STAGECOACH AND TAVERN DAYS.
$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 extraordinarily fine example of surveying, with the exception 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 Smithville after the War between the States.
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 Benjamin Blades. He fell through the Liberty bridge before it was finished and was drowned. Near by is the grave of James White, who contracted to build a portion of the turnpike."
Price was the mail contractor, an old one-eyed gentleman, 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 thousand 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 contract 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 finished to the top of the hill, I think, about 1845."
last torn down to give place for Will A. Vick's residence.
Facing page 110, drawing captioned:
OLD DUNCAN TAVERN, LIBERTY
Drawn from memory by Will T. Hale.
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 fifteen 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."
lightful to us children than to get a peep in on the show folks, especially the show girls, this being accomplished through the friendship of Mary Reece, the innkeeper's amiable daughter."
lisher of the first Tennessee newspaper, the Knoxville Gazette. One of them on one occasion highly incensed a guest by refusing to dance with him because he did not wear pumps."
just mentioned. Beckwith was in its prime when Bon Air Springs, on the mountain, was in its heyday. Travelers to and from that resort liked to spend a while at Beckwith Place. Many very notable guests have been sheltered there.
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 desiring to quaff. If in the night, the trickle and murmur awoke his thirst; if in the daytime, the sparkling streamlets dashing over mossy stones had the same effect.
three-quarters of a century furnished the power to run Crips's Mill.
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 preserved, 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, Mr. Angell, Mr. Kelley, Mr. Bridges, Mr. Sadler, Bob Witt, Abe Witt, Mr. Potts, " Scotch John," Horace McQuire, Jim Little, Mose and Charles Vannata, James Dearman, J. H. Meacham, Tom, Jim, and William Dearman, Isaac Borum (who drove about twenty years), William Lewis, Sr., William Lewis, Jr., and William Robinson (who drove about fifteen years).
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 because the person addressed could not pay the portage. 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. 77, 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, 18 ¼ 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 receiver 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, 12 ½ cents. From 1816 to 1837 they were: For distances under thirty miles, 6 ¼ cents; under eighty, 10 cents; over four hundred, 25 cents; and these rates were quadrupled upon letters which weighed an ounce.118 _______________________________________________________________________________________________
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