Transcribed By Kathleen Hastings Whitlock
July 23, 1953 - Reprinted July 19, 1979
* CALíS COLUMN *
July 16, 1953
†††† As I write these lines, I am on the old farm on which our mother was born on February 19, 1868.† It is located just above the present Pleasant Shade, at the forks of the creek, with the stream known as Little Peyton's Creek coming down from the northwest, and the main creek known as Big Peyton's Creek coming down from the north.† The writer is in the home of Ben Hooper Beasley, son of Lum Beasley, son of Henry Beasley, son of† *Calvin Gregory, who married Susan Gregory, daughter of Big Tom and Betty Gregory, our own great-grandparents.
* Note: It is evident that he meant Calvin Beasley, not Gregory.
†††††††††† This stream rises at the foot of the Ridge about seven miles east of Lafayette, and flows in a generally southern direction into the Cumberland River just above the present Riddleton, Tenn.† The stream has three towns on or near its waters, Pleasant Shade, Monoville and Riddleton.† It obtained its name from and incident that occurred in 1782.† The following account is taken from Ramsey's Annais of Tennessee.
†††††††††† "Of the other settlers at Kilgore's were two young men named Mason, Moses Malding, Ambrose Malding Josiah Hoskins, Jesse Simmons and others.† The two young men, Mason, had gone to Clay Lick, and had posted themselves in a secret place to watch for deer.† Whilst they were thus situated, seven Indians came to the Lick: the lads took good aim, fired upon and killed two Indians, and then ran with all speed to the fort, where, being joined by three of the garrison, they returned to the Lick, found and scalped the dead Indians, and returned.† That night John and Ephraim Peyton, called in and remained all night at the fort.† During the night all the horses that were there were stolen.† In the morning pursuit was made, and the Indians were overtaken in the evening, at the creek, since called Peyton's Creek.† They were fired upon.† One was killed and the rest of them fled, leaving the stolen horses to the owners.† The pursuers returned that night, in the direction of the fort, and encamped, and were progressing, next morning, on their way.† In the meantime, the Indians, by a circuitous route, had got between them and the station, and when the whites came near enough, fired upon them, killing one of the Masons, and Josiah Hoskins, and taking some spoil.† The Indians then retreated.† Discouraged by these daring depredations, the people at Kilgore's Station broke up their establishment and joined those on the bluff."
†††††††††† We wish we knew just where on Peyton's Creek the attack on the horse-stealing Indians was made.† We have made much inquiry and have not learned anything whatever as to the place.† If any reader of the Times knows just where the Indians had camped on the stream now known as Peyton's Creek please write us.
†††††††††† The farm on which our friend Beasely lives was purchased by one of our great-great-grandfathers, Leonard Ballou, who was born in Botetourt County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah River Valley, On April 4, 1767, and who arrived on the waters of Dixon's Creek as early as 179, settling in what was then Sumner County, latr Smith County and today is part of Trousdale County.† On Dixon's Creek he "took up" a square mile of land, 640 acres, and his brother, Captain James Ballou, took up a like amount of land, as did their brother-in-law, Elias Johns, who had married their sister, Esther Ballou.† Leonard Ballou married first Mary Metcalf, of N. Car.† By her he became the father of:† Elizabeth, (Betsy† or† Esther) who later married Binion P. Lipscomb, who is said to have been an uncle of David Lipscomb, who was a prominent minster of the Church of Christ for many years and also was founder of the school today know as David Lipscomb, at or near Nashville.† David Lipscomb was the son of Granville Lipscomb, who was born in Virginia, as Binion was.† Resuming the children of Leonard Ballou and his wife, Mary:† Leonard Ballou, Jr., married Jane Nixon; James Ballou, married a Key; and Rice Meredith Ballou, married Amanda Nelson and removed to Arkansas.
After the death of Mary Metcalf, Leonard Ballou married her sister, Sarah Metcalf, and became the father of:† Lorenzo Dow Ballou, one of our great-grandfathers; Julia, died at about 16 years of age, and was buried in the bottom not far from the old Ballou spring, near an old horseapple tree.† Her body was later removed to the top of the hill above the present Beasley home in which the writer is a guest; Minerva Ballou, married Booker Wakefield: Anthony W. Ballou, married a Cummings;† William Ballou,† married a McMurry; and John Ballou, who married a White.
†††††††††† In 1808 in consequence of what Leonard Ballou thought was an injustice to himself by his brother-in-law, Elias Johns, he refused to live any longer by Johns, and came to Peyton's Creek and bought a tract of 640 acres, and built the first weatherboarded house on the entire creek. This house was located about 75 yards from the old spring which still flows on ande whose waters are as sweet as they were 145 years ago when Leonard and wife and children quenched their thirst from its waters.† They flow on as they did when our mother 80 years ago drank from its cooling and abundant supply of as good water perhaps as can be found on Peyton's Creek.† It is the greatest and best source of water to be found on the entire tract which embraced the lands about the junction of Little Peyton's Creek and Big Peyton's Creek.
