THE GOODSPEED HISTORY OF
WILSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Originally published 1886
submitted by William C. Colley Jr.
source: Woodward & Stinson Printing Co. Edition, Reprint 1971
For noncommercial use only.
See also: Biographical Appendix
WILSON is one of a group of counties which form the bottom of the great Silurian basin of Middle Tennessee. The surface of the land is rolling and varied with plateaus, hills and valleys, and is often picturesque. The surface is on an average elevation of between 500 and 600 feet above the level of the sea, while Jenning's Knob, six miles southeast of Lebanon is the highest elevation in the county, rising to a height of 1,221 feet above the sea level. The lands are based generally on limestones which occur in successive layers nearly horizontal in position, and have a vertical thickness, from the lowest exposed to the highest in the hills, inclusive of about 900 feet. A number of high hills and ridges in the eastern and southeastern part of the county are capped with a stratum of flinty material beneath which is a layer of slate. The limestones belong to the group of formations known to geologists as lower Silurian, the upper part embracing some 500 feet of layers pertaining to the Nashville formation (Cincinnati) and the lower part to the Lebanon (Trenton); as the town of Lebanon rests upon some of its layers. The rocks of the former division are seen on the slopes of the hills and ridges, while those of the latter outcrop on lower grounds and in the valleys. There is an abundance of rocks in the county consisting of varieties of blue limestone and sandstone, much of which is suitable for building purposes.
The supply of timber in the county is abundant, all species of trees growing in the forests, such as oak, hickory, ash, gum, cedar, elm, maple, poplar, cherry, chestnut, mulberry, beech, sycamore, dogwood, walnut, cotton-wood, box elder, sassafras, iron-wood, persimmon and willow. The soils may be divided into four classes: First. the river and creek bottoms, which are alluvial and of great fertility, and upon which may be grown all kinds of crops. Second, the dark soil peculiar to the cedar flats and glades, which is very poor and unproductive, and is the least desirable. Third, that found on the hills, ridges and plateaus of the northwestern and middle portion of the county, and on the slopes of the hills in the eastern and southeastern portion, which is a sandy-mulatto color, loose soil. Fourth, that found in the valleys and lower parts of the county, which is also of a mulatto color, but is more compact and clayey. All the different cereals, such as corn, wheat, oats, potatoes and all fruits and cotton grow well in the county. The Cumberland River washes the northern boundary of the county for a distance of twenty-five miles, and besides the numerous springs all over the county there are the following important creeks: Cedar Lick, Spring, Cedar, Barton, Spencer, empty into the Cumberland; Sugg, Stoner, Hurricane and Fall empty into Stone River; Smith Fork, Round Lick, Spring and Fall Creeks have their source near each other in a group of hills in the southeastern part of the county, while the other creeks head in the numerous valleys.
Beyond an occasional migratory and venturesome hunter, trapper or scout, who passed through the vast forests and canebrakes in quest of the abundant game or in pursuit of marauding bands of Indians, the presence of white man was unknown in Wilson County previous to l790. At the close of the Continental war the State of .North Carolina made grants of large bodies of land to her soldiers in pay for gallant service in time of battle. The land so granted was situated in Tennessee, then a portion of North Carolina, and it was by the owners of the land that Wilson (then Sumner) County was settled. The following are the names of the parties to whom land was granted in Wilson County during the years between 1780 and 1790: William Ray. 1,000 acres; Isadore Skerett, 640 acres; James Kennedy, 640 acres; Cornelius Dabney, 640 acres; John Burton, 1,168 acres; John Williams, 640 acres; John Conroe, 640 acres; Hardy Murfree, 1,000 acres; Nicholas Conroe, 640 acres; Thomas Evans, 640 acres; John Davidson, 274 acres; Stephen Merritt, 640 acres; James C. Montflorence, 1,000 acres; John Kain, 571 acres; Walter Allen, 912 acres; Redmond T. Barry, 640 acres; William Hogan, 500 acres; and Andrew Bostane, 220 acres. Between 1790 and 1800: Robert Stewart, Jonathan Green, John Boyd, Philip Shackler, John Haywood, William Lytle, Alexander Mebane, Jeremiah Hendricks, James Rodgers, John Brown, William Fleming, Bennett Searcy, Ambrose Jones, Edward Harris, Henry Barnes, George Kennedy, Jacob Patton, Reeves Porter, James Menees, Thomas Evans, Gideon Pillow, Delilah Roberts, David Douglas, Johnson Hadley, Joseph Cloud, Daniel Wilbourn, James Barron, Vachel Clark, Jesse Cobb, Samuel Churchhill, Boyd Castleman, Ephraim Payton, and Alexander Denny, 640 acres each; William Hogan, 500 acres; Willie Cherry, 228 acres; Archibald Lytle, 1,000 acres; Lazarus James, 337 acres; John Wright, 2,000 acres; Henry Ross, 274 acres; John Dabney, 228 acres; William Martin, 1,280 acres; David Gibson, 1,000 acres; Thedford and George Brewer, 1,000 acres; John Boyd, Jr., 228 acres; Samuel Barton, 1,000 acres; and Absolom Tatum, 300 acres.
Many of the above never became settlers of the county and numbers of the pioneers of Wilson County purchased of them the lands on which they settled. The first settlement of Wilson County was made in the year 1797 at Drake's Lick, near the mouth of Spencer Lick Creek on Cumberland River, which was afterward the northeast corner of Davidson County, by William McClain and John Foster. Two years later John Foster, William Donnell and Alexander Barkley made a settlement of Spring Creek, seven miles southeast of the present town of Lebanon. During the same year settlements were made on Hickory Ridge, five miles west of Lebanon, by John K. Wynn and Charles Kavanaugh, both of whom came from North Carolina, and on the waters of Round Lick Creek, by William Harris and William McSpadden, of North Carolina, and James Wrather and Samuel King, of Virginia, and also on the waters of Spring Creek, about eight miles south of Lebanon, by John Doak. John Foster, David Magathey, Alexander Braden, the Donnells, and probably others. At the time of these settlements the land was covered with vast forests and thick canebrakes, and game of every specie from the bear, panther and deer down to the squirrel and rabbit existed in abundance. Several years before, however, the Indians as a tribe had been driven back. and only friendly ones as a class were met with by the settlers.
From 1799 the settlement of the county was
rapid. The lands lying on the waters of the various creeks being
the richer and easier of cultivation were naturally the first
settled, and hence in giving the following list of names of the
early settlers, they have been grouped into creek neighborhoods.
On Barton Creek: Charles Blaylock, Elijah Trewitt, Levi Holloway,
Henry Shannon, Snowdon Hickman, William Eddings, Thomas Mass,
Eleazer Provine, John Lane, Byrd Wall, William Thomas, Samuel
Wilson, George Swingler, John Goldston, Benjamin Esken, Jeremiah
Still, Thomas Sypert, George Wynn, Benjamin Wineford, William
Peace, James Mayes, John Cage, Alexander Chance, Josiah Martin,
Henry Reed, William Elkins, James Menees, John Allcorn, Thomas
On Spring Creek: James Cannon, Soloman Marshall, James Chappell, Walter Carrouth, Martin Talley, George Alexander, Joseph Moxley, Hugh Morris, Bartlett Graves, Spencer Talley, John Forbes, William Bartlett, William Sherrill, John Steinbridge, Josiah Smith, Alligood Wallard, Thomas Williams, Purnell Hearn, John Jones, John Walsh, Samuel Elliott, Benjamin Mottley, Richard Hawkins, Gregory Johnson, William Steele, Henry Chandler, Arthur Dew, Daniel Cherry, Adam Harpole, and others.
On Cedar Creek: Hugh Roane, John Provine, Alex Aston, Samuel Calhoun, Perry Taylor, John L. Davis, Mathew Figures, David Billings, Irwin Tomlinson, Joseph Trout, Hooker Reeves, Nathan Cartwright, Lewis Chambers, Andrew Swan, William Harris, William Wilson and Joseph Weir.
On Spencer Creek: John Walker, William White, Brittain Drake, Lewis Kirby, William Gray, Joel Echols, Robert Mitchell, Philip Koonce, James McFarland, Moore Stevenson, Jere Hendricks and Richard Drake.
On Cedar Lick Creek: Theophilus Bass, Clement Jennings, John Everett, John Gleaves, Reuben Searcy, Joshua Kelley, James Everett, James H. Davis, Thomas Davis, Howell Wren, William Ross, Edmund Vaughn, George Smith, Harmon Hays and Daniel Spicer.
On Cumberland River: Edward Mitchell, Elijah Moore, William Sanders, Caleb Taylor, Bartholomew Brett, William Johnson, Josiah Woods, W. T. Cole, Joseph Kirkpatrick, Henry Davis, James Tipton, Thomas Ray, Reuben Slaughter, Daniel Glenn, James Hunter, Ransom King, Henry Locke, Ephraim Beasley, Sterling Tarpley and William Putway.
On Stoner Lick Creek: Blake Rutland, Zebulon Baird, John Graves, Benjamin Graves, Thomas Watson, John Wilson, John Williamson, Henry Thompson, Thomas Gleaves, Ezekial Cloyd, Anderson Tate, Jacob Woodrum, Ezekial Clampet, Andrew Wilson, James Cathom and James Kendall.
On Suggs Creek: Benjamin Hooker, Acquilla Suggs, William Warnick, William Rice, Benjamin Dobson, Hugh Gwynn, Jenkin Sullivan, John Roach, James Hannah, Hugh Telford, Green Barr, Peter Devault, John Curry, Thomas Drennon, Joseph Hamilton and Joseph Castlemen.
On Pond Lick Creek: Robin Shannon, John Ozment, Lee Harralson, John Spinks and John Rice.
On Sinking Creek: Thompson Clemmons, William Bacchus, David Fields, Lewis Merritt, Frank Ricketts, Fletcher Sullivan, James Richmond, Robert Jarmon, John Winsett, Jesse Sullivan, William Paisley, John Billingsley, Seldon Baird, Dawson Hancock and Jonathan Ozment.
On Hurricane Creek: William Teague, John Gibson, William Hudson. Nicholas Quesenbury, Charles Warren, Jacob Bennett, Elisha Bond, Robert Edwards, John Edwards, Bradford Howard, George Cummings, John Merritt, Joseph Stacey, Frank Young, Henry Mosier, Charles Cummings, John Woolen, Absalom Knight, Thomas Miles, Peter Leath and Gideon Harrison.
On Fall Creek: William Warren, Samuel Copeland, Joseph Williams, Jacob Jennings, William Allison, Hardy Penuel, Joseph Sharp, Sampson Smith, Frank Puckett, James Quarles, Roger Quarles, Mathew Sims, Shadrack Smith, James Smith, Charles Smith, Aaron Edwards, Hugh Cummings, Isaac Winston, William Wortham, Burrell Patterson, Absalom Losater, John Alsup, Lard Sellars, Joseph Carson, Charles Gillem, Arthur Harris, Walter Clapton, William Smith, John Donnell, Adney Donnell and William Lester.
