far from the present home of our good friend, William Nixon. Here he arrived in the fall of 1791, from Chatham County, North Carolina. He died in 1852, honored and highly esteemed by a large circle of friends. He is said to have been the first person buried on Peyton’s Creek in a store-bought suit of clothing, the others having been wrapped in winding sheets. A military salute was fired over his grave, which is in a field not far from the Nixon home. He was familiarly known as Squire Bill Gregory.
“William Boyd’s stock mark, a swallow fork in each ear, ordered to be recorded.” We know nothing of William Boyd. Reader, do you know anything of him or his descendants?
“James Dobbins’ stock mark, a crop off the right ear, and a half moon under the left ear, ordered to be registered.” James Dobbins seems to have been a man of some note for his day and time, for quite a number of persons have worn the name of James Dobbins, commonly known as “Jeems” Dobbins. We have a distant relative, Dobb Gregory, who was, we believe, really named James Dobbins Gregory. Where James Dobbins lived, or who his descendants were, we do not know. Any information will be appreciated.
David Mitchell’s stock mark, a crop off the left ear, and a half moon under the left ear, ordered to be recorded.” Here we have a new name, which appears in the records for the first time. We wish we knew who David Mitchell was, or where he lived and something of his descendants. Our own great aunt, Kate Gregory, daughter of Big Tom and Bettie, married Henry Mitchell about 100 years ago, but we know nothing of his ancestry.
“Ordered that the Grand Jury be dismissed,” reads the next item.
The Court appointed the following Gentlmen as a Venire to the ensuing Court: vis: David Keilough, Richard Brittain, Stephen Box, Daniel Alexander, blacksmith; Basil Shaw, John Murphy; William Stalcup; David Cochran; Robert Bowman; Godfrey Fowler; Terrisha Turner; Elias Johns; Isom Beasley; Phillip Day; William Saunders; Vincent Dilley; Patrick Donoho; Robert (torn out); John Douglas; William Gregory; Leonard Jones; Henry Duncan; Charles McClanan; Richard Hammond; James Cherry; Christopher Bullar; Stephen Pate; John Patterson, Goose Creek; John Rutherford, James Roberts, Edward Pate, Pleasant Kearby; Joel Dyer, Jr.; Edmond Jennings and Jacob Bowerman.” We have already commented on the greater part of the above–named man and those of whom no comment has been offered, are largely unknown to the writer. David Keilough, if we are informed correctly, was a resident of the present Jackson County. Stephen Box is another of the unknowns,” so far as our information goes. Daniel Alexander is specifically mentioned as a blacksmith. This calling was one of the most needed and useful in any pioneer country. George Washington is said to have been an expert blacksmith. On the labors, skill and ability of the blacksmith depended in that day and time nearly all work done in and with iron, plows were all made by the, and many of the utensils in the home wee fashioned by the blacksmith at his forge. So it was an honor then to be a blacksmith, but today his calling has gone into an eclipse in a way. Elias John appears her but it seems that somewhere in our Column we have already made mention of this man who lived on Dixon’s Creek at the old Brooks farm. He married the writer’s great – great – grandfather, Leonard Ballou’s sister, Esther Ballou. Here for the first time, so far as memory serves us, appears the name of Isom Beasley. Later the spelling is correct. Isham Beasley. He was a pioneer settler in Smith County, having just settled near the present Henry Massey farm, south of Dixon Springs. He married Polly Andrews and became the ancestor of the numerous Beasley family of North Middle Tennessee. He became on e of the wealthiest men in the county in the years prior to the Civil War., owning hundreds of acres of land and scores of slaves.
Patrick Donoho’s name apprears for the first time in the old records. He was most probably a brother of old Billy Donoho, whose descendants were given in this paper some time ago. However, we do not know positively that he was a brother. It is possible that he was not related to Billy, who was born about 200 years ago, dying at the age of 105 years and some time prior to the Civil War. If any reader can give additional light on Patrick Donoho, send us your information and it will be published.
Joel Dyer, Jr., was a citizen of Peyton’s Creek, on which stream he built the first mill, a short time after his name appears as a prospective juror. He was the ancestor of the many Dyers in this county and elsewhere. In fact we still have a Joel Dyer living not far from Lafayette.
“Ordered that Sampson Williams be allowed to register his stock mark and brand, being a swallow fork in the left (ear) and his brand the letters S. W.” Here we learn that Williams, who lived on lower Salt Lick Creek in the present Jackson County, wanted to mark his hogs and sheep with a swallow fork (whatever that is) in the left ear, although the word ear is not in the old records; and to brand his horses and cows with the letters S. W.
