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* * * I have lodged a letter in my father's hands for you with some papers for you, 
which dont forget to ask him for. I have also left in his hands hard money to pay 
you what you advanced for me Going to the Assembly 

Thflt the Great Parent of Nature may always Guard & Protect you hapilythro 
this perplexing world, is the sineeer wish of Your Truly affectionate friend 

fare well Isaac Shelby 

Col. Jos. Martin 


A History of Sullivan County, Tennessee 

with brief Biographies of the 

Makers of History 





{Le Rot Press) 


Copyright 1909 


n i 
SEP 16 1909 







" Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, 
nor set down aught in malice " 

Othello— Act V, Scene 2. 


The author here acknowledges his gratitude for the many- 
courtesies extended him during the preparation of this 
history. Below is a list of some of those, from whom 
has been received valuable assistance, in the way 
of suggestions and data: B. L. Dulaney, J. Fain Ander- 
son, E. A. Warren, L. H. Denny, Wm. St. John, C. H. 
Slack, John B. Brownlow, W. G. Rutledge, George T. 
Hammer, J. McK. Phipps, J. M. Salts, N. J. Phillips, 
Robert Pile, J. E. Arrants, Guy DeVault and the Wis- 
consin Historical Society. 

A grateful recognition is also extended to the many 
others who have furnished bits of information, making 
this work possible. 

The original painting of the Battle of King's Mountain 
hangs in the lobby of the Imperial hotel, Knoxville, 
Tennessee, and I am greatly indebted to the artist, James 
Wallace, and to the owner, R. W. Fair, for permission to 
use a copy of same. 

Special acknowledgment is due Col. Sam L. King and 
Claude R. Taylor for reviewing manuscript. 


For a long time an impelling influence hung about me 
that finally pulsed into an idea that something should 
be done to preserve the history of Sullivan County. It 
was a rich mine of undeveloped memories. In my talks 
with our old people I found those memories falling into 
deplorable and pathetic decay. The written records of 
the county had been burned during the battle of Blount - 
ville in 1863. 

With a limited experience and other limited essentials 
I dared not permit myself to give existence to an effort 
so rash as the writing of a history, for well I knew it 
meant the tyranny of merciless truths. 

The beginning was a store of boyhood recollections — 
a green spot in all our lives — of the traditions and legends 
and stories told in front of back-log fires. I thought 
by linking these with the accepted and more substantial 
facts I might be able to furnish a chain strong enough 
to carry us to another generation where some one better 
equipped could bring our chronicles to a more fruitful 
completion. Encouraged by this I decided to call what- 
ever my pen should bring forth, "Folk-lore of Sullivan 
County." But when I submitted this title with my in- 
tentions to a consulting friend, rather expecting ap- 
proval, he looked at the floor for a while and then 
passively inquired: "let me see, now, which one of the 
Lores is that?" This provocation is my apology for 
giving you a history of Sullivan County. 

It will be seen I have devoted more space to Isaac 
Shelby than to any of his compatriots. This, of course, 
is because he made his home in Sullivan, was identified 

viii Historic Sullivan. 

with its interests and his followers were Sullivan County 
men. The names and fame of Sevier and Campbell and 
their associates are secure and I would in no way detract 
from them. But confined as I am to the limits of one 
county my entries cannot cover the ground of a general 

I have not allowed myself to enter into the regretful 
controversy which took place in regard to Col. Camp- 
bell's position during the battle of King's Mountain. 
Posterity has accorded him the place he so valiantly 
won during his brief but thrilling career and is not in 
sympathy with the censure visited upon any of the men 
who followed him. 

The secret of the affair, I believe, is that none of the 
men who went through that campaign ever dreamed 
their exploits would go sounding down the centuries 
or even beyond the mountains that encircled them like 
a barrier from the world without. 

They did not look for the glory of arms nor booty 
after the battle, but made an aggressive defense of their 
homes and firesides. When, in after years, the survivors 
saw that this battle would be included in the list of 
decisive battles of the world's great wars, a species of 
envy crept into their bosoms and some felt they had not 
been dealt with fairly in the bestowal of praise. Col. 
Shelby's feelings in the affair were no doubt aggravated 
by his traducers in Kentucky. He had removed there and 
in 1792 was a candidate for Governor. His opponents 
tried to defeat him with reports discrediting his valiant 
services in behalf of his country, even going so far as to 
create a doubt that he commanded a regiment at King's 

This resulted in a breezy correspondence between 
Shelby and his old time friend and companion, John 
Sevier. And, while the revival of Campbell's tardiness 
was one of the topics, it has never occurred to me that the 
origin of Shelby's attack upon him was to question 

Introduction. ix 

Campbell's bravery, but rather to sustain his own claims 
that he was one of the commanders and at the fore when 
the fighting was hottest. 

But whatever the faults of these men may have been, 
and no one denies that they had faults, this generation 
will allow no censure now and should those old warriors 
of the wood come forth in line review a grateful nation 
would grant them any wish — every man of them. 

For space devoted to a review of the life of "Raccoon" 
John Smith apologies will hardly be necessary. While 
little heard of at the present time, still I regard him 
as the rarest human product that ever sprung from the 
soil of Sullivan County. Born in a log cabin in Holston 
Valley — a poor boy and one of a large family he lived 
a knock-about life in his early days and had but five 
months school training during his entire career. He was 
tried by the severest tests of time; he was scourged by 
a living death, but with a masterful courage and unwaver- 
ing devotion to the call of duty he arose to a rank that 
made him a power throughout great portions of Kentucky, 
Tennessee and the Middle West. He was a full measure 
man and you will be glad to know more about him. 

At the close of my work, when I reviewed what I had 
written, there came sounding back to me one ringing 
regret — that I could not devote more space to the many 
worthy families of Sullivan County. I have dwelt in 
their midst all my life. Their ancestors were good people ; 
they lived peaceful lives; they broke no laws; they bade 
their neighbors good night and good morning and God- 
speed. But there are no deeds of extreme self-denial to 
their credit; they dared nothing; they dreamed their lives 

History is for posterity and that posterity prefers the 
valor of war to the virtues of peace ; it clamors for those 
scenes of conflict where battle shreds make burial shrouds. 

It has always seemed to me an unkind decree of fate that 
what is best in life is often deepest buried in forgetfulness, 

x Historic Sullivan. 

while some cruel act that jangles us rolls on down the 
years, gathering a little moss of sympathy here and there 
to soften the harsh places. By and by it reaches a 
people who, wanting to remember and ready to forgive, 
exalt the deed as one of heroic daring until it finally 
puts on the burnished armor of the ages. And so our 
"village Hampdens" and our "mute inglorious Miltons" 
must rest in one long silent sepulcher. They pass from 
view like a shadow on the dial of a day. 

In the preparation of this work I had much assistance 
in the way of suggestion and advice — some caustic it is 
true, but all evidently kindly intended, certainly in such 
a spirit received — and, what was available, appropriated. 
But had I attempted to reconcile all the various opinions 
advanced as to how this book should be written I might 
still be struggling over the mastery of any kind of con- 
struction. And this I have learned and this I am pre- 
pared to say: it is much easier to sit down in a circle of 
friends and talk history than to sit down by one's self 
and try to record history. 

I rejoice that it has been my privilege to give 
this work, with whatever merit it may have, to posterity 
as an expression of the love I have for my native county 
and state, the sentiments and traditions of whose people 
have been such an inspiration and the deeds of whose 
heroes I have always adored. 

Oliver Taylor. 

Trinkle's Valley, Sullivan County, Tennessee, 
August, 1909. 


I. — Before the Pioneer 
IL— The Cherokees 
1 1 1 .—Pioneers— Explorers— First Settlers 
IV.— The Cavalcade .... 
V.— The Frontierwoman 
VI. — Coming of the Shelbys . 
VII.— A Few Days Full of Trouble 
VIII.— The Battle of the Great Kanawha 
IX.— "Spirit of 75" 
X.— The Transylvania Trust 
XL— Battle of Island Flats . 
XII.— Christian Campaign 
XIIL— The Treaty of Long Island 
XIV.— The Shelby Campaign . 
XV.— Donelson's Voyage 
XVI.— Sullivan County 
XVIL— King's Mountain Campaign 
XVIIL— The State of Franklin . 
XIX.— Blountville 
XX.— Industries .... 
XXL— Official Life . 
XXIL— The Church 
XXIIL— War Times— Tennessee Valor 
XXIV.— Travelw ays— Transmission of Mes- 
sages .... 
XXV.— The Boundary Line 
XXVI. — Hunters of the Holston 
XXVIL— The Old Field School . 
XXVIIL— Slavery Days . 
XXIX.— Agriculture 
XXX.— The Removal 
XXXL— The Newspaper— Politics 


























xii Contents. 



. 312 


-Odds and Ends 

. 318 


-The Last Leaf— Passing of Old 



. 323 
. 325 


Adair, John . 98 

Anderson, Joseph R 305 

Blount, Wm 120 

Brown, Abel J 254 

Caldwell, George A 308 

Claiborne, W. C. C 157 

Dulaney, Elkanah R 218 

Gaines, Edmund Pendleton 195 

Gregg, Nathan 200 

Ketron, Joseph H 268 

King, James 149 

Martin, Joseph 17 

McClellan, George R 237 

Netherland, John 292 

Rhea, John 221 

Smith, "Raccoon" John 166 

Snapp, James P 279 

Sullivan, John 85 

Tadlock, James D 258 

Ward, Nancy 57 



Isaac Shelby Frontispiece 

Facsimile of Shelby's handwriting 

Opposite Frontispiece 

The Cherokee Country 4 

Type op Tennessee Frontierwoman . . 28 

When Shelby kept store at Sapling Grove . 34 
Facsimile of original muster-roll of the 
first volunteer company to leave sullivan 

County 44 

Long Island 58 

Rachel Donelson 74 

John Sullivan 84 

Map of Sullivan County (1836) ... 88 

Battle of King's Mountain .... 100 

William Blount 120 

Blountville 136 

James King 148 

W. C. C. Claiborne 156 

"Raccoon" John Smith 166 

Edmund Pendleton Gaines .... 194 

Nathan Gregg 200 

William R. Dulaney 218 

John Rhea 220 

George R. McClellan 236 

Abel J. Brown 254 

James D. Tadlock 258 

Old Field School-teacher's contract . . 262 

Joseph H. Ketron 268 

John Ross 286 

John Netherland 292 

John Slack 296 

Joseph R. Anderson 304 

George A. Caldwell 308 

Historic Spots 320 



The South is a land of sentiment. Our forefathers 
leaned upon it and were guided by it and we are not so 
far removed from the frontier as to make us forget them. 

Sullivan is still a young county. The father of today 
will tell you — "I have heard my father say that his father" 
— and there the story ends. Our white life is but four 
generations old. 

There are two eras in the life of any country — one look- 
ing forward, the other looking backward. There was a 
time in the history of Sullivan County when our fore- 
fathers yearned for the day when they would be free from 
the ever-present dangers, the surprise attack, the fire- 
brand, the massacre — all kept them in a state of alarm 
and they longed for the peace that would bring safety 
and happiness. They rarely recorded the stirring 
tragedies'of those days. They did not even try to remem- 
ber them — they tried to forget them. What made history 
for us meant horror for them. They blinded their eyes 
and deafened their ears to scenes and sounds and kept 
many sorrowful experiences from their children, thus 
cheering them on their way. 

They did not know they were making history — they 
came here to make a quiet living. They preferred the 
wild freedom of the forest to the political and religious 
persecutions of their old homes. The spirit of independ- 
ence led them here. 

The uberous years came on. 

Today the descendants of those people are prosperous 
nothing disturbs their happiness, all are safe. But, in 
the midst of thrift and luxury, they are looking backward. 
They feel they owe a debt to some one somewhere in the 
long ago and reaching back through the stretch of the fast 

2 Historic Sullivan. 

receding century they are trying to restore scraps of 
records that tell of those people and of those times. Now 
and then the faded and musty fragments of an old manu- 
script is recovered and the owner treasures it as would a 
prodigal that bit of parchment bequeathing him a rich 
legacy, unexpected and undeserved. 

There are those who go beyond the one hundred and 
thirty-five years of our settlement's life and seek to learn 
something of the people who antedate the pioneer. 
Concerning this, two theories are advanced. One, that 
this section was an unbroken forest, containing no villages 
or permanent habitations; that it was held in reserve by 
Indians as a hunting ground. 1 The other, that in the 
midst of this forest were sun-places, plains along the 
river and creek bottoms covered with cane brakes that 
needed only the torch to transform them into fertile 
farm lands; that the wigwam and hut were here and the 
spiral smoke of campfires ascended throughout the valleys. 

The latter is more plausable on account of the various 
relics that have been found throughout the county. 

This book was printed over an Indian grave. On an 
adjacent lot have been found, not only perfect arrow 
heads, but others in various stages of the making, and 
an abundance of flint chips indicating they were made 
upon the spot. There have also been found, in various 
excavations for buildings in this vicinity, pieces of Indian 
pottery, beads and bones that were in a sufficient state 
of preservation to be recognized as belonging to a pre- 
historic race; mussel and periwinkle shells that showed 
contact with fire, and it is known the Indians esteemed 
these for food, as coast tribes did the oyster and the crab. 


On the Rutledge farm, one and a half miles east of 
Blountville, are two excavations that have always been 

lit is a common but mistaken notion that Indians had regular battle grounds. 
Indians fought by stealth and surprise. 

Before the Pioneer. 3 

considered flint mines out of which the local tribes 
secured material for their arrow-heads and other weapons. 

A representative of the Department of Ethnology 2 
in his researches throughout the county, among other 
things, found at Beidleman's mill on the Holston a 
mound containing copper implements of Indian make. 
The various tribes, on their hunting and trading 3 expedi- 
tions, were in the habit of exchanging wares, which 
accounts for copper being in this section. 

At Benjamin Wexler's, on the top of a near-by knob, 
the representative found two graves containing the same 
kind of material as that found at Beidleman's. 

Cyrus Thomas, 4 one of the chiefs of the Department, 
that pertaining to Indian mounds, instructed the agent 
to go to the Shipley farm, near Cawood ford on the Holston 
and examine a large mound reported found there. Upon 
opening it twelve skeletons were found. These skeletons 
were in a sitting posture. One sat in the center while 
the eleven others were in a circle around it — all facing 
the center as if in council. Over each skeleton had been 
erected a crude vault of large river bowlders. The mound 
had the usual accompaniment of charcoal and ashes and 
corn found in all Indian graves. Lying beside the center 
skeleton were two large steotite pipes, such fine specimens 
of the kind as to attract much inquiry. They are now on 
exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution, the fifth annual 
report giving an illustration and description. 

At the John Morrell farm, in the adjoining county of 
Carter, is a field of ashes, in such evident quantity that 

2J. W. Emmert. 

3It was customary, and still is, to a limited extent in the West, for large parties, 
sometimes a whole band or a village, to make long visits to other tribes, dancing, 
feasting and trading. Regular trade routes crossed the continent and inter-tribal 
commerce was as constant and well organized a part of Indian life as is our own 
railroad traffic today. — Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee, p. 235. 

4Cyrus Thomas is a Sullivan County man and formerly lived at Kingsport. 
In his youth he clerked in the Netherland store; later he taught school near the 
Ross place. In his young manhood he went to Illinois and there married the sister 
of Gen. John A. Logan. He became connected with his present work many 
years ago and is today (1908), although about eighty years of age, still in the service. 

4 Historic Sullivan. 

would require all the timber in the neighborhood to make 
an equal sized heap. This indicates a permanent village or 
a camp of long and constant use. 

Dr. Thomas Walker, in his journal, says he found 
unoccupied Indian cabins of substantial structure when 
exploring this country in 1748.' 

The Cherokees were the aborigines of Tennessee, or 
perhaps should be described as the tribe of Indians in 
possession of this land when the first white people came 

Their warlike deeds, their fierce, revengeful spirit, the 
massacres they perpetrated have been described by 
many historians. This work will, therefore, describe the 
interior of their nation — explaining their religion, super- 
stitions, their myths, their games and hunts; how they 
loved and how they worshipped, how they were influenced, 
how they lived in peaceful times. 



The Cherokees are the mountain red men of the South. 
Their original boundary included the northern parts of 
Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Western North Caro- 
lina, nearly all of Tennessee and Kentucky, Southwest 
Virginia and part of West Virginia. They were con- 
sidered the most important and most intellectual tribe 
and, excepting perhaps the Iroquois, the most powerful. 
They numbered about twenty -five thousand. Their 
boundary line, which to an Indian was seldom plainly 
defined, was always in dispute and tribal aggressions 
occasioned many wars. 

In Virginia, the Powhatans and Monacans contended 
against the Cherokees for territory. They were held in 
check in North and South Carolina by the Tuscarora and 
Catawba. The Creeks would have none of them in North 
Georgia. To the west, the Chicasaw and Shawano, along 
the lower Tennessee and Cumberland, repeatedly hurled 
their forces against them, and the bold and ferocious 
Iroquois denied them any pass way to the North. 

The Cherokees were the first to feel the onward march 
of the white man and little by little, either by war, treaty, 
or by purchase, were pushed back until, by their final 
cession, they were huddled together in small portions 
of Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. 

The Cherokees, though generally supposed to be, were not 
migratory, except on hunting and trading voyages and in 
wars. They were an agricultural people, cultivating 
orchards and large fields of corn and potatoes. Their 
nation comprised more than fifty towns, the capital, 
Echota, being situated near what is now Tellico, Tennessee. 

The name which this tribe knew itself by was Yun-wi-ya 
or Ani-yun-wiya, meaning "principal people," which 

6 Historic Sullivan. 

they considered themselves. The name Cherokee has 
no meaning in the tribe's language 1 and is either a cor- 
rupted name or a nickname. A dialect name in the tribe 
is Tsar-i-ga, meaning "cave people," because they were 
mountain dwellers among the cave regions. The English 
corrupted this name into Cherokee and the Spanish into 

Linguists declare the dialect of the East Tennessee 
Cherokee is the softest and most musical of this tribe's 
musical language 

religion of the cherokees. 

There is a general impression the Indians worshipped 
one god called the "Great Spirit." This impression is 
supported by discoveries among the contents of graves 
where, along with the dead, are deposited evidences of a 
belief in the immortality of the soul. The dead pony and 
the broken bow are lain upon the departed warrior's 
grave — mute testimony of the service they will render 
him in the "happy hunting ground." 

According, however, to A-yun-inior "Swimmer," 2 the 
keeper of the traditions of his race, many gods were 
worshipped by the Cherokees — they had no idea of 
heaven or hell or the hereafter — all their invocations 
were made for temporal use and addressed to tangible 
gods. The most important of their animal gods are the 
rabbit, squirrel, dog, hawk, terrapin and rattlesnake. 

The "Long Person," meaning river, is addressed on all 
occasions, no ceremony being complete without it. 

In plant life the chief god, ginseng or "sang," is called 


2Mooney is the most convincing authority on Indian history I have examined . 
He appears to have been satisfied to hide behind a salary. ' 'Swimmer" is a dis- 
covery of his and from whom most of the myth material was secured. The author 
mourned the Indian's death, declaring "he was buried like a true Cherokee_ on the 
elope of a forest-clad mountain. Peace to his ashes and sorrow to his going, for 
with him perished half the traditions of a people." During the Civil War, "Swim- 
mer" was second sergeant in a company with Thomas' Legion. He was born in 
1835 and was sixty-five years old at his death. James Keelan, known as the 
"hero of the Strawberry Plains bridge, ' ' was rescued by this company after he had 
been left for dead. 

The Cherokees. 7 

"Little Man" on account of its appearance. Digging it, the 
Indian passed by the first three plants selecting the fourth. 3 

One form of prayer is addressed to the "Red -headed 
woman with hair hanging to the ground, ' ' but it is not clear 
just what the entreaty is or what the response. The 
rattlesnake, deer and ginseng form a weird trinity. To 
kill the first would cause the other two to disappear 
from the wood. The deer is the most prized of animal 

The Cherokee regarded the snake with reverential fear 
and, unless compelled, would never kill one. If he did 
kill one in self-defense he immediately sought the service 
of a priest to appease the spirit of the snake lest the 
relatives of the deceased should come and avenge the death. 
If an Indian dreamed of being bitten by a snake he is 
treated in the same manner as if he had been bitten. 
When an Indian is bitten by a snake, in addition to singing 
a formula, tobacco juice is rubbed on the wound, the 
patient going round four times and always turning toward 
the left because the snake, in coiling, turns toward the 
right. The reversal of movement means uncoiling it. 

When a snake is killed the head is chopped off and buried 
an arm's length underground and the body is placed in a 
hollow log to hide it from the view of other snakes and 
to prevent a long wet spell. 4 

The Indians also spared a wolf, venerating it as the 
hunter and watch dog. 

In the animal myths the rabbit figures most prominently 
and is called the mischief maker, being also considered 
malicious. A broth made of him and sprinkled along a 
path where a runner is to make a race confuses him and 
causes him to become timid. 

The aid of the beaver, on account of his well-known 

3The numbers 4 and 7 are talismanic in the Indian lore. 4 is especially sacred 
in ceremonial observances and in medicine. 

4Probably the origin of the habit, among superstitious whites, of hanging a 
dead snake on a fence or tree to bring rain during a drouth. 

8 Historic Sullivan. 

gnawing capacity, is invoked in behalf of teething children. 
Animals are represented as speaking and have their 
councils and meeting-houses. At one of their councils 
the discussion arose as to what should be done with Man, 
the arch enemy. All favored destroying him except the 
little ground squirrel who, being so small, unnoticed and 
therefore unharmed by man, now took occasion to defend 
him. This act so enraged the polar bear, who was 
presiding, that he reached over and scratched the little 
squirrel on the back, leaving the claw marks to this day. 
In this lore other marks and peculiarities of appearance 
are accounted for. 


The eagle is the sacred bird of the Indian and is featured 
in their religious observances. Its beautiful tail feathers, 
much prized for head ornaments, often brought as much 
as a horse. None but a professional eagle-killer dared 
to kill an eagle. There were ceremonials to go through. 
The eagle-killer prayed four days then killed a deer, 
exposing the fresh meat, while he hid himself, awaiting 
the eagle. On killing one he allowed it to remain four 
days to permit the parasites to leave it. The feathers 
were then secured and a dance arranged in honor. 

In reporting the capture of an eagle to the tribe the 
eagle-killer would not, out of fear, speak the name of the 
eagle but would say "a snow bird has died." 5 

The buzzard is the doctor. On account of feasting 
upon the dead it is supposed to be immune from disease. 
A small quantity of its flesh eaten or a broth of it used 
as a wash is believed to be a sure cure for small pox and 
was used among the eastern Cherokees during the epidemic 
of 1866. A buzzard feather hung on the door will keep 

5There is a similar superstition on the stage. At the rehearsal of a new play 
the last line is often not spoken until the night of the first performance, other 
words being substituted. A spectator, at a rehearsal once, not knowing this, was 
startled, when at the close of a thrilling curtain climax, the star shouted ' "Three 
beers, please." — N. O. Pacayne. 

The Cherokees. 9 

out witches, they believe, and in the application of medi- 
cine to wounds the quill of a buzzard feather is employed, 
medicine being blown through it. 

The owl and all night calling birds are believed to be 
ghosts or witches and their cry is considered a sign of 
coming danger. A child's eye bathed with water in 
which an owl feather has been dipped will cause the 
child to stay awake all night. 

The wren is the stork of the Indian tribe because he is 
always slipping in and around homes and hears what is 
going on. He carries the news of a birth. When an 
Indian wishes to know the sex of a child he inquires, 
"is it a bow or (meal) sifter?" 


The Cherokees anticipated the germ or microbe theory 
long before its scientific discovery. They claimed all 
human ailments of a lurking, insidious nature were caused 
by insects and because thousands of them were constantly 
being killed by man they entered slyly, destroying the 
human system out of revenge. 

The Cherokees believe all cruelties are punished in 
this life, if not upon the one doing the deed, upon some 
relative or upon a future generation of his kindred. 

The cricket is the barber and also on account of its 
singing qualities plays an important part in various ways. 
Children slow of speech have their tongues scratched 
with the claw of a cricket to make them sing and even 
eloquent. Older persons are treated likewise, but with 
less effect. 

The moth that flutters around the light, the Cherokee 
says, "is going to bed." It is invoked by the healer in 
"fire diseases, including sore eyes and frost bite." 

The spring lizzard is the rain-maker. 

The large crawfish is used to scratch the hand of a 
child to give it a strong grip. 

10 Historic Sullivan. 

When a jarfly sings, they say "the jarfly has brought 
the beans," his song being taken as a sign that beans are 

During an eclipse they believe a great frog swallows 
the sun and at such times fire guns, beat drums and make 
other loud noises to frighten the frog away. 


The Indian's idea of medicine is very crude. Their 
reputed knowledge of the medicinal value of herbs has 
been exploded by scientific test. Out of twenty plants 
tested only five had the curative virtue Indians attributed 
to them, while the remainder were of questionable value 
or even injurious. 

A decoction of cockleburs is recommended for for- 
getfulness because nothing sticks like a bur. 

In rheumatism a patient is forbidden to eat or even 
touch a squirrel, a buffalo, a cat or any animal that 
"humps" because the one suffering often assumes the 
attitude described. 

The ball player, in like manner, is not allowed to eat 
frog legs because the bones of the frog are brittle and 
easily broken. 


In courtship, like death, all people are brought to a 
common level. Although the way of making love may 
be clothed, by different nations, in different forms of 
speech — all mean the same. The Cherokees have a 
regular formula for making love as they have for making 
medicine. How near like the love-making of civilized 
nations may be seen. White to an Indian is the symbol 
of happiness as blue is the symbol of sorrow. 6 When, 
in the following formula, the lover speaks of "white 
woman" he means "happy woman." 

6Perhaps the origin of "the blues." 

The Cherokees. 11 

The Indian lover tried to make the one he loved appear 
as lonely and miserable without him as he could, at the 
same time extolling his own merits and debasing these of 
all rivals. She should never be lonely with him — the 
term loneliness being the most abject state a person 
could get into, according to the Indian view of it. Lone- 
liness to a dusky maiden meant about the same as poverty 
to a white maiden contemplating marriage. 7 

" Ku ! Listen ! In Alahiyi you repose, 0, Terrible Woman, 
you have drawn near to hearken. There in Elahiyi 
you are at rest, White Woman. No one is lonely 
when with you. You are most beautiful. Instantly 
and at once you have rendered me a white man. No 
one is ever lonely when with me. Now you have made 
the path white for me. It shall never be dreary. Now 
you have put me into it. It shall never become blue. 
You have brought down to me from above the white 
road. There in mid-earth (mid-surface) you have placed 
me. I shall stand erect upon the earth. No one is ever 
lonely when with me. I am very handsome. You have 
put me into the white house. I shall be in it as it moves 
about and no one with me shall ever be lonely. Verily, I 
shall never become blue. Instantly you have caused it to 
be so with me. 

"And now there in Elahiyi you have rendered the woman 
blue. Now you have made the path blue for her. Let 
her be completely veiled in loneliness. Put her into the 
blue road. And now bring her down. Place her stand- 
ing upon the earth. Where her feet are now and where- 
ever she may go, let loneliness leave its mark upon her. 
Let her be marked out for loneliness where she stands. 

"Ha! I belong to the (Wolf) ( + +) clan, that one 
alone which was allotted into for you. No one is ever 
lonely with me. I am handsome. Let her put her soul 

7Poverty does not seem to have played any part among the earlier Indians — 
all had an equal chance and there was considerable thrift among them. 

12 Historic Sullivan. 

the very center of my soul, never to turn away. Grant 
that in the midst of men she shall never think of them. 
I belong to the one clan alone which was allotted for you 
when the seven clans were established. 

"Where (other) men live it is lonely. They are very 
loathsome. The common polecat has made them so 
like himself that they are fit only for his company. The 
common oppossum has made them so like himself that 
they are fit only to be with him. They are very loathsome. 
Even the crow has made him so like himself that they are 
fit only for his company. They are very loathsome. 
The miserable rain-crow has made them so like himself 
that they are fit only to be with him. 

"The seven clans all alike make one feel very lonely 
in their company. They are not even good looking. 
They go about clothed with mere refuse. But I — I was 
ordained to be a white man. I stand with my face 
toward the Sun Land. No one is ever lonely with me. 
I am very handsome. I shall certainly never become 
blue. I am covered by the everlasting white house 
wherever I go. No one is ever lonely with me. Your 
soul has come into the very center of my soul, never to 
turn away. I — (Gatigwanasti,) (0 0) — I take your soul. 

The reader of history is inclined to regard the Indian 
merely as a warrior, a hunter of scalps, a cruel slayer 
of women and children, but Indian literature has a charm 
of simplicity peculiar. Their legends, stories and folk- 
lore are not surpassed in any language and have been 
borrowed from, many times. 8 

In relating a story, the one telling it always begins 
by saying, "and this is what the old man told me when 
I was a boy." 

8Joel Chandler Harris is supposed to have created his "Uncle Remus" out of 
the Southern negro; in reality he simply supplied the Indian lore with the more 
familiar dialect. "Brer Rabbit" is the same mischievous fellow the Indian story 
tellers delighted their children with during the long winter days around their wigwam 
fires. There are instances where writers have paraphrased the original text. 

The Cherokees 13 

the rabbit and the tar wolf. 

"Once there was such a long spell of dry weather that 
there was no more water in the creeks and springs, and 
the animals held a council to see what to do about it. 
They decided to dig a well, and all agreed to help except 
the Rabbit, who was a lazy fellow, and said, 'I don't 
need to dig for water. The dew on the grass is enough 
for me.' The others did not like this, but they went to 
work together and dug the well. 

"They noticed that the Rabbit kept slick and lively, 
although it was still dry weather and the water was getting 
low in the well. They said, 'That tricky Rabbit steals 
our water at night,' so they made a wolf of pine gum and 
tar and set it up by the well to scare the thief. That 
night the Rabbit came, as he had been coming every night, 
to drink enough to last him all the next day. He saw 
the queer black thing by the well and said, 'Who's 
there?' but the tar wolf said nothing. He came nearer, 
but the wolf never moved, so he grew braver and said, 
'Get out of my way or I'll strike you.' Still the wolf 
never moved and the Rabbit came up and struck it with 
his paw, but the gum held his foot and he stuck fast. 
Now he was angry and said, 'Let me go or I'll kick you.' 
Still the wolf said nothing. Then the Rabbit struck again 
with his hind foot, so hard that it was caught in the gum 
and he could not move, and there he stuck until the animals 
came for water in the morning. When they found who 
the thief was they had great sport over him for a while 
and then got ready to kill him, but as soon as he was 
unfastened from the tar wolf he managed to get away." 


"A man was in love with a woman who disliked him 
and would have nothing to do with him. He tried every 
way to win her favor, but to no purpose, until at last he 
grew discouraged and made himself sick thinking over it. 
The Mole came along, and finding him in such low condi- 

14 Historic Sullivan. 

tion asked what was the trouble. The man told him the 
whole story, and when he had finished the Mole said: 
'I can help you, so that she will not only like you, but 
will come to you of her own will.' So that night the 
Mole burrowed his way underground to where the girl 
was in bed asleep and took out her heart. He came 
back by the same way and gave the heart to the man, 
who could not see it even when it was put into his hand. 
'There,' said the Mole, 'swallow it, and she will be drawn 
to come and can not keep away.' The man swallowed 
the heart, and when the girl woke up she somehow 
thought at once of him, and felt a strange desire to be 
with him, as though she must go to him at once. She 
wondered and could not understand it, because she had 
always disliked him before, but at last the feeling grew 
so strong that she was compelled to go herself to the 
man and tell him she loved him and wanted to be his 
wife. And so they were married, but all the magicians 
who had known them both were surprised and wondered 
how it had come about. When they found that it was 
the work of the Mole, whom they had always before 
thought too insignificant for their notice, they were very 
jealous and threatened to kill him, so that he hid himself 
under the ground and has never since dared to come up 
to the surface." 


"In the old days the Terrapin had a fine whistle, but 
the Partridge had none. The Terrapin was constantly 
going about whistling and showing his whistle to the 
other animals until the Partridge became jealous, so 
one day, when they met the Partridge asked leave to 
try it. The Terrapin was afraid to risk it at first, suspect- 
ing some trick, but the Partridge said, 'I'll give it back 
right away, and if you are afraid you can stay with me 
while I practice.' So the terrapin let him have the 
whistle and the Partridge walked around blowing on it 

The Cherokees. 15 

in fine fashion. 'How does it sound with me?' asked the 
Partridge. '0, you do very well,' said the Terrapin, 
walking along. 'Now, how do you like it,' said the 
Partridge, running ahead and whistling a little faster. 
'That's fine,' answered the Terrapin, hurrying to keep 
up, 'but don't run so fast.' 'And now, how do you like 
this?' called the Partridge, and with that he spread his 
wings, gave one long whistle, and flew to the top of a 
tree, leaving the poor Terrapin to look after him from the 
ground. The Terrapin never recovered his whistle, and 
from that, and the loss of his scalp, which the Turkey 
stole from him, he grew ashamed to be seen, and ever 
since he shuts himself up in his box when any one comes 
near him." 


"The North went traveling, and after going far and 
meeting many different tribes he finally fell in love with 
the daughter of the South and wanted to marry her. 
The girl was willing, but her parents objected and said, 
'Ever since you came the weather has been cold, and if 
you stay here we may all freeze to death.' The North 
pleaded hard, and said that if they would let him have 
their daughter he would take her back to his own country, 
so at last they consented. They were married and he 
took his bride to his own country, and when she arrived 
there she found the people all living in ice houses. 

"The next day, when the sun rose, the houses began to 
leak, and as it began to climb higher they began to melt, 
and it grew warmer and warmer, until finally the people 
came to the young husband and told him he must send 
his young wife home again, or the weather would get so 
warm that the whole settlement would be melted. He 
loved his wife and held out as long as he could, but as the 
sun grew hotter the people were more urgent, and at last 
he had to send her home to her parents. 

16 Historic Sullivan. 

"The people said that she had been born in the South 
and nourished all her life upon food that grew in the same 
climate, her whole nature was warm and unfit for the 

There is a popular idea that the Indians had no humor. 


"Two old men went hunting. One had an eye drawn 
down and was called Uk-kwunagita, 'Eye-drawn -down.' 
The other had an arm twisted out of shape and was called 
Uk-kusuntsuti, 'Bent -bow-shape.' They killed a deer 
and cooked the meat in a pot. The second old man 
dipped a piece of bread into the soup and smacked his 
lips as he ate. 'Is it good?' said the first old man. Said 
the other, 'Hayu! uk-kwunagi'sti — Yes, sir! It will draw 
down one's eye.' 

"Thought the first old man to himself, 'He means 
me.' So he dipped a piece of bread into the pot, and 
smacked his lips as he tasted it. 'Do you find it good?' 
said the other old man. Said his comrade, 'Hayu! 
uk-ku'suntsuteti — Yes, sir! It will twist up one's arm.' 
Thought the second old man, 'He means me;' so he got 
very angry and struck the first old man, and then they 
fought until each killed the other." 

Joseph Martin 
a biography 

Joseph Martin was one of the leading frontiermen of 
Sullivan County, and was one of the county's most useful 
men when it was in the greatest need. He was born in 
Albemarle county, Virginia, in 1740. His early school- 
ing was neglected through his own incorrigible nature, 
that would bear no restraint. Among his early associates 
were Gen. Thomas Sumter and Col. Benjamin Cleveland, 
the latter a hero of King's Mountain. 

Martin, when a boy of sixteen, ran away from home and 
joined the army. He led a roving, hunter's life for many 
years, as did so many who afterwards became border he- 
roes. It was the school of experience in which they train- ' 
ed. He became associated with Dr. Thomas Walker in 
his explorations and in one of these expeditions visited 
Powell's Valley, where he decided to locate. Here he 
raised a large crop of corn in 1769. 

During the Indian raids of 1774 he commanded a fort 
on the frontier and was also a leader of scouts. 

When Henderson and his Transylvania Company pur- 
chased the immense tracts of land from the Cherokees, 
Martin was made their agent in Powell's Valley. He was 
captain of a company, with Christian, against the Chero- 
kees in 1776. 

In '1777 he was appointed, by Gov. Patrick Henry, 
Indian agent and took up his residence on Long Island. 
Here he lived until 1789. 

Martin was a man physically well proportioned, being 
six feet tall and weighing two hundred pounds. On one 
occasion he was returning with two companions to the 
Holston settlement when the party was waylaid by two 
Indians who suddenly emerged from a cave. One of the 
men was shot and the Indian who committed the murder 
retreated into the cave. Martin crawled into the cave, 

18 Historic Sullivan 

killed the Indian and dragged him out. 1 

While Martin was a brave and almost reckless Indian 
fighter he was also an Indian pacifier. It was as a diplo- 
mat he rendered his most brilliant service to the country. 
His treaties were lasting, for the Cherokees had great 
confidence in him. At one time, while visiting the 
Cherokee country, he came into contact with the British 
agent and so powerful was his sway that he had the agent 

His influence with the Cherokees was largely due to his 
having been adopted by that tribe — he had married Betsy 
Ward, the beautiful daughter of Nancy Ward, although 
at the time he had a lawful wife. This act he always tried 
to explain to his children, who were chagrined by it, by 
saying it was to further his influences in bringing about 
treaties. His white wife, although a woman of refine- 
ment, would never let her children speak disrespectfully 
about their father on account of the morganatic alliance. 
And although Gen. Martin, after the death of his first wife, 
married a woman of some distinction, he still lived with 
his Indian wife, the second wife also countenancing the 

He was associated with Isaac Shelby and John Donel- 
son in formulating the treaty of 1783 at Long Island and 
was also one of the leading figures in the treaty of Hope- 
well (S. C.) in 1785. 

He came near being the territorial governor of the 
Territory South of the Ohio, and Thomas Jefferson, Patrick 
Henry and others used their influence with Washington, 
who was then President (1790), to have him appointed, 
but the office falling to a North Carolina man, William 
Blount was appointed. These two men worked together 
harmoniously. It was through such diplomatic influence 
that the Indians were kept inactive and the Kings Moun- 
tain campaign was made possible. 

1 Draper MSS. Notes 32. 

Joseph Martin 19 

In a military way Martin rose to the rank of Brigadier- 

He retired from service in 1789, returned to Virginia 
and resided in Henry County. 2 Here he engaged in poli- 
tics, was elected to the legislature and became Madison's 
right hand man. 

His last public service, of interest, was to run the boun- 
dary line between Tennessee and Virginia in 1800. 

He died at his home in Henry County, December 
18, 1808. 

2Martinsville ii now the county seat of Henry County. 



In 1759 Col. William Byrd was ordered by the 
Governor of Virginia to collect a number of men and 
proceed to the relief of Fort Loudon. This fort, the 
first built on Tennessee soil, was erected in 1756 
by Gen. Andrew Lewis, about thirty miles below 
Knoxville. For a long time it enjoyed the undisturbed 
friendship of the Indians, by whose permission it was 
built, but in 1760 it was suffering the terrors of an Indian 

A weaker race is always suspicious and jealous of a 
superior race. This is nowhere better illustrated than 
among the red and white races of America. The latter 
were never guarded enough in their treatment of the 
Indians nor careful enough with their pledges of peace, 
often violating treaties which had been made, in con- 
sequence of which they suffered much from the reckless 
barbarity of their own irresponsible men. Some of the 
Indians had been murdered on their return from the North 
and their kinsmen now sought to avenge these deeds 
and, as was unfortunately, but often the case, their 
vengeance was visited upon the most defenseless and 
innocent. A life for a life, they cared not whom, was 
their religion and law. 

On his way to relieve the fort Byrd built another 
one at New River and called it Fort Chiswell, in honor 
of his friend, John Chiswell, who was operating the lead 
mines of that vicinity. His men became dissatisfied 
with the conduct of the campaign and on arriving at 
Stalnaker's 1 Byrd resigned and Col. Stephen was put 

INear Marion, Va. 

The Pioneers— Explorers — First Settlers. 21 

in charge, with a young and ambitious sub-officer, 
Henry Timberlake, who was also an expert surveyor. 

From Stalnaker's they proceeded to Long Island and 
there erected a large and substantial fort, naming it Fort 
Robinson. 2 

On August 8th, 1760, Fort Loudon 's fate was sealed 
by surrender and then treacherous massacre. 

When Fort Robinson was completed the Indians, 
four hundred in number, headed by Chief Oconostota, 
arrived and sued for peace — no doubt fearing punish- 
ment for their crime at Fort Loudon. A treaty was 
entered into November 16, 1761, 3 on the completion 
of which the chief requested that one of the garrison 
accompany him to his nation as a pledge of good faith. 
Timberlake agreed to go. 

Not long after Fort Robinson was completed the 
country began to be settled. The first pioneers, however, 
did not come with the purpose of settling here. Those 
who ventured this far came in straggling bands, as hunters 
or, as in the case of Daniel Boone and his party, bound 
for a section beyond this. But all who happened along 
the fertile valleys of the Holston went back with glowing 
tales of the country and what there was here for those 
who had the courage to make it a home. 

Stephen Holston paddled his canoe down far enough 
to give the river its name. 4 

2Summers' Southwest Virginia. 

3This I believe is the first treaty made in Sullivan — historians, generally 
seemed to have overlooked it. Timberlake in his memoirs describes his reception 
in the Cherokee nation in a very dramatic manner. Several hundred savages 
painted in a picturesque manner met him on his entrance into their towns and 
among other friendly acts to show how welcome he was, an expert knife-thrower 
hurled a sabre which buried itself in the ground within two inches of his foot. 
They then escorted him into the council chamber where his reception was concluded 
in the presence of a large number of warriors. He staid in the nation several 
months, then took several chiefs on a visit to England but, having no credentials 
to show who he was or what there for, was treated rather cooly, at which,he returned 

4The Indians called this river Cherokee and Coot-cla as far down as the mouth 
of French Broad. Then it took the name of Hogoheege. 

22 Historic Sullivan 

coming of boone. 

The Boone trail struck Sullivan County at George's Gap, 
named for James George, 5 one of the Boone party, thence 
down through Shady valley, near what is now called Fish 
Dam. Here a skirmish took place with the Indians 
and a log fort was erected, James George remaining 
in charge. This spot is still known, by some, as "fort 

Boone evidently followed the course of the Holston 
river. On a farm near Emmett Station on the Virginia 
and Southwestern railroad, two workmen, Ben Webb and 
Ed Scalf, who were clearing a tract of new ground in 1893, 
dug up a copper kettle in which a sapling about three 
inches in diameter was growing. The men paid little 
attention to the vessel beyond a few speculations as to 
how it come to be buried there. 

Afterwards some one discovered the inscription "D. 
Boone 1760" carved under the rim. This at once 
placed a premium upon its value, in their eyes, and it is 
still held at a high price. 6 

Boone spent but little time in Sullivan on his first trip 
to Cumberland Gap. 

The first account of permanent settlers was of those 

5James George was a man of great physical strength. Tests of strength 
were common in the early days and challenges frequent. Those old warriors that 
were fearless in battle were almost desperate in brawls. One day George sent 
for the old pioneer doctor, Elkanah Dulaney, and told him he had sent for him 
to pull all his teeth. The doctor protested, saying, George's teeth were too sound 
to be pulled, whereupon the latter replied: " If you don't pull 'em I'll bite Blevins' 
ear or nose off the very next fight we get into." The law against biting and maim- 
ing was more strictly enforced then than now and meant a penitentiary term. The 
doctor humored the inevitable and extracted all his teeth. The George family keep 
these teeth in a pearl case as heirlooms and molar evidence of a mighty strength. 
The family is also remarkable for its longevity as were many of the families whose 
ancestors lived out-door lives. Dr. John George, now in his eighty-fifth year, 
is a son of James George and says the latter died in his ninety-sixth year, when the 
former was but a few months old. These two lives reach back one hundred and 
eighty-one years, making the elder twenty-three years of age when accompanying 

6 I have seen this kettle and while all such evidences, like it and the famous 
beech tree, are more or less apochryphal and, while I am not so moved by the 
emotional surprises of relic dicoveries as to accept everything as absolute proof, 
at the same time I do not belong to the ultra-sceptic class who will accept nothing 
circumstantial. I am ready to believe the carving on the tree and also on the 
kettle is genuine and the work of the same man. These evidences are along the 
line of the trail and deserve some consideration and may have some providential 

The Pioneers— Expolrers— First Settlers. 23 

who came here in 1765. In the spring of this year John 
Sharp, Thomas Sharp and Thomas Henderson came 
from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, cleared some land and 
raised a crop of corn on the farm once owned by D. 0. 
King in Holston Valley. In the fall at harvest time 
they improvised cribs of poles and put up their corn. 
They then returned to their homes in Pennsylvania, 
and in the spring of 1766, came back with their families 
only to find their previous season's crop almost totally 
destroyed by the wild animals that roamed at will during 
their absence. They settled upon three different tracts 
of land — the one later owned by King, another once owned 
by Gen. John R. Delaney, and the third, formerly the 
property of Ireson Longacre. These farms were about 
five miles apart and were all bordering upon the Holston 

In the spring of 1767, two years after the first settlers 
made their homes in the county, Jacob Womack built a 
fort two miles east of Bluff City on the land once owned 
by Sam Miller. 

Andrew Crockett brought his famly from Ireland in 
1769 and forted at Womack 's during Indian raids. It 
was here Margaret Crockett was born November 20, 1770, 
and is supposed to be the first white child born in Sulli- 
van County. These Crocketts were the ancestors of 
Davy Crockett. 7 " 8 

Following these people came a large number of others 
of wider experience and wealth — men whose names were 
destined to illume the pages of history, give strength to 
the community, and to make possible lasting peace upon 
the border. 

TDeery MSS. 

8Limestone, the reputed birth place of Davy Crocket, has no absolute proof 
of this birth claim. • His first biographer stated it and those following fell in line 
with the idea. Sullivan was the home of his ancestors and while there is no 
record, so far known, of his birth in this county, it is more than probable he was 
born here. . . 

Among the county records at Abingdon, Va., is a will of David Crockett's 
and this is witnessed by Sudivan County men — among them Congressman McClel- 
lan. This Crockett was an ancestor of Davy Crockett 



It is a wise yet sometimes strange provision that what 
is most needed and most beneficial is most plentiful. The 
stage coach with all of its attendant grandeur is gone, 
but the old wagon that carried our forefathers over the 
mountains and along the little rough trail remains. 
There is less change in the make of this vehicle than of 
any mode of conveyance yet introduced. The man 
who first designed this wagon's bed evidently gave it 
to the world complete, for there seems to have been 
no change in it for a century. 

It is built after the manner of an ancient battle ship, 
galley shape — a dip in the middle and the rear built much 
higher than the front. 

The high back was evidently intended as a precaution 
against robbers as well as protection against a lurking 
foe. These beds, 1 with their contents placed against the 
sides, have often been laid seige to and big battles have 
been fought from within their reinforced sides and rear. 
When going into camp travelers would place their wagons 
in a circle for protection. 

The tar bucket and one dog were tied to the rear axle 
while the remainder of the pack followed. Early in the 
day the dogs following would give chase to wild game, 
much to the discomfiture of the dog that was tied to the 
axle, but toward the close of the day's march all of them 
were content to follow close, being fagged out. 

The lead horse, and sometimes others, had bells on them. 
These seemed to add cheer to all the caravan. When the 
horses were hitched and the bells began to tinkle the dogs 
leaped in delight that the day's journey was to begin again. 

1 Wagons with these beds are still known as "North Carolina wagons" — 
the first travelers from that state used them, and the name clings to this day. 

The Cavalcade. 25 

Check lines were unknown in the early days and were 
not introduced until the eighteenth century was far ad- 
vanced. The team was guided by the rider who rode the 
lead horse. 

The cattle were nearly always driven behind the wagons. 
Bells were tied to them too and, unless in case of men 
outriders, the horses with the packs followed the wagons 
also. Very often young children were placed upon the 
horses and carried, one on either side, in large baskets — 
papoose style. 

The pack saddle was made out of limbs of trees that 
forked at the proper angle, much in shape like the wish- 
bone of a chicken. Two of these having been cut the 
proper length and the prongs being rounded to fit the 
animal's back, short boards were placed across, fastened 
with wooden pegs and the saddle was complete. A 
good fork was not always to be found and any tree that 
had one was carefully noted. 2 


Should the cavalcade meet a traveler going in the oppo- 
site direction — which, however, did not often occur — after 
the surprise greetings they plied him with questions: 

"Can we reach by night?" or "how far is it to 

meadows?" and like interrogatories, their aim 

being always to reach a suitable camping spot before 
sundown, one near a spring and grazing. The pioneers 
had a peculiar knowledge of the country just as in some 
unaccountable way they had of events. News traveled 
with almost incredible swiftness, considering their means 
of transmission. Stopping for the night, the horses were 
unhitched, the bell-horse and bell-cow being tethered, 
while the remainder of the herd was allowed to forage 
at will. Then the men of the party built a fire and the 

2So highly prized were these saddle forks that on one occasion an old minister, 
preaching to his flock in a grove and seeing one of the coveted limbs in a nearby 
tree, without stopping -his sermon, said, in a sing-song tone, 'brethren -I see a 
fork in yonder tree." — Williams. 

26 Historic Sullivan. 

women began the cooking. A skillet or frying pan, coffee 
pot, minus the coffee and a kettle in most cases com- 
pleted the vessel list. Meat was very often cooked upon 
the coals, while the corn meal was either boiled as mush 
or made into "johnny-cake." 3 Sometimes when baked in 
the ashes it was called "ash-cake." 

When a stampede of stock occurred during the night, 
generally caused by prowling wild animals or Indians, 
they were with difficulty corralled the next day. 4 It often 
took hours to do this, and in some instances the Indians 
stole the horses and made away with them. When the 
cavalcade found a suitable place to settle down for a 
home there was great relief that the journey was over 
and a new life begun. 

While the log cabin was being erected, temporary 
shelters were made by standing poles slant-wise and 
thatching them thickly with pine boughs. 

The bed and other furniture of the home was simple 
and crude. A dogwood sapling, with a strong fork 
at the proper height from the floor, was used as a post for 
a bedstead. One end was fastened to the joist and the 
other end let into the floor by an auger hole. Hickory 
withes laid across were used as slats, while elm bark held 
them in place. Other household effects were made in 
the same crude fashion. Their hand-made baskets and 
other wickerwork, however, excelled the manufactured 

Thus did the borderers make their first appearance to 
people the solitary places and continue, in a settled way, 
the half gypsy life of these wanderers in the wilderness. 

3" Johnny-cake" is a corruption of "journey cake," this name being given 
because it was baked in a hurry. — Phelan. 

_4"0ver night we are now at the trouble of hobbling them out and often of 
leading them a mile or two to a convenient place for forage, and then in the 
morning we are some hours in finding them again because they are apt to Btray a 
great way from the place where they were turned out. Now and then, too, they 
are lost for a whole day together, and are frequently so weak and jaded that the 
company must be still several days, near some meadow or highland pond to 
recruit them." — Col. William Byrd 's Journal, 1733, page 71. 

The Cavalcade 27 

Thus those determined men, rough handed and hope- 
ful, slowly transformed the wild life into a self-sustaining 
State. In the train of these forerunners came others. 
The white covers of the wagons went over the undulating 
surface of the country like sails over heavy seas— now up 
— now down. Scarcely had one turned the hill when far 
in the distance could be seen another coming. The echo 
of the advance trumpeter was caught by those following 
and an unbroken chain of sound reached from the new 
settlement far back into the midst of the old — back to 
Londonderry and the Boyne! and heralded the creation 
of a new civilization in the far wilds of the frontier. 



In the annals of all countries there is no age nor race 
that has given to the world more sterling valor than that 
displayed by the frontier woman of Tennessee. She 
shared with the men all the dangers of the wilderness, 
with all its toils. She came with the first settlers and 
bore with fortitude the privations of a forest cabin. 

No other border life of recent times, in our territories, 
presents such a wonderful growth and change from wild 
backwoods to the dignity of a state in twenty six-years. 
To her presence more than any one influence, to her 
moral worth and example is due the high rank attained 
and the end achieved in so short a time. She did not 
wait for the clearing and the building of the cabin and 
the planting of the crops — she went along and helped 
do these things. 

She rocked the cradle in the home — she swung the 
cradle in the field. She spun the flax and carded the 
wool and made the clothing for the family. 

She has gone to the aid of a sick neighbor and returned 
to find her own home in ashes. 

When rumors of Indian raids reached the settlements 
she went into the fort prepared to do a man's part 
should the exigency of the hour demand. In such a 
test of courage she stood, gun in hand, beside the dead 
body of the man who had fallen, the victim of a besieger's 

And still the mother's thoughtful care over her children 
never left her. She trained them at her knee. 

The frontier woman of Sullivan never lacked for courage 
nor opportunities to prove it. 

There was a peculiar trait which seemed to be born in 
the children of that day, or which mothers had taught 


"Aunt" BETSY CARLTON (right) 
Her daughter, "Aunt" POLLY HAWK (left) 

The Frontier Woman. 29 

them — to make no show of fear nor make alarm — much 
like the young of birds, which, at a call, seek the cover 
of the wing. It was a "hush" of caution rather than 
of fear. 


Once the men of Holston settlement were called to 
Shelby's station, an Indian raid being expected. Should 
the Indians come from an unexpected quarter, as they 
often did and as was the case in this instance, it left 
unprotected a large number of families. 

A Mrs. Roberts living at King's Mill, on Reedy creek, 
whose husband had responded to the call, heard the 
Indians were coming by their home. Gathering up her 
three children, a bundle and a weapon, whose service 
would ill avail, she started for the station and had gone 
but a short distance when she was made aware of the 
approach of the savages. Stepping aside from the path 
and crouching beneath the undergrowth, the Indians 
came by within a few feet of her and even stopped as 
if suspicious of a presence. The children at once under- 
stood the meaning of her cautious warning, nestling close 
and keeping very still. 

After the savages had passed on she gathered up her 
little family and trudged along, arriving at the fort the 
next day. 

About this time there was a still more remarkable 
example of the "hush" habit, in the Snodgrass settle- 
ment near Blountville. The Indians made their appear- 
ance in the neighborhood during the absence of the men 
of the homes. The women, being warned in time, took 
their children and sought refuge by digging out a place 
under a large haystack. Small babes were among them 
yet no sound disclosed their whereabouts. They instinc- 
tively fell into the hush that had previously marked the 
behavior of the others. On coming out they found 
moccasin tracks all about the place. 

30 Historic Sullivan. 

The lofty regard and admiration for these women was 
almost idolatrous and is best told in the tributes paid 
them by the men of their times. 

The country's esteem was no more sought by these 
fearless and rugged frontier men than were the approval 
and praise of their own women. When the term of 
enlistment in their country's service was over, the 
men would hasten to their homes and lay what laurels 
they had won at the feet of those women, craving no 
richer reward than their approbation. 

Thus, in part, wrote Col. Fleming, to his wife, 
from the battlefield. 1 

My Dearest Nancy: 

* * * * that you & Lenny are daily in my thoughts you 
need not doubt but as much as I love & Regard you both I can not 
Allow myself to wish me with you till the expedition is finished know- 
ing it would sink me in your esteem & that you would despise a wretch 
that could desert an honorable Cause, a Cause undertaken for the good 
of his Country in general, and more immediately for the Protection 
of his Family as included amongst the Frontier settlers let thoughts 
like these Animate you and support your Spirits and remember my 
Dr Girl that the Divine Being is Omnipresent as well as Omnipotent. 
* * * I have heard of sympathizing thoughts possessing the breasts 
of Two Distant Lovers if there is anything in this fond Opinion you 
must know what passess in my breast at present and not accuse this 
letter of coldness. * * More I need not say nor would it be prudent 
to commit more to paper. 

Nor did this admiring fealty confine itself to any one 
age — youth and maturity alike paid her the tribute of 
their tenderest solicitude. In the days when the scalp- 
ing knife and the tomahawk showed no respect for sex 
or age regular reports were sent in of the condition of 
each settlement. 

From one of these comes this pathetic example of 
youthful courage and maternal love: " * * * The 
boy that was scalped is dead 2 he was an extraordi- 

lSeptember, 1774, Kanahwa Expedition. 

2Manuscript letter. Col. Arthur Campbell to Col. Wm. Preston, Oct. 6, 1774. 

The Frontier Woman. 31 

nary example of patience and resolution to his last, 
frequently lamenting 'he was not able to fight enough 
for to save his mammy'." 3 

From such women came the men who won for Tennes- 
see the name of "Volunteer." She left them the heritage 
of a rugged simplicity, integrity and valor, and an unswerv- 
ing loyalty and love for any place she called her home. 
For her these men have gone down through the untrav- 
eled ways and wrested a place for civilization from a savage 
hold; for her they have stood in the open and faced the 
charge, through the long stretch of desert sands and 
under suns that had no shade; for her they fill icy 
sepulchers in the far North country; for her they lie 
beneath unmarked mounds all over the waste plains of 
the West ;for her they have crossed the deep and in strange 
climes met death with a dauntless courage that told of 
their fidelity in foreign lands; and for her they stand 
ready today to answer to the call of their country, remem- 
bering what she taught them at her knee — the sacredness 
of duty. 

In the homes throughout Sullivan County are old 
pictures hanging upon the walls and under the folds of 
old albums are faded types of a time that is gone. Once 
those pictures were looked upon and laughed at — the 
old lace cap and the tie and the strangely made dress 
were so quaint, so far away from custom, so out of fashion 

3Colonel Arthur Campbell accustomed to the cruelties and hardships of frontie 1 " 
life, happening in the neighborhood, went to see this boy and wrote to Col. 
Preston, a portion, only, of his letter being preserved. 

"Upon whose first appearance, my little hero ran off, his Uncle called, he 
knew his voice and turned and ran to him rejoiced; his Uncle questioned him and 
he returned sensible answers. Showed his murdered parents and sisters, his 
Brother is not found, and I suppose is captivated. He received but one Blow 
with a Tomhake on the back of the Head, which cut thro his scull, but it is general ly 
believed his brains is safe, as he continues to talk sensibly and being an active wise 
Boy, what he relates is Credited. For my part I don't know as I ever had tenderer 
feelings of compassion, for anyone of the human species. I have sent for him, 
and employed an Old Man that has some Skill to attend him. I wish I could get 
Doctr Loyd to him. If he cannot come please try if the Doctor could not send 
me up some medicines with directions. 

I have been to tedious and circumstantial in relating the little hero's story, 
but as it seems to be a singular instance I am persuaded you won't be displeased 
with it." (Draper MSS.) 

Letter quoted in note 3 was written previous to excerpt of letter referred to io 
note 2. 

32 Historic Sullivan. 

with the times. But as the years went by they became 
the shrine to which the eyes of homage turned, and now 
no possession is more cherished or more revered. 

"Let them take my furniture and all my household 
goods, but leave me my pictures — I love them best of all," 
said an old gray haired woman when threatened with a 
foreclosure on her home. They were her deeds of inherit- 
ance from out of the dead past — more treasured than lands 
or herds or princely dwelling places. They were the ties 
that bound her to those vanishing years when martyrdom 
made possible the civilization of today. 

"Times are not what they used to be," they tell us, 
and the alarmist deplores the lack of chivalry in our men 
and the decadence of old fashioned virtues in our women. 
But time's pendulum never swung so far out that it did 
not come back again. Those old pictures are still hanging 
upon the walls — those old faces are still peering out of 
the past. In our direst need of them, and when the time 
most calls for them, their kindly old eyes will rekindle 
the knightly bearing of our men and restore to the hearth- 
stone, that old abandoned altar, around which hovered 
the holiest womanhood. 



The energetic, enthusiastic and safety life in the lower 
Holston settlements began with the arrival of the 

Evan Shelby's father, who also was Evan Shelby, 
came from Wales and located in Frederick county, 
Maryland, at a place called North Mountain. Evan, Jr., 
was then a small boy. Here he grew up and married 
Letitia Cox, by whom he had five sons and one daughter. 
His wife died in 1777 and is buried at Charlottesville, 

Isaac Shelby, the most eminent of the name, was born 
in Maryland. 

Evan, the father of Isaac, had seen considerable 
military service before coming to Holston, having fought 
in many Indian battles. He had the title of Captain. 

How he was regarded at his old home may be seen by 
the following letter from Gen. William Thompson, 
bearing the address, "Carlisle, 6th July, 1775." It was 
written to Capt. Shelby and the manuscript bears many 

"Had General Washington been certain that you could have 
joined the army at Boston without first seeing your family [you] 
would have been appointed Lieut. Colo, [of the] Rifle Battalion and 

an express sent. * * * but you being so 

the general concluded it [not — ] ble for you to take the field before 
seeing your family. 

* * * I leave for Boston on Monday night." 

In 1771 Shelby brought his family to the Holston 
country, settling at Sapling Grove, or what is now 
Bristol, Tennessee. 

Here he built a fort which was known as "Shelby's 


Historic Sullivan. 

Station." It was quite commodious, many hundreds 
being forted there at times during Indian raids. 1 

This fort or station was located on what is now Seventh 
street, on the hill overlooking Beaver creek, between 
Andersen and Locust streets. 

Shelby's military services will be reviewed in another 
chapter and the same statement applies to his sons. 
Their lives in peaceful times, domestic and political, 
will be disposed of in this chapter. 

The Shelbys kept a store at their fort. On the fac- 
simile of a leaf from the store ledger will be seen the 
names of some of their distinguished customers — the 
Seviers, James Robertson and Daniel Boone. It is also 
interesting on account of the price of different com- 
modities at that time. 

Evan Shelby has been described as a man of command- 
ing appearance, stout and stern. A scrap of an old 
ledger, dated Staunton, Va. Nov. 22, 1773, has some 
amusing entries to the account of Shelby, made no doubt 
on a trading visit : 


Nov. 22 To 1 Bowl tody. . . 

To 3 gal oats 

Nov. 23 


To 1 Mug Cider... 

To 1 Bowl Bumbo 

To 6 diets 

To Club in Wine . . 











The Seviers had been induced by Shelby to locate in 
the Holston settlements. John Sevier was out here on a 
trading expedition in 1772 and attended a horse race 
at the Watauga Old Field. While there he witnesed the 

1"I find four hundred forted at Shelby's Station." — Col. Wm. Preston letter, 



lis £7<? „ . 


^ • <J • . ■• - 


>^^^A^J|W^2^ ; ^ 



# ■ ■ 

.-Sri*. ■_ 

■<■'* /O n */1i/ys,\ J fefsZ\ is . fi „ #-„ £ 

C >% 00/4 y^y (rfcn J~y/£/*^ P .. /3 ... /. H 

•^ 'to./ £+,2 ./up* ^ 2/v fj^~3> _ - ^.. i* 

'• ■"' 'A ,W.^>./» ^ . — - ' • ' £• " •'> 

-;> « U&y'jp+.^./s - - ._- — ■* - ^ " *" 

■ ff/>- /■- » - *. 


Coming op the Shelbys. 35 

theft of a horse by a burly fellow named Shoate. 2 The 
horse belonged to a stranger, but the thief pretended he 
won the animal in a bet. Sevier was about to leave, 
disgusted, when the senior Shelby said to him, "Never 
mind these rascals, they'll soon take poplar," — meaning 
take a canoe and get out of the country. The Seviers 
came out next year and located at Key wood, about six 
miles from the Shelbys', but afterwards removed to 
Washington county. 

In 1779 this part of Virginia was found to be in North 
Carolina and the division threw Evan Shelby's estate 
into what was, the following year, Sullivan County. 
Gov. Caswell at once appointed him Brigadier- 
General — the first to receive such military rank on the 
Western waters. 

Late in life he married Isabella Elliot, the records 
showing that she required one-third of his estate to be 
deeded to her before marriage. She survived him and 
married again — one Dromgoole, who later tried to satisfy 
a spite of some sort by desecrating Shelby's grave, for 
which he was severely punished. 

The Shelbys gave the name "Travelers Rest" to their 
home, indicating a hospitable people. 

Evan Shelby was seventy-four years of age when he 
died in 1794. He was buried in Bristol, Tennessee, on 
the lot now occupied by the Lutheran church, (1908) 
on the corner of Fifth and Shelby streets. At the time 
of his burial seven massive oaks grew there — a fit 
resting place for this pioneer and soldier. Commerce, 
with little sympathy or sentiment, decreed the oaks must 
be cut down to make way for a street. Apparently 
not satisfied with the old general's restless career, the 
caretakers carted his remains about from place to place. 
They were first removed in 1872 and for a while lay in the 
Tennessee calaboose for safe keeping — preparatory to put- 

2Shoate became notorious as a horse-thief and was killed about 1779. — Draper 


36 Historic Sullivan. 

ting them away in the cemetery. 3 Some one, probably 
realizing the unfitness of this repository, transferred them 
to the postoffice. Then for a while they lay in the ceme- 
tery, the tomb being at the entrance, but later they were 
taken up again and given, it is hoped, their final resting 
place. Shelby's bones have been moved five times. 
There was some protest on the part of Tennessee in re- 
gard to the last removal as it placed him in Virginia, 
but this transfer was made, perhaps, with no intention 
to State claims as the section where he now lies is de- 
voted principally to old soldiers. 

Isaac Shelby, whose career in a military way will be 
fully described in other chapters, was a herder of cattle 
for a few years after his arrival at Sapling Grove. He 
also became a surveyor, which seemed to be the leading 
profession on the frontier because, no doubt, the most 
needed. Nearly all the leading military men were 
surveyors and the state showed her appreciation of their 
services by allotting them certain tracts of land. 

Isaac Shelby, after the battle of King's Mountain, 
married Susanna Hart, daughter of Nathaniel Hart, who 
was one of the principal stockholders in the Richard 
Henderson Transylvania purchase. He was married in 

3This delay was no doubt occasioned by the preparations that were being 
made to re-inter, with civic ceremonies. Judge A. S. Deaderick, a lineal descendant 
was present and presided. The re-interment took place in May, 1S96. 

In 1899, the Evan Shelby Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, at 
Owensboro, Kentucky, sent four shrubs with the request that they be planted at 
the four corners of Shelby's grave. Accordingly the Ladies' Memorial Association, 
on Memorial Day, June 1st, planted them with the following sentiments: 

Tree No. 1. — Mrs. J. F. Hicks. "He who meets death for his country thus buys 

Tree No. 2. — Mrs. E. T. Jones. "Here rests a hero. The idols of to-day push 
the heroes of yesterday out of recollection and will in turn be supplanted by his 
successors to-morrow." 

Tree No. 3. — Mrs. J. C. Anderson. "Strong and great a hero sleeps here." 

Tree No. 4.- — Mrs. W. C. Carrington. "Here sleeps, until awakened at the 
grand reveille of God, a link between two centuries — a soldier, a veteran and a hero.' ' 

Members of the D. A. R. have been zealous in their efforts to secure a monument 
for Evan Shelby. They have written many letters and have contributed 
largely to the press of this section and Kentucky. It seems the recognition ia 
about to come in a suitable monument from the Government — Congressman 
Brownlow having introduced a bill including such a provision. 

At present his remains lie beneath a simple iron, coffin-shaped slab with the 

'General Evan Shelby 

Born 1720 

Age 74" 

Coming of the Shelbys. 37 

Kentucky, the Harts having removed there from North 
Carolina to take charge of their vast estate. This may 
have had something to do with Shelby adopting the 
state as his home. It is said, however, that when Miss 
Hart and he parted, at the time she left for her new home 
in Kentucky, they parted in a tiff, he declaring he would 
not follow her. Afterwards he began to pay court to 
another young lady not far from his own home, but she, 
knowing of his former attachment, promptly told him 
it was his duty to go to Kentucky and he went. His 
married life was a happy one. 

He was honored many times during his rugged career, 
both in a military and political way. He was Kentucky's 
first ^yernor, in 1792, and was called to fill the same 
position in 1812, during the second war with England. 

He distinguished himself at the battle of the Thames, 
with Gen. Harrison, in recognition of which Congress 
awarded him a medal. 

Monroe offered him a seat in his cabinet, as Secretary 
of War, but he declined on account of old age. 


He died in 1826. The morning before his death he 
rode over to see his son Isaac, returning before dinner. 
He ate a hearty meal, then walked up to the gate in front 
of his house, came back, sat down with his wife and entered 
into a cheerful conversation with her. There was a lull 
in the talk — she heard him draw a long breath, his head 
falling back — he was dead. The old man had frequently 
expressed a wish that, when he died, no one but his wife 
should be present. His singular wish was gratified. 
He was buried upon the spot where he pitched his first 
tent in Kentucky. This also was his wish and for fear 
it might be forgotten he marked the place himself. 4 

4Niles, Ky., Register Sept. 9, 1826. Draper Collection. 

38 Historic Sullivan. 

shelby and sevier 

Both men were ambitions and both desired to control, 
yet each arrived at conclusions or results in different 
ways. If a campaign was on Shelby might be found 
bending over a rough-sketch map, planning and scheming 
with his associates, while Sevier, all unmindful of any 
impending crisis, might be found at a barbecue or horse 
race. Yet in the execution of military maneuvers there 
was little difference — both were brilliant and dashing for 
men of any time. Sevier's strategy was as impromptu 
as his personality was impulsive. Shelby was slow to plan, 
but once his plan was formed he was quick of execution 
and determined. Sevier's rapid movements and quick 
decisions could not have been more accurate had they been 
more closely studied. 

In religion Shelby was prayerful and formally devout, 
while Sevier allied himself with no church during his life 
and it might be said his religion was: "write me as one 
who loves his fellow man." 

