A Brief Sketch of the Settlement and Early History of Giles County Tennessee

by James McCallum, 1876
Published by the Pulaski Citizen, 1928

First Settlers

The first White persons who explored Giles County or passed through it, so far is now known, were the Commissioners with their guard, and citizens who accompanied them to lay off a district on the northern part of Middle Tennessee, 55 miles wide, for the satisfaction of warrants issued by the State of North Carolina to her officers and soldiers; and to lay off a tract of 25,000 acres south of that district, donated to General Greene.

A large number of those who went out in said expedition went across the State from Nashville, through the Eastern portion of the County to Latitude Hill on Elk River, and on their return passed up Indian Creek, over to and up Buchanan’s Creek; and thence to Fountain Creek in Maury County. After that time and until 1790, it was occasionally visited by locators and surveyors in search of land. The entering of land being stopped by the United States Government as soon as the cession of the territory was accepted, but few persons came to the County until after the Indian title was extinguished.

Although a large portion of the best lands in Giles County was located and entered soon after the passage of the Act in 1783, and grants issued for a considerable portion of it, yet the owners were not permitted to go on their lands, or to have them surveyed or the lines marked, until after the treaty of January, 1806. And until after that time it is believed there were no permanent settlements in the County.

It is now very difficult to ascertain who were the first settlers and when they came. But few of the first settlers who were old enough to remember dates when they came are now living.
I have met with a few who think their parents were in the county in 1805, others in 1806, and that corn was raised in the county in those years; but upon inquiry as to who came with them, or who were here before them, or came the same year they did, or the routes they came, I am inclined to believe they are mistaken as to dates.

It is highly probable there were a few here in 1806, and possibly in 1805, as we find adventurers on Indian lands in other places, notwithstanding the prohibition of the Government. But who they were, or when they came, if any such were here, I have not been able to satisfactorily ascertain.

The information upon which I base the following account of the early settlement of the County, has been derived from the few of the early settlers yet living,who were young men and women when they came; from those who were of an age to remember how old they were when their parents came, or that they were born the year before or the year after they came verified by family records. From these and from the records of the County, together with what I learned from my parents who came to the County in 1809 when I was a small boy; and from what I learned from other old settlers having had a general acquaintance throughout the County since early manhood, I believe the persons hereinafter named were among the first settlers and that they came about the dates mentioned.

Many others, whose names are not mentioned, were early settlers, but I have been unable to learn when they came.
It is believed the first permanent settlement in the County was made on Elk River near the mouth of Richland Creek; and in the neighborhood of Prospect by emigrants from East Tennessee who came down the Tennessee River in boats to the mouth of the Elk, and thence up Elk.

The treaties of 1805 and 1806 extinguished the Indian title to a considerable portion of what is now Madison County, in Alabama, a scope of country in the shape of a “V,” some thirty miles wide on the South boundary of the Tennessee with a point on the Tennessee River at Ditto’s landing, with about eight miles front on the river.

Soon after the treaty, Zacharia Cox and his associates, the “Tennessee Zazoo Company,” claimed this scope of country. Under their purchase from the State of Georgia in 1795, they commenced settling it and having it settled up. They were resisted by the Government and those claiming under said purchase were driven off.

But the character of the country being well known to the people of East Tennessee, soon after the treaty a number of persons of wealth and influence came down the river in boats and settled around what is called Hunt’s Spring, afterwards Huntsville; and soon thereafterwards, others descended the river to the mouth of the Elk, and ascended Elk to the neighborhood of Prospect, and the mouth of Richland. Among these were William Crowson and his four sons, and his son-in-law, Vincent, with their families, who came about February, 1807, and settled the west side of Richland Creek, and near the mouth of it and raised corn in 1807.

About the same time or soon thereafter, Thos. Whitson, settled on Whitson’s Creek, a mile or two above Prospect, and for him Reynolds’ [?] Island was called. Jordan Ward settled on the north bank of the river three miles above Prospect, at what has since been known as the Abel Ezell place. A man named Jenkins settled on Jenkins’ Creek, for whom the creek was named. A man named Johnson between Ford’s and the Thomas Reed place; and a man named Ellis settled near the Reed place; a family named Easley settled on the south side of the river, opposite the mouth of Richland, near where John Bailey lives.

These settlers, with a few others in the neighborhood, raised corn in 1807. James Ford with a number of others, including James Williams, Parish Simms, Thos. Dodd, Simon Foy, and Thos. Kyle, with their families started from Hawkins County in East Tennessee in the Spring of 1807 with four boats, when the boats had ascended Elk about opposite Simms’ settlement three of the boats with the Simmses, Kyle and others went out to view the country, and concluded to stop there and settled what was long known as Simms’ settlement, in Limestone Co., AL.
Ford with his boat and those with him ascended the river some distance and stopped and with a canoe, Ford and two or three men went up the river several miles until they came to a small branch running into the river a short distance above the mouth of Ford’s Creek, when they stopped, and as they landed Ford said, “Boys, this is my spring branch”, and going up the branch they soon found the spring.

Ford went back and brought up his boat, and landed on the north side of the river at the mouth of the spring branch about 200 yards above the railroad bridge, on the fourth day of June, 1807. He built a house near the spring. The place has since been known as the Dever place, and is now owned by A. J. Reed, Esquire, and adjoins Prospect on the east. Ford’s Creek that runs by Prospect was named from Ford.

Two or three months after Ford came, Major Wm. Kyle came and settled on the south side of the river, opposite Prospect, at what has since been known as the Brown or Veto place. He was a man of considerable property, and owned a number of slaves. about the same time the McKinneys came and settled in the neighborhood. The old man Hunnicut and sons came soon after Ford and settled on the south side of the river below the mouth of Richland; the place is now owned by the heirs of Daly. John Tucker came the same year and settled the Tucker place now owned by Carey Gilbert, Esquire. James and Wm. Price, came about 1808 and settled on the east side of Richland Creek near the mouth at what was called “lower Elkton.”

John and Lewis Nelson came about 1809 and settled a few miles northeast of Prospect. John Nelson settled where his widow now lives, and Lewis Nelson in the same neighborhood. Dr. Gabriel Bumpass, with a number of families from South Carolina, settled at Crosswater at a very early date. The precise date cannot be ascertained; but from the fact that the Bufords and others traveled his trail as early as the Fall of 1807, he must have come sometime in 1807 as early at least as the Summer or Fall.

In the party that came with Bumpass were William Buchanan and his sons Robert, Maxmillian H., (the father of Mrs. Col. Solon E. Rose), John and Jesse, Timothy Ezell, Mike Ezell and William Ezell, the father of P. H. Ezell, together with others whose names are not remembered. Dr. Bumpass settled the Crosswater place now owned by George E. Suttle. Wm. Buchanan settled the place owned by the Rev. C. P. Reed; Robert Buchanan about a half mile north of where Reed lived on the east side of Buchanan’s Creek; it is not certainly known whether the creek took its name from them, or was named by the Commissioners in 1783, as there was a Buchanan with them.

The general impression is that it took its name from Robert Buchanan who lived on it and built a mill on it about 1809; it was grinding in 1810. The Ezells settled east of the mill, and in the immediate neighborhood.

