Transcribed by Bob Morrow
September 18, 1952
* CAL'S COLUMN *
We resume the publication of the old records of the County Court of Smith County, for the June term, 1802, which was a little more than 150 years ago. The time is Monday, June 21, 1802. The next item is as follows: “Ordered that Stephen Box be overseer of that part of the road that leads down Long Creek, beginning at the foot of the Ridge the old way, from thence down the Creek to the forks of the road; and that Thomas Wimbs, George Sadler, Nathan Dillon, Oscar Dillon, Henry Boaz, John Barth, John Huttoon, David Cooper, Meredith Helms, David Jennings, John Cooper, Joseph Strain, William Denney, Eli Pitford, Daniel Pitford, Levi Tedjel (?) James Gwin and Owen Stratton work under him.” Here we have an item that tells us who the men of road-working age and living in the vicinity of Long Creek in 1802 were: Thomas Wimbs would today be Thomas Weems, and here our information ends; but we are quite sure that he was a relative of the Weems now living in the Westmoreland section.
We have no information as to George Sadler. The Dillons might have been relatives of the Dennie Dillon, for whom one of the large office buildings in Nashville was named. There are no Dillons left in this county or in Smith County, so far as we can recall. Henry Boaz, we suppose, would be Henry Boze of today. John Barth is another who left no relatives or bearers of his name, so far as we can recall. This is our first time to see the name recorded.
John Huttoon is another “unknown.” David Cooper, it is surmised, was a relative of the Coopers of the county today. Meredith Helms was a member of a family unknown in the Long Creek section or in Macon County, for that matter. There is a Helms’ Bend of Caney Fork River, just below Stonewall. But this has been corrupted into “Hell’s Bend.”
David Jennings, we suppose, was a relative of the Edmond Jennings for whom Jennings’ Creek was named. We have no information on Joseph Strain or William Denney. We wonder if Eli Pitford would not today be called Eli Pitchford. Levi Tedjel is perhaps a misspelling of the name, as the copyist made a question mark after his name. We know nothing of James Gwin or Owen Stratton. The place of starting this work was at the Gap of the Ridge, about eight miles west of Lafayette, at the extreme upper end of Long Creek, so named for its great length.
“Ordered that George Anderson be overseer of the road from the forks of the road on Long Creek to the State Line; and that John Fisher, William Fisher, Wm. Bartlett, Nathan Bartlett, Samuel White, Robert McKinley, Ezekiel Wray, Daniel Bridgeman, Leroy Casey, Joseph Dempsey Kenedy, John Nicholas, Stephen Montgomery, John Smith, Michael Neere (?) and Thomas McFaren work under him.”
This item gives us some names of those who lived in lower Long Creek in what is now Macon County 150 years ago. So far as the writer has been able to learn the only name that has come down through the years from the above group is that of Samuel White, who is supposed to have been a relative or the ancestor of the White family now living in this county. We are not able to trace the connection, but the writer is of the opinion that Samuel White was the ancestor of our wife, whose mother is the former Miss Clem White, the daughter of Logan White, Leroy Casey is supposed to have been a relative and maybe the father of Elder Hiram Casey, a Baptist minister who labored for about 12 years in the Hillsdale section of Macon] County. He was born in the State of Georgia, but his father settled in Smith County, Tenn. when the future preacher was only a lad. If any reader can give us more information on this point, we shall be more than glad to publish it. After laboring in what is now Macon County for a dozen years, he went to Hardeman County, Tennessee where he died some years later, being only 38 years of age at the time of the end. His reputation, as an early pioneer minister of the Baptist faith, is most excellent.
We would suppose that the last-named in the above list, Thomas McFaren, would today be called Thomas McFerrin.
The first-named overseer, Stephen Box, is entirely unknown to the writer. The other overseer, George Anderson, is also unknown to your editor. William Beal came to Dixon’s Creek many, many years ago and married a Miss Anderson, but we understand her father’s name was Johnson Anderson, whose wife, Dillie Gregory Anderson, was a sister of our own great-grandfather, Major Gregory. Whether George Anderson was related to Johnson Anderson, we do not know.
“Ordered that Daniel Alexander be overseer where he is now overseer, and that James Montgomery, John Kenedy, Joel Holland, Josiah Howell, William Cross, Owen Sullivan, Isaac Sullivan, Daniel Sullivan, Hugh Larimore, Joseph Sullivan, Andrew Galbreath, Jacob Kenedy, William Hellums, Hugh Stephenson, William Malone, Richard Bowen, Elisha Oglesby, Robert Moffitt and Noah Eddy work under said overseer.” Here we have another list of road-working hands. We have looked back through the old record to determine where Alexander was previously appointed overseer, but failed to find same. But we would judge that he was overseer on the road that led up Middle Fork of Goose Creek to the Gap of the Ridge, as Elisha Oglesby then lived near the present Pleasant Valley. Oglesby is the ancestor of the Oglesby family now living in Trousdale County and elsewhere. He is also the ancestor of Mrs. Henry Howser and Mrs. Fred Gregory, of Lafayette. We leave off the names of those of whom we have no knowledge nor information. The four Sullivans mentioned, Owen, Isaac, Daniel and Joseph Sullivan, are thought to have lived on the waters of Upper Goose Creek or on the Highland Rim. There is reason to believe that Owen Sullivan, mentioned first in the above list, was the father of Andy Sullivan, who died about 30 years ago in the Fairview section of this county at 107 years of age. He had a son, whom he named Owen, which indicates the probability that Owen Sullivan, the road-builder of 1802 was the father of Andy Sullivan, who was born about 1816.
