People and Events in the History of Pleasant Grove and Garretts Creek Communities- Part One

By A.L. Nimmo
Contributed by Freddy Brown
Retyped for the page by Diane Payne and Danene Vincent
1998

Part One

There are not written records regarding our first settles and where they came from, and so forth, but from what older people told me, and what I have observed and lived thru, I shall try to relate some of the facts of their coming and work.
It is of interest to know some of our first families who came to this corner of the 12th District, especially Pleasant Grove and Garretts Creek communities, from whence they came, what they brought, how they traveled to these places, their first homes, their work, their first places of worship schools. Having so little time to prepare this work since the assignment was given me, I fear very much that I may omit names that should have been mentioned. I suggest that when anything of interest is shown to be omitted, that the club add amendment to my story.
Many of our settlers came from Virginia and perhaps some came direct from England, Ireland, or Scotland. They moved here afoot, horseback and in wagons drawn by horses or oxen or mules. Some have known to work milk cows. Tom DUFFER says his parents came from Virginia in a wagon drawn by a mule and a cow. They were attracted by the chance to secure land cheap from the Government. Many old soldiers were granted large areas because of service in former wars. No doubt the abundance of wild game was a great attraction. It is said that deer, wild turkeys, some bear and other smaller birds and animals were abundant. So meat was easily come by. Little furniture was brought because of the room in the wagons, but clothes, bedding and tools were brought, among these tools were axes, broad axes, augers, froes, and perhaps parts for plows. Also, it is said that looms and spinning wheels were made _ well as a few that were moved. A wheel right made them for his neighbors. Some made furniture as bed steads and chairs. In my home are two old bedsteads my parents told me were made by one Wash BLACK He worked near this building.
The first houses were log cabins, the cracks of which were closed with chink and dobbin (sticks and mud) chimneys were often pens of timber with thick mud coating. I never saw one such chimney in use. My aunt Sallie MORRIS and Uncle John MORRIS lived in a log house with such a chimney. My father told me one Carrol COLE lived near here in a cabin the stick and mud chimney of which had come away and only a foot or two about the fire place was left standing. Father said he was there one cold day when CARROL drove some hounds from the room. He said the hounds hoped over the backlog and out the top of the chimney.
All the country was in forests when the settlers came. Fields had to be cleared. Much valuable timber (if here today) was cut and burned. Log rollings were common when neighbors would meet and pile the unwanted timber. This custom was in vogue until after I married. I had a log rolling or two. Also I had two barn raisings in which logs bars were built for curing tobacco. They assisted with nursing when there was sickness in any home. And they worked together in burying the dead.
Now if land is to be cleared, a machine called a bulldozer is hired to do the job.
A plow for use in stumpy, rooty land consisted of a strong stock to which a bull tonge or maybe a wide shovel point was bolted. Thru the beam a cutting colter to run just in front of the plow point was placed. A strong man and a well trained team could do a pretty good job preparing the new land for a crop.
Our ancestors here and while on their journey here were not plagued with Indians as much as the ones in our county on the south of us. Settlements at Castalian Springs, Manskers Creek on the Davidson County line between Gallatin and Nashville were attacked at different times and several people slain. Among them being two Bledsoes at Castalian Springs. It is told that one Robin or Peter TUTTLE was scalped by Indians and left for dead, but he recovered and lived near by. Also another TUTTLE was captured by Indians and lived with them seven years, marrying and Indian girl by whom he raised two children. I cannot learn his name. Louis and Lester TUTTLE related this bit of their family history to me. The settlements about Nashville began 1779 and 1780. Ours began somewhat later.
Among the first families to move into our community were some that received grants. These grants being pretty large were divided with others.
I have only two families receiving grants. But there must be others. One Dance BROWN was granted much of the land from Westmoreland to the Kentucky line. He is the fore father of the BROWNS near us. Also a homesteader named Rice GILLIAM settled the land now owned by Odo RHODES. He is buried on this farm. He is the fore father of many GILLIAMS that lived here and elsewhere. Two of his sons were known to me. Uncle Dave GILLIAM, father of Steven, Bennett, Jesse, Johnnie, and Otis lived near this place. Dink GILLIAM, father of Elwood, Bennett, and Charlie GILLIAM, was also _ a son of Steven Rice GILLIAM, he was said to be a large man, weighing 300 lbs. or more. It may interest you to know Dance BROWN is buried on the farm now owned by Cordell EATON on the west bank of Garretts Creek mile above Garretts Creek Church. Other families who came to Garretts Creek and Pleasant Grove