Transcribed by Pat Stubbs
March 1, 1951
* CAL'S COLUMN *
We resume the publication of the old records at the point where we "left off" last week. The next item is as follows: "Deed, Sampson Williams to Anne Smith, acknowledged in open Court, and ordered to be recorded." From this simple record, we do not have any idea where this land lay. But since Sampson Williams lived not far above the mouth of the present Salt Lick Creek, emptying into the Cumberland just below the old town of Williamsburg, we suppose the land might have been somewhere in that section. Moreover, there are Smiths still living in that section. In fact Smith's Bend occupies the territory between lower Salt Lick and Williamsburg.
"Ordered that Thomas Harmond, Charles Mundine, Charles McClennan, Willeroy Pate, Robert Rowland, Charles Dillard, John Williamson and William Sullivan, Jr., be appointed to Jury to view, mark and lay off a road leading from the Fort Blount Road by way of Sullivan's Ferry to the Walton Road, and report same to our ensuing Court." We believe that Charles Dillard is the only new name appearing above and that comment has been offered already on the others. Perhaps, this Charles Dillard lived in that early day on what is now known as Dillard's Creek which rises in the Chestnut Mound section and flows into the Cumberland above Carthage. We have a Charles Dillard here in Macon County, whose ancesters came from the Dillard's Creek section. Our Macon County Dillard writes under the name of "David" and is well known to most of the people of this county. Just where the new road was to leave the old Fort Blount Road is unknown. The Walton Road came down from the Chestnut Mound section to Carthage by way of Elmwood. So we judge that it most probably led across Fun's Branch and through the present Brooks' Bend, but this is only a guess. The present road into Brooks' Bend leads across Fun's Branch, starting from the old Fort Blount Road, only about three miles from the original Fort Blount.
"Charles Carter's stock mark a crop off the right ear and underbit in the left, ordered to be recorded." No comment.
"Deed, 250 acres William Sullivan to John Williamson, proven by the oath of Joseph Williamson, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto." We suppose this man Sullivan lived in the present Sullivan's Bend of Cumberland River, which is on the south side of the stream, somewhat between the River and the present Chestnut Mount. We do not know where the land lay, but suppose it to have been in the vicinity of the Sullivan home. This would lead us to judge that John Williamson was a resident of that section of country lying now northwest of Chestnut Mound. It is presumed, but not known, that John and Joseph Willaimson were brothers.
Deed, 1,400 acres Samuel Parker to Garret Fitzgerald, proven by the oath of John L. Martin." So reads the next item. We believe this is the first time the name Parker appears in the old records. Garrett Fitzgerald is supposed to have lived in the vicinity of the present Celina in Clay County. This would perhaps indicate that the land lay in the general vicinity of Celina., not very far from the present Gainesboro. Not far below Gainesboro a stream known as Martin's Creek, empties into the Cumberland, but it is not known if John L. Maritn was the man for whom the stream was named. Any information on this point will be appreciated.
"Deed, Garrett Fitzgerald to Christopher (left bank) 400 acres, acknowledged." Whether this 400 acre tract was a part of the 1,400 acre tract bought by Fitzgerald from Samuel Parker, is not known, but it is reasonable to suppose such to be true. The Christopher, whose last name was left out by the Clerk, was evidently Christopher Bullard, as will appear from the next item.
"Deed, 200 acres, Christopher Bullar to William Roberts, acknowledged and ordered to be recorded." This is the next item. Evidently Bullar sold half his new purchase to Roberts. This would all indicate that Bullar, Fitzgerald and Roberts lived somewhere in the present Clay County, but this is a mere suppostion.
"Ordered that Henry McKinney, Sampson Williams, James Blackburn, Benjamin Blackburn, Uriah Anderson, John Fitzgerald, Jabias Fitzgerald and Barnett Lee be appointed to view, mark and lay off a road from Fort Blount to the Indian Boundary near Mr. Blackburn's, and that they report the same to our ensuing Court." Here we find another item that is partially unexplained to the writer, in two or three points. Whether Garrett Fitzgerald, the purchaser of the 1,400-acre tract of land; and John and Jabias Fitzgerald were brothers, we do not know. We wish some member of the family could give us some light. Barnett Lee is another 'newcomer" to these pages, and we have absolutely no information about him. The Mr. Blackburn, near the Indian Boundary, we suppose to have been Benjamin Blackburn. Whether he and James were brothers is not known. It is supposed that one or perhaps both of these men lived in the present Jackson County on Blackburn's Fork of Roaring River. Blackburn's Fork is a stream about 15 miles in length and emptying into Roaring River about five miles above the mouth of the little river which empties into the Cumberland just above the present Gainesboro. It takes its name from the sound of the waters as they leave the Highland Rim and drop into the Central Basin. Roaring River, so we are informed, is a stream about 40 miles long.
Just where the Indian Boundary was we do not know. We have found several references to the Indian
Boundary in the old records. If any reader of the Times can enlighten us, your help will be appreciated.
