Thanks to The News-Examiner for permission to reprint this article!
Note: All spelling, punctuation, and omissions are as they appeared in the article in the newspaper.
Editor's note: This history of historic Castalian Springs was
written in 1906 by Mrs. Betty Chenault and and Malvina Swaney. Although many of the details
have changed in the 80 years since the story was written, it still gives an outstanding history of the
Bledsoe's Lick, now Castlian Springs, was first discovered by Col. Isaac Bledsoe in 1772, who reported that he saw such a large herd of Buffalos that he was afraid to get off his horse for fear he would be run over and trampled to death.
After Bledsoe came Spencer and Holiday in 1778, after staying a few weeks. Holiday became dissatisfied and wished to go back to the settlement. I am almost sure the settlement was one somewhere in East Tennessee, maybe along the rivers.
Spencer carried him to the barrens of Kentucky and put him on the Trace leading to the settlement. When they were ready to separate, Holiday said he had no knife. Spencer generously broke his knife in two pieces and gave him a part of it.
Holiday left and was never heard of anymore. Spencer returned to the Lick and lived alone in a hollow Sycamore tree six months to a day. All traces of the tree have long ago disappeared.
Gen. Hall showed Dr. Jack Swaney where the tree stood. It stood on a line between the stores now occupied by Mr. Lewis West and Mr. David Chenault, just west of the line between Dr. Swaney and the Wynne estate.
In 1779 Col. Isaac Bledsoe, with some friends, returned to the Lick. Spencer in his tree recognized the voices as white men, came out of the tree, made himself known and went away with them.
Col. Isaac Bledsoe built a fort on the land which later belonged to the Belotes on the hill south of the springs and about three hundred yards west of Bledsoe Academy. The fort was an oblong square and built all around in a regular stockade except one place where stood a large double log cabin. This cabin was occupied by Col. Isaac Bledsoe and his brother Jesse.
These cabins stood on the front line of the fort facing south. The whole being built, it will be understood around an open square except the opening between the two cabins. The whole was enclosed.
Col. Anthony Bledsoe came about two years after the fort was built, and he built a fort at Greenfield. At Col. Isaac Bledsoe's fort Col. Anthony Bledsoe was killed by the Indians on July 20th, 1788 about midnight.
This was the first killing after a treaty made with the Indians. The circumstances of the killing were these: Col. Anthony Bledsoe had left his fort at Greenfield and moved in one end of the double cabins. A lane came down at right angles to the fort, thus described the mouth of it being about thirty yards distant, while the Nashville road ran along in front.
The Indians, it appears, had been reconnoitering the place in their prowling during the day, and the night being a bright moonlit one, the Davagro posted themselves in the fence corners fronting the passage as referred to between the two cabins.
They then got a party to mount on horseback and gallop past, to attract the persons into the passage through which the moonlight poured in full splender. The plan succeded: for at the sound of the horses feet, Col. Anthony Bledsoe and his servant, Campbell, both jumped up and ran out into the passage. Then the Indians shot them both down.
Col. Anthony Bledsoe died the next morning and the servant Campbell the morning after.
General hall was sleeping in the cabin that night, and being aroused by the firing of the guns, jumped up and going to the portholes with the other men in the fort watched until daylight.
In the morning the Indians disappeared.
Not long after this a Mr. Walters was killed on the creek where Branhams Mill now stands.
During the winter, 1788-79, Charles Morgan and Mr. Gibson were killed by the Indians as they were going from the fort at Bledsoe's Lick to the house of Mr. Hall.
On April 23, 1793, Col. Isaac Bledsoe was killed by the Indians in the field now owned by the Belote family, three or four hundred yards west of the fort. It was sunrise and Col. Bledsoe and his negroe's were going out to right up some log heaps that they were burning in the clearing.
Not long heard the killing of Col. Bledsoe. The men were sitting in the cabin occupied by Col. Bledsoe. A little school master by the name of George Hamilton was sitting in front of the fire singing at the top of his voice. The Indians who were prowling around the house found a crack in the back at the chimney and an Indian pointed his gun thru the crack, fired on Hamilton, aiming to shoot him in the mouth, the the bullet hit his chin, breaking his jawbone, saving his life.
The Sulphur Springs and three hundred and twenty acres of land was donated to the public by Col. Isaac Bledsoe, that the people might make salt of the water and use the timber to make boards. Afterwards, it was sold and the house now is occupied by the Wynne family was built by Stephen Roberts.
Gen. Winchester and others used it for a Hotel. After that, the place was bought by Col. H. R. Wynne who lived there until his death which occurred in 1893.
The house known as the "Jim Swaney house" was built by John F. Harris who came from Virginia in 1820.
The house in which Dr. A. J. Swaney formerly resided was built by W. C. Huffman.
The house in which Mrs. Martha Anglea now resides as built by Thomas Hughes, a blacksmith, in 1829.
The house on the hill, until recently occupied by Mrs. Durm, was built by Charles Morgan in 1835 or 1836.