Arriving in opposite ways at the same results and each 
anxious to achieve distinction of the same kind, no state 
was big enough for both men. While the friendship 
between the two had never been tried in the gross test of 
controversy, Shelby clearly saw that to submit their 
claims to the people at large Sevier with his winning ways 
could out-class him. So he determined not to chance a 
possible defeat, preferring to risk his prospects in another 
field. He left the state of his adoption to found a new one 
in the Kentucky country, where he was able to satisfy 
his aspirations for leadership. 



The muster-master, when ordered to enlist men for 
urgent military duty, did not always find it an easy task. 
This was especialiy true on the extreme border where 
families were most exposed to the incursions of the roving 
bands of Indians and renegades. It was not always 
from lack of courage they were difficult to enroll for 
distant campaigns, but because self protection was their 
first consideration. In localities where the inhabitants 
had better means of defense and were not so apt to be 
the victims of a surprise, the men were usually anxious 
to go. The following is one of the best examples of the 
difficulties sometimes encountered in the formation of a 

They are excerpts from letters of Maj. James Robertson 1 
who had charge of the erection of stockades in Culber- 
son Valley and are selected because they deal directly 
and describe in a consecutive way, covering but a brief 
period from the issuance of the order till the men were in 

Besides there is a sincerity of purpose and a oneness of 
interest and intention so serious as to be amusing. 
The Major's despair at the outset is an extreme contrast 
to his exultation over the completion of his company. 
His gratitude is expressed in such language as might, 
with little change, be mistaken for a testimonial to the 
effiicacy of some wonder-working remedy, the use of 
which resulted in recovery from a dire affliction. 

This correspondence passed between Maj. James 
Robertson and Col. William Preston: 2 

INot the Tennessee pioneer. 
2Selected from the Draper collection. 

40 Historic Sullivan. 

Tuesday night July 19th 1774 
Sir — Since I received, your Letter I have been Continually on 
Horse Back amongst the People. I will get 18 or 20 men ready to 
Start Thursday Evening or friday morning, for My Soul I Could not 
get them to March Sooner and to Leave them Behind I never Expected 
to See them untill the new Draft again and Scare then. I am in Hopes 
there will be no Great Danger untill we get there. 
I am Sir Your Servant 

James Robertson 

There is always an unsettled commotion about a stock- 
ade. The uncertain stay of the men kept the commandant 
uneasy and on the lookout for new recruits and provisions 
— a labor then full of disappointment and provoking. 

Wednesday morning 20th July 1774 
Sir — Since I Reed, your letter I have not had an Hours Rest I am 
Sure. I have with A Great Deal of Both Good words and Bad ones 
Prevail'd on the following Persons to march with me Thursday. * * 
I thought to Got them marched to day but it was not in my power 
Some had Grain to put up and to leave them would [n] ot do for I 
would Scarcely Ever See Them again. I am your Servant. 

James Robertson 

N. B. This last news I Expect is no more than Some of the 
Usual Alarms. But if they are about I am in hopes we will be there 
time Enough for them. Pray Sir if Possible Procure me a Quire of 
Paper as I cannot get one Sheet. 

He announces signs of Indians — and foreshadows his 
troubles in collecting a company for the Kanawha ex- 

Fort Dunmore 26th July 1774 
* * * Onless you Send Some men down the Case will be Bad 
So that I must stay with not more than Six men unless I kill part and 
tye the Other I Expect we will have a war amongst our Selves without 
that of the Indians, these men tells me there are fresh signs of Indians 
Seen Every Morning about the plantation of Forbes, Sir Both men 
and Ammunition will be much wanted about this place verry Soon 
as I Expect a Large Body of Indians Emediately. I Shall Stand by 

A Few Days Full of Trouble. 41 

the Place Agreeable to my Orders if Death Should be my Fate I am Sir 

James Robertson 

N. B. the men I got to day I Station Here as the Setlers here 
was under the Necessity of moving I have made them up Ten Soldiers 
and they Seem Satisfy 'd 

A diversity of news — Indian forays — completion of 
fort — the lack of provisions and ammunition. There 
was a constant call for "more powder and lead" in those 

Fort Btrd 28th July 1774 
Dr. Sir — we will have our Fort Genteely finished this week, we 
have 25 private at this Place I have ten at old Billey wood's. I 
would be glad to have Some more men and Ammun[i]tion if it was not 
So good, it would do to keep the fort, there is signs of the Indians here 
Every morning and I Expect they will give us a Salute when they 
Assemble their party altogether if I had Some more men I Could 
turn out with a party which I would be Extreamly fond of. I have 
sent out the Scouts this morning and to Continue out three days unless 
they See much signs of Indians. 

I am Dr. Sir your Hbl. Servant 

James Robertson 

N. B. there is a good many of the men in this place will go with 
me to the Shany's [Shawnee] towns Tom Masdin is Sick and wants to 
go home. Harry Thomson Set off yesterday with Some men. I could 
not Prevail on him to Stay a few days, untill the men would Come out, 
as he Said his Business was So Urgent at Court. Sir as I [am] on Duty 
here and has no Chance to Raise A Company for the present Expdn. 
Please to give my Comlmts. to Old Will In[g] les & with a Litle of your 
own assistance I hope you Can Engage us Some men 

I am yrs. J. R. 

More rumors of Indian outrages — call for men and 

Culbersons 1st August 1774 
Sir — About three hours agoe John Draper Came here with thirteen 
men, which makes our Number 33 or thereabouts this minet I got 
flying news of the Indians Shooting at one of Arbuckles Centery's on 
mudy Creek, they say Likewise that they Atacted one of Kelley's 
Yesterday about half a mile from that Fort where they Tomhak'd 

42 Historic Sullivan. 

Kelley and Cut him Vastly, but the men from the fort heard the noise 
and Ran to their Assistance and drove the Indans off before they 
Either Kill'd or Sculp'd Kelley they took his Daughter Prisoner it is 
Said; but the Certainty of any of the news I Canot Assert * * * as 
to my Going in Sir its Impossible Unless we give up this place Intirely 
for the men Swairs the minet I set off they Will Start Likewise, and 
Indeed I cannot leave the Compy. as I See, for there is no one that Can 
keep any Accts. or do any thing towards Geting Provisions for the 
Compny. Which is Realy Vastly hard to get I was in hopes there 
would be some flower fr[om] M. Thomsons for us before now the Place 
must Undoubtedly Bre[ak] up Unless we Get Some Amunition. * * 
we have finished our fort and I think not a dispiseable one. I have 
been out Raiseing a House for to hold Provisions and Amunition but 
I am Afraid the Place wont be Over Stocked with Either, in haste, 
as the one Cant be Possibly got, and the Other People Seems Easey 
About furnishing us with. * * * 

James Robertson 
N. B. I am afraid 111 be far behinn about my Corny, for the Shany 
Expdn. as I am confined here 

Saturday 6th August 1774 Culbersons 
Sir — I suppose you heard of the Indians Killing Kelley on mudy 
Creek, we heard Some Flying accts of it, but not the perticulars, 
* * * Sir you must know the Great Necessity I have to be in, 
to try to make up my Compy. and make Ready as well as these men 
that goes with me. I would been in Sooner but by no means Could 
Leave the men for several reasons, and the Day I set off I Am Sure 
they will be Along, and Against we get in it will be three weeks and 
Some A month, as Long as one party I believe Can Well Stay. Sir 
I am Your Hble. Servant 

James Robertson 

N. B. we have not Seen the Signs of any Indians Since I Came 
here. Pray Sir Send down Some Flower and Powder and Lead if 
Possible, Let it be Good or Bad. 

Announces the offer of gruesome reward. 

Culbersons 11th August 1774 
Sir — I was Expecting Orders to Gone Home to Seen Some What 
About my Affairs. I have a good deal to do before I Can Start to the 
Expedition Which I would by no means miss if I can Possibly make 
out to go. * * * the men Seems Resolute for a Sculp or two, and 
I have Offered £b for the first Indians hand that will be brought in 

A Few Days Full of Trouble. 43 

to the fort by any of the Compy * * * they left a War Club at 
one of the wasted Plantations well made and mark'd with two Letters 
I G (well made) * * * Sir I dare say you have a Good Deal of 
Trouble Geting hands to us, and I am Sure I have a Vaste Deal of 
Trouble in Keeping them in Tune as they are a Distracted Enough 
party I assure you my Complmts. to your famyly and Sir I Heartyly 
wish you Luck from your most Obd S. 

James Robertson 

N. B. I have a Severe Spell of a Great Cold and the worst tooth 
Ache that ever was 

Jas. Robertson 

More trouble in enlistments — lets out the secret cause 
of dissatisfaction among the men — the "Gent" who 
makes mutiny. 

Culbersons 12th August 1774 
Sir — This morning Our Scouts met with a Couple of Poor Little 
Boys between this and Blue Stone one A Son of John McGriffs the 
Other a Son of Widow Snydoes at Burks fort, that made their Escapes 
from the Indians Last Tuesday night about midnight away * * * 
Sir Unless you keep your own Side of the mountains well Guarded 
there them Stragling little partys will do Abundance of Damage where 
People is Gathered in forts there Ought to be men under Pay Just 
Ready on any Occasion these Small partys passes Scouts and Companys 
with out Possibly being Discovered if my Life and Honour and the 
Lives of all my Relations & the Lives of all my well wishers was at 
Stake I Can do no more then I have, or is Ever Willing to do. 
#*******! j^j j^ thought of Seting home next 
monday but I wont Atempt it untill I See if we Can Rub up these 
Yalow Dogs A Little I suppose my helpless famyly is in Great fear, 
and Indeed not with out Reason. Perhaps I look on you to be in a 
Dangerouser Station there than we are here and would advise you to 
keep a party constantly on their Watch, as there is white men amongst 
them they Undoubtedly know men of the Best Circumstance and 
that is what they Generaly Aim at 

Dea Sir I am Your most Hbl. Servant 

James Robertson 

" N. B. Sir I have been in the Greatest misery Ever any felow 
was in, Since Last monday with A pain in my Jaw one of my Eyes Has 
been Shut up Ever Since and has hardly Either Eat or Slept I Declare. 

J. R. 

44 Historic Sullivan. 

Sir — I thought to been at your House friday or Saturday but 
Cannot be there untill Sunday night or monday. I have been through 
the whole Company and meets with poor Success though picked up 
Some. I Gather them Altogether Saturday and Pretends to make A 
Draft by your Orders I tell them, and dont want to Concern with any 
that has famylys, but Only these Hulking younge dogs that Can be 
well Spar'd. if you please give me a Line or two to Back me I would 
be glad you would desire the Oncers in Capt. Cloyd's and Capt. Taylers 
Compy. to Stir up Some Backward Scoundr[els] in their Companys 
to turn Out or Else force them for no Honour nor Intreateys will move 
them. I Could Stay untill the midle of next week and Overtake the 
Army before they go to the falls. Perhaps you have Seen Some what 
of Capt. Woods, or heard what number he has to Joyn us 

I am Sir Your Obedt. Servant 

James Robertson 

1st of Sfepbr. 1774 

N. B. I have had more uneasyness this Eight days Amongst 
these Deels Buckeys then I have had this three years there is some 
procarious Gent, amongst us who makes some mutiny amongst the 
men as they want Compns. 

Completion of company — "off for the levels." 

Rich Creek 15th Septbr 1774 
Sir — we are Stop'd a day to Get what Beeves and Catties We Can 
Pick up. Capt. woods and his Party is Joynd me Which makes our 
number of the Whole 55 the Soldiers I had at Mr. Woods Desird 
Discharges from me which I have given them, though they are willing 
to Inlist again, if you See Cause. 

I have sent you an Acct. of their time Likewise finding their Pro- 
visions for the time 

Mitchel Clay 51 days on Duty found his own Provisions 
Zekil Clay 51 days found his Provisions 

David Clay 51 days found Do 

Richd. Blankenship 44 days Do 

P. S. I must be for Ever Obliged to all my good friends for assist- 
ing me in Getting my Compy made up as I thought it was meerely 
Impossible to do it in the time and I am sure there is not Such an Other 
Compny for the Quaintyty of men belonging to the Whole Dr. Sir 
I wish you Every thing that Would make you happy. 

I am your Obedt. Servant 

James Robertson 

Rich Creek 16th Sept. 1774 

N. B. We are just starting for the Levels. J. R. 


&*,£. '*J0& 

t /sr^^t?;, 






: 'Jwfe^^ 


[ - 'T ill ii .j-^a^-i.. r tyfj — -* , 

Facsimile of original muster-roll of the first volunteer company 
to leave Sullivan County 



After the arrival of the Shelbys on the Holston there 
was peace along the border until 1774. Outside of a few 
small straggling bands of Indians, who were prowling 
about and stealing, the country was uneasily quiet. 
The neighborhood gossips, who loafed about the store 
kept by the Shelbys, were now startled by the rumors of a 
threatened invasion. The family of Logan, the Indian 
chief, had been murdered and his allies were seeking 
revenge — the Shawanoes and other tribes were on the 
war path. They had already killed eleven people in the 
settlements of Fincastle. 1 

In March, 1774, Col. William Preston had asked 
Evan Shelby to accept a captaincy in what was then 
Fincastle county. His acceptance and enlistment of the 

IThe family of John Roberts, at Kings's Mill, including himself, wife and 
several children were killed and scalped. The oldest son was taken prisoner 
while one little boy lived several days after being tomahawked and scalped. He 
is the one noted in Chapter V. 

Logan was the perpetrator of this massacre. The father of Logan was a 
Frenctiman, who, being captured when a child, was adopted into the Oneida tribe 
and became a powerful chief among the Susquehanna Indians. Logan's mother 
was a Cayuga, hence this was his tribe. His Indian name was Tach-nech-darus, 
meaning branching oak of the forest. He took the name of Logan from James 
Logan, secretary of the province. During the French and Indian war he remained 
neutral and took refuge in Philadelphia. For this he was compelled to leave his 
old home and, about 1772, settled in Ohio. Here in his town, on Yellow Creek, 
April 30, 1774, his people were massacred. Logan swore to have revenge — that 
he would never stop killing until he had satisfied his thirst for blood. He made 
four raids, sparing none who came within his grasp — men, women and children 
he slew with savage cruelty. His acts brought on the Dunmore war, culminating 
in the battle on the Great Kanawha. When the chiefs were summoned before 
Dunmore to discuss terms of peace, Logan failed to appear. Dunmore sent for 
him and received a reply, saying he was a warrior, not a maker of peace, and at 
the same time delivered what is conceded the most eloquent speech in savage his- 
tory. It is familiar to most readers and runs as follows: 

"I appeal to any white man to say if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry 
and he gave him not meat; if ever he came cold and naked and he clothed him not? 
During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his camp, 
an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my countrymen 
pointed as I passed and said, 'Logan is the friend of the white man.' I had even 
thought to have lived with you, but for the injuries of one man. Colonel Cresap, 
the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan 
not even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in 
the veins of any living creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it. 
I have killed many. I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice 
at the beams of peace; but do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. 
Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there 
to mourn for Logan? Not one.'" 

46 Historic Sullivan. 

men he took with him was the first move that introduced 
the now famous Tennessee "Volunteer." 

Because of his dread of their warriors, the northwest 
Indian held in perpetual grudge Southwest Virginia 
and upper East Tennessee. 

What the Indians declared were encroachments upon 
their lands were merely the journeys made by hunters 
and surveyors in Kentucky and Ohio. Daniel Boone 
and Michael Stoner were sent to warn the surveyors and 
settlers of the peril that was impending. 

In 1773 these parties were threatened by Cornstalk, 
and his war bands became numerous and dangerous to 
the settlements. 

In September, 1774, Lord Dunmore, who was then 
the Royal Governor of Virginia, made a call for troops 
to punish the Indians and, as they were headed by Logan 
and Cornstalk and other brave chiefs of a like determined 
character, the mission was one of vast importance. 

Dunmore decided to take the field in person. He 
delegated Gen. Andrew Lewis to take charge of the 
Augusta and Fincastle troops. Accordingly, Lewis re- 
quested Col. William Preston, the county lieutenant, 2 
to summon his men for the campaign. The people of 
this section, in view of the alarm, were all forted and 
prepared for defense. 

Gen. Lewis' command was divided into four parts 
under Cols. William Christian, John Field, William 
Fleming and his brother Col. Charles Lewis. Christian 
had charge of the Fincastle troops which included those 
from Holston. In this regiment was a company com- 
manded by Evan Shelby, his son Isaac being lieutenant, 
while James, another son, was also a member. Col. 
Christian was detained on the route on account of the 
slow arrival of his men and provisions. 

2A county lieutenant was the highest ranking officer in the county and carried 
with it the title of colonel. Isaac Shelby was our first county lieutenant. 

The Battle of the Great Kanawha. 47 

Capts. Shelby and Russel, with their companies, 
pushed on. Christian was to bring up the rear and, being 
sorely vexed by delays, declared, "I would not for all 
I'm worth be behind in crossing the Ohio and lending 

Upon the arrival of Col. Fleming at Camp Union he 
found Capts. Shelby and Russel, with part of their com- 
panies, already there. 

"The Holston men were the advance guard of civiliza- 
tion on the farthest border yet pushed out into the 
Western wilderness, out of which the States of Kentucky 
and Tennessee were in due time to be carved." 3 

Military discipline was not as rigid on this expedition 
as it had been on other like occasions. The men were 
disposed to do as they pleased. There was considerable 
grumbling about the meat, some claiming partiality 
was shown, as a part of them got good beef while the 
others got bad. The dissatisfied ones would slip out of 
camp and hunt for game. This, however, had the advan- 
tage of affording picket service as otherwise no pickets 
were sent out. 

It was due to a hunting party that the whole army 
was not surprised and set upon when they arrived in 
camp on the Great Kanawha. 

James Shelby had fallen sick and his father sent James 
Robertson and Valentine Sevier 4 out, early on the morning 
of October the 10th, "to perch a turkey for him" when 
they ran into "five acres of Indians" about a mile from 
camp. These Indians were moving on the camp. 

Robertson and Sevier fired at the party and 
succeeded in checking their movements. The two men 
then hastened back and gave the alarm. 

The drums beat to arms. 

3Thwaite and Kellogg's "Dunmore's War." 

4Two others, Joseph Hughey of Shelby's Company and James Mooney, were 
also out hunting — the former was killed and the latter rushed into camp with the 
report, and later was killed in the battle. 

48 Historic Sullivan. 

The Battle. 

Instantly the men rolled out of their blankets and, 
knowing what it meant, prepared for battle. The 
Indians soon rallied from the surprise of the fire from the 
two hunters and came on, their battle line extending 
one mile and a quarter. Gen. Lewis ordered out two 
companies — three hundred men — under Charles Lewis 
and Fleming, to meet the enemy. When about half a 
mile away these companies encountered the Indians and 
the men remaining in camp were aroused by the 
thundering report of hundreds of guns. Two hundred 
more men under Col. Field were rushed to the spot. 
At the very opening of the battle Col. Charles Lewis 
was mortally wounded, Col. Fleming was disabled 5 
and Col. Field was slain shortly after his arrival. 
The command now fell to Capt. Evan Shelby, Gen. 
Andrew Lewis having remained behind to superintend 
the fortifying of the camp. The two lines of battle, at 
times, came so close together that the commands of the 
officers of one side could be heard by the other. The 
men were even close enough to jeer at each other. The 
Indians made fun of the fife music, "don't whistle now," 
they shouted and invited our men to come over and learn 
how to shoot. The chiefs showed daring courage in 
the conduct of the battle, moving along the lines encourag- 
ing their braves to "lie low, shoot well, be brave." Prev- 
ious to the battle they had stationed squaws and Indian 
boys along the banks of the Ohio and Kanawha, well 
armed, to shoot our men should they try to escape by 


" I received three balls in the left Line two Struck my left arm below the 
Elbow broke both the bones & I find one of them is lodged in my arm a third entered 
my breast about three Inches below my left Nipple and is lodged some where 
in the Chest, on finding myself effectually disabled I quitted the field, when I 
came to be drest, I found my Lungs forced through the wound in my breast as 
long as one of my fingers. Watkins Attempted to reduce them ineffectually, 
he got some part returned but not the whole, being in considerable pain, sometime 
afterward I got the whole returned by the Assistance of one of my Own Attendants 
since which I thank the Almighty I have been in a surprising state of ease." — 
Col. Fleming's letter to William Bowyer. 

The Battle of the Great Kanawha. 49 

swimming the river. These were shouting in savage ex- 
pectancy "drive the white dogs in." 

Isaac Shelby, who assumed command of his father's 
company, repulsed a flank movement of the Indians and 
in turn assisted by James Stewart and George Mathews 
out -flanked the enemy. Their red foes began to retreat, 
but on reaching safer ground, where they could hide be- 
hind fallen logs, made another stand, again re- 
treating however. The battle had lasted seven hours 
and outside of a little skirmishing was nearing its end. 
During the night the Indians, although apparently 
defiant and threatening a renewal on the morrow with 
two thousand reinforcements, retreated, carrying away 
as many of their dead and wounded as were within 
reach. Those they were unable to carry away they 
scalped rather than permit them to be thus abused by 
the whites. 

There were many heroic hand to hand encounters 
during the action and many examples of individual 
bravery shown. 6 

It was a sanguinary contest — one of the most stubbornly 
waged that had been fought up to that time — result- 
ing in seventy-five of the whites being killed with one 
hundred and forty wounded. Their only surgeon, Col. 
Fleming, being wounded almost to death and unable 
to render any assistance, the distress and suffering 
among the wounded was pitiable. 7 

A stockade was erected and garrisoned with a com- 
pany under the command of Isaac Shelby. He remained 

6Ramsey gives credit to John Sawyers, one of Shelby's men, for making a des- 
perate charge with "a few others" and dislodging the enemy from a dangerous 

7 As an example of distress and diversion the following is taken from Newal's 
Journal dated Oct. 21, Camp, on Point Pleasant, Parole — Dumfrise: 

"The guard as usual. The Revelie to Beat before daybreak, the lines to turn 
out under arms & have their arms examined by officers of their Companies, the 
men for work to parade as soon as possible & compleat the breast work. At 

point pleasant was a stockaade just built to secure the wounded men, who are 
dieing daily & most shocking sight to see their wounds. Alex. McKee caught a 
cat fish that weighs 57 M lbs." S. Newal. 

50 Historic Sullivan. 

here nine months, when the place was abandoned and 
the stockade destroyed by order of Lord Dunmore. 

While Sullivan County and, for that matter, what was 
afterwards the State of Tennessee had but a few more 
than fifty men in this battle, the burden of the day rested 
upon them, and there, was the beginning of a series 
of daring adventures in which she has achieved victories 
by the unyielding struggle of her stalwart soldiery. 

"spirit op 75." 

When the news spread over the country of the condi- 
tion of affairs in the East, and especially about Boston, 
the people of Botetourt, and Sullivan was once a part of 
Botetourt, were not slow to respond with their sympa- 
pathies to the distress of their countrymen and stood 
prepared to back them up with a bold defense. 

How quickly the conditions change and how easily 
the maps take on different hues. Allies become adver- 
saries, political upheavals lift the oppressed above the 
sceptered sway and cover the oppressor with the grime 
of defeat. 

To-day the king lashes his subjects into groveling sub- 
mission, to-morrow he mixes his pottage with the peas- 
antry. To-day Andrew Lewis is marching under the 
orders of Lord Dunmore against the stronghold of the 
Indians on the Great Kanawha, to-morrow he is driving 
his Lordship from the State of Virginia. 

The colonists had petitioned the throne in vain — their 
petitions had been spurned, tossed aside as unworthy 
of consideration or regarded as rebellious and seditious. 

It was during these tense times "the hunter on the 
Alleghany" arose to cheer his brother across the border. 

No other declaration of independence surpasses in fer- 
vor and loyal patriotism the Declaration from the Free- 
holders of Botetourt. 1 

To Col. Andrew Lewis, and Mr. John Boyer. 


For your past service you have our thanks, and we presume it 
is all the reward you desire. And as we have again committed to you 

IThere is no date to this declaration. It appeared in London along with other 
documents during the year 1775. It was published in "The Remembrancer or 
Impartial Repository," 1776, and I am indebted to the courtesy of Hon. Daniel 
Trigg, of Abingdon, Va., for a copy. 

52 Historic Sullivan. 

the greatest trust we can confer (that of appearing for us in the great 
council of the colony) we think it expedient you hear our sentiments 
at this important juncture. And first, we require you to represent us 
with hearts replete with the most grateful and loyal veneration for 
the race of Brunswick; for they have been truly our fathers, and at 
the same time the most dutiful affection for our Sovereign, of whose 
honest heart we cannot entertain any diffidence; but sorry we are to 
add, that in his councils we can no longer confide; a set of miscreants, 
unworthy to administer the laws of Britain's empire, have been per- 
mitted impiously to sway. How unjustly, cruelly, and tyrannically, 
they have invaded our rights, we need not now put you in mind. We 
only say, and we assert it with pride, that the subjects of Britain are 
one; and when the honest man of Boston who has broke no law, has 
his property wrested from him, the hunter on the Allegany must take 
the alarm, and, as a freeman of America, he will fly to his representa- 
tives, and thus instruct them: Gentlemen, my gun, my tomahawk, 
my life I desire you to render to the honour of my king and country; 
but my liberty to range these woods on the same terms my father has 
done, is not mine to give up; it was not purchased by me, and purchased 
it was; it is entailed on my son, and the tenure is sacred. Watch over 
it, gentlemen, for to him it must descend inviolated, if my arms can 
defend it; but if not, if wicked power is permitted to prevail against 
me, the original purchase was blood, and mine shall seal the surrender. 
That our countrymen and the world may know our disposition, 
we chuse that this be published. And we have one bequest to add, 
that is that the sons of freedom who appeared for us in Philadelphia, 
will accept our most ardent, grateful acknowledgements; and we hereby 
plight them our faith, that we will religiously observe their resolutions, 
and obey their instructions, in contempt of power and temporary 
interest; and should the measures they have wisely calculated for our 
relief fail, we will stand prepared for every contingency. We are, 

Your dutiful, &c. 

The Freeholders op Botetourt. 



""\ S 

^ >" 



Sullivan County was interested in the first great trust 
in America. The transaction known as the Henderson 
Purchase, made by the Transylvania Company — in the 
business parlance of to-day — was a trust. 

Daniel Boone, whose name stands for a type of rugged 
integrity, was agent for this company. It was through 
the ambitious generosity of Col. Richard Henderson, 
who had wealth, that Boone was able to indulge his bent 
for discovery. Henderson was Boone's Maecenas. 

On his return from a hunting and exploring trip he 
outlined such- tempting possibilities in the beautiful 
land that Henderson at once had visions of vast wealth, 
and what was still more alluring, the sway of power. 

Although, in a memorial to Congress, the company 
avowed their wish "to be considered by the colonies as 
brethren in the same great cause of liberty and man- 
kind," they entertained hopes of a little republic of their 

Henderson associated with him other men of wealth — 
David Hart, Nathaniel Hart, James Hogg, John Williams, 
Leonard H. Bullock, John Luttrell, Thomas Hart and 
William Johnson. With Nathaniel Hart, Henderson, in 
the fall of 1774, made a trip to the Cherokee country 
to negotiate with the Indians for the purchase of their 
lands. On their return they were accompanied by 
Chief Carpenter, who had been selected by the tribe 
as their representative to examine the merchandise they 
were to receive in exchange for the land. On going 
back the envoy rendered a favorable report and a final 
treaty, proposed by Oconostota, was to be framed at 
Watauga in March, 1775. Accordingly twelve hundred 
of the Cherokees, headed by Oconostota, Carpenter and 

54 Historic Sullivan. 

The Raven, were there to celebrate the transfer. It 
took several days to come to an agreement, and during 
the time there was much feasting. No intoxicating 
drinks were allowed, but many beeves were barbecued. 

The principal opposition to the sale of these lands 
was made by Dragging Canoe, who argued eloquently 
for retaining the lands of his ancient people. He was 
finally persuaded, however, and the treaty was concluded 
by the payment of £10,000, in our money about $50,000. 
This was a fabulous sum for that day, since, at the time 
of the Revolution, there was but one millionaire in this 
country. 1 

There were two deeds made for this land — one was 
called the "Path Deed" and the other the "Great Grant." 
In the former the boundary was: "All that territory 
or parcel of land beginning on the Holtson river where 
the course of Powell's mountain strikes the same; thence 
up said river, as it meanders, to where the Virginia line 
crosses same; thence westward along the line run by 
Donaldson, etc., to a point six English miles eastward 
of Long Island in the said Holston river; thence a direct 
course toward the mouth of the Great Kanawha until 
it reaches the top ridge of Powell's mountain; thence 
westwardly along the said ridge to the beginning." 

The other deed, among other descriptions, had this: 
"All that tract, territory or parcel of land situated, 
lying and being in North America." It embraced about 
all of Kentucky and had the marks of a mighty trust. 


At this treaty meeting the Watauga Association, 
which was holding lands on an eight-year lease, now 
sought a deed for these lands and, upon the payment of 
£2,000, secured it. 

The store of Parker and Carter, two merchants living 

lliobert Morris. 

The Transylvania Trust 55 

in Carter's Valley — later a part of Sullivan, until cut 
off for Hawkins County — had their store robbed during 
the passing of the Indians to the treaty grounds and a 
claim was put in to indemnify them for the loss. This 
was agreed upon and for a further small consideration 
a deed was made to them embracing land lying between 
"Cloud Creek and Chimney Top mountain of Beech 


The Henderson Company built Boonesborough and es- 
tablished a land office there. Joseph Martin was also agent 
for this company, having disposal of lands in Powell's 
Valley. Special inducements — gifts of large tracts of 
land — were offered to the first settlers. There was some 
attempt at organized government and the "Legislature 
of Transylvania" met at Boonesborough in 1775. The 
little republic was short-lived — Henderson became dis- 
gusted with his associates, called them "a set of scoun- 
drels" and retired from the scene. Virginia and North 
Carolina declared the purchase illegal, but, as a recognition 
of Henderson's work in peopling the West, he was 
given two hundred thousand acres of land. 

Long and tedious litigation resulted. The committee, 
appointed by Congress to consider the memorial, decided 
the purchase was illegal — that "attempts to monopolize 
lands were dangerous and injurious to society." 2 

Many men of note became involved. Among them 
Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, who the company 
declared, wanted stock in the deal, but were denied. 
Henry and Jefferson claimed the company wanted them 
to take shares, which they declined. 

Among the many troubles of the Transylvania Com- 
pany was a peculiar lav/suit with William Cocke. At 

2The exelusiveness of this monopoly was much in its working like trusts of 
today. Isaac Shelby, in his deposition during the trial, said Oconostota, at the 
Long Island Treaty in 1776, told him that he was wary of signing papers since 
his trade with Henderson, as the latter tied him up so he " couldn't catch a crawfish 
on the land." (Shelby's MSS. Deposition.) 

56 Historic Sullivan. 

one time Henderson had Boone and his company quar- 
tered in Kentucky. Fearing they would leave before he 
wished and not daring to go there himself, "with tears 
in his eyes" he appealed to a group of men and offered 
any one, who would take a message to Boone, twenty 
thousand acres of land. Cocke, being one of the number, 
agreed to go for ten thousand acres and made the journey 
of one hundred miles without mishap. Through one 
excuse or another, payment was put off from time to 
time until after Henderson's death, whereupon Cocke, 
seeing no immediate prospect of a settlement, brought 
suit through his attorney, John Rhea of Sullivan County, 
for his claim. 3 

3Draper MSS. 

Nancy Ward 
a biography 

"That famous Indian woman" was Col. William Camp- 
bell's description of Nancy Ward, whose acts of friendly- 
mediation, and humane treatment of captives, endeared 
her to the whites in such a way that she is known as Ten- 
nessee's Pocahontas. 

Her father was a British officer named Ward and her 
mother a sister of Ata-kullakulla, leading chief of the 
Cherokees during their most troublesome times. The date 
of her birth is unknown. 

She resided at Echota, the capital of the Cherokee na- 
tion, where she was regarded as chief woman of the tribe, 
having such titles as "Beloved Woman" and "Pretty 
Woman." She decided the fate of captives. Oneofhermost 
benevolent acts was to save the life of Mrs. Bean after 
she had been condemned and tied to the stake, at the 
time the young boy, Moore, was burned. 

In many ways she showed her friendship for the whites, 
especially at the time of the contemplated raids upon the 
Holston and Watauga forts, in 1776. On the occasion of 
another Cherokee uprising in 1780 she shielded a number 
of traders and helped them to escape. 

It was out of consideration for her kind offices that the 
Indians did not suffer worse treatment when the whites 
invaded their nation. Echota was not burned on her 
account, and when her relatives once fell into the hands of 
an attacking force they were spared out of consideration 
for her. 

As chief woman of the tribe she was permitted to appear 
and speak in their solemn councils, and at those meetings 
her word was supreme. 

James Robertson once visited her on an errand of peace 
and afterwards described her as "queenly and command- 

58 Historic Sullivan. 

ing," and said that her "house was furnished in accordance 
with her high dignity." 

Nancy Ward exerted her influence for the higher civil- 
ization and general betterment of her race and her kind 
acts were to influence her own people, to discourage sav- 
age warfare as much as they were done out of sympathy 
for the whites. 

In a domestic way, too, she was progressive, having 
introduced cows among the Arkansas Cherokees and her 
efforts along all lines of improvement and elevation of 
the race were commendable. 

The date of her death is unknown. 


































lO f 

0. © 



In June, before the battle of Island Flats, which took 
place August 20, 1776, Nancy Ward sent word to the 
Watauga and Fort Patrick settlements that the Indians, 
seven hundred strong, headed by Dragging Canoe and 
Abraham, two of their most desperate chiefs, were pre- 
paring to make a raid. Knowing her to be a friend of 
the whites the scouts that were sent out carried warnings 
and hurried the people of Carter's Valley into the stock- 

There was a gathering of soldiers at Eaton's Station. 
This station was not a fort up to this time, but, upon the 
arrival of the refugees, rail fences were torn down and, 
along with other timbers, stacked into a sort of stockade. 
Several other companies, counting one hundred and 
seventy men, hastened there to protect them. 

Scouts were sent out and returning informed the 
officers a great body of Indians was approaching in the 
neighborhood of Long Island. At a consultation it was 
decided not to wait for the Indians to attack the fort, 
but to go out and meet them for, otherwise, they would 
perhaps go through the settlements murdering the defense- 
less people rather than attempt to fight an armed body 
of men behind a stockade. Accordingly, following the 
advice of William Cocke, 1 they came forth and prepared 
to meet the enemy. They reached Island Flats. Here 
the advance guard met about twenty Indians coming 
up the road toward the fort. These they fired into, 

1A controversy took place sometime after the fight in regard to the conduct 
of Capt. William Cocke, some accusing him of cowardice as he happened to be cut 
off at one time from the main body of the troops and it was supposed he was retreat- 
ing. He wrote a reply, well prepared and at time^ emotional, in defense of his 
action and offered to suffer the pentilty if his comrades thought him guilty. He 
was court-martialed, but was only given about a year's suspension from service. 

60 Historic Sullivan. 

dispersing them, after which they pursued them some 

It was late in the afternoon when the main body of 
whites arrived, and it was thought best, in a council of 
officers, not to expect the enemy that day, but to return 
to the fort. They had gone nearly a mile on their return 
march when it was found the Indians were following in 
large numbers and in line of battle. The whites im- 
mediately prepared to meet them and also got into line, 
with some little confusion, however, and the delay was 
all but disastrous as the Indians came near flanking them. 

The battle lasted only a short time, but was fought with 
fury. During the engagement some individual heroism 
was shown. Lieut. Davis, seeing the Indians were trying 
to flank them, called out: "Boys, boys, we'll be sur- 
rounded, follow me," and leading his men off, formed 
them across the flat, to the ridge. Thus they checked 
the Indians' attempted coup and soon put them to flight. 


Alex Moore and another private, named Handly, seeing 
two of the savages in flight, agreed to pursue them, each 
designating the one he intended to attack. Moore was 
first to overtake his man and both he and the Indian 
fired at the same time — both missed. Moore then rushed 
up and struck the Indian with the butt of his gun, break- 
ing it off. They clinched. Moore, by his agility, was 
able to throw the Indian, but the Indian, owing to his 
greater size and strength, recovered. He then tried to tom- 
ahawk Moore who, seeing his intention, knocked the wea- 
pon from his hand. Handly, in the meantime, had fol- 
lowed his Indian who, when he found that he was unable 
to outrun his pursuer, turned and fired, he also missing. 
The Indian then stood still, presenting a brave front — 
received the ball from a deliberate aim and fell to the 
earth, Handly scalping him. Handly returned to 
aid Moore, whom he found still clinching with his Indian , 

Battle of Island Flats 61 


while the latter was slowly dragging him toward the 
tomahawk, which Moore, each time, would, with a 
hasty kick, place beyond his reach. This was kept up 
until the arrival of Handly, who dispatched the Indian. 

The Indians Were routed in this battle, "eighteen of 
their scalps being taken," while only four of the whites 
were wounded. It was supposed the Indians' losses 
were much larger as a great trail of blood was found. 
Of the whites wounded in this battle only one name is 
preserved. N. Logan was shot in the back of the neck 
with an arrow— guns and bows both being used. 

While it was not a great battle, the result served a great 
purpose. It strengthened the faith of the settlers in 
their powers of defense and made the foe distrust his 
own strength. 


"On the 19th our scouts returned, and informed us that they had 
discovered where a great number of Indians were making into the set- 
tlements; upon which alarm, the few men stationed at Eaton's, com- 
pleted a breast-work sufficiently strong, with the assistance of what men 
were there, to have repelled a considerable number; sent expresses to 
the different stations and collected all the forces in one body, and the 
morning after about one hundred and seventy turned out in search of 
the enemy. We marched in two divisions, with flankers on each side 
and scouts before. Our scouts discovered upwards of twenty meeting us 
and fired on them. They returned the fire, but our men rushed on them 
with such violence that they were obliged to make a precipitate retreat. 
We took ten bundles and a good deal of plunder, and had great reason 
to think some of them were wounded. This small skirmish happened 
on ground very disadvantageous for our men to pursue, though it was 
with the greatest difficulty our officers could restrain their men. A 
council was held, and it was thought advisable to return, as we imagined 
there was a large party not far off. We accordingly returned, and had 
not marched more than a mile when a number, not inferior to ours, 
attacked us in the rear. Our men sustained the attack with great 
bravery and interpidity, immediately forming a line. The Indians 
endeavoured to surround us, but were prevented by the uncommon 
fortitude and vigilance of Capt. James Shelby, who took possession of 
an eminence that prevented their design. Our fine of battle extended 
about a quarter of a mile. We killed about thirteen on the spot, whom 

62 Historic Sullivan. 

we found, and have the greatest reason to believe that we could have 
found a great many more, had we had time to search for them. There 
were streams of blood every way; and it was generally thought there 
was never so much execution done in so short a time on the frontier. 
Never did troops fight with greater calmness than ours did. The 
Indians attacked us with the greatest fury imaginable, and made the 
most vigorous efforts to surround us. Our spies really deserve the 
greatest applause. We took a great deal of plunder and many guns, 
and had only four men greatly wounded. The rest of the troops 
are in high spirits and eager for another engagement. We have the 
greatest reason to believe they are pouring in great numbers on us, 
and beg the assistance of our friends. 

James Thompson, John Campbell, 

James Shelby, William Cocke, 

William Buchanan, Thomas Madison. 

To Maj. Anthony Bledsoe, for him to be immediately sent to Col. 

The Indians taking part in the Island Flats fight were 
led by that savage chief, Dragging Canoe, the other divi- 
sion, under Abraham, attacking Watauga. Finding 
themselves unable to take this point they laid siege for 
three weeks, but with little success. They also sent 
warriors to Womack's fort. 

During this siege a Mrs. Bean and a youth named 
Moore were captured. On returning to their own towns 
the Indians burned the Moore boy. Mrs. Bean was con- 
demned to suffer a similar fate and was already tied to 
the stake, when Nancy Ward interceded and saved her 


Marauding parties of Indians continued to harass the 
settlers. They had a permanent camp in the neighbor- 
hood of Long Island, from which they would come forth 
and pounce down upon some unsuspecting settlement, 
killing and burning. Spies discovered their retreat at the 
mouth of the south fork of Holston river. One night 
previous to this a party of whites were driven into the 
Snod grass fort, near Abingdon. The next day recruits 

Batttle of Island Flats. 63 

from the various forts met near the camp of these Indians 
and prepared to surround them, but before they were 
ready someone, suspecting the Indians heard them, 
fired into their camp, while the remainder rushed to the 
river and plunged in. Seven scalps were taken in this 
fight and out of twenty-five Indians discovered in camp 
only one returned to the settlement on Chicamauga. 
The rest were killed or drowned — the river being flushed 
at the time. 2 

2During the Chicamauga campaign inquiries were made of the Indiana about 
this fight and they reported that there was but one survivor. — Snodgrass MSS. — 
Draper collection. 



At this period the southern Indians became more active 
and offensive than ever before. Chafing under the crush 
of defeat they were ready to form an alliance with any 
nation to retrieve their lost prestige, both as a military 
power and as landowners. In this way they thought to 
restore to themselves territory which they felt had been 
wrung from them in forced treaties. It was in this state 
of mind the British agents found them at the beginning 
of the Revolution. John Stuart, the British Superin- 
tendent of Southern Indian Affairs, approached these 
Indians with offers of aid in the way of ammunition, 
food and clothing, and promises of much loot. 

When these conditions were made known to the people 
of the Holston settlements, who had been the sufferers in 
so many Cherokee invasions, they decided to no longer 
attempt to carry on a war of defense, staying in their 
stockades at home, but to make an imposing display of 
arms on the Indians' own grounds and assume the offen- 
sive. Accordingly Col. William Christian was ordered 
to Long Island with a force of men. He was joined by 
reinforcements under Cols. Williams and Love, and 
Maj. Winston, of North Carolina, and all rendezvoused 
at Long Island in August. 

As an example of discipline while in camp there, the 
following is recorded in Christian's orderly book: 

$' f : For the Tryal of Capt. James Shelby for "giving^a false alarm by 
the report of his gun, Pleading guilty with a apology that "he supposed 
the powder to have been mostly out of the Gun and he only intended to 
squib her" — sorry — . Fined one weeks pay. 

Christian Campaign. 65 

Andrew King, John Barker, James Bates and James Wilson were 
likewise fined for the same breach of deportment — one week. 1 

Accompanying this expedition were two chaplains and 
a surgeon. The following is also from the orderly book: 

Camp Lady Ambler, Oct. 20, 1776. 
Patrick Vance appointed third surgeon with pay of assistant. 2 

Wm. Cumins & Thos. Ray chaplains of first battalion. 3 

Leaving the fort they crossed the island and camped 
the first night on the head waters of Lick creek, near 
Chimney Top mountain. Here they remained several 
days awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from Watauga. 
Altogether there were about two thousand men including 
wood choppers, pack drivers, and cattle drivers. Each 
soldier was supplied with a pound of powder and fifty 
bullets. There was one company of mounted riflemen, 
the remainder being infantry. 

lAlthough the promiscuous shooting of fire-arms is a breach of discipline, 
the temptation to violate this rule is prevalent in all organizations that carry 
weapons — whether for military or amusement purposes. It is punishable by fine 
or often more severe measures. On the frontier, where powder was scarce, it was 
all the more necessary to enforce these regulations. Col. William Preston had had 
charge of the issuance of all supp lies for many years and knowing how hard it was 
to secure ammunition, once cautioned Maj. Robertson:"* * * The destestable 
habit of wantonly firing Guns without any cause is also to be avoided, as it not 
only wastes ammunition which is very scarce but gives the Enemy notice where you 
are so that they will either take advantage of your Imprudence and surprise you 
or^Pass by the Company & ravage the country." 

' '' 2Surgery and surgical instruments were of the most primitive kind on the 
early frontier. During the Christian campaign, while the men were quartered at 
Long Island, a Dr. Vance discovered a treatment for scalped persons. He bored 
holes in the skull in order to create a new flesh covering for the exposed bone . 
On being called away he taught James Robertson how to perform the operation. 
Frederick Calvit, a scalped patient, was brought in and Robertson had a chance 
to practice upon him — "he [Vance] bored a few holes himself, to show the manner 
of doing it." He further declares: 'I have found that a flat pointed, straight awl 
is the best instrument to bore with as the skull is thick and somewhat difficult 
to penetrate. When the awl is nearly through the instrument should be borne 
more lightly upon. The time to quit boring is when a reddish fluid appears on the 
point of the awl. I bore at first about one inch apart and as the flesh appears to 
rise in these holes I bore a number more between the first, etc. * * The scalped 
head cures slowly. It skins remarkably slow, generally taking two years." — 
Draper MS3 

3A11 other authorities give but one 'preacher, Charles Cummings. This, 
however, is taken from Christian's MSS. orderly book and is conclusive. The names 
of course are spelled wrong. Instead of "Wm. Cummins and Thos. Ray," they 
ehoud be Charles Cummings and Joseph Rhea. Rhea was contemporary with 
Cummings. The variance in the spelling of proper names did not always indicate 
different persons any more than the extravagant use of capitals indicated illiteracy. 
Daniel Boone spelled his name Boon and also Boone, yet all antagonists who came in 
contact with him certified that he was one and the same person. 

66 Historic Sullivan. 

Col. Christian kept spies constantly in advance 
of his troops, as the Indians had made the threat that 
no white man should cross the French Broad river. 

While in camp near the mouth of Lick creek, Alex 
Harlin, a trader among the Cherokees, came in and 
told Col. Christian that three thousand of the enemy 
awaited his arrival at the French Broad. But their 
camp was deserted on arrival of the white troops, although 
there were evidences that they had recently been there 
in large numbers. Another trader during the absence 
of Harlin addressed the Indians and advised them not to 
oppose the white man as he was made to rule over them 
and would enter their towns. 4 Christian allowed Harlin 
to go through the camp, as he desired their strength to 
be reported when he returned to the Indians. He also 
sent a very defiant message, saying he would not only 
cross the French Broad, but the Tennessee as well. Just 
before the army reached the river they were met by 
another trader with a flag of truce, but orders were given 
out not to pay any attention to him. Upon arrival 
at the river Col. Christian employed a piece of strategy 
similar to that afterwards executed by Gen. Washington 
at Trenton. He ordered the camp fires kindled and 
kept up so as to give the impression that he was going 
into permanent camp. At the same time, with one 
thousand of his men, he made the very difficult passage 
of the river — the men traveling by fours to support 
each other — and arrived safely on the other side, but found 
no enemy to meet him. In November he reached their 
towns which he also found abandoned. He remained 
in their nation two weeks and destroyed many of their 
towns and crops. At the request of the Indians, Christian 
agreed to a truce, which was to be followed by a treaty, 6 
to be made at the Long Island during July 1777. He, 
however, burned the town of Tuskega, in which lived 


SSee Chapter XIII. 

Christian Campaign. 67 

the warriors responsible for burning the boy Moore, 
captured at Watauga. 

Col. Christian returned to Long Island December 10th, 
and disbanded his men except a garrison of six hundred 
which he left in command of Evan Shelby and Anthony 
Bledsoe. It was on his return that the fort took the 
name Fort Patrick Henry 6 — one of Christian's officers 
naming it. 

6Mooney is evidently in error in saying that Christian built Fort Patrick Henry. 
Fort Robinson was built in 1§61 by Col. Stephen and was afterwards renamed 
Patrick Henry. Perhaps, too,' it was remodeled. ^ 



In accordance with Col. Christian's agreement to hold 
a treaty meeting with the Cherokees at Long Island, 
Govs. Patrick Henry of Virginia, and Caswell of 
North Carolina, appointed commissioners to represent 
the two states at this conference, which convened the 
latter part of June, 1777. 

The commissioners for Virginia were Col. William 
Preston, Col. William Christian and Col. Evan Shelby. 
Those for North Carolina were Waighstill Avery, William 
Sharpe, Robert Lanier and Joseph Winston. 

Col. Christian, accompanying the Indian chiefs, Ocon- 
ostota and others, arrived at the island on the thirtieth 
day of June. Two days later, July 2nd, just as the 
commissioners and Indians were becoming good-naturedly 
acquainted, with prospects of a tranquil settlement, a 
Cherokee warrior known as The Big Bullet, was 
mysteriously murdered. This so alarmed his people that 
they withdrew, suspecting treachery and massacre. 
The treaty thereby came near falling through. It took 
several days and much persistence, on the part of the 
representatives, to assure the Indians that they were in 
no way abettors of the crime, that they deplored the 
murder and should the slayer be found would be put to 
death. As further evidence of sincerity, they offered 
six hundred dollars reward for the arrest of the murderer. 
Finally the Indians consented to return to the treaty 

The Fourth of July came on and was duly observed, 1 
this of course, being the first anniversary of the Declara- 


The Treaty of Long Island. 69 

tion of Independence. There was much rejoicing and 
parade. It was explained to the Indians that these 
festivities were in celebration of promised release from 
the tyrannical oppression of Great Britain. 

As usual, at these treaty meetings, there were many 
"big talks" by the chiefs and much oratory on the part 
of the whites. These talks lasted several days. The 
Cherokees, by nature, are ceremonious and their vagaries 
had to be nursed to convince them of sincerity, especially 
since the cowardly murder of The Big Bullet, to whom 
they frequently referred. 

The commissioners, long experienced with savage 
customs and dispositions, were very deliberate and on all 
questions allowed them as much time as they desired. 
The speakers on both sides expressed great delight that 
a permanent peace was about to be established — a pro- 
fession no doubt sincerely uttered — however, the length 
of this amity was very uncertain as these agreements 
were often, on some flimsy pretext, violated by one side 
or the other. 2 

The first article of treaty declared that: "Hostilities 
shall forever cease between the Cherokees and the people 
of North Carolina from this time forward and peace, 
friendship and confidence shall ensue." 

During the framing of the treaty, the commissioners 
requested the Indians to speak their sentiments without 
reserve, as they were not brought from their far homes to 
be taken advantage of nor to have forced upon them 
anything hurtful to their interests. Regret was expressed 
that The Lying Fish and Dragging Canoe were absent. 

The foremost cause of delay in arriving at a conclusion 
of the treaty was the Cherokees' objection to the pro- 
posed extension of the boundary line. In a speech on 
July 17th, The Old Tassel expressed surprise, saying 

2The white settlers were more often the aggressors. Frontier law was either 
lax or summary and severe punishment was not usually visited upon the head of 
any white man for offense against an Indian. 

70 Historic Sullivan. 

he had not expected overtures for land, but for peace. 
He asserted "if this and another house were packed full 
of goods they would not make satisfaction; the giving 
up of this territory would spoil the hunting grounds 
of my people. I hope you will consider this," he pleaded, 
"and pity me; you require a thing I cannot do." 

Finally, on July 2oth, a treaty was completed and 
The Raven, the spokesman of the Indians, expressed 
the wish that the boundary line between themselves and 
the whites be "as a wall to the skies," so that no one 
could pass it. 

With reluctance they yielded Long Island, 3 desiring 
to retain this strip of land on account of its being their 
ancient treaty place and where, since time out of mind, 
peace pacts had been made. So the present treaty 
contained the following protest memorandum: "The 
Tassel yesterday objected against giving up Great 
Island, opposite to Fort Henry, to any person or country 
whatsoever, except Col. Nathaniel Gist, for whom and 
themselves it was reserved by the Cherokees. The 
Raven did the same, this day, in behalf of his people 
and desired that Col. Gist might sit down upon it when 
he pleased as it belonged to him and them to hold good 
talks on." 

The more prominent articles of the treaty were: All 
white or negro prisoners, if any there be among the 
Cherokees, shall be given up immediately to the agent 
to be appointed for them; and all the horses, cattle and 
other property taken in the late war, from the people, 
shall be delivered up. 

That no white man shall reside in or pass in and out 
of the Overhill towns 4 without a certificate, signed by 
three justices of the peace, and should any be found with- 

SThere is still a claim among the Cherokees that Long Island was not ceded 
to the whites. 

40verhill Cherokees — those living in the valleys as distinguished from the 
mountain dwellers. 

The Treaty of Long Island. 71 

out these certificates should be delivered to the agent 
of the whites while the Cherokees could appropriate any 
effects of said person. 

Should any runaway negroes get into the Overhill 
towns they were to be secured until the owners call for 

That all white men authorized, by credentials, to pass 
through shall be protected ; that if any white man murder 
an Indian he is to be delivered up to a justice of the peace 
of the nearest county, tried and put to death according 
to law. And should an Indian murder a white man, 
said Indian is to be put to death in the presence of the 
agent or two justices of the peace. 

At the completion of the treaty the following boundary 
was agreed upon between the two parties; 

That the boundary line between the State of North Carolina and 
the said Over-hill Cherokees shall forever hereafter be and remain as 
follows, (to wit:) Beginning at a point in the dividing line which 
during the treaty hath been agreed upon between the said Over-hill 
Cherokees and the State of Virginia, where the line between that state 
and North Carolina (hereafter to be extended) shall cross or intersect 
the same, running thence a right line to the north bank of the Holston 
River at the mouth of Cloud's Creek, being the second creek below the 
Warrior's Ford, at the mouth of Carter's Valley, thence a right line to 
the highest point of a mountain called the High Rock or Chimney Top, 
from thence a right line to the mouth of Camp Creek, otherwise called 
McNama's Creek, on the south bank of Nolichucky River, about ten 
miles or thereabouts below the mouth of Great Limestone, be the same 
more or less, and from the mouth of Camp Creek aforsaid a south-east 
course into the mountains which divide the hunting grounds of the 
middle settlements from those of the Overhill Cherokees. 

To prevent any infringement of these peace terms, it 
was further agreed that no white man on any pretence, 
whatsoever, shall build, plant, improve, settle, hunt or 
drive stock below said boundary on pain of being driven 
off by the Indians and punished by the whites. And, 

72 Historic Sullivan. 

"that no man shall carry a gun 6 in search of any cattle 
on pain of forfeiting said gun to the informer." 

In testimony, the following chiefs and commissioners 

Waightstill Avery, (seal) 

William Sharpe, (seal) 

Robert Lanier, (seal) 

Joseph Winston, (seal) 

Oconostota, of Chota, his X mark, (seal) 

Rayetaeh or The Old Tassel, of Toquoe, bis X mark, (seal) 
Savanukeh or The Raven, of Chota, his X mark, (seal) 

Willanawaw, of Toquoe, his X mark, (seal) 

Ootosseteh, of Hiwassee, his X mark, (seal) 

Attusah or The Northward Warrior, of the mouth of 

Tellico River, his X mark, (seal) 

Ooskuah or Abram, of Chilhowee, his X mark, (seal) 

Rollowch or The Raven, from the mouth of Tellies River, 

his X mark, (seal) 

Toostooh, from the mouth of Tellies River, his X mark, (seal) 
Amotah or The Pigeon, of Natchey Creek, his X mark, (seal) 
Oostossetih or The Mankiller, of Wiwassee, his X mark, (seal) 
Tillehaweh or The Chestnut, of Tellies, his X mark, (seal) 
Quee lee kah, of Hiwassee, his X mark, (seal) 

Anna ke hu jah or The Girl, of Tuskega, his X mark, (seal) 
Annecekah, of Tuskega, his X mark, (seal) 

Ske ahtu kah, of Citico, his mark, (seal) 

Atta kulla kulla or The Little Carpenter, of Natchey 

Creek, his X mark, (seal) 

Ookoo nekah or The White Owl, of Natchey Creek, his 

X mark, (seal) 

Ka ta quilla or Pot Clay, of Chilhowee, his X mark, (seal) 

Tus ka sah or The Tarrapin, of Chiles tooch, his X mark, (seal) 
Sunne wauh, of Big Island town, his X mark, (seal) 

Witness: Jacob Womack, James Robins, John Reed, Isaac 
Bledsoe, Brice Martin, John Reed, John Kearns. 

Joseph Vann, Interpreter 

5A gunsmith by agreement was to accompany th e chiefs, reside in their 
nation and do their repairing. 



In the spring of 1779, more than two years after the 
Christian campaign, Evan Shelby commanded an expedi- 
tion against the Chicamaugas. 

Their rendezvous was at Big Creek 1 where some time 
was spent in preparing boats for the first naval demon- 
stration in this section. So swiftly did they descend the 
river the Indians were taken completely by surprise. 

Shelby had nearly one thousand men with him. The 
first town he entered was Chicamauga, where lived Drag- 
ging Canoe and Big Fool, the two chiefs, with five hundred 
warriors, all of whom fled at the approach of the men. 
The town was burned and the Indians were pursued until 
they hid themselves in the fastnesses of the mountains. 

Capturing some of their straggling warriors the in- 
vaders sent them out to bring the chiefs in to a conference. 
The Chicamaugas were wary, however, and declined 
to come. 

After waiting some time our men destroyed their towns 
— twelve in number. They also destroyed great stores 
of corn, some of which had been hid in the cane brakes. 
They captured goods to the value of twenty thousand 
pounds sterling, or in our money, about one hundred 
thousand dollars. Shelby took one hundred and fifty 
horses, one hundred head of cattle and large quantities of 
deer skins, which an English trader had stored there. 

After completing this work they destroyed the vessels 
in which they descended the river and returned on foot. 
There was considerable suffering among the troops 
before they reached the settlements. 

On this expedition Shelby had the services of Capt. 

l"We rendezvoused at Long Island." — MSS. letter William Snodgrass. 

74 Historic Sullivan. 

Montgomery, who opportunely arrived in search of men 
for George Rogers Clark. In the latter 's campaign 
Montgomery served with distinction. 


donelson 's voyage. 

The Donelsons were prominent in the early history 
of Sullivan County. Stokeley Donelson was one of the 
first magistrates and helped to organize the county. Col. 
John Donelson was a prominent surveyor and was also 
instrumental in negotiating treaties with the Indians. 
His most important assignment in this work was in 
association with Gen. Joseph Martin and Col. Isaac 
Shelby in formulating a treaty at Long Island July 9th, 
1783. 1 

In the fall of 1779, Col. Donelson brought his family 
from Virginia and located in Sullivan, near Long Island, 
now Kingsport. Here he built boats — thirty in num- 
ber — preparatory to making a voyage down the Holston, 
with a view of settling on the Cumberland river, in 
Middle Tennessee. 

His daughter, Rachel Donelson, who afterwards became 
the wife of Andrew Jackson, 2 was then a girl thirteen 
years of age and accompanied the expedition. The 
start, owing to the time required in building the boats 
and also to a freeze-up following their completion, was 
not made until December 22, 1779. 

This feat of navigation was the most daring of any 
that had yet been made to settle the West. Down 
unknown rivers, over dangerous shoals and falls, through 
towns of hostile and treacherous Indians, these bold 
navigators pushed their way. 

The boats were all flat boats — one part roofed, Col. 
Donelson 's and Capt. Blackmore's being the largest. 

lAt these treaties it was customary to give the chiefs presents, in the nature 
of tips- 

2Andrew Jackson at one time resided or boarded with the family of William 
Cobb in the "Forks" in Sullivan County. 

76 Historic Sullivan i 

In the boat of Col. and J. Donelson, Jr., were about 
fifteen whites and thirty blacks. In Mrs. James Robert- 
son's 3 boat, ten — all told, about three hundred people. 
Haywood gives the following list of those who accom- 
panied Donelson: "Some of them who came with Col. 
Donelson, the whole of them not being recollected, were 
Robert Cartwright and family, Benjamin Porter and 
family, Mary Henry (a widow) and her family, Mary 
Purnell and her family, James Cain and his family, 
Isaac Neely and his family, John Cotton and his family, 
old Mr. Rounsever and his family, Jonathan Jennings 
and his family, William Crutchfield and his family, Jo- 
seph Renfroe and his family, James Renfroe and his 
family, Solomon Turpin and his family, old Mr. Johns 
and his family, Francis Armstong and his family, Isaac 
Lanier and his family, Daniel Dunham and his family, 
John Boyd and his family, John Montgomery and his 
family, John Cockrill and his family, John Donaldson 
and his family, John Caffrey and his family, John Don- 
aldson, Jr., and his family, Mrs. Robertson (the wife 
of Capt. James Robertson), John Blackmore and John 

When camped at night theirfires, strung alongthe shore, 
made an impressive scene. Col. Donelson 's diary de- 
scribes the vogage. 

Journal of a voyage, intended by God's permission, in the good 
boat Adventure, from Fort Patrick Henry on Holston River, to the 
French Salt Springs on Cumberland River, kept by John Donaldson. 

December 22, 1779. — Took our departure from the fort and fell 
down the river to the mouth of Reedy Creek, where we were stopped 
by the fall of water, and most excessive hard frost; and after much delay 
and many difficulties we arrived at the mouth of Cloud's Creek, on Sun- 
day evening, the 20th of February, 1780, where we lay by until Sunday, 
27th, when we took our departure with the sundry other vessels bound 
for the same voyage, and on the same day struck the Poor Valley Shoal, 

3James Robertson, the husband of this Mrs. Robertson, had gone overland in 
company with Richard Henderson and others, bound for the same destination. 

Donelson's Voyage. 77 

together with Mr. Boyd and Mr. Rounsifer, on which shoal we lay that 
afternoon and succeeding night in much distress. 

Monday, February 28th, 1780. — In the morning the water rising 
we got off the shoal, after landing thirty persons to lighten our boat. 
In attempting to land on an island, received some damage and lost 
sundry articles, and came to camp on the south shore, where we joined 
sundry other vessels also bound down. 

Tuesday, 29th. — Proceeded down the river and camped on the 
north shore, the afternoon and the following day proving rainy. 

Wednesday, March 1st. — Proceeded on and camped on the south 
shore, nothing happening that day remarkable. 

March 2d. — Rain about half the day; passed the mouth of French 
Broad River, and about 12 o'clock, Mr. Henry's boat being driven on 
the point of an island by the force of the current was sunk, the whole 
cargo much damaged and the crew's lives much endangered, which 
occasioned the whole fleet to put on shore and go to their assistance, 
but with much difficulty bailed her, in order to take in her cargo again. 
The same afternoon Reuben Harrison went out a hunting and did not 
return that night, though many guns were fired to fetch him. 

Friday, 3d. — Early in the morning fired a lour-pounder for the lost 
man, sent out sundry persons to search the woods for him, firing many 
guns that day and the succeeding night, but all without success, to 
the great grief of his parents and fellow travellers. 

Saturday, 4th. — Proceeded on our voyage, leaving old Mr. Harris- 
son with some other vessels to make further search for his lost son; 
about ten o'clock the same day found him a considerable distance 
down the river, where Mr. Ben. Belew took him on board his boat. 
At 3 o'clock, P. M., passed the mouth of Tennessee River, and camped 
on the south shore about ten miles below the mouth of Tennessee. 

Sunday, 5th. — Cast off and got under way before sunrise; 12 
o'clock passed the mouth of Clinch; at 12 o'clock, M., came up with the 
Clinch River Company, whom we joined and camped, the evening prov- 
ing rainy. 

Monday, 6th. — Got under way before sunrise; the morning proving 
very foggy, many of the fleet were much bogged — about 10 o'clock lay 
by for them; when collected, proceeded down. Camped on the north 
shore, where Capt. Hutching's negro man died, being much frosted in 
his feet and legs, of which he dier 1 

Tuesday, 7th. — Got under way very early, the day proving very 
windy, a S.S.W., and the river being high occasioned a high sea, inso- 

78 Historic Sullivan. 

much that some of the smaller crafts were in danger; therefore came 
to, at the uppermost Chiccamauga Town, which was then evacuated, 
where we lay by that afternoon and camped that night. The wife of 
Ephraim Peyton was here delivered of a child. Mr. Peyton has gone 
through by land with Capt. Robinson. 

Wednesday, 8th. — Cast off at 10 o'clock, and proceeded down to an 
Indian village, which was inhabited, on the south side of the river; they 
insisted on us to "come ashore," called us brothers, and showed other 
signs of friendship, insomuch that Mr. John Caffrey and my son then on 
board took a canoe which I had in tow, and were crossing over to them, 
the rest of the fleet having landed on the opposite shore. After they 
had gone some distance, a half-breed, who called himself Archy Coody, 
with several other Indians, jumped into the canoe, met them, and ad- 
vised them to return to the boat, which they did, together with Coody 
and several canoes which left the shore and followed directly after him. 
They appeared to be friendly. After distributing some presents among 
them, with which they seemed much pleased, we observed a number 
of Indians on the other side embarking in their canoes, armed and 
painted with red and black. Coody immediately made signs to his 
companions, ordering them to quit the boat, which they did, himself and 
another Indian remaining with us and telling us to move off instantly. 
Coody, the half-breed, and his companion, sailed with us for some time, 
and telling us that we had passed all the towns and were out of danger, 
left us. But we had not gone far until we had come in sight of another 
town, situated likewise on the southside of the river, nearly opposite a 
small island. Here they again invited us to come on shore, called us 
brothers, and observing the boats standing off for the opposite channel, 
told us that "their side of the river was better for boats to pass." And 
here we must regret the unfortunate death of young Mr. Payne, on 
board Capt. Blackemore's boat, who was mortally wounded by reason of 
the boat running too near the northern shore opposite the town, where 
some of the enemy lay concealed, and the more tragical misfortune of 
poor Stuart, his family and friends to the number of twenty-eight per- 
sons. This man had embarked with us for the Western country, but 
his family being diseased with the small pox, it was agreed upon between 
him and the company that he should keep at some distance in the 
rear, for fear of the infection spreading, and he was warned each night 
when the encampment should take place by the sound of a horn. 
After we had passed the town, the Indians having now collected to a 
considerable number, observing his helpless situation, singled off from 
the rest of the fleet, intercepted him and killed and took prisoners the 
whole crew, to the great grief of the whole company, uncertain how 
soon they might share the same fate; their cries were distinctly heard 
by those boats in the rear. . 

Donelson's Voyage. 79 

We still perceived them marching down the river in considerable 
bodies, keeping pace with us until the Cumberland Mountain withdrew 
them from our sight, when we were in hopes we had escaped them. 
We were now arrived at the place called the Whirl or Suck, where the 
river is compressed within less than half its common width above, by 
the Cumberland Mountain, which juts in on both sides. In passing 
through the upper part of these narrows, at a place described by Coody, 
which he termed the "boiling pot," a trivial accident had nearly ruined 
the expedition. One of the company, John Cotton, who was moving 
down in a large canoe, had attached it to Robert Cartwright's boat, into 
which he and his family had gone for safety. The canoe was here over- 
turned, and the little cargo lost. The company pitying his distress 
concluded to halt and assist him in recovering his property. They had 
landed on a northern shore on a level spot, and were going up to the 
place, when the Indians, to our astonishment, appeared immediately 
over us on the opposite cliffs, and commenced firing down upon us, 
which occasioned a precipitate retreat to the boats. We immediately 
moved off, the Indians lining the bluffs along continued their fire from 
the heights on our boats below, without doing any other injury than 
wounding four slightly. Jenning's boat is missing. 

We have now passed through the Whirl. The river widens with a 
placid and gentle current; and all the company appear to be in safety 
except the family of Jonathan Jennings, whose boat ran on a large rock, 
projecting out from the northern shore, and partly immersed in water 
immediately at the Whirl, where we were compelled to leave them, 
perhaps to be slaughtered by their merciless enemies. Continued to sail 
on that day and floated throughout the following night. 

Thursday, 9th. — Proceeded on our journey, nothing happened 
worthy attention today; floated till about midnight, and encamped on 
the northern shore. 

Friday, 10th. — This morning about 4 o'clock we were surprised by 
the cries of "help poor Jennings," at some distance in the rear. He had 
discovered us by our fires, and came up in the most wretched condition. 
He states, that as soon as the Indians discovered his situation they 
turned their whole attention to him, and kept up a most galling fire at 
his boat. He ordered his wife, a son nearly grown, a young man who 
accompanied them, and his negro man and woman, to throw all his goods 
into the river, to lighten his boat for the purpose of getting her off, 
himself returning their fire as well as he could, being a good soldier and 
an excellent marksman. But before they had accomplished their 
object, his son, the young man and the negro, jumped out of the boat 
and left them. He thinks the young man and the negro were wounded 

80 Historic Sullivan. 

before they left the boat.* Mrs. Jennings, however, and the negro 
woman, succeeded in unloading the boat, but chiefly by the exertions of 
Mrs. Jennings, who got out of the boat and shoved her off, but was near 
falling a victim to her own intrepidity on account of the boat starting 
so suddenly as soon as loosened from the rock. Upon examination, 
he appears to have made a wonderful escape, for his boat is pierced in 
numberless places with buliets. It is to be remarked, that Mrs. Peyton, 
who was the night before delivered of an infant,which was unfortunately 
killed upon the hurry and confusion consequent upon such a disaster, 
assisted them, being frequently exposed to wet and cold then and after- 
wards, and that her health appears to be good at this time, and I think 
and hope she will do well. Their clothes were very much cut with 
bullets, especially Mrs. Jennings. 

Saturday, 11th. — Got under way after having distributed the 
family of Mrs. Jennings in the other boats. Rowed on quietly that day, 
and encamped for the night on the north shore. 

Sunday, 12th. — Set out, and after a few hour's sailing we heard the 
crowing of cocks, and soon came within view of the town; here they 
fired on us again without doing us any injury. 

