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Dekalb county 

NESS £ £ 







dekalb county 



By will T. hale 

Author of "A Hlstorv of Tennessee and Tennesseans, ' 
"The Indians and Tennessee Pioneers," 
"True Stories of Jamestown, Vir- 
Ointa," and Other Books 




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I HAVE thought the virtues and affairs of the people 
of my native county vi'orthy of chronicling and trust 
there is a place among them for this little book. It is 
finished with the haze and hush of Indian summer 
about me and under the spell of the old hills. It is 
i^ easy to see once-familiar faces, to hear remembered 
^ voices, to recall the little activities on farms and in 
c= villages, and I cherish the fact that I was once a part 
g of all this. It should not be a matter for wonder, then, 
^ that I often feel what Burns felt when he gave expres- 
sion to his perpetually quoted wish : 

^ That I for poor auld Scotland's sake 

oi Some useful plan or book could make, 

g Or sing a sang at least. 

The works which have been helpful are named where 


o quoted. Very valuable, indeed, have been two musty 
'^ account books referred to repeatedly herein ; they have 
^ helped so much to illuminate a bygone time. The first 
^ is that of the Liberty physician and merchant, Ebe- 

2 nezer Wright, dated from April 22, 1832, to June 18, 

3 1833. The second belonged to Dr. John W. Overall, 
of Alexandria, and dates from 1830 to 1834, but was 
afterwards used by his father. Col. Abraham Overall. 
While I never had much fondness for figures, these 
two documents, with all that they reveal in and be- 
tween the lines, proved as interesting as romance. I 
must be pardoned for referring to them so often as 

History of DeKalb County 

well as for intruding my own recollections. Many in- 
dividuals have offered data and suggestions, among 
them H. H. Jones, L. E. Simpson, Miss Effie Simpson, 
Mrs. Josie Davis, M. A. Stark, Rob Roy, Isaac Cooper, 
Dib Dinges, J. F. Roy, Alexandria ; Mrs. Lizzie Hale, 
Mrs. Belle Overall, Mrs. C. L. Bright. W. L. 
Vick, T. G. Bratten, J. F. Caplinger, Liberty; Dr. 
R. M. Mason, Temperance Hall; Dr. T. W. Wood, 
Bellbuckle; Mrs. Rachel Payne, Watertown; Mrs. S. 
W. McClellan, Lieut. B. L. Ridley, Murf reesboro ; 
Rev. J. H. Grime, Lebanon ; Rev. J. W. Cullom, 
Triune ; Hon. Norman Robinson, Allan Wright, 
Dowelltown; Ralph Robinson, Sparta; Rev. Van N. 
Smith, Laurel Hill; Horace McGuire, B. M. Cantrell, 
Smithville; Rev. G. L. Beale, Springfield; James H. 
Fite, Anthony, Kans. ; John K. Bain, Shreveport, 
La. ; Thomas J. Finley, Celina, Tex. ; James H. Bur- 
ton, Summers, Ark. ; L T. Rhea, M. L. Fletcher, 
Robert Quarles, Jr., H. Leo Boles, A. B. Hooper, Tal 
Allen, Isaiah White, Hon. J. W. Byrns, L. J. Watkins 
(a most competent proof reader for the Methodist 
Publishing House), and officials of the State and Car- 
negie Libraries, Nashville. 

But for the following these annals could not have 
been written : My brother, H. L. Hale, Liberty, born 
about 1855, descendant of the pioneers Benjamin Hale 
and Abraham Overall ; Ed Reece, Nashville, son of a 
hero of three wars, Capt. Jack Reece; Rev. Petway 
Banks, Dowelltown, born about 1857 and one of the 
purest citizens the county ever produced ; James Givan, 
born in 1839, descendant of a first settler, a splendid 


History of DeKalb County 

type of citizen, and the best authority on local history 
around Liberty ; Livingston Tubb, Alexandria, grand- 
son of the patriot and pioneer Col. James Tubb ; James 
Dearman, Smithville, born in 185 1 of pioneer stock 
and the soul of helpful courtesy; Riley Dale, born in 
1841 or 1842, grandson of pioneer William Dale and 
a man of correct walk; and Dr. J. B. Foster, born in 
Liberty in 1839, but now an honored physician of 
Meridian, Miss., a genius whose remarkable memory 
is as full and reliable as the famous diary of Samuel 

NASHvnxE, Tenn. 



Chapter. Page. 

I. When Tennessee Was Young i 

Once a GDunty of North Carolina — Becomes a 
State — Memorials of a Vanished Race — Indian Tribes 
and Their Depredations — First Settler of DeKalb 
County — Indian Battle Near the Site of Liberty — 

II. DeKalb Couxri- Established — OrnciALs 9 

Bill to Erect the County — Sundr>- Changes in the 
Line — Organization of County, Circuit, and Chancer)' 
Courts — Topography — Resources and Leading Crops — 
Live Stock — Principal Streams — Early Mills — Poli- 
tics — Count)- Officers — Senators and Representatives. 

III. The Oldest Village 22 

First Settler Arrives at Libert)- — Sketch of Adam 
Dale — First Merchants — Rise of the Dale Mill Settle- 
ment — Present Business Director)- — Changes Since 
Early Times — Reminiscences of Mrs. Pa)-ne and Dr. 
Foster — Postal Affairs — Professional Men— Land- 

IV. Pastimes of the Foreparents 39 

Social Matters — Primitive Music — Horse-Racing — 
Ariel, Noted Racer — Musters Great Occasions — The 
Chase — Hospitality — A Bibulous Generation — Cheap- 
ness of Intoxicants. 


Land Warrants — Hemp and Cotton Crops — Breeds 
of Stock — Prices for Produce — The Day of Home- 
spun Clothes — The Village Stores and Long-Ago 
Prices — Men's and Women's Fashions. 


History of DeKalb County 

Chapter. Pack. 

VI. Relating to Education 56 

Old Field and Other Schools — Textbooks of Old 
Times — Punishments in School — Games — Earliest 
School in the County — Early and Latter-Day Tutors — 
Educational Institutions at Liberty. Alexandria, and 

VII. Religious History 67 

Salem Baptist Church — First Ministers, Deacons, 
and Clerks — Exhorters — Other Baptist Churches — 
Methodism and Its Two "Wings" — Interesting Per- 
sonal Mention — Cumberland Presbyterians and Disci- 
ples — Memories of Rev. J. W. Cullom. 

VIII. Annals of Alexandria 88 

The Pioneers — Incorporation — Business Men of 
Past and Present — Professional Men — Banks — Jour- 
nalism — Milling Interests — A. and M. Association — 
Colored Fair — Personal References. 

IX. Concerning Slaves and Free Negroes 98 

Negro Insurrections — Some Owners of Slaves — 
Locally Popular Types — A Colored Infidel — Three 
Notable "Runaways" — A Pathetic Story — Family of 
Free Negroes — Ante-Bellum Laws — Negroes in the 

X. Stagecoach and Tavern Days ro6 

The Turnpike Company Incorporated — The Route 
Surveyed — A Tragedy — Old Stage Road — Noted Tav- 
erns — General Jackson and Other Notables — Balls — 
Sligo — Scenery. 

XI. The County Seat H9 

"Macon" First Name Selected— Public Buildings- 
Incorporation — Names of Lawyers and Judges — 
Early and Late Business Men, Physicians, Postmai- 


History of DeKalb County 

Chapter. Page. 

ters, and Others — Banking and Journalism — Hotels — 

XII. Historical Jetsam 128 

Physical Giants — Tall Men and Short — Two Erudite 
Physicians — Mysterious Disappearances — Story of a 
Monument — Study in Names — Noted Expatriates — 
Folk Stories. 

XIII. Smaller Villages of the County 139 

Temperance Hall— The Stokeses and Other Fami- 
lies—Merchants, Physicians, and Others — Sketch of 
Dowelltown — The Gray Gravej^ard — Schools — Laurel 
Hill — Past and Present History — Forks-of-the-Pike 
and Keltonsburg. 

XIV. In the Early Wars 151 

Revolutionary Soldiers — Veterans of 1812 — Cap- 
tains Tubb and Dale — Was There a Third Com- 
pany? — Black Hawk War Veterans — DeKalb Troops 

in the War with Mexico. 

XV. Secession — DeKalb Confederates 162 

The Question of Secession — How DeKalb County 
Voted — Period of Intense Excitement — Call for Con- 
federate Troops — Muster Rolls of DeKalb Confed- 

XVI. Stokes's Cavalry 185 

Companies from DeKalb County — Promotions, 

Resignations, and Deaths — Muster Rolls — In Many 
Engagements in Various Parts of the State — Sketch 
of General Stokes. 

XVII. Blackburn's and Garrison's Federals 194 

Sketches of Colonel Blackburn and Captain Garri- 
son — Blackburn a Captain at Eighteen— Officers and 
Privates — Affair at Shelbyville — Casualty List. 


History of DeKalb County 

Chapter. Page. 

XVIII. Progress of the Big War 208 

Battles in the County Named — Morgan's Command — 
Camps at Liberty — Capt. Thomas Quirk — Battle of 
Milton — Scouting from Liberty — Exciting Days. 

XIX. Personal Experiences 218 

Noncombatants in War Times — Allison's Squad- 
ron — A Race and a Skirmish — Anecdote of Reece and 
Allison — Minor Tragedies — Skedaddling Stories — 
Boyish Memories. 

XX. Regular and Guerrilla Warfare 229 

Battle of Snow's Hill — Wheeler Arrives at Alex- 
andria — Scouting around That Town — Morgan Starts 
on His Northern Raid — Death of Morgan — Battle of 
the Calf Killer — Wheeler's Raid — Stockade Taken — 
Pomp Kersey's Men. 

XXI. Peace and the Aftermath 244 

Friction between Former Neighbors — The Freed 
Negroes — Loyal League and Ku-Klux Klan — Stokes's 
and Senter's Canvass — Makeshifts of the Citizens — 
Wonderful Latter-Day Progress. 




When Tennessee Was Young, 

As a definite district bearing its present name, De- 
Kalb County is not old, since it was erected in 1837 
and not organized until 1838. But the territory in- 
cluded within its boundaries has a history we need to 
know something about, along with that of the State, 
and this will be treated before taking up its organiza- 

The entire domain of Tennessee was once a part of 
the State of North Carolina. Between 1750 and 1775 
the first settlements were made in that portion of the 
State now known as East Tennessee. When the colo- 
nies there numbered several hundred whites, North 
Carolina in 1777 asserted jurisdiction over the west- 
ern part of her lands and formed it into Washington 
County. In other words, the whole of the State of 
Tennessee became Washington County, N. C. 

In 1780, after Col. James Robertson with seven 
of his friends — William Overall (an uncle of Col. 
Abraham Overall), George Freeland, William Neely, 
Edward Swanson, James Hanley, Mark Robertson, and 
Zachariah White — had come over the mountains from 
East Tennessee and selected the site of Nashville for 
another settlement, a party of from two hundred to 
three hundred of his relatives and acquaintances ar- 


History of DeKalb County 

rived on tlie Cumberland River and built homes and 
forts. In 1783 a new county was laid off by North 
Carolina. It was, of course, taken from Washington 
County, included a large scope of country west of the 
Cumberland Mountains (which were called the Wil- 
derness), and became Davidson County. In 1786 
Sumner County was laid off, its eastern boundary 
being the Wilderness; but in 1799 it was reduced by 
establishing Smith and Wilson Counties out of its 
eastern territory. Smith County at first included what 
later became Jackson, White, Warren, and Cannon 
Counties — or at least a great part of Cannon. Mean- 
while, in 1790, North Carolina ceded all the Tennessee 
country to the United States, and it became, to use 
the short name, Southwest Territory, with William 
Blount appointed Governor by President Washington. 
In 1796 Southwest Territory was admitted into the 
Union as a State and was given the name of Tennes- 

DeKalb County was not erected until 1837, but of 
course settlers came and occupied the land while it was 
a part of some of the other counties. In what part 
of the country that was to become DeKalb County did 
the pioneers first make a settlement? It is believed 
by some of the older citizens that they reached the 
Alexandria neighborhood first, about 1795; others say 
the first settlement was made at Lil^erly by Adam 
Dale about 1797. Each contention has merits. There 
had been a settlement at Brush Creek, within two and 
a half miles of Alexandria, early enough for Rev. 
Cantrcll Bethel, of Liberty, to constitute a Baptist 


History of DeKalb County 

Church May 2, 1802. 2\Iight there not have been some 
settler to locate two or three miles southward of Brush 
Creek some years earlier than the institution of the 
Church ? On the other hand, the colony of forty souls 
who came from Maryland to Liberty about 1800 on 
hearing from Adam Dale had to cut a wagon road 
through the forest and canebrakes from a few miles 
out of Nashville to Liberty. All the traditions are to 
that effect, and no hint from the pioneers has come 
down to indicate that they passed any settlement in 
the vicinity of Alexandria. It is possible, however, 
that the road opened by the colony ran considerably 
south of the old stage road and turnpike upon which 
Alexandria is located. This point will probably never 
be settled and may well be left alone. 

To go back many years, upon the arrival of the first 
whites in what is now East Tennessee, a vast portion 
of Middle Tennessee was unoccupied by Indians, 
though hunting parties camped here or passed back 
and forth in their tribal wars beyond the borders. It 
seems to have been agreed among the red men that 
it should be held as a common hunting ground. As a 
result it was a wilderness well stocked with bulYaloes, 
bears, deer, and other wild animals. No one knows 
how long it had been uninhabited ; the numerous bury- 
ing grounds, mounds, and traces of forts prove that 
some race in the past had lived here. They had proba- 
bly disappeared before stronger hostile tribes. For 
want of a better name, and because of their custom of 
building mounds and burying their dead in stone-walled 
graves, that vanished tribe were called the Mound 


History of DeKalb County 

Builders, or Stone Grave race. Some ethnologists 
believe the Natchez Indians were a branch of this for- 
gotten race. 

The mounds and other remains indicate great age 
and a civilization more advanced than that of the 
tribes seen when the American explorers came. Judg- 
ing from the location of the forts, mounds, and ceme- 
teries, the Mound Builders selected the most fertile 
sections for habitation and near streams. These land- 
marks are numerous in Middle Tennessee, and the 
Smith Fork Valley, in DeKalb County, once echoed to 
the voices of the lost people. In the graves and some 
of the mounds have been discovered pipes, bowls, 
ornaments, weapons, and toys. In one place four 
miles south of Nashville three thousand graves were 
found and not far off one thousand more. From these 
were taken nearly seven hundred specimens of burned 
pottery — some of them semiglazed — representing ani- 
mals, birds, fish, and the human figure. On the farm 
once owned by C. W. L. Hale, north of Liberty, is a 
very large Indian mound, which had perhaps been used 
for religious or observation purposes. Many graves 
adjacent have been plowed into. Graves have also 
been found on T. G. Bratten's farm, just west of 
Liberty, in the vicinity of the buffalo trail on which a 
battle was fought between Indians and whites in 
1789. Mr. Leander Hayes, who had lived from boy- 
hood four miles southwest of Liberty on Smith Fork, 
gave the writer in 1894 this description of the Mound 
P)uilders' graves on his farm : "A great number were 
rock-lined, square, and contained skeletons in a sitting 


History of DeKalb County 

posture. At our old home, which I own now, there 
are two of these graves which have not been molested 
since their discovery — one near the front gate and the 
other in the garden under an old apple tree." 

The Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians lived in Ten- 
nessee when the first settlements were made — not in 
the "hunting grounds" proper, however. The former 
lived mainly along the mountains of the eastern bor- 
der ; while a portion, the banditti known as the Chicka- 
maugas, had their villages near the present Chatta- 
nooga. The Chickasaws, who became friends of the 
whites after attacking the settlers on Cumberland 
River in 1781, claimed all West Tennessee. The bit- 
terest enemies of the settlers were the Cherokees, as- 
sisted by the Creeks, who lived south of Tennessee. 

When Adam Dale, James Alexander, Jesse Allen, 
and other pioneers came to what is now DeKalb 
County, the spirit of the Indians had been broken by 
the Nickajack expedition southward from Nashville 
in September, 1794; but there were still hostile tribes 
in the State. Adam Dale arrived on the site of Liberty 
in 1797, just three years after the Nickajack expedi- 
tion. Until 1805 a part of the Cumberland Mountains 
was an Indian reserve known as the Wilderness. As 
late as 1791 Nettle Carrier, an Indian chief, lived 
there with his tribesmen. xA-bout 1800 a band of Cher- 
okees, under the lead of Chief Calf Killer, had their 
homes in the present White County. These were 
called "friendly," but the savages were easily stirred 
to deeds of violence and readily took the warpath. 
Then, even after the Nickajack expedition, the In- 


History of DeKalb County 

dians committed depredations. At noon November 
II, 1794, an attack was made on Valentine Sevier's 
fort, near the present site of Clarksville, forty red- 
skins being in the raid. Several whites were killed and 
scalped. With this state of affairs before us, shall we 
imagine that the Indians did not camp in or pass 
through some portion of DeKalb County after the 
first few settlers arrived? 

For many years after Tennessee became a State 
roving families of vagabond Indians journeyed over 
the trails and highways. Subsequent to the War be- 
tween the States the writer saw them go through 
Liberty. They were friendly and made a few cents 
target-shooting with bows. It was supposed that they 
came over the mountains from their old East Tennes- 
see haunts. Prior to 1840 the Chickasaws, Cherokees, 
and Creeks relinquished all claims and were removed 
across the Mississippi River. 

History records one Indian battle on DeKalb County 
soil. This was on the buffalo trail down Smith's 
Fork and up Clear Fork. Hon. Horace A. Overall 
assured the writer that, according to tradition, the bat- 
tle field was near where the Bratten lane turns south a 
quarter of a mile west of Liberty. John Carr, a pio- 
neer of Sumner County, says of the fight in his book, 
"Early Times in Middle Tennessee," published in 


In 1789 General Winchester went out with a scouting 
party; and on Smith's Fork, a large tributary of the Caney 
Fork (I believe now in DeKalb Couny), he came upon a 
fresh trail of Indians. He pursued them down the creek on 


History of DeKalb County 

the buffalo path, and no doubt the Indians were apprised they 
were after them and accordingly selected their ground for 
battle. The path led through an open forest to the crossing 
of the creek, and immediately a heavy canebrake set in. The 
General's spies were a little in front. They were Maj. Joseph 
Muckelrath and Capt. John Hickerson, a couple of brave men. 

Just after they entered the green cane a short distance the 
Indians, lying in ambush, fired upon them. They killed Hick- 
erson at once, but missed Muckelrath. Winchester was close 
behind, rushing up. The action commenced, lasting some 
time. Frank Heany was wounded ; and the Indians having 
greatly the advantage, General Winchester thought it proper 
to retreat, thinking to draw them out of the green cane. In 
this attempt he did not succeed. 

There is no doubt but that Capt. James McKain, now 
[1857] eight3'-five or eighty-six years old, killed a celebrated 
warrior and, I believe, chief called the Moon. He was a 
harelipped man. and it was said that there was but one hare- 
lipped Indian in the nation. No doubt the same Indian shot 
down and scalped Capt. Charles Morgan a year or two be- 
fore (at Bledsoe's Lick). 

One of my brothers was in this expedition. The Indians 
gave an account of the battle afterwards and said it was a 
drawn fight, that they had a man killed and that they had 
killed one of our men. 

Carr says two of the whites were John and Martin 
Harpool, Dutchmen. Martin was foolhardy, and his 
brother suggested to him, after Winchester withdrew, 
to rush into the canebrake and drive the Indians out 
while he killed one. With a great whoop Martin en- 
tered the cane, making it crackle at a terrible rate, and 
the Indians fled. 

On the first settlement of the county there may have 
been far inland a few bears and buffaloes left. We 
have no records. Just twenty years previously Tennes- 


History of DeKalb County 

see was overrun with them. About 1781 twenty hunt- 
ers went from Nashborough Fort up Cumberland River 
as far as the present Flynn's Lick and soon returned 
with one hundred and five bears, more than eighty deer, 
and seventy-five buflf aloes. The late Elbert Robinson, 
of Temperance Hall, once said that when his grand- 
father came to that settlement bears were frequently 
seen. Dr. Foster says that when he was an infant (he 
was born in 1839) his parents removed to Dry Creek, 
but they were so disturbed by wolves howling at night 
that they moved back to Liberty within three days. 
John K. Bain writes that when he was a lad, about 
1835, he ran three deer out of his father's cornfield in 
one day. That was in the eastern part of the county. 
He adds : "My uncle, Archibald Bain, killed a bear be- 
fore I remember. Squirrels were so numerous as to 
destroy cornfields thirty feet from the fence. I killed 
forty in one day, and one fall (T kept tab) the num- 
ber I killed was over three hundred." Doubtless game 
was sufficiently abundant to make hunting and the 
chase worth while to the first comers. 


DeKalb County Established — Officials. 

In 1837 Hon. H. L. W. Hill, of Warren County, 
introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives 
a bill to form a new county out of parts of Warren, 
Cannon, Jackson, and White Counties, to be named 
for Baron DeKalb, a Bavarian, who fought for Ameri- 
can independence during the Revolution. The bill 
was amended in the Senate, then passed, specifying the 
following boundaries : Beginning at the corner between 
Smith and Cannon Counties on the Wilson County line 
near Alexandria and running thence south twenty- 
three degrees east with the old line between Wilson 
and Smith Counties eight miles to a point on said line ; 
thence south forty-eight degrees, east eleven and three- 
quarter miles to the Warren County line at John 
Martin's ; thence north eighty-three degrees, east seven 
miles to a point twelve miles north from McMinnville ; 
thence south eighty degrees, four and three-quarter 
miles to Caney Fork River at the mouth of Barren 
Creek; thence down said river with its meanders to 
an oak on the road from Sparta to Dibrell's Ferry, 
four miles from said ferry; thence north thirty-seven 
and a half degrees, east nine and three-quarter miles 
to a point on the stage road from Sparta to Carthage ; 
thence north two miles to a corner between White and 
Jackson Counties on Cane Creek; thence south 
seventy-five degrees, west sixteen and a half miles so 
as to strike the northwest corner of Cannon County, 


History of DeKalb County 

on the Caney Fork River; and thence with the Hne 
run by Thomas Durham between Smith and Cannon 
Counties to the beginning. 

From time to time the Hne has been changed, shght- 
ly, however, in most instances. On January 2, 1844, 
for instance, the Alfred Hancock property was taken 
from DeKalb and added to Cannon County. The 
Hancocks came from Virginia about the time the Over- 
alls, Turneys, and others arrived, and have been among 
the foremost citizens of their section for more than a 
hundred years.* On February i, 1850, the legislature 
so altered the line between Smith and DeKalb as to in- 
clude the residences and farms of Nicholas Smith. 
Andrew Vantrease, John Robinson, and others in the 
latter county, as well as the farm and residence of John 
F. Goodner, near Alexandria. 

On Monday, March 5, 1838, the following citizens, 
holding certificates as magistrates of the county, met 
at Bernard Richardson's, on Fall Creek, and organ- 
ized the county court by electing Lemuel Moore chair- 
man : Lemuel Moore, James Goodner, Jonathan C. 
Doss, Reuben Evans, Joseph Turney, Watson Cantrell. 
Thomas Simpson, John Martin, Watson Cantrell, 
David Fisher, William Scott, Samuel Strong, Henry 
Burton, Martin Phillips, John Frazier, Joel Cheatham. 
Jonathan Fuston, Peter Reynolds, and James Beaty. 

The various county officers elect exhibited their cer- 

*It is told of Alfred Hancock's kindness to the poor that 
in times of drought he refused to sell his corn to those who 
could pay cash, but sold it on time to the needy at much less 
than he could get from the well-to-do. 


History of DeKalb County 

tificates of election, qualified, entered upon the dis- 
charge of their duties, and the county was organized. 

The county court continued to meet at the home of 
Richardson until a log courthouse could be completed. 
The circuit court was also organized at Richardson's, 
the first term beginning on the second Monday in Au- 
gust, 1838, Judge A. J. Marchbanks presiding. The 
chancery court was organized in 1844 by Chancellor 
B. L. Ridley. (See the chapter headed "The County 

The county is bounded north by Smith and Putnam 
Counties, east by Putnam and White, south by War- 
ren and Cannon, and west by Cannon and Wilson. 
Its population in 1840 was 5,868, ten years later it was 
8,016, and by the commencement of the War between 
the States it was 10,573. 

About two-thirds of the county lies on the Highland 
Rim. The Highlands occupy the eastern and north- 
ern parts. The western part lies in the Central Basin 
and embraces several valleys of considerable size and 
great agricultural value, separated from each other by 
irregular ranges of hills, while there are some peaks 
and ridges which mount up to a level with the High- 
lands. The valley of Caney Fork is long, winding, and 
irregular. It begins below the falls between Warren 
and White Counties near the southeast corner of De- 
Kalb; runs toward the northwest, then westerly, till 
it opens out in the Basin in the northwestern part of 
DeKalb. It is narrow at the upper end; below Sligo 
Ferry it has an average width of half a mile. It.s 
greatest width is about a mile ; its length, following the 


History of DeKalb County 

general direction, about thirty miles. The valley of 
Smith Fork extends from south to north through the 
western part of the county. Its length is about fifteen 
miles and its breadth variable, spreading out in some 
places for a space of two or three miles, while in others 
it is cut in two by projecting spurs on each side. Each 
of Smith Fork's tributaries has a valley of its own, and 
these small valleys contain many valuable tracts of 
level land. 

The best lands in the Highlands are found on the 
hillsides and along streams. In these situations there 
are numerous excellent farms. The timber of the bar- 
rens includes a number of valuable varieties, such as 
black oak, chestnut, hickory, post oak, and white oak. 
There were once some pine groves at the head of Pine 
Creek and between Smithville and Sligo. In the Cen- 
tral Basin the timber was once dense and heavy, owing 
to the disintegrated limestone — beech, sugar maple, 
walnut, oak, poplar, and other varieties. 

Orchards are not so numerous in the valleys as they 
were a half century ago, but are numerous and profit- 
able in the Mighlands. Fires ("log heaps") in the 
orchards for protecting fruit against late spring frosts 
were used by some of the pioneers. 

The leading crops are corn, wheat, rye, and oats, 
though the first settlers grew flax, cotton, and tobacco. 
Some of the finest mules driven South before an! 
after the War between the vStates were raised on De- 
Kalb County farms. In 1840 Tennessee was the great- 
est hog and corn State in the Union, and this county 
produced its share. Small fortunes have been made in 


History of DeKalb County 

hog-trading. Early traders were Francis Turner, 
William B. Stokes, Matthew Sellars, Edward Robin- 
son, Robin Forrester, William G. Stokes, and others. 
The last named, a son of Thomas Stokes, of Temper- 
ance Hall, disappeared before the war on a trip South 
and was never heard of again. Buyers after the war 
were C. W. L. Hale, W. G. Evans, Gips West, Fox 
Frazier, and others. Hogs handled by the earlier 
dealers were from two to three years old when fat- 
tened. They were driven across country south, mainly 
to Georgia. Ten drivers could manage one thousand 
hogs, and one route was through Liberty, up Clear 
Fork, by McMinnville, over Walden's Ridge, across 
the Tennessee River, and on to Marietta, Milledgeville, 
Macon, and various Southern towns. Thirty-five days 
were allowed to go from Liberty to Georgia. The 
animals traveled from two and a half to ten miles a 
day. Dr. Foster imparts the interesting fact that in 
the "flatwoods" years ago there were many wild or 
feral hogs, belonging to no one but claimed by many. 
Descended from domesticated stock, "they developed 
immense tusks and long, heavy coats of hair." 

In the Basin, where there were once large maple 
groves, maple sirup and sugar became a considerable 
industry in ante-bellum times, and these articles could 
be purchased for some years after the war. To hear 
the old slaves tell of the sugar camps, it would appear 
that the industry was pleasurable as well as a source 
of income. 

The county is well watered, the principal streams, 
besides Caney Fork, being Smith Fork, Clear Fork, 


History of DeKalb County 

Sink Creek, Pine Creek, Fall Creek, Eagle Creek, 
Hurricane Creek, Hannah's Branch, Holm's Creek, 
Indian Creek, Mine Lick, Hickman Creek, Walker's 
Creek, Helton, Dismal, Falling Water, the Canal, 
Adamson's Branch, and Dry Creek. Dry Creek sinks 
some distance east of Dowelltown, then emerges at 
the Big Spring in that hamlet and flows into Smith 

The malignant "milk sickness" breaks out occa- 
sionally, mainly on the headwaters of Holm's Creek 
and probably on Hurricane, though it is unknown after 
reaching the top of the Highlands. Cattle and a few 
people have been victims of the poison. 

The southeastern part of the county is a great poul- 
try section. There are also numerous nurseries, the 
income from which amounts to many thousands of dol- 
lars yearly. On the east side of Caney Fork, near the 
White County line, there are beds of iron ore extend- 
ing several miles. This ore also exists on the west side 
of the river and was once worked at a bloomery on 
Pine Creek by the pioneer Jesse Allen. State Com- 
missioner Killebrew wrote in 1874 that "the county is 
very rich in iron." 

The first things considered by the early settlers were 
good springs, dwellings, and mills. The earliest mill 
in the county was no doubt Adam Dale's, at Liberty, 
erected about 1800 and jjatronized by the Dale and 
other settlements. Jesse Allen settled on Eagle Creek 
in 1801 and soon built a small mill, in connection with 
which were a cotton gin and distillery. Other mills 
soon followed — Fite's, on Smith Fork, just west of 


History of DeKalb County 

Dowelltown, a part of its dam being visible still ; Kite's 
(later Crips's), on Dry Creek, the water furnishing its 
power coming from a large cave ; Durham and Far- 
rington's, on Pine Creek ; Abraham Overall's, on Clear 
Fork; Hoover's, on Hickman Creek; Bate's, on Hel- 
ton ; and that which became known as Nicholas 
Smith's, on lower Smith Fork. In later years, in addi- 
tion to those mentioned in the sketches of various 
towns, the following citizens have erected mills in dif- 
ferent parts of the county: T. H. W. Richardson, 
Washington Reynolds, James Oakley, W. G. Crowley, 
John Bone, and James Kelton. 

There are (1914) in DeKalb County 3,235 homes. 
Of this number, 2,407 are farm homes, 1,511 being 
owned by their occupants and free of mortgage incum- 
brance. The mortgaged farm homes number only 
seventy-seven, while renters occupy 815 farm homes. 
On the other hand, 828 homes are urban, the number 
of owners of town homes being 329. Eleven of these 
homes are mortgaged, and 300 are free of incum- 
brance. There are 472 rented urban homes. 

With the county organized, many of its citizens dis- 
played an anxiety to "save the country." Politics at 
length became strenuous and has remained so. Prior 
to the War between the States a majority of the peo- 
ple in the Basin — below Snow's Hill — were Whigs, 
Know-Nothings, and Opposition ; after that event they 
were called Unionists, Radicals, or Republicans. Most 
of the voters of the sixth, seventh, and ninth districts 
— above Snow's Hill — with a sprinkling elsewhere, 


History of DeKalb County 

were Democrats before the war, Confederates during 
the struggle, and Democrats after hostiUties ceased. 

The two opposing parties down to 1861 were almost 
evenly divided ; then came many unexpected changes. 
To give one illustration : Abe Lafever, of the Mine 
Lick section, had been a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat; 
after the war he was known throughout the county 
as a rabid Republican and a leader of that party 
locally. Again, certain Unionists, like Joseph Clarke, 
became strong Democratic partisans. 

One of the old-timers says of the partisan zeal of 
the days of the Whig party : "It was not an uncommon 
thing to witness a Whig speaker, say for Representa- 
tive, draw a coon's tail from his pocket and wave this 
emblem of Whiggery. When Clay and Polk were 
candidates for the presidency, Polk adherents would 
drive into Liberty with their oxen's horns ringed with 
poke juice, while their cart beds were striped with it. 
Directly another cart, driven by a Clay supporter, 
would enter the village having a mammoth clay ball 
in each comer of the cart bed and the horns of the 
steers smeared with clay. When Dr. J. A. Fuson was 
elected to the legislature in 1845, the Fuson supporters 
to a man wore red ribbon on their hats on which was 
printed Fuson." This illustrative anecdote also sur- 
vives: Moses Spencer ("Blackhorse"), who was in 
the battle of New Orleans and a Whig in politics, was 
once solicited to vote the Democratic ticket, the solici- 
tor kindly presenting him with a bag of cured hog 
jowls. Carrying to his home in Liberty this necessary 
ingredient of the famous dish of greens, Mose threw it 


History of DeKalb County 

down on the floor and observed to his wife : "Barbara, 
Colonel Tubb has asked me to vote for a Democrat 
the coming election. Barbara, now you hear this 
Blackhorse that fit an' bled under Andy Jackson : I'm 
a Whig an' have always been one, an' I would not vote 
for a Democrat for even a bag o' middlins." 

The greatest orators of the State were developed in 
the days of the Whigs and Democrats. Some of the 
forensic giants had appointments in the county. Prob- 
ably the most noted discussion of political issues took 
place in 1855 between Andrew Johnson, Democrat, 
and Meredith P. Gentry, Whig, with Know-Nothing 
leanings, for the governorship. It came off on the 
Fulton Academy grounds at Smithville, and the crowd 
was very large. 

The Know-Nothing party was a secret organization 
and was aggressively opposed to the Catholic Church. 
There were both Whigs and Democrats in the new 
party, and it was thought that it would poll one hun- 
dred thousand votes in the State at the end of the 
1855 campaign. 

Johnson was not "flowery," but was a most effective 
speaker. Gentry, nominated by the remnant of Whigs 
and the Know-Nothings, was one of the best orators in 
Tennessee. In his excoriation of the Know-Nothings 
Johnson was extremely bitter, arraigning them for 
their signs, grips, and secret conclaves, and declaring 
that they were no better than John A. Murrel's clan of 
outlaws. "Show me a Know-Nothing," he stormed, 
"and I will show you a monster upon whose neck the 
foot of every honest man should tread!" Gentry was 
2 17 

History of DeKalb County 

"hacked." In a lofty manner he defended the party 
which nominated him, but his party was not satisfied 
with his reply. Many Democrats forsook his cause, 
and Johnson was elected. 

Neil S., Aaron V., and John C. Brown all spoke at 
various times in the county; also Isham G. Harris, 
William B. Campbell, D. W. C. Senter, William B. 
Stokes, James D. Porter, Horace Maynard, B. F. 
Cheatham, R. L. Taylor, A. A. Taylor, G. G. Dibrell, 
E. W. Carmack, John H. Savage, and even Squire 
Yardley, the Knoxville negro who canvassed the State 
for the governorship. 

The citizens for many years were politically swayed 
by oratory, and those of DeKalb had an opportunity 
to hear other forensic giants besides the men named. 
A campaign almost as exciting as that in which John- 
son destroyed Know-Nothingism came off when the 
question of secession was discussed pro and con by 
John Smith Brien, William B. Campbell, and others ; 
also that after peace was made in which Stokes and 
Senter stumped the State. Of the last-named canvass, 
something will be said farther along. 

A digression is made to present as full a list as can 
now be made of the county officers from the organiza- 
tion of the county to 1914: 

County court clerks: P. M. Wade. William Law- 
rence, Wash Isbell, M. T. Martin, G. W. Eastham, 
P. G, Magness, E. J. Evans, Z. P. Lee, H. K. Allen, 
J. E. Conger, W. B. Foster, John E. Conger. 

Circuit court clerks: David Fite, W. J. Givan, J. 
B. Gibbs, T. T. Hollis, W. T. Hoskins, T. M. Christian, 



History of DeKalb County 

T. W. Shields, James Fuson, Felix Helium, J. M. 
Young, Jack S. Allen. 

Clerks and masters: Thomas Whaley, Wash Isbell, 
J. T. Hallum, John P. Robertson, W. W. Wade, M. 

A. Crowley, J. B. Moore, Sam Foster. 

Sheriffs: P. M. Thomason, James McGuire, E. W. 
Taylor, J. L. Dearman, J. Y. Stewart, John Hallum, 
W. L. Hathaway, Charles Hill, Henry Blackburn, M. 
F. Doss, C. S. Frazier, B. M. Alerritt, H. S. Gill, S. 
P. Gill, W. H. C. Lassiter, Silas Anderson, Ben Mer- 
ritt, Louis Merritt, John Odum, B. B. Taylor, Everett 
Love, George Puckett, A. Frazier. 

Registers: Daniel Coggin, Wash Isbell, David Fite, 
J. Y. Haynes, John K. Bain, W. H. McNamer, Jud- 
son Dale, J. C. Kennedy, J. B. Atwell, John Harrison, 

B. M. Cantrell, E. W. Taylor, John G. Evans, Dabner 
Lockhart, Dave Worley, E. G. Pedigo, W. H. Hays. 

County trustees: Rev. Joseph Banks, Aaron Botts, 
W. A. Nesmith (1861-62), Bluford Foster, Eli Vick, 
Brackett Estes, Sr., W. P. Smith, James Fite, James 
Fuson, H. C. Eastham, W. G. Evans, Pope Potter, 
Lee Overall, J. W. Reynolds, J. A. Newby, W. N. 
Adcock, William Taylor, J. A. Phillips, Thomas Crips, 
Matt Bratten. 

The county had no Representatives until 1843, while 
a part of the time it was in a floterial district with the 
Representative from some other county. These De- 
Kalb Countians have filled the office: Twenty-Fifth 
General Assembly, 1843, Daniel Coggin; Twenty- 
Sixth, 1845, John A. Fuson ; Twenty- Seventh, 1847, 


History of DeKalb County 

John A. Fuson; Twenty-Eighth, 1849, W. B. Stokes; 
Twenty-Ninth, 1851, W. B. Stokes; Thirtieth, 1853 
(first session held in the new State Capitol), Horace 
A. Overall ; Thirty-First, 1855, M. M. Brien ; Thirty- 
Second, 1857, A. M. Savage; Thirty-Third, first ses- 
sion 1859, second 1861, third April, 1861, J. J. Ford; 
Thirty-Fourth, first session 1861, second 1862, ad- 
journed to Memphis, no Representative; Brownlow's 
Legislature of 1865-66, session held in April, 1865, 
John A. Fuson ; Thirty-Fifth, 1867, W. S. Robertson ; 
Thirty-Sixth, 1869, W. A. Dunlap ; Thirty-Seventh, 
first session October, 1871, second March, 1872, James 
P. Doss; Thirty-Eighth, 1873, none; Thirty-Ninth, 
1875, none; Fortieth, first session January i, 1877, 
extra December, 1877, none; Forty-First, first session 
January, 1879, second December, 1879, none; Forty- 
Second, first session January, 1881, extra December, 
1881, second extra 1882, none; Forty-Third, 1883, 
Horace A. Overall ; Forty-Fourth, first session Jan- 
uary, 1885. extra May, 1885, J. M. Allen; Forty-Fifth. 
1887, J. M. Allen; Forty-Sixth, 1889, extra session 
1890, M. L. Bonham; Forty-Seventh, 1891, J. H. S. 
Knowles; Forty-Eighth, 1893, Henry C. Givan ; 
Forty-Ninth, 1895, Samuel Wauford ; Fiftieth, 1897, 
A. T. Phillips; Fifty-First. 1899. W. T. Dozicr; Fifty- 
Second, 1901, P. C. Crowley; Fifty-Third, 1903, L. 
Driver; Fifty-Fourth, 1905, L. Driver; Fifty-Fifth, 
1907, J. H. S. Knowles; Fifty-Sixth, 1909, J. E. Con- 
ger; Fifty-Seventh, 191 1, A. N. Cathcart; Fifty- 


History of DeKalb County 

Eighth, 1913, extra session, Norman Robinson; Fifty- 
Ninth, 191 5, Horace M. Evans.* 

The following DeKalb Countians were members of 
the State Senate: Caleb B. Davis, 1851 ; W. B. Stokes, 
1855; J. S. Goodner, 1857; Wingate T. Robinson, 
1865; John A. Fuson, 1867; Joseph Clarke, 1872; M. 
D. Smallman, 1881 ; M. D. Smallman, 1883; B. G. 
Adcock, 1893 ; P. C. Crowley, 1903. 

It is noted that Hon. Horace A. Overall represented 
the county when the General Assembly met first in the 
State Capitol, newly erected, October 3, 1853. The 
fact suggests that the first legislature of the State met 
in Knoxville, which was for a while the seat of gov- 
ernment, in 1796. In 1807 the legislature met at King- 
ston, but in a few hours adjourned to Knoxville. 
Nashville was the place of meeting in 1812, 1813, and 
1815, then Knoxville again in 1817. In 1819 it 
at Murfreesboro and continued to meet there until 
1825. The sext session (1826) was held in Nashville, 
as have been all succeeding sessions. 

*Mr. James Dearman writes : "I understand that James 
McGuire represented the county sometime in the forties." 
The name is not found in the records, however. 


The Oldest Village. 

On his arrival at the site of Liberty from Mary- 
land in 1797 Adam Dale, who came by way of East 
Tennessee and over Cumberland Mountains, Mr. Riley 
Dale says, must have been impressed with the coun- 
try, for he sent back in some way a report to his 
friends which induced the coming of a colony con- 
sisting of William and John Dale, Thomas West, Wil- 
liam and George Givan, Thomas Whaley, Josiah and 
T. W. Duncan, James and William Bratten, Henry 
Burton, the Fites, Truits, Bethels, and many others, 
some of whom were young married couples. 

It is not certainly known that he had a companion 
during the something like three years before the ar- 
rival of the immigrants. If he was alone, life must 
have been lonely at times. The descendants of 
all the pioneers who have talked on the subject, re- 
peating the stories handed down, join in saying there 
was no wagon road through from Nashville after the 
first few miles. One, perhaps W. G. Bratten, told the 
agent for Goodspeed's history of the State that the 
colony "came down the Ohio River, up the Cumber- 
land to Nashville, and from that point made their way 
overland to the Dale settlement in wagons." Another, 
perhaps a descendant of Rev. John Kite, stated to Rev. 
J. H. Grime, author of "A History of Middle Tennes- 
see Baptists": "When he [Fite] landed here in the 
very beginning of the nineteenth century, he found 


History of DeKalb County 

this country still a wilderness. . . , He helped to 
cut away the cane and underbrush to construct the 
first road to Liberty, the work consuming a period of 
nineteen days for a number of hands." We may as- 
sume that there were roads a short distance eastward 
from Nashville, but it may be taken as true that a 
part of the fifty-six miles to Liberty was almost pri- 
meval forest. Doubtless game and fish abounded, and 
these occupied Dale's mind by day; but the snarl of 
the bobcat or other noises of the night, together with 
the solemnity of the great woods, were necessarily 
spirit-depressing, even if he had no fears of Indians. 

We are told that he passed his first months in a 
rude shack built on the bluff overlooking the creek on 
the north side of town, about where the Whaley lime 
kiln was for a number of years. After his friends 
came he erected a small dwelling on the west side of 
the turnpike beyond the bridge going north. This 
writer saw the building carried off by the flood near 
the beginning of the War between the States, at which 
time the small mill Dale erected, but at the time be- 
longing to Daniel Smith or the Lambersons, w^as 

Mrs. Jean Robertson Anderson, wife of Gen. 
Kellar Anderson, of Memphis, is a great-grand- 
daughter of Adam Dale. Her mother was Mrs. James 
(Anne Lewis Dale) Robertson, the third daughter of 
Edward W. Dale, who was the oldest son of Adam 
Dale and the only one to leave issue. From a letter 
of Mrs. Anderson dated November 4, 1914, these 
facts are gleaned : Adam Dale was born in Worcester 


History of DeKalb County 

County, Md., July 14, 1768. He was a boy volunteer 
of the Revolution. In 1781 this company of boys 
from fourteen to sixteen years was raised in Snow 
Hill, Md., to oppose the progress of Cornwallis 
through Virginia. Receiving land grants with his 
father, Thomas Dale, for service, he settled in Liberty, 
Tenn., in 1797, after having married Mary Hall Feb- 
ruary 24, 1790. He raised, equipped, and commanded 
a company of volunteers from Smith (DeKalb) 
County and fought under Jackson at Horseshoe Bend 
and other battles of the War of 1812. Removing to 
Columbia, Tenn., in 1829, he died at Hazel Green, 
Ala., October 14, 185 1, and was buried there. His 
wife died in 1859 in Columbia. To this couple were 
born ten children. 

]\Irs. Anderson says further: 

When the surviving children of Adam Dale had his body 
removed from Alabama to Columbia after his wife's death, 
his body was found to be absolutely perfect — petrified. The 
picture is from an old daguerreotype made shortly before his 
death. I have several letters from him to his grandchildren. 
One minutely describes the battle of Horseshoe Bend. An- 
other tells of his English ancestry and their coming to Amer- 
ica. I also have the newspaper clipping of the eulogy on 
his career as soldier, patriot, citizen, and friend published at 
the time of his death. Among his descendants are Mrs. \V. D. 
Bethell, Denver, Colo.; Mrs. John M. Gray, Nashville, Tenn.; 
Mrs. Thomas Day, Memphis, Tenn. ; Mrs. E. M. Apperson, 
Memphis, Tenn.; Mrs. J. S. Van Slyke, Dallas, Tex.; Mrs. 
Joseph Houston, Denver, Colo.; and Mrs. W. R. HoUiday, 
Memphis, Tenn. 

Adam and William Dale were probably sons of 
TJiomas Dale, who came to Liberty with the Mary- 





History of DeKalb County 

landers. Josiah Duncan married a daughter of 
Thomas ; while another, Sophia, was the wife of Wil- 
liam Givan. There are many descendants of these 
Dales in Tennessee and other States. Among them 
is Mrs. H. P. Figuers, of Columbia, whose father, W. 
J. Dale, was born in Smith (DeKalb) County in 1811 
and removed to Maury County in 1822, Another is 
Mrs. Bertha L. Chapman, of Alexandria. She has a 
Bible containing these entries : 

Sophia E. Dale was married to William Givan June 26, 
1802. They had children: Nancy, born January 11, 1804; 
George, born September 21, 1806; Elizabeth, born May i, 
1810; Sarah, born April 11, 1812; Thomas, born March 20, 
1814; Mary Ann, born June 23, 1816; Robert Johnson, born 
August 9, 1818; and Martha Laws Dale, born November 5, 
1820. Martha Laws Dale Givan was married to James D. 
Grandstaff September 19, 1839. Mrs. Grandstaff lived in 
widowhood from 1844 to 1893. 

Riley Dale has in his possession a letter from his 
grandfather, Rev. William Dale, dated February 28, 
1844, containing this genealogical note: 

I was born on the Lord's day, the 4th of May, 1783. My 
place of nativity was "Worcester County, Md. My father's 
name was Thomas Dale, of John Dale, of James Dale, both 
of Londonderry, Ireland. My mother's name was Elizabeth 
Evans, of John Evans, of William Evans, from Wales. 

Thomas Dale, who was a Revolutionary soldier, en- 
listing in Gen. Charles Smallwood's command, soon 
became captain of a company of the Maryland line. 
He owned a great deal of land around Liberty, in 
which village he erected a house. This was on the 
lot on which Will A. Vick more recently built. His 


History of DeKalb County 

son-in-law, Josiah Duncan, was settled on the land 
last owned by the W. G. Bratten heirs. Erecting a 
house on the farm now owned by George Givan, a mile 
south of Liberty, he died before moving to it. His 
widow, with his son-in-law, William Givan, removed 
to the farm, and it is in the possession of the Givan 
family in 1914. In the family graveyard in the rear 
is a limestone slab with this legend: "In memory of 
Thomas Dale, born March 5, 1744; died January 6, 

The colony set about preparing homes and the com- 
munity soon took on a more encouraging aspect. The 
mill was erected on Smith Fork Creek north of 
Liberty, and the place became widely known as the 
Dale Mill Settlement. As the little cluster of houses 
grew larger, the name of Liberty was given it by its 
founder. It is possible that the mountain between 
Liberty and Smithville was named Snow's Hill by him 
in memory of the place where he enlisted for American 
independence. There is not a Dale in what was once 
called the Dale Mill Settlement. A grandson of Rev. 
William Dale, Riley, resides on his farm, several miles 
from Liberty, aged seventy-two. 

There is a diversity of opinion as to who was the 
first merchant. Goodspeed says he was a Mr. Walk ; 
James Givan thinks his name was Vaught. George 
Givan, on Clear Fork, it is interesting to state, now 
owns a well-preserved wash kettle purchased from the 
first merchant about a century ago. 

The earliest dwellings were supposedly built by 
William Givan, Josey Evans, and FTenry Burton, who 


History of DeKalb County 

came with the Maryland settlers. All three were car- 
penters. Other pioneer merchants were Fite & Dun- 
can, Ben Blades, Joshua Bratten, and Moore & Price. 

From Dr. Wright's daybook it is seen that the fol- 
lowing firms were in existence as early as 1832-33: 
Fite, Whaley & Co., Ray & Reed, woodworkmen and 
smiths, Davis & Wood, Derickson & Braswell, sad- 
dlers, York & Bailey, and Whaley & Son. 

Some years prior to the War between the States the 
following were in various businesses : Eli Vick, Wil- 
liam Vick, Hale & Hays, merchants; W. G. Foster, 
Frank Foster, William Whaley, and William Ford. 
Among the merchants after the war were Eli Vick, 
William Whaley, C. W. L. Hale, William Vick, J. H. 
Overall, Overall & Hollandsworth, M. C. Vick, D. D. 
Overall, Elijah Bratten, Vick Bros., George Turney, 
James Pritchett, Isaac Whaley, H. L. Hale, Blue 
Givan, W. T. Hale, and others. The business di- 
rectory for 1914 shows: Maud Spurlock, Robinson 
& McMillan, Whaley Bros., general merchants ; Bright 
Bros., vehicles ; W. L. Vick, harness ; Will Fite, hard- 
ware ; Turner & Son, groceries ; Bratten Bros., grain ; 
William Organ, Jr., tinner; Tom Lamberson, black- 
smith ; Hugh Gothard, liveryman ; H. L. Hale and Joe 
Conley, produce; Grover Evans and J. C. Stark, in- 
surance; L. Woodward, photographer; W. C. Smith, 

As early as 1832-33 the neighborhood around the 
village must have been thickly populated or many 
patrons of the stores came from the Smithville and 
Woodbury communities. Some of the names on Dr. 