were MORRISES, DORRISSES, CREASYS, KEENS, HAWKINS, CARTERS, CULWELLS, (now spelled CALDWELL), SIMMONS, DAVIS, RHODES. The NIMMOS came from Robertson County just before the Civil War and bought part of the Dance BROWN grant. Only two family names owned this land until I sold it, mostly to Richard SIMMONS, Dance BROWN'S son Jimmy owned the Weldon DOSS place. He had several sons among whom were MARTINS, Father of Squire and grandfather Earl BROWN. Also a son J.P. BROWN, father of Otis, Brodie, Rev. Tom and W.R. BROWN, father of our tax assessor, Jimmy. Other GILLIAMS beside Steven RICE came. The forefather of W. H.GILLIAM, my father in law. One Johnny GILLIAM was his father. This Johnny had other children, Alvy, Johnny, and several daughters. Some of the older SIMMONS were Charles, father of Rev. C. N. SIMMONS, and the grandfather of Charles SIMMONS, who is now in the first of his 80 years, Great Grand father of Robert and Cyrus and Richard SIMMONS. Coleman SIMMONS lived on Trammel Creek where Lee HAYNES now lives. His sons were Charlie and Lee. They are all buried here at Pleasant Grove. As is Uncle Charles SIMMONS. William CALWELL and his brother, who lost an arm in battle in the Civil War. He was known as Big Hardy or one armed Big Hardy CALDWELL. This was to distinguish him from Little Hardy CALDWELL, his nephew and brother to my mother. This HARDY was father of Joe and Robert, Charlie, and Sydney CALDWEL, GUTHRIES grandfather. Another branch of the CULWELL family was Ike CALDWELL, who has many descendants here about. Wes CALDWELL, Jack CALDWELL, Jim CALDWELL, Willie CULWELL, Jims sons, Andrew, William R. and Edward are the drillers of oil wells near us. Two branches of the MORRIS family one headed by Sam MORRIS, and another by Jackey MORRIS who settled just below Garretts Creek Church. Uncle John MORRIS, father of Tom, Ollie, Mores, Jim and Ed MORRIS was his son. Two of Uncle Jackies daughters married Joe CREASY and Dave GILLIAM, son of Steven RICE, Uncle Dave GILLIAM, and Aunt Lucy are buried on his old farm, now owned by Eutaw GREGORY. There are many of our neighbors descended from these MORRISES and GILLIAMS.
There must have been several immigrant CARTERS. There were Ben CARTER and his brother Tom. Ben CARTER was the father of Carney CARTER and Gran CARTER. Uncle Tom CARTER, father of Joe Ky CARTER, grandfather of Dr. T. Y. CARTER and great grandfather of our young Dr. Thomas F. CARTER, now practicing here. One of his daughters married Wallace MCDOLE. Uncle Tom and Uncle Ben are buried in the Old Morris and Perry graveyard near an old abandoned road that once went from Chester LYLES and Charles MAYES to Noah WILLIAMS place on Big Trammel Valley. This old road was in use when I was younger. Also buried there is John Henry MORRIS, father of Steve, Did, Booker, and Mrs. Louis TUTTLE. Miss Ruth CARTER and Mrs. Lillian MORRIS say they have a baby sister buried there. This old cemetery is grown up in woods now. Also Mark PERRY and others sleep there. Mark PERRY is a grandfather of Mrs. Hank SHOULDERS. I believe my father said Mark PERRY'S father was names Harvard PERRY. He also, is buried there. Of the KEEN ancestors there must be some that I have not learned of. One of the first was Mastin KEEN, grandfather of Roy KEEN. Mrs. John BEASLEY, Mrs. J. H. WILLIAMS. There father was also Mastin KEEN. The older Mastin is buried in the old Mandy Keen Cemetery on the farm now owned by Clarence WILLIAMS. Old Mandy KEEN is also buried there. Some WILLIAMS and JOHNSONS rest there. Once a road led from near this building west thru to Garretts Creek, passing near this cemetery. A tornado crossed this old cemetery in 1925 uprooting large cedars and over turning several tombstones.
Going back to the CARTERS, there must have been several more. One John CARTER lived just below Garretts Creek Church. I understand Green CARTER, and Andy CARTER were his sons. More old time CARTERS where Joe CARTER and his brother Jack , who are buried at Wolf Cemetery on the lower part of Garretts Creek. Old timers of the next generation as Coleman CARTER, Tommy TUTTLE, Andy TUTTLE and Jim TUTTLE are buried on the farm of Sambo TUTTLE in a well kept cemetery.
Of the WILLIAMS family, I am told a first among them to come into our corner was one John WILLIAMS, father of Nute, Tom, and Jim and John Davis WILLIAMS. These men have many descendants here about. An early resident near us on Trammel Creek was Sampson DAVIS. Father of Whiten DAVIS and Mrs. Sue GILLIAM. Then there was Frank DAVIS, brother to the old Doctor DAVIS who lived just on the north side of Ode RHODES on Garretts Creek. Dr. DAVIS was grandfather of Mrs. Laura GILLIAM, mother of C. A. GILLIAM, the banker in Scottsville, Kentucky. Mrs. Laura is now 93 years old. Frank DAVIS had sons named, John, the one that married Annie RHODES, sister to Davy RHODES, Richard DAVIS was a son of Frank DAVIS. Also one son was named Ellis.
The oldest HAWKINS on my list in this community was Taylor HAWKINS. He was the father of our Uncle Yancy and Coly HAWKINS. Coly HAWKINS moved away to another county before my day. He and his sons visited this community occasionally. Most of them are now dead. Anther old time HAWKINS was Steve HAWKINS who lived a little farther south not far from Siloam. Rev. Joe Lee HAWKINS and Jim HAWKINS were his sons. One of our late superintendents of Sumner County schools, Vernie HAWKINS was a son of Ren. Joe LEE.