After running until about 10 o'clock, came in sight of the Muscle 
Shoals. Halted on the northern shore at the appearance of the shoals, 
in order to search for the signs Capt. James Robertson was to make for 
us at that place. He set out from Holston early in the fall of 1779, 
was to proceed by the way of Kentucky to the Big Salt Lick on Cumber- 
land River, with several others in company, was to come across from the 
Big Salt Lick to the upper end of the shoals, there to make such signs 
that we might know that he had been there, and that it was practicable 
for us to go across by land. But to our great mortification we can find 
none — from which we conclude that it would not be prudent to make 
the attempt, and are determined, knowing ourselves to be in such 
imminent danger, to pursue our journey down the river. After trim- 
ming our boats in the best manner possible, we ran through the shoals 
before night. When we approached them they had a dreadful appear- 
ance to those who had never seen them before. The water being high 
made a terrible roaring, which could be heard at some distance among 
the drift-wood heaped frightfully upon the points of the islands, the 

*The negro was drowned. The son and the young man swam to the north side 
of the river, where they found and embarked in a canoe and floated down the river. 
The next day they were met by five canoes full of Indians, who took them prisoners 
and carried them to Chickamauga, where they killed and burned the young man. 
They knocked Jennings down and were about to kill him, but were prevented by 
the friendly mediation of Rogers, an Indian trader, who ransomed him with goods. 
Rogers had been taken prisoner by Sevier a short time before.and had been released; 
and^hat good office he requited by the ransom of Jennings. — Ramsey. | 

Donelson's Voyage 81 

current running in every possible direction. Here we did not know 
how soon we should be dashed to pieces, and all our troubles ended at 
once. Our boats frequently dragged on the bottom, and appeared 
constantly in danger of striking. They warped as much as in a rough 
sea. But by the hand of Providence we are now preserved from this 
danger also. I know not the length of this wonderful shoal; it had been 
represented to me to be 25 or 30 miles. If so, we must have descended 
very rapidly, as indeed we did, for we passed it within about three 
hours. Came to, and camped on the northern shore, not far below the 
shoals, for the night. 

Monday, 13th. — Got under way early in the morning, and made'a 
good run that day. 

Tuesday, 14th. — Set out early. On this day two boats approach- 
ing too near the shore, were fired on by the Indians. Five of the crews 
were wounded, but not dangerously. Came to camp at night near the 
mouth of a creek. After kindling fires and preparing for rest, the com- 
pany was alarmed, on account of the incessant barking our dogs kept 
up; taking it for granted that the Indians were attempting to surprise 
us, we retreated precipitately to the boats; fell down the river about a 
mile and encamped on the other shore. In the morning I prevailed 
upon Mr. Caff rey and my son to cross below in a canoe, and return to the 
place; which they did, and found an African negro we had left in the 
hurry, asleep by one of the fires. The voyagers returned and collected 
their utensils which had been left. 

Wednesday, 15th. — Got under way and moved on peaceably the 
five following days, when we arrived at the mouth of the Tennessee on 
Monday, the 20th, and landed on the lower point immediately on the 
bank of the Ohio. Our situation here is truly disagreeable. The river 
is very high, and the current rapid, our boats not constructed for the 
purpose of stemming a rapid stream, our provisions exhausted, the 
crews almost worn down with hunger and fatigue, and know not what 
distance we have to go, or what time it will take us to our place of desti- 
nation. The scene is rendered still more melancholy, as several 
boats will not attempt to ascend the rapid current. Some intend to 
descend the Mississippi to Natchez; others are bound for the Illinois — 
among the rest my son-in-law and daughter. We now part, perhaps to 
meet no more, for I am determined to pursue my course, happen what 

Tuesday, 21st — Set out, and on this day laboured very hard and 
got but a little way; camped on the south bank of the Ohio. Passed the 
two following days as the former, suffering much from hunger and 

82 fK ^Historic Sullivan. 

Friday, 24th. — About 3 o'clock came to the mouth of a river which 
I thought was the Cumberland. Some of the company declared it 
could not be — it was so much smaller than was expected. But I never 
heard of any river running in between the Cumberland and Tennessee. 
It appears to flow with a gentle current. We determined, however, 
to make the trial, pushed up some distance and encamped for the night. 

Saturday, 25th. — Today we are much encouraged; the river grows 
wider; the current is very gentle, and we are now convinced it is the 
Cumberland. I have derived great assistance from a small square sail 
which was fixed up on the day we left the mouth of the river; and to 
prevent any ill-effects from sudden flaws of wind, a man was stationed 
at each of the lower corners of the sheet with, directions to give way 
whenever it was necessary. 

Sunday, 26th. — Got under way early; procured some buffalo-meat; 
though poor it was palatable. 

Monday, 27th. — Set out again; killed a swan, which was very 

Tuesday, 28th. — Set out very early this morning; killed some 

Wednesday, 29th. — Proceeded up the river; gathered some herbs 
on the bottoms of Cumberland, which some of the company called 
Shawnee salad. 

Thursday, 30th. — Proceeded on our voyage. This day we killed 
some more buffalo. 

Friday, 31st. — Set out this day, and after running some distance, 
met with Col. Richard Henderson, who was running the line between 
Virginia and North Carolina. At this meeting we were much rejoiced. 
He gave us every information we wished, and further informed us that 
he had purchased a quantity of corn in Kentucky, to be shipped at the 
Falls of Ohio for the use of Cumberland settlement. We are now 
without bread, and are compelled to hunt the buffalo to preserve life. 
Worn out with fatigue, our progress at present is slow. Camped at 
night near the mouth of a little river, at which place and below there is 
a handsome bottom of rich land. Here we found a pair of hand-mill 
stones set up for grinding, but appeared not to have been used for a 
great length of time. 

Proceeded on quietly until the 12th of April, at which time we came 
to the mouth of a little river running in on the north side, by Moses 
Renfoe and his company called Red River, up which they intend to 
settle. Here they took leave of us. We proceeded up Cumberland, 
nothing happening material until the 23d, when we reached the first 

Donelson 's Voyage 83 

settlement on the north side of the river, one mile and a half below 
the Big Salt Lick and called Eaton's Station, after a man of that name 
who with several other families, came through Kentucky and settled 

Monday, April 24th. — This day we arrived at our journey's end at 
the Big Salt Lick, where we had the pleasure of finding Capt. Robertson 
and his company. It is a source of satisfaction to us to be enabled 
to restore to him and others their families and friends, who were entrust- 
ed to our care, and who, sometime since, perhaps, despaired of ever 
meeting again. Though our prospects at present are dreary, we have 
found a few log cabins which have been built on a cedar bluff above 
the Lick, by Capt. Robertson and his company. 

After their arrival in the Cumberland settlements, 
there came a famine year and Col. Donelson, with his 
family temporarily removed to Kentucky. Here Rachel 
met and married Lewis Robards, a man of good family 
but, as was afterwards learned, of vile habits. 

After the death of Col. Donelson, who was killed by 
Indians, his widow returned to their former home on 
the Cumberland. Here Rachel and her husband often 
visited. When Andrew Jackson went to Nashville, 
he boarded with Mrs. Donelson, partly as a protection 
for her against the Indians. It was at this home that 
he met Mrs. Robards and it was evident to him she was 
unhappily married and was being mistreated by her 
husband. On account of this Jackson once remonstrated 
with Robards, at which the latter became jealous, accused 
his wife of undue intimacy with other men and threatened 

The young couple returned to Kentucky, but in a short 
time, hearing of her unhappiness, through continued 
mistreatment, Samuel Donelson, one of her brothers, 
went to Kentucky and brought her back. 

The subsequent events, the divorce, her hasty mar- 
riage to Jackson and a second ceremony when the couple 
learned they were married before the legislature had 
annulled the marriage with Robards, are matters of 
familiar history. The scandal and gossip resulting 

84 Historic Sullivan. 

from this mistake, innocently but carelessly made, 
caused Jackson's sensitive nature to resent, often with 
the dueling pistols. The prominence of the couple and 
Jackson's political ambitions caused his enemies to keep 
alive these rumors during the life of Mrs. Jackson. 

Jackson's attachment for her never waned. He was 
inconsolable at her death and no political burden ever 
bore down upon him as did the loss of his companion. 
His love for her during life and his increasing devotion 
to her memory are tributes to the strength and amiability 
of her character. 

He refused the gift of a costly sarcophagus 4 as his last 
resting place, preferring to be buried beside his wife, 
and the epitaph he had inscribed upon her tomb was a 
sincere intermingling of tenderness, grief and true devotion. 

Rachel Jackson was a type of Tennessee frontier- 
woman whose culture and refinement influenced the times. 

She died in 1828, aged sixty-one. 

4This, sarcophagus tendered Jackson through Commodore Elliott, U. S. N., 
was brought from Palestine and had been previously prepared for King Servius. 
Jackson declined it and his reply is characteristic of his democratic simplicity. 


John Sullivan, 
a biography. 

John Sullivan was born at Sommerworth, New Hamp- 
shire, February 17, 1740. His father was an exile from 
Ireland — a poor school teacher, but familiar with five 
languages — a man of considerable learning. The type 
and character of his mother may be inferred from her 
reply to the inquiry, "Why did you come to this country?" 
"I came here to raise governors," she replied. One son 
became Governor of New Hampshire and one Governor of 
Massachusetts, while a grandson became Governor of 
Elaine and still another grandson became a United States 

John Sullivan married at the age of twenty and became 
a lawyer. His dislike for England was born in him. The 
ancestral castles of his family in Ireland were leveled by 
that nation. He clearly saw the designs of the British 
when, while he was a member of the Congress in 1774, 
the King sent an order prohibiting the shipment of mili- 
tary stores to this country. 

Collecting a few men who sided with him he went, on 
December 13, 1774, to Fort William and Mary and enter- 
ed in broad daylight, through the fire of field pieces and 
musketry. He tore down the royal flag — the first occur- 
rence of this kind in American history — and carried off 
one hundred barrels of powder and many guns. These 
he towed up the river, cutting a channel through the ice, 
and deposited in the cellar of a church at Dover. 1 

This act of rebellion against England preceded Concord 
and Lexington four months. 

The ire of the English monarch was aroused by these 
proceedings and conciliation was now impossible. The 
war was on. 

lThi8 ammunition was afterward used in the battle of Bunker Hill. 

86 Historic Sullivan. 

Sullivan was the first congressman to be elected from 
New Hampshire, but his restless spirit was best suited 
for the field . While he was in the trenches around Boston, 
during the winter of 1773, he wrote to John Adams, urg- 
ing a declaration of independence. When he was a mem- 
ber of the Congress of 1774, he reported declarations of 
"rights and violations" which were afterward embodied 
in the immortal Declaration of Independence. 

In Congress, Sullivan had a congenial ally in John Rut- 
ledge, of South Carolina. The dashing Sullivan suited 
the spirit of the South. 

When the enemy had been driven from Boston he was 
assigned to the army in Canada. Montgomery had been 
killed in the attack on Quebec and after the death of Gen. 
Thane, Sullivan assumed command. Seeing the useless- 
ness of a stand against outnumbering forces he skillfully 
withdrew his little army, not even leaving a sick man 

Seventeen days after his return from Canada, July 29, 
1776, he was promoted to Major-General. 

He was captured in the battle of Long Island, (N. Y.) 
where he had to face an army that outnumbered him four 
to one and was commanded by such generals as Cornwal- 
lis, Clinton and Howe. 

He was shortly afterward exchanged and immediately 
joined Washington, his timely arrival and command of 
the right wing enabling the Commander-in-Chief to make 
that brilliant movement upon Trenton, the night he cross- 
ed the Delaware. 

Upon landing Sullivan sent word to Washington that 
the powder was wet. "Use the bayonet," came the quick 
reply. This suited the tempestuous nature of the Irish 

In the battle of Brand ywine he again commanded the 
right wing and his bravery drew forth the encomium of a 
staff officer of Stirling's: "his uniform bravery, coolness 
and intrepidity both in the heat of battle, rallying and 

John Sullivan. 87 

forming his troops when broke from their ranks, appeared 
to me to be truly consistent with or rather exceeded any 
idea I had ever of the greatest soldier." 

He suffered with the army during their memorable win- 
ter at Valley Forge. 

In the spring he was sent to Rhode Island and put in 
command of ten thousand men, and in this campaign was 
thrown with Greene and La Fayette. "Nothing can give 
me more pleasure," wrote La Fayette in advance, "than 
to go under your orders and it is with the greatest happi- 
ness that I see my wishes on that point entirely satisfied . 
I both love and esteem you; therefore the moment we 
shall fight together will be extremely pleasant and agree- 
able to me." 

Sullivan fell back to Butt's Hill where, La Fayette says, 
was one of the most hotly contested actions during the 
war. The British made several attacks, but were repulsed 
each time and after the battle had lasted seven hours 
they retired, having lost one thousand men. 

An extended account of all of Gen. Sullivan's military 
exploits is not possible here. His last service on the field 
was in 1779, when he was sent against the Iroquois. 
They were the most defiant of the northern tribes and 
recently, at the instigation of Joseph Brant, John Butler 
and the British agents, had become very troublesome. 

With four brigades Gen. Sullivan marched against them 
and found them — fifteen hundred strong — well intrenched 
on a mountain side. By a well designed attack he put 
them to rout, 2 thus avenging the cruel "massacre of the 
Valley of Wyoming." 

Gen. Sullivan now resigned, giving as a reason his im- 
paired health and the impoverished condition of his fam- 
ily — they were destitute. "I have not clothes sufficient 
for another campaign," he wrote. 

2It is coincident that in the same year the forces of Sullivan County and 
others, under Gen. Shelby, routed the most powerful of the southern tribes, and 
so these combined victories restored peace all along the border. 

88 Historic Sullivan. 

Sullivan had bitter enemies in Congress, but Washing- 
ton valued his services and when the former left the army, 
wrote in part, "I flatter myself it is unnecessary for me to 
repeat to you how high a place you hold in my esteem, — ". 

He filled several offices in his state. In 1786 he was 
elected Governor, or as it was then called, President of 
the State. He was re-elected in 1787 and in 1789 was 
again chosen. 

He was made grand master of the Masons for the State 
of New Hampshire. 

Before the expiration of his last term as governor, 
Washington appointed him first judge of the United States 
district court of New Hampshire. It was while in this 
office he began to fail, both mentally and physically and, 
although incapacitated in many ways, Washington stead- 
fastly refused to remove him, proving his estimate of the 

Gen. Sullivan died January 23, 1795, in his fifty-fifth 

His life was characterized by a reckless dash and au- 
dacity — a little erratic perhaps, but arriving at ends that 
justified his hasty conclusions. He was as all men of his 
type— trustworthy, honest and sincere in the support of 
any movement that impressed him to be the right. 3 

3Much of the data concerning Sullivan was secured from addresses delivered 
at the dedication of Sullivan's monument at Durham, Mass., September 27, 1894- 



Sullivan County was erected in 1779. Previous to 
this date it was supposed to be in Virginia, and up to 
1769 was a part of Augusta county, when it became 
Botertout county until 1772; then, that portion of her 
population dwelling upon the Mississippi river being too 
far away to reach the court house conveniently each 
month, the county was again divided and this portion 
became Fincastle county with the court house near 
Wytheville. The population on the extreme border 
were exempt from taxation and from work in keeping 
up the roads. 

It remained Fincastle until 1776, when Washington 
county was erected. 

In the year 1779 William Cocke, a versatile and variable 
genius, who afterwards became one of Tennessee's first 
United States Senators, refused to pay his taxes to the 
Virginia collector, claiming he did not live in Virginia, but 
in North Carolina. 

This refusal and his manner of doing it highly incensed 
the members of the county court of Washington county, 
Virginia, and they — in session October 20th, 1779, — 
entered the following order: 

On Complaint of the Sheriff against William Cocke for insulting 
and obstructing Alexander Donaldson [Donelson] Deputy Sheriff 
when collecting the Public Tax about the Thirtieth of September last 
and being Examined saith that being at a fourt on the North Side cf 
Holston River in Carter's Valley collecting the Public Tax the said 
William Cocke as he came to the door of the House in which said Sheriff 
was doing Business he said that there was the Sheriff of Virginia col- 
lecting the Tax and asked him what Right he had to collect Taxes 
there as it was in Carolina and never was in Virginia that he said the 
People were fools if they did pay him Public dues and that he dared 
him to serve any process whatever that the said Cocke undertook 

90 Historic Sullivan. 

for the People upon which sundry people refused to pay their Tax 
and some that had paid wanted their Money Back again. Ordered 
that the Conduct of William Cocke Respecting his Obstructing Insult- 
ing and threatening the Sheriff in Execution of his office be represented 
to the Executive of Virginia. 

Ordered that William Cocke be found in this county that he be 
taken into Custody and caused to appear before the Justices at next 
Court to answer for his conduct for obstructing the sheriff in execution 
of his office. 

Court adjourned until Court in course. 

William Campbell. 

The next meeting of the court did not try William 
Cocke or at least no further record is found and it is 
doubtful if he was ever arrested. His act of revolt 
hastened a test survey — the Legislature of Virginia, 
the year previous, 1778, enacting a law providing for the 
extension of the boundary line between Virginia and 
North Carolina; the Legislature of the latter state con- 
curring in a similar act a year later — which resulted in 
a victory for William Cocke and in placing us in North 
Carolina. 1 

It was with no little pride this same man sought 
further vindication when he boldly entered the presence 
of the court that had outlawed him and there caused 
to be entered the following order: 

June 20th, 1780. 
On motion William Cocke Gent, a citizen of the state of North 
Carolina it is ordered that his character be certified to the examiners 
that he is a person of Probity and Good Demeanor. 

The organization and naming of the new county now 
began. 2 

If by the varied conveyances Sullivan County was 
tossed aside as a castaway, unclaimed, it has rebuked 

IThe Frye and Jefferson line ended at Steep Rock, in Johnson county. The 
line run in 1779 is known as the Henderson line. 

2While it is often difficult to arrive at the origin of names, there is much to 
cause me to believe that the Rutledges had a large share in naming Sullivan County. 
Rutledge of South Carolina, a lineal relative of the family in this county, was a 
political ally of Gen. Sullivan's in the Continental Congress. This, added to the 
general 's recent military service, placed him in line for name commemoration. 

Sullivan County. 91 

the poor fostering care of an uncertain parentage by 
spreading before the eyes of the world as glorious a page 
of achievement and valor, of statesmanship and man- 
hood and womanhood as can be found in any nation of 
any time. 

In the brief period of twenty-six years it arose from a 
rugged frontier colony to the dignity of a state. 

The original boundary of the county began at Steep 
Rock; thence along the dividing ridge that separates 
the waters of the Great Kanawha and Tennessee, to the 
head of Indian Creek; thence along the ridge that divides 
the waters of the Holston and Watauga; thence a direct 
line to the highest point of Chimney top mountain, at 
the Indian boundary. 3 

Spencer county, or what was afterwards called and is 
still known as Hawkins, was cut off from Sullivan. 

The official organization of Sullivan County took 
place at the house of Moses Looney, February 7, 1780. 
The justices of the peace present were Issac Shelby, 
David Looney, Gilbert Christian, John Duncan, William 
Wallace, Samuel Smith, Henry Clark, Anthony Bledsoe, 
George Maxwell, John Anderson and Joseph Martin. 4 

John Rhea was appointed clerk and Nathan Clark, 

Issac Shelby exhibited a commission from Gov. Caswell, 
of North Carolina, dated November 19, 1779, appointing 
him Colonel-Commandant of the county. Other com- 
missions appointed Henry Clark, Lieutenant-Colonel, 
David Looney, first Major and John Shelby, second 

3Excepting a small portion, Sullivan County was not taken from Washington 
county, Tennessee, as is generally supposed. The former was a county long before 
the latter, but being regarded as a part of Virginia, had to take second place in the 
date of erection. So far as Tennessee is concerned, "Washington District," in 
1777, bears the distinction of having first used the name of Washington in naming 

■*R' 4Ramsey's list differs some from the above, yet I am inclined to accept this 
because it is taken from a complete copy of the court records I found at Madison, 

92 Historic Sullivan. 

In February, the following year, "Joseph Martin and 
Gilbert Christian are spoken of as majors." 

"William Cocke was admitted to practise law in 
February, 1782 — the first we have any record of in the 

"At the same time Anthony Bledsoe was appointed 
Lieutenant-Colonel [inserted note says 'must have been 
Kentucky'] in 1780." 5 

For six years the county seat was in the neighborhood 
of Eaton's Station, or what we now call Eden's ridge. 

When Hawkins county was erected in 1786 it was 
found necessary to build a court-house at a more central 
location in the county, and a commission composed of 
Joseph Martin, James McNeil, John Duncan, Evan Shelby, 
Samuel Smith, William King and John Scott were named 
to select a site for the court house. 

Up to 1792, this commission had not reported, but in 
that year a tract of thirty acres, on the present site of 
Blountville, was conveyed to John Anderson, George 
Maxwell and Richard Gammon whereon was to be 
erected the county buildings. It took another set of 
commissioners, however, before the work was completed 
and in 1795 the following appear to have been selected : 
George Rutledge, James Gaines, John Shelby, Jr., John 
Anderson, Jr., David Terry and Joseph Wallace. 

The first court-house was built of logs and was, of it's 
kind, a massive structure. It was built on the south 
side of Main street nearly opposite to the present one 
(1909) . The jail was placed in the rear of the court-house. 

It was in the same year, 1795, Blountville became the 
county seat. About thirty years after the first court 
house was built in the town a brick one replaced 
it which served until 1853, when the present building 
was erected. The building, with its contents, was de- 
stroyed by fire during the battle in September, 1863 — 
the walls remained intact, however, and are still in 

5From Draper MSS. notes. 

Sullivan County. 93 

use. Three jails have been built to accompany the 
court-house — the first immediately in the rear of 
the building, the second on a lot adjoining, also in the 
rear and the third between the sites of the first and the 

The county records, for eighty years, from 1780 to 
1860, were destroyed during the war between the states. 6 

After the burning of the court-house the next meeting 
of the court, in October, was held at the "Female Insti- 
tute." The records make this undisturbed announcement 
of the most destructive fire that ever visited the county 

State of Tennesse, 1 ,, , . , , , . „ 

Sullivan County Court. J Monda y mornin S. the 5th da y of 0ct - 1863 - 

Court met pursuant to adjournment (at the Female Institute 
within the corporation of said town of Blountville, the court house 
having been burned down by the Federals on the 22d day of September 
last, pending a battle fought over said town by the Federal and Con- 
federate forces.) Present, Henry W. Ewing, George Foust, James H. 
Gallaway, John G. King, G. W. Morton and R. P. Rhea, Esquires." 

The reorganization of this court took place in January, 
1866, when all offices were declared vacant by reason of 
the occupants' sympathy with the Southern cause, and 
representatives of the Union sentiment were chosen 
to fill them. 

Considering the restoration of the court-house the 
following was enacted : 

"On motion of Wm. D. Blevins: "It is ordered by the court that 
there be Three Commissioners appointed to make Contracts with 

6Some of the county records were destroyed previous to 1787, during the 
troubles of the Franklin movement, as were also those of Washington county. 
Sometimes the North Carolina party would be in possession of them and then 
again the "Franks" would secure them, and this alternating ownership resulted in 
their loss or perhaps destruction. 

The records of the land transfers remain intact, Frederick Sturm, then county 
registrar, for convenience, kept them at his home at the old Sturm hotel, and in 
this way the valuable documents were preserved. 

Our county records have always been carelessly kept. This is not due to the 
negligence of county officials so much as indifference on the part of county courts. 
No appropriation could be more judiciously made than one for the better security 
of our records Next to Washington county's, ours are the oldest in the state and 
their destruction would entail endless litigation. 

94 Historic Sullivan. 

Brick Masons and House Joiners to make window and door frames 
and steps and cover the walls of the court house so as to secure the 
walls from the weather, and cover the building with shingles, and 
thereupon the court appointed W. W. James, Wm. Gammon and F. 
L. Baumgardner, Commissioners to contract for and superintend said 
work, and make their report to the January term of this court, sixteen 
Justices on the bench voting in the affirmative." 

James Hunt and John Lyle were the building con- 
tractors while Robert, Jacob and William Smith were the 
brick masons. 

The only court's organization that has been preserved 
complete is that of the Chancery and is given as follows: 

organization of chancery court.? 

May Term, 1852. 

At a court of Chancery begun and held at the court house in Blount- 
ville, first Thursday after third Monday, May, 1852, it being the 20th 
day of the month for the Chancery district, composed of the County 
of Sullivan there was present the Hon. Thos. L. Williams, Chancellor, 

The following commission was produced to wit: 

William B. Campbell, Governor op the State of Tennessee. 
To all who shall see these presents. 

Know ye that whereas Thos. L. Williams was on the 4th day of 
Nov., 1851, elected by the joint vote of both houses of the General 
Assembly of said state, a Chancellor for the Eastern division in the said 
state, for the term of 8 years from the first day of March, 1852. 

Now therefore I, Wm. B. Campbell, Governor, as aforsaid by virtue 
of the power and authority in me vested, do hereby commission the 
said Thomas L. Williams, a Chancellor, as aforsaid for the term aforsaid, 
hereby conferring on him all the powers, priviledges and emoluments 
to said office appertaining. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused 
the great seal of the state to be affixed at the City of Nashville, the 1 5th 
day of December, 1851. 

By the Gov. Wm. B. Campbell. 

W. B. A. Ramsey, Secretary of State. 

7These records were perhaps kept outside of the court house, hence they were 
not destroyed in the burning of the building. 

Sullivan County. 95 

State of Tennessee, \ 
McMinn County. / 

Be it remembered that on the 18th day of Feby. 1852. 
'' ' The Hon. Thos. L. Williams, the person named in the within 
commission, Chancellor of Eastern Division and in due form of law 
took the oath prescribed by law, more effectually to prohibit dueling, 
an oath to support the constitution of the United States, an oath to 
support the constitution of the State of Tennessee and the oath of 
office as Chancellor. 

In testimony, whereof, I have hereunto set my hand the date 
above written. 

Chas. F. Keith, 
Judge of the 3rd Judicial District. 

George F. Gammon was thereupon appointed Clerk and M., 20th 
May, 1852, with the following bondmen, who bound themselves to the 
sum of $10,000, for his faithful discharge of office. 

Geo. F. Gammon, B. L. Dulaney, A. L. Gammon, John Flemming, 
James Gregg, M. Massengill, Robt. P. Rhea. 

The same bondmen also bound themselves for the following: 

$10,000 for honorably keeping the records and discharging the 
duties of said office. 

$500 that he (Gammon) shall well and truly collect and pay over 
into the public treasury all such taxes in law suits as may arise in said 

$1,000 to collect and pay into the public treasury all such fines and 
forfeitures as may arise. 

$10,000 to faithfullly account for and turn over all such sums 
of money as may come into his hand as special commissioner to sell 
property under decree of court. 


In 1835 the legislature, by an act, authorized the 
re-districting of the county. Prior to this time the dis- 
tricts were in military divisions with a justice of the peace 
in each division. 

In 1836 four commissioners were appointed to re-district 
the county: John R. Delaney, Thomas White, Daniel 
Branstutter and Nathan Bachman. There were fifteen 
districts while at present (1909) there are twenty-two. 

Prior to and for sometime after the Civil War the dis- 
tricts were known as precincts and took the name of the 

96 Historic Sullivan. 

neighborhood or justice of the peace as follows: first 
district was Carmack's precinct; second, Paperville; 
third, Crumley's; fourth, Rhea's; fifth, Blountville; 
sixth, White's; seventh, Roller's; eighth, Spurgeon's; 
ninth, Fork's; tenth, Foust's; eleventh, Gott's; twelfth, 
Kingsport; thirteenth, Easley's; fourteenth, Bran- 
stutter's; fifteenth, Peoples'; sixteenth, Bluff City; sev- 
enteenth, Bristol; eighteenth, Yoakley's. 


At one time the county court undertook to regulate 
the prices of commodities. In this way we are privileged 
to make comparisons with the prevailing prices of to-day 
as well as to compare the prices that governed the fluctuat- 
ing money market that existed before, during and after 
the revolutionary period. 

These prices extended to beverages, staple goods and 

During 1777 the price of beverages was as follows: 

Ordered that Liquor be rated in this county for the ensuing year 
as followeth: Rum at 16 shillings and one pence per gallon. Rye 
Liquor, 8 shillings and one pence per gallon. Corn Liquor, 4 shillings 
and one pence per gallon. Quart Bowl of Rum Toddy made with 
Loafe Sugar, 2 shillings and one pence, with Brown, one shilling, six 
pence and so in proportion for a greater or lesser Quantity 

During 1780 quite a change in values took place and 
it marks not only a rise in the price of food stuffs, but a 
decline in the value of Continental currency. 

April, 1780. 

Ordered the Rates of Ordinaries be as follows (vis.): Wine, Nine 
Pounds the Quart. West Indian Rum, fifteen Pounds by the quart, 
Good Whiskey, seven Pounds four shillings. Rum Tody, by the quart, 
three Pounds, twelve shillings, good Beer, by the Quart, one Pound, 
sixteen shillings and so in proportion for a greater or lesser Quantity. 

Diets, warm Dinner, six pounds, cold, do, four pounds ten shil- 
lings. Warm Breakfast, four pounds, ten shillings. Cold, do, three 
pounds. Supper the same as breakfast. Lodging in clean Sheets, 

Sullivan County. 97 

one pound, sixteen shillings. Provender Corn, by the gallon, six 
Pounds. Oats, four pounds, ten shillings. Good pasturage, one pound, 
sixteen shillings. g 

When the excitement and disturbance incident to the 
Revolution became settled and we had a monetary- 
system of our own, rates were more regular and the fol- 
lowing prices have a more familiar appearance. : 

Ordered that the following and no other shall be tavern rates 
in Sullivan County for the year 1795:9 

Doll. Cent. 

For Breakfast 16 

For Dinner 16 

Wine or Rum for half pint 16 

Cyder or Rum per quart 6£ 

Horse at hay or good fodder per 

night 12* 

Corn or Oats per Gall 8 

For lodging good bed &c per night 8 

Brandy per half pint 8 

Whiskey for half pint 8£ 

Supper 16 

8" Not worth a Continental dam" had its origin about this time. It is not a 
profane expression. A "dam" is an Indian coin of less value than one cent and a 
Continental one cent was next to worthless when it took six pounds, or about 
thirty dollars to buy a "warm dinner." 

9A violation of this order meant a fine and the court records enumerate in- 
stances where violators were tried, especially for over-charging in the sale of intox- 

John Adair, 
a biography. 

For several generations posterity has passed by the 
grave of John Adair and left it unremembered and un- 
marked. But for the annalist he might in a few more 
generations be forgotten. 

He was born in Ireland and emigrated to this country, 
settling in North Carolina. Afterward he removed to 
Sullivan County, then North Carolina where he 
became entry taker in 1779. He was one of Isaac Shel- 
by's associates and rendered that officer valuable aid in 
planning the King's Mountain expedition. It is described 
elsewhere how he gave the funds of the county to aid 
Shelby and Sevier in the execution of their project. 

In 1788 he was commissioner for furnishing supplies 
to the Cumberland Guard . 

In 1794, after Blount College had been established, 
he was chosen one of the trustees; he was a member of 
the constitutional convention in 1796, and was Presiden- 
tial elector for Hamilton district in 1796 and 1799. 1 

He was one of the commissioners of Knoxville, 1797. 

The Cumberland Guard, for which he furnished supplies, 
acted as escort for travellers through the wilderness, to 
the Cumberland Plateau. 

In 1788 he located in the vicinity of what is now Knox- 
ville — North Carolina having, in recognition of his services, 
granted him a tract of six hundred and forty acres. This 
tract is about four and a half miles north of Knoxville, 
and there he erected a log house which was built after 
the manner of a block-house. It was known as Adair's 

ITennessee at first was divided into three districts: Washington, Hamilton 
and Mero. 

John Adair. 99 

Station, and the stream running through it is still known 
as Adair's Creek. Adair and Gen. James White were 
contemporaries and friends. The latter founded Knox- 
ville in 1792. 

So far as known John Adair had one child — a daughter, 
Mary, who married Robert Christian, son of Gilbert Chris- 
tian of Sullivan County. This marriage no doubt took 
place at Christiansville or what is now Kingsport as the 
Christians were living there then. Maria, a daughter of 
this couple, lived with her grandparents at Adair's Station 
and there married John Smith, whose descendants 
live there to-day. This land still remains in the same 
family after having come direct from the State. 

John Adair died in 1827 and, with his wife, is buried on 
a knoll on the old tract — the exact location of the graves, 
however, is in doubt. 2 

21 am indebted to C. M. McClung, Esq., and Judge E. T. Sanford, of 
Knoxville, for a great deal of the data concerning John Adair. 

king's mountain campaign. 

Between the years 1774 and 1780 there were restless 
times in the Holston settlements. These "over the moun- 
tain men" as the Eastern Carolina folk designated the 
inhabitants in the "back parts" of the state, or "back- 
woodsmen" as their enemies sneeringly called them, 
were following one campaign with another. These 
campaigns, however, were for the most part directed 
against their Indian foes, but the incursion of 1779, 
into the very heart of the Cherokee country, had par- 
tially silenced opposition. 

Up to 1780 these people had paid little attention to 
the struggle for independence. 

This year they were called upon a broader field of 

In order to best describe the King's Mountain cam- 
paign it will be necessary to recite some of the events 
that led up to it. 

King's Mountain is about sixteen miles long, running 
through portions of North and South Carolina. That 
part where the battle took place is in South Carolina, 
about one and a half miles from the North Carolina line. 

The year 1780 was a dark one for the cause of liberty; 
Charleston and Savannah had fallen, Georgia was subdued 
save a few bands of invincible patriots who were ready 
to fall in with anybody and fight to the death. 

So sure was Sir Henry Clinton that the whole southern 
territory would soon fall into the hands of the British that 
he left the management of the campaign to Lord Corn- 
wallis and returned to New York. 

• ^"///^ #f< 'lt0?42j\ //,;,>„/,, 

King's Mountain Campaign. 101 

ferguson and tarleton. 

With Cornwallis were two brilliant officers, Ferguson 
and Tarleton — the former in his mode of warfare, much 
like our Mosby or Morgan or perhaps Forrest. Tarleton 
while a dashing cavalryman was also a very brutal 
officer — his men were plunderers, outraged women, hung 
all prisoners whom they suspected of being deserters 
and rarely offered any quarter to a foe, as in the case of 
Capt. Buford's command, which he routed and massacred. 
It was on this account "Buford" was first the password 
and later the slogan of the Americans at the battle of 
King's Mountain. 

Ferguson, at this time thirty-six years of age, was de- 
scribed as a man of medium height, slender build and very 
affable in his manner, more inclined to be courteous to 
a conquered foe than were most of his associate officers. 
He was a soldier without fear and was counted the 
best marksman, with pistol and rifle, in the British army. 

Such a nature easily filled up his ranks from the tory 1 
element with which North Carolina was overrun. 

These two officers were ordered out through the interior 
to subdue what was left of the patriots. 

Seeing North Carolina threatened, Gen. Rutherford 
sent a requisition to Shelby and Sevier for one hundred 
men each to help defend the state from invasion. 

They were then the county lieutenants of Sullivan 
and Washington counties, respectively, and while the 
Watauga commonwealth lived under laws of its own, 
generally, it recognized any special order from the state 
to which it acknowledged allegiance. This was par- 
ticularly so in a military way as the officers received 
appointments and pay from that source. Sevier soon 

lit is hard for us, in this day, to realize the opprobrium attached to the word 
"tory" as applied to those who, during the Revolution, sympathised with the British 
side. The epithets "rebel" and "yankee" never reached the depths of derision 
of this word. It is of ignominious origin to begin with. Although, applied in 
England, to the court of James II, it was, even then a nickname or term of reproach 
being from the Irish robber word toree, meaning, give me, i. e. your money. 

102 Historic Sullivan. 

got his men together, but, instead of one hundred, collected 
two hundred. Shelby was absent at the time survey- 
ing lands in Kentucky, but as soon as the message reached 
him its import whetted him and he hastened home, 
appealed to the chivalry of the pioneers and was soon on 
his way, crossing the rugged trail at the head of two 
hundred mounted riflemen. It was decided best, in view 
of a possible Indian invasion, for Sevier to remain to 
patrol the borders and watch the Cherokees. 2 

Shelby proceeded to the camp of Col. McDowell, who 
had succeeded Gen. Rutherford. Here he was shortly 
detached, with additional militiamen and officers, and 
marched against a British fort held by Col. Patrick 

A peremptory demand for the surrender of the fort 
was refused, Moore declaring he would hold it to the last. 
A second demand accompanied by a threat from Shelby 
that he would turn his cannon (a thing he did not have) 
on the fort caused the garrison to surrender. 

This capture was followed in quick succession by 
varying victories at Musgrove's Mills and Cedar Springs. 
At the latter place, on the 8th of August, they encountered 
Ferguson's advance guard and dealt them a severe blow. 


Lord Cornwallis was now thoroughly aroused by the 
rapid and intrepid movements of the mountain men 
and ordered Col. Ferguson to go through these districts 
and line up and discipline the loyalists. So with his 
usual tact and persuasive manner he soon found himself 
at the head of two thousand men. But Shelby baffled 
every attempt Ferguson made to surprise and take his 

They were preparing to march against Ninety-Six 
when a horseman dashed up, carrying a message, from 

2Roosevelt's "Winning of the West." 

King's Mountain Campaign. 103 

Gov. Caswell, apprising them that the southern grand 
army, under command of Gen. Gates, had been cut to 
pieces by Cornwallis on the field of Camden. The Gov- 
ernor urged Shelby to get his men out of the way as quickly 
as possible, for the general, flushed with victory, would 
improve the opportunity and try to catch him. 

Their withdrawal was hampered by the large number 
of prisoners they had captured, but they marched day 
and night without rest, finding out later they had been 
hotly pursued by Capt. DePeyster and several hundred 
mounted men. 


Returning home to the Holston settlements they 
found it had become the mecca for refugees from all parts 
of the South. These Holston people were noted for their 
hospitality and never refused to share what they had 
with all who came among them. 

Not long after their return home Col. Ferguson, who 
had become irritated by their bold dashes, sent a message 
to Shelby saying, if the "back-water men" did not sur- 
render and espouse the cause of King George he would 
then come across the mountain and put them to the sword 
and burn their homes. 

It must be kept in mind this little settlement was con- 
fronted with another foe — the Indians — an attack by 
them was liable to be made any day, more especially 
since the British had made allies of them. Yet, in the 
face of these dangers, Shelby sent a message by his brother 
to Col. William Campbell of Virginia, requesting him to 
join him and, mounting his horse, hastened to the home 
of Sevier, about fifty miles away. 

He found Sevier in the midst of a jollification and 
barbecue. Himself a man of rather serious demeanor 
he spoke abruptly to his friend, telling him it was no time 
for fun-making, then explained to him his plans for a 
campaign, over which Sevier was as enthusiastic as he 
had a moment before been in the frolic. 

104 Historic Sullivan. 

On returning home Shelby had a message from Col. 
Campbell declining to join him in the proposed expedition 
and saying he had raised a company and promised to 
assist in a movement to defend his own state against the 
invasion. Shelby sent a second and more urgent request 
and, at the same time, sent John Adair to intercede with 
Col. Arthur Campbell the ranking officer of the county. 
This concerted move had its effect — the appeal was so 
impressive that both Arthur and William Campbell 
entered patriotically into the campaign. Shelby's peti- 
tion to these men was in the nature of a pathetic descrip- 
tion of Col. McDowell's plight on being driven across the 
mountain and forced to refugee, away from his home and 

As preparations were being pushed Shelby and Sevier 
saw another trouble confronting them — the lack of money 
to carry out their project. At this juncture, seeing no 
other way to get it, Sevier went to John Adair, the entry 
taker of Sullivan County, and suggested the use of the 
public funds for this purpose, offering his and Shelby's 
personal security for the return of the loan. Adair's 
reply was characteristic of the times. "Col. Sevier," 
said he, "I have no authority by law to make that dis- 
position of this money — it belongs to the impoverished 
treasury of North Carolina, but if the country is overrun 
by the British, our liberty is gone. Let the money go too 
— so take it." 3&4 The amount was nearly thirteen thous- 
and dollars. 

By agreement all met at Watauga, the rendezvous, 
September 26th. It was the largest gathering that had 
been seen in this part of the country up to that time, 
was very impressive and caused great excitement. Shelby 
and Sevier each were there with two hundred and forty 
men. Campbell arrived with two hundred which was 

3Draper's "Kings Mountain." 

4Shelby and Sevier paid back every dollar of this money. Shelby in return 
for his services and sacrifices of money received "six yards of middling broadcloth.' ' 
—Shelby MSS. 

King's Mountain Campaign. 105 

afterwards increased to four hundred, Arthur Campbell ar- 
riving with two hundred more; and McDowell with 
a sufficient number to make, in all, more than one thous- 
and men ready to depart on the hunt for Ferguson. 

The men wore "fringed and tasseled hunting shirts, 5 
girded in by bead-worked belts and the trappings of their 
horses were stained red and yellow. On their heads they 
wore caps of coon skin or mink skin with tails hanging 
down or else felt hats in each of which was thrust a buck 
tail or a sprig of evergreen. Every man carried a small- 
bore rifle, a tomahawk, and a scalping-knife. A very 
few of the officers had swords and there was not a bayonet 
nor a tent in the army." 

When preparations were completed for their departure 
this grim host stood in silence for a while, listening to the 
benediction of Rev. Samuel Doak. 

The route taken by this army was changed when it 
was found two of their number had deserted and gone to 
join Ferguson. It is said to have been the roughest 
march ever undertaken by an army of horsemen. 

At the foot of the mountain they fell in with Col. 
Williams of South Carolina and other officers. After 
rapid marching for several days, much of the time in the 

5This description of a hunting shirt is from Roosevelt's " Winning of the West ,' 
who in turn gave credit to contemporary authority. It may compare with the gar- 
ment used in that campaign but we of this day do not recognize it as the description 
of the one which our forefathers have really brought down to the present generation. 
It was clumsily made, blouse fashion, reaching to the knees and, gathered up, 
was tied around the waist. In the fulth was often carried heavy burdens, as much 
as "a bushel of corn" at one time. 

I found Roosevelt the most painstaking of our historians — it was possible 
for him to be — because he was prepared to meet the expense of lengthy research , 
when in doubt about historical events concerning this section, he is "trumps." 
I kept him at my elbow as I did my Thesauras. There is no question, but that 
he regarded our section as the richest in the multiformity of historic lore of any 
in America. It was out of this field that he created that wonderful work, hi3 
"Winning of the West" which probably is the best literary fruit of his productive 
pen. It is therefore to be regretted, in view of his thorough research and lofty aim, 
that he did not live a few years among the people whose ancestors he has undertaken 
to describe. He could then be more in sympathy with their sentiments — -I don't 
mean biased, as he is with the cowboys on the plains with whom he herded cattle, 
sat about the campfires and followed in hunts and jaunts. And so he has under- 
taken to tell the world about a people whose acquaintance he has formed in research, 
rather than through association and, like most of our northern annalists, more 
of a historical critic than a historical narrator — exact and exacting. 

I hardly ever read Roosevelt that I don't feel like putting on an overcoat — 
so many icicles on his adjectives. He reminds me of a great iceberg, beautifully 
chisled and chilly, that has lost its moorings in the frozen north and floated down 
here on our mild sea of sentiment, cited often, but stayed away from. 

106 Historic Sullivan. 

rain, at which time they protected their guns with their 
hunting shirts, they decided to drop some of the horse- 
men as their slow movement impeded the progress. They 
had already dropped the cattle that were driven along 
and thereafter subsisted upon wild game, killed along the 
route, and the parched corn carried in their wallets. 

military courtesy. 

An unusual piece of military courtesy took place on 
this march. There was no recognized leading officer 
so Shelby suggested that one be selected and desired 
Campbell to assume command as it would take too long 
to send to headquarters for an officer. Campbell, on the 
other hand knowing that Shelby outranked him, requested 
him to serve as he had practically been in command up 
to that time. Shelby explained that, if a North Caro- 
linian served, it should be McDowell as he was senior 
officer and while he was regarded as brave and efficient 
he was too slow of action to put into execution orders 
necessary for the rapid movements of the men. 

Campbell thereupon assumed command, addressed the 
soldiers and requested all those who wished to withdraw 
to do so now and not wait until the battle. Not a man 
stepped from the ranks. It was found necessary, despite 
the enthusiasm of the men, to pick out the swiftest and 
less jaded of the horses with the least fatigued horsemen 
and the best guns and push on to catch Ferguson. The 
men were lined up and nine hundred and ten were selected 
while the remainder were asked to follow on as rapidly 
as they could. Some of the footmen, however, deter- 
mined not to be left behind, followed on foot, traveling 
almost as fast as the horsemen and arrived in time to 
take part in the battle. 

They were now hot on the trail of Ferguson. 

On the 6th of October, although a heavy rain was falling, 
they marched all night and came near the enemy the 
next day. 

King's Mountain Campaign. 107 

When within about three miles of King's Mountain 
some of the men stopped at a farm house by the roadside 
to get some information. They were followed out by a 
young girl who inquired, "How many are there of you?" 
"Enough," was the reply, "to whip Ferguson if we can 
catch him." "He is on that mountain," she said, point- 
ing to an eminence now in sight. 6 

While Ferguson had been apprised, by the two deserters, 
of the coming of the mountain men, he was not prepared 
for such rapid marching and did not know they were in the 
vicinity until they were making ready to ascend the 
mountain. From a roistering, loud shouting throng they 
had now become more subdued in conversation, not 
wishing to be discovered. When within about a quarter 
of a mile of the spur 7 of the mountain the order went 
round to "halt, dismount and tie horses — take off great 
coats and blankets and tie to saddles — fresh prime guns 
and every man to go into battle firmly resolving to fight 
until he dies." 8 

It was a silent, grim and determined throng that now 
prepared to ascend — the troops having been disposed all 
around the mountain . The last orders were for every man 
to fight for himself, "to shout like hell and fight like devils." 

Ferguson had previously declared, "I hold a position 
God Almighty cannot drive me from," but when he 
viewed the coming of the Americans he was fearful of the 

The Americans charged up the mountain, but were 
repulsed with the bayonet, this weapon being used skill- 
fully by the British. But as soon as the men were driven 
down one side of the mountain the men on the other side 
would charge the heights, thus keeping the enemy alter- 
nately rushing from one side to the other. The Amer- 
icans were driven back a gocd many times, but would 
always rally and return. 

6Draper's "King's Mountain." 

7The battle was fought on a spur of the mountain, about sixty feet in height. 


108 Historic Sullivan. 

Some of his men urged Ferguson to surrender, but 
he declared that he would never surrender to such a 
set of bandits as the "backwoodsmen" and so cut down 
the white flag that had been hoisted. 

He carried a whistle and wherever it sounded the battle 
was the fiercest. The mountain was "like a volcano" 
from the incessant firing and smoke of the guns. 


In one of Ferguson's desperate charges he was recog- 
nized by the men of Shelby and Sevier — their guns turned 
on him and he was shot six or seven times, dying almost 
instantly. 9 

Shortly after his death the white flag was raised, 
but some of the Holston men did not know what it 
meant and kept on firing, when Campbell rushed up 
and begged them, "for God's sake cease firing." The bat- 
tle began about three o'clock in the afternoon and lasted 
one hour and ten minutes. __ 

The effect of this battle was far-reaching. It caused 
Cornwallis to retreat and change his plans and, better 
than all, brightened the hopes of the despairing Ameri- 
cans everywhere. 

Thomas Jefferson pronounced it "the battle that turned 
the tide of the Revolution." 

9There is an old Revolutionary relic, reputed to have been the gun that killed 
Ferguson, known as "Sweetlips," that periodically or spasmodically makes its 
appearance before a too credulous public. This gun may have been in the battle 
of King's Mountain, but there is absolutely no authority for saying that it killed 
Ferguson. Even if it should be the one, it is a gruesome relic — an ugly weapon that 
has the ban of human blood. The spectacle of a public speaker holding it up 
at the conclusion of a splendid historical discourse, was not a fitting close and the 
audience received the announcement, "here's the gun that did the work," with 
silence if not a shudder. And this protest is offered, not so much to refute a claim, 
as to rebuke the display of barbarous sentiment that belongs to guilotine days. 
Besides it is ungenerous, disrespectful. Ferguson, withal a partisan and a hard 
fighter, was a courageous officer and always humane to a fallen foe. 

Ferguson was shot many times and there have been many claims as to who 
killed him, each company of at least two regiments making a claim and no one, 
any more than another, with any authority. 

Sullivan comes along with a tradition that one of her soldiers did the slaying. 
In the arrangement of troops, it happened that Shelby's and Campbell's troops, 
got together during the action and, as there were neighbors and friends in each 
company, mingled freely. In this way Rutledge, of Shelby's forces, and Snodgrass 
of Campbell 's fought side by side, being neighbors at home. The latter had volun- 
teered under Campbell before the King's Mountain expedition was put on foot. 

An officer was seen to ride back and forth and dismount, as if looking for 
something, (had dropped a medal) when Snodgrass shouted to Rutledge, "there he 
is George, give him a buck load," meaning two loads, one on top of the other. 
This was done and upon this the tradition wa9 founded. 



At the close of the Revolution the United States found 
herself burdened by an enormous debt, and some of the 
creditors were not easily induced to temper their de- 
mands by promises and uncertain delays. Congress then, 
in order to hasten relief, passed a recommendation, asking 
those states, which owned them, to cede certain outlying 
or unused Western lands to make a common fund, and 
thus relieve the strain on the nation's credit. 

North Carolina was very generous in her surrender, in 
April, 1784, ceding practically all of what afterward be- 
came Tennessee, reserving control, however, pending its 
acceptance. Congress was allowed two years in which 
to accept this offer. The representatives of the four and 
only established counties in the territory ceded — Sullivan, 
Washington, Greene and Davidson, voted for the bill 
because North Carolina had almost ignored them in the 
distribution of service and funds and was of little aid to 
them. Their condition could not be made worse, so far 
as support was concerned, and they had no idea Congress, 
in its already crippled financial condition, would accept 
the offer as it would necessitate an additional outlay of 
funds in keeping the frontier protected. 

North Carolina and her "over the mountain men" were 
in continual discord over the conduct of the settlements 
— the latter charging that ample provision was not made 
for the sustenance of the military — pay was small, and 
that grudgingly given. The State retaliated with charges 
of extravagance, even insinuating that the accounts sent 
in were false. 

This was the condition of affairs the new settlement had 
to face — neglected by those in power, threatened all the 
time by Indian invasions, while criminal refugees sought 

110 Historic Sullivan. 

their midst as a retreat. The only protection afforded 
them was in their self-constituted Regulators, who dis- 
pensed summary justice — and in this they were taking a 
step backward. 

A band of regulators, however good their intentions, 
either become hardened in crime or have imputed to them 
the acts of rash imprudence and rascality done by others. 
It was therefore determined that some better means of 
defense was necessary and a convention was called, at 
which deputies, representing the sentiment of the people, 
were to assemble and decide what further steps should be 
taken for self-protection. 

The convention met at Jonesboro, August 23rd, with the 
following deputies present: for Sullivan — Joseph Mar- 
tin, Gilbert Christian, William Cocke, John Manifee, Wil- 
liam Wallace, John Hall, Samuel Wilson, Stokely Don el- 
son and William Evans: for Washington — John Sevier, 
Charles Robertson, William Purphey, Joseph Wilson, John 
Irvin y /Samuel Houston, William Trimble, William Cox, 
Landori Carter, Hugh Henry, Christopher Taylor, John 
Chisholm, Samuel Doak, William Campbell, Benjamin 
Holland, John Bean, Samuel Williams and Richard 
White : for Greene — Daniel Kennedy, Alexander Outlaw, 
Joseph Gist, Samuel Weir, Asahel Rawlings, Joseph Bal- 
lard, John Manghon, John Murphy, David Campbell, 
Archibald Stone, Abraham Denton, Charles Robinson 
and Elisha Baker. 

Davidson county was not represented, being so far 
away the people were not especially interested. 

A committee, with John Sevier, president and Landon 
Carter, secretary, was appointed to consider the situation. 
While they were debating measures to be adopted a mem- 
ber produced the Declaration of Independence and drew 
a parallel between their condition and the condition of 
the colonists when they declared themselves free. 

Thereupon another member moved to declare the 
western colonies independent of North Carolina, which 

The State of Franklin. Ill 

motion was unanimously carried. Upon a vote as to 
whether or not they would establish a new state, a major- 
ity decided to do so — a strong minority, however, opposed 
it. This opposition was led by John Tipton, who became 
an active representative of North Carolina and the dis- 
turbing element of the Franklin move. 

Several names were submitted by which the new State 
should be known — among them Franklin, for Benjamin 
Franklin, and Frankland, meaning "land of the free." 
The former was chosen by a small majority. Both names 
have been handed down, which may have been through 
the influence of William Cocke, the chief penman and 
spokesman, who was in favor of the name Frankland and 
persisted in writing it that way. 

After reading the plans of organization, framed by 
Messrs. Cocke and Hardin, the deputies considered the 
calling of a new convention to form a constitution. 

The convention did not meet again until November. 
The Assembly of North Carolina was then in session at 
Newbern and repealed the act of cession, alleging that 
other States had not complied with their promises. This 
action was no doubt caused by the conduct of the Frank- 
lin movement. John Sevier, in view of the repeal, and 
as he had been appointed Brigadier-General by the same 
Assembly, concluded to "persue no further measure as to 
a new state," but his associates were not so easily pacified 
— they were determined to carry the project through. 


The next convention met at Jonesboro and again ap- 
pointed John Sevier, president and Landon Carter, secre- 
tary. A constitution was submitted, subject to ratifica- 
tion or rejection at some future meeting. 

At the first legislative assembly, March, 1785, Landon 
Carter was elected Speaker of the Senate and William 
Cage, of Sullivan, Speaker of the House of Commons. 

John Sevier was elected Governor. 

112 Historic Sullivan. 

Among the laws enacted by that body was one parti- 
tioning Sullivan and Greene and forming Spencer county. 
The assembly of North Carolina later, disregarding this, 
erected the county of Hawkins, which name it now bears 
instead of Spencer. The Franklin Assembly also fixed 
the salaries of state officers. The governor's salary was 
fixed at two hundred pounds per annum, the supreme 
judges' at one hundred and fifty pounds per annum and 
the others in proportion. 1 

The price of commodities was also fixed, and it is inter- 
esting to note the then prevailing prices compared with 
those of to-day. "Good, distilled Rye Whiskey" is 
quoted at two shillings and six pence per gallon, while 
"good, country made sugar" is quoted at one shilling per 
pound. One pound of sugar would then buy nearly 
half a gallon of whiskey, while to-day half a gallon of whis- 
key (as long as it lasts) will buy forty pounds of sugar. 

About this time the importance of the new State was 
made known to the old in a communication signed by the 
Governor and the Speakers of both houses. It wore the 
complexion of a dignified state paper. This caused Gov. 
Martin to issue a strong manifesto, in which he views at 
length the conditions in his own state and the country in 
general, and explains the tardiness in dealing with the 

He coaxes, cajoles and threatens — "By this rash act a 
precedent is formed for every district and every county 
of the State to claim the right of separation," and again, 
"that you tarnish not the laurels you have so gloriously 
won at Kings Mountain and elsewhere, in supporting the 
freedom and independence of the U. S., in being concerned 
in a black and traitorous revolt." He advises them to 

lit has been the custom of some historians to ridicule the Franklin com- 
monwealth for paying salaries in skins and the commodities of the times. Daniel 
Webster once twitted a congressman about paying the governor in fox skins, 
when in h<s own state musket balls had been used as money and milk paila 
had been accepted ic payment of taxes. Besides, the Governor of Franklin was 
a little more choice than to accept fox skins — "it was mink, sir "I And mink 
skins were current in the proudest empires of Europe. Money, then, was very 
scarce. Our pale continental scrip, as proud as freemen were to look upon it, 
did not have color enough in its face to ask credit from some of its own im- 
poverished people. 

The State of Franklin. 113 

meet the next legislature and present their grievances in 
the proper way, "and I make no doubt her generosity in 
time will meet your wishes." 

Copies of his manifesto were sent broadcast and had the 
effect of weakening the cause of the "Franks." 

The constitution first presented was an egregious blend, 
a fusion, with some poor insertions, of the constitutions of 
the United States, and of the States of North Carolina 
and Virginia. This was presented by the Tipton party 
and, among other features, provided that no one should 
hold office "if he were immoral, a Sabbath breaker, a cler- 
gyman, a doctor or a lawyer." Evidently the last restric- 
tion was aimed at William Cocke as he was spokesman for 
the other side and a lawyer. This constitution was not 

The Assembly of North Carolina met in 1786, at Fay- 
etteville, and had under consideration the "New State" 
movement. Considerable correspondence had passed be- 
tween the governors of the two states. William Cocke was 
sent as ambassador and, being permitted the privilege of 
the floor, addressed the House for several hours. 2 

An act of pardon and oblivion was passed, affecting all 
offenders under the new government, who returned and 
avowed anew their allegiance to the old state. 

The assembly held in office all who occupied those offices 
prior to April, 1784, and declared vacant all other posi- 
tions, as they considered an acceptance of office under 
the Franklin government equivalent to resignation from 
former office. They also ordered all back taxes, up to 
and of the year 1784, collected, and those due since to be 
rescinded. This kindly and considerate act strengthen- 
ed the North Carolina party and the opposition was grad- 
ually losing support. 

The lack of unanimity in the new party evidently 
caused the old state to have patience and, unlike Virginia, 


114 Historic Sullivan. 

she was not unduly alarmed at the ultimate result. 
It was further directed that the court for Washington 
county be held at William Davis', on Buffalo Creek, ten 
miles from Jonesboro. Later the court of the Sevier 
party was also held at Jonesboro. 


This conflict of courts brought on a conflict of the peo- 
ple. An argument took place between Sevier and Tipton 
on the streets of Jonesboro. Sevier hit Tipton on the 
head with a cane, the latter retorted with an oath and a 
blow, and the dispute degenerated into a common street 
fight. Fights became general. The rowdies of each 
party had no other argument with which to emphasize 
their allegiance than blows, and they were frequent. 
When officers were elected due consideration was given 
to a man's strength, as this qualification was often called 
to test. The sheriffs of both parties were physical giants. 

On one occasion, while the Sevier court was in session 
at Jonesboro, Tipton, at the head of a small army, en- 
tered the courthouse, turned out all the magistrates and 
took possession of the papers. Later Sevier, in like 
manner, returned the party call, ousted the officials and 
retook the papers, which his brother, Valentine Sevier, 
hid in a cave. 3 In this way many valuable records, both 
of marriages and deeds were destroyed or lost, causing 
confusion and litigation in after years. 

Sevier began to look about him for sympathy and sup- 
port from the outside, as he saw that the opposition was 
gaining strength. He had previously appealed to Gov. 
Patrick Henry, promising not to consider any proposition 
tending toward an alliance with the Southwest Virgin- 

3The effect of this concealment and consequent exposure to the earth can be 
9 een on the remaining Washington county records. 

The State of Franklin. 115 

ians, who wished to join the State of Franklin. 4 

Both parties, during 1786, tried to collect taxes, but 
when the people declined to pay, professing they did not 
know which side to recognize, enforcement was not at- 
tempted, so then as now, taxes were dodged. 

On all sides the adherents of the new state were leav- 
ing it. Judge David Campbell, the presiding judge, had 
accepted a senatorship in the Assembly of North Carolina, 
while Sullivan County sent Martin, Maxwell and Scott. 

The beginning of the year 1787 found the Franklin 
commonwealth frail, with a gloomy future facing it, but 
whose few loyal supporters were still defiant and ready 
to stand by it to the last. 

Gov. Sevier, in his desperation, was using every effort 
to stay the end. 

At one time the governorship was tendered Evan Shel- 
by, but was declined. He had tried to remain neutral 
and did not figure in any of the previous proceedings. 5 
Sevier sent Maj. Elholm, his friend and trusted ally, to 
make overtures to Georgia, promising his troops to aid in 
putting down the Creeks. Elholm 's mission was indeed 
fruitful, for the Governor of Georgia, instructed by the 
legislature, communicated his desire for a coalition, and 
to further strengthen their interest a sum of money was 
voted to aid any military enterprise. He also expressed 
gratitude for the proffered help and friendship. 

4Patrick Henry, the Governor of Virginia, took an alarming view. He did 
not at any time fear the outcome of the Revolution so much as he dreaded the 
prospect of Southwest Virginia in rebellion against her own state. The Separatist 
movement in Washington county, Virginia, "threatened the dismemberment of 
the Old Dominion" (Ramsey). "The proposed limits, "wrote the governor, "in- 
clude a vast extent of country in which we have numerous and very respectable 
settlements which in their growth will form a barrier between this country and 
those, who, in the course of events may occupy the vast places westward of the 
mountains, some of whom have views incompatable with our safety." "Already 
the militia of that part of the sate is the most respectable we have," and further 
on he speaks of Washington county as "that nursery of soldiers from which future 
armies may be levied." He seemed to deplore the part Col. Arthur Campbell 
was taking in the movement to join the State of Franklin. (The reader is re- 
minded that France and Spain were then in possession of "the vast places west- 

5The attitude of Sullivan County toward the Franklin movement is not gen- 
erally understood. The majority in Sullivan County opposed it, not so much 
on account of their sympathy with the opposition, but because of the Shelby 
influence. "My grandfather was bitterly opposed to the Franklin movement." — 
Isaac Shelby, Jr., MSS. letter to Robert Deery, 1876. 

116 Historic Sullivan. 

As a last resort Sevier wrote to Franklin, for whom the 
state was named, and got in reply a cautiously worded 
letter of apathetic interest — "I am sensible," he wrote, 
"of the honor which your Excellency and your council do 
me, but being in Europe when your State was formed I 
am too little acquainted with the circumstances to be able 
to offer you anything just now that may be of importance, 
since everything material that regards your welfare will 
doubtless have occurred to yourselves." He then gives 
fatherly advice to the young foundling as to patching up 
the differences with North Carolina. In cool politeness 
and statecraft he concludes: "I will endeavor to inform 
myself more perfectly of your affairs by inquiry and search- 
ing the records of Congress and if anything should occur 
to me that I think may be useful to you, you shall hear 
from me thereupon." 6 

He told them nothing more than they already knew. 
In time the people of the little state, had they succeeded, 
may have resented such apathy. 

In marked contrast the people of Georgia, on various 
occasions, were drinking the toast: "Success to the State 
of Franklin, his excellency, Gov. Sevier and his virtuous 

Gov. Mathews, on the 5th of November, 1787, seeing an 
opportunity to profit by tender of aid, declared war 
against the Creeks and issued a proclamation or invita- 
tion to the new state to aid in the expulsion of the Indians. 
He was willing to recognize the new state in so far as it 
did not violate the national interest, and, therefore, in 
consideration of this, was willing to permit her soldiery 
to come down and risk their lives in behalf of Georgia. 
If they so minded fifteen hundred of them could come. 
Such magnanimity on the part of the pawky governor 
was overwhelming, and, in response to this summons, 
fifteen hundred of her valiant sons mobilized themselves 
around their own firesides and staid at home. 

6Franklin's letter to Governor John Sevier, 1787. 

The State of Franklin. 117 

The Legislature of Franklin had its last meeting in 
September, 1787, in Greeneville, which had become the 
permanent seat of government. They sent representa- 
tives, in the persons of Judge David Campbell and Landon 
Carter, to the North Carolina Legislature, then sitting at 
Tarborough. Campbell's acceptance, a little later, of a 
senatorship in that assembly engendered considerable 


It was evident North Carolina did not intend to recog- 
nize Franklin. This precipitated a little civil war. An 
execution against the estate of Sevier caused the seizure 
of nearly all his slaves, he, at the time, being on the fron- 
tier fighting the Indians. On hearing of the seizure he 
hastened home, raised one hundred and fifty men and 
marched on Tipton's house, in the early part of 1788. 
He was further enraged when he heard that Tipton's ob- 
ject was to seize him also. Tipton had only time to sum- 
mon about fifteen men, after he learned of Sevier's inten- 
tion, before he found himself confronted by this little 
army. He barricaded his house, determined to defend 
himself to the utmost. Sevier, with a small piece of ordi- 
nance, stationed himself on a slight eminence near Tip- 
ton's house and demanded the unconditional surrender of 
Tipton and all his men, threatening, if they refused, to 
fire on the house. 
Tipton sent him word, "fire and be damned." 
He then cautiously despatched a few messengers to 
summon more men to his assistance. One of these went 
to George Maxwell, of Sullivan County, who was, at the 
time, colonel of militia. Cols. Scott, Pemberton and 
Cowan accompanied Maxwell, in quick time,with one 
hundred and eighty men. They staid the fore part 
of the night at Dungan's Mill, intending to make a sur- 
prise attack at sunrise. Sevier's scouts, who had been 
spying about, came up very close to them, but did not 

118 Historic Sullivan. 

discover them and, it being very cold, returned to camp 
to get warm. A strict watch was kept on Tipton's house 
in order that they might intercept any one going in or 
coming out, which resulted in the death of a man named 
Webb and the wounding of a neighbor woman, acciden- 
tally shot in the shoulder. 7 

Just before daybreak Maxwell and his men cautiously 
marched up within gunshot of the Sevier party. They 
then gave a great shout and this, assisted by a volley 8 
from one hundred and eighty guns and the besieged men 
pouring out to add to the noise, had such a demoralizing 
effect on the opposition they at once retired. 

A blinding snowstorm, just beginning, added to the con- 
fusion, but was very opportune, coming like a veil to hide 
from each other warring neighbors and friends. 

It was a time when none could be spared from the de- 
fense of the frontier. Among the captured were two of 
Sevier's sons, whom Tipton, in his uncontrollable rage, 
decided to hang, but, by much persuasion and friendly 
intercession, was prevented. 9 

Sevier withdrew from these scenes and was soon en- 
gaged in daring raids through the Indian country. On 
his return, after spending a day in holiday-making with 
his companions, he decided to spend the night with a 
friend. Tipton, hearing of this, with several followers, 
surrounded the house and demanded Sevier. At sight 
of him, Tipton unraveled his wrath and was, with diffi- 
culty, prevented from shooting him. He had Sevier hand- 
cuffed and sent to Morgantown, North Carolina, for trial 

7Shot by mistake. — Ramsey. 

8The discharge of the guns was ordered by the officers as a precaution against 
shooting Sevier's men, there being no desire on the part of Maxwell's forces to 
ehed blood unless self-defense made it necessary. 

9Tipton was a man of intelligence and great energy, but had a temper he 
could not temporize. In a comparison of the two men, Sevier and Tipton, we 
find one of the best illustrations in history of how little a man of waspish mind 
can avail against one of self-control. Sevier climbed from one promotion to another 
while Tipton, though always recognized as a man of power, never arose 
higher than where he first began. He was a smudge-fire man — while he was not 
smoking he was in a blaze. In after years the descendants of John Tipton ex- 
plained that relatives of Webb — the man who was killed — and not Tipton, were the 
ones who demanded the lives of the Seviers. 

The State of Franklin. 119 

on various charges — his Franklin affair and for allowing 
to go unpunished the murder of some friendly Cherokee 
chiefs who were in his custody. 

Sevier's sensational escape, at his trial, by leaping upon 
a waiting horse, assisted by some of his faithful followers, 
marked the closing chapter of the storm tossed little 
State of Franklin. 

But all Tennesseans look back with pride upon the State 
of Franklin. The disaffections and divisions in the ranks 
of that day, and the prejudices thereby engendered, have 
softened with the departing years. 

Sevier had been taught in the rough school of pioneer 
politics and when the time came for him to take hold of 
the helm of the ship of state he steered it safely through 
the tempest of those disturbing times. 

William Blount, 
a biography. 

Next to Shelby and Sevier the name of Blount is the 
most compelling in our nomenclature. He was the first 
governor of the first recognized government organization 
west of the Alleghanies. He chose as his official residence, 
when he came to take charge as governor of the Territory 
south of Ohio, the home of William Cobb in "The Forks" 
of Sullivan County, near Piney Flats. Blountville, 1 the 
county seat, was named for him. 

He was a polished diplomat and a gentleman of culture, 
commanding in presence and power. He understood the 
people with whom he had to deal and they understood him. 

"He was of an ancient English family of wealth and 
rank, which at an early day emigrated to North Carolina. 
The name is often mentioned in the annals of that State 
during the Revolution. Mr. Blount was remarkable for 
his address, courtly manners, benignant feelings and a 
most impressive presence. His urbanity, his personal 
influence over men of all conditions and ages, his hos- 
pitality unostentatiously, but yet elegantly and gracefully 
extended to all, won upon the affections and regard of 
the populace and made him a universal favorite. He 
was at once the social companion, the well-bred gentle- 
man and the capable officer." 

Jacob Blount, the father of William Blount, was a mem- 
ber of the War Congress of North Carolina. 

He was twice married. By his first wife he had eight 
children, of whom William was the eldest, and by his sec- 

lThe Blounts have been singularly honored in Tennessee. Blountville and 
Blount county were named for William Blount, while Maryville, the county seat of 
Blount county, and Grainger county were named for his wife. Blount college, 
which was later merged into East Tennessee University and still later, University 
of Tennessee, was named for him — he being one of the directors. 


William Blount. 121 

ond wife he had five children, one of whom was Willie. 2 
William and Willie, half brothers, each became governor, 
each serving six years in that capacity. William Blount 
was born in Bertie county, North Carolina, March 26, 
1749. He was married February 12, 1778, to Mary 
Granger, daughter of Col. Caleb Granger, of Wilmington, 
North Carolina. 

The Blounts were in the battle of The Alamance. 3 

When Congress finally accepted from North Carolina 
the ceded lands, which afterward became Tennessee, 
Washington appointed William Blount Governor of the 
Territory south of the Ohio. In addition he had the su- 
pervision of the Indian agency. 