The Daniel Sullivan mentioned in the list is believed to have been the ancestor of Mrs. Nelle Howser, who was a Miss Sullivan prior to her marriage. Daniel Sullivan was a pioneer settler in what is now Macon County, and resided on the Norvel Hoskins farm, about a mile west of the Gap of the Ridge.
Will Hall Sullivan, of Lafayette, one of our greatest promoters, is the son of Jeff Sullivan who married Miss Dona Sullivan, a sister of Mrs. Howser, If Jeff and Dona were related, we have been unable to establish same. Jeff Sullivan was the son of John J. Sullivan, who married a Lauderdale and also a Carr. We have not been able to establish the name of the father of John J. Sullivan but his mother is to been named Lydia. If any readers of the paper can give us additional information on the Sullivan family, it will be appreciated.
Jesse Cook, father of J. D. Cook, who resides in Lafayette, with his son, Elder Oakley Cook, married the second time to Miss Sarah Sullivan, daughter of Joseph Sullivan, but we do not know of the connection back of Joseph.
Our records also show that nearly 90 years, George Jenkins, grandfather of the writer’s wife, married a Miss Sullivan, but we do not have the information to connect back with either of the four men mentioned in the list of worker on the road 150 years ago, but we believe it can be established. Later we hope to have more dealing with the Sullivan family.
Joel Holland was a very early settler in what is now Macon County. The first Hollands of whom we have any record are buried in the old family cemetery near the home of Charlie White, about a mile west of Lafayete. We have no authoritative information on any of the others mentioned in the above item.
“Ordered that Burrell Drewer, Stephen Robertson, Josiah Reynolds, Henry Moore, Jr., Charles Kavanaugh. Esquire; Thomas Flood and Capt. Charles Kavanaugh be a jury to view, mark and lay off a road from Bowling Fitts (or Felts) on Smith’s Fork, to intersect the Nashville Road at the most convenient place for the upper settlement on Hickman’s Creek, and that they report same to our next Court.” Here we have an item that deals with a section of which we do not know very much. However, Smith’s Fork is a big creek running into the Caney Fork River not far below Liberty, Tenn. Hickman’s Creek is the stream on which the town of Hickman is located. The Nashville Road is supposed to have been one of the through roads coming down off the Highland Rim to the east and leading to Nashville.
“Deed, 345 ½ acres, George Lawrence to Joseph Lawrence, proven by the oath of Adam Lawrence, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be recorded.” No comment.
“Deed, 200 acres, Thomas and Mourning White to James Ewing, proven by the oath of William Pryor, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto. Ordered to be registered.” Readers perhaps have noticed how few women’s names appeared on the deeds of 150 years ago. Here is an exception, “Mourning” being a woman’s name and presumed to have been the wife of Thomas White. Women had but few privileges a century and a half ago compared to the many they now enjoy. Women in that distant day and time had far more to do than the average woman of today. They had to work long, long hours, they had to do their cooking on an open fire, they had to gather their food as best they could, they had to make out on short rations very often, they had to spin the thread and make the cloth for practically all the clothing of the entire family. They even had frequently to tan the hides and make the leather for the shoes for the whole family. They also had to grow the flax and make therefrom the linen of the long ago. They had to work so hard that the young women of today would go distracted and throw up the job rather than work as pioneer women did.
All the dyes had to be made at home. There was no such thing as a “brought on” dye. They had to carry over all the seeds needed from one year to the next as there were no seed stores then known. They had to make practically everything needed at home, as but few things could be bought. We are sure that the average family did not spend $25 a year on store goods.
They had no lights except the old-fashioned grease lamp, and fuel for it had to be made from tallow or some other form of grease. Coal oil was unknown and electricity was then nearly 100 years away. They all had their spinning wheels, flax wheels and their looms. Hour after hour the old spinning wheel could be heard in pioneer homes, with its peculiar hum or roar. Then hour after hour the women of the home had to sit at the loom and weave the cloth from which all the bed clothing, sheets, pillow cases, bed-ticks, table cloths, the women’s clothing and the men’s wearing apparel were made. There were milking and churning to do, the family washing to care for, the gardens to be made, the care of from five to 15 children, to visit the sick, to care for the stranger and a thousand and one other duties. Truly the pioneer women were very much like Solomon’s description of a model wife, found in the last chapter of the book of Proverbs. Turn and read it, ladies, if you will. There you will find that the wise man Solomon considered virtue as the highest of all female attributes, then next and forcibly set forth, was industry.
Truly the pioneer woman of 150 years ago set a pattern for laboring, toiling and saving that could well be followed by us all today.
“Court adjourns until nine o’clock tomorrow.” Thus ends the first day of the June term of the Quarterly Court and Court of Pleas of Smith County, for the year 1802.