Bumpass and his company opened the first road in the County south from Columbia; it came to Little Bigby by where Pillow’s Mill was, striking the Giles County line at what is now known as Yokley’s Gap, at the headwaters of what is now known as the eastern branch of Big Creek and down the same by Cunningham’s, now John English’s; thence by Andrew Yokley’s, thence a little east of Campbellsville, by the place John I. Morris lives on, thence south on the dividing ridge between Big Creek and little Dry Creek striking Dry Creek where Sam Wilson lives; crossing Weakley Creek at Reed’s Ford, near the southeast corner of Reed’s land; thence up Agnew Creek, thence by the Walthall place, known as the William D. Abernathy place; thence to Coopertown, and by the Black place to Richland, crossing at Mrs. Tyree Rodes’ farm, and thence to Crosswater, making a very circuitous route to avoid the large cane.

The cane was small on the ridges, and poor land, but very heavy in the creek bottoms, and on the rich land. This was called Bumpass’ trail, and was the principal road for emigrants going as far south as Pulaski, and west of Pulaski—for two or three years. The first mails were carried on this route. Bumpass, the Buchanans, Ezells, and others, who came about the time they did, raised corn in 1808. Lewis Brown, Lester Morris, Buckner Harwell and his sons, William Crittenden and his sons, Alexander Tarpley, Robert McNairy, William Wells Sr., and his sons, Mark Mitchell, Jesse Westmoreland, Thos. Westmoreland, W. B. Pepper, Colonel L. Cleaveland, Reverend William Calloway and William Abernathy, (father of Chas. C. Abernathy), came in the latter part of 1808, and early in 1809. They all or the most of them made corn in 1809. Cleaveland and Calloway may have made corn in 1808. The Westmorelands lived in Davidson County, sent their hands out, and improved places and made crops, but did not move their families out until the latter part of 1809.

Lewis Brown settled on Richland Creek on the place known as the Ira Brown place. Lester Morris was a Revolutionary soldier and settled about a half mile west of Rehoboth Church; Buckner Harwell Sr. settled the farm now owned by John Marks, and his sons settled in the neighborhood. His son, Colonel Gilliam Harwell, father of Dr. T. B. Harwell, settled not far from where Dr. Harwell now lives. William Crittenden settled the place lately owned by Robert Dickson. Robert Mcnairy, Alex Tarpley, and Wm. B. Pepper settled the places on which they resided at the time of their deaths, and which have been long known by their names. Mark Mitchell settled the place now owned by Colston Abernathy; Jesse Westmoreland settled the place now owned by John Newbill; William Wells the place since known as the Wells or Moseley place; Cleaveland and Calloway settled on the old Stage Road, half a mile or three quarters south of where the Rev. C. P. Reed lived. Cleaveland at the place Birdsong lived on, and Calloway about 300 yards further on south. Calloway was a Baptist preacher, and one of the first preachers in the County. Wm. Abernathy settled the place Chas. C. Abernathy now lives on. He sent his hands out from Davidson County, improved the place and made a crop, but did not move out his family until the latter part of the year. One of the first churches in the County was a Baptist Church about a quarter of a mile south of or southwest from Crosswater spring, built in 1809 by the Buchanans and Ezells. Rev. George Brown and perhaps, Calloway were the preachers. A Methodist Church at Rehoboth was built in 1810, principally by Lewis Brown, who was a man of considerable property.

Lewis Brown erected a horse mill about 1810, which was resorted to from a considerable distance in the Summer season. Dr. Bumpass practiced medicine at Crosswater, and over a large extent of country, as there were but few physicians in the county. He was a learned and skillful physician, but a man of great eccentricity of character so much so that his influence was affected by it. Among those who came at a later date to the neighborhood of Crosswater were: Robert Oliver, who lived for many years on the place afterwards owned by the Rev. C. P. Reed and Isaac Mason who settled on the place long known as the MASON place, and Thos. Meredith, who settled the place where Mrs. Tyree Rodes now lives.


The neighborhood of Aspen Hill was settled at a very early date. Thomas Reed Sr., the father of the late Thomas Reed, Esq., came from Kentucky and settled the place Thomas Reed, Esquire, first lived on, about a quarter of a mile east of where J. P. C. Reed now lives.
Old William Riggs, Joseph Moore, and Daniel Cox, came about the same time. Dan Cox settled on Richland Creek, where Thomas Westmoreland a year afterwards settled, long known as the Jones place. James Kimbrough, the father of Henry T. Kimbrough, Elijah and Joseph, the father of James D., and Joseph C. all came about the same time and settled in the neighborhood. Joseph , where James D., now lives. Joseph C., thinks his father came about 1805; and J. P. C.

Reed thinks his grandfather came about 1806, but as they have no record of dates to refer to, and as they nearly all came along the Bumpass Trail, it is very probable they came in the Summer or Fall of 1807. They all raised corn in 1808. In the latter part of 1808, or first of 1809, Thomas Westmoreland, father of the late Thos. A. Westmoreland, Esq., brought out his servants and settled on what has since been called the Jones place.

He made a crop in 1809, and moved his family out from Davidson County in the latter part of 1809. He was appointed by the Legislature in the Fall of 1809, one of the first Justices of the Peace in the County, and must have been regarded as a citizen of the County at that time. John Butler and John came soon after Westmorelands; the precise date not known. Butler settled on what was long known as the Butler place, north of Aspen Hill settled about a mile southwest of Aspen Hill.

A few years later the Rev. Aaron Brown and his sons, Thomas and William settled in the neighborhood. The Rev. Aaron Brown on the place afterwards owned by his son, Governor Aaron V. Brown, and called the Aspen Hill place. Thos. Brown half a mile southeast of Aspen Hill, at what has since been known as the Petty place. Wm. Brown at what has since been called the Steven Biles place. Captain Baker P. Potts settled at an early date west of the place owned by Gov. Aaron V. Brown.


It is difficult to ascertain who were the first settlers in the town of Pulaski, or the date at which they came. It is believed, however, that Lewis Kirk, Alexander Black and his brother, Robert Black, were the first who lived in the town; and that they came as early as the Fall or Summer of 1807. It is known that they were here in 1807; settled the lot on which David S. Martin now lives in First Main Street; Robert on the same street near the old cemetery; Lewis Kirk on the bluff at the foot of the shoals on Richland Creek, about two hundred yards above the Nashville and Decatur Depot. These lots are now owned by Thos. Flippen and Pleasant Smith. About the time the Blacks and Kirks came, or soon after, Ralph Groves, Sr. settled about two hundred yards east of J. B. Childers’ residence, and a little east of the Corporation line. Charles Buford, Jas. Buford and Somerset Moore came to the neighborhood of Pulaski in the Fall of 1807.

The father of the Buford’s, James Buford, Sr., was one of the first settlers of Williamson County, lived in Williamson County near Thompson’s Station and owned a tract of two thousand acres of land adjoining the southwest corner of Pulaski. His sons and Moore, who was a son-in-law, made some improvements on the land in 1807. In the Fall sowed turnips and went back and moved their families out early in 1808. Charles Buford settled the place known as the Charles Buford place. James Buford settled the place now owned by the heirs of Nicholas Buford; Somerset Moore the place on Moore’s Creek, now owned by Mrs. Fogg.