Of the CREASY family, the oldest I knew were Joe CREASY, who married Emily MORRIS, daughter of Jackie MORRIS. He was the father of John CREASY, Tom CREASY, Jody CREASY, and Virgil. They are all now dead and buried here at Pleasant Grove. Their descendants are Aubrey, Radford, Rev. John L. And other survive. Emouth CREASY was a brother to Uncle Joe. He had sons named Levi and Joe. Then there was John CREASY, father of Charlie, Luther, Floyd and others. He lived above Turners Station. He had a brother Phil CREASY who married a daughter of Dr. DURHAM. Also a brother Tom who lived above Turners Station. The first DORRISES I knew were Uncle Will DORRIS, father of Tom, Bob, Wade, Jasper, Coly, and Earn. He married a daughter of Old time Taylor HAWKINS. Many are his descendants among us. His father was named Davis DORRIS. Davis DORRIS had a brother named George HILARY. He was a minister of the gospel. I heard him preach back in the 1890's. Uncle Billie GREGORY lived on Garretts Creek a short way above the church. He was a father of our Jim Gregory once a leader in the Church work of our neighborhood. He was killed by lightening about 1928 while cultivating a your peach orchard near Jesse FOSTERS home. Two of his daughters married DORRISES, on married Paul DAVIS, grandson of Sampson DAVIS. Then there was Berry GREGORY, father of Arch, Ellis, Floyd, Porter, and Luther GREGORY. His wife was a daughter of Old Squire WILLIAMS and a sister to John Henry, Lee and Martin WILLIAMS.

Marion ATKENSON once lived where Odell RHODES now lives. That family of children moved away after the old folks died. Four members of this family are buried here. Marion ATKERSON and Cyrus SIMMONS were the first to use commercial fertilizers on this ridge. ATKERSON and others used to work steers to plows and wagons. I am sure many others used oxen on the farms. Uncle Billy BURNLEY lived near Garretts Creek Church. He was a minister of the gospel. His sons, Henry, Jeff, George, and Moss settled here. Jeff married a daughter of W. G. DOSS, Mose, a daughter of Berry GREGORY, Henry a daughter of Sparel MEADOR. Sparel MEADOR lived near our road on the north. He raised several children among whom were Sydney, father of George and Charlie and David, also Tommie, and Carlos now living on the state line north of us.
Of the RIPPYS, the oldest I knew were Joe, Eli, Will. These have many descendants near by. Especially there are several near descended from Eli and Will. Among these are the Woodward boys, Clarence and Lawrence. Ellis grandsons. V. A. Kean mother was a daughter of Will RIPPY. Eugene KEAN is a great grand son of Will RIPPY. Will had sons names Jack and Bert.
Also there was on Mat RIPPY, if relative of Joe and Will I can't say. But I understand Wilson RIPPY is a descendant of Mat RIPPY. This Mat was a shoe maker and made shoes in this community. My mother told me that her folks used to kill a beef most falls. The hide would be tanned by one Oscar STALEY who would measure their feet and make shoes for them. This same Mat RIPPY made hand made shoes in Gallatin when I was a small boy. Tho old families that you find I have omitted may be told of later in supplements to my story.



Go to Pleasant Grove and Garrett's Creek--Part Two

Go to Pleasant Grove and Garrett's Creek--Part Three

Go to Pleasant Grove and Garrett's Creek--Part Four

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