"Ordered that Moses Fisk and Sampson Williams be appointed to survey a disputed claim of land between John Sevier and George Gordon, plaintiffs; and Alexander Suit, defendant, and they or either of them to act separately or jointly." Here we learn more of the Governor's land dealing, but there is no information in this item about where the land in dispute lay. Alexander Suit is another newcomer to these pages or records. We presume the name was correctly spelled "Suite," our reason being that on October 21, 1821, William N. Suite, later to become a Baptist minister, was then born. Whether Alexander Suite was the father of William N. Suite, we do not know; but we are quite sure that it was the same family. William N. Suite's father died when the future minister was only a youth. Any reader wishing some additional information about Elder Suite may address the writer of this column. Moses Fisk was a noted surveyor of his day and time and was the ancestor of the late Bill Fiske, owner and editor of the Clay County paper of other years, known as "Bill Fiske's Bugle." Perhaps there may be some other item later to reveal where the disputed land lay.
"Ordered that Smith Hutchins be appointed overseer of the road leading from the top of the ridge at the head of Flynn's Creek, to the Indian Boundary, near Mr. Blackburn's and that Garrett Fitzgerald, Esquire, furnish a list of hands." This is the reading of the next item. We are slowly acquiring some information. We know something of the ridge at the head of Flynn's Creek, which empties into the Cumberland a few miles below Gainesboro, the present county seat of Jackson County.
Since writing the above we have made an effort to learn something of the facts about the early Court. We have counted it all along the County Court, but we believe we have been in error. The proper word or words for this old, old Court should be "Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.," and we apologize for the blunder. We have also learned something about the Indian Boundary. The east boundary of Smith County in that early day appears to have been a line extending south from the Kentucky line to a point some distance up the Caney Fork, presumably a straight line. Just where this line left the southern boundary of Kentucky. we do not know, but evidently it must have been at some point in the northern boundary of what is now Pickett County. This was a reservation for Cherokee Indians. So it is easy now to understand about the cutting out of roads to the Indian Boundary, as from the mouth of the Caney Fork, from Fort Blount, from the ridge at the head of Flynn's Creek, and from other points. The Indians called the present Obed River, "Oocooahusehee," whatever that signifies. We are sorry for our lack of information about some points that we should have known, but did not. Anyway, we feel that we are "larning," if the reader will permit us to use an old word.
"On motion of Alexander McCullouch, one of the heirs of Benjamin McCullouch, grounded on the affidavit of the said Alexander McCullouch, it is ordered that the heirs of said Benjamin McCullouch, shall be at liberty to deliver in to the Clerk of this Court, a list of the taxable propery belonging to the heirs of the said Benjamin McCullouch for the present year; and that the list so given in shall be considered by relation as having been given in at the September term of this Court, and that said list (be left) with the Clerk, and immediately pay the tax on the same into the hands of the Clerk, and (that the heirs) be thereupon discharged from the fine and double tax." We have here a rather long item and part of this wording is faulty. We have tried to correct this by adding the words that are in parentheses. The family name of McCullouch appears here for the first time in the old records, so far as we can recall. There is nothing here to indicate where the family lived, or any of the heirs except Alexander. Anyway, we find a disposition that is very human and also one that is still in vogue, that of being able or anxious to escape a penalty or fine and to set aside the strict letter of the law and substitute for it something of what we call leniency. We suppose that is better that mercy be shown rather than "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
"Ordered that Sampson Williams, William Anderson, Thomas Heaton, Charles Carter, William Marchbanks and James Carter be appointed to view, mark and lay off a road leading from where T. William Anderson lives to Mr. Pate's horse mill, and report same to our ensuing Court." Here we have another unusual item, particularly a "horse mill." This means a mill operated by horse power, but we confess that we do not know just how the power was applied, whether the horse or horses went round and round as they used to do when hitched to an old-fashioned sorghum mill, or whether some form of tramp power was use. In the old-fashioned tramp power, two horses were generally used. They were placed in an enclosure so they could not get out, and beneath their feet was a sort of moving floor which their weight moved in the opposite direction from the way the horses tried to walk. In other words the horses walked and walked, but got nowhere. They kept stepping only to find that their footing was receding behind them. We never saw but one such power plant, and that was about 55 years ago when we were a five-year-od boy. A pair of horses could not stand "the pressure" very long and had to be taken out and rested. We can still recall how very hot these horses got as they tramped and tramped. This outfit furnished the power to thresh our father's wheat crop of more than half a century ago and we believe we can go within five feet of where that "tramp power," the first and last we ever saw, was "put down." Now we do not know how :Pate's mill operated, but presume its operation by horsepower was after one or the other plans as ways above mentioned. And we do not know where Pate's mill was located, nor do we know from this meager record which of the Pates operated it, there being Willeroy Pate, Booker Pate and Edward Pate among the early citizens of Smith County. Where T. William Anderson lived is another point "on which we are in the dark."