“Charles McClenen records his stock mark, being a crop and a slit in the right ear, and an overkeel in the left ear.” The name McClenen, is spelled different ways by the same man, the Clerk. One way is as above. Another was McClenan. We wonder what the name really was, but suppose it was most probably McClellan. If any reader “knows better,” let him instruct the writer. One reason for supposing it might be McClellan, is that Charles is a familiar given name in that family until today. We wish some reader would tell us what an “overkeel” was in the way of a stock mark.
“Deed, Charles Mundine ot Charles McClennan, 921/2 acres recorded and ordered to be registered, being proven by the oath of Jacob Bowerman, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Lease frm Edmond Jennings to Jacob Bowerman ordered to be recorded.” So read the next two items, which we have combined for a purpose. That purpose is to try to identify Bowerman’s place of residence, as well as Mundine’s. Since Edmond Jenkins lived at the mouth of the present Jennings Creek, it is to be supposed that his lease was in the same section. Bowerman must have been a resident of the lower Jennings’ Creek, it is to be supposed that his lease was in the same section. Bowerman must have been a resident of the lower Jennings’ Creek section, and the land sold to Mundine was most probably located in the same section. It should be added that there are no Mundines left so far as the writer knows. The family through Middle Tennessee appears to have become extinct.
A third item concerned the above-mentioned Bowerman; “Jacob Bowerman records his stock mark, being a crop off the right ear and swallow fork in the right ear.”
The next item: “James Hibbetts records his stock mark, being a crop off the right ear, and a swallow fork and upper bit in the left ear.” Here we hear another item that we do not understand. We wonder what an upper bit was.
“Deed, from George Wilsonot Frederick Erick, was proved by the oath of Basil Shaw, and ordered to be recorded.” This is the next item. George Wilson is entirely unknown to the writer, and so is Frederick Erick. The land, we judge, lay somewhere to the west of Dixon Springs, as we believe that Basil Shaw lived in that vicinity.
“Ordered that Sampson Williams be appointed as Guardian to Sarah Young, who gave security accordingly,” reads the next item in the old records of a century and a half ago. We know who Sampson Williams was, but we do not know who Sarah Young was. It is presumed that her parents, whoever they were, were either both dead or incapacitated to handle property belonging to Sarah, who was of necessity a minor or feeble minded.
“Ordered that Rachel Calrk be appointed Guardian to her daughter, Dorcas, who gave bond and security accordingly.” So reads the next item. Here again we have no information.
“Zedekiah Ingram appointed Constable and gave bon,” reads the next item. Here we are again “stumped,” for we know notheing of Zedekiah Ingram. However, there were numerous Ingrams in the west edn of Smith County and east end of WilsonCounty in other years and some members of the family are still to be found there.
“Ordered that Charles McClenan be appointed Overseer of the road wher Jacob Bowerman was Overseer, and that the same hands work under him as worked under Jacob Bowerman.” Such is the reading of the next part of the old record. We have already expressed our view that the name is what we now know as McClellan. Jacob Bowerman evidently livied on lower Jennings’ Creek, so it is assumed that Charles McClenan lived in that same general vicinity.
“Ordered that Abraham Brittain be appointed Overseer of the road leading from Hart’s Ferry to where it intersects the road called the Kentucky Road, commencing at the County line, and from thence to where it intersects the said Kentucky Road, and all the hands west of Richard Brittain’s to the County line, down to the new road and below the said Brittain’s on the West side of the Middle Fork of Goose Creek to the mouth thereof and down the main fork to the said new road.” Here we have a rather long item, but it is not clear. Hart’s Ferry, we presume, was on the Cumberland at the back of Hartsville, from which it is supposed Hartsville took its name. It is supposed that the road at Hart’s Ferry was then in Sumner County, but Sumner and Smith joined a short distance east of present Hartsville, so we are informed. Here it would seem from the above that Abraham Brittain was being appointed overseer of the road leading from Hart’s Ferry, but was to commence his overseership at the county line which is natural, since one could not be
appointed overseer of a road in another county. But just where this road entered what was then Smith County, we do not know, but presume it to have been somewhere north of the present Hartsville, perhaps not far from the present farm of George Holder. This road intersected the Kentucky Road, but we have no way of knowing where. It is presumed that it extended up the Middle Fork of Goose Creek, since the hands to work on the road were those living in part at least on the west side of Middle Fork. But the hands were also to be used who lived below the mouth of Middle Fork which at present is just above the blacksmith shop of J. A. Linville. Perhaps some reader may be able to give us additional light. And perhaps other references in the old records may shed light on the location of the road. We are anxious to know just where Richard Brittain lived. We know he was one of the charter members of Dixon’s Creek Baptist church which was formed ner the mouth of Dixon’s Creek on March 8, 1800. We would also like to know if Richard and Abraham Brittain were brothers, or father and son, or what their relationship was.