On Smith Fork: Dennis Kelley, David Ireland, John Adams, David Wasson, John Armstrong. Isaac Witherspoon, John Allen, Richard Braddock, Edward Pickett, E!isha Hodge, Thomas Flood, James McAdoo, Samuel McAdoo, Abner Bone, Thomas Bone, William Richards, George L. Smith, Samuel Stewart, William Beagle, James Johnson, John Knox, William Knox, John Ward, Solomon George, Reason Byrne, .James Godfrey, Henry Payne, James Thompson, James Thomas, Thomas Word, James Ayers, William Jennings, Charles Rich, Abner Alexander, William Oakley and James Williams.
On Round Lick Creek, including Jennings Fork: John W. Peyton, Arthur Hankins, James Wrather, Samuel King, William Haines, John Bradley, William McSpaddin, William Coe, Abner Spring, William Harris, John Phillips, Benjamin Phillips, Edward G. Jacobs, John Green, Samuel Barton, Alexander Beard, Jordan Bass, Soloman Bass, John Lawrence, Evans Tracy, Joseph Barbee, Shelah Waters, George Clarke, James Shelton, William Neal, Joshua Taylor, Isaac Grandstaff, Daniel Smith, Jacob Vantrase, Duncan Johnson, Joseph Foust, James Hill, Joseph Carlin, George Hearn, John Patton, John Bradley, William New, Robert Branch, James Edwards, William Howard, Edmund Jennings, John White, John Swan, Thomas Byles, William Palmer, Park Goodall, Jerre Brown, Thomas B. Reece, James Scaby, James Hobbs, James Newbry and John Caplinger. The first corn-mill erected in the county was built by Samuel Caplinger some time in 1798. It was a small horse-power affair, the horse being hitched to a pole or shaft and driven around in a circle. The building was a small, unhewn-log house, and stood on the farm now owned by Roland Newby, in the Eighth Civil District. Very good corn meal is said to have been ground by this mill, and the patronage was drawn from a large scope of country. Subsequently the mill was removed to a site on Jennings Fork, and converted into a water-power. The first water-mill is supposed to have been built by Thomas Conger, some time in the same year, on Barton's Creek, about three miles northwest of Lebanon. A horse-power mill was also erected about that time by one of the Donnells, near Doak's Cross Roads, eight miles south of Lebanon.
Before these mills were erected the settlers went to Davidson County for their grinding, or converted the corn into meal by means of the old-fashioned mortar and pestle. In 1799 Mathew Figures built a water-power grist-mill on Cedar Creek, to which he afterward added a saw. In 1800 William Trigg and Joseph Hendricks built a water-power grist-mill on Spencer Creek. Other mills of the early days were those or Isham and Larkin Davis, on Cedar Creek; William Wilson's, on Spring Creek; Jesse Holt's, on Barton Creek; John Scott's on Spring Creek, and John T. Hays', on Smith Fork. Later on William Wharton built a water-mill on Spring Creek, in the Tenth District; Williams & Kirkpatrick built one on Spencer Creek, in the Fourth District; Alex Simmons built one on Fall Creek, in the Seventeenth District; James C. Winford built one on Spring Creek, in the Ninth District, and about the same time a paper-mill was built on the Cumberland River, twelve miles from Lebanon, at which a good article of paper, both news and commercial, was manufactured. The machinery was inadequate, however, and the enterprised was short lived.
With the increase in population there was an increase in the number and facilities of the mills in this county, and at the present W. P. M. Smith, C. H. Cook, J. N. Adams and J. W. Williamson & Bros. have steam saw and grist-mills; Jacob Earhart has a water- power grist-mill on Stone Creek, and W. C. Gillian has a water-power grist-mill on Cedar Creek, in the First Civil District; John Brown and William McFarland have steam saw and grist-mills, and Washington Moore has a water-power grist-mill on Spring Creek, in the Fifth District; B. D. Hager has a steam saw and grist-mill, and William Colquit and William Tomlinson have steam grist-mills, in the Seventh District; J. C. Logue has a steam grist-mill, and J. L. Hubbard a steam saw and grist-mill, in the Twenty-fourth District; Coon Lannon has a steam saw and grist-mill, and William Rice a water grist-mill on Sinking Creek, in the Twenty-third District; John D. Gains has a steam saw-mill, James Johnson a water-power grist, and W. D. S. Smith a steam and water-power saw and grist-mill on Cedar Creek, in the Sixth District; J. N. Cowen has a steam corn-mill and wool factory in the Twenty-second District; Mrs. Pendleton has a steam saw, grist and carding-mill in the Second District; Gains Leach and Hugh & David have water-power grist-mills on Sanders and Smith Forks, respectively, in the Fourteenth District; Dr. James McFarland has a steam saw and grist-mill in the Third District; J. B. Baird has a steam saw and grist-mill in the Twenty-first District; G. W. Wright has a steam saw and grist-mill in the Twenty-fifth District; __ Etherly has a steam saw and grist-mill, and Bailey Hall and William Barrow water-power grist-mills on Barton Creek, in the Fourth District; John Patterson and Patton & Harvey have water-power grist-mills on Smith Fork, in the Fifteenth District; Thomas Mitchell has a carding machine in the Ninth District; John Bryant has a steam saw-mill in the Nineteenth District; John W. Bennett and John Wynn have steam saw and grist-mills, and S. T. Aisup has a water-power saw and grist-mill on Falling Creek, in the Twentieth District; P. W. & T. R. Hearn have a water-power grist-mill on Falling Creek, in the Seventeenth District; John S. Belcher has a steam grist-mill in the Eighth District; Vick & Miller have a water-power grist-mill on Town Branch, and Bailey Peyton one on Spring Creek, in the Tenth District, and W. L. Waters has a steam-power flour, grist and saw-mill in the Sixteenth District.
Although still-houses were more numerous than schoolhouses in the early days of the county, yet the owner and location of the first one can not be learned. Isham Webb had a still in the Eleventh District at an early day, and later James Carrouth, John Forbs, Jerry Johnson, Bolin Wynn, Robert Thomas, Jack Cook and perhaps others, whose names could not be secured, operated stills in various parts of the county, all of which had capacities ranging from one-half to two barrels per day of mash. The old-fashioned worm was used, and the houses were small, unhewn-log buildings, and in some instances the still was located out of doors. These stills all disappeared several years before the late civil war.
Considerable cotton was grown in the county, and it is claimed that the first crop of this article grown west of the Cumberland Mountains was on the farm of John Donnelson, afterward the father-in-law of Andrew Johnson, in Clover Bottom, this county, some time about the organization of the county. As early as 1802 there were numerous cotton-gins in operation in the county: One by George Alexander, near Center Hill; one by John B. Walker, on Hickory Ridge; one by Moses Echols, on the waters of Spencer Creek; one by Daniel Trigg, and others by Alaman Trigg, Henry Betts, John Watson, Robert Goodloe, Seth P. Pool, Joseph Sharp, Joshua Kelley, Edward Bondward, Thomas Wilson and Thomas Green in various parts of the country, the exact location of which is unknown to the citizens of the present. These have all disappeared, as they ceased to be of use many years ago.
The first store in the county was kept by John Herrod in 1800, but the location of his store can not be learned. It was a small mercantile establishment indeed, the stock consisting of a few standard articles of staple groceries, ammunition, nails, tobacco and whisky, all of which were brought from the older States on pack mules or horses. Salt sold from $8 to $10 per bushel; nails at 25 cents per pound, and everything else in proportion. Herrod also kept tavern at his store, they both being at his dwelling-house. A short time afterward George C. Hodge and Solomon George opened similar stores, or ordinaries as they were then called, in the neighborhood of Smith Fork. Other early store-keepers were John Gibson, Samuel Tillman, Huldah Sherrill, Richard Bryan, William C. Mitchell, George Cummings, John Lumpkins, John Brown, Isham Davis, George Jarrett, Carter White, William Stewart, Elisha Dismukes, Higdon Harrington and David Martin, all of whose stores were located in various portions of the county outside of the county seat.
So far as known, the oldest house now standing in the county was built by Samuel Sherrill, on Barton Creek, about two miles southwest of Lebanon. It was built some time in 1800, of hewn cedar logs, the doors and shutters being made of split boards, smoothed with the drawing-knife, and fastened together with nails made by hand. The house is strong and still serviceable.
Josiah S. McClain, who was county clerk for a period of over forty years, now dead, is said to have been the first male white child born in the county, he having been born in January, 1797.
Wilson County was established by an act of the Third General Assembly of Tennessee, passed October 26, 1799, three years after the organization of the State. The act establishing the county is in substance as follows: "An act reducing the limits of Sumner County and establishing two new counties," etc., that part referring to Wilson County being in the following language: "Sec. 4, And be it enacted, that another new county be established by the name of Wilson, to be contained within the following described bounds: Beginning upon the south bank of the river Cumberland, at low water mark, at the mouth of Drake Lick Branch, the northeast corner of Davidson County; thence with the line of Davidson County to the Cherokee boundary, as run and marked agreeably to the treaty of Holston, and with the said boundary to the Caney Fork, and down the Caney Fork, according to its meanders, to the mouth thereof; thence down the meanders of the Cumberland River, by the south bank to the beginning."
Sections 15 and 16 provide for the holding of the courts of said county on the fourth Monday of December, March, June and September, and designate the house of John Harpole, as the place of holding the first sessions of the courts.
By an act passed by the General Assembly November 6,1801,a portion of Wilson County was annexed to Smith County, and the present bounds of this were established by an act passed November l3, 1801, as follows: "Beginning on the south bank of Cumberland River at the mouth of the Drake Lick Creek, it being the upper corner of Davidson County, running from thence up said river with the middle of the channel of the same to the Smith County line; thence south twenty-three degrees east along the said Smith County line to the Indian boundary line; thence westwardly with said Indian boundary line to the Davidson County line; thence northwardly along said Davidson County line to the beginning." This act also provides for the appointment of Christopher Cooper, Alanson Trigg, Mathew Figures, John Harpole and John Doak, as a commission to organize the new county, run the boundary lines and locate the county seat, purchasing forty acres for the latter purpose; the said land to be selected with due regard for good wood and water; to lay off the county seat into town lots, sell the same at public auction, reserving sufficient ground for a public square, and with the proceeds of such sales defray the expenses of erecting a court house and jail, and other necessary building for the use of the county.
In the latter part of 1799 the boundary lines were run in accordance with the provisions of the above act, and the county was duly organized. But it was not until in 1802 that the county seat was located, when the present Site of Lebanon was selected on account of its almost central location, and of the existence on the land of a large, never-failing spring of pure water, and which spring at the present time is as pure, fresh and strong as at that early day. The land selected was owned by one James Menees, who donated the necessary land.
Wilson County is bounded on the north by Sumner County, on the northeast and east by the counties of Trousdale, Smith and DeKalb, southeast by Cannon County, south by Rutherford County, and west by Davidson County, and has an area of 578 square miles. The county was named in honor of Maj. David Wilson, a native of Pennsylvania, who settled in Sumner County when Tennessee was a part of North Carolina.