History of DeKalb County 

Wright's daybook are : J. G. Roulstone, S. J. Garrison, 
David L. Ray, W. C. Garrison, Lemuel H. Bethel, 
David Fite, Reuben Evans, Eli A. Fisher, M. A. 
Fricks, German Gossett, Francis Turner, G. Shehane, 
Henry Fite, Charles Jenkins, James Stanford, George 
L. Givan, John Floyd, Zach Williamson, Brackett 
Estes, John L. Strong, Joel N. West, John Stark, 
Peter Hays, Joshua Bratten, B. F. Wood, T. W. Dun- 
can, James Wilder, Moses Fite, Joseph Cameron, 
Louis Y. Davis, Thomas Allan, Lem D. Evans, Richard 
Arnold, Matthew Simpson, John Little, John Griffith, 
James Bayne, William Boyd, Joseph Fite, Alfred Wal- 
lace, Capt. William S. Boswell, David Thompson, 
Thomas Allan, David Fricks, Richard McGinnis, John 
Stark, John Hays, John E. Dale, W. T. Cochran, 
Wyatt Pistole, Shadrick Trammel, Moses Spencer, 
Thomas and Moses Pack, Shadrick Kelley, Tilman 
Bethel, Lewis Parker, Milka Strong, Rev. William 
Dale, James Pendleton, Capt. Joseph Evans, Aaron 
Davis, Moses Allen, Capt. James Spurlock, Alex 
Armstrong, David Dirting, John Owen, Nancy Kelly, 
Mrs. Mary Hart, Henry Hart, P. W. Brien, William 
A. Wisner, George Barnes, Joseph Snow, Henry 
Horn, Rev. James Evans, George Foster, Hugh Smith, 
Joseph Atnip, R. H. Parkison, John Martin, Nancy 
Givan, William Blair, Charles Hancock, Luke Mc- 
Dowell, Lewis Parker, John Hollandsworth, Jordan 
Sellars, James Baity, Benjamin Clark, Dempsy Tay- 
lor, Archibald McDougle, Benjamin Goodson, Lemuel 
Moore, Abner Evans, Leonard Fite, Richard Bennett, 
Isaac Pack, George A. Rich, Smith Brien, Peter Tur- 


History of DeKalb County 

ney, Augustiii Vick, Thomas Underwood, Nathan 
Wade, John Candler, James Carney, Wingate Truitt, 
Littleberry Vick, Leonard Lamberson, James Perry- 
man, Lewis Ford, WilHam Estes, Wiley Wilder, Crag 
Parsons, Leven Cray, William Brazwell, William Car- 
roll, Alfred Wales, Thomas West, A. W. Ford, Wil- 
liam Measles, Harriet C. Roulstone, John Conger, 
Joshua Ford, Wiley J. Melton, Samuel Hays, James 
Robinson, Mathias S. West, John Frazier, Alex Dil- 
lard, Friday Martin, Robert Wilson, Samuel Bryson, 
James Yeargin, D. H. Burton, Benjamin Avant, Ed- 
ward Sullivant, James Pistole, Washington Gos- 
sett, William Gossett, S. C. Porterfield, Gideon 
B. York, Green Arnold, Tilman Foster, Mrs. 
Kesiah Alexander, Thomas Bratten, U. G. Gossett, 
Moses Mathews, Sophia Givan, David H. Burton, Ed 
Evans, Gilbert Williams, Samuel Williams, Silas 
Cooper, John R. Dougherty, Goulding Foster, J. M. 
Farrington, John Reed, Mikel V. Ethridge, Dr. 
Samuel Tittle, Moses Spencer, Emerson M. Hill, Ed- 
mund T. Goggin, Giles Driver, P. C. Watson, Bryant 
Spradley, Peter Reynolds, Josiah Spurlock, Jonathan 
Fuston, John Curtis, Nathan Evans, A. Overall, J. A. 
Wilson, Thomas Bratten, O. M. Garrison, Matthew 
Sellars, Joab Hale, John Burton, W. H. Burton, 
Thomas Taylor, Sally Evans, Welles Adamson, W. A. 
Nesmith, Acenith Fite, Washington Bayne, Lee Braz- 
well, Coleman Johnson, James Bayne, Thomas Close, 
W. B. Stokes, Jane Lawrence, Joseph Hendrickson, 
Lewis Stark. Phillips Cooper, Henry McMullin, Sally 
Woodside, Robin Forester, Cantrell Bethel, Jesse B. 


History of DeKalb County 

Jones, Col. James Tubb, Jacob Page, Thomas Pack, 
John Dodd, WilHam Botts, Thomas Whaley, Jacob 
Overall, John M. Leek, Adam Bratten, Abe Adams, 
Benjamin Pritchard, Isaac Bratten, Gilbert Williams, 
Nancy Burton, George Grizzle, Onessimus Evans, W. 
S. Scott, Joseph Evans, Solomon Davis, Edwin Shum- 
way, John Merritt, Matthew McLane, Benjamin 
Blades, F. S. Anderson, and Randall Pafford. 

There is a certain pathos connected with the changes 
that have come about in the personnel of the popula- 
tion during the past fourscore years. For instance, 
a leading family of Liberty in other days was that of 
Gossett ; there is now not a person of the name in the 
village or in the county. The Dales, as shown, have 
also disappeared from the town. 

Mrs. Rachel Payne wrote in 1914: 

I well remember the Liberty of sixty-two years ago, my 
father, Frederick Jones, having bought Duncan Tavern in 
1843. In that year the first schoolhouse was built, not far 
from the Methodist church. Mr. Chambers was the first 
teacher in it. I was one of the later pupils. Most of the 
houses were of logs back then. I went to school in the log 
church that stood by the graveyard. The seats were split 
logs, with holes in them for the insertion of legs. The first 
person buried in Salem graveyard was Major Lamberson's 
girl, Martha. Nearly all the old-time people are gone to their 
reward. Aunt Polly Youngblood is the oldest resident. She 
was a Miss Avant, of Dismal Creek. I was only six months 
old wlicn she became the wife of William Youngblood, and I 
was sixty-eight years old September 23, 1913. There were 
about thirty houses in Liberty when I was a child, and nearly 
all the public travel was by stagecoach. 


History of DeKalb County 

In a gossipy letter Dr. Foster names some of the 
residents of about 1850: Mr. Dean (blacksmith), Dr. 
J. R. Dougherty, Joshua Bratten and his son James, 
Dr. J. H. Fuson, Dr. J. A. Baird, Aunt Sallie Bratten, 
Len Moore, Bill Thompson (blacksmith), Jim Crook 
(wagon maker), Leonard and Clint Lamberson, Wil- 
liam Youngblood, Dr. G. C. Flowers, Isaac Whaley, 
Tom Price, Elijah Strong, J. P., Bob, Hilary, and 
other Dales, Frederick Jones (tailor), W. G. Foster. 
Arthur Worley, U. D. Gossett, Ben Blades, Eli Vick, 
Seth Whaley, James Hollandsworth, John Woodsides, 
William Gothard, Bill Avant (tanner), John Evans, 
John Reid, and John Ferryman. Dr. Foster adds : 

I can see other things as I look back to Liberty: Aunt 
Polly Blades's ginger cakes, set on a little shelf as a sign; 
Aunt Hettie Bratten selling good whisky for ten cents a 
quart; Dr. Flowers's John with his bowlegs; Jim Crook and 
his legs ; Alex Bayne and his snow-white steers ; and Sam 
Wooden as he hits and raises a knot on Bill Pack's head. I 
go around to Reuben Evans's farm and see his sons, Ed, Will, 
Ike, Mose, and Jim, and his daughters, Nancy, Matilda, and 
Martha, and his wife. Aunt Clara, as well as a dog named 
Danger, that bit Jim Youngblood on the hindmost part. Like- 
wise I see old Dr. Tilman Bethel and his black horse and his 
sons, Chess, Greene, Blue, Fayette, and John ; Louis Vick, Jim 
Bratten, and Clint Lamberson (the last three died when yet 
young men). Then I look on Polly Stanley, the best "fisher- 
man" with a pole and line in the county and a good fiddler; 
Sam Barger, fat and squat, who wore his shoes when he rode 
to Liberty, but came barefooted when he walked. Coming on 
down several years, I was in the village the night Montillius 
Richardson died. That was after the battle of Fishing Creek, 
and I was on furlough. (I belonged to the Fifteenth Missis- 
sippi Confederate Regiment.) Sixty-five years ago, when I 


History of DeKalb County 

was a ten-year-old boy, changes were going on, of course. 
The physicians were George C. Flowers, E. Wright, John A. 
Baird, Horace Sneed, Samuel Little, J. A. Fuson, and J. R. 
Doughert}', with Tilman Bethel, a steam doctor, living a mile 
or two west. The magistrates for that district were Reuben 
Evans and Joe Clarke. The constables were William Black- 
burn and Josiah Youngblood. Church Anderson was one of 
the merchants. The blacksmiths were Bill Thompson and 
Greene Ferryman, but preceding them were Goolsberry Blades 
and a man named Brooks. Later smiths were W. G. Evans 
and Bill Givan ; miller, "Chunky" Joe Hays (who was not 
chunk)-), his wife being Aunt Sukej-, mother of Mrs. William 
Blackburn; shoemaker, John Woodside; saddlers, W. G. Fos- 
ter, U. D. Gossett, John A. Carroll, George Warren, G. F. 
Bowers, and others ; saloon keeper, James G. Fuston ; cabinet 
workmen, James HoUandsworth, Bob Burton, and Isaac 
Whaley; brickmason, Berry Driver; tailors, Joe Ferryman 
and Len Moore. The Lamberson boys were also millers, 
running the old Dale water mill. Liberty had a horse saw 
mill and a rope factory — the latter about where the tanyard 
was afterwards. Wagon makers were Jim Crook and Perry 
Wells. Perry and Jim Wells put up a store on Dismal Creek 
after the Clay and Frelinghuysen canvass, and some one got 
off this doggerel : 

"Hurrah ! hurrah ! the country's risin' ; 
Perry and Jim are merchandisin'. 
One sells liquor, and t'other sells goods ; 
And when they start home — get lost in the woods!" 

Liberty was incorporated January 17, 1850. The 
boundaries were: Beginning at a sour oak near 
Leonard Lamberson's wellspring, thence south to 
Smith's Fork, thence down said creek with its mean- 
ders to the mouth of the branch west of the town 
spring, thence west to a chinquapin oak standing on 
the north side of the Liberty and Dismal Creek road, 


History of DeKalb County 

thence south to the beginning ; provided that the west 
boundary shall not include any of the land owned by 
Leonard Lamberson. 

Revived after the war, the corporation was abolished 
soon after the passage of the four-mile law of 1877. 
William Blackburn and Elijah Bratten were post- 
bellum mayors. 

The people of Liberty for some years had to go as 
far as Carthage to mail letters. This was changed 
when the stage began to run, maybe before. The 
earliest postmaster recalled by the old people was 
"Grandaddy" Dougherty, who carried the mail 
around in his hat, collecting the postage. Perhaps Dr. 
Wright preceded Dougherty, as in his daybook various 
persons were charged "cash for postage." Wright 
was a son-in-law of James Fuston, third host of Dun- 
can Tavern. In 1844 Isaac Whaley succeeded 
Dougherty, holding tlie position until 1888, with the 
exception of a few months when, at the beginning of 
the war, Frank Foster was postmaster for the Con- 
federacy and when, after the war, M. C. Vick held the 
office a short time. H. L. Hale succeeded Mr. Wha- 
ley in 1888. ]\Irs. Cannie Whaley was appointed some 
years later. C. L. Bright is the present postmaster. 

It should be noted that there were no envelopes un- 
til a late day. The writer has before him now a letter 
addressed in 1827 to "Mr. M. S. West, Liberty, Smith 
Co., Ten." It is a sheet of paper folded and fastened 
with a small bit of sealing wax, the amount of postage, 
ten cents, being marked on the outside. It was mailed 

3 33 

History of DeKalb County 

at Haysboro, Davidson County, Tenn., and shows that 
postal rates were high. 

In an interview with Isaac Whaley several years 
ago the writer obtained these facts bearing on the old 
times : "The letter postage was once six cents from 
Liberty to Alexandria, seven miles ; ten cents to Nash- 
ville, fifty-six miles ; over four hundred miles the 
postage was twenty-five cents, double that if the let- 
ter consisted of two sheets. Like registered letters 
to-day, a record of every letter was made on a Svay 
bill,' each postmaster receipting for it to the post- 
master back on the route." 

The physicians of Liberty have been numerous. 
These are recalled : Early, J. R. Dougherty, J. A. 
Baird, E. Wright, George C. Flowers; Tilman Bethel 
and Dr. Little, herbists ; Horace Sneed, George R. 
Givan, J. A. Fuson, Thomas Black, J. S. Harrison. 
Later, A. S. Redman, J. W. Campbell, T. J. Sneed, 
W. H. Robinson, W. A. Whaley, J. H. Johnson, J. 
G. Squires, W. A. Barger, Robert Estes, T. O. Brat- 
ten, J, R. Hudson. Present, T. J. Jackson, T. J. Brat- 
tcn, Harrison Adamson. 

Dr. Foster mentions the old miller, ''Chunky" Joe 
Hays, whose service was after Adam Dale's time. The 
Lambersons and Daniel Smith owned the mill still 
later. W. C. Youngblood and Edward Robinson were 
owners of the steam mill when it was burned by the 
troops of Gen. John T. Wilder, Federal. 

Allan Wright, of Maryland, came to Liberty in 
1866 and built a mill on the site of the one which had 
been burned, the to be erected in the county after 


History of DeKalb County 

peace came. For many years the patronage of this 
mill was very great. Among those who have been 
connected with it since the war were : E. W. Bass, Jep 
WilHams, George Wood, L. N. Woodside, J. H. Over- 
all, John L. Lamberson, and George Bradley, 

A water mill was erected by Buck \\'aters about 
1873 or 1874 a few yards below the site of the Dale 
mill, the dam which supplies the big turbine wheel being 
one hundred and twenty-five yards wide and twelve 
feet high. It was sold to Vannata & Hicks. Within 
the next few years it was owned by \'annata & Stark 
Bros., H. L. Hale & Stark Bros., and H. L. and Bruce 
L. Hale. About 1884 a stock company was formed 
and the roller process installed, the stockholders 
being R. L. Floyd, George Turney, R. B. West, Sams 
Sellars, T. G. Bratten, W. C. Youngblood, B. L. Hale, 
and C. W. L. Hale. The capital stock was $6,000. 
On the death of B. L. Hale, in 1898, R. B. Floyd and 
C. W. L. Hale bought all the shares. The property 
is now owned by Bradley Bros. 

The earliest attempt at publishing in Liberty was 
made by H. L. and Will T. Hale. The paper was 
small, miserably printed, and called the Imp. Only 
one issue appeared (September 20, 1879) ! ^^""d had it 
been larger, its failure would have deserved what the 
father of the young men cheerfully called it^ "a stu- 
pendous abortion." 

The Liberty Herald was established April i, 1886, 
by Will A. Vick. Mr. Vick spent considerable money 
on the plant, and the journal, existing several years, 


History of DeKalb County 

became very popular in DeKalb and surrounding 

The Bank of Liberty was established by A. E. Pot- 
ter and J. J. Smith in 1898. The latter became Presi- 
dent, H. L. Overall, Vice President, and A. E. Potter, 
Cashier. Directors : D. D. Overall, J. J. Smith, H. L. 
Overall, H. C. Givan, C. D. Williams, E. J. Robinson, 
Will A. Vick, L. D. Hamilton, A. E. Potter, W. R. 
Robinson, and J. W. Reynolds. Mr. Potter was Cashier 
until 1895, when D. D. Overall became President and 
W. H. Overall, Cashier. The officers in 1914 were: 
John W. Overall, President; Thomas M. Givan, Vice 
President, T. H. Chapman, Cashier ; J. C. Stark, As- 
sistant Cashier. Directors : T. M. Givan, W. H. Over- 
all, T. J. Jackson, J. F. Turner, B. W. Robinson, T. 
H. Chapman, John W. Overall, and Tom W, Overall. 

The American Savings Bank opened for business 
December 8, 1905. This bank, like the other, has been 
successfully conducted. The first officers were : T. 
G. Bratten, President ; W. H. Bass, Vice President ; 
J. M. Bradley, Cashier. Directors : G. B. Givan, D. 
B. Wilson, J. B. West, R. B. Vannata, S. J. Chapman, 
Mrs. M. J. Corley, J. R. Corley, W. L. Evans, W. F. 
Hooper, H. M. Evans, J. E. Williams, and J. L. Lam- 
berson. These officers, or all that were living, held 
their positions until 1914. The President's health be- 
came such that on January 10, 1914, the following 
officers were elected: L. A. Bass, President; G. B. 
Givan, Vice President ; J. M. Bradley, Cashier. Di- 
rectors: L. A. Bass, G. B. Givan, H. M. Evans, R. B. 
Vannata, J. M. Bradley, H. A. Bratten, D. B. Wilson, 


History of DeKalb County 

A. L. Reynolds, A. J. Williams, J. E. Hobson, J. L. 
Lamberson, W. L. Evans, and S. J. Chapman. H. M. 
Evans, T. M. Bright, and C. G. Givan, as finance com- 
mittee, have served since the organization. 

Among landmarks reminding this generation of a 
past era are Lamberson's wellspring and the town 
spring. The former was on the southwest, with a sweep 
and the "old oaken bucket." Here on baptizing days 
the crowds going to and from the place of baptism 
higher up Smith Fork Creek would stop to quench 
their thirst and to gossip. The town spring, on the 
north side, was of more romantic interest. The pio- 
neers greatly appreciated a good spring. It for a while 
furnished drinking water for almost the entire village. 
It was walled up, while a long flight of stone steps led 
down to the entrance on the east side, where a bucket- 
ful of the sparkling fluid could be easily dipped up. 
For half a century it was a Sunday meeting place for 
the young folks. Seated in couples on the steps or 
under the big oak on the bluff, they engaged in light 
badinage or love-making. The spring is yet held in 
pleasant memory by many elderly people. 

There is one other landmark demanding notice, the 
pioneer cemetery on the northwest edge of Liberty. 
It is referred to by H. L. Hale as the "old Methodist 
graveyard." It lies on a gentle slope facing the sunrise, 
and at one time it must have been a beautiful spot. 
Pathos now hovers over it. But few stones are stand- 
ing, and these are the stone pens covered with broad 
slabs of carefully worked limestone. Not a flower 
can be seen in the most gorgeous summer save the 


History of DeKalb County 

wild rose. No one walks there to meditate over the 
departed. A century ago children's voices were heard, 
and relatives of the dead walked among the tombs to 
pay the tribute of a sigh. Now nobody cares. James 
H. Burton writes: "My grandfathers, Ebenezer Bur- 
ton and John S. Woodside, my father and mother, W. 
H. and Nancy Burton, and Uncle John Woodside are 
buried there." H. L. Hale writes: "Few names on the 
two or three tombs are legible. On a little 'house of 
rock,' the last home evidently of a husband and wife, 

this only could be read: ' Daugherty. Born 1770, 

died 1828.' Near by was this : 'Caroline Arnold. 
Died July 22, 1828.' On another tomb : 'D. E. S. Ken- 
ner. Died December 4, 1809; age seventy-seven 
years.' One other : 'Nancy Kite, born 1805 ; died July 
22, 1828.' Judging from the grave of D. E. S. Ken- 
ner, the cemetery was used at least one hundred and 
five years ago, and the slumberer was born the same 
year Washington was, 1732." 

Liberty, fifty-six miles east of Nashville, has suf- 
fered much from fires. It is in one of the finest agri- 
cultural sections of the State, with a population esti- 
mated at five hundred, and perhaps it is of more ro- 
mantic interest than the other towns in the county. 


Pastimes of the Foreparents. 

We should not think of the past in terms of the 
present, but remember that social advantages of a 
century ago were far inferior to those of 1914. The 
society of the grandparents, then, as in all primitive 
communities, was somewhat rude. The crudeness 
varied, being less apparent in the villages than farther 
in the backwoods. While there was some degree of 
refinement among those who could buy books and visit 
the outside world occasionally, the majority were plain 
citizens. Amusements were few. There were parties, 
sometimes called frolics. Candy-pulling and fru- 
menty boilings were often the outcome of a quilting, 
log-rolling, or corn-shucking. Such plays as "thim- 
ble," "snap," "slapout," and "Jake's a-grinning" 
would be engaged in. Others would be accompanied 
by songs on this order : 

The higher up the cherry tree, 

The riper grows the cherry; 
The sooner you court a pretty girl, 

The sooner you will marry. 

The dances were usually rough in outlying com- 
munities. The more cultured, especially near the mid- 
dle of the nineteenth century, enjoyed the Virginia 
reel and other less boisterous dances ; their plays, too, 
were more refined. 

With people of Anglo-Saxon stock the favorite 
musical instrument in the first stages of society is the 


History of DeKalb County 

violin. General Stokes and Hon. Horace Overall per- 
formed on this instrument. In the mercantile account 
book of Dr. Wright General Stokes, Richard Arnold, 
and Green B. Adams are charged with "piano songs" 
in the first third of the nineteenth century. Does this 
mean that there were pianos in the county as early as 
that ? Possibly the music was bought to be sung with- 
out piano accompaniment. The fiddlers in the county 
from 1800 to 1875, including black and white, would 
have no doubt numbered several hundred, and some 
were so popular that they were in demand on all near- 
by social and public occasions where music was a fea- 

The race course was encouraged and well patron- 
ized. There were quite a number of locally famous 
horses, and some had prestige beyond the borders of 
the State. Dr. Foster writes: 

The stallions Old Pete, George Boyd, and Steamboat were 
as well known in the western part of the county about 1845 
or 1850 as the most prominent citizens. William Gothard, of 
Liberty, was a great lover of horses. Lemuel Moore, the 
tailor, once sold a small "scrub" for thirty-five dollars. The 
animal turned out to be a racer and soon afterwards sold 
for eighteen hundred dollars. 

Tan Fitts, of near Temperance Hall, owned Dock 
Alvin, Elizabeth Johnson, and Tom Hal, noted racers. 

The most noted animal in the county was Ariel, a 
quarter horse. The owner was William B. Stokes. 
It was told that he won so many stakes that few would 
bet against him, and through a prejudiced cabal he 
was ruled off the tracks. Whereupon his owner 


History of DeKalb County 

painted him a different color and won other races, but 
the paint eventually took off the hair. Of course this 
was apocryphal. Stokes's daughter, Mrs. Leath Cal- 
houn, told the writer that Ariel's leg was broken and 
that her father gave him to his brother-in-law, Horace 
Overall, then a lad. Horace and the little slaves put 
some sort of juice or homemade liniment on the af- 
flicted limb. As it did some good, boylike, they de- 
cided to anoint him all over, thinking a greater im- 
provement would result. This denuded him of his 
once glossy coat. In a conversation with the writer in 
1899 Mr. Leander Hayes said : "I recall having passed 
Colonel Overall's one day and saw the animal stand- 
ing in the lot by the road. All the hair had slipped 
from him except that on his belly and the ends of his 
ears. He was a woeful sight." 

What became of Ariel? The next heard of him is 
through Oliver Taylor's history of Sullivan County, 
East Tennessee. Taylor says in one place : 

Sullivan County wheat took first prize over the world at 
the Vienna Exposition in 1872, and the bones of the swiftest 
horse of the racing days between 1845 and i860 moldered on 
a field on the old Fain farm east of Blountville. 

Farther along in his chapter devoted to politics are 
these notes: 

When General Stokes and De Witt Senter were opposing 
each other for Governor [in 1869] they engaged in a discus- 
sion at Blountville. Stokes was the owner of Ariel, the 
famous race horse. He appealed to the horse-breeding and 
agricultural spirit of his countr3'men. "The bones of Ariel," 
said he, "are moldering in Sullivan County soil." Replying 
to this, Senter said : "I grant you it is a great honor to have 


History of DeKalb County 

the resting place of the fastest horse of the times ; but, gentle- 
men, 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?" 

It is possible that Ariel, after recovering from the 
broken leg, was bought and carried to East Tennessee 
for breeding purposes. Dr. T. J. Jackson, of Liberty, 
says that he once read a description of Ariel in pam- 
phlet form, and his natural color was described as 
"snow white." 

There were company, regimental, and brigade mus- 
ters in the first half of the nineteenth century. They 
became less frequent about 1855. 

Solomon in his glory was not much more re- 
splendent than the superior officers at these gatherings. 
Especially noticeable were their long black or red 
plumes. When the time came to muster, some one 
would take a position at some point on the street and 
cry out : "Oyez, Oyez ! All who belong to Captain 

's company form in a parade here." Another 

would call the same to a different company a hundred 
or two yards distant, and so on until all the militia was 
in action. After forming they, with drum and fife 
(field officers on prancing horses), would march to a 
commodious field and evolute and march to the ad- 
miration of the surging crowds. Dr. Foster writes : 

As the muster at Smithville was a bigger affair than that 
at Liberty, it must have been a brigade muster. Colonel 
Cotton, Major Atnip, and Captain Perkins took great interest 
in these affairs. The officers' hats, as I remember, were of 
the stovepipe pattern. Horses not used to the noise and 


History of DeKalb County 

crowds reared and pranced, but Captain Perkins seemed to 
enjoy the prancing of his roan steed. In the language of 
old Tom Askew, all the officers "felt the weight of the argu- 

Mr. H. L. Hale, who was almost six years of age 
when the war began, recalls a muster he witnessed at 
Liberty and writes : 

I think Peter Adams was then colonel of a DeKalb regi- 
ment. I can see Colonel Peter sitting his graj' charger in a 
deep Spanish saddle, with high boots and spurs and three- 
cornered or crescent-shaped hat and large feather or tassel. 
He was, I thought, the finest and greatest man I ever saw 
or could expect to see. Tall and straight, he had a military 
bearing as long as he lived ; and, small as I was when I saw 
him on this occasion, I thought he took special pains to "dad- 
die"' that plume by some movement of the head. 

He says further: "These companies always marched 
to the stirring music of fife and drum. There was a 
Liberty company called the Blues and another the 
Greens. Ike Lamberson and Jim Bethel, negroes, 
were noted fifers and drummers."* 

*Among the State archives are many commissions of mus- 
ter days. Thus, Thomas Patterson was made captain of the 
Fortj'-First Regiment September i8, 1812, George Turney 
lieutenant, and Josiah Spurlock ensign. Joseph Fite became 
a captain in the regiment January- 28, 1813. Lemuel Moore 
was commissioned lieutenant of the same regiment June 14, 
1813, and Moses Garrison September 14, 1814. In the last- 
named year Shadrack Moore was made a second major of 
the Sixteenth Regiment March 21, while Beverly Strange 
(or Strong) became captain April 13. James Malone figures 
as early as August 31, 181 3, as lieutenant. 


History of DeKalb County 

Shooting matches were greatly appreciated, and 
there were crack shots celebrated throughout the 
county, W. G. Evans and John McDowell among 

The chase is appreciated in all new countries, and 
it was so in this county. Until long after the War be- 
tween the States some farmers kept packs of fox 
hounds. It would be interesting to know their breed. 
But they were black and tan, with an occasional gray- 
ish or pied animal, lank, with long pendulous ears, 
calling to mind Shakespeare's description : "Ears that 
swept away the morning dew, . . . matched in 
mouth like bells." Farm neighbors would meet each 
other with their packs on some high point in the hills 
and spend the hours from dark to dawn's approach 
and listen and listen and listen. The charm born of 
night in the woods around the fire waiting for the 
hounds to open up ! The music of the trailing pack 
wafted over hill and hollow ! The man who takes part 
in all this once soon finds the lure irresistible, and the 
chase becomes a habit. 

The writer has heard his mother describe the corn- 
shuckings and the shanty songs sung while the men 
were at work. A banquet would follow the husking of 
the big piles of maize about midnight. Though the 
corn-shucking meant work for the negroes, they en- 
joyed any occasion where they were free to indulge in 
antics and humor. Whisky and brandy were plentiful 
on these occasions. The report of a "husking bee" 
held in the northern corn belt some years ago showed 
that a champion shucked ten and a half bushels in an 


History of DeKalb County 

hour. Something like that was probably turned out 
at the corn-shuckings mentioned. 

Superstition prevailed, and, indeed, it still prevails 
to some extent. The writer does not claim freedom 
from it and admits that he will not willingly pass 
under a ladder, pare his nails on Sunday, tell a dream 
on Friday morning before breakfast, nor step over an- 
other's feet ! The inculcation of superstitious notions 
has been laid to the slaves ; but our ancestors were as 
much to blame, if any blame can be said to attach, 
since the wisest minds now give credence to the occult. 

The social visit, as it was of old, might well be classed 
with amusements. There was still a genuine hospital- 
ity existing, and for neighbors, though not related, to 
pay each other a visit Saturday afternoon and remain 
until Sunday afternoon was no uncommon thing. 
This was called "going abroad" ; by the children, 
"goin' on a broad." Perhaps Saturday night was the 
most interesting part of the visit. Around the great 
wood fire in winter or upon the porch in summer the 
gossip of the neighborhood would be discussed, then 
would follow stories of adventure and the supernat- 
ural, relieved with humorous anecdotes. Greatly en- 
joyed, too, was the evening call, when neighbors 
would merely "drop in" and sit till bedtime. 

Reverting to the society of the foreparents, it 
should be stated that looking on wine when it was red 
and corn whisky when it was white was almost univer- 
sal. In 1840 there were 1,274 distilleries in the State. 
The best citizens made, sold, and drank intoxicants. 
There was scarcely a gathering where men did not 


History of DeKalb County 

drink — musters, races, elections, and weddings. The 
bibulous frequently disturbed camp meetings. Chil- 
dren were "treated" on Christmas morning. Of course 
there were temperance advocates. When Bird S. Rhea 
and H. A. Overall were candidates to represent the 
county in 1853, the former was defeated, it is thought, 
because of his temperance principles. 

DeKalb County had its share of the 1,274 "stills." 
Perhaps the first was put up about 1801 by Jesse Allen 
on Eagle Creek. The writer's maternal grandfather, 
Abraham Overall, was a distiller, and from his old 
account book we get an idea of the cheapness of ar- 
dent spirits and realize how the best people kept a 
supply. Among his customers were Thomas Richard- 
son, Moses Allen, Dr. Flowers, Dr. Jefferson Sneed, 
William Goggin, Josiah Fuson, Samson Braswell, 
John Allen, Josiah Hale, Matthew Sellars, Samuel 
Barger, William Pistole, Joseph Hays, James Stark, 
Hiram Morris, Joseph Turney, Daniel Ford, Francis 
Turner, Isaac Turney, Jacob Adams, Henry Powell, 
Goolsberry Blades, 'Bias Wilson, and Peter Clark. 
Polly Stanly and Polly Huchens purchased largely, 
perhaps to sell. The latter on July 17, 1841, was 
charged $3 for six gallons. Under the same date is 
this entry : "Three gallons whisky in evening of the 
election, $1.50." Here are the purchases of one farmer 
for about seven months of 1844. The buyer's name 
is withheld, although on the book: April 12, one gallon 
of brandy, .623/2 ; April 17, one gallon of whisky (or- 
der), -Zy^^', April 27, one gallon of whisky, .373^2; 
May I, one gallon of whiskv, .37>4 ; May 9, one gal- 


History of DeKalb County 

Ion of whisky, .37^^ ; May 23, one gallon of whisky, 
.37^ ; May 29, one gallon of whisky, .2i7y2 ; June 18, 
one gallon of w'hisky, .yjYi. ; June 27, one gallon of 
whisky, .37^,* July 12, one gallon of whisky, .Z7^^', 
July 17, one gallon of whisky, .37'/2 ; August 24, one 
gallon of W'hisky, .'i^yYi ; November 6, one gallon of 
brandy, .40, 


Farming and Merchandising. 

Three early land offices had been opened in Ten- 
nessee at different times. That for Middle Tennessee 
was opened in 1783. A military reservation was laid 
off to satisfy bounties promised the Revolutionary sol- 
diers of North Carolina. Thousands of acres were 
taken up. As no method of selecting land was used 
(the holder of a warrant could explore and locate any- 
where and in any shape), the best was taken up, and 
poor tracts were left in every section. The North 
Carolina demands for her old soldiers were allowed 
even after Tennessee became a State. Each private 
was given 640 acres ; each noncommissioned officer, 
1,000; each captain, 3,840; each colonel, 7,200; and 
so on. Gen. Nathaniel Green was granted 25,000 

Many warrants were located on DeKalb County 
lands. Not all the soldiers or their heirs desired to 
locate here, though some came. So numerous claims 
were bought up by speculators, Linn Cocke being one 
of the best known. 

Early crops were hemp, cotton, and tobacco in more 
than one portion of the county. Neither cotton nor 
hemp is now grown here. Wheat to-day is one of the 
main crops, but the pioneers grew so little of it that 
wheat bread was with a host only a Sunday morning 
luxury. Wheat had to be cut with hand sickles and 
threshed with a flail or tramped out by horses and 


History of DeKalb County 

oxen, and making it into flour was not easily done. 
The grain was ground between rough millstones and 
the product bolted by hand. Before the turnpike was 
built, com, which has always been the American 
pioneer's stand-by, could not be carried to distant mar- 
kets with profit, and this may be one reason why there 
were so many distilleries in the early years. Cotton 
and hemp were used largely in making clothing for 
the slaves, for there were many in the county. John 
K. Bain, whose father, Peter Bain, settled near the 
mouth of Sink Creek in 1812, says: "The productions 
of that section were corn, wheat, oats, and rye. Reap- 
ing was done with hand sickles. Plows used were bull 
tongues. Iron cost twenty-five cents a pound. The 
range was good. Hogs got fat on beech mast, dry 
cattle lived on the range all winter, and there was no 
thoroughbred stock." Dr. Foster writes : "Corn about 
1845 sold for $1 a barrel, or ten cents the bushel if you 
went to the country after it. I remember when the 
best horses sold for $40 ; then the price went up some, 
and as fine a horse as I ever saw in the county was 
bought by John F. Moore at Liberty for $100. Haul- 
ing was done mostly with oxen, many men driving two 
yokes. As fine apples grew in the Basin as anywhere." 
An account book of 1844, once belonging to Col. 
Abraham Overall, gives an insight to farm products 
and prices of that period; they were probably about 
the same throughout the county. Hemp retailed on 
the farm at about five cents the pound ; tobacco, four 
cents; flour, $1.50 per one hundred pounds; apples 
and sweet potatoes, twenty-five cents the bushel. 

4 49 

History of DeKalb County 

Freight by wagon from Nashville to Liberty was sixty 
cents per one hundred pounds. 

If the foreparents did not generally have pure-bred 
stock, they had good crosses, judging by the great 
herds of hogs driven south yearly. The Copperbot- 
tom horse was popular, as was the Morgan. Doubtless 
the Narragansett was known, since for years pacing 
was an appreciated gait. William B. Stokes, T. W. 
Fitts, and others made a specialty of fine horses in 
ante-bellum days. It might be interesting to dwell on 
such breeds of poultry as the old dominique and 
shanghai, once prized but now differentiated into brah- 
mas and cochins. Likewise vegetables like peach- 
blow and London lady potatoes and the small varie- 
ties of tomatoes or "love apples," as they were then 

The grandparents lived well. Vegetables were care- 
fully stored for winter use. Smokehouse and larder 
v/ere full. Maple sirup and New Orleans molasses 
were used, as sorghum was not introduced into Amer- 
ica until 1853. Loaf sugar was a delicacy, though 
there was a cheap quality of brown sugar. 

The earliest merchants of the county doubtless car- 
ried small stocks. One reason was that merchandise 
was hauled long distances. Another was that every 
village had its hatter, tailor, shoemaker, and saddler. 
Handmade things were the rule. Much cloth was 
manufactured at home (housewives vying with each 
other in weaving) and made up at home or by the 
tailor. Isaac Whaley once gave this pointer to the 
writer: "Our people generally wore homespun clothes 


History of DeKalb County 

— the women cotton dresses striped with indigo and 
turkey red, though some had silk. The men's clothing 
was usually made by tailors, our first tailor at Liberty 
being Bill Cochran; the second, Joe Ferryman. The 
best of our early hatters was Mathias West, who made 
considerable money. Wool and fur hats were made. 
Mr. West could make as fine a 'stovepipe' as you will 
see. The price was $7 or $8, and when the fur was 
worn off the hat was brought back and made as good 
as new. The wealthiest people, like Francis Turner, 
Ned Robinson, and Abraham Overall, had fine broad- 
cloth suits made by the tailors." The old people have 
always claimed that merchandise was frequently 
brought from New Orleans, necessitating high prices 
with the middlemen, for the trip by keel boat required 
five months. Even the Liberty merchants may have 
got some of their wares by water, for this item is 
found in Dr. Wright's daybook: "John Conger, credit 
for raising flatboat and keeping her till next boating 
season in Caney Fork, $20." 

By 1830, however, stocks of goods were no doubt 
enlarged, and Alexandria may have made the innova- 
tion. Dr. Foster writes that "the people of that town 
were always more dressy than in other parts of the 
county" ; while the writer remembers the remark fre- 
quently made by Squire Len F. Woodside just after 
the War between the States : "Yes, sir, the Petersons 
don't send to Paris, but to Alexandria, for the latest 
fashions with which to illustrate their magazine." 

But Dr. Wright's daybook indicates that his stock 
was full enough for a village store. It also indicates 


History of DeKalb County 

that his patrons bought on time ; moreover, there is 
not an item charged at five cents. Joshua Bratten is 
charged twenty-five cents for half a pound of pow- 
der; Col. Abe Overall, $2 for eight pounds of cofifee 
and 12 cents a pound for sugar; Hariette C. Roul- 
stone, 43 cents for two yards of "apron checks" ; 
Thomas Cameron, 75 cents for three yards of domes- 
tic; David L. Ray, $1.50 for three yards of calico; 
Leonard Lamberson, 62^ cents for a fourth of a 
pound of tea; John R. Dougherty, 62V2 cents for a 
pound of raisins; E. Wright, 12 cents for two dozen 
eggs ; John M. Leake, $1 for a bandanna handker- 
chief; Irving Gray (hatter), $2.50 for six yards of 
caHco; Jacob Overall, 12 cents for two gimlets; Little- 
berry Vick, $5.75 for twenty-three yards of home- 
spun ; Louis Y. Davis, 25 cents for two pounds of 
"homemade" (maple) sugar; Col. Abe Overall, $7.50 
for a mill saw (probably the straight sort) ; Elizabeth 
Overall, $2.25 for a cotton umbrella, "to be paid for 
in brown jeans" ; Liberty Lodge, No. yy, "to cash to 
pay postage, 63^2 cents" ; William Blair, two reap 
hooks, $1.50; Asia Cooper, one dozen button molds, 
6y2 cents, and one paper of tacks, i8j<2 cents ; W. B. 
Stokes, four pounds of nails, 50 cents ; W. G. Stokes, 
one drab hat, $8.50, one cravat stiffening, 12^ cents, 
and one vial oil of cinnamon, 25 cents ; Bartimeus Pack, 
one hymn book, 75 cents ; Richard Arnold, one fur 
hat, $6. Calico was worth 50 cents the yard ; nutmegs, 
6^ cents each. A lady is charged 87J/2 cents for 
three and a half yards of domestic and 60 cents for a 
pair of cotton hose, T. W. Duncan buys a dozen gun 


History of DeKalb County 

flints for 63^2 cents, and John Canler a paper of ink 
powder for 18^ cents. James B. Pistole is charged 
$8 for "one Tom and Jerry hat" ; WilHam C. Garrison, 
$3 "for Webster's speeches" ; Wilham B. Stokes, 62^ 
cents for "one piano song"; L. H. Bethel, 37^ cents 
to pay postage; Thomas E. Bratten, 75 cents for a 
gallon of molasses. There is a charge of $1.20 for 
four pounds of loaf sugar. Loaf sugar was in coni- 
cal packages and came ready wrapped in dark-blue 
paper. Somewhat pathetic is this charge of eighty- 
two years ago, "Two boys' balls, 6^ cents," for one 
cannot help wondering what came of the boy or boys. 
A farmer is credited $2 for twenty-four and a half 
pounds of butter and another $2.16^ for six and a 
half pounds of wool. 

The leghorn hat was fashionable then and later. 
Was it also called a "poke" bonnet? A writer in the 
Liberty Herald in 1892 stated that the "leghorn bon- 
nets were a foot and a half long, more or less, with- 
out any artificials, simply a plain ribbon drawn across 
the top and tied under the chin." 

The Dunstable bonnet was much in vogue. One is 
charged in the following bill to Miss Elizabeth O. 
Hall: "One Dunstable bonnet and trimmings, $6; six 
yards blk. silk, $6; seven yards calico, $3.50; pair 
side combs, 12^/2 cents; one best fancy handkerchief, 
$2 ; twelve strands beads, 87 ^^ cents ; one black bobbi- 
net veil, $2.50; one black bandanna handkerchief, $1 ; 
two and a half yards bobbinet lace, $i.56>^." 

Among the products of the farm in 1832-33 were 
cheese and flax seed. David Griffith's account was 


History of DeKalb Cou.nty 

credited with 62)^ cents for one and a quarter pounds 
flax seed ; and at the time Jordan Sellars was charged 
$9 for "one fine fur hat," he was credited with 85 cents 
for eight and a half pounds of cheese. 

Since Isaac Whaley's reference to the clothing worn 
by the foreparents has been introduced in this chap- 
ter, it will be only a second digression to quote the 
words of an old DeKalb Countian who wrote from 
Missouri to the Liberty Herald April 6, 1892, of 
before-the-war days : 

For Sunday many of the well-to-do men wore a blue or 
black broadcloth coat which cost from four to ten dollars a 
yard. They were usually cut with a frock or "claw-hammer" 
tail and rolling collar. The black and white satin vest, double- 
breasted, was worn by the fashionable. Pants were made 
very loose and had wide or narrow flaps before, invariably. 
A black silk cravat, doubled crosswise, was worn around a 
collar of uncertain dimensions. The dress described was 
worn by the fashionable, such as Eli Vick, Jasper Ruyle, 
Pete Adams, Len Walker, Joseph Clarke, Peter Clark, and 
others on Sunday. Later Dr. Horace Sneed, Dr. J. S. 
Harrison, the Hayes boys, the Turners, and the Turneys were 
the leaders in fashion. Many women sometimes wore silk 
dresses — not gaudy-colored, but plain black silk. A calico 
dress was seldom seen. Nearly all dresses were made with 
two widths of cloth and a gore on each side. Hoop skirts 
were as rare among women as drawers among men. All 
young women wore their dresses fastened behind. No such 
institution as a corset was thought of. The hair was usually 
parted in the middle, a strip bent around each car, and wound 
up with a large horn comb at the back of the head. 

The people did much trading by exchanging one 
commodity for another. The amount of money in 
circulation have been negligible. For instance, 


History of DeKalb County 

this note was made by Colonel Overall, who was not 
poor, but ow^ned perhaps twenty-five hundred acres of 
land, a score of slaves, a mill, cotton gin, and distillery : 
"The amount of money that I have spent since the 
26th of August, 1844: September 10, $1; September 
18, 50 cents; September 20, 50 cents; October i, $1 ; 
October 20, $2; October 25, 45 cents; November 9, 
50 cents ; December 6, $5." 

Life was "slow" compared with this age that goes 
the pace that kills, but it had its advantages. One 
worth $10,000 or $12,000 was in easy circumstances. 
With his slaves, abundant crops, and loaded tables, he 
made a social impression that is not now made with 
thrice that amount. He had time to read ; he indulged 
in hospitality; and, free from business cares, behind 
his grave demeanor lurked a trace of humor tragically 
absent from the countenances of the nervous men of 
the present. 


Relating to Education. 

We owe a debt of gratitude to the old field tutors 
who for poor pay labored in the cause of mental and 
moral attainment when we had no adequate public 
school law. Of course there were many instances in 
the county where parents were able to send their chil- 
dren to schools where the advantages were greater. 
James Givan, speaking for the Clear Fork country, 
has said: "The settlers from Virginia — they were 
called the upper ten by their neighbors — in some in- 
stances sent their children back to the Old Dominion 
for schooling or to well-established boarding schools," 
But the old field teacher was the main reliance of the 

Dr. T. W. Wood, who was reared in Cannon County 
and who is past threescore and ten, says: "I have 
heard my father speak of having studied Dillworth's 
speller and Johnson's dictionary. I used Webster's 
speller (which has never been surpassed), Kirkham's 
grammar, McGuffey's reader, Smiley's arithmetic, 
Walker's dictionary, Davies's algebra, and Mitchell's 
geography and arithmetic." Dr. Wood adds: "It was 
nothing uncommon for free schools to last only six 
weeks or two months. Teachers were paid from $20 
to $30 per month, frequently holding forth in log 
cabins with dirt floors and wooden benches without 
backs. The writing desk consisted of a broad plank 
attached to the wall. More attention was paid to 
penmanship, reading, spelling, and arithmetic than 


History of DeKalb County 

to-day. The true basis of education is more neglected 
now than then." John K. Bain wrote in his eighty- 
seventh year: "From 1836 to 1842, or later, there were 
no free schools in my section — all subscription. The 
teacher took his seat and made each scholar stand be- 
side him to say his lesson. He kept a long switch, 
fully four feet, sticking up over the door. There were 
no classes. The books used were Webster's speller, 
Smiley's arithmetic, McGuffey's readers, and geogra- 
phy. One of my teachers was Glasgow Harper, who 
finally became a Methodist preacher and moved down 
near Liberty or on Smith's Fork." Dr. J. B. Foster 
gave this information in 1914: "The schoolbooks sixty 
and seventy years ago were Webster's speller (my 
copy, however, was yellow, not blue, and I recall hav- 
ing written on the inside 'bird foster'), McGuffey's 
readers, Smith's grammar at Liberty and Kirkham's 
at Smithville, Smiley's and Pike's arithmetics, and 
Olney's geography. There were others for advanced 
pupils. At all old field schools two pupils would 
choose spellers and have a 'spelling battle' on Friday 
afternoons. When a pupil wanted to 'go out' in some 
instances he (to keep tab) had to carry a crooked 
stick, and on his return he hung it back on a nail in 
the wall. The presence of the stick meant 'all are in ; 
now you can go out.' It was a sort of passport. 
Blackboards were not then in use. Big and little were 
whipped when the teacher thought they needed chas- 
tisement. The pupil who reached the schoolhouse 
first 'said' his lesson first; 'recite' was not used. At 
the writing hour the girls practiced first and then the 


History of DeKalb County 

boys. Goose quill pens were common. Vials took the 
place of inkstands. In each was a piece of cotton, 
holding the absorbed ink in case the bottle was turned 
over, and when not in use the bottles were suspended 
on nails by strings. The larger pupils were allowed 
to sit outside and 'cipher,' study grammar, and the like. 
Boys and girls did not play together, and young teach- 
ers were partial to boys who had pretty sisters." 

Corporal punishment was indeed in vogue. Often 
it was severe, even for some years after the close of 
the War between the States. Sometimes as effective a 
punishment as could be administered was to make a 
mischievous lad sit beside a girl. Thus exposed to 
gaze, he was the pink victim of snickering playmates. 
Doubtless that course would not embarrass young 
America to-day. 

Geographies being scarce, once a day, usually late 
in the afternoon, the entire school stood against the 
walls and "sang geography," the teacher leading. 
Nations or States with the capitals and the names and 
height of mountains were the main things learned in 
this way. The chanting would run somewhat thus: 
"Ar-kan-sas, Ar-kan-sas — Little Rock, Little Rock ;" 
or, "Copenhagen, Copenhagen — Denmark, Denmark." 

School hours were from sunrise to sunset, with a 
"recess" in both forenoon and afternoon, and "play- 
time" took up an hour in the middle of the day. The 
lunch brought by children to be eaten during recess 
was called "recess," not "snack" or lunch. The games 
played were town ball, bull pen, Ant'ny-over, marbles, 
knucks, and fox chase. The favorite relaxation of the 


History of DeKalb County 

girls was jumping the rope. From time out of mind 
the shouting of "school butter" by a passer-by was 
resented by the pupils and maybe the teacher. Chief 
Justice John Marshall was now and then, he tells us, 
chased for uttering the challenge and could not ex- 
plain why it caused resentment or how it originated. 
Recently through the Nashville Banner a Tennessee 
lady has said that "school butter" is a corruption of 
the taunt, "the school's better" — that is, the school's 
superior. If caught, the challenger was ducked in the 
nearest stream or mudhole and punished for his 

The writer was a pupil of these first schools. Often, 
when among new friends in his experiences in the 
daily journalism of various cities, he has forgotten 
them and thought of his boyhood playmates. His af- 
fection for the latter was on one occasion expressed 
in the following lines, which, if not of historical inter- 
est, may yet appeal to survivors of the old times : 

The time for cakes and ale is gone for us of grizzled hair- 
But that can't make our hearts forget how old school days 

shone fair. 
Outside the house— the waving woods where rose the brown 

bees' hum, 
And the wild roses that appeared dead lovers' vows in bloom ; 
Within — the boys in homespun suits, the teacher's mighty 

And girls, though plainly dressed, as plump as those in silken 

And Zekle Moore and Abner Smith, Sue Brown and Mary 

Your plain, old-fashioned names are fit to grace the sweetest 



History of DeKalb County 

Where are you, tow-head boys who felt each day the birchen 

And knew how well to place the pin and aim the paper wad? 
Where are the girls on whom back there we cast admiring 

eyes — 
Whose smiles brought back to earth once more some hints of 

Old time has been as rough with them no doubt as with us 

And some are fat-and-forty dames and some perhaps old 

maids ! . . . 
But there was one of pleasant mien I think of oft and long 
And wish she knew a thought of her throbs through this little 


In all probability the earliest school in DeKalb 
County was taught at Liberty. Among the early 
teachers there were a Mr. Chambers and William 
Gay. Their names recur more persistently to the older 
people than others of the ante-bellum years. The lat- 
ter married a daughter of the merchant, Seth Whaley, 
and is described by Dr. Foster as having "two or three 
fingers missing from one hand and parting his hair 
in the middle." Mr. and Mrs. Gay removed to Mis- 
souri. Mrs. Rachel Payne, as will be seen elsewhere, 
says that Mr. Chambers was the first to keep school in 
the first specially erected schoolhouse, the long one- 
story frame building which stood from about 1843 to 
some time during the war, when it was torn down by 
order of Col. William B. Stokes and the lumber used 
for making cabins for the officers of his regiment about 
the stockade, northwest of the Methodist church. 

Richard Carroll, a lame pedagogue, came from 
Smith County with Frederick Jones, tailor and tavern 


History of DeKalb County 

keeper. John Collins, who also may have taught at 
Alexandria, was for a while in charge of a school at 
Liberty. Writes Dr. Foster: "Collins and C. G. O. 
Smith were teachers who occasionally imbibed — kept 
intoxicants hid out." Among other ante-bellum teach- 
ers were Professor Crane, who married Miss Amanda 
Seay and who, being Northern-born, returned to In- 
diana during the secession excitement, C. W. L. Hale, 
W. D. G. Carnes, and Roland Foster. This writer 
started out during Mr. Foster's time to lay the founda- 
tion of an education, being very small, tow-headed, 
and bare of feet. Reaching the door with his brother 
Horace that summer morning, he espied Billy Gothard 
sitting astride one stove and George Smith astride the 
other. They were being punished thus for some mis- 
chief. This startled him, and he shot under the house, 
where he remained long enough to devour his "recess," 
and then took to his heels in the direction of home. 

Dr. Foster refers further to teachers at Liberty 
prior to 1851, naming Joseph Ferryman, A. M. Jones, 
Robert Yeargin, and Mr. Woodward. The last named 
remained only a short while. 

