The Blacks of Little Trammel
Part One

by Mary H. Black
abt. 1928

Submitted by Claude W. Nimmo
Retyped for the page by Diane Payne & Danene Vincent

*Note from Claude Nimmo, the Blacks of Little Trammel, "was put together by Levi Wilson Black's second wife who he married in Salem, IL on Jan. 26, 1913. Mrs. Mary H. Knowlton Wilcox. She died on Dec. 16, 1938."

Part One

Jack Black, the grandfather of Eli Wilson Black, was born in Virginia about 1776. Exact date and place of birth not known, neither place of death and burial. He was accidentally shot by a companion while hunting, leaving a young widow, Mary, and two small children whose ages were close. George, the father of E.W. Black, and Elizabeth.

Mary Black, with her two small children, joining a company of pioneers traveling from Virginia to Tennessee, and settled with them in Sumner County. She, too, is supposed to have been born in Virginia. Her father's name has been lost, but she was of German descent, speaking and reading that language as well as English. Her mischievous grandchildren would sometimes tease her to hear her speak a language they did not understand. She was dark and of small stature. Like many other Mary's she was passionately fond of flowers and was the only woman in the community who cultivated them. Long beds bloomed in her vegetable garden. The great scarlet poppies glowed in the hot southern sun, and the beauty and fragrance of those lilies of the valley blooming there have been fresh in the memories of her grandson for seventy years.

Mary Black married Jesse Rippy, a widower, and the father of Elvis, James, Anderson, and Wylie Rippy. Her two daughters, born in Tenn., (Bar Sin?) married sons of Jesse Rippy. Elvis married Linda, and Eliza married Anderson. She, Mary Black Rippy, died on the thirtieth birthday of E.W. Dec. 22, 1876, aged 100 years or very close.

The home of Anderson Rippy where she died was a window at the right end of the log house, Morgan and EW often entered to creep up the stairs after being out part of the night on their boyish frolics. The home was a hollow from the Jesse Rippy homestead now owned by Ewen Fykes.

In the Henry Rippy cemetery, is the grave of Adeline, a daughter of Eliza and Anderson Rippy, Mary's granddaughter. Standing at the head of this grave, facing east, her grave is the first at the left. The first grave dug in that cemetery was for Joe Graves who died March 16, 1869. After her burial, her funeral was preached at old Union Chapel by Rev. Bonns, "Now that she is dead, and the mound on her breast,

Say not, nor did ill or well. But she did her best."

Elizabeth grew to womanhood and married Isaac Charlton. They moved to Ill. Making their home on Tennessee Prairie near Odin. Their sons were Sidney and James Charlton.

George Black, the father of E W as a boy and young man, lived and worked most of his time Allen County, Ky. There he met and married Eliza Anderson, orphaned daughter and only child of Captain Andrew Anderson (Andy Anderson). She was born and reared near a place know as Burrough's Mill on Big Trammel. They were married about 1828. Eliza's father died when she was quite young. Her most vivid remembrance was seeing him in his Captain's uniform riding his horse away to some of the earlier wars. Possibly he might have fought under Jackson at New Orleans or in some of the Indian wars a little later. It is now not known if he died in war or after his return.

Eliza Anderson Black often told her children an amusing anecdote of George Black's courtship. They were engaged to be married, when on one of his visits to her, he said that he thought he had made a mistake in his choice. "Well Sir" this spirited young woman at once replied, "if that is your wish, it shall be my pleasure!" Jumping to his feet, he hastened to convince her that what he said was just a joke.

George Black bought 300 acres of government land on Little Trammel where Turners Station now is. For some of the land he paid ten cents per acre and for balance, twenty five cents per acre. His first house was built on the hillside along the left of the road from Gallatin to Scottsville. Here for a time he lived alone, here he brought his young wife and here his family of eleven children, were born. This house has long been gone from its site. About 1850, E W was five years old, he built the house on the east side of the pike, long occupied by the Braswell family and still standing. Here five of the family died. Father, Mother, Alfred, Josephus and Bina.