Wilson County has a population of 28,747, of which number about 7,200 are voters, a large majority of whom vote the Democratic ticket. Previous to the late elections the county enjoyed the distinction of being the banner Democratic county of the State. Wilson ranks among the best counties in the State. Out of a total of 356,396 acres of land almost 200,000 are improved. In 1885 the cereal products of the county were 1,226 bushels of barley, 1,806,262 bushels of corn, 132,506 bushels of oats, 4,869 bushels of rye and 188,540 bushels of wheat. At the same time there were in the county l5,502 horses and mules, 16,285 cattle, 18,795 sheep and 49,588 hogs. The total valuation of the land in the county in 1885 was $3,500,679; of personal property, less $1,000, $295,836; of all other property, $158,220;. total valuation, $4,440,370. There are 173,100 miles of railroad in the county, which has a total value of $204,360, and 620 town lots, total value of which is $485,635. In 1885 the tax assessment was as follows: Poll tax, 3,979; State, 13,821.11; county $15,079.89; school, $17,069.46; railroad, $19,750.98; court house, $2,220.18; highway, $3,503.96; total $72,948.12. The tax levy for 1886 is as follows: On each $100, county 25 cents; poll $1; school 25 cents; poll $1.50; railroad 50 cents; poll. 50 cents; highway 11 cents; State 30 cents; total, $4.41.
The county court of W'dson County was organized at the house of John Harpole on Monday, December 23, 1799, the following commissioned magistrates being present: Charles Kavanaugh, Elmore Douglas, John Harpole, John Allcorn, John Lancaster, John Doak, Mathew Figures, William Gray, Andrew Donelson, Henry Ross and William McClain. The exact place of holding this first session of the court, i. e., the location of Harpole's house, is a matter of much dispute at the present time; yet after diligent search and numerous inquiries from reliable persons the writer is of the opinion that the house stood on the north side of Spring Creek about five miles north of the present county seat. The court was organized by the election of Charles Kavanaugh as chairman; Robert Foster, clerk; Samuel Rosborough, sheriff; John Allcorn, register; John W. Payton, trustee; William Gray, ranger; William Quesenbury, surveyor; and Benjamin Seawell, solicitor. Among the first acts of the court were to admit John C. Hamilton to practice as an attorney, prove a deed of conveyance bf 640 acres of land from Michael Coonrad to his brother Henry, and order a road laid off from the forks of Round Lick Creek to the "25-mile tree," nearly opposite the house of Edward Mitchell. The March term, 1800, was also held at Harpole's, as were the June, September and December terms, during which sessions John Hogg and George K. Wynn exhibited their ear marks; John Herrod was granted license to keep an ordinary, permissions were given to William Trigg, Joseph Hendrick and Mathew Figures to erect water grist-mills; Lemuel Herrod, John Dickason, John B. Johnson, Jesse Wharton and Nicholas Perkins were admitted to the bar; $2 was ordered paid for the scalp of each wolf killed in the county; and a tax was levied for county purposes of 61/4 cents on each 100 acres of land--61/4 cents on each white and 121/2 cents on each black poll.
The court continued to meet at Harpole's throughout the year 1801,during which time John Herrod took out tavern license, Charles Smith was admitted to the bar, and rates for ferrying were fixed as follows: Man and horse, 61/4 cents; man or horse, 31/8 cents; cattle and other stock, 31/3 cents per head; loaded wagon and team, $1; empty wagon and team, 75 cents; four-wheel carriages, $1; two-wheel, 50 cents.
From March until December, 1802, the court met at the house of Henry Turner on Barton Creek, three miles southwest from Lebanon, and from there adjourned to meet at the house of Edward Mitchell, in Lebanon, the new county seat having been laid out and the lots sold on August 16 of that year. Mitchell was allowed by the court 25 cents for each meal and lodging furnished the magistrates during the session of court. During 1808 the court fined Obediah Spradim $1.50 for profanity; James Anderson was granted ordinary license, and the rate of charges for ordinaries was regulated as follows: rum, wine, gin and French brandy, $8 per gallon; whisky or brandy 121/2 cents per half pint; lodging 61/4 cents; corn or oats 4 cents per gallon; horse with hay or fodder, 25 cents; pasturage for twenty-four hours, 121/2 cents.
In 1804 the March term of court was held at James Anderson's in Lebanon, the June term, at Edward Mitchell's and the September and December terms at Anderson's. Throughout 1805 and until June 1806 the court met at Mitchell's house, at which time the court adjourned to meet at the new and first court house, that building having been completed and placed in readiness for the court during the year. The first court house was a small cedar-log building, with a clapboard roof, and stood on the west side of the Public Square. It was large enough only for the holding of the court, the county officers having their quarters in various houses around the Square. Beyond this meager description nothing more can now be learned, as the memory of the present oldest inhabitant runneth not back that far. The jail was completed a short time previous to the court house. It was also a small cedar-log house, having two apartments, and entrance to the cells was through a trap door in the upper floor, the cells resting on the ground.
The court appointed Jeremiah Brown, John Allcorn and John Wynn a committee in 1806 to award the contract for and superintend the building of a bridge across the creek, which flows through the town (now known as Town Branch), and John Doak, John Harpole and Mathew Figures were appointed a committee to have a stray pen erected. Benjamin Tower was granted ordinary license and Robert Goodloe, Seth P. Pool and Joseph Sharp were appointed cotton inspectors.
In 1807 the court licensed Daniel Tillman to keep an ordinary, appointed Peter Mosley and Edward Bondward cotton inspectors, fined William Talbott 1 cent for inciting a riot, allowed Seth P. Pool $200 for building an office for the accommodation of the county officials, and allowed David Marshall $12 for building a stray pen.
In 1808 the court granted ordinary license to William Mann, and John Cartwright was granted permission to erect and operate a cotton gin. In 1809 the court ordered the removal of the stray pen. James Richmond was appointed cotton inspector, and Isham and Larkin Davis were granted permission to erect a water-power grist-mill. In 1810 Thomas Swain was admitted to the bar. Joel Mann was granted ordinary license, and William Wilson granted permission to erect a grist-mill. In 1811 the old jail was torn down, and a new one erected on the same site. The new building was of brick and cost $1,396. William Seawell was the contractor. In 1812 Charles Swain, James Johnson, Ezekial Bass and Reuben Bullard were each fined by the court for committing assault and battery, and Thomas Bradly, the sheriff, was fined $10 for absenting himself during the sitting of the court. In 1817 the court appropriated $500 for the building of a new court house. The building was completed in 1818. It was of brick and stood in the center of the Public Square. The house was square in shape, one story, in height, and had a peaked roof, on the center of which was a square belfry and bell. In 1829 the court levied a poorhouse tax of 61/4 cents on each 100 acres of land, 61/4 cents on each white and black poll, and 61/4 cents on each town lot. The court also appointed Etheldred P. Harris, William McSwain and Thomas B. Reise a commission to select suitable ground upon which to locate said poor-house, and erect the necessary buildings. The following year a small tract of land, three miles southwest of Lebanon, was purchased, and a cedar-log house, containing three rooms, was erected as an asylum. A few years afterward a new asylum was erected on a tract of land about six miles southwest of Lebanon, which served as a poor-farm until 1866, when 219 acres of good farm land was purchased of James Davis for $30 per acre, upon which stood a substantial weather-boarded log house. Four log cabins were erected, and such is the poor asylum of the present. A new jail was erected in 1832, which was also of brick, which stood until 18---, when the present substantial brick jail, which stands about two squares from the Public Square on West Main Street, was erected. In 1833 a new floor was laid in the court house. In 1846 the court passed an order for the building of a new court house, which building was not to cost in excess of $8,000. In 1848 the court house was completed, when the old building was torn down. The new court house was of brick, two-stories in height, and stood on Lot No. 8 on the south side of the Public Square, one entrance being on South Cumberland Street. The upstairs was devoted to a circuit court room, while on the lower floor were the quarters of the county officers and the county court room. The building stood until 1881, when it was destroyed by fire, and in January, 1882, the court passed an order for the erection of a new court house, appointing H. G. Johns, G. W. Lewis, J. F. Orgain, L. Drifoos and J. A. Brent a building committee. Subsequently W. A. Lewis, W. H. Brown and John D. Owen were added to the committee. The plans and specifications of the building were prepared by Bruce & Morgan, of Atlanta, Ga., and the contract was awarded to J. F. Bowers & Bros., of Nashville. When complete the building cost $18,306.30. It is a handsome brick structure, two stories in height above the ground, has stone cappings, tin mansard roof, and is supplied with fire-proof vaults and all modern conveniences. The front of the building is highly ornamented, and is set off with an imposing brick portico, with a flight of stone steps leading thereto. On the second floor are two large court, rooms, one each for the circuit and county courts, while on the first floor are large, light and well ventilated offices. A handsome stairway leads from the main hail to the court rooms. There are three entrances to the building, which stands on the site of the old court house, one on the Cumberland Street side, one on the Public Square and one on the west side. During the building of the court house the courts were held in the Masonic Hall.
The clerks of the county court and their terms of office have been as follows: Robert Foster, 1799 to 1800; John C. Henderson, 1800 to 1802; John Allcorn, 1802 to 1827; John Stone, 1827 to 1831; Josiah McClain, 1831 to 1871; R. P. McClain, 1871 to 1875; Jesse F. Coe, 1875 to 1880; Abraham Britton, 1880 to 1882; W. M. Harkreader, 1882 to 1886.
Sheriffs--Samuel Rosborough, 1799 to 1802; William Wilson, 1802 to 1802 (three months); Nathaniel Perry, 1802 to 1804; George Hallum, 1804 to 1805; John V. Tullock, 1805 to 1806; Thomas Bradley, 1806 to 1819; James Williams, 1819 to 1821; Thomas Bradley, 1821 to 1825; John Hearn, 1825 to 1881; Paulden Anderson, 1831 to 1836; Benjamin G. Mabry, 1836 to 1839; Wilburn R. Winter, 1839 to 1840; Henry D. Lester, 1840 to 1844; John C. Lash, 1844 to 1847; Robert Hallum. 1847 to 1848; John J. Crittenden, 1848 to 1854; Jonathan Etherly, 1854 to 1859; Nathan W. McCullough, 1859 to 1866; William E. Foust, 1866 to 1870; Andrew McGregor, 1870 to 1874; David W. Grandstaff, 1874 to 1876; William P. Bandy, 1876 to 1882; James G. Hamilton, 1882 to 1884; William P. Bandy, 1884 to 1886. Registers--John Allcorn, 1799 to 1801; Henry Ross, 1801 to 1827; James Foster, 1827 to 1836; Thomas Edwards, 1836 to 1837; A. W. Foster, 1837 to 1839; Giles H. Glenn, 1839 to 1844; Robert M. Holeman, 1844 to 1846: Allen W. Vick, 1846 to 1876; John F. Tarply, 1876 to 1886. Trustees--John W. Payton, 1799 to 1800; James Stewart, 1800 to 1814; Edward Crutcher, 1814 to 1821; John W. Payton, 1821 to 1833; David C. Hibbitts, 1833 to 1844; John Shorter, 1844 to 1848; Benjamin Tower, 1848 to 1856; David B. Moore, 1856 to 1860; Jarrett W. Edwards, 1860 to 1872; J. F. Lane, 1872 to 1874; Nathan Oakley, 1874 to 1876; J. N. Cook, 1876 to 1884; D. J. Barton, 1884 to 1886.
