Transcribed by Rae Wayne
September 13, 1951
We continue with the old records. “Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1801. Court met according to adjournment. Members present to-wit; Garrett Fitzgerald, Tilman Dixon and James Hibbetts.” This is the first item for the record of almost 150 years ago. We find only three of the members present, but we note that Peter Turney, James Harmond, and others were absent.
“Grant Allen’s stock mark, a swallow fork in the right ear, and a slit and underkeel in the left ordered to be registered.” This man Allen lived at the mouth of Dixon’s Creek; and, in his home on March 8, 1800, Dixon’s Creek Baptist church was formed. How long the church worshipped in his home is not known, but a log church house was soon erected for use of the church, of which Daniel Burford was the first pastor.
“Deed, Charles Mundine to Abram Moore, proven by the oath of John McFarlin, one of the subscribing witnesses there to, and ordered to be registered.” The name, Mundine, is now extinct in Smith County. In fact we have our first man of the name to meet. Abram Moore was probably a relative or the ancestor of the Moore family residing in the vicinity of Carthage. John McFarlin, we suppose would today spell his name, John McFarland. He was probably a relative of the Dr. McFarland, well-known Lebanon physician and surgeon. Where the land was is entirely unknown.
“Ordered that John Johnson be appointed overseer of the road from Mungle’s Gap to the county line, being the road that leads to Bledsoe’s Lick, and that James Hibbetts, Esquire, furnish said overseer with a list of hands.” This John Johnson is supposed to have been the ancestor of the Johnsons of a later day, who lived about Hillsdale and in various other places. If so, he married a Ballou, the daughter of Leonard Ballou and his wife, Esther Meredith Ballou, and a sister of James and Leonard Ballou, of the next generation. Mungle’s Gap is just above the present Good Will church and is not far from the county line referred to, which was at the east border of the present Hartsville. Bledsoe’s Lick was the ancient name for the present Castalian Springs. James Hibbetts lived somewhere on the waters of Big Goose Creek.
“Ordered that John Sutton and Nicholas Darnold be added to William Martin’s list of hands, to work on the road where he is overseer.” John Sutton is perhaps here mentioned for the first time. He was most probably the ancestor of the family in Smith and adjoining counties. We have no inkling of who Nicholas Darnold was. In fact we have here our first time to see the name. Wm. Martin was a resident of Dixon’s Creek, but this item does not say where he was overseer.
“Ordered that John Johnson be appointed overseer of the road leading from Mungle’s Gap to Dixon’s Creek, at Captain Ballou’s and that the same hands who worked under John Hargis, late overseer, work under said overseer.” This, we infer, meant that John Johnson was made overseer of the entire road from near Hartsville to Capt. Ballou’s, by way of Mungle’s Gap. Captain Ballou was the James Ballou referred to above, as the brother of Leonard, Jr., the latter having been the writer’s great-great-grandfather. Captain Ballou lived just above the ford of Dixon’s Creek on the old Fort Blount trail or road, evidently at the place formerly occupied by the late Charlie Brooks, just below the present Dixon’s Creek Baptist church. Signs of the old road are still visible in many places between this ford and Mungle’s Gap. Over it many hundreds of pioneer families, with their livestock, household goods and farming implements, made their way westward in the long ago.
“Ordered that an orphan or foundling child, about seven months old, whose name was heretofore unknown, but now named Polly Sutton, be bound to John Sutton until she arrived at the age of 18 years.” Here we have recorded in a few words the sad story of a nameless and disowned baby, who had somehow been taken into the home of John Sutton. Of course we wonder who she was, what sort of opportunities came to her in life, whom she married and many other things that will not be known until that day when “the secrets of the hearts of men are revealed.” We think we can understand something of the reproach that the child had to bear as a foundling, an outcast whose parents did not care enough for her to claim her as their own. But we are glad that John Sutton had enough regard for the helpless infant to give her home and food and clothing and, we hope, the love and affection denied to her by unworthy parents. We note that some of these abandoned and nameless children became honored and worthy men and women. One of these was the abandoned child found by John Brevard, just below the present Hillsdale, and who was taken into the Brevard family about 140 years ago, and became a most excellent citizen and the ancestor of a worthy offspring.
