Transcribed by Pat Stubbs
August 30, 1951
* CAL'S COLUMN *
†††† We resume the publications of the old records of the Quarterly Court and Court of Pleas of Smith County on the closing day for the summer term, Wednesday, June 17, 1801.
†††† "Ordered that Moses Fisk and Garrett Fitzgerald be appointed to settle with the administrators of _________Willams, deceased, and report same to our ensuing Court."† Either the writer failed to copy the given name of the Williams here mentioned or else the Clerk failed to record it.† We presume the name could have been identified by reading back over some of the previous publications of the records, but we are too hard pressed for time to do so now.† Anyway, Moses Fisk and Garrett Fitzgerald were among the best known citizens of Smith County in 1801.
†††† "James Roberts stock mark, a crop off the left ear and an over slope in the right, ordered to be recorded." Again we mention that livestock roamed at large in the thousands of acres of woodland that covered Smith County 150 years ago.† Fences for one's hogs, sheep, cattle or even horses were virtually unknown then.† Horses and cattle were branded generally, with the initials of the owner. Hogs and sheep were marked about their ears in such a way that their owners could identify the livestock by the mark.† A crop off the left ear meant a small piece was cut off the tip of the animal's ear.† An "overslope" in the right ear, we admit, is one that has the writer puzzled.†† Marking of livestock is now nearly a thing of the past. †Our own father, 50 years ago, had his mark for his hogs, a split in the left ear.† However, we are quite sure that he never had his mark recorded.† The above explanations are given for the benifit of any new readers not familiar with what has gone before.† James Roberts is another "unknown" to Cal.† However, there is now a James Roberts on Peyton's Creek above Pleasant Shade, but his people came to Smith County from Roane County at a date later than the above item.
†††† "Ordered that Sampson Williams be appointed to survey the land claimed by Sevier and Gordon, so as to ascertain (whether) Aaron Robins and John Livingston, or either of them, are on the same, and return three just and fair plans thereof to our next Court."† The Sevier here referred was then Governor of Tennessee.† He and Gordon owned vast tracts of land over a wide area of Middle Tenn., extending at one time to the vicinity of Byrdstown.† The land claimed by these two men had evidently been occupied by Aaron Robins and John Livingston, and Sampson Williams, one of the county's foremost men, was appointed to make a survey to find out if they were on the lands of Sevier and Gordon.† "Three just and fair" plans to dispose of the matter somewhat aroused our curiosity.† The word, "just," is spelled with a capital J.† How there could be three just and fair plans, we confess, we do not know.† These two men were either on the lands of Sevier and Gordon or they were not.† So we confess we do not see how three "just and fair" plans for disposing of the matter could have been arranged.
†††† "Adjourned till Court in course, to meet at Dixon Springs." Thus the Court of June, 1801, closed"
†††† "Monday, Dixon Springs, Sept.21, 1801.† Court met according to adjournment.† members present (to wit) Garrett Fitzgerald, Tilman Dixon and James Hibbetts."† This Court met in the home of Dixon, just below the present Dixon Springs. The old house is still standing and is one of the most interesting landmarks in Smith County.† Fitzgerald lived up the river toward Celina.† James Hibbetts lived on the waters of Goose Creek, a few miles south of Lafayette.† The opening part is a little out of the ordinary.† First the Clerk, Sampson Williams, gave the day of the week.† Next, the place; and last the day of the month.
†††† "Grand Jury drawn (viz) John Shelton, James Bradley, Richard Brittain, Robert Bowman, Isham Beasley, Charles McMurry, Edmond Boaz, James Cochran, Vincent Ridley, Andrew Greer, John Johnson, Elias Johns, John Dourglas, forman: Aaron Hart, Henry Dancer. Daniel Mungle appointed Constable to attend on the Grand Jury, and sworn accordingly."† Here we have another item, about which we may offer some remarks, largely repetitions of things before offered, but again given for the new readers of the paper, including the school children of Macon County, and some elsewhere.
†††† John Selton is supposed to have resided somewhere west of Dixon Springs, on the old road leading to the present Castalian Springs.† His daughter is believed to have married James Ballou, who resided at the old Charlie Brooks place just below the present Dixon's Creek Baptist church. We do not have any specific information as to James Bradley, but we presume that he lived between the present Riddleton and Dixon Springs.† Richard Brittain was a resident of the lower part of Middle Fork of Goose Creek as was Andrew Greer, another member of the Grand Jury.† Robert Bowman lived just east of the present Riddleton where a stream, called Bowman's Branch, is believed to have received its name from said Robert Bowman.
†††† Isham Beasley lived first in the present Beasley's Bend, southwest or sourthward from Dixon Springs. Later he bought land and moved to the present Sullivan's Bend, where he became one of the largest land owners and slave owners in Smith County.† His wife was the former Miss Polly Andrews.† They are the ancesters of all the present Beasleys in Macon, Smith, Trousdale and other counties in north Middle Tennessee.
†††† Charles McMurry was the great-grandfather of the Stubblefield Brothers of Hartsville.† He lived on Dixon's Creek, not far from the present Cato.† Edmond Boaz is supposed to have been the ancestor of the present Boze family of Smith and adjoining counties.† However, the name is not now spelled as it was 150 years ago.† Then it was Boaz.