"Ordered that John Overturf, John Black, Samuel Huff, Abraham Denton, and Stephen Copeland be appointed a Jury to view, mark and lay off a road leading from where the Kentucky Road intersects Line Creek, the nearest and best way to Captain Stephen Copeland's on Roaring River, and report same to our ensuing Court." Here we have another item about which all is not clear. We do not know where the Kentucky Road is or was, but we do know that some time ago we published a report of a group working on the road up Middle Fork of Goose Creek to where the Kentucky Road was intersected. We do know where Line Creek is. It flows down out of the present Clay County and crosses the Kentucky-Tennessee State Line about a mile south of the present Gamaliel, Ky. It rises at the very divide between the waters that flow north to Barren River and those that flow south to the Cumberland, an irregular and very crooked line a hundred miles long or even longer that begins near Portland, Tennessee and extends right through Lafayette, thence northeastward into Kentucky. So far as we can judge to attain the nearest and best way from Line Creek to the home of Copeland, which was on Roaring River, the new road would have run up the waters of Line Creek to the top of the Ridge or Highland Rim about the present Stiles Cross Roads, thence southeastward down Pine Lick to the present Whitleyville, thence to the Cumberland near where Gainesboro Bridge now stands, thence east to Roaring River, a quarter of a mile above the bridge, and on up Roaring River until Copeland's place had been reached. We confess that we do not know how far up the stream Copeland lived. Some of the Dentons have long lived in the vicinity of Gamaliel. The Overturf family, we believe. was among the earliest in Clay County. John Black is another "unknown" to us, although there were Blacks about Dixon Springs in the very early days. We might add that the Copeland family is rather numerous in the present Overton County.
Some time ago we published a statement that we knew nothing of where George Thomason lived. A re-reading of the old records reveals that he lived on Jennings' Creek, presumably on that part now in Jackson County.
The following gentlemen were appointed as a venire to our ensuing Court; viz: William Martin, Grant Allen, James Ballou, Daniel Hammock, William Saunders, John Patterson, Patrick Donoho, Thomas Walker, William Roper, William Kelton, John Gray, Thomas Bowerman, Godfrey Fowler, William Haynie., John Chambers, William Stalcup, John Stafford, James Bradley, Andrew Greer, Richard Brittain, Jeremiah Taylor, Phillip Day, Charles McMurry, Anthony Samuel, John Murphy, John Brevard, David Keilough, Jr., Daniel Mungle, John Johnson, James Gibson, John Reid, Samuel Corrothers, John Rutherford, Robert Bowerman, Abraham Brittain and John Douglas." Here we have a list of 36 of the leading citizens of Smith County in December, 1800. Comment has been made about most of those whose names appear above. However, we have not commented on Daniel Hammock,*A* who, we suppose or presume, was the ancestor or relative of the Hammock family in Hartsville. We do not recall having seen the name of William Roper prior to its appearing in the above list. but we might be mistaken. Even if we have not mentioned it, we know nothing of the family except that Bill Roper is now connected with the subscription department of the Nashville Banner and the Nashville Tennessean.
We presume William Haynie lived somewhere about the present Monoville in Smith County, on October 1, 1805, and whose parents were pioneer settlers in Tennessee, and from North Carolina. If we are in error on any point, we shall be glad to make the necessary correction.
John Stafford is another whose name we do not recall previous to the above record. Whose son he was or who his son, if any, were we do not know. One of the earliest Staffords of whom we have any knowledge was Canaan Stafford, the ancestor of quite a lot of our present-day citizsens in North Middle Tennessee.
Richard Brittain and Abraham Brittain were very probably brothers and early settlers on Goose Creek which rises at the very south edge of the present Lafayette. W. C. Brittain, of Hendersonville, one of our subscribers, is almost certainly a descendant of either Richard or Abraham Brittain.
Charles McMurry *B* lived in that early day and time on Dixon's Creek, and is the ancestor of Mr Stubblefield, who is a rural carrier out of Hartsville. John Johnson's descendants are not known, but one of the Johnsons married a Miss Ballou about 1795 or a little later. They had a son named Meredith Ballou Johnson, whose daughter, Mary E. Johnson, became the wife of an early attorney of Macon County, I. L. Roark, on November 28, 1855. Whether the John Johnson called for jury duty in 1800, was the father of Meredith Ballou Johnson, remains to be determined. The writer hopes that he may be pardoned when he states that the mother of Meredith Ballou Johnson was a sister of one of his great-great-grandfathers, Leonard Ballou, born in Bottetourt County, Virginia, April 4, 1767. He was the son of Leonard Ballou, who married Esther Meredith. This Leonard Ballou, was the son of Rice Meredith Ballou, supposed to have been the son of William Ballou, given land grants in Virginia in 1651 and 1652.
"Court adjourns until the third Monday in March, 1801, to meet at Dixon Springs. Sampson Williams, Clerk." Thus ends the work of the old Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the year 1800. The session closing was held at Fort Blount.
(To be continued)
Transcriber Note: The following notes by R. D. Brooks appeared in the Book:
A- Daniel Hammock, a neighbor of Col. William Martin, was a son in law of Gen. Joseph Martin of Virginia and brother in law of Col. William Martin on Dixon Creek.
B- Charles McMurry and Phillip Day were sons in law of John Douglas. They lived on Dixon Lick Creek near Dixon Springs.