During his encumbency he had many perplexing duties 
to perform, requiring sound judgment, a firm hand and 
sympathy, for he was polishing this rough structure pre- 
paratory to self-government. His most difficult prob- 
lems were the troublesome Indian affairs, which he solved 
satisfactorily to all concerned. 

Gov. Blount arrived in Sullivan County October 10, 
1796, and at once entered upon his work. One of his 
first acts and one in which he was very zealous, was to 
encourage immigration. In consequence of this increas- 
ing interest the population grew in unparalleled rapidity 
from six thousand in 1790 to seventy-seven thousand in 
1795 — sixty thousand being required for admission to 

The constitutional convention met in Knoxville, Jan- 
uary 11, 1796. Gov. Blount was chosen president and a 
constitution was adopted that lasted from 1796 to 1834. 4 

John Sevier was chosen by this convention first Gover- 

2The names and official rank of the two Blounts have often been confusing. 
William was the territorial governor and United States Senator, while Willie (not 
Wylie) became Governor of Tennessee. 

30n account of unjust taxation and exhorbitant fees exacted by officers of the 
crown, the people of Western North Carolina formed themselves into a band of 
Regulators to oppose these officers. A force of these, numbering more than two 
thousand, was met by Gov. Tyron, May 16, 1771 on the Alamance and was defeated 
— some refugeeing on the Holston. 

4Thomas Jefferson decided it the best state constitution in the United States. 

122 Historic Sullivan. 

nor of Tennessee. William Blount, the retiring territorial 
governor, and William Cocke were elected the first United 
States Senators. They took their seats in the fourth 
Congress, of 1796. 

On July 3rd, next year, President Adams sent a confi- 
dential letter to the Senate, full of alarm. This alarm 
was due to a letter that had been discovered, addressed 
by Senator Blount to "Dear Carey." It was read before 
the Senate during the absence of the Senator, but on his 
return was reread and he was asked if he had written it. 
He replied he had written a letter to Carey, but could not 
say whether this copy was correct, and asked time to ex- 
amine his papers. This was granted. 

This Carey letter was written at the mouth of Steeles 
Creek in Sullivan County, within five miles of the county 
seat and, since it influenced the official life of the nation 
from the President down, aroused the greatest excitement 
and came near creating international complications, it is 
given in full: 

Col. King's Iron Works, 5 

April 21, 1797. 
Dear Carey: 

I wished to have seen you before I returned to Philadelphia, but 
I am obliged to return to the session of Congress which commences on 
the 15th of May. 

Among other things that I wished to have seen you about was the 
business of Captain Chisholm mentioned to the British Minister last 
winter in Philadelphia. 

I believe, but am not quite sure, that the plan then talked of will 
be attempted this fall, and if it is attempted, it will be in a much larger 
way than then talked of, and if the Indians act their part, I have no 
doubt but it will suceed. A man of consequence has gone to England 
about this business; and if he makes arrangements, I shall myself have 
a hand in the business, and shall probably be at the head of the business 
on the part of the British. 

You are, however, to understand that it is not yet quite certain 
that the plan will be attempted, and to do so will require all your 

5Description of the iron works is given in chapter on "Industries." 

William Blount. 123 

management. I say will require all your management, because you 
must take care in whatever you say to Rogers or anybody else, not 
to let the plan be discovered by Hawkins, Dinsmoor, Byers or any other 
person in the interest of the United States or of Spain. 

If I attempt this plan, I shall expect to have you and all of my 
Indian friends with me, but you are now in good business I hope, and 
you are not to risk the loss of it by saying anything that will hurt you 
until you again hear from me. Where Captain Chisholm is I do not 
know. I left home in Philadelphia in March, and he frequently visited 
the Minister and spoke about the subject; but I believe he will go into 
the Creek Nation by way of South Carolina or Georgia. He gave out 
that he was going to England, but I do not believe him. Among things 
that you may safely do, will be to keep up my consequence with Watts 
and the Creeks and Cherokees generally; and you must by no means 
say anything in faver of Hawkins, but as often as you can with safety 
to yourself, you may teach the Creeks to believe he is no better than he 
should be. Any power or consequence he gets will be against our plan. 
Perhaps Rogers, who has an office to lose, is the best man to give out 
talks against Hawkins. Read the letter to Rogers, and if you think it 
best to send it, put a wafer in it and forward it to him by a safe hand; 
or perhaps, you had best send for him to come to you, and speak to him 
yourself respecting the state and prospect of things. 

I have advised you in whatever you do to take care of yourself. 
I have now to tell you to take care of me too, for a discovery of the 
plan would prevent the success and much injure all parties concerned. 
It may be that the Commissioners may not run the line as the Indians 
expect or wish, and in that case it is probable that the Indians may be 
taught to blame me for making the treaty. 

To such complaints against me, if such there be, it may be said by 
my friends, at proper times and places, that Doublehead confirmed the 
treaty with the President at Philadelphia, and received as much as five 
thousand dollars a year to be paid to the Nation over and above the 
first price; indeed it may with truth be said that though I made the treaty 
that I made it by the instructions of the President, and in fact, it may 
with truth be said that I was by the President, instructed to purchase 
much more land than the Indians would agree to sell. This sort of talk 
will be throwing all the blame off on the late President, and as he is 
now out of office, it will be of no consequence how much the Indians 
blame him. And among other things that may be said for me, is that 
I was not at the running of the line, and that if I had been, it would have 
been more to their satisfaction. In short, you understand the subject, 
and must take care to give out the proper talks to keep my consequence 
with the Creeks and Cherokees. Can't Rogers contrive to get the Creeks 
to desire the President to take Hawkins out of the nation? for if he stays 

124 Historic Sullivan. 

in the Creek Nation, and gets the good will of the Nation, he can and 
will do great injury to our plan. 

When you have read this letter over three times, then burn it. I 
shall be in Knoxville in July or August, when I will send for Watts and 
give him the whiskey I promised him. 

I am, &c, 

Wm. Blount 

The preceding letter was enclosed in a cover, with the following 
directions, viz: "Mr. James Carey, Tellico Block House." 

The senate committee, after a brief and hurried investi- 
gation of five days, when Senator Blount refused to an- 
swer questions, presented the following conclusion by 
resolution : 

"Resolved that William Blount, Esq., one of the Sena- 
tors of the United States, having been guilty of a high 
misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public trust 
and duty as a Senator, be and he hereby is, expelled from 
the Senate of the United States." 

The resolution was adopted by a vote of twenty-five to 
one — Senator Tazewell, of Virginia, voting in the nega- 
tive. On the same day the House appointed a committee 
composed of Sitgreaves, Baldwin, Dana, Dawson and Har- 
per "to prepare and report articles of impeachment" and 
were granted power to send for persons, papers and 

The two most important witnesses will be introduced, 
giving in brief the text of the trial — Nicholas Romaine 
and James Carey: 

interrogatories of the committees and answers 
of the deponent 6 

1. Who was the friend at whose request you wrote to William 
Blount, while Governor of the Southwestern Territory, about the 
purchase of military lands? 

Answer. It was Mr. Edward Griswold, now resident of Paris. 

2. You have said that articles of agreement were drawn up be- 
tween you and William Blount, previously to your departure for Europe, 
in 1795. Were they executed, and what was their tenor? 

6From Gen. Marcus J. Wright's, "Life of Blount." 

William Blount. 125 

A. They were executed, and are, I understand, in possession of 
the Committee. They related solely to lands, and their tenor and 
contents may be discovered from a perusal. 

3. How long did you remain in Europe, and what part of it? 

A. Something more than a year; during which time I visited first 
England, then Holland, France, and Belgium; from whence I returned 
to England, and after a short stay there, embarked for New York. 

4. Who were the persons in whose hands you left certain maps 
and papers on your departure for England? 

A. I left them with different persons. They were wholly of a 
private nature, and in no manner connected with the subject of this 

5. Are you acquainted with Sir William Pulteney; and if you are, 
did your acquaintance commence with him before you visited England 
in 1795? 

A. It did not. My acquaintance with him arose from letters 
from Mr. Williamson, in the Genesee country, to him, with which I was 
particularly charged. The personal delivery of those letters, winch 
I understood to relate to private concerns, gave rise to conversation 
between us, and that led to a further acquaintance. 

6. Were you acquainted, while in England, in 1795, with Lord 
Grenville, or with Mr. Dundas? 

A. Not with Lord Grenville. With Mr. Dundas I had some 
acquaintance, having been introduced to him by a gentleman at whose 
house I met him at dinner. This gentleman afterwards carried me to 
breakfast with Mr. Dundas, whose desire of acquaintance with me 
might have arisen from some sketches which I had written respect- 
ing this country, and which I believe were seen by him. This 
was all the acquaintance or intercouse I had with Mr. Dundas. 

7. Did not those persons, or some, and which of them, in those 
conversations, express to you a desire to add Louisiana or the Floridas, 
or both, to the British crown; and did you not hear this desire expressed 
by some other, and what persons of consideration in England? 

A. I never heard such a wish expressed by those or any other 
persons in England. 

8. Were you, while in England, requested by any, or what persons 
to sound the people of the United States on the subject of a plan to annex 
Florida or Louisiana, or both, to the British crown; or to make some 
propositions tending that way? 

A. No such request or overtures were ever made to me. The 
plan originated between Mr. Blount and myself, as far as I know, in the 
manner stated by me in my deposition. 

9. In your conversations in England with persons of consideration, 
was any mention made of a description of people in this country who 
wished to separate the Western settlements from the Union? 

126 Historic Sullivan. 

A. No mention of such persons was made to me by any persons 

10. How long have you been acquainted with the British Minister 
in this country, and by what means did you come to know him? 

A. I was introduced to him at London, by Mr. Pickney, soon 
after his appointment to this country, and I paid him a visit and left 
some letters for America, of which he took charge. I have never seen 
him since his arrival in America. 

11. On your return to this country, in 1796, you wrote to Governor 
Blount, Did you urge him to meet you in New York? 

A. I did write to him, as stated in my deposition, and spoke of 
some private business; but I did not mention this subject, nor did I 
request him to come to New York. His arrival there in February was 
without my knowledge or privity, and, as I understood, for private 
business of his own. 

12. To what persons in England or America have you written on 
the subject of this inquiry, since your return, and what answers have 
you received? 

A. I have written to one person in England, a member of Parlia- 
ment, but not of Administration; from whose answer it does not appear 
that the business was ever spoken of there by him. I also wrote to 
Governor Blount, and received answers; the purport and substance of 
which I have already explained. I likewise wrote to Mr. Liston, and 
I believe, to no other person. Mr. Liston gave me an answer, which is 
now in possession of the Committee. 

13. What was the purport of your letter to Mr. Liston? 

A. I have no copy of the letter, but I recollect its purport, which 
was to inform Mr. Liston that I had heard of a certain enterprise in 
contemplation, and on which he had been consulted, and to caution him 
against it, as a very delicate measure, requiring great circumspection, 
and capable, if known to be encouraged by him, of injuring the interests, 
both of this country and his own, which I was persuaded it was his wish 
to promote. I also hinted that a plan more extensive was contemplated 
by fitter persons; and having understood that he intended to send his 
secretary to some place on the business which had been mentioned to 
him, I strongly dissuaded him from this step; indeed, to do so had been 
one of my chief inducements to address him. In his answer, now in the 
possession of the Committee, he assured me that he had no intention 
of sending his secretary anywhere. I was induced to take this liberty 
with Mr. Liston from the manner in which I became acquainted with 
him, and the very favorable light in which he was presented in letters 
which I had received from England, and one of which I enclosed to him. 

14. What was the project against which you cautioned Mr. Liston? 
A. It was that of Chisholm, of which I had been informed by 

William Blount. 127 

Governor Blount, and which the latter told me had been mentioned 
to the Minister. 

15. What was the project to which you alluded as being in more 
proper hands? Did Mr. Liston know of it, or did you explain it to him? 

A. It was that contemplated bv Governor Blount and myself. 
Mr. Liston, as far as I know, and believe, had no knowledge of it, nor was 
it our intention to give him any. I did not think it proper for him to be 
acquainted with it; the intention being to apply, not to him, but to the 
British government. 

16. In your conversation with Governor Blount, at New York, 
you expressed your regret that Louisiana did not belong to England , 
since the value of lands in the Western country would, in that case, 
be increased; was this the first time you had contemplated or expressed 
that idea? 

A. It was not. I had reflected on the idea before, but had never 
mentioned it verbally to any person; nor in writing, except once, and 
that was in a letter to a gentleman in England. This letter, however, 
merely stated the possession of those countries by England as a desirable 

17. What was the nature and object of the business contemplated 
between William Blount and you? 

A. Nothing precise or definite had been agreed upon. Much was 
to depend on the result of Governor Blount's inquiries and observations, 
upon which I never received any communication from him. But the 
general object was to prevent the Louisiana and the Floridas from pass- 
ing into the hands of France, pursuant to the supposed cession of Spain; 
and to make propositions to the British government in that view. 

18. What were the propositions intended to be made to the British 

A. On this head, also, nothing definite had been agreed upon. 
Had Governor Blount gone to England, he would of course have pro- 
posed his own terms; had I gone, I should have received his instructions. 
This would have been settled in the interview which I had proposed 
between us, had it taken place. Had I gone without seeing him, 
I should have waited in England for letters from him on the subject. 

19. Was it not understood that William Blount and yourself 
were to use your personal efforts and influence to prevent the supposed 
cession of Louisiana by Spain to France from being carried into effect? 

A. This was certainly our object; and every means, both in this 
country and Europe, would, of course, have been employed by us for 
its accomplishment. 

20. Was it not proposed that Great Britain should send a force 
into that country for that purpose? 

128 Historic Sullivan. 

A. To ascertain whether they would do this, was the express 
object of Governor Blount's intended visit to Europe. 

21. Was it understood that, in case circumstances should require 
it Governor Blount and his Western friends were to make active efforts 
in co-operation with the British forces which might be sent there? 

A. When Governor Blount and myself parted at New York, 
the understanding between us was, that he should go to England. 
Nothing was then said, or has since passed between us, on the subject 
of this interrogatory; nor have I any direct knowledge of his views on 
that head. 

22. What part were the Indians and the Western people to act in 
this business; and in what manner were they to be used in its execution? 
Was a co-operation by force from the territories of the United States 

A. As to the Indians, there was nothing particularly said about 
them, nor had I any idea of their being employed. To keep them quiet 
was all supposed to be intended, or advisable. The Western people, 
according to my view of the subject, were to be rendered favorable 
to the possession of the Floridas and Louisiana by the British, and 
disposed to emigrate there, and assist in hold ng the country, should the 
reduction take place. No co-operation of forces was mentioned by 
Governor Blount, nor have I any knowledge of his precise intentions 
as to either the Western people or the Indians. All this, as I understood 
the matter, was dependent upon his observations and inquiries in the 
Western country, on which subject I had no information from him. 

23. What part was William Blount to bear in this business, and 
who might faver or aid it, were to derive from its accomplishment? 

A. I had no doubt that Governor Blount had high expectations 
of emolument and command, in case the project should succeed, but 
nothing definite on this subject was spoken of between him and me; 
and, from the nature of the business, everything must have depended 
on the arrangement made in London with the British Government. 

24. Did William Blount ever apply to those persons of importance 
in and ouv of the Government whom it was agreed he should sound on 
this subject? 

A. I do not know that he ever did apply to any of them. 1 had 
no information from him on this point. 

25. In one of your letters to William Blount you urge the propriety 
of his appearing to have no connection with the land schemes and 

commerce in . What plac was meant, and why was caution 


A. England was the place meant, and the caution proceeded 
from an opinion in me, that the dignity and importance of character 

William Blount. 129 

which it was desirable for Governor Blount to maintain in England, 
would be lessened by his appearing to be concerned in commerce or the 
sale of lands. 

26. In another part of the correspondence between William 
Blount and yourself, you tell him that it would be proper to keep bis 
business in England secret from Mr. King. What was the reason of 
this caution? 

A. The reason is explained in the letter itself which contains 
the caution. It is possible that I may have had some further reasons 
than are there expressed. But I have no accurate or perfect recollec- 
tion on this subject. 

27. In one of your letters to William Blount you mention a paper 
which you had drawn up on the subject of your business, to be left for 
him, in case you should sail for Europe without a personal interview, 
and which you wished him to possess, but do not choose to send. 
Where is that paper, and what were its purport and substance? 

A. The only copy which now exists was sent by me to England, 
directed to myself some time in May or June. It contained a variety 
of notes, reflections, and cautions, relative to the business contemplated 
between me and Governor Blount, which had occurred to me after he had 
left Philadelphia in the spring, on his return to Tennessee, but I cannot 
state the particulars. They were reflections which occurred to me at 
various times, when thinking on the subject, and were noted down as 
they occurred, to serve myself and Governor Blount as hints and 
memoranda in the progress of the business. One copy I sent to Eng- 
land for my own use when I should arrive there. Another I retained 
for Governor Blount, but afterwards destroyed when I conceived the 
business to be at an end. They were never seen by him. 

28. Do you know any other matter or thing which, in your 
opinion, is material to the objects of this examination? If yea, declare 
it fully. 

A. The foregoing depositions and answers contain all that I 
know on the subject; and, aided by the correspondence now in possession 
of the Committee, will, I presume, furnish them with every idea respect- 
ing it in my power to communicate. 

Nicholas Romaine. 

Carey deposes: 

I am interpreter for the United States to the Cherokee Nation of 
Indians, and assistant at the public store established at the Tellico 
Blockhouse, and I reside there at present. For these offices I receive 
the annual salary of three hundred dollars, besides my board, from the 
Government of the United States. 

130 Historic Sullivan. 

I attended the Cherokees on their visit to Philadelphia last winter, 
and one day, about the last of December, or beginning of January, 
was invited, with two of the chiefs, John Watts and John Langley, 
to dine with Col. Mentges. After dinner, Col. Mentges proposed to us 
to take a walk to the Schuylkill; Captain Chisholm overtook us in a coach 
and invited us to ride with him, which invitation we accepted after a 
little hesitation. We stopped at a tavern in the nieghborhood of the city 
and, after taking some wine, we all returned in the carriage with Captain 
Chisholm, except Col. Mentges, who preferred walking. After Col. 
Mentges left us, and on our way home, Chisholm began a conversation 
with me, which, at his request, I repeated to the Indians who were with 
us. He said that he had great power in his hands, that he was going to 
England, and should return and take the Floridas. As I knew him to be 
a rattling, boasting kind of a man, I laughed at him, and did not much 
regard what he said. He then told me, if I would not believe him, 
he would show it to me in writing. Accordingly, when we returned to 
our lodgings, he took out of his trunk four, or five, or six sheets of gilt 
paper, the whole of which was filled with writing in a pretty hand; this 
he said he had received from the British Minister, and read to me with 
such rapidity that I could not distinctly understand it. It had neither 
signature, direction, or address, but purported to be a plan for the 
reduction of the Floridas by a British and Indian force, of which how- 
ever, I do not recollect the particulars. It did not specify the number 
of men or ships that were to be engaged in the expedition; Gov. Blount's 
name was nowhere mentioned in it, nor did it contain the names of any 
persons or parties or associates in the project or who were to be desired 
to join it; nor do I remember that it proposed at all to engage any 
citizens of the United States in the enterprise, or to raise any force for 
the purpose within the United States. Chisholm was styled "Captain" 
in the paper, and was to go to England to the British Minister with it, 
or, if he did not go himself, the paper was to be sent there, and the 
answer was to be returned to the British Minister at Philadelphia. 
If Chisholm should not be in Philadelphia when the answer was received, 
it was to be forwarded by hand to Knoxville to him, or, in his absence, 
to his son, Ig. Chisholm, who was to send it to the Cherokee Nation to 
his father; or, if his father should not be there, to deliver it to John 
Rogers. If the answer should be sent round by the Floridas, it was, 
in like manner, to be forwarded to the Cherokee country to Captain 
Chisholm, or, in his absence, to John Rogers. This arrangement was 
contained in the paper. Chisholm himself said that he was going to 
England to get everything in preparation, and to procure from the 
Ministry, men and naval armament; that the expedition was to come 
out in a large privateer; and that on their arrival in the Floridas, 
he was to obtain the assistance of the Indians, and then attack the 

William Blount. 131 

Spanish. After Chisholm had read his paper and finished his story, I 
continued to laugh at him, and express my incredulity; whereupon he 
said if I still would not believe him, I should go with him to the British 
Minister the next morning, and take the Indians with me. I told him 
that I had no business with the British Minister, and declined going, 
and so did the Indians. 

Two or three days afterwards, at the request of the widow of the 
Hanging Maw, I went to Gov. Blount's lodgings to ask for some money 
that he owed her. I found him engaged in writing and alone. On my 
entrance, he said to me, "Carey, what in the devil has become of Chis- 
holm; damn the fellow, where is he?" I replied that he had changed his 
lodgings. Being thus reminded of Chisholm, I concluded to tell Gov. 
Blount what I had heard and seen. I said to him, therefore, "Governor, 
do you know what this business is that Chisholm is upon?" He instantly 
raised his head eagerly from the paper on which he was writing, and 
looking at me said, "No, no; what do you mean, Carey?" I then 
told him of my conversation with Chisholm, and what Chisholm had 
shown me. When I mentioned the writing I had seen he again raised 
his head suddenly, and looking at me as before, asked me eagerly whether 
the writing was signed? I told him it was not, and then he said, 
"Pooh, pooh, Carey; you know what a windy, blasty fellow Chisholm is, 
and it is not worth while to take any more notice of it, or say anything 
about it. " 

I had no time, before or afterwards, any other communication, 
of any kind with Gov. Blount relative to this subject or any political 
plan or scheme, until I received from him the letter dated Col. King's 
Iron Works, April 21, 1797, except that once, in the city of Philadelphia, 
last winter, he advised me not to be present at the running of the line, 
nor to have anything to do with it, as he said it would be a troublesome 
business, and might occasion the Indians to reflect on me. 

In a short time after these occurrences, I left the city of Phila- 
delphia with the Indians. At Tellico I mentioned without reserve to 
Mr. Byers and other gentlemen there what Chisholm had said to me 
and shown me; they all seemed to treat the thing very lightly, and to 
consider Chisholm and his communications as equally unworthy of 
attention. I mentioned them also to John Rogers; told him how he 
was mentioned in the paper, and asked if he knew anything about it; 
he said he did not, and that such a fellow as Chisholm was not worth 

After my return to Tellico, on or about the 20th of May, I was told 
that James Grant, commonly called Major Grant, wanted to see me. 
When I met him, he told me he had a letter for me which he wished to 
deliver to me when we were by ourselves. We walked away together 
some distance, and then he said he had a letter for me from my old 

132 Historic Sullivan. 

friend Gov. Blount. He delivered it to me, and, on opening it, I found 
within the same cover, two letters, one for John Rogers, dated, "Tenn- 
essee, Sullivan County, April 21, 1797, (Col. King's Iron Works)" the 
other for me, dated "Col. King's Iron Works, April 21, 1797," both of 
which letters are now in the possession of the committee. Without 
attending to the direction, I first opened that which was addressed to 
Rogers, and read down one side, which related to a runaway negro fellow 
before I discovered my mistake. I then began the letter which was 
directed to me. Major Grant and I were sitting within two or three feet 
of each other. I read loud enough to be heard by him, and, as I was 
sometimes at a loss to make out a word, being a poor scholar, he told me 
what it was, and explained it to me and corrected me whenever I 
blundered as I went along. When I had finished reading it he said to me 
"Now, Carey, you must be very careful, as your friend, Gov. Blount 
puts great confidence in you; you must observe what he tells you, that 
when you have read the letter two or three times you are to burn it." 
He then asked me what I intended to do; whether I would send the 
letter to Rogers, or send for Rogers to come to me. I told him I did not 
know; perhaps I might write to Rogers, and if I did I would let him 
know. He said that the people thereabouts thought it all over with 
Gov. Blount, but he would rise yet; that if his plan should take place, 
it would be a great thing for the friends of the business and for the 
country; that Gov. Blount would entrust nobody with the letter but him 
and that he came to Tellico on purpose to deliver it to me; that I should 
receive another letter from Gov. Blount, and that he, Major Grant, 
would come down again to see me on the subject. I then told him that 
I could not tarry there any longer, as I was wanted at the store. As 
we returned, he repeated to me that I should be careful, that the business 
was of great consequence, that it would be of much service to his friend, 
and that Gov. Blount placed great confidence in me. He then returned 
to Knoxville. 

I kept the letter, but did not know what to do with it or think about 
it. I had, a few days before, been sworn by Mr. Dinsmoor, to execute 
my appointments with fidelity to the United States; and I was much 
embarrassed with my regard for Gov. Blount and what might possibly 
be my duty in respect to the letter. I consulted Major Lewis Loveley, 
who is clerk at the store, and showed him the letter. He told me he 
did not know what to advise, but that I should consider my oath. 
I took occasion, a few days afterwards, when I was alone with Mr. 
Byers, to tell him that I had a strange letter in my possession which 
I did not know what to do about. He asked me who it was from. 
I told him, and promised to show it to him the next morning, which I 
did accordingly; and, on his assurance that it was of importance to the 
public that it should be disclosed, I gave it to him. 

William Blount. 133 

After Byers had brought the letter to Philadelphia, Major Grant 
came to Tellico. I was planting corn on the other side of the river; 
he and Lieutenant Davidson came over to me. Major Grant took a 
newspaper out of his pocket, read it for me and gave it to me. It con- 
tained something about Doublehead's having been at Philadelphia with 
Gen. Knox and obtaining a greater indemnity for the Indian country 
than had been stipulated. Davidson and Grant entered into an argu- 
ment about it; and then we returned to Blockhouse, whither I wanted 
them to take a drink. They pursued the horse path and I went on the 
foot path at some distance from them. In a little while I was met by a 
soldier, who said there was an express come to the Blockhouse for 
Lieutenant Davidson and me, and then passed on to inform Davidson. 
A little further on I met another soldier, with a paper for Lieutenant 
Davidson, which was delived to him as soon as he came up; and he told 
us that Lieutenant Wright had come to the garrison. We crossed the 
river, and the two Lieutenants entered into discourse, and walked away 
by themselves. Grant then said to me, he believed he knew what all 
this bustle was about; that he said at Knoxville that he was going into 
the Indian country, and he supposed Wright had come to stop him. 
He said also that there was a great stir at Knoxville about something, 
but he could not make out what. He asked me what I had done with 
the letter from Mr. Blount. I said it was gone, but did not tell him 
where, nor did he pursue the question further, but I thought looked 
very cool upon me. The officers soon returned, and Lieutenant Wright 
continued with me and Major Grant; and I afterwards understood that 
his business at Tellico was to follow Major Grant, and prevent him 
from having any private intercourse with me. Grant, immediately 
after taking a drink, left us and returned to Knoxville. 

A few days afterwards, a Col. John McLellan, of Knoxville, came 
to Tellico, and called me out, and asked me if I had not received a letter 
from Gov. Blount. I said I had. He asked me what were the con- 
tents, and said there was a terrible to-do about it at Knoxville, and it 
was reported that Byers had got it from me when I was drunk. I told 
him it was true that Byers had got it. He repeated his question about 
the contents. I told him I could not recollect them all. He said 
that it was a damned bad thing that I let it go. He then asked me if 
the cover was gone; I said I believed not. He then observed, that 
he supposed the letter was about something relative to Florida. I 
replied, I supposed it was. He said he imagined it was to the same pur- 
pose as one which he had himself received from Gov. Blount; but that, 
by God! they should not get that from him; that he was determined to 
support Gov. Blount, and so were many others in that country. 

Some days afterwards, Charles McClure, General White, Willie 
Blount, and Colonel McLellan's brother came to Tellico also along with 

134 Historic Sullivan. 

the Colonel; but I was desired by Lieutenant Wright not to hold con- 
versation with any of them except in his presence. I took therefore, 
an early opportunity to mention to Colonel McLellan that I was glad 
to see my friends, but that I was not permitted to have any private 
discourse with them. Afterwards, they wanted me to go over the river 
with them to get fruit; but I declined, telling them that I would go over 
and send them some by the Indians, but that I would not go with them. 

The letter for John Rogers, which was indorsed in the same cover 
with that I received from Gov. Blount, I delivered to Col. Hawkins. 

I never received the letter which is now produced to me, signed 
"William Blount," dated April 24, 1797, and in the handwriting of 
Gov. Blount and directed to "James Carey, Tellico Blockhouse — Col. 

James Carey. 

In the midst of the trial Blount dispatched a letter to 
Tennessee avowing that his love for the state led him to 
do what he did. 

Philadelphia, July 26, 1797. 

Sir: The annexed is a copy of a letter with which it seems Mr. 
Byers, of Tellico Blockhouse, came express to this city, and delivered 
it about the 20th of June to the President, with whom and his executive 
council it remained until the 30th instant, when it was laid by him be- 
fore both houses of Congress, with other papers. 

It is imputed to me, and has involved me in serious difficulties, 
the extent of which I cannot at present foresee. They will, however, 
shortly be detailed to you. 

I ask you to examine it with attention, and determine yourself 
if the contemplated plan, let whoever may be the author, had gone 
into effect, what would have been the result to the citizens of Tennessee, 
whose good it has ever been, and ever will be, my happiness to promote? 
I repeat, read and judge for yourself, regardless of popular clamor, 
which its publication has raised in this and other places, much to my 
injury. Shortly I will be in Tennessee. In the meantime, 

Believe me, very respectfully your obedient servant, 

William Blount. 

Blount was represented by counsel, he refusing, by- 
advice of his counsel, James Ingersoll and A. J. Dallas, 
to be a witness at the trial. 

The prosecution was handled by Byard and Harper of 

William Blount. 135 

the House, while chairman Sitgreaves rendered restless 
service in aiding the prosecution. 

The people of Tennessee never lost faith in Blount and 
plundered their wits to help him out. 

Blount was evidently under the care of bad advisers. 
While Tennesseans love to think of him as a martyr 
there was nothing to indicate that he was so unpopular 
as to win the disfavor of the administration, partisan 
though it may have been. His refusal to answer ques- 
tions was at least suspicious, and his letter savored of 
intrigue. It was a day rife for all kinds of political plots. 
The reconstruction period after the Revolution was more 
beset with perils than was the same period after the war 
between the states. 

The spirit of possession and love of power dominated 
the people. Instead of the love of money it was a mad 
lust for lands. These lands that lay stretched out before 
them with their virgin forests and verdant plains made 
an inviting field for operations. Nor did this craving 
for tenure mean a craving for wealth alone. The quest 
of domain meant the zest for dominion. 

Gov. Blount, on arriving here, was not long in acquaint- 
ing himself with these conditions nor long in acquiring 
ambitions that went beyond them all. A born cavalier 
and cultured in the art of control, he saw in the then 
disputed territory of the Mississippi valley vast propor- 
tions and possibilities. What his motives were may 
never be known. 7 

His people at home never believed him guilty and never 
tired of doing him honor. Open, free and frank as they 
were, the fact that he had once been to them the ideal of a 
lofty character would not have shielded him from their 
censure, had he, in their minds, deserved it. A guilty 

7Dr. Ramsey, Tennessee's distinguished historian, was in possession of some 
valuable Blount documents during the preparation of a second volume of history, 
covering a later period than his first volume, but he lost all by fire. As he put it 
"All became a prey to the rapacity and incendiarism of Federal soldiers, and were 
all consumed together." These valuable papers contained a vindication of William 
Blount's course. 

136 Historic Sullivan. 

man, however popular he may be, loses his prestige when 
he mistreats the trust of a confiding constituency, and no 
people show their readiness to condemn more quickly 
than those whose confidence has been violated. 

On returning to his home at Knoxville, a large delega- 
tion met him some distance from the town and escorted 
him in as triumphantly as though he were a Roman con- 
queror. Gen. James White resigned from the legislature 
in order that Blount might have a seat in that body. 

James Mathers, the sergeant-at-arms of the United 
States Senate, went to Knoxville to arrest Blount. Here 
he was courteously treated by the citizens and was a guest 
of Blount, in whose home he was hospitably entertained. 
When he decided to take his prisoner he summoned a 
posse to assist him, but no man would consent to serve. 

The sergeant-at-arms saw there was no use to attempt 
force and started home alone. Several citizens accom- 
panied him a few miles from town and, "after assuring 
him that William Blount could not be taken from Ten- 
nessee as a prisoner, bade him a polite adieu." 8 

Blount was elected to the state senate, where he became 
speaker and would have been chosen governor had he 
lived longer. 

He died the 21st of March, 1800, at Knoxville, after a 
short illneess and was buried in the First Presbyterian 

Of the six children who survived him, one daughter 
became the wife of Gen. Edmond Pendleton Gaines of 

8Ramsey quoted in Wright's Life of Blount. 




Blountville is, but one, the oldest town in the State of 
Tennessee, Jonesboro preceding it a few years. 

Tradition has given the locality a fort and a settlement 
long before it took the name of a town. The Bledsoes 
had a fort on the Reedy creek road, north of the town 
and the Looneys had a fort a few miles southwest, on Mud- 
dy creek. These forts, were well defended, log, living 
houses with port holes and were built after the manner 
of block-houses. 

The land on which Blountville is built was bought by 
James Brigham, the 23rd of October, 1782, and originally 
contained six hundred acres. For this tract Brigham 
paid the usual price, "fifty shillings for every one hundred 
acres" and "provided always he shall cause this grant 
to be registered in the Register's office of our said County 
of Sullivan within twelve months from the date hereof 
otherwise the same shall be void and of no effect." This 
was recorded as grant No. 147. 

When Sullivan County was partitioned to help make 
other counties and it was decided to have a more central 
location for the county seat, with permanent buildings, 
James Brigham gave thirty acres to the county commis- 
sioners in the following deed : 


This indenture made this Eleventh day of December in the year 
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & ninety two between James 
Brigham of the county of Sullivan & Territory of the United States 
South of the River Ohio of one part & John Anderson George Maxwell 
& Richd Gammon Commissioners of the county and territory aforesaid 
of the other part witnesseth the said James Brigham hath given to 
Sullivan county the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath 
and by these presents doth grant alien enfeof and confirm unto the said 

138 Historic Sullivan. 

commissioners or their successors heirs or assigns forever a certain 
tract or parcel of land containing thirty acres be the same more or 
less lying and being in the county of Sullivan Beginning at a white 
oak thence north sixty eight east forty poles to a stake thence south 
thirty five and a half East eight poles to a stake then south four 
West one hundred poles to a stake on said Brigham's old line thence 
along the same West twenty eight poles to a stake thence a straight 
line to the beginning containing 30 acres of land to be vested in the 
aforesaid John Anderson George Maxwell & Richard Gammon Esquires 
commissioners &c to erect a court House prison & stocks on for the Sd. 
county also to lay off the plan for a town for the benefit of said county 
with all and singular the woods waters water courses profits commodities 
hereditaments & appurtenances whatsoever to the Sd Tract of land 
belonging or appertaining and the reversion & reversions remainder 
remainders rents & issues thereof & all the estate right title interest 
property claim and demand of him the Sd. Jas. Brigham his heirs 
&c of in & the same & every part and parcel thereof in law or equity 
to have and to hold the sd thirty acres of Land with appurtenances 
unto the sd Commissioners or there successors heirs & assigns against 
the lawfull title claim & demand of all and every person or persons 
whatsoever shall & will warrant & forever defend these presents In 
witness whereof the sd James Brigham hath hereunto set his seal the 
day and year above written 

Signed sealed & delivered ") 

in the presence of j James Brigham (Seal) 

Sullivan County 1st day of December session 1792 within deed 
was acknowledged in open court by Jas. Brigham Sept 6th day 1793 
then Regs. 

Mathew Rhea C. S. C. 

In the same year that James Brigham gave the land 
on which Blountville is located the court ordered that he 
be "admitted to keep an ordinary at his now dwelling 
house in Sullivan County by giving bond and security 
according to law." This was the first hotel in Blount- 
ville. 1 

The commissioners platted the land into lots, but did not 
offer them for sale until three years later, August 25, 
1795. They were in quarter-acre sections, measuring 

IThe term "ordinary" as applied to a hotel 6imply means a hotel conducted 
in the ordinary way — the American plan. 


forty-two feet by two hundred and sixty-four feet. There 
does not appear to have been a very brisk demand for lots 
at first as on the opening day, August 25th, but two lots 
were disposed of — one to Robert Work who chose lot 
No. 4 and one to Col. James King who chose lot No. 13. 
Several months elapsed before there were any more con- 
veyances. The largest investors in these lots were John 
Tipton who took four lots, Elkanah Dulaney who took 
three lots and William Deery who took three lots. 

It is curious to note the change in values, even in a 
town where the excitement of phenominal increase in 
land values was hardly known. The tract of thirty acres 
on which the town is located originally cost the purchaser 
two dollars and sixty-two and a half cents. It cost the 
comissioners nothing and therefore they could afford to 
"grant" away a few lots, as the records show, to create 

Not very long after the first two lots were "granted" 
they began to increase in value and the next conveyances 
were for "valuable considerations." They then began 
to look up some and money considerations were required. 
William Deery paid thirty dollars for one lot, while the 
old Fain lot, or what is now known as the Powell lot, 
sold to William King, of Abingdon, Virginia, for one 
hundred and one dollars. 2 

Later the commissioners for the disposal of these lots 
were Elkanah Dulaney, George Rutledge and James Gaines. 
During the first ten years the lots were on sale there 
were but thirty-three disposed of. Two streets are noted 
in the transfers — Main street and Back street, and these two 
remain the only thoroughfares of any length in the town. 

In 1855, during the administration of Mayor W. W. 
James, the council decided to extend Back street, which 
action necessitated running through Sturm's tan-yard, 

2These changes in values are not to be compared with the changes in value 
of Bristol realty. It is a tradition that the entire tract on which Bristol is built 
was originally bought for an old gun and a white horse, while in recent years lots 
on State street sold at five hundred dollars per front foot. 

140 Historic Sullivan. 

in the old Rhea meadows. He was paid twelve dollars 
and a half for a right of way with the additional cost to 
the town of the removal of the buildings across the street. 

Soon after its organization Blountville became the 
center of an enlightened citizenship. The Rheas, Ander- 
sons, Fains, Dulaneys, Maxwells, Tiptons, Rutledges 
and Gammons are some of the settlers who came here 
with liberal educations, and this, with the wealth many 
acquired here, enabled them to dispense a hospitality 
that was rare in its refinement and culture — the percent- 
age of illiteracy was less in the early days of the county 
than it was a few generations following. It is alarming 
to relate that, beginning with the first record, "his mark" 
occurs with more embarrassing frequency as the county 
advances in age. 8 This does not indicate a lack of 
schools today, but marks a lapse following the arrival 
of the educated pioneer. He who was not favored with 
wealth and culture or ambitions permitted his children 
to go without learning because he could not impart it — 
besides the demands forced him to spend much of his time 
on the border while his children helped to make a living 
for the family. The children of the generation that fol- 
lowed, grew still more careless and, unrestrained, drifted 
back into an ignorance that, when opportunity came, 
required many more generations, with awkward and 
even painful application, to efface. 

Education, or at least the faculty to acquire one, 
is an inheritance and no ignorant ancestry ever produced 
an educated posterity in one generation. 

The high-mindedness of the people was reflected in 
the youth of that day. They were as combative as any 
boys, but they rarely shied their grievances into public 
view. They "dared' ' one another, and with cool tact and 
safe control of wounded pride, issued verbal challenges to 

3In addition to the county records see Roosevelt's "Winning of the West'' 
in regard to the hand writing of the pioneer. The old county records, especially 
those at Abingdon, have some remarkably beautiful pages of hand writing executed 
when the clerk, no doubt, had more leisure than now. They resemble the printed 
page of Gothic or Old English so prevalent in the early days. 


"meet on Back street." Back street was their battle- 
ground and here differences were settled with delibera- 
tion, like duelists settling their disputes. 

Blountville has had good educational facilities for more 
than one hundred years. 


In 1806 Jefferson Academy was, by an act of the legis- 
lature, provided and William Snodgrass, John Punch, 
Elkanah Dulaney, Abraham Looney and William Baird 
were appointed a board of trustees for the school. Ten 
years later three more, Mathew Rhea, Jr., Audley Ander- 
son and Samuel Rhea, Jr., were added to the list of 

The first academy was built of logs, but thirty years 
later a brick structure took its place — this in a few 
years, however, was declared unsafe and was torn down 
and rebuilt. There were two dormitories in the foreground 
that crumbled with the house. The academy was again 
rebuilt, but through abuse and neglect again became 
unsafe and was torn down. 

Hon. Charles A. Brown, a member of the House of 
Representatives, introduced a bill legalizing the sale of 
the material, brick and wood work, and the proceeds 
derived therefrom went to improve the Institute. Jeffer- 
son Academy stood at the west end of town, opposite the 
old Yost homestead and nearly opposite the graveyard. 
Among the teachers who taught there before the Civil 
War were George Wilhelm, Rev. Andrew S. Morrison, 
John Tyler, William Roberts, Archimedes and Jonathan 
Davis, George K. Snapp, James P. Snapp, Abel J. Brown, 
Leonidas Shaver and James McClain. Among those who 

came after the war were Turner, Robert Sturm, 

William Geisler, William, John and Isaac Harr, William 
Davidson, F. B. Hutton and John Buchannon. 

4Named for Thomas Jefferson and a very appropriate patronymic since Jeff- 
erson is the father of higher education in the South. . <■ - 

142 Historic Sullivan. 

Jefferson Academy was the first prominent institution 
of learning in the county and enjoyed a long, well de- 
served and substantial popularity. It has sent forth 
many young men who have filled responsible places in 
state and court and in the ministry — two have achieved 
international attention. 5 

On January 9, 1837, William Deery transferred 
to the trustees of the "Female Academy, 3870 
feet" of land for the purpose of erecting a building, as 
a department for female education. The trustees were 
William Deery, John H. Fain, David Shaver, William 
R. Dulaney, Andrew R. Edwards, William Gammon and 
Samuel Rhea. The site was given "for and in considera- 
tion of good will toward the citizens of Blountville and 
with the view of promoting female education among 
them and of building up a course of religion in said town." 

Later, Whiteside lodge of Masons established the 
"Female Institute" on an adjacent lot and the trustees 
of the "Female Academy" transferred the property to 
this lodge. Jefferson Academy furnished three thousand 
dollars to aid the new institution. 

A big dinner was given to secure funds for the erection 
of the Institute and tickets were sold at one dollar each. 
Three young girls, Annis Rutledge, Mace Rhea and 
Rachel Ellen Anderson sold three thousand dollars worth 
of tickets, many paying more than the price asked. 
Thomas A. R. Nelson paid the highest price, twenty 
dollars for a single dinner. 

Landon C. Haynes delivered the dedicatory address 
at the laying of the corner-stone, July 4, 1855, and 
the Abingdon band furnished music for the occasion. 

The Holston Conference of the Southern Methodist 
church took charge of the school about 1876 and under 

5Richard Garner for his study of the monkey language and Irl Hicks, the 
weather prophet. The latter was for a long time the target of the weather bureau 
and his views were derided while the public was warned against him. Of late the 
same department is making experiments along the line of development begun by 


that guidance it lived a few successful years, but it is now 
in charge of the Masonic fraternity. 

Among the early teachers at the Academy were Julia 
Dean, Mary and Fanny Smith, George Snapp, Margaret 
McMurry and at the Institute, W. W. Neal assisted by 

Agnes and Thomas, T. P. Summers, Robert W. 

Douthat, Mrs. James W. Norvell, Mary Patten, Tillie 
Wood, W. B. Gale, Josiah Torbett, R. T. Barton. J. Pede 
Marshall and Ben. L. Dulaney. 


In 1830 with a population of 209, one Methodist and 
one Presbyterian church, six stores, two taverns, and ten 
mechanics, 6 Blountville modestly claimed but one lawyer 
and one doctor. Twenty-five years later it had an array 
of legal talent, both resident and visiting, of such ability 
that it is doubtful if any county in the state could claim 
an abler body of that profession. The list included — 
Landon C. and Matt Haynes, Netherland and Heiskell, 
James W. Deaderick, Hall and Walker, F. M. Davis, 
James E. Murphy, Judge C. W. Hall, Thomas A. R. Nelson, 
Patterson and Davis, Gideon Burkhart, C. W. Nelson, 
Tol Logan, John McLin, Charles R. Vance, Maxwell and 
Milligan, A. G. Graham, John Mosby, 7 N. M. Taylor, 
Brittan and Hawkins, Sam Powell, T. D. Arnold, G. M. 
Murrel, C. J. St. John, F. W. Earnest and W. D. Haynes. 

Blountville in the early days became the center of a 
commercial activity that drew into its coffers much wealth 
and formed the nuclei of later fortunes. It lacked the 
shipping facilities that Kingsport had, but three stage 
lines entered the town, and being favored with govern- 

6Tennessee Gazetter. 

7Col. John Mosby, the noted Confederate cavalryman, was living in Bristol 
at the outbreak of the Civil War. His last case in court was at Blountville. He 
had already joined the army and was at Abingdon when he got permission from 
Capt. Jones to go to Blountville. His war record is familiar. In a persona: letter 
to the author he says, "The hardest battle I had to fight during the war was parting 
from my wife and children at Bristol." He is now in the Department of Justice 
at Washington. 

144 Historic Sullivan. 

ment recognition in the matter of postal service gave it 
advantages over any town in upper East Tennessee. 

The leading merchants were William Deery, 8 Samuel 
Rhea, Rhea and Anderson, John R. Fain and Sons, James 
Rhea, John Q. Rhea, W. W. James, Taylor and Pile, 
Jesse J. James, William Gammon, John Powell, William 
R. Dulaney, Jesse Reaves and Taylor and Jones. 

Morally the town has always had a high standard. 
A review of the criminal records show that but one murder 
has been committed there during its one hundred and 
fifteen years of existence, while petty violations of law 
have been in proportion. 

The murder mentioned was not committed in cold blood 
or premeditated. Labin Williams, a young lawyer, had just 
returned to Blountville from Jonesboro bearing papers 
for David Stuart. On meeting with him a dispute arose 
during which Stuart called Williams a liar, whereupon he 
drew a dirk and stabbed his accuser to death. This 
dirk was not the property of Williams — he had been 
intrusted with its delivery to some one in Blountville. 
He was arrested for the act, but was not tried in the county 
as he claimed he could not get justice — asked for a change 
of venue and was put in jail at Jonesboro. One night 
some of his sympathizers broke open the jail and spirited 
him away to North Carolina. From there he drifted 
to Texas where he became a Catholic priest. 


The first denomination to erect a church in Blount- 
ville was the Methodist. The church was built about the 
time of the erection of Jefferson Academy. The leading 
workers in this church were William Snodgrass and 
Thomas Rockdold. It was built on the adjoining lot 

SWilliam Deery was an Irish peddler who made trading trips to Sullivan from 
Baltimore. He was finally induced to locate in Blountville by Walter James. 
Here he accumulated a fortune and for his day was one of the wealthiest men in 
Tennessee. Late in life he married Miss Allison of a very prominent family in 
"The Forks" and became a useful man to Blountville and Sullivan County. 


west of where it now stands and was a brick building 
forty by thirty feet in size. All denominations used it 
for a time and school entertainments were also held there. 
When it was repaired it was dedicated to worship only. 
In 1855 it was removed to its present site. 

The Presbyterians, who had been holding house meet- 
ings under the pastorate of Rev. Lake, built a church in 
1820, on the hill west of town, a graveyard also being 
enclosed. Later the church was removed to a lot 
opposite the "Female Academy" and still later to Main 

On Sunday, July 27, 1836, while the Rev. Daniel 
Rogan was preaching in the Presbyterian church, 
then on graveyard hill, a distinguished party drove up 
to attend the meeting. It consisted of Andrew Jackson, 
then President, A. J. Donelson, afterwards candidate for 
Vice-President, Col. McClellan, afterwards Congressman 
from Sullivan and about fifteen others, some riding in 
carriages, others on horseback. Seeing the party on the 
outside the preacher stopped short in his discourse, an- 
nounced the arrival of the President, parceled out a hymn 
and all joined in the singing, thus avoiding confusion 
while the party entered. The song being finished the 
people seated themselves. The minister preached from 
the text, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." 
After the services were over, Col. McClellan introduced 
the visitors to a number of the congregation. 9 

A Baptist church was organized in 1833 by William 
Cate and T. J. Poindexter. The first association was 
held in 1870. The meeting was presided over by William 
A. Keen, who acted as moderator. John Crockett 
Rutledge, who was clerk of the county court, was also 

9Gen. Jackson never passed through Sullivan on his way to or from Washington 
without stopping at one and sometimes two or three places in the county — often 
for a day or two at a time. He generally stopped with old soldiers who had accom- 
panied him in campaigns at the Horseshoe or against the Seminoles or at New 
Orleans. His salutation to his old war comrades was an embrace. It may be said 
in this connection that the three Presidents Tennessee furnished, Jackson, 
Polk and Johnson have visited and spoken in Blountville. 

146 [Historic Sullivan. 

clerk of the Baptist Church and kept the church books 
in his office. When the records of the court were 
destroyed by the burning of the court house in 1863, 
the church records were destroyed with them. 


When the excitement of the gold discoveries reached 
Sullivan County a large number of people left Blount- 
ville and that vicinity and began the overland journey to 
California. Some took their families. It was during 
the days of "49" and the dangers incident to such a journey 
were much like those that confronted the Donelsons 
on their voyage down the Holston. It meant three 
thousand miles of travel, some of it over treeless deserts 
and through trackless woods, uninhabited by any friendly 
face — war bands of Indians or worse, renegades like those 
who perpetrated the Mountain Meadows massacre, were 
ready to kill and plunder. 

These emigrant trains resembled in many ways those 
of the pioneers, and the men who accompanied them were 
full of the same adventurous spirit. 

Among the number who left during the early excitement 
were "Doc" and William Anderson, sons of the hatter, 
Joe Pectol, of Ketron's, Tom Bird well, Henderson 
Webb and James Wilson, from Reedy creek, William 
Cretsinger, of the family of ginger cake fame, and 
Joseph and Nathan Bachman of Horse creek valley. 10 
These who went to California started in the spring or 
early summer in order to be sure of finding pasture for 
their stock on the way. 

On the return of the "49-ers" with belts of gold nuggets 
and quartz the excitement was again kindled and many 

10A strange fatality has followed the Bachman family on the Pacific coast, 
Joseph was lost at sea. Nathan in his eightieth year, spurning to ride any but a 
spirited horse, waa thrown by one, his thigh fractured, from which injury he died. 
Another was killed by Chinese laborers. William Bachman, of Bristol, on June 
21, 1907, while enjoying] an outing tendered him by the company for which he 
worked, went down with the excursion steamer Columbia on which he had taken 
passage for Portland, Oregon. 


others went. Among those in the second pilgrimage 
were David Swicegood, Wade and Rufus Snapp, and 
Charles White and family. Crossing the plains White and 
his family were attacked by the Indians — White was killed 
and his wife taken captive. Being pursued by a band of 
determined men the Indians killed her also. 


During September, 1882, "Sifty" John Hicks, a day 
laborer about the town, was employed to clean out a 
cellar under the circuit court clerk's office preparatory 
to putting in a supply of wood for the winter. The rub- 
bish in the cellar was the accumulation of years — 
had not been cleaned out since the Civil War. It con- 
sisted mainly of mortar and brick and burnt wood — 
some of the remains of the court house. After 
digging for a while Hicks struck a cast iron box about 
twelve by sixteen inches — four inches thick. As soon as 
he saw that it contained gold and silver his excitement 
would not permit him to examine further or to take any 
of its contents. Rushing out he excitedly told every one 
he met that he had struck a coffin in which was buried a 
treasure of gold and silver coins. 

The romantic feature of the find was that the first one 
he informed was a youth sitting on the stile leading from 
the street to the rear of the court house yard. He was 
deploring the fate that deprived him of parental sympathy 
in the choice of his life's work. He wanted to be a physi- 
cian, but his parents tried to discourage him in the idea, 
and to such an extent as to deny him any aid in the furth- 
erance of his ambition. He had finished his preliminary 
preparation and was at this time trying to accumulate 
enough bones to make a complete skeleton in order 
that he might become better acquainted with the subject 
of anatomy. On being told that a coffin had been un- 
earthed with the treasure the youth's first thoughts were 
of the skeleton that he might secure, but when he reached 

148 Historic Sullivan. 

the spot and caught sight of the shining metal he forgot 
his misfortunes, skeleton and all, and, "filling his pockets," 
hastened home, put the money in a trunk and hurried 
back for more. 

In the meantime the news of the discovery spread 
rapidly and half the town gathered there, and in the wild 
scramble the money got scattered and mixed up in the 
rubbish. Few went there who were not repaid for their 
trouble — some got several hundred dollars. The silver 
coins had been melted by the heat, but the gold coins 
were not affected. 

The trash was thoroughly sifted — both that in the 
cellar and the portion that had been removed. The news 
soon reached the country folk and many gathered there, 
and now and then a gold coin was picked up that served 
to renew interest and the search. Long after all the money 
had been found and the dirt gone over many times, some 
one on mischief bent would slyly bury a coin, begin dig- 
ging, unearth it excitedly and the hunt would begin 
again. The box contained about two thousand dollars, 
but no explanation has ever been given as to when or 
by whom the money was put there. 11 

llln arranging the chapters on Sullivan County and Blountville I had ac- 
cess to the county records at Blountville and the abstracts in the office of W. 
R. Page, Bristol. 


James King, 
a biography. 

The senior James King was born in London, England, 
in 1752 and came to America when a young man. He 
was a civil engineer. He settled first in Montgomery- 
county, Virginia, but afterwards removed to Sullivan 
County, making it his permanent home. Here he became 
associated with Thomas Goodson in land transactions, 
in 1778, and married his daughter Sarah. 

His military service began in 1778 when he joined 
Gen. Andrew Lewis in the Dunmore War. It was but a 
step from this to the Revolution. Among the episodes 
of his military career was an experience with Gen. Daniel 
Morgan. With others he was hotly pursued by a body of 
cavalry and so closely were they followed that they were 
forced to take refuge in Dismal Swamp. All were cap- 
tured except King. One man was left to guard the 
swamp, but after waiting for some time and despairing 
of finding his man the guard mounted and left. King at 
once went in pursuit, overtook him and captured his 
horse, a fine riding animal, which he proudly conducted 
back to camp. 

A superior officer coveted the animal and would have it 
despite protests, but King, rather than give it up, re- 
signed and went home. He relented, however, for 
having been so rash as to permit a horse to stand between 
him and his desire for liberty, returned to the army and 
was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at York town. 

While a man of many peculiarities he was always 
humane. In consequence of his fair dealings with the 
Indians he exerted a great influence over them and Gov. 
Blount sought his services in treaties where diplomacy 
played an important part. He took part in the famous 
treaty of the Holston. 

150 Historic Sullivan. 

He was commander of the fort at Knoxville from 
1792 to 1795, and was associated with its founder, Gen. 
James White, in laying off the town. 

A military life of seven years made King a rover. 
He owned four homes and whenever the notion struck 
him, would move his family without giving any notice. 
He gave orders one time to move to Knoxville with the 
weeks washing in the tub, at the boiling point. 

He died August 17th, 1825, at the age of seventy- 
three. The only inscription on his tomb, which is a 
coffin shaped slab of iron, is — "A patriot of 1776." This 
is to distinguish him from those who became patriots 
after the war was over, when the cause was more popular. 

James King, Jr., the son, was born near Bristol, about 
1790, and inherited a vast estate. He founded King 
College in 1866, and gave it to the Presbyterian church, 
one stipulation being that ministers and Confederate 
soldiers were to receive free tuition. He had sent a 
number of young men North to be educated, but their 
return with abolition views caused him to erect the 
college. He also founded and was the first pastor of 
the first Presbyterian church erected in Bristol. 

There was a time in his life when he took great interest 
in hunting, but on one of his rambles in the ' 'chestnut flats, ' ' 
southwest of Bristol, he killed a deer and was so moved 
by its pitiful human-like death moans that he never hunted 
animals again, 1 and always made it convenient to be away 
from home at hog killing time. 

The name King is so closely associated with the educa- 
tional and industrial developments that it has been pre- 
served more indelibly in connection with public institu- 
tions and localities than any other name in the county. 

James King, Jr., died July 13, 1867, and is buried in 

IBalzac graphically describes the human-like death moans of a panther in 
his "A Passion in the Desert." 



The frontier people became mechanics out of necessity. 
The skilled artisan rarely accompanied the emigrants 
to a new territory. His service always in demand in a 
settled and safe community, he did not feel that the pros- 
pects were promising enough to justify his going into a 
new field where his labor was not sought at a price his 
skill could command. Hence our forefathers became 
their own shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, tanners, weav- 
ers and the most needful of all, millers. The mills of 
early days were of clumsy, yet ingenious design, and like 
the mills of the Gods, ground slowly, but unlike them 
ground exceedingly course. 

One way of obtaining meal was with "the sweep." 
This was made of a tough, springy sapling about twenty- 
five feet long. One end was placed under a house or log 
or stump and about midway a forked stick was used 
as a fulcrum, raising the small end about fifteen feet from 
the ground. A wooden pestle about eight feet long and 
six inches in diameter was attached — a wooden pin was 
put through this so that two people could handle it, 
and thus they pounded the corn in the receptacle made 
for it, and, when the corn was not too hard, did very good 

Another design was called the hominy mill or "slow 
john," which had the advantage of lessening manual 
labor, as it did its own work. A beam is supported at 
each end with forked uprights, made smooth or hollowed 
out to allow the beam to move like an axle. Across the 
first beam is placed another, at one end of which is at- 
tached a hammer — at the other end a trough. Still 
another trough carries water to the first trough, which, 
when filled, is weighted down, bringing the hammer up — 

152 Historic Sullivan. 

then the water runs out of the trough and the hammer 
comes down again with sufficient force to beat the corn 
into meal. 

The grater was often brought into use when the corn 
was too new and soft to be shelled easily or beaten — 
a whole ear of corn was rubbed across the grater. 

The hand mill and the tub mill were improvements 
upon these, stones being used, much after the manner 
of modern, improved milling. Sifters were then used 
instead of a bolting cloth. The sifters were made of 
perforated skins, in a parchment state, stretched across 
a hoop. 

The method of tanning was also primitive. A large 
trough was made, after the manner of a pirouge or canoe, 
hewn out of a large tree. This trough was sunk into the 
ground. After the oak bark became dry, instead of being 
ground, as now, it was placed upon a block and pounded 
with an axe or hammer or shaved with a drawing knife. 
Instead of lime, ashes were used to remove the hair 
from the hides. A drawing knife with the edge properly 
turned was used as a currying knife and, as a substitute 
for fish oil, bears' 1 oil, tallow or lard was applied, while 
chimney soot mixed with lard made the blacking. When 
shoes or boots were worn they were polished with grease, 
this being especially done for social gatherings and on 
Sundays, a copious application of peppermint, hair oil 
or other preparation of an aromatic nature offsetting the 
odor of the grease. 

The clothing worn was home-made and there was a 
weaver in every family. Linsey was the cloth usually 
worn. The flax patch was as necessary as the corn patch. 
Linsey-wolsey, the most comfortable and serviceable 
material for garments, was worn by both sexes and was 
made of flax and wool. The flax furnished the chain 
while the wool supplied the filling. 

1 Indian maidens anointed their hair and bodies with bear's oil for antiseptic 
purposes. It certainly did not add to their charms of person. — William Byrd's 


Shoe packs, made of leather and fashioned after mocca- 
sins, were worn where the owner was not skillful enough 
to make shoes. These shoe packs were made out of one 
piece of leather with the seam in the back — the tongue 
being fastened on the outside of the shoe. Hunters and 
trappers supplied their own wear, which was the simple 

There were two articles in the manufacture of which 
the backwoodsman became craftsmaster — that of wooden- 
ware, such as buckets and tubs, and wicker work, in chairs 
and baskets, the latter being quite ornamental as well as 
serviceable. No modern, machine-made tubs and firkins 
equal the old cedar ones with their alternating white and 
red staves. In like manner the chairs and baskets were 
at times artistically finished, and some of these home- 
made wares are still to be seen and still retain their element 
of strength — they represent the type of people who used 
them — enduring. 

As the population increased and the frontier with its 
accompainment of Indian hostilities was pushed further 
back, skilled labor came, bringing faster if not better 
methods of manufacture. The forge and bloomery, at 
which were made iron- ware and implements, were erected. 
With the opening of the ore banks came the opening of 
industrial life, which has given this section a substantial 
commercial strength to this day. 


One of the first, if not the first iron-works in Tennessee 
was erected at the mouth of Steele's creek, in Sullivan 
County, and was operated by Col. James King, about 
1784, who later associated with him Gov. William Blount. 

John Sevier also became interested in the development 
of the iron industry in Sullivan. 2 

2John Sevier junior and senior formed a partnership with Walter King for the 
purpose of manufacturing iron.— County records. 

154 Historic Sullivan. 

When the King iron-works was dedicated, after Gov. 
Blount became a partner in 1790, a two day's jolli- 
fication took place and some of the old fashioned 
games were indulged in. There were running races, 
sack races and feats of strength and agility. Baxter 
Bean excelled in distance running; Jacob Akard in wrest- 
ling; William Smith in foot racing and a negro, "Cuff," 
in lifting the heaviest weight. John Blair was the forge- 
man. John Smith, the foundryman, was brought from 
England. James Brooks became chief collier. 

When the furnace was charged with charcoal and ore 
Mrs. Blount, the wife of the governor, in the presence of a 
large gathering of people, walked up on a platform and, 
breaking a bottle of rum, christened it "Barbara," the 
name of Gov. Blount's mother. 3 

This, too, became the first nail factory in the state, 
if not in the South. 

A more extensive nail factory, however, was erected 
many years later at Pactolus, which supplied nails for a 
wide sweep of territory, reaching as far as Huntsville, 
Alabama. It was operated by Elijah Embree, who after- 
ward became connected with the noted abolition journal 
at Jonesboro. In 1846 Gen. Alfred E. Jackson contracted 
for the entire output of the Embree rolling mill. 

As the demand increased for leather the old tanning 
trough was replaced by vats, built in the ground — the 
first of the kind we have any record of was erected by 
Jacob Sturm, at Blountville, on the St. John lot, at the 
creek. Kingsport, Gunning's and Carmack's were among 
the largest tanneries in the county. W. G. Taylor 
operated an extensive plant at Blountville. It was 
managed by George Pile, Sr., who in 1872 discovered and 
patented a process of tanning which lessened the time 
from three and twelve months to thirty and ninety days, 
and by the same method sheep skins were made strong 

3Deery MSS. 


enough for shoes and thong leather. This process came 
into general use. 

Another factory which received national attention was 
the Cain pottery, located at Emanuel church, and owned 
by two brothers, William M. and Abe Cain. This pottery 
was one of the first in America to make glazed earthen- 
ware. 4 It was operated about 1840 and, among other 
wares, souvenir jugs were made, many of which are still 
in existence. 

The most prosperous industry in Sullivan and East 
Tennessee was the manufacture of iron. There were 
twenty-nine furnaces scattered throughout this section. 
Sullivan and Carter counties had thirteen. The Tilt- 
hammer iron works, operated by water power at the 
shoals in Kingsport, thrived for a number of years. The 
best known was the Bushong furnace, which was the sur- 
vival of the old King iron-works and was operated, 
first by George Bushong and then by his son, William 
Bushong, who managed it for more than twenty-five years. 
Industries like this and the salt works of Virginia became 
the center of commercial activity, and lasted as 
such until combined wealth throttled local business 
and carried the iron trade of the South to Birmingham, 
Alabama. The inconvenience of the ore banks in Holston 
Valley, Blountville and Shady and the cost of transpor- 
tation by wagon, over rough roads, made poor competi- 
tion for carriage by rail and improved mining and manu- 
facturing machinery. 

So important was iron that it became with us a medium 
of exchange. Money was scarce. "I'll give you so many 
horseshoes or so many bull tongues or so many hoes for 

so much ," whatever commodity was needed. 

This did not mean that the barterer carried the clumsy 
currency around with him, in his pockets, and, stepping 
up to the counter, laid down a horseshoe or a bull tongue 
in exchange for its equivalent in coffee or other articles 

4See works on American Pottery. 

156 Historic Sullivan. 

of merchandise. The customer was extended credit if 
he had proven himself worthy of it and delivery of iron 
was made afterward. 5 

Among other industries that have disappeared, unable 
to compete with those favored by location and capital, 
is the cotton mill. Frederick A. Ross had a cotton mill 
on Long Island as late as 1849. He hauled his cotton by 
wagon from Knoxville. The Sparger and Byrd mills, 
at Bristol and the Prather mills, at Bluff City, erected 
1874-5, suffered inconveniences in the way of freights 
and survived but a few years. The Jordan and Hoard 
woolen mills, in South Bristol, sprang up and disappeared 
the same way. 

The tobacco factories operated by Reynolds, at Bristol 
and Prather, at Bluff City, finally became the victims of 
the trust methods. 

There was a hat factory located near Thomas' bridge 
and operated by Edward Anderson. A good, servicable 
wool hat was made here and the old house where they 
were made still stands. 

Glazed tiling and brick made by C. N. Jordon, David 
and William Roller, at Kingsport, 1885 to 1899, furnished 
Hawkins county with this material. But the central- 
izing of wealth and the advantage and opportunities it 
gave crushed the smaller industries of every kind. 

5With the advent of new methods of business the old time credit system, 
where man trusted man, has almost disappeared. An example of the old way 
may be found in a transaction that took place in Holston Valley, between Daniel 
Odell and John Thomas. They were friends and cattle traders. Nothing was 
thought of either borrowing from the other large sums of money without even 
giving a receipt. But as times changed this manner of doing business was con- 
sidered careless and they agreed to give notes. Thomas borrowed five hundred 
dollars from Odell and made out his note. The question then arose as to which 
should keep the note. Finally Odell said to Thomas: "You got the money; 
you just keep the note so you'll know when to pay it back." 


W. C. C. Claiborne. 


W. C. C. Claiborne was one of the most brilliant states- 
men of the South. When about sixteen years of age, 
after finishing a course at William and Mary College, he 

went to New York and entered the office of Beckley, 

secretary to Congress. When Congress was removed to 
Philadelphia, Claiborne went also. It was here he met 
Thomas Jefferson, whose friendship he obtained and for 
which he afterwards proved his gratitude. Here also he 
met Gen. John Sevier, by whom he was pursuaded to go 
to Tennessee and practice law. After spending a short 
time in the study of law in Richmond he obtained license 
in Virginia, thus avoiding delay that would result from 
probationary residence required in the state of his adop- 
tion. He then came to Sullivan County and entered 
upon the practice of his profession. He was more 
fortunate than most young lawyers, his first case bringing 
him a fee of five hundred dollars. He was employed, 
thereafter, on every cause of importance, being frequently 
called to neighboring courts in Virginia. At one time he 
was called two hundred miles away to argue a case involv- 
ing an immense amount of property, and the fee promised 
was so large Claiborne refused to take it, although he won 
the suit, and accepted a fine saddle horse instead of the 

He continued the practice of law for two years, when he 
was tendered, by Gov. Sevier, a seat on the supreme bench 
of Tennessee. He was at this time in his twenty-first year. 
Claiborne was one of the principal authors of the first 
constitution of Tennessee, which called from Jefferson 
such high praise. 

Gov. Blount said of him, that making the necessary 
allowance for his youth he was the most extroardinary 

158 Historic Sullivan. 

man he had met with, and that if he lived to attain the 
age of fifty nothing but prejudice could prevent his becom- 
ing one of the most distinguished political characters in 

When he was appointed to the supreme bench his 
friends urged him not to accept as he could make more in 
the practice of law. "My motto," said he, "is honor and 
not money; Gov. Sevier is my friend and if I can, I am 
bound to aid his administration." 

A vancancy shortly afterward occurred in the House of 
Representatives of the United States and he was urged 
to become a candidate. He entered the race and, although 
opposed by a man of talent and great wealth, was elected 
by a big majority. 

He was elected to Congress in his twenty-second year, 
not yet being of eligible age, and was the youngest man 
ever elected to a seat in that body. 

It was during his term of office that the famous Jeffer- 
son-Burr contest took place, which wrought the country 
up to such a feverish state of excitement. Presidents 
were not then elected by the people, but by their repre- 
sentatives. Jefferson and Burr tied. They had been 
voted for at the same time and Jefferson's name appeared 
first, leaving the impression that the result would be, 
Jefferson for President and Burr for Vice-President. 
But party lines were severely drawn. The Federal 
party supported Burr and saw clearly that the election 
depended upon the vote of Claiborne. He became so 
conspicuous that he went armed. 1 The agitation lasted 
several days; finally on the thirty-seventh ballot Vermont 
voted blank and Jefferson was elected. 

It was not very long after this that Claiborne was 
appointed by Jefferson, Governor of the Mississippi terri- 
tory, and he arrived at Natchez to take charge of his 
new office, November 23, 1801. Many of the most prom- 
inent citizens of that territory had petitioned for him. 

IThe National Portrait Gallery. — Longacre and Herring. 

W. C. C. Claiborne. 159 

Previous to this he had married Eliza Lewis of Nashville. 

He governed Mississippi for two years — was then 
transferred to the Louisiana territory, as governor, a 
hazardous undertaking then, as in this capacity he had to 
dispose of many kinds of intrigues and to deal with a 
variety of people. 

In the pursuance of his duties he had a controversy 
with Daniel Clark, one of the supposed conspirators with 
Aaron Burr, which resulted in a duel and Claiborne was 
badly wounded. 2 * 3 

In this trying climate he suffered an attack of yellow 
fever, his wife and child were similarly stricken and died 
from it, while his brother-in-law, Lewis, was killed in a 
duel. All three died the same day and were buried in 
the same grave. 