The creek was named for him, though Buford’s and Moore came on the Bumpass trail. Major John Clack, with his son, Spencer Clack, moved from Sevier County and settled about a mile west of the Court House on the Carter farm near where his Negro cabins were, early in 1808. These all raised corn in 1808. Wm. Gideon came in 1808, and settled what was long known as the Gideon place, on the Gideon road half a mile north of town.

Col. Nelson Patterson with his sons, James and Bernard M., came in the latter part of 1808, and settled the Patterson place one mile east of Pulaski. They raised corn in 1808. Major Thos. Wilkerson, father of the late F. H. Wilkerson, came in 1809 and settled near the Patterson spring, between the spring and Col. Solon E. Rose’s residence. Tyree Rodes settled the place his son, Robert Rodes now owns in 1809, probably in the early part of the year. He was appointed by the Legislature in November, 1809, one of the Commissioners to lay off the town of Pulaski. Wm. Kerley, known as Captain Kerley, came to the County with him, and lived on his farm for several years.

Charles Neely settled near the Tillery spring, three miles north of Pulaski at a very early day; he was appointed by the Legislature in 1809 one of the magistrates of the County, and in February, 1810, was elected sheriff; John White, father of Dr. R. G. P. White, Newton and John M. White, settled the place Newton White lived on in the latter part of 1809. Wm. Mayfield and sons were very early settlers, but the date they came is not known.

Steele, the father of Alexander G. Steele and his sons were very early settlers. They settled the place now owned by the Hon. Thos. M. Jones, two miles west of Pulaski on the Lawrenceburg road. Silas Flournoy, the grandfather of Capt. Wm. C. Flournoy, came about 1813, and settled on the Locust Hill place, where he died and was buried. Of the first settlers in the town, besides Kirk and the Blacks, the following persons were here at a very early date, before 1812, but the date at which they came is not known.

Wm. B. Davis, Wm. Ball, Jas. Berry, German and Fountain Lester, Dan Martin, Richard Scott, Jas. Drew, Jas. H. Williams, Wm. Hamby, Thos. Smith, Jno. Mccracken, Jno. O. Talbot, Henry Hogan, Dr. Shadrack Nye, Joseph H. Trotter, Joseph H. Hodge, Dr. Gilbert D. Taylor, David Woods, Lewis James and William Coner, Samuel G. Anderson, Nathaniel Moody, Alfred M. Harris, Lunsford M. Bramlette, of these Davis, Ball, Scott, and Talbot were among the first. German Lester came in 1809; probably the latter part of the year. The County was established in November, 1809. Dr. Taylor came in 1811, and was here at the sale of the lots as were most of those here named. Bramlette, and perhaps a few others, did not come before 1812 or 1813. C. C. Abernathy, who first visited Pulaski Oct. 11, 1810, and has lived in the neighborhood ever since, thus describes the place: The town was mostly covered with tall cane, large poplar, beech and other forest trees.

Alexander Black lived in a log cabin near where David S. Martin now lives on First Main Street, and had cut down a few rods of cane where his house stood. Robert Black lived in a similar cabin, on the same street, near the old cemetery. Lewis Kirk lived in a rough log cabin on the bluff of Richland Creek at the foot of the shoals. A rough log house had been erected in his yard in which to hold court. Kirk kept a boarding house, and tavern during the session of the courts. Richard Scott had a small stock of goods in a cabin near Kirk’s which he soon after sold out to Jno. Q. Talbot. William Ball kept a grocery in a cabin near Kirk’s.” These were then the only houses and improvements in what is now the town of Pulaski that he remembered.

A number of persons were then living in the immediate neighborhood and vicinity of whom he remembers, Patterson, Wilkerson, Black, the Bufords, Moore, and others. Mr. Abernathy further states that after some of the lots were sold in August, 1811, and the cane cut down on the public square, a court house was built out of round logs and covered with boards in which courts were held for several years. Among the first merchants were Richard Scott, David Martin, Jno. Q. Talbot, Jas. Doren, Jno. McCracken  and Henry Hagan.

Among the first taverns were Lewis Kirk, on Richland Creek at the foot of the shoals. Captain Thomas (Tubb) Smith on the northeast corner of the square. Alexander, who kept on the southeast corner of the public square at what was known as Kennan’s tavern.
Among the first physicians were Dr. Gilbert D. Taylor, Shadrack Nye, David Woods, Alfred Flournoy, Elijah Eldridge, and Charles Perkins, etc.

The first tan yards were established by Jas. Hamby and by Lewis and James Conner; the Connors settled the place where G. W. Mcgrew’s tan yard is at present, and established a yard. Hamby settled the place now owned by Joe B. Childers and established a yard south of his house, near the spring in W. G. Lewis’s lot. German Lester was among the first to build a comfortable family residence; he improved the lots now owned by Major B. F. Carter, and lived on them until about 1847. The first resident lawyers were Alfred M. Harris, George Cunningham, Lunsford M. Bramlette, Tryon M. Yancy, W. H. Field, And Aaron V. Brown.
Among the early settlers in the neighborhood of Pulaski not mentioned were David and Wm. Maxwell, Josiah P. Alexander, Wm. W. Woods, Gideon Phillips, the father of our present Captain John Phillips. These all settled on Pigeon Roost Creek on the southwest and south.

Thomas McKissack, the grandfather of J. T. McKissack, settled the place lately owned by James P. Smith, Thos Walthall the place on which William D. Abernathy lived, now owned by _______Short, John Walthall, the place lately owned by Jno. Marks, Thos. Williams, the place on which he long lived on the Lambsferry road, John Williamson, the father of Thos. S. Williamson, in the same neighborhood, Hugh Campbell on the place afterwards owned by Captain George Everly and on which he lived until his death.


From a copy of the census of Giles County, taken by Charles C. Abernathy in 1820, it appears that the following inhabitants of Pulaski designated as “heads of Families” and entered together, and, as it may be interesting to some of their descendants to know that their parents or relatives were here at that date, I will give their names, to-wit: James Perry, Samuel Y. Anderson, Thos. Wilkerson, Jas. Connor, Jno. E. Holden, Wm. English, William Conner, Francis Guthrie, Nathan Alman, William Boyle, Bernard M. Patterson, Lunsford M. Bramlette, German Lester, William R. Davis, Robert Gibson, Tryon M. Yancy, Amos David, John Brown, Jesse Day, Francis Hix, William Hamby, Matthias Sharon, Jno. B. Connor, Masterson C. Mccormack, Aaron V. Brown, Elizabeth Berry, Judith Burch, Elizabeth Hooks, Mary Scott, William Ball, Thos. White, Joseph H. Hodge, John Mccracken, William Rose, Jacob Templin, Peggy Cyrus, Francis Alexander, Joseph Trotter, Robert Crockett, Henry Hagan, Fountain Lester, George Lovell, James Terrill, Archibald Story, Jesse Peebles, Samuel Pearson, Jeremiah Parker, Alf M. Harris, Thomas Smith, William H. Fields, Rebecca Crenshaw, Shadrack Nye, Nathaniel Moody, James Lynch, Alfred Flournoy, James Patterson, Elisha Eldridge, Sallie Collier, John Keenaw, John Hamblett, William Flippen, John Waldrop, Thos. Martin, Charles Perkins.