The writer recalls these later teachers : W. D. G. 
Carnes, John Truitt, Miss Cynthia Fuston, Miss Hat- 
tie Woodside, Mrs. Thomas Adamson (from Iowa), 
Rev. D. P. Searcy, John F. Roy, Horace M. Hale, Miss 
Callie Sneed, W. D. Gold, Miss Sallie Coward, W. A. 
Barger, John Bryan, Miss Amelia Bryan, Hood and 
Baker (from the North), Jones and Renick, Mr. 
Friece (from the North), Rev. James Turner, Thomas 
Turner. Professor Paschal, Miss Stevens, S. B. Sher- 


History of DeKalb County 

rill, Alona Gossett, Robert Smithson, Professor Rose, 
Professor Crewes, E. W. Brown, J. H. Killman, and 
Matt Bratten. The teachers in 1914 were: Horace L. 
Smith, principal ; Misses Gene Crowley and Bessie 
Saunders, assistants ; and Miss Mildred Mathis, music 

It is believed that the first building put to educa- 
tional purposes was the old log church, Salem, then 
the new frame which took its place. After the war of 
1861-65, the latter was again used; so was the Meth- 
odist church ; and Miss Cynthia Fuston kept school 
awhile in a log cabin in the eastern part of the village. 
In 1869 the Masonic Academy was erected, the first 
teachers being H. M. Hale, principal, and Miss Gallic 
Sneed, assistant. In the present decade the high 
school building was erected. 

It should be stated that shortly after Masonic Acade- 
my was built differences arose between some of the 
patrons as to how the common school fund should be 
managed. As a result another house, William Black- 
burn leading, was put up near the pioneer graveyard 
north of the village. A few sessions were held in it, 
when it fell into disuse. 

Old residents of Alexandria think that the first 
school kept there was by Wyley Reynolds in a log 
house about 1820. Persons who remember him say 
that he was above the average as an instructor. Later 
in a frame house John Collins taught the young idea 
how to shoot. A frame building was about 1840 espe- 
cially erected for educational purposes. According to 


History of DeKalb County 

Goodspeed's history, Masonic Academy followed in 
1856, and in 1858 Lawrence College. The two latter, 
attractive and substantial structures, gave evidence of 
the people's love of learning, and in their time turned 
out many well-informed men and cultured women. 

Prior to the great war subscription schools were 
also taught by Miss Bettie Minor, Miss Mary Morti- 
mer, and Mrs. Susan Bryant. 

Other teachers besides Reynolds and Collins have 
been: John Ogden, Thomas Bunday, William Rust, 
Frank Smith, Messrs. Pirkey, Joy, IMcKnight, and 
William Hi Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer, Mr. and 
Mrs. Blackington, Mr. and Mrs. Davis, Mr. and Mrs. 
IMagoffin, James Turner, Thomas Eastes, H. L. W. 
Gross, INIrs. T. L. Gold, J. L. Boon, and others. Pro- 
fessor Boon was in charge in 1914, his assistants being 
Misses Odom, Lucas, and Coles. 

Very little is known relative to early Smithville 
schools of the old field variety, but there were such. 
Dr. Foster recalls the following, who taught after 
1851 : William Eastham, Thomas Bunday, William 
Dawson, and Mr. Moore. 

In 1838 Fulton Academy was chartered. This, a 
commodious brick building, became famous locally 
within a few years for its able instructors. The trus- 
tees of the institution were Thomas Durham, Moses 
Pedigo, Samuel Allen, Martin Phillips, and Bernard 
Richardson. The following taught in the academy: 
William Hi Smith, of Williamson County; H. G. 
Hampton, of Franklin Countv ; Mr. Bentley, of Maurv 


History of DeKalb County 

County; John F. Moore, of Vermont; R. F. Sanders 
and J. J. and W. R. Smith. About 1880-81 Pure 
Fountain College was erected. It was three stories 
and cost about $12,000. It was burned, and a build- 
ing of two stories took its place. One of the teachers 
at Pure Fountain College was Prof. T. B. Kelley, of 
Maury County. He took charge in 1883. 

A noted ante-bellum school was Union Institute, a 
mile and a half out on the Sparta road. ]\[r. Ghorms- 
ley, who established it, was a minister of the Oiristian 
Church and a thorough instructor. He finally engaged 
in horse-trading, driving the animals south. Becom- 
ing bankrupt, he left the country. 

Names of present tutors : J. S. Wood, A. Colvert, 
Miss Ocie Powers, Miss Janie Miller, and Mrs. Oma 
Foster, teacher of music. 

In the sketches of Temperance Hall, Dowelltown, 
Laural Hill, and Forks-of-the-Pike will be found edu- 
cational notes as to those sections. These names 
should be added to the list of men and women who 
have taught in the county at one time or another : W. 
G. Crowley, Mrs. Peter Adams, Miss Lizzie Simpson, 
Alex Robinson, his son William, Milton Ward, Robert 
C. Nesmith, Glasgow Harper, Terry Trapp, Mr. Whit- 
lock (of Dismal Creek), Uncle Johnnie Sneed, James 
A. Nesmith, H. C. Givan, Dan Williams, and H. L. 

The following have been Superintendents of Public 
Instruction : Terry Trapp, who served from the or- 
ganization of the free school system until 1880, when 
he was succeeded bv I. W. Overall ; Alvin Avant, 


History of DeKalb County 

1881; Dick Goodson, 1887; AI. T. Martin, 1889; E. 
W. Brown, 1891 ; W. J. Gothard, 1895 ; J. E. Drake, 
1899; R. H. Lankford, 1903; Martha Robinson, 1907; 
J. S. Woods, 1909; J. F. Caplinger, 1913. 

The Board of Education for 1914 selected teachers 
for the schools of the county as follows : 

Upper Helton, Richard McGinness; New Hope, 
Wiley Dinkins. 

Green Hill, Otis Turney; Goggin School, Gertrude 
Wilson ; Pea Ridge, C. H. Vickers and Harrison Ash- 
ford; Adamson's Branch, Tommy Cripps. 

Possum Hollow, Robert Fuson; Church School, 
Miss Hattie Sanders; Cripps' School, V. R. Fuson 
and Miss Hildah Fuson ; George School, Less Fuson ; 
Crossroads, Floice Vickers and Virgil Gilreath, co- 

Helton, Howard Hobson, principal; Miss Corinne 
McNelly, assistant. 

Pisgah, Mack Reynolds ; Capling, Mrs. Carrie 
Jones ; Bluff School, C. A. Malone. 

Four Comers, Miss Willie Bell, principal ; assistant 
to be supplied. 

Temperance Hall, Leroy Smith (principal). Miss 
Stella Young (assistant) ; Cove Hollow, Claude Chris- 
tian ; Long Branch, L. L. Braswell ; colored school, 
Lizzie Stokes. 

Bethel House, Grady Kelley ; Walker's Creek, Hugh 

Cooper's Chapel, M. C. Bratten (principal). Miss 
Mai Robinson (assistant) ; Dowelltown, Starnes and 
5 65 

History of DeKalb County 

Malone ; June Bug, Robert White : colored school, 
Maggie Talley. 

It was ordered that the pay of the teachers be the 
same as for 191 3, which was for secondary schools, 
$45 ; primary, $40, excepting Bethel, Green Hill, Gog- 
gin, Mud College, Jones House, Rock Castle, and Dale 
Ridge, which were placed at $35. The salary of as- 
sistant teachers was $30 for teachers with experience 
and $25 per month for the new ones. Colored teach- 
ers receive $30 per month. 

In 1823 the first public school law in the State was 
passed, providing for the application of public funds 
to establish "poor schools" or to pay the tuition of 
poor children in other schools. From this is dated the 
long-time prejudice against public schools, which were 
called "poor schools" down to recent times. The first 
efficient system became a law in 1867; while the pres- 
ent system, which has been added to and strengthened 
from time to time, was instituted in 1873. 


Religious History. 

The first ministers to locate in Tennessee were : 
Samuel Doak, Presbyterian, who also established the 
earliest school ; Tidence Lane, Baptist, who arrived 
almost as early as Doak, about 1780; and Jeremiah 
Lambert, Methodist, who came in 1783. Rev. Charles 
Cummings, Presbyterian, often visited the East Ten- 
nessee settlers before the coming of any of the afore- 
mentioned, but he resided at x*\bingdon, or Wolf Hills, 
Va. In 1810 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church 
was organized in Dickson County. The Lutherans 
formed an organization in 1825, the Christians in 1826, 
the Episcopalians in 1827, and the Catholics in 1830. 

It is probable that the earliest church in DeKalb 
County was erected by the Baptists of Liberty. In 
Grime's history of Middle Tennessee Baptists it is 
said that Cantrell Bethel, born in Maryland December 
17' I779> and died near Liberty October- 22, 1848. 
came with the colony that "marked the establishing of 
the first town in Tennessee between Nashville and the 
Cumberland Mountains" and settled half a mile west 
of Liberty. Not long afterwards he became con- 
verted; and as there were no Baptists in that section, 
he joined Union Church, in Warren County, Ky. On 
his return from Kentucky he began his ministr}'. 
gathered a band of his faith at the present Brush 
Creek, in Smith County, and constituted a Church 
there May 29, 1802 ; and then, securing an "arm" from 


History of DeKalb County 

Brush Creek at Liberty, established Salem Church at 
the latter place in August, 1809, becoming the elder 
or pastor. 

But an even earlier preacher who became promi- 
nent in the Baptist Church was Rev. John Fite. He 
also located west of Liberty. He was born in Mary- 
land in 1758 or 1759 and was a Presbyterian minister 
when he came to this section. Becoming a Baptist 
preacher in 1812, he died near Liberty February 18, 
1852. Elder Fite was the father of Moses and Henry 
Fite, also grandfather of James, Robert, and Thomas 
Fite, who are yet living in other States and maintain- 
ing the prestige of high citizenship established by their 

Salem Baptist Church, at Liberty, was constituted 
an independent body in August, 1809, with thirty-one 
members. The first building was of logs and 25 by 
30 feet. About 1849 a frame building took its place, 
and this in turn was replaced by the present frame 
structure, 40 by 70 feet, about 1880. The member- 
ship has been large in recent years, numbering three 
hundred and twenty-one in 1902. Pastors: Cantrell 
Bethel, 1809-37 (William Dale supplying a part of 
this period while Bethel was on a missionary tour) ; 
Joshua Lester, 1837-46; Henry Fite, 1846-47; Na- 
thaniel Hays. 1847-68; L. H. Bethel, 1868-71; J. W. 
Hunt, 1871-72; J. R. Bowman, 1872-73; J. W. Hunt 
and J. R. Bowman, 1873-75; J- ^^- Hunt, 1875-76: 
T. J. Eastes, 1876-83; J. M. Stewart, 1883-86; Wil- 
liam Simpson, 1886-87; T. J. Eastes, 1887-1902; Wil- 
liam Wauford, 1902-13; R. L. Bell, 1913. 


History of DeKalb County 

It may be well to name some of the early clerks of 
this historic Church: Adam Dale (the first Liberty 
settler and miller), 1809-16; William Givan, 1816-20; 
Tilman Bethel, 1820-50; Seth Whaley, 1850-51 ; James 
Bratten, 1851-71; J. A. Fite, 1871-72; James Allan, 
1872-78; I. N. Fite, 1878-79; L. J. Bratten, 1879 until 
his death, more than twenty years. Among the deacons 
were the following: John Horn, Nehemiah Garrison, 
William Dale, James Evans, E. Parsons, Joseph Hays, 
Moses Fite, 1822; Henry Fite, Sr., 1829; George 
Givan, 1845 5 Seth Whaley, 1845 ; Thomas Givan and 
James Hollands worth, 1851 ; James Stark and Thomas 
Fite, 1871 ; I. N. Fite and William Robinson, 1878; 
T. M. Givan and J. A. Bass, 1886; Henry Fite, Jr., 
1886; F. M. Turner and J. C. Bass, 1889; H. M. Fite 
and J. D. Smith, 1891 ; T. G. Bratten, 1891 ; Horace 
Evans and James Stark, Jr., 1897. 

Salem has sent out this list of ministers : John Fite ; 
Nathaniel Hays ("Uncle Natty") ; William Dale, 1815 ; 
John Horn, 1819; James Evans, 1825; R. Wilson, 
1819; Henry Fite, 1837; Lafayette Ferryman, 1872; 
J. H. \^ickers, 1881 ; R. E. Smith, 1886. The follow- 
ing were licensed as exhorters in the old days when 
this custom was in vogue : Jonathan Hendrixon, John 
Haas, Lemuel G. Griffons, William Gossett, Moses 
Fite, and others. Among former elders or pastors, 
these sleep in Salem Cemetery : Cantrell Bethel, James 
Evans (who died early from the kick of a mule, and 
was said to have been the first adult buried there), 
William Dale, Archamac Bass, Nathaniel Hays, Henry 
Fite, John Fite, and J. W. Hunt. 


History of DeKalb County 

The writer recalls a number of ministers of the 
county who were living during the war and shortly 
afterwards and pauses to pay them his tribute. One 
was Rev. Nathaniel Hays, born about 1807, ordained 
to preach in 1846, preached his first and last sermon 
at New Hope, and died October 28, 1868. Such was 
his life that he was not molested by either side during 
the war, though the antagonisms of that struggle 
brought something like chaos to the country. One can 
hardly estimate the good he accomplished after the 
war. A big man physically, he was strong-souled also, 
and people had faith in him. Hundreds of ex-soldiers 
listened to him, forgot heart bitternesses, and took the 
straight and narrow way. When the writer dreams of 
real heroes as they appeared to his boyhood eyes, he 
thinks of Natty Hays, Hall Bethel, Moses Fite, and 
two or three consecrated Methodists who for more 
than a generation stood unfalteringly for the cause of 

New Hope is situated south of Alexandria. Rev. 
William Dale, who bought the farm known in later 
years as the Eli Rowland place, began preaching at 
Thomas Finley's home, but in 1818 established the 
Church with eighteen members. A building was 
erected, and the earlier pastors were: William Dale, 
W. P. Hughes, Archamac Bass, Henry Fite, Nathan- 
iel Hays, T. J. Eastes, J. C. Brien, J. R. Hearn, J. M. 
Stewart, William Simpson, A. C. Webb, J. F. McNabb, 
and Stephen Robinson. 

The Smithville Church was constituted August 25, 
1844, with fourteen members, in the Methodist church. 


History of DeKalb County 

A house of worship was erected about 1858. The 
pastors have been: Jesse Allen, 1847-60; Hall Bethel, 
1860-70; J. C. Brien, 1870-73; J. R. Bowman, 1873- 
75; A. J. McNabb, 1875-76; T. J. Eastes, 1876-78; J 
J. Martm, 1878—; J. J. Porter, about 1880; J. C 
Brien, about 1881-85; J. T. Oakley, about 1885-88 
N. R. Sanborn, 1889-90; William Simpson, 1890-91 
W. H. Smith, 1891-92; J. H. Grime, 1893-95; J. T 
Oakley, 1896 — ; and A. P. Moore. Clerks to 1902 
J. L. Bond, Abner Witt, P. P. Johnson, J. A. Wilson, 
and L. W. Beckwith. 

Indian Creek Church, eight miles north of Smith- 
ville, dates back to 1844. First named Caney Fork 
Church, it was changed to Indian Creek in 1848. 
Among its pastors were Henry Fite, J. C. Brien, Wil- 
liam Simpson, J. M. Stewart, D. C. Taylor, D. W. 
Taylor, A. J. Waller, and W. E. Wauford. 

A noted old log church, known to the present gen- 
eration only as a Methodist church, was Goshen, on 
Dismal Creek, north of Liberty. It was constituted a 
Baptist Church in July, 1821, by Cantrell Bethel and 
John Fite. Fite was the only pastor it ever had, as 
not much interest was aroused, and the Church was 
dissolved in 1837. From then on for years the Meth- 
odists controlled the religious sentiment of the com- 
munity. About 1879 Rev. J. C. Brien began preaching 
in the neighborhood. As a result Cooper's Chapel 
was constituted in 1880 with nine members. J. C. 
Brien was the first pastor. Others have been: J. R. 
Hearn, J. H. Vickers, William Simpson, W. E. Raikes, 
A. C. Webb, J. F. McNabb, J. A. McClusky, and 


History of DeKalb County 

Stephen Robinson. The Church was named for Isaac 
Cooper, a Mexican War and Confederate veteran. 
Though a Methodist (but afterwards uniting with the 
Baptist congregation), the erection of Cooper's Chapel 
was due mainly to his efforts. 

Mount Zion is situated near Temperance Hall. With 
fourteen members the Church was instituted June 30, 
1 85 1, in an old schoolhouse. Soon after its constitu- 
tion Nicholas Smith was received by letter. He went 
to work arousing interest in the need of a church. It 
was erected and the first services held in it June, 1858. 
Pastors to 1902 : Henry Fite, Nathaniel Hays, J. C. 
Brien, T. J. Eastes, S. S. Hale, William Simpson, J. 
M. Steward, A. C. Webb, J. F. McNabb, and W. E. 
Wauford. Clerks : T. P. Jones, W. M. Crowder, Z. P. 
Lee, R. W. Mason, A. P. Smith, W. A. Washer, H. A. 
Hill, S. M. Williams, E. L. Lawrence, T. D. Oakley, 
and L. C. Martin. 

Until recent years the only Churches in Alexandria 
were the Methodist, Christian, and Cumberland Pres- 
byterian, the first two having been established prior to 
the War between the States. As the result of a doc- 
trinal debate in the town in January, 1887, between 
Elder Moody, Baptist, and Dr. T. W, Brents, Chris- 
tian, the Baptist citizens resolved to organize. This 
was done during the month of the debate, and in time 
a neat and commodious church was erected. This was 
destroyed by lightning some years later, but in 1914 a 
new and handsome structure was built on the ruins. 
Some of the pastors have been : J. B. Moody, at one 
time editor of the Baptist Reflector, N. R. Sanborn, 


History of DeKalb County 

W. H. Smith, J. B. Fletcher, Rutherford Brett, T. J. 
Hastes, and R. L. Bell Early clerks: J. A. Walker, 
J. M. Walker, C. E. Bailiff, and C. B. Bailiff. Deacons 
in the first years : L. E. Jones, Isaac Cooper, Levi 
Foutch, J. H. Snoddy, H. H. Jones, A. P, Smith, G. 
A. Measle, Samuel McMillan, J. A. Walker, J. S. 
Rowland, and James Stark. Livingston Tubb is the 
present clerk. 

Dry Creek Church was organized through the in- 
strumentality of J. M. Stewart and J. H. Vickers 
"near a straw stack in Dr. J. A. Fuson's lot," says 
Grime. A neat building was erected, the early pastors 
having been J. M. Stewart, William Simpson, J. H. 
Davis, J. H. Grime, and Stephen Robinson. 

Wharton Springs Baptist Church was constituted 
three miles south of Smith ville in 1889 in the dwelling 
of E. B. Allen. Among its pastors were William 
Simpson, J. A. McClusky, J. H. Davis, J, M. Stewart, 
and J. T. Oakley. 

The Snow's Hill Church was instituted in 1897, the 
following having been early pastors : A. J. Waller and 
Stephen Robinson. 

Pastors of the Dowelltown Church, which was or- 
ganized in 1894, were: J. W. Stewart, J. H. Grime, J. 
F. McNabb, W. J. Watson, J. H. Whitlock, and W. E. 

Sycamore Fork Church, having in 1902 the largest 
membership of any in Salem Association, is on the 
line between DeKalb and Cannon Counties, and was 
instituted through the efforts of Rev. Henry Bass in 
1871. A house of worship was built in 1895. Of the 


History of DeKalb County 

pastors, these are recalled: Henry Bass, Hall Bethel, 
J. R. Hearn, William Simpson, J. H. Grime, G. A. 
Ogle, Stephen Robinson, and W. J. Watson. Of pa- 
thetic interest is the fact that one of the young min 
isters trained in this Church, J. T. Hancock, was called 
to its care, but died before his first appointment. 

Other Churches are Beech Grove, at the mouth of 
Holm's Creek, established in 1858; Wolf Creek, near 
Laurel Hill, 1846 ; and New Union, near Frank's 
Ferry, southeast of Smith ville, 1870.* 

The Primitive, or "tlardshell," Baptists have a small 
membership in the county. Of the two noted 
Churches, Bildad and New Bildad, both south of 
Smithville, the latter is the most noted. Among the 
well-known Primitive Baptist ministers, these are re- 
called : Revs. Isaac Denton, Terry Trapp, James Snow, 
L. Pope Potter, and Mr. Byers. 

In reply to a letter of inquiry. Rev. G. L. Beale, Sec- 
retary of the Tennessee Conference, M. E. Church, 
Soutii, writes: 

The records of the Tennessee Conference are very incom- 
plete. The minutes were not printed prior to 1879, except at 
rare intervals. The written journals were destroyed by fire 
in the Publishing House in 1871. In the fall of 1812 the first 
Conference appears. That same year Stones River Circuit 
first appears in the minutes. Smith's Fork Circuit first ap- 
pears in 1823, with William .\lgood and John Rains as pas- 

*At the meeting of the Central Association of the Mission- 
ary Baptist Church at Trczcvant, Tcnn., in September, 1914, 
reports showed that the membership in the State (white) was, 
in round numbers, one hundred and ninety-two thousand. 


History of DeKalb County 

tors — no boundaries given. In 1838 the name of Short Moun- 
tain Circuit is given, with J. A. Walkup as pastor (no bound- 
aries). I have no data by which I could tell you when the 
societies at Liberty, Alexandria, or Smithville were started. 
Neither Alexandria nor Smithville became a circuit until 
after the War between the States. 

In examining such records as remain, the following 
preachers, among others, are named as having been 
pastors at various times from 1830 to the war: 

Smith Fork Circuit: L. Lowery, Jacob Ellinger, 
John Kelley, Elisha Carr, W. Ledbetter, Miles S. 
Johnston, John Page, S. Carlisle, Abe Overall, N. L. 
Norvell, J. T. Sherrell, E. J. Allen, John Bransford, 
F. D. Wrother, J. J. Foster, Fountain E. Pitts (P. E.), 
John H. Mann, William Jarred, C. Evans, Asbury D. 
Overall, John Hill, Joseph Willis, Russell Eskew, S. 
H. Reams, John Sherrell (P. E.), J. C. Putnam, G. L. 
Staley, F. S. Petway (P. E.), J. J. Comer, J. W. 
Prichard, J. G. Ray, J. R. Harris. During the war 
(there were no Conference sessions in 1863-64) : J. 
A. Orman, J. J. Pitts, Fletcher Tarrant. 

Short Mountain Circuit: J. A. Walkup, John H. 
Mann, J. B. Hollis, Abe Overall, A, Bowen, Isaac 
Woodward, J. W. Cullom, Joseph Banks, Daniel P. 
Searcy (in 1855-56, afterwards with the "Northern 
wing"), J. A. Reams, Carna Freeman, F. S. Petway 
(P. E.), T. S. Brown, W. D. Ensey, R. A. Reagan. 
During 1861 and 1863: R. A. Reagan, William Burr 
(P. E.), A. C Matthews. 

Caney Fork Circuit: W. Deskin, Uriah Williams, 
Peter Borum, J. D. Winn, Jere Williams, John Kelley, 


History of DeKalb County 

S. Pressley, P. P. Hubbard, Jacob Custer, J. H. Mann, 
J. Lewis, J. A. Jones, Isaac Woodward, B. F. Fer- 
rell, Jehu Sherrill* 

In 1865 Rev. U. S. Bates was appointed to the Smith 
Fork Circuit, the first circuit rider at Liberty after the 
war. George L. Staley was presiding elder. In the 
same year John H. Nichols and A. H. Reams were ap- 
pointed to the Short Mountain Circuit. 

No doubt many of the before-the-war ministers 
were in their time well known personally to the Meth- 
odists throughout the county as well as over their par- 
ticular circuits. 

The Tennessee Conference of the M. E. Church, 
South, in October, 1914. made the following appoint- 
ments in the county, with H. B. Blue, P. E. : Alexan- 
dria, J. D. Robins ; Keltonsburg Mission, J. R. Craw- 
ford, supply; Liberty Circuit, J. B. Estes; Smithville 
Mission, J. W. Estes. 

It appears certain that a Methodist society was or- 
ganized at Liberty long prior to the building of the 
church, which was about 1825, for the itinerants often 
preached in the people's homes. The substantial 
church erected so early supports this view. It was 
built by the pioneer carpenters, William Givan, Josey 
Evans, and Robert Burton, Maryland people, and was 
about 30 by 40 feet, two stories, with a good bell and 
belfry. The second floor had a large opening over 

*The writer may be pardoned for his personal interest in 
the ministers of 1859. It was in June of that year that, at 
Liberty, his father, C W. L. Hale, and Rev. W. J. Hale were 


History of DeKalb County 

the pulpit and altar on the first floor, that the slave 
members, who occupied that floor, might see and hear 
the minister. The framework of the building was so 
stanchly mortised and dovetailed and pegged that 
citizens said it would not have come apart had it been 
blown from its foundation and rolled out of the vil- 
lage. This church was occupied by negro soldiers in 
the war of 1861-65, and when they left the hogs and 
town cows appropriated it. Soon after peace the 
Methodists put it in as good condition as possible, and 
it was used for Church and school purposes untii 
about 1874, when the present building was erected. 
The writer recalls the church's appearance well. The 
doors faced east and west, and on the eastern end of 
the roof comb was the belfry, a favorite place for bats 
and owls. The membership seems never to have been 
very large ; but, considering the intolerance which used 
to prevail, it was "game." Some of the pulpit orators 
of ante-bellum days were heard in this old building, 
among them Fountain E. Pitts, J. J. Comer, and Ferdi- 
nand S. Petway. Dr. Foster wrote in 1914 : "Sixty or 
sixty-five years ago one of the grandest characters I 
ever knew lived in Liberty — Stephen Moore, a Meth- 
odist preacher. He was goodness personified, and his 
wife was a worthy companion." In the same year 
Mrs. Polly Youngblood, the oldest inhabitant of 
Liberty and the widow of William Youngblood, said : 
"Yes, I ought to remember Brother Moore, as he of- 
ficiated at my wedding." Joseph Banks and Isaac 
Woodward (the latter from Warren County) often 
preached at Liberty. 


History of DeKalb County 

Among the Southern Methodist circuit riders since 
the war who served at this place and other Churches in 
the county, the following are recalled by H. L. Hale: 
U. S. Bates, J. A. Orman, John H. Nichols, W. B. 
Lowry, John Allison, W. J. ("Dod") Hale, John G. 
Molloy, J. J. Pitts, Joseph Webster, Wade Jarred, N. 
A. Anthony, J. T. Blackwood, G. B. McPeak, I. N. 
Napier, Mr. Gilbert, J. L. Kellum, Mr. Baird, T. A. 
Garden, J. B. McNeill, R. N. Chenault, W. M. Cook 
(the pastor in 1914). The presiding elders : J. M. Alli- 
son, J. J. Comer, J. W. Cullom, Berry Stephens, R. P. 
Ransom, J. T. Curry, George Anderson, T. G. Hin- 
son, W. B. Lowry, W. V. Jarratt, John Ransom, T. L. 
Moody, and J. T. Blackwood. 

Among the old papers of Jasper Ruyle was found 
this list of the members of the Church just preceding 
the War between the States : M. S. West, Lemuel 
Moore, Katherine Moore, Elizabeth Garrison, Little- 
berry Vick, Rhoda Vick, Sarah \'ick, Jacob E. Moore\ 
Mary Lamberson, Christina Smith, Jane Vick, Isaac 
Whaley, Lucinda Evans, Martha Martin, Matilda 
Bratten, Rebecca Yeargin, Susan Vantrease, Jasper 
Ruyle, Rebecca Ruyle, Mary E. Gossett, E. Jane Vick. 
Edward Gothard. Josiah Youngblood, J. C. Young- 
blood, Mary Jane Kersey, Matilda Neal, Malinda 
Moore, Eliza J. Moore, T. H. W. Richardson, Eliza- 
beth Richardson, Matilda Richardson, L. F. Moore, 
Amanda Bratten, Cynthia D. Sneed, Martha J. Moore, 
A. Tennie Evans, Sarah Hall, Montilius Richardson, 
C. W. L. Hale. W. J. Hale, J. F. Youngblood, T. R. 
Foster, J. H. Burton, E. W. Whaley, W. C. Vick, T. 


History of DeKalb County 

B. Adamson, E. Jane Whaley, A. T. Vick, M. C. Seay, 
Matilda Burton, B. W. Seay, Mary F. Seay, Ellen 
Seay, Lydia A. Barkley, James Foster, John W. Lam- 
berson, and Len F. Woodside. 

Goodspeed's history, published in 1888, says the 
Methodists of Alexandria first had a log church, but 
a frame church was built in 1835. In 1885 they put up 
the present handsome building. 

Since the war of 1861-65 these, among other min- 
isters, have occupied the Methodist pulpit at Alexan- 
dria : B. G. Ferrell (1866), John G. Ray (P. E.), John 

C. Putnam, J. B. Allison (P. E.), W. J. Hale, J. J. 
Comer (P. E.), W. H. Bellamy, W. H. Johnson, B. 
I\L Stephens, William Doss, G. L. Staley, Z. \V. 
Moores, H. S. Lee, T. H. Hinson, B. G. Ferrell, W. 
W. Graves, T. L. Moody, R. P. Ransom, J. T. Black- 
wood, G. B. McPeak, George L. Beale, B. H. Johnson, 
G. W. Nackles, B. F. McNeill, B. H. Jarvis, W. E. 

Relying further on Goodspeed, the first Methodist 
church at Smithville was built in 1848 and was a brick 
structure. (There was a Methodist house of worship 
of some kind in 1844.) It was followed in 1856 by 
a frame building. Among the post-bellum pastors 
have been the following: A. H. Reams, W. B. Lowry, 
John Jordan. W. H. Riggon, J. H. Nichols, J. J. 
Comer (P. E.), S. H. Andrews, R. T. McBride, J. F. 
Corbin. G. B. McPeak. David G. Ray, E. K. Denton, 
C. S. Hensley, E. L. Jones, G. W. Anderson (P. E.), 
J. T. Blackwood, Z. W. Moores, L. C. Young, N. A. 
Anthony, W. H. Lovell, G. L. Hensley, J. A. Chenault, 


History of DeKalb County 

J. G. Molloy, H. W. Carter, D. M. Barr, J. W. Pear- 
son, J. W. Estes (Smithville and Keltonsburg Circuit). 

Goshen, on Dismal Creek, was well known for its 
Methodist gatherings before and after the war. This 
can be said also for Bright Hill, near Smithville, As- 
bury, near Liberty, and the camp ground at Smith- 
ville. Some of the old-time ministers became popular 
because of their eccentricities as well as piety, among 
them : Mr. Wainwright, "Uncle" Jakey Hearn, "Uncle" 
Ike Woodward, "Uncle" Joe Banks, Elisha Carr, 
James Stanford, Ben Turner, and Caleb Davis. 

Rev. Jerry W. Cullom, aged eighty-six years and the 
oldest member of the Tennessee Conference, writes 
June 12, 1914: "In 1854 I was the young pastor of 
Asbury Church. It was there that I had the greatest 
meeting I ever had or saw. All Liberty must have 
been there. Uncle Joe Banks, one of my local preach- 
ers, assisted me. It was there that we struck water. 
The year 1854 was the dryest I ever knew. The ques- 
tion with everybody was, 'How shall we get water for 
the meeting?' Some one discovered a moist place in 
the sand under the blufif back of the church, and a few 
strokes of a hoe unearthed a fine spring." 

It should be explained here that it has been told for 
the truth that the preacher prayed for water, and the 
spring was sent in answer. Mr. Cullom states the 
facts, as he found the spring. This stream, we are 
told, is yet flowing. 

"Rev. Joe Myers," proceeds Mr. Cullom, "declared 
fn his sermon one night at Asbury that he saw a great 
ball of fire enter the door and roll over the congrega- 


History of DeKalb County 

tion ; so the dear old Baptists said the Methodists had 
brought water from the earth and fire down from 
heaven. There were over two hundred conversions on 
the circuit that year, among whom I may mention 
Judge Robert Cantrell and wife, both of whom I bap- 
tized by immersion at Smithville. And I mention 
Colonel Stokes and Dr. Foster. Stokes was lying 
stretched full length on the floor when he was power- 
fully converted. I saw him in Alexandria after the 
war, when Stokes's Cavalry had become history, and 
we gladly greeted each other. Years afterwards I was 
sent up there as a presiding elder for four years — 
J 87 1 -75. Holding a quarterly meeting at Asbury, I 
found Uncle Joe Banks present, and we had a great 
service. Though he was now in the Northern branch 
of the Church, we met in the altar at the close of the 
sermon and fell into each other's arms, and the thing 
was 'catching' all over the house. 

"Abe Overall and Uncle Jakey Hearn often preached 
for me in 1853-54. Uncle Abe was present at Round 
Top when I performed my first immersion, and of 
course I made a botch of it, as I was a new hand. He 
got a good deal of fun out of my awkwardness. Some 
one, speaking of Uncle Jakey Hearn's home con- 
veniences, said he could lie down at night and by 
pulling a string lock every door on his farm. 

"John Savage and I were great friends. He owned 
a hotel at Smithville when I was pastor and gave me 
a room, board, and stall for my horse free." 

In a second letter Mr. Cullom says : "The preachers 
for Smith Fork Circuit in 1854 were Revs. Joe G. 
6 81 

History of DeKalb County 

]\Iyers and Russell Eskew. They were rather unique. 
Myers assisted me in the Asbury meeting. Arch Bain 
was a young preacher famous for leading the songs at 
camp meetings. Ferdinand S. Petway was the finest 
singer I ever heard. After the great meeting at Asbury, 
let me add, it fell to my lot to immerse more than a 
score of converts in Smith Fork. Six young ladies 
decided to kneel in the water and have it poured on 
them — 'went down into the water' and were baptized 
by water or with water. Judge Robert Cantrell and 
wafe professed at Bright Hill, three miles from Smith- 
ville, and joined our Church at Smithville after im- 
mersion. In 1873 or 1874 I stood on the scaflfold and 
preached John Presswood's funeral before the swing- 
ofif by request of the sheriff. Some eight thousand 
people were present. At Smithville lived Wash Isbell, 
a hopeless cripple, but for many years he was county 
court clerk. William Magness, a brother of Judge 
Cantrell's wife, was a prominent merchant. So was 
Bob West. The hotel belonged to John Savage and 
was conducted by Mr. Stewart, whose wife was a sis- 
ter of M. M. Brien." 

In 1845 the Methodist Church divided into the 
Southern and Northern "wings." The latter was not 
represented in DeKalb County or the South until after 
the war of 1861-65. 

When the Federal army gained possession of East 
Tennessee many of the Methodists in that section de- 
sired the services of the M. E. Church — that is, the 
Northern wing. In 1864 its first Conference was or- 


History of DeKalb County 

ganized. Soon the ministers of that wing were preach- 
ing in DeKalb. As a lad the writer remembers when 
they appeared at Liberty, one of the ministers preach- 
ing being a Mr. Stephens, who had located at McMinn- 
ville. Then there was Rev. D. P. Searcy, who had 
been a Southern Methodist prior to the war. Rev. 
Joe Banks, of the county, also joined the Northern 
wing. It seemed that it made more advancement 
around Liberty than elsewhere. There was considera- 
ble hard feeling for a time between the two wings. 
Mr. Searcy located at Liberty, and shortly he and his 
interesting family became much beloved by all the 
neighbors. He was a son-in-law of Alex Robinson, of 
the county. 

A few churches were established. That at Dowell- 
town was erected first in 1880 and has been wrecked 
twice by storms. The second wind, in 1913, entirely 
demolished it. The following have served as pastors 
there: D. P. Searcy, J. N. Turrentine, J. F. Turner, 
O. O. Knight, W. B. Rippetoe, A. Barnes, J. L. 
Chandler, S. L. Clark, W. C. Carter, D. L. McCalebs, 
W. P. Banks, T. J. Stricklin, S. H. Creasy, J. R. Con- 
ner, G. W. Nunally, H. P. Keatherly, D. P. Hart, E. 
C. Sanders, and C. W. Clayton. 

The Dowelltown Circuit has five churches — i\sbury. 
Snow's Hill, Indian Creek, Fuller Chapel, and Dowell- 
town — with more than five hundred members. Rev. 
W. P. Banks, who died in July, 1914, wrote early in 
the year as to Asbury : 

It is the oldest church in this vicinity. The early settlers 
built for themselves a small, incommodious house for Church 


History of DeKalb County 

and school purposes, and at an early date a Methodist Church 
was organized here. Who the preachers were, I do not know. 
This house was finally burned to the ground by an incendiary, 
and a commodious house for that time was erected in its 
place. This house also was used for Church and school pur- 
poses. About twenty years ago the members of the M. E. 
Church bought the property, tore down the old house, and 
erected an up-to-date building, perhaps the best country church 
in the county, with a thriving membership of one hundred and 
a Sunday school that has run more than fifteen years consecu- 
tively. The organization was eflfected by Rev. D. P. Searcy. 
Thomas Chapman was the first to join and was followed by 
Joe Banks, Jep Williams and wife, and about fifteen others. 
Judge W. T. Robinson and wife also joined soon afterwards. 

Mr. Banks wrote of others, but was so modest about 
his own work that this writer feels it a duty to add: 
He was fifty-seven years of age in 1914 and was a re- 
tired minister on account of broken health. His grand- 
father, Rev. Joseph Banks, was not only a moving 
spirit in the organizations of DeKalb County, but a 
great revivalist in his day; while his father, Enoch 
Banks, was a local deacon and did some pastoral work 
on circuits as a supply. At the age of twenty-two, 
after spending four years in Tullahoma College, W. 
P. Banks entered the Central Tennessee Conference of 
the M. E. Church and became an itinerant preacher. 
He served as pastor of circuits sixteen years and as 
presiding elder of the Nashville District six years. 
While presiding elder the finances of his district in- 
creased one hundred per cent, an increase equal to 
that of any twelve years before or after his term of 
service for the same territory. For eight years he 
was secretary of the Annual Conference and twelve 


History of DeKalb County 

years the editor and publisher of the Conference min- 

Rev. Enoch H. Banks, mentioned, for many years 
kept up monthly appointments and revivals in the fall 
at some of the schoolhouses adjacent to Dowelltown, 

There are a small number of Cumberland Presby- 
terian congregations scattered throughout the county. 
For some years the only church on Dry Creek south 
and east of Dowelltown was a small building located 
at the head of that stream and called Cave Spring 
Church. It had a scattered membership. Its pastor 
for some forty years was the eccentric but really in- 
tellectual I. L. Thompson. He was also pastor of 
Banks Church, on Short Mountain, as well as a little 
society at Possum Hollow Schoolhouse, on Dry Creek, 
midway between Cave Spring and Dowelltown. Of 
the three, only Banks Church was remaining in 1814. 

In 1881 the Cumberland Presbyterians erected a 
Church at Alexandria. Prior to the War between the 
States preaching was had in the Turner M. Lawrence 
College. The following, with their families, were 
early members : James Doss, John Bone, W. R. Lewis, 
Al Edwards, Monroe Doss, J. D. Baird, W. W. Patter- 
son, J. A. Davidson, V. H. Williams, J. B. Stevens, 
C. D. Baird, T. Macon, also Mrs. Mary E. Ford, the 
Kings, Simpsons, Fousts, and many others, all among 
the most influential citizens. 

Names of pastors, including the present one, Rev. 
Joseph Barbee: Mr. Dillard, Reece Patterson (before 
the war). Dr. Burney, J. F. Patton, J. H. Kittrell, 


History of DeKalb County 

Baxter Barbee, H. Lamon, J. R. Goodpasture, Ira W. 
King, and Mr. Sanburn. A number of theological 
students from Cumberland University have from time 
to time held services in the church. 

The Church of Christ, or Christian Church, has 
been very strong in the county for many years. In 
Alexandria the members erected a church as early as 
1835. It was succeeded by a new frame in 1851, or 
near that time. About 1873 a church was built at 
Smith ville, and at Liberty another prior to 1890, dedi- 
cated by Mr. Woolen. In all there are nine churches 
in the county, others besides those named being at 
Temperance Hall, Keltonsburg, Belk, Young's Bend, 
'Falling Water, and Cherry Hill. The total member- 
ship is between six hundred and eight hundred. The 
oldest church is that at Falling Water, it is believed. 

One of the most active ministers of this denomina- 
tion for the past twenty years is Rev. H. J. Boles. 
His son, Rev. H. Leo Boles, who is now President of 
the Nashville Bible School, labored with him for some 
years in strengthening the congregations. 

Among the pioneer preachers of the county were 
the following, in addition to H. J. Boles: Tolbert Fan- 
ning, Caleb and Jesse Sewell, Sandy Jones, J. M., C. 
C, and W. T. Tidwell. Later: J. M. Tidwell, Wiley 
B. Carnes, Mr. Sutton. Luke Melton, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. 
Woolen, and others. The resident ministers of the 
county in 1914 were Rev. H. J. Boles and Rev. O. P. 

Among the prominent citizens who have been identi- 


History of DeKalb County 

fied with the congregations may be mentioned Dr. 
Drake, Dr. T. J. Potter, Judge J. E. Drake, Prof. H. 
L. W. Gross, Brackett Estes, Samson McClelland, 
Hon. J. AI. Allen, Judge W. G. Crowley, Judge M. D. 
Smallman, editor and educator W. D. G. Carnes, Wil- 
liam Floyd, Dr. T. P. Davis, the Lincolns, Wades, 
Magnesses, Cantrells, Grififiths, Webbs, Martins, 
Hayses, Tyrees, Potters, Pritchetts, and Smiths. 

After the War between the States a religious awak- 
ening became apparent throughout the county. The 
writer, then a lad, saw some of the manifestations of 
fervor at Liberty, and especially at the Baptist church. 
The war had somewhat demoralized the people, and 
during revivals at the church named well-patronized 
ginger cake and melon vendors held forth on the bluff 
less than one hundred yards from the church. At night 
mischievous persons would cut harness and saddles. 
There were many indictments, moreover, for disturb- 
ing public worship. 


Annals of Alexandria. 

This town is on the Lebanon and Sparta Turnpike, 
forty-nine miles east of Nashville. The nearest rail- 
way points are Watertown, six miles west, and Brush 
Creek, two and one-half miles north. The tradition 
is that it was named for one of its pioneers, James 
Alexander, who came from Virginia. Showing that 
it was a village of Cannon County in 1837, in which 
year DeKalb County was established and the Lebanon 
and Sparta Turnpike chartered, the following Alex- 
andrians appointed commissioners of the road are 
named as citizens of Cannon : Jacob Fite and James 

The act incorporating the village was signed Jan- 
uary 31, 1848, the boundaries being as follows: "Be- 
ginning at the southwest corner of Leander Scott's 
lot and running north to Hickman Creek; thence east 
with the meanders of said creek to the northwest cor- 
ner of Thomas Allison's lot ; thence south to the west 
end of Gin Alley ; thence east with said alley to the 
northeast corner of lot No. 13; thence east to the 
cast corner of McDonald's lot, including Elijah Dobb's 
lot ; thence west to Jacob Kite's line ; thence north 
with the said line to tiie beginning, including the Meth- 
odist church and schoolhouse." During the War be- 
tween the States the corporation fell into "innocuous 
desuetude." After hostilities ceased it was rehabili- 
tated. One of the ante-bellum mayors recalled was 































































History of DeKalb County 

the late John Batts, while one of the most vigorous 
mayors just after the war was Robert Yeargin. As 
with other Tennessee towns of smah population, the 
charter was surrendered shortly after the passage of 
the four-mile law to get the benefit of that statute. 
In 191 3 the town was again incorporated, with Rev. 
O. P. Barry as the first mayor and J. W. Parker city 

The first settlers of the community, it is believed, 
arrived about 1795. The following list includes as 
many of the early business men as it is possible to give 
at this late date : James Alexander, Joshua M. CoflFee 
& Son, Jacob Fite (father of Judge John Fite), James 
Goodner, Samuel Young, Church Anderson, William 
Floyd, J. D. Wheeler, Bone & Bro., Thomas Compton. 
Reece & Ford, Turner Bros., Wheeler & Jones, John 
F. Aloore, S. W. Pierce, Lawrence & Roy, William 
Geltford, L. D. Fite, James Baird, Jack Baird, and 
Dexter Buck. The last named was the only merchant 
doing business during the latter part of the war. 
Since the war the following are recalled: James and 
Jack Baird, Turner Bros., Stokes & Wood, Dinges & 
Lincoln, Hurd & Co., ]M. F. Doss, Bridges & Smith, 
George Evans, Rutland & Goodner, S. W. McClelland, 
Dinges & Co., Roy & Yeargin, J. W. King, John Jost, 
Tubb & Schurer, Edwards & Rutland, Gold & New- 
man, Jones Bros., John Garrison, and Batts & Garri- 
son. Business directory for 1914: Livingston Tubb, 
Goodner & Son, Roy & Jones, Roy & Seale, Lester's 
Department Store, Adamson Grocery Co., D. A. Stark, 
Dinges Hardware Co., Rutland Bros., Sampson Gro- 


History of DeKalb County 

eery Co., O. P. Barry Produee Co., Style Millinery 
Co. (Miss Daisye \'antrease), Donnel & Patton, Grif- 
fith Livery Co., H. H. Jones, J. W. Aleasle, and Shelby 
]\Ialone, insurance. 

The pioneer bank of the town and county is the 
Alexandria Bank. This bank was the first established 
between Lebanon on the west and Rockwood on the 
east. The original capital was $10,000, it being a 
private concern owned by J. F. Roy and Ed Reece. 
About 1 89 1 it was chartered as a State bank and the 
stock increased to $20,000. Mr. Roy was the first 
Cashier and then President. C. W. L. Hale, of Liberty, 
was once Vice President, and William \'ick, of the 
same place, was a stockholder and an officer. J. F. 
Roy is now President, and Frank Roy, Cashier. This 
bank, which was established in 1888, has been suc- 
cessful from the start. 

The second bank in point of time is known as the 
D. W. Dinges Banking Company. It has also wonder- 
fully prospered. It opened for business January 24, 
1900, with the following officers: D. W. Dinges, Presi- 
dent ; J. A. Walker, Dib Dinges, Brien Tubb, and W. 
H. Lincoln. On January 7, 1904, the capital was in- 
creased. Large dividends have been declared each 
year. The capital at present is $150,000, with a sur- 
plus of $14,000. Present directors: D. W. Dinges, J. 
A. Walker, O. P. Barry, Livingston Tubb, J. W. 
Measle, G. R. Lester, Dib Dinges, W. T. Jones, Paul 
Tubb, D. C. Dinges, and E. T. Dinges. 

The earliest paper published in the county w-as the 
Alexandria Independent. It was established a year or 


History of DeKalb County 

two prior to the war of 1861-65, but suspended when 
the great struggle commenced. Wliile its publisher 
and editor, W. H. Mott, was said to have been from 
the North (marrying a Southern girl, Miss Van- 
trease), he joined Col. R. D. Allison's company of 
Confederates. With the Twenty-Fourth Regiment in 
the battle of Alurfreesboro, he was severely w^ounded, 
and soon after having been brought home he died. All 
efforts to secure a copy of the Independent have failed, 
though its jottings would be both interesting and il- 
luminative of the times. 

In 1882 J. W. Newman began publishing the Enter- 
prise, continuing it about two years. 

The Alexandria Review was published about 1892 
by E. C. King. In that year it was sold to James 
Tubb, according to a communication to the Liberty 
Herald of April 6, 1892. 

The initial number of the Times appeared April 4. 
1894. A stock company was publisher, and Robert 
F. Jones editor. Rob Roy and R. W. Patterson pur- 
chased the plant two years later, but the latter soon 
retired. Since the change Mr. Roy has been publisher 
and editor. In the eighteen years of the Times' s pub- 
lication no less than twenty-nine newspapers in De- 
Kalb, Smith, and Wilson Counties have started and 

The War between the States is recalled in connec- 
tion with two of the early enterprises of Alexandria, 
the flour mill and the fair. It is tradition that the 
name of the first miller was a Mr. Hoover, whose lit- 
tle plant on Hickman Creek was equipped for grind- 


History of DeKalb County 

ing corn and sawing, the saw being of the horizontal, 
or sash, variety. The splendid flour mill built about 
1852, which Gen. John T. Wilder, Federal commander, 
put out of business by twisting and bending the ma- 
chinery, was under the management of Yan and Lon 
Wood. After the war — about 1887 — a stock comany, 
composed of Ed Reece, J. F. Roy, B. F. Bell, John 
Rutland, L. E. Simpson, D. W. Dinges, and others, 
was organized, and a fine roller mill was erected. 
Brown Bros, once operated this plant in the eighties. 
Barry & Smith operated it in the nineties. This finally 
burned, and Lon Compton operates a plant erected 
somewhat recently. 

A county fair association was formed prior to 1858, 
and in that year the first fair was held. The war then 
interfered, and Federal soldiers, principally Stokes's 
men, camped on the site and practically destroyed the 
l)roperty. The site was on the William Floyd farm, 
on Hickman Creek. In 1871 the DeKalb County A. 
and M. Association was formed, and the present-day 
fair resulted. The first directory was composed of 
J. P. Doss, J. D. Wheeler, J. F. Roy, J. H. Kitchen, 
J. A. Jones, John Bone, J. J. Ford, John Rollins, M. 
A. Wood, H. B. Smith, W. H. Lincoln, Jacob Measle, 
and Gen. William B. Stokes. Of these directors, only 
one, J. F. Roy, is living. This is believed to be the 
oldest fair in Tennessee. The State is said to be a 
stockholder. From 1871 to the present the fair has 
been held every year except 1881, when the severe 
drouth prevailed. On the morning of June 27, 1914, 
all the buildings were burned, entailing a loss of $8,(X)0 


History of DeKalb County 

or $10,000, Rob Roy being the largest loser. Un- 
daunted, tents and circus seats were procured, and the 
fair of 1914 was made a success. 

A fact worthy of note, reflecting credit on the negro 
population of the county, is that for several years the 
colored people have held a fair at Alexandria, the man- 
agers in 1914 being Henry Belcher, R. E. Preston, 
and Dib Burks. 

Among the early citizens of this community, in addi- 
tion to many already mentioned, there are recalled : 
Bartel Carter, King Herod, James Malone, Robert 
Dowell, Rizer Duncan, Louis McGann, William 
Kiser, Phil Palmer, Benjamin Garrison, John Van- 
trease, Jonathan and Steward Doss, Thomas Simpson, 
William Wright, Aaron Botts, Louis Y. Davis, Ed- 
ward Turner, James Goodner, William Grandstaff, 
Paschal Brien, Henry Rutland, Tom Elinor, Beverley 
Seay, Samuel Pierce, Stephen Pledger, Bartley James, 
Thornton Christy, Richard Rison, Turner Lawrence, 
T. Allison, James Link, Oliver Williams, Sr., James 
Jones, John Pierce, Spencer Bomar, J. Yeargin, J. F 
Goodner, Jack Baird, William Johnston, Peter Davis, 
Tom Price. Caleb Davis, Hez Bowers, John Bowers, 
Al Bone, William Bone, Peter Turner, James Turner, 
Yan and Lon Wood, Jefferson Sneed, and William 
Floyd. The last-named brought to the county the 
first thresher and piano. 