Claiborne was married three times. As Governor of 
Louisiana he had the perplexing questions to solve 
which later brought on the war of 1812. He personally 
participated in the maneuvers in his state, but was pre- 
vented from engaging in the battle of New Orleans by 
being placed in command of Chef Menteur pass, when on 
his way to join Jackson. 

In 1817, at the expiration of his term as governor, 
he was elected to represent Louisiana in the United 
States Senate, but he died in New Orleans the twenty- 
third of November, before taking his seat. He was forty- 
two years of age. 

No man in the history of the government had received 
higher honors at such an early age. 

20ut of the episodes which connected the names of Burr, Wilkinson, Clark 
and others, comes this piece of romantic history. Pendleton, a second of Alexander 
Hamilton in his duel with Burr, was closely related to Gaines for whom Claiborne 
secured a military position. Gaines afterwards married the daughter of Clark 
who fought the duel with Claiborne, the latter having been the patron of Gaines. 

3The South is inclined to take a charitable view of the shortcomings of Aaron 
Burr. This is probably due to the high esteem in which his daughter Theodosia 
is held — that while aiding her father with sympathy, her Cordelia-like loyalty has 
endeared her to the people as one of the most tender and pathetic characters in 
the annals of exalted American womanhood. 



The official life of Sullivan County, either by residence 
or birth, will rank with the best records. It includes 
one President, six United States Senators, seven Gov- 
ernors, eight Congressmen, one Secretary of the Treas- 
ury, one Minister to Russia, one Supreme Judge, one 
Federal Judge, two Chancery Judges, four Circuit 
Judges and two Attorneys-General. 

Those serving in the United States Senate were Wil- 
liam Blount and William Cocke, who were the first sen- 
ators from Tennessee elected by a vote of the legislature, 
assembled in Knoxville, in 1796, when the state was first 
organized. William Blount was expelled in 1797. An- 
drew Jackson was appointed in 1797, but resigned a 
year later; Daniel Smith was senator 1798-1799 and 
again from 1805 to 1809; George W. Campbell, 1811 

, resigned to accept a cabinet position — Secretary of 

the Treasury, 1814, and afterwards became minister to 
Russia, 1818-1821; W. C. C. Claiborne was elected to 
the United States Senate from Louisiana, but died be- 
fore taking his seat; Andrew Jackson became senator 
again, 1823-1825, but again resigned. 

Congressmen : Andrew Jackson became a member of 
the fourth congress; W. C. C. Claiborne served in the 
fifth and sixth congresses; George W. Campbell in the 
eighth, ninth and tenth; John Rhea from the eighth to 
the thirteenth inclusive and again in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth; John Sevier in the twelfth and thirteenth; 
William G. Blount in the fourteenth and fifteenth; Abra- 
ham McClellan in the twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth and 
twenty-seventh; Austin King served in congress from 

The list of Governors begins with William Blount, 

Official Life. 161 

first governor of the Territory south of the Ohio, 1790 to 
1796; W. C. C. Claiborne became second governor of 
Mississippi and first governor of Louisiana; John Sevier, 
first governor of Tennessee, 1796-1801, and again, 1803- 
09; Willie Blount, 1809-15; Isaac Shelby became 
first governor of Kentucky; Austin King, born in Sullivan 
County, 1801, moved to Missouri in 1830, elected governor, 
1848-53; John Isaac Cox, serving as speaker of the 
senate, suceeded Gov. Frazier, 1905-7, who succeeded 
Senator William B. Bate, the latter having died in office. 
On the judicial list: W. C. C. Claiborne was appointed 
to the supreme bench, 1796; George W. Campbell also 
became judge of the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, 
1809-11. Circuit judges: William Cocke, 1809-12, 
impeached — circuit judges were at first elected by the 
legislature, but after 1853 were elected by the people; 

H. Tyler Campbell, 1894-1902 ; Alonzo J. Tyler, 1902 ; 

C. St. John, Jr., was appointed judge during the contested 
election between Tyler and Harmon, serving from Sept- 
ember, 1902, until January, 1904. 

Chancellors: C. J. St. John, Sr. (appointed to fill 
out the unexpired term of H. C. Smith, deceased), 1885- 
86; Hal H. Haynes, 1902 . 

Attorneys-General: John Fain, 1878-86; H. Tyler 
Campbell, 1886-94. 

Federal Judge: C. F. Trigg, 1862. 

Thomas Curtin was appointed special judge of the 
supreme court, 1902, to sit in a case on account of the in- 
competency of Judge Shields. W. V. Deaderick was ap- 
pointed referee judge, an intermediate court to relieve 
the congested condition of the supreme court. 

The members of the constitutional convention, 
representing Sullivan County, were: 1796 — George Rut- 
ledge, William C. C. Claiborne, John Shelby, Jr., John 
Rhea and Richard Gammon. Convention of 1834 — 
Abraham McClellan. Convention of 1870— W. V. Dead- 

162 Historic Sullivan. 


In the first territorial assembly, which met in Knoxville, 
1794, Sullivan was represented by George Rutledge. 1 
He also represented the county in the senate in 1796, 
along with representatives John Rhea and David Looney. 

Assembly, 1797^-George Rutledge; 1799— George Rut- 
ledge, John Scott and Richard Gammon; 1801 — George 
Rutledge, John Tipton and William Snodgrass; 2 1805 — 
James King, John Scott and John Tipton; 1807 — Sullivan 
and Hawkins district was represented by Hawkins county 
— John Tipton, representative; 1809 — John Tipton and 
John Phagen; 1812 — George Rutledge and John Tipton; 
1813 — records lost; 1815 — Absalom Looney and William 
King; 1817 — John Tipton and Elkanah R. Dulaney; 
1819— Jacob Miller and Elkanah R. Dulaney; 1821— 
Jacob Miller and Elkanah R. Dulaney; 1823 — George 
Gammon and Abraham McClellan; 1825 — Elkanah R. 

lGeorge Rutledge was of South Carolina origin and a descendant of the famous 
Rutledge family that rendered such service to the county. He came to Sullivan 
when he was about seventeen years of age and from his youth was active in all 
that helped to advance the interests of the county. He was with Evan Shelby 
in his Chicamauga campaign and with Isaac Shelby at the battle of King's Mountain. 
He helped to frame the first constitution of Tennessee and was Sullivan County's 
first representative in the state senate. He was also sheriff of the county. In 
addition to his usefulness as a public man he did much to develop agricultural 
interests and was more instrumental than any other man in introducing blooded 
stock into the county. He succeeded Gen. John Sevier as military commandant 
of the district. Gen. Rutledge died July 1, 1813, fifty-three years of age and is 
buried at Blountville. He was at first buried near his home, but shortly after the 
graveyard was laid out at Blountville, was exhumed and buried there. His wife 
survived him several years and died at Kingsport. The remains were brought to 
Blountville, and as this funeral party approached from the west, the cortege in 
charge of the general's remains came over the hill from the east, a bell tolling all 
the while. They were both buried on the same day. 

2William Snodgrass was born in Virginia and removed to Sullivan County 
in his youth. He, like so many others on the frontier, helped to defend the border 
forts. His first assignment as an officer was as sergeant in Evan Shelby's expedi- 
tion against the Chicamauga Indians, in 1779. He then served as leader of the 
scouts under Col. Campbell, in the battle of King's Mountain. "Very early in the 
morning after the battle Colo. Campbell came to me and asked me if I would be will- 
ing to go back and meet the footmen and stop them from coming to the mountain 
and to take some men with me as a guard. I told him I did not want any guard 
— I left about sunrise Edward Smith accompanying me. * * * * — MSS. 
letter. Draper Collection. 

Snodgrass was one of the last survivors of the battle. In the Creek War 
he arose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel — commanding the Tenth Tennessee regi- 

He owned a plantation midway between Blountville and Bristol and his home 
stood on the lot where D. Akard's house now stands (1909). Here he entertained 
hospitably. It was one of Andrew Jackson's favorite resting places when on his 
way to and from Washington. Col. Snodgrass died in 1845, eighty-five years old, 
surviving the battle of King's Mountain sixty-five years, and is buried in the 
Snodgrass graveyard. He and Gen. Rutledge were war comrades, neighbors and 

Official Life. 163 

Dulaney; 1827— George Gammon and Abraham Mc- 
Clellan; 1829— Abraham McClellan; 1831— Abraham Mc- 
Clellan; 1833— John Netherland; 1835— Elkanah R. 
Dulaney (vice John Netherland); 1837— Elkanah R. 

Dulaney; 1839 , 3 Jesse Cross; 1841 , 

James Eanes; 1843 , Jesse Cross; 1845 — Alfred 

Martin and John B. Hamilton; 1847 , Jesse Cross; 

1849 — Abraham Tipton and James J. Odell; 1851 — 

, F. M. Davis; 1853 , James J. Odell; 

1855 , F. D. Massengill; 1857 , A. L. 

Gammon; 1859 — George R. McClellan and J. F. Trevitt; 

1861 , Alvin M. Millard; 1865— ("Brownlow 

Legislature") William Mullenix; 1867 — , John 

Welsh; 1869 , John Slack; 1871— F. W. Earnest 

and J. H. Cross; 1873— S. K. N. Patton and L. H. Denny; 

1875 , James J. Odell; 1877— L. H. Denny and 

N. Gregg; 1879— H. T. Patton and N. Gregg; 1881— 

, N. T . Dulaney, Sr.; 1883 , Nathan Gregg; 

1885 , N. T . Dulaney, Sr.; 1887 , N. T . 

Dulaney, Sr., John M. Fain, floater; 1889 , A. J. 

Patterson; 1891 , Charles A. Brown; 1893— 

John B. Harr and John I. Cox; 1895 , William A. 

Robeson; 1897 , W. A. Dulaney; 1899— John 

Slack and Jack Faw; 1901 — John I. Cox andW. D. Lyon; 
1903— John I. Cox and W. M. Poe; 1905— John I. Cox 
and W. D. Lyon; 1907— John I. Cox and J. Parks Worley; 
1908— John I. Cox and J. Parks Worley. 


The entry takers of the county so far as the records 
show were: John Adair, James Gaines and William 

County Clerks: John Rhea, 1780-87; Matthew Rhea, 
1787-1820; Richard Netherland, 1820-32; G. W. Nether- 

3Senators elected from counties outside of Sullivan are not noted. 

164 Historic Sullivan. 

land, 1832-36; John C. Rutledge, 1836-44; Jacob T. Mes- 
sick, 1844-48; Thomas P. Ford, 1848-52; John C. Rutledge, 
1852-65; William C. Snapp, 1865-66; George L. Yates, 
1866-67; N. B. Simpson, 1867-68; David Pence, 1868-70; 
James P. Rader, 1870-74; A. J. Cox, 1874-82; Page Bul- 
lock, 1882-86; N. D. Bachman, Sr., 1886-94; John M. Fain, 
1894-98; John R. Snow, 1898-1902; S. J. Kyle, 1902. 

Sheriffs: Nathan Clark, 1780-85; Archibald Taylor, 
1785-87; George Rutledge, 1787-92; William McCormick, 
1792-94; John Scott, 1794-96; Isaac Shelby, Jr., 1796-98; 
John Anderson, 1798-1800; Francis H. Gaines, 1800-02; 
Thomas Shelby, 1802-04; Thomas Rockhold, 1804-06; 
James Phagen, 1806-29; Thomas White, 1829-30; Jacob 
K. Snapp, 1830-36; Amos James, 1836-40; John B. Ham- 
ilton, 1840-44; M. Massengill, 1844-46; John W. Cox, 
1846-50; N. M. Hicks, 1850-54; B. L. Dulaney, Sr., 
1854-58; A. Odell, 1858-60; A. G. Lowry, 1860-65; Henry 
Oliver, 1865-66; G. W. Sells, 1866-68; Thomas H. Easley, 
1868-70; Nathan Gregg, 1870-76; S. L. Millard, 1876-80; 
E. S. Worley, 1880-84; J. S. Gunning, 1884-86; G. W. Sells, 
1886-88; R. S. Cartwright, 1888-92; A. McClellan, 1892-96; 
W. M. Newland, 1898-1902; William Odell, 1902-04; 
W. M. Newland, 1904-06; J. S. Ford, 1908. 

Registrars: William Wallace, 1780; Stephen Major, 
1789; W. C. Anderson, 1790; * * Frederick Sturm, 
1840-65; N. J. Phillips, 1865-66; Frederick Sturm, 1866-70; 
O. M. White, 1870-82; John W. Farmer, 1882-86; E. D. 
Baumgardner, 1886-90; Will S. Anderson, 1890-94; J. 
M. Yost, 1894-1902; E. F. Mauk, 1902. 

Circuit Court Clerks: Thomas Shelby, 1810-20; 
William Anderson, 1820-36; John Irvin, 1836- (died in 
office — supplied by Samuel Evans), 1848; John Cox, 
1848-52; John W. Cox, 1852-60; W. W. James, 1860-64; 
Abraham Cox, 1864-65; J. 0. B. Cloud, 1865-70; A. H. 
Bullock, 1870-78; G. L. Clay, 1878-82; W. S. Anderson, 
1882-90; H. T. Cole, 1890-94; W. L. Crumley, 1894; — 
(died in office — Riley Pearson appointed) 1896; E. F. 

Official Life. 165 

Mauk, 1896-1902; J. A. Cole, 1902— (died in office— W. 
F. Mullenix appointed), 1906; T. J. Cross, 1906. 

Trustees: Prior to the Civil War the office of trustee 
was called revenue collector and the taxes were collected 
by a house to house canvass, requiring about all of the 
officer's time. This title continued a number of years 
after the war. On the election of J. F. Thomas in 1874 
the office of tax collector became known as trustee. Gov. 
Brownlow appointed John Roller in 1865. He was re- 
elected in 1866, for two years. A. C. Shipley, 1868-70; 
Samuel L. Stone, 1870-74; J. T. Thomas, 1874-76; Robert 
P. Eanes, 1876-80; George R. Barnes, 1880-84; J. M. 
Morton, 1884-88; J. C. Yoakley, 1888-90; S. S. Hall, 
1890— declined to qualify, E. S. Worley appointed by 
county court tor two years — elected 1892-94; John Slack, 
1894-98; N. D. Bachman, Sr., 1898-1902; R. R. New- 
land, 1902-08; John R. Snow, 1908. 

Those holding records in the official life of Sullivan 
are Frederick Sturm, elected by the people twenty-nine 
years as registrar. Thomas Fain, by appointment, 
served fifty years as post-master of Arcadia; W. V. Dead- 
erick when candidate for judge received the largest 
popular vote ever given a candidate, with opposition, 
in the county. 

Hal. H. Haynes was complimented by both parties 
when a candidate for judge. He not only had no op- 
position, but the election commissioners of both parties 
placed his name on their tickets. 

John I. Cox, by his succession to the office of gov- 
ernor, has received the highest honors of any native 
Sullivan County man, in his native state. 

"Raccoon" John Smith, 
a biography. 

Southeastern Kentucky and upper East Tennessee are 
closely linked by a lineage that began with the states' 
birth. Sullivan County has provided much of Kentucky's 
sturdy citizenship. Isaac Shelby, who deserves the 
name of first citizen of Sullivan, might also be called, 
with the same propriety, first citizen of Kentucky. 

Following close upon his trail across the border went 
another character who, for natural ability and for those 
traits that exalt a man above his fellows, has had no 
superior in either state — John Smith — who, partly to 
distinguish him from others of the same name, and perhaps 
also to characterize the man, was called "Raccoon" John 
Smith, a name which clung to him all his life. He was 
born in Holtson Valley, Sullivan County, October 15, 
1784, coincidental with the birth of an outcrop of cleavage 
from conventional methods of law life — the little State of 
Franklin. It was a plain log cabin Smith was born in, 
and he lived there during the early years of his life, the 
ninth of thirteen children. His father — German, his 
mother — Irish, had removed from Virginia to escape 
religious persecutions, the established church being in 
power there as in England. He lived in Sullivan until he 
was eleven years old, having in that time the benefit 
of but four months schooling — taught by a man who had 
drifted into the community, as was the custom with 
teachers in those days. During his life he made three 
attempts to get an education, resulting altogether in five 
months of school training. 

In the fall of 1795 his father took the family to Powell's 
Valley. The following spring emigration set its face 


^^m -*«%*S 


"Raccoon" John Smith. 167 

toward the Kentucky lands and thither he, with two of 
his sons, went to find a home. An evidence of young 
Smith's hardihood and endurance in trial was given a test. 
They were running short of provisions and he was sent to 
mill, one hundred miles away, leading one horse on which 
to carry back the "turn." The route lay through thick 
woods, along bridle paths and across swollen rivers, 
but he made the trip, though almost forgetting his errand 
at one place, where the shuffling of feet drew him. He, 
peeping in, stared in wide-eyed wonder at the guadily 
dressed fiddler, who in after years proved to be one of his 
best friends and co-laborers. 

The family was finally settled in Stockton's Valley. 
Here John undertook to resume his studies, but his teacher 
was an indolent, illiterate fellow and a slave to drink. 
On one occasion he challenged the pupils to give him a 
question in arithmetic he could not answer. John, after 
satisfying himself that he could make his escape easily, 
propounded this question: "How many grains of corn 
will it take to make a square foot of mush?" The master 
made a movement as though he would answer with a good 
deal of emphasis, but the wary student had made his 

On another occasion, when the master had fallen asleep, 
under the influence of liquor, he deliberately took the 
shovel and, after filling it with live coals from the fire, 
emptied them into one of the coat pockets of the snoring 
pedagogue. All the students fled in fright and this 
incident closed the school — the master disappeared. 

Young Smith was full of merriment, wit and song, and 
was the promoter of much innocent amusement which 
made him a jolly companion. His father, to whom 
he was devoted, died March 20, 1804, and so im- 
pressive was his last exhortation to his son that the young 
man sought religion. Burdened by this perplexing 
question and grief over his father's death, he gradually 
gave up his jesting and merry songs which had before 

168 Historic Sullivan. 

made him a welcome guest everywhere he went. One 
day at a muster, having become a member of the mili- 
tia, he was hailed by his companions with a shout, 
"Come John, we want some of your best songs today." 
"Boys," he replied, "I've played the fool for you till I've 
nearly ruined my soul, I shall never sing for you again 
while I live." 

The burden of his sins increased day by day. He did not 
know what to do, how to go about seeking salvation. 
One day he heard there was going to be an experience 
meeting in the neighborhood and he decided to go there, 
thinking he might hear something that would lead him 
into the light. He did not go inside, but peeped through 
a crevice in the wall. An old man arose to give his ex- 
periences. "One morning," he began, "I went out into 
the woods to pray and I saw the devil." After a pause 
he continued, "I saw the devil and it wasn't imagination 
either, I saw the devil as plainly as I see you, Brother 

"And what did he look like?" asked another brother. 

"He was about the size of a yearlin'." 

Young Smith turned away in disgust. In December, 
1804, he was baptised according to the tenets of the 
Baptist church. 

His first attempt as an exhorter at the home gatherings 
of the neighbors was a failure, for as he arose to speak 
his thoughts deserted him and, becoming confused, 
he left the house. However, after a stumble and a severe 
fall in his flight, he regained his memory, returned and 
went through with his talk. 

It was at this home that he met the girl who afterwards 
became his wife — Anne Townsend. The morning after 
his marriage he proposed to his wife that they go to the 
new home he was preparing, four miles away. She con- 
sented, so with an ox-team drawing a sled, his wife perched 
upon the household effects, which included her dowry — 
a feather bed and cooking utensils, he arrived at his 

"Raccoon" John Smith. 169 

"undaubed pen of logs." Through the crevices crept 
the December wind; snow was piled in heaps upon the 
dirt floor, and no shutter had yet been made for the little 
window. Smith soon started a fire with his flint, but 
life in an empty cabin without a hearthstone was no very 
pleasant prospect for a young and hopeful wife. Yet she 
was not accustomed to luxury and the neighbors knew 
the meaning of privation and toil, so their poverty did not 
suffer by humiliating contrast. He carried logs into the 
cabin and upon these, which he had made into sleepers, 
placed some clapboards, this serving as a temporary 
resting place — a bed, while a coverlet, stretched along the 
wall, kept out the cold wind . He lost no time in making a 
puncheon floor with his axe and wedge, and after he had 
finished the chinking and daubing, had a comfortable 

It was not long after this that he heard of an opening of 
new lands in Alabama, and removed his family there. 

At one time while he was some distance away, preach- 
ing and his wife was also absent from home — on an errand 
of mercy for a sick neighbor — the cabin caught on fire 
and burned down, two of their children being victims. 
All his household effects were destroyed. His wife, 
grief stricken, was taken sick and died, and he lay for 
months given up to die. When he was finally brought 
back to partial health he was invited to come and meet 
his old brethren in Kentucky. A great meeting was then 
in progress at Crab Orchard, so he decided to go. All he 
had to wear on this trip was picked up here and there — 
"A pair of homespun cotton pataloons, striped with 
copperas, loose enough, but far too short for him, a cotton 
coat, once checked with blue and white, but now of un- 
distinguishable colors. They had been given to him in 
Alabama. His shapeless hat was streaked with sweat 
and dust, his shirt was coarse and unbuttoned at the 
neck — his white cravat was in the coffin with his wife." 

Upon his arrival near the meeting house he dismounted, 

170 Historic Sullivan. 

threw his saddle bags across his shoulder and joined the 
crowd, but no one in that vast assemblage seemed to 
recognize him. He had more the appearance of a vaga- 
bond than a minister. He made an effort to get inside the 
church, but was pushed aside by the better dressed people 
and finally was forced to sit on the doorstep. 

Soon he heard a voice within: "Brother Moderator, 
it is impossible to transact the business of the Association 
in the midst of such a multitude as this. Many hundreds 
of people are yet without and the house can hold no more. 
Let some one be appointed to preach to the people from 
the stand." Two young divinity students were appointed. 
As the overflow crowd was making its way to the grove 
some one recognized Smith and begged him to go also. 
He plead to be excused, but finally agreed to go and be 
a listener. He did not take his place on the stand with 
the other ministers, but was content to sit on a log nearby, 
for he had over-heard one of the well-dressed men make 
inquiry, "Who is that dirty fellow following us?" 

These two young men arose, in turn, and tried to preach, 
but each after a struggle over his text, gave up and sat 
down. Then came Smith's turn. He was urged to go 
forward and keep the crowd from dispersing — an inspira- 
tion came to him — he arose, went upon the stand and 
faced the crowd . His appearance, following the discomfit- 
ure of his two predecessors, was the occasion of frequent 
jests and many began to leave. 

his famous sermon. 

He saw that heroic measures were necessary to hold the 
crowd, and shouted: "Stay friends, and hear what the 
great Augustine said. Augustine wished to see three 
things before he died." Smith went on, "Rome in her 
glory and purity, Paul on Mars Hill and Jesus in the flesh." 
Many remained. Others started to leave, when again he 
inquired with a full volume voice, "Will you not stay 

"Raccoon" John Smith. 171 

and hear what the great Cato said? Cato repented of 
three things before his death: first, that he had ever 
spent an idle day; second, that he had ever gone on a 
voyage by water when he might have made the same 
journey by land; third, that he had ever told the secrets 
of his bosom to a woman." The people now began to 
crowd closer, but seeing a few small groups standing at 
some distance he cried in a loud voice: "Come friends 
and hear what the great Thales thanked the gods for. 
Thales thanked the Gods for three things: first, that 
he was endowed with reason and not a brute; second, 
that he was a Greek and not a Barbarian; third, that he 
was a man and not a woman." 

"And now friends, I know you are ready to ask and 
pray, sir, who are you?" 

"I am John Smith from Stockton's Valley. In more 
recent years I have lived among the rocks and hills of 
the Cumberland. Down there saltpeter caves abound and 
raccoons make their homes. On that wild frontier we 
never had good schools nor many books, consequently I 
stand before you today, a man without an education. 
But, my brethren, even in that ill-favored region the Lord 
in good time found me. He showed me his wonderous 
grace and called me to preach the ever-lasting gospel of 
the Son." 

One of the spectators stirred by his eloquent prelude 
hastened to the house and urged the moderator to stop 
all business and go to the grove. 

"Why, what is the matter?" inquired the moderator. 

"Why, sir, that fellow with the striped coat on that was 
raised among the coons, by the name of Smith, is up preach- 

"What! John Smith?" Leaving the order of business 
in the care of some one else he immediately went to the 
grove and took his seat on the stand. It soon became 
whispered around that something unusual was taking 
place in the woods. The crowd left the house in groups 

172 Historic Sullivan. 

until preachers and people all flocked around the stand, 
many climbing trees to get a better view. 

In closing Smith delivered an impassioned plea and 
when the people arose there was not a dry eye among 
them. When he concluded many of the ministers 
embraced him, and his name, his sermon and his recent 
bereavements were the topics of conversation for the re- 
mainder of the day. 

At one time, when he had charge of a church at 
Bethlehem, Kentucky, an Universalist began to disturb 
the belief of many of the people. This aroused Smith, 
who promised that on his next visit he would preach on 
"Universal Damnation." .- jpf 

When the time came he had an immense crowd. He 
began : "I'm going to deliver a discourse today, brethren, 
which the Lord knows and you know I don't believe one 
word of, but, to expose the absurdity of a doctrine of 
which you have been hearing, I will show that, applying 
the Universalists' mode of interpretation, all men without 
exception will be damned. And what if I should succeed 
in proving that the devil will get the last one of you. I 
fear it is nothing more than you richly deserve anyhow." 

About the year 1820 a religious revolution began to 
manifest itself in John Smith and he openly avowed his 
dissatisfaction with some of the doctrines of the church 
to which he had allied himself. He had become interested 
in the doctrines as preached by Alexander Campbell. 
In the spring of 1824 Campbell visited Kentucky and at 
Flemingsburg a meeting took place between himself and 
Smith. At their introduction Campbell ventured, "Oh, 
is this Brother John Smith. I know Brother Smith very 
well, but have never seen him before." 

He soon after began to imbibe and accept the doctrines 
of Campbell, and made no secret of his belief. 

In 1827 the association discussed his heresy, but de- 
cided Smith was too good and powerful a preacher to let 
go and so recommended that a year's time be allowed him, 

"Raccoon" John Smith. 173 

to reconsider, feeling assured by the end of that time he 
"would return to the faith of his fathers." But in this they 
were mistaken. He became more outspoken in denuncia- 
tion of certain doctrines. "What shall we do with him," 
warningly asked one brother of another. "He is dis- 
tracting society, sowing dissension in families and over- 
turning churches; yet the law will do nothing with him." 

In that day to proselyte a person was more of an achieve- 
ment than to convert from sin. 

Enraged by Smith's officiation in the baptism of a 
young girl, who had belonged to another church, an elderly 
lady declared : "When you took that dear young girl in 
the water, sir, you led her that much further toward hell." 
"Madam," he replied, "if you will study the Word a little 
more you will find the route to hell is not by water." 

At one time, after the renunciation of his former relig- 
ious views, he was urged to go to Frankfort and preach. 
When he arrived he found every church door of the town 
closed against him. Judge Owsley, who was then hold- 
ing court there, was informed of it. "What! is it John 
Smith of Montgomery? What is the matter with the 
people that they shut their houses against such a man? 
Tell him I will adjourn the court and he can preach in the 

The news spread that "Raccoon" John Smith would 
preach that evening in the court-house. The room was 
crowded — lobby, aisles and windows were filled. Only 
four members of the legislature, then in session, were 

Wherever John Smith went, crowds followed him. The 
sincerity of the man and his purpose, his forceful ways, 
appealed to friend and foe — all wanted to hear him whether 
they agreed with him or not. 

He lived in a day of new doctrines, which meant the 
survival of the fittest. His was the stormy career of con- 
troversy. Although his mind was like a giant in repose 
he would often enliven his discourses with little pleasant- 

174 Historic Sullivan. 

ries, irresistible. He was a ready wit as well as a sound 
reasoner. No opponent could stand against his wither- 
ing logic — few tried, as he often employed that most pow- 
erful weapon, which succeeds when all else fails — ridicule. 

In one debate he took the most unpopular side of a 
question against three opponents, and won. He there- 
upon agreed to reverse sides with them, and won as easily 
the other side. 

He was much in his manner and discourse like the late 
evangelist, Sam Jones. He spared nothing, not even the 

"My very soul is stirred within me when I think of what 
a world of mischief the popular clergy have done. They 
shut up everybody's mouth, but their own, and their 's 
they won't open unless they are paid for it." 

"Thirty-five years ago," says one, " I heard him preach 
in a cabin near Monticello. I was then a boy, but I could 
not keep from listening, and to-day I distinctly remem- 
ber that sermon — the text, the doctrine, and the arrange- 
ment. No recent discourse is so vivid in my mind." 

There was a tender side to Smith's life and he had a 
very cordial feeling for all mankind, especially for those 
who were in need of sympathy. He said once, "Kindness 
is the best sort of revenge and wins more victories than 

During the cholera pest, whose periodical visitations 
terrified the country in the early part of the eighteenth 
century, some refugees stopped one night at the Smith 
home and asked for shelter until morning. They were 
welcomed by Mrs. Smith, but after their departure she 
became alarmed, lest in her hospitality she had subjected 
her own family to the plague. Upon the return of her hus- 
band she acquainted him with the facts. "You did ex- 
actly right, Nancy, though we should all die for it. If we 
must die let us die doing good." 

Smith, although one of the greatest preachers in his day, 
received but little pay for his services. It is doubtful if 

"Raccoon" John Smith. 175 

he averaged one hundred dollars per year during more 
than half a century of labor. As an example — from 1822 
to 1825 he received but eighteen dollars and that was by 
the cancellation of a debt. 

His family depended upon a small farm, which he had 
acquired before his entrance into the ministry. 

He was married twice, his second wife being Nancy 

He was eighty-four years old at his death, which occur- 
red in Missouri, he having gone there to visit his daughter. 
His remains were shipped to Lexington, Kentucky, and 
now rest in the shadow of the tall shaft which stands over 
the grave of Henry Clay. Along with Shelby, Clay and 
Boone, Smith has left an imperishable impress upon the 
State of Kentucky. 



In the company of the pioneer was the minister — 
himself prepared for the trials of border life, and journey- 
ing with a cavalcade much as a chaplain goes along with 
an army — expecting to see hard service and to become 
accustomed to hard living. They came prepared not 
only to battle against sin with the gospel, but also to 
bear arms like the rest, not knowing when a service might 
be interrupted by an Indian foe. The preachers and the 
men members went armed to church. 

While the Presbyterians were the first to have establish- 
ed places of worship in Tennessee, it is probable the first 
minister to preach on Tennessee soil was of the Episcopal 
faith, or one of the established Church of England. 

When Col. William Byrd began his survey at Curry- 
tuck, in 1733, there went along as chaplain, Rev. Peter 
Fountain, an Episcopalian. In 1759-60 when Byrd was 
sent out to relieve Fort Loudon he left the company at 
Stalnaker's, the rest, however, went as far as Long Island 
and no doubt the chaplain went there too. 

Charles Cummings and Joseph Rhea are known to have 
preached in Sullivan when, as chaplains, they accompan- 
ied the Christian expedition in 1776. 

The first church to be erected on Tennessee soil was 
called Taylor Meeting House and was located near Gun- 
ning's, about four miles west of Blountville. Rev. Jacob 
Lake preached to the congregation that assembled there. 
This church antedates all other claims by a year if not 

1 Allison claims Salem church was erected in 1777. Others claim it was erected 
in 1778. 

The Church. 177 

The following letter corroborated by records on the 
first county minute-book of Washington county, Virginia, 
establishes the claim of this church. No date was found 
showing the year in which the church was erected, but it 
was before 1777. 

Green Castle, Indiana, March 29, 1877. 
Rev. P. D. Cowan, 

My Dear Brother: — After my kind respects to you I wish to say to 
you I have been well pleased with your letters in the Herald & Presbyter 
a paper I have been taking for many years, indeed I can say from its 
very beginning. I wish to tell you why I am interested in letters from 
East Tennessee it was my early Home I was born in Sullivan County 
near 75 years since and knew all the first settlers in that county 
and many in your county My father settled in 4 miles of Blountville 
west 1776 was identified with all the interests of the county till 1815 
when we moved to Kentucky when he died John Jennings was his 
name. My grand Father and grand Mother were members of the 
first Presbyterian Church in Sullivan County and I think in the State 
and their bodies are buried in that old Church yard one mile East of 
where I was born known as Taylor Meeting House. I well remember 
when it was burned down. I was much interested in your giving an 
account of the Churches in your part of the State, and When I receive 
my H & P the first thing I look for is your letter The last one of my 
old friends I met was one that I knew from Blountville Samuel Rhea 
an elder in the Presbyterian Church met in New York in 1856 in General 
Assembly I had not saw him for many years he was a student when I 
knew him in Blountville at the Academy My father was teacher I 
became acquainted with Judge Luckey of your town 1836 at the General 
Assembly we were member, the first Presbyterian Minister that ever 
preached in East Tennessee Rev. Lake he took charge of Taylor church 
I can give you the names of many of the old members Rhea Taylors 
Anderson Potters Kings Nash Gammons Spurgens & Cole I hope you 
will excuse me for writing this letter I am an old man and you may 
find some one who knew me when a boy that would like to hear from 
me for I was well acquainted with all the leading families of Sullivan. 2 

Yours truly 

John S Jennings 

2This letter was sent me by J. Fain Anderson, of Washington College, and 
I here acknowledge my indebtedness to him for many courtesies in the way of 
data concerning Sullivan County history. The letter was not received until this 
book was being prepared for the press, some already in type and therefore a full 
investigation of the history of the church, if procurable, was not permitted on 
such short knowledge of its existence. 

178 Historic Sullivan. 

Upon the receipt of this letter the records of Sullivan 
County were searched for a deed of conveyance, but none 
was found. The following however is recorded at Abingdon, 
the church being, as was then supposed, in Washington 
county, Virginia. 

January, 1777. 

Ordered that David Steele be surveyor of the Main road from 
Steele's Creek to the Meeting House and that John Anderson Gent 
give him a list of tithables. 

Ordered that Amos Eaton be surveyor of the Main Road from the 
Meeting House to Fort Patrick Henry and that John Anderson give 
him a list of tithables. 

The congregation of this church was no doubt preached 
to by other ministers of the time besides Rev. Lake. 

Samuel Doak owned a tract of three hundred acres 
of land near there and was associated in the establishing 
of churches in this county. 

Following this church came two others — Upper Concord 
and New Bethel — the former near Vance's and the latter 
in the Forks. These two churches were organized by 
Samuel Doak, in 1780, and 1782, respectively. Upper 
Concord is now known as Weaver's — Frederick Weaver 
having given three acres of land, the ground around the 
church being used as a graveyard. Many of the 
first settlers are buried here — among them a soldier named 
Bean who was a victim of the accidental discharge of his 
gun, when returning home with the troops from King's 

At New Bethel is a graveyard wherein are buried 
ancestors of some of the best families of Sullivan County. 
The remains of William and Isaac McKinley, relatives of 
President McKinley, lie there. 

In 1882, at the suggestion of Rev. R. F. King, a cen- 
tennial was held, commemorating the one hundredth 
anniversary of the founding of the Forks church. The 
celebration lasted from August 23rd to 26th, and a histori- 

The Church. 179 

cal sermon by Rev. Samuel Hodge was the feature. 
Many thousands, including the ablest men in this section 
gathered there, venerating the memory of the old pioneer 

Kingsport has long been a home of the Presby- 
terian church — one feature alone would keep the memory 
of that church alive there — the sending out of four 
brothers as ministers, who have distinguished themselves 
in the work — Nathan, John, Robert and Lynn 

All the early churches were surrounded with grave- 
yards. 3 It was a part of the early religious life to appear 
solemn and anything that suggested death and "this 
world is not my home" was made as ever-present as 
possible. The songs were mournful and impressed one 
with the uncertainty of life and certainty of death. While 
attending church the sexes separated at the door and 
sat apart during the services. When musical instruments 
were suggested for the choir a wail of protest went up 
from some of the old line clergy. As recent as the 
organization of the Methodist church in Bristol, Bishop 
McTyeire, in giving his views about the introduction 
of a melodion in the church, declared, " When 
you brought that melodion in here you brought the devil 
in with it." Still later a debate took place between 
Rev. William Robeson and Dr. David Sullins upon the 
same subject, Rev. Robeson opposing the introduction 
of the organ, which he defined "a box of whistles." 

The Presbyterian church had some of their strongest 
men in the field at the opening of this new country. 
Cummings, Doak and Rhea were educated men — learned 
in the classics. That church was demanding an educated 
clergy at a time when the frontier afforded no convenient 
way of supplying preachers of that kind. In this the Pres- 

3In the Blountville graveyard there is erected a marble slab dedicated to tha 
memory of Samuel Rhea — "Persia Sam," as he was known, who died in Persi- 
and is buried there. He was in that land as a missionary, sent out by the Pres 
byterian church. 

180 Historic Sullivan. 

byterians, while having a most liberal open door policy — the 
requirements for membership being a simple confession 
of faith — yielded an opportunity that in a way belonged 
to them by right of exploration. Other denominations 
were looking toward this field with the view of evangeliza- 

The Methodist and Baptist churches required no 
educational qualifications of their ministers — they simply 
wanted men of God and they pushed them into the by- 
ways of the western country with a rapidity and a dis- 
regard for sacrifice that well nigh stunned their religious 
contemporaries. The itineracy system of the Methodist 
church has been a power in the development and preser- 
vation of western civilization. Wherever there were 
three or more gathered together one of them was likely 
to be an itinerant preacher. They expected but little 
and got little for their services; they became the jest of 
the better provided men of the gospel; they went on 
unmindful of this and buried themselves in the wilderness, 
but their work made Tennessee the stronghold of Method- 
ism in the South. 

The Methodists became established in Sullivan County 
shortly after the Presbyterians. In 1774 Edward Cox 
came here from Maryland, where he had been converted 
under the ministry of Bishop Asbury, and settled near 
Bristol, a little later removing to the Holston river, near 
Bluff City. It was at his home the first Methodist society 
in the county and state was organized. Jeremiah Lamb- 
ert was the first regularly appointed minister to take up 
work in the county, being appointed in 1783. 

Acuff 's chapel, named for Timothy Acuff, was the first 
Methodist church built on Tennessee soil. Acuff donated 
the land for the church and graveyard. 

Much of the history of all church organizations is- 
in dispute. Strange though it may be, legal and military 
records being better preserved than the proceedings of 
the church. 

The Church. 181 

The first conference of the Methodist church was held 
at Keywood's or Cawood's, on the Holston river. 4 Bishop 
Asbury, in his journal, speaks of this conference as follows: 

April 28, 1788. 
We reached the head of the Watauga; came to Greer's. The 
people are in disorder about the Old and New State; two or three men 
have been killed. At Nelson's, I had a less audience than was expected; 
the people having been called away on an expedition against the new- 
state-men. Preached on Hebrews, vi. chapter, 11th and 12th verses. 
Shortly afterwards, he preached at "Owens', on Psalm 148, verses 
17, 18, 19, with some fervour. Came to Huff acre's and Keywood's 
where we held Conference three days; and I preached each day. The 
weather was cold; the room without fire, and otherwise uncomfortable. 
We, nevertheless, made out to keep our seats until we had finished 
the essential part of our business." 

The Baptist church was established in Tennessee 
by Rev. Tidance Lane, in 1779. It got a firm hold in 
Sullivan County in 1786. In that year Kendrick's 
creek church was organized by Jonathan Mulkey and 
in the same year an association was held at Double 
Springs — Rev. Lane was moderator. From 1792-94 
Thomas Murrell was moderator. In 1795 a church was 
organized at Long Island by Abel Morgan and Richard 
Murrell. Reese Bayless was moderator in 1833. Rev. 
William Cate was in the same position at Muddy creek 
in 1853, and Rev. Elkanah Spurgeon at Muddy creek 
in 1865. The first association held at Blountville was in 
1870, by Rev. W. A. Keen. Among the early pastors 
of Muddy creek church were Elders Peter Kuhn, William 
Cate and Noah Cate, also Elder W. A. Keen and Rev. 
Noah Baldwin — the last named had also preached at 

Revs. P. J. Poindexter, Andrew McGary, N. N. Buckles 
and Asa Ruth 5 were also among the early pastors. 

4Price in his "Holtson Methodism" claims this conference was held in Wash- 
ington county, Virginia. 

5Rev. Asa Ruth was one of the leading preachers of the Baptist church in 
Sullivan. He had the largest family in the county being the father of twenty- 
three children. An obituary notice shortly after his death announced this fact 
closely followed by the text of the minister, " Man born of woman is of few days 
and full of trouble." 

182 Historic Sullivan. 

One of the greatest revivals ever held in Blountville 
was conducted by Rev. Ruth in 1869-70, the other preach- 
ers in the town co-operating. Over one hundred con- 
versions resulted from this meeting, which lasted many- 

A Baptist church existed for years on the Holston 
river, above Bluff City, in charge of Rev. Edwards. 
There was also one in lower Kingsport with Rev. Noah 
Baldwin as its minister. 

The Lutheran church was organized in Sullivan County 
between 1790 and 1795, on Reedy creek. The first min- 
isters of this denomination in the county were Revs. 
Paul Henkel and John G. Butler. Revs. Adam Miller 
and Jacob Zink were first to reside here as regular pastors. 
The church in this section became connected with the 
Synod of North Carolina until 1820, at which time the 
Tennessee Synod was formed, the churches remaining 
in this connection until 1861 when the Evangelical 
Lutheran Holston Synod was organized at Zion's church, 
in Sullivan County. Among the ministers included 
were Abel J. Brown, William Hancher, J. M. Schaefer, 
J. K. Hancher, J. B. Emmert, J. Fleener, A. Fleener, 
J. A. Seneker, J. Clovinger and J. C. Barb. Dr. A. J. 
Brown was not only the ablest representative the Lutheran 
church had in this section, but was one of the ablest in 
the South. He contributed largely to the church papers 
and was a profound debater. 

Emanuel has always been the home of this denomina- 
tion in the county. 

The Christian church was first organized at Concord 
(Weaver's) about 1842. David T. Wright was the minister 
in charge. Among those who were early officials in the 
church were the Millards, Hughes, Nelsons, Love, Hatch- 
ers, Blevins and Warrens. For many years the members 
of this denomination in Bristol were one congregation, 
worshipping at their church on Spencer street, (Virginia 
side) but the increasing membership and the inconven- 

The Church. 183 

ience of the location made necessary the erection of a 
second church, which now stands on the corner of Sixth 
and Broad streets (Tennessee side) and is known as the 
Central Christian church. The Christian church from a 
small beginning has made a wonderful showing in the 
county within the last decade. 

The Church of the Brethren has undergone more 
changes in name than any other denomination. It 
had a peculiar origin. In 1724, a German, for the 
purpose of religious contemplation, retired to a place of 
solitude some distance from Philadelphia, where he 
attracted many visitors and won followers to his belief 
and teachings. At various times they were known as 
the Brotherhood of Euphrates, Tunkers, Seventh Day 
Baptists, "Tumblers," 6 Dunkards and until recently 
German Baptists. In 1908, at their annual gathering 
in Des Moines, Iowa, they adopted the name of 
Church of the Brethren. 

The annual meeting of this church in 1905 was 
held in Bristol during the month of June and attracted 
many thousands of visitors and church delegates from 
all parts of the country. The even tempered courtesy 
of the communicants and their unaffected devotion in 
daily life left an impression that will not soon be forgotten. 

The organization of this church in the county was in 
1850, three miles southwest of Blountville and was known 
as Pleasant Hill congregation. Elder John A. Bowman 
and M. M. Bowman were the first ministers and Henry 
Garst and Benjamin Wine were the first deacons. Octo- 
ber 3, 1851, the church lot and burying-ground were 
donated by Elder John A. Bowman and Benjamin Wine 
and deeded to M. M. Bowman, Henry Garst and Jacob 
Lear, first trustees. 

The Jewish church organization of Sullivan is of recent 
date. The B'Nai Sholon congregation, a religious society 

6Nickname, given no doubt, on account of their way of immersion — face 

184 Historic Sullivan.' 

to promote the cause of Judaism, was organized in Bristol 
in October, 1903, the membership including every male 
Israelite in the city, which at that time numbered six 
persons, and was the first institution of its kind here. 
The officers elected for the first year were as follows: 
A. S. Gump, president; Abe Morris, Vice-president and H. 
J. Simon, secretary and treasurer. The congregation 
has grown steadily in recent years, its membership now 
numbering over thirty-five. The Jewish population, 
including all ages, numbers at present about one hundred 
and seventy-five. The congregation in 1906 purchased 
its own cemetery site near the old fair grounds. No 
house of worship has been erected by the Jews of Bristol, 
although steps are now being taken to that end. Devo- 
tional services are conducted in a hall on Sixth street, 
under the direction of a minister, recently elected — Rev. 
Dr. Lesser. Sunday-school exercises are also held every 
Sunday morning. 

The Episcopal and Catholic denominations, although 
having many communicants, have never had an organ- 
ized church in the county. 7 In Bristol the Tennessee 
members worship in churches of their respective faith 
on the Virginia side. 

The Salvation Army was organized in Bristol during 
1884 by Capt. Emma Westbrook and Lieut. Elva Baker. 
The first meeting was held in Burson's church. Capt. 
Westbrook was one of the original seven who with 
Moore, the leader, were sent over from England to 
organize the Army in America. Moore had not been 
here very long before he undertook to apostatize his 
following and organize a new Army. This caused a 
disruption in the ranks. Capt. Westbrook remained 
loyal to the Salvation Army, but there was a lapse 

7It is remarkable that, while an Episcopalian was perhaps the first Protestant 
minister to set foot upon Tennessee soil, it took that church nearly three-quarters 
of a century to come back again. The early settlers here were uncompromising 
in their hatred of the established Church of England and they did not seem willing 
to differentiate between the religion of George Washington and that of George the 

The Church. 185 

of nearly ten years before interest was renewed in 
Bristol and active work was begun again. 

Capt. Will H. Harper reorganized the Army in 1897, 
at Fair mount chapel. 

The present structure on Seventh street, devoted 
exclusively to Army work, was erected in 1903, the 
lot being donated by Maj. A. D. Reynolds. 

The first Sunday-school in the county was organ- 
ized at New Bethel by Rev. L. G. Bell, in 1830. 8 
Samuel Hodge and James Gregg, Jr., were the first 
superintendents. Rev. Daniel Rogan organized the 
first Sunday-schools at Blountville and Kingsport 
about 1836. 

"church militant." 

The spirit of the church militant hovered over 
Sullivan County exactly one hundred years. But 
these warrior hosts were not always fighting sin — they 
were fighting themselves. Church was arrayed against 
church and the smoldering fires of disputes about church 
dogmas found an outburst in boisterous debates which 
often degenerated into street swagger. Church debates 
became frequent. A public debate took place in the 
Forks church between Frederick Ross and W. B. Rogers. 
During the discussion William G. Brownlow, who was a 
spectator, becoming dissatisfied with the way Rogers 
was handling his side of the question, arose in the audience 
and said: "Rogers, if I couldn't do any better than you 
I'd sit down." This debate lasted five hours. The 
controversial storm was always centered at Blountville. 
Here, just prior to the war between the states, the 
Presbyterians and the Methodists got into a dispute 
about the management of the school at the Institute. 
Rev. W. W. Neal, a Methodist minister, was in charge 
with two assistants, the Misses Thomas, who were Pres- 
byterians. One very cold morning the fire in the assist- 

8Hodges' Historical Sermon, 1882. 

186 Historic Sullivan. 

ants' room was nearly out. The Misses Thomas, not 
lacking in warmth of feeling for their side of the dispute, 
went to the fireplace and sat upon the wood and no doubt 
would have sat upon the views of the Rev. Neal had he 
been within reach. They then dismissed their part of 
the school and went home. John R. Fain, at whose home 
the young women were boarding, remonstrated with Rev. 
Neal and this brought about a fight between the two men. 
Factions became more antagonistic. Rev. Neal with- 
drew his forces from the Institute and opened a school in 
the Methodist church. Sympathizers from the country 
about Blountville came in to strengthen and increase 
the number of the rebellious forces. The students of the 
two schools would have nothing to do with each other. 
This state of affairs continued until the end of the school. 

The war between the states quieted for a while the war 
between the churches, but the disputes arose again and 
became acute in Blountville. The Methodist church 
was the object of attack and the best mode of baptism 
to wash out sins was the doctrine most discussed. The 
Baptists took up the fight. Not only did the older 
people dwell upon the differences, but following their 
example the youths of both sexes became involved. 
The latter knew little of church doctrines, and so their 
disputes resolved themselves into banters about which 
church bell was the biggest or which steeple reached 
nearest heaven and other material things, often ending 
in one or the other side being worsted in a fist fight. 

A servant girl, living in a family opposite the Methodist 
parsonage, one day poised herself on the stile, arms 
akimbo, head tossing to and fro, and challenged the cook 
of the preacher's family. "Yes, she shouted, "you read 
in the good book about John the Baptist, but you never 
hear of John the Methodist, ' ' and with a triumphant sweep 
of her hand retired to her cloister in the kitchen, thankful 
she was not like other people she knew. 

Proselytism became almost piratical in the town. A 

The Church. 187 

young boarding-school girl was kept locked in her room 
and chaperoned to school by devotees of one church lest 
some one of an opposing faith should kidnap her. She had 
been persuaded that she would be damned in eternal per- 
dition if she failed to be baptized according to the rites 
of the church which had her in charge. Her hysterical 
acceptance of this baptism brought on a controversy 
whose everness was almost intolerant. 

Dr. J. T. Kincannon began discussing baptism in the 
pulpit from the Baptist standpoint. Three or four ser- 
mons followed. As would naturally result he criticised 
other modes of baptism This drew a sermon from Rev. 
William Robeson, preacher in charge of the Blountville 
circuit, defending the Methodist mode of baptism. On 
hearing of it Kincannon challenged Robeson to a joint 
debate, which challenge was promptly accepted. 

The debate was widely advertised in the church papers 
and drew able divines and laymen from many sections 
of the country. It took place in the Methodist church 
on June 10th, 11th and 12th, 1874. Press representatives 
were there from most of the church papers of Tennessee 
and Virginia. They placed their tables in front of the 
pulpit and made so much show in the shifting of paper 
and other bustling movements that one spectator, 
unused to such scenes in the staid old church, was led to 
remark that it reminded him of the money changers in 
the temple. 

The Baptist divine placed a banner on the wall, back 
of the pulpit, with baptidzo in partial conjugation 
thereon; this, to the unlettered, was an alarming 
mystic that meant much in his favor. Piles of com- 
mentaries, text-books and reference books lay all about. 
The speakers were allowed fifteen minutes each and the 
discussion was continuous from the morning hour until 
noon— then a recess for dinner, after which the speaking 
was again begun, the same time being allowed during the 
afternoon. No meeting was held at night. The referees 

188 Historic Sullivan. 

in the debate were Dr. A. J. Brown, Lutheran, of Blount- 
ville, and Dr. W. A. Montgomery, Baptist, of Morristown. 

Each debater presented his side ably and to the satis- 
faction of the side represented, but in other respects 
there was nothing to make the event remarkable except 
the length of it. However, the audience, which packed 
the church to the doors, even crowding the gallery and 
windows, did not diminish during the three days. 

The effect of this discussion was wholesome and far 
reaching. It silenced, perhaps for all time, the petty 
church disputes that had become annoying, and brought 
together in more friendly relation the various church 
people. And if these worthy men had never done else 
in their lives worth recording, this event alone deserves 
to be remembered as having united the people of that 
town and vicinity in friendlier lellowship than ever before. 


The most popular and therefore the most numerously 
attended tent meetings in upper East Tennessee were at 
Bond's camp-ground, four miles southwest of Blountville. 
It was organized in 1842 by Rev. George Eakin, better 
known as "Father Eakin." The original tent holders 
at the time of its organization were John Barnes, John 
Fleming, John Denny, Benjamin Johnson, Moses Wright, 
Robert Easley, Noah Hull, Rev. Samuel Stevens, William 
Cole, William Hilton, Stephen Adams, William Linda- 
mood, Looney Gammon, Alexander Standfield, William 
Snodgrass, David Snodgrass, William Barnes, Benjamin 
Yoakley, Rev. Blake Carlton, Rev. W. K. Cross, Peter 
Yoakley, John Hull, Rev. J. J. James, Joseph Spurgeon, 
Henry Yoakley, Jacob Snapp, Jacob Messick, William 
Deery, Rev. Thomas P. Ford, Frederick Carlton, Rev. 
Joseph McCrary and Martin Hawk. 

The influence of these meetings went beyond the 
bounds of the camping places. They usually began on 
Friday and extended well into the following week — 

The Church. 189 

sometimes a revival would carry them on for several days. 

The camp-meetings were held until the Civil War 
and were not revived until 1867-70. The tenters who 
rebuilt then were J. C. Yoakley, Rev. W. K. Cross, 
Jonathan Morrell, Jonathan Hawk, David Akard, H. 
D. Hawk, Jessie Adams, James Barnes, Sr., James 
Barnes, Jr., G. R. Barnes, E. C. Barnes, J. S. Cart- 
wright, R. S. Cartwright, John Roller, David Roller, 
Bettie Holt, Dod Cross, James H. Baird, W. F. Yoakley, 
W. A. Boy, S. S. Hall, "Aunt" Betsy Carlton, Ellen Yoak- 
ley, Polly Yoakley, Betsy Bond, Polly Hawk, all noted 
for their religious zeal and power in prayer. 

The result of these meetings was felt in commercial 
as well as in religious life. It is of record, but without 
explanation, that land in the vicinity of Bond's camp- 
ground was worth ten dollars on the acre more than land 
outside of its inflence. 

The social life too was strengthening, elevating and 
spiritual. Those old women, who gathered and tented 
there year after year had no ambition but to please and 
entertain and worship. Their tents were open so long 
as there was any place to stay and their tables gave up 
in profusion the best of their farm products. Their 
cooking became as famous as their religion. Young 
women have gone there to learn the secret of those tempt- 
ing dishes and today many a table that is spread in 
Sullivan County offers delicious evidence of an art learned 
around the kitchens at the old camp-ground. 

The lives of those old women, like "Aunt" Betsy Carlton, 
have been a benediction. Whether in the kitchen pre- 
paring the food or at the table serving it and begging you 
to have more or at the altar bending in prayer or in the 
sick room nursing back to health the ebbing life of a 
neighbor, they have been missionaries of unpretentious 
tenderness and care. Too few have been the years 
allotted to them, for in such hearts rests the real religion 
of the world. "Aunt" Betsy Carlton, born during the 

190 Historic Sullivan. 

warring years of the seventeenth century and reaching 
far into the eighteenth, represents the type of Tennessee 
frontier women who played such a noble part in the 
struggle of our early days. 

The ground upon which the tents of the old camp-ground 
stood still remains the property of the church, but the 
tents are gone and nothing remains but a memory to 
remind one of the scenes that transpired there. 

The last sermon at Bond's was delivered by Rev. John 
E. Naff, a grandson of "Father" Eakin, who preached 
the first sermon there. The meetings were discontinued 
about 1895. 

Ketron's camp-ground was established about the same 
time as Bond's — a year later perhaps. It was also known 
asjj Reedy creek camp-ground. Henry Ketron gave 
the land for the tents, church and burying-ground. 
The church was burned down in 1863 and the camp- 
meetings at that place abandoned. Among the 
early tenters were John Ketron, Wesley Ketron, Watson 
Ketron, Joseph Newland, William Newland, Abner 
Hughes, Lot 0. Gott, Rev. S. D. Gaines and Philip Foust. 

An exciting incident at this camp-ground was the 
fight that took place between Rev. W. G. Brownlow 
and Fayette McMullen. Brownlow had made some sting- 
ing criticisms of McMullen and the latter went to the camp- 
ground and proceeded to "cane" Brownlow, who drew 
his pistol, but was prevented from shooting by the inter- 
cession of friends. 9 

Rockhold's camp-ground was organized a few years 
after Bond's camp-ground. The following is the deed of 

This Indenture made this Fifteenth day of March 1847 Between 
Wm. Rockhold of the one part and Andrew Riley, Andrew Boy, Jacob 
Boy, Royston Boy, James B. Worley, Henry Kesler, Nathl Hix, Joseph 

9Price says this fight took place at Brush creek camp-ground. The story was 
told me by a spectator of the difficulty, but reports varied as to Brownlow 's part. 
One claimed Brownlow snapped his pistol at McMullen, another that he shot him 
and still another that McMullen was shot three times and was killed. 

The Church. 191 

Merideth and Wm Rockhold all of the County of Sullivan & State of 
Tennessee Witnesseth that the said William Rockhold this day in con- 
sideration of his high regard for the Methodist Episcopal Church and in 
consideration of his promises heretofore made to said Church hath this 

&c by these presence do convey in trust as trustees for said Church 

that tract or parcel of land whereon the Camp & Meeting house is situ 
ated on the river Holston in Sullivan County commonly called Rockholds 
Camp ground. Bounded as follows by Morrels line, Shells line & the 
river containing twelve acres — be the same more or less for them the 
said trustees to have and to hold in trust for said Church as long as 
said Church continue the same in the plan of their Circuit & to hold 
Camp Meeting on the said premises and it is further understood should 
it so happen at any time that either Andy Riley A. Boy, R. Boy, J. Boy, 
J. B. Worley, H. Kesler, N. Hix, J. Merideth or W. Rockhold the said 
trustees or any of them die, resign, leave said church or be expelled 
it shall be the duty of those in office to fill said veyquancy & when fild 
thair acts shall be as valid as the acts of those mentioned in this Deed 
and it is further understood & greed should it so happen hereafter 
that said church desist — the use of said premises as a place of public 
worship or drop the same from the plan of same circuit in said Church 
then the said premises reverts back to said Rockhold his heirs &c. 
In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name. 

Wm. Rockhold 

This camp-ground is the only one in the county that has 
continued its meetings annually. 

At Acuff 's camp-ground was the earliest camp-meeting 
held in the county. It was in the vicinity of Acuff 's chapel. 
The tents were built of logs and covered with bark. But 
little is known of its history. 


The history of temperance in Tennessee is as old as the 
history of the state. James Robertson, the "Father of 
Tennessee," declared that "the conversion of crops of 
grain into spirituous liquors is an unwarranted perversion, 
unservicable to white men and devilish for Indians," and 
expressed the hope "that there may never be any waste of 
grain by distillation, or waste of estates or ruin of soul 
by drinking liquor." 10 

lOBlackmore's address at Bledsoe's memorial. 

192 Historic Sullivan. 

The early advocates of temperance were not practical. 
They could not realize the difference between ethics and 
ether. They depended upon prayer rather than upon 
politics, and in consequence the old Prohibition party 
was never in itself successful. When St. John was a 
candidate for president on the Prohibition ticket he re- 
ceived two 11 votes in Bristol and one 12 in Blountville. 
As early as 1785 a part of Tennessee declared for 
prohibition and later the entire state was in the pro- 
hibition column. 

In the early years of the temperance movement great 
demonstrations were made and the organization of tem- 
perance societies was prevalent. The Washingtonian 
Society was the first introduced, its object being the same 
as those following, such as Good Templars and Band of 

Doss Leedy, the old stage driver, once drove a temper- 
ance band wagon from Kingsport to Arcadia and Blount- 
ville, and along the way testimonials to the cause were 

At Blountville temperance enthusiasts bought out the 
"groggery," with the bad will of the owner, and as there 
was only one barrel it was taken with its contents to a 
grove at the east end of town. Here a great concourse of 
people had assembled. A keg of powder was placed 
beneath the barrel and while the crowd stood in suspense 
a fuse attached to the keg was lighted — in a little while 
the flying staves and flames gave evidence that the liquor 
was no more. 

The tenseness and religious severity of the scene was 
appeased by the put in of a local wit, who, surrounded 
by a company of fellow sympathisers, protested loud 
enough to be heard, "boys, that's a damned waste." 

Temperance became a lively issue in a political cam- 

11J. R. Anderson and Robert Watkins. 

12Joel Millard. There were not over one dozen votes in the county for the 

The Church. 193 

paign of 1853. James Odell and John Spurgeon were 
candidates for representative. Odell represented the 
anti-temperance sentiment. The real issue, however, 
was a row of cherry trees. These trees had been on 
Spurgeon 's farm and grew along a roadside, the public 
each year helping themselves to the crop. This tres- 
passing soon became a nuisance and the trees were cut 
down. This incident Odell used with telling effect, 
relating how Spurgeon deprived the poor people of his 
cherries — how he cut the trees down rather than let them 
have any. Odell was elected, but more on account of the 
cherry tree story than his anti-temperance platform. 

The churches early began to take a hand in the regula- 
tion of the liquor traffic. At the Cold Spring church 
it was decided that the distilling and drinking of liquor 
was a growing evil and that the manufacture of it by the 
elders should cease. But this restriction was too sudden 
and absolute and less prohibitive measures were adopted. 
All members, but one, were to abandon the making of 
whiskey and he was to do the "stilling" for the congre- 
gation. 13 Drunkenness was a rare thing in those days. 

The business men of the nation came to the rescue of 
the temperance people. The railroads were the first to 
declare against drinking. Human lives depended upon the 
sobriety of their employees and abstinence became a quali- 
fication required by all employers. Other lines of business 
followed. The old political parties, that had year after 
year incorporated in their platforms, "we are opposed to 
sumptuary legislation," had their ears to the ground, 
and now abandoned "sumptuary," hurriedly espousing 

r ■'■'■[ 13This church is not given as an exception. The practice was prevalent 
if not legalized among the members of various churches of that day. The following 
story furnishes another picture of the times: One of the ministers who preached 
to the Cold Spring congregation was in the habit of taking a pack of hounds to 
church and announcing from the pulpit that all those who desired to join in the 
fox chase could meet him early Monday morning at his stopping place. One 
Sunday a favorite hound followed the minister into church, crawled up in a window 
and fell asleep. It was some distance to the ground and a worshipper seeing the 
dog there pushed him outside. The preacher saw the act and, although in the 
midst of his sermon, walked down from the pulpit and was about to strike the 
offender when friends interfered. The minister then went back and resumed 
his discourse. 

194 Historic Sullivan. 

the cause of temperance. This action was a partial solu- 
tion of the question — there were plenty of men in both 
parties who were ready to align themselves with the 
cause, but when it came to a test they could not turn 
their backs on the party with which they had been so long 

The country people, when given an opportunity, have 
stood for temperance. The brewers and distillers, seeing 
the wave of public sentiment, tendered their services to 
help reform the saloon. But the saloon-keepers have 
never been able to control an opportunity; they have, by 
their excesses and ridicule and boasting, made once 
flouted prohibition a refuge and a respected issue, and 
they come each year within closer view of the saloon's 
inevitable end. 

The temperance question is still an issue and as in 
all moral questions extremes meet extremes in often 
bitter antagonism. 


Edmund Pendleton Gaines, 
a biography. 

Sullivan County's most noted military man was Gen. 
Gaines. At one time he was considered for the place of 
commander-in-chief of the United States army. 1 

He was a descendant of Edmund Pendleton, who at 
one time was president of the Virginia Court of Appeals. 
This Pendleton had purchased a large tract of land in 
Sullivan County — some five thousand acres — one of the 
first entries, and thither his nephew James Gaines, the 
father of Edmund, removed when the latter was in his 
thirteenth year. Here he was brought into association 
with influences, like the Indian depredations, that 
determined him upon a military career. 

When eighteen he was chosen a lieutenant in a company 
of volunteers under command of J. Cloud. 

Three years later he began to devote himself to the 
study of law, but about this time W. C. C. Claiborne, 
recognizing his work in a military way obtained an appoint- 
ment for him in the regular army under Col. Butler. 
In 1801 he was selected to make a topograghical survey 
from Nashville to Natchez. 

In 1804 he was appointed collector of customs at 
Mobile. In addition he was appointed agent of the Post- 
master-General, the duties of which office was to inspect 
the post-offices of his district and find out who were im- 
plicated in the plot with Aaron Burr. While stationed 
at Fort Stoddart it was reported to him that a person of 
distinction was seen traveling in the district and suspect- 
ing that it was Burr, for whose arrest a proclamation 
had recently been sent out by the President, he at once 
determined to intercept him. 

lPresident Adams is credited with having remarked once that he was afraid 
to appoint either Gaines or Scott commander-in-chief, as the appointment of 
either might result in a duel — they being irreconcilable enemies. 

196 Historic Sullivan. 

Gaines' arrest of Burr was quite dramatic. When 
the officers approached Burr he assumed a startled pose, 
demanding upon what authority a citizen was thus stopped 
upon the highway. The arrest was made with positive- 
ness, but with a courtesy due the rank of the distinguished 
citizen. Burr was sent with escort to Richmond. 

Although only carrying out orders, Gaines, all through 
his career, felt the effects of the Burr influence 
against him, and it invariably asserted itself when he 
stood for promotion. 

Gaines shortly after this event decided to resign from 
government service and take up the practice of law, but 
the probability of war with England made it necessary 
to grant him only temporary leave. He began the 
practice of law in the counties of Washington and Baldwin, 
Mississippi. It was not long, however, before a summons 
came for him to assist his country against the advance 
of the British. 

He was now thirty years of age. It was this war that 
brought him fame. In his memorable defense of Fort 
Erie he was made so conspicuous by his bravery that 
Congress voted him a gold medal, while the states of New 
York, Tennessee and Virginia presented him costly swords 
in token of their appreciation. 

In this war he arose from rank to rank until he reached 
that of Major-General, the highest authorized by law. 
At the close of the war he was assigned to a command 
in the South, on the borders of Georgia and Florida, 
where the negroes and Indians were giving trouble and 
there he was associated with Gen. Andrew Jackson 
in the Seminole War. 

Gen. Jackson appointed Gaines president of a court 
martial, to try Arbuthnot and Ambrister — the former 
being hung and the latter shot. These executions 
were strongly condemned by Jackson's enemies and 
called for a thorough investigation, in which the officers 
were exonerated. 

Edmund Pendleton Gaines. 197 

During Gaines' military operations in Florida he had 
a fierce battle with the Seminoles, led by Chief Osceola, in 
February, 1836. 

Gen. Gaines was relieved of his command in 1846 
because, without authority, he was supposed to have 
summoned volunteers to aid Gen. Taylor in the Mexi- 
can War, but a court of inquiry, that had been convened 
at Fortress Monroe, on the 20th of July the same year, 
acquitted him. 

He was then put in command of the Eastern Depart- 

He died at New Orleans, 2 June 6, 1849, seventy-two 
years of age. Gen. Gaines was married three times — 
his last wife being the widow Myra Clark Whitney, 
daughter of Daniel Clark. 3 


The battle of Niagara had been fought and, while it was 
an American victory, the English disputed it, and to 

2Jefferson Davis was once on Gen. Gaines' staff. Later when on a wedding 
journey to New Orleans he called upon the General. Gen. Winfield Scott had 
just published his book on military tactics and as he had recently returned from 
a visit to Europe his book was full of foreign phrases. On being asked by Davis 
what he thought of the book, Gaines replied: "The English language is sufficiently 
copious to explain any idea Gen. Scott ever had. " 

3Daniel Clark was a native of Ireland and came to New Orleans as Consul 
in 1766. Here he became entangled with a beautiful, French woman named Zulime 
Carrier, by whom he had a daughter, born in 1806. Shortly before his death, in 
1813, he left this daughter in the care of a Philadelphia family named Davis, who 
brought her up in ignorance of her parentage. In 1830 Davis, who was then 
a member of the Pennsylvania legislature sent home for certain papers and Myra, 
in searching for them, "discovered letters that partially revealed the secret of her 
birth. In 1832 she married W. W. Whitney, of New York, who followed up the 
clew, discovered an old letter containing an account of a will made by Clark be- 
fore his death giving all his estate to Myra and acknowledging her as his legitimate 
child. The will could not be found, but other testimony was found that disclosed 
the fact of its one time existence and of a secret marriage between Clark and Miss 
Carrier in Philadelphia in 1803. 

Whitney brought suit against the city of New Orleans to recover property 
that had been willed to his wife. It was hotly contested, but Whitney died before 
a decision was reached. 

In 1839 the widow married Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, of Sullivan County, who 
entered into the case as enthusiastically as his wife. It was carried through all 
the courts and dragged its slow tapeful length along, but was lost. Gen. Gaines 
died in 1852; his widow never gave up the suit. She had secured some new evidence 
and while losing in the lower court, the United States Supreme Court sustained 
her claim. The value of the property was $35,000,000. The city appealed the 
case, and the breaking out of the war delayed judgment until 1867, when once more 
judgment was rendered in her favor. In her lifetime she secured more than $6,000,- 
000 and the suit became the sensation of the country. 


198 Historic Sullivan. 

such an extent did they regard it as their victory the 
soldiers wore the name "Niagara" on their caps. 

The English now turned their attention to Fort Erie. 
Gen. Ripley was in charge of the fort, while Gen. Drum- 
mond was directing the English forces against it. 

Gen. Gaines, in August, 1814, was sent to Fort Erie and 
at once took command. He began by acquainting him- 
self with the condition of the defences and his efforts and 
interest put new life into the garrison. 

