Transcribed By Pamela Vick
November 27, 1952
* CAL'S COLUMN *
Since our last article was written, we have come into some information that we wish to pass on to our readers. We had thought for some time that an old house of the Brittain family was in the vicinity of the present Meadorville. This appears now to have been an error. The old home of Richard Brittain and his family was on the present Burnley farm about 300 yards east of Donoho Bridge across Big Goose Creek. We are glad to make this correction and will gladly correct any other errors that we make in our efforts to locate places 150 years old.
We are also informed that Samuel Carothers lived at this present home or on the site of the present home of Jim Tom Cunningham, near where the new Cato-Hartsville road joins the main Highway No. 10, running up Big Goose Creek. Thus we learned that the old Brittain farm and the Carothers farm probably joined, as the two dwelling houses were only about one mile apart.
We have also learned that what is now called Mungle's Gap is not the original Gap by the same name. From the signs of the old road, the Fort Blount Trace or Road, which are clearly seen near Good Will Baptist church, and which lead westward to the top of the dividing ridge between the waters of Big Goose Creek and the waters of Dixon's Lick Creek, the original Gap was a few hundred yards south of the present Mungle's Gap. The old gap has at present no road leading through it, but the old road may be easily discerned from the church above referred to practically all the way to the original Mungle's Gap.
Since we are 150 years removed from the scenes set forth in the old records, we would be glad indeed to have any correction to clear up any error we have made. So please feel perfectly free to write and give us the correct information on any point in the old records on which we are in error.
We return to the old record at the point where we "left off" last week. We closed with some comments about the men of 150 years ago in Smith County who had been summoned for jury duty, commenting on Isaac Johns as we closed. We are not positive as to who this man was, but we are informed that a Shelton lived on the opposite side of the highway from the present Lee Martin residence in the long, long ago. This old log house stood there for many years. This man, John Shelton, was most probably the father of the Miss Shelton whom James Ballou, an early resident of Dixon's Creek, married more than a century and a half ago. James Ballou was a brother of the writer's great-grandfather, Leonard Ballou. James Ballou married Miss Shelton and later a Miss Shields. James Ballou was overseer of the road from the top of Mace's Hill to Dixon's Creek in the year 1800. This was the road known in that day and time as the Fort Blount Road, on the side of which the writer first saw the light of day on Wednesday morning, July 8, 1891, about the time the sun rose. James Ballou was the father of the only child, so far as our records show. This was a daughter, Susan, but we do not know whether her mother was the Shelton woman or the Shields woman. Susan married Arch DeBow. Leonard and James Ballou first settled in the present Sumner County, after leaving Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1795.
The next prospective juror named in the list was William Lancaster. We know that Wiliam Lancaster was a member of the first County Court of Wilson County, which was established at the same time Smith County came into existence. But we have no way of knowing if the early member of the Wilson County Court and the Smith County Court prospective juror were one and the same, but we think it was highly probable that they were.
"Lazaroes" Cotton is the next name in the list. We find the spelling "Lazarus" in other places. We do not know who Lazaroes Cotton was, but we are informed that John Cotton was one of the number that came down the Tennessee and finally arrived at the present Nashville in the big flotilla that left a point in Virginia and came months later to its destination. We find the following in Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee: "We were now arrived at the place called the Whilr or Suck, where the river is compressed within less than half its common width above, by the Cumberland Mountain, which juts in on both sides. In passing through the upper part of these narrows, at a place described by Coody (the half-breed) which he termed the 'boiling pot,' a trivial accident had nearly ruined the expedition. One of the company, John Cotton, who was moving down in a large canoe, had attached it to Robert Cartwright's boat, into which he and his family had gone for safety. The canoe was here overturned and its cargo lost. The company, pitying his distress concluded to halt and assist him in recovering his property. They landed on the northern chore at a level spot, and were going up to the place, when Indians, to our astonishment, appeared immediately over us on the opposite cliffs and commenced firing down upon us, which occasioned a precipiate retreat to the boats. We immediately moved off, the Indians lining the bluffs along, continued their fire from the heights on our boats below, without doing any other injury than wounding four slightly."
John Fite is named next in the list. We note that the spelling of the name has been corrected, first being given as "Fight" in the old record. We have no further comment as to this man. The next three names are: Henry Moore, Joseph Collins and William Shaw, about whom we have nothing to offer in the way of information.
The next name is that of Charles McClennan. We wonder if this name is not originally McClellan. We once knew a Charles McClellan, of Red Boiling Springs. Grant Allen's name appeared next. At this man's home the first organization of the Dixon's Creek Baptist church took place in the form of an "arm of El Bethel church," which was located in the Sumner County, some distance northwest of Gallatin. The early home of Captain Grant Allen is said to have been near the mouth of Dixon's Creek, perhaps on the present Henry Oldham farm. The organization of the church as an independent group took place in the same man's home on March 8, 1800. We note that the organizing Presbytery was composed of Elder Joshua White, William Phillips, Isaac Todvine and Clifton Allen, but we have no idea as to what relation Clifton Allen, clerk of the Bethel church, was to Capt. Grant Allen. Anyway, the Dixon's Creek church house was referred to frequently as Allen's Meeting House.