William Floyd was also a before-the-war post- 
master; so was Joshua M. Coffee; so was Samuel W. 
Pierce. Other postmasters have been Stephen Pled- 


History of DeKalb County 

ger, James Turner, Al Edwards, R. M. Bone, S. B. 
Franks, J. W. Parker, and J. Moores Pendleton. 

As to professional men, the lawyers who have lived 
at Alexandria were Col. John Kite (born there), Man- 
son M. Brien, John Botts, William B. Stokes, Dan 
Williams, and J. W. Parker. 

Dentists: Drs. H. I. Benedict and L. D. Cotton. 

Early physicians: Drs. John W. Overall (about 
1830, and born in the Shenandoah Valley, Va., be- 
fore his parents removed to the neighborhood of 
Liberty, Tenn.), Jefiferson Sneed, James Dougherty, 
William Sales, Cornelius Sales, George Gray, William 
Blythe, Richard Blythe, T. F. Everett, Nicholas Mer- 
cer, E. Tubb, Horace Sneed, Isaac J. Miers (or Mize), 
Mayberry, Bobo, McConnell, and Flippin. Later: T. 
J. Sneed, Jr., C. L. Barton, Dr. Fletcher, O. D. Wil- 
liams, T. A. Gold, Thomas Davis, Sam McMillan, and 
J. R. Hudson. 

This tradition is told by the older people of Alex- 
andria : Dr. Miers (or Mize) was of French extrac- 
tion, locating in Alexandria long before the War be- 
tween the States (about 1848 or 1849), and wooed and 
won a Miss Paty. He was impatient to build up a 
practice, and it was charged that, going to Woodbury 
one day and procuring smallpox virus, or "scabs," ho 
returned to his home with a sinister scheme. Inviting 
a young Mr. Turner to go hunting with him with flint- 
locks, he managed to inject his companion with the 
virus. Soon there was an epidemic of smallpox. 

During the illness of Turner, who resided near the 
present Brush Creek, Miers visited him, saying his 


History of DeKalb County 

condition was serious, but did not hint that the malady 
Vv^as probably smallpox. As a consequence of the 
visits of friends and relatives the disease soon spread. 
The doctor was suspected and forced to leave the 
neighborhood. It is said he went to Virginia, then 
removed to Illinois, and in the latter State engaged 
in a similar scheme to boost business, when he was 
indicted and punished. 

There are two well-kept cemeteries at Alexandria — 
South View, the pioneer graveyard, and East View, 
much larger. In the latter many soldiers of the Civil 
War, as well as a few veterans of earlier contests, are 
sleeping. Among the Confederates: Col. John F. 
Goodner, J. P. Doss, J. A. Donnell, Joshua M. Floyd, 
G. M. Bowers, Wiley Jones, Nelson D. Eason, Dr. C. 
L. Barton, R. A. Lawrence, J. W. Batts, Capt. J. D. 
Wheeler, L. H. Fite, Billy Foust, J. D. Martin, Mon- 
roe Doss, O. B. Wright, W. H. Lincoln, R. B. Floyd, 
J. B. Palmer, John Bomar, William Talley, Thomas 
Dunn, William Mooneyham, W. E. Foust. Among 
the Federals: J. H. Kitching, Monroe ("Pud") Brad- 
ley, W. F. Batts, J. E. ("Rome") Goodner, J. B. Year- 
gin, Dr. O. D. Williams, John Garrison, Sr., John C. 
Garrison, W. A. Palmer, Monroe Hall, Len Robinson, 
James Pass, J. M. Walker, P. L. Wood, Robert Alvis, 
T. W. Eason, John Lawrence, and Gen. W. B. Stokes. 

The writer has had access to an old ledger which 
belonged to Dr. John W. Overall, who resided in 
Alexandria. It covers a period from 1830 to October, 
1834, and no doubt the names listed therein include a 
number of the pioneers of Alexandria as well as a 


History of DeKalb County 

number in other counties but in the town's "sphere 
of influence." The names follow : 

Caleb Davis, Xehemiah Dowell, Sterling Davis, 
Daniel Coggin, James P. Dale, Elisha Dowell, Smith- 
son C. Doss, Stewart Doss, Prestley Dowell, Levi A. 
Durham, Col. E. Durham, John Dyournet, Joshua M. 
Coffee, Beverley Callicoat, Thomas Crutchfield, Lineas 
Cock, David Crowder, Samuel Casey, Robert Caskey, 
Winslow Carter, John S. Brien, Thomas Beckv.'ith, 
Peter Barton, Roland Burks, IManson M. Brien, Aaron 
Botts, David Blue, Thomas Bomar, James Brien, 
Thomas Bradford, William Bennett. Willis Dowell. 
William Edwards, Cornelius Ellison, Jacob Fite. 
Amos Foutch, Floyd Davis, William Floyd, Joseph 
Fite, Shadrack Figgin, John Floyd, G. W. Grayson, 
J M. Goodner, Benjamin Garrison, Stephen Griffin, 
Valentine Gates, William Grandstaff, Henry Helman- 
taller, Philip Hass, Henry Haley. Benjamin D. Hynds, 
Henton A. Hill, Joab Haflin, Josiah Hicks, Sterling 
Hale. John Hathaway, Hawkins Heflin. Grogan Har- 
per, Levi Herod, Pendleton Hobson. Washington 
Hicks, Hardin Hardcastle, Benjamin Jones, Josiah 
Inge, Wyatt Jenkins, Nelson Kyle, James Kitching, 
Spencer Kelley, Edward Lawrence, W. F. Luck, James 
Lancaster, John Lucky, William Linn, Gregory Moore, 
William Marler. John Moore (hatter). David Malone, 
Joseph McCrabb, Maj. William Moore, James Askew. 
Don Allison, Robert Nixon, Levi Purnell. Over- 
street Pritchard, Caleb Preston, Philip Palmer, Brit- 
tain Reynolds, Rison Roland. Augustin Robinson, 
North Reynolds, Henry Rollings, Daniel Ratlidge, 


History of DeKalb County 

Peyton Randolph, George Reasonover, William 
Wright, Thomas Simpson, Randolph Sanlin, Fuller 
Sanlin, William Stokes, Jordan Stokes, George Simp- 
son, Anderson Tibbs, T. J. Tyree, Edward Turner, 
Littleberry Turner, Wilson Tubb, Benjamin Tubb, 
Tolliver Turner, John Vantrease, Joshua Vick, Samuel 
Vanatta, William Vantrease, Jeremiah Whitlock, 
Anthony Ward, John Warford, Benton Wood, Abel 
Wood, James Winfrey, William Wellaby, Tucker 
Woodson, Jesse Wood, Pleasant Watson, David War- 
ford, Duke C. Wright, and Dobson Yeargin. 
7 97 

Concerning Slaves and Free Negroes. 

There was only one attempt of the slaves to start 
an insurrection in this State, as far as the writer can 
learn; that was in Stewart County. In 1854 and 1855 
it became evident that the negroes meditated mischief, 
as they were known to be holding secret meetings on 
nights and Sundays. They were instigated by white 
preachers, it is thought, from the North. In Decem- 
ber, 1856, a vigilance committee was organized, slaves 
from all parts of Stewart County were examined, and 
the suspicion of a plot was seen to be well founded. 
The slaves were on a specified day to overpower their 
masters and, after arming themselves, cross the coim- 
try to Hopkinsville, Ky., then enter Ohio, where they 
hoped to be free. Six of the leaders were hanged at 
Dover before Christmas and a large number whipped. 
To make the punishment more impressive a citizen 
of Dover cut off the heads of the six blacks executed 
and had them paraded through the streets, Goodspeed 
tells us. 

The negroes were considered by the forefathers the 
most docile of all races of savages. Whether this was 
correct or not, those of DeKalb County were not hard 
to control. Now and then one heard of "runaway" 
slaves, but they had no desire, it appears, to injure 
their masters. 

The old type of darky has almost become extinct. 
It seems but justice to refer at some length to a num- 
ber who became well known locallv from one cause or 


History of DeKalb County 

another. There were a few who had the instincts of 
a gentleman, some whose individuality made them 
favorites with the whites, and many with striking traits 
that created more or less notice. Not only did the 
negroes prove the most amiable of savage races, but 
the writer dares say that he recalls no instances among 
the whites of anything finer than the humble dignity 
of Wolsey Givan, the gentle urbanity of Wells Allen, 
the Chesterfieldian politeness of Dave Sellars, the se- 
rene patience of Mary Fuston, or the tireless devo- 
tion of Violet Overall to the little babe left to her care 
by the death of Mrs. Horace L. Hale. 

Slaves were numerous in the county. Scores of 
citizens owned from two to a dozen, while a few held 
a much larger number. The original stock in most 
instances was brought from the older States by the 
pioneers. There was not very much trafficking in this 
species of property in DeKalb County. Of the slave 
owners adjacent to Liberty, these are recalled with 
little eflfort: James Allen, John Stark, W. G. Bratten, 
Reuben Evans, Francis Turner, Isaac Turney, Abra- 
ham Overall, Ezekiel Bass, Edward Robinson, Henry 
Frazier, Dr. G. C. Flowers, Daniel Smith, Nicholas 
Smith, Horace Overall, W. B. Stokes, James Tubb, 
Isaac Turney, Thomas Stokes, John Bethel, Eli Vick, 
James Fuston, Joseph Clarke, William Vick, William 
Sellars, Jasper Ruyle, William Avant, Sampson Wil- 
liams, Thomas Givan, Peter and Jacob Adams, Leon- 
ard Lamberson, the Brazwells, Hayses, Groomses, 
Roys, and Bates. 

The Foutches, S'needs, Wrights. Lawrences, Good- 


History of DeKalb County 

ners, Rutlands, Grandstaffs, Turners, Floyds, Pres- 
tons, Davises, and others possessed "human chattels" 
at Alexandria ; while well-known slaveholders around 
Smithville were W. H. Magness, Giles Driver, Nicho- 
las Chambers, Thomas Bradford, and Bernard Rich- 

Free negroes were few in number. Lige Whitely, 
of Smithville, was one of a family of free men of 
color. He was a vendor of ginger cakes, holding forth 
at the courthouse well on days of occasion. From the 
letter of a correspondent out of the State this is 
quoted : 

Often, thinking of Liberty, I see everj^hing as plainly as 
sixty-five years ago — even Nat and Banks Evans, 'Lizabeth 
Flowers, Jim Bethel, Luke Turney, Wells Allen, Gib Clarke, 
Nye Givans, Wolsey Givan, Cato Bate, Strawd Overall, Jeff 
Overall (the old colonel's fiddler), Albert Smith (who as- 
sumed the name of Porter), Allen Fuston, Virg and Rans 
Robinson, Sut Bass, Pomp and Tom Ruyle, Burrell Stokes, 
Caleb Tubb, and Ike Lamberson. By the way, Ike passed as 
an infidel, the only one I ever saw among the colored folks. 
Any negro there who could claim descent from Wolsey Givan 
considered it a great honor. Strawd and Jeff Overall were 
noted characters. 

Is the negro's religion mere emotion, signifying 
nothing? The writer testifies to a permanent change 
in the conduct of "Aunt" Violet, who was cook in his 
father's home for twenty-five years. Though she and 
her mistress grew up together, for a few years Aunt 
Vil would have "tantrums" two or three times a week, 
swearing like the army in Flanders and otherwise 
working oflF her temper. One day news came that 


History of DeKalb County 

her son Bill had been stabbed to death by Doc Allen, 
another negro. She made no hysterical outcry, but 
fell writhing on the floor in mental torture. Some 
months later she was converted, and from the day of 
her conversion to her death she was never guilty of 
profanity nor of giving way unrestrainedly to her tem- 
per. And when her mistress was dying she came 
shuffling from the kitchen, and the two, who had 
known each other for fifty-nine years, embraced. 

There were three or four outlying negroes prior to 
the war. The most noted were "Arrington," "Jim," 
and "Old Yaller." According to the scant information 
obtainable, it appears that sometime in the first half 
of the nineteenth century Henry Hart, who owned 
large tracts of land on Dry Creek, decided to sell his 
realty holdings and move from the country. Several 
thousand acres were purchased by Henry Frazier, 
then a young man, who, after the War between the 
States, was slain on Snow's Hill by Capt. W. L. 
Hathaway. Hart disposed of his negroes in the South, 
including Tom, who was sold to a planter named Ar- 

Tom ran away from his new master, returning to 
DeKalb County, and hid in caves and cane thickets for 
quite a while. He was fed by such negroes as Ike 
Lamberson, Jeff Overall, the Allen slaves, and others. 
While not appearing vicious, he became a terror to 
the women and children, because, like the wild things, 
he prowled at night. It is possible that he did not 
hesitate to appropriate a lamb, fowl, or hog, or to raid 
a kitchen when moved by hunger. There were many 


History of DeKalb County 

large caves in the country and immense canebrakes, 
and it was not difficult to avoid detection by day. 
Arrington evaded capture four or five years, then dis- 
appeared. He may have sought new fields or died un- 
attended in one of the caves that exist only in lime- 
stone sections. 

The case of Jim is of interest from the fact that his 
trial for murder is given in the reports of the Supreme 
Court of Tennessee (4th and 5th Humphreys) and 
is the precedent for conviction in a capital offense on 
circumstantial evidence. Belonging to a farmer named 
Williams, he was tried for murder in 1843, was con- 
victed, and appealed. The case was remanded and 
resulted in a second verdict of guilty in 1844. Appeal- 
ing to the Supreme Court again, the case was affirmed. 
His lawyers were Sam Turney, Brien, and Haynes. 
Jim was hanged at Smithville, making a sensational 
statement on the gallows. 

Isaac, the property of William Avant, was murdered 
in the kitchen of William Williams on Dry Creek on 
Saturday night, January 11, 1843. Proof showed that 
a slave named George (against whose owner execu- 
tions were in the hands of an officer) and Jim (against 
whose owner an attachment had issued) were both in 
the neighborhood, concealing themselves in the woods, 
and were harbored by persons living near the place 
where Isaac was murdered. Isaac had been hired to 
catch George. The latter and Jim, both well armed, 
heard of Isaac's purpose and made frequent threats 
against his life. One night while Isaac was sleeping 


History of DeKalb County 

on the floor with his head to the fire he was shot twice 
by some one outside and died in about an hour. Dr. 
Fuson examined the body, and William Avant found 
tracks fifteen or twenty steps from the kitchen, where 
Isaac was killed. The night had been cold. The 
tracks were visible only at a mudhole near the kitchen 
and at the spring branch. They seemed to have been 
made recently by some one running, and showed a de- 
ficiency in one of the soles. When Jim was caught in 
a cave by Francis L. Boyd, it was found that a piece 
was wanting in the sole of the right shoe. The meas- 
ure of the track with Jim's shoes corresponded with 
the width, but was about half an inch shorter than the 
shoes. David Coger, a witness in the case, testified 
from tests that tracks made while one was running 
would be half an inch to an inch and a half shorter 
than the shoe that made it, and the tracks would be 
shortest in soft ground. One of the negro women 
swore that Jim had admitted the deed, while others 
gave damaging testimony. 

Some young physicians secured Jim's body and, to 
avoid detection, conveyed it from hiding place to hiding 
place, finally cutting it up, tradition says, and throw- 
ing the pieces and bones in Smith Fork Creek just 
below the Gin Bluff cave. The violation of graves 
was made a felony by the act of 1831, which explains 
the doctors' fears. 

"Old Yaller" was Jim Stokes, a slave owned by 
General Stokes. From some cause he was always 
absconding, hiding in the neighboring hills. One 


History of DeKalb County 

morning he discovered from his hiding place that Col. 
James Tubb's residence was on fire and succeeded in 
putting out the flames before much damage was done. 
In gratitude Colonel Tubb purchased him from 
Stokes, a delight to "Yaller Jim," since his wife was 
one of Colonel Tubb's slaves. Jim was the father of 
ten or twelve children by this woman. 

This is of pathetic interest: Caleb was Colonel 
Tubb's body servant — a very large black man pos- 
sessed of much humor, who had a deep affection for 
every member of his master's family. He had super- 
intended the digging of graves for all the burials that 
had taken place, and the Colonel had enjoined upon 
the survivors of the family the duty of burying Caleb 
next to himself at the head of the family section. 

After the war freed him, and after Colonel Tubb's 
death, Caleb remained faithful, caring for Miss Addie 
Tubb, the youngest girl, and Mrs. Caroline Fite, a 
widow. When they died he went to Dowelltown, but 
suddenly left there and went to parts unknown. Years 
passed, when one day an old colored man asked the 
stage driver from McMinnville to Smithville for a ride. 
He was wanting to get back home to die and be buried 
beside his master and "the chilluns," as he pathetically 
explained. Though he was black and his language 
broken, in his old heart was a yearning as loyal as that 
expressed by Jacob: "Bury me not, I pray thee, in 
Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt 
carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying 
place." Before the stage reached Smithville the 


History of DeKalb County 

negro's life had gone out. James Tubb, Jr., was noti- 
fied, and he carried out the promise exacted by his 
father as to the burial of old black Caleb. 

According to the report of the Adjutant General of 
Tennessee in 1866, Col. J. P. Brownlow, the enlist- 
ment of negro troops in the Union army from this 
State numbered 17,770. A number may have been 
from DeKalb County, though the writer has heard of 
but one, Banks, belonging to Reuben Evans. 

Some of the early laws relative to negroes were 
these: They were not permitted to practice medicine 
When found off their master's premises without a pass, 
they were arrested by patrols. Before 1831, for cer- 
tain offenses slaves (also free negroes) could be nailed 
to the pillory by the ears and have their ears cut off. 
By the act of 1831 free negroes were not allowed to 
remove to this from any other State and remain more 
than twenty days; while by that of 1833 no stage 
driver or boat captain was allowed to carry free 
negroes from one place to another without a certifi- 
cate from the county court clerk; but if the black were 
a slave, verbal or written authority from the owner 
was sufficient. Free negroes were allowed to vote 
until 1834, when they were disfranchised by the new 
State constitution. A bill was introduced in the legis- 
lature of Tennessee in 1859-60 providing that all free 
negroes except certain minors should be sold into 
slavery if they remained in the State after May i, 
1861. It failed to become a law. 



Stagecoach and Tavern Days. 

Quite a bulky debt was saddled on the State when 
the mania for internal improvements in Tennessee was 
on. But it brought us good roads, and no State can 
properly develop without these. It also brought an 
era of romance which made the people in isolated 
places better and happier and mentally broader. 

It was a great event, as great as the construction of 
a railroad to-day, when the turnpike was extended 
from Lebanon in the direction of Sparta. On Decem- 
ber 2, 1837, ^ company was incorporated with the fol- 
lowing commissioners : John Hearn, John Muirhead, 
W. L. Martin, Joseph Johnson, O. G. Finley, J. P. 
Wharton, Solomon Caplinger, Wilson T. Waters, 
James Young, George Smith, J. M, Armstrong, Jona- 
than Bailey, and William Lawrence, of Wilson County ; 
Abraham Caruthers, John Gordon, Francis Gordon, 
William McCain, and Nathaniel Ward, of Smith 
County ; T. W. Duncan, Leonard Lamberson, E. 
Wright, Jacob Fite, James Goodner, James Tubb, and 
Joseph Clarke, of Cannon County (afterwards De- 
Kalb) ; William Glenn, William Simpson, Jesse Lin- 
coln, and S. V. Carrick, of White County. 

The commissioners were to open books for receiv 
mg subscriptions to the amount of $120,000, to be used 
in building the pike, "commencing at Lebanon," the 
charter not specifying at what point it should termi- 
nate. The $120,000 was to be divided into shares of 


History of DeKalb County 

$50 each. The chief surveyor of the State marked 
the route, and that part going over Snow's Hill, a 
mountain in DeKalb County, the gorges and peaks 
of which suggest Alpine scenery, is said to be an ex- 
traordinarily fine example of surveying, with the ex- 
ception of a few hundred feet. This variance was due, 
explains Mr. John L. Lamberson, grandson of one of 
the commissioners, to the fact that it was left to an 
assistant, the chief surveyor, becoming ill, having been 
carried to Lamberson's, where he died. For some 
reason, probably because of a lack of funds, the road 
for some years was completed only to the top of 
Snow's Hill ; but the grading was completed to Smith- 
ville after the War between the States. 

As soon as possible after securing the charter and 
making the survey work was begun. The route must 
have presented a bustling appearance, with the camps 
and the great ox teams (shod with triangular pieces 
of iron on each toe, we are told) drawing stone, sand, 
and gravel, and the toiling slaves and their overseers. 
The work was given out to various contractors — Nich- 
olas Smith, James White, Daniel Ford, Leonard Lam- 
berson, James Tubb, Abraham Overall, and others. 
It is said that the part running under the Allen bluiT 
and beside the creek west of Liberty was constructed 
by Colonel Overall. 

But one tragedy resulted during the building of this 
highway, so far as the writer can learn, though in 
some instances those upon whose premises the survey 
was made became very indignant. One farmer in the 
Alexandria neighborhood went gunning; but as the 


History of DeKalb County 

route was changed for the better in his neighborhood, 
no blood was shed. The tragedy was the drowning 
of a youth named Blades. "There under the roots of 
that big tree," said the widow White to the writer one 
day when he was visiting the old Gray cemetery in 
Dowelltown, "is buried Charlie, the only son of Benja- 
min Blades. He fell through the Liberty bridge be- 
fore it was finished and was drowned. Near by is 
the grave of James White, who contracted to build a 
portion of the turnpike." 

That women had an eye to business even so early as 
1837 is indicated by the fact that Mrs. Sinia Foster 
superintended the building of the road some way up 
Snow's Hill. With her sons and employees, she boss- 
ing the job, a section of road was built that was prob- 
ably unexcelled. 

Mr. Caplinger, possibly one of the commissioners, 
constructed the old bridge north of Liberty, a covered 
wooden structure with two driveways ; probably also 
that over Dry Creek, as both were alike. 

The stagecoach was a familiar sight prior to the 
building of the turnpike ; while the pike did not al- 
ways follow the first highway. To illustrate, the old 
road passed along the western and northern brow of 
the Daniel Smith hill a quarter of a mile north of 
Liberty, and after a large half circle eastward came 
out near Dowelltown. The trace is clearly visible to- 
day. With the coming of the big, red, rocking coach 
there had to be stage stands and wayside inns provid- 
ing "entertainment for man and beast." As far back 
as the oldest inhabitants can remember, Col. M. A. 


History of DeKalb County 

Price was the mail contracter, an old one-eyed gentle- 
man, who smacked his lips enjoyably over a glass of 
gin and was strictly business. Horace McGuire, an 
early stager, says the mail was carried from Nashville 
to Knoxville. Isaiah White, son of one of the road 
builders and now a citizen of Nashville, avers that 
the Colonel had mail contracts covering twelve thou- 
sand miles, and this particular route extended from 
Nashville via Knoxville to Richmond, Va. The coach 
was drawn by four horses a large part of the time, 
says James Dearman, another stager, and horses were 
changed every fourteen miles. "Colonel Price grew 
wealthy," says Mr. White. "My father had the con- 
tract to make the road from the foot of Snow's Hill 
to the top, taking the contract off the hands of Mr. 
Duncan and Dr. Wright; but they became bankrupt, 
and he received very little compensation. It was fin- 
ished to the top of the hill, I think, about 1845." 

After Price's time the route was gradually short- 
ened, finally becoming insignificant. Sam Black fol- 
lowed Price. Other contractors have been: Jesse 
Walling, Colvert & Lewis, Hale & Lewis, Overall 
Bros., and Taylor & Robinson. From Watertown to 
Smithville a number of automobiles now run. 

There were taverns at Liberty nearly a century ago 
— the Duncan at the north end of the village, and one 
somewhat south of the first-named, probably erected 
by a Mr. Kite. The latter was at various times occu- 
pied as a residence by W. G. Foster, John F. Moore 
(a Vermont immigrant), Frank Foster, and William 
Blackburn, father of Col. Joe Blackburn. It was at 


History of DeKalb County 

last torn down to give place for Will A. Vick's resi- 

The pioneer, Josiah Duncan, had the Duncan Tavern 
built, and it v^as conducted by his son, T. W. Duncan. 
Some of the Duncans removed to Nashville. It is 
believed that the Duncan Hotel, in the capital, was 
named for one of these Duncans. They came orig- 
inally from Maryland. Isaac Whaley, postmaster at 
Liberty for about forty-four years, once stated to the 
writer that within his memory Gen. Andrew Jackson 
was a guest at the Duncan. He added : "The General 
used to pass here in his carriage on the way to Wash- 
ington and other points. One time he purchased some 
negroes and was bringing them to Tennessee. While 
here a young slave died. It was between 1834 and 
1839. I made the negro's coffin. Of the Duncans who 
left Liberty, I believe the one to become best known 
was Cicero." 

T. M. Givan, a relative of the Duncan family, has 
heard his father tell of a large delegation going as far 
as Snow's Hill to welcome Old Hickory on one occa- 
sion. Some genius had improvised a sort of cannon, 
and when it was "touched off" it escaped from its 
fastenings, disappeared somewhere down one of the 
gorges near the road, "and has never been seen since.'' 
On Jackson's arrival the county broke all records by 
the size of its crowd. Jackson was .social and pleased 
his hearers by expressing admiration for the great 
hills and predicting a wonderful future for that sec- 

Mrs. Rachel Payne, daughter of Frederick Jones, 













History of DeKalb County 

who bought the Duncan Tavern too late to entertain 
the hero of New Orleans, says she heard Mrs. Duncan 
tell how she once prepared a great feast for Jackson, 
but he would partake of nothing but milk and mush. 
Mrs. Payne states further: "When I was a child fif- 
teen young men and the same number of girls passed 
through the village from Alexandria to Smithville to 
attend a ball. Coming back to the village with the 
purpose of having a dance at the Overall home, they 
found the creek past fording and stayed overnight 
with us, and that dance was the first I had ever seen. 
I recall two of the young ladies. Colonel Stokes's 
daughters, Miss Melissa (afterwards Mrs. Haskins) 
and Miss Leath (called 'Bug,' who became Mrs. James 
R. Calhoun). The fifteen couples were horseback, 
which would be a wonderful sight now." 

Latter-day hotels at Liberty were conducted by 
Joshua Hollandsworth and Mrs. Cannie Whaley. 

About the middle of the nineteenth century there 
was an excellent and popular tavern at Alexandria 
kept by Capt. J. S. Reece. 'T remember a few balls 
at the tavern," writes Mrs. S. W. McClelland, for- 
merly of Alexandria, "and among other attendants 
were Misses Ellen Johnston, Tump Sneed, Mary, 
Fannie, and Lorena Davis, Matt and Harriet Batts, 
and Messrs. Pope Rutland, John Sneed, William Bone, 
Joshua Floyd, and Capt. John F. Goodner, the gayest 
of the gay and a soldier of two wars. Next day we 
stood on tiptoe listening to a recital of the joyous 
events. When the circus came the old tavern was 
quickened into new life, and nothing was more de- 


History of DeKalb County 

lightful to us children than to get a peep in on the 
show folks, especially the show girls, this being ac- 
complished through the friendship of Mary Reece, 
the innkeeper's amiable daughter." 

Ed Reece, of Nashville, who was brought up in the 
Reece House, but who is now a prosperous Nashville 
man, says the building stood where Lester's department 
store now stands, on the south side of the principal 
street. "I think," he continues, "it was formerly con- 
ducted by Jack Baird, Sr., father of James and the 
late Jack Baird. My father exchanged property with 
James Baird for it and had it put in fine repair, open- 
ing it to the public in 185 1 or 1852. My father was a 
Whig, and the Whigs all stopped with him. Among 
the guests of more than local repute I mention Jordan 
Stokes, Sidney S. Stanton, Gen. Bill Cullom, and Bird 
S. Rhea. There were balls there a plenty prior to the 
big war, and young people from Carthage, Lebanon, 
Gordonsville, and Nashville attended. An event I dis- 
tinctly remember was the marriage of Horatio Betty — 
probably the grandfather of Willie Betty Newman, 
the distinguished Nashville artist — and Miss Mary 
Lawrence, daughter of William Lawrence, who lived 
in Wilson County, west of town. Betty lived at Gor- 
donsville. The young married folks and their friends, 
about thirty couples in all, were horseback, and stopped 
for dinner on the way to Gordonsville for the 'infair.' 
As there was then no very great opposition to intoxi- 
cants, some of the gentlemen merrymakers imbibed 
freely. Two guests at the tavern when we had balls 
were the Misses Roulstone, relatives of the pub- 


History of DeKalb County 

Usher of the first Tennessee newspaper, the Knoxville 
Gazette. One of them on one occasion highly incensed 
a g-uest by refusing to dance with him because he did 
not wear pumps." 

The old people name John Vantrease as Alexan- 
dria's earliest innkeeper. Mrs. Sallie Browning kept 
a tavern prior to the days of the Reece House. The 
Reece House was in later years conducted by T. Wil- 
liams and then by Joseph Lawrence. The present 
well-patronized hotel is owned by Byron Bell. 

In 1846, or thereabout, a stock company built a 
large tavern at Smithville, the first host being Dr. G. 
W. Eastham, possibly. On January 2, 1852, it was 
incorporated. The incorporators were: Ransom 
Youngblood, John B. Tubb, Alex Goodwin, T. B. Fite, 
R. C. Sanders, Charles Schurer, Samuel Turner, Elect 
Tubb, James Tubb, William Floyd, Elias Barbee, W. 
H. Magness, W. B. Lawrence, W. W. Wade, William 
A. Duncan, and M. M. Brien. Was it leased at this 
time by Col. John H. Savage? The oldest member 
of the Tennessee Conference, Rev. J. W. Cullom, 
says Savage was in control of it in 1854. The builder 
of the tavern was said to have been David Morrison, 
the architect of the State prison. It changed pro- 
prietors frequently. It was once purchased by David 
James, who sold it to Matt Lee, then by B. M. Webb, 
and is now owned by B. M. Cantrell. 

Beckwith Place, just east of Snow's Hill, became 
very popular in ante-bellum days, and is one of the 
best-known landmarks of DeKalb County. Mrs. Beck- 
with was a Miss Roulstone, of the Knoxville family 
8 113 

History of DeKalb County 

just mentioned. Beckwith was in its prime when Bon 
Air Springs, on the mountain, was m its heyday. 
Travelers to and from that resort Hked to spend 
a while at Beckwith Place. Many very notable guests 
have been sheltered there. 

On Snow's Hill, four miles west of Smithville, 
Thomas Bradford kept a famous inn at the sign of the 
Two Cranes. A distinction claimed for the proprietor 
is that he had the earliest orchard in that section, not 
excepting that of Giles Driver, the pioneer, who lived 
to the age of one hundred and four. Luke McDowell's 
tavern was not far from Beckwith Place, a mile west- 
ward. After the War between the States, John L. 
Boyd occupied the ■McDowell Inn. 

No doubt there was a tavern at Sligo Ferry, on the 
eastern side of Caney Fork River and on the stage 
road. It was a very important point at one time. 
Bird S. Rhea and A. L. Davis, who owned a large 
store and warehouse, operated the ferry and that end 
of the stage road. Sligo was the head of navigation, 
and the firm was able to do a very heavy business by 
loading boats at Nashville and transporting merchan- 
dise and other freight to Sligo. Price's stagecoaches 
traveled that way. The travel by stage, carriages, and 
freight wagons was tremendous. But when the Nash- 
ville and Chattanooga Railroad was constructed to 
McMinnville Mr. Rhea saw that it would injure 
White and DeKalb Counties and left the place for 
Nashville, where he became a factor in business circles, 
as is his son now, Isaac T. Rhea, President of the St, 
Louis and Tennessee River Packet Company. 


History of DeKalb County 

In this East Middle Tennessee section there is much 
picturesque scenery. Off the turnpike some miles are 
the Caney Fork "Narrows," where the river makes a 
nine-mile bend, but comes so close together at one 
point that one can stand on the ridge between and toss 
a stone into the current on either side. The views at 
Fall Creek and Culcarmac Falls, also in the boundaries 
of DeKalb County, are magnificent and inspiring. 
From the top of Snow's Hill (the turnpike passes 
over the summit, a distance of two miles) the sight 
may traverse long distances, especially south and west, 
taking in a bewitching panorama in winter or summer. 
On each side are deep valleys, gloomy and forested, 
and miles to the south the long, hazy crest of Short 
Mountain, suggesting the back of leviathan afloat 
upon the ocean surface. Traveling westward, there 
was once the well-kept Trough Spring. The water, 
gushing out of the hill, was brought down to the pike 
in wooden "spouts" to a very capacious trough. Here 
the stage horses were checked to allay their thirst, and 
it is doubtful if any passenger could pass without de- 
siring to quaff. If in the night, the trickle and mur- 
mur awoke his thirst ; if in the daytime, the sparkling 
streamlets dashing over mossy stones had the same 

Between Dowelltown and Liberty one of the noisiest 
streams, reminding you of Browning's "How the 
Water Comes Down at Lodore," issues from the Gin 
Bluff cave and finds silence in the Crowder Hole of 
Smith Fork. It used to run a cotton gin long ago. 
On Dry Creek the stream cast out of a cave has for 


History of DeKalb County 

three-quarters of a century furnished the power to run 
Crips's Mill. 

Then you arrive at Liberty, resting like a sleeping 
hound at the feet of a dozen lofty hills — the Barger 
and Evans hills to the east, the Gin Bluflf and Dismal 
hills to the north, to the west the Bethel and Lamberson 
hills, and to the south the Bratten, Givan, and Clarke 
hills — cultivated to the tops and hazy in summer, in 
winter drowsing to the winds' singing, "The heavens 
declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth 
his handiwork." And in their embrace this : Smith 
Fork Creek forming a silver horseshoe, great bottom 
fields, the pioneer graveyard on a rise covered with 
pennyroyal and gashed with gullies, the battle ground 
where General Winchester fought the Cherokees, the 
more modern cemetery with three thousand sleeping 
inhabitants, and a village so queerly arranged that the 
son of a pioneer once described it as being three miles 
long and thirty feet wide. 

""Still going westward, the road crawls by the beetling 
Allen Bluff, then through other picturesque hills until 
Alexandria is passed and the Wilson County line 
reached, where the low grounds set in. 

As a general thing, the stage drivers were "charac- 
ters." Didn't they have a right to feel their impor- 
tance and to exercise their prerogative of letting a 
boy swing onto the boot or driving him away with 
a great swipe backward with the whiplash? Uncle 
Sam depended upon tliem to be on schedule time with 
his mail ; the traveling public was also beholden to 
them ; and, sitting behind four horses, manipulating 


History of DeKalb County 

the lines cleverly if not pompously as the milestones 
were left behind, they certainly had some part in the 
nation's affairs. The names of a few have been pre- 
served, and for the sake of the old-timers who knew 
some of them in the flesh and of the one-time boys 
whose cherished ambition was to be a stage driver 
and at night toot the bugle as the announcement of his 
approach to the post office they shall be recorded here : 
Ben Blades, Yance Lamb (a dandy), Tom Hearn, 
Josiah Youngblood, ]\Ir. Angell, Mr. Kelley, Mr. 
Bridges, Mr. Sadler, Bob Witt, Abe Witt, Mr. Potts, 
"Scotch John." Horace McQuire, Jim Little, Alose and 
Charles Vannata, James Dearman, J. H. Meacham, 
Tom, Jim, and William Dearman, Isaac Borum (who 
drove about twenty years), William Lewis, Sr., Wil- 
liam Lewis, Jr., and William Robinson (who drove 
about fifteen years). 

So, while the first note of the bugle on the famous 
old stage road was a reveille, the last sound, lingering 
mournfully among the hills, meant taps forever, the 
old order giving way to the new. 

The mail is now delivered to the four principal towns 
twice a day and once on Sunday. The postal system 
must have been very unsatisfactory to the people a 
century and less ago. It is said that the residents of 
Liberty for a long while had to go to Carthage, which 
was laid off in 1804, and other points to mail letters. 
As late as 1797 the mail to Knoxville, then the State 
capital, arrived only twice a month. It must have been 
several years later that there was a mail route to 
Liberty. In 1789, about eight years before the first 


History of DeKalb County 

settler came to Liberty, there were only seventy-five 
post offices in the United States. Postage was so high 
and ready money so scarce, as stated elsewhere, that 
letters often remained in the post office for weeks be- 
cause the person addressed could not pay the postage. 
In the daybook of E. Wright, a Liberty merchant, his 
customers are frequently charged postage. It may be 
he was an early postmaster. Thus under date of June 
23, 1832, is this memorandum, "Liberty Lodge No. 
'/'], Dr., to postage paid on letter from G. States Secty., 
66 cents," and this under date of August 20 : "Lemuel 
H. Bethel, Dr., to cash to pay postage, 1834 cents." 
The adhesive postage stamp was not used in America 
until 1847. The method was to fold a letter, fasten it 
with sealing wax (no envelope), and mail it, the re- 
ceiver to pay the postage. The rates of postage from 
1789 to 1816 were: For any distance under forty miles, 
8 cents ; under ninety, 10 cents ; under one hundred 
and fifty, I2j^ cents. From 1816 to 1837 they were: 
For distances under thirty miles, 6^4 cents; under 
eighty, 10 cents ; over four hundred, 25 cents ; and 
these rates were quadrupled upon letters which 
weighed an ounce. 


The County Seat, 

The country adjacent to Smith ville was settled by 
a most worthy class of people, second to none in any 
part of the county. Old names that come to mind are : 
Giles Driver, Jesse Allen, Martin Phillips, Tobe Mar- 
tin, Britton Johnson, Allan Johnson, James Lockhart, 
John Wooldridge, J. C. Kennedy, P. G. Magness, 
Zach Lafever, D. League, Henry Cameron, Bernard 
Richardson, Samuel Chandler, Elijah Chambers, Ed- 
ward Hooper, William Adcock, Luke McDowell, John 
Maynard, the Whaleys, Wades, Beckwiths, Atwells, 
Bradfords, Smiths, Gilberts, Dunlaps, Colverts, Pot- 
ters, Cantrells, Pedigoes, Isbells, Bonds, Bozarths, 
Rheas, Davises, Dearmans, Wests, Fosters, Tyrees, 
Grays, Magnesses, Judkinses, Titsworths, Dentons, 
and others. 

When the county was organized at Bernard Rich- 
ardson's in March, 1838, a committee, composed of 
Joseph Clarke, Thomas Allen, Joseph Banks, Watson 
Cantrell, and Thomas Durham, was appointed to select 
a site for the seat of justice and erect a courthouse 
and jail. James Dearman, one of the middle-aged 
men of Smithville, thinks the center of the county was 
found to be a mile north of the present Smithville; but 
as Bernard Richardson had donated fifty acres of land 
for the town, it was located thereon. But Rev. W. P. 
Banks, grandson of one of the commissioners, writes 
under date of April 27, 1914: "My grandfather was 


History of DeKalb County 

the first trustee of the county and one of the men who 
located the county seat. It was first selected two miles 
south of the present town on the McMinnville road ; 
but when on digging a well (the mound of dirt is there 
now plainly visible) the commissioners failed to get 
water they accepted the proposition of Mr. Richardson, 
provided they should find water for the public well. 
Grandfather was a leading spirit in all this." 

The first name selected in the original bill for the 
seat of justice was Macon, but by amendment it was 
changed to Smithville in honor of Samuel G. Smith, 
one of the Secretaries of State, who died in 1835. Ke 
held this ofiice from 1832 to his death. 

The first courthouse was soon erected. Prior to 
1844 it was replaced by a two-story brick building, 
costing about $6,000, while the log jail was replaced 
by a brick structure, costing something like $2,500. 
Subsequent to 1890 the present courthouse was erected. 

It may not be out of place to chronicle the fact here 
that on August 28, 1890, when new county buildings 
were seen to be needed, an election was held to change 
the county seat. A site was oflfered by C. W. L. Hale 
on his farm, about halfway between Dowelltown and 
Liberty. Much excitement prevailed, the election re- 
sulting in a majority for no removal. 

The following lawyers have been residents of the 
county at various times. If all are not included, it is 
not an intentional omission, but an oversight: M. M. 
Brien, J. J. Ford, A. M. Savage, J. H. Savage, W. W. 
Wade, Sr., W. W. Wade, Jr., John B. Robinson, 
Ralph Robinson, Solon Robinson, Joseph Clarke, J. 


History of DeKalb County 

W. Clarke, Robert Cantrell, William B. Stokes, James 
A. Nesmith, Robert C. Nesmith, T. M. Wade, B. M. 
Webb, Boone Trapp, R. M. Magness, W. G. Crowley, 
M. A. Crowley, B. M. Cantrell, J. W. Overall, Alfred 
Smith, B. G. Adcock, P. T. Shore, Alvin Avent, Will 
T. Hale, Dan O. Williams, J. W. Botts, John Gothard, 
H. A. Bratten, W. D. G. Games, R. B. Ander- 
son, I. C. Stone, M. D. Smallman, S. H. Collins, 
Richard Saunders, J, J. Foster, B. T. R. Foster, 
J. B. Foster, W. B. Staley, T. J. Bradford, Pallas 
Smith, White Turney, W. B. Corley, M. M. Brien, Jr., 
J. M. Allen, Albert McClellan, R. W. Turner, Joseph 
H. Blackburn, Caleb Davis, J. W. Parker, Eli Evans, 
D. M. Robinson, L. N. Savage, Thomas Fisher, Jr., 
J. A. Drake, J. E. Drake, P. C. Crowley, William 
O'Conner, J. B. Crowley, R. L. Cantrell, Brown Davis, 
and Dixie W. Floyd. 

The following were practicing in the county in 1814: 
T. W. Wade, Alvin Avant, J. E. Drake, R. L. Turner, 
P. C. Crowley, E. G. Lawson, D. M. Robinson, J. B. 
Robinson, J. A. Gothard, Dixie W. Floyd, Brown 
Davis, Smithville; W. B. Corley, Dowelltown ; James 
W. Parker, Alexandria ; and H. A. Bratten, Liberty. 

These have occupied the bench while residents of the 
county or after having removed therefrom: M. M. 
Brien, Robert Cantrell, M. D. Smallman, W. G. Crow- 
ley, W. W. Wade, Jr., Thomas Fisher, and John Fite. 

The act to incorporate Smithville was passed De- 
cember 4, 1843. The boundaries were as follows: 
"Beginning at the dwelling house of E, M. North, in- 
cluding the sawmill ; thence to the southwest corner 


History of DeKalb County 

of the plan of the town ; thence east with the line of 
the said town plan to the northwest corner of the lot 
of land which AI. M. Brien purchased from John C, 
Cannady ; thence with the lines of the same so as to 
include it in the town plan ; thence a direct line to the 
stage road so as to include the dwelling house of P. M. 
Wade; thence north to Fall Creek; thence up the said 
creek to the chalybeate spring ; thence a direct line, in- 
cluding the dwelling house of W. W. Wade, to the 
northeast corner of the original town plan ; thence to 
the beginning." As in other towns of the county, the 
corporation was abolished soon after the four-mile law 
was enacted to secure the statute's educational benefits. 
Among the first merchants were Willis W. Wade, 
P. M. Wade, and Samuel Chandler. Then came W. 
P. Harvey, P. G. Magness, J. M. Allen, W. H. Mag- 
ness, J. L. Dearman, George Beckwith, J. Y. Stewart, 
S. B. Whaley, and Elijah Whaley. Still later the fol- 
lowing were business men : R. B. West, Isaiah White, 
G. R. Smith & Son, Black & Bond, Smith Bros., T. B. 
Potter, S. D. Blankenship, J. L. Colvert, Hooper & 
Bro., D. S. Harrison, F. Z, Webb, A. L. Foster, and 

E. J. Evans. Business is carried on to-day by the fol- 
lowing individuals and firms: W. H. H. Bond, gen- 
eral merchant and undertaker, in business 40 years; 

F. Z. Webb, druggist, 34; H. E. Mason, druggist, 10; 
Conger Bros., gentlemen's furnishing goods, 11; H. 
E. Staley & Son, dry goods and shoes, 25 ; J. C. Fos- 
ter & Bro., grocery and hardware, 15; Mrs. W. R. 
Smith, millinery and dress goods, 20; S. C. Tyree, 
dry goods and notions, 15; W. H. Smith & Co., hard- 


History of DeKalb County 

ware, lo; J. C. Bond & Bro., groceries; Fred Robin- 
son, groceries; Potter, Love & Hays, ladies' dress 
goods and millinery; W. L. Taylor & Co., general 
store and freight transferers ; J. E. Foster, groceries ; 
G. S. Davis, groceries; H. Calhoun, groceries; Bur- 
ton & Jennings, groceries; James Burch, general 
store ; Young & Conger, groceries and produce ; Cash 
Hardware Company, W. F. Hooper manager; James 
Dearman, hotel and livery stable; A. H. Lane, livery 
stable; Mrs. E. M. Bailiflf, hotel; Mrs. T. W. Wade, 
hotel; E. J. Evans & Son, spokes, also millers; Sam 
McGuire, barber; Mart Talley (colored), barber; La- 
fayette Pack, C. Shaw, C. H. Vickers, and George 
Summers, blacksmiths; Lee Magness and Thomas 
Beckwith, photographers. 

Among the early physicians were: G. W. Eastham, 
Charles Schurer, J. C. Buckley, E. Tubb, J. C. Cox, 
P. C Shields, J. S. Harrison, J. J. and Isaac Gowan, 
Dr. Evans, Dr. Barnes, and Ben Cantrell, herbist. 
Later: J. Z. Webb, J. S. Fletcher, T. W. Eaton, A. 
Avant, M. L. Wilson, and James Womack. Present: 
W. W. Parker, W. R. Parker, M. L. Wilson, L. D. 
Allen, C. A. Loring, and T. J. Potter. 

Dentists, J. T. Bell and E. H. Conger. 

The Smithville brass band of twenty-one pieces, J. 
K. Shields leader, has a well-merited reputation 
throughout DeKalb and surrounding counties. 

A number of tanyards have been sunk in that sec- 
tion from an early day. Among the first were Tom 
Roe's, on Snow's Hill, and Henry Gray's, in town. J. 
L. Colvert, W. H. Magness, and D. T. Harrison were 


History of DeKalb County 

formerly in this business. D. T. and J. B, Harrison 
established a tobacco factory in 1879, ^"^ fo^ years 
did a good business, as did the Mack Shores factory. 

The town has been noted for its excellent schools, 
though no record was kept of the old field variety. 
Fulton Academy drew attention to the county seat a 
score of years before the War between the States. It 
was incorporated January 17, 1838, with these as trus- 
tees : Thomas Durham, Moses Pedigo, Samuel Allen, 
Martin Philips, and Bernard Richardson. For further 
references to this subject see the chapter on educa- 
tional matters. 

List of Smithville postmasters as far back as can be 
ascertained : J. Y. Stewart, George Beckwith, "Big 
Jim" Williams, George Bing, Felix Patterson, Robert 
Black, Ralph Robinson, J. S. Dunlap, S. P. W. Max- 
well, E. K. Atwell, Dick Goodson, J. H. Christian, 
and (present) C. W. Moore. 

Like Alexandria and Liberty, Smithville has two 
banks — the Farmers and Traders' (J. B. Moore, 
Cashier) and the People's. The latter was organized 
in 1903 with a capital of $15,000, with R. B. West, 
President, and J. E. Drake, Cashier. Its resources in 
1914 were about $75,000. Present officers: W. H. 
Davis, President ; F. M. Love, Cashier ; W. L. Davis, 
Assistant Cashier. 

Mention of the most noted Smithville taverns is 
given in the chapter on "Stagecoach and Tavern 
Days." It is thought that the earliest tavern keeper 
was Dr. G. W. Eastham. Then there were Bernard 
Richardson and James Erwin. Dave James was 













History of DeKalb County 

tavern keeper from 1850 to i860, and Mack Shores 
in 1861-62. Tyree's Hotel has long been a favorite 
hostelry, as have the Dearman House and Bailiff 
House. A correspondent writes that many years ago 
there was a village adjacent to Smith ville, a suburb, 
"just down the hill, across the creek and in the direc- 
tion of Sparta," called Chalk Hill, and that Jack 
Frazier kept a tavern there. Six miles from Smith- 
ville is a popular summer resort called Seven Springs, 
J. T. Odum, proprietor. 

Pearl-hunting in Caney Fork has been carried on 
for some years, pearls bringing from $500 to $1,800 
having been found. John Windham, of Smithville. 
was one of the most successful dealers. S. L. Fitts, 
of Temperance Hall, is also a successful dealer. 

There are no stories to tell of the old-time modes 
of punishment of criminals. Before Smithville was 
thought of, whipping, branding, pillorying, and cutting 
off the ears of criminals were abolished — in 1829 as 
to whites and in 183 1 as to negroes. 

Relative to the early transportation of freight, Mr. 
Dearman writes : "The produce from Sligo Ferry, on 
the Caney Fork River, was carried to Nashville in 
flatboats, and merchandise which the people needed 
was brought back on these boats. The boats were 
pushed up the Cumberland and Caney Fork, and it 
often required a week or two to reach Sligo. J. L. 
Dearman, who served as sheriff of the county three 
terms and twenty years as a magistrate, Levi Bozarth. 
William Bozarth, David James, Nat Parker, Dave 
Koger, the Phillipses, and the Dildines are some of the 


History of DeKalb County 

men who made runs down the river and back. While 
the work was hard, the men were hardy and won their 

Through the kindness of Mr. Tal Allen, now an 
honored citizen of Nashville, this list of papers that 
have been published in the town since the war is fur- 
nished : The Highland Sun, A. Max Ford ; the Jour- 
nal, A. C. Carnes ; the Index, W. D. Carnes ; the 
Watchman and Critic, Dozier and Kelly ; and the Re- 
view, Frank Wallace, later Eugene Hendon. 

W. D. G. and W. B. Carnes were at one time con- 
nected with the Index, and M. L. Fletcher was once a 
Smithville publisher. 

The following necrological note by a correspondent 
shows the sad changes that have taken place in the 
population in the last generation : "The following early 
citizens of Smithville are dead : W. G. Crowley, Chan- 
cellor for many years ; Bernard Richardson, who do- 
nated the site of Smithville to the county ; Jack Ken- 
nedy, Mexican War veteran and register for thirty 
years ; J. T. Hollis, who served as County and Circuit 
Court Clerk and Clerk and Master ; Mr. Dillard. drug- 
gist ; Joe Stewart, sheriff and old-time slave trader ; 
J. L. Dearman, sheriff, magistrate, and merchant ; 
'Sporting Ike' Hays ; G. R. Smith, merchant and 
magistrate for twenty years ; T. B. Potter, Confederate 
soldier, merchant, and banker; W. C. Potter, merchant 
and banker ; Dave James, tavern keeper ; Mack Shores, 
tavern keeper ; O. B. Staley, merchant ; J. B. Atwell, 
register for ten years ; J. M. Allen, magistrate for 
thirty years and twice representative ; J. L. Colvert, 


History of DeKalb County 

merchant; S. D. Blankenship, merchant; T. N. Chris- 
tian, Circuit Court Clerk for sixteen years ; T. W. 
Shields, Circuit Court Clerk for twelve years; Rev. 
J. M. Kidwell ; Z. P. Lee, County Court Clerk for 
eight years." 