On the 13th Drummond began a cannonade, which 
was continued until the next day. When this ceased, on 
account of the little damage done, it was clear that the 
British general would make a direct assault. Gaines 
therefore detailed two sets of men — one to be prepared 
against a surprise attack at night and the others on duty 
by day. A shell from the enemy, on the evening of the 
14th, exploded in a small magazine and made a deafening 
noise. The British, thinking that they had destroyed the 
main magazine of the Americans, prepared to follow this 
up with another well directed blow. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the 15th the Ameri- 
can pickets announced the coming of the enemy, who 
expected to find the Americans asleep — but in this they 
were mistaken. When the advance columns came up a 
brilliant rocket was fired into their midst, disclosing their 
whereabouts and enabling the Americans to fire with more 
accuracy. The English did not lack for bravery and 
made five attempts to scale the walls, but each time were 
driven back with great loss — the grape and cannister 
doing deadly work. In one of these attacks Drummond, 
who was preparing to deal with the foe "showing no 
mercy," was himself the sufferer from his own rash order. 
After having denied Lieut. Macdonough quarter and 
killing him, the officer executing the order was slain in 
the same way. Having shown no quarter he received 
none. The battle raged all along the lines until dawn. 

The British were preparing to make another desperate 

Edmund Pendleton Gaines. 199 

attack when an explosion was heard and there was great 
confusion and retreat. The bastion, which had been filling 
up with soldiers, was exploded, sending bodies high into 
the air. At this the British broke ranks and left the field. 
When the enemy retreated there were found to be two 
hundred and twenty-one killed; one hundred and seventy- 
four wounded and one hundred and sixty-six prisoners. 
The American loss was seventeen killed; fifty-six wounded 
and eleven missing. 

Both sides prepared to renew the struggle, both having 
received reinforcements. The British daily threw shells 
into the fort to the annoyance of the garrison and on 
the 28th a shell fell through Gen. Gaines' office and, 
exploding, destroyed his writing desk and wounded him 
so severely that he was forced to give up his command, 
and was sent to Buffalo. Gen. Jacob Brown, although 
in broken health, succeeded him. The fighting was 
desultory after the first victory and camp fever, 
brought on by heavy rains in the marshy camp of the 
British, aided the Americans in accomplishing the defeat 
of the enemy along the Canadian borders. 

Nathan Gregg. 
a biograhhy. 

Nathan Gregg was born August 5, 1835, on the 
Watauga river, two miles below White Store. He spent 
the routine life of a country boy, working on the farm 
during the season, which usually extended from January 
1st to December 31st. He, however, attended the 
district school and obtained a fairly good education. 
He then took up the carpenter's trade, which he followed 
until the beginning of the Civil War. 

Coming from fighting ancestry — his grandfather being 
in the Revolution and his father an officer in the War of 
1812 — he early enlisted in the service of the Confederacy. 
He joined Capt. Willetts' company, made up mostly of 
Washington county (Tenn.) men, and was chosen 

He was desperately wounded April 6, 1862, in the bat- 
tle of Shiloh, where so many of the South 's brave sons 
gave up their lives. His captain (Willetts) was killed in 
the battle. 

During the following summer he enlisted again — this 
time in Col. John Crawford's regiment, and was elected 
lieutenant-colonel. This regiment was known as the 
Sixtieth Tennessee. 

He was captured in the battle of Big Black River 
Bridge, near Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the 17th 
day of May, 1863, and was taken to Johnson's Island 
and held as a prisoner until near the close of the war, 
when he was exchanged, upon which he returned home. 
Col. Crawford resigned his command in 1864 and Col. 
Gregg was promoted to a full colonelcy and given charge 
of the regiment — remaining with it until the close of the 
war. His regiment was disbanded April 12, 1865, 
at Christiansburg, Virginia. 


Nathan Gregg. 201 

During his military career he had the reputation of 
being a humane and courageous officer. He returned 
to his home at the close of the war and in 1870 was 
elected sheriff of Sullivan County — was reelected in 1872 
and again in 1874. He was elected three times to the 
legislature from Sullivan County, in 1876-78-82. He 
was a member of the legislature, which became historic 
for its settlement of the state debt, when such men as 
Butler, Gregg and others became famous in their efforts 
for a just settlement, as did the name "Smith of Fen- 
tress" become a byword and a reproach. 

In the legislature Gregg became a leader, and in his 
political life, while a man of forceful nature— com- 
manding in stature and style, he was more shrewd 
than statesmanlike. 

Once, when anxious to get a bill passed, which he knew 
the speaker of the house did not favor, he had a dainty 
letter, written in a feminine hand, sent in to the pre- 
siding officer, requesting his presence in the lobby at 
once. The speaker, not divining any trick, excused 
himself, and his successor, being in sympathy with Col. 
Gregg, had the bill passed during the absence of the 
regular officer. 

During the first administration of Grover Cleveland 
Col. Gregg was appointed Pension Agent, with offices at 
Knoxville, Tennessee. This was the last political office 
he held. 

At one time he was urged to become a candidate for 
governor, but he rather discouraged the suggestion, 
modestly admitting his lack of educational qualifica- 
tions — he having had only limited opportunities during 
his youth. He was gubernatorial timber nevertheless — 
his splendid moral character and honesty in handling 
public trusts making him valuable. 

He had peculiar ideas about charity and would not 
subscribe even small amounts, always excusing himself 
by saying that one could never tell when it was deserving. 

202 Historic Sullivan. 

His motives were not understood until after his death, 
when it was found that he had willed all his fortune to 
the church. 

Col. Gregg never fully recovered from the wound he 
received in battle and this no doubt hastened his death, 
which occurred at his country home July 15, 1894, in 
the sixtieth year of his age. 



Tennessee rarely boasts about her battle men. The 
world's war language has linked the name of "volunteer" 
with the valor of all times. The part she has played in 
the military achievements of this nation has not been 
given due credit because not generally understood. 
But from the outset of our national existence her frontier- 
men protected from invasion by the Indians those settle- 
ments that dared to spring up on her borders. She 
hurried her pickets far out beyond the firing line. Her 
Shelbys and her Seviers went at the first call when, at 
Point Pleasant, the outcome depended so much upon 
their skill and courage. 

When the cause of American independence looked 
gloomiest; when the well disciplined troops of regulars 
were losing heart and faith and forsaking the cause; 
when Washington wrote "I have almost ceased to hope," 
these same sturdy pioneers formed a plan on Tennessee 
soil, left their homes almost unprotected and marched 
across the mountains to check the advance of the victor- 
ious British. The memorable and decisive battle of King's 
Mountain was the result. 

When that same foe sought to invade our shores a 
second time Tennessee sent her Jackson to New Orleans, 
where he plowed through the red -gold ranks of the 
gallant Packenham, leaving seven hundred, with their 
leader, dead on the field. 

At the same time she sent her Gaines to protect the 
northern boundary and his courageous defense heralded 
him the hero of Fort Erie. 

When the independence of Texas was sought her Samuel 
Houston, badly wounded was born from the battlefield of 
San Jacinto, while the mangled remains of Davy Crockett 

204 Historic Sullivan. 

lay heaped in the Alamo. Her James Bowie, already 
dying of a fever from wounds unhealed, hearing the cry 
"no quarter", arose in his couch and with the knife that 
still bears his name dug his way to a welcome death. 

When conflict with Mexico seemed inevitable, Tennessee 
was called upon to furnish two thousand, eight hundred 
men and, remembering the Alamo, thirty thousand 
responded to that call. 

Her Maury mapped the ocean ways. 

When the war of secession was declared and the 
martial spirit of the South was stirred as never before, 
the manhood, yes, and the boyhood of middle and 
west Tennessee followed in the tread of her intrepid 
Forrest. The greater portion of East Tennessee, still a 
part of that South, but thinking best to preserve the 
Union, stubbornly buried herself like a wedge in the heart 
of her own country while her Farragut swept the seas. 

She gave Sam Davis as a sacrifice for her soldiers' 

In the still more recent Spanish-American War it 
seemed like a recognition of her victorious past that 
Tennessee's gunboat "Nashville" should fire the first 
gun that echoed the most destructive and triumphant 
naval conflict of modern times. 

Missionaries were sent here — sent to the mountain 
homes to tame the sons of the men who tamed the wilds 
and made it possible for them to come. These mountain 
men, though rough of speech and always ready with 
rude song, have no ambition save to be hospitable and to 
fight when fought; these men will give their lives for any 
cause that disturbs the peace of our people, for in their 
veins still flows the blood that made the valor of our 
volunteers immortal. 

Congress has voted thanks or a medal or sword to 
twenty-nine military men since the organization of the 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 205 

army in 1789. Of this number two are Sullivan County- 
men— no other county in the Union has received as many. 
One medal was presented to Maj.-Gen. Gaines in 1814, 
and one to Isaac Shelby in 1818. 

That the thanks of Congress be, and they are hereby, presented 
to Major-General Gaines, and, through him, to the officers and men 
under his command, for their gallantry and good conduct in defeating 
the enemy at Erie on the fifteenth of August, repelling with great 
slaughter the attack of a British veteran army, superior in number; 
and that the President of the United States be requested to cause a gold 
medal to be struck, emblematical of this triumph, and presented to 
Major-General Gaines. 

Approved November 3, 1814. 

That the thanks of Congress be, and they are hereby, presented 
to Major-General William Henry Harrison, and Isaac Shelby, late 
governor of Kentucky, and, through them, to the officers and men under 
their command, for their gallantry and good conduct in defeating 
the combined British and Indian forces under Major-General Proctor, 
on the Thames, in Upper Canada, on the 5th day of October, 1813, 
capturing the British army, with their baggage, camp equipage, and 
artillery; and that the President of the United States be requested to 
cause two gold medals to be struck, emblematical of this triumph, 
and presented to General Harrison, and Isaac Shelby, late governor of 

Approved, April 4, 1814.1 

In 1812 England again tried to conquer this nation, 
employing methods similar to those adopted before — 
inciting Indian allies. This brought on the Creek War, 
and the battle of Horseshoe, March 24, 1814. 

Tennesseans under Jackson practically waged this war, 
the East Tennessee troops being under the command 
of Gen. John Cooke. Transportation was by boat and, 
in addition to the soldiers, this section was expected to 
furnish the supplies. 2 The rivers were low and not 
boatable, and in consequence of the delay this caused, 
Jackson became very irritable — placed the blame first on 

lHistorical Register of U. S. Army, Vol. I, page 47. 
2Loesing's Field Book of the War of 1812. 

206 Historic Sullivan. 

Cooke, then the weather, the water and all mankind in 
general. 3 

Among the officers who accompanied Cooke from Sulli- 
van County were William Snodgrass, Cloud, 

William King, Jacob Snapp and Benjamin Beeler. Cloud 
was the first man to attempt to scale the breastworks 
at the Horseshoe, and was killed. He was closely followed 
by King who succeeded. 4 

Sam Houston, a young ensign, was also among the 
first to go over the breastworks — he was shot with a 
barbed arrow. 

The Thirty-ninth United States infantry was strongly 
supported by Gen. James Doherty's East Tennessee 
brigade, making the van of a storming party, the forces 
behaving most gallantly as they pressed on in the face of 
a deadly fusilade of bullets and arrows. Soldiers and 
Indians fought hand to hand at the port-holes. The 
bayonet, dextrously used, at last broke the line of the 
Indians' defense and they fled in wild confusion to the 
woods and waters. The Creeks asked no quarter nor 
gave any; it was a fight to death. The defeated Indians 
refused to surrender, expecting no mercy. 

When the battle was over, five hundred and fifty-seven 
Indian warriors lay dead in the bend of the river alone, 
and of the one thousand who went into the fight but two 
hundred survived. Jackson's loss was thirty-two killed 
and ninety-nine wounded, while his Cherokee allies lost 
eighteen killed and thirty-six wounded. 

The Seminole War of 1817-18 followed and again 
Tennessee troops went to the front as if it was their fight 
also — Sullivan's leading representative being Gen. Gaines. 

The Cherokee removal took place in 1838, and is fully 
described in Chapter XXX. Maj. John R. Delaney 
organized a company for that campaign as follows: 

Muster Roll of Captain Abraham McClellan's Company of the 
2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade of Mounted Volunteer Militia, Commanded 

30n account of this delay and the unfortunate massacre of the friendly Hillabee 
people, Jackson accused Cooke of rivalry, but was later convinced of his error. 
4Lossing^says.L. P. Montgomery. 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 


by Major John R. Delaney, ordered into service of the United States 
by the Requisition of the Secretary of War of 25th of May 1836. from 
the 1st day of March to the 30th day of April, 1837. 

Abraham McClellan, Captain 
Abraham Gregg, First Lieutenant 
James B. Riley, Second Lieutenant 
Henry Bullock, Ensign 
Saml. Evans, First Sergeant 
Saml. E. Edwards, Second Sergeant 
Maxwell Smith, Third Sergeant 
Christian C. Elkins, First Corporal 
James J. Angell, Second Corporal 
William P. Lacy, Third Corporal 
William H. Snodgrass, Bugler 
Uriah Acre, Private 
Royston Boy, Private 
Jno. G. Burnett, Private 
John L. Burkhard, Private 
v Jacob Bushong, Private 
Eh Cain, Private 
Thomas Cawood, Private 
Jesse Craft, Private 
Saml. L. Cross, Private 
Jonathan J. Dryden, Private 
David A. Dryden, Private 
Hazel B. Davis, Private 
Larkin Elkins, Private' 
Danl. Elkins, Private 
Abel Edwards, Private 
John Flemming, Private 
Allen Farmer, Private 
John M. Gifford, Private 
George W. Goodman, Private 
John Godsey, Private 
Abraham J. Hicks, Private 
Hiram B. Hughes, Private 
William Hobbs, Private 
Obed Hull, Private 
Henry Kingery, Private 
Thomas McLane, Private 
Timothy Millard, Private 

Elihu Messick, Private 
James Morton, Private 
Joseph McPhatridge, Private 
Andrew J. Millhorn, Private 
Thomas J. Newton, Private 
Timothy Nickols, Private 
Davia Pile, Private 
Henry H. Pemberton, Private 
John Page, Private 
John Peters, Private 
Edward C. Rutledge, Private 
Thomas T. Rockhold, Private 
John Sanders, Private 
John C. Sawyers, Private 
Walter J. Snodgrass, Private 
David D. Spivy, Private 
Geo. L. Smith, Private 
Benjamin Smith, Private 
John G. Scott, Private 
John I. Smith 

Nathaniel N. Smith, Private 
Alexander H. Smith, Private 
David Steel, ^Private 
John Steel, Private 
Isaac Stoffle, Private 
Henry Smith, Private 
Clifford Tyler, Private 
William R. Tipton, Private 
John Torbitt, Private 
Jonathan E. Vance, Private 
John Webb, Private 
Uriah Woods, Private 
Owen M. White, Private 
Jesse B. White, Private 
James Hancher, Private 
William O. King, Private 
Elcanah Millard, Private 

(Copied from original muster-roll) 


Historic Sullivan. 

The next call for troops was for the Mexican War. 
George R. McClellan was in command of a company 
from Sullivan County, which was taken in flat-boats to 
Memphis, whence they were transported to New 
Orleans and across the gulf of Mexico. The eagerness 
of Tennesseans to enlist for this war was so notable that 
the Secretary of War sent the following message to Gov. 
Brown: "We do not intend that Tennessee shall 
fight this war." 

5 Reg. Tenn Vol— G. R. McClellan Col Comdg— John Shaver 
Capt — Wm. King 1st Lieut — Saml. R. Anderson 2 and J. J. Odell 2-2 

Sullivan County Volunteers mustered into service 10th day of 
Nov. 1847. Dischd. 20th July, 1848 at Memphis. 

G. R. McClellan, Capt. 

John S. Shaver, 1st Lieut. 

Saml. R. Anderson, 2 Lieut. 

James Patton, O. S. 

Wm. King, 2d Lieut. 

Jno. T. Snapp, S. 

John Braden, S. 

James Barnes, S. 

David Almaroad, C. 

David P. OBrian, C. 

Joel D. Millard, O. 

Thos. Rodgers, O. 

James Good, Mu. 

Wm. H. Almaroad 

Audley Anderson 

L. O. Byers 

Tho. L. Berry 

David B. Bragg 

Dillion D. Blevins 

Andrew Blevins 

James Blevins 

John Bowling 

Geo. W. Bookhamer 

Johathan Bachman 

Geo. L. Carlton 

Thos. Carroll 

Geo. Crudgington 

Endiman Hall 


Wm. H. Harkleroad 
Elisha Harbor 
David S. Hilton 
David Ingle 
Joel Johnson 
James G. King 
G. S. Love 
James Milhorn 
John McCrary 
Walker McCrary 
William McKamy 
Stephen H. Miller 
John W. Malone 
Saml. G. McClellan 
James Minnick 
Wm. H. Moore 
John Moore 
John McMinn 
James J. Odell 
Wm. D. Offield 
Benjm. Phillips 
Job Powell 
Calvin M. Prince 
Wm. O. B. Pile 
Isaac Pearce 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 


Jury Cathiman Jesse Pullum 

Elkana Cross Jacob Rodgers 

James Garden William Rimmer 

Thos. D. Carter Josiah Smith 

C. C. Cargale Saml. W. Scott 

Allen Dyer Hugh R. Smith 

James Dinsmore Richard Shipley 

Elkana D. Droke Nathan H. Shipley 

En os Dinsmore Elkana D. Shipley 

John W. Emmert John M. Smithson 

Thos. O. Elkins James K. Shaver 

Nelson Elsey Wm. Smith 

Wm. D. Fulkner Wm. L. Smithson 

Gabriel Frye A. W. M. Willoughby 

Endemon Foster Sol. H. Whitaker 

John G. Gale G. H. Whitaker 

Wm. Gertman Joseph P. Wilson 

Wm. J. Gale James H. Wilson 

Wm. Graham Joseph S. Pitman 

W. W. Good Jacob H. Latture 
(Copied from original muster-roll) 

The Civil War came on. The scenes that led up to the 
struggle were here more antagonistic than in most 
Southern localities, where the sentiment was not divided. 
In East Tennessee the supporters of the Confederate and 
Union sides waged a war of oratory before the battle of 
smoke and shell began. When the excitement was at its 
highest and companies were forming to join the Con- 
federate forces, Andrew Johnson and Thomas A. R. 
Nelson, who were the champions of the Union cause, 
made an appointment to speak in Blountville. 

Some of the leading citizens, fearful of the possible 
results of such a speaking, owing to the feverish state of 
the people, sent a delegation, headed by David Sullins — 
then a young minister in charge of the Blountville circuit — 
to meet the speakers on the approach to town and acquaint 
them with the feeling in the communtiy. They were met 
at "Medical Grove" on the Jonesboro road, and the speak- 
ers agreed to be governed by the vote of the citizens, 
taken in open meeting. 

210 Historic Sullivan. 

Sullins returned, called the throng together in front of 
the court-house and explained the situation, asking those 
who desired the speakers to come to town to remain 
standing, while those who did not desire them were to 
"squat down." 5 The majority was overwhelming in 
opposition to the speakers. Sullins went back, told 
Johnson and Nelson the result, then escorted them to 
town, as far as Sturm's hotel, where they had dinner. 
During this time a guard of soldiers was placed on the 
bridge to prevent any assembling of the people or undue 
excitement on account of the presence of the men. 
After dinner the speakers left town. 

For this kindly act of precaution Sullins was compelled 
to leave Tennessee after the war and refugee in Virginia 
for two years. 

The first company organized in Sullivan selected James 
P. Snapp, captain, and the young ladies of the town 
presented a flag. The occasion of the presentation was 
made thrilling by patriotic songs and the speech of 
acceptance delivered by C. J. St. John, Sr., first lieu- 
tenant of the company. 

East Tennessee early became a battle-ground for 
the Northern and Southern forces. The railroad running 
through this section was the chief means of communica- 
tion, travel and supply for the South. For this reason 
the bridges, telegraph lines and tracks had to be protected. 
They were practically in the possession of the Confederate 
forces for nearly three years of the war, but when Burn- 
side 6 was assigned to the command in East Tennessee, 
reaching Knoxville, September 3, 1863, he mapped out 
an agressive campaign to be prosecuted all along the line 

5David Sullins had early in his career established a reputation as a revivalist. 
The crowd at the court-house was so large, an old woman who was some distance 
away from the speaker could not hear what was going on, but seeing most of 
the people assuming the negative posture, said," It's all right now, Davy's got 'em 
on their knees.". 

6Ambrose E. Burnside was born in Indiana. He was a West Point "cadet, 
graduating, number twenty-eight, in the class of 1847. He became major-general 
March, 1862. Died September, 1881. 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 211 

of railroad. He detached Gen. James Shackleford 7 
for service in upper East Tennessee. 

On the Confederate side was Gen. Sam Jones, 8 whose 
headquarters at the time were at Zollicoffer. Burnside 
had twenty thousand men, while Jones had between five 
and six thousand. These men were distributed up and 
down the railroad. 

At Morristown Shackleford sent Col. John W. Foster 
on a flanking move. Gen. Jones sent out Col. James 
Carter, who met Foster and engaged him in desultory 
fighting, driving him back as far as the river at Shipley's 
ferry. This was on Sunday. Foster was reinforced at 
the river, returned and, on the morning of the 22nd of 
September, 1863, drove the Confederates back to Blount- 

On their return the Federals bombarded the Dulaney 
home, suspecting it harbored Confederate sharpshooters. 
No one was there but the women of the family, who 
managed to throw out a white cloth, which prevented 
a complete annihilation of the home and death of the 


Arriving at Blountville Col. Carter decided to engage 
the enemy and stationed his battery on the plateau east 
of town. Foster took a stand on the opposite side, near 
the graveyard — some of the remaining grave stones show 
the effects of the fight. 

The non-combatants, women and children, accustomed 
to seeing uniformed men, were not aware that a battle 
was impending and were at dinner when the firing began. 
These retired with the sick and aged to the best protected 

7James M. Shackleford was born in Kentucky. He enlisted in the Union 
army as colonel of the Eighteenth Kentucky Cavalry, September 13, 1861. He 
became brigadier-general March 2, 1863, resigned January 18, 1864. 

8Sam Jones was by birth a Virginian. Cadet at West Point in 1837, graduating, 
number nineteen, in July, 1841. He reached the rank of captain in 1853. Resigned 
April 27, 1861, to enter the Confederate service. He became major-general and 
remained in the war from 1861 to 1865. i&He died July 31, 1887 

212 Historic Sullivan. 

cellars — those of the Cate House and the St. John residence. 
The battle began at noon and lasted until four o'clock in 
the afternoon. 9 

The Confederate forces numbered twelve hundred and 
fifty-seven, while there were double that number on the 
Federal side. 

Capt. Davidson's battery, that participated in this 
fight, had distinguished itself in the battle of Manassas. 
As an example of marksmanship for which the American 
soldier is renowned — Capt. Davidson was told that 
Federal sharpshooters were in the belfry of the Metho- 
dist church and he decided to fire upon it. He was asked 
not to hit the bell and its location was pointed out to him ; 
he then sent one ball just above and one just below the 
bell although the church was a quarter of a mile away. 

After the battle had been in progress some time the 
Federals decided upon a flank movement and made a 
charge toward the center of the opposing forces to divert 
their attention 

In the meantime the besieged women and children and 
the helpless were notified that the town was burning and 
they must flee for their lives. A shell from the Federal 
guns had entered the court-house, setting it on fire, and 
as there was no means of relief the flames spread rapidly, 
destroying the best part of the town. 10 

In the thick of the fight and more dangerously exposed 
than the soldiers of either side were the fleeing women. 
In the confusion of such a hasty departure distracted 
mothers became separated from their children; cavalry- 
men dashed across their path, while bullets and bombs 
whistled above them. They went through Brown's 

9Dr. J. J. Ensor, who acted as surgeon, timed the battle from the firing of the 
first gun and so reported it to me. 

lOBesides the court-house and jail many other houses were burned — the 
residence and store of Samuel Rhea; hotel and store of Rev. N. C. Baldwin; Lawrence 
Snapp's hotel; residence and shop of F. L. Baumgardner; residence and store of 
W. W. James; residence and store of Jack Powell; residence and store of Hugh 
and John Fain; residence and store of Dr. Wm. R. Dulaney. 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 213 

meadow and finally found a safe retreat beyond the hills. 11 

The Confederates, learning of the flank movement, 
began to retire in the direction of Zollicoffer; a few, how- 
ever, went toward Bristol and were captured. 

At Hamilton's hill Jones reinforced Carter and another 
stand was made. The Federals were driven back, retiring 
to Blountville, but later retreated further. The returning 
citizens of the town found that what homes were left 
had been looted and what was not taken had been destroy- 
ed. There was nothing to eat and the women were com- 
pelled to beg meal from the soldiers. 

The casualties were not great on either side — the Con- 
federates losing only three dead and eight or ten wounded, 
while the Federals had twelve killed and as many more 
wounded. The Institute and Methodist church were 
used as temporary hospitals and Dr. J. J. Ensor and 
Dr. Nat Dulaney, Sr., aided the Federal surgeons with the 
wounded. 12 

In October Burnside's forces again sought to secure 
control of the railroad, which resulted in a running fight 
through the county. A skirmish took place at Blountville 
on October 14th. There was also a fight at Bachman's 
ford. Gen. Jones drove the enemy as far as Big creek, 
in Hawkins county, where he surrounded and captured 
six hundred — among them two spies, who were court-mar- 
tialed and shot, near David Wolford's. 

HSome of the escapes of women, during the war, were miraculous. Dr. 
M. M. Butler, who was surgeon of the Thirty-seventh Virginia regiment, tells of a 
woman whose residence was directly in the line of fire at the battle of Chancel- 
lorsville. She escaped unhurt with seventeen bullet holes in her dress. 

12Dr. Ensor related the following: Among the wounded on the Federal side 
was an Irishman, who wanted to be relieved from service. Receiving a flesh wound 
on the head he feigned unconsciousness and was placed in the temporary hospital. 
When the surgeon went to examine him he was moaning in an delirious manner, 
"send for a praste ( bring me a cand'l; send for a praste, bring me a cand'l." The 
surgeon, not wishing to operate on him in that condition, passed him by for the 
time, remarking, "the poor fellow is in a bad way." The wounded soldier confided 
to Dr. Ensor his desire to quit the army and the doctor told him he would not 
interfere with his plans. 

The next day the patient was at breakfast with the Ensor family when a servan t 
entered and said the Federal surgeon was coming. The Irishman on learning this 
jumped up from the table and broke through a window to get back in the hospital. 
When the surgeon made his rounds he found his patient stretched out, apparently 
weaker than the day before and still faintly and incoherently calling, "send for a 
praste, bring me a cand'l." The surgeon passed him by. The man, sure of being put 
on the dead-list, left for parts unknown. 

214 Historic Sullivan. 

The next military exploit of eventful outcome was 
Stoneman's 13 raid in December, 1864. He left Knoxville 
December 10th with four thousand cavalry and was re- 
inforced by Gillem with nearly two thousand more; also 
Gen. Burbridge 's Kentucky troops. They overtook Duke's 
men, then under command of Col. R. C. Morgan 14 — Duke 
being on leave of absence — and drove them across the river 
at Rotherwood. Morgan had three hundred and fifty 
men, thirty-nine of which garrisoned themselves on a 
rocky and thicketed eminence on the banks of the river, 
to prevent the enemy from crossing. These men kept 
Stoneman back for several hours. During the afternoon 
of the 13th Gillem sent Col. S. K. N. Patton up the 
river — he crossed and, coming down, surrounded the men. 
When this was done the rout was complete. Several 
were killed and wounded and many others captured. 
Among the prisoners taken was Morgan; he had been 
drinking heavily during the day and danced with indif- 
ference when captured. His wagon train was also 

This work completed, Gen. Burbridge, 15 the same 
afternoon, pushed on to Bristol. Passing through 
Blountville during the night his soldiers did a good deal 
of plundering. He reached Bristol on the morning of 
the 14th, in time to intercept Gen. Vaughn, who was 
trying to join Breckenridge at Saltville. At Bristol he 
destroyed the depots, all the rolling stock of the railroad 
and a great quantity of stores and ammunition. In the 
skirmish two hundred prisoners, which included non- 
combatants, were captured. This raid was for the pur- 
pose of destruction. A raiding party is not a pleasure 

13George Stoneman was from New York. He entered West Point in 1842, 
and graduated, number thirty-three, in 1846. He became major-general of volun- 
teers in 1862. He died September 5, 1864. 

14After the death of General John Morgan, the fearless Confederate cavalry- 
man, his command fell to Gen. Basil W. Duke, of Kentucky. In this regiment was 
Col. R. C Morgan, a brother of Gen. Morgan. 

15Stephen G. Burbridge was a Kentuckian by birth and entered the Union 
army as colonel of the Twenty-sixth Kentucky regiment, August, 1861. He was 
made brigadier-general July, 1864 — died Nov. 30, 1894. 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 215 

party, but there are rules that govern civilized warfare. 
The looting of homes, where none were left to protect 
them but the women; the destruction of a church and 
the demolition of the sacred relics of a masonic lodge 
did not leave a very exalted remembrance of the name 

About this time the Fifteenth Pennsylvania regiment 
was quartered at Peltier. Afterwards they were driven 
down through Hawkins county by Maj. Frank Phipps. 
Among the incidents of the military maneuvers around 
Kingsport, one relates to a peculiar capture. P. S. Hale 
had hired a substitute known as "Tater" Dick Morris. 
Morris deserted and went into the Union army, and 
while refugeeing in Sullivan County captured Hale, 
the man who paid him to go into the army. 

In the last two years of the war Sullivan County was 
the scene of a great many raids and skirmishes — Zolli- 
coffer and Bristol being the points most desired by the 
Northern forces, on account of the railroad. Zollicoffer 
was the headquarters at various times of Gen. William E. 
Jones 16 and Gen. Sam Jones and Cols. Williams and 

The following is a partial list of the officers from 
Sullivan serving during the Civil W T ar, who reached the 
rank of captain and higher. Colonel --Nathan Gregg; 
Lieutenant-Colonel — George R. McClellan, James P 
Snapp, J. J. Odell, James A. Rhea; Major— Henry 
Geisler; Captain — John W. Bachman, Joe R. Crawford, 
L. H. Denny, A. L. Gammon, Polk Gammon, Jacob 
Geisler, Cyrus Ingles, Crockett Millard, Alvin Millard, 
John Morrell, George Mathews, Trevett. 

While no companies were organized in Sullivan for 
the Federal army some of the soldiers who joined that 
side became officers. Colonel — S. K.N. Patton; Captain 
— Thomas Easley, David B. Jenkins, Sam P. Snapp. 

16William E. Jones was a Virginian — cadet at West Point, graduating, number 
ten, 1848. He entered the Confederate service as brigadier-general 1861, rising 
to the rank of major-general. He was killed at Mount Crawford, Virginia, June 
5, 1864. 

216 Historic Sullivan. 

There were some heroic acts in defence of bridges, 
in East Tennessee. At Zollicoffer Susan Wood openly 
defied the burners. She lived near the county bridge 
and the Federals had already put the torch to the timbers 
and they were in flames. As a threat, to awe her, the 
soldiers shouted, "You put that fire out and we'll come 
back and burn the house over your head." They had 
hardly disappeared before she took some little boys, 
formed a bucket brigade, and succeeded in putting out 
the fire. 17 &18 


When the war was over and the crippled remnant 
of the once splendid army straggled back they found 
themselves discredited, disfranchised; found a slave race 
freed. Many who were able went in search of other homes, 
never to return. Those who remained picked up their 
broken fortunes and began again. They faced the 
horrors of reconstruction. The scenes of that time, 
the warnings, the dread, the sufferings are still too fresh 
in memory to be revived — they were acts of revenge, 
in retaliation for wrongs suffered when the war com- 
menced. But in the condemnation of those deeds it is 
well to be reminded — what might have been the fate of 
the Union soldiers of East Tennessee had the South 
succeeded. The tories of the Revolution were as sincere 
in their loyalty to the king as were the Union soldiers of 
East Tennessee in their loyalty to the United States. 

17 James Keelan was one of the heroes of the Civil War. He was a member 
of Thomas' Legion, a regiment originally composed of Cherokee Indians, which was 
guarding bridges in East Tennessee. While at Strawberry Plains in November, 
1862, Keelan was stationed to guard the bridge. Forty Federal soldiers attacked 
him, but he stood his ground. He was shot in the side, in the left arm and in the hip. 
The men charged him several times, but he forced them to retire. His left hand 
was cut off; his right hand was split and he was cut with sabres on the head and 
body. Finally, the Federals retired, fearing on account of Keelan's fearless 
stand, that reinforcements were near. They left three dead and many wounded 
as a result of the fight. The bridge was saved. Keelan was cared for in the 
neighborhood, being laid up for twelve months. When he became able to get out 
he joined the army again — this time in Col. Love's command. 

He lived in Bristol after the war, and died there February 12, 1895, aged 
seventy- two years. 

18In addition to conversations with participants in the Civil War I had ac- 
cess to official reports in "Records of the Rebellion." 

War Times— Tennessee Valor. 217 

Virginia and Tennessee and Mississippi shed the tears of 
the Confederacy. The sepulchers of the South are there. 
The war clouds hung lowest there and from off scarred 
fields and desolated homes were the last to be lifted. 
For forty-four years a frail and bent-over figure in black 
has been journeying to a mound that does not measure the 
length of a man. In that boyhood grave is buried the 
hope of so many Southern homes. From Shiloh and from 
Gettysburg and from Chickamauga came the long dead- 
list of the budding chivalry of the South. 

So long as the mourner stoops by the grave; so long as 
the old soldier hobbles to the reunion, there will be mem- 
ories to remind us. There is much history that needs to 
be forgotten. The records of the years that followed 
the war can be written by the annalist of the years to 
come; it is no time to tell them now. 

Elkanah R. Dulaney. 


When Elkanah Dulaney and Benjamin Dulaney came 
to Sullivan County with the early pioneers, the one 
carried a pair of saddle bags and the other a sword — 
the one a warrior, the other a healer of wounds. 

The military life of the Dulaneys is like that of most 
of the old settlers in Virginia, in the colony days. They 
were with Braddock in his ill-fated Indian campaigns 
and in the fierce border forays; joining Lord Dunmore's 
ranks when he issued his stirring address for resistance 
to the repeated ravages of the Ohio tribes; then enlisting 
with Gen. Andrew Lewis against his Lordship; then 
plunging into service of their country when it declared 
for freedom — a service full of peril because beset on the 
one band with the annoying Indian surprises and on 
the other with strife engendered by political antagonism. 

Then away from these scenes came Benjamin Dulaney, 
carrying a sword 1 that in his official capacity he had 
carried in the battle of Brandy wine — and Elkanah Dula- 
ney with his medicine chest that has been carried by 
four generations following, to the present time. Of 
those who remained in Virginia, Dr. William H. Dulaney 
became commandant of his county, with the rank of 
colonel, and Henry Dulaney, entering the War of 1812 
as lieutenant, rose to the rank of captain. 

The Dulaneys who came to Sullivan had disposed 
of their personal property as well as the lands which 
the government had granted them for military service, 
and with the proceeds bargained for land in and about 

They settled on tracts adjoining, one mile southwest 
of Blountville — the one becoming the home of Elkanah 

IThie sword is of peculiar pattern and is now an heirloom in the St. John 


Elkanah R. Dulaney. 219 

Dulaney, called "Medical Grove," is still known by 
that name and is still in the possession of his descendants. 

When one studies the formation of a county it is 
remarkable what near neighbors the families have been 
all along. That is the way Sullivan was peopled. 

Beginning with a few emigrants from Lancaster county, 
Pennsylvania, who journeyed through Frederick, Maryland, 
picking up the Shelbys on the way; going thence through 
Fauquier and Culpepper counties, Virginia, the company 
was completed. They came over that same trail for a 
long time. 

These emigrants were not all Scotch-Irish, as many 
claim. The Shelbys were Welch, and an analysis of our 
nationalities will disclose a good pay-streak of German 
metal that has to be accounted for — the Beelers, the 
Bachmans, the Beidlemans, the Boohers were so German 
when coming to this section many could not, at first, sign 
their names in English. 

It was a cosmopolitan company that journeyed here — 
some with the cavalier blood, it is true, but all became 
commoners in their mutual struggle and defense. They 
were sturdy men, stout limbed and accustomed to adven- 
tures — faces escutcheoned by endurance and toil, and 
they gave to Sullivan the military rank it won and still 

There was unusual quiet following the wars. The leaders 
who remained here became restless ; the silence was 
too sudden and they sought the next best substitute 
for war — politics. 

The early practice of medicine meant long rides in all 
kind of weather — and short pay, so Elkanah Dulaney, 
leaving the solitude of these long forest rides, entered 
politics and became a candidate for the legislature in 
1819, though not altogether abandoning his practice. 
He was successively elected for four terms and after an 
intermission, was twice elected, in 1835-37. He died 
July 10, 1840, in his seventieth year. 

220 Historic Sullivan. 

Of the four sons of Elkanah Dulaney, two arrived at 
mature manhood — William R. Dulaney and Benjamin L. 
Dulaney, Sr. They received their education at Jefferson 
Academy— the former having been under the instruction 
of the first teacher we have record of at the Academy — 
John Jennings. Benjamin Dulaney became a farmer 
and his life is also closely interwoven with the political 
history of his day. In various ways he served the people 
in an official capacity, being at one time sheriff of the 
county. He died September 23, 1859. 

Dr. Willam R. Dulaney was born in Culpepper county, 
Virginia, April 2, 1800. He followed in the footsteps of his 
father in the practice of medicine. He was the first 
physician of Sullivan county to attend lectures — in 1838 
riding horseback to Lexington, Kentucky, where he 
spent several months in the lecture-room. 

It is in the realm of medicine the name of Dulaney is 
best known in this county. Had those old doctors 
chosen a wider field for operations they would have 
become better known — certainly better paid. Joseph 
Dulaney rendered notable service as a surgeon in the 
Confederate army, being in the Nineteenth Tennessee 

Unlike some practitioners, suffering did not harden 
their natures, but made them gentle — they gathered les- 
sons of tenderness from the sick-room. They gave pre- 
scriptions and the money to buy the medicine. They 
gave nobly to the world's needs — a century of service 
from them meant a century of sacrifice. The call from 
the cabin on the hillside was to them a call to duty. 
They went at any hour of the night, braving any weather, 
and have passed much time in patient watch where 
ragged bedclothes and scant furnishings gave promise 
of no pay. And sometimes, when those old doctors 
.found all earthly aid exhausted, they sought the divine 
and in the solemnity of the death-chamber, with no 
one near to minister to spiritual needs, they have 
solaced some departing soul with prayer. 


John Rhea, 
a biography. 

The Rhea family is the most akin to family in Sul- 
livan County. 

Joseph Rhea, the ancestor of the Rheas of Sullivan, 
was born in Londonderry, Ireland, 1715. He was pastor 
of the Presbyterian church at Fahn for twenty years and 
then sent in the following resignation : 

As I received the congregation of Fahn from the Presbytery 
of Londonderry, I have labored in the work of the ministry above 
twenty years in that place and as the congregation has fallen into very 
long areas and has been very deficient in the original promise to me 
which was 24 pounds yearly I am unable to subsist any longer among 
them and I do hereby demit my charge of them and deliver them into 
the hand of them from whom I received them. 

Subscribed this 16th Aug. 1769. 

Jos. Rhea 

P. S. — I have only this further to request of the Presbytery 
that they will see justice done me in that congregation in my absence. 

He came to America in 1770 and settled in Maryland. 
He joined the Christian campaign in 1776 as one of the 
chaplains and in this way became acquainted with the 
Holston country. He decided to locate here and to that 
end secured land at the mouth of Beaver creek. Return- 
ing home he decided to bring his family, but shortly after 
reaching home he was taken sick and died. 

The family came to Sullivan the following year. 

John Rhea the most prominent of the name was a 
graduate of Princeton and took part in the Revolution — 
was in the battles of Brandywine and King's Mountain. 

In 1785 he went to Ireland to bring back the widow 
Borden and her three daughters. He rode his white 
horse to Philadelphia. The ship in which he was to sail 
was about ready to leave, so he tied the horse to a stake at 

222 Historic Sullivan. 

the dock and hastily gave instructions to the hotel keeper 
about caring for the animal during his absence. It so 
happened the hotel man rode the horse down to the dock 
on the day of Rhea's return and tied him to the same 
stake. In that day it took several months to make a 
round trip across the ocean and on landing, Rhea, seeing 
his horse tied to the same stake at which he had left him, 
became furious and proceeded to punish the hotel man 
for his negligence in allowing the horse to remain there, 
but he was finally made to understand how it happened. 

When Rhea arrived in Sullivan County with the widow 
and her three Irish girls his three brothers at once began 
to court them and in time "the three Rhea brothers 
married the three Borden sisters." This is what John 
Rhea had desired. He never married. 

In 1789 he was licensed to practice law in Knoxville 
and was a member of the legislature of North Carolina 
in the same year. 

In 1796 he was a member of the constitutional conven- 
tion, which framed the first constitution of Tennessee, 
and in the same year became a member of the general 
assembly of the state. 

In 1803 he was elected to congress from the first district 
and served in that body successively for twelve years, 
six years of which he was chairman of the committee on 
post-offices and post-roads, 

In 1816 he was one of the commissioners to treat with 
the Choctaws. This concluded he again ran for congress 
in 1817, was elected and remained in that body six more 
years, making eighteen years in congress. During the 
last six years he was chairman of the committee on pen- 
sions and Revolutionary claims. 

He declined to run any more at the expiration of his 
term in 1823. A tradition in the family has it that the 
old white horse — he was partial to white horses — which 
he had ridden so often to Washington, had become ac- 
customed to making the trip and, not knowing that his 

John Rhea. 223 

master would not go again, started alone about the 
time for the convening of the next congress and had 
gone as far as Glade Spring before he was overtaken. 

Congressman or "Old John" Rhea, as his descendants 
usually speak of him, came into possession of vast tracts 
of land in Tennessee and also in other states and was 
counted a wealthy man in his day. 

He died May 27, 1832, and is buried at Blountville. 



When in 1760 the expedition known as the Byrd expedi- 
tion cut its way to Long Island, opening a new highway 
that has always been known as the Island road, and when 
in 1775 Daniel Boone and his company cut out the Wilder- 
ness road — also called the Kentucke or Caintuck road 
and now known as the Reedy creek road — then was the 
beginning of bad roads in Sullivan county. 

But over the one the great flow of southwest immigra- 
tion has gone and over the other numberless cavalcades 
have passed, bound for the west. These two roads and 
one other served our ancestors many years. There were 
other paths, but these were the main travelways — 
the "great roads" as they were then called. It was not 
from a lack of the spirit of progress that our ancestors did 
not establish other good roads— the Indian wars and the 
war with Great Britain kept them busy for twenty-five 
years. But in the year 1795 a road building energy and 
enthusiam seized the people; eight great roads were pro- 
posed and established in this year, and at the same time 
the county court appointed a jury of twenty-six prominent 
citizens "to view the great road from Sullivan court-house, 
leading to Abingdon, in Virginia, as far as the Virginia 
line and report to the next court." 

They were James Brigham, William Snodgrass, Capt. 
Webb, Gilbert Carr, David Steel, William Armstrong, 
Henry Smith, John Burk, John Shelby, Robert Rutledge, 
David Mahon, Stephen Hicks, Timothy Acuff, Samuel 
Caruthers, George Rutledge, Jeremiah Taylor, Edward 
Cox, James Arnold, Lewis Wolf, Walter James, Greenberry 
Cox, Job Foy, Richard Rodgers, Jobias Gifford, Solomon 
Jones and Jonathan Owens. The records of the court 
are meager and no report of this jury could be found, but 

Travelways— Transmission of Messages. 225 

"viewing" meant to pass upon the condition and this 
generation believes itself capable of surmising what sort of 
report was made. 

The orders of the court for the other roads ran as 


Ordered by the court that the following persons review the 
great road from John Yanius' to the North Fork of Holston river 
by way of Ross' Furnace, also to fix a proper place for a bridge across 
Reedy Creek at the public expense of Sullivan County, viz : S. Porter- 
field, J. Lowry, J. Anderson, M. Rowler, Jr., R. Shipley, Capt. Childress, 
Eli Shipley, H. Mock, John Dean, Jacob Moyers, Jr., John Waddle, 
Sr., John Shoemaker, Sr., James Gaines, John Yancy, Walter Johnson, 
John Anderson, P. Foust, David Erwin and make their report to the 
next court. 

Ordered that the great road be established from the Coaling 
Ground Beaver Creek Iron Works onwards to Jacob Thomas the nearest 
& best way & that the following persons be appointed to view the same, 
viz: James Harris, James Young, Jacob Thomas, John Bougher, 
Will Beaty, William Helbrick, John Cooper, Julius Hacker, Stephen 
Wallin, Henry Harkleroad, John Vance, Esq., Woolsey Beeler, John 
Beeler, and make their report to the next court. 

Ordered by the court that the following jury be appointed to 
review the road leading from the Court house to Keywoods Creek 
the nearest and best way, viz: John Sharp, David Diddon, John 
Keywood, Jr., John Pemberton, John Shelby, Sr., Thomas Hughes, 
Jonathan Owen, Robert Rutledge, James Yerin, [?] James Hill, Will 
Rhea, Joseph Rhea, Robert Cowan, William Carr, Capt. McCormick, 
John Shelbj', Jr., and make their report the the next court. 

Ordered by the court that the following jury be appointed to 
view and lay off a great road the easiest and best way from Shoats 
ford on Holston- river to the Virginia line leading to Abingdon, viz : 

Capt. Joseph Cole, Geo. , Elisha Cole, Jacob Boy, Abraham 

McClellan, Dill Blevins, , William Carr, Edmund Warrin, 

John Shelby, Sr., , Beeler, John Bealer, Benjamin 

Ryston, , John Funkhouser and make their report to the 

next court. 

226 Historic Sullivan. 

Ordered by the court that the following persons be appointed 
to view and lay off a great road the nearest and best way from — 
Weavers line by Ryston's Ford on Holston River Indian Creek to Join 

the Washington line, viz: Solomen , Patrick Cregan, Arnold 

Schell, John Funkhouser, Jacob Weaver, Abeloid Edwards, Benjamin 
Ryston, John Richardson, Samuel Miller, William Carr, Frederick 

Weaver, William Morgan, John Miller, Harman Arrants, George , 

Jacob Boy, Thomas Price, Joseph Cole, Jr., Elisha Cole, William 
Cross and Aquilla Cross and make their reports to the next court. 

Ordered by the Court that the following Jury of men view and lay 
off a great road from Sullivan Court house to John Keywoods Mill the 
nearest and best way, viz: James Brigham, John Burk, blacksmith, 
John Fagan, Stephen Taylor, William Gifford, Jos. Rhea, Andrew 
Crockett, Rob. Rutledge, Jonathan Owens, William Delaney, John 
Pemberton, John Sharpe, Robert Cowan, David Hughes, John Richard- 
son and John Keywood, Sr., and make their report to next court. 

Ordered by the Court that the following Jury of men view and 
lay off a great road the nearest and best way from Shoats ford on 
Holston River to the Virginia line to wit: John Beeler, Joseph Beeler, 

Edmund Warren, George , William Carr, Benjamin Ryston, 

Will Rhea, Julian Hacker, Sr., Jacob Thomas, Will Hedrick, Geo. 
Beeler, David Weeb, Leonard Hart, Jonathan Webb, Benjamin Webb, 
Sr., Mathias Little Nighdeon, Nathan Lewis, George Little, Thos. 
Price, Elisha Cole, and make their report to next Court. 

Ordered by the Court that the following persons be appointed to 
view and lay off a great road from Sullivan court house to Roberts Mill 
on the Kentucky road the nearest and best way, to wit, John Tigan, 

John Burk, Jesse Cox, Kee, Timothy Acuff, Abraham Brittain, 

Solomon Jones, Samuel Caruthers, Sr., Edmund Stephens, Stuart Ander- 
son, John Bowman, Sr., James Brigham, Stephen Hicks, Greenberry 
Cox, Henry Roberts, John Anderson, Stephen Taylor and make their 
report to next court. 

Ordered by the Court that all Roads Southeast of the road leading 
from Henry Mysengales and Crossing at Shoats ford on Holston River 
to Abingdon in this County be discontinued.! 

IThese "orders of the court" are selected from a scrap of the county records, 
for 1795, in some way preserved, and now in the possession of George T. Hammer, 

Travelways— Transmission of Messages. 227 

The descendants of the old road builders laughed at 
the way the roads were laid off and built — laughed for 
one hundred and thirty-five years, but kept on traveling 
over the same rough thoroughfares. 

These roads were not established with a consideration 
for grade altogether. When the court order read, "the 
nearest and best way," it meant the safest way. They 
went over the hills because on the backbone of these hills 
was the best road-bed, the best drainage, and one other 
consideration which we lightly accept, the greatest 
safety from attack by highwaymen or Indians. 

Our ancestors had enough to do in removing the massive 
growth from the thickly timbered land — trees centuries 
old; for they dug through the dense forests to get these 
roads, and to dig a way around hills to avoid steep grades 
meant more toil than was their portion. 

Besides they had no machinery with which to make 
stone beds and the soft virgin soil was ill-suited for heavy 
rolling wagons. The early travelways of Sullivan followed 
the bison trail or the Indian trail. When these were cut 
out and changed the rumbling wagons rolled them and 
prepared them for the coming of the stage-coach. Of 
the various methods of travel that were once in use, 
all remain save one. The footman still gropes his way 
along the unfrequented forest paths; the horse is still 
carrying his burdens ; the old style ox- wagons often move 
about our busiest streets, but the stage-coach is gone. 
With its departure went out the most romantic period 
of the business and social life of the interior of the county. 
There was a splendor attached to the stage life that 
showed itself in the farms and homes and villages along 
the route. Houses took on a new dress and the farms 
fronting on the stage-roads were kept in better condition. 
Whitewashed, or often painted plank fences bordered 
the stage-road; ornamental frames, flower beds and well 
kept lawns added to the rustic beauty — all these things 
were offered for the approbation of the stage passenger 

228 Historic Sullivan. 

or to shield the owner from unfavorable comment or 

There was one main stage-route to Blountville from 
Abingdon. From Blountville there were three others — one 
going west by way of Kingsport and Rogersville; another 
branching off at the cemetery and going by way 
of Jonesboro, and the third going into Virginia 
by way of Estillville (now Gate City). The most im- 
portant route was by way of Kingsport. Leaving 
Abingdon there were four relays on this route; the first at 
King's meadows, the second at Blountville, the third at 
Jack Shaver's and the fourth at Kingsport. The horses 
were changed at these points, which were about ten miles 
apart. The run of a driver was about twenty-five miles — 
the driver from Abingdon laid off at Blountville; another 
one, taking the stage there, went as far as Jonesboro. 
The run from Abingdon to Blountville required three 
and one-half hours and if nothing very serious occurred 
the stage-coach arrived nearer on scheduled time than 
do the railway trains of today. 

The baggage on the stage-coach was carried behind 
in a leather covered rack, called a boot. The United 
States mail was carried under the seat of the driver. 

A coach would accommodate nine passengers and 
when there were more they rode on top. The driver was 
rarely without company as many preferred an outside 
seat, especially in good weather. 

If a breakdown occurred of such a nature that it could 
not be repaired with the tools carried along for the purpose 
the best conveyance that could be secured in the neigh- 
borhood transferred the passengers to the next stopping 
place. Blountville had an extensive repair-shop where 
there were workmen skilled enough to build a vehicle 
from tire to top. Long used to handling the lines the 
drivers became very deft. 

Travelways — Transmission of Messages. 229 

doss leedy's drive. 

Doss Leedy, an old time driver, offered to bet ten 
dollars he could turn a four-horse coach on a silver dollar 
without allowing the wheel to slip off the coin. 

The entrance of a stage into Blountville was spectacular. 
The town was then in the heyday of its business and social 
life. With no nearer competitor than fourteen miles, 
it had gathered into its circle some of the most exclusive 
and proudest names of the county's population. 

The driver, as the stage approached the town, an- 
nounced his coming with a long horn and each driver had 
his peculiar alarum, much like locomotive engineers 
have today. This was repeated several times before 
coming to a stop. It was a cue to the horses who seemed 
to understand that the master of the lines would now 
make a wild dash through the streets. With a long sweep 
of his whip, cracked high above the horses heads — never 
intended to touch them — he came on at full speed, leaning 
back, his arms stretched their length, his body swaying 
from side to side with the motion of the coach, his hat 
brim turned up — the very summit of exciting life and 
hurling motion. Reaching the end of his journey he 
would toss his lines to a waiting groom and alight, 
sure of being surrounded by eager spectators, some in 
admiring curiosity, some inquiring the news, while the 
wondering small boy looked upon him as a living model 
of the heroes of his fiction world, and to these boys he often 
recounted ' 'hair-breadth escapes in the imminent deadly 

While there was no telegraph or telephone by which 
the hotel keeper could be informed, he had a strange fore- 
knowledge of the number of passengers that would want 
meals — and rarely miscalculated. 

Among the old stage drivers were Doss and James 
Leedy, John Curry, Bill Bolinger, Bill Jenkins, Pete Mon- 
tague and Clark. 

230 Historic Sullivan, 

river traffic. 

Before the building of the railroads there was much 
shipping by boats. Boat-yards were strung along the 
river fronts through the county, the principal one being 
at Kingsport where there were also docks. When the 
timber suitable for gunwales became exhausted there or 
was too far inland for convenience in handling, contracts 
were made with builders to put boats together further up 
the river and start them down empty at the beginning 
of the tide, and by the time they were loaded at Kingsport 
the river was navigable and they could continue their 

These vessels were of the flat-boat pattern, with a small 
cabin. They were sixty to seventy feet long and sixteen 
to eighteen feet wide, and about five men were required to 
handle them. Each boat usually carried from one 
thousand to fourteen hundred bushels of grain. Large 
quantities of iron, salt and meat were also shipped. No 
accommodations or cabins were to be had for passengers 
except in special cases, as the boats made no return trips. 
Arriving at their destination and the cargo being disposed 
of the vessels were sold for whatever they would bring — 
from three to five dollars — the owner being at the mercy 
of the buyer. 

Boating was begun with the spring tides and continued 
as long as the river was flush. 

Among the old boatmen on the Holston were Jack Mil- 
horn, W. K. Cross, Tom Craft, Abraham Sanders, John 
R. Spurgeon, E. S. Millard, Hezekiah Lewis, Jacob Harkle- 
road, John Lindamood, James Webb and John McCrary. 
The boatmen sometimes returned home from a trading 
trip by stage; frequently they would buy horses and ride 
back, but the return journey was more often made on foot. 
Hezekiah Lewis, after taking his breakfast in Knoxville one 
day, would breakfast at his home in Kingsport the next 
morning, making the trip on foot in twenty-four hours. 

Travelways — Transmission of Messages. 231 


In the year 1850, when the building of the East Ten- 
nessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad was contemplated, 
some of the promoters — Thomas A. R. Nelson, Dr. Cun- 
ningham and others wanted the road to go the present 
route, by Jonesboro. The natural route was by Kings- 
port. The bison had gone that way; the Indian had his 
trading and war paths there, and the white man followed. 
Those interested in the other route approached the people 
of Kingsport with a proposition. They said to Netherland 
and O'Brien and Pierce and Ross, "You have a river for 
your transportation, give us the railroad and we will see 
that you get an appropriation for cleaning out a channel 
in the Holston that will make it navigable for steamboats." 2 
They even went so far as to send two steambots up there 
to prove the feasibility of the plan. The "Mary Mc- 
Kinney" and "Casandra" puffed into port. These were 
high-sounding names and were received with some cere- 
mony and still more curiosity. The former was named 
for a member of one of the leading families of Hawkins 
county. The boats came in on a tide and as they had not 
counted upon the rapid ebb of this mountain river, the 
receding water left the boats grounded on a sand-bar. 

The event was exciting and served the object of the 
promoters' efforts. The Netherland hotel in the enthu- 
siasm of the prospect painted a few more words on its 
sign — "Head of Steamboat Navigation on the Tennessee 
River." The railroad went by Jonesboro, but the river 
appropriation never went anywhere. 

During the building of the two roads, making the Vir- 
ginia and Tennessee air line, there was, for a while, 
increased stage travel, in transferring from one tempo- 
rary terminus to the other. 

2Another version is that the engineers were bribed to make a false report 
as to the grades on both routes. 

232 Historic Sullivan. 

The completion 3 of the two railroads in 1856-7 pushed 
the stage further west and the boat's occupation was gone. 4 
The abandonment and crippling of these two means of 
travel and transportation crushed for a time the social 
activity of the interior of the county. The absence of the 
busy scenes — bustle and rumble of heavy wheels and 
splash of oars created a lonesomeness and a longing to leave 
the country for the throngs that gathered in the cities. 

Kingsport surrendered. It warped. So sleepful did 
it 'j become that it reverted to the original owner — the 
unsought complacency of a quiet country life. The 
citizens planted corn patches where Oconostoto avenue 
might have gone. They did not seem to realize that the 
town was in the cycle of success and its turn must come. 

It did come but it took fifty years to complete the 
orbit — in the completion of the Clinchfield road in 1908. 

The bonding and building of railroads — The South 
Atlantic and Ohio in 1890 and the Holston Valley in 1891, 
together with the main trunk lines — discouraged the 
building of county dirt roads or even the improvement 
of them. The stage company had done much to keep their 
routes in good repair. The bond issue for the railroad had 
given trouble and the issuance of county road bonds 
seemed remote. But at no time since the act of John 
Adair have the people of Sullivan County feared the 
responsibility of an appropriation. They dreaded the 
responsibility of misappropriation ; they were cautious. 

In 1899 Hal H. Haynes, assisted by A. C. Keebler and 
J. H. Burrow, prepared a bill, 5 which was passed by the 

3When the two roads met in Bristol it was found that the grade of the Tennessee 
division was nearly two feet lower than the grade of the Virginia division. 

When the first trains were run over the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia 
Railroad, the engines drawing them were named instead of numbered, 
i i The first — a work-train, laying track — was pulled by the engine "Washington," 
Capt. Underwood, engineer. The first passenger train was pulled by the "Greene- 
ville," Henry Salts, engineer and Dr. John P. Hammer, conductor. Other engines 
used at the time were "Bristol," "Knoxville," "Jefferson" and "Tracklayer." 

40ne other attempt was made at steam navigation on the Holston. Maj. 
Henry Eakin, of Knoxville, ran a boat six miles above Rogersville. 

5See Acts of 1899, Chapter 262, Page 598. 

Travelways— Transmission of Messages. 233 

legislature, providing for the issuance of county road bonds 
to the extent of one hundred thousand dollars. The 
newspapers and their county correspondents did much 
to encourage the appropriation. In order to convince 
the county court a train was chartered by Hal. H. Haynes, 
John I. Cox and John H. Caldwell and the members were 
invited to go to Hamblen county and examine the new 
road construction. 

Several accepted the invitation and, from Morristown, 
vehicles carried the party over the roads. Everyone 
was pleased with what they saw, but when the court 
met to consider the question it was lost by twenty votes. 

In 1907 the act of 1899 was amended so as to submit 
the question to a vote of the people. 6 In 1908 the county 
voted upon it and Bristol's vote gave a safe majority 
for the bond issue. 

The court appointed a committee— John H. Caldwell, 
chairman, John W. Swadley, secretary, and John G. 
Preston. This committee won the favor of the public 
and made a record for financiering by selling the county 
bonds at a premium of five thousand, one hundred and 
fifty dollars. The first good road building began west of 
Bristol, on the main road through the county. When 
an additional appropriation of two hundred thousand 
dollars was asked for, the motion carried. The same com- 
mittee was appointed for the handling of this appropria- 
tion, with an additional committee composed of John M. 
Fain, Joseph H. Burrow, Fred S. Thomas, James C. 
Brown and James S. Hawk, the duties of these men being 
only advisory — to suggest routes. 

transmission of messages. 

The improvement of travelways and the increased 
speed of travel in conveyance quickened the trans- 

6See Acts of 1907, Chapter 336, Page 1134. 

234 Historic Sullivan. 

mission of messages. The system of sending letters 
and other messages in the early days was unsatisfactory 
— they were sent by hand and the writer was careful to 
note on the corner of the fold by whose hand — sometimes 
in words of courteous recognition. Isaac Shelby writing 
from Point Pleasant to his uncle directed — 

"To Mr. John Shelby, Holstons River, Fincastle 
county, favr. by Mr. Benja. Gray." 

This was before the use of envelopes and the 
letters were folded so as to make a packet then a seal 
of wax was placed upon it to secure the contents. Even 
after the government took charge of the postal system 
there were no envelopes and stamps in use until 1847. 

In 1802 the post-office at Blountville became very im- 
portant as a distributing point — one of the most import- 
ant in the South. This was due to John Rhea's influence 
— he later becoming chairman of post-roads and post- 
offices. James Rhea, the post-master, was directed to 
open all packets consigned to "Virginia State, Tennessee 
State, or Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western (except 
Kentucky) and extract and forward to their proper 
destination any letters from Virginia or Tennessee 

Jonesboro registered a complaint against this office 
and on September 23, 1802, the following letter was 
received from the department: 

September 23, 1802. 

John Rhea, Esq., Sullivan Court House, Tenn. : 

Sir: I have just received' a letter from Jonesboro, which states that 
letters from the northward arrive at your office and lie there one week 
before they are sent on to that office, owing, it is said, to there not 
being sufficient time to distribute the northern mail before the depar- 
ture of the mail for Jonesboro. There is no fixed hour for the arrival 
of the northern mail at your office, but it ought to be there, provided 
it is carried regularly in proportion to, and distributed at 10 a. 
m. on Thursday, and the departure of the mail by Jonesboro is fixed 
at 12 o'clock noon the same day. It is supposed that one hour would 
be fully sufficient for the distribution of the mails. I have now 

Travelways— Transmission of Messages. 235 

written to the contractor requesting him to deliver the mail from New 
Dublin every Thursday at 10 a.m., and to wait for it until noon. 
This, I hope, will enable you to always distribute the mails before 
their departure. A. B. 

There were but three post-offices in the county at this 
time — Paperville, Blountville and Kingsport; George 
Burkhart, James Rhea and John Lynn being post-masters. 
These remained the only official post-offices in the county 
until 1850. 

Some of the early post-masters received but little 
compensation for their labors and many offices were 
conducted for the convenience of the community. Dr. 
Andrew Shell was post-master at Piney Flats in 1855 and 
from October 1st of that year until March 31, 1860 
the receipts were only twenty dollars and one cent. He 
got sixty per cent, of this for his salary. 

In the early days government postage was high. The 
following address covers a good deal of the history of the 
postal service. It was written by Thomas Cawood, who 
was then (1840) at Kelley's Ferry, Meigs county, Ten- 
nessee, and was directed — 

"Mr Campbell E Waren 

Blounville Sullivan County 

Kellys Ferry [ E Ten 

July 13 I 18?" 

The numerals were written on the corner of the folded 
and sealed sheet and indicated that the receiver was to 
pay that much postage before he could get the letter. 
It left Kelley's Ferry July 13th and arrived at Blount- 
ville August 4th, having been twenty-two days in transit 
Letters then were accompanied by a way-bill, by which 
the government checked its post-masters. The prepay- 
ment of postage was made compulsory in 1855, when the 
rates were reduced to three cents for every half ounce. 
There have been man}^ innovations from time to time, 

236 Historic Sullivan. 

and now it is one of the best regulated public services 
in the world. 

But the public that had once been satisfied with a 
message that traveled across the state in twenty-two days 
and later still in twenty-two hours, demanded more — 
and got the same messages delivered in twenty-two 
seconds by the telegraph and telephone. The telegraph 
followed the railroads. The first telephone line in the 
county was from Bristol to Blountville, organized and 
built for convenience in consulting with the county 
authorities. This was in 1887 and the promoters were 
John I. Cox, Hal H. Haynes and John H. Caldwell. 

In 1889 the East Tennessee Telephone Company 
installed a system here, but a telephone war grew out of 
an endeavor to charge the same price for physicians' 
residence 'phones as was charged for office 'phones. 
Out of this war grew the Bristol Telephone Company — 
J. A. Dickey, president, and Jere Bunting, secretary, 
which has since changed hands. This line absorbed the 
original line to Blountville. 

The R. F. D. service was established in January, 1900, 
requiring twenty-four carriers and having nine distribut- 
ing points. Fourteen offices were dropped upon the 
introduction of this service. 


George R. McClellan. 


George R. McClellan was a ready soldier — the veteran 
of three enlistments in the army. 

He was born on Beaver creek in 1815 — was brought up 
on a farm and attended the best schools of the county, 
acquiring a good education. At the age of twelve he en- 
tered Washington College with the intention of completing 
his education, but there was a call for troops to aid in 
the removal of the Cherokees from their eastern homes 
to the allotted lands in Indian Territory and he enlisted. 

In 1847 there came another call for men and he 
mustered a company at Blountville. The best means 
of transportation in those days was by water, so he car- 
ried his company down the Mississippi to New Orleans, 
thence across the Gulf of Mexico. In this war he became 
colonel of the Fifth Tennessee volunteers and saw much 
hard service, being in the battle of Chapultapec, where 
so many were killed and captured. He entered Mexico 
with the victorious forces under Gen. Scott. 

When this war was over he returned and his regiment 
was honorably discharged at Memphis, July 28, 1848. 
At the time of his death Col. McClellan bore the distinction 
of being the last field-officer of the war. 

In 1857 he was appointed, with Judge Samuel Milligan, 
a commissioner on the part of Tennessee to re-mark the 
boundary line between Tennessee and Virginia. 

In 1859 he was elected state senator, which office he was 
filling at the beginning of the Civil War. 

He enlisted again, organized the Fourth Tennessee 
cavalry and was in the battle of Greasy Cove. He was 
with Bragg at Knoxville and with Zollicoffer when that 
officer was killed, rendering valuable service in restoring 
assurance among the men and escorting them to Nashville. 

238 Historic Sullivan. 

He then joined Gen. Forrest and took part in the 
battle of Shiloh, 1862. When this battle was over he went 
with a detail of soldiers to gather up his wounded men. 
Coming across Capt. Gage of the Fifteenth Mississippi, in a 
dying condition, he gave orders: "take this man over the 
hill and have him cared for by my surgeons." Upon 
examination it was found that a ball had struck a silk 
handkerchief which the captain carried in his pocket and 
had carried it entirely through one lung. Surgeons W. T. 

Delaney and Cate pulled out the handkerchief, 

bringing the ball with it, and succeeded in saving his 

At the close of the war he retired to his farm, east of 
Blountville, broken in spirit and fortune. 

A few years later he was chosen a member of the 
county court and was afterward elected chairman of 
the court, occupying the office a number of years. 

He was enthusiastic over good roads and when state 
senator offered his influence in getting convict labor to 
build them. The suggestion resulted in a newspaper con- 
troversy between him and Rev. William Robeson, the 
latter opposing the use of convicts on grounds that made 
the movement unpopular, and it was therefore abandoned. 

Gov. Marks appointed him one of the railroad commis- 
sioners of the state. During Cleveland's first adminis- 
tration he was appointed deputy internal revenue 

While Col. McClellan cannot be ranked in the list 
of our greatest soldiers, he was a willing one. Whenever 
the country called for troops he answered, "here." 

No man served longer or in more capacities in the 
public life of the county than he. He was born and 
reared — he lived and died a Sullivan County man. 



When Frye and Jefferson undertook to survey the line 
between Virginia and North Carolina they abruptly 
ended their work at a place called Steep Rock in Johnson 
county. This sudden termination entailed litigation 
and other troubles upon the generations that followed. 
The line was run about 1749 and the location of the end 
has not been found. 

Joshua Frye and Peter Jefferson were the commissioners 
on the part of Virginia, while Daniel Weldon and William 
Churton were the commissioners on the part of North 

There had been many minor difficulties over the line, 
but the first acute controversy grew out of a contested 
election for representatives of Washington county, 
Virginia between Anthony Bledsoe, William Cocke, 
Arthur Campbell and William Edmiston, the two latter 
claiming that Bledsoe and Cocke had secured their election 
through votes of citizens of North Carolina. The con- 
test was not successful, however, as Virginia was declared 
to extend as far down as Long Island, now Kingsport. 

A year later Bledsoe and Campbell were elected and 
the former offered and had passed a bill providing for 
the extension of the line between Virginia and North 

William Cocke, the many sided man, although he had 
previously been elected to the Virginia legislature 
and was supposedly a Virginian, now undertook to 
dispute with the Virginia tax collector, claiming his citi- 
zenship in North Carolina. 

In 1779 the legislature of North Carolina passed an 
act similiar to that of Virginia and appointed as her 
commissioners Oroondates Davis, John Williams, James 

240 Historic Sullivan. 

Kerr, William Baily Smith and Richard Henderson, 
or any three of them, while Virginia appointed Thomas 
Walker and Daniel Smith as her representatives. 

Thomas Sharp and Anthony Bledsoe, with a company 
of militia, acted as escort to the commissioners, who met 
as Steep Rock in the summer of 1779, and entered upon 
their duties. 

Steep Rock, where Frye and Jefferson ended their 
survey, owing to the destruction of the timber, obliterating 
the markings, 1 could not be located. 

After much calculation, assisted by astronomical 
observation, in order to get the sun's meridian, they 
began the line, which they extended forty-five miles to 
Carter's valley. Here the commissioners disagreed vig- 
orously, the North Carolina party protesting that the 
line was running too far south and it was supposed the 
variation was caused by some iron ore influencing the 
needle of their instrument. It was suggested by the 
Virginia commissioners that two lines be run, the correct 
one to be determined later. This was at first agreed to, 
then declined, though two lines were run to the Cumber- 
land mountains. 

The "no man's land" lying between the Henderson 
and Walker lines was the cause of much trouble. Those 
people occupying it declined to do military duty or pay 
taxes to either state. This tract of land was about two 
miles in width. 

When North Carolina ceded her land to the United 
States and the territorial government was established, 
the officers, William Blount and Col. Gilbert Christian, 
the county lieutenant, insisted upon the Henderson line 
as their boundary. 