Robert Reed, father of Levi Reed, Esquire, settled on the East branch of Weakley’s creek eight miles from Pulaski near where the “Bumpass trail” crossed. He moved from Logan Co., KY, came by the Bumpass trail-by Columbia; he built his first cabin on the Chickasaw line and a year or two afterwards had to move it back. John Agnew settled at the mouth of Agnew’s Creek for whom it was named. Isaac Lamb, Levi Cooper, John Kitchen and David Campbell settled near the same place and used water from the same spring.

Lawson Hobson settled the place on the east fork of Weakley’s Creek, known as the Hobson place; his hands came out with son Newton a few years before the old man came out. They were among the first settlers and came about the time Reed did. Some of them may have come before him. Valentine Choate settled on Choate’s Creek, from whom the creek took its name. Major Jurlston [Hurlston?] settled on Dry Creek, at a very early date and built the first cotton gin that was run by water on Dry Creek where Col. Jas. T. Wheeler now lives. Owen Sherman and William Wren were among the very first settlers.

Wren lived near Robert Reed, Weakley’s Creek, it is said was named or took its name from Robert Weakley, who was one of the early surveyors. In the Fall of 1809, John Reed the father of Robert Reed came from Kentucky, with eight sons and settled on Weakley’s Creek; after he settled on Weakley, and about 1810, Robert Reed and his eight brothers came, of whom was the late Rev. C. P. Reed, and Levi Reed, a son of said Robert Reed all went to school together. The first school taught in the neighborhood was in 1810 by Jno. Morgan. In 1811 a school was taught by the Rev. James B. Porter. Captain James L. Henry was one of the first settlers and was the first constable in his “beat”.

Robert Reed and Jonathan Berry were Magistrates in their “beat” (or Captain’s Company), at an early day. Old Reese Porter and his sons, Reese, John, David, Jas. B., and Thos. C. came at an early day and settled near Mt. Moriah Church; the old man owned a large tract of land in the neighborhood and settled near what is now Mt. Moriah Church. His sons, David and John settled on the Lawrenceburg road at what has since been called the Connor and Porter places.

The Rev. James B., on the Kennedy farm, Thomas C., on the Pullen place at Wales Station; Reese Porter, Jr., died early. He was the father of Reese W. Porter, for many years a merchant and citizen of this county.

There is some discrepancy in dates as to when the Porters came. James L. Henry, who is now in his 87th year, says he came to the neighborhood of Mt. Moriah church early in 1808 and his recollection is that old Father Porter was there when he arrived. He says he knows that Owen Sherman and Wm. Wren were there also; John Black thinks Sherman and Wren raised corn in the neighborhood in 1806. It is difficult in some cases to reconcile the recollection of old people as to dates; but from the fact that one of the Porter family informs me that he was born in Davidson County in 1808 as he learned from his parents the year or year before they moved to Giles and from other information, I think it probable they came in the latter part of 1808 or early in 1809. In November 1809 the Legislature appointed David Porter one of the first magistrates of the County. He must have been recognized as a resident citizen at that date.

Sampson McCowan and Mcallily [McaAnnily?]were early settlers. A man by the name of Gibson first settled on the place where Samuel Gibson now lives, but very soon afterwards was settled by Colonel John Bodenheimer, who lived and died there. He was the father of David Bodenheimer, Esquire, long a magistrate and prominent citizen of our county. Captain Henry says the first marriage in the County that he remembers was Jesse Beaver to Miss Harben, in a little cabin with a dirt floor in the cane-brake, near where Mt. Moriah church now stands.

Says they had bear meat, venison and corn bread for dinner, and hot toddy in tin cups, sweetened with tree sugar. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Mt. Moriah was organized in the Fall of 1811. Rev. James B. Porter was the first preacher. Major Hurlston, Thos. Ruby, Reese Porter and Jonathan Berry were the elders. This was the first Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized in the County. In the same Fall a camp meeting was held at that place, and a campground established.


John Dickey, Esquire, father of James R. Dickey, Esquire, moved from Logan Co., KY., and first stopped in Maury and thence to this County in 1808. He cut the cane near the Big Springs at Campbellsville and sowed turnips that Fall, and made a crop of corn in 1809. James ROSS, the grandfather of Jas. R. Dickey, came the same Fall and settled in the place old Andrew Yokley lived on until his death.

Ross was one of the Commissioners appointed by the Legislature to locate and lay off the town of Pulaski. They traveled the Bumpass trail. The only road at that time coming south from Columbia was the Bumpass trail. They came up Little Bigby, crossed Elk ridge at what is now called the Yokley gap, and came down the eastern or Yokley branch of Big Creek. The first corn raised in that part of the County was in 1809. Hamilton C. Campbell and Jacob Baylor came about the same time that Dickey did. Jacob Baylor and John Dickey were appointed by the Legislature in November 1809 Magistrates for the “beat” in which they lived. Jas. Ashmore was among the first settlers. He settled the old James Hannah place, one mile north of Campbellsville. He was elected the first constable in his Captain’s “beat.”

Daniel Allen was one of the first settlers and settled at what has since been known as Wright’s spring. He erected a powder mill and made powder there for several years. Dan Allen was the father of General Richard H. Allen, for many years a prominent citizen of this county, and afterwards of Lawrence County. John Dickey was elected Representative to the Legislature in 1817. The settlers went to Williamson County the first year for corn. Jacob Bayler built a mill on Dry Creek about one mile west of Campbellsville about 1809 or 1810. This was the first mill built in that part of the country. A mill was built about the same time or soon after on Richland Creek below Moriah Church opposite James HAYES’ place, called Mayfield’s Mill.

James R. Dickey was about twelve years old when his father came to the County; says there were but few houses in Columbia when his father moved through there and but few on the road after he left Columbia. Gideon Pillow lived on Little Bigby three miles south of Columbia. It was several years after that before he settled the Pillow place in Giles at Wales Station. He says the Bumpass trail came down the eastern branch of Big Creek, by the old man Ross’ and by Mack Alexander’s or rather between the two thence south leaving Campbellsville about one mile to the right hand; it then left big Creek and took the Dividing Ridge between that creek and Dry Creek, bearing towards Dry Creek and crossing it where Samuel Wilson now lives, and where old Colonel John Bodenheimer lived and died.

This trail went rather a zig-zag course to avoid the large cane. Cunningham, who settled the place now owned by John English on the East branch of Big Creek; Jesse Foster, who settled on Dry Creek where Sam Wilson lived; and Kirkland who settled where Jno. I. Morris lived, were among the first settlers. Isaac Morris Sr., and his sons, Matthew Benthal, Peter Swanson, John Wright, Andrew Yokley, Walter Locke, the Gibsons, Reas, Caldwells, Englishes, Alexanders and Mccutcheons, Hannahs, Brownlowes, Keltners, Wilcoxes, Shulers, Normans and others, were early settlers; all came before 1820, and some of them among the first; but the dates at which they have not been ascertained.