†††††††††† Leonard Ballou and his second wife, Mary's, first child was Lornezo Dow Ballou, born December 1, 1808, shortly after the family arrived on Peyton's Creek.† Leonard is said to have been a charter member of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church which was formed in November, 1836, and was located about two miles down the creek below the Ballou farm.† He died on August 4, 1840.
†††††††††† Just how Lorenzo Dow Ballou came into possession of the old home and farm of 640 acres, we do not know.† There were eight other heirs of the old man, who had originally purchased the place.† Anyway, Lorenzo Dow Ballou continued to live on the place until his death which occurred in 1859, at the age of 51 years.† He was the father of:† William Alexander Ballou, born September 22, 1830;† James Ethelbert Ballou, born November 1, 1831;† Leonidas W. Ballou, born February 1, 1833;† Diogenes Ballou, commonly called "Aug," born September 28, 1834;† Julia A. Ballou, born July 4, 1836;† Anthony S. Ballou, born December 4, 1837;† Margaret Esther Ballou, the writer's grandmother, born August 18, 1840;† Mary B. Ballou, born November 6, 1842;† Albert Cullom Ballou, born September 7, 1842; and Rufus C. (Ward) Ballou, born October 24, 1847.
†††††††††† On our visit Tuesday to the old family burial ground which is located on the top of a low hill just to the west of the Ben Hooper Beasley home, we found a total of 13 graves, which perhaps is short of the number of white people actually buried there.† Quite a number of colored people are buried near the place where the white people lie, awaiting the resurrection of the dead.† The old family burial ground is now in an open pasture, with three old locust trees still standing and six young locust trees.† The hill is only about one-third or one-fourth as high as are the surrounding hills, and yet a fine view is here to be had.† To the east of the old graveyard lies the old Herod farm and still further to the east is the Sanderson Branch or Valley of Peyton's Creek.† To the north are the high hills of upper Peyton's Creek.† To the northwest may be seen the hills and the valley of little Peyton's Creek.† On its waters is the school house where the writer taught school in 1914.† The school has been abandoned and yet there are many memories that cluster there.† Our own mother secured what limited education she had at the old school house that stood near the present John Dickerson home.† Later the old school building was given to the Negroes for a school.† It was the smallest school house we ever say, being perhaps about 20 feet square.† The old hickory tree that once stood ont eh bank of the creek near the school housse of 75 years ago, and from which or mother, ("Mammy," to the editor). Gathered large nuts, is now only a memory.
To the south of the burial place there are large, high hills.† The graves of Binian P. Lipscomb and his wife, Elizabeth, sometimes called Esther, and also known as "Aunt Betsy", are in better condition than any others, so far as grave marking is concerned.† They sleep side by side beneath old fashioned "rock-boxed" grave markers.† At the north is the grave of B.P. Lipscimb, who had a good education for his day and time.† A Virginia by birth, he had early in life settled on Peyton's Creek.† On the marble marker which is set up in the end of the heavy native stone "box" are the following words; "B.P. Lpscomb, born June 3, 1798, died October 9, 1889.† Where immoral spirits reign. There we shall meet again.† Farwell till we meet again."
†††††††††† A hackberry tree appears to have grown out of his grave, coming so close to the solid stone top of the "box" that the tree is flattened where it has come into contact with the large, thick stone top of the "box."
†††††††††† About three feet from the "box" of B.P. Lipscomb is that of his wife.† The following inscription is found on a marble slab at the head of her "box:" "Elizabeth, wife of B.P. Lipscomb, born August 5, 1795, died November 1, 1881.† "A faithful wife, companion dear, In sweet repose is sleeping here; Her painful loss I deeply feel, But God can all my sorrows heal.
†††††††††† Farwell, till we meet again."
†††††††††† Uncle Binian, as he was called, listed himself as a Constable in the census of 1850.† We have seen quite a lot of his handwriting.† He was a fine penman for his day and time.† Some time after the Civil War, the two old folks who never had any children, were robbed of a sum of money by thieves who in disguise, entered their home.† They cut the hand of the poor old woman dn obtained perhaps a large sum of money for that day and time.† Some estimates are as high as $1,500.† The money was taken mostly from an old cherry bureau, which for many years was in the writer's childhood home.† We let it sell for only $10.00, but would gladly give much more for it today.† Our "Mammy" used to present a peculiar look out of her eyes as she used to tell her children that the thieves were known, but could not be revealed. ††††††
†††††††††† By the side of Betsy's grave is another long grave, juding from the distance between the headstone and the footstone, which are without inscription and are common limestone.† We have no idea as to who is buried there unless it was Leonard Ballou, who died in 1840.