After the territory became the State of Tennessee the 
Virginia legislature passed a law authorizing the appoint- 
ment of three commissioners to meet a corresponding 

1" Virginia vs. Tennessee," 1891. 

The Boundary Line. 241 

number from Tennessee and settle the boundary line. 
The same was concurred in by the latter state in 1801 
and their commissioners were Moses Fisk, Gen. John 
Sevier and Gen. George Rutledge, while Virginia was 
represented by Gen. Joseph Martin, Creed Taylor and 
Peter Johnson. 

This commission decided to run a parallel line equi- 
distant from the Henderson and Walker lines. Brice 
Martin, son of Gen. Joseph Martin, and Nat B. Markland 
were the surveyors. The result of this survey was agreed 
upon by both states, but by the year 1856 the line had, 
"by lapse of time, the improvement of the country, 
natural waste and destruction and other causes, become 
indistinct, uncertain and to some extent unknown, so 
that many inconveniences and difficulties occur between 
the citizens of the respective states and in the adminis- 
tration of the government of those tsates." 

The two states thereupon agreed to appoint two 
commissioners each to represent them in a re-survey of 
the line — Tennessee appointing Col. George R. McClellan 
and Samuel Milligan — Virginia appointing Leonidas 
Baugh and James C. Black. The line was known as the 
Baugh and Black line. A clause in the report of the 
commissioners to Gov. Isham G. Harris, of Tennessee, 
read: "We began the experimental work at the town of 
Bristol, a small village situated on the compromise line 
of 1802, at a point where there was no controversy 2 
as to the locality of the line, and our first observation at 
that point showed the latitude to be 36° 36'." 

Accompanying these commissioners were Prof. Revel 
Keith, an experienced astronomer, and Charles S. Williams, 
a practical engineer, with an efficient field party. 

2It has been charged, as an explanation of the offset in the line between Bristol 
and Step Rock, that the commissioners at that point visited a still-house and instead 
of going back to where they left off, continued the survey from the still-house. 
But this explanation, which has been applied to other state line surveys, is too 
ridiculous to be considered and is only mentioned here because it is retold each 

242 Historic Sullivan. 

The General Assembly of Virginia did not approve of 
this survey and in 1860 made provisions for the appoint- 
ment of another set of commissioners, asking Tennessee 
to do the same. The Civil War prevented the carrying 
out of these plans, but in 1871-2 Tennessee appointed 
another commission, which, after investigating, defended 
the compromise line of 1802. 

On July 5, 1881, the mayor and council of Bristol, 
Tennessee— J. A. Dickey, mayor, and N. B. Hayes, 
G. C. Pile, John Slack, A. D. Reynolds, J. D. Thomas, 
N. M. Taylor and W. T. Sullivan passed a resolution, 
conceding the middle of Main street to be the dividing 

The mayor and council of Goodson, Virginia — J. F. 
Terry, mayor, and Z. L. Burson, J. S. Good, W. W. 
James, S. L. Saul and E. H. Seneker passed the same reso- 

In 1886 Virginia made another effort to get a survey, 
which Tennessee would not accede to, claiming the 
compromise line was satisfactory. However, the uncer- 
tainty of the inhabitants as to which state they owed 
allegiance— the increase of land values — the building of 
thriving towns, all operated to bring about a settlement 
of the state-line question in the Supreme Court of the 
United States. 

As the town of Bristol was no longer a little village 
a serious problem had to be solved. 

A cherry tree and a sycamore tree stood for first honors. 
The cherry tree 3 stood as a marker near the corner of Front 
street, within the pavement line, and the sycamore, 
which some claimed to be the state-line tree, stood in the 
middle of Main street, between Eighth street and the 
alley leading to the car barn. The post-office came in 
for its share of wrangling. The first post-office established, 

3This cherry tree was cut down about 1853 and the lumber secured from 
it made into souvenir furniture which is still in the families of John C. Anderson 
and John H. Caldwell. 

The Boundary Line. 243 

after the town was organized, was on the Tennessee side, 
Joseph R. Anderson being post-master. It later drifted 
to the Virginia side. Not being considered of enough 
importance in the early days to be worth a dispute, 
it made little difference where it was located. During 
the administration of Andrew Johnson the office was 
ordered returned to Tennessee, E. D. Rader being ap- 
pointed post-master. Since that day it has been consid- 
ered a Tennessee appointment, the building remaining 
on that side. 4 

On account of the prominence and convenience of its 
location the Tennessee side of Bristol, where the marriage 
laws are less stringent, became a Gretna Green for love- 
linked couples from Virginia and West Virginia who fell 
under the ban of age limit or parental objection. Rev. 
A. H. Burroughs, who took charge of the old Nickles 
House, was an accommodating annex to his hotel, which 
soon prospered as a widely advertised refuge for run- 
aways. These couples, fleeing from the wrath that fre- 
quently followed on the next train, found this conven- 
ient ally, with a lantern, awaiting them at the depot. 
The number of couples he has joined together reached, at 

Bristol, Tenn., March 23. 1909. 
401iver J. Taylor, Esq., 
Bristol, Tenn. 
Dear Sir: 

In response to your enquiry as to any facts that I may remember relating to 
the establishment of the postoffice in Bristol, in the years immediately following 
the Civil War, I would say: 

That in 1S65, during the reconstruction era, a Mr. W. E. Cunningham, of 
Greene county, Tennessee, was appointed as postmaster in Bristol, with Rev. James 
K. Hancher, now deceased, as assistant. 

' TEeylocated the office on the Virginia side of Main (now State) street in a small 
one-story frame building, at or near the present site of T. C. Kain's building. 

In the year 1867, my father, the late E. D. Rader, was appointed to the position 
by President Johnson. My father was notified by the Postoffice Department, 
and by President Johnson personally; that as the position was a Tennessee appoint- 
ment, he must make his official bond in Tennessee and establish the office in that 

This was the sole cause of its removal. Personally, my father much preferred 
that the location remain where it was as the building then occupied was in every 
way more eligible and commodious than any place that he could secure in Tennessee. 
The equipment and supplies of the office were principally removed at night— 
not by stealth, as has been insinuated, but from a desire not to interfere with the 
operations of the office during the business hours of the day. 


James P. Rader. 

244 Historic Sullivan. 

the beginning of 1909, a tew more than two thousand, 
nine hundred — nearly six thousand people. 

For a while criminals found the town a sale temporary 
retreat. If a crime was committed on one side of town 
the offender could step across to the other side, tarry a 
while, and then get away before requisiton papers could 
be secured. 

Policemen were taunted and abused by some victims 
of arrest, who, being released, would take a stand on the 
opposite side — out of the officers' jurisdiction. These 
deficiencies were finally bridged with a fugitive law, 
making it lawful to seize at once any culprit, on either 
side, for offences committed against either state. 


The most serious difficulty that arose over the state- 
line issue, and one which threatened bloodshed, was 
what has been termed the "The Water- Works War." In 
April, 1889, the Bristol-Goodson Water Company, then 
just completing their plant on the Tennessee side, desired 
to extend their water-mains to the Virginia side. This 
evoked a loud protest from the Virginia authorities 
and public. Sam L. King, president and principal owner 
of the water company, ordered his workmen to extend 
a pipe to Everett's restaurant, located near the corner 
of Main and Front streets. No sooner had the workmen 
reached the disputed territory than officers arrested them 
and they were fined for trespass. As a further test the 
president himself stepped into the ditch and began digging, 
when he was arrested by officer James Cox — taken to 
jail and afterwards fined. The Goodson council issued 
an injunction, restraining the water company from work- 
ing beyond the middle of Main street. This injunction 
was respected. The Goodson authorities had engaged 
some of the leading lawyers on the Tennessee side as 
council- N. M. Taylor, C. J. St. John, Sr., and W. D. 

The Boundary Line. 245 

When the Bristol-Goodson Water Company desisted 
in their work the Goodson council ordered work to begin 
on a line of pipe down Main street. They had a large 
force of men and made considerable speed. King appealed 
to Gov. Taylor of Tennessee to prevent them from tres- 
passing, claiming that the agreement between the two 
councils as to the location of the line had never been 
approved by the legislature of either state. The governor 
in answer referred him to his legal advisers, who were 
also representing the city of Goodson. Warrants were 
issued for E. H. Seneker, acting mayor — in the absence 
of Mayor Fanning Miles— and all his councilmen. 

The matter being laid before Judge John P. Smith, 
chancellor of the first Tennessee division, an injunction 
was issued, restraining the Virginia authorities. N. M. 
Taylor withdrew from the case. 

Sheriff R. S. Cartwright, with his deputies, was placed 
in charge. Sheriff Hughes, with his deputies, hastened 
to the scene to protect the interests of Washington county 
and the State of Virginia. 

Gov. Taylor being notified of the injunction, imme- 
diately wired, "The laws of Tennessee must be upheld." 

Cartwright hurried his deputies through Sullivan 
County and summoned a posse comitatus. Several 
hundred responded. They came with all kinds of 
weapons, as determined as their forefathers were, when 
called to defend their country. 

King's forces seized the armory of the A. D. R. Rifles 
and appropriated all the guns. The hardware stores 
found eager buyers for all the weapons in stock. 

On account of King's life having been threatened, 
Sheriff Cartwright made him a deputy sheriff so that he 
could go armed, to protect himself. 

The Sullivan County forces rendezvoused on Alabama 
street— they marched out Fifth street to Main and 
lined up and down the street, facing the ditch on the Vir- 
ginia side. The workmen in this ditch were armed, 

246 Historic Sullivan. 

as were the line of deputies put there to defend them. 

Sheriff Cartwright, with a warrant for James Cox, 
stepped over to serve it, when Cox, in his effort to elude 
that officer, caught his loot on a water pipe and fell, with 
the sheriff on top of him. 

Charles Worley came to Cox's rescue, when H. C. Cald- 
well, Chief-of-Police of Bristol, and Tip Powell, a deputy, 
rushed to Cartwright 's assistance. It became a general 
scuffle and the tenseness of the scene was such that, 
had a cap exploded, it would have been followed by ? fusil- 
ade of bullets, for the guns were not loaded with blanks 
that day. 

Officer Worley, who had not taken the situation so 
seriously as had some of the others, said to Caldwell, 
"Oh, let's get out of this," and the two men got up and 
walked off together. 

Mayor Seneker, acting under seasonable advice, with- 
drew his workmen from the ditch and placed them in 
another part of the town. Influential citizens addressed 
the assembling crowds and urged peace. After much 
persuasion the leaders agreed to settle the matter in 
court, and so the friction between the two states, that 
had threatened a bloody conflict, was tempered by the 
prospect of an amicable adjustment. 

In 1890 the state-line controversy came up before the 
United States Supreme Court. The state of Virginia 
was represented by Rufus A. Ayers and William F. Rhea — 
Tennessee by A. S. Colyer, Abram L. Demoss, N. M. Taylor 
Thomas Curtin, Hal H. Haynes, C. J. St. John, Sr., and 
W. D. Haynes. Rhea for Virginia, and Curtin for Tenn- 
essee were the examiners. Many witnesses were intro- 
duced — among them the sole surviver of a former survey, 
Col. George R. McClellan. Gen. J. D. Imboden and 
Gen. James Greever were also witnesses. As usual the 
ridiculous side developed in the testimony of some of the 
witnesses. One confused the Henderson-Walker line 
with the Mason and Dixon line. 

The Boundary Line. 247 

A complete history of the dispute was submitted and 
the Supreme Court decided in favor of Tennessee — that 
the compromise line of 1802 was the correct line. 5 I . JJ| 

In April, 1900 a commission composed of William 
C. Hodgkins, of Massachusetts, James B. Baylor, of Virgin- 
ia, and Andrew Buchanan, of Tennessee, was named to re- 
trace and re-mark the old compromise line of-1802. This 
was completed in 1901-02. 

On January 28, 1503, the State of Tennessee ceded to 
Virginia the northern half of State street, thus ending a 
long and tedious controversy. 

5See "Virginia vs. Tennessee" in Supreme Court, 1891. 



The hunters of the Holston country were of two kinds. 
The transient hunters — men with sporting proclivities, 
who came in organized bands, staid for a little while and 
went back; and the resident hunters — those who took up 
their abode here and were among the first settlers. They 
left the plains because they loved the mountain haunts 
and the places least sought by the permanent settlers, 
and passed the greater part of their lives as hunters. 
They traded in furs and skins, exchanging the fruits of 
their hunt for meal and other food stuffs and wares car- 
ried by the traders, passing through on their way to the 
Indian nations. They did not always depend upon 
the loom to supply them with material for clothing \ 
they wore buckskin trousers and sometimes coats of the 
same material, though the latter was more often made 
of linsey-wolsey. 

These men, passing so much of their time in the woods, 
became skilled in the use of the rifle and learned in the 
lore of the forest. They knew the wild animal haunts, 
their ways and cries and calls, and were adroit in imita- 
tion of sounds made by them — especially that of wild 
turkeys, often enticing them a long distance. They were 
rugged nature students and understood the April ways 
of the weather, what a heavy or light mast meant; they 
consulted the goose bone, observed the "signs" and the 
"light" or "dark" of the moon — all the religion they had 
was enlightened superstition. 

They wore moccasins of their own make and were 
stealthy in pursuit of game. Their patience was pro- 
verbial. They have passed the whole day or night at the 
deer "stand" or when "treeing" bears, wolves or foxes 
in caves and hollow trees. They wore their hair long 

Hunters of the Holston. 249 

to taunt their Indian foes, not wishing to withhold privi- 
leges from them when their tuft was so invitingly offered 
for scalping purposes. 

These were the "still" hunters and nearly always 
hunted alone. 

There were also the "round-up" hunters and the "fire' 

These two kinds went in organized bands and hunted 
only at stated intervals, doing so more for protection 
against the ravages 01 the wild beasts than for sport or 
for subsistence. 

The hunts were especially directed against wolves. 
Sometimes more than one hundred men would engage 
in the round-up. They would encircle a large boundary 
of land and drive the animals toward the center, gradually 
closing in upon them and giving but little chance of 
escape. In this way Piney Flats got its name. For 
a long time that section was infested with packs of vicious 
and destructive wolves — which were made more bold by 
the veneration of the Indians for them — and the neighbor- 
hood hunters, agreeing upon a "meet," would name "the 

Many a wild animal was driven into timbered lands 
and killed or captured and then tortured and turned 
loose as a warning to the others. Singeing was one of the 
favorite remedies. 

The neighborhood of Arcadia was also a favorite 
"meet" for the round-up. Sometimes pits were dug 
and skilfully covered over with light brush and leaves 
and then baited. The wolves, bears and other animals 
falling into them were unable to get out, but they soon 
became suspicious of these places, scenting the earth and 
avoiding them. 

The "fire hunters" worked after the manner of the 
"round-ups" except, instead of using men, they fired the 
woods in a cirlce, sometimes for several miles. This 
way did not require so many men, but was not often re- 

250 Historic Sullivan. 

sorted to owing to the danger of the fire getting beyond 
control — then, too, the pitiful cries of distress from the 
helpless huddle of beasts restrained the ardor of the 
most determined hunter. 

The trapper had even more success as a fur gatherer 
than the hunter with his gun. Sometimes a hunter 
would trap as well as hunt, but there were some who 
devoted their entire time to trapping. These trappers 
lived along the rivers and their creek tributaries. Mink, 
otter and beaver were plentiful in those days and their 
furs much in demand. They were considered more 
valuable than some of the currency and in consequence 
became a medium of exchange. 

There are old hunters today who have preserved 
stories of many of the exploits of those old "still hunters," 
who lived here all their lives. A few of the names are 
here recorded, along with characteristic incidents. 1 

dan'l gertman. 

Gertman and some of his friends once "treed" a bear 
in the hollow trunk of a large poplar that had broken 
off about twelve feet from the ground. They tried to 
get him out by beating on the trunk, but with no success. 
The bear was preparing to "den up" 2 and could not so 
easily be forced to abandon his ease. 

The hunter finally employed another device. He got 
a large rock and prepared it with powder so that when it 
was tumbled into the cavity it would spew, about the 
time it reached the bear. No sooner had the smoke and 
sulphur fumes penetrated the place than those outside 
heard a terrible scratching and scuffling on the 
inside. The bear was scrambling out. Gertman rushed 
to the tree, prepared to receive him and as the bear 

IThese tales are not told on account of any remarkable prowess on the part 
of the hunters, but rather to show the type of men and the kind of animals that 
were once here. 


Hunters of the Holston. 251 

tumbled to the ground the hunter leaped astride him. 
The animal, being the victim of a second shock, rushed 
for the thick undergrowth with the hunter clinging 
fast. Seeing no way to stop him and being unwilling to 
let go, Gertman drew his hunting knife and killed him. 


On another occasion Gertman was going alone along 
a mountain path when his attention was attracted to two 
bear cubs engaged in play. "I'll just take you," thought 
the hunter and, slipping up, he secured one, but the other 
got away. He had gone quite a distance — all the time 
trying to pacify the cub, which was becoming very 
troublesome in its increasing efforts to escape — when 
suddenly he heard something coming behind him, making 
a terrible noise — blowing, growling and breaking limbs. 
Looking back he beheld the old mother bear hurrying 
after him at a furious rate and in a very threatening 

"By the Lord A 'mighty," shouted Gertman and 
pitching the cub in one direction and the bundle he 
carried in another, fled. The bear pounced on his bundle, 
mistaking it for Gertman, and soon tore it into pieces. 
Her attention thus diverted the hunter slipped over a 
log and made his escape. 


This hunter once arranged a "blind" at a deer lick 
upon which he had placed some fresh salt. After seclud- 
ing himself within his blind and waiting for a time a 
deer came up. As Odell drew a nice "bead" upon it 
he was suddenly made aware of a rival hunter in the 
forest, that had been lying in wait for the same prey. 
There was a loud crackling of bark and a huge panther 
sprang from a tree on the deer and soon disembowled 

252 Historic Sullivan. 

it. It was now Tommy's turn. He again leveled his 
gun and the panther was the victim. He secured both 
deer and panther, the panther measuring nine feet from 
"tip to tip." 


There is no name on the hunter roll more familiar 
than the name of Blevins. Once William Blevins had to 
go through the mountains to salt his cattle. He came 
upon them in a small clearing and was just in time to see 
them stampeded by a panther that had just killed a 
small heifer. As soon as the panther saw Blevins it 
leaped for him and succeeded in reaching his belt, which 
it tore from him, but with a dextrous swing of his knife 
Blevins freed himself, the beast paying the penalty for its 
rash deed. 


Last as well as least of these old hunters was Jimmy 
Twist. He was a very small man — about five feet in 
height and weighing seventy-five pounds, but was as brave 
as the best of them. He would often spend the night 
alone in the mountain. One time night overtook him 
on the mountainside. He rolled up a bank of leaves 
near a large log and crawled in, prepared to spend the 
night. He had been asleep for some time when he was 
awakened by something pulling the leaves away, trying 
to get to him. Divining the cause he lay very still — 
as near motionless as he could, feigning death. The 
animal, which proved to be a wolf, after satisfying himself 
that Twist was asleep, departed. But Twist was too 
experienced a hunter to think the departure of the wolf 
was final or due to his deception. He crawled out and 
reaching the nearest tree, climbed up, and had hardly 
accommodated himself to a limb when he heard the wolf, 
not a great distance away, calling to its companions. 

Hunters of the Holston. 253 

In a short while the barking, snarling pack came back. 
They leaped to the shelter only to find their coveted 
prey perched upon a limb, out of reach. At this dis- 
appointment they grew furious, fighting among themselves 
and gnawing the tree until morning, when all went their 

At another time this hunter had taken up his abode 
for the night under the huge trunk of a tree which the 
storm had uprooted, but which was still leaning high 
enough above ground to furnish shelter. Here he built a 
small fire and prepared to sleep. When the embers were 
getting low Twist heard something creeping slyly along the 
top of the trunk above him, now looking and craning its 
neck down over one side then over the other, as if preparing 
to spring. At an opportune time this quiet^little man 
quickly drew his knife and plunged it into^the body of 
the animal — a wild cat— ending its life. 

Abel J. Brown. 


Abel J. Brown was born at Lincolnton, North Carolina, 
March 27, 1817, and died at Blountville, July 17, 1894. 
During his youth he received the benefits of the coun- 
try schools of his home. He then went to Washington 
county, Virginia, where in 1842 he married Julia 
Teeter, who died a year later. He went to 
Emory and Henry College, where he graduated in 1847. 
The year following he married Emily Teeter, a sister of 
his first wife. The same year he went to Blountville and 
became principal of Jefferson Academy. With the 
exception of two years he taught at Greeneville College 
he spent the remainder of his life at Blountville. 

He was connected with Jefferson Academy at intervals 
up to the Civil War and in addition did church work. 
He was elected pastor of Emanuel and Buehler's (Beeler) 
churches in 1858, and served these congregations up to 
the time of his death — a period of thirty-six years. 

After the war he was again connected with Jefferson 
Academy. In addition to his church and school duties 
he became a contributor to the church papers, and was 
the literary defense of the Lutheran church in the Tenn- 
essee Synod. His ministry, beginning in 1835, covered 
a period of sixty-eight years. Some of his best remem- 
bered sermons, which were published, are "The Heavenly 
Country," "Portraiture of Lutheranism, " "The Divine 
Formula for the Administration of the Lord's Supper," 
"The Importance of Divine Truth," "The Conflict and the 
Crown" and "Nightless Day in the Home of the Blest." 
The last named was a funeral sermon and while delivering 
it he fainted, was carried from the church to his home 
and never recovered. 

Dr. Brown was a man of great mental energy. He read, 


Abel J. Brown. 255 

he wrote, he talked, he taught. And, while recognized 
as one of the leading ministers of the Lutheran denomina- 
tion, he is best remembered for his work as an edu- 
cator. He was a great teacher and his influence for 
higher education was felt throughout this section. 

This brief biography will deal with some of the char- 
acteristics of that part of his life and are recollections 
of a child's experience at the old academy. Others have 
told of the graver man. 

His methods of teaching were simple enough to suit a 
child — his culture broad enough for maturer years. 
The leading traits of his character were gentleness and 
impartiality. He may have had favorites, but he did 
not let them know it. He caused no little fellow's head 
to bow with shame by making comparisons. His school 
room was a home, the students were his children and he 
was a father with a heart big enough for them all. 

At one time of his life Dr. Brown was an incessant 
smoker. Sometimes he would fill his pipe and puff away 
during school hours. One day there was a lull — his 
head was slowly nodding — his pipe was held loosely 
in his fingers and his spectacles crept down to the end 
of his nose. He was asleep and the boys were slipping 
from the room. Outside they began their usual games. 
How long he slept he never knew, but the noise awoke 
him and he soon grasped the situation. Going to the 
back door he tried to appear harsh — "Boys!" said he, 
"what are you doing, march right in here." As they 
passed he gave each one a rap with his light willow switch, 
which did not hurt, although he pretended he was as angry 
as could be. When they were all in he lectured them on 
the sins of truancy and disobedience and then— gave 
recess. But the boys never stole out any more, for 
he quit smoking in school. 

His manner of breaking a boy from carrying mischief 
too far was most successful. About the middle of one 
session a tall gawky fellow from the country entered 

256 Historic Sullivan. 

school. He was a stranger, but it was not long before 
every boy knew him. He had brought with him a very 
attractive weapon which he called a "fly-killer;" also he 
carried a "G. D."cap box wherein he placed the dead flies. 
He gladly exhibited the weapon and allowed anyone to 
gaze upon the dead who cared to do so. It was not long 
before every student had a fly-killer and a morgue. Fly 
killing became a fad. One boy had as many as two hundred 
flies lying in state at one time. Excitement ran high 
and the killing was engaged in during "books." One 
day a very expert marksman shot a fly on the wing and 
drove him against the doctor's face. As the little insect 
fell into his lap he looked at it a while, then pulling out 
his watch said, "Boys, I'll give you just ten minutes 
to kill every fly in the room." There was a hush, then an 
onslaught. Flies fell in great numbers. After it was all over 
the boys resumed their studies. No one cared to kill 
flies after that and the weapon fell into disuse. It was 
a great victory for the doctor. He never ruled by force. 
The students studied hard under him — studied and 
learned because they loved him. 

Dr. Brown was a magnanimous man. It was the 
custom then to "bar the teacher out" when Christmas 
came round. One crisp winter morning as he came 
through the campus he saw several of the smaller boys 
huddled together on the front steps, shivering — more 
through fear than cold. They were too small and timid to 
be taken into the confidence of those who were in mutiny. 
Lee Balthis, the leader of the revolt, stood at an open 
window up stairs, ready to dictate terms. His hench- 
men were stationed at various places of exit, which were 
securely barred. The little fellows ran to meet the 
doctor and informed him that he was barred out. Going 
in front of the window he demanded: 

"Lee, what are you doing up there?" 


"What did you bar me out for?" 

Abel J. Brown. 257 

"To get a treat." 

"What kind of a treat do you expect?" 

"We want two bushel o' apples and five pounds o' 

The little fellows stood close to the teacher, shocked 
at Lee's audacity and, as they had never had enough 
money to buy more than half a dozen apples at one time, 
they thought his demands outrageous. 

Turning to some one near him, his face showing no signs 
of anger, the doctor said : "Go down in town and get me 
two bushels of apples and ten pounds of candy." As 
the news spread on the inside there went up a great shout 
and the boys surrendered. He staid long enough to 
distribute the apples and candy, then — wishing the boys a 
merry Christmas — went home. 

That same schoolhouse door has been battered with 
axes and the window-sash and panes have been crushed 
by irate teachers who forced an entrance on like occasions, 
and then compelled those who engaged in the innocent 
sport to submit to a severe whipping. But those men 
deservedly won and kept all their lives the contempt 
of the entire school. 

The old academy and Dr. Brown fell about the same 
time. One became a crumbling mass of mortar and 
brick — while the other lay beneath a little mound of clay 
and climbing vines. But above the pyre of dead and 
gone years rises the venerable form of the kind hearted 
teacher and friend and all about him are structures of 
character imperishable. 

James D. Tadlock. 


James D. Tadlock was born at Mill Brook, Greene 
county, Tennessee, August 4, 1825, and died in Bristol, 
Tennessee, August, 1899. 

In his youth he worked on his father's farm and at- 
tended school at Washington College, later completing 
his education at Princeton Seminary. He then became 
professor of mathematics in Washington College and 
afterwards conducted a school for girls at Jonesboro. 

When King College was founded by James King in 
1867, Tadlock became its first president. This school, 
however, was run as a high school the first year. 

He remained president of King College for eighteen 
years. In 1885 he was called to the chair of ecclesiastical 
history and church government in Columbia (S. C.) 
Theological Seminary, where he remained thirteen years. 
In 1898 he returned to Bristol and again filled the chair 
of mathematics at King College until March the following 
year, when he was taken sick. He died in August of the 
same year. 

Along with school duties he did ministerial work. 
Although at one time he preached regularly at the Cold 
Spring church and frequently in Bristol and other places 
it was always in connection with school work. His best 
remembered sermons are, "No Night There," "Let The 
Redeemed Say So," "Security of the Believer," "The 
Final Confirmation," "The Vision of Dry Bones," "Quit 
Ye Like Men." The latter was the subject of the first 
baccalaureate sermon preached at King College, he 
having been chosen by the graduating class to deliver it. 
That sermon followed those young men all through their 

His sermons combined the ornate and profound with 


James D. Tadlock. 259 

such rare completeness that, despite a poor delivery, they 
were impressive and persuasive, v 

But he loved the schoolroom. He loved the society 
of young men. His knowledge of a young man's needs 
and ambitions and frailties was gained by his every-day 
labors with them. He took them aside and talked with 
them, and, while always frank and occasionally almost 
severe, there were other times when his criticisms took a 
whimsical turn. 

One Friday afternoon, during chapel exercises an 
advanced student read an exhaustive treatise on a current 
topic. He dealt in rounded periods and hyperbole, and, 
at the conclusion, left the stage as though he had com- 
pleted his work — left but little to be said. His thesis 
drew extended discussion from the faculty, but when it 

reached Dr. Tadlock he simply remarked, "Mr. , 

the portico was bigger than the house — call the next 

On another afternoon one of the younger students 
read an essay on "Idleness". It closed with, "Idleness 
is the most indolent thing I know of." The only 

comment offered by Dr. Tadlock was, "Mr. a 

hog is more like a hog than anything I know of — 
call the next speaker." 

In his chosen field— mathematics — he had mastered 
all the difficult problems and made others. He worked 
out problems on the blackboard with a rapidity 
that amazed the students. Mathematics caused him to 
live much in the abstract — away from people, away 
from earth; and while in a domestic way he lived one of 
those old fashioned, happy, home lives, this abstraction 
often carried him far away from his family as it did from 
his associates. One of his little daughters, desiring to 
get something that she did not especially need, sought the 
aid of her mother, "Mama, you ask papa for the money, 
I'm not well acquainted with him." 

260 Historic Sullivan. 

His mind was a labyrinth of logarithms. Sometimes, 
when taking a stroll, he would pass a friend and never see 
him. He has been known to walk half a mile with a 
congenial companion and not say a word. 

"Dr. Tadlock, if I treated people as you do, I wouldn't 
have a friend in the world," said one of his faculty in 
friendly rebuke, and yet that professor knew that every 
boy in school idolized Dr. Tadlock. Among them he 
was affectionately called "Old J. D." 

It makes little difference whether a man seeks friends 
or not — if he be proficient in what he professes and lives 
up to what he teaches there will be no need of trenches 
for his defense. Napoleon, with all his austerity, found 
breastworks made of the dead bodies of the Old Guard, 
when his life was in danger. 

Dr. Tadlock would not make debts. He would go with- 
out provisions — coffee or sugar or meat — before he would 
go in debt for them. 

He was not understood by the poor people. They 
believed him to be aloof from them and yet no man had 
more consideration for them. 

A newly married couple of moderate circumstances, 
living near the college, was once serenaded by the students. 
They used tin pans and horns and kept up a horrible noise. 
The next day Dr. Tadlock kindly admonished them — 
"Young men, don't do that. They are our neighbors; 
they are poor and your act may have hurt them. Their 
privileges are few, their wants are many; respect them, 
don't mistreat them." 

The one great lesson he tried to teach young men was 

A young man was once added to the faculty of King 
College, whose ability was never questioned, but whose 
youth invited censure because a portion of the students 
felt he was prejudiced and had gone beyond the bounds 
of the faculty privileges in taking sides with one 
literary society against the other. This feeling reached 

James D. Tadlock. 261 

a climax when the young professor declined to pass a 
member of the rebellious society on a senior examination. 
The students mutinied. They would have^the professor 
put out of the faculty, and circulated a petition to this 
effect. It reached Dr. Tadlock, and holding it up before 
the students at chapel exercises one morning he said, 

"I see on the petition the name of , a noisy 

little 'Prep,' who never recited a lesson to Prof. 

in his life and yet he asks that this man be removed." 
Thus he presented the ridiculous side and shamed them. 
Then, in concluding, he arose to higher appeals — "Young 
men," — and when he thus addressed them every listener 
knew he appealed to every bit of manliness there was in 
them — "Young men, this young man is just beginning 
his life-work as you will soon go out to begin yours. You 
will meet difficulties as he is meeting them here today; 
you will meet men who will try to drag you down as you 
are trying to drag this young man down. Don't throw 
obstacles in his way; you will regret it in the years to come. 
Young men, stand by this young man. ' ' The petition was 



Our first settlers were not enthusiastic on the subject 
of education. They brought their religion with them 
and the minister was always welcome, but they looked 
upon learning as little needed in the development of their 
forest homes. Woodcraft was more valuable to them 
than statecraft. There were some, however, like the 
Shelbys, Seviers and Bledsoes who had higher ideals than 
the every-day logic of the log cabin, and the teacher who 
finally straggled into the settlement found lodgement 
with them. The schoolhouse was the last building to be 
erected and often the meeting-house was pressed into 
service for school purposes — later, however, the separation 
of the school and the church was marked by the erection 
of separate buildings. The schoolhouse was left half 
finished; the spaces between the logs were not chinked, 
being left open to admit light — also they admitted 
the rain and snow. 

A big fireplace, heaped with logs, tempered the cold 
within. The benches were made of riven trees, placed 
with the splintered side up, at the proper or perhaps 
rather improper height, with wooden pegs for legs — 
they had no backs. On these rude benches the 
smaller children would sit, bent over their tasks, their 
feet not touching the ground ; there were no floors in the 

The salary of the teacher was paid in whatever currency 
the cabin could afford and such as the higher state officials 
did not refuse — cloth and skins and other products of the 
loom and farm. It was the time, too, when he "boarded 
round" — each patron taking his turn at "finding him." 
A week was the length of time he was allowed at each 
home and according to his ability to help in the work about 

. !).,//■> 


John Russell agrees to teach the children oi Holston Valley al Cawood's plan- 
tation? for twelve months and is to receive fifty cents per montt ifor each schola • 
Half of this salary is t„ be paid in "Good Bar Iron to be de , vered t ■" < J ' 
house." Also, "We the sd employers do agree to find sd Teach i '...',;,,,,- 
Washing &c." They also furnished firewood. He is to ins triut >' n r i 
Spiling, Reading, Writing And Arithmetic so far as his and then Capacitj 

Barnes George pays part of ins subscription in advance The , othe, subscrib- 
ers are John Boober (written in < lerman), James Blevins, Agatha* •"'"';■ ^ ,. 
Blevins, John Cawood, Sr., Sally Cawood, Sam ^^L.^rownlow ^^^fofc 
John Morrell, John Blevins. John Russell, Thomas Major*, KOD-n l 

^^fci^SfS^ESS^SSfe Sffir-SS^y e«h patron is si o opposite 

their names. 

The Old Field School. 263 

the farm or house was he popular and welcome in the 

Among the young boys where the master boarded 
it was considered a great honor to "sleep with teacher," 
and they would perform extra tasks under promise of 
this privilege. It was an honor unsought by the teacher, 
however, who foresaw that he would toss the early hours 
away in bread-crums or perhaps awake and find himself 
imbedded in a full-grown sweet potato, as the boys always 
carried a meal to bed with them. 

There were no text-books in the early schools. What- 
ever book "come handy" to the young student was used, 
and many a youth has received his rudimentary train- 
ing from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, the Bible and 
other works familiar to all households. Sometimes 
the teacher would make his own text-books and teach 
therefrom. 1 These were often made in splendid 
imitation of print — easy to read and serviceable. In con- 
sequence of the various number of books used and the 
lack of uniformity, each pupil composed a class by him- 
self and the same rule governing the service at our tavern 
tables — first come, first served — applied to the wilderness 
schoolhouse. The pupil first to arrive in the morning 
was the first to receive attention whether he be a student 
of Bunyan or the Bible. 

As the years advanced so did the school life advance 
and a more regular system was introduced. The increase 
in the scholastic population made necessary the adoption 
of uniform text-books and the organization of classes. 
However, educational facilities of that period were still 
far behind those of today. 

A degree of advancement was not reached by grades, 
but a student's progress, beginning at his abecedarian 
days, advanced to words of two syllables like "b-a — ba- 

lAt the Johnson home on the Reedy creek road I was shown a copy of a 
text-book {used :by, George Wilhelm, an old pioneer teacher. It was an arithmetic. 
In the family Bibles during his visits, "boarding 'round' among his patrons, he made 
some attempt at rhyming verse, usually of a religious nature. 

264 Historic Sullivan. 

k-e-r — ker, baker," until the reading period began, then 
he was promoted to "readers" first, second, third and 
on to the sixth. When these were completed the 
Latin and the Greek classics were taken up provided 
the teacher was himself advanced far enough to teach 

Then, too, there were the sciences, but at times these 
met with some protest. One mother objected seriously 
and wrote the teacher that she did not want her daughter 
to"ingage in fizziology" because she did not want her to 
"talk about her bones right before the boys." 


On Friday afternoons all recitations were abandoned 
and the time given over to composition and "speeches" 
or declamation. Each student alternated, offering a 
composition one week and a declamation the next. 
Among the girls these compositions usually took 
up some domestic economy or morals. The boys' 
discourses usually dwelt upon the sports, the seasons 
and now and then a deep theological thesis, which of 
course was copied . The declamations among the girls were 
tender selections like "Mary's Lamb," and "Death of 
the Sparrow," while the already "Busy Bee" put in 
some overtime. 

The boys exposed the hero, Casabianca, on the deck 
early in the year and had weekly conflagrations with him 
until the close of school. The "benighted boy" was 
delivered in such a rambling sort of way one could hardty 
tell which was Harry and which was the guide-post. 
The deaf old sexton might not have heard the curfew, 
but it split the ears of the groundlings at the old field 
school and no doubt is ringing in memories yet. The 
barque, the prince, the sad old king who "never smiled 
again" and Bingen had their devotees. In their oratory 
they had little regard for the season. "Young Norvell" 
was kept on the Grampian hills with his flocks without 

The Old Field School. 265 

regard to temperature. "Come, come, the summer now 
is here" was often delivered in January, while "Old 
winter, alack, how icy and cold is he" was kept in a 
state of congealment during the warmest weeks of May. 
The more advanced students delivered selections of 
more ambitious range like Hayne's spirited defense 
of South Carolina, but rarely ever attempted Webster's 
studied and stately diction in reply. Some of the efforts 
were not altogether without merit and, "When the beams 
of the rising sun had guilded the lofty domes ot Carthage" 
was attempted — no matter how indifferently delivered — 
Regulus was sure of a respectful hearing. It was the 
inherited war spirit of the wilderness schoolboy that 
charged him with sympathetic listening interest. 


During the long school hours, which began at eight 
o'clock in the morning and continued until four in the 
afternoon, there were three intermissions— one, an hour at 
noon and two called recesses. The noon hour was for din- 
ner — the recess in the morning was at half past ten for fif- 
teen minutes and the recess in the afternoon was at 
three and for the same length of time. During these 
intermissions the old time games were played— 
marbles, quoits, prisoner's base, bull-pen, town-ball, 
cat-ball, fox and hounds and antne-over. 

Prisoner's base was a running game. Two sides were 
chosen, each selecting a base— the distance between them 
varying according to the space convenient, usually from 
thirty to fifty feet. To run around a base without being 
caught won a game. To be caught or tagged away from 
a base made a prisoner of the one caught, who was im- 
mediately taken to a place of detention 2 near the side 

2For some reason the place of detention in prisoner s base was .called the 
"stink." "That's not fair, he's on the stink" and other complaints ^ heard 
throughout the games. It was one of those words that belonged to a boy s vocabu 
lary, whose etymology is best left unsolved. 

266 Historic Sullivan. 

capturing him. He could be retaken by his own side 
or exchanged as a prisoner of war. 

Bull-pen was a sort of four-cornered ball game. The 
lucky ones on the four corners had the privilege of 
handling the ball. They tossed it to and fro and at an 
opportune time hit one of the boys in the pen. The corner 
men then retreated to a stand and the one who had 
been hit by the ball had a chance to secure a base by 
hitting one of the boys that occupied them. 

Antne-over, 3 a corruption perhaps of ante-over, was 
played over a building — usually the schoolhouse. The 
sides took positions opposite each other — the building 
between. The party holding the ball would shout 
"antne" — the ones opposite would respond , "over, "and the 
other again, "over she comes." If one of the party 
to whom the ball was thrown caught it the crowd 
then rushed around and captured, by hitting with the 
ball, one or more of the opposition. 

Town-ball was the forerunner of baseball. There 
were three bases and a home plate. Instead of tagging 
out a runner with the ball he was crossed out, the ball 
being thrown between him and the base. In other 
respects it was similar to the present popular and national 

Cat-ball was a timid game usually played by girls or 
small boys. It was a three-cornered game and a paddle 
instead of a bat was used to strike the ball. 



Sullivan County, Tennessee 
J. E. L. Seneker, Supt. 

Blountville, Tenn., December 14, 1908. 
Mr. Oliver Taylor, 

Bristol, Tenn. 
Dear Sir — 

Yes, I remember well that years ago children at school in the country played 
"Antne Over," "bull pen," "prisoner's base," "black man,"— "What will you do 
when you see the black man coming?" (Answer.) "Kill him and eat him." 

As to the etymology of the "Antne Over" I must say, I don't know. Perhaps 
it had its origin from the old verb ante which meant — "deposit your stake." This, 
you know, is required in games of chance. When ready to play the one holding 
the ball called out, "ante" or "antne" and they on the other side answered "over." 
Now this is only guessing on my part. 

Very truly, 

J. E. L. Seneker. 

The Old Field School. 267 

There were other games that did not require so much 
activity, such as "mumbly-peg" (mumble the peg) and 

The games of the social life of the old field school 
were innocent, consisting of Tennessee Snap, Old Sister 
Phoebe, Twistification, Who's Got the Key, Weavely 
Wheat, London Bridge, Moll Brooks Come Out of My 
Orchard and others. Most of the games had a kissing 
penalty which rendered them very popular. 

The older people contented themselves with the old- 
fashioned dances and the shifting of feet was accompanied 
by a squeaky duet on the fiddles, painfully drawing out 
"Old Jimmy Sutton," "Sourwood Mountain," "Arkansaw 
Traveler," "Rosin the Bow," "Liza Jane" and "Cripple 

Joseph H. Ketron. 


Every little boy has an ambition of some kind and it 
follows him all through life, however much he may be 
diverted from it. Joseph Ketron, when a little boy, 
longed to have Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. It 
was the biggest book he knew of and contained much 
wisdom. That yearning represented Ketron 's life — he 
wanted a library and he wanted learning, and more, 
he wanted to impart that learning to others. He got his 
dictionary and imposed upon himself the task of memoriz- 
ing one hundred words a day. He got a library— one of 
the choicest private libraries in the state. He got learning 
and became one of the pioneer educators in this section. 

But to attain these things he snuffed the candle at two 
o'clock in the morning, and he snuffed out many years of 
his life. 

Joseph H. Ketron was born near Bloomingdale, 
November 12, 1837, and died there November 1, 1901, 
lacking but eleven days of reaching his sixty-fourth year. 

With the little extra money he earned at the plow and 
with the hoe he attended the short sessions of an occasional 
school conducted near his home. But in the midst of his 
studies he was called to serve in the army during the 
Civil War. In the battle of Big Black River Bridge, 
near Vicksburg, May 17, 1862, he was shot in the thigh, 
which wound caused him much suffering at the time, 
his life being despaired of, and from which he suffered at 
times all his life. 

After the war he took up school work again, becoming 
principal of Reedy Creek Academy, at Arcadia, in August, 
1864. There he taught nine years. 

Then, deciding to attend school again, he went to Wes- 
leyan University, at Athens, Tennessee, where he remained 


Joseph H. Ketron. 269 

a year and a half, studying and tutoring. In 1875-76 
he attended the Illinois Wesleyan University, at Bloom- 
ington, Illinois, where he graduated with highest honors 
in his thirty-ninth year. After his graduation he spent 
one year teaching at New Market, Tennessee. 

Then he faced the temptation of good salaries— salaries 
big enough to have furnished a substantial living without 
much responsibility— but he chose to go back to his old 
home, where he built a school and endowed it with best 
endeavors that a good education and a willingness and 
love for work and the memories of the old place could 
inspire. He named the school after the best man he 
knew, Bishop Kingsley — Kingsley Seminary. It was 
dedicated August 6, 1877. 

He taught there for twenty-five years; until the end of 
his life. One thousand and four students attended 
the seminary during that time, and in his forty-one years 
of teaching he gave instructions to two thousand and ten 
boys and girls — young men and young women. Sixty 
young men prepared themselves for the ministry under his 

First of all Joseph Ketron was a scholarly teacher. 
"You may be called to preach, but I was called to teach," 
said he to a young man one day. He slept in his library; 
he lived in his library. Being such a hard close student 
he was not considered by some a practical man, but a 
close study of his life and habits will disprove this. In 
botany he could explain the morphological and phaneroga- 
mic and then go out into his yard and intelligently culti- 
vate his flowers; he trimmed the wicks of the lamps of 
architecture, and v/ith a saw and a hammer and a jack- 
plane helped to build the house his parents lived in; he 
could write a song and sing it himself; he could teach 
the science of agriculture, the chemistry of the soil — how 
much potash, phosphoric acid or nitrogen was needed, 
and he could raise a good crop of potatoes and beans. 

270 Historic Sullivan. 

He believed in few acres and intense culture and once 
made a test of an acre of corn, raising one hundred and 
five bushels. 

He could teach higher mathematics then go out and 
survey a tract of land — he was the surveyor of the 
neighborhood; he could tell you about metallurgy and 
then go into a blacksmith shop and make a horseshoe. 

As a versatile teacher Sullivan County has never had 
his superior. He would have made an efficient head 
of an industrial school. 

If you were to ask the students who were under his 
instruction at the seminary, what particular study Ketron 
excelled in, they would tell you all of them. He was 
a student all his life — he went to school to himself. 

He was a man of careful habits and taught his students 
how to save time. As an example — he always laid down 
his pen or pencil with the point toward him so it could be 
picked up again, ready for use, without being turned 

He was more than a teacher in the schoolroom — he 
was a living example. 

When twelve years old he professed religion at the 
Reedy creek camp-ground, and his was a devotional life. 
While always loyal to the denomination to which he 
belonged his Christianity was never crinkled by sectarian 

When but a youth he was chosen superintendent of the 
Sunday-school at his home, which position he held 
all his life with the exception of the four years spent 
at college. He opened and closed the day's work at the 
seminary with religious lessons. 

When his body was borne to the grave it was followed 
by a procession of school-children, each carrying a bunc^ 
of flowers. 

One of his favorite songs was "Work for the Night [ s 

On the day of the night of his death he worked — disp os _ 
ing of his mail — he worked himself to death. 

Joseph H. Ketron. 271 

For thirty years he kept a diary; a few days are given 

January 1, 1868: Snow six or eight inches deep.— Brother John 
married to-day to Miss Mary J. Agee.— I feel impressed with the 
shortness of time; if spared this year, I intend to try to improve it. — 
Lord help me. 

January 1, 1870: Surveyed a lot of land for Papa, planted some 
fruit trees, did a few other little jobs of work. — Read in the Bible and 
other books. — Drizzled rain a part of the day. 

January 1, 1871: Conducted a Sunday School Concert at Oak 
Grove — had a nice time — house was crowded — I gave a talk. — Com- 
pleted our "Twelve Lessons About Jesus." — Resolved to try to improve 
in knowledge and try to do right — Lord help me. 

January 26, 1887: To-day we celebrate my father and mother's 
'Golden Wedding" — We had a pleasant time. — Cold day. 



The contention of the negro that he has arrived at his 
present state of development during the last forty years 
is absurd — it has been nearer four hundred years. It 
must be remembered slaves did not remain savages in 
bondage. The length of time slavery has existed in any 
community of the South marks the time of the negro's 
translation from savagery to civilization and enlighten- 
ment. Being a race of imitators with good-natured en- 
dowments and diplomacy they soon absorbed the customs 
of the people among whom fate had cast them. 

Slavery is coexistent with the first settlements of 
Sullivan County. The earliest records we have — dating 
back to the last quarter of the seventeenth century — 
mention the purchase and exchange of slaves and more 
often the presence or possession of them. This, then, 
is evidence of their having had the benefit of over one 
hundred and twenty-five years in developing in this 
county alone over what they would have received had 
they remained in their original state. 

The Island road, named for Long Island, from Kings- 
port through Virginia, was one of the great thorough- 
fares of slave-trade, as was the Blountville road, to Jones- 
boro and back through Virginia. This explains why 
there were more slave- owners along these two roads than 
there were along the Reedy creek road, running between 
and parallel with them. Being thus brought into contact 
with the trade the temptation to buy slaves was greater. 
This also created rivalry of ownership among the buyers. 
Where one man owned ten slaves his neighbor would 
soon be in possession of twelve or fourteen. 

Literature controlling public sentiment has stamped 
the slave-trader with a stigma that would be hard to re- 

Slavery Days. 273 

move and the ban reaches all of them alike, even to-day. 
To these men more than any other cause is due the 
reputed bad treatment of slaves. 

The slave trader usually had guaranty of the sale of 
a good many of his slaves before starting on a journey. 
Sometimes they were sold at auction — the age, tempera- 
ment, experience and strength governing the price. 
Buyers would examine the mouth and teeth of a slave 
as they would a horse. The price ranged from five 
hundred to fifteen hundred dollars. The number in a 
"drove" varied from six to twenty-five. The unruly 
ones and those likely to attempt escape were hand- 
cuffed in pairs while the females were carried in 

Next to the slave trader the negro boss of the planta- 
tion was the most dreaded and despised by the slaves. 
He was usually very tyrannical in the exercise of his 
brief authority and was harder on the laborers than his 
white owner might have been. 

A man's wealth was often estimated by the number of 
slaves he owned rather than by his acreage of land. 
The Cobb family at one time owned more than one 
hundred slaves, but this high mark of possession usually 
preceded a division. When the young people of the 
family married and went to their new homes they were 
given their favorite servants. There have been instances 
where a favorite daughter of the family would find it 
hard to make a selection, all of the old slaves wishing to 
accompany her. These separations were very affecting. 

The son of an owner of slaves was always provided with 
a body-servant who was considered his property. This 
servant was usually much older than his master. The 
selection for this position, in most cases, was the one who 
took the most interest in the young man and pleased him 
most, and the attachment between the two was very 
marked. The young master relied greatly on "uncle's" 
judgment and confided most of his affairs to him. He 

274 Historic Sullivan. 

would often discard a hat or garment if the old negro 
coveted it. On many of his rambles "Uncle Jim" was 
his companion and, be it said to his memory, there 
are rare instances where these old servants exercised 
any baleful influence over the young men of the South. 

Many of those who enlisted for the war took their 
servants with them. They wanted to go and their pres- 
ence did much to cheer the Southern soldier — the young 
men knowing that should they be wounded they would be 
looked after, and if killed would not be left on the field of 
battle, but would be carried back and laid to rest in the 
shadow of the old home. 

The attachment between the "young missus" and her 
old black "mammy" was even more marked and cordial, 
she always looking after the girl's every want. Nothing 
made her prouder than to be keeper of the keys of the 
family larders, and while the old servant performed the 
work of a menial she was the real "boss" of the house- 
hold. The children knew her permission was equivalent 
to the consent of the rest of the family. 

This vesting of authority in her was simply an expres- 
sion of the love and confidence that all bore her. Should 
the young mistress make a journey of any length, 
her salutations, on her return, were not complete until 
"Aunt Mariah" had been greeted. In the sick chamber 
the old negro woman sat through the long night 
vigil, watching for any movement or sound that would 
indicate the condition of the patient. If death perchance 
occurred her grief was as uncontrollable as had been her 
joy over some pleasant surprise. 

And that feeling that once existed between the two 
races is sometimes in evidence today. The descendant 
of a slave owner will greet an old remnant of bondage 
days with a smile and frequently a donation. Not a great 
while ago, in Sullivan County, an old ex-slave lay dying. 
A descendant of his former master, hearing of his illness, 
hastened to his bedside. As his life was ebbing av/ay 

Slavery Days. 275 

he expressed great concern lest there should be no place 
to bury him. "Don't worry Uncle Jake, " said the young 
man, "don't worry, if your own race can't find a place 
for you there's a little vacant spot in the cemetery by the 
side of father and mother — we'll bury you there." 

The race is not without its quaint humor and philos- 
ophy. An old street preacher touring through Sullivan 
took his stand on a street corner in Bristol. He had 
but recently arrived from Alabama. "I was preachin' in 
Birmingham de otha day," said he, "when dey axes me 
did I b'lieve a niggah was as good as a white man. I 
looks 'bout me kind o' slant wise an' I sees a passel of 
white folks an' I says no— but I b'lieves, gem 'men, dat a 
good niggah is better 'n a bad white man." 

Indian slaves 1 worked side by side with negro slaves 
and in this way the latter absorbed much of the humor 
and quaint folk-lore of the Indian, but the Indian being 
a conservator would have none of the negro. 

Slaves were often paid wages and were allowed a certain 
portion of time each week and a plot of ground to 
cultivate for their own profit. In this way many bought 
their freedom. 

While perhaps there were no manumission societies, 
slaves were accorded humane treatment in Sullivan 
County and a few owners liberated a portion of their 
slaves and sent them to Liberia. 

The reputed cruel treatment of slaves has been much 
magnified as far as this county is concerned, but of course 
we may have had a milder form of slavery than the corn 
and cotton countries. Some owners never even whipped 
their servants, while others did chastise the unruly ones 
when occasion demanded. 

A slave owner, living near the mouth of Beaver creek, 
once ordered a slave up a tree to saw off one of the limbs. 
After the slave had climbed the tree he realized the 

llndians often sold themselves into slavery to pay gambling debts. Indian 
prisoners of war were also frequently made slaves. 

276 Historic Sullivan. 

predicament he would be placed in by sawing the limb off 
between himself and the trunk of the tree, and protested : 
"Why, massa, the limb will fall on me and break my 
neck." "Whose loss is it, suh!" replied the master. 
However, had a fatality been the result no one would 
have bemoaned the accident more than the master. 
From a commercial, if not a humane standpoint, great 
care was taken to guard the health of a slave and as no 
owner would care to cause the death of a thousand dollar 
horse neither would he indulge in projects that would 
imperil the life of a fifteen hundred dollar slave. 

In most cases the negro, with his talent for mimicry, 
would assume the style and speech, as near as possible, 
of the family to whom he belonged, always taking the 
name of his last owner. If the family laid great stress 
upon ancestry, the slave believed the ancestry was his 
own also and thereupon assumed, often ridiculously, a 
dignified air in dress and in the use of words. 

If the family was inclined to bluntness or combativeness 
the negro was often offensive or even dangerous. If the 
family was in but moderate circumstances and lacked 
prestige, the negro reflected it in a subdued look and did 
not care to discuss his family history. 

Prior to the war a traveler, passing through Blount- 
ville, accosted a spry and lofty- aired negro and inquired : 
"Who do you belong to uncle?" "I's a Rutledge, suh," 
with a toss of the head indicating his surprise that anyone 
should be in ignorance of his family identity. On meeting 
another the same inquiry was put and was answered 

with: "I b 'longs to de fambly, knows e'm?" 

in a tone that plainly showed he was ashamed of his 

Society had its factions and cliques, and the line of 
social intercourse was as distinctly drawn among the 
blacks as among the whites. A "corn field coon" could 
not keep pace with the coach driver — the "gem 'man" 
groom in waiting. 

Slavery Days. 277 

Outside of Sullivan and one or two other counties 
the greater portion of East Tennessee fought for the 
Union. The influence of Johnson, Nelson, Brownlow 
and Maynard was supreme. But those men were not 
anti-slavery in sentiment— they were opposed to fighting 
under any other flag than that of the Union. Many of 
their followers— the mountain whites— did not despise 
slavery as an institution, but they opposed the bringing 
of slave labor into competition with their own, and they 
despised the aristocracy of the slave-owner. It was the 
desire of the poor whites to throw the slave upon his own 
resources and thereby diminish free labor and withdraw 
privileges from the servant that even the savant was not 
permitted to enjoy. On the other hand Sullivan had, 
with perhaps the exception of Greene county, the smallest 
number of slaves of any county in East Tennessee, in 
proportion to its population. In 1795 it had seven 
hundred and seventy-seven while Hawkins county, which 
had been made out of Sullivan, had two thousand, four 
hundred and seventy-two, 2 more than three times as many. 

The songs of slavery have become a part of our lyric 
literature. But no one save the old time negro, when 
awakened by the inspiring memories of cabin days, 
can sing them as they should be sung, with their weird 
appealing melodies. They are the songs of captivity 
and have a melancholy that is peculiarly and characteris- 
tically their own. Some of these songs became blended 
with the Indian chants and can now be heard where there 
are groups of negro laborers — especially on public works- 
using the pick and hammer. The strokes of these im- 
plements measure time for them. 

In a great majority of cases slaves belonged not only 
to the wealth but the culture of the land and in such homes 
they were taught to read and write and what is more- 
reverence. No people were, apparently, more reverential 
or more moved by spiritual influences. The negro had 

2Tennessee Gazetteer. 

278 Historic Sullivan. 

more opportunities than the poor white and reached 
higher social privileges during slavery days than has ever 
been permitted him since, because then he never abused 
those privileges. This social phase did not mean familiar 
contact, but there was a friendly understanding be- 
tween master and servant. 

On Sundays these slaves were expected to put on their 
best garments and attend church — a place being set apart 
for them, or in the more wealthy communities galleries 
were arranged for them. 

As in the slave days when the greatest bugbear to the 
negro and his greatest dread, next to the trader, was the 
boss of his own color who was in charge of a number of 
hands, so today the greatest menace to his advancement 
has been the bad advice coming from some of the leaders 
of his race, or, what is perhaps worse, from evil designing 
whites. This is more pronounced in the press of the 
Northwest where the race problem is alarmingly discussed. 

The authorities of Chicago undertook to control the 
anarchistic spirit, then creating disturbances there, and 
which resulted in the Haymarket riot, by dealing with 
the leading instigators, and the subsequent quiet that 
prevailed proved the wisdom of the procedure. 

That legislation intended to reach the "low and vic- 
ious" will find upon investigation that that element 
gives forth only the irresponsible echo of some sentiment 
expressed by others more intelligent. 

The race problem is agitating the minds of those who 
have to deal with it far less than it is the lookers on, and, 
while the country is sometimes racked with dread and 
shocked at the perpetration of crimes, the South holds 
herself in check by the recollection that the faithful old 
slave, in times that tried him, was the greatest safeguard 
of the sanctity of the Southern homes — and remembers, 
with increasing regard as the years go by, that the old 
"black mammy" rocked the cradle and helped to rear the 
courtliest race of white men and the proudest and purest 
race of white women the world has ever known. 

James P. Snapp. 


James P. Snapp was born August 3, 1823, west of 
Blountville on the old Snapp place. His early youth 
was spent on the farm. During that time, however, 
he lost no opportunity to get an education and in con- 
sequence was, at the close of his school life, one of the 
best educated men in the county. He attended Jeffer- 
son Academy at Blountville and finished a college course 
at Emory and Henry, graduating in the class with Dr. 
A. J. Brown, 1847. 

Col. Snapp, after finishing school, taught for several 
years, between 1850-55, at the academy where his school 
life began. He then took up the study of law, which 
he finished, and, having an analytic, legal mind, would 
have made an able jurist but for the war diverting him 
from his chosen work. 

In April, 1861 he was made captain of Company C, 
organized at Blountville, which became a part of the 
Nineteenth Tennessee regiment, under Col. Pitts. 
Snapp 's company was in the battle of Shiloh and during 
that engagement occurred one of those incidents which 
appear ludicrous, even through the awfulness of battle. 
Two regiments of Federals, in the confusion, were taken 
by Col. Pitts' regiment, but he did not have enough men 
to hold them, and the enemy, recovering themselves 
and realizing the helplessness of the victor, were in turn 
preparing for a capture, when Pitts and his men 
saved themselves by slipping away. 

In the fall of 1862 Snapp was made a major. Col. 
Pitts afterward resigned and James G. Rose succeeded 
him as colonel while Maj. Snapp became lieutenant-colonel. 

He was in the siege of Vicksburg, the battles of Fishing 
Creek, Wild Cat, Kentucky and others of less severity. 

280 Historic Sullivan. 

He attained the full rank of colonel before the end of the 

At the close of the war he returned to his farm, but 
later engaged in the mercantile business at Union, 
now Bluff City, and sold goods successfully for a number 
of years. 

Always well posted on current events he was often 
importuned to run for office, but he never entered ac- 
tively into politics. 

Although never wounded in battle his bravery was of 
the daring type and he made an efficient officer. 

He was a man of high moral character and his integrity 
tallied to a penny. Being a very candid man his out- 
spoken views engaged him in controversies that were not 
always amicably settled. 

Col. Snapp was a close Bible student and took great 
interest in Sunday-school work. The young men who 
were fortunate enough to be in his class received that 
instruction which can only be obtained from a discerning 
mind and a conscientious student. 

He was never married. During the last years of his 
life he retired to his farm west of Blountville and was 
much concerned in building up the farm interests of the 
ggHe died June 30, 1901. 



Sullivan County wheat took first prize over the world at 
the Vienna Exposition in 1872 1 and the bones of the swiftest 
horse of the racing days between 1845 and 1860 mouldered 
on a field at the old Fain farm, east of Blountville. Yet 
this is not a wheat county nor is it the habitat of the horse. 

Nature has always indicated in advance what her 
climate and her soil are best suited for. In consequence 
the bison with its bifurcated hoof made a path to the 
salt-licks and from under the cover of cliffs cropped the 
grass along beaten trails that led even to our mountain 
tops. But the horse with his flat hoof did not belong 
to our rugged, stony highways. He was running his wild 
life out over the spungy turf of some western prarie. 2 

Likewise the wheat that was sown on our mountain- 
sides showed in every breeze that stirred its rivery ripples 
that it belonged to level culture — its original home being 
the rich bottoms of the river Nile. By the effect of these 
same breezes on the cornstalk and the shaggy growth 
of our trees we see that they are native and firmly rooted 
in the rocks and clay. 

Tennesseans are a race of destroyers. This de- 
destructive spirit has been inherited through generations 
from our forefathers, who indulged their inclination in 
battle. Being denied any other means of statisfying 
this craving to destroy, we of later days lay waste the 

When the first settlers cleared a piece of ground they 

1 Allison's Historical Map. 

2There is a tradition in the neighborhood of Kingsport that a wild horse found 
its way as far east as Bay's mountain. This horse in struggling for a foothold 
above the stream that ran along the mountain fell in and was drowned. It was 
a bay horse and in consequence of this incident the mountain was called Bay s 
mountain and the stream, Horse creek. 

282 Historic Sullivan. 

worked it until its producing quality was well-nigh 
exhausted. They made no effort to restore the humus 
to the soil ; they cleared and tilled a new piece while the 
old tract rested and reacted. But they left here and 
there in these clearings sugar maples and nut-bearing 
trees. The former with their succulent sap, had they 
been spared, would have furnished a forest of wealth in 
the products of maple-sugar and syrup, as they do in 
Vermont and Ohio today. 

The generations that followed, with a better knowledge 
of the chemistry of the soil, but ignorant of forestry, found 
a readier and more remunerative profit in saw logs, and 
they cut the maple for its bird's-eye finish while the walnut 
found its way into the cabinet-shop and the wagon maker 
used the hickory. They little thought to replace this 
growth with its cultivated congener, such as the hardy 
pecan and English walnut. 

We have so abused the provident foresight of our ances- 
tors that legislative bodies are seeking the best way to 
preserve from wholesale destruction the forests of the 
Appalachian range, of which we form a part, while the 
government sends out a commission to study the social 
conditions and needs of farmers. Nature in this section 
is in the hands of a receiver. Then, too, our forefathers 
saw, in the tree growth of the fragrant wild crab-apple 
and the twining vines, a fruit country — and they planted 
orchards, and the vines with purple clusters climbed along 
the door of every cabin while the wild strawberry that 
grew on some far away hillside was served in delicious 
abundance. The orchards planted by that generation 
lasted one hundred years, and when they, in the natural 
course of their lifetime, gave out, the people gave up; 
they acted as though they believed that nature was 
traveling along with some political party and demanded 
a change. 

As time went by and the people became safe from sur- 
prise attacks there was much work to do, in reconstructing. 

Agriculture. 283 

But the toil of those years was tempered by the neighborly 
interest each felt in the other. "Ill help you hoe today 
and you help me hay tomorrow." 

They communitised themselves. The work of the 
slow, plodding and laborious flail that bursted the heads 
of wheat, and the cloth which, shaken across the pile, 
winnowed it, did not dishearten them, for they saw jolly 
times ahead. The apple butter stirrings, corn shuckings 
and quiltings all found company and content. 

The wooden plow mould, with its iron point, tore up the 
earth for sixty years. 3 Then came the steel plow, and 
the flail was followed by the ground-hog thresher. 

As the implements became more labor-saving, new ideas 
sprang up and were advanced as to what method should be 
adopted to increase the yield and enlarge the profits. 
This was the beginning of the fair and grange. 

The first fair in the county was held at Blountville a few 
years before the Civil War. It was begun in a domestic way 
in the court-house and was conducted more in the nature 
of a bazaar. Products of the farm were exhibited, while 
the young women of the neighborhood, to whose 
interest was largely due the origin, brought their needle- 
work and dainty cooking, which no age has improved upon. 

The merchants, seeing wider commercial possibilities, 
enlarged upon this, organized a company and held the 
fair at the east end of the town, where a race track of oval 
shape was provided. 4 A pavilion sheltered the farm 
exhibits. These fairs continued up to the Civil War, 
when, like many other diversions, they yielded to the 

3When we are inclined to laugh at the primitive methods of plowing employed 
by other countries, compare them with the plows used as late as 1840, when the 
steel plow was introduced here. 

4The horse mentioned in the first of this chapter was the property of Gen. 
Stokes and was called Ariel. It ran the races from Richmond to New Orleans. 
So successful was it that through lack of competition it was ruled off the track. 
Not to be outdone Stokes had it dyed and entered it under a new name. Again 
it was successful and passed at many fairs without being detected. When the 
time came to remove the dve the hostler's instructions were to remove but half at 
a time, but, disregarding this, he removed it all, from the effects of which the horse 

284 Historic Sullivan. 

stern demand of living. To this day the old field where 
the lairs were held is called the fair-ground. 

The next fair to be held was the Border Fair of Bristol, 
supposedly on the state line, and was the joint interest 
of Sullivan County, Tennessee, and Washington county, 
Virginia. Its first president was LB. Dunn. 5 It was an 
enterprise that was much appreciated by the county folk, 
both of the town and country — the best medium of 
agricultural social life we have had. It drew large crowds 
— usually lasted three days and the patronage both of 
entry and attendance made it successful in every way for 
a number of years. But these fairs can not be conducted 
successfully without the sympathy and cooperation of 
the farming element and attempts to revive them with- 
out their aid has proven unsuccessful. 

A fair was organized at Thomas' bridge, on Beaver 
creek, in 1891, by Jacob and Marshall Thomas. The 
fair consisted chiefly of horse-racing and was conducted 
for two years with varying success. 

The abandonment of the county fair, the camp-meetings 
and other assemblings — the bad roads, the withdrawal 
of the court from Blountville, the lack of the old time 
community spirit has done much to discourage farm life 
in Sullivan, and has driven much of its best energy to the 
thickly settled cities, while the lonesome day laborers 
strayed away to public works. The newspapers, that 
reached the people of the interior, told of great achieve- 
ments and progress beyond them while they remained 
the same, and the unknownness of places and people 
made country life only tolerable while the temptations 
to leave it were great. 

The old time swapping spirit is gone — swapping of 
good nature, swapping of labor, swapping of visits, swap- 
ping of products, and swapping of horses. 

51. B. Dunn was president of the Border Fair for three years, from 1875-78. 
He was followed by J. M. Barker, 1879-82 ; George W. Kuhnert, 1882, for one 
year. There has been some racing since, but no organized Fair. 

Agriculture. 285 

Sullivan County in its physical formation is one beauti- 
ful park. There is enough level land for culture; there 
are enough slopes, if carefully turfed, for grazing herds 
of cattle and flocks of sheep, 6 and enough broad 
limbed trees to shade them; there are enough clear cool 
springs for dairying, to make us famous for the products 
of this pursuit. Then, instead of the great loads of wheat 
wagon-hauled by the Dicksons and Rollers and Thomases, 
it would be more natural to see great herds of cattle 
and sheep — a better grade — driven by the Cartwrights 
and Hamiltons — not driven to slaughter, but to stock 
other sections not so favored as ours. 

The farmer of Sullivan county has never given agri- 
culture the dignity it deserves. 

The good roads, just beginning to reach these possi- 
bilities, will bring into the neglected farms new interests 
and carry out of them new products. 

Sullivan County is just putting on its agricultural 

6Secretary Wilson said East Tennessee was the finest country for sheep raising 
he had ever seen. 



The history of the Cherokee Indians is so intervolved 
with the history of the first settlers of our State that any- 
thing concerning that tribe interests our people. 

The removal, in 1838, of these Indians from their life- 
long homes surpasses in pathos any page of our national 
history. It is the blot on the Escutcheon. The cause of 
this removal was covetousness on the part of the white 
race — a longing for more land. The Indians were slowly, 
and almost for a song, ceding away their chosen land. 
Although the government in a treaty (1798) agreed to 
"continue the guarantee of the remainder of their country 
forever" the whites did not cease making inroads and 
encroaching upon the tribe's land. By a treaty made 
January 7, 1806 the Cherokees ceded the large tract be- 
tween Duck river and the Tennessee, which included 
Long Island in Sullivan County and embraced nearly 
seven thousand square miles. For this immense tract 
they received two thousand dollars per year for five years, 
a grist mill, a cotton gin and a life pension of one hundred 
dollars per year for the aged chief Black Fox. After anoth- 
er treaty, made on March 22, 1816, they declared they 
would never give up any more land. 

Gov. McMinn, of Tennessee, under instructions 
from Washington, was using his efforts to have the In- 
dians removed. At a council in November, 1818, he rep- 
resented to the chiefs it was no longer possible to protect 
them from the encroachments of the whites, that their 
lands would be taken, their stock stolen, their women 
abused, and their men made drunkards unless they re- 
moved to the allotted territory in the West. He concluded 
by offering them one hundred thousand dollars for their 

JOHN ROSS (Gu wisguwi) 
Last Chief of the Eastern Cherokees 

The Removal. 287 

lands. They indignantly refused. He then doubled the 
sum, but the negotiations failed. 