The first settlers in the northern part of the County on Lynn Creek and Robertson’s Fork crossed Duck River, mostly at Davis’ Ford, came by where Culleoka now is, and crossed Elk Ridge at Dodson’s Gap or went higher up Fountain Creek and crossed farther west. John Fry, father of Captain Wm. Fry moved from NC in the Fall of 1805, crossed the Caney Fork at Stone’s River and came by Nashville to Williamson County and stopped on the Harpeth and remained there two years and then moved to this County. He came the Davis Ford road to Fountain Creek, kept up Fountain Creek by John Richardson’s big spring, and crossed Elk Ridge at a gap west of the turnpike gap; went down a branch of the middle prong, and crossed over to the Western prong of Lynn Creek where he settled the eighth of March 1808.

William Dearing, George Malone, Gabriel and John Foulkes, and Daniel Harrison settled on the East prong of Lynn Creek in the Fall of 1807. John and William Rutledge, Jacob and Andrew Blythe, Joel Rutledge, and Parrish Simms, settled on the middle prong of Lynn Creek in the Fall of 1807, Nicholas Absolom, and Hugh Barren, Thomas Mooney and Andrew Pickens, settled on the west prong in 1807; most of these raised corn in 1808. John McCabe, John Angus, James Wilsford, James Brownlow and others, settled a little south of John Fry in 1809. John Laird came in December 1809 and settled the place he lived on for many years on the turnpike half a mile north of Old Lynnville.

He crossed Duck River at the Davis Ford, came by John Lindsay’s crossed the ridge at the Dodson Gap, came to old Mrs. Follis’ who lived where Col. T. M. Gordon now lives, and to Lynnville, and from thence to Old Lynnville; he built a mill on the main branch of Lynn Creek, and started the first cotton gin that run by water in that part of the County in 1811. He packed cotton in a square box and pummelled it in with pestles and mauls. He opened a store near his house at an early day and for many years sold goods and without previous training in the business, became a successful merchant. An incident is related illustrative of his character.

At a time when he needed an assistant or clerk in the store he made enquiries of his farmer acquaintances for an honest, respectable, industrious young man of good mind and good habits. One was suggested, but at the same time he was told that the young man had been raised on the farm; had never been from home and knew absolutely nothing of the mercantile business. He replied that was the kind of a young man that he wanted if his other qualities suited; said he had his own way of doing business and he would rather undertake to learn a teachable young man who knew nothing about the business than one whose training differed from his mode of business. John C. Walker and Elisha White came about the time Laird did, and settled at Old Lynnville. Walker settled first where White and Walker’s store was, and a year or two afterwards moved east of Elk Ridge church where he resided until his death. Elisha White owned the land on which the town was built and sold out the lots.

He was an energetic and successful man in business. William Dearing settled the Dearing place one mile north of Old Lynnville and kept a tavern on the road. His house was a favorite stopping place for travelers and a noted stage stand for many years. George Malone first settled by Dearing, but soon moved to the place one mile south of Old Lynnville on the turnpike where he lived for many years and died. He was a successful farmer and one of the first in the County who raised cotton in considerable quantities for the market. Gabriel Foulkes first settled where Laird’s mill-pound was. Gabriel and John Foulkes worked in a salt-petre cave, three-fourths of a mile southwest from Dr. Rutledge’s old brick house. John McCabe settled the Rutledge place about the time Laird came out. The Tuckers, Wilsfords, Evanses, and English were early settlers but the dates at which they came have not been ascertained.


John Campbell, William Follis, Nathaniel Moody, John Parchment, Richard and Martin Flint, John Graves, Joel Lane, and others settled in a colony around what is now Lynnville Station on Robertson’s Fork in the Fall of 1809, and raised corn, most of them in 1808. Mrs. Follis settled the place on which Muck Gordon now lives. Nathaniel Moody built the first mill in the County about half a mile south of Lynnville on Robertson Fork, near where the railroad crosses it. This was built in 1808 or early in 1809.

The county was established in November 1809 and the act establishing the county appointed Nathaniel Moody one of the Commissioners to locate and lay off the County Seat, to be called Pulaski; he was also appointed one of the first magistrates of the County. Soon after the location of the County Seat, he moved to Pulaski and built a mill on Richland Creek at Pulaski. Hiram and Boyd Wilson settled the lands over in the valley now owned by Martin Fry at a very early date, as early as 1809.


John Jones, the father of Mrs. Benton R. White and Mrs. A. A. Dickerson settled the place east of Buford’s Station, long known as the John Jones place; but at present known as the Fitzpatrick place.

In the early part of 1808, this was for many years a noted stand on the Davis Ford road from Nashville to Pulaski and considerable business was done at it in the early days. Andrew M. Ballentine opened a store there in 1815, and sold goods there for a number of years before he moved to Pulaski. At the same time John Jones settled the place aforesaid, Samuel Jones, his brother, settled at a place about a mile east, now owned by Mrs. Judge Spofford. John White settled near where Buford Station is, and built a mill on Robertson’s Fork, just above the Station.

Ostin Carter and John Pate settled on lands now owned by A. A. Dickerson. Robert Guthrie and Colonel L. Cleaveland of King’s Mountain memory, came about the time John and Sam Jones came, or soon after. They all raised corn in 1808. Col. Cleaveland settled on part of the farm now owned by Mrs. Judge Spofford where he died; and his grave is near the building occupied by the Superintendent of the farm. John Jones died in 1823, and Sam Jones in 1815. He was killed by a tree falling on him. About the time John Jones came or soon afterwards, David and Alexander Jones settled in the same neighborhood. Rebecca Jones, widow of David Jones, is still living and is over 90 years of age. Col. Robert Steele, brother of Thomas and David Steele settled on the west side of the creek opposite Buford Station, about the time the Joneses came.

He was Colonel of the first regiment organized in the County. William and Henry Sheppard settled the place on which Albert Buford lived at an early date. Richard, Matthew and John Johnson and Jack Miller settled the places long known by their names on Haywood Creek at a very early day. James Tinnon, the father of Robert and Aleck Tinnon, and Joseph and David Abernathy, were early settlers on Richland and Haywood in the neighborhood of Tinnon’s Mill.
The settlers on Haywood came, some of them in 1808, others about 1809 or 1810. Tinnon and the Abernathys, it is said, came by the Bumpass trail, leaving it somewhere south of Campbellsville.

I regret that I have not the information to give a more extended notice of Col. Cleaveland, one of the immortal heroes of King’s Mountain. Judge Spofford has kindly furnished the following transcription from the inscription on his tomb: 










“SACRED ” To the Memory of Col. Larkin Cleaveland Formerly of Franklin County, Georgia. Born April 1748. Died July 9, 1814.