There was first a mud and stick chimney which caught fire one night in the fall of 1860, rock was quarried by the father and older sons for a new chimney which in 1927 is still standing. An Irish stone mason John Keogham of old Coats Town, dressed the rock and built the chimney. On account of bad weather, it was not completed until the beginning of 1861. Just at the commencing of the Civil War.

When George Black first settled on Little Trammel scarcely anyone in the country could read or write. He could read a little in his Bible and sign his name to documents which was an accomplishment for above the average. When letters were received or written, a schoolmaster must be found and his services enlisted. The neighborly Dr. Davis acted as secretary to most of his neighbors.

At Scottsville, Ky was the Post Office, but a post was afterward established and a man named A D Nimmo, afterward Capt. Nimmo kept office at the Carney Carter place just south of Turners. This office called Trammel was abandoned at the opening of the Civil War and Scottsville again became the nearest office. After the close of the War a man and his wife named Lippincot and coming from New York brought and settled the place which afterward became the home of Mr. Durham at Pleasant Grove. Then as old Bushy. Here an office known as Trammel was kept by Mr. Lippincot, being a republican. He kept it in operation until the railroad from Gallatin to Scottsville was built about 1870-1871, when A. B. C. P. O. was established at Turners. An effort was made to get the old name of Trammel back, but as there was another Trammel in the state it was a failure and the name A. B. C. was sent from Washington. Uncle "Zeb" Braswell held this office until the rural.

Eleven children were born to George and Eliza Black at the home on the hillside. One girl, three boys, three girls, three boys, and one girl.

Frances, married Drury Perry, buried at Walkers Chapel, now known as Chapel Hill, Ky.

Levi, married Lucinda Carter, an orphan raised by Thomas Carter, father of Josiah Carter. She was probably the grand-daughter of Thomas. Levi and his wife both died of cholera in the epidemic at Odin, ILL. In 1868 or 1869 and are buried in the cemetery at that place. The writer of this has passed the house where they died and heard a story of their brief illness from an eye witness. He was the largest and the strongest of the Blacks.

Alfred, mustered into the Confederate service as one of Capt. James Minnis Company of Calvary. At the muster ground at New Hope. At Bowling Green where they were recruited in the army he became one of Co. A. Having measles, and the army moving south, he was sent to the hospital at Nashville. Upon receiving word, his father went after him with a team and wagon and brought him home. He died in 1861, about thirty years of age. Buried in his gray uniform at Old New Hope, within a few feet (rods) of the old mustering ground. No funeral service was held.

Josephus, died in 1856 of typhoid fever, aged twenty three and also buried at old New Hope. No funeral service. Buried with shroud or winding sheet. The last Black so buried. He was slenderly built.

Amanda, married Patton Trout and died in Kansas and buried there. Died in 1883 and buried in Fairview Cemetery, Allen County Kansas.

Elizabeth, married William Y Turner. Died in 1898. Buried at Old Union Chapel, Warren Co. KY.

Mary, married Sidney Walker Davis in the Civil War. Died June 11, 1923 and buried in Odine. Born Dec. 7, 1840 and lived 80 years 6 months and 4 days.

George J., born June 17, 1843, married Martha Davis, sister of Sidney Walker Davis, and died March 12, 1913. Was buried at Odin, ILL, where he had spent most of his life. He was 18 years old June 17, 1861, when he was allowed to enlist. His mother having previously objected on account of his youth. He served under Gen. John Morgan. He was commonly called "Watt." In ILL he was called Buffalo George, for his strength.

Andy Anderson, (A. A.) (Nat), born March 4, 1845. First married Sina Graves. After her death, married Elizabeth Tucker. Still living in 1927. Died March 2, 1929. Lacked two days of 84 years. Funeral preached by Rev. John Kelly. Text 9:23 Thou are greatly beloved. Buried at Fairfield.

