Part Two- Cottontownians Start Businesses, Churches
The Gallatin News-Examiner

Wednesday, April 18, 1979. By David Collier.

Thanks to David Collier for persmission to reprint this article!

Note: Thanks to Nathan Knight for contributing this article. Comments by Nathan appear in brackets.


     Mrs. THELMA HARRISON, whose mother was a STROTHER, remembers hearing old-timers talk about a shop owned by her ancestors who made farm tools for the community. Her husband, GUY HARRISON'S grandfather, made ax handles and put his name, "A. HARRISON," on each one.
     In 1904, LANDON SPURLOCK moved into the Cottontown community. He remembers a building in Bug Hollow that had been a hide tannery, also a shop where horses were shod and machinery repaired, located where BURSBY'S Grocery is today. He also recalls a shop across the creek. JOHN RUTLEDGE worked in the shops, first one, then the other for 30 years. AMON FOX also worked in these two shops. He also recalls a set of scales that would weigh loaded wagons or cattle. These scales were across the road from GEORGE MITCHELL'S store. MITCHELL also had an ice house. The ice was brought there, already frozen, from Gallatin. ELLIS STROTHER ran a sawmill, as did HENDY VAUGHAN. RUFE BRIGGANCE had one of the earliest stores in Cottontown, which housed the first post office. Mr. WARREN ran a store for a number of years where BURSBY'S store is now.
     No story about Cottontown would be complete without the mention of one of its most colorful characters, WALTER LIGGETT.
     In 1916, LIGGETT started a produce route, using one horse to a light wagon. Later he advanced to a two-horse wagon. The wagon this scribe can remember was pulled by a team of small white mules. He kept a brass bugle, on the seat beside him, that he blew to alert the customers that he was near their house. Every one was a friend to him; he laughed easily, was very jolly, and would crow like a rooster for us kids. If the truth were known, he gave away as much candy as he sold. He had a route for each day of the week except Friday. This day was set aside to haul the eggs, chickens, hams and calves to market that he had either bought or traded groceries for during the week. He hauled this load to Nashville on a solid rubber tired, snubnosed Mack truck. his son, LEONARD, recalled to me that his daddy played his banjo for nearly every square dance in the country. He was playing with HUMPHREY BATE'S Possum Hunters Band for WSM before the Grand Ole Opry was started. He was a charter member of the Grand Ole Opry and never missed playing for GEORGE PARHAM'S Barn dances under the sycamore trees down by the creek.


     The first Methodist Conference held in Middle Tennessee was at STROTHER'S Meeting House. Presiding was Bishop ASBURY in 1802. The building has since been removed and rebuilt on the grounds of Scarritt College in Nashville. GUY HARRISON moved the old logs to their present location.
(Note: For more information go to Strother's Meeting House.)


     The Church of Christ building was erected in 1891, and has since been added to. Land was donated by DAVID L. RASCOE. Before this, church was held at the DUKE School in Bug Hollow, and in different homes. The first recorded baptism was LOU EDWARDS, June 21, 1858. She was a teacher at the DUKE School. Bro. J. F. COOLEY, grandfather of DUDLEY "D" BOYD, was baptized in 1868, by WILKS HOFFMAN.


     The black community off Nolan's Lane is known as the Little Bethel community. The black people of Cottontown have played as great a part in the history of Cottontown as their white friends. They were first settlers, along with the white settlers.
     The following information has been furnished by Mrs. J. P. TURNER from the minutes of Bethel Church records.
      Around 1880, a combination church and school was built. Some years after this building was blown down by a wind storm. Another was built and used as a school until 1939.
      Around 1920, Little Bethel Church was built as it stands today. The Rev. GARDNER built this church and pastored it for 30 years. He set aside the second Sunday in September as Rally Day.
      The Rev. TOM JACKSON was an early pastor, around 1880.
      Later pastors of Little Bethel have been the Rev. HENRY HASSELL, and the Rev. NORMAN RUTHERFORD.
      Ground for Little Bethel Church was bought from LUCIAN COLLIER for $20 with $10 being paid down and the remaining $10 paid in six months.


     In 1908, Cottontown Baptist Church was started, and completed in 1910. Land for the church was given by JIM BARRETTE, grandfather of ERVIN DORRIS. The first song sung in the church was "How Firm a Foundation". Before this time, church had been held in the Church of Christ, which was, at that time, a building for non-denominations.


      GRAHAM COLLIER looked up the dates on Bethel and FRANK SHAW gave the other information.
      It was a tragic mistake when the Methodist Conference sold old Bethel, as it was a landmark, not only in age, but in religion. In 1949, the Conference declared Bethel obsolete and sold it in 1952. It was torn down in 1962.
      This church was built to take the place of STROTHER'S Meeting House, as there was a need for a larger building on the highway and more easy to reach.
      Bethel was built in 1857. A member of the STROTHER'S family gave a huge poplar tree which sawed enough lumber to build the church.


      In 1866, court ordered the purchase of a tract of land not to exceed 80 acres, and to erect all necessary buildings for the taking care of the poor in Sumner County.
      In 1867, there were 12 inmates, and, at that time, 35 acres of oats, of which the farm was to get one-third, one sow and five pigs, five beds and clothing, nine chairs and table, sufficient cooking utensils, 13 acres, wheat looking well, and the place in good repair. Submitted April 1, 1867, by C. E. DOUGLASS, C. E. BODDIE, and GRAHAM GILLESPIE.
(Note: For more information go to the Poor House Records and Pauper Appropriations.)


      P. C. POND moved to Cottontown about 1922. P. C. POND and FRANK CUNNINGHAM bought a store from JOE BARROW and were partners for a number of years. JOHNNY POND bought out FRANK CUNNINGHAM, and later FRANK CUNNINGHAM bought the store back and ran it by himself. JAMES STROTHER bought the store and ran it until it burned.
      This same store had been run by RUFE BRIGGANCE and used as post office before BARROW ran it.
      P. C. POND was also a musician and played with the Possum Hunters Band. He also ran the first school bus in the county, a T-Model Ford, carrying 11 and 12 grades from Cottontown to Gallatin High School.


      SAM POND was born in 1889, and he remembers his mother would knit socks out of wool for him and his brothers, MACY, PARIS and JOHNNY, to last through the winter. Then his Dad would take them in the wagon to the store in Cottontown to buy their winter shoes. He was about seven years old and the store owner was FRANK JOHNSON.
      Work shoes cost 60 cents per pair, and were handmade, using wooden pegs instead of nails.
      After this, the store was owned by GEORGE MITCHELL, who ran it until 1920. After this, HENDY VAUGHAN and TOM LINK ran the store until it burned.
      POND also recalled when he was about 15 years old that he sold a yearling steer for $6.50 and, with the money he bought a new suit for $3.50, a pair of Sunday shoes for 90 cents, a shirt for 45 cents, a cigarette hat for 90 cents, and had money left to spend in the big city of Gallatin.


      Some people might remember M. P. HINTON in the days he ran a saw mill or was carrying substitute mail route. Other might recall that he was one of the best well drillers in this part of the country or maybe that he had a peg leg. However, all who knew him will agree that he was a very fine fellow with a smile and kind word. He always took time to answer a small child's questions.,

Go to Part Three - Remembering Past, Looking Toward Future

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