John Montgomery and Sam Montgomery settled on Robertson’s Fork near Elk Ridge Church early in 1808, and crossed the ridge at what was first called the Sam Montgomery gap, and afterwards known as the Dodson Gap. Leander M. Shields, father of John M. Shields, came in 1809 and settled near the church where he lived many years. Samuel Shields and James Shields came about the same time or soon after and settled in the same neighborhood. Samuel Shields was the father of the Honorable Ebenezer J. Shields – for several years a Representative in Congress from that district, and one of the most graceful and elegant public speakers our County has produced.

Joseph Braden, the grandfather of Major J. B. Stacy, Archibald Crockett, Alexander Shields, Robert Crockett, Samuel Copeland and James Montgomery were early settlers. John C. Walker, after remaining a short time at Old Lynnville settled on the road east of the Church where he lived for many years and until his death. East of Walker’s and in the same neighborhood were Presley and Robert Topp; William James; William Ussery; and Hugh Caruthers; Samuel Patrick; Ephraim Patrick; Ephraim M. Massey; And William Marr. These were all early settlers; some of them among the very first but the dates at which they came have not been ascertained with sufficient certainty to give them.


Robert Gordon with his sons, Thomas K. and John, settled on Richland Creek near the Brick Church at what was long known as the Gordon place–the third of March 1808, and made a crop that year; cultivated 11 acres in corn; he moved from Kentucky ten miles from Crab Orchard to Williamson County, TN, and settled nine miles west of Franklin and two miles from Gideon where he lived two years and then removed to Giles. He was in the outside settlement when he lived in Williamson. In coming to this county he traveled the old McCutcheon trail. It passed east of Spring Hill, crossed Duck River at what was afterwards known as Holland’s Ferry above Davis’ Ford; passed by the widow McNutt’s not far from where Mooresville is situated.

The old trace passed a little west of where he settled; went by the old Brick Church thence south to Elk River at Shoemaker’s Ferry near Latitude Hill. From McNutt’s to where Gordon settled was twelve miles and McNutt’s was the last house he passed; and there were but few settlers between McNutt’s and where he moved from in Williamson County. Two or three families were in the neighborhood before Gordon came. A man named Vaughan was living at the spring on the widow Mary Gordon’s place, half a mile north of where Robert Gordon, Sr., settled. The widow Clark and two or three of her sons had settled on the Marsh and Wood farms.

There were no settlers for six miles in a northeast direction to Jno. Henderson and James S. Haynes; they came about the same time Gordon did, and settled the places long known by their names near Cornersville. Going west down Richland Creek there were not any settlers nearer than John or Sam Jones’ and they were six miles off. In a southern direction, it was ten miles to Robert Alsup’s who lived on the Southwest side of Pisgah Hill. Soon after Gordon came, Joseph Jarmin and old John McCandless and his sons and their families came. A man named Nation, with several sons, settled the Robert H. Laird place south of the old Brick Church. For the first two years they packed most of their meal on horses from Williamson County.

The first year some of the settlers used hand mills. Martin Lane, Sr., and his son-in-law, Thomas Lane, Esquire, came about two years after Gordon. The Fraziers, Tungetts and Samuels came about the time Lane did. Gordon’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was married the first of Feb. 1810 to Joseph McDonald, two weeks before the courts were organized in Giles and they went to Maury County for license and were married at the widow McNutt’s by John Lindsay, Esquire. The father of William and David Maxwell owned the land on Pigeon Roost settled by them and sent out a man named Milroy with his stock to improve it.

This was before Gordon came and a year or two afterwards William and David came out to live on the land. Richard McGehee lived one and a half miles west of Gordon; was an early settler and one of the first magistrates in that part of the county. John Dabney, Sr., settled about one mile north of Gordon at a very early day. James S. Haynes and his father, John Haynes, old William Henderson and his brother, John Henderson, and Jno. Andrews were among the first settlers in the neighborhood of Cornersville and came about the time Gordon did.

At that time there was a trace from Cornersville that intersected the McCutcheon trail south of Gordon, near where the old Brick Church stood. The cane had been chopped so that people could ride along it. This trace and the old McCutcheon trace were the only roads opened when Gordon came.


Odem Hightower, father of Hardy Hightower, was one of the first settlers on Bradshaw Creek, and came either the latter part of 1807 or early in 1808. He raised corn in 1808, which was the first raised on the creek.

Hardy Hightower, John Kennedy, John Elliff, James McKnight, and Samuel McKnight came in the latter part of 1808, or early in 1809, and settled the places known by their names. Joe Jarmin came in the early part of 1808, John Young, Esquire, was one of the first settlers. John Young settled the place known as the Archibald Young place. Nicholas Holly, father of Jno. Holly, came in Feb. or March 1809.

Those mentioned above were all here when Holly came. The first year the settlers beat most of their meal in a mortar and ground some in a little hand-mill. Hardy Hightower built the first mill on Bradshaw. Old Nicholas Holly moved from South Carolina to the State of Ohio, and from thence to Tennessee. He came by Columbia, by where Jno. C. Walker, Esquire, lives; By Dabney’s and by old Robert Gordon’s.


The first settlement about Mount Pisgah was by the Reverend Alex MacDonald and his brothers, Joseph, Robert and John; and his relatives Major William MacDonald and James MacDonald, all of whom came in the latter part of 1808. MacDonald settled the place now owned by Sterling Abernathy, John MacDonald, where Col. Willis Worley now lives.

Joseph Alsup came before the MacDonalds about the first of 1808, and settled in the hollow over the hill south of Alex MacDonald’s. Laban Westmoreland, the grandfather of Dr. Theo. Westmoreland settled near the John Neal place west of Mt. Pisgah hill. He came to the county about the time his brothers, Jesse and Thomas came in the latter part of 1808 or early in 1809.

He raised a crop in 1809, although his family might not have come until the latter part of the year. Aquilla Wilson, the Stovalls, Tilman R. Daniel, George Oliver, The Bradleys, Rickman Williams and Craft were early settlers in the neighborhood but the dates have not been ascertained. The first camp meeting at Mt. Pisgah was in 1811 and held near where William Oliver lived about half a mile north of Mt. Pisgah Church. In 1812 the camp meeting was held at Mount Pisgah and kept up for many years.


Thomas Marks, father of Edward and Major Lewis B. Marks came to the county the first of January 1811, and settled the place Jacob Reasonover lives on. James Dugger, Esquire, came at the same time, and settled on the place Carroll Marks now lives. They came from Davidson County by Columbia, crossed Richland Creek at John Jones’, now Fitzpatrick’s; came the Gideon road to Pulaski; camped the first night at William Gideon’s near the factory, and thence traveled over Locust Hill to Leatherwood Creek; kept on the ridge because the cane was small on the ridge, and there was no undergrowth of timber or bushes, and in some places, no cane. Where there was no cane the ground was covered with peavines.

They kept along the ridge and went down at the point where William Arrowsmith lived; and when they struck the creek they kept up the bed of the creek to avoid the large cane, and even cut a log that was across the creek and rolled it out to travel the bed of the creek as far as they could, in preference to cutting their way through the large cane on the creek bottoms. Major Nathan Davis settled the Daniel Abernathy place and Captain Thomas C. Stone, the place now owned by John M. White at a very early day; as early probably as 1808 or 1809. They settled a year or two before Marks came. A man named Stevens lived where Edward Marks now lives in January 1811. Old Tom Webb lived west of the creek on the top of the hill on the place owned By Arrowsmith heirs. Thomas McKerly built a house near where Mrs. Arrowsmith lives.