†††††††††† On the grave of Lorenzo Dow Ballou is another stone "box" such as were used many years ago to mark the burial place of the dead.† It was covered over with a stone that has weathered so badly that nearly all the inscription is gone, although enough of it remains to show whose grave it was.†
†††††††††† By the side of Lorenzo Dow Ballou's grave is that of his wife, Mary Kittrell Ballou.† Although there is no box over her grave a marble slab was set up to mark her last resting place.† However, it has been broken off just above the top of the ground, but the inscription is complete and intat.† It is as follows: "Our Mother, Mary R, Kittrell, wife of L.D,. Ballou, born September 25, 1806, died September 19, 1874.
†††††††††† "Tis sweet to gaze upon the sod That wraps thy mouldering clay;
To think thy spirit rests with God,
Who called in hence away."
†††††††††† The farm of other years was in one large body, the northern boundary of which can still be easily located. The southern border is also very well marked. At the northeast it came to a corner, thence southward to a corner, thence westward and thence down the creek. The west part of it took in the present Dewey Dickerson farm, and perhaps most of the present John Dickerson farm, and supposedly all of the Mart Taylor Hollow above the present home of Ray Kitrell, who is another great-grandson of Lorenzo Dow Ballou. He owns at present part of the original tract. Part of it is also owned by George McDuffee and Herbert F. Sloan.
†Peyton's Creek has a long and varied history from it naming, as above set forth, to the present time.† Our Gregory ancestors arrived on the creek in the autumn of 1791.† Michael Murphy was an early settler, as was a man named Clark.† The Smith family, the Wilkinsons, the Jenkins, the Sloans, the Herods, the Cornwells, the Settles, the Haynies, the Stones, the Roberts, and many other families of an early day were there many years ago.
†††††††††† The old Ballou home, located a short distance from the fine old spring, is now entirely gone, not a trace of it remaining.† However, pieces of crockery and chinaware may still be seen.† In the terrible flood of 1842, sometimes called a "fresher," Peyton's Creek was higher than ever before known or since.† Water rose in the old Ballou house to a depth of 18 inches, so we once heard our old great-uncle Lon Ballou, say in our boyhood.† The waters were divided when a house log that came down the main steam of Peyton's Creek lodged against two locust trees a short distance above the house.† The old man said that the house would have washed away had it not been for the log against the two trees.† During the height of the flood, Mrs. Kittrell rode out of the flood waters to the rocky point above the old spring on a mule without a saddle and she rode as men ride, so tradition has informed us.† It was considered rather unlady like for a woman to ride astride, but there was not time for the finer things of being a lady.
†††††††††† The same flood brought very high waters to the place now called Pleasant Shade.† In the forks of the two streams that come together in the lower end of Pleasant Shade lived a man named Massey, the grandfather of Elder C.B. Massey, who resides at this time in the extreme lover end of Pleasant Shade, no more than 100 yards from where his grandfather resided in 1842.† Grandfather Massey had a large family.† As the waters surrounded his home which is said to have been on the site of the present John C. Sloan home, he decided to vacate the house.† He took two or three of his smaller children on his back and set out for the higher ground about 100 yards to the north.† As the waters were then waist deep or more, he had a hard time making progress against the swift-flowing waters.† One of the children is reported to have urged him on with the plea: "Come on, pap, you are going to make it."† He managed to take all of his family to safety.
†††††††††† †In the same flood, which occurred on May 19, 1842, a man named Leftwich and his wife both drowned further down the wild, raging stream.† Their home was located in the forks of the stream that came down the Nixon Hollow in which the Gregorys first settled, and the main creek.† Their small Negro slave heard the pouring rains of the night and arose some time between midnight and daylight, and went outside to find the water all around the house and still rising.† He went to his white owners and told them of their danger, but it was in vain.† They refused to believe there was any danger and went back to sleep.† The slave boy had enough presence of mind to go to the stables and release all the livestock.† The next morning when the couple awoke the water was so high about their log home that it was impossible to leave the building, on the roof of which they took refuge in the hope that structure would stand until the waters subsided.† In this they were doomed to defeat, for early in the morning when neighbors had gathered on the neighboring hillsides, the house floated away and its two occupants a short distance down the stream went on their deaths when their log house went to pieces.† As the house moved down the stream, the poor, frightened woman called out time and again.† "Farewell, farewell."† The body of Leftwich was soon recovered but days before the body of Mrs. Leftwich was discovered.† It was feared that the raging stream ha carried the body into the Cumberland.† Finally on the big bank of gravel, a small corner of the apron worn by Mrs. Leftwich was spied.† Digging into the bank of gravel, the body was found.† Mrs. Leftwich was a sister of Mrs. Louisa Porter, who was a Miss Garrett prior to her marriage.
(To be continued)