A new civilization and a new form of government now 
sprung up — principally through the influence of John 
Ross, the last chief of the Eastern Cherokees. It became 
treason, punishable by death, for any one to sell lands 
without the consent of the council. 

Another Cherokee — Sequoya — distinguished himself 
about this time by inventing the Cherokee alphabet. He 
was the Cadmus of his race. It was easily learned and 
even without the aid of schools communication became 
more rapid and intelligent. Sequoya was granted a pen- 
sion by the government and was the only literary pen- 
sioner in the United States. The Sequoya trees of Cali- 
fornia are named in his honor. 

John Ross was made chief in 1828 and is the principal 
author of a constitution which was the first to govern 
an Indian tribe. He held the position of chief up to his 
death in 1866, being thirty-eight years the head of the 

Their acquirements in the way of enlightenment seem- 
ed to avail them little. Georgia was pressing them for 
their lands and was resorting to all kinds of strategy — to 
secret schemes and open overtures, but all were met with 
firm refusal. "It is the final and unalterable determina- 
tion of this nation never again to cede one foot more of 

When, in 1827, the Cherokees adopted a constitution, 
the Georgia legislature passed a resolution affirming that 
the State "had the power and right to possess herself, by 
any means she might choose, of the lands in dispute and 
to extend over them her authority and laws." 


Up to 1815 all negotiations had been for land only. 
In this year a little Indian boy in his rambles along the 
Chestatee river brought a shining pebble, about the size 
of a small marble, to his mother. She carried it to the 

288 Historic Sullivan. 

nearest settlement and sold it to a white man. It proved 
to be gold. The news spread and in four years this sec- 
tion was overrun with white prospectors. 

In 1828 gold was found on Ward creek — the end of 
Cherokee possession was near. 

In this same year Andrew Jackson was elected Presi- 
dent. He was an Indian fighter and an Indian hater. 
Although the Cherokees, six hundred strong, were among 
his greatest allies in his battle against the Creeks, he 
now turned against them and would offer them no sym- 
pathy nor aid. 

Junaluska, one of the bravest of the chiefs who accom- 
panied him, was heard to say, "If I had known that Jackson 
would drive us from our homes I would have killed him 
that day at the Horseshoe." When it was known the 
sympathy of Jackson was not enlisted for the Indian, 
depredations by the whites became general. Armed men 
went through the tribe, pillaging and burning. Laws 
were passed dispossessing the Indians of their homes 
without redress. Life became almost intolerable and 
property valueless to the Cherokee. He was not allowed 
to dig gold on his own land nor was his testimony permit- 
ted against any white man. He was helpless. The Su- 
preme Court and the laws of Georgia conflicted. Georgia 
defied the courts. The issue became a national one and 
party lines were drawn. 1 Such men as Henry Clay, Dan- 
iel Webster, Edward Everett, Wise of Virginia and Davy 
Crockett defended the Indian. Through all these trials 
Chief John Ross was very active in behalf of his people; 
so much so, he had, under threat, to seek refuge in Ten- 
nessee. He was later captured by the Georgia guard 
along with John Howard Payne, who was then stopping 
with Ross for the purpose of studying the Indian life. 
They were taken across the line into Georgia where Ross 
was held a prisoner for some time, but was finally released 
without explanation. ' 

lit is worthy of note that the two races, the Indian and the negro, have caused 
the bitterest controversies in our government. 

The Removal. 289 

The treaty of 1835, wherein about four hundred out of 
seventeen thousand Cherokees ceded all their lands west 
of the Mississippi to the United States for five million 
dollars, and a portion of land in Indian Territory was rat- 
ified at New Echota. A man named Schermerhorn was 
the government representative. He purported to be a 
minister of the gospel, but, on account of his underhand 
dealing, had to be warned that nothing but "fair and open 
terms" would be acceptable. The removal was to take 
place two years from the date of the treaty. 

At the expiration of this time, however, only about two 
thousand of the Indians had left and it became evident 
that the removal would only be accomplished by force. 
Gen. Winfield Scott was given charge of these affairs 
with about seven thousand soldiers, four thousand of 
whom were volunteers. Sullivan County furnished her 
share and more wanted to go. 

Troops were sent to various points in the Cherokee 
country, where they erected stockades in which to hold 
the Indians after they were corralled. From these stock- 
ades squads of soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets 
were sent through the mountains to bring in all Indians 
that could be found. Men going along the road or found 
in their fields were seized, and squaws engaged in their 
domestic duties were taken, while children, all unmindful 
of the approaching seizure, were often caught at play and 
forced to go. There were instances when a family, on 
being taken, looked back and saw their old home burning — 
set on fire by rowdy camp-followers; some on mischief 
bent, some for purposes of theft, some out of revenge. 
These ruffians were so ruthless in their thefts they even 
dug into the graves of the dead to rob them of metal orna- 

One old gray-haired Indian, when told he must go, 
called his family, including his grandchildren, about him 
and all knelt down and prayed in their own language. 

290 Historic Sullivan. 

Even the hardened hearts of the soldiers softened at this 
sight. Concluding the prayer they silently followed the 

At one house which the soldiers surrounded, as was their 
custom to prevent escape, the woman of the home went to 
the door, called up the chickens to be fed for the last time, 
then, with her infant on her back and leading two other 
children, followed the men to her exile. 

All the Indians were not so submissive. An aged man 
called Tsali (Charley) was taken with his family and the 
families of his three sons. His wife, being too old to walk 
as fast as the soldiers desired, was prodded with bayonets 
to hurry her along. The old man could not control him- 
self. Talking in Cherokee to the others he quickly form- 
ed a plan to attack the soldiers at a given signal. This 
was done and each Indian grabbed the soldier nearest 
him — their guns were taken and one soldier was killed. 
The rest fled while the Indians escaped into the mountains. 
Many also escaped from the stockades and seeing it im- 
possible to secure all, Gen. Scott made a proposition 
through Col. Thomas, agreeing that if they would surren- 
der Charley and his party for punishment he would let the 
others alone until the courts could adjust the matter. 
Charley on hearing this came in of his own accord, accom- 
panied by his brother and sons. He offered himself a 
sacrifice for his nation. All were shot. 

Those fugitives that remained at large, unmolested, 
were the ancestors of the present tribe of the eastern Cher- 

After having collected nearly seventeen thousand of 
the Cherokees the long journey began. Some went by 
river, but the great majority went overland. A delay of 
several months was occasioned by the extreme hot weath- 
er. The march was resumed in October and continued 
through the entire winter. 

It was a great cavalcade, requiring six hundred and 
forty-five wagons besides horses for riding. The course 

The Removal. 291 

of the exiles was a trail of death — from ten to twenty- 
dying each day. Among them was the devoted wife of 
Chief Ross who had to be buried by the roadside. When 
the end came in March, 1839, over four thousand had died 
from the effects of the removal. 

It is hard for us now to harmonize our convictions with 
the events that transpired at this period, but the act re- 
calls that of William the Conqueror, who, to satisfy his 
passion for outdoor sport, demolished the homes and 
churches of the peasantry for thirty miles in New Forest, 
and offered no return for the loss. It befell that in a short 
while three of his house met violent accidental deaths in 
this forest. 

John Netherland. 
a biography. 

John Netherland was born in Powhatan county, Vir- 
ginia, September 20, 1808, but his parents removed to 
Sullivan County when he was an infant and settled 
at Kingsport. 

He had the advantage of a good education, being a 
pupil of Doak, under whom his academic course was 
completed in his fourteenth year — after this he had home 
training under Henry Hoss, an excellent scholar. 

He began the study of law in 1828 and was practising 
in 1829. Early in life he became interested in politics, 
and in 1833, when but twenty-five years old, was elected 
to the state senate from the district composed of Sullivan, 
Hawkins and Carter counties. While in this body he 
attained high rank among his colleagues. 

While he was a member, one of the leading questions 
of the day came up — that pertaining to the removal of 
the Indians from their eastern homes to the territory 
set apart for them beyond the Mississippi. In an 
eloquent speech, in which he appealed to the humane 
side, he took a stand against the removal. 

A revision of the state constitution in 1834, by which 
the eligible age of a state senator was placed at thirty, 
threw him out of the race. In 1835, however, he was 
elected to represent Sullivan County in the legislature. 
It was while serving as representative that he furnishes 
an example of high integrity in office. He refused to 
vote for a resolution, asking our senators to vote for the 
expunging clause, which referred to an act of censure 
passed upon Andrew Jackson. Sullivan County en- 
dorsed it in a primary and asked Netherland to vote for it, 
but rather than go against his principles he resigned his 
commission and returned to private life. 


^ w^\ 


John Netherland. 293 

In 1848 he was elector for the state at large on the 
Taylor-Filmore ticket. 

In 1851 he was elected representative from Hawkins 

When in 1859 the Whig or what was then known as 
the "Opposition" party wanted a candidate for governor, 
Netherland was unanimously the choice of the conven- 
tion at Nashville. He accepted although he knew he 
had little chance of success. Isham G. Harris was his 
opponent and defeated him — Netherland, however, 
ran far ahead of his ticket. Along with Thomas A. 
R. Nelson and Andrew Johnson, Netherland took sides 
with the Union during the Civil War and while he suf- 
fered, as many others on both sides, he did not harbor 
hatred, but advised tolerance and good feeling when the 
battles were over. 

His last official act was as a member of the constitutional 
convention of 1870, although he was afterwards tendered 
a foreign mission by President Johnson, which he declined. 

It is more as a lawyer than as a politician that his 
memory will be preserved. He was one of the strongest 
advocates in this or any other state. 

During John Netherlands last days as a practicioner 
at the Blountville bar the venerable appearance of the 
man seemed to add weight to all said. Besides his legal 
knowledge he knew human nature. He was a well in- 
formed man, reading much and committing to memory — 
his favorite writings were the Bible and Robert Burns, 
from which he would often quote. No jury could resist 
his style of delivering a message to them. He would 

often make personal appeals to a juryman — "Bob , 

I remember, sir, when your father was cut to pieces in 

that sawmill " And while such methods may 

not conform to legal ethics, they influenced. 

He was especially forceful in criminal practise and the 
prisoner was well favored who secured him as counsel. 
When he was acting in a murder case — defending a prisoner 

294 Historic Sullivan. 

— groups of men could be seen entering the court-house. 
The farmer found it possible to postpone his work, the 
business man left his counter, the carpenter his bench 
and even the school boy, always ready to rebel against 
listening to discourses of any kind, hurried to the court- 
room — all drawn thither by the report that "John Nether- 
land closes for the defense." 

He was once engaged to defend a young man charged 
with murder. There are two periods of life that appeal 
to any jury — youth and old age. He would often say, "I 
quote from the good book — the greatest of all books — 
the book upon which all human law is founded." This 
time he plead for mercy. He told the story of Absalom, 
the young man who mutinied, and how, despite the grave 
charge, the king plead for his life on account of his youth. 
"And David," said he in concluding, " 'numbered the 
people that were with him and set captains of thousands 
and captains of hundreds over them. And David sent 
forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab 
and a third part under the hand of Abishai and a third 
part under the hand of Ittaii. And the king stood by 
the gate side and all the people came out by hundreds 
and by thousands. And the king commanded Joab and 
Abishai and Ittaii, saying, deal gently for my sake with 
the young man Absalom' — gentlemen of the jury, 
deal gently with the young man." 

But for his cheerful spirit, that never forsook him, 
his last days might have gone out in gloom. Himself 
a great sufferer from bodily affliction, his cup of sorrow 
was filled by the unhappy fate of his household. His 
favorite kinsman had passed from earth; his son and 
namesake, John, had died from pneumonia, the result 
of exposure in rescuing his father from drowning; his 
wife, the companion of his long life, was dead and his 
daughter, Molly, had been killed by being thrown from a 
runaway horse. And as the old jurist sat on his sunny 
porch one afternoon, his long stem pipe held in a palsied 

John Netherland. 295 

hand, which, with his increasing emotion, tossed the 
ashes in his lap, he thus sorrowed. "Sam," he said to 
his companion, "old John's gone — and young John's 
gone — and Sarah's gone — and Molly's gone " 



John Slack was the Nestor of the press of upper East 

He was born in McMinn county, Tennessee, December 
19, 1835, his family having removed from Fauquier 
county, Virginia. Orphaned during his infancy he and 
his two elder brothers were reared by a bachelor uncle. 

When seventeen years of age he was apprenticed to 
Sam. P. Ivans of the Athens, Tennessee, Post — remained 
with him for four years and then became a journeyman 
printer, working at various places in the South. 

In 1859 he went to Jonesboro and in partnership with 
Charles Byars established the Whig, which later became 
the Express, Byars selling out to Slack. 

While there he met Julia P. Holston, who was attending 
school, and was married to her in September, 1862. 

He moved to Bristol in 1865, bought out and revived 
the Bristol News. He was appointed post-master by 
Andrew Johnson, later going to Greeneville to manage 
and publish a paper in Johnson's interest. It was 
Union in politics. 

He was elected to the legislature from Sullivan County 
in 1869 — started the Bristol Courier in 1870. A more 
extended account of his newspaper connection is given 
later in this chapter. 

In 1885 he was appointed, by Cleveland, post-master 
at Bristol — was elected trustee of Sullivan County in 
1894 and re-elected in 1896. In 1898 he was elected 
state senator, being in this office when he died, October 
13, 1900. 

It would be hard to measure the influence and the 
worth to East Tennessee of a man like John Slack. He 
was a commoner and he came at a time when the times 


The Newspaper— Politics. 297 

most needed him. The war was over, but there were 
wounds to heal. He was always conservative. Had he 
been of a discordant, jarring nature he could easily, 
through his paper, have kept alive the coals of controversy, 
which some one was always ready to fan into a blaze. 
But he sought to smooth down dissension and he 
tempered the times with sound advice. 

He differed from his associates in political sentiment, 
but he did not differ from them in their sorrow. 

Frank in the outward show of the inner self, he at times 
appeared brusque and rude in manner, but he was of 
kindly heart and envied no man a betterment. 

He craved no honor that carried with it only the glitter 
of parade. When Gen. William B. Bate was elected gov- 
ernor he invited the editor to become a member of his 
staff, the position adorning the holder with the title of 
colonel. His reply was characteristic — "I am too homely 
to be an ornament and too poor to be useful — please 
excuse me." 

In church work he was a balancing force. He was 
especially interested in the Sunday-school and the class- 
meeting — that love least where the faithful old souls 
gather and wring the heart of religion and sympathize 
with one another and sob away their sorrow. Here he 
was to be found and his best epitaph is the memory the 
survivors have of him. The secret of his influence 
with his fellow citizens lay in his confidence in them, 
which they rewarded with unquestioned confidence in him. 

One day a tall, swaying figure brushed into his office — 
his trousers stuffed into his boot tops. Slack was stand- 
ing at a case, setting up an editorial. "John," said the 
man, "I got your dun. Look-a-here John, I paid you 
that subscription last fall, don't you mind?" 

"Well," replied the editor, "if you say you paid it I'll 
take your word for it and scratch it off the books," and 
he did. 

He kept his accounts with his fellow men as he kept 

298 Historic Sullivan. 

his accounts with his conscience. He was honest in purse 
and purpose. And standing on the rim of his rounded 
life and looking back over the circle of his years the path 
he left is not hard to find, and there are not so many 
divergences but that it may be safely followed. 


In the early days of the publishing business of Sullivan 
County the newspaper had a varied existence. The 
office generally occupied space not suited for any other 
active industry. The usual force consisted of two type- 
setters and the devil, who was general utility boy. In 
the event of breakdowns and delays the editor, who was 
nearly always a practical printer, set his editorials from 
memory. The old Washington hand press was then in 
use. The office towel was also in use and was never 

The editor's sanctum was the loafing place of political 
students and those who wanted to read the dailies — 
it was a time when individuality was stamped upon the 
editorial columns. The querry was not "what does the 
Tribune have to say," but "what does Horace have to 
say?" — meaning Horace Greeley. 

The editor, too, was supposed to be a general informa- 
tion bureau and was expected to know everything from 
how to plant cucumbers in the sign to expounding inter- 
national law. For many years the county was content 
with the four-page weekly paper, and, while the business 
corner announced the subscription price "one dollar per 
annum, invariably in advance," few there were who — 
mindful that the editor was mortal, had wants and must 
eat — heeded the rule, and at the end of the year this 
sway of public opinion was glad to accept wood or 
vegetables or any kind of farm products in payment of 
delinquent subscriptions. One paper, in good-natured 
desperation, offered to take spring greens. 

The Newspaper— Politics. 299 

With the advent of the railroads came the newspapers. 
In May, 1857, a stock company bought a press and A. 
K. Moore, a real estate agent, was made the first editor 
of the Bristol News. J. Austin Speery succeeded him in 
a short while and is still considered the pioneer editor 
of this section. Speery remained with the paper until 
1862, when he went to Knoxville to take charge of the 
Knoxville Register. This paper refugeed in Bristol 
during the Civil War. The News press also printed 
the Presbyterian Witness, which was edited by Revs. 
A. Blackburn, J. M. McClain and James King. 

The Southern Advocate succeeded the News v/ith Rev. 
W. W. Neal, editor, and at the close of its brief career 
the State Line Gazette was started. W. L. Rice had re- 
cently sold some land with a view of going west when he 
was persuaded by Martin Coman to invest here and the 
result was the launching of the border paper. The Gazette 
began business with all the promise of prosperity. 
Coman made a soliciting trip through Wise, Russell and 
Lee counties, Virginia, securing five hundred dollars 
worth of subscriptions and job work. Rice made a busi- 
ness trip to Baltimore immediately after the war, when 
the East was seeking to renew trade with the South, and the 
way merchants took advertising space made his heart 
glad. He thereupon spent several hundred dollars 
for additional material to accommodate the visions of 
abundance that were heaping up. 

At the end of the first year Rice thought it was time 
some remittances were coming in to reimburse him for 
the money he was paying out to keep the paper alive. 
Statements were sent to Wise, Russell and Lee counties 
and in return counter statements were received of debts 
Coman had made before associating himself with the 
newspaper. To complete his experience the editor got 
into a controversy with George Gresham, of the Jones- 
boro Flag, and the bitter personalities threatened to 
bring the two men together; however, after Gresham 

300 Historic Sullivan. 

and a party of friends came to Bristol with the intention 
of whipping Rice, they suddenly changed their minds and 
returned home without making any explanations. Rice 
sold out to W. W. Neal and not before he was ready 
to sell. He had sunk three thousand dollars in the enter- 

In 1865 John Slack restored the old News, and in 
1866 leased it to D. F. Bailey, who ran it for a year. 
It was then purchased by I. C. and Elbert Fowler, remain- 
ing the property of the former until his appointment 
as clerk of the Federal Court, at Abingdon, Virginia. 
A. C. Smith and M. T. Harrison then had charge of the 
paper until 1890, when it became a daily and Sam. 
C. W. Smith succeeded Harrison— the father and son 
ran it for eighteen years. It then became the property of 
a stock company with N. B. Remine, editor. 

John Slack founded the Bristol Courier in 1870. W. 
M. Burro w purchased it in 1876, but retained the editor, 
who a year later took charge again. It enjoyed a large 
job printing patronage, issuing college papers and the 
Holston Methodist. In 1880 an attempt was made to 
publish the Daily Courier but it was ephemeral— lasting 
only three weeks. 

In 1888 Charles H. Slack became connected with the 
business and the first permanent daily paper established 
in the county was launched September 15th of that 
year. The editorials were characterized by an independ- 
ence of thought, expressed in such terse style that they 
were quoted all over the state and the paper became 
an iconoclast in Tennessee journalism. With the ex- 
ception of about one year, during which publication was 
supended, it existed as the Daily Courier until merged 
with the Herald in February, 1907, becoming the Herald- 
Courier. C. H. Slack, John Slack, Munsey Slack, Jack 
Faw, Nat Dulaney, Jr., N. B. Remine and Herschel 
Dove have successively been managing editors of this 

The Newspaper— Politics. 301 

In 1896 the Daily Times was launched by Faw and 
Underwood. In 1898 this paper bought the Daily Courier 
and became the Times-Courier — John Slack, however, re- 
taining the Weekly Courier. In September, 1898, the 
Daily Tribune was started as a campaign paper, James 
A. Stone and John W. Price being the promoters, with 
Herschel Dove as associate editor. ^This paper was 
merged into the Times-Courier in December, same year. 
In 1900 a company bought the Tribune-Times-Courier 
and the paper again became the Daily Courier. 

The first daily paper published in the county was 
called the Daily Argus, the first copy appearing November 
17, 1879. George T. Hammer and John T. Barnes 
were the proprietors, with W. F. Rhea, John Caldwell 
and Will Pepper editors at different times. It lived 
for three months and was the first penny daily ever printed 
in Tennessee. It declared in its first issue, "our aim shall 
be to live and let live and in order to live up to it or rather 
down to it we must run our business strictly on a cash 
and pay-down system." The subscription price was 
five cents per week. 

In 1873 William Burrow published the Souvenir, a 
literary journal, which for a time had the phenomenal 
circulation of five thousand, covering many states. 
It was run for two years. 

In 1879 William and Robert Burrow began the publi- 
cation of the Reporter, a weekly paper. In 1885 Thomas 
J. and Joseph H. Burrow took charge. This paper ran 
for two years and enjoyed the distinction of being the 
best condenser of news in the state. 

The Landmark was a Bluff City product, appearing in 
1872— W. D. Pendleton, proprietor, and Maj. B. G. 
McDowell, editor. R. M. Dickey and Will V. Vance were 
also editors, the former in 1873 and the latter in 1874. 

This paper was moved to Blountville in 1878 and was 
the first paper to be published at the county capital. 

The Central Star followed it a few years later, fostered 

302 Historic Sullivan, 

by Ben. L. Dulaney and N. J. Phillips. Phillips, coming 
into full possession, removed the paper to Newport, 
Tennessee. After sinking a discouraging amount of money 
the editor one day opined that he would as soon as not 
sink the whole outfit in the river, which ran back of 
the office. And such, sometimes, is the vexatious and 
uncertain existence of this kind of enterprise. 

Between the closing of 1906 and the beginning of 1907 
there was an interregnum in the newspaper business of 
Sullivan. But this lapse was partly covered by the 
issuance, at Kingsport, of a weekly paper called The 
Zephyr, William Peltier being the promoter. 

The Sullivan County Developer is the latest offering 
from the press and began its existence at Bluff City 
in 1908, with W. D. Lyon, editor. 

With all the drawbacks in the way of office accommo- 
dations and the meager support the early editor derived 
from his paper there is no doubt of its influence. As 
a fashioner of sentiment it was most powerful because of 
extensive circulation. The men who conducted these 
old-time weekly papers uniformly gave sound advice and 
were conservative. Whatever radical opinions they 
may have had they did not find it expedient, in the face 
of limited means, to assert such views, and in all 
instances were builders of prosperity as well as of public 


Most of the newspapers of Sullivan have been political 
and the politics of the county has been democratic. The 
influence of Andrew Jackson still lives. 

The most exciting campaign was during the Polk and 
Clay candidacy for President. Polk being a Tennessean 
made the fight local as well as national. It was a color 
campaign — pokeberries and clay mud being the party 
emblems. One side would stain a fence or house with 
pokeberries and the other would would cover it with a 

The Newspaper— Politics. 303 

daub of clay mud. In those days candidates always 
engaged in joint debate. It was not necessary to chal- 
lenge — it was understood. These joint discussions drew 
immense audiences and were consequently conducted 
in a grove or open-air pavilion. There being no great 
number of newspapers the people sought information 
from the political speakers and they usually obtained 
it, for these speakers, accustomed to public appearances 
and never knowing what inquiries might be made, became 
well informed men. 

During the Know-nothing campaign of 1855, in a speech 
at the Institute grove in Blountville, Andrew Johnson, 
for the edification and enlightenment of his audience 
as well as to the discomfiture of his opponent — Meredith 
P. Gentry — defined know-nothingism as "the little end of 
nothing whittled to a point." 

These speakers, too, often appealed to the sentiment 
of the audience and when lacking for a more suitable 
plea imposed upon prejudice. 

When Gen. Stokes and DeWitt Senter were opposing 
each other for governor they engaged in a discussion at 
Blountville. Stokes was the owner of Ariel, the famous 
race-horse. He appealed to the horse-breeding and 
agricultural spirit of his countrymen, "the bones of Ariel," 
said he, "are mouldering on Sullivan County soil." 

Replying to this Senter said : "I grant you it is a great 
honor to have the resting place of the fastest horse of the 
times, but gentlemen the bones of an ancestor of 
mine, who fought in the battle of King's Mountain, are 
sleeping in Sullivan, and what are the bones of the fastest 
horse in the world compared with the sacred dust of a 
man who fought for your liberties." 

That politics makes strange bedfellows is demonstrated 
in the following: When John Blair and John Tipton 
were running for congress in 1825 they had an engage- 
ment to speak in Blountville. After they had completed 
their discussion they went to the hotel and the proprietor 

304 Historic Sullivan. 

unthoughtedly assigned both men to the same room. 
However opposed to each other's political views men in 
that day may have been they could accommodate personal 
inconveniences with singular inconsistency. When the 
two men retired Tipton described how he had been to 
Hawkins and fixed things to suit himself and thus, secure 
in his own contemplation, laughed himself to sleep. Blair 
then quietly dressed himself, slipped down stairs, ordered 
his horse, and when his antagonist awoke next morning 
the Hawkins affair was being fixed the other way. 


Joseph R. Anderson. 


The true measurement of a man is not the much 
he amounts to while living, but more of the much 
he amounts to when dead. 

The name of Joseph R. Anderson grows in strength 
as the years go by. He had the elements of greatness. 
A man who can found a city can found a republic — 
the only difference — opportunity. 

He was born in Scott county, Virginia, October 25, 
1819, and spent his youth on a farm. He went to school 
at the country log schoolhouse — his favorite study being 

One day he sold a bushel of Irish potatoes, which he 
had raised, for fifty cents. This fifty cents was the first 
money he ever made and he kept it for three years. This 
act may indicate a miserly nature, but a miser he was not 
as his wealth was accumulated more through economy 
than selfish hoarding. 

In his fifteenth year he went to Blountville and became 
a clerk in the store of his uncle, Samuel Rhea, who paid him 
fifty dollars a year and board. He remained in this capac- 
ity for eight years, until 1842, part of the time being 
deputy post-master. 

During this time he had saved seven hundred and 
fifty dollars, and, borrowing one thousand dollars from his 
father and uncle, engaged in merchandising on his own 
account at Eden 's Ridge. Here he remained until March, 
1844, paid back the five hundred dollars to his uncle 
and offered to return to his father the five hundred 
dollars he had borrowed from him, but his father 
would not take the money. Thirty years later he paid 
the note with interest and the money was divided 
among the heirs. 

306 Historic Sullivan. 

In March, 1844, he bought a half interest in his uncle's 
store and remained at Blountville until 1853. 

He married Malinda King, daughter of Rev. James 
King, June 3, 1845. In September, 1853 he removed to 
Bristol and began selling goods in a brick store on the 
corner of Fourth and State streets. This store he con- 
ducted until 1860, when he also went into the banking 

The Civil War interfered with his plans and disjointed 
his business, but after the war he resumed both the mer- 
chantile and banking business. Later he disposed of 
his store to his son, John C. Anderson and his nephew, 
A. B. Carr and devoted himself to the banking business 

Joseph R. Anderson was not a great banker nor was he 
a great financier. His methods lacked policy. He did 
not live in a day when captains of industry were 
co-evil with existing contradictions. A man who de- 
posited his money in the old Anderson bank deposited 
his morals with it. In all sincerity the banker reached 
out with a fatherly concern to his depositors. One day 
a patron of his bank went to the cashier and told him 
he wished to draw out some money — several hundred 
dollars. Seeing him there and knowing that he was 
dealing in futures, Anderson told him he could not have 
the money. 

"Do you mean to tell me that I can't draw out my own 

"That's what I mean," said the banker, "you can't 
have it — you are gambling in futures." 

The man threatened the banker, but the banker 
stood firm, until finally convinced that, although he 
would be doing the depositor a great service in refusing, 
he had no legal right to do so. 

It is not for the money Anderson accummulated 
that he will be remembered. His fortune was small 

Joseph R. Anderson. 307 

beside some that have been made by others since his 
time. And besides wealth is not worth. 

It was for his moral strength — his high standard 
of excellent, irreproachable, clean, every-day life. 
He was clean of person and clean of character. He 
was a healthy man and he had a healthy, wholesome 

Early he espoused the cause of temperance and he 
never wavered. He believed that the preventive was 
better than the cure — that the best one could do with 
the man in the gutter was to reclaim him, and so he 
organized the Band of Hope — took little boys by the hand 
and led them away from temptation. It is significant 
of his foresight that a member of one of his boy bands 
led the forces in the temperance fight in Bristol in 1907. 

He was nominated for governor by the Prohibition 
party in 1888, but the news never reached him until too 
late — he was dying and his family never told him. 

When posterity sums up the work of the toilers who 
have struggled through the years, sometimes with little 
hope to cheer them; when they carry their riband wreaths 
to adorn the deserving, there will be a steady pilgrimage 
to his tomb. 

George A. Caldwell. 


By the time a man deserves a title he does not have 
much need of one. 

In East Tennessee Dr. Caldwell was not near as big a 
man as George A. Caldwell. Gen. Washington was no 
greater than Washington — and as for Mr. Napoleon 

George A. Caldwell was born near New Market, Jefferson 
county, Tennessee, February 10, 1825, and died in Bristol, 
July 2, 1896, aged seventy-one years. 

He was educated at Maryville College and Union 
Theological Seminary, New York. His college life was 
not one of ease. 

He began his ministry at Athens, Tennessee, in 1852, 
and in April of that year married Margaret Brooks, daugh- 
ter of Gen. Joseph A. Brooks, of Knoxville. 

At the beginning of the Civil War the Southern Presby- 
terian church selected two missionaries. A church organi- 
zation in the army is not practicable on account of the 
uncertain movements of the men, and it was the duty 
of these missionaries to visit the various camps and have 
supervision over the chaplains. The church appointed 
Caldwell and B. M. Palmer, of New Orleans. The former 
was engaged chiefly with the armies of Johnson and 
Bragg and there was such a call upon his time that he did 
not get to see his family for four years. 

The section where Caldwell was living became strongly 
Union in sentiment and when he returned after the war 
was waited upon by sympathizers with the Union and 
warned to leave town before morning or he would be whip- 
ped. He went to the gun-rack, whereon an old gun had 
rested and rusted during the years of his absence; this he 
took down, cleaned up, fired two or three times to see if in 
good condition, and awaited his persecutors. They did not 


George A. Caldwell. 309 

come — they knew too well the meaning of these prepara- 
tions. He had perfect reliance on divine protection, 
but during these times it often took a gun to convince 

He left Athens and came to Bristol, arriving on a sec- 
tion hand-car with his gun across his knee. At Watauga, 
on this trip, he met some stragglers coming back from the 
war. They were returning to their homes, but had been 
met by bushwhackers. One wretched fellow, who had 
been beaten, escaped from his pursuers and fell exhausted 
at the feet of Caldwell, imploring him to save his life. He 
was helped into a box car, where the minister had his 
household goods, just as the men who were after him 
arrived. They demanded the escaped soldier, but 
Caldwell stood in the doorway, protecting him. The 
mob threatened his life if he did not give up the man, 
but he stood firm and told them calmly the man should 
not be molested. His firmness whipped them — they 
skulked away. 

Not long after he had taken charge of a Bristol church 
he had an appointment to preach in Hawkins county. 
The Sizemore band of outlaws sent him word that if 
he preached there he would be dealt with violently. 
Despite the threat he went and filled his engagement. 

He was a fearless man. He barely touched the raiment 
of the disappearing wilderness preacher and brought down 
to the present many of his characteristics— his bravery; 
his enthusiasm for a cause and his way of telling about it, 
with fervid eloquence — an orator with tears in his voice. 

There is one side of a preacher's life that is seldom seen 
by the general public — the cheerfulest part of him — his 
comradeship. It seems a mission of his to hide this, 
except when on jaunts or when in the company of his 
own cloth. There used to gather at the old Courier 
office, when it was lodged in the little checker-board front 
on Fourth street, a group of men consisting of Caldwell, 
Sullins, Munsey and Neal. That was the raconteur hour 

310 Historic Sullivan. 

with them and they employed it to their content. Cald- 
well entering would often salute in rhyme: "Good morn- 
ing, Brother Neal, how do you feel?" "Not so well, 
sorry to tell, Brother Caldwell" came the rhyming reply. 
Munsey, gawky and green and hunting for words, would 
sweep the group with a broad grin — the same man who 
in after years swept vast audiences with his ethereal 
eloquence. And Sullins told tales. 

If there was any one trait in Caldwell's life that stood 
apart from the others it was his fearlessness. Once satis- 
fied that he was on the right side no power could move 
him; it mattered not if he stood alone — he would stand 
by his convictions. He italicized sin when he told about 
it, either from the pulpit or on the pavement, and, being 
outspoken in his beliefs, he made enemies, but no man 
ever disputed his power as an eloquent preacher. 

In 1874 he was a commissioner to the General Assembly 
at Columbus, Mississippi. This is the highest court of the 
Presbyterian church. The students of the theological 
seminary of Columbia, South Carolina, were protesting 
against an order issued by the faculty of that institution, 
compelling attendance upon Sunday services. Caldwell, 
as a member of the standing committee on theological 
seminaries, brought in a minority report together with 
Rev. L. H. Wilson. In the debate that followed, by his 
impassioned oratory and earnest pleadings in defense of 
the students, he won the distinction of being called 
"the Ajax of the Assembly." As a result two of the pro- 
fessors and some of the directors of the seminary 
resigned, while the students were vindicated in their 
stand for "liberty of conscience and right of private 
judgment", for it was decided that compulsory attend- 
ance was inexpedient if not unconstitutional. 

Caldwell said he preferred to preach to congregations 
in the country — that they were the more receptive and 

He dedicated many churches, among them Arcadia 
in 1872. 

George A. Caldwell. 311 

He was sought all over East Tennessee as an evangelist 
and was a leading worker in the great revival in Knox- 
ville in 1874, when there were many hundreds of con- 

He was liberal in his views with regard to other denomi- 
nations and was often accused by his own members as 
being "half Methodist." 

He served the church in Bristol actively for twenty- 
seven years — resigned in 1892, and was then chosen 
pastor emeritus, until his death four years later, making 
thirty-one years that he was connected with one church. 

He grew up with Bristol and was one of its best guides. 
He knew the citizens of all denominations; he spoke to 
them; he treated them as one family and his genial socia- 
ble nature made him not only the pastor of the Presby- 
terian church, but the pastor of the people. 



In the Sapling Grove tract there were, originally, nine- 
teen hundred and forty-six acres. It was surveyed and 
sold in 1749 to James Patten "in consideration of the 
ancient composition of 9£, 7s and 6d." 

It later became the property of John Buchanan, having 
been sold to him by William Campbell and William 
Preston, executors of James Patten, deceased. 

On February 11, 1773, Isaac Barker and Evan Shelby 
bought the tract tor "608£ current money of Virginia." 
Anthony Bledsoe, who had been living on the land, bought 
an adjoining piece, to which, on May 18, 1789, he added 
twelve hundred acres in three separate conveyances — 
one tract being located on the Island road. 

In the winter of 1809 James Shelby, the son of Isaac 
Shelby, visited Sapling Grove. His visit was for the pur- 
pose of seeing the home of his ancestors and making a 
trade. For some time James King had been in communi- 
cation with the Shelby heirs with a view to purchasing 
this section. James Shelby went from the home of King, 
with whom he had lodged, to visit friends and relatives in 
Abingdon, and while there wrote his father, urging him 
to dispose of the "distant property" — not to let the 
opportunity to sell go by. The Shelbys were anxious to 
sell and showed it, and James King was as anxious to buy, 
but assumed indifference, which made the young man 
more insistent that his father sell. 

The tract was finally sold to King for ten thousand 
dollars and thereafter was known as King's Meadows 
until it took the name of Bristol, nearly half a century 

The odor of fresh mortar and brick and building 
material impresses one that Bristol's history is now being 

Bristol. 313 

made rather than has been made. But history begins 
where memory fails — twenty years makes history. 

When the news reached Blountville that a railroad 
was in contemplation, whose terminus would be King's 
Meadows, Joseph R. Anderson, with a business foresight 
that always went far ahead of his time, bought one hundred 
acres of land from his father-in-law, James King, and 
employed Henry Anderson, the county surveyor, to lay 
the tract off into lots and streets. This was in 1852. 
And that foresight reached still further when he viewed 
the ore-beds all about the place — he foresaw smoke rising 
from furnace stacks; he heard the rumbling of heavy 
trains carrying away the products of this section, and 
he called the new town Bristol, 1 after the manufacturing 
city of the same name in England. 

This tract of one hundred acres was bounded by a 
line following Beaver creek, from the railroad culvert 
to Main street; then running diagonally across the country 
to the railroad, about where King College now is; then 
along the railroad, back to the culvert. It also included 
a little plot lying east of the railroad, on both sides of Main 
street, embracing a portion of Second and Third streets. 

1 While Bristol has undergone three changes in name, Bluff City not only 
takes first rank in the county but in the state for the number of names it has borne. 
It was first known as Shoate's Ford, named no doubt for Emanuel Shoate, 
whose name correctly spelled would perhaps he Cboate. At the beginning of the 
eighteenth century it took the name of Middletown and really became a town — 
the name was given because of its location between Abingdon and Jonesboro 
and between Blountville and Elizabethton. Lots were selling at a good price 
as early as 1805 — in that year one quarter-acre lot brought eighty-two dollars. 
Later the town took the name of Union — then at the beginning of the Civil War 
the citizens hurried from one extreme to honor the product of another, 
and called it Zollieoffer When the war was over the town resumed life as best 
it could under the name of Union. Then in 1S76 when prosperity began to filter 
through the clogged seive of past misfortunes it took the name of Bluff City. 

Kingsport holds next place for changes of name in the county. It began 
its career as the Island — then Big Island, Great Island and Long Island. Then 
when it became known as a good starting point for boatmen, a large number 
of boats were built there, and it took the name of Boatyard. When Gilbert Chris- 
tian purchased a large tract of land there and plotted it for a town it took the 
name of Christianville. When the lots were put on sale the first two purchasers 
were William King, of King's Iron-Works, and William King, of Abingdon, owner 
of the salt-works. These two men shipped such large quantities of the output of 
their forge and salt-wells that it was called Kings' Port. The fusion of <the words 
by usage made Kingsport. 

Paperville on the other hand, one of the oldest towns in the state, has always 
held to one name — this originated from the manufacture of paper there by the 

314 Historic Sullivan. 

Originally the streets were only numbered, no names 
being used, and extended through both sides of the town. 
Nine was the highest number reached. Anderson street 
was then Ninth street and Cumberland street was then 
Seventh street. Of the old streets only three remain 
with the original names and location — Second, Third 
and Fourth. Sixth street was where Fifth street now is 
and Fifth was where Olive now is. Sixth street ran into 
a graveyard at the Presbyterian church and had to go 
through an alley to get around the church. There was no 
other cross street between the then Sixth street and the 
bridge. There was no Fairmount addition nor Piedmont 
avenue, and the citizens cut down big trees on Solar hill and 
in the Blountville addition to make their winter fires. 
There were two hundred and sixteen lots in the plot of the 
town — among the first purchasers were Robert L. Owen, 
Robert Bibb, John N. Bosang, Francis McCrosky and 
John G. Simpson. Lots were sold for one hundred dollars 

Circulars were sent out announcing the sale of these lots. 
One clause of the announcement read — "Reservation 
will be made in all conveyances to prohibit the occupant 
or his agent from making or selling intoxicating liquors 
upon the premises. This regulation is deemed indispen- 
sable to the peace and prosperity of the town." 

The first group of buildings was constructed along the 
railroad. The old brick house on the corner of Fourth 
and State streets — the home of the Anderson family for 
a number of years — is the only remaining one of the 
original group. 

The town was chartered February 22, 1856. Joseph 
R. Anderson became its first mayor, 1856-59. Those who 
have filled this office since are L. F. Johnson, 2 1859-65; 

2While Bristol people have been givers to educational, charitable and other 
causes — gifts that have sometimes been beyond the portion of the giver, yet it 
is notable that Bristol's first two mayors have been the only ones who have given 
to the public at large. Each gave resting places — one for the living — ons for the 
dead. Anderson gave the city park and Johnson gave the cemetery. 

Bristol. 315 

A. P. Campbell, 1865-66; Jacob R. Crumley, 1866-70; 
E. C. McClanahan, 1870-72; T. L. Nelms, 1872-73; George 

B. Smith, 1873-74; J. M. Barker, 1874-78; J. A. Dickey, 
1878-85; J. W. Norvell, 1885-89; John H. Caldwell, 1889- 
91; S. W. Rhea, 1891-93; John C. Anderson, 1893-1901; 
Charles J. St. John, Jr., 1901-02; J. A. Dickey, 1902-09; 
L. H. Gammon, 1909. 

The Virginia side was incorporated in the same year 
under the name of Goodson, being named for Samuel 
Goodson. The First mayor was W. L. Rice. The 
mayors who followed were I. C. Fowler, John F. 
Terry, A. F. Miles, W. A. Rader, J. H. Winston, Jr., 
Charles F. Gauthier and W. L. Rice. 

In 1879 Bristol, Tennessee, was recognized by an 
act of the legislature establishing chancery and common 
law courts, which privilege was extended to the First, 
Second, Seventeenth and Nineteenth districts. Accord- 
ingly Judge H. C. Smith organized the chancery court 
June 9, 1879, and E. A. Warren was appointed clerk. 
Others who have served as clerks are George T. Hammer, 
A. C. Smith, R. L. Torbett, M. M. Pearson and James 

The law court was organized June 28, 1879, by Judge 
Newton Hacker, with W. M. Burrow, clerk. Others who 
served in this capacity were W. P. Brewer, John Alf 
Brewer, Dr. John P. Hammer, Grey Childers, W. R. 
Page, W. M. Burrow, George T. Hammer, J. F. Chil- 

Although rich in industrial possibilities, Bristol's 
boast has been of her schools. Seeing the need of a 
more advanced school than the ones then being conducted, 
L. F. Johnson 3 brought Mme. Henriquez from Lynch- 

3L. F. Johnson died in 1004, in his ninety-first year. He lived in Bristol 
nearly half a century. He came here with the railroad — he helped to bring 
the road here. He helped to bring many otner useful things to the town. His 
was the most unselfish useful life lived in Bristol. He could have left behind him 

316 Historic Sullivan. 

burg, and accompanying her were Prof. Bartlett and 
Prof. Greenleaf and her adopted daughter, Amelia. This 
school was very successful, but at the beginning of the Civil 
War it was discontinued. In 1866, W. W. James, who 
took great interest in education, induced Mrs. B. L. 
Chancelaume to open a school in the Episcopal church. 
This was the beginning of Sullins College. The following 
year James visited Philadelphia and opened negotiations 
with Joseph Johnson for the purchase of the lot now 
occupied by the college, the deal being consummated in 
1869. The school was first known as Sullins Institute, 
but when, by an act of the legislature in 1873, it was 
incorporated it was called Sullins College. David Sullins 
was its first president. 

Virginia Institute began its existence in 1884 at Glade 
Spring, but in 1893 it was removed to its present quarters 
in Bristol, with Samuel D. Jones as president. The 
Baptists, however, had a college in Bristol many years 
previous to this. It was located on the south side of An- 
derson street, between Sixth and Seventh streets, and 
was managed by D. C. Wester. 

King College was the first school in Sullivan to introduce 
a college curriculum. Since Tadlock, those who have 
been president of this institution are J. Albert Wallace, 
H. W. Naff, A. G. Buckner, George J. Ramsey, George D. 
Booth, F. P. Ramsey and B. R. Smith. In 1909 this 
college erected a hall at the south end of the main 
building which was dedicated to the memory of George 
A. Caldwell and James D. Tadlock and called the Cald- 
well-Tadlock Memorial Hall. 

The Y. M. C. A., an institution for the upbuilding of 
young men and boys in a religious, educational and physi- 

a fortune in wealth — he left a fortune in a name. And when he was buried, business 
Bristol closed its doors and bowed its head while the great throng followed him 
to his grave. 

Johnson Commandery, Knights Templar, and Johnson street are named for 
him, and it is of special significance that this recognition was given (luring his 

Bristol. 317 

cal way, was organized in Bristol in 1871-72. The first 
meeting was held in the old Methodist church, then on the 
corner of Scott and Lee streets. After the first meeting 
it was transferred to a room on Fourth street. 
Its first organizers were G. B. Smith, J. M. Barker, 
B. G. Maynard, M. L. Blackley, Clint Craft, A. S. Dead- 
erick and Fitz Coman. The organization was abandoned 
for a while, but was revived in 1884. Those most active 
in its reorganization were A. D. Reynolds, John Slack, 
E. W. King, C. E. Dilworth and Charles Slack. For the 
first few years the Y. M. C. A . depended upon local man- 
agement and occupied various buildings. When D. D. 
Taylor was employed as secretary a movement was started 
to secure permanent quarters, resulting in the erection of a 
building on Fifth street in 1888. The secretaries following 
Taylor were W. D. Lyon, Taylor McCoy, B. W. Godfrey, 
H. 0. Pattison and V. T. Grizzard. In 1903, during the 
administration of the latter, a plan for the erection of a 
new building was adopted, which resulted in the com- 
pletion in 1908 of the present structure, on the corner of 
Fifth and Shelby streets. It was dedicated by Gov. 
A. J. Montague, January 23, 1908. 



Jacob and Ann Cretsinger 1 were the heads of a German 
family who lived southeast of Blountville and became 
known throughout the country for their ginger-cakes. 
On muster days or at public speakings, races or shooting- 
matches they could be found dispensing their cakes — 
invariably charging ten cents a piece for them. What 
recommended them most was their delicious ginger 
flavor and the fact that they remained fresh for a long 

On court days they could be seen coming into Blount- 
ville in a little one-horse wagon, and the children, with 
their dimes in their hands, waited on top of fences to get 
the first peep at them as they appeared in the town. 

Their coming was always greeted by the crowd with 
"here comes the Cretsingers" and there would be a rush 
for the wagon. 

How these cakes were made no one but the originators 
seemed to know. It is known they sweetened them with 
honey and made their own soda out of popular bark ashes, 
while, jestingly, they were accused of kneading the dough 
with their feet. 

They professed to have given the recipe to others, 
but those familiar with the original insist that the making 
of the old time Cretsinger ginger-cake has become a lost 


There once resided northeast of Blountville an eccentric 
character who was called "Old Shutt." The court docket 
often contained his name and he was often sent to jail. 

lCretsinger ha3 been erroniousily spelled Crutsinger and Krutsinger. 

Odds and Ends. 319 

After an unusually long period of freedom he went one 
day to the jail and inquired why it had been so long 
since he was taken up. 

He always had on ill-fitting clothes, much worn; his 
hair and beard were touseled and in need of a comb. 
One time when in need of a new coat, he had some cloth 
spread out upon the floor — then, lying down upon the 
cloth, his outline was marked with chalk. 

Children looked upon him with dread and no worse 
censure could be visited upon the head of a child than, 
"You are just like 'Old Shutt'" or "You're worse than 
'Old Shutt.' " No youth of knight-errantry days was ever 
more frightened by the apparition of Black Douglass 
than those children who knew him could be with, " 'Old 
Shutt' will get you if you don't behave." 

In some way he had saved money and finally, forlorn 
and forsaken he returned to his former home in Pennsyl- 


Sullivan County has been visited by some disastrous 

There are no figures or details concerning the flood of 
1790. In 1817 Holston river reached a height of seven- 
teen feet above low water-mark, and in 1835 it was fifteen 
feet above low water-mark. 

About 1840 a hurricane swept over a portion of the 
county. In 1847-48-51 there were destructive tides. 
These were occasioned by rains, which lasted three or 
four days. 

September 15, 1861, the water reached almost as high as 
the county bridge at Zollicoffer. February 21, 1862, 
this was repeated. This tide was general throughout the 
Southern Confederacy and as it destroyed some Federal 
boats the superstitious hailed it as a sign of divine 

The "flood of '67" surpassed all others within recollec- 
tion. Observations were made at the mouth of Beaver 

320 Historic Sullivan. 

creek — it commenced raining February 26, 1867, and 
continued throughout that night, the next day and during 
the following night until daylight on the 28th, which was 
a clear day, but during the following night it commenced 
raining again and continued without intermission until 
March 1st. 

On Monday, March 4th, the river reached a height of 
eighteen feet above low water-mark— it then receded. 
The rain began again and kept up intermittently until 
about five o'clock Wednesday afternoon, then rained 
continuously until seven o'clock Thursday morning. 

This tide was followed by four other tides, averaging 
twelve days apart, when, on May 20th, it reached the great- 
est height recorded — twenty-seven feet above low water- 
mark. Great damage was done. Farm houses, mills 
and rich bottoms were washed out. The washing away 
of the land exposed many Indian burying-places and 
apparently ancient towns — some of the weapons found, 
such as axes, hatchets, and arrow-heads had the ap- 
pearance of the prehistoric. 2 

In the winter of 1874-75 there was another great tide 
reaching within four feet of the tide of 1867. 

During the summer of 1893 a cyclone passed over a 
portion of Bristol, doing great damage. It came from 
the southwest; demolished the new market-house on 
Shelby street and unroofed houses in various parts of the 


About three miles south of Blountville is Linville cave. 
It was named for two brothers who took up their residence 
here during the early settling of the county. They were 

2From Fickles' scrapbook. Robert P. Fickle and Robert Deery were^en- 
thusiastie over preserving the history of Sullivan County. In the summer of 1S76 
they organized a historical society, appointing committees composed of prominent 
citizens all over the county. No record could be found of the work, if any was 
accomplished by this society. Fickle and Deery made some efforts in research 
and a few sheets of manuscript have been found. Wherever quoted from, due 
credit has been given. 


Odd and Ends. 321 

hunters, which occupation furnished them a living. They 
often made long journeys which exposed them to the 
Indians and while out one day, not far from the cave, they 
suddenly came upon a band of Indians. One of the 
brothers was wounded and the other carried him into 
the cave, where he died and was buried. Guides still 
point to the rock whereon' he lay when dying. The other 
brother, after this, returned to Fort Chiswell. 3 

Another tradition in regard to John Linville is that he 
became enamored of an Indian maiden and she encouraged 
his^attentions to such an extent that he frequently ven- 
tured where it was not safe, his devotion finally costing 
him his life. 

Historic Spots. 

The first, beginning at the top of the page, is a pic- 
ture of the home of William Cobb, in the "Forks." 
This is the original log house, weather-boarded. The 
place was once known as "Rocky Mount" and mail still 
comes to Piney Flats bearing that address. Here Wil- 
liam Blount resided as governor of the Territory south 
of the Ohio, and here was made the first attempt at 
organized government west of the Alleghanies. 

Second picture — DeVault's ford, which many claim was 
the crossing place of the King's Mountain men — some 
going so far as to claim it is Sycamore Shoals. Shelby, 
in his autobiography, says he rode fifty miles to see John 
Sevier, which would indicate he went to the ford and 
then up the river. From the Cobb residence is a beauti- 
ful view over the "Old Fields" and the mountains. 

Third picture — New Bethel church in the "Forks" — 
one of the first organized in the county. The site of the 
original church is just in front of the new one. The 

3W. W. James MSS. 

322 Historic Sullivan. 

graveyard is beyond the church — some of the old grave- 
stones can be seen in the picture. 

Fourth picture — The Netherland hotel, Kingsport. 
This house sheltered and entertained many noted persons 
before the Civil War. The walls of the first story are 
built of stone and are very thick. 



The passing of old families is a pathetic chapter in the 
history of our county. There are many names that once 
took a place among those who helped to make Sullivan, 
but are no longer heard in the roll-call of the council- 
chamber. Where are the Shelbys? Where are the 
Blounts? Where are the Donelsons? They did so 
much in the making of this historic county. Where are 
the Bledsoes, the Looneys, the Gambles, the Dunlaps 
and others who took the lead in our first forming? 
Once in a while a scion of some illustrious ancestry is 
found clinging to a little strip of land, the piece of a 
once vast estate; willing to be let alone — almost ashamed 
to own his lineage, his life being such a waste. 

"Like the last leaf on the tree in the spring, " a favoring 
wind tosses him about, rattling the remains of an armorial 
past against the withered branch of an old family tree and 
he is heard for a little while, but, by and by, the gust of 
some great endeavor blows up and, unable to hold on any 
longer, he drops down to mingle in the mould of those 
gone before. 

The gentler names are here. They planted no un- 
peaceful ambitions — sowed no seeds of disturbance. 
They delved deep for brighter substance than alluvial 
soil, and out of that metal made plows and hoes and 
domestic usables. From an iron ancestry came an iron 
posterity that time's wearing has polished, and they do 
and they adorn. 

But the war-gods are gone — the proud restless spirits 
lifted up their eyes and looked beyond. They too used 
the iron, but they wrought it into blades and shards 
and bellowing steel. They found no enduring solace 
in the triendly glow of the hearthstone, but, gathering 

324 The Last Leaf— Passing of Old Families. 

around the fagot fire on the edge of a forest, saw in the 
smoke the symbol of battle and, in the weird somberness 
of the deep wood, the war-dance in the flickering shadows. 
The love of conquest lured them on and they left us to 
fight and win for others what they found and won for us. 


Agriculture . . . 281 
Sullivan products receive med- 
als, 281; what nature points out, 
281; careless thrift, 282; com- 
munity of interest, 283; Blount- 
ville fair, 283; Border fair, 
284; sheep and cattle country, 
285; agricultural possibilities, 

Battle of Island Flats 59 
Settlers warned, 59; scouts re- 
port approach of the Indians, 
59; soldiers at Eaton's Station 
decide to go out and meet them, 
59; the battle, 60; personal 
heroism, 60-61; official report, 
61-62; chiefs taking part, 62; 
Mrs. Bean and the Moore boy 
captured, 62; South Fork skirm- 
ish, 62-63. 

Battle of the Great Kana- 
wha .... 45 
Causes that led to, 45; mas- 
sacre of the Roberts family, 
45; sketch of Logan — his speech, 
45; first volunteer company, 
46; Lord Dunmore decides to 
take the field, 46; his leading 
officers, 46; Gen. Andrew Lewis 
46; Shelby and Russel, 47; loose 
military discipline, 47; Robert- 
son and Sevier meet the attack- 
ing party, 47; the battle, 48; 
Evan Shelby in command, 48; 
Isaac Shelby captain, 49; left 
in charge of fort, 49. 

Before the Pioneer . . 1 
Looking forward and backward, 
1; opinions as to this section 
being inhabited, 2; relic dis- 

coveries, 2-3; the Cherokees, 4; 
Cyrus Thomas, 3; Indian 
mounds, 3; Dr. Walker, 4. 

Blountville . . . 137 
James Brigham gives land, 137; 
deed to Blountville, 137-138; 
first hotel, 138; sale of lots, 139; 
the citizenship, 140; Jefferson 
Academy, 141; "Female Insti- 
tute," 142; old lawyers, 143; 
Col. John Mosby, 143; leading 
merchants, 144; the churches, 
144-146; the gold seekers, 146; 
the gold finders, 147. 

Boundary Line, The . 239 
First line run, 239; difficulty 
that brought about the running 
of the line, second time, 239; 
commissioners, 239; disagree- 
ments — "no man's land," 240; 
the Baugh and Black line, 241; 
the mayors and councilmen of 
Bristol-Goodson act, 242; the 
post-office, 243; the Gretna 
Green, 243; the "Water Works 
war," 244; the injunctions, 245; 
the sheriffs of Sullivan County, 
Tennessee, and Washington 
County, Virginia, summon 
posses, 245; threaten blood- 
shed, 246; settled by supreme 
court, 247; Tennessee cedes half 
of the street to Virginia, 247. 

Bristol ... .312 
Sapling Grove tract, 312; first 
owner, 312; King's Meadows, 
312; town laid off, 313; list of 
mayors, 314; chancery and law 
courts, 315; the schools, 316; Y. 
M. C. A., 316. 



Cavalcade, The . . 24 
North Carolina wagons, 24; 
pack saddles, 25; around the 
camp-fire, 25; vessels and furni- 
ture of the cabins, 26. 

Cherokees, The 5 

Original boundary, 5; hostile 
neighbors, 5; origin of name, 
5-6; religion, 6; "Swimmer," 6; 
superstitions, 6-7-8; bird myths, 
8; insect myths,9; medical herbs, 
10; courtship formula, 10-11; 
Joel Chandler Harris, 12; stories, 

Christian Campaign . 64 

Col. Christian ordered to Long 
Island, 64; discipline, 65; strat- 
egy, 66; marches against Indian 
towns and destroys them, 66; 
Fort Patrick Henry, 67. 

Church, The . . 176 

First Protestant ministers, 176; 
first church on Tennessee soil, 
176; Jenning's letter, 177; other 
early churches, 178; early reli- 
gion, 179; Asbury's Journal, first 
conference, 181; organization of 
different churches, 181-185; 
"Church Militant," 185; first 
Sunday-school, 185 ; long de- 
bates, 186-7 ; camp-meeting, 
188-91; temperance, 191-94. 

Coming of the Shelbys . 33 
Welch descent, 33; comes to 
Holston, 33; wanted by Wash- 
ington, 33; arrive at Sapling 
Grove, 33; location of Shelby's 
fort, 34; kept store, 34; Shelby 
induces Sevier to come to Hol- 
ston, 34; appointed brigadier- 
general, 35; second marriage, 
35; "Traveler's Rest," 35; death 
of Evan Shelby— burial, 35-36; 
Isaac Shelby, 36; marries, 36; 
governor Kentucky, 37; Thames, 
37; Secretary of War offered, 
37; death of, 37; Shelby and 
Sevier, 38. 

Donelson's Voyage . 75 

The Donelsons locate in Sulli- 

van, 75; build boats prepara- 
tory for voyage, at Long Island, 
75; families who went with the 
Donelsons, 76; journal of the 
voyage, 76-83; arrive at jour- 
ney's end, 83; marriage of 
Rachel, 83; divorce and mar- 
riage with Jackson, 83-84. 

Few Days Full of Trouble, 

A . . . . . 39 
Difficulties in forming military 
companies, 39; Maj. James 
Robertson, 39; letters of Robert- 
son to Col. William Preston, 

Frontierwoman, The . 28 
Her help in the frontier home, 
28; tests of courage, 29; Col. 
Fleming's letter to his wife, 30. 

Hunters of the Holston 248 
Habits, 248; the still hunt, the 
round-up and the fire-hunters, 
249; Dan'l Gertman, 250; the 
bear cubs, 251; Tommy Odell, 
251; William Rlevins, 252; 
Jimmy Twist, 252. 

Industries . . . 151 

"The sweep," and "slow John," 
151; other primitive machinery, 
152; first iron-works, 153; nail 
factory, Pactolus, 154; tanner- 
ies, 154; "Bushong furnace," 
155; other industries, 156. 

King's Mountain Campaign 100 
Location of mountain, 100; 
Ferguson and Tarleton, 101; 
Shelby's quick movements 
arouses Cornwallis, 102; defeat 
of Gates, 103; refugees on 
Watauga, 103; threat of Fergu- 
son, 103; Shelby asks Sevier 
and Campbell to join expedi- 
tion, 104; John Adair furnishes 
money, 104; the rendezvous, 
104; the benediction, 105; the 
route, 105; military courtesy, 
106; the hard march, 106-107; 
some of the soldiers dropped, 106; 



reach the mountain, 107; final 
orders, 107; they surround 
mountain, 107; the battle, 107- 
108; aeath of Ferguson, 108; 
surrender, 108. 

Last Leaf, The — Passing of 
Old Families . 323 

Newspaper, The — Politics 296 
John Slack, ... 296 
Becomes a printer, 296; enters 
politics, establishes Courier, 296; 
state senator, 296; church work, 
297; traits of character, 297. 
Newspapers, 298; office of the 
four-page weekly, 298; first 
newspapers and their editors, 
299-302; politics, 302. 

Odds and Ends . . 318 

The Cretsingers, 318; "Old 
Shutt," 318; weather freaks, 
319; legend of Linville cave, 
320; historic spots, 321. 

Official Life . . . 160 
United States senators, 160; 
congressmen, 160; governors, 
160-61; judges, 161; members, 
of the constitutional conven- 
tion, 161; state senators and 
representatives, 162-63; county 
officers — county clerks, 163; 
sheriffs, 164; registrars, 164; 
circuit court clerks, 164; trus- 
tees, 165; records in office, 165. 

Old Field Schol, The . 262 
Early prejudices, 262; the teach- 
er's salary, 262; text-books, 263; 
"Friday evening," 264; games 
and amusements, 265-267. 

Pioneers — Explorers — First 
Settlers, The . . 20 
William Byrd expedition, 20; 
Fort Chiswell, 20; Stalnakers, 
21; Fort Robinson, 21; Stephen 
Holston, 21; first treaty in 
Sullivan, 21; Fort Loudon, 21; 
Timberlake, 21; coming of 
Boone, 22; James George, 22; 

Boone kettle, 22; first set- 
tlers, 23; Fort Womack, 23; 
the Crocketts, 23. 

Removal, The . . . 286 
Indians cede lands, 286; Gov. 
McMinn negotiates treaty, 
286; Sequoya, 287; John Ross, 
287; cause of removal, 287; 
Andrew Jackson, 288; Juna- 
luska, 288; Ross captured, 288; 
Winfield Scott, 289; touching 
scenes, 289-90; result of removal 

Shelby Campaign, The 73 

Marches against the Chicka- 
maugas, 73; destroys the towns 
of Dragging Canoe and Big Fool, 
73; return on foot, 73. 

Slavery Days ... 272 
Slaves with the first settlers, 
272; slave trader, 273; how 
valued, 273; attachment be- 
tween owner and slave, 274 
humor and philosophy, 275 
religious and musical, 276 
Union sympathizers not anti- 
slavery, 277; the menance of the 
race, 278. 

"Spirit of '75" . . 51 
Declaration of Freeholders of 
Botetourt, 51-52. 

State of Franklin, The. 109 
Ceding of land, 109; the conven- 
tion at Jonesboro, 110; naming 
new state, 111; John Sevier 
governor, 111; Gov. Martin 
protests, 112; the constitution, 
113; North Carolina considers 
new state, 113; war between 
factions, 114; Evan Shelby 
offered governorship, 115; Pat- 
rick Henry alarmed, 115; Frank- 
lin's apathy, 116; end of the 
State of Franklin, 117-118; 
arrest and trial of Gov. Sevier, 



Sullivan County . . 89 

Date of erection, 89; causes that 
created new county, 89; Wil- 
liam Cocke's arrest ordered, 90; 
organization, 91; Blountville, 
county seat, 92; records de- 
stroyed, 93; organization of the 
chancery court, 94-95; redis- 
ricting county, 95; regulates 
prices, 96-97. 

Transylvania Trust, The 53 
The Henderson purchase, 53; 
Daniel Boone, agent, 53; the 
treaty, 54; the Raven, Dragging 
Canoe, 54; "Path deea," "Great 
Grant," 54; Carter's valley, 55; 
the little republic, 55; Hender- 
son abandons it, 55; William 
Cocke's lawsuit, 56. 

Travelways — Transmis- 
sion of Messages . 224 
Beginning of bad roads, 224 
the first "Great Roads," 224 
old road builders, 225-226 
how the old roads were built, 
227; stage travel, 227; stage 
routes, 228; the stage driver, 
229; river traffic, 230; old boat- 
men, 230; steamboats, 231; 
railroads, 231; improvement of 
country roads, 232; county 
bonds, 233; transmission of 
messages, 233; ways of sending 
a letter, 234; early post-offices, 
235; the telephone and R. F. D., 

Treaty of Long Island, The 68 
The commissioners, 68; Col. 
Christian arrives with the chiefs, 
68; murder of Big Bullet, 68; 
first Fourth of July, 68; the 
Raven objects to ceding Long 
Island, 70; articles of treaty, 
70-71; signatures of chiefs and 
commissioners, 72. 

War Times — Tennessee 

Valor .... 203 
What Tennessee has done in 
war 203 

Congress votes medals, 205; 
Creek War and War of 1812, 
205; officers in Creek War, 206; 
Seminole War, 206; muster-roll 
for the Cherokee removal, 206-7; 
Mexican War, muster-roll, 208- 
9; Civil War, 209; early scenes of 
preparation, 209-10; battle of 
Blountville, 211-13; second raid, 
213; Stoneman's raid, 214-15; 
officers from Sullivan, 215; re- 
construction, 216. 


Adair, John .... 98 
Aids Isaac Shelby, 98; Blount 
College, 98; Cumberland guard, 
98; locates near Knoxville, 99. 

Anderson, Joseph R. . . 305 
Youthful thrift, 305; a store- 
keeper, 305; banking, 306; 
experience with a depositor, 
306; temperance, 307; nominat- 
ed for governor, 307. 

Blount, William . . .120 
Characteristics, 120; the Blounts, 
120-121; arrival in Sullivan 
County, 121; governor of terri- 
tory, 121; the state of Tennes- 
see, 121 ; president of convention, 
121; elected United States sena- 
tor, 122; impeached, 122; Carey 
letter, 122-123-124; trial, 124; 
depositions of Nicholas Ro- 
maine, 124-129; James Carey, 
129-134; Blount's letter, 134; 
Tennesseans stand by Blount, 
135; re-elected to office, 136; 
citizens warn officers not to 
arrest him, 136; death, 136. 

Brown, Abel J. 254 

Where educated, 254; his best 
known sermons, 254; his metho- 
ods as a teacher, 255; ex- 
periences at Jefferson Academy, 

Caldwell, George A. . . 308 
Education, 308; first ministry, 



308; missionary in the Confed- 
erate army, 308; comes to 
Bristol, 309; life threatened, 
309; traits of character, 310; 
in demand as evangelist, 311; 
liberality, 311. 

Claiborne, W. C. C. . .157 

Brilliant statesman, 157; friend 
of Jefferson and Sevier, 157; 
induced by Sevier to locate in 
Sullivan, 157; seat on supreme 
bench, 157; Jefferson-Burr con- 
test, 158; governor of Mississippi 
158; governor of Louisiana, 159; 
elected United States senator, 

Dulaney, Elkanah R. 218 

The Dulaneys' services in the 
colonial and Revolutionary wars, 
218; locate in Sullivan, 218; 
German element, 219; the prac- 
tice of medicine, 219; William 
R. and B. L. Dulaney, 220; 
services, 220. 

Gaines, Edmund Tendleton 195 
Moves to Sullivan, 195; favored 
by Claiborne, 195; arrest of Burr 
195-6; the Burr influence, 196; 
practices law in Mississippi, 196; 
medal for war services, 196; 
reaches rank of major-general, 
196; relieved from dutv, 197; 
Daniel Clark, 197; battle of 
Erie, 197-199. 

Gregg, Nathan . . . 200 
Ancestry, 200; enlists in Civil 
War, 200: wounded at Shiloh, 
200; captured, 200; rank of 
colonel, 200; civil offices, 201; 
urged to run for governor, 201. 

Ketron, Joseph H. . 268 

His youthful longing, 268; goes 
to war, 268; attends school late 
in life, 269; versatile teacher, 
270; studious life, 270; his diary, 

King, James . . .149 

English ancestry, 149; war 
record, 149; commander of fort 
at Knoxville, 150; a rover, 150; 
James King, Jr., founder of 
King college, 150. 

Martin, Joseph . . .17 
Early youth, 17; agent Tran- 
sylvania Co., 17; Indian agent, 
17; encounter with an Indian, 
17; marries Betsy Ward, 18; 
influence with Cherokees, 18; 
Indian treaties, 18; boundary 
line, 19. 

McClellan, George R. . 237 
Early education, 237; in the 
Mexican War, 237; boundary 
line commissioner, 237; Civil 
War, 238; for good roads, 238; 
fills many public offices, 238. 

Netherland, John . . 292 
Gets good education, 292; stud- 
ies law, enters politics, 292; 
elected state senator, 292; can- 
didate for governor, 293; power 
over a jury, 293; method of 
speaking, 294; misfortunes, 294 

Rhea, John . . . 221 

Rev. Joseph Rhea's resignation, 
221; comes to America, 221; 
chaplain in the Christian ex- 
pedition, 221; John Rhea takes 
part in the Revolution, 221; 
visits Ireland, 222; elected to 
congress, 222; the old white 
horse, 222. 

Smith, "Raccoon" John . 166 
Where born, 166; early strug- 
gles, 166; family removes to 
Kentucky, 167; conversion, 
168; removes to Alabama, 169; 
misfortunes, 170; return to 
Kentucky, 170 ; his famous 
sermon, 170; controversies, 
172-73; stvle of speaking, 
174; kindness, 174; death, 175. 



Snapp, James P. . 279 

Attends Jefferson Academy, 
279; finishes at Emory and 
Henry, 279; studies law, 279; 
enters the army, 279; in the 
battle of Shiioh, 279; interested 
in agricultural pursuits, 280. 

Sullivan, John . .85 

Birth, 85; attacks Fort William 
and Mary, 85; military, record, 
86-87; resigns, 87; governor of 
New Hampshire, 88. 

Tadlock, James D. . . 258 
Finishes at Princeton, 258; 
his best known sermons, 258; 
influences with young men, 
259; a mathematician, 260; 
his experiences in the school 
room, 260-61. 

Ward, Nancy . .57 

Parentage, 57; friendship for 
whites, 57; influence with the 
Indians, 58. 


Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 
Neutralizing Agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: 






1 1 1 Thomson Park Drive 
Cranberry Township, PA 16063