The Circuit Court of Wilson County convened for the first time in the court house at Lebanon, September 24, 1810, Hon. Thomas Stuart, presiding. The first case of consequence on the docket was that of the State against Joel Alpin, on a charge of assault and battery. Alpin was found guilty as charged in the indictment, and fined $5. In 1811 Peggy and Solomon Ray were divorced; in 1812 Thomas Martin and Joseph Davis were each fined $10 for assault and battery; in 1813 James Rather, for assault and battery, was fined $5; Isaac and Betsy Cook were divorced in 1814, and in 1815 Betsy and David Hunt were also divorced; in 1820 Jedediah Willie was publicly whipped for larceny, and Robert Easom for assault and battery was fined $10 and sent to jail for twenty days; Hiram McKinley, for larceny, in 1821, was given twenty-five lashes on the bare back and jailed; in 1826 Lewis Yarnell was convicted of murder, and was branded on the left hand with the letter M, and given four months in jail; James Nilms, for horse stealing, in 1828, was sentenced to be hung, and upon the day of execution, after having been placed on the scaffold, was reprieved at the last minute and his sentence commuted; during the same year Joe, a slave, for murder, was branded with the letter M and given thirty-nine lashes, and for horse stealing Pins Simpson was sentenced to receive twenty-six lashes, six months in jail and to stand in the pillory two hours on the mornings of Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, and was branded on the hand with the letters H and T; in 1829 Willis, a slave, was given thirty-nine lashes and branded with M for committing murder; David B. Cole was publicly whipped and jailed for larceny in 1830; John Afflack, for killing his wife in 1830, was branded with M and sent to jail for eleven months, and for murder in the second degree Joseph C. Wilson was sent to the penitentiary for fifteen years; in 1834 Frank McCullough, on two counts for store stealing, was sent to prison for five years on each; Clayton, a slave, was convicted of the murder of a white man and daughter named Hunt, and was hung at Lebanon November 26, 1836; in 1837 Aaron F. Jones and James Lively were each sent to the penitentiary for horse stealing: McDaniel Smith was sent to the penitentiary for four years on a charge of bigamy in 1839, and John Lawrence, for larceny, was given eight years; Isaac Mahaffy was sent to the penitentiary ten years for murder, and Stephen L. Pearson was sent for four years on a charge of forgery in 1841; Leslie Clark, for perjury, and Edward Wyatt, larceny, were sent to prison in 1842; in 1845 Garland Brown and John Jones, on charge of larceny, were sent to prison for two and six years, respectively; for murder in 1848, Britton Collins was imprisoned for ten years; in 1850 Squire Collins and James Young were each sent to the penitentiary for ten years for murder; in 1857 Rufus L. Watson was imprisoned for ten years for murder, and on the same charge Parmelia Smith received a similar sentence in 1858.
In 1867 Russell Sanders, Polk Evans, John Bratton, Mary North, Thomas Clymer, Frank Baird, Isham Jackson and Wash Hardy, on charges of larceny, were each imprisoned one year. In 1868. on charges of larceny, Foster Newby was sent to prison for three years, Fayette Sneed three years, Thomas Waters one year and James Radford one year, and Nancy Elliott, for murder, ten years, and James Tarlton, for horse-stealing, three years: In 1869 Henry Palmer and Henry Sewell. for house-breaking, were each sent to the penitentiary for ten years; Henry Curtis, horse-stealing, ten years, and Frank Smith, for larceny, one year. In 1870 William Porter was sent to the penitentiary seventeen years for bigamy, and for larceny Sam Thompson, Ben Camper, Edward Knight, Marcus Hawkins and John Burch were given terms of imprisonment. In 1872 Hugh Bradley (colored), was sent up for four years for larceny, and Seth Williams, for house-breaking, got two years. In 1875 Jerry Belcher got ten years in prison on the charge of arson, and for larceny William Gooch, Albert McGregor, Burdine Preston and Moses Howell were sent to the penitentiary. In 1876 Porter Williamson and Burr Spinks (colored), were convicted of murder and sentenced to be hung. Williamson was granted a new trial, pending which he was hung by a mob, while Spinks was hung by law. In 1877 sentences were passed as follows: King Walsh, house-breaking, three years in the penitentiary; Jasper Williams, horse-stealing, ten years, and William Claxton, horse-stealing, three years. In 1878 Albert Gibson, for larceny, was sent to prison for three years; Davis Bass, house-breaking, was given three years, and James Scott, for larceny, received one year. In 1879 Scott Bask, for larceny, received three years imprisonment; Jere Evans, for malicious stabbing, one year; Pomp Grizzle, horse-stealing, three years and Bob Williamson, murder, three years. In 1880 John Bond, for rape, was imprisoned for ten years; William Tackett, horse-stealing, and Lee Hardy, larceny, were each sent up for three years. In 1881 Samuel Baird, Wash Hearn, Martin Graves and Pike Ward were sentenced to the penitentiary for larceny; J. W. Conner, for murder, was sent for twenty years; Bob Nipps, horse-stealing, three years, and Joe Harrison, for arson, was sent for five years. In 1882 Joe Campbell was sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty years for murder; Marcus Seay, horse-stealing, went up for five years, and, for larceny, terms of imprisonment were given Jake Neal, Jack Price, Alf Jennier, William Hamler, Bill Oxendine and George Dibrell. In 1883 James Payne, for house-breaking, received three years imprisonment, and in 1884 Frank Jennings and Tom Robertson, for murder, were each given ten and three years, respectively, and Frank Johnson and Bill Davis were given one and five years, respectively, for larceny. In 1885 Berr Officer, for larceny, was sent up for one year; Bernice Richardson, murder, got a life sentence; Hardy Baker, horse-stealing, three years; James Baxter, murder, convicted and sentenced to be hung. Baxter's case was appealed to the supreme court, where the decision of the lower court was sustained. His execution was set for November 3, 1885, but he was granted a reprieve, and on June 4, 1886, was hung at Lebanon; Andrew Church, an accomplice of Baxter in the crime, was sent to the penitentiary for life; both were negroes, and their crime was the murder of Mrs. Lane, an aged widow, for the purpose of robbery. In 1886 George Burns, for bigamy, was sent to the penitentiary for five years; Kate Rhodes, infanticide, sent for ten years; Asbury Johnson, Jesse Hill, George Thompson and Robert Keith, for larceny, were sent to the penitentiary for one year each, and W. H. Smith, marshal of Lebanon, was indicted for murder, he having killed a negro who resisted an arrest.
The judges who have presided over the courts of Wilson County since the organization of the circuit court have been as follows: Thomas Stewart, 1810-30; James C. Mitchell, 1830-35; Samuel Anderson, 1835-52; Hugh L. Davidson, 1852-64; Henry Cooper, 1864-68; John W. Phillips, 1868-70; William H. Williamson, 1870-78; Robert Cantrell, 1878-86.
The attorney-generals were Thomas Washington, 1810-18; Alfred Balch, 1818-24; William R. Hess, 1824-26; Samuel H. Laughlin, 1826-28; Robert L. Caruthers, 1828-32; Samuel Yerger, 1832-36; Thomas C. Whiteside, 1836-42; Hugh L. Dsvidson, 1842-48; William L. Martin, 1848-52; James L. Scudder, 1852-60; Barclay M. Tillman, 1860-66; Horace Rice, 1866-68; James M. Brien, 1868-69; James F. Stokes, 1869-70; Moses McKnight, 1870-78; Lillard Thompson, 1878-86.
The circuit court clerks have been as follows: Harry L. Douglas, 1810-15; Samuel C. Roane, 1815-17; Henry Shelby, 1817-18; Harry L. Douglas, 1818-21; John S. Tapp, 1821-27; Samuel Yerger, 1827-32; William L. Martin, 1832-42; John W. White, 1842-44; James H. Britton, 1844-48; Harris H. Simmons, 1848-49; Calvin W. Jackson, 1849-54; Plummer W. Harris, 1854-58; Joseph T. Manson, 1858-70; William McCorkle, 1870-73; Samuel G. Stratton, 1873-82; W. W. Donnell, 1882-86.
The Chancery Court of Wilson County convened for the first time July 25, 1836, at the court house in Lebanon, the Chancery Court of the State having been created during that year, having been provided for by the Constitutional Convention of 1834. Hon. Lunsford M. Bramlett was the presiding chancellor, and John H. Dew was appointed clerk and master.
The chancellors have been as follows: Lunsford M. Bramlett, 1836-40; Bromfield L. Ridley, 1840-61; John P. Steele, 1865-70:* Charles O. Smith, 1870-75; Horace Lurton, 1875-77; B. J. Tarver, 1877-78: George E. Seay, 1878-86.
The clerk and masters were John H. Dew, 1836-38; James B. Rutland, 1838-50; John K. Howard, 1850-61;* Orville Greene, 1865-70; Haywood Y. Riddle, 1870-76; R. P. McClain, 1876-83; R. C. Sanders, 1883-86.
*No court during the civil war -- from 1861 to 1865.
Wilson County has furnished more than her quota of public men to the State and county. Among the more prominent was Hon. James C. Jones, who served as governor of the State from 1841 to 1845, and as United States senator from 1852 to 1858. The county has furnished six congressmen, as follows: Samuel Hogg, Robert L. Caruthers, Robert Hatton,W. B. Campbell, Edward I. Golladay and H. Y. Riddle. All of the above, including Sam Houston, Alexander Campbell, Abraham Caruthers and others, have practiced at the Lebanon bar. The present members of the bar are Robert Cantrell, E. R. Thompson, W. H. Williamson, B. J. Tarver, P. K. Williamson, R. C. Sanders, R. P. McClain, E. E. Beard, Lillard Thompson. J. S. Gribble, W. R. Chambers, J. T. Lane, J. P. Eastman, J. C. Sanders, Samuel Gallaway and Robinson McMillin.
Wilson County has a war record extending back to the Continental war of 1776, for among the pioneers of the county were quite a number of the patriots of that war, among whom were John Wynn, Edward Mitchell, John Dabney, John Harpole, Philip Shackler, Anthony Gain. Jeremiah McWhirter and James Scott, the first four of whom were commissioned officers. As early as 1800 the county had an organized militia of seven companies, the captains of which were Capts. Bishop, Moore, Echols, Dillard, Warick, Blalock and Hood. By 1807 the militia had increased to fifteen companies, under command of Capts. McNight, Pitman, Mann, Wilson, Caplinger, Bumpass, Leech, Branch, Alexander, Hunter, Martin, Coonce, Bandy, Joiner and Priestly. The companies had been increased four by 1810, and were commanded by Capts. Hill, Provine, Thompson, Cage, Hallum, Jones, Martin, Swingley, Quarles, Williams, Stiles, Estes, Henderson, Barnes, Smith, Bass, Spink, Davidson and Williamson. Robert Desha was the first brigadier-general of the Wilson County militia.