Eli Wilson, (Dick) born Dec. 22, 1846. Married Polly Ann Graves and after her death, married at Odin, ILL Jan. 26, 1913 to Mrs. Mary H. Wilcox, a widow and native of Michigan. Daughter of John and Phoebe Knowlton. Eli Wilson still living in 1927. Died Aug. 12, 1929.

Bina, born 1848 died 1861. Aged thirteen. Buried at old New Hope. No funeral services.

Everyone of this family were professed Christians, except Bina who had just reached the age of accountability at the time of her death.

George Black, senior, died in the early part of Jan. 1867, after a short but very violent illness. Twenty four hours. His illness was said to be bilious colic. Physically he was proportioned like his son A. A., in the face, he resembled his son, E.W.. It was bad weather at the time of his burial. Patches of snow lay on the ground, relics of a snow that had not melted away. His body was carried into the old church at New Hope. Rev. Jim Minnis preached from the last verse of the 126 Psalm "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again rejoicing bearing his sheaves with him." He was buried in a home made suit of clothes and a ten dollar coffin.

Eliza Anderson Black was short and heavily built, like her granddaughter, Eliza Davis Rippy. She died Mar 15 1870. her illness, too was brief. Dr. Sidney Walker; the family physician was called in the night to come out from Scottsville, but being old, did not arrive until the next day just after her decease. He said she had taken enough digitails to kill two women. Through the advice of her son-in-law she permitted them to employ a herb doctor named Key. She, also, was buried at Old New hope. Shortly, after her funeral was preached by Rev. Jim Minnis at union Chapel, located on the west side of the pike just north of where the concrete and iron bridge now is, a little south of the Carney Carter place. The house being small and the weather pleasant, the funeral was preached out of doors and from the text, Rev.21; 7, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. George Jr. and Mary Davis living at Odin, ILL. had her funeral preached there from the same text.

Aug. 17, 1927, we (A.A., E.E., his grandson, Hollis Mandrell and the writer) visited the site of the Old New Hope Church. Nothing but six foundation rocks buried level with the ground, was left to indicate where it once stood, across the road to the north on the hill lay the old burying ground, long abandoned, and now grown up to a thicket of young trees and shrubs. We found many headstones of rough rock, but as no inscription had ever been place on them we failed to identify a single grave. All we can ever tell to those who follow after, is that along the east edge lie the graves of Josephus, Alfred, Bina, George Senior, and Eliza Black, buried in the order named. The grave of Josephus is the first at the south end of the family row. Lying east, between this old graveyard and the Jackson Highway is the old muster ground, now a cultivated field. Here many years ago, the drum and fife sounded loudly, firing the Southern heart to fratricidal strife. Do pale, shadowy forms gather there again in the cool mists of early dawn to enact over those stiring scenes? No, they sleep soundly in their "low, green tents whose curtain never outward swings." Disturb not their dreams.

Eli Wilson Black, or E W Black was born Dec. 2 1846 at the home on the hillside. Through a long life, he was known "far and wide" as "Dick." In middle life and later, he became "Uncle Dick" to the whole community; few knowing his real name more than the initials. E W "Dick" came to him as a name from "Dickie" the nurse who attended at his birth. She claimed him as her boy and he began to be called "Dick" from his "Dickie" nanny. She was the wife of Wylie Rippy, brother of James, Elvis, and Anderson, sons of Jesse Rippy. They were very poor people, living in a little cabin on the left of the road as we go to Sugar Grove at the little bridge just north of Ewen Fykes. The road was then more in the branch and there was just room against the bluff for the tiny cabin. When Wylie died, the children were scattered looking for homes.

Nancy, afterward the wife of Joe Mayhew, lived in the Black home until a home was found for her. Though the Blacks were a large family, they could always make room for children in distress, and had several in their home at different times.

"Dick" must have been a pretty good boy, as his father inflicted corporal punishment on him but once when he was quite small his father painted his new wagon, and had about completed the job to his satisfaction when the dinner call came. When "Dick" was left alone in the yard, he decided he could improve what his father had done, using mud instead of paint. When his father returned and saw his wagon, he gave "Dickie" two cuts with a grapevine as an encouragement or discouragement in his pursuit of art. Living was very simple in the childhood days of Eli Wilson. A very few raised wheat; corn was the staple grain, The virgin soil produced ----fully for a few years, when fresh land would be planted and the old turned out to grow again to bushes or be pastured. Irish potatoes, Sweet potatoes, and turnips were the staple vegetables. The maple trees furnished a syrup so truly delicious that it could ravish the plate of a king. From the same source came a sugar, dark but delectable.

In the season of green peas, his mother would kill a fat hen, which cooked with dumplings and green peas would prove so palatable that little E W would resolve in his own mind, "when I grow to be a man, I will plant my whole garden to peas." If meat was wanted, a hog was driven out of the woods and butchered. Cloth was woven of wool and flax, grown at home. Fathers made the shoes worn by their families from hides of their own tanning. People would go barefoot now before they would wear such uncouth shoes. George Black was said to be skillful in this art than the generality of his neighbors. Once a year, George and Eliza Black went with their wagon to Nashville to exchange such products of the country as they had to spare, for sugar and coffee, etc. Rabbits, Opossums, birds, eggs and maple sugar. One pound of maple sugar would bring in exchange two pounds of common brown sugar. Gingseng was dug then in great quantities. Much of the family trading was done at Scottsville. The small country stores were small indeed.

Frank Davis kept a little store at the place where Zan Troutt afterwards built and died. His brother, Dr. John Davis operated one just south. This was previous to the Civil War. Dr. John sold to Rev. Thomas Kaiser, the man who afterward married E W and Polly A Graves.

There was a choice of three mills for grinding corn. A watermill at Fairfield (which he, in manhood operated for twenty years,) a horse mill at the "Brick house" in Kentucky, and a horse mill at Patten Bell's later known as the Morris place. Bell's was patronized by the Black's Canning was not a part of the house wife's labor in those days. Wheat was flailed on a floor, if no floor was convenient the ground was swept clean, sprinkled with water and beaten with a maul until well packed. This reminds one of the threshing floor of the Old Testament Times. Wheat was winnowed on a sheet and ground in a horse-mill. Rich Martin, brother-in-law of Squire Samuel J. Edmunds brought in the first horsepower thresher when E W was a little boy.

The churches before the civil War were at Sugar Grove, Fairfield, 01 New Hope (all Meth.) Old Brushy, (now Pleasant Grove) Union, Baptist and Methodist. Providence, Cedar Grove and Union Chapel were Christian and established by Rev. James Minnis, an able preacher from the east. Mt. Olive log meeting house was built soon after the war.

E W when a little boy would accompany his father when he went to work on the old log house at Providence. George and Eliza Black were members of that church. E W was converted in Oct. 1872 at a meeting held by the pastor, Henry Gant and Byron Meador and also became a member at Providence. The rest of the family belonged to the M. E. Church at Sugar Grove. This building served as church and school-house. It was of a very early date and was burned by guerillas in the war to prevent it's use by Union Soldiers, so they claimed. Union Chapel stood just south of Turners on the west side of the highway a few yards north of the concrete bridge, which of course was not there then.

Fairfield is very old, and when first established the church was held in a log building called Bethel. Built at the right of the spring above Obie Lyle's. 1890 Fairfield and Sugar Grove meeting houses were old when he was born, in fact Bethel was torn down before he saw the site which was the older he never knew. A log house was built where Fairfield now stands; this was succeeded by a small frame building and this again by the larger frame building that now occupies the ground, which E W helped to build. John Charlton and Alfred Graves were members of the old Bethel congregation and possibly Jake Graves, who settled the old Graves homestead, and father of Alfred. Preachers were sent in with ten or twelve preaching places. Would preach everyday through the week going from place to place.

Go to The Blacks of Little Trammel -- Part Two

Go to The Blacks of Little Trammel -- Part Three

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