November 18, 1954 - Reprinted September 23, 1976


Transcribed By Pamela Vick




     We received a letter recently from Miss Sally Ballou, which will be of interest to some of our readers, we are sure.  We are glad to add that we have found the graves referred to and which we did not recognize some weeks ago when we visited the old place referred to by Miss Ballou.  Her interesting letter follows:


510 W. Clifton Terrace,

Washington, D.C.

October 16, 1954


Dear Calvin:


     I regret your failure to find the graves of Uncles Will and Lon Ballou on what was called the Burford and later the Lytle Beasley farm, Mr. Beasley having bought it from the Burfords.  My understanding is that the Burfords lived in a log house as did most families of that period, and it was probably this of which you found some evidence.


     In 1890 after the death of Mr. Beasley who was quite elderly and none of whose children were in a position to keep the farm, it was bought by Uncle Lon and Papa.  At that time it consisted of 147 acres and had on it a shabby, small house, the siding perpendicular, called then box or boxed; but now board-and-batten, and a dilapidated log barn.


     Papa and Uncle Lon bought the place severally, Uncle Lon paying $2,800.00 for 80 acres, on which were the house and barn and Papa $2,200.00 for 67 acres, with no buildings.  On the land then was a lot of fine timber...very large oak trees and poplar.


     Papa had that on his part, made into rafts at Alexander’s Landing and floated down the river to well in Nashville.  Uncle Lon wouldn’t part with his trees.  He lived in the small house.  Uncle Will staying with him but having no investment in the place.  A negro family lived in a little house in the back yard and did some cooking for them; but they both had many meals at our house, not as boarders, but as welcome relatives.  Few people could cook anything to suit Uncle Will but he was highly pleased with our food.  Often Mama would fill a basket with good things and send to them; so from the standpoint of eating, they fared not badly for men living alone.


     Uncle Will selected a site near where the Burfords are buried and close to a large oak tree which stood many years later, and asked to be buried there.  When Uncle Lon died in January, 1907, Papa wanted him buried in the Dixon Springs Cemetery; but the two other of his nearest relatives then living objected, and said he was to be buried with Uncle Will.  When Uncle Lon owned the place and at the time of his death where the graves are, was in grass.


     The Ward Ballou family had a picket fence and later a iron one put around the graves.  Should the iron one not be there now, it has been removed by some unauthorized person or persons.  When Uncle Lon sold his land he reserved quite a large plot ground around Uncle Will’s grave.  The exact amount I cannot say, but it is probably on record at Carthage.


     I presume you are aware of the fact that Uncle Lon became involved in a long-drawn-out lawsuit, with him in the 1880’s and that it was finally decided against him, with the costs added.  To settle for this unexpected and staggering misfortune, he sold his land in the fall of 1897 to Bob Kitrell, who transferred it to W. Y. Clay, for whom he had bought it.  Papa shortly afterwards sold his 67 acres to Clay.


     Papa and Mama then asked Uncle Lon, who was good to us and we to him, to make his home with them; but he wouldn’t move in permanently, although he was at our house a great deal.  No other relative extending the same invitation, he regarded their offer as a kindly consideration he never forgot.


     We moved to Sumner County on October 3, 1905 and in 1906 Uncle Lon stayed with us several months, leaving during Christmas to collect personal things he had left in Smith County and intending to return shortly and live with us.  He liked Sumner County and the people he met there.  In January, 1907, while at the house of my sister, Keturah, he fell against a ladder he had started to climb; and, according to the diagnosis of Dr. Sam Bridgewater, bruised a lung which resulted in pneumonia and in death January 28, 1907.  He was nicely buried by Gill, of Grant, Tenn.


     Since you seemed interested in Uncle Lon, these are facts for your information.



Sally Ballou


     (Editor’s note.  We are glad to have the above highly informative communication from our first cousins, once removed.  In other words, Miss Ballou is our Mother’s first cousin.  We recall having been in the Ward Ballou home in our childhood, but the passing years have blotted out many of the memories of a bygone day.  We found the iron fence enclosing two graves, but there were no markers and consequently, we thought that the graves of our two great uncles, William Alexander and Leonidas Ballou, had been obliterated.  We are glad to learn that their graves are now marked at least by an iron fence, although we were unable to find any inscriptions about the burial place of our mother’s two uncles.)