Wilson County furnished two full companies to the war of 1812, they being under command of Capts. Charles Wade and John Hayes. Out of the two companies only the following names can now be learned: Charles Wade, John Hayes, William and Lawrence Sypert, William Hartsfield, Zachariah Tolliver, Kit Seaburn, William Meyers, James Carson, Grief Randolph, William Martin, Thomas K. Ramsey, William Harrison, John Shackleford, Joseph Settles, William Norman, George Dillage, Fred Askins, ___ Williams, ___ Goldstone, ___ Kirby, ___ Aigan and ___ Goodall.
Two companies were also sent by this county to the Florida war in 1836. The first company left Lebanon in June, 1836, under command of Capt. J. J. Finley, and the second went out in December, 1837, under command of Capt. W. L. S. Dearing. The following is an incomplete list of the soldiers of the county in the above war: J. J. Finley, W. L. S. Derring, T. J. Stratton, John D. Mottley, Dawson Hancock, John Willburry, P. Hearn, J. N. Kennedy, W. W. Talley, E. S. Smith, Nathan Oakley, Lewis Pendleton, J. H. Kennedy, William Woodkins, Samuel T. Mottley, Bern Winford, W. T. Cartwright, George Lewis, Claibourn R. Jarrett, William Powers and John W. Alexander.
Again two companies were sent out from Wilson County in the war with Mexico in 1846. The companies were commanded by Capts. Smith and Hayes, and the following is a list of the names of the soldiers as far as could be gathered after diligent search: Benjamin Rice, Henry Tyree, Dr. Herbert, David K. Donnell, Gideon Alsup, John Bostick, Nathan Oakley, Coon Dillon, Pleasant Tarpley, William Reeves, W. W. Talley, Moses Reeves, Newton Thomas, William Putnam, Linsey Chapman, Thomas Jones, Calvin Jones, Ross Webb, Thomas Helms, Alexander Neal, J. M. Alsup, M. A. Byers, William J. Coleman, Jesse Alexander, William T. Hobson, William Simms, James Bryant, J. W. Ewing, W. H. George, Thomas Stroud, Farrer Carson, W. A. Willy, Monroe Shelton, William Lewis, Foster Tucker and E. S. Oakley.
When the crisis came at the breaking out of the civil war in 1861, Wilson County promptly espoused the cause of the South, and responding with alacrity to the call for volunteers made by Gov. Harris, began at once the organization of companies to assist in repelling the threatened invasion of the State of Tennessee by the Federal Army. Early in the spring of 1861 the organization of troops was inaugurated, and was continued throughout the whole year and during the year following. Portions of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Twenty-fourth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-eighth and Forty-fifth Regiments of Tennessee Infantry, of the Fourth and Fifth Regiments of Tennessee Cavalry, and of Company C. First Tennessee Heavy Artillery were furnished by Wilson County.
The first company organized was the "Blues," of which Robert Hatton was the captain. Then followed in rapid succession five companies, as follows: The "Grays," Capt. John K. Howard; the "Statesville Tigers," Capt. Nathan Oakley; the "Hurricane Rifles," Capt. Daniel G. Shepard; the "Silver Spring Guards," Capt. J. A. Anthony, and the "Harris Rifles," Capt. Monroe Anderson. The above companies left Lebanon May 90, 1861, going to Nashville, from which city they were ordered to Camp Trousdale, in Sumner County, for instructions. Upon the organization of the Seventh Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, all six of the Wilson County Companies were placed in the regiment, and Capt. Robert Hatton was elected colonel of the same. Thomas H. Bostick succeeded to Col. Hatton's place as captain of the "Blues," and W. H. Williamson succeeded Capt. Howard in the captaincy of the "Grays." The companies were then numbered as follows: Harrison Rifles, Capt. Monroe Anderson, Company D; Statesville Rifles, Capt. Oakly, Company F; Hurricane Rifles, Capt. Daniel G. Shepard, Company G; Grays, Capt. W. H. Williamson, Company H; Silver Spring Guards, Capt. Anthony, Company I; Blues, Capt. Bostic, Company K. Remaining at Camp Trousdale until in the latter part of August of the same year, the Seventh Regiment proceeded to West Virginia, and were in their first engagement at the battle of Cheat Mountain. The next engagement was the battle of Seven Pines in Virginia, in which battle Col. Hatton, who had previously been promoted to a generalship, was killed. The Wilson County companies continued with the regiment throughout the war, and were engaged with the regiment in all its battles and campaigns, and were present at the final surrender of the army of Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
Early in the fall of 1863 four more companies were raised in Wilson County. Leaving Lebanon these companies reported also to Camp Trousdale, where they went under instructions. When the Forty-fifth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry was organized, the Wilson County companies were assigned places therein, as follows: Company B, Capt. Curtis; Company F, Capt. Oldham; Company G, Capt. S. S. Preston, and Company H, Capt. Andrew Beard. With the Forty-fifth Regiment the four Wilson County companies participated in the battles of Shiloh, Vicksburg Landing, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and all the different engagements of the regiment, and were present at the final surrender at Bentonville, N. C., by which time the regiment had dwindled down from death, sickness, disappearance, etc.. to less than 100 men.
During the same fall, 1861, three companies of cavalry were raised in Wilson County, and reported to Camp Cheatham and were placed in the Fourth Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry. They were Company B, Capt. John R. Davis; Company C, Capt. Phillips, and Company G, Capt. Sam Thompson. These companies were engaged with this regiment in the various campaigns, and sustained heavy losses.
During 1861 another company of infantry was
raised in the county, and reported to Camp Trousdale. This
company was given a place in the Eighteenth Regiment of Tennessee
Infantry, upon its organization, as Company K. When Company K
left Lebanon W. J. Grayson was captain, .but he dying in a few
months' time, William P. Bandy, at present sheriff of Wilson
County, was elected to the vacancy. The regiment went first to
Bowling Green, Ky., and then to Fort Donelson, where they were
captured at the fall of that fort, in 1862. After the exchange of
the regiment at Vicksburg Company K was reorganized, with 126 men,
only one of whom was present at the surrender at the close of the
war. In the latter part of 1861 another company was raised in
Wilson and DeKalb Counties, and left Alexandria under command of
Capt. T. C. Goodner. The company was placed in the Twenty-fourth
Regiment of Tennessee Infantry as Company K. At
about the same time as above another company was raised in Lebanon, and under command of Capt. E. I. Golladay, reported at Camp Arlington, near Memphis, and was mustered into the Thirty-eighth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry as Company H. A portion of Company D, Capt. John Wiseman, was also raised in Wilson County, and joined the Fifth Regiment of Tennessee Calvary, Gen. John Morgan's command.
In December, 1861, A. F. Orr, E. C. Fite, R. W. Miller, T. H. Norman, T. J. Hankins, W. P. Skeen, D. B. Anderson, Fines Underwood, E. M. Hearn and H. M. Cartwell left Lebanon for Columbus, Ky., where they joined Company C, Capt. Sterling, of the First Tennessee Heavy Artillery. From Columbus they went to Island No. 10, then to Vicksburg, where they were captured. After being exchanged the company was reorganized and was ordered to Battery Tracy, in Mobile Bay, and from Battery Tracy they were ordered to Fort Morgan, where they were captured and sent to Governor's Island, N.Y. All of the Wilson County portion, with one exception--Underwood, who died in prison--survived the war and returned to Wilson County. In the spring of 1862 Capt. Jonathan Etherly took out from Wilson County Company F, of the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry. Capt. Etherly was afterward promoted to a colonelcy.
The above is a list of the companies, their letters and captains, and the regiments to which they belonged; and for a detailed account of the campaigns of the several regiments the reader is referred to the war chapter of this volume, to be found elsewhere.
While Wilson County's soldiers were at the front the county, and particularly Lebanon, was the scene of several stirring events. In the spring of 1862 a regiment of Federal troops, under command of Col. Monday, pitched their tents in Lebanon and held full possession of the town for about three months. The campus of the university was selected as their quarters, and the college building was converted into barracks. In the latter part of the same year, upon the evacuation of Lebanon by the Federals, Gen. John Morgan, with about 800 of his cavalry, was quartered in Lebanon for a short while. The Federals were at Murfreesboro, and, learning of Gen. Morgan's presence in Lebanon, sent a detachment of cavalry, under Gen. Dumont, to effect his capture. The Federal cavalry arrived at Lebanon at daylight and at once opened on the Confederates. Their pickets were driven in, and, though they had large odds to contend against, the plucky Confederates prepared for action. Gen. Morgan had quarters at the Lee House, and when the skirmishing began had not yet awakened. His men retreated from the college building into the town, and. being pressed, took shelter in the Odd Fellow's Hall, on West Main Street, near the court house, from which place they were dislodged only after a sharp fight. Gen. Morgan and the majority of his command made their escape, though it was a close call. Several on both sides were killed and wounded.
In 1863 Gen. Reynolds, who was stationed at Nashville, made frequent raids into Wilson County, and gathered up all the horses and cattle to be found.
Unlike many of the Tennessee counties, Wilson was not injured to any great extent by guerrillas and jayhawkers, though what were termed "home-made Yankees" committed a few depredations. At Shop Springs, some time in 1864, William Williams was arrested while in bed by supposed "home-made Yankees," and was led out from his house a short distance and shot; but beyond this nothing of a similar nature was done.
Lebanon, the county seat of Wilson, was founded in 1802, at which time the commission appointed by the General Assembly for that purpose, selected the land of James Menees upon which to locate thc county seat. The town lots were sold at public auction on the l6th of August of the same year, among the purchasers being William Bloodworth, James Peacock, John Wright, Edward Mitchell, M. Stewart, William Crabtree, William Trigg, S. Harpole, William Gray, John Irwin, J. Providence, Peter Rule, John Impson, William Mien and others. Lebanon is situated on the east branch of Barton Creek (Town Branch), six miles south of Cumberland River, and about six miles north of the geographical center of the county, and on the Tennessee & Pacific Railway, thirty miles east from Nashville, and has a population of 3,000. The first settler on what is now the site of Lebanon, was Neddie Jacobs, who built a small log hut in 1800, and maintained himself and wife by fishing and hunting. He was an odd character, and is remembered chiefly for his fiddling propensities, as he would sit and fiddle by the hour, putting aside his beloved instrument only to replenish his larder with game. The first house after the town was laid out was built by John Impson, which stood near the spring in the Public Square. Thomas Impson, Edward Mitchell, Edmund Crutcher and James Anderson also erected houses at about the same time. The first brick house was erected in 1812 by Dr. Henry Shelby, and soon afterward another brick house was erected by Joseph Johnson. William Allen, an Irishman, was the first man to open a store in Lebanon, and the first hotel proprietor was Edward Mitchell, these two gentlemen engaging in business in 1808. The first physicians were Drs. John Tulloch and Samuel Hogg. The first post-master was John Allcorn, and the first school-teacher was an Irishman named John Trotter, in about 1805. The first church was the Methodist Church, which was erected in about 1812, of which Rev. German Baker was the first preacher. Previous to this services were held at private residences and in the court house.
