The Settlement of Portland, Tennessee
Articles 1 - 4

by William McGlothlin Published in The Portland Herald, 1909-1910

Article 1: Formation and Settlement of Richland Afterwards Called Portland
Article 2: History of the Founder of Richland and Change to Portland
Article 3: People Who Lived in and Around Richland Prior to the War
Article 4: Richland Depot, Kind of a Building, Dimensions, and How Constructed

Article 1: Formation and Settlement of Richland
Afterwards Called Portland

The laying out and first grading of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in this section began in the year 1856. It was let out by contract in one, two, three, four and five mile sections, and every section had a boss. Irish laborers were mostly employed and the grading was done with pick, shovel, and wheel-barrow. Small ties scalped on two sides were laid on this road bed about three feet apart, and the rails were spiked down in the year 1857. The first train that ran here was called the construction or work train, which hauled the tools, fixtures, ties and rails necessary to forward the work. It was a new thing in the land, and oh! what a curiosity it was to the people and especially to the small boy, to get an opportunity to ride on this construction train. The construction work was rapidly pushed, the last part to be completed being the tunnel under the ridge. By the latter part of the year 1858 trains were running through from Louisville to Nashville.
This entire section where Portland is located was then in timber interspersed here and there with hazle bush thickets, and the land was owned by Thomas BUNTIN, whose residence on the lands now owned by Mr. CARVER, and was then located on the Gallatin and Russellville road near where the water sinks. He was a man of considerable property, owned a farm of several hundred acres and many slaves.
The L&N R.R. Co. was desirous of locating the depot at what is know as "Blain's Crossing" the place where the railroad crosses the Gallatin and Russellville road one-fourth mile north of the depot, but Thomas BUNTIN did not own that land, and he proposed to the company that he would give them two acres of land and build the depot (on the present site) if the company would accept it and make him their agent. The company accepted the proposition and it was named "RICHLAND."
In 1859 James GOOSTREE built a small store house on the site now occupied by the post office, the first house erected after the depot. Soon after this John BUNTIN, son of Thomas BUNTIN, built a four-room dwelling on the site where the widow BUTT's house now stands. He also built a box house on the site where KERLEY & Sons are now doing business in which he did business for some time. It was afterward occupied by two shoe and boot makers, first by Ilie RIGGSBEE, next by John LASHURE and next by a Mr. BROGDEN as a dwelling.
About this time the brewing of red-handed war loomed up. Abraham Lincoln was elected president, South Carolina seceded, Fort Sumpter was bombarded and taken, State after State of the "old thirteen" went out of the Union. The white winged bird of peace had flown and preparation for war on every hand was the watchword of the hour.
Richland was made a place of rendezvous. Col. HATTON's regiment, Col. SAVAGE's regiment, Col. SENTER's regiment, Col. BATTLE's regiment and some others were organized here, and Gen. Felix K. ZOLLICOFFER was in command of the camp, named "Camp Trousdale" in honor of a noble veteran of Sumner County.
Time sped on. Wreck, ruin, and devastation ran riot in all of this land. No improvements went up, no security to life or property, no civil government control was exercised. Might and not right held complete sway, and it seemed that all was chaos and going to the bad, and many improvements and fences and houses and ornaments and tangible property in every line had gone up in smoke or otherwise destroyed.
This brings us to the year 1865. The war is over. A few of the old Confederate veterans are struggling in from the "Lost Cause" and Richland looks more desolate than when the strife began.