     We might add that the Dr. Sam Bridgewater above referred to, was the officiant on his (the writer’s) advent into the world on the morning of Wednesday, July 8, 1891.  Our parents have informed the editor that he was born one hot July morning more than 63 years ago.  Our father was then 29 years of age; and our mother was six years younger.  God bless the memory of the grandest parents any boy ever had.


     We are in receipt of a letter of inquiry from Mrs. Arthur Bowman, of 810 SW Vista Avenue, No. 3, Portland, Oregon.  She is seeking information about the McBride and Womack families.  I find the following is among our records.


     Jacob Womack’s name appears in Ramsey’s Annals of Tennessee, on page 107, where he is listed as one of the 13 Commissioners chosen by the Watauga settlers in 1772.  The following are named as Commissioners:  John Carter, Charles Robertson, James Robertson, Zachariah Isbell, John Sevier, James Smith, Jacob Brown, William Bean, John Jones, George Russell, Jacob Womack, Robert Lucas, William Tatham.  Next he is mentioned by Mr. Ramsey on page 138 on his history, with the same list as above given.  Then follows a list of 100 names signed to a document which is without date, but which was marked on its reception into the state archives at Raleigh, North Carolina, “Received August 22, 1776.”  It is supposed that the 100 names are those of petitioners, with Jacob Womack listed first.


     Jacob Womack, John Carter and Jacob Brown were made officers of the militia in East Tennessee at a very early date.  Carter and Brown were colonels and Womack a major.  This is found on page 145 of Ramsey’s Annals of Tennessee.  There seems to have been a pioneer fort at Womack’s in the extreme northeast corner of Tennessee.  The last reference to Jacob Womack in Annals of Tennessee, is in the following words, found on page 181; Washington County, Feb. 23.  Court Journal.  “At a court began and held for the county of Washington, Feb. 23, 1778, present, John Carter, Chairman: John Sevier, Jacob Womack, Robert Lucas, Andrew Green, John Shelby, George Russell, William Bean, Zachariah Isbell, John McNabb, Thomas Houghton, William Clark, John McMahan, Benjamin Willson, James Robertson and Valentine Sevier, Esquires.”  On the next day John Sevier was chosen clerk of the county; Valentine Sevier, Sheriff; James Stuart, Surveyor; John Carter, Entry-Taker; John McMahan, Register; Jacob Womack, Stray-Master, and John McNall, Coroner.


     Carter Womack had a fort near the head of Watagua River.  Its exact location is  not known.  And neither do we know if Carter Womack was related to Jacob Womack.  We are told by Ramsey that during an outbreak of the Indians, men were sent from Carter Wamack’s fort to help settlers lower down the river.  We have given the different spelling just as Ramsey did.


     D. Womack was a Justice of the Peace in Dickson County, Tenn., and performed the marriage of William King to Rebecca Tatom on Nov. 4, 1838.  John Womack married Millie Webster, in Wilson County, Tenn., on Aug. 23, 1820.  The surety for the marriage bond was John P. Campbell.


     James J. Womack was born July 7, 1834, died July 18, 1922; and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, at McMinnville, Tenn.  Jennie G. Womack was born March 1, 1844, died July 18, 1905; and is buried in the same cemetery.  Robert Womack was born Jan. 21, 1849, died Sept. 5, 1902, and also buried in the Riverside Cemetery.  Mary Colville Womack was born in 1848, died in 1923, and is buried in  Riverside Cemetery.  In the same cemetery are buried:  Mrs. Nuttie Colville, born Feb. 12, 1779, died Jan. 23, 1884; Amanda Colville, wife of Samuel Colville, and daughter of Young and Nuttie Colville, born Oct. 16, 1825, died Oct. 4, 1887; and Samuel Colville, born in McMinnville, Tenn., Aug. 1819, and died in 1898.


     William Amzy Wamack was born July 5, 1833, died June 14, 1896, and is buried in Poplar Hill Cemetery in the 12th Civil District of Wilson County, Tenn., some distance out of Lebanon on the Commerce Road.


     William D, Thompson and Melvin Wamack, married March 7, 1854, in Wilson County, Tenn.  On March 22, 1809, Joseph Hubbard married Susannah Wamack in Wilson County, Tenn., with John Campbell a his bondsmen.


     On March 30, 1883, Henry McBride married Miss Eliza Jones.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. R. B. C. Howell, a Baptist minister, who, so far as we can find, resided in Norfolk, Virginia, at the time.  Pleasant H. McBride and Elizabeth S. Emerson were...


(Continued next week)