But time, tide, and progress await no man. Smith- 
ville is to-day a pretty and thriving town of about one 
thousand inhabitants. "The turnpike from the town 
to Snow's Hill," writes a correspondent, "resembles 
an urban avenue — new houses all along where thirty 
years ago none were to be seen. From Smithville to 
Sparta you are never out of sight of new residences 
and barns. People from the Caney Fork River and 
hill country have been buying the land and moving to 
it. Even a dweller of the western section — the Basin — 
admits this fact : 'I am not sure but the flatwoods 
show more thrift to-day than any other part of the 
county.' Smithville has a flour mill, a spoke and 
handle factory, two banks, a paper, churches, and 
several general stores. The buildings are all com- 
paratively new, only three or four of those built forty 
years ago standing; while every road leading out from 
one to eight miles is macadamized. Perhaps much 
of its prosperity is due to the enterprise of the farmers 
who have recently bought the lands surrounding and 
the awakened energy of the descendants of the pio- 

Smithville is a charming and prosperous inland 
town and growing. Its distance from Nashville is 
sixty-seven miles. 



Historical Jetsam. 

In a history of Kentucky by Prof. N. S. Shaler, who 
for more than a quarter of a century filled the chair 
of Agassiz at Harvard University, it is shown that by 
actual measurement the Tennessee and Kentucky sol- 
diers in the War between the States were the largest 
in the army and in the world. 

DeKalb County has been noted for its large and 
strong men. Commercial travelers and others have 
remarked upon the fact. It is safe to say that no 
county of the same population can show a larger num- 

"Big" Bill Evans, once county trustee, weighed in 
his prime about two hundred and seventy-five pounds. 
Mrs. Matilda Huggins, his sister, weighed probably 
more. William B. Preston was about the size of 
Evans, and his mother weighed about three hundred 
pounds. Fox Frazier (hog trader), his brother Henry, 
John Parker (of Dismal Creek), Col. James Tubb, 
James Fuston (tavern keeper), Presley Adamson, 
Henry L. Turner, Francis Turner, James Stark, Lan- 
don Richardson, Bill Garrison, Aaron Frazier. Sr., 
William Estes, Moses and John Spencer, Jim Willi.- 
Thomas Roe, George and Thomas E. Bratten, Bart 
Pack, George Givan, Sr., William G. Bratten, Jack 
Tubb, Rev. Natty Hayes, Gips West — such men, 
weighing from two hundred and twenty-five pounds 
up, could be named in scores. 

There were other men noted more for their strength 


History of DeKalb County 

than for their size, though all were probably above the 
average in weight. Ben Cantrell, of the Smithville 
neighborhood, once lifted with apparent ease twelve 
hundred pounds of brass while in Nashville. Ben 
Denny was another noted strong man of Smithville. 
A pioneer shoemaker of Liberty, John Woodside, 
placed his shoulders under an average-sized horse and 
lifted him clear of the ground. John Spencer, also 
of Liberty, carried a bag containing five bushels of 
wheat (300 pounds) five miles to mill. There were 
three or four of these Spencers, all large and power- 
ful. It is possible, even probable, that they were re- 
lated to John Sharpe Spencer, the giant who lived in 
Sumner County in a hollow tree before James Robert- 
son made his settlement at Nashville. A number of 
the pioneers went farther into the wilderness as the 
Cumberland country was settled. 

As to men of great height, Dr. J. G. Squires was 
probably the tallest. He stood six feet seven and a 
half inches in his stockings, but would not weigh more 
than one hundred and forty pounds. "Curl" Jennings, 
who resided for some years at Dowelltown, was not 
less than six feet six inches and weighed close to 
three hundred pounds. A Mr. Brashear, over the 
average in size, had an attack of typhoid while board- 
ing with Jennings. Each had a pair of trousers made 
from the same bolt. When recovering, Brashear de- 
cided to sit up a few moments. As it happened, Jen- 
nings's trousers were hanging on a near-by chair. 
Believing them his, he slipped them on. When he saw 
9 129 

History of DeKalb County 

how they hung in great folds and bags on him, he fell 
back weakly on the bed, exclaiming: "Great heavens! 
If I've fallen off so much, there's no use trying to go 
about!" John Gann, of Liberty, was about as tall as 
Jennings and rather thin. One day in front of a 
saloon John Vandigriff, short and stocky, sidled up to 
him and said: "Mr. Gann, please hand me down one 
o' them buzzards flyin' over." Milton Ward, a well- 
known old field teacher, was about six feet six inches 
tall and required a special bedstead made for his use. 
Jim Willis, fist fighter, of Smithville, was six feet four 
inches tall, weighing about two hundred and twenty- 
five pounds. He was somewhat stooped, his arms 
were extremely long, while his eyes were deep-blue 
and deep-set. While he did not appear to delight in 
bloodshed, it is believed that he had a natural inclina- 
tion to fight. During the war he lived in Missouri 
and belonged to Quantrell's guerrillas. One who knew 
him says that his scalp was as rough as a turtle's back, 
due to scars made by rocks, knife thrusts, and club 
blows. Landon Richardson, of Liberty, weighing two 
hundred and twenty-five pounds, was usually depu- 
tized in ante-bellum times to arrest dangerous charac- 
ters who came to the village. He was not a "bully," 
but powerful and fearless. It is tradition that on one 
occasion he put to flight seven "bad men" from Hel- 
ton Creek who had attacked him. Firearms were not 
used in brawls then. 

The two men who had the distinction of being the 
smallest in the county were Frank Foster, of Liberty, 
and Thornton Christy, of Alexandria. 


History of DeKalb County 

Mention has been made in the sketch of Temperance 
Hall of the disappearance of William G. Stokes. 
Other mysteries have puzzled the people and tried the 
souls of the parents of the missing men. Dr. Foster, 
who was given the story by an aged relative, says that 
Frank Givan, son of the second Circuit Court Clerk, 
started horseback to visit relatives in Maryland early 
in the nineteenth century. He was never heard from 
again, and he nor his horse could be traced out of the 
Liberty community. Was he murdered for his money ? 
Did he sink in quicksand, then supposed to exist in the 
county? The wildest rumors were afloat. Years 
afterwards a skeleton was found in a hollow tree on 
Dry Creek, and some thought this the solution of the 
problem. Isaac Evans, son of Reuben Evans, went 
with W. B. Preston and others to California durinsr 
the excitement over the finding of gold. He was 
heard from once, his letter stating that he had joined 
William Walker's filibusters. No other tidings have 
ever reached his friends or relatives, though sixty- 
five years have gone by. 

Clay lamps, burning grease, were used in kitchens 
some years after the war. Candles, often made of tal- 
low, were used by the grandfathers for illumination. 
As there were no matches in general use until about 
1830, we know that the tinder box, flint, and steel were 
kept for starting fires by the early DeKalb Countians. 

Dr. G. C. Flowers, an ante-bellum resident of 
Liberty, was regarded as the most extensively read 


History of DeKalb County 

man in the county in his day, as far as general litera- 
ture is concerned. Dr. John S. Fletcher, who died in 
Smithville in 1877 (graduated from three universities, 
among them the University of Pennsylvania) and was 
surgeon in Gen. John C. Brown's brigade at the close 
of the war of 1861-65, had a distinction in after years 
similar to that of Dr. Flowers. 

The county has produced some men of more than 
local reputation, but the writer recalls but one instance 
in which the people contributed of their means to 
erect a memorial to any DeKalb Countian. It is worth 
thinking about. The one thus honored was neither 
jurist, minister, statesman, editor, captain of industry, 
author, scholar, nor military chieftain. He was a 
very plain, unassuming man, who out of sympathy 
for the bereaved and their dead made it convenient to 
help dig the graves of his neighbors for nearly or quite 
threescore years. The marble shaft over W. H. 
(Hamp) Woodside's grave at Liberty is proof that a 
noble heart is still regarded as more than mere worldly 

Mention might be made of many DeKalb Countians 
with rare or bizarre qualities, such as the one who 
could never be made to answer yes or no directly and 
another who spoke as if always quoting, as, "I'm not 
feeling well to-day, as the old saying is"; but to give 
the story complete much more space would be required 
than can be offered in this history. 


History of DeKalb County 

Hundreds of names of citizens once familiar in the 
county are recorded in these pages, it will be noticed. 
Of their owners little more can be said now than that 
their graves are green. It is pathetic. But, to para- 
phrase Burns, 

Should auld cognomens be forgot, 
And never brought to min'? 

A Striking thing about the names is the absence of 
foreign ones. The foreparents were of Anglo-Saxon 
stock. Some names were queer : Esau Pack, Giles 
Driver, Sim Hathaway, Bob Prydy, Pack Florida, 
Enoch George, Gil Etheridge, Cantrell Bethel, Cicero 
Duncan, Caleb Davis, Seaborn Harts, Brown Harri- 
man, Crofford Rankhorn, John Shehane, Daniel Rat- 
lige, Poindexter Joins, Nehemiah Garrison, Con- 
gelius Burrip, Jonas Nokes, Iradel March, Conrad 
Lamberson, James R. Gapway, Brice Parsley, Zene 
Crips, John Canler, Seth Whaley, Archamac Bass, 
Crag Parsons, Acenith Fite, Brackett Estes, Thomas 
Durham, Edwin Shumway, Randall Pafiford, King 
Herod, William Mooneyham, Cain Adams, Lito Hul- 
lett, June Driver, Leven Gray, Friday Martin, Samuel 
Casey, Tucker Woodson, Festus Moses (the great 
walnut buyer), Goodman Mallon, Telford Steele, 
Park Amonett, Vincent Manor, Bart Nonnelly, Emory 
Cubbins, Mikel Etheridge, Irwin Page, Fuller Sanlin, 
and North Reynolds. Others were musically allitera- 
tive: Edmondson Elkins, Nelson New, Mat Martin. 
Lee Lafever, Leonard Lamberson, Benjamin Blades, 
Sylvanus Stokes, Kern Clark, Rich Richardson, Elam 
Edge, Pleasant Pistole, Dempsey Driver, Fox Frazier, 


History of DeKalb County 

Hardin Hardcastle, Henry Helmantaller, Hawkins 
Heflin, Rison Roland, Tolliver Turner, William 
Wellaby, Wylie Wilder, George Givan, Moses 
Mathews, Henry Horn, Alex Armstrong, Henry Hart, 
German Gossett, Philip Palmer, Henry Hass, Martin 
Murphy, Ben Brownin, Thomas Terry, James Jones, 
Thomas Tyree, Willis Wade, William Wright, Archi- 
bald Allen, Elial Elston, William Wilson, Shines Scrib- 
ner, Abe Adams, Frank Foster, Hiram Hildreth, 
Travers Tarpley, David Dirting, Mickeral Manning, 
Morris Marcum, Hart Hinesly, Ephraim Evans, Arch 
Allen, and Samson Sellars. 

As observed elsewhere, the names of a number of 
families figure no longer in the county's activities. 
Some of the settlers died ; others moved to different 
sections. Now and then one hears of a few of their 
descendants : John C. Floyd, of Arkansas, and Fred- 
eric Barry, of INIississippi, who became members of 
Congress from their adopted States; M. M. Brien and 
Robert Cantrell, noted lawyers and jurists ; Bird S. 
Rhea, Ed Reece, R. B. Wright, Cicero Duncan, Church 
Anderson, James Yeargin, and Len F. Davis, all promi 
nent in the business world, Mr. Davis in 1914 having 
the distinction of being the senior of Nashville's whole- 
sale merchants in point of service. 

There were (and are still) in the county many racy 
local characters of a type one rarely ever meets in 
large towns, where personalities lose their distinctness 
of outline like coins which pass innumerable times 
across shop counters. Such were Jonas Nokes, Ross 


History of DeKalb County 

Keith, "Sporting Ike" Hays, and others. Some were 
natural wits and humorists, whose drolleries have been 
kept alive by the joke-loving DeKalb Countians, The 
writer thinks none excelled four or five Liberty wits — 
Hamp Woodside, Blue Givan, Pole Woodside, Jr., 
Thomas Vick, James Burton, and M, C. Vick. Dr. 
Foster avers that Thomas Askew was the wittiest 
man he ever knew. Such little sallies as these, handed 
down from father to son, approach the character of 
folk tales: 

Shed Lawson, who resided in Alexandria many 
years ago, was noted for his cheerful disposition, de- 
spite the fact that his treasury of worldly goods was 
small, and for his ready wit on any occasion requiring 
quick repartee. When the circus comes to town, the 
parade is sure to gather the crowd. One day Shed 
and his little son, who always accompanied him like 
his shadow, were following the clown. The latter, 
on his pony and diked out in conventional cap and 
bells, was shouting his badinage to the sight-seers. 
Seeing Shed, he said : "Here, mister, I want to hire 
that boy." Sensing a chance maybe to get his admis- 
sion fee easily, the Alexandrian asked what he wanted 
the lad to do. "I want him to blow my nose," the 
clown said. "O, well, now," retorted Shed loudly and 
without hesitation, "ef you will jest wait a little while, 
jedgin' from appearances, the flies will blow it fer 

Speaking of noses, Littleberry Vick, of Liberty, as 
well as the Duke of Wellington, possessed a prominent 
nose. One day he and William Burton were arguing 


History of DeKalb County 

over some political issue. Directly Mr. Vick, some- 
what irritated, said: "Billy Burton, you never could 
see an inch beyond your nose." "And, Berry Vick," 
replied Mr. Burton, "if you could see an inch beyond 
your nose, you could see into another county," 

Matthew Sellars, a pioneer of Dry Creek and a 
first-class citizen, had no blasphemy in his heart when, 
after a storm one night, he went out and looked on 
the wreck the wind had made of the timber and young 
corn in the new ground. Returning to the house, he 
said to his wife in a low tone : "Charlotte, don't whis- 
per it above your breath ; but, taking the Almighty up 
one side and down the other, it seems he does about 
as much harm as good." 

There is no spot of earth where the people apply the 
title of uncle and aunt more industriously than in the 
DeKalb County Basin. When it is applied to a neigh- 
bor, it is an indication that he is getting old. It also 
signifies reverence. Some wag thereaway once ob- 
served : "There are four periods in the life of a man. 
As a child he is Bobby, as a young man he is Bob, in 
his prime he is Uncle Bob, and after threescore and 
ten he is Old Uncle Bobby." Some there were who 
objected to having the title of age thus thrust upon 
them, and one was William Vick, the Liberty mer- 
chant. One day he was sitting in front of his store. 
Dempsy Driver rode by and, bowing, said: "Good 
morning, Uncle Bill." Turning to a companion, Vick 
said dryly and somewhat resentfully: "Another 

Thomas Askew was a soldier in the Mexican War. 


History of DeKalb County 

Becoming ill, he died, to all appearances ; doctors and 
nurses pronounced him dead. His coffin was brought 
in and placed near the cot where he was "laid" out. 
He revived when left alone for a few minutes and sa\ 
the coffin. Having been a DeKalb official, he reached 
for a pencil and wrote on top of the casket: "No 
property found. T. B. Askew, constable." 

Reuben Evans, farmer, magistrate, and rock mason, 
was sincere and matter-of-fact. He was also cau- 
tious, extremely so, and one cannot imagine him guilty 
of exaggeration in praise or blame. While he was 
doing some stonework for C. W. L. Hale, the latter'? 
child said something the father regarded as bright 
and cute. "Now, Uncle Reuben," said he, "wasn't 
that just too much?" "Really," Mr. Evans replied 
deliberately and carefully, "I can't say it was too much, 
but it was a good deal." 

Dr. J. W. Campbell had a farm in a very deep hol- 
low a mile west of Liberty. One afternoon his tenant 
hauled about two hundred and fifty pounds of hay to 
the village. As he passed Blue Givan's store some one 
remarked that it was a very small load for two horses 
to haul all the way to town. "But you must recollect 
that when you come out of a jug you have to come out 
with a small load," said Givan. 

Jacob Adcock, south of Smithville and formerly 
a representative from Cannon County, bought a 
broken-down stallion for $15, fed him on roasting 
ears, groomed him all times of day, and kicked and 
punched him to make him gay. Then he got out on 
the fence to watch for a victim. Rev. William Daw- 


History of DeKalb County 

son, riding by on a fine black mare, was bantered for 
a trade. "The horse is a top-notcher," said Adcock, 
"but too young and spry for an old man like me." As 
they approached the stable the horse saw his master, 
then, walling his eyes and snorting, tried to climb out 
of the stall. His coat glistened, so that he looked as 
well as he acted. The trade was made, the parson 
giving the black mare, a watch, and a note for $50 
for the stallion. At the Short Mountain camp meeting 
some weeks later, after the stallion had retrograded 
to the $15 class again, Adcock professed religion. As 
he was going home Dawson overtook him, said he 
was glad God had pardoned his sins, then suggested 
that he ought to return some of the money he swindled 
out of Dawson through the horse trade. "I don't see 
it that way. Brother Dawson," replied Adcock. "When 
the Lord pardoned my sins he included the horse 


Smaller Villages of the County. 

Hon. J. M. Allen once averred that his father. 
Jesse Allen, a Virginian, entered the land on Smith 
Fork Creek from John Corley's farm to Lancaster, 
one mile on each side of the creek, but sold his rights 
for $400, after which he entered a tract in another 
part of the county that became DeKalb. Lower Smith 
Fork Valley is one of the most fertile sections in Mid- 
dle Tennessee, and the wonder is that the pioneers 
could see no farther ahead. 

Dr. R. M. Mason says Samuel Caplinger. a large 
landholder, built the mill and house which were later 
owned by Nicholas Smith and which formed the 
nucleus of Temperance Hall. The late A. P. Smith, 
son of Nicholas, has stated that the village received 
its name from the fact that the Sons of Temperance 
used to hold their meetings on the second floor of his 
father's residence. It was named then, after 1848, for 
the elder Smith in that year removed from Wilson 
County to Temperance Hall, the site being in Smith 
County. By act of February i, 1850, the line was 
changed so as to include in DeKalb County the farms 
and homes of Smith, Andrew Vantrease, John Robin- 
son, and others. By the same act John F. Goodner's 
farm, near Alexandria, was taken into DeKalb, as has 
been seen. 

The men who located at and around Temperance 
Hall in the first years of the nineteenth century were, 


History of DeKalb County 

many of them, of unusual force of character and a 
number in affluent circumstances: Samuel Caplinger, 
Alex Robinson, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Smith, 
Daniel Ford, John Mason, John Corley, James Simp 
son, Matthew Simpson, John Lamberson, George Kel- 
ley, Jack Reynolds, Peter Reynolds, the Drivers, Bates, 
Lawrences, Lancasters, Oakleys, Hayeses, Tubbs, 
Stephens, Kelleys, Fishers, Stokeses, and others. 

Owing to the distinction to which two members of 
the Stokes family reached in the State (William B. 
and Jordan), it is pertinent to record that their father. 
Sylvanus, had started from North Carolina to locate 
on his land, near the present Temperance Hall, when 
his team ran away, and he was killed. Mrs. Stokes, 
with her three children, Thomas, William B., and Jor- 
dan, and a Mr. Kelly, continued the journey, reaching 
this country in 1818. Some years later the widow 
married Mr. Kelly and settled near or in Temperance 
Hall. To them were born Harry and Rufus Kelly 
and two daughters, one becoming Mrs. Mike Lan- 
caster and the other Mrs. Thomas Lancaster. Thomas 
Stokes became a farmer. Of him a reliable citizen, 
a former neighbor, writes: "He was at one time the 
richest man in DeKalb County, having at the close of 
the war of 1861-65 about fifty negroes and large land 
interests. He was a fire-eating secessionist, as was his 
brother William at the beginning of the war, though 
the latter became a Federal. Everything Thomas 
had that was loose at both ends was taken from him 
by Federal soldiers. For intelligence and fine mother 
wit he was the superior of either Colonel Bill or Jor- 


History of DeKalb County 

clan, but his fault was a fondness for alcoholic drink. 
He gave way to this habit after the war and died 
poor and almost an imbecile. A son of Thomas was 
William G. I can just remember him. A year or 
more prior to the war he started south with a drove 
of hogs and was never heard of more. Sylvanus, 
another son, the youngest, fought through the war 
for the Confederacy and died a few years ago. He 
was one man in the county who, in a threatened diffi- 
culty, made Capt. W. L. Hathaway 'take water.' " 

Early merchants of Temperance Hall were John 
Mason, Dr. Arch Robinson, and Mr. Rodgers. The 
two first were in business about 1851-52; the last- 
named, who was there about 1855 to i860, was North- 
ern-born and returned to that section. Present busi- 
ness men : L. Driver (who also twice represented the 
county in the legislature), Williams & Terry, J. H. 
Close & Son. Turner & McBride, J. R. Kelley, and L. 

B. Midgett. The flour mill is operated by the Tem- 
perance Hall Milling Company. 

Dr. Arch Robinson, father of the late Dr. W. H. 
Robinson, of Liberty, was one of the early physicians. 
Following his death, his brother, Dr. William B. 
Robinson, located in the village. After the war Dr. 
Thomas Gold entered that field. Other physicians 
have been Drs. R. M. Mason, G. W. Martin, and S. 

C. Robinson. Dr. Samuel Walker was for some years 
practicing in that region. 

One of the earlier teachers was Mrs. Stephens. 
Others were Mr. Bush, Mr. Hatcher. A. L. Reynolds, 
A. L. Malone, E. W. Brown, J. W. Thomison (now a 


History of DeKalb County 

lawyer of Nashville), Joseph Ford, Dr. Thomas Ford, 
and Frank Foster. The present teachers are Leroy 
Smith and Miss Stella Young. Miss Lizzie Simpson 
taught in the vicinity some years following the war. 

The Southern Methodists have a good church in 
the hamlet. A Baptist church and Pisgah, the latter 
belonging to the Northern wing of the ^Methodists, 
are located a short distance out. The Disciples also 
have a congregation at this place. 

Dowelltown, on the Lebanon and Sparta Turnpike 
and two miles north of Liberty, is on land settled some 
years after 1800. Thomas Dale, of Maryland, seems 
to have bought up some of the claims of Revolutionary 
soldiers of North Carolina. At any rate, he held war- 
rants for much of the land around the village. 

Levi Gray became possessed of a tract on the south 
side of the creek, living in the house east of the cov- 
ered bridge, which was later occupied by Frank 
Dowell. It belonged to the Grays for years, and their 
family graveyard was across the turnpike west of the 
residence. The estate was inherited by Isaac Gray, 
who married a Miss Dowell. He died and left two 
children, Harriet and Melvina. 

Frank Dowell married the widow Gray, his cousin, 
and lived on the farm until the close of the War be- 
tween the States, when he removed to Arkansas. At 
one time he represented his county in the Arkansas 
Legislature. Dowelltown was named for him. 

Frank Dowell sold the Dowelltown property to Rev. 
John Hunt, a Baptist minister from East Tennessee. 
Hunt exchanged it for land belonging to Sanford 


History of DeKalb County 

Mann, who came from the North after the war and 
was the first ferrotype artist of Liberty after peace. 
Mann sold to Thomas Chapman. The present owner 
is John Robinson, a son of the pioneer, Edward Robin- 

The country adjacent to Dowelltown was settled by 
as high-class men as any mentioned in other sections 
of the county. Among them were Robin Forrester, 
William and Samson Williams, Matthew Sellars, Ben- 
jamin Avant, David Fite, Alex Robinson, George 
Barnes, Edward Robinson, the Yeargins, the Harts, 
the Fraziers, the Bankses, the Snows, the Turners, and 

The first storehouse was erected about 1869 where 
the Barger Hollow Lane intersects with the Lebanon 
and Sparta Turnpike, and probably the first merchant 
was James Ashworth. In the same building the fol- 
lowing successively had stocks of merchandise : James 
Fuson, William Wall, Bratten & Tumey, Riley Tay- 
lor, Barney Taylor & Co., Thomas Curtis, Less Fuson, 
and John F. Turner. Other early merchants were 
Charles Pullen, Thomas Bright, Pat Geraty, and 
Robert F. Jones. 

There are now six stores in the village, the present 
merchants being John F. Turner, N, R. Robinson, W. 
T. Robinson, A. R. Meares & Son, G. S. and W. T. 
Blackburn, and Less Bass. 

In 1866 Col. J. H. Blackburn began the erection of 
a flour mill, which was finished in 1872 by Lieut. Win- 
gate T. Robinson. The Big Spring northwest of town 
furnishes the power. 


History of DeKalb County 

In 1866 Allan Wright (born in Baltimore County, 
Md., in 1 831) came to DeKalb County and erected the 
first flour mill in Liberty after the War between the 
States on tlie site of that burned by Gen. John T. 
Wilder during the war. In 1868 he erected and has 
since controlled the Dowelltown Woolen Factory. 

As to physicians of the town, Dr. C. C. Robinson 
was the first to locate, remaining in the village until 
his death. Previous to this time Dr. John A. Fuson, 
of Dry Creek, did the practice. Dr. W. F. Fuson came 
next, then Dr. S. C. Robinson, a son of C. C. and now 
of Temperance Hall. Dr. C. B. White resides there 
at present. Dr. Howard Curtis, son of Rev. Mack- 
Curtis, was graduated at Chattanooga University, 
but located at Allgood and is a leading physician of 
Putnam County. Dr. W. T. Robinson, a son of B. 
W. Robinson, was graduated at Vanderbilt and is 
meeting with success at Shelbyville. 

The local dentist is Dr. J. T. Duggan. Dr. Hoyt 
Robinson, son of B. W. Robinson and graduated in 
dentistry at Vanderbilt University, located in Union 

W. B. Corley and Hon. N. R. Robinson are resident 

Edward Gothard was probably the earliest black- 
smith, then came Gothard & Self, then Self & Grand- 
staff. Isaac Burkett had a shop just north. 

One of the early teachers of the neighborhood was 
Alex Robinson, a capable man. Other teachers: R. B. 
Harris, J. B. Green, T. A. Kilman, R. A. Underwood, 
Mr. Sykes, Mr. Myatt, O. B. Close, Rev. W. P. Banks, 


History of DeKalb County 

N. R. Robinson, J. F. Caplinger, O. B. Starnes, and 
M. Malone. 

The postmasters have been WilHam Wall, Robert 
Yeargin, Alf Standford, R. F. Jones, M. A. Stark, 
Lucian Avant, B. W. Robinson, N. R. Robinson, and 
Fannie M. Robinson. 

In 1885 an elegant school building was erected and 
for some years was properly appreciated. As in most 
villages, the public's appreciation of educational ad- 
vantages is spasmodic, and in saying that there have 
been good schools here, followed by intervals of lan- 
guor, we but repeat the history of most communities. 
Old Asbury Church was frequently used for schools 
before it was burned. Preceding it was a smaller 
structure erected by the pioneers for religious and 
educational purposes. 

The village is surrounded by a fine agricultural 
region, and its population is prosperous and law-abid- 
ing. A considerable number of Federal pensioners live 
there and adjacent (though they are rapidly passing 
away), and their pensions have greatly added to the 
volume of business. 

The Big Spring northwest is a notable feature of 
the community and was such before the village came 
into existence. It is deep, cold, and about forty feet 
in diameter. Formerly it was a great fishing place — 
for "gigging" by torchlight, angling, and lassoing 
with copper wire. 

Near the Dry Creek bridge were the muster grounds, 
which in ante-bellum times provided a great gathering 
place. Near by was Gum Springs in a cavelike de- 
10 145 

History of DeKalb County 

pression at the edge of the turnpike. "The water," 
Mrs. Pet White explained once to the writer, "was al- 
most as cold as ice, dropping from the overhead rocks 
and falling into the tub made from the cut of a hollow 
tree. The young women and young men of the neigh- 
borhood congregated here on muster days and Sunday 
afternoons, so that you would be led to believe it some 
famous summer resort." 

In the center of Dowelltown and on Mrs. White's 
land is the old Gray cemetery, a popular burying place 
a half century ago. Several members of the Gray 
pioneers sleep there, among the rest, Isaac C. Gray, 
born in 1807, died 1850; Leven Gray, born in 1812; C. 
E. Gray, died in 1852, in the sixty-fifth year of his 
age. Others interred there are: Rev. James Stanford, 
Matthew Williams, William Craven (Union soldier), 
James White, Isaiah White (born in 1806), and 
Charlie Blades. Time and the weather will crumble 
or hide these simple memorials before many years, 
then the humble sleepers will be as entirely forgotten 
as if they had never lived. 

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, 
Or busy housewife ply her evening care ; 

No children rush to lisp their sire's return, 
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. 

Laurel Hill, a pleasant village in the northern part 
of the county, was for a long while better known as 
Smutville, owing to the irreverence of the wag who 
does not let home pride interfere with his attempts at 
wit. The country adjacent is hilly but fertile and 
needs only good roads to make it an ideal section. 


History of DeKalb County 

The citizens are mainly of North Carohna and Vir- 
ginia ancestry — industrious, lovers of music and the 
chase, and of strong religious and political convic- 

Among the early settlers were : Coleman Helm, Riley 
League, P. W. Presley, James Isbell, William Garner. 
Isaac Burton, Riley Coggin, Jeremiah Hale, Willis 
Coggin, Peter Exum, Elisha Conger, Hezekiah Love, 
Andrew Carr (living in 1914 at the age of ninety- 
four), John Clemens, Mat Lee, David Lee, T. J. Lee, 
Ephraim Foster, Nelson New, J. H. Kerr, Jesse Hag- 
gard (yet living, aged eighty-four), Jesse Hale, Clai- 
borne Vaughan, S. H. Smith, John McGuffey, Joseph 
Mitchell, Robert Maxwell, John Merritt, and the John- 
sons. These were of the pioneer type of Americans — 
sturdy, conscientious, and level-headed. In politics 
they were, both Democrats and Whigs, of strong con- 
victions. A majority of the old-timers were anti- 
slavery in sentiment. The village furnished several 
men to the Federal and Confederate armies, the larger 
number siding with the North. In 1914 only two vet- 
erans of the great war were surviving — J. S. MaxwelK 
Union veteran, and W. A. Moss, Confederate. Dur- 
ing the war there was no local engagement between 
the belligerents, though not infrequently detachments 
and even regiments of troops passed through the com- 
munity. It may be added that there was naturally 
considerable bitterness among neighbors of opposing 
political views, though this is now a thing of the past. 

The Laurel Hill people are either Baptists or Meth- 
odists in religious faith, and both sects have comforta- 


History of DeKalb County 

ble churches. In 1876 and 1880 the old log structures 
were displaced by modern frame buildings creditable 
to any rural locality. Among the early ministers were 
Thomas Dodson, Alex Byers, David Lee, M. P. 
Gentry, D. P. Searcy, and Milton Pressley. Later 
ministers have been : J. M. Carter, Francis Deal, J. M. 
McNeil, J. B. Kitchens, Van N. Smith, and J. H. 
Keathly. Near Laurel Hill is Wolf Creek Baptist 

Among the old field teachers of the neighborhood 
were William Whitefield, S. H. Smith, Walker Brown, 
William Garner, William Isbell, and Jesse McDowell. 
These men were of rugged individualities. We are 
told that in the old days here the pupils sat in the 
schoolroom with hats on, studied aloud, and sang 
geography. They were followed by Napoleon Smith, 
J. E. Conger, Van N. Smith, and Misses Sallie and 
Emma McDonald. There are two schoolhouses on 
Wolf Creek and one north at the river, and school is 
still kept at these places. 

The physicians have been : William Farmer, Gideon 
Smith, W. E. Sypert. W, E. Sypert, Jr., J. C. Fisher, 
and T. J. Smith. 

Early business men : J. H. Kerr, Nelson New, S. 
H. Smith, and Joseph Mitchell. Later: T. J. Fisher. 
J. T. Exum, Smith Bros., D. G. Eaton, Bose Tyree. 
and J. E. Conger. Present: Noah Duke, Z. O. Med- 
ley, Allie Pressley, and Henry Sadler. Millers : K. D. 
Exum, Pinkney Coggin, J. S. Maxwell, and L. S. 
Exum. Blacksmiths: Coleman Helm, W. G. Stephens. 
John Alcorn, Pleas Randolph, and John New. 


History of DeKalb County 

About 1906 the post office was abolished and rural 
route service established. Former postmasters were: 
J. H. Kerr, S. H. Smith, W. E. Bartlett, Van N. Smith, 
T. J. Fisher, and Henry Sadler. 

In every community there has been some citizen 
whose bizarre qualities have attracted to himself un- 
usual and pleasing attention above his local contem- 
poraries. That of Laurel Hill is no exception to the 
rule. To illustrate, "Uncle Pink" Coggin, miller, will 
long be recalled with pleasure and amusement, and 
many anecdotes are told at his expense. Had Rev. 
Milton Pressley, another old-timer, been properly edu- 
cated, it is probable that he would have been a leading 
minister of his day. "Chill penury" often indeed re- 
presses a noble rage. To this inland preacher one 
who knew him pays this tribute: "He could not read, 
but knew the Bible almost by heart. He also knew 
a few of the early day hymns. I have heard preach- 
ers of every type, but no scholar or theologian have I 
heard who had the power Uncle Milt wielded over an 
audience. He once preached before Methodist bishops 
and startled his cultivated audience with his untutored 
power. Sacred be his dust!" 

There are a number of burgs throughout the county 
which sprang up after post offices were secured, but 
the rural route service has left them without official 
names. Perhaps the largest was Forks-of-the-Pike. 
The adjacent territory is very fertile, and the farmers 
are progressive. Among the older farmers were James 
Roy, John, Moses, and Henry Fite, Thomas West, 


History of DeKalb County 

Eli Vick, Thomas Fite, Thomas and John Groom, and 
the Truits and Hayses. They were succeeded by Sam- 
son Sellars, Mrs. Ford, Grant Roy, F. H. Hayes, Tom 
Ford, John Bell Hays, William Hays, Robert Vannata, 
Sam Vannata, Henry Givan, P. T. Bragg, W. D. 
Evans, Sam Flippin, Jake Young, Joseph Clarke, and 
others. William Fite erected a storehouse just after 
the war, merchandising for several years. He was 
succeeded by Jacob Young, and Young by P. T. Bragg 
in 1880. The last merchant and postmaster was R. B. 
Vannata. Postmasters have been : P, T. Bragg, 
James J. Evans, and R. B. Vannata. 

Four Corners, the village schoolhouse, has had many 
competent tutors, among them the following: Rev. 
and Mrs. P. A. Pearson, John W. Overall, Mr. Pendle- 
ton, the Preston brothers, Mr. Hood, E. W. Brown, 
Mr. Jones, Robert Hayes, Mr. Whitlock, Wheeler & 
Holmes, Matt Bratten, Lee West, Mr. Ford, Thomas 
Bryant, Prudie Sellars, Miss MuUins, Willie Bell, and 
Maggie Robinson. The Misses Bell were teachers in 

Keltonsburg, a few miles from Smithville, was 
named for James Kelton, who built the mill there. 
This mill, it may be stated here, was transferred to 
Paris & Boles in later years, who sold it to Mr. Thomp- 
son. It is at present possessed by Mr. Mullikins. The 
village has two stores and a blacksmith shop, and the 
Methodists and Disciples have congregations there. 
The first store was under the control of B. M, Magness 
for many years. Keltonsburg is surrounded by a 
worthy class of citizens. 




In the Early Wars. 

The county was not in existence as such until about 
ten years prior to the war with Mexico, but many of 
those who made up its settlers had seen service in the 
Revolution and in the War of 1812. A large section, 
including Alexandria and Liberty, was in Smith 
County until 1835, when they were taken into the new 
county of Cannon. In 1837 the two first-named towns 
were included in the new county of DeKalb, Some 
years later the Temperance Hall section and John F. 
Goodner's land, near Alexandria, were taken from 
Smith and added to it. 

The pioneer cemeteries and family graveyards — 
the latter are found on nearly all the large farms — 
have been long neglected. Such graves as had markers 
have in many cases crumbled or had the inscriptions 
effaced by the elements. No doubt a number of the 
followers of General Washington sleep in graves that 
were never marked. But from the wreckage of time 
the following names of Revolutionary veterans have 
been preserved : Adam Dale, builder of the earliest mill 
in the county (about 1800), but buried in Maury 
County; Thomas Dale, who owned several 640-acre 
tracts around Liberty (he having purchased the claims 
of old soldiers), buried south of that village, on the 
Thomas Givan farm ; Philip Palmer, buried near Alex- 
andria ; John Fisher, buried in the eastern portion of 
the county. Also the names of the following who were 


History of DeKalb County 

living and drawing pensions in 1840: Rev. John Fite, 
aged eighty-one, residing then with his son, Henry; 
Leonard Fite, aged eighty-one (father of the late 
Thomas D. Fite and grandfather of Len F. Davis, of 
Nashville) ; Col. James Saunders, aged seventy-one, 
living with Joseph Saunders; Elijah Duncan, aged 
ninety ; Joseph Rankhorn, aged eighty-one ; John 
Puckett, aged seventy-six; John Bevert, aged eighty- 
six; and Elijah Hooten, aged ninety-three. The last- 
named, says John K. Bain, an old-timer, who was 
register of the county before the great war, lived to 
be one hundred and eleven years of age, and at one 
hundred and eight rode horseback to the Bain home, 
south of Smithville. James H. Burton writes: "Jo^" 
Smithson, who lived on Short Mountain, either in 
UeKalb or near the line, was a Revolutionary soldier. 
He was buried with the honors of war." 

As Col. James Tubb made up a company for the 
War of 18 12, no doubt a majority of his men were 
from this county, but it has been impossible to secure 
the roster. These, however, are recalled : Benjamin 
Garrison, of Alexandria ; Mose Spencer, of Liberty ; 
Benjamin Prichard, father of the late Brown Prichard, 
near Liberty; Jacob Hearn, George Thomason, Lewis 
Washburn, and Silas Cooper, the last four going 
from Alexandria. Jacob Hearn became a loved and 
successful Methodist itinerant, known in old age as 
"Uncle Jakey." James H. Burton writes that Joshua 
Bratten, Reuben Evans, and Archie Mclntire, of 
Liberty, were veterans of the War of 181 2, and that 
Mclntire was possibly in the Black Hawk War. Were 


History of DeKalb County 

they members of Tubb's company? It is suggested 
that Benjamin Hale, the writer's paternal grandfather, 
was under Tubb, but that must be an error ; for he is 
found to have been at the battle on Villere's planta- 
tion, near New Orleans, December 23, 1814, probably 
a member of Col. John Coffee's riflemen. A youth 
when he joined a company of Maryland revolutionists, 
Adam Dale made up a company in Smith (DeKalb) 
County and fought under Jackson in the War of 1812. 
(See the sketch of Liberty, Chapter III., as to his 

Colonel Tubb, grandfather of the popular Alexan- 
dria merchant, Livingston Tubb, was one of the best- 
known men of his county. Born March 18, 1788, he 
lived on Smith's Fork Creek, east of Alexandria and 
north of Liberty, and died July 18, 1867. He was 
possessed of hundreds of acres of fine land ; and as 
he would not separate the families of his slaves, when 
emancipated they numbered nearly one hundred. He 
figured prominently in the musters which furnished so 
much interest to our grandfathers. From records in 
the State archives the following facts are gleaned : As 
captain of the Second Regiment of Militia his com- 
mission bears date of June 3, 181 1, signed at Knox- 
ville by Gov. Willie Blount, R. Houston, Secretary 
of State; as first major of the Forty-First Regiment 
it was signed at Nashville December 13, 181 5, by Gov. 
Joseph McMinn, William Alexander, Secretary of 
State ; and as colonel of the last-named regiment it 
is dated at Nashville February 10, 1829, bearing the 


History of DeKalb County 

signature of Gov. Sam Houston, Daniel Graham, Sec- 
retary of State. 

He was captain in the Second Tennessee Regiment 
from September 20, 1814, to April 10, 1815, and was 
at Pensacola or Mobile when the battle of New Or- 
leans was fought. On account of inadequate trans- 
portation facilities he had to pay his own expenses for 
baggage and transportation. Shortly after his return 
he filed a claim against the government (July 14, 
1816). It was made out before W. Tannehill, J. P., 
being for four hundred pounds of baggage from Fay- 
etteville, Tenn., where the volunteers rendezvoused, to 
Fort Montgomery, thence to Pensacola and back to 
Fort Montgomery, thence to Fayetteville from Mo- 
bile — six hundred and thirteen miles at eight cent 
per mile. 

Colonel Tubb and his company, like other Tennes- 
seeans, probably took up their march toward Mobile 
and Pensacola in response to the call of the Secretar)^ 
of War in July, 1814, for 2,500 Tennessee militia, 
fixing September 15 for their assembling. 

Was there another company from the county? Sev- 
eral militia officers were commissioned from 1812 to 
1815. It is tradition that Col. Abraham Overall or- 
ganized a company for the war. It is seen from rec- 
ords in the archivist's office that on May 19, 1814, 
he was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Forty- 
First Militia. His grandson, Hon. T. W. Wood, of 
Bellbuckle, writes: "As to the War of 1812-15, I 
have often heard my mother speak, when I was a 
small boy, of our grandfather's being engaged under 


History of DeKalb County 

Jackson in several battles, and particularly that of 
Horseshoe Bend, where he had a horse shot under 
him. He was major or acting lieutenant colonel. I 
remember now only the name of one man in the com- 
pany, young Cook." H. L. Overall, a grandson, says : 
"I think grandfather was under Jackson, for I have 
heard my father, Horace A. Overall, speak of the in- 
timate friendship existing between him and Old 
Hickory." Since the fact is almost wholly forgotten 
(except by their descendants) that Tubb and Dale had 
companies in the second war with Great Britain, it is 
possible that Colonel Overall was a veteran, and, think- 
ing thus, it is believed that this relative to his ancestry 
would interest the public. In his great volume sketch- 
ing the pioneers of the Shenandoah Valley, Va., Cart- 
mell says the Overalls are in direct descent from 
Bishop Overall, of England, who was the author of 
the Convocation Book mentioned in Macaulay's "His- 
tory of England." He adds : 'The first settlement made 
[in America] by this family was in Stafford County, 
Va., about 1700. One member of this branch came 
to the Shenandoah Valley as soon as it was open for 
settlement. This was John Overall, who married Maria 
Christina Froman [granddaughter of a German who 
owned 100,000 acres in the valley], settled on South 
River, and reared seven children — viz., John, William, 
Nathaniel, Mary, Nancy, Robert, and Christina. John 
married Elizabeth Waters in 1773. She was the 
mother of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham, 
the oldest son, married Hannah Leath in Virginia and 
then moved to Tennessee in 1805. . . . Jacob, 


History of DeKalb County 

third son of John, married Nancy Lawrence and 
moved to Tennessee in 1805." Abraham located in 
what became DeKalb County and died in 1844. His 
wife died in 1837. Jacob settled in Smith County, but 
his grandsons, James H., J. W., and D. D. Overall, 
became citizens of DeKalb County. 

DeKalb was represented in the Black Hawk and 
Seminole Wars. Levi Foutch, of the Alexandria 
neighborhood, was a soldier in the former, while 
Paschal M. Brien was sergeant in William B. Camp- 
bell's cavalry company in the campaign against the 
Seminoles. A few names of the troops are copied 
from Sergeant Brien's mess and guard book, still in 
existence. From the mess list of July 11, 1836: John 
Leach, G. W. Gray, W. G. Tucker, William Allison, 
Levi Pendleton, Hugh Reed, J. G. Shy, J. J. Reason- 
over, Peter Webster, John Coe, S. A. Farmer, Joseph 
Allison, James G. Ford, William G. Ford, Charles 
Wade, John Warren, James Owens, H. G. Owens, 
Francis Pugh, William Taylor, H. J. Cochran, William 
Baker, James Barrett, Alfred Womack, William 
Penile, William Wilson, Richard and James Booze, 
David Phillips, George Carmax, James Spradley, 
Isaac Snow, Hardy Calhoun, Richard Jones, Rufus 
Haynes, H. G. Maney, S. C. Beasley, Thomas Dale, 
T. G. Harrel, J. J. Coleman, and J. G. Debrunt. From 
the guard list, beginning July 11 and ending July 19: 
J. H. Alexander, G. G. Gray, Cyrus Hazard, Seaborn 
Harts, W. B. Taylor, Nathaniel Parrot, Sterling 
Ward, Jonah Hallum, E. W. Davis, William Hallum, 
Daniel Coggin, William McClanahan, William Fores- 





History of DeKalb County 

ter, William Baker, H. B. Haney, John McFarland, 
John B. Claiborne, David Phillips, William Dougherty, 
Thomas Brooks, Elijah Hollis, Robert Hayne, Samuel 
Allison, Peter Webster, H. Heflin, J. G. Davenport, 
H, J. Warren, James Davis, James Cheek, P. Snow, 
William Lancaster, William Wilson, and Hugh Reed. 

A number of these men were from the territory that 
became DeKalb. Daniel Coggin was the county's first 
register and first representative in the General As- 
cembly. Captain Campbell then lived in Smith 
County, removing to Lebanon later. 

The first war to occur after the county came into 
existence was that with Mexico. Two companies 
were raised in DeKalb County. But few are surviving 
in 1914 — Isaac Cooper, Alexandria; William (Cal.) 
Smithson, Gassaway ; J. T. Finley, Celina, Tex. ; House 
Akin, Missouri ; and Wilson Bennett, Kentucky. 

Capt. John F. Goodner's company, I, was made up 
at Alexandria. Thomas J. Finley, aged ninety-one, of 
Celina, Tex., has kindly sent the muster roll of these 
volunteers : 

Officers : John F. Goodner, captain ; John S. Reece, 
first lieutenant; W. J. Johnson, second lieutenant; W. 
J. Wright, third lieutenant; Thomas B. Askew, first 
sergeant; Isaac Belcher, second sergeant; A. N. Davis, 
third sergeant; William McClellan, fourth sergeant; 
J. W. Johnson, first corporal ; Wilson Jackson, second 
corporal ; Harrison Bennett, third corporal ; John S. 
Gill, fourth corporal ; William D. Parkerson, first 
bugler; William Riddle, second bugler; A. T. Jackson, 

History of DeKalb County 

Privates: J. T. Allison, W. C. Bennett, Frank Bal- 
lenger, A. J. Baker, Addison Batts, H. L. Bradley, F. 
L. Boyd, John Bostic, W. H. Cheek, W. R. Caskey, J. 
R. Cheek, Calvin Clark, J. S. Davis, J. W. Dougherty, 
J. H. Davis, G. W. Eastes, Amos Foutch, T. J. Fin- 
ley, W. E. Foutch, Thomas Gwaltney, William Gates, 
Franklin Sky, R B. Kyle, T. O. Kinney, J. L. Mc- 
Gann, W. C. Malone, J. C. Neely, James Oakley, L. 
O. Patey, Moses Preston, John Patton, James W. 
Parker, Calvin W. Hill, B. H. Akin, Isaac Cooper. 

In an interview Isaac Cooper, who is one of the sur- 
vivors of Captain Goodner's company, said: "I joined 
Company I, First Tennessee Regiment of Mounted 
Infantry, for service in the Mexican War about the 
time I reached my majority. Our colonel was Jonas 
E. Thomas, while our company was organized at 
Alexandria and sworn in at Nashville. Our uniform 
was gray and was made at home. We went to Tampico 
and crossed the Gulf to Vera Cruz. A fourteen days' 
storm overtook us, and we had to throw overboard the 
horses of Colonel Thomas and Major Waterhouse. 
The other horses followed on transports. After the 
battle of Vera Cruz we fought at Cerro Gordo, then 
marched to Jalapa across the mountains, I being one 
of the guards of four wagonloads of gold and silver 
from Vera Cruz to Jalapa. On our return home we 
took ship at Vera Cruz for New Orleans, thence by 
boat to Nashville. The government bought our horses 
at Vera Cruz, and I received about $700 for my ab- 
sence of twelve months and eight days from home." 

Abram M. Savage made up Companv F, Third 


History of DeKalb County 

Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Col. B. F. 

Officers: A. M. Savage, captain; Reuben Simpson, 
first lieutenant; W. M. Bailey, second lieutenant; John 
W. Kennedy, third lieutenant; John England, first 
sergeant (appointed February 4, 1848) ; Benjamin 
Adcock, second sergeant (in hospital at Jalapa April 
13, 1848); Elijah B. Hudson, third sergeant; James 
H. Wood, fourth sergeant; Chester F. Bethel, first 
corporal ; Joseph Coger, second corporal ; Anthony 
P. Adcock, third corporal; Thomas F. Kennedy, 
fourth corporal ; Tillman Cantrell, musician ; Alex 
Ferguson, musician. 

Privates : W. D. Allen, J. W. Allen, David Adcock, 
William Adcock, McDonald Adcock, Perry Adcock, 
James Adcock, Henry Adkins, Martin Brown, James 
L. Blunt (died at Molino del Rey March 8, 1848), 
David Barrett, Eli Barrett, J. W. Barrett, Anderson 
Burnet (died at Rio T— June 4, 1848), Martin S. 
Bonham, William Ballard, Congelius Burrip, Hiram 
Bethel, Jim Cantrell, Ben Cantrell, Elisha and Elijah 
Chambers (twins), B. F. Cummings, Moses H. Cum- 
mings, Moses C Cummings (died in Mexico City 
June 30, 1848), Carrol Caskey, John H. Dosier, John 
Atnip, Edmundson Elkins (died at Molino del Rey 
April 18, 1848), John A. Edwards, J. E. Edwards, 
Henry Edwards (died at Molino del Rey March 5, 
1848), J. S. Ellige, Thomas Fisher, Thomas Fowler. 
Thomas Giles, James Gibson, Dillard Gannon, James 
R. Gapway, Moses Hutchins, William Hendrixon, 
William W. Harris, Hardy Johnson, Robert Jones, 


History of DeKalb County 

Ed Jones, William Koger (died at Molino del Rey 
April 15, 1848), J. W. Lance, J. R. Looney (died at 
Molino del Rey July 12, 1848), James Mannon (died 
at Molino del Rey February 24, 1848), J. B. MuUins 
(died at Molino del Rey May 11, 1848), Green Mel- 
ton, John Melton, Peter Maxey, Iradel March, Wil- 
liam Markham, Ebenezer Moss, Alex Neal, W. H. 
Neeley, Joshua R. Neely (died at Molino del Rey 
April 28, 1848), Joseph Pack, Thomas Pack, James 
Pitman, John Barton, Abe Parton, James Pistole, W. 
M. Pettit (died at St. Augustine May 19, 1848), Wil- 
liam C. Smithson, David Smithson, J. H. Sullins (died 
in Mexico City March 7, 1848), Joshua Simpson, 
Jacob Taylor, W. H. Tate (died at Molino del Rey 
May 5, 1848), J. A. Tate, J. B. Tate, T. G. Vance, S. 
Brown Whaley, William Wommack, John K. Bain 
(discharged at Molino del Rey February 2, 1848), 
E. E. Phillips and William Richard (discharged there 
February 2, 1848), William G. Givan (died in Mexico 
City February 15, 1848), John T. Hudson (died in 
the same city January 16, 1848), Richard Taylor 
(died there also January 14, 1848), Jesse W. Taylor 
(died there January 24, 1848), John C. Sullins (died 
at Molino del Rey February 7, 1848), James Young 
(died in Mexico City January 20, 1848.) 