Article 2: History of the Founder of Richland and Change to Portland

Thomas BUNTIN who gave two acres of land, built the depot for the L&N R.R. and was appointed for the first agent, named the place "Richland Station," and the post office department at Washington adopted it. But there being at that time a "Richland" post office in Grainger County, East Tennessee, the mails of both places frequently missent, causing complaint. The railroad company, by mutual agreement between the railroad and postal authorities, in the spring (perhaps April) of 1888, the name was changed to "Portland," and both of these names will be frequently used in this brief history of the place.
We wish to further state that for want of better data in this narration of the origin and settlement of "Richland" many dates and facts will be given from memory alone, and we trust the reader will make due allowances, as mistakes and omissions of many things will most likely occur.
As "Richland" and the Portland of today is almost entirely located on what was once the lands of Thomas BUNTIN and his heirs, a history of this family is, in a great measure, the early origin and history of "Richland."
Thomas BUNTIN and Miss Elizabeth TURNER were wedded about the year 1825. She was of one of the pioneer and highly connected families of Sumner County--a noble woman, a helpmate indeed. In the year 1827 or 1828 they purchased of George WILEY, what we have ever since styled "the Thos BUNTIN home tract," containing about four hundred acres of land. It has been generally considered one of the best farms in the county north of the ridge. Most of this farm is now owned by W.C. and Joseph MCGLOTHLIN and W.A. CARVER, aside from the portion covered by the town of Portland.
Camp TROUSDALE, named in honor of Hon. William TROUSDALE of this county, was located on this farm. Gen. Felix K. ZOLLICOFFER, commander of the post, had his headquarters at the BUNTIN residence.
Thomas BUNTIN was an ardent Secessionist--a very plain, outspoken man, a man of sterling honesty and industry. He was a member of the County Court for several years, and was looked upon in that day as a man of wealth, worth perhaps $100,000. He owned a number of good farms--the HUFFMAN farm in Robertson County; CARTER farm, east of Gallatin; GIBSON farm in Simpson County, Kentucky, and some other smaller tracts. In all he had 1,000 acres of land. The majority of these lands were fertile and in good state of repair. He owned more than one hundred slaves of different ages, over whom he exercised marked care and protection, and it was in this property that his estate increased in value most rapidly. When the war came up they had five living children, two boys, James and John, and three girls, Adelia, Mary, and Jane. The girls married good men. Adelia married Dr. THOMPSON, Mary married J.C. LOVELL, Jane married James PLUMMER.
Thomas BUNTIN had a pleasant, congenial family and lived in ease and comfort. His life was completely wrapped up in the cares of his family and his possessions. He grew tired of and gave up the railroad agency. But alas! it was not decreed that this happy family was always to have smooth sailing. In the latter part of 1862 and early 1863 all the Confederate camps north of Nashville were ordered evacuated. Chagrin and dismayed were depicted on the faces of all Southern sympathizers, and while the cannon are booming at Fort Donelson, telling of grim warfare in reality, the Confederates are making hasty preparations to go south of Nashville. But their places were soon occupied by Federal soldiers, to the consternation and terror of the citizens, and devastation begins. They visited special vengeance on the outspoken Secesh. The family of our narrative being stalwarts for the Confederate cause, were a shining mark on whom to reap revenge. Their stock was first taken, the fences lighted cap fires, all feed stuffs taken without reward, Negroes enticed from their homes. The home was made barren and desolate; no food for man or beast could be retained, and they were forced to seek sustenance and shelter elsewhere.
Cruel, cruel lot! Stricken and heartbroken, the weight was too heavy on the aged father, so on Jan. 30, 1865, his spirit passed over the river. Time sped on, but the beautiful home was never restored. After a few lonely years his consort, on Dec. 25, 1871, joined her husband in the great beyond. In a word, bad luck and adversity seemed to be the fate of their heirs, concerning whom we may speak more fully hereafter.