In November, 1807, the General Assembly passed an act for the regulation of the town of Lebanon, by which Samuel Hogg, Edmund Crutcher, David Marshall, Joseph Johnson and John Allcorn were appointed commissioners. The act provided further that a majority of the commissioners should constitute a quorum, and that one of their number should be chosen as president to preside over their meetings. The commissioners were given power to levy a tax on all town lots, call out the able-bodied men to work on the roads, and appropriate money for the improvement of the town.
Edmund Crutcher was chosen as the first president of the commission, and consequently was the first mayor of Lebanon. The first newspaper established was the Lebanon Gazette, which was established in 1818 by Messrs. Ford & Womack. It was published but a short time. In 1842 the Banner of Peace, edited by Dr. F. R. Cassitt, was established in Lebanon and published in the interest of the university until 1851, when it was removed to Nashville. Other papers published in Lebanon have been the Chronicle, the Pocket, the Free Press, and the Cumberland University Magazine. The papers of the present time are the Herald and Register. The Herald was established in October, 1853, by W. Z. Neal and R. T. Spillers. It was a seven-column folio, and in politics was Whig. The paper was published until the civil war, when it was suspended for three years. In 1865 the paper was revived by Neal & Ward, the latter having purchased the interest of Mr. Spillard. In December, 1869, R. L. C. White purchased Mr. Neal's interest, and in 1871 Mr. White became the sole proprietor and has continued as such to the present time. The Herald is a five-column quarto, has a good circulation, and is independent in politics. The Register was established in 1883 by D. C. Williams, who sold out the paper to J.D. Kirkpatrick in 1884. Mr. Kirkpatrick conducted the Register until June, 1886, when he sold the property to A. C. Durdin. The Register is a seven-column folio, Democratic in politics, and enjoys a good circulation and advertising patronage.
From 1800 to 1820, the business men of Lebanon were John Herrod, James Anderson, Edward Mitchell, William Mann, Benjamin Tarver, George Hallum, Joel Mann, David Marshal, Reddick Eason, Leonard Sims, Allan Avery, Patrick Anderson, Yerger & Golladay, Cage & Crutcher, Winchester & Cage, Jaspar R. Ashworth, and Nathaniel Dew. During the same period, Edward Mitchell, David Marshal and John Herrod were the tavern keepers.
The business men of the twenties were James Johnson, Mathew Dew, Yerger & Golladay, Foster Crutcher, Hicks & Johnson, Pauldin Anderson, John Muirhead, David Marshal, Allcorn & Johnson, Harry L. Douglas, Frank Anderson, Thomas J. Thompson. Jasper R. Ashworth, T. J. Stratton and Henry Chambers. The hotels during the same period were conducted by David Marshal, George Helms, William Hartsfield and Harry L. Douglas. During the thirties the business men were Jasper R. Ashworth, Joseph Phillips, Lawrence Sypert, T. J. Stratton, William Hall, Edward and John W. White, John Hearn, John M. Hill, Dr. James Frazier, M. T. Cartwright, P. & T. Anderson, Stiff Harrison, E. A. & J. W. White, White & Price, Henry Smith, Peyton Ewing & Co., Fisher Bros., Dawson Hancock, Allcorn & Johnson, Ewing and Richmond, George H. Bullard, Mathew Cartwright, Gillespie & Mabry, Hearn & Hill, E. A. & J. W. White, and W. H. Wortham. Albert Wynn and a company composed of Obediah Gordon, George F. McWhirter and James G. Robertson, were the innkeepers, and a company composed of Gears, Wilkerson, Pyle, Porter & Co., conducted an extensive carriage factory during that period. At the same time a large cotton factory, owned and operated by a stock company under the firm name of the Tennessee Manufacturing Company, was in full operation, and upward of 500 hands were employed in the manufacture of cotton goods of all descriptions. The property was afterward destroyed by fire and never rebuilt.
The business men of the thirties with but few exceptions, and the following additions, were the same during the forties: L. Drifoos and John W. Price.
During the fifties the business men were George Harsh, Jacob Howard, T. J. Stratton, M. A. Price, W. T. Coles, Daniel R. Fakes, Burr Harris, A. R. Davis, L. Drifoos, J. H. Armstrong, Cook & Owen, P. G. Duffer, N. Cantrell, John A. Haynes, James McCasland, Ed R. Penebaker, Robert L. Williams, R, P. Allison, T. E. Davis & Co., Burgess & Mattley, G. W. Lewis, H. D. Lester & Son, A. M. Springer, J. F. Coe, Lester & Smith, and D. Cook, Jr. In 1854 the Lebanon Flour-mill was established on the site of the old cotton factory by W. W. Carter, for that time it was considered the best mill in the State. In 1859 John A. Lester, purchased a half interest in the mill, and since then several changes have occurred in its proprietorship, and at the present the property is owned by Mr. Lester and his son-in-law, Selden R. Williams. The mill is supplied with the most improved machinery, and has a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day. The capital invested is $15,000.
The business men of the sixties were Dabney Carr, T. J. Stratton, J. Emanuel, W. H. Armstrong, W. H. Brown, Cash M. Park, D. Cook, Jr., Clark & Cook, Burgess & Co., J. L. White, L. Drifoos & Co., Charles Stone, A. R. Fonville, Kennedy & Aust, J. M. Woolard, J. T. Manson, Brittain & Neal, Coe & Morris, and T. Harrington. In August, 1866, the People's National Bank was established by Mattley & Campbell, and has continued in business up to the present. The officers at this time are Judge Nathan Green, president; Samuel T. Mattley, cashier. The capital stock is $50,000 with $10,000 surplus.
The business men of the seventies were as follows: General Merchants--Robinson & Perry, J. C. Crawford, J. P. Tolliver, W. W. Donnell, J. H. Ozment & Co., J. O. Dillard, W. T. Cartwright, Hughlitt & Harris, Rosenthel & Bros., J. T. McClain & Co., J. B. Halley, C. T. Cox, D. D. Smithwick, Joseph Wharton, Goodbar & Means, G. W. Lewis, John W. Comer, M. J. Watkins, Leggon & Bros., Hatcher & Johnson, Donnell & Young, J. Harding, Thomas Jenkins, Lampton Bros., J. A. Lester & Co., Dillard & Wilson, Fish & Reese, L. A. & J. B. Wynn, C. L. Johns, G. W. Collier and G. W. Martin. Boots and shoes--Samuel H. Matherly and J. A. Haynes & Co. Tin shop and stoves--N. S. Williams. Drugs--A. P. Thompson, and Gwynn & Peyton. Livery stables--Swindle & Shorter, Murphey & Buchanan, and Orgain & Watkins.
In 1870 the Bank of Wilson was established with Dr. John Owen as president and T. J. Stratton as cashier. In 1872 the name of the bank was changed to that of the Second National, with James Hamilton, as president, and Mr. Stratton, cashier. The present officers are S. R. Williams, president: John Palmer, vice-president; W. H. Brown, cashier. The cash capital of this bank is $70,000. In 1875 Waters & Co., erected a large flouring-mill and stocked it with the best of machinery, and the mill is in operation at the present under the same proprietors. The capital invested in the property is $15,000.
The business interests of the present are represented as follows: S. Martin, J. E. Stratton, R. P. Oldham, McClain Bros. and Wilson & Waters, dry goods; J. L. Drifoos, Shannon & Co., Freeman & Whitescower, Monroe Fish, W. D. Chandler, Edward Wheeler, R. S. Haley & Sons, Huggins & Seagraves and Ligan & Bros., groceries; S. M. Anderson & Co., Gwynn & Hinds and McDonald, McKinzie & Co., druggists; H. M. Drifoos and J. F. Odum & Co., merchant tailors: D. L. Brown, clothing; John A. Haynes, Fakes & Co. and Samuel Matberly, boots and shoes; N. J. G. Allen, tinware and stoves; J. P. Cox, undertaker; R. M. Cartwell and Freeman & Whitescarver, saddlers; J. A. Woolard & Bro., J. T. Lee, Billings & Ragland and Ligan Bros., saloons; J. R. Shorter, Neal & Ligan, A. J. Rutherford, Hinse & Hannah, Hurphey & Buchanan and Johnson & Vance, livery stables; Trebbling & Smith, butchers; J. H. Watkins, John W. Conner and Mrs. Cal. Woodard, hotels. In 1884 the Bank of Lebanon was established with a cash capital of $25,000. The officers are James Hamilton. president; D. W. Dinges, vice-president, and S. G. Stratton, cashier. The manufactories of the present are the Lebanon Planing-mill and Barrel Factory, Williams & Covington, proprietors; John W. Reede and Pyle & Hartsfield, carriage manufactories, and John Shelton, marble-yard. In June, 1885, the Lebanon Creamery was established by a stock company with J. Moldenhower, a native of Denmark, as manager. Upward of 4,000 pounds of milk are received at the creamery each day, which is manufactured into butter and cheese. The machinery used in the creamery is of the most modern make, embracing a Danish milk separator, which separates the cream from the milk at the rate of 2,000 pounds per hour. The milk for the establishment is supplied by the many herds of fine blooded milk cows for which Wilson County is noted.
Among the early prominent physicians of Lebanon were Thomas Hogg, James Frazier, John Ray, L. W. White, Drs. Allison, Crutchfield, Miles and McCorkle. The present physicians of Lebanon are J. M. Anderson. J. W. Holbert, O. C. Kidder, F. A. Fleming, J. L. Fite, William Hannah and G. L. Robertson. Dentists: W.H. Bennett and A. F. Claywell. Lebanon has eight churches, as follows: Methodist Episcopal, Cumberland Presbyterian, Baptist and Christian (white), and Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian and African Methodist Episcopal (colored), all of which are treated of more fully in the chapter on churches.
The secret societies of the town are as follows: Lebanon Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 97, established during the thirties; Magnolia Lodge, No. 69, I. O. O. F., established in 1847; Lotus Lodge, No. 20, organized in 1875; Lebanon Lodge, No 69, A. O. U. W., established in 1883; Lebanon Lodge, K. of H., No. 292, established in January, 1876, and Cedar City Lodge, No. 23, G. T., organized in 1884.
Lebanon was first incorporated in November, 1807, and has continued as a corporation in some shape or other up to the present time, the form of government in force to-day being a taxing district, which went in force in 1881. The present officers are J. Matt Woolen, mayor; E. E. Beard, treasurer; J. P. Eastman, secretary and financial agent; W. H. Smith. marshal.
The Wilson County Agricultural and Mechanical Association was organized in Lebanon in 1852, and with the exception of a suspension during the late war has held annual exhibitions at the fair grounds near Lebanon ever since. The fair grounds enclose twenty acres of splendid land, upon which have been erected substantial and tasty buildings. The amphitheatre is in the shape of a circle, furnishing seating accommodations for about 4,000 people and affording a delightful promenade.