This company was mustered into service October 
8, 1847, rendezvousing on the Nolensville Pike two 
and a half miles from Nashville. Taken to New Or- 
leans by boat, it proceeded to Vera Cruz. Here a bri- 
gade was formed, but it did not reach the City of 
Mexico until that place was captured. 


History of DeKalb County 

A barbecue was given the Mexican volunteers at 
Liberty in 1847, ^ heavy downpour spoiling the occa- 
sion, and a number of town cows were foundered on 
the damaged food. Dr. Foster writes that on this oc- 
casion "Henry Bratten, son of Isaac Bratten, was the 
color bearer and rode a small, prancing claybank. The 
cavalry presented an imposing appearance — before the 

Seven Adcocks from about Smithville are listed, it 
will be noticed. Perry Adcock, father of Hon. B. G. 
Adcock, a prominent lawyer of Cookeville, later raised 
a company of Confederates at Smithville, becoming 

It has been asserted that in the war with Mexico 
nine Americans died where one was killed. The above 
record is indicative. In memory of William G. Givan, 
who died in the City of Mexico, as seen, an empty 
coffin was buried in Salem Cemetery, at Liberty. 
II 161 

Secession — DeKalb Confederates. 

Undoubtedly the stormiest period of DeKalb 
County's existence was the first part of the year 1861, 
the question before the people being separation from 
the Union or remaining in it. When the question was 
first agitated, a majority of Tennesseeans were opposed 
to secession. The legislature ordered an election at 
which the people should vote at the same time upon the 
subject of holding a convention and electing delegates 
to serve in case a convention should be held. The 
election came ofT February 9, 1861, and resulted in 
a vote of 57,798 for the convention and 69,675 against 
it; for delegates who favored secession, 24,749, and 
88,803 against it. This was throughout the State. In 
the election DeKalb County's vote was 833 for seces- 
sion and 642 against it. Thus we see the voters of 
the county were by a small majority (191) for with- 
drawing from the Union. At that time the population 
of the county was only 10,573. 

Meantime some of the Southern States had with- 
drawn from the Union. On April 12, 1861, the Con- 
federates at Charleston, S. C, fired on Fort Sumter, 
where a United States garrison remained, although 
South Carolina had voted to secede. When the news 
of the bombardment reached Washington, President 
Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to put down the "re- 
bellion." He also declared the ports of the secedeil 
States (South Carolina. Georgia. Alabama, Florifla. 


History of DeKalb County 

Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) in a state of block 
ade and held that all vessels acting under their au- 
thority would be guilty of piracy. 

Again Tennessee became intensely excited. It was 
evident that the President was going to trj' to force the 
seceding States back into the Union. The orators be- 
gan to harangue the people, and many of the latter, not 
indorsing his intention to make war on the South, 
changed their sentiments and clamored to withdraw 
from the sisterhood of States. A second election was 
held June 8 to get the sentiment of all Tennesseeans. 
The vote stood 104,913 for secession and only 47,238 
against it. Isham G. Harris was at that time Governor 
of the State. 

So Tennessee joined the Southern Confederacy. 
The first call was for 55,000 men ; but before the close 
of the war the State furnished more than 115,000 Con- 
federates. On the Union side more than 31,000 Fed- 
erals were raised in the State, while Tennessee Fed- 
erals who joined Kentucky organizations numbered 
more than 7,000. The total Tennesseeans in the two 
armies thus totaled 153,000. 

Though about four years of age at that time, the 
writer recalls something of the excitement which pre- 
vailed at Liberty, and presumably the whole county 
was so affected. Orators for and against secession 
spoke at different places and made their arguments 
before the crowds. Former Gov. William B. Camp- 
bell, of Lebanon, was one of the speakers going over 
the State pleading for the Union. The cry of the 
Unionists was, "Hurrah for Campbell and the Union !" 


History of DeKalb County 

and that of the secessionists, "Hurrah for Jefferson 
Davis and the Southern Confederacy !" What took 
place in Liberty, as stated before, was characteristic of 
other portions of the county. The Southern sympa- 
thizers beHeved they would triumph in a few weeks, 
just as the North thought the war would not last long. 
To illustrate, Frank Foster, an aged saddler of Liberty 
and an extremely small man, would when in his cups 
ride his big horse up and down Liberty's one street 
and cry, "As for Yankees, I can whip half a dozen 
and outrun a thousand"; while White Turney, then 
reading law at Smithville, declared that within six 
weeks he would be eating Abe Lincoln's ears with a 
piece of hard-tack. 

At first blush it appeared that all DeKalb County 
was for the South. Nevertheless, there was a strong 
undercurrent opposed to disunion, and this manifested 
itself after a while. Thus William B. Stokes, who had 
been a popular politician, at first sided with the South, 
going so far as to urge the enlistment of Confederate 
troops ; and when he changed his mind he found hun- 
dreds of men ready to follow him on the other side. 
Under the excitement prevailing it is not a matter for 
wonder that many men found it hard to come to a de- 

Some of the earliest enlistments of DeKalb County 
Confederates were made in a company raised at Au- 
burn, in Cannon County; T. M. .A.llison, captain. This 
company was mustered into service at Nashville June 
28, 1861. There comes back now the recollection of 
its advent into Liberty — musicians playing "Drive That 


History of DeKalb County 

Black Dog Out o' the Wilderness," the lazy forenoon 
when, among the yard's old-fashioned roses, the bees 
droned slumberously, and the neighbor boys watching 
the troops pass in their red hunting shirts, keeping step 
to fife and drum. Classic music may suit the cultured, 
but you hear that old tune, sweet and plaintive, yet 
somehow moving and thrilling one impetuously ; hear 
it under such circumstances, and it will never be for- 

This company consisted of eighty-two men, fully 
half under twenty-one years of age. Names are called 
that were familiar in the Liberty community: Dr. J. 
S. Harrison, H. L. W. (White) Turney, Bob Smith, 
Arch Marcum, W. A. and Pressly Adamson, Josh 
Jetton, and others. The company became a part of the 
Second Tennessee Cavalry. Bob Smith, attacked with 
measles at Jacksboro, East Tennessee, was discharged 
and later joined the Federals. White Turney became 
a lieutenant, was wounded twice, married in West Ten- 
nessee, practiced law in Dyersburg, and died in 1880. 
Dr. Harrison went through the war, removed from 
Liberty to Smithville, then became a citizen of Mc- 
Minnville, a splendid type of the old-time Southern 
gentleman. He died in October, 1914. Captain Alli- 
son resigned and returned to his home, near Auburn, 
and was killed by Federals in his back yard August 2, 

Eight Confederate companies were made up in De- 
Kalb County, while about half of Capt. P. C. Shields's 
company (G) of Col. John H. Savage's regiment were 
from the county. The muster rolls of Confederate sol- 


History of DeKalb County 

diers are in the archives at Washington. They are 
old, mutilated, and not easily handled. An effort was 
made to get the names of first enlistments, but this 
was hardly possible in any case. Where names were 
secured (photographed) they are often misspelled, as 
Louis for Lewis, while one name may appear in one 
place as "William" and in another "W. J." This has 
added to the problem of getting them correct. Rut, in 
spite of all, hundreds are correctly presented herein. 

Capt. John F. Goodner's company was raised at 
Alexandria in April, 1861, and became Company A, 
Seventh Tennessee Infantry. When Col. Robert Hat- 
ton became brigadier general, Goodner was elected 
lieutenant colonel and commanded the regiment much 
of the time during the remainder of the war. Colonel 
Goodner, as shown elsewhere, commanded a company 
in the Mexican War. The Seventh saw much service — 
was in the Yorktown campaign, at Seven Pines, in the 
Seven Days' Battles, at Culpeper Courthouse, Bull Run, 
Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettys- 
burg, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, and Fort Archer, and 
surrendered at Appomattox. Colonel Goodner died 
at Alexandria some years after the war. The muster 
roll shows the following names in his company : 

Officers : Captain, John F. Goodner ; lieutenant, R. 
V. Wright. After Goodner became lieutenant colonel. 
R. V. Wright was elected captain, serving until Alli- 
son's squadron of cavalry was organized, when he 
was elected captain of Company C of that battalion. 
J. S. Dowell became captain of Company A, serving 
until the close of the war. First lieutenant, J. S. 


History of DeKalb County 

Dowell ; second, F. W. Hobson ; third, Robert C. 
Bone ; sergeants, Wilmoth Burges, James Vannata, R. 
D. Floyd, J. A. Donnell, J. T. Barbee ; corporals, Dixon 
A. Foutch, James R. Newsom, A. M. C. Robinson, 
Bartlett War ford. 

Privates: W. H. Atwell, John H. Allison, Robert 
Allison, William Bailiff, Joab Bailiff, William Bartlett, 
John Caskey, John Cheek, A. J. Cheek, V. B. Coe, J. 
N. Compton, G. W. Cowen, John L. Close, Hi Curtis, 
Chesley Chapman, G. W. Driver, Thomas Davis, Al- 
fonse Emerique, William T. Floyd, W. J. Foster, 
Elijah A. Foutch, F. L. Foutch, R. D. Floyd, Levi 
Foutch, J. B, Garrison, G. W. Gregson, William Grif- 
fin, T. W. Goodner, Abe Hendrixon, William Hinesley, 
W. H. Hullet, J. R. Harris, John Johnson, L. C. Lin- 
coln, John L. Luck, G. W. Lamberson, W. R. Lamber- 
son, J. J. Martin, P. J. Mason, J. D. Martin, G. W. 
Murry, Irvin D. Murphey, L. D. McGuffey, R. Ma- 
lone, Theo. Moores, J. D. Nix, T. A. Newley, R. H. 
Newsom, Burr F. Paty, J. W. Pendleton, Lit R. Park- 
inson, John Read, G. W, Reasonover, Thomas J. 
Sneed, C. P. Shaver, Walter Sullins, W. R. Sims, D. 
W. Sewell, Isaac Sanlin, Dan Snider, William Sewell, 
J. W. Shanks, William Terry, A. P. Tracy, W. W. 
Trousdale, T. D. Webb, John Williams, William Wil- 
loughby, W. C. Yeargin, O. J. Williams, T. W. Year- 
gin, James Winfrey, William Bartley, H. M. Wilson, 
Ben Hood, H. H. Hood, S. Ashby, Elijah Jones, James 
Risdon, Andrew Robinson, Thomas Light, Andrew 
Pratt, A. L. Davis, Horace Newsom, O. J. Williams. 

Killed : G. W. Driver, J. B. Garrison, P. J. Mason, 


History of DeKalb County 

James Vannata, T. W. Sewell, all at Seven Pines, May 
31, 1862; G. W. Cowan, James Winfrey, J. Williams, 
Job Bailiff, L. R. Parkinson, Chancellorsville ; Chap- 
man Chesley, Mechanicsville. Died: J. Cheek, No- 
vember 6, 1862; V. B. Coe, September 25, 1861 ; J. 
Compton, September 15, 1861 ; L. D. McGuffey, No- 
vember 13, 1862; J. Pendleton, December 15, 1861 ; 
W. R. Sims, January 5, 1863; William Willoughby, 
December 5, 1863. 

Capt. R. D. Allison's company (F), Twenty-Fourth 
Tennessee Infantry, was raised at Alexandria in i86t 
and was organized with the regiment mentioned. He 
was elected colonel and H. P. Dowell captain. Alli- 
son resigned in 1862 and organized a cavalry bat- 
talion at Alexandria, with J. S. Reece, who had been 
discharged from the Twenty-Fourth because of his 
age. This battalion will receive further notice later on. 

The Twenty-Fourth took part in the battles of Shi- 
loh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Mission- 
ary Ridge, Franklin, and Nashville, surrendering at 
Greensboro, N. C. 

Officers: Colonel, R. D. Allison; captain, H, P. 
Dowell; first lieutenant, J. F. Luckey ; second, W. S. 
Patey; third, W. D. Fielding; sergeants, James A. 
Barnett, M. D. Braswell, Lewis E. Simpson, J. W. 
Jaques ; corporals, C. Scott, G. W. Gordon, J. A. Clark, 
A. Rollands. 

Privates: James Allison, Robert Allison, D. L. Allen, 
J. L. Askew, T. B. Brown, E. A. Barbee, S. Briggs, A. 
J. Bradford, Robert Barbee, W. P. Bennett, James 


History of DeKalb County 

Barr, Tobe Briggs, J. R. Betty, T. F. Bradley, Giles 
Bowers, Sampson Braswell, T. Brown, L. B. Baker, G. 
W. Bowers, Abe Britton, Isaac Cooper, W. B. Carter, 
J. J. Cutter, R. D. Coffee, H. M. Coffee, Nathan Cor- 
ley, W. C. Curtis, A. P. Crowder, Thomas Chandler, 
B. F. Cochran, M. J. Covington, W. D. G. Carnes, A. 
L. Cranler, Josiah Conger, N. L. Craddock, J. C Crad- 
dock, Miles Covington, R. J. Davis, W. C. Davis, R. 
G. Davis, W. P. Dennie, M. F. Doss, J. D. Estes, L. 
H. Fite, J. C. Foutch, W. C Fielding, C Ferrel, J. E. 
Gold, J. P. Gold, J. F. Gaultney, James S. Glenn, John 
A. Gregory, G. W. Gordon, D. D. Hudson, Horace 
Hays, J. P. Hale, John R. Hale, G. W. Hale, W. H. 
Hays, J. W. Hubbard, A. D. Helmantaller, J. Heflin, 
W. T. Jones, T. L. Johnson, J. M. King, S. J. King, 
Robert King, John Luckey, W. H. Luckey, John Lau- 
rence, W. H. Lincoln, Sam Luckey, W. S. Lynch, 
Bailey Marks, J. Mooneyham, William H. Mott, J. A. 
Mooneyham, C. C. Martin, James Nolan, Jasper 
Owens, W. W. Patterson, Lewis Barrett, W. C Pres- 
ton, W. D. Prentiss, J. H. Powell, Amos Retries, J. C. 
Prichard, S. A. Powell, L. A. RoUands, J. S. Reece, 
Ed Reece, James Raney, A. J. Stephens, John Smith, 
J. W. Stewart, Andrew Stuart, W. H. Thomas, John 
Thomas, W. M. Timberlake, J. M. Shavers, N, Van- 
trease, J. T. Winfrey, J. W. Whitley, J. A. Winfrey, 
Lewis Washburn, W. E. Williams, W. H. Whittington. 
F. P. Lyon, J. D. Estes. 

Killed: W. C Curtis, J. F. Gaultney, F. P. Lyon, 
Joseph Woolen, Shiloh ; J. C. Craddock, A. P. Crouch, 
Bailey Marks, J. A. Mooneyham, Joel Mooneyham, 


History of DeKalb County 

Amos Petry, G. W. Hall, Perryville ; J. A. King, W. J. 
Knight, C. Fumel, Murfreesboro ; J, W. Stewart, 
Chickamauga. Died: James Allison, December 24, 
1861 ; Sampson Braswell, January 4, 1862; W. B. Car- 
ter, January 10, 1862 ; W. H. Mott, Alexandria, after 
having been wounded at Murfreesboro. 

Company A^ Capt. L. N. Savage, was raised around 
Smithville in May, 1861, and mustered into the Six- 
teenth Tennessee Regiment June 9. Captain Savage 
was born in Warren County April 25, 1837, removed 
to Smithville in 1859, and was mortally wounded at 
Murfreesboro, dying March 15, 1863. The company 
was in the Cheat Mountain and Little Sewell Moun- 
tain campaigns and at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chick- 
amauga, Missionary Ridge, Kennesaw, Jonesboro, 
Franklin, and Nashville. It surrendered in North 

Officers : L. N. Savage, captain ; I. C. Stone, first 
lieutenant ; John K. Bain, second lieutenant ; R. B. An- 
derson, third lieutenant; G. W. Witt, first sergeant; 
G. L. Talley, second sergeant; R. M. Magness, third 
sergeant ; T. B. Potter, fourth sergeant ; J. W. Harris, 
first corporal ; L. G. Bing, second corporal ; M. L. Can- 
trell, third corporal ; S. M. Philips, fourth corporal. 

Promotions: T. B. Potter, sergeant major, 1861 ; 
R. B. Anderson, first lieutenant, 1862; G. W. Witt, 
second lieutenant, 1862; G. L. Talley, third lieutenant, 
1863; W. C. Potter, first lieutenant, 1863; J. C. Webb, 
second lieutenant, 1863; L. R. Witt, third lieutenant, 


History of DeKalb County 

Privates : William Adcock, E. K. Adcock, Isaac Ad- 
cock, Benjamin Atnip, E. L. Atnip, John Atnip, Lar- 
kin Bayne, R. W. Banks, T. M. Hooper, T. A. Hooper, 
Dick Hooper, James Hooper, Rich Jones, J. W. John- 
son, E. S. James, John James, W. L. Judkins, F. E. P. 
Kennedy, James Koger, Pomp Kersey, A. J. Kersey, 
Felix Kersey, Calvin Kersey, E. League, E. Lockhart, 
John Lefever, John Mason, Bud Miller, L. D. Moore, 
John Moore, W. C. Moore, J. A. Moore, John Martin, 
W. P. Martin, Thomas Martin, W. B. Martin, R. Mar- 
tin, Jasper Martin, Rube Meeks, R. W. McGinnis, 
Elisha McGinnis, G. P. Maynard, J. M. Pertle, Charles 
Pullin, Robert Pullin, W. C. Potter, O. D. Potter, 
Thomas Potter, J. D. Philips, S. M. Philips, Dave Pitt- 
man, Robert Rowland, Jesse Redman, Ben Rowland, 
Rich Richardson, W. Richardson, T. J. Richardson, 
James Rigsby, W. G. Stevens, John Stevens, James 
Bing, W. H. Bing, P. Bozarth, J. H. Bozarth, James 
Bozarth, J. A. Briggs, W. H. Cunningham, J. H. Can- 
trell, U. E. Cantrell, J. R. Cantrell, James Cantrell, 
Jehu Cantrell, John Cantrell, M. L. Cantrell, I. D. 
Cantrell, W. H. Cantrell, L. D. Cantrell, B. M. Can- 
trell, D. W. Cantrell, Leonard Cantrell, W. C. Can- 
trell, Wat Cantrell, Isaac Cantrell, Peter Cantrell. 
P. G. Cantrell, A. M. Cantrell, G. P. Cantrell, :\Iar- 
tin Cantrell, Thomas Cherry, Isaac Conger, J. W. 
Colwell, June Driver, W. L. Driver, Isaiah Driver, C. 
B. Davis, M. Duwese, D. C. Dollar, Thomas Dozier, 
Martin Delong, Wat Eastham, H. C. Eastham, J. B. 
Fisher, S. M. Fulton, Cal Fowler, Samuel Hathaway, 
Len Hathaway, W. A. Hallum, B. M. Hicks, Dallas 


History of DeKalb County 

Hicks, William Herron, J. M. Stevens, W. B. Sweeney, 

A. Simpson, A. J. Smith, Burdine Smith, Noah Smith, 
Henry Seawells, H. C. Tate, J. R. Thompson, Fielding- 
Turner, Garrison Taylor, Ross Unchurch, John Van 
Hosser, L. R. Witt, W. Walls, John Womack, P. G. 
Webb, I. C. Webb, D. B. Worley, W. M. Womack, W. 
M. Wilmoth, John E. Warren, J. B. Wilkinson, B. C. 
Wilkinson, Ben Judkins. 

Killed: Capt. L. N. Savage, Lieut. R. B. Anderson, 
Lieut. W. G. Witt, Felix Kersey, E. League, W. A. 
Hallum, E. Lockhart, John E. Warren, Murfreesboro ; 
W. L. Cantrell, J. H. Cantrell, James Cantrell, F. E. 

B. Kennedy, W. C. Moore, R. Rowland, P. G. Webb, 
Perryville ; B. Atnip, Georgia ; Wat Eastham, Thomas 
Dozier, S. M. Fulton, William Richardson, A. Simp- 
son, Atlanta; W. H. Cantrell, James Driver, T. A. 
Hooper, A. J. Kersey, Robert Martin, Franklin ; H. C, 
Tate, Lost Mountain. Wounded: S. G. Bing, R. M. 
Magness, B. M. Cantrell, S. M. Philips, R. M. Banks, 
D. W. Cantrell, T, M. Hooper, Rich Jones, F, Turner, 
John Mason, Perryville; Capt. G. L. Talley, W. C. 
Potter, Chickamauga ; Isaac Adcock, Resaca ; E. L. 
Atnip, J. R. Thompson, W. L. Judkins, Atlanta ; Peter 
Cantrell, J. Lefever, G. Taylor, B. C. Wilkinson, G. 
W. Colwell, J. C Webb, Murfreesboro; J. W. John- 
son, Franklin. Died : William Adcock, O. D. Potter, 
Thomas Potter, L. R. Witt, William Walls, Camp 
Trousdale, 1861 ; William Herron, Richard Hooper, 
John Womack (missing), Georgia, 1864; James Bing, 
W. H. Bing, in prison ; James Hooper, South Carolina, 





History of DeKalb County 

1864; J. A. Moore, home, 1863; Elisha McGinnis, 
unknown; William Womack, Hattersville, 1861. 

Capt. Robert Cantrell's company (C) recruited 
around Smithville, became a part of the Twenty-Third 
Regiment of Tennessee Confederate Infantry. Its 
commander was later elected lieutenant colonel. G. W. 
Hicks was elected colonel and later Erastus D. Foster. 
Other promotions were of Lieuts. W. D. Rhinehardt, 
Lawson W. Lee, and A. P. Cantrell. The company 
saw service in Virginia and at Shiloh. After fighting 
at Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Mis- 
sionary Ridge, and going through the Georgia cam- 
paign, it was at Franklin and Nashville and sur- 
rendered in North Carolina. Capt. John C. New, of 
Cannon County, writes : "After the Twenty-Third had 
served about twelve months, it was reorganized. At 
this time Captain Cantrell was elected lieutenant 
colonel, but soon resigned. Ras Foster was elected 
captain of the company, and after serving some time 
he left and carried many of his men with him. The 
company was consolidated with mine. Zeb Lee was 
a member of the company and lost a leg at Chicka- 
mauga. His brother, Lieut. Lawson Lee, was 
killed." Colonel Cantrell was for several years a dis- 
tinguished circuit judge of Tennessee, residing at 
Lebanon. He was born November 9, 1823, and died 
February 9, 1903. 

Officers : Captain, Robert Cantrell ; first lieutenant, 
Joseph Y. Stewart; second, L. J. Magness; third, C. 
A. Cantrell ; first sergeant, William Hi Smith ; second, 


History of DeKalb County 

A. P. Cantrell ; third, L. W. Lee ; fourth, A. J. Potter ; 
corporals, E. D. Foster, P. G, Cantrell, Isaac Cantrell, 
A. G. Beckwith; drummer, Calvin Hendrixson; fifer, 
Brien Hughes. 

Privates: David Adcock, Wilson Adcock, Lucian 
Allen, R. H. Atnip, Ben Bullard, W. G. Baker, J. C. 
Brock, W. M. Bryant, Asbury Barnes, S. Bradford, 
H. C. Barnes, D. G. Byars, John Brimer, Pleas Cald- 
well, H. P. Cantrell, James Cantrell, J. L. Crips, J. A. 
Capshaw, W. C Cantrell, Julius Cantrell, Abe Can- 
trell, I. Cantrell, Jr., B. H. Cantrell, J. B. Cotton, M. 
Coldwell, Eliah Cantrell, W. W. Coldwell, W. Cold- 
well, L. L. Cantrell, W. M. Bryant, B. H. Cantrell, 
William Carter, Smith Cantrell, Sam Cantrell, L. D. 
Day, David Davis, J. H. Dodd, M. D. Davis, John De- 
long, Henry Frazier, Jasper Fowler, Newton Fowler, 
A. H. Farmer, J. L. Fuson, J. R. Fuson, J. B. Ferrell, 
S. M. Foster, J. H. Ford, J. D. Givan, Thomas Givan, 
J. W. Green, John Greer, M. Greer, J. P. Jacobs, J. C. 
Hodges, Isaac Hurst, Jere Hendrixon, Cal Hendrixon, 
Jr., Tilman Haney, William Haney, James I\I. Jud- 
kins, W. A. Johnson, J. P. Jacobs, P. J. Lee, Elias 
Lane, Jr., S. M. Liles, J. W. Lamberson, Z. P. Lee, 
Obe Moss, G. Lane, C. Lane, James Moor, J. Martin, 
R. W. Melton, J. H. Mahaffey, T. A. Mason, A. F. 
McDowell, Sam Mitchell, J. P. Moor, William Par- 
sons, Oliver Parkinson, G. W. Pirtle, J. L. Pirtle, 
Tarleton Parrish, W. R. Parrish, Hezekiah Page, Arch 
Pack, Russel Rigsby, James Ridge, J. S. Ridge, J. M. 
Redmond, James Robinson, W. J. Rigsby, W. D. 
Rhinehardt, J. M. Reeves, C. C. Smith, P. G. Smith, 


History of DeKalb County 

Bradford Sherrell, Wesley Steelmon, J. P. Stoner, A. 
A. Stanford, W. H. Starnes, J. S. Starnes, G. W. Tay- 
lor, L. R. Taylor, F. J. Titsworth, J, M. Vaughn, J. 
N. Vaughn, G. W. Warren. 

Killed: A. G. Allen, Fort Munford; Lawson Lee, 
W. A. Carter, June 29, 1864; W. G. Warren, Chicka- 
mauga; W. L. Lawson, Bean's Station. Died: F. J. 
Titsworth, R. W. Melton, Chattanooga, January 24, 
1863; James Ridge, July 26, 1863; Julius Cantrell, 
October 18, 1861 ; H. Page, June i, 1862; A. H. 
Farmer, November 24, 1861. 

Capt. Perry Adcock's company was also raised in 
the Smithville section. It was difficult to trace this 
company, but the Adjutant General of the War De- 
partment explained that Captain Adcock's company 
was designated as C in Colms's First Battalion of Ten- 
nessee Infantry and afterwards as Company K, Fiftieth 
Tennessee Confederate Infantry. The company sur- 
rendered in North Carolina in April, 1865, after hav- 
ing served in numerous engagements in various States, 
from Fort Donelson to the close of the war. Captain 
Adcock had served also in the war with Mexico. He 
was born March 4, 1829, and died January 11, 1908. 

Officers: Captain, Perry Adcock; first lieutenant, J. 
P. Titsworth ; second, C. Turner ; third, W. N. Jones ; 
adjutant, C. B. Cantrell ; first sergeant, A. P. Adcock ; 
second, David Delong; third, Henry Bain; fourtli, 
Isaiah Bain ; fifth, W. R. Dunham ; corporals, Thomas 
Adcock, Henry Adcock, J. D. Thweat, James M. 


History of DeKalb County 

Privates : William, J. C, John, Joseph, P. J. L., and 
Wesley Adcock, Rich Atnip, H. Aikens, William Al- 
len, N. Adcock, William Bain, Isaac Bain, D. C. Bain, 
John K. Bain, William, John, and Wesley Blunt, Joseph 
Capshaw, John Capshaw, William Capshaw, William 
J. U., Richard, and Jason Certain, T. Cantrell, Giles 
Driver, Jr., Xoah Deboard, Watson Belong, James 
Belong, John Bavis, John Fisher, Joseph and William 
Fisher, Baniel Fowler, Charles Ferrell, A. Goodson, 
O. B. Goodson, Webb and L. Hutchins, Andrew Jack- 
son, H. G. and Grundy Kirby, C. Lack, Bavid Looney, 
William Love, T. J. Lew-is, J. P. Jones, Alfred Lewis, 
John McFall, Vincent ^lanor, Abijah ^Martin, B. W, 
Marsh, Ben Pinegar, Ben Pollard, Henry Pitts, G, W. 
Pollard, John Pinegar, Bart Pack, N. B. Parker, Ben 
Roland, James Ray, James Rigsby, Br. J. B. Rigsby, 
Sam Roberts, E. C. Roland, L. P. Rigsby, S. Slaten, 
O. and William Sullivan, Wilson Taylor, G. W. and 
William Turner, James Webb, Jackson West, Alex 
Walker, F. AL Wilkinson, Isaac, Pleasant, and Thomas 
Young, J. M. Stephens, B. W. Marsh, John McAfee, 
I P., Jasper, and Alfred Lewis, J. K. Belong, William 
Certain, W. B. Jones, William Lane, W. Z. Pollard, 
Francis, Bavid, J. P., and Thomas Lewis, G. W. Pol- 
lard, J. G. Rankhorn, W. R. Bunham, John Fuller, A. 
B. Cheatham, R. Presnel, Sam Roberts, Joshua Seal, 
J. A. Walker, Ainsley Stephens, Canada Rigsby, 
George Stidman, John Corley, B. C. Belong, A. B, 
Cheatham, J. W. Green, G. A. Neal, Henry Pitts, Clai- 
born Edwards, Elijah Quillen, J. M. Webb. 

Bied: James Webb, Memphis, October 6, 1862; S. 


History of DeKalb County 

D. Lane, Tappan, Miss., November i6, 1862; W. Z. 
Pollard, Clinton, La. ; John Castel, Brookhaven, Miss. ; 
G. W. Turner, Lauderdale Springs, Miss. ; Isaiah Bain, 
Alton (III.) Prison. 

Allison's Battalion of Cavalry, raised by Col. R. D. 
Allison, John S. Reece, and Robert V. Wright at 
Alexandria, consisted of three companies and was, 
besides taking part in a number of the most important 
battles of the war, very active in DeKalb County dur- 
ing Morgan's occupation and afterwards. It was with 
Wheeler on his last raid through East Tennessee in the 
summer of 1864; but it seems from Du Bose's "Life of 
\Vheeler" that it was, with other companies, sent under 
Gen "Cerro Gordo" Williams to attack a Federal gar- 
rison at Strawberry Plains. Finding the garrison too 
strong, it marched to overtake Wheeler, but did not 
succeed. It followed close on his heels through Sparta, 
Liberty, and Alexandria, and went into camp near 
Murfreesboro, soon, however, taking the Woodbury 
Pike and returning south across the mountains, en- 
gaging in considerable fighting on the way. 

After the war Colonel Allison removed to Texas, 
where he thrice represented his county in the State 
legislature, and died at an advanced age. Captain 
Reece removed to Nashville, becoming prominentl\ 
identified with the city's interests, though his sight 
was greatly impaired before the close of the war. As 
Colonel Allison was old and Captain Reece with im- 
paired sight. Captain Wright commanded the DeKalb 
12 177 

History of DeKalb County 

Countians, who had been consoHdated with Shaw's 
BattaHon after Missionary Ridge, in the later months. 
Captain Reece was born in Virginia in 1814, and died 
in February, 1868, only fifty-four, but a veteran of the 
war with the Seminoles, the Mexican War, and the 
War between the States. Captain Wright also located 
in Nashville, where he won splendid business success. 
He was living in 1914, somewhat more than eighty 
years of age. 

This from Lieut. B. L. Ridley's published diary gives 
in a small way an idea of the horrors of war. It is 
dated Smithville, N. C, March 2^, 1865 : "This after- 
noon went with General Stewart to the depot, where 
we found Colonel Allison, a Tennessee cavalryman, 
on his way westward with the body of his son, who 
was killed a day or two ago near Goldsboro trying to 
rescue some ladies from the clutches of the enemy." 
By the way, still as illustrative, General Forrest and 
his escort were on a road three miles from Selma, Ala., 
one night after the retreat from Nashville. Suddenly 
the cries of women in distress reached them. "Guided 
by the sounds," to quote the diary of Ben Hancock, 
of the Second Regiment of Cavalry, "Forrest and 
some of his men dashed thither, to find a neighboring 
house in the possession of four Federal bummers who, 
having rifled it, were engaged in the effort to outrage 
the women who lived there. Summary was the fate of 
these wretches. The escort was now getting excited, 
. . . and, meeting a number of these fellows loaded, 
down with plunder, they did not hesitate to slay them 
on the spot. Hearing the sounds of what was happen- 


History of DeKalb County 

ing ahead, Forrest, to check it, took the conduct of tlie 
advance upon himself." It is not beheved that any 
DeKalb soldiers on either side were ever charged with 
assaulting women. 

Allison's squadron, when it surrendered with Gen- 
eral Shaw in North Carolina in 1865, numbered only 
about thirty men, according to Lieut. Ed Reece. 

The writer has been able to secure from the muti- 
lated records in the archives at Washington the follow- 
ing names only of the troops of Allison's Battalion. 
They cover various periods of the war: 

Company A, officers : Senior captain, R. D. Allison ; 
captain, John H. Allison; first lieutenant, James A. 
Nesmith ; second, James N. Eaton ; third, James W. 
Foutch; sergeants, J. A. Atwell, J. L. Reasonover, J. 
E. Robinson, J. W. Boyd ; corporals, James B. Greg- 
ston, Ab Drury, W. J. Eaton. 

Privates : R. D. Allison, J. W. Allen, William Allen, 
George Ashe, William Ashe, William Eskew, J. A. 
Boyd, William Corley, David Crook, Robert Caskey. 
John Cartwright, William Carr, Daniel Driver, A. 
Davis, Hardin Denny, J. H. Foutch, J. W. Floyd, E. 
and Joseph Gann, Freeling H. Hayes, J. A. Higdon, 
Horace M. Hale, Leander B. Hale, F. W. Hobson, 
John Johnson, Gus H. Johnson, James W. Keaton, R. 
W. Keaton, Jake H. King, R. A. King, W. R. King, 
H. D. Lester, S. M. Leftwick, L. C. Lincoln, James 
C. Malone, N. J. Petty, W. F. Powell, Irving Parsley, 
Ben Robinson, James M. Turney, H. J. Wills, Pleas 
C. Adams, C. A. Bailiff, G. W. Adkins, M. Byford, 
Monroe Bailiff, P. Dedman, M. L. Dedman, J. H. 


History of DeKalb County 

Gann, N. Gann, Thomas Malone, R. W. Tubb, W. S. 
Webster, W. M. Walker, J. D. Wheeler, James Mulli- 
nax, D. L. Braswell, James Rigdon, H. J. Wills, New- 
ton Petty, Shade L. Davis, Patterson Dedman, John 
H. Gann, Michael Gann, W. H. Gann, Nathan Gann, 
Denham Bethel, D. L. Russell. 

Killed : Edward Gann, Chickamauga, September 19, 
1863. Died : Joseph Gann, Tunnel Hill, Ga., January 
5. 1864. 

Company B, officers : Captain, J. S. Reece ; first lieu- 
tenant, D. Brien; second, J. M. Floyd; third, L. P. 
Rutland; sergeants, T. W. Yeargin, T. R. Foster, 
James Jones, Britton Odum, Ed Reece; corporal, J. 
J. Cutler. 

Privates: W. W. Adams, N. B. Bradley, W. C. 
Craddick, David Curtis, J. P. Doss, M. B. Dunn, Pack 
W. Florida, Tilman H. Foster, J. Ervin Foster, T. J. 
Finley, R. B. Floyd, L. H. Fite, Sam George, C. A. 
Hollinsworth, D, H. Hale (teamster), W. H. Jackson. 
Wiley Jones, W. H. Luckey (bugler), W. C McGann, 
George Neal, Robert Neal, Ervin Newsom, L. F. Por- 
terfield, Oliver W. Roberts, William Shanks, J. C. 
Trammel, J. B. Tarpley, J. B. Thompson, G. W. Van- 
trease, Thomas Warren, Newt Warren, David Wal- 
lace, Isaiah White, J. R. Witt, Columbus Yeargin, G. 
W. Lanier, Henry Lanier, James Pope, G. H. Mc- 
Gann, T. J. Coleman, L C. Stone, William Hullet, 
James Jones, R. H. Newsom, Sim Adamson, Henry 
Bell, William Adamson, J. H. Burton, Hiram Carter, 


History of DeKalb County 

W. J. Covington, J. C. Estes, William Foster, James 
S. Foutch, Bartley L, James, A. A. J. Jennings, J. M. 
Jones, Thomas King, Calaway Neal, J. R, Newsom, 
J. B. Pendleton, J. J. Rich, Presley Stroud, O. B. 
Staley, Jacob Vantrease, Jackson Vantrease, J. Wil- 
loby, J. Washer, Nathan Walden, G. Hutchinson, 
Fayette Henley, Nelson Bryant, J. W. Buckner, B. J. 
Bethel, Henry George, Sam Huggins, A. J. Lanier. 
J. T. Lawrence, Dan McKee, Monroe Malone, John 
Marks, S. T. Porterfield, J. J. Porterfield, S. A. Rick- 
ett, Lander Jackson, Thomas Estes, John Shores, J. 
R. Smith, Ed Winn, Henry Bell, G. C. McGann, Hiram 

Killed: William Hullet, James Jones, R. A. New- 
som, Chickamauga, September 19, 1863. 

Company C, officers : Captain, R. V. Wright ; first 
lieutenant, A. W. O. Baker ; second, Orson B. Wright ; 
third, W. V. Harrel ; sergeants, John A. Jones, W. A. 
Yeargin, John Heflin; corporals, William Hubbard, 
John A. Mooneyham. 

Privates: L. J. Allison, William C. Bradford, J. C. 
Bailey, A. M. Cantrell, C. F. Cantrell, G. C. Flippin, 
John Gilly, James Hawkins, William Mooneyham, 
James Jones, James Hines, J, D. Martin, W. S. Patey, 
J. B. Palmer, W. B. Price, Thomas Spears, George 
Springfield, Sam Hooper, Jonas Whitley, C. M. 
Thompson, J. T. Thompson, Z, U. Thompson, J. S. 
Thompson, Garrett Clay, B. F. Batts, W. D. Yeargin, 
Bethel Batts, John A. Farmer, Thomas Howard, Wil- 
liam Harper, Charles Harris, W. W. Minton, George 


History of DeKalb County 

Nichols, P. Simpson, C. Vanderpool, Jeff Braswell, 
John A. Mooneyham, J. H. Baird, A. M. Carter, H. D. 
B, Anderson, T, C. Bradford, R. Barbae, C. Barbee. 

Killed: Garrett Clay, Chickamauga, September 19, 

The above are from Captain Wright's rolls from De- 
cember 31, 1863, to February 29, 1864; from February 
29, 1864, to April 30, 1864; from April 30, 1864, to 
June 30, 1864; and from June 30, 1864, to December 
31, 1864. Under the first date A. W. O. Baker was 
first lieutenant; second, O. B. Wright; third, W. V. 
Harrel. Under the second date W. V. Harrel is third 
lieutenant. Under the third date no lieutenants are 
mentioned, nor are there any for June 30, 1864, to 
December 31, 1864. These are the latest existing rec- 
ords. But two or three living members of the squadron 
have sent in the names of a few other troops, though it 
is not known to what companies they belonged. Lieut. 
Ed Recce's list is : John Bowman, John Batts, J. T. 
Quarels, Isaac Cooper, and Jerome Barton. James H. 
Burton contributes this list: Bill Bone, Cain Adams, 
John Parkerson, Lito Hullet, Alex Stanley, John 
Reeves, George Beckwith, Mose Blythe, and Dr. Fay- 
ette Knight. 

Of course during the war there were many changes 
in subordinate officers not mentioned here — promo- 
tions, resignations, and here and there a desertion. 
The desertions in both Federal and Confederate com- 
panies from the county were considerable, and now 
and then we find men, as Lowell's bashful beau "stood 
awhile on one foot fust an' then awhile on t'other," 


History of DeKalb County 

who fought in the cause of both South and North, at 
first with one side and then with the other. 

DeKalb County officers in P. C. Shields's company 
(G) of Col. J. H. Savage's regiment: A. T. Fisher, 
first lieutenant ; James K. Fisher, third. A. T. Fisher 
was promoted to captain in 1862. 

Privates: Jasper Adcock, H. P. Adcock, William 
Allen, A. J. Allen, Ben Atnip, John Atnip, Alfred 
Bain, Peter Bain, Josiah Bain, John Bain, Peter Bain 
(second), Henry Bain, C. Bain, J. L. Britton, M. 
Blount, Joseph Cantrell, C. W. Cantrell, W. L. Can- 
trell, H. B. Cope, W. A. Cotton, Ben Capshaw, T. A. 
Cotten, John Denton, D. L. Dunham, L, R. Dunham, 
John Donnell, Gabriel Elkins, John Fisher, L. B. 
Fisher J. P. Fisher, Lawson Fisher, M. L. Fisher, G. 
W. Gilbert, L. W. Gilbert, William Goodson, Thomas 
Hodges, Robert Love, Joseph Ray, C. G. Rankhorn, 
Levi Lassiter, H. L. P. Sanders, Wiley Sanders, Isaiah 
Lassiter, F. M. Wright, S. L. Walker, John Megger- 
son, O. D. Walker, Alex Walker, Seth F. Wright, D. 
W. Worst, James Wright, and Deskin Wright. 

Killed: Isaiah Bain, C. Bain, W. L. Cantrell, H. B. 
Cope, Lawson Fisher, F. M. Wright, S. L. Walker, 
Perryville ; J. L. Britton, Thomas Hodges, John Fisher, 
Murfreesboro. Wounded: W. A. Cotton, Perryville; 
C. G. Rankhorn, Kennesaw Mountain. Died in serv- 
ice : D. L. Dunham, in prison ; C. A. Cantrell, Georgia ; 
A. J. Allen, Kentucky. 

Horace McGuire gives this memory list of DeKalb 
County Confederates living in 1914: B. M. Cantrell, 


History of DeKalb County 

Horace jMcGuire, Thomas Hooper, Sam Hooper, R. 
W. McGinnis, B. N. Hicky, John Vanhouser, Hans 
Merritt, John D. Johnson, Dick Moore, J. M. Redmon, 
Jim Fuson, W. T. Wall, Mose Rankhorn, T. C. Allen, 
Jim Wilkins, Watt Cantrell, W. C. Gilbert, Louis Bing, 
A. P. Cantrell, Hes Cantrell, Joe Cantrell, John Givan, 
Polk Johnson, J. H. Mahaffy, Luke Simpson, J. W. 
Watson, Jesse Redman, Madison Pass, Newt Avery, 
John K. Bain, Ed Reece, Bob King, William Luck\', 
R. V. Wright, Isaiah White, Thomas Givan, Roland 
Foster, and Horace M. Hale. 



Stokes's Cavalry, 

The Fifth (Union) Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry, 
sometimes called the First Middle Tennessee Cavalry, 
was organized at Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Car- 
thage, from July 15, 1862, to March 26, 1864, to serve 
three years, and was mustered out of service August 
14, 1865. The regiment consisted of twelve companies 
and was recruited by Col. William B. Stokes, acting 
under authority from Military Governor Andrew John- 
son. The regiment was in various battles and skir- 
mishes during the latter part of 1862 and was in the 
battle of Murfreesboro, or Stone's River. From that 
battle till the close of the war the regiment was em- 
ployed mainly in detachments in the eastern part of 
Middle Tennessee. One battalion was stationed at 
Shelbyville for some time and was in several skir- 
mishes there. The other portion of the regiment was 
stationed at Carthage and was kept busy also, as, 
among other duties, it was required to carry the mail 
from that point to Gallatin. A portion of Stokes's 
command, under Captain Cain and Lieutenant Carter, 
was in the battle of Lookout Mountain. A part was 
also at Chickamauga and Chattanooga under Lieuts. 
Wingate T. Robinson and Nelson. Subsequently the 
regiment was ordered to Sparta, Tenn., to break up 
the guerrilla bands under Ferguson, Hughes, and 
Bledsoe, a contest in which no quarter was given 


History of DeKalb County 

After this it was ordered to Nashville, where, under 
Lieut. Col. W. J. Clift, it participated in the battle in 
front of that city. Upon the removal of the command 
to Nashville, Colonel Stokes was assigned to command 
the forces at Carthage. 

Three of Stokes's regiments — Company A, J. H. 
Blackburn, captain ; Company B, Shelah Waters, cap- 
tain; and Company K, E. W. Bass, captain — were 
made up of DeKalb County men. 

There were some resignations from this regiment in 
1864, and a new regiment was formed by J. H. Black- 
burn. Colonel Stokes resigned March 10, 1865, but 
was breveted brigadier general by President Andrew 
Johnson. Other resignations from Stokes's original 
regiment were : Maj. Shelah Waters, January 24, 1865 ; 
Capt. John T. Armstrong, April 7, 1865 ; Capt. J. H. 
Blackburn, June 5, 1864; Capt. James T. Exum» 
March 10, 1865 ; Capt. Monroe Floyd (who married 
Captain Blackburn's sister), May 11, 1865; Capt. 
Robert E. Cain, July 13, 1865. First lieutenants re- 
signed: W. M. Beasley, October 16, 1862; James 
Worthan, March 21, 1863; H. L. Newberry, April 8, 
1863 ; William L. Hathaway, April 10, 1864; Sylvanus 
Puckett, September i, 1864; Thomas A. Beaton, Jan- 
uary 6, 1862; A. A. Carter, February 21, 1865; James 
L. Hix, May 12, 1865; J. T. Mclntyre, July 2, 1865; 
L. L. Faulkner, July 16, 1865. Second lieutenants re- 
signed : J. M. Phillips, Marshall B. Truax, C. T. Mar- 
tin, E. H. Stone, W. J. Bryson. 

Those discharged were: Second Lieuts. James H. 
Gossett, March 3, 1863. R. C. Couch, April 25, 1863 


History of DeKalb County 

(but recommissioned first lieutenant September 4, 
1863), and Charles T. Martin, May 20, 1863 (but re- 
commissioned second lieutenant September 4, 1863). 

Those killed were: Capt. A. T. Julian, near Hills- 
boro, Tenn., March 18, 1863, and Surgeon J. B. Moore, 
killed by guerrillas September 5, 1864. 

Dismissals were : Capt. E. W. Bass, December 4, 
1864; First Lieuts. R. H. Sivley, January 10, 1864, 
John T. Van Keren, December 14, 1864, and E. Chas- 
taine, September 25, 1864. 

First Lieut. Robert A. Shepard was cashiered in 
January, 1863. 

Maj. John Murphey on May 15, 1864, was promoted 
to lieutenant colonel of the Second Regiment of 
Mounted Infantry, and on Februar}^ 7, 1865, Capt. 
Thomas Waters was promoted to major of the Fourth 
Regiment (Blackburn's) of Tennessee Infantry, 

William J. Clift was appointed lieutenant colonel 
June 30, 1864. 

John Wortham on July i, 1864, and Faver Cason on 
June 24, 1865, were appointed majors. 

The following captains were appointed some months 
after the regiment was organized : W. O. Rickman, 
April 22, 1863; R. C. Couch, September 10, 1863; 
James Clift, March 26, 1864; H. N. T. Ship, July i, 

W. P. Hough was made first lieutenant November 
II, 1862; W. B. Pickering, adjutant, June 9, 1863. 
Second lieutenants: W. H. Nelson, August 6, 1863; 
Wingate T. Robinson, August 9, 1863 ; J. B. Raulston, 
September 10, 1863; W. G. Davis, July 10, 1864; E, 


History of DeKalb County 

H. Gowen, December 14, 1864; C. W. Stewart, regi- 
mental quartermaster, February 8, 1865. 

Later appointments of second lieutenants were: 
Elisha P. Reynolds, January 23, 1863 ; John B. Tur- 
ner, August 9, 1863; J. W. Mallard, November 4, 
1863 ; Henry H. Morris, January i, 1864; H. M. Mar- 
shall, February 28, 1864; John J. White, July 10, 1864; 
J. W. Bryan, February 7, 1865; G. B. Johnson, Feb- 
ruary 22, 1865. 

Four of Stokes's officers were marked missing on 
the rolls: Capt. T. C. Davis, since October, 1862; Capt, 
E. G. Fleming, since December, 1862; Second Lieut. 
A. C. Denson, since October, 1862; Second Lieut. 
Carl D. Brien, since June, 1863. 

General Stokes was born in Chatham County, N. C, 
September 9, 1814, and died at Alexandria, Tenn., 
March 20, 1897. -^s shown in the sketch of Temper- 
ance Hall, his widowed mother located on her hus- 
band's land near that village, where she remained until 
her death, in 1853. This section was attached to De- 
Kalb County in 1850, so that the county claims William 
B., Jordan, and Thomas Stokes among its pioneer citi- 
zens. In 1832 General Stokes married Paralee, daugh- 
ter of Col. Abraham Overall. Farming for several 
years, he began his political career in 1849 ^s Repre- 
sentative of DeKalb County. He was twice elected to 
the House and twice to the Senate, and, defeating John 
A. Savage for Congress in 1859, was reelected. He 
served in Congress two years after the war, and he was 
the nominee of his party for the governorship in 1870. 
Until 1868 he resided three miles north of Liberty, 





History of DeKalb County 

when he removed to Alexandria, where he devoted 
himself to the practice of law. 

In the memoranda of the volume by Adjutant Gen- 
eral J. B. Brownlow giving the rolls of Tennessee 
Federals for 1861-65 it is said of Stokes's Regiment 
that it was in the routing of Colonels Bennett and 
Ward on the Dickerson Pike in September, 1862; in 
the defeat of Colonel Dibrell, driving him out of 
Neely's Bend, in October, 1862; in the battle with 
Forrest on the Franklin Pike, and drove him from the 
field at Lavergne. It was in numerous skirmishes 
around Nashville and on Big Harpeth in the same 
year; fought at Triune December 27, 1862, and was in 
the battle of Murfreesboro from first to last; a part, 
under Colonel Murphey, was at Bradyville ; and, under 
Colonel Blackburn, a part was in the battle of Milton 
and in numerous engagements around Liberty and 
Snow's Hill. The muster rolls of his three DeKalb 
County companies are given below : 

Company A, officers : Lieutenants, W. G. Davis, 
John J. White; sergeants, J. B. Allison, Robert A. 
Smith, F. M. Close, Hamp Woodside, Thomas E. 
Bratten, J. W. Thomas, Riley Dale, Lee Laf ever ; cor- 
porals, John Neal, W. R. Bratten, W. J. Watson, J. W. 
Jones, John Garrison. 