“Deed, 500 acres, John Peyton to Hugh Stephenson, acknowledged and ordered to be registered.” We are not positive, but suppose that this John Peyton was a brother of Ephraim Peyton. At least John and Ephraim Peyton were in the company defeated by the Indians in February, 1786, on the present Defeated Creek, and from which “defeat” the stream took its name and by which it is stilled called after the passing of 165 years. We have no information about Hugh Stephenson.
“Ordered that Samuel Stalcup be bound for the maintenance of a bastard child begotton on the body of Asia Pierce, who came into Court and acknowledged himself bound for the maintenance of same, and gave security according to law.” We have no desire to seek to “smear” any member of the highly respectable Stalcup family of today. We are recording the old records and we give them without bias, or without covering up some men’s sins and exposing others. We have no knowledge of either party to this unsavory transaction. Whether the child was a girl or boy is not revealed. The Pierce family in the United States has had some illustrious members. But on the other hand, like all other families, there were some “black sheep.” It is hard to find a family tree with no dead limbs thereon.
“Deed for a Town Lot, Peter Turney, Tilman Dixon and James Alexander, to John Ward, was acknowledged by Dixon and Alexander. Ordered to be registered.” The location of the lot was not given, but evidently it was at or near the present Dixon Springs, since the sellers were residents of that section. We have no information about John Ward, although there are members of the family still living in Wilson County.
“Court adjourned until tomorrow nine o’clock.” Thus ends the records for Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1801. “Court met according to adjourment. Members present: Moses Fisk and James Hibbetts, Esquires.” Here we have only two members of the Court in attendance. Surely there was no such thing as a quorum being required as we demand and require today.
“Benjamin Blackburn’s stock mark, a crop off the left ear, and overbit in the right, and brand, the letter B, ordered to be recorded.” Benjamin Blackburn is supposed to have resided in or near Blackburn’s Fork, a large stream that enters Roaring River from the south, not far from the present Gainesboro. However, this is supposition only. If any reader has information on this point, please send it to the Times for publication.
“Ordered that Thomas Walker be subpoenaed to appear at our next court, to be held on the third Monday in December next, to show cause, if he has any, why David Ventress should not be admitted to extend his mill dam across Goose Creek on said Walker’s land.” Just where this mill was located we do not know. In the granting of a permit to erect a mill some months earlier to David Venters, it was stated that it was at the big blue spring on Big Goose Creek.” We note that the name was spelled first Venters and here it is spelled as given above, Ventress. We wrote the only man we know of, bearing the name of Venters, who resides at Portland, but received no reply from him. Thomas Walker is another of whom we have no information. There is a Baptist minister, Elder James C. Walker, now living in Wilson County.
“The Inventory of the estate of John Burke, deceased, returned into Court by Andrew Greer, Administrator.” We have no information about John Burke. Andrew Greer lived on the liwer end of Middle Fork of Big Goose Creek.
“Ordered that Robert Craggot, an orphan boy about four years of age, be bound to Benjamin Barton until he attain the age of 21 years, who came into Court and entered into Indentures with William Martin and Basil Shaw, his securities.” Here we have another sad case, one that was very common in that day and time when dangers, hardships, Indian raids and other misfortunes left many children without the love and care of parents. We do not recall having ever seen the name, Craggot, in any other records or anything we have ever before read. Benjamin Barton, from all the information we have, resided at the present Carthage. We find a record of his will, made orally and proven by William Martin and Henry Tooley. Whether this Benjamin Barton was a relative of the Barton family of Macon County is now unknown. Basil Shaw was the county’s first ranger.
“Ordered that John L. Martin, William L. Alexander, Sampson Williams and Thomas Draper be appointed on the Veni Fa to the ensuing Superior Court.” The words or letters, “Veni Fa,” have us “stumped.” Perhaps some lawyer can give us light. The John L. Martin mentioned may have been the man for whom Martin’s Creek, north of Chestnut Mound, was named. William Alexander resided in the vicinity of the present Dixon Springs. Sampson Williams was Clerk of the Court whose records are being published herein. He was a resident of the lower end of the present Salt Lick, now in Jackson County. There was once a town called Williamsburg, at the place of his residence. Thomas Draper was an early Jennings’ Creek citizen.