Statesville, a village of about 200 inhabitants, is situated on Smith Fork, in the Fifteenth District, eighteen miles southeast from Lebanon, and has nineteen town lots. The town was established on the lands of William Bumpass in 1812, and was first named Maryville, in honor of Mrs. Bumpass, but was subsequently changed to the present name in honor of Statesville, N.C. The town reached its zenith in about 1835, there being at that time about seven stores and sundry mechanic establishments in the place. From that time until recent years the business of Statesville retrograded. At present there are three general stores, the proprietors of which are J. R. Hale, J. M. Jennings & Bro. and A. L. Jennings, all of whom do a good business. The blacksmiths are S. T. Moody, J. W. Armstrong and Brittain Barby. A good steam saw and grist-mill is operated by A. T. Young. The public schools consist of one each of white and colored, which are well attended and successfully conducted. The Cumberland Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal congregations have, substantial churches, and both the Masonic and Odd Fellows' fraternities have lodges. The town is situated in a rich and productive farming district, and the people are moral, industrious, and as a rule very well to do.
Cainsville, in the Seventeenth District, is about eighteen miles south of Lebanon, on the Statesville and Murfreesboro Pike, has about 100 inhabitants and nineteen town lots. The village is situated in a healthy and fertile country, and was established in 1829 on the lands of George I. Cain, from whom it derived its name. The present business interests are represented by T. L. Huddleston, R. J. Harris and Florida Bros., general merchants; R. B. Pearcy, undertaker, and Peyton Woods, blacksmith. Both white and colored schools are located in the village, the former being a chartered academy under the "four mile" law. The churches of Cainsville are two in number, Presbyterian and Methodist.
Gladesville is a village of about 100 inhabitants, situated about twelve miles southwest from Lebanon, in the Twenty-fourth District. The village is located on a rocky glade, from whence came its name, and was established in 1852 upon the land of Benjamin Hooker, Jr. The business of Gladesville consists of three general stores owned by I. B. Castleman, Baker & Meyers and F. Y. Begley & Son, two blacksmith shops by Ned Martin (colored) and Richard Murry (colored), wood shop by Robert McPeak, and saddlery shop by Wood Woodrum. The Missionary Baptists and Methodists have good churches. An excellent high school is conducted in the town, which was chartered in 1878 under the "four mile" law.
Mount Juliet is a station on the Tennessee & Pacific Railway, fourteen miles west from Lebanon, in the First District, and was established in 1870 upon the land of Newton Cloyd. Originally the town stood on the Lebanon & Nashville Road, on the land of John J. Crudoup, and was first established in 1885. The merchants of Mount Juliet are Grigg & Smith, general store, and Elly Fuqua is the blacksmith. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church is the only one in the town, and Lodge No. 379, F. & A. M., the only secret society. Mount Juliet Academy, a chartered school, ranks among the best in the county.
Green Hill is situated on the Lebanon & Nashville Pike, fifteen miles from the former place, in the First District, and has a population of about fifty people. The town was established in 1836 on the land of Hugh Robinson, and before the construction of the Tennessee & Pacific Railway was a place of considerable importance, it being the half-way point between Lebanon and Nashville. The present merchants are Cook & Cook, Gillaim & Purdue and J. N. Adams, general stores. Green Hill Academy, a chartered school, furnishes the educational facilities of the town, and one church building serves for the several denominations.
Lagardo is one of the thriving towns of the county, and has a population of about 250. The village lies twelve miles northwest from Lebanon in the Fourth District, and in the valley of the Cumberland, two miles from that river. It was established in 1835 upon the land of Turner Vaughan. The business of the town is at present represented by Wright & Vaughan, Davis Bros. and James A. Woods, general merchants; Greer & Shepard, blacksmiths, and Davis Bros., steam saw, flour and grist-millers. Lagardo has three secret societies as follows: Masonic Lodge, No. 237; Good Templar's Lodge, No. 78, and Y. M. A. Lodge (a colored organization). A splendid high school is conducted in the town, in which from two to three teachers are employed. Five churches are located in Lagardo as follows: Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian and Christian, and Colored Missionary Baptist and African Methodist Episcopal.
Leeville is a small station on the Tennessee & Pacific Railway, six miles west from Lebanon, in the Twenty-second District, and was established on the land of Rev. D. C. Kelley, in 1871, and named in honor of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The present merchants are A. E. Beard and A. G. Rogers & Son. The town has an excellent high school and Methodist Episcopal and Baptist Churches.
Taylorsville is a small town lying on Cedar Creek, seven miles northeast from the county seat in the Sixth District. The town was established in 1840 on the lands of John N. Taylor and Philander Davis, and named for the former. J. R. Ware, a general merchant, has the only store in the town, and James Brewington has the only blacksmith and wood shop. A chartered academy is located in Taylorsville, which ranks with the best schools in the county.
Commerce, a village thirteen miles east from Lebanon, in the Twelfth District, was established in 1822 upon the land of Joshua Taylor, and has a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and an excellent chartered school known as the Commerce Academy. Messrs. Bell & Phillip and Smith & Lanham are the merchants, both of whom keep general stores.
Cherry Valley is a small town on the Sparta Pike, ten miles southeast from the county seat in the Sixteenth District, and was established in 1848 upon the land of Wilson T. Cartwright. The merchants are Phillips & Clemmons, Phillips & Henderson, and Grandstaff & Waters. The town has a chartered school, Methodist Church and Masonic Hall.
Green Vale is a village of seventy-five inhabitants, situated in the Seventeenth District, and was established in 1871, upon the land of W. D. Quarles, and William M. Johns. The merchants are A. J. Quarles and Cox & Gwinnett, general stores; J. Busey, undertaker, and Patton & Reeves and Jennings & Attwood, blacksmiths. Green Vale Academy is located in the town and also Wetumpka Lodge No. 142, I. O. O. F.
Other villages, or postoffices, are Silver Spring, in the Second District, Tucker's Cross Roads and Bellwood in the Eighth District, Cottage Home in the Thirteenth District, Shop's Springs in the Nineteenth District, Saulsbury, Baird's Mill, Round Top, Fall Creek, Mount View, Oak Grove, Tucker's Gap, Austin, Beckwith and Rural Hill.
From the establishment of the first school in the neighborhood of Spring Creek, in 1800, by Benjamin Alexander, the schools of Wilson County have increased in number and facilities until at the present the county is dotted over with high schools and academies, and can boast of one of the leading universities in the South. As above stated the first school in Wilson County was established some time in 1800, by Benjamin Alexander, on the waters of Spring Creek. The school was taught in a log dwelling-house, from three to four months in the year, and, though humble and unpretentious, furnished the foundation for the present magnificent school system. Another school was taught by Rev. Samuel Donnell in the same neighborhood, in 1802, which was called a classical school, and was conducted in connection with the church of which Mr. Donnell was pastor. Following these schools several others were taught in the various creek neighborhoods, of which no record can be obtained, and in 1810 George McWhirter, a man of finished education, established what afterward became the celebrated Campbell Academy. This school was located on Hickory Ridge, about five miles west of Lebanon. Mr. McWhirter was assisted in the conduct of the school by his two daughters, and all the higher branches were taught. In the course of five or six years the school was removed to Lebanon and a good building erected on a piece of ground donated by Gov. Campbell, for whom the school was named. In 1840 a new building was erected for the academy, and it was continued as such until the late civil war, after which it was turned over to the Cumberland University, to be used as a preparatory department of that institution, and is in use at the present. Among the prominent teachers of this school were Rev. Thomas Anderson, Profs. S. C. Anderson, Myron Kilborn, W. R. Dougal, Lucien Marshall, Poindexter and Kennedy.
Some time in 1815 a very good school was taught at the schoolhouse known as the Washington Schoolhouse, of which Prof. Patterson was the teacher, and about that time another school was taught by Mary Morris, at a point a few miles west of Lebanon. In the spring of 1824 Brevard College, one of the leading schools of that day, was established by Capt. Thomas Brevard, a native of Ireland. The building was an ordinary log house, and stood four miles due east from Lebanon. The higher branches were taught by Capt. Brevard, and not a few of the citizens of the present obtained their education at that institution of learning. After conducting the school successfully for about nine years Capt. Brevard was succeeded by Prof. William Pemberton, who in turn was succeeded by Prof. Robert Simpson, and he in turn by Prof. John Vesa, a Frenchman. The school was abandoned after one year's management of Prof. Vesa.
The next high school established was the Abby Female Institute, in Lebanon, during the thirties, the proprietors and teachers of which were Miss Harriet Abby and her sister, Mrs. Kilborn, both of whom came from the New England States and founded the school. The institute was afterward conducted as a high school by Rev. Mr. Roach, Prof. Edgar and Gen. A. P. Stewart, and was abandoned during the seventies.
Carroll Academy was next established by Prof. Stephen Owen, a Northern man, some time in 1842. This school was situated on the Lebanon & Rome Pike, seven miles northeast from the former place, and was one of the leading schools of that .day. The school was afterward moved to Big Spring, and was continued until during the seventies. Among the teachers were Prof. Stephen Owen, Prof. Carroll, Capt. Norris and Prof. J. B. Hancock, the latter being now at the head of Maple Hill Female Seminary.
In about 1842 Princeton College of Kentucky, under the direction of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, was moved to Lebanon, and Cumberland University established, of which Rev. F. R. Cassitt, D. D., was the first president. The university was first located in the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but subsequently a large college building was erected on College Street, which was surrounded by a large campus. The building was afterward enlarged, and during the civil war was destroyed by a Confederate soldier, who having attended the college, became incensed at it being occupied by negroes, filled one room with cedar rails one night and applied the match, destroying the entire property. After the war the university was re-established. The private residence of Judge Abraham Caruthers, which stood on the south side of West Main Street, about one mile from the Public Square, was purchased in 1867 and converted into a college building, and is at present the theological department of the university. About the same time the private residence of Andrew Anderson, on the same side of the above street, on the second block west of the Public Square, was purchased and converted into an academic hall. In 1878 Caruthers' Hall was built at a cost of about $22,000, in which is situated the law department of the university. The combined valuation of the property of the university is about $60,000. Caruthers' Hall is a handsome brick building, and is an ornament to the city. The law department of the university was established January 9, 1847, and Judge Abraham Caruthers was the first professor, he resigning a seat upon the bench of the State to accept the position. In 1852 Judge N. Green, father of the present chancellor, resigned a seat on the State bench, and responded to a call to assist Judge Caruthers. Shortly thereafter Judge Nathan Green, Jr., the present chancellor, was elected to a professorship in the school, and these three gentlemen continued as the faculty of the law department until the breaking out of the war in 1861. In 1866 Judge Green, Sr., died, and Hon. Henry Cooper succeeded to his position. Judge Cooper resigned in 1868, when Judge Robert L. Caruthers was called to that position, and he, too, resigned a seat on the supreme bench. Judge Caruthers resigned in 1881, and died the following year. Dr. T. C. Anderson then became the president, and he was succeeded by Dr. B. W. McDonnell, and then Judge Nathan Green was elected chancellor, and occupies that responsible position at the present. In 1878 Andrew B. Martin, one of the present faculty, was elected to a professorship. The theological department was established in 1853, and for twelve years Dr. Beard, father of E. E. Beard, a prominent member of the present bar of Lebanon, was the principal. In 1877 the department was reorganized, and its faculty increased to two regular professors and two lecturers. Dr. Beard died in 1881, and Dr. S. G. Burney, D. D., was called to his position, that of systematic theology, and Prof. J. D. Kirkpatrick, D. D., was given the chair of historical theology. The faculty at present is as follows: Nathan Green, LL.D., chancellor; S. G. Burney, D. D., systematic theology; J. D. Kirkpatrick, D. D., historical theology; R. V. Foster, D. D., exegetical theology; C. H. Bell, D. D., homiletics and missions. Lecturers: W.J. Darby, D. D., and J. M. Hubbert, D.D. More than 10,000 young men have been educated in Cumberland University, and the attendance is large each year. In 1848 or 1849 Dr. N. Lawrence Lindsey, LL.D., at one time a member of the faculty of the university, established a school for young ladies, six miles east from Lebanon, on the Sparta Pike, which was called Greenwood. The school was deservedly popular, and was conducted by Dr. Lindsey until his death in 1868, and afterward by his widow until 1883, when it was discontinued.