Old man Patite first settled on Locust Hill, where old Silas Flournoy settled. Flournoy came about 1813. Shade Harwell and Henry Loyd moved to the county the winter that Thomas Marks came. Austin Smith settled the place east of the Creek that Doll Hopkins lives at. Allen Abernathy was one of the first settlers in the neighborhood as was Austin Smith. At the time Thomas Marks came to the county about the last of December, 1810, or the first day of January, 1811, his son Edward was ten years old and Lewis B., eight years old.


Benjamin Benson, Early Benson, Valentine Huff, William Watson, Isham Brown and his son; old Wm. Birdwell and his son, John Birdwell, Jesse Lamb, Adam Bell and John Lamb were very early settlers on Indian Creek, and around Bunker Hill and the most of them, if not all of them, came the latter part of 1808 or the first of 1809, and made corn in 1809. Adam Bell came on the McCutcheon trace. The Birdwells settled in what has long been known as the Robert McLaurine place. John Lamb settled the place where Thomas P. Brooks now lives; he and his son moved from there to Lamb’s Ferry on the Tennessee River.

They established the ferry and from them it took its name. Isaac Lamb settled on the Northeast corner of the Jno. Bass field, where the old graveyard is. Dr. Silas McGuire settled on the Joe Rowe place. Thomas Stanford, Sr., came in the latter part of 1808 or in 1809, and settled on the West side of Indian Creek at the Ford where old Mrs. Jolly afterwards lived. James Redus, Caleb Freily, William McGuire and John Manarke [Manaske?] came in 1809 or 1810, and settled on the place afterwards called the Jno. McCormack place, or near there. Drury Alsup, in the early part of 1809 settled the place on which Nathan Bass lived; and made corn in 1809. Duncan Bown [Brown], and Daniel McCallum moved from Sumner County in the Fall of 1809; came by Columbia and by way of the Bumpass trail to Crosswater where they remained a week or two, and settled about six miles South-east of Crosswater, at the place now owned by Henry Watson. For two-thirds of the way after they left Crosswater they cut the cane to open a road for their wagons and this trail furnished a branch road for others to travel going in that direction.

They arrived at the place they settled on the 10th day of December, 1809. In 1810 or 1811, Captain John Smith from Glasgow, Scotland, settled near Duncan Brown’s. He had been a sailor for many years; was in the British Navy, and was with Nelson in the great Naval battle of Trafalgar. About 1811 or 1812, Aquila Wilson settled near McCallum on the North and Matthew Murcrief, Sr., on the South. A few years later James Paine, Esq., father of Bishop Paine, settled the Paine place one mile North-east from where McCallum lived and about the same time Robert Paine, Edward Shelton, Larkin Cardin, and Wm. B. Brooks settled about a mile South of where Brown settled. Among the first settlers on Indian Creek not named were Larkin Webb, John Reasonover, Kinchew [Kinchen] Bass, North of Bunker Hill; and John and Richard Wright, and old Jesse Perry and his sons; Buckner Madry, William Sawyers, John Sanford, Henry and John Naive [Nave], and Daniel Molloy South of it. A few years later Willis S. McLaurine, Robert McLaurine, Wm. McLaurine, Thos. Wells, Arnold Zealnor, Josiah Phelps, John McCormack, and Martin Baugh, settled in the neighborhood. Indian Creek Church, Primitive Baptist was organized in 1811. George Brown was the first preacher, and in 1811 Mrs. Nathan Bass and Mrs. William Watson were baptized and joined the Church. It is believed they were the first cases of baptism in that Church. Samuel McKnight, Wm. B. Brooks and Anold Zealnor were prominent members.


The first settlements in the County were on Elk River, about the mouth of Richland Creek. At an early day a road or way of travel was opened on the West side of the creek from the “Bumpass trail,” through the settlements to the mouth of Richland. A similar road was also opened on the East side, from Crosswater to the mouth of the creek[,] long known as the lower Elkton road. Soon after the County was organized John and Wm. Price laid off a town and sold out lots at the mouth of the creek and the place was called Lower Elkton.

It became an important shipping point and considerable business was done at it for fifteen or twenty years. Soon after a town was established at the mouth of the creek, Dr. Burnell [Purnell?] and others laid off a town on the river, three miles above and sold out lots, etc., at what is now Elkton proper; and to distinguish them, one was called Lower Elkton and one Upper Elkton. After the shipping of produce by flat boats was abandoned, Lower Elkton went down, and the distinction of Upper and Lower Elkton ceased. The neighborhood of Elkton was settled two or three years before the town was laid off.

William Phillips came in the Fall of 1808 and settled the Phillips place two miles North of Elkton. He moved from Davidson County and traveled the McCutcheon trace. William Menefee, Sr., and his sons, John and William, and his son-in-law, Benjamin Long, were among the first settlers. They came from Lincoln County, Kentucky; traveled what was called the Kentucky trace; came over the Cumberland Mountains, crossed Elk River near the head of it; came along the State Line and the old man Menefee stopped on the South side of the river opposite Elkton and settled above the ferry where Samuel Fain afterwards put up a distillery. This was about the middle of November, 1808. The old man died the following March. John Menefee settled soon afterward on the Huntsville road three miles South-east of Elkton where William S. Ezell now lives. William Menefee Jr., settled one mile North of his brother John. Benjamin Long settled half a mile North of Elkton where Dick Baugh lives at the Big Spring, near where Hanserd lives. No person then lived in Elkton. Benjamin Long was the first to settle near the town.

Mrs. Lucinda Laughlin, who is a daughter of William Menefee, Sr., and a sister of Benjamin Long’s wife says she was nearly twenty years of age when her father came; that there was not a “cane amiss” where Elkton is situated. She says, at the time her father came, John Shoemaker was living at the ferry on the river above Elkton called Shoemaker’s ferry near where the old McCutcheon trace crossed the river. She was married the eighth of March, 1810, to Alexander Laughlin by Wm. Phillips, Esquire. The license was the first issued by German Lester, Clerk of the County Court, etc., and is now in the possession of Captain George Bowers.

She was 21 years old when she married Alexander Laughlin; then lived on the South side of the river at Shoemaker’s ferry, and was here a year before her father came. He kept salt and flour to sell. He came from East Tennessee, came down the Holston in a boat and brought salt and flour. He and two of the Massengales, brothers of his first wife, owned a boat; they lived on the Holston and boated down salt, flour, and other commodities and Laughlin sold for them.

Of the first settlers now living (1876), Mrs. Laughlin was older when she came than any I have conversed with in the last year. I have conversed with none who has a more vivid and distinct recollection than she has of early times. She states that at the time her father moved to this County, her brothers Renlar and Laban were boys living with her father, and her brother Jarrett Menefee came out the next Fall. William Phillips and Benjamin Long were appointed Justices of the Peace in 1809. They were the first Magistrates in the Southern part of the County. Captain Thos. Phillips built the first house in what  is now the town of Elkton the latter part of 1810.