†††† We know nothing of James Cochran, or Vincent Ridley.† John Johnson is believed to have married one of the daughters of Leonard Ballou, whose son, Leonard† * Middle Fork of Big Goose Creek, great-grandfather.*† We know that one of the daughters married Elias Johns, another married a Johnson, and still another married a Higginbotham.† The Elias Johnson next in the list of men for Grand Jury duty was the husband of our great-great-great-aunt, Esther Ballou.† They became the ancestors of most of the family of this name now residing in various places.† Part of them went to the Oregon country as early as 1835.
††† * This portion was transcribed as written it is evidently a type set error as this was one entire line
††††††††††††† †in the original article. One of Calís Grandfathers was a Ballou.
†††† The John Douglas next mentioned is another unknown to the writer, although one of the Gregory women married a Douglas about 160 years ago.† This woman was a sister of our great-great-grandfather, Bry Gregory.† His name was Thomas B. Douglas.† Whether he was a brother of John or his father or even a relative, we have no way at present of knowing.† However, we are almost certain that he was a relative of the husband of another of the writer's great-great-great aunts.
†††† Brief comment on Aaron Hart and Henry Dancer was given in Last week's paper.† Daniel Mungle resided on the waters of Big Goose Creek, not far from the present Mungle's Gap, named for him and located between the waters of Lick Creek and Goose Creek, just above the present Good Will Baptist church.
†††† "Deed. 320 acres, Vincent Ridley to Pleasant Emerson, Acknowledged and ordered to be registered."† We have already stated that we have no information about Ridley.† And now we say the same for Emerson.
†††† "Deed, 40 acres, John Murphy to Amos Freeman, proven by the oath of James W. Wright, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and ordered to be registered."† We do not know who John† Murphy was, but presume that he was a relative of the Michael Murphy, the first man who ever lived at Pleasant Shade, so far as we can learn, and at whose home a term of Court was held in the year 1800.† His home was in field just to the hear of the present Bob Williams residence in Pleasant Shade.† Amos Freeman, so far as memory served us, is the first of the name we have found in the old records.† We would be glad to have any comment or light that may be given us by Elder W. W. Freeman, of P. O. Box 580, Commerce, Texas, who is one of our valued readers and well-informed men.† He formerly lived in Macon County and knows perhaps as much about the Freeman family as any person now living.
†††† We are sorry that we have no information about James W. Wright.† We are not positive, but we believe this is the first time the name Wright appears in the old records.† If any reader can give us any light in this member of one of the prominent families of early Smith County, you will confer a favor on the writer.
†††† "Robert Bowman's stock mark, a crop off the left ear and a slit in the right, ordered to be recorded."† This is the same Robert Bowman above mentioned, without a doubt.
†††† "Ordered that William Martin's stock mark, a cross and underkeel in the right ear, and a swallow forkin the left.(be recorded.)"† This man was one of the leading men in all of Middle Tennessee in that early day.† The record omitted the words above in parenthesis, so we have added them to make sense.† Now we are going to have to admit our ignorance once more.† We have seen numerous stock marks and read of many more.† But we do not know what kind of a mark was made in a hog or sheep's ear that answered to a cross, unless it was made by slittling a place in a animal's ear and then making another cut the other way at that part of the slit away from the edge or border of the ear.† This is just "sumising" and may be completely wrong. †William Martin lived on the present Bud Garrett farm*, about a mile and half southwest of Cal's childhood home.† William Martin was born in Orange County, Virginia, November 28, 1765.† He died on November 4, 1846, when he was almost 81 years of age.† He was the man who gave the large, five-acre tract of fine ground on which is located the present Dixon's Creek Baptist church, of which he was an early deacon and also a leading member.† He is said to have divided his smokehouse in half, giving his pastor half the meat, and keeping the other half for himself.† Although Cal has been in the ministry and the pastor of churches for nearly 40 years, he confesses that he has never found a deacon like William Martin in matters of hams, bacon and "chitterlings."† He is not complaining and does not wish any reader to think that he is inclined to criticise his brethren and sisters, who have been liberal with him and have done for him far more than he has deserved.
†††† "Ordered that all persons who have heretofore failed to return lists of 'other' Taxable property and polls for the present year, that the same be received at this present Term."††† We are trying to give the old records as they were written, even to the spelling and capitalization.† The reader will note that the word, their, is not correctly spelled, and that the words, taxable† and term, are capitalized.† But we must not judge these men too harshly.† Not one of them, so far as we can learn, had even an eighth grade education.† Many of them did not go to school nine months in all their lives.† So we must not be critical of their splendid efforts, their sacrifices for us of today, and the wonderful foundation they laid for future generations.
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (To be Continued)†
This Note appeared in his book by R. J. Brooks:
* Col.Wiliam Martin never lived at the Bud Garrett farm on Young Branch.† His son, Wilson Y. Martin, bought the farm from the heirs of Chesley Bridgewater.† His place was later identified as the Bud Garrett place once called, "Bearwallow."† Col. William Martin lived at the mouth of Scantz Branch at Cato and his home was called "Beleview."† Wilson Y. Martin married a daughter of Chesley Bridgewater.