“Ordered that Peter Craggot, an orphan about ten years old be bound to James Hibbetts, until he attain the age of 21 years.” We are quite sure that Peter Craggot and Robert Craggot were brothers. If we are right in our surmising that Benjamin Barton lived in Carthage, then the two boys were widely separated for that day and time, for James Hibbetts, a member of the Court, resided a few miles south of Lafayette, on the waters of Big Goose Creek.
“Venire Facias to the ensuing Court (viz) Grant Allen, Thomas Jamerson, Daniel McFarland, James Cherry, Thomas Bowman, Joel Dryer, Edmond Jennings, Wm. Saunders, John Rutherford, John Patterson, William Stalcup, James Gibson, William Hargis, John Sedgley, Francis Patterson, Francis Findley, Patrick Donoho, George Thomason, David Ventress, Eneas Harrold, William Simpson, William Penny, Josiah Payne, Thomas Armstrong, Nathaniel Brittain, Joel Dyer, Sr., John Chambers, Elisha Oglesby, John Murphy, Michael Murphy, Jeffrey Sutton, Daniel Hammock, Daniel Alexander and Jabez Gifford.” Mention of Grant Allen has already been made in this article. Thomas Jamerson is supposed to have been the same as Thomas Jamison, but we have no information about him. Daniel McFarland was most probably a relative of the John McFarlin above referred to. James Cherry is another of whom we know nothing. Thomas Bowman was probably the son of Robert Bowman, who died some years later in the 19th century, and who was the antorcestor on the Bowman family of the vicinity of the present Riddleton.
Joel Dyer is presumed to have have been the son of the Joel Dyer, Sr., named further down the list. We know that Joel Dyer was given a permit to erect the first mill of which we have any record on Peyton’s Creek. The name, Joel, is still found in the Dyer family. Edmond Jennings, the next name in the above list, was the man for whom Jennings’ Creek was named. We recently published an informative article about this unique character, written by Judge Webb Allen, of Dixon Springs. William Saunders lived in the vicinity of Dixon Springs. John Rutherford, John Patterson, William Stalcup, James Gibson, William Hargis, John Sedgley, Francis Patterson, Francis Findley, William Simpson, William Penny, Josiah Payne, Thomas Armstrong, John Chamber and Jabes Gifford are all unknown to the writer.
We presume that Patrick Donoho was the ancestor or relative of the Donoho family of Trousdale County of a later date. George Thomason resided on Jennings’ Creek, so we are informed. David Ventress has been mentioned in this article already. Eneas Harrold is believed to have been a member of an early East Tennessee family, some of whose members came to Smith County in its early history. We also have the same family in Macon County now, spelling their name Herald. Nathaniel Brittain lived about the present Meadorville, four miles south of Lafayette, from the best information we have. He was the man whose death about five years later occasioned the sale which we reported some weeks ago in the paper. Elisha Oglesdy lived, if we are rightly informed on the Middle Fork of Goose Creek, not far from the present Pleasant Valley. John and Michael Murphy are supposed to have been brothers, residing at the present Pleasant Shade, for it was in the home of Michael Murphy that the Court met in the year 1800. His home was located in a field at the rear of the present Bob Williams home at Pleasant Shade. So far as we can learn, he was the first person that lived at Pleasant Shade.
Jeffrey Sutton is believed to have been Jeffrey Sitton, the party copying the old records evidently making an error. We know that not very long after this Court met we find the name of Jeffrey Sitton and Joseph Sitton in the old records of Dixon’s Creek Baptist church. We know further that Joseph Sitton was the man who “sold unmerchantable beef” for the use of the public, and was “churched” for so doing, that a great deal of trouble arose over this thing, which was brought about by Joseph Sitton selling a crippled heifer for beef, that it was dragged through one business meeting after another and that finally a church council had to be called in to settle it. We also know that part of the brethren, who were not satisfied with Sitton’s acknowledgements and continued to grumble, were finally excluded from the church. It should be added here that the writer made his copy from the copy in the State Library at Nashville, and not from the original record which is on file at Carthage. We hope to verify the above at an early date.
Daniel Hammock is believed to have been the ancestor of the late attorney, Wilson Hammock, formerly of Hartsville. Daniel Alexander is supposed to have resid in the long ago at Dixon Springs.
(To Be Continued)