Captain John Hawkins, Dr. William Purnell, Captain James Perrill, Thos. Harwood, and Gustin Kerney came at an early date, about the latter part of 1810, or the first part of 1811. Kerney came a year or so later than the others. These with Thos. Phillips were among the first settlers in Elkton, Wm. and Joe. Price, Alex and John Baldridge settled near the mouth of Richland Greek on the East side at an early day; probably about the latter part of 1808, and settled what was afterwards Lower Elkton.

William Sawyers, Buckner Madry, and John Sanford [Stanford?] settled the place Ben Osborne now lives on, called the Shelton place, about the latter part of 1808 or first of 1809; and after living there a year or two settled in the hollow West or South-west of the Birdwell place. After they left the place was purchased by James Bumpass and his son-in-law, Maximilian H. Buchanan, (the grandfather) and the father of Mrs. Solon E. Rose. They lived on the place several years and sold to Edmund Shelton. He lived on it for many years.

Old man Perry and his sons Jno., Wra. [Wm.?], Alex, and George, and one or two younger ones settled the place afterwards owned by Duncan Brown on which he lived for many years and until his death. On this place, Ex-Governors Neill S., and John C. Brown were raised, and on which the latter was born. The former was born on the place his father first settled about two miles North-west. In the latter part of 1814, Daniel McCallum moved from the place he first settled about two miles south and settled the place on which he lived for many years, and until his death in 1830, being half a mile West of Duncan Brown, one mile East of James Bumpass, and four miles North of Elkton.

In 1808 and 1809 Brice M. Garner brought a boatload of salt down the Tennessee River and up Elk as far as Shoemaker’s ferry, with a view of carrying it to Fayetteville, but the stage of the water was such that he could not get his boat over the shoal above the ferry; and he stopped there and built a house near the ferry in twenty yards of the river, stored his salt and sold it out the place was called the salt house for a long time.

Salt was brought up the river in keel boats and sold there for several years. In 1811, John McCracken sold goods at the salt house, being on the old McCutcheon trace. It was  a noted stand and place for crossing the river. For the first three years the principal traveled from Pulaski and the places North of it to Huntsville crossed at Shoemaker’s. From Pulaski the first road went out by MacDonald’s and over the ridge by where John Neil now lives to the McCutcheon trace; down Indian Creek by John Birdwell and John Lamb’s to Shoemaker’s. Irishtown on Silver Creek, embracing the Southern part of the land late owned by Wm. L. Brown on the turnpike, was settled March, 1810 by Hugh Campbell. Four men by the name of Phillips (all Irish), a man named White and one by the name of Snipes, and others; Josh Campbell came a year or two later. In the Fall of 1816, at a muster at William Phillips’ the great fight between the Prices and McKinneys came off. James Price and James McKinney were the principals. Josh Campbell was the friend of the Prices, and Phelps and Jno.Smith of the McKinneys. There was no special quarrel between the principals.

The Prices were regarded as “champions” in their neighborhood and the McKinneys in theirs. One of the principals asked the other which of his family was regarded as the best man. He replied that he thought he was. The other told him to prepare himself for a fight. They engaged. They were both champions in size, physical development, game, and endurance. It was a most desperate fight and continued long. Their friends became engaged and at one time a half dozen fights were going on. The crowd became excited and almost half of them stripped to fight, without having any particular person in view to fight, or anything in particular to fight about. To one who never witnessed such a scene the effect is indescribable. The writer was then a boy. It was the first fight he ever saw and was the most gigantic one he has ever seen. Price and his friends were victorious.

Samuel Woods settled the Goode place now owned by James M. King in 1812. Previous to that George Stanford lived there, and made the first improvement. John Manaske lived on the place afterward known as the Joe. McCormack place and made powder there on a small scale. Colonel James Terrell settled the place where Dr. James A Bowers now lives. Colonel Gustin Kerney settled the place where old Jacob Miller first lived when he came to Elkmont a few hundred yards South of Dr. Bower’s residence.

The road from Elkton to Pulaski was cut out in the Fall of 1810 or Spring of 1811. Wm. Phillips was overseer of the hands to open it from Elkton to Paine’s Hill; about half the distance. Mrs. Laughlin says that after her marriage in March, 1810, to Alex Laughlin they lived on the Duty place, South of the river at Shoemaker’s ferry; and while living there the earth-quakes occurred. She says Nicholas and Sam Fain had the first stores in Elkton. That Talbot, a lame man, clerked for them, or was in the store with them; that some time after they came, Taylor and McEwin had a store there, and Maj. John Bass was in partnership with them. The Fains and Bass were merchants In Elkton for many years. They were men of the highest integrity, popular and successful in business.


It will be remembered that by the treaty of 1805, the Chickasaw Indians parted with their right to the land, North and East of a line run from the. South-west corner of Maury County to Ditto’s landing on the Tennessee River; and that all the land South and West of that line remained Indian territory until the treaty of September, 1816. Consequently the South-western part of the County could not be settled as early as the Northern and Eastern parts, although a considerable portion of the land had been entered before 1790.

The first settlers were Reuben Riggs and Henry Morgan. They lived on the place afterwards owned by Carey Gilbert. William Noblitt, James McKinney and Kallit [?] Nail were very early settlers. Nail lived at the Black place or at the foot of what was called Nail’s Hill, now called Minor Hill. James Collins was also one of the first settlers. All these were living on Indian territory at the time the United States soldiers drove the settlers back and destroyed their crops and improvements. Many of them were driven off and their crops and improvements destroyed. After the treaty of Stidember[?], 1816 the lands on the Indian side of the line were mostly secured or purchased by the settlers and that portion of the County was rapidly settled up.

James Paisley in 1818, settled the old Paisley place, and in 1820 built a horse mill. Elijah [?] settled there in 1817, and erected a water mill at what is called Shores’ Mill. In 1818, Mrs. Mary E. Gooch, mother of Daniel A. Gooch, Esq., settled on Shoal Creek, at the Gooch place; and about the same time Captain Jerry Barnes, Hezekiah Jones and David Jones, James White, Esq., settled in the neighborhood.

Mrs. Gooch made a crop in 1818. In the same year four families of the Brownings, Mat Davenport, Sam and John Hopper, James Hammonds, Asa McGee, John Boyd and Nathan Carroll, settled in the neighborhood. Reuben Riggs raised corn on the Gilbert place, and Collins on the Daniel Jones place at an early date; they are believed to be the first or among the first who raised corn in the neighborhood.

The first Church organized was by the Cumberland Presbyterians in 1818, at Paisley’s. Reverend Robert Donald and Reverend A. Smith were the preachers. Sugar Creek was settled in 1818 by Samuel Cox, Jesse Marlow, and his sons; the Appletons, Tuckers, Glen and others.

These named were among the first settlers. Cox built a mill at the place known as Malone’s Mill. There was an Indian trail leading from Nail’s Hill (now Minor Hill), towards Huntsville and perhaps to Huntsville. It was two or three feet wide; some of the first settlers claim to have driven hogs along this trail.