Jackson County History
Jackson County was established in November of 1801, by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly. It is the oldest of the twenty three Jackson counties' in the United States with only the Jackson County in the State of Georgia being older.

The original area of Jackson County covered probably twenty of the present Tennessee counties. Temporary county seats were used until about the year 1806, when Williamsburg was named as the County seat of Jackson County. Williamsburg was named for Sampson Williams, an early pioneer in the area. In 1817, Gainesboro was selected as the permanent seat and was incorporated in 1820. The land was donated by David Cox. Gainesborough, as it was then spelled, is the eleventh oldest town in Tennessee and was named for General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, a friend of Andrew Jackson who fought in the Battle of New Orleans.

Gainesboro, is located 80 miles east of Nashville, 127 miles west of Knoxville, 140 miles northwest of Chattanooga, and 20 miles north of Cookeville. Interstate 40 passes 28 miles to the south of Gainesboro with the North-South Appalachian road connecting Gainesboro to the Interstate at Exit 280. The same mountains that give Jackson County its beauty, also made travel difficult in the days before paved roads and steel bridges. Both the Cumberland and Roaring Rivers cross the county. River boats of days gone by, "plied the rivers daily during the navigation season, carrying all kinds of merchandise, livestock and lumber products in addition to passengers." With the flooding of the Cumberland River in 1963 by the Cordell Hull Dam and the opening of a deepwater port in 1981 near Gainesboro, the river once again became very important to Jackson County.

Much of the material for a correct and comprehensive history of Gainesboro and Jackson County was destroyed when the courthouse burned on the night of August 14, 1872. All county records perished except those of the Chancery Court. They were saved due to the fact that Captain Robert A. Cox, Clerk and Master, at the time maintained his office in a private building away from the courthouse.

By Moldon Jenkins Tayse, former Jackson County Historian.


The following record, which is a history of Gainesboro and Jackson County, was copied from old manuscript and gathered from friends. Copied by Mrs. Maude McGlasson, Gainesboro, Tennessee - -1936.

We have thought a brief history of our County and Town would not be uninteresting to our readers, hence we propose to give it from the best data at our command. Jackson County was established by an Act of the Legislature passed November 6th, 1801, in which it was provided that the first court should be held at the house of John Bowen, on Roaring River. This may be said to have been the first County Site of Jackson County, the same being situated on the land afterwards owned by Mounce Gore, near Crawford's Mill. A town to be named Smithfield was to have been laid off, but was never done. Williamsburg, where Leslie Butler now resides, the land now owned by O.G. Fox, was established the County Site by an Act of Assembly passed September llth, 1806. On the 14