Privates : W. D. Davis, J. White, J. A. Allen, R. A, 
Smith, T. E. Bratten, J. W. Thomas, Riley Dale, Lee 
Lafever, John Neal, W. R. Bratten, W. J. Watson, J. 
W. Jones, John Garrison, Sol A. Neal, Thomas Kirby, 
E. C. Edwards, J. M. Allen, W. G. Allison, William 
Arnold, Lige Br>'ant, James Blythe, Calvin Blythe, 


History of DeKalb County 

P. Bozarth, Pete Brazwell, J. M. Brazwell, N. H. 
Craddock, J. W. Crook, J. R. Corder, Jim Carney, 
Thomas Cripps, Fred Chest, Joseph Davis, Reuben 
Davis, William Davis, D. D. Driver, J. Estes, W. R. 
Farler, Jap Fitts, W. J. Givan, Jonathan Griffith, J. M. 
Hays, Jasper Hays, Joe Hendrixon, James Hollands- 
worth, H. N. Hill, C. D. Hutchens, J. H. Hendrixon, 
Wilson Hendrixon, William Hill, H. James, M. F. 
Jones, W. H. Jackson, John Keef, John Lynch, J. B. 
McGee, James McGee, J. A. Mahan, William Manared, 
Elisha Morris, Mon Malone, W. S. Parker, A. W. Pat- 
terson, D. C. Patten, W. J. Pugh, Hiser Richardson, 
B. F. Read, A. A. Robinson, Thomas Self, J. S. She- 
hane, Peter Starnes, James Smithson, Monroe Spencer, 
J. J. Smith, W. G. Smiley, Wilson Taylor, J. C. Vick- 
ers, Thomas Vinson, William Warford, G. P. W. Wil- 
liams, J. W. Wooden, Oscar A. Woodvvorth, W. H. 
Word, J. B. Yeargin, J. H. Blackburn, Monroe Floyd, 
W. L. Hathaway, J. J. Evans, J. H. Gossett, J. T. 
Exum, A. J. Garrison, L. N. Woodside, Martin E. 
Quinn, E. H. Stone, James H. Blackburn, George 
Adamson, C. M. Brown, W. W. Govern, R. M. Haw- 
kins, Henry Malone, Ed Pennington, Josiah Young- 
blood, Elijah Yeargin, J. Murphy, P. M. Radford, 
James H. Bratten, William A. Dale, D. A. Davis, 
Joseph Adamson, David Barr, Hiram Barret, William 
Bullard, J. M. Campbell, T. J. Chapman, A. G. Davis, 
R. H. Green, G. H. Leaver, S. J. McCalib, R. S. Neely, 
G. W. Robinson, J. B. Scott, J. M. Smith, A. M. Stone, 
W. J. Vickers, S. M. Williams, Joseph Wilcher, A. 
Yeargin, James Garrett, Elisha Kerly, F C. Overcast. 


History of DeKalb County 

Killed : J. B. Aloore, by guerrillas, 1864; W. J. Vick- 
ers, by g-uerrillas, 1863. Died : Joseph Adamson, David 
Barr, Joseph Bryant, April, 1863; Andrew George, 

Company B, officers : Lieutenants, E. H. Gowan, J, 
W. Bryan ; sergeants, T. W. Kenner, J. W. McDonald, 
W. Wood, Ralph Compton, J. W. Saulmon, W. F. 
Turner ; corporals, J. W. Brown, H. McClure, P. Hor- 
ley, T. A. Morris, J. Cothran ; bugler, J. C. Haley. 

Privates : M. A. Alder, W. H. Anderson, S. P. Bur- 
chett, I. W. Baker, D. H. Brewer, Thomas Borum, R. 
I. Bell, J. T. Ballance, E. Burnett, T. B. Brown, J. H. 
Brockett, L. W. Cherry, J. \V. B. Davis, Zach Davis, 
Arch Davis, Anderson Davis, T. M. D. Earhart, Horace 
Francis, S. L. George, I. T. Goodson, L. M. Green, 
Jerome E. Goodner, J. Hale, Eli Herron, Wilson Her- 
ron, J. G. Jennings, Frank Johnson, Thomas Ketchum, 
J. K. C. Lance, E. H. Linton, John Morris, A. J. Mer- 
rill, A. C. Mayer, S. McDermot, W. Alelvin, James 
Manus, John Oakley, Thomas Rogers, M. Rohelia, G. 
M. Robertson, John Robinson, David Redd, James 
Sands, Elgin Sands, W. Singleton, James Strauther, 
G. W. Tuck, James Talley, B. C. Vinson, J. Waggoner, 
J. W. Westfall, Taylor Warren, N. Winnett, C. T. 
Winnett, James Winnett, John Williams, T. A. Wel- 
land, M. F. Young, J. Nems, Henderson Smith, 
Thomas Davis, H. L. Newbury, W. W. Barker, Alex 
Davis, T. H. Berry, J. T. Thompson, S. B. Whitlock, 
W. G. Davis, A. Ham, T. B. Oakley, James Oakley, J. 
P. Paty, Thomas Reeves, John Simpson, R. Wadkins, 
Shelah Waters, Thomas Waters, John Everett, J. M. 


History of DeKalb County 

Hutsell, R. P. Mayer, E. H. Gowan, J. E. Pendergrass, 
W. H. C. Young, B. F. Bowar, J. A. Ellis. Cass Goad, 
M. F. Hale, J. L. Laurance, J. M. Shairts, W. L. 
Thompson, H. B. Thomas, F, M. Ensory, P. Giller, A. 
J. Hesson, Joseph Hester, J. C. Yell, P. M. Gascock, 
J. M. Groop. 

Killed: J. E. Pendergrass, Murfreesboro, 1863; J. 
L. Laurance, in Lookout Valley. Died: W. H, C. 
Young, in prison January 12, 1863; B. F. Bowar, May 
2z, 1863 ; J. A. Ellis, M. V. Hale, J. M. Shairts, No- 
vember 14, 1862; W. L. Thompson, December 29, 
1863 ; Cyrus Y. Goad. 

Company K, officers: Captain, E. W. Bass; lieu- 
tenants, W. T. Robinson, John B. Turner, J. H. Smith ; 
sergeants, J. L. Rollins, W. R. Lewis, Marion Cubbins, 
John A. Bass, W. H. Trammel, James H. Overall, R, 
M. Johnson; corporals, William Davis, Wells Barrett, 
G. B. Pedigo, T. N. Close, Alex Petty, John Tarpley, 
W. R. Caplinger; bugler, John C. Bennett. 

Privates : J. B. Turney, Harvey Smith, J. L. Robin- 
son, W. R. Lewis, Marion Cubbins, John A. Bass, W. 
H. Trammel, J. H. Overall, R. M. Johnson, William 
Davis, J. T. Meares, Wells Barrett, G. B. Pedigo, T. 
N. Close, Alex Petty, John Tarpley, W. R. Caplinger, 
J. C. Bennett, T. D. Oakley, B. J. Holloman, H. Y. 
Yeargin, Chris E. Adamson, John Adamson, W. T. 
Alexander, H. C. Alexander, Thomas Alexander, F. 
M. Allen, James Brent, Nathan Blythe, W. C. Ben- 
nett, John Case, J. G. Close, John Caplinger, John 
Coley, T. J. Davis, James Davis, Elam Edge, Denton 


History of DeKalb County 

Griffith, George Henley, George Hickman, W. L. 
Hail, W. H. Hays, Charles Hill, Reuben Hail, 
Thomas Hendrixson, R. Hinesly, J. H. Hicks, W. P. 
Hawker, J. M. Jones, Wesley Jennings, W. J. Jones, 
James A. Jones, W. H. Jones, James Lee, J. R. 
League, J. B. Lemmons, Blueford Mathis, Alex Man- 
ners, J. Mullican, L. H. McGinnis, G. B. Mahan, W. 
H. Pedigo, T. J. Perkins, James Petty, Joseph Pistole, 
William Patterson, John Parker, Travis Tarpley, A. 
J. Pugh, Matlock Roberts, W, A. Sullivan, Anthony 
Stanley, Noali Smith, John Taylor, J. P. Tomlinson, 
William Trusty, R. B. Waller, E. B. Watson, J. B. 
Wilson, E. W. Bass, Hinton A. Hill, James McMillin, 
J. J. Ross, Wiley Snow, James Williams, A. C. Rogers, 
R. H. Ponder, David Grandstaff, George C. Turney. 
W. C. Crossland, N. Alexander, James Baugh, W. H. 
Christian, David A. Farmer, James Gibson, James 
Hail, Jonathan Jones, T. J. Pistole, H. C. Richards, 
Alex Stanley, R. Pendergrass, Henry Stayner, Eman- 
uel Williams. 

Killed: David Grandstaff, G. C. (Kit) Turney, 
James Baugh, D. A. Farmer, Joseph Hail, Jonathan 
Jones, T. J. Pistole, James Fuston, Alex Stanley, 
Calf Killer battle, February 22, 1864; H. C. Richards, 
by accident, Carthage, 1864. Died: William Cross- 
land, of wounds at Carthage, 1864; W, H. Christian, 
of wounds, 1864. 

13 193 

Blackburn's and Garrison's Federals. 

Lieut. Col. Joseph H. Blackburn's Fourth (Un- 
ion) Regiment of Mounted Infantry, with the excep- 
tion of Company B, was recruited at Liberty, Car- 
thage, Alexandria, Pulaski, Livingston. Shelbyville, 
and Nashville from September i, 1864, to April 22, 
1865, to serve one year. Company B was made up of 
Memphis home guards and was mustered out of serv- 
ice June I, 1865; the other companies were mustered 
out August 25, 1865. Colonel Blackburn was ap- 
pointed lieutenant colonel November 26, 1864, at the 
age of twenty-two years. Thomas Waters was ap- 
pointed major February 7, 1865. 

Appointments of captains: Norton E. Quinn, Oc- 
tober 27, 1864; William L. Hathaway, October 29, 
1864; Macadoo Vannata, December 11, 1864; A. C. 
Card, January 10, 1865 ; J. P. Patey, February 2, 1865 ; 
John Simpson, March 11, 1865; Rufus Dowdy, May 
5, 1865; G. W. Gray, June 14, 1865. 

Appointments of first lieutenants in Blackburn's 
Regiment: James H. Blackburn, October 27, 1864; 
James H. (Pet) White, October 29, 1864; William J. 
Stokes, adjutant (son of Colonel Stokes), December 
8, 1864; Marcellus C. Vick, December 11, 1864; W. B. 
Overcast, January 10, 1864; H. C. Sanders, February 
I, 1865; S. B. Whitelock, February 4, 1865; J. f. 
Thompson, February 4, 1865 ; H. T. Smallage, Feb- 
ruary 28, 1865 ; C. W. Aleeker, June 28, 1865. 


History of DeKalb County 

Second lieutenants: T. G. Bratten, October 27, 1864; 
Elijah Robinson, October 29, 1864; James Williams, 
December 9, 1864; R, Wiley, January 11, 1865 ; James 
H. Kitching, February 2, 1865 ; T. H. Berry, February 
2, 1865; W. H. Wilhite, April 24, 1865; C. M. Pitts, 
June 30, 1865 ; A. J. Miller, July 3, 1865. 

Those who died among the officers appointed from 
time to time were: Capt. George Oakley, July, 1865, 
of disease; First Lieut. James Oakley, February 4, 
1865, of wounds; First Lieut. William McDowell, lost 
off the steamer Sultana April 27, 1865. 

Colonel Blackburn was born in Wilson County, near 
Cottage Home, in 1842, his father having come from 
North Carolina. He married Miss Jennie Barger, of 
Liberty, in 1861. His company (A), of Stokes's Regi- 
ment, elected him captain at the age of eighteen. As 
shown, he raised a regiment after resigning from the 
Fifth Cavalry. He was in quite a number of battles 
and skirmishes, receiving one wound — probably made 
by Oscar Woodworth, a Federal — while a battle was on 
with Morgan's men at Liberty. After the war he was 
a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Nash- 
ville, but refused to sign the schedule because of the 
poll tax provision as a qualification for voters. He 
was also United States marshal for the middle district 
of the State. Shortly after the war he, with others, 
created a sensation in Nashville by attacking and 
wounding Gen. Joseph Wheeler. Colonel Blackburn 
died in May, 1913. 

In Goodspeed's history of the State (biographical 
section) this statement is made: "Colonel Blackburn 


History of DeKalb County 

was in several battles, the most important of which 
were Nashville, Chattanooga, Snow's Hill, and Milton. 
. . . He also cleared of guerrillas White, Putnam, 
DeKalb, and Jackson Counties by capturing Champe 
Ferguson, after which even Rebel sympathizers felt 
more secure. He is said to have been in two hundred 
and seventeen engagements, in all of which he was 
successful. He was wounded at Liberty." In the 
same history it is stated that in 1864 R. B. Blackwell's 
guerrillas made a raid into Shelbyville, Tenn. The 
depot was guarded by twelve of Blackburn's troops, 
who were captured, escorted into the country, and 
shot. Were these members of Company A? Black- 
bum's companies were: 

Company A, officers : Captain, James Wortham ; 
lieutenants, C. W. Meeker, G. W. Gray, William Mc- 
Dowell, William Smith, A. J. Miller; sergeants, J. S. 
Ray, W. L. Jackson, J. M. Jarrell, T. V. Jones ; cor- 
porals, W. G. Reavis, W. W. Harrian, J. Williams, W 
C. Dickens, J. A. Holcomb, J. A. Brooks, C. M. Clark. 

Privates: J. F. Ray, W. L. Jackson, J. M. Jarrell, T 
V. Jones, A. J. Jarrell, W. G. Reavis, W. W. Harman 
I. Williams, W. C. Dickens, J. A. Holcomb, J. A 
Brooks, C. M. Clark, Tom Anderson, W. Blacker, A 
J. Cleck, W. J. Clark, J. W. Cunningham, E. G. Davis 
G. B. Dawson, Linsley Evins, R. C. Eaton, T. J 
Fisher, J. H. Griffin, W. J. Gordon, J. N. Gibson, J 
L. Hill, J. T. Harris, G. Ivy, James and John Jones 
T. J. Little, W. S. Lacey, E. Lockhart, G. Little, M.D. 
J. H. Moon, J. P. Mankin, J. C. McMinn, L. Moore 
J. C. Matthews, I. Norvill, G. Primrose, R. J. Patton 


History of DeKalb County 

J. A. Rollins, C. S. Richard, S. J. Riner, ^I. Shoffner, 
J. D. Sanders, James C. Turner, R. F. and W. W. 
Tindell, J. H. Webster, W. W. Waide, V. H. Wright, 
H. P. Watkins, Joseph A. White, P. M. Melton, Berrv 
Bruton, S. J. Cheek, M. C. Davis, J. Hashaw, John 
Hyde, H. J. Johnson, George Ross, W. J. Shaw, H. F. 
Sutton, W. McMurry, J. j\I. Bearden, R. Brown, R. 
M. Dromgoole, A. R. Hashaw, P. M. Odum, J. B. 
Summers, H. V. Stahum, A. D. Hopkins, Robert F. 
Smith, J. W. Tredinger, John Williams, N. S. Brown- 
sheres, W. Davis, W. H. Johnson, J. W. Smith, A. J. 
J. Horton. 

Killed: P. ^I. Melton, Berry Bruton, S. J. Cheek, 
M. C. Davis, James Hashaw, John Hyde, H. J. John- 
son, George Ross, W. J. Shaw, all at Wells Hill Sep- 
tember 28, 1864. Died: William McMurry, IMay 21, 
1866; ]\I. Bearden, April 7, 1865; R. Baugh, January 
10, 1865 ; R. M. Dromgoole, lost on the steamer Sul- 

Company B, officers: First sergeant, J. M. Whitten ; 
second sergeant, W. T. Hopper; corporals. E. J. Spen- 
cer, L. W. Dawson, B. F. Parlon. 

Privates: J. Austin, G. W. Anglin, M. M. Brison, 
J. Black, John Burks, J. M, Chapman, J. R. Chapman, 
W. Cheek, H. J. Crow, W. A. Cooper, H. T. Forbes, 
H. Gorman, R. Holliday, W. H. Harland, R. Howard, 
M. L. Inge, A. F. Ingle, T. Johnson, James Keyton, 
J. Louden, J. H. ^Moore, T. Martingale, C. Newland, 
J. Prime, R. J. Rankin, W. W. Robinson, H. Riner, J. 
A. Robinson, J. K. Stone, M. Spencer, J. Shelton, D. 


History of DeKalb County 

D. Sanders, A. Tibbets, P. Trease, M. A. Thompson, 
W. W. Whitby, W. M. Whitehorn, J. Weaver, N. A. 
Whitehorn, M. P. Henry, D. S. Ingle, J. W. White- 
horn, J. A. Griffin, J. Golden, I. Trotter, John Pierce. 

Died: J. A. Griffin, April 15, 1865; J. Golden, 1865; 
I. Trotter, May 18, 1865. 

Company C, officers: Captain, A. C. Card; lieu- 
tenants, W, B. Overcast, R. Wiley; sergeants, E. D. 
Jones, J. E. Austin, W. N. Austin, James Greer, L. T, 
Larue; corporals, M. D. Smith, W. H. Stephenson, J. 
B. Cherry, J. S. Reese, Thomas Gore, J. S. Gibson, W. 
S. Cavett, John Armstrong, G. B. Baker. 

Privates: W. H. Stephenson, J. B. Cherry, J. S. 
Reese, T. G. Gee, J. E. Gibson, W. S. Cavett, John 
Armstrong, G. B. Baker, W. Baldwin, H. Bledsoe, J. 
Barron, L. F. Cain, H. Clark, G. W. Clark, W. H. 
Clark, W. J. Cochran, Peter Cochran, J. E. Cooper, 
A. Crane, N. B. Daniel, E. P. Estes, L. C. C. Estes, P. 
T. Fisher, J. L. Foster, J. E. Fox, J. Freeman, F. E. 
Glasscock, G. Glasscock, T. H. Grey, J. Hall, J. P. 
Hoskins, W. D. Hill, T. Johnson, W. Johnson, W. H. 
Kiser, J. O. Cumpie, A. Lamb, T. H. Lamb, G. W. 
Lock, David Lynch, W. G. Lynch, W. Malone, J. W. 
Mallard, H. E. McGowan, W. Melton, J. Moore, J. H. 
Neely, J. M. Orr, C. Overcast, A. Ferryman, W. R. 
Posey, J. J. Reeves, G. W. Reece, J. W. Reed, S. A 
Rundle, A. Shaw, Joab Slawtre, Hiram. J. A., and J. 
G. Smith, J. L. Stallings, J. Stone, C. Tarwater, J. H. 
Tucker, N. Walker, S. Williams, J. T. Glasscock. T. J. 
Hopper, I. D. Smith, Henry Thomas, Robert Wiley, 


History of DeKalb County 

T. F. Logsten, W. W. Waide, J. M. Austin, H. 
Holmes, Jonathan Johnson, H. L. McConnell, C. 
Mitchell, H. C. Moore, J. W. Prince, E. Seatons, W. 
H. Wright. 

Died: J. T. Glasscock, January lo, 1865; T. J. Hop- 
per, February 5, 1865 ; I. D. Smith, Andersonville 
Prison, March 10, 1865 ; Henry Thomas, of gunshot 
wounds in Bedford County. 

Company D, officers : Captain, Norton E. Quinn ; 
lieutenants, J. Henry Blackburn, T. G. Bratten; ser- 
geants, W. W. Colwell, J. B. Taylor, D. L. Floyd, J. 
W. Atwood, N. Hodges ; corporals, J. A. Colwell, Wil- 
liam Batts, John W. Vandergrift, W. Lawson, N. E. 
Brandy, J. McAlexander, William Coffee, H. C. Jen- 

Privates : P. Atkins, G. B. Anderson, J. A. Barnes, 
W. A. Barren, W. Bain, W. T. Blackburn, M. Brad- 
ley, A. J. Bennett, J. J. Bennett, W. Bullard, A. Certui, 
L. D. Colwell, Andrew Chumley, J. C. Clemmons, T. 
Davis, D. H. Davis, W. H. Fann, Joe B. Gilbert, C. W. 
Hollandsworth, J. D. Hall, T. J. Hays, Lawson Hall, 
T. J. Hale, John Herriman, Stephen Herriman, Sam 
P. Herriman, J. C. Hiddon, J. L. Jenkins, J. B. Kyle, 
J. Kenton, M. J. Luck, Jesse Lafever, C. Lawson, A. 
H. Leack, Bunk Malone, S. B. Morris, C. Mosby, T. 
Davis, W. Phillips, H. P. Pass, A. Ready, J. W. Rey- 
nolds, J. O. Rich, John Robertson, G. Stevens, J. E. 
Tedder, A. H. Thomason, J. Tuggle, H. M. Tuggle, 
P. N. Turner, George Turner, Henry Vandergriff. 
John Vandergriff, William Vandergriff, W. and 


History of DeKalb County 

Thomas Veri, Sam Vannata, G. A. Vansell, O. D. 
Williams, M. Wilson, T. L. Ray, J. F. Yeargin, O. D. 
Goodson, G. M. Jennings, W. A. Morgan, W. Benson, 
Irving Driver, W. L. Hathaway, T. Brennan, Thomas 
Hays, John Hollandsworth, C. Peterson, A. Smith - 

Killed: O. D. Goodson, Cannon County, March 15, 
1865, probably by guerrillas ; J. M. Jennings, same ; 
W. A. Morgan, battle of Nashville, December 17, 
1864. Died : W. Benson, May 10, 1865 ; Irving Driver, 
May 10, 1865. 

Company E, officers: Captain, Macadoo Vannata; 
first lieutenant, M. C. Vick; second lieutenant, James 
Williams ; first sergeant, Bove Oakley ; second ser- 
geant, W. J. Crook; third sergeant, J. M. Johnson; 
fourth sergeant, George Turner ; fifth sergeant, G. W. 
Martin ; corporals, C. Booker, A. C. Cox, Virgil Ray, 
J. Ricketts, H. McCork, A. Blythe, C. Manners, F. A. 
Right; bugler, Len R. Scott; smith, G. W. Lanier. 

Privates : J. N. Alexander, H, C. Bennett, J. Y. Ben- 
nett, T. Beadle, J. Crook, Tilman Crook, S. M. Chris- 
tian, Leonard Cantrell, J. Capshaw, William Conley, 
F. Culwell, J. W. Carroll, W. F. Craven, Berry Driver, 
H. H. Eskin, H. M. Fite, S. L. Gay, Leman Hale, J. 
Hickman, J. C. Huchens, Thomas Hass, T. Harris, J. 
Harden, A. Harris, W. R. Hill, J. Hill, J. Hodges, 
Francis Hollandsworth, S. Hughes, B. Hill, W. Jen- 
kins, T. P. James, James Keaton, William King, J. L. 
Kenard, J. Lawson, A. Lack, J. Manners, J. Maxfield, 
W. F. Metcalf, H. W. McGuire, Dous, John, James, 


History of DeKalb County 

and Joseph Oakley, A. Pack, Barn Page, W. R. Parris, 
S. H. Patterson, P. Roberts, J. H. Rany, J. F. Scott, 
R. Stewart, J. P. Smith, Manson Scott, Isaac Turner, 
J. Thomas, John M. Trammel, T. W. Trammel, 
Thomas W. Turner, William I. Turner, Barney Tay- 
lor, T. I. Vance, E. Williams, B. G. Warren, Leonard 
F. Woodside, E. C. Walker, W. J. Stokes, D. F. Floyd, 
Dallas Adkins. 

Company F, officers: Captain, William L. Hatha- 
way; first lieutenant, James H. White; second lieu- 
tenant, Elijah Robinson ; first sergeant, Ben Hall ; sec- 
ond sergeant, Tom Curtis; third sergeant, James 
Robinson; fourth sergeant, Seaborn Page; fifth ser- 
geant, W. B. Corley; corporals, John Hendrixon, 
Jesse Farler, Ike Gibbs, Daniel Hale, W. M. Moore, 
S. M. Pirtle, William Adamson, W. M. Short. 

Privates: L. J. Allison, Joe M. Banks, Thomas 
Biford, J. R. Cantrell, J. B. Carter, Asa Driver, J. M. 
Dunlap, Sim Estes, Isom Etheridge, Eli Evans, E. D. 
Fish, William Fitts, James Ford, Erastus D. Foster, 
Jonathan R. Fuson, James H. Fuson, J. M. Gilbert, 
Len Hathaway, J. B. Hardinlay, Smith Hendrixon, 
James R. Hicks, R. Hill, E. D. Hutchens, H. and I. C. 
Johnson, Tilman Joins, John Lasiter, Thomas Lead- 
better, L. B. Linsey, J. Linsey, Giles, R. E., and W. J. 
Martin, J. J. Maxwell, V. Mclntire, S. Neal, J. M., 
A., John, and Jacob Pack, Allen Page, Erwin Page, 
Wash Parsley, J. A. Parsley, J. F. Petit, J. E., Levi 
D., and C. H. Robinson, Ike Shehane, W. Snyder, E. 
Snow, John Smithson, E., J. T., Chesley, Bailey, and 


History of DeKalb County 

Henry Taylor, W. Thomas, Joseph Turner, R. Wood- 
ward, G. B. Woodward, J. M. Pack, A. L. Cummings, 
J. B. Edney, F. P. Kephart. 

Died: G. B. Woodward, J. M. Pack, April 8, 1865; 
A. L. Cummings, April 8, 1865. 

Company G, officers : Captain, James P. Patey ; first 
lieutenant, S. B. Whitlock ; second lieutenant, James 

A. Kitchings ; first sergeant, G. E. Coatney ; second 
sergeant, H. C. Barr}'; third sergeant, J. M. Enoch; 
fourth sergeant, A. Gwaltney; fifth sergeant, J. B. 
Barber ; corporals, T. H. Campbell, W. T. Allen, F. C. 
Allen, I. Manning. 

Privates : Henry H. Jones, D. B. Gwaltney, W 
Beasly, J. T. Highers, Jere Agee, J. D. Agee, W. B 
Agee, F. Adcock, Benjamin Allen, G. K. Baker, A. J 
Baker, Turner Barrett, N. B. Boulton, J. Bray, P. J 
Baker, Ben Bradley, F. E. Buckner, L. Chandler, G 
P. Campbell, A. H. Cowen, W. H. Corley, M. F. Coat- 
ney, Wamon Capshaw, William Cheek, Thomas Clark, 
Sam Denny, D. R. Enoch, T. F. Estes, W. Fuller, J. 

B. Farmer, J. Frederick, A. B. Fuller, A. Girins, John 
Gregory, C. G. Caskey, R. F. Hale, A. D. Helmantaler, 
W. D. Hudson, T. H. Hughes, J. Hunt, J. A. Hunt, 
Simeon Highers, B. A. James, G. D. King, B. F. Kid- 
well, E. H. Liggin, W. J. Lance, J. W. Merritt, D. A. 
Macon, Burrel Manning, T. B. Mathis, S. B. McDowel, 
S. W. Macon, William Moss, A. C, J., J. N., and T. 
Nolan, John Ogle, J. G. Parton, James Preston, Moses 
Preston, James Pritchett, John Prentice, W. T. Stal- 


History of DeKalb County 

ings, J. B. Smart, B. R, J. M., and W. J. Thomas, J. 
M. Watts, Dock Wilkerson, J. N. Webb, G. Williams, 
Sam Winfrey, G. B. Boultcn. 

Company H, officers : First lieutenant, J. T. Thomp- 
son; second lieutenant, T. H. Berry; sergeants, T. D. 
Sutney, James Weaver, J. R. Word, T. H. Lanham, 
J. W. Fisher; corporals, Paris Campbell, J. Campbell, 
D. S. Holt, W. N. Ricks, D. T. Thomison, W. S. 
Stuart, E. A. Barbee, W. A. Jacobs. 

Privates: T. M. Allen, S. H. Alexander, A. H. Ash- 
worth, W. E. Bond, J. W. Berry, T. J., J. F., and James 

F. Bell, W. Ball, G. and W. L. Biss, J. Berry, J. Bond, 

B. Craig, J. R. Cummings, J. H. Cunningham, B. 
Climer, Jim W. Carney, A. N. Cummings, J. A. Cun- 
ningham, J. C. Edwards, Ben Elkins, L. A. Farmer, 
J. Griffin, W. H. Gill, C. B. Griffin, J. Harrison, J. W. 
Herron, J. P. Henderson, L. F. Holland, J. W. James, 
William Kelly, H. B. Gurnan, J. M. Gurnan, H. A. 
Midgit, Presley Merritt, R. M. Porterfield, S. T. Por- 
terfield, G. W. Patterson, W. L. Singleton, William 
Springs, G. Springs, E. Shadwick, S. Spears, Z. F 
Spears, M, H. Thompson, J. R. Thompson, J. L., J 
M., and A. Tanner, Thomas Tuggle, R. F. Thomas 
W. Thompson, E. P. Tracy, I. N. Vaught, W. J 
Vaught, M. A. Wallace, R. H. Walker, M. Wintherly 

G. W., A. P., Ben, and William Williams, C. C. Wood 

C. H. Young, William Younger, George Oakley, James 
Oakley, James Yates. 

Died: James Oakley, of wounds, February 4. 1865. 


History of DeKalb County 

Company I, officers; Captain, John Simpson; first 
lieutenant, H. C. Sanders; second lieutenant, C. W. 
Meeker (later C. M. Pitts) ; first sergeant, G. W. 
Dimean; second sergeant, J. W. Fleman; third ser- 
geant, C. A, Bailiff ; fourth sergeant, T. J. Wilburn ; 
fifth sergeant, Joel Dodson ; corporals, T. W. Johnson, 
J. T. White, J. M. Haney, J. F. S. Hardaway, W. P. 
Conner, J. F. Rombo, J. C. Chambers, J. Walker. 

Privates : R, M. Adams, W. S. Ashen, James Allen, 
A. G. Barnes, N. F. Bishop, J. M. Bankston, Bird L. 
Bates, F. M. Barnett, D. O. Brown, F. M. Cassell, S. 
D. Eddie, D. C. Fleeman, D. G. Greer, C. G. Head, J. 
Head, J. Heath, W. W. Heath, M. Hart, R. Harring- 
ton, S. House, C. Jones, N, F. Jones, C. Jordan, O. 
Jordon, Thomas Keath, John Kirby, F. M. Keath, J. 
D. Lossen, James Laurence, Miles Leary, T. J. Lewis, 
R. J. Maxwell, A. Medley, L. McGinnis, Alfred Mor- 
ris, Thomas Malone, T. M. McCormack, J. A. Manley, 
J. F. and G. W. Majors, W. P. Maxwell, J. Mitchell, 
Isham A. Morris, S. McCroy, H. Nolly, J. Penny, A. 
L. Ferryman, D. E. Ferryman, W. Pearce, J, Reaves, 

D. R. Roberts, T. J. Riggs, T. L. Richardson, A. Riley, 
Ben Scaggs, J. H. Sandusky, W. F. Sandusky, J, J. 
Spray, P. Seay, T. Smith, L. D. Smith, J. G. Smith- 
son, J. T. Tanner, R. A. Thatch, J. R. Tubb, W. L. 
Todd, J. Wiley, J. Watson, L. D., W. H., and R. P. 
Williams, J. W. Todd, J. Tolman, John C. Conner, T. 
J. Hart, W. H. McClaffity, F. Spurlock, T. J. Welch, 
J. W. Armstrong, S. M. Baker, Eli Barnett, J. Baker, 
J. H. Crane, A. Gibbs, W. H. Gillan, W. J. Hollis, J. 

E. Sweeler, G. W. Smith, J. W. Worley. 


History of DeKalb County 

Died : John C. Conner, January 26, 1865 ; T. J. Hart, 
January 16, 1865; W. H. McClaffity, February 16, 
1865; F. Spurlock, February 8, 1865; T. J. Welch, 
February 8, 1865. 

Company K, officers: Captain, Rufus Dowdy; first 
lieutenant, H. T. Smallage ; second lieutenant, W. H, 
Wilhite ; first sergeant, John Parker ; second sergeant, 
James Wilhite; third sergeant, E. M. Long; fourth 
sergeant, J. F. Deck; fifth sergeant, F. Coatney; cor- 
porals, J. A. Hill, J. F. Mulligan, J. F. Koger, William 
Frederick, J. Cooper, D. Godsey, J. Stover, J. R. 

Privates: H. Armis, John, W., and Van Allen, J. 
M. Boyle, L. P. Baker, M. M. Bryan, B. H. Bracher, 

E. Bird, J. Bohanan, J. H. Briant, W. T. Curnley, John 
Courlington, E. Cash, H. Clark, D. C. Clark, Green 
P. Cantrell, H. I. Cooper, W. H. Capshaw, J. Cargill, 
H. L. Dox, William Duese, J. Dickson, C. C. Fowler, 

F. M. Ferguson, William Flowers, G. Goodman, Wil- 
liam Green, J. Godsey, W. B. Hill, R. Highers, G. W. 
Hendrixson, D. H. Hall, W. B. Hoyder, J. N. Johnson, 
R. M. Johnson, E. Jackson, L. Jackson, W. E. Jones, 
W. S. Kirby, L. Liles, J. F. Martin, Thomas Mason, 
J. H. Moore, John Maries, James Maires, R. L. New- 
man, J. Prater, G. W. Plumlee, A. Parker, R. Poe, J. 
S. Prater, G. W. Roberts, Jeff Reynolds, J. S., F., and 
A. Sliger, Asbury Scott, W. J. Smith, G. Stephens, S. 
Settle, R. Savage, J. R. Sisson, D. M. Southerland, 
William H. Southerland, A. J. Sells, J. H. Smith, J. 
A. Stone, G. A. Finch, A. J. Tucker, J. Whitaker, A. 


History of DeKalb County 

J. Williams, Marshall Walker, W. B. Davis, J. P. Hill, 
W. L. Hunter, T. jMcNair, J. E. Pritchard, W. A. 

A. J. Garrison made up a company (G) which be- 
came a part of the First Federal Regiment of Mounted 
Infantry, Col. A. E. Garrett. The regiment served 
mainly in the northeastern part of Middle Tennessee, 
having frequent encounters with guerrillas. Captain 
Garrison was born in DeKalb County of a pioneer 
family. He probably died in Arkansas, to which State 
he removed after the war. 

Company G, officers : Captain, Andrew J. Garrison ; 
lieutenants, L. N. Woodside, appointed March 21, 
1864; Elijah Bratten, appointed December 5, 1864. 

Privates : Stephen Barnes, C. A. Coe, John Conley, 
H. M. Crook, M. Harris, Amos Gilly, John Hill, Joe 
Herryman (i), Joe Herryman (2), B. Herrington, A. 
J. Hullet, William Jones, B. F. Jones, W. W. Jackson, 
Morris Marcum, G. W. Norton, I. N. Fite, James 
Waford, Francis Hall, Jo and John Parkerson, John 
Merritt, Mickeral Manners, John Rodgers, John Rey- 
nolds, R. Sullens, J. A. Taylor, M. A. Thomason, H. 
Vanover, S. O. Williams, Lem Barger, John Martin, 
William Scott, Newton Brown, Brax Malone, Thomas 
Bates, James Allen, W. B. Bates, N. Bradley, J. H. 
Bradley, G. Chatham, R. S. Dale, John G. Dale, O. P, 
Durham, W. B. Farmer, H. L. Farmer, J. H. Fite, 
Jason Foutch, W. J. Foutch, Josiah Hicks, John W. 
Hass, Joe Hullet, H. C. Hardcastle, Ainberson Corley, 


History of DeKalb County 

John Jones, W. W. Jackson, J. B. Lewis, J. B. IMalone, 
Daniel Mathis, Jo Neal, Levi Neal, William Pogue, 
Lem Parker, Oliver Patterson, Shadrack Robertson, 
William Reasonover, William Sewell, J. Scudder, 
George Thomason, James Woodside, Henry Wooden, 
O. Parkerson, Memphis Goodson, W. Midigett, W. H. 

Died : W. H. Adams, Ainberson Corley, Memphis 
Goodson. and W. Midigett, 1864: Oliver Patterson, 


Progress of the Big War. 

In Gen. M. J. Wright's volume, "Tennessee in the 
War," are listed the following fights which took place 
on DeKalb County soil from 1861 to the close of the 
War between the States : 

Alexandria, February 3-5, 1863; Smithville, June 
4, 5, 1863; Snow's Hill, April 2, 6, June 4, 1863; 
Liberty, January 21, 22, February 3-5, 17-20, March 
19, April 1-8, May 12, 16, June 4, 1863; Salem, March 
21, May 20, 1863; Salem Pike, June 12, 1863.* 

Some of these skirmishes were long-drawn-out, and 
of course they do not include occasional uncontested 
entrances of one side or the other into the county, such 
as the passing of Wheeler's Cavalry in 1864. 

It is seen in the list that almost every section of De- 
Kalb had some knowledge of war's alarms. Stokes's, 
Blackburn's, or Garrison's men frequently camped on 
their old Liberty stamping grounds. At this place 
there was for a while a negro company, maybe more, 
the headquarters being the Methodist church. The 
DeKalb County Federals built the stockade on the hill 
just west of Liberty, and while at Alexandria they 
occupied the fair grounds. Occasionally they were at 
Smithville, but only for short periods. Troops under 

*The number of battles and skirmishes in the entire State 
is given in Volume XII. of the "Confederate Military Histo- 
ry," and each is pointed out by date and location. The num- 
ber was seven hundred and seventy-four. 


History of DeKalb County 

Gen. J. T. Wilder or one or more of his colonels and 
other Federal officers made frequent forays from Mur- 
freesboro and Nashville via Auburn and Alexandria. 

While the writer was on the editorial staff of the 
Knoxville Evening Sentinel in 1898 General Wilder 
made occasional visits to the office, and when compil- 
ing the "History of Tennessee and Tennesseeans" in 
191 3 he requested the General to write of his experi- 
ences in Middle Tennessee. This was graciously 
agreed to, but later the General found it impossible 
to comply. However, there is an interesting biography 
of him in the history mentioned. He had the Liberty 
steam mill* burned and also William Vick's vacant 
storehouse. The latter was destroyed because the Con- 
federates had wheat stored in it. In the biography it 
is said: "He [Wilder] took a specially active part in 
the operations through Central Tennessee. At one 
time Rosecrans had ordered him to burn all the mills 
in this region of the State; but instead of destroying 
them he broke the principal gear, so that they could 
not be operated. When he reported to Rosecrans what 
he had done, the general told him he had disobeyed 
orders, but would excuse him that time." 

From the occupation of the county by Gen. John H. 
Morgan's forces date the series of skirmishes which 
took place therein. In the history of Morgan's Cav- 
alry Gen. B. W. Duke declares that the object was to 
defend Bragg's right wing after the latter had re- 

*After the destruction of the mill the citizens had to depend 
upon Crips's Mill, on Dry Creek, and that of William Bate, on 
Helton Creek. 

14 209 

History of DeKalb County 

treated following the battle of Murfreesboro, Decem- 
ber 3, 1862, to January i, 1863. This wing extended 
from Woodbury, Tenn., into Wayne County, Ky., a 
distance of one hundred and twenty miles. Liberty 
being the most important point on the line, strategi- 
cally considered, the main force was established there. 
Duke says also that they kept within safety of Snow's 
Hill; but he finally decided that this place of retreat, 
when the command was closely pursued, was not as 
safe as it had been regarded. 

Morgan's command reached Smithville January 4, 
1863. It remained there and at Sligo ten days. Then 
it marched to McMinnville, where the commander 
made his headquarters. On January 23 Col. John C. 
Breckinridge was ordered to move to Liberty with 
three regiments — the Third Kentucky, Lieutenant 
Colonel Hutchinson ; the Ninth Kentucky, Lieutenan: 
Colonel Stoner ; and the Ninth Tennessee, Colonel 
Ward. Col. A. R. Johnson was already in the vicinity 
of Liberty with the Tenth Kentucky. 

Capt. Thomas Quirk was sent ahead of the three 
regiments. He was an Irishman commanding sixty 
scouts. Before he could be supported, he was driven 
from the village by Federals, however. This must 
have been about January 21 or 22. 

When Colonel Breckinridge arrived he occupied the 
country immediately in front of Liberty, picketing all 
the roads. Shortly afterwards Colonel Stoner, with 
several companies, was ordered to Kentucky, leaving 
the Confederate force about one thousand effective 
men. There was a similar force in the neighborhood 


History of DeKalb County 

of McMinnville and Woodbury. During January, Feb- 
ruary, and March the Confederates were kept con- 
stantly scouting and making expeditions. Fights were 
of almost daily occurrence somewhere near the line 
they were defending. "Perhaps no period in the his- 
tory of Morgan's Cavalry can be cited in which more 
exciting service was performed," avers General Duke. 

General Stokes's troops, or a portion of them, were 
frequently with General Wilder's in making these 
forays into the county. The Stokes home was three 
miles down Smith Fork Creek, north of Liberty, and 
the Confederates had a great desire to capture its 
owner. One of the Kentucky soldiers, writing to the 
Confederate Veteran for September, 1898, says: 
' .Liberty is a village situated at the base of Snow's Hill, 
fifty miles due east from Nashville. Rome would 
have been a better name for the town, as it seemed that 
all the pikes and dirt roads in Tennessee led to Liberty. 
. . . Somewhere on the road between Liberty and 
Cumberland [Caney Fork] River there lived at that 
time a Col. Bill Stokes, an officer of some note, of 
whom we heard a good deal in time of the war. It was 
Colonel Ward's ambition, as well as that of his men, 
who were Tennesseeans, to capture Colonel Stokes, 
and they made diligent search for him and at the same 
time guarded his house closely with the expectation of 
finding Colonel Stokes at home." 

While Lieut. G. C. Ridley was with Morgan's force 
at Liberty in 1863 he received an order to select ten 
picked men to go by way of Alexandria, Lebanon, and 
Goodlettsville and send a messenger on the quiet to 


History of DeKalb County 

Nashville to ascertain the location of the Federals and 
their approaches. Near Payne's Ferry, on the Cum- 
berland River, they found a young lady willing" to make 
the secret trip into Nashville. In twelve hours siie 
was back with a complete diagram. Receiving it. Lieu- 
tenant Ridley started back posthaste, but soon learned 
that General Wilder with a large force had marched 
from Murfreesboro by way of Lebanon and Alexan- 
dria to attack Liberty. Ridley changed his course for 
Columbia, going by Peytonville, Williamson County. 
Near the latter place he was chased by Cross' South- 
ern guerrillas, who thought he was a Federal. Lieu- 
tenant Ridley and squad finally reached General For- 
rest at Columbia. 

Speaking of General Wilder, he was once assisted 
into DeKalb County by a Union girl. She was Miss 
Mary, daughter of Dr. J. W. Bowen, of Gordonsville. 
He had started out from Nashville with seven scouts. 
These scouts were captured by Confederates, all 
wounded, five dying from their wounds. General 
Wilder reached Gordonsville after dark. Dr. Rowen 
being absent, Miss Bowen volunteered to act as his 
guide to Smithville. It was dark and rainy, but the 
trip was successfully made. Miss Bowen became Mrs. 
Aust, mother of John R. Aust, a prominent lawyer at 

On January 29, 1863, General Morgan, with Major 
Steele, Captain Carroll, and a few men, came to Liberty 
from McMinnville and selected fifty men to enter 
Nashville stealthily, burn the commissary stores, and in 
the confusion of the fire make their escape. Among 


History of DeKalb County 

these intrepid scouts was Captain Quirk. But at 
Stewart's Ferry, on Stone's River, they met the cap- 
tain of a Michigan regiment with twenty men. For 
a while the enemy conversed, Morgan claiming to be 
Captain Johnson, of the Fifth Kentucky Regiment of 
Federals. Presently the Federals saw under their over- 
coats the Confederates' gray pants. This spoiled the 
raid ; for while fifteen of the Federals were captured, 
the others reached Nashville and gave the alarm. 

Before Mr. B. L. Ridley, of Murfreesboro, became 
a lieutenant on the staff of Lieut. Gen. A, P. Stewart 
he was a private in Colonel Ward's regiment, camped 
at Liberty. In a letter dated March 23, 1914, he writes : 

I was a boy then — had been in the war a good while before, 
but had never regularly enlisted until Morgan settled down in 
Liberty. Our quarters for the winter were near where the 
pike runs through between the creek and the hillside, forming 
a covered road [Allen's Bluff]. We were just north of the 
road that runs toward Woodbury, and my regiment guarded 
that road. We also scouted toward Auburn and Alexandria; 
and on one occasion Colonel Ward took us over to near Car- 
thage, where we captured a big wagon train and a large escort 
of guards. All the prisoners we marched through Liberty to 
the rear, 

Rosecrans was stationed at Murfreesboro, and General 
Wilder was one of our adversaries. With him was Stokes's 
regiment. The latter, with Wilder's support, made frequent 
raids upon us. They came out on foraging expeditions and 
a number of times drove us back to Snow's Hill. Sometimes 
Federal parties would go out on the Woodbury Pike to Mc- 
Minnville. Then we would intercept the raiders by marching 
out from Liberty and threatening the rear, when they would 
get back toward Murfreesboro. My company was often made 
to picket the Woodbury [Clear Fork] Road. One day our 


History of DeKalb County 

base was near the house of a man who seemed to have two 
hundred chickens. He looked as surly as a snarling cur. His 
folks were in the Yankee army, and he was no doubt a home 
gfuard. We tried to buy some of his chickens, but he would 
not sell. Anyhow, the boys captured twenty-five and hid 
them. The officers found it out, and we had to carry them 
back. He refused even to give us one or two! 

We got the wife of one of Stokes's cavalry to wash our 
clothes and cook our rations. We made a contract with her 
that if we captured her husband we would treat him kindly 
if she promised she would make him be kind if he captured 
us. She agreed. But after the war Favor Cason told me it 
was fortunate that we did not fall into that fellow's hands, 
as he was a cutthroat. I have forgotten his name. 

Together with my brother, I called on Mrs. W. B. Stokes, 
and she treated us kindly. 

All of these raids were made by General Wilder, but 
Stokes's cavalry was usually with him. 

While at Liberty the battle of Milton came off. Captain 
Cossett, of my company, being killed by my side. He was 
under arrest for writing a letter to President Davis asking 
for a pass to slip into the Federal lines and kill Abe Lincoln, 
but, securing weapons, went into the fight.* 

The battle of Milton took place March 20, 1863. 
Early that morning Morgan's men at Liberty were 
notified to hasten toward Milton and attack Colonel 
Hall, who had already driven the Confederate outposts 
to within a few miles of Liberty. All was excitement. 
The pike from the village was crowded with horsemen, 

*A11 Americans have heard of the assassination of Presi- 
dent Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, the actor. Few have 
heard that it was meditated two years previously by a soldier 
in camp at Liberty. Were Booth and Captain Cossett ren- 
dered insane by brooding over the war and its havoc? 


History of DeKalb County 

first in a gallop, then in a wild dash toward Auburn. 
Many horses fell, but the Confederates passed through 
Auburn amid cheers and waving of handkerchiefs by 
the citizens. Colonel Hall retreated, but was over- 
taken and forced to fight: then came the pop of small 
arms, the roar of cannon, and the yells of the con- 
testants. The battle was stubborn and long. It lasted 
three hours, the Confederate loss being about three 
hundred. Morgan's ammunition gave out, and he had 
to withdraw. The Federals went back to Murfrees- 
boro, the Confederates to Liberty. Captains Cossett, 
Cooper, Sale, and Marr were killed. 

When Morgan reached Liberty with his two thou- 
sand cavalry the citizens looked on a sight they would 
always remember — the dead cavalrymen tied on horses 
and the dead artillerymen strapped on the caisson and 
gun carriages. 

The St. Louis writer to the Confederate Veteran, 
R. L. Thompson, mentioned a while ago, was a soldier 
at Liberty at this time. In his article he says of the 
battle of Milton: "While in camp at Liberty I remem- 
ber one morning about two o'clock, while the cold rain 
was pouring down, Cooper the bugler gave the boots 
and saddle call quick and lively. At the same time 
Johnson's pickets were hotly engaged on the Murfrees- 
boro Pike. We went briskly toward the sounds of the 
guns and continued to go until we reached the town 
of Milton. There we found General Morgan with a 
part of his force in battle with Federal infantry. Two 
batteries were engaged in a duel when we arrived. As 
soon as our regiment put in its appearance the Federal 


History of DeKalb County 

battery began firing on our column. , . . One shell 
stopped at our feet, and Comrade Judge emptied his 
canteen of water on it, extinguishing the fuse. We 
dismounted and entered a large cedar thicket, the 
ground being covered with large rock which sheltered 
us from bullets. When the battle ceased we withdrew, 
bringing the dead and wounded away, all that we could 
find, on our horses, the dead tied on. The battery re- 
moved its killed and wounded in the same way, the dead 
strapped on the caisson and gun carriages." 

The writer recalls this scene of the dead soldiers. 
The day was cool and cloudy. The main street was 
then about where W. L. Vick's business house stood 
in 1814. At this point the command halted. Some 
of the wagons with the dead were near the yard fence 
of the writer's home. 

A former DeKalb Countian and a gentleman of 
veracity writes: "An incident of the Milton fight I 
remember very distinctly. I was then at Sligo Ferry, 
a small boy. My father had been paroled and had 
taken his family to Sligo. Captain Ragen, of Mor- 
gan's command, was sick at our house. Learning of 
the probable fighting at Milton, he went to his com- 
mand against my mother's protest. Leaving one day, 
he was killed the next. I presume he was one of the 
dead men brought through Liberty tied on horses. 
Another incident : The Kentuckians at one time were 
camped in the woods on our place at Sligo. They had 
no tents. One mess, sleeping behind a log, were, with 
the exception of one man, killed by a falling tree. All 
were buried at Sligo. My mother took their trinkets 


History of DeKalb County 

and forwarded the same to their relatives. After- 
wards their remains were removed, I think, to Ver- 
sailles, Ky. About eight years ago I was on a train 
going from Louisville to Chicago and met a very 
handsome gentleman, finely dressed and prosperous- 
looking. I cannot now recall his name, but in the 
course of conversation I learned that he was the 
soldier who escaped death from the falling tree. He 
had been hurt, but not seriously." 


Personal Experiences. 

During the winter and spring of 1863 the Federals 
advanced three times in heavy force against Liberty — 
cavalry, infantry, and artillery. On these occasions 
the noncombatants went in droves to the hills north- 
west of town for protection, stopping either at the 
home of John Bethel or that of Thomas Richardson. 
From Bethel's the movements of the troops could be 
seen. If the Confederates were beaten and pushed 
back on Snow's Hill, they often followed the pur- 
suers when the latter retired. 

While all this was occurring Allison's Squadron fre- 
quently took part. Not infrequently it was engaged 
alone with the enemy. James H. Burton, of the squad- 
ron, relates this experience: "On one occasion a part 
of the battalion was camped in the beech grove near 
Daniel Smith's, just north of Liberty — about seventy- 
five men, portions of the three companies. Lieut. D. 
Brien was in command of the picket guard of ten men. 
He placed a vidette at the corner of the two streets, 
where stood the storehouse of William Vick that was 
burned. The picket guard were all the troops whose 
horses were saddled, when a stranger came along with 
a wounded horse and told us that a large force of Fed- 
erals had fired on him at the forks of the pike, two 
miles west of Liberty. The guard went to meet them 
and did meet them not far from Salem Church. We 
fired a volley, and then the race back through the vil- 


History of DeKalb County 

lage and toward Snow's Hill began. All the guard had 
an even start, but by the time I reached Leonard 
Moore's (about the center of Liberty) I was at least 
seventy-five yards ahead and constantly gaining. 1 
soon made the turn down the main street and heard no 
more bullets. When the Yankees began shooting down 
the main street I had made the turn for the bridge. 
Keeping the advantage to the end, I beat the other 
guards about one hundred yards. The boys guyed me 
for leaving them. I resented this, when Colonel Alli- 
son said he saw the race from start to finish and that 
I came out ahead only because I had the best horse," 

Mr. Burton adds : "When the picket guard reached 
the command north of Daniel Smith's, the boys were 
mounted, and a running fight occurred to Dry Creek 
bridge. Here Company C, under Capt. R. V. Wright, 
stopped and waited for the Federals, then fired when 
they came up, checking them for a short time. At the 
Stanford home Company B, under Captain Reece, was 
left on the south side of the pike. His men, when the 
Federals approached, fired again, checking them the 
second time. Company A was left behind Asbury 
Church, and it held the enemy back till our company 
wagons, loaded with bacon, got well up Snow's Hill. 
The bacon was what we were fighting for. One of 
our men, Tom Coleman, was slightly wounded in the 
foot by a spent ball. In the skirmish at Dry Creek 
bridge Lieut. D. Brien's horse got away from him. 
He could not be caught, and, seeing the Federals would 
get the animal, Brien ordered the men to shoot him. 
At Stanford's place a good roan horse came into our 


History of DeKalb County 

lines, and Lieutenant Brien got him. He had blood on 
the saddle and a Spencer rifle and belt of cartridges on 
the saddle horn. There were seventy-five men all told 
on our side, and fifteen hundred Federals. They 
thought we were the advance guard of Morgan's Cav- 
alry. If they had known our real strength, they would 
have made short work of us. I never knew till I came 
to Arkansas that we hit any of the enemy, when Frank 
Dowell told me they used his barn for a hospital ; that 
four died, and he thought four more died later. Dowell 
lived near the Dry Creek bridge." 