“Court adjourned until tomorrow morning nine o’clock.” This closes the work of the Court on Tuesday March 18, 1800.
“Wednesday, March 19, 1800. Court met according to adjournment, the following Gentlemen being present: vis: James Gwinn, Tilman Dixon, Charles Hudspeth Esquires.” So reads the opening statement made the last day of the second Quarterly Court of Smith County, Tennessee. Here we have only three Magistrates named. We wonder how many were required to make a quorum to transact business legally. We have failed to find any regulations thus far in our perusal of the old, faded records. But here we have three men transacting business, apparently with no thought of any more needed for a quorum.
“Ordered that Benjamin Blackburn be allowed to keep an ordinary at his now dwelling house and that he be rated as follows: (Vis) For good whiskey or brandy of proof quality, 18 ¼ ¢ per half pint; for breakfast, dinner and supper, 25 cents; for corn or oats per gallon, 16 ¼ ¢; for lodging per each person per the night, 8 1/3 ¢; for fodder, two bundles, 6 ¼ ¢; for pasturage, 24 hours, 12 ½ ¢;” Here we learn of another “ordinary” being licensed. We do not know just where Benjamin Blackburn lived, but we do know that there is a large creek about 15 miles in length, emptying into Roaring River from the South side, a few miles from where the little river joins the Cumberland, known as Blackburn’s Fork. We feel justified in assuming that Benjamin Blackburn or his relative was the man for whom the creek was named. However, any light that any reader may give us on this point will be appreciated. His “now” residence means his present residence. Eats were certainly cheap then, but money was terribly scarce too.
“Ordered that John Jenkins be allowed to keep an ordinary at his now dwelling house and that he be rated as other retailers in said County except Mr. Blackburn, who gave bond and security accordingly.” Here we find another record of interest to many of our readers. Mr. Jenkins’ “now” residence is unknown entirely as to location, but we presume it to have been in the present Jackson County, since John Jenkins is found listed in the census of 1820 for Jackson County, as the head of a family and being a man above 45 years of age. We do not know positively that John Jenkins was the son of William and Nancy Jenkins, but we know that William Jenkins died in 1807, and that he left his widow, who bought most of the property disposed of at the sale of the old man’s belongings. We know also that William Jenkins was the father of Roderick and Noah Jenkins, whose numerous descendants still live in the county as well as in many other places. We are told that Roderick and Noah had one brother, but we do not know whether he was the man named in the Court order. We know also that there was a Jacob Jenkins living in Jackson County in 1820, that he was the head of a family and that he was above 45 years of age then. We also have at this time a merchant at Bakerton, near Red Boiling Springs, named Jacob Jenkins, who is very probably a descendant of the old Jacob Jenkins and Roderick and Noah Jenkins descended from the same parent stock.
The present Mrs. Cal is a great-great-granddaughter of Noah Jenkins, who had a son, Jimmie Jenkins who had a son George Jenkins, who had a son, William F. Jenkins, the father of Bettie Jenkins Gregory. We recently published the record of the sale of the property of the old man above-mentioned, William Jenkins, which took place on July 4, 1807. Noah settled on Long Creek in 1804 or 1805.
“Ordered that William Martin be appointed as Guardian to John Young, son of William Young, deceased.” Here we learn of a father and son of the long ago, William Young and his son, John, but of their descendants, we know nothing. Judge Sam Young, formerly of Dixon Springs, was we presume, a descendant of John Young, but it is a mere conjecture. There is also a family of Youngs in the Chestnut Mound section.
“Ordered that William Martin, William Walton, John Brevard and Sampson Williams be appointed Guardians for Annie Young, James Young, Nancy Young and Dicy Young, four of the orphans of William Young, deceased, all of whom came into Court and gave bond and security according to law.” Such is the reading of the next item. John Young, mentioned in the paragraph above, was a brother of the four children mentioned in the last paragraph. We suppose that their mother must have been dead, or she would have been mentioned; and yet, it appears strange in a way that the orphans are referred to as the children of William Young and their mother is not so much as mentioned here. Later, her name may appear in the old records. One other matter seems quite evident and that is that William Young must have left much property for his orphaned children, or five of the leading men in the entire county in 1800 would not have been appointed as Guardians.
“Garrett Fitzgerald records his stock mark and brand: Mark, and underbit out of the left ear; and overbit out of the same (left) ear. Brand, P. F.” So reads the next item. Why Garrett Fitzgerald wanted his horse and cattle branded with the letters, P and F we do not know. To us it would seem that the man would have wanted his own initials, G. F. used.
“Deed, Thomas Murry to James Bibbetts, ordered to be registered.” Where this land lay or who Thomas Murry was we have no way of knowing at this point.
(To be continued)