The Baptist Church established a high school for young ladies in Lebanon in 1859. A substantial brick building was erected on East Main Street, and Rev. Mr. Powell was placed in charge. Dr. Powell conducted the school until some time in 1861, when he was succeeded by Dr. Griffin, of Nashville, and then followed Rev. J. M. Phillips and Rev. A. Hart as principals. In 1870 the school was discontinued and the property sold to the town of Lebanon, and has since been conducted as a public school, being at present in the charge of Prof. B. M. Mace, a popular educator.
Maple Hill Seminary was founded by Prof. J. B. Hancock in September, 1880, and is located on the Lebanon & Nashville Pike, three miles west from Lebanon, with delightful surroundings of forest and farm lands. The school property embraces twenty acres of land, to which is attached a farm of 250 acres, upon which are produced many of the supplies for the school. The school buildings are of frame, and conveniently arranged and situated. Maple Hill has been a success in every respect since its establishment, and under the judicious and efficient management of Prof. Hancock promises to continue so.
An addition of importance to the educational advantages of Lebanon and Wilson County, will be the Lebanon College for young ladies, which will be opened next fall by Profs. Foster and Weir, of which Prof. Foster will be the principal. The finishing touches are being applied to a handsome and commodious building for this school, which is an ornament to the town in which it is located.
The following is a list of the many excellent high schools and chartered academies in the various districts: Mount Juliet and Green Hill Academies, in the First District; Lagardo High School, in the Fourth District; Cedar Grove High School, in the Fifth District; Austin Academy, in the Seventh District; Bellwood High School, in the Eighth District; Tucker's Cross Roads Academy, in the Ninth District; Linwood High School, and Shop Spring Academy, in the Eleventh District; Commerce Academy, in the Twelfth District; Round Top Academy, in the Thirteenth District; Prosperity Academy, in the Fourteenth District; Statesville Academy, in the Fifteenth District; Cherry Valley Academy, in the Sixteenth District; Cainsville Academy, in the Seventeenth District; Fall Creek Academy, in the Eighteenth District; Mace Institute, in the Twenty-first District; Mount View Academy, in the Twenty-second District; Oak Grove Academy, in the Twenty-third District; Gladeville High School in the Twenty-fourth District; Hamilton Academy, in the Twenty-fifth District, and Leeville Academy, in a school district separate from the civil districts. The academies are all chartered schools, working under the four mile temperance law.
The last report of the school superintendent of the county shows the public schools of Wilson County to be in the following condition: Number of pupils: white male, 3,608; white female, 3,444; total white, 7,052; colored male 1,484; colored females, 1,464; total colored, 2,948; grand total, 10,030; average attendance, 5,000. Number of teachers: white male, 61; white female, 29; white total, 90; colored male, 17; colored female, 14; colored total, 31; grand total, 121. Number of schools: white, 73; colored, 30; total, 103. The county superintendents since 1873 have been as follows: Profs. A. D. Morris, S. G. Shepard, B. M. Mace, J. B. Powell and R. McMillin, the present incumbent.
The first sermon preached in Wilson County was by Rev. William McGee, a Presbyterian minister, in the fall of 1798, at the house of William McClain, in the Drake Lick settlement, near the mouth of Spencer Lick Creek, and the first church organized was Spring Creek Church, which stood on the creek by that name, which was established by Rev. Dr. Hall, a North Carolina Presbyterian minister and missionary in 1800. The church was a small log house, puncheon floor, and Rev. Samuel Donnell was the first pastor. These pioneer Christians were very devout, but had been brought up, as a rule, upon the farm and had not enjoyed the best of educational advantages, and when the split came in their church in 1810 they went with the Cumberland wing, and this first church was also the pioneer Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In the latter part of 1800, or first of 1801, the Methodists organized and erected a church in the Hickory Ridge settlement, which church was christened Bethel Church. Afterward the church was removed to a point on the Lebanon & Nashville Pike, about four miles west from Lebanon, where a new building was erected and which is in use at the present time. Some time in 1803 or 1804 a Presbyterian Church was erected on Suggs Creek, and another of the same denomination at Shop Springs, both of which bore the names Of the waters upon which they were located. The Methodists also erected Ebenezer Church at about that time on what afterward became the Cold's Ferry Pike, five miles from Lebanon.
Koonce's Meeting-house was probably the first church erected by the Baptists in this county. The old church stood near the present village of Leeville, and was built some time in 1806. Cedar Grove, four miles north of Lebanon, was the next church erected by the Baptists, and then followed Spring and Cedar Creek Churches. The above were the pioneer churches of Wilson County, and among their pastors were Revs. Samuel Donnell, S. M. Aston, William Smith, Samuel King, S. J. Thomas, Robert Donnell and George Donnell, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches; Revs. McKindry, Asbury, Jarrett, Morris, Page and Brown, of the Methodist Churches; Revs. James, Willis, Borum, Wiseman, Maddox and Tompkins, of the Baptist Churches.
Other early churches were Good Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was erected in the Eighth District some time about 1810 or 1812; Wesley Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, in the Twenty-third District, and Big Spring and Moriah Cumberland Presbyterian Churches.
The first church erected in Lebanon was in 1827 by the Methodists. The church is a brick building, and is in use at the present by the colored Methodists. In 1830 the Cumberland Presbyterians erected a church in Lebanon. This building was a two-story brick, and was built by the church and Masonic Lodge, the Masons occupying the second floor. The old building remains standing at the present time, but has fallen into disuse and dilapidation, as it was abandoned in 1850, at which time the present Cumberland Presbyterian Church was erected. In about 1840 the Baptists erected a church in Lebanon at a cost of about $7.000. Previous to the erection of these churches the different denominations held their meetings in the court house. In 1856 the present Baptist Church in Lebanon was erected, when the old building was sold to the South African Methodists. The present Methodist Episcopal Church was erected in 1855, and the old building sold to the colored Methodists. The Christian (Campbellite) Church in Lebanon was erected in 1874. All of the Lebanon churches are handsome brick buildings, and were erected at about the following costs: Cumberland Presbyterian, $10,000; Methodist Episcopal, $8,000; Baptist, $7,000; Christian, $6,000. The colored churches of Lebanon, of which mention has already been made. are two brick and two frame, the latter costing between $2,000 and $2,500 each.
The churches of Wilson County of the
present are as follows: Stoner's Creek, Cumberland Presbyterian;
Locust Grove, Cumberland Presbyterian; Prosperity, Methodist
Episcopal; Scaby's Chapel, Christian; Hickory Ridge, African
Methodist Episcopal; Williamson's Chapel, African Methodist
Episcopal, and Cedar Grove, Baptist, (colored) in the First
District. Mount Olivet, Baptist, and Cook's Methodist Episcopal
in the Second District. Bethlehem, Methodist Episcopal; Salem,
Methodist Episcopal; Spencer's Creek, Baptist; Seay's Chapel,
African Methodist Episcopal, and Powell's Grove, African
Methodist Episcopal in the Third District. New Hope, Cumberland
Presbyterian; Melrose, Cumberland Presbyterian and Sander's
Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, in the Fourth District. Horn,
Methodist Episcopal; Mount Pleasant, Cumberland Presbyterian;
Bareah and Philadelphia, Christian, and African Methodist
Episcopal and Baptist (colored) in the Fifth District. Athens,
Missionary Baptist; Cedar Creek. Primitive Baptist; Bethel,
Methodist Episcopal; Christian and Dickerson's Chapel, Colored
Baptists, in the Sixth District. One Cumberland Presbyterian
Church and one (colored) Missionary Baptist Church in the Seventh
District. Good Hope, Methodist Episcopal; Bethlehem, Christian;
Tucker's Cross Roads, Methodist Episcopal, and Bellwood,
Christian, in the Eighth District. Zion, Methodist Episcopal;
Poplar Hill, Baptist, and Black Zion, African Methodist Episcopal,
in the Eleventh District. One Baptist Church in the Twelfth
District. Round Top, Methodist Episcopal and One Baptist Church
in the Thirteenth District. Prosperity, Baptist, and Prosperity (colored)
Baptist, in the Fourteenth District. Smith Fork, Missionary
Baptist; Mount Vernal, Old School Presbyterian; Methodist North
and Colored Baptist, in the Fifteenth District. Round Lick,
Baptist: Cherry Valley, Methodist Episcopal and one Christian
Church in the Sixteenth District. Salem, Missionary Baptist, and
Salem (colored) Missionary Baptist and Bradley's Creek (colored)
Missionary Baptist, in the Seventeenth District. Falling Creek,
Missionary Baptist; Mount Pisgah, Methodist Episcopal; Union,
Cumberland Presbyterian, and Ramah, Missionary Baptist, in the
Eighteenth District. Shapp's Spring, Missionary Baptist; Center
Hill, Cumberland Presbyterian; Bethesda, Cumberland Presbyterian,
and Bethel, Christian, in the Nineteenth District. Union,
Missionary Baptist; Friendship, Primitive Baptist; New Liberty,
Missionary Baptist; Cason's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal, and
Hebron, Christian, in the Twentieth District. Rocky Valley,
Missionary Baptist; Jacob's Hill, Methodist Episcopal, and Beard's
Grove, Colored Baptist, and Jacob's Hill, African Methodist
Episcopal. in the Twenty-first District. Mount Zion, Cumberland
Presbyterian; Hebron, Methodist Episcopal; Liberty Hill,
Methodist Protestant; and Ephesis, Christian, in the Twenty-second
District. Oak Grove, Methodist Episcopal, and one Christian
Church, and Brown's Corners, African Methodist Episcopal, in the
Twenty-third District. Rutlins, Missionary Baptist; Suggs Creek,
Cumberland Presbyterian; Gain's Church, Baptist; Hall's Church,
Methodist Episcopal; and Corinth, Christian, in the Twenty-fourth
District. Pleasant Grove, Methodist Episcopal, in the Twenty-fifth
Back to WC Documents Index
Transcribed 1999 by William C. Colley Jr.
source: Woodward & Stinson Printing Co. Edition, Reprint 1971
For noncommercial use only.