A considerable fight came off near the intersection 
of the Murfreesboro and Lebanon roads, or the forks 
of the pikes. Lieut. Ed Reece, Vv^ho took part, tells 
this incident in connection with the affair: Capt. Jack 
Recce's company of Allison's Squadron, which usually 
camped near Alexandria, left the camps on Helton 
Creek, going west toward Wilson County. They were 
scouting for Yankees. None being discovered, they 
made a fierce attack on John Barleycorn, intrenched at 
Isaac Smith's stillhouse, on the road leading north 
from the present store or post office called Mahone. 
Turning back toward Alexandria directly, they 
learned of an engagement going on near the forks of 
the pike and galloped in that direction. Reaching the 
scene of battle. Captain Reece and his troopers took a 
position in the woods and awaited orders. While there 
Colonel Allison and the remainder of the squadron 

"Captain Reece," said Allison, "you have no busi- 
ness here. Withdraw your company." "Colonel AlH- 


History of DeKalb County 

son," was the reply [Captain Reece feeling the stimu- 
lus yet over the victory of John Barleycorn], "Com- 
pany B will remain where it is." "Captain Reece, you 
are drunk," asserted Allison. "Colonel Allison," 
snapped Reece, "you're a damned liar." 

At this the two urged their horses nearer each other 
and on horseback engaged in a savage fist-and-skull 
battle. When both were nearly out of breath, and it 
was forced upon all that their energies were needed 
against the common enemy, comrades interfered. 

Isaiah White was in this skirmish, and he says the 
Federals and Confederates were so near each other 
that he recognized acquaintances on the Federal side — 
Captain Hathaway, Colonel Blackburn, and others. 
H. L. Hale, recalling boyish memories of these occa- 
sions, says that there were times, as the Confederates 
were pushed back stubbornly through Liberty and 
north toward Snow's Hill, when the opposing forces 
were only a few hundred yards apart. Part of 
Stokes's Regiment was advancing one day, and he saw 
Miss Mattie Hathaway run out to the front gate and 
speak a few words to her sweetheart, Capt. W. L. 
Hathaway, while bullets were whizzing around them. 

Skirmishes were so frequent that comparatively 
slight disturbances would put the citizens and soldiers 
in commotion. About sunset on one occasion a tre- 
mendous roar, somewhat resembling the roll of thun- 
der, was heard westward. Confederates at supper in 
the writer's home hastened to the street. The sound 
grew louder as the moments passed. The mystery was 
soon solved. A Federal wagon train had been cap- 


History of DeKalb County 

tured, and the captors were forcing the teamsters to 
drive their fastest. This may have been the train men- 
tioned elsewhere by Lieutenant Ridley. It proved a 
rich haul. That evening boxes were opened and the 
Confederates' hosts and hostesses given many fine 

The following notes may be of interest, some of 
them being illuminative of village life during war 
times : 

In January, 1863, Maj. J. P. Austin and Capt. Wil- 
liam Roberts, Confederates, with fifty men, left Liberty 
for the Andrew Jackson home to capture a squad of 
Federal couriers stationed there. Passing through 
Alexandria, then between Lebanon and Baird's Mills, 
they reached the Hermitage by midnight. The couriers 
having left, Morgan's men repaired to Lavergne, 
where, finding the enemy barricaded in a log house, 
they captured the latter, thirteen in number, and car- 
ried them to Liberty. By the way, during the time 
Morgan's men were in the county, says General Duke, 
they captured more Federals than there were eflfective 
men in Morgan's command. 

In a sharp fight at Lavergne between DeKalb Fed- 
erals and a force of Confederates Charley Blackburn, 
brother of Col. Joe Blackburn, was killed. 

There were a number of tragedies in the county. 
Sim Adamson, who had been in the Confederate army, 
was killed near Alexandria. Mon Adkins, a Union 
soldier, was killed by Capt. Jack Garrison, at the lat- 
ter's home, near Forks-of-the-Pike, at the close of the 


History of DeKalb County 

war. James Hays, a young man, and Mr. Bullard, an 
aged citizen, were brought to Liberty by Federals, 
tried by court-martial, and shot. A Confederate sol- 
dier was killed in a field near Salem Church. The 
killing of several Union soldiers at Smithville by Pomp 
Kersey's raiders is mentioned in this work. A Confed- 
erate prisoner named Parrish was killed one night in 
Alexandria by the Federal soldier guarding him. 
While conscripting to recruit Allison's Squadron at 
Alexandria John Bowman was slain. 

Sometimes when the Confederates would chase the 
Federals out of Liberty it was a good opportunity for 
the wives of secessionists to get together and rejoice in 
secret. There was one lady, Polly Hayes Knight, who 
lived three or four miles away, truly a feminine fire- 
eater, and who frequently came to the writer's home 
with no other object, as she said, than to "indulge in a 
big laugh over some unhappy defeat of the Yanks." 
The stories she told and the laughter she and her 
listeners indulged in were really refreshing. One day 
while there Mrs. "Puss" Turner, the wife of a Union- 
ist and one of the sweetest of the neighbor women, 
came in, 

"I was passing the house of Spicy Combs just now," 
she said. [Spicy was the wife of a rather sorry Fed- 
eral soldier named Bill Holly, but was always called 
by her former husband's name.] "She called me in to 
taste some sweet cakes she had just baked." "And you 
found them very crisp and nice?" she was asked. "I 
will let you say," said she, "when I tell you that I could 


History of DeKalb County 

have put my toe on the edge of one of those cakes and 
stretched the other side to the overhead ceiHng."* 

During the stay of Morgan's men at Liberty, Quirk's 
Scouts especially made friends with both Union and 
Confederate sympathizers. While snow was on the 
ground the soldiers would encourage the village lads 
to engage in cob battles and greatly enjoyed them. 
With jMorgan's troops was a seventeen-year-old youth 
named John A. Wyeth. He is to-day one of the lead- 
ing physicians and surgeons of New York and author 
of the finest life yet written of General Forrest. The 
writer of these annals recalls one Federal soldier whom 
the three boys in his home learned to love — Joe Baker, 
probably with a regiment of Kentuckians. He was 
kind-hearted and loved nothing better than to romp 
with the children. A well-remembered Kentucky 
Confederate trooper of Morgan's command was JeflF 
Citizen, who was bibulous. When drinking he dis- 
ported on his calico mule and sang continuously and 
unmusically : 

*Was there at any time during the war a United States, 
Confederate States, or Tennessee statute or license providing 
for something in the nature of trial or special marriages for 
the soldiers? As a small lad the writer heard such a thing 
discussed at Liberty, and there was a mutual-consent contract 
of the kind there between a soldier from another State and 
a widow. They cohabited about six months, when the soldier 
was called to some other section. The marriage thus an- 
nulled by mutual consent, the woman some months later 
married another man according to the conventional law. This 
is not a dream ; others remember the facts. 


History of DeKalb County 

I lay ten dollars down, 

And bet them every one, 
That every time we have a fight 

The Yankees they will run. 

Mr. B. G. Slaughter, formerly of Quirk's Confed- 
erate scouts, but after the war editor of the Winchester 
(Tenn.) Home Journal, wrote W. L. Vick in 1902, 
something of the scouts' stay in Liberty. He says 
that Captain Quirk had headquarters in the Methodist 
church, and his men were quartered near, taking meals 
with the villagers, Union and secession.* He recalled 
his own host's family, "a gentle wife and daughter and 
peaceful-faced old gentleman, who had a son-in-law 
in Stokes's Cavalry." Mr. Slaughter adds : "On one 
occasion we were on scout toward Murfreesboro — I 
think to a point about three miles from Liberty. We 
had just gone down a long slant through a wooded 
country to a branch emptying into Smith Fork (which 
flowed parallel with the pike). The bridge over the 
branch had been washed out, or else the floor had been 
removed by the Federals that morning as a trap should 
they force us to retreat. The place was a deep gulch. 
We had to take a stock path above the bridge to cross 
and get back to the pike. We had not gone far — little 
more than a mile — when we reached a glade to our 
right, where a dirt road intersected the pike at right 
angles, though pointing from us. Just beyond this 

*The writer of this history remembers having been often 
aroused from slumber by the songs of the scouts— Jim Mc- 
Gowdy, Bill McCreary, and others — singing "Lorena" or 
"Tenting on the Old Camp Ground." They were a jovial set. 
15 225 

History of DeKalb County 

Captain Quirk called a consultation. It was decided 
that the Yankees were 'laying' for us, a larger force 
than ours. He called me by my camp name, 'Squirrel,' 
and ordered me to go back to camp and bring all our 
men fit for duty, cautioning me that the Yankees might 
cut me off just ahead. With a dash I began the daring 
ride. At the intersection of the dirt road and pike I 
saw two bluecoats under spur to cut me off. They 
commanded me to halt, but I went down the pike, the 
enemy in pursuit. They were no doubt confident of 
capturing me at the floorless bridge. They were gain- 
ing ground; but with a firm, steady pull old sorrel 
Charley cleared the breach, a distance of nearly twenty 
feet and deep enough to have killed rider and horse. 
The animal did not make a check on the other side. 
With a loud cheer and a parting shot I soon left the 

The bridge mentioned was probably near the present 
residence of Grant Roy, the county surveyor. 

Alexandria did not escape the excitement of the 
times. Besides the encampment of local soldiers, Gen- 
eral Wheeler, General Wharton, Colonel Smith, and 
Colonel Harrison (of the Eighth Texas) were fa- 
miliar in that and the surrounding communities. They 
were camped on the various roads — Carthage, States- 
ville, Lebanon, and Murfreesboro. It was from Alex- 
andria that General Morgan started on his famous raid 
through Ohio and Indiana. 

Sometime during the war an old Scotch word "ske- 
daddle," which was applied to milk spilt over the pail 
in carrying it, was made to take on a new meaning. 


History of DeKalb County 

The Northern papers said the Southern forces were 
skedaddled by the Federals. The word soon became 
common. Many rich stories were told of how the 
DeKalb County noncombatants would flee from their 
homes when the enemy dashed suddenly into a com- 
munity. Perhaps one of the best is that in which Hon. 
Horace A. Overall figured. A number of skedaddlers 
on a very cold night were sleeping in a barn at the 
head of one of the Clear Fork hollows, among them a 
rather simple-minded man. This man about midnight 
awoke his comrades with the startling news that the 
Yankees were coming. "How do you know its Yan- 
kees?" he was asked. "Because I hear Patsy Spur- 
lock's dogs barkin' down the branch," was the reply. 
"But before I take the bitter cold," said Overall, crawl- 
ing back into the hay, "you'll have to convince me that 
Patsy Spurlock's dogs won't bark at anything but Yan- 

The following, contributed to a newspaper some 
years ago by the writer, has to do with a very small 
lad's memories of the time that tried the soul : 

It does not appear now that war times in our village were 
so unpleasant. But at moments the childish heart must have 
been filled with fear. I remember the sudden dash of soldiers 
into the village now and then, the popping reports, the scam- 
pering to a hiding place by noncombatants. One late afternoon 
some Confederates took the village, but all I remember of that 
occasion is that one of the men entered Joe Blackburn's stable 
and took out a fine stallion. On another afternoon old Mr. 
Bullard was executed east of the steam mill, and four Feder- 
als, ahold of his hands and feet, brought him up the street. I 
noted that his hair hung down and his coat tail dragged on the 


History of DeKalb County 

ground. There was a night when we were awakened by ex- 
cited citizens on the street. Some one explained that "Uncle 
Ben Blades has been killed in his own house and is swelling 
badly." My mother told the informant to put a small bag of 
salt on his stomach, and it would prevent swelling. Jim Clark, 
a youth, had been killed on another occasion by Pomp Kersey's 
men. Often that day I looked across the fields toward his 
home, saw the crowd of sympathizing friends gathered before 
his burial, and wondered how he looked and how his father 
comported himself. General Wilder's men burned a store- 
house in the village. Doubtless there was fear in many hearts, 
but I only noticed how black the smoke was that bulged out 
of the chimney. Then when he burned the big mill, and I 
stood looking out the south window, again I was attracted 
mainly to the black volume rolling up from the smokestack. 
I mar\'eled greatly when I saw on the ruins of the store 
molten glass ; that it could be melted was something I had not 
known. One late summer afternoon an ox team toiled up the 
village street, stopping in front of the John Hays storehouse, 
which, like all others, was vacant. Seven or eight dead bod- 
ies, piled on the cart like rails, were carried in and laid on the 
floor — all that was left of Kersey's guerrillas. In one room in 
our home there were two beds, my father occupying one with 
the youngest child, Bruce, and my mother the other with two 
children. Suddenly one midnight the hysterical wife of a 
Union soldier in night clothes rapped at the door, imploring 
us to admit her quickly. My mother opened the door, when 
the woman, in the darkness and while in terror crying that the 
Rebels had entered the town, jumped into the wrong bed! 


Regular and Guerrilla Warfare. 

The most important battle in the county took place 
in the spring of 1863. It seems to have been expected 
by Morgan's command at Liberty, for the scouts — 
the eyes of an army — were out all night in the direction 
of both Auburn and Alexandria. 

Burns's Confederate Battery was posted on one of 
the hillsides east or northeast of the village, where it 
could be trained on the bridge and turnpike at the 
northern extremity of the town. At various distances 
on the turnpike between Liberty and Snow's Hill were 
stationed forces of Confederates. Allison's Squadron 
was engaged in this affair, as well as Morgan's com- 

After daylight the Federals appeared in force some 
distance west of the village. They were met by the 
Second Kentucky and Quirk's Scouts. Charged upon 
vigorously, the Confederates retreated. It was a 
miracle that they were able to pass through the covered 
bridge. It was here that Burns's artillery did good 
work. As the Confederates choked the bridge, the 
battery opened up on the Federals swarming out the 
north end of the village, checking them sufficiently to 
allow the Confederates to pass through the bridge. 

By this time the Federals had from the northwest 
trained their cannon on their foes, and soon Burns's 
Battery started for Snow's Hill. 

There was a stubborn fight all along the road, and 


History of DeKalb County 

at last Snow's Hill was reached, where the Confeder- 
ates made a stand, though not for long. It was soon 
ascertained that a column of Federals had gone up 
Dry Creek and out the Manhill road to strike them in 
the rear and cut them off completely from escape. 
This road passes by the farm of the widow George 
Turner, through the Farler hollow, gradually climbs 
the southern side of Snow's Hill, and intersects with 
the stage road near the Atwell schoolhouse, east of 
where the Confederates made their stand. 

Discovering tlie intention of the enemy, Colonel 
Huffman, with the Third Kentucky Confederates, was 
sent to check them, but did not reach the gap in time. 
However, he delayed the advance guard until the 
troops of Colonel Breckinridge (now retreating) had 
passed the point where the Union cavalry might have 
cut them off from Smithville seven miles east. 

Lieutenant Ridley, already quoted, says further in 
his letter : "I recollect well that Snow's Hill fight. Gen- 
eral Morgan was at McMinnville that day. The enemy 
commenced pushing us back about daybreak from the 
intersection of the Auburn and Alexandria Pike, grad- 
ually driving us to Snow's Hill. Our regiment was 
on the hill, and our troops formed all the way from 
the hill to the rear of about where Colonel Stokes's 
residence was. Our artillery was planted on the pike 
approaching the hill (I believe it was Burns's Battery), 
and we had an artillery duel for several hours. After 
a while we were ordered to form a line of battle in the 
rear of Snow's Hill, on the Dry Creek road. Quirk's 
Scouts, it seems, were fighting Captain Blackburn, of 


History of DeKalb County 

Stokes's Cavalry, on that road and falling back on us. 
The Dry Creek road at that point flanked the hill. As 
we lay there, two or three other regiments formed be- 
hind us, and our orders were, if too heavily pressed, to 
fire and fall back on these regiments. 

"Suddenly we saw the Yankees coming around the 
hill on the Dry Creek road. Some of the men said it 
was Joe Blackburn in lead of the cavalry. We fell 
back on Duke's Regiment, while they fell back on an- 
other regiment, so that we were all jumbled up to- 
gether. Then our stampede began. It was said that 
some of Stokes's cavalry recognized Captain Petticord 
in our retreating troops. They had gotten out of am- 
munition, but we were stampeded like cattle on the 
prairie, and they dashed along behind us, calling : 'Halt 
there, Petticord! Halt!' About this time I, with my 
little pony that couldn't run, and Captain Sisson were 
about to be captured, when the pony ran into a mud- 
hole. It fell over two or three other horses that had 
likewise floundered. My mouth was soon full of mud. 
Captain Sisson had two loads in his navy and fired 
them at our pursuers, who were also out of ammuni- 
tion. These were the last shots of the famous stam- 
pede, and they stopped the pursuers. Our command 
moved on to Smithville and from there to ]\IcMinn- 
ville. All scattered and broken up, we met Duke and 
Morgan, who rallied us and took us back. The diffi- 
culty with us was that Morgan had not been married 
long and was with that good wife at McMinnville, and 
our organization was bad. 

"We 'seesaw^ed' after this, fought the battle of 


History of DeKalb County 

Greasy Creek, Ky., and went back to Liberty. It was 
at Liberty that I got my commission as additional 
aid to General Stewart." 

Several men were killed in this fight and were 
buried near the old Atwell schoolhouse, on Snow's 
Hill. Dr. J. A. Fuson, of Dry Creek, turned his dwell- 
ing into a hospital and treated the wounded free of 

According to General Duke, the Confederates re- 
turned to Liberty on April 7, 1863, in obedience to 
orders from General Wheeler, who had reached Alex- 
andria with Wharton's Division. Two or three days 
later Wheeler, with a small force, proceeded to Leba- 
non, where he remained three days. "During that 
time," to quote Duke, "the enemy advanced once more 
from Murfreesboro, but retreated before reaching our 
pickets. Upon our return from Lebanon only a por- 
tion of the forces were sent to Alexandria ; more than 
half, under command of General Wheeler, passed 
through Rome to the immediate vicinity of Carthage. 
Remaining there during the night, General Wheeler 
fell back toward Alexandria, reaching that place about 
I or 2 P.M. Wharton's Division was again encamped 
here, and Morgan's Division, under my command, was 
sent to Liberty, except Smith's Regiment, which was 
stationed near Alexandria." 

In the latter part of April the First Brigade made 
headquarters at Alexandria, encamping on the Leba- 
non Pike and the roads to Carthage and Statesville. 
The country around Alexandria, Auburn, and States- 
ville was scouted in every direction, for Federal spies 


History of DeKalb County 

were numerous. On June lo General Morgan himself 
arrived at Alexandria, and orders were issued to march 
the next day. The great raider was about to start 
from DeKalb County on his expedition into Indiana 
and Ohio. His fighting in Middle Tennessee was over. 

It should be added that while raiding in Indiana and 
Ohio he was captured. Escaping from prison, he was 
soon in East Tennessee, reaching Greeneville on Sep- 
tember 3, 1864, and making his headquarters at the 
residence of a Mrs. Williams. About daylight on the 
4th some Union soldiers, dashing into town, surprised 
and killed him. Duke seems to think he was betrayed 
by Mrs. Williams's daughter-in-law; but Scott and 
Angel, authors of a history of the Thirteenth East 
Tennessee Regiment of Union Cavalry, say that a 
twelve- or thirteen-year-old boy, James Leady, went to 
Bull's Gap and informed General Gillem of the pres- 
ence of the Confederates in Greeneville. 

Of course the county was still to suffer from the 
presence of soldiers. In less than a year from the de- 
parture of Morgan's Cavalry a corpse was brought to 
Liberty from White County which told of a disaster to 
DeKalb Federals. It was that of George C. (Kit) 
Turney, a very popular young man of the Clear Fork 
country, who had been serving under Stokes. He was 
killed February 22, 1864, in the battle of the Calf Killer 
by White County Confederates. 

That battle was really a massacre. Stokes was sta- 
tioned at Sparta. It is said he had raised the black flag. 
No quarter was to be given to such men as Champe 
Ferguson, George Carter, John M. Hughes, W. S. 


History of DeKalb County 

Bledsoe, Gatewood, and other guerrillas. In February, 
1864, he sent out a company to hunt down the guer- 
rillas. Hughes heard of it and mustered a force to at- 
tack the Federals, who were commanded by Capt. E. 
W. Bass, The guerrillas, about forty, hid in ambush 
in Dry Valley, on the headwaters of the Calf Killer, 
and fired into Bass's unsuspecting company, killing 
forty or fifty. The remainder fled to Sparta, probably 
without firing a shot. One White County gentleman 
who saw the dead Federals after they were brought in 
says that thirty-eight were shot through the head and 
three had been killed with stones. Among the names 
of the slain, besides Kit Turney, were Ben Fuston, Jim 
Fuston, Henry Hendrixon, Jerry Hendrixon, David 
Grandstaff, J. B. Moore, David A. Farmer, Joseph 
Hail, Jonathan Jones, T. J. Pistole, and Alex Stanley , 
all of DeKalb County. So, unaware, these men had 
ridden into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell. 
The roadside blazed, there was a deafening volley, and 
men in blue began tumbling from their horses. The 
scene in that wild region must have been strikingly 
weird. The sharp, cruel cracks of pistols and their in- 
finitely multiplied reverberations from mountain to val- 
ley (the cries of the dying blended with the metallic 
clanging of the hoofs of scampering and riderless 
horses) could never have passed out of the memory of 
the survivors. James H. Overall stated to the writer 
that one Federal, Russel Gan, fell on the field, and, 
playing dead, afterw^ards hid in a hollow log and es- 
caped after nightfall. 

In the autumn of 1864 Gen. Joseph Wheeler, re- 


History of DeKalb County 

turning southward from his raid into East Tennessee, 
passed through Liberty and Alexandria and on toward 
Nashville. He had started from Georgia with four 
thousand cavalry and four cannons. While in East 
J ennessee he sent Gen. "Cerro Gordo" Williams, with 
two thousand men and two cannons, to capture the 
Federal garrison at Strawberry Plains. With General 
Williams was i\.llison's squadron of DeKalb Countians. 
Williams found the garrison too strong to attack and 
attempted to overtake Wheeler, but failed. Wheeler 
came to Sparta, having General Dibrell's regiment 
with him. Dibrell was left at Sparta two days, while 
Wheeler took McMinnville and, reaching Liberty, cap- 
tured the stockade, which had been deserted on his 
approach. Reaching Nashville, he kept the Federals 
uneasy for some days, then marched south. In his re- 
port he said he did not have a man or any material 
captured. It is alleged that Wiley Odum, of Cherry 
Valley, was the first of Wheeler's men to enter Liberty 
on that raid. 

Two or three days after General Wheeler passed 
Gen. "Cerro Gordo" Williams, Dibrell's cavalry, and 
Champe Ferguson's guerrillas came through, Fergu- 
son bringing up the rear. The inhabitants along the 
turnpike dreaded Ferguson, especially the Liberty peo- 
ple. This town was the home of Stokes, Blackburn, 
Hathaway, and Garrison, He burned James Lamber- 
son's barn and thresher at Liberty for some cause. 
On the pike west of the village he met W, G. Evans, 
C. W. L. Hale, William Vick, and William Ford, who 
had been to bury a neighbor, Mrs. John Bratten. The 


History of DeKalb County 

guerrillas asked where they had been. The reply would 
have been satisfactory if Mr. Evans had not added: 
"We also buried an unknown Confederate soldier in 
Lamberson's field, where he had been shot by two De- 
Kalb County Federals." The guerrillas then asked if 
there was a Union man in the crowd; if so, he should 
be killed in retaliation. Mr. Ford, a man of the high- 
est character and most harmless disposition, was the 
only one ; but his neighbors pleaded so earnestly for 
him that he w^as spared. 

James H. Fite, formerly a trustee of DeKalb County, 
but now residing in Anthony, Kans., was a sixteen- 
year-old private in Capt. Jack Garrison's company of 
Federals. His home was on the pike a mile and a 
half west of Liberty. Of some of his experiences, he 
writes : 

Our regiment, the First Tennessee Mounted Infantry, was 
mustered in at Carthage early in 1864. About May the differ- 
ent companies were sent to various portions of the State for 
garrison duty and scouting after Champe Ferguson and other 
guerrillas. A good part of my company (G) was from Liber- 
ty and vicinity, the officers having been a part of Stokes's 
regiment. We were first sent to Granville, above Carthage, on 
the river, to build a stockade, and then to Liberty to build 
another, our force numbering seventy-five or one hundred 
men. The latter was well started when about the first of 
September, late in the afternoon, Wheeler's cavalry took us 
by surprise, and like a covey of birds we were scattered. 

A week or so prior to this Gen. H. P. Van Cleve, at Mur- 
freesboro, sent word to our officers that Wheeler was reported 
coming through Sequatchie Valley and suggested to them to 
scout in that direction and see if the news was correct. In- 
stead of doing that they selected about twenty of us and went 








; > 

a CI 
-< - 





History of DeKalb County 

through Lebanon and by Cedar Glade and Cainsville. We 
returned to Liberty about two hours before Wheeler came 
upon us from the direction of Smithville. It was a complete 
surprise, and the result was a route. There was considerable 
firing; and, while nobody was killed, they captured something 
like a dozen of our boys. 

My horse had given out on the expedition into Wilson 
County, and I was riding one belonging to a member of 
Stokes's regiment. In returning to Liberty I stopped at my 
mother's, just west of that village, to get supper. She pre- 
pared a sort of feast, setting the table on the front porch. 
I recall the big peach cobbler. I had finished supper when T. 
G. Bratten stopped at the gate and told me that they were 
fighting in town and suggested that we ride down and take 
part. As I had no horse, he went alone. He returned in a 
gallop shortly, calling to me that the Confederates were com- 
ing. I watched for the advance guard, soon seeing four about 
three hundred yards away, and retreated in fairly good order 
to a plum thicket back of the house. The Johnnies rode into 
the yard. Having brother to hold their horses, they ate sup- 
per. Mother said one of them, finishing first, walked to the 
back door, and she expected every moment that I would shoot 
him, though I would never have killed one from the bushes. 
I am glad to this day I did not, for that Confederate too had 
a mother somewhere waiting for his return. 

About sunset quite a bunch came by and stopped. Their 
officer proved to be a relative of ours. He asked for a pillow 
for a wounded man, mother taking it to the gate. They had 
already taken a buggy from a neighbor. When asked who 
was in command, the officer said, "Wheeler," adding that the 
force was ten thousand strong and would be a week in pass- 
ing. In the night I went to the house ; and, learning that the 
Confederates were under Wheeler, I was relieved. The im- 
pression was that they were Ferguson's guerillas, and I knew 
I would be murdered if caught by them. 

The next day I found a hiding place, a thicket back of the 

History of DeKalb County 

field, and had a narrow escape. Some Confederates came 
down to the creek very close to me, and a number went 
swimming. Others were as thick as blackbirds in Eli Vick's 
cornfield, just across the creek. While some were at the 
house eating, a soldier went up and said that they had killed a 
Yankee back of the field. It was supposed that some one in 
the neighborhood told him to say that before mother, believing 
that she in her emotion would give me away. My little broth- 
er, Robert, whispered to her to be quiet, and he would go and 
see if anybody was killed. When within thirty yards of me a 
Confederate asked where he was going. His reply was that 
he was hunting where the hogs had been getting into the field. 
My brother soon found me and reassured mother. Truly 
the mothers, daughters, sisters, and sweethearts deserve as 
much honor as any of the soldiers. 

After Wheeler passed through, our men got together again 
and finished the stockade. I think we could have kept off 
quite a force now, unless the attacking party had had cannon. 
We were at the stockade when the battle of Nashville took 
place between Hood and Thomas. We expected an attack 
from Forrest, but I'm thankful he never came. Only sixteen, 
I did not have sense enough at that age to be scared. I have 
seen older men have ague when they expected an attack. 

Stragglers from Wheeler's command depredated on 
tlie farms near the turnpike. In this way Thomas 
Givan, on Clear Fork, lost five fine mares. All the 
horses on Eli Vick's farm were carried oflf. Many 
other citizens suffered losses. 

General Williams, as remarked, never overtook 
Wheeler. On the way he camped at Alexandria, 
where the troops of Allison's Squadron had an oppor- 
tunity to meet their families and friends. Reaching a 
point in Rutherford County, he went eastward on the 
Woodbury Pike, where he had a considerable fight 


History of DeKalb County 

with the Federals. Later on he reached Saltville, Va., 
where the guerrilla, Capt, George Carter, a leading 
spirit of the battle of the Calf Killer some months 
previous, was killed October 2, 1864. Carter's slayer 
was recognized and his body riddled with balls. 

The war had demoralized both Federals and Confed- 
erates. Many young men of excellent families through- 
out the South and Tennessee became enamored of the 
spirit of adventure, as shown in the daring and reck- 
less exploits of cavalry raiders. This is how, perhaps, 
Pomp Kersey's small company came into existence. 

Kersey had been a private in Capt. L. N. Savage's 
DeKalb County company of the Sixteenth Confederate 
Regiment. Returning home, he for some reason did 
not go back to his command, but remained on Short 
Mountain, where he collected a band of ten or fifteen 
fellow adventurers. Some of them had not reached 
their majority. A leading business man of Nashville 
writes: "Those men were run from home by Stokes's 
troops, some of them being no more than sixteen years 
of age. I knew several of Kersey's men. One of them 
was between fifteen or sixteen. He afterwards got 
into the regular Confederate army and died about 
1910, a prominent and respected citizen of White 

The writer was very young when the band made 
raids into Liberty, and he regarded its members with 
prejudice from the fact that they took valuables from 
William Vick and James Fuston. But another busi- 
ness man of Nashville, who was reared in Smithville, 
writes : "If they robbed anybody, it was because they 


History of DeKalb County 

thought he was a Union sympathizer, and pillaging ttie 
enemy was not regarded as robbery. Regular Fed- 
erals and Confederates did that." 

This same gentleman relates an incident that took 
place in Smithville during the war. "One day," he 
says, "there gathered in the northern part of the town 
a squad of men belonging to Company F, Blackburn's 
Regiment, to secure Federal recruits — Ras Foster, 
'Black Biir Foster, Jim Eastham, Pal Rigsby, John 
Colwell, and others. Suddenly Kersey's men dashed 
into town, stampeding the recruiters. Eastham killed 
a horse trying to get away, while eight of the Federals 
were killed, among them Rigsby and Colwell." An- 
other DeKalb Countian says: "The Rebel citizens of 
Smithville were pleased over this raid, for they had 
much to bear. I recall how a Federal was pursuing a 
citizen through mischief, shooting and pretending to 
want to kill him, when the man's little son at the win- 
dow suggested a new sort of military tactics, for he 
cried out: 'Run crooked, pap, run crooked, an' maybe 
the bullets will miss you !' " 

As indicated, the Short Mountain men often entered 
Liberty at night. On one of their raids they sur- 
rounded the home of Squire Ben Blades, a pioneer and 
good citizen of Union sympathies, about midnight. 
He tried to escape out a back door, but a shot fired 
through the door killed him almost instantly. After 
this the citizens armed themselves, resolved on defense ; 
but the raiders did not appear while they were on 

On the evening of July 23, 1864, there was a dance 


History of DeKalb County 

on Canal Creek at the home of Mr. Dennis. A num- 
ber of Federals were attending — Captain Hathaway, 
Lieut. Thomas G. Bratten, Henry Blackburn, and a 
man named Parrish. Dr. Shields, of Smithville, was 
also there. Later in the night Louis Lyles and James 
Clarke made their appearance. Clarke, a mere youth, 
had on a Federal uniform, but was not a soldier. 

None seemed to apprehend danger. The fiddlers 
played and "called the figures," and the house rocked 
to the rough dances of the time. 

Kersey's men got word of the ball and the Federals' 
presence and, about fifteen in all, came from Short 
Mountain to exterminate the men in blue. It appears 
that when Lyles and Clarke arrived with shouting and 
shooting from down the creek the band, who were near, 
withdrew, thereby putting off the attack. 

Tired out at last, Hathaway had gone to sleep in a 
room adjoining that of the merry-makers. Bratten 
was sitting with a young lady on the stairway. It was 
far in the night, but the buzz of conversation went on. 
Two or three soldiers were preparing to mount their 
horses when suddenly the hills resounded to the re- 
ports of guns and the wild shouts of Kersey's men. 
Bratten and Lyles reached their horses, but the former 
had forgotten his gun. As he rushed back for it he 
discovered the enemy in the yard, shooting. As they 
passed the door he fired, somewhat checking them. 
The girls were trying to awaken Hathaway ; and, call- 
ing out that the bushwhackers were on them, Bratten 
got on his horse and dashed away. 

The scene was now one of confusion. Hathaway 
i6 241 

History of DeKalb County 

had mounted his horse, Blackhawk, a fine animal that 
could pace a mile in 2 130, but not before the assailants 
had started in pursuit of his comrades. Nevertheless, 
he resolved to overtake and pass the pursuers. Clarke 
had been overtaken. Seeing that he could not escape, 
he dismounted and from a sheltering tree trunk emptied 
his pistols at the enemy. He was soon killed. While 
this was going on Hathaway swept by. "I've just come 
through hell !" he said. 

The Federals were pursued no farther after the kill- 
ing of Clarke. Hastening to Liberty, they later in the 
day, with twelve men, set out to overtake Kersey and 
his band. Stealthily approaching a thicket half a mile 
south of Half Acre, they found Kersey's horses hal- 
tered and a part of his men asleep. A volley was 
poured into the slumberers. One of them, untouched, 
lan down the mountain and escaped. Pomp Kersey 
was also unhurt and mounted his horse, but could not 
untie the halter. Bratten put his gun against him, but 
it only snapped ; whereupon Kersey dismounted, but in 
trying to get away he was killed by Bratten and Hatha- 
way. Another man, perhaps twenty years of age, tried 
to escape, but was slain by Hathaway and Dan Gan. 
Five had been killed at the first volley. 

Among the slain were Pomp Kersey, Jack Neely, 
two Arnold brothers from Murfreesboro, a man named 
Seats, Benton, Kelly, and one other. It seems that 
two who slept some distance from the others escaped — 
Ike Gleason, later of White County, and a man of the 
name of Hawkins, who was some years later a citizen 
of Oklahoma. 


History of DeKalb County 

The seven bodies were hauled to Liberty on an ox 
wagon, reaching the village about sunset on July 24. 
Thrown into a vacant storeroom, they were the next 
day buried on the Daniel Smith farm, about one hun- 
dred yards from the town bridge. Their remains were 
exhumed after the war by friends and relatives and 
carried to their respective neighborhoods and buried. 
The Arnold brothers, who were regular soldiers, but 
cut off from their command, were reinterred in the 
Confederate Cemetery at Murfreesboro. 

By and by fighting ceased throughout the county, 
though the Federal blue was still in evidence. That 
period in the writer's memory is blurred and hazy. 
But one scene stands out clearly — that of his father, 
C. W. L. Hale, who was an excellent reader, standing 
in the midst of a group of villagers. Union and South- 
em in their sympathies, with a Nashville newspaper 
in his hand. It must have been April 16 or 17, 1865. 
The late afternoon was cool and damp, but not gloom- 
ier than the upturned faces. The Southern sympa- 
thizers were filled with dread ; the others with sorrow. 
They were listening to the earliest news they could get 
of the assassination of Lincoln. 


Peace and the Aftermath. 

When peace came in April, 1865, there was a feel- 
ing of relief to the people at home, not entirely un- 
mixed, however, with dread. It was not supposable 
that neighbors who had been at war so long would 
dwell together without friction. War makes us brutal 
in action, while as it continues morality retrogresses. 
In a measure the people who sympathized with the 
South in the great struggle expected the triumphant 
Unionists to be overbearing, and this was the case in a 
few instances. It is to the credit of the Northern sym- 
pathizers that hundreds of them seemed ready to en- 
courage peace and amity. Not only was there a con- 
servative faction with the successful side which did 
everything possible to restore good will, but it was not 
long before ex-Federal soldiers became the most loyal 
patrons of those merchants who had been loyal to the 
Confederacy. Such men as Joseph Clarke — there were 
a number in the county — often risked life that the re- 
turned ex-Confederates might have justice. 

There were here and there a few men who, having 
become desperate through war's carnage, were slow to 
yield to the influences of peace. When inflamed by 
strong drink they were especially hostile. So it was 
that, following the war, there was here and there a kill- 
ing, while some feuds developed. It is possible, human 
nature being the same, that there would have been 
among the Southern sympathizers an element just as 


History of DeKalb County 

lawless and overbearing had the cause of the South 

It would have been wonderful had the noncom- 
batants living in the villages shown no antagonism 
toward each other occasionally while the war was 
going on. Even the women now and then took sides. 
One day the children of two ladies of opposite senti- 
ments were scrapping. The parents of each passed 
a few words. Said the one of less refinement: "The 
children of no old 'secesh' can run over mine." "And 
who are you?" asked the "secesh" with some scorn. 
The answer was long-drawn-out and smacked of much 
pride : "I'm a U-U-U-Union woman." 

As a rule, however, neighbors got along well. The 
Southern "skedaddlers" frequently found a safe refuge 
in the homes of Unionists in the country. The writer 
takes this opportunity to say that, though his parents 
were Southern in sympathy, they were never molested 
by Stokes, Blackburn, or Hathaway ; but, on the other 
hand, were treated with great respect. Colonel Black- 
burn one night was seen passing through the yard 
spying while the village was filled with Confederates. 
He was not reported — he was "a neighbor's boy" — 
and went his way safely, as he knew he would. 

Peace brought with it a new aspect to occasions like 
elections. The freed negroes gathered by hundreds 
in the towns. In vividness the scenes return to-day — 
old blacks like Ike Lamberson, with competitors, sell- 
ing cider and ginger cake, others vending melons, and 
all noisy and happy over their liberation. If there was 
any violence on their part, it is not recalled. There 


History of DeKalb County 

was a kindly feeling on the part of ex-slaves for their 
'"white folks," and numerous families did not leave 
their old quarters for some years. 

As the soldiers swore mightily in Flanders, so there 
was in DeKalb much drinking and fighting, particu- 
larly on Saturdays and on election days. When the 
L-oyal League, an order composed mainly of negroes, 
was formed, it was regarded as a menace to the safety 
of society, and many whites began to view the freed- 
man with disfavor. The Ku-Klux Klan was organized, 
and it soon had the blacks terrorized. No member of 
the order was ever convicted in Tennessee. One in- 
dictment at least was found in DeKalb County, and 
two cases of whippings occurred. There were at one 
time half a million members in the South. The order 
was formed in Pulaski, Tenn., in the summer of 1866 
and was disbanded in March, 1869. Its name con- 
tinued to be used by unknown organizations, and al- 
leged "Ku-Klux outrages" were reported as late as 
1872. Governor Brownlow in 1868 called out the mili- 
tia to suppress the order, many DeKalb Countians be- 
coming militiamen. 

Tennessee was readmitted to the Union in July, 
T865. Prior to that (April 5) William G. Brownlow 
was inaugurated Governor of the State. The legisla- 
ture, in session that month, practically disfranchised 
all those voters who had not been Union men. In 
1866 the negroes were given the right to vote by the 
Brownlow legislature, made up of Radicals and Con- 
servatives, the former in favor of very harsh laws 
toward the ex-Rebels, the latter Cwho had always been 


History of DeKalb County 

Union men) in favor of milder treatment. There \\a.s> 
a "split," and the two wings, or factions, became very 
bitter toward each other. In February, 1869, Gov- 
ernor Brownlow was elected to the United States 
Senate, the Speaker of the State Senate, D. W. C. 
Senter, becoming Governor. In the same year Gov- 
ernor Senter was a candidate for election, nominated 
by the Conservatives. William B. Stokes was nomi- 
nated by the Radicals. 

There was an exciting joint canvass. Both candi- 
dates were excellent speakers, Stokes, the "Bald 
Eagle," being the better under normal conditions. 
They spoke in DeKalb County in their itinerary. 
Reaching Libert} , Stokes had luncheon at the home of 
his brother-in-law, C. W. L. Hale, a Southern sympa- 
thizer. In the afternoon the contestants held forth in 
a grove near where the Murfreesboro road intersects 
the Lebanon and Sparta Turnpike. The audience was 
large and somewhat boisterous, but order was good. 

Meantime plans had been put on foot to insure the 
"Bald Eagle's" defeat. At the time of the contest the 
Confederate element was led by Gen. John C. Brown. 
His followers offered to support Senter if the latter 
should allow them to vote. He agreed. The vote on 
election day stood: For Senter, 120,234; for Stokes, 
only 55,046. 

The legislature was Democratic in both branches 
and met October 4, 1869. Thus the Democratic party 
regained ascendancy in about four years after the close 
of the war. 

Then came the convention, in 1870, to form a new 


History of DeKalb County 

Constitution — the one which exists at present. The 
delegate from DeKalb County was Col, J. H. Black- 
burn, as previously stated. 

The people by a four years' war were placed as the 
pioneers were — they had to begin over to establish 
themselves socially and materially. In depicting their 
makeshifts and customs one but depicts the makeshifts 
and customs of the grandparents to a large extent, and 
it is profitable and illuminative to sketch these rather 
in detail. 

Boots were almost wholly worn by men. The cus- 
tom prolonged the life of the serviceable bootjack, once 
familiar in all homes. There were no screened win- 
dows. Wherefore the house fly was a greater nuisance 
than now — that is, if he was as prone to load himseli 
down with disease germs as he is to-day. The fore- 
parents knew a thing or two, however, and used a "fly 
broom" in the dining room. Some of these brooms were 
things of beauty. An elderly lady named Grandstaff 
lived on Dismal Creek, and her handiwork was so ar- 
tistic as to give local prestige to a stream even so 
wretchedly named as that. The brush of her fly 
brooms was made of the tail feathers of peacocks ; 
while the handle, some four feet long, was covered with 
the plaited white quills of the same bird. It was gor- 
geous and must have cost several dollars. 

In the village and country back yards the homely ash 
hopper was a familiar object — made usually of a barrel, 
each end knocked out, and set on a slightly inclined 
platform. It was filled with wood ashes, through 


History of DeKalb County 

which a few bucketfuls of water were allowed to seep. 
The product was lye, and the product of lye and meat 
rinds and bones boiled together was an excellent quality 
of soft soap. By the way, the ash hopper was the 
bete noir of the head of the house. The springtime 
was not a sweet time to him until tlie ash hopper had 
been made and filled. Somehow he dreaded the task, 
and it is little wonder that a member of his tribe per- 
petrated this: "The hardest things that come up in a 
man's life are building the spring ash hopper and cut- 
ting summer stove wood." 

Another feature of the back yard was the dye pot. 
The foremothers made much — almost all — of the 
family's wearing apparel, as well as their carpets, 
necessitating the cards for carding wool, the spinning 
wheel, the reel, the winding blades, and the loom. All 
of these, excepting the hand cards, were homemade. 
To give the cloth, or thread, or "chain," for the carpet 
the desired color, it was put into the dye pot. Dyeing 
materials were logwood, cochineal, indigo, madder, 
and copperas. Blue-mixed jeans was regarded the 
most suitable for men's suits. A kind of jeans was 
woven especially for vests, or "weskets," with red or 
yellow stripes, and sometimes red, yellow, and blue 
stripes occurred in the same piece. The writer during 
the post-bellum period saw his mother make a "pat- 
tern" for the sort of cotton dress goods she desired, 
the weaver following it faithfully. Threads of dif- 
ferent colors were wrapped around a bit of cardboard 
or a flat piece of wood, the stripes — red, yellow, black, 
01 blue — ^being of uniform width or varying to suit the 


History of DeKalb County 

fancy. When woven the cloth would indeed "fairly 
hurt the eyes." 

Tin molds for making candles were used some years 
after the war. They were made in sizes to suit — to 
mold a half dozen or a dozen tallow candles at a time. 
A wick was run through each mold and fastened at 
both ends. At the top all were attached, so that every 
candle could be drawn out at once. The molten tallow 
would then be poured in, forming around the wicks. 
When the tallow had become hard the molds were 
heated slightly, when the candles could be pulled out 

Bread trays, bee gums of hollow logs, ax handles, 
ox yokes and bows, rolling pins, chairs, chests (make- 
shifts for trunks), water buckets, tubs, and churns 
were handmade of buckeye, cedar, hickory, and other 
woods. No doubt there are still hickorv chairs in Ten- 
nessee made more than a century ago. Gourds sufficed 
for dippers, while a larger variety were used in the 
kitchen for holding salt, soft soap, brown sugar, and 
the like. 

A relic of the old times was the horse block near 
the front gate of village or farmhouses. It was con- 
structed for the ladies, who seldom rode in a carriage 
and never dreamed of an automobile. They would 
mount the horse from it if going visiting, while visiting 
guests would dismount upon it. Horseback-riding was 
popular as well as necessary if one were "going 
abroad," as even neighborhood visiting was spoken of. 
Riding man fashion was not in vogue even by the most 
hoidenish girl. Ladies were, as may be imagined, ac- 


History of DeKalb County 

complished equestrians. Moreover, a country girl 
prized a new sidesaddle and riding skirt as much as a 
city girl would now prize a piano. Those of well-to-do 
parents were often provided with a good mount, 
usually a pacer. It was a delightful experience to see 
some village belle and her beau taking a ride, the for- 
mer, adorable in her riding habit, putting her pacer to 
the limit, her escort keeping alongside on a galloping 

Other "luxuries," necessities, and fashions of "auld 
lang syne" were : Candle snuffers, casters, accordeons, 
picture albums, paper collars, dickeys (false shirt 
fronts), reticules, hoops, petticoats, bustles, chignons, 
sunbonnets with pasteboard stiffening, snuff boxes and 
hickory or althea toothbrushes, home remedies like 
horehound sirup and vermifuge made of boiled pink- 
root, knitting needles, yarn socks, breakfast shawls, 
nubias, comforts, hair nets, and hair oil for men. 

But the old order has passed away. Not only bug- 
gies and carriages are common, but the automobile is 
no longer amazing. In town and hamlet the girl who 
"sets out" makes her debut; "infairs" are receptions; 
"going abroad" is spending the week-end ; the "party" 
or "frolic" has been turned into a function, and refer- 
ence to color schemes, linen or kitchen showers, and 
progressive luncheons does not send the latter-day 
rural belle to the dictionary for light. 

While from 1900 to 191 o the county lost 1,026 of 
its population, it has made remarkable progress. In 
1914 it was out of debt, with a comfortable surplus 
($6,000) in the hands of the trustee. Every part 


History of DeKalb County 

shows tliis substantial progress. In the Highlands old 
agricultural methods have given way to new, and thrift 
followed in spite of the inferiority of the soil com- 
pared with that in the Basin. Better homes and more 
comfortable living are decidedly apparent. A feature 
of that section is the great number of nurseries. It is 
estimated that the income from them will reach a quar- 
ter of a million dollars yearly. 

In the Basin live stock and grain — "hog and hominy" 
— still hold the closest attention of the farmers. There 
are quite a number of fine farms with progressive 
owners. United States Marshal John W. Overall pos- 
sesses about nine hundred acres, raising cattle on a 
large scale. Ed Simpson, near Alexandria, is widely 
known among breeders for his registered Hereford 
cattle.* Dr. T. J. Jackson, with about five hundred 
acres, devotes much time to cattle. Herschel Overall, 
with six hundred acres, sells annually a large number 
of mules, cattle, and hogs. There are stockmen who 
buy as many as two thousand suckling mules and raise 
them to maturity with profitable results. J. I. Banks, 
of Dry Creek, is regarded as one of the best bee- 
keepers of the State. He makes a specialty of queens 
and has patrons throughout the Union. Rev. O. P. 
Barry, of Alexandria, besides doing a produce busi- 
ness of $200,000 annually, is a successful breeder of 

*It may be remarked that Mr. Simpson served in Company 
H, Twelfth Regiment United States Volunteers, in the Philip- 
pines. Other young men from the county who took part in 
the war there were Gray Davis, Frank Colvert, George Brat- 
ten, Lewis Smith, Robert Givan, and Herbert L. Hale. 


History of DeKalb County 

pure-bred hogs. The smaller farmers are touched with 
the spirit of progress also and contribute largely to the 
volume of business done by the six local banks. Under 
such conditions it is not to be wondered at that mer- 
chandising and other businesses succeed as never be- 

The redemption of Pea Ridge strikingly illustrates 
the spirit of progress. Twenty-five years ago the won- 
der was if anything good could come out of this Naza- 
reth. The years have replied. Pea Ridge is a long 
ridge extending from Clear Fork to Dry Creek east- 
ward and to Short Mountain on the south, covering 
a territory from two to seven miles in width. It is 
level and ten or twelve miles in length. The land was 
covered with scrub oak, blackjack, and pine. For years 
the inhabitants made a scant living by selling rails, 
boards, hoop poles, baskets, charcoal, tar, whortle- 
berries, chestnuts, and service berries. Here and there 
one made whisky. Tom Anderson, a Pea Ridge citi- 
zen of some humor, once observed that the people were 
"only a tribe of board makers." But after the timber 
showed indication of giving out the inhabitants began 
to till the soil in earnest. To their surprise, it proved 
quite productive. Orchards were planted, yielding 
abundantly. No finer vegetables can be grown any- 
where. Large crops of corn meet the eyes of the 
traveler in season. It is really one of the best country 
sections in the county. The moral tone has been ele- 
vated also. There are schoolhouses, two churches, and 
a well-patronized general store kept by M. D. Herman. 

The circulation of agricultural and other journals 


History of DeKalb County 

has increased a thousandfold since the war. With the 
telephone (it is in the homes of even small farm- 
ers), better roads, lighter vehicles, good churches and 
schools, and the rural service, the isolation which was 
once noticeable is now negligible. The split-oak chair, 
corded bedstead, and homemade clothing are rarely 
seen. The fiddle and dulcimer have been banished for 
the phonograph and piano. These material means in- 
fluence the mental life, and both material and mental 
changes act and react on the spiritual life for the bet- 
ter. But it will be well if the swing toward the com- 
mercial side does not go too far, allowing manhood to 
decay while wealth accumulates. 



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