We have no comment to offer relative to Anthony Samuel, James Bradley, William L. Alexander, Jr., James Stephens and John Cooper.
The next item in the old records is as follows: "Ordered that Joel Holland and Josiah Howell be appraisers for Capt. Casey's Company, to value Property under execution; William L. Alexander and James Ballou, for Capt. Ballou's Company; Henry Moore, Capt. Kavanaugh's Company; Stephen Robinson and William Lancaster, for Capt. Fite's Company; Andrew Greer and Richard Brittain; for Capt. Gifford's Company; Armistead Moore and William Kavanaugh's Company; Benj. Clark and William Thompson, for Capt. Bishop's Company: Grant Allen and John Shelton, for Capt. Patterson's Company; for the purpose of valuing property taken under Execution, where the original Contract was for property." This rather long item shows quite a number of interesting points. One of them is that the above item indicates that debts were not paid by some men as promptly as they should have been met, the same as today. Another is that legal action to collect such debts had to be resorted to often.
We would naturally infer that each man or group of men appointed as an appraiser or as appraisers lived in the bounds of that section where the apprasing was to be done. We do not know exactly where Capt. Casey held forth as the Captain of a company, but we wonder if he did not live in the vicinty of the present Hillsdale six miles south of the present Lafayette. Hiram Casey, who later became a well-known Baptist minister, once lived in that section. However, we do not know the Captain Casey from the account in the above item. And neither do we know who the father of Elder Hiram Casey was, but we do know that Hiram's father came to Smith County very early in its history. Moreover, Joel Holland is believed to have lived in the vicinty of the present Lafayette, and perhaps Josiah Howell also Capt. Ballou lived on Dixon's Creek very near the present brick house of worship used by Dixon's Creek Baptist church. He is the same man mentioned above in this article as overseer of the road leading from the top of Mace's Hill to Dixon's Creek. William L. Alexander was an early settler in the Dixon's Springs section, not far from the Ballou home.
In the account of Capt. Casey above, we omitted to state that William Casey was a member of the Company of Capt. Shelby in the fight with the Indians at Point Pleasant. This was in 1774. Capt. Kavanaugh resided in the south side of the present Smith County, and we would naturally suppose that Henry Moore resided in that vicinity.
We would judge that Capt. Fite resided somewhere in the southeast part of the present Smith County, and that Stephen Robinson and William Lancaster likewise resided in that section. We are informed that Andrew Greer and Richard Brittain lived not far from where Middle Fork of Goose Creek joins the main stream, just above the present Linville's Shop, and would judge that Captain Gifford resided in that vicinity.
We are not sure, but believe that Benjam Clark and William Thompson resided on the stream known as Peyton's Creek. We do know that a Clark did reside on that stream in the years long gone by. We also know a valley known as the "Bishop Hollow," flows its waters into Peyton's Creek at or very near the present Graveltown. But the Bishop family has been gone from that section for many, many years. The older people almost invariably called the name as if it were spelled "Bushop." We once had a neighbor, Ensley Shoulders, who was called "Bushop" Shoulders. We used to hear a tale about an old lady, a widow by the name of Bishop, whose cow's horn was knocked off by some careless or "mean" neighbor. Her reactions were told to the writer more than 50 years ago and were expressed by her in the following words: "Law, you have ruined my cow, You have 'disbugled' her and she will never look like anything again. She won't ever get over it!"
Armistead Moore and William Kavanaugh, for Capt. Moore's Company, we judge, signified that Armistead Moore was the Captain in this case. They resided somewhere to the south of Carthage, so far as we have been able to learn.
Grant Allen and John Shelton, for Capt. Patterson's Company, would denote that Patterson most probably lived on the lower part of Big Goose Creek.
We have recently been consulting Mrs. Rhea Garrett, of Dixon Springs; and Judge G. W. Allen, of the same place. They have a wonderful knowledge of the early history of the Dixon Springs section and of the early families there. We have asked both of them to send us some articles dealing with that section, and both have promised to write some articles for the paper. We hope to begin their publication shortly.
Some of our readers perhaps complain over the old historical items that we publish from time to time. We do not wish to be a burden on any group of our readers, but we do feel that some records ought to be published and the information as to our early settlers and places of settlement ought not be allowed to perish or be lost to posterity. We have had some remarkable people in the past and they are worthy of better treatment than that of being forgotten and their deeds lost to succeeding generations. So if you do not care for the accounts of the older people given from time to time in the paper, please do not feel that we desire to " inflict any wound" upon you. We expect to continue with the old records now and then, but of course, we have no desire to try to force any such reading on anyone.
(To be continued)