Article 3: People Who Lived in and Around Richland
Prior to the War

Adjoining Thomas BUNTIN on the east lived Ezekiel HARPER, father of the noted Capt. Ellis HARPER, who with his band made times lively with the Federals when they went foraging in the country. This property is now owned by J.M. MCGLOTHLIN. Wm. HINESLEY's home lay south and was a part of the David BRADLEY tract, and now owned by L.E. BUTT. David BRADLEY's residence was sought of Richland on the Gallatin and Russellville road, a family of note and one of the pioneers of the community. He ran an inn and entertained the traveling public. There being no railroad facilities here then and being located on the main thoroughfare of travel, it paid well. He possessed to an admirable degree all the graces and pleasantries to make his guest feel at home, and ever and anon gave them an eye opener and throat cleaner that they did not soon forget. It was also the rendezvous for militia battalion muster in those days, which came off the second Saturday in April. Then a day of note, the people far and near came out. A beautiful, picturesque, shady grove of natural oaks lay between the road and the residence, making it a delightful location for public gatherings and speaking, and it was often utilized for this purpose. It was here, away back in the fifties, that Gen. Wm. B. BATE, when quite a young man, being a candidate for attorney-general, made one of his maiden speeches and was elected and made an efficient officer.
This once regal home is now possessed by B. CUMMINGS, and every member of that noted family.
Over west, what is now across the railroad, was the home of Sander BRADLEY, a nephew of David BRADLEY, some of whose descendants still live in this community. The property is owned by a Mr. WAGONER, a German. Across the Shun Pike road, west, now owned by the DONOHO brothers, was far back the COLSTON and David LOVELL settlement, all of whom are dead or scattered to other parts, and on a portion of this farm, just before the war, lived Gilford READ and family, father of the celebrated humorist writer, Opie READ, who came here at 15 years of age and remained until free.
Adjoining this settlement on the north was Wm. NOLAN and J.B. MCGLOTHLIN. The NOLANS are gone and Wiley CANTRELL is the occupant. The MCGLOTHLIN heirs retain the old homestead. On the line between the two properties, near the residences of Robt. HARRIS and Thos. HARPER, is the site where stood in ante bellum days "NOLAN's school house," being then in the edge of a sedge field, a typical representation of the "old field school house" where Risden D. MOORE, grandfather of the present MOORE generation, taught a number of sessions. Later Andrew MCGLOTHLIN and still later W.T. MCGLOTHLIN taught with others. This was the only place to have school in this entire neighborhood.
It was here that Opie READ, a gawky, uncouth youth, made this his first attempt at public debate and got off some trite, peculiar hits that even then sparkled with wit and humor like diamonds in the rough.
Moving on north we reach the home of our venerable school teacher, Risden R. MOORE, where he lived and died at a ripe old age, honored and revered by the entire community. The majority of the old homestead is still in the possession of the present R.D. MOORE.
One more settlement completes the circle--the MARTIN or BLAINE home. It came down through the GWINNS and MARTINS to the George BLAINE family, and they have about all passed over the river except J.O. BLAINE and a few distant relatives.
A noble and distinguished line it was, but the tooth of time is fast cleaning up the landmarks and pioneers of former years.

Article 4: Richland Depot, Kind of a Building,
Dimensions, and How Constructed

Mr. Editor:--As it has been narrated that Thomas BUNTIN built the Richland depot upon certain conditions and made it a present to the L&N R.R., perhaps some of your readers would be glad to know what kind of a building, the dimensions, how constructed and its value. It was a one-story box house and fronted north. The freight room was 20 x 30 feet, with double doors in the front and rear. There was a platform in front on which to receive freight, a small platform in the rear, and a tobacco hogshead hoister. The room was not ceiled. A pair of heavy scales was the only furniture in the room and they were put in by the railroad. There were no windows in the freight room and there was a store room 16 x 16 feet and a ticket office next to the railroad 12 x 16 feet. These rooms were ceiled with undressed poplar lumber. There were four batten doors, one in front of each room, a small door from the ticket office into the store room and a door in the south end of the office leading out to freight platform. There was one window in front of both office and store room. There entire building was boxed with one-inch undressed oak boards, and the cracks stripped with 1 x 3 inch strips. It was covered with shingles and was never recovered. It was a rough shack for a depot, but answered the purpose for some thirty years, and yet through all these years it never caught fire.
The railroad company had only one switch then; it was 500 feet long and ran near the depot. All the railroad engines used wood at that time and had very poor spark arresters, and the wonder is that the old dilapidated depot did not take fire repeatedly. Every party who kept goods for sale in it carried insurance. The cost of the building then was about $500.
When the war of the States in 1861 was declared, Richland was in charge of Robert WILES, including all the offices. "Camp Trousdale" was organized in the spring of 1861, but owing to a scarcity of water in and around Portland the camp was moved to Cold Springs, one and one-half miles northeast of Richland, retaining from the name, "Camp Trousdale." In the latter part of the summer and early fall of 1861 Camp Trousdale was broken up. Some of the regiments were sent to Virginia and the balance were moved up to Bowling Green, KY. Robert WILES followed the Confederate troops to Bowling Green, leaving John C. PAYNE to take his place. Robert WILES did not return to the South when the Confederates evacuated Bowling Green in January, 1862. There were Confederate camps near old Mitchellville just prior to the time they left Bowling Green, but all went South just before the fall of Fort Donelson.
Parts of several regiments who had volunteered from this country were then at Fort Donelson in the engagement going on, and that, with the retreat of all the Confederates to the south of Nashville and the defeat and death of General ZOLLICOFFER and his forces, cast a gloom of despondency and depression over this entire land. This really was an epoch of woe and devastation which reigned supreme over all the country, and this ordeal continued with but little cessation until the close of the war in 1865. No improvements of any kind were erected in Richland or the surrounding community, and neither life nor property were secure.
John C. PAYNE held the offices and did a small merchandise business in Richland until the latter part of 1865, his family occupying the James GOOSTREE house across the railroad as a dwelling.

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