The house now used by Mr. West as a stable was built by John L. Swaney in 1846 for James M. Clendening to sell goods.
The Wynne storehouse was built in 1854.
The house now occupied by William Gregory was built by James M. Anglia in 1836.
The other houses around he Springs have been built in the recolelction of the people living there in the last few years.
The place now occupied by Dr. Humphrey M. Bate was settled by John Beardson, who built the brick house now standing.
The Gen. Hall place was settled by Gen. Hall's father who moved there the 20th of Nov., 1785.
On the third of June 1787 on a branch near where Jim Bryson (colored) now lives, James Hall, a brother of Gen. Hall, was killed by the Indians as they were moving over to Bledsoe's Fort.
This being the first white person killed after the second treaty with the Indians.
Gen. Hall, who was a small boy 13 years of age, made his escape by running thru the thick cane. Soon after, they were moving again to Bledsoe's Fort for protection from the Indians.
The Indians were lying in ambush near where James Hall had been killed: and at this time, they killed a Mr. Nickerson, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Morgan and the father of Gen. Hall.
Just before this the Harrisons and Gibsons had settled on the land east of Gen. Hall's father. The frist settlement south of Bledsoe's Lick was made by Henry Belote and James Bentley, who brought their families here about 1796 from Barter County, North Carolina. They were Revolutionary soldiers.
Belote built a log house about a half mile from the river, which is now standing. Here he established a ferry. Soon after his ferry was established it became very popular and was known as the best ferry on the river.
Peace having been made with the Indians, the tide of immigration began from East Tennessee. North and South Carolina. Hundreds of families in their wagons crossed here which made it very profitable for Mr. Belote.
The ferry has been abandoned for the last few years on account of a dam being built across a sand bar above the ferry. Mr. Belote lived there until he died in 1827. Although an uneducated man he was remarkably intelligent and accumulated a large fortune for that day.
James Bentley settled lower down the river near Cunningham's Island. His lands are still owned by the Bentley families, all his decendants.
A few years later near Mr. Bentley, settled Mr. Yourie, an Irishman. These lands, until the last few years, were owned by the Yourie family. Soon after that, John Carney, an old Revolutionary soldier from North Carolina, settled midway between Belote and Bentley on the land now occupied by Ulysus Wilkes.
His decendants have all left the country.
Later came the families of Robert Carum and Thomas Stone who settled in the same neighborhood as Belote and Bentley.
Soon after this William Harris and Asa Todd came with their families from North Carolina. They were both soldiers of the Revolution. They settled on the land now occupied by the Carum families. Robert Carum settled on the land now owned by S. M. Wilkes.
The land on the river, now owned by E. N. Mitchener, was settled by Bynum Ferrell.
The Bettis place was settled by Josiah Lockett.
The place where Vinson Hamilton now lives was settled by John L. Swaney, who built the house in 1806 which was of poplar logs, one hundred years ago on this date. The house is in a fair condition or state of perservation, and if not destroyed, bids fair to last another hundred years. John L. Swaney lived in this house until his death in 1876, a period of 70 years.
Since his death this property has belonged to his daughter and her children, no other person not a blood relative has ever lived in this house. The land is now owned by T. S. Glense were settled by Mrs. Fannie Gibson, his grandmother, who came from Irland. Mrs. Gibson was a remarkably intelligent woman, and was the physician of that country at an early day.
The place where Greenberry Biggers lives was settled by James Dickerson in 1808. This land was a part of the Wilson survey.
Joshua Biggers and the Lane's and the Dickersons came here together in 1808.
The lands now owned by F. F. Caldwell were first owned by Nathaniel Parker and settled by his son-in-law, Charles Morgan, who afterwards built the brick house until recently occupied by the Dunn family.
The lands upon which Malone Swaney and F. S. Belote now live were settled by a Mr. Taylor at an early date, who secured these lands by what was called "A Corn Right".
All of this country of which I have spoken is known as Belotes Bend, in honor of the first settler, Henry Belote.
The place now occupied by John Allen Hibbett was owned and settled by John Beardon.
The Hilton farm was settled by a man by the name of Stovall but was originally a part of the land owned by Col. Isaac Bledsoe.
The place where Nathan arsh lives was settled by Isaac Bledsoe Jr. This too was a part of the Isaac Bledsoe lands, the father of Isaac Bledsoe Jr. He sold this land to Mr. Wilson Cage, then Wilson Cage sold it to Joseph Harlan of Kentucky. The Harlan heirs to the late Captain George Harsh.
"Cragfont", now owned by W. H. B. Satterwhite was settled by Gen. James Winchester who built the stone residence there in 1804. The stone of which this house was built was quarried and hauled from the hill where Bledsoe Academy now stands, not knowing that he wa building his house on a rockpile.
Gen. Winchester was a very prominent man and served as Brigadier General in the North Western Army against the British and the Indians.
The Hibbett place was settled by a Mr. Penny, son-in-law of Col. Anthony Bledsoe.
The lands now occupied by Mrs. Kate Chenault and Milton Chenault were settled by Sallie Shelby, daughter of Col. Anthony Bledsoe.
The place where H. Clay Haynes lives, also the lands of Mr. Hilton and Mr. Langford was settled by Col. William Ried, who married "Mary" the daughter of Col. Isaac Bledsoe. She inherited this land from her father, Col. Isaac Bledsoe.
The N. J. Lackett place, where Mr. Henry Wright now lives, was settled by James Esky, who also owned the tract of land known as the "Espy Spring Tract".
Canoe Branch Ferry was established by James Maury.
The place where Typree Bate now lives was settled by Alexander Nuley. The Bate place, now owned by Capt. James N. Bate, was settled by Col. Marcus Wethered.
The house where Robert Bryson now lies was built by Thomas Parker and was a part of the Bledsoe lands.
The place where W. R. Rogan lives was settled by Hugh Rogan. Mr. Rogan came to America soon after the battle of Bunker Hill and served in the Revolutionary War. He was the father of Barney and Frank Rogan.
The place where William Chenault now lives was settled by Col. Anthony Bledsoe who came to the neighborhood about two years after Col. Isaac Bledsoe built his fort at the Lick. And he built a fort a few yards north of where Mr. Chenault's house now stands. On account of frequent raids made by the Indians into the settlement, Col. Anthony Bledsoe moved into the fort with his brother Col. Isaac Bledsoe at the Lick for protection where he was killed as before stated.
Afterwards his family moved back to "Greenfield Fort". After this, several hard fought battles took place with the Indians in which Gen. Hall took a very active part. In one of these battles with the Indians, an Irishman by the name of Jarvis was killed.
Col. Bledsoe was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War and took an important part in several engagements. He was a very intelligent man and took part in state affairs. See "Annals of Tennessee" by Ramsey.
Greenfield was at that time and for years after considered the most desirable lands in Sumner County.
The place where Frank Chenault resides was settled by Col. Robert Wethered who put up the brick building and here his wife had a boarding school for young ladies.
The place where James Chenault now lives was originally owned by Henry Lyon, who sold it Dec. 15th, 1797 to his two sons. This was afterward known as the Frank Wethered place.
The place where Mr. William Bates now lives and known as the John Patterson place was settled by James Wethered, who married a daughter of Col. Anthony Bledsoe and who inherited this land.
The Lauderdale place was settled by Joe Sowell, another son-in-law of Col. Anthony Bledsoe, who's wife inherited this land.
The brick hgouse in which Mrs. Dave Gibson now lives was built by a blacksmith by the name of Ballard, (being a blacksmith was a choice profession in these days.)
The Hanley family settled the place where Mrs. Frank Scott now lives.
The place where Mrs. Johnson and Dabney Crenshaw now live, were settled by the Harrison family.
The first physician to practice medicine in the first district was Dr. J. M. Stewart; who came with the Todds and Harris. He was an educated man and a fine physician. He did not live long. His widow married Jere Belote, son of Hendry Belote, and was the mother of the late Jere and Jack Belote.
The next was Dr. L. T. Sharpe, who practiced many years. When he moved to Todd County, Kentucky.
Drs. J. W. Gourley and Edd Robb located in Castalian Springs. They both moved away and were succeeded by Dr. A. J. Swaney and T. J. Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy died in 1876; Dr. Swaney moved to Gallatin in 1886 where he now lives, having retired from practice on account of ill health.
Dr. H. H. Bate and Dr. T. J. Wilkes began practice in the District about 18--. Both retired on account of ill health.
Dr. Humphrey Bate Jr. And Dr. Edd S. Carr are the physicians of the District at the present time.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
Col. Isaac Bledsoe was one of the first magistrates appointed in Sumner County. He hen lived at Bledsoe's Lick. After his term expired John L. Swaney and Stephen Roberts served. Stephen Robert moved away and was succeeded by Col. Humphrey Bate.
John L. Swaney held the office for more than forty years. Col. Bate served as long as he would.
F. L. McDaniel succeeded Col. Bate and retained the office until his death in 1858.
Col. J. J. Hibbett succeeded him. After the war, John L. Swaney resiged.
He was succeeded by W. M. Lackett, who died soon after his elction. J. N. Mtichener was his successor at the next election, who served a number of years.
G. W. Q. Griffin and Charles Brown were the next in office. Mr. Griffin served until the last election in 1906 where he was defeated by John Wilkes.
J. C. Hamilton is now serving his second term.
Joshua Harrison was the first to open a store at Bledsoe's Lick. He sold out to E. N. Thompson and Daniel P. Morgan, this was in the 1830s.
In 1842 a Mr. Dickson sold goods there a few months.
James M. Clendening opened a store there in 1846. After him, the following parties have sold goods at Castalian Springs: J. D. Roulstone, Willis Bush and son, then Haggard and Bush, B. W. Thompson and son, Thomas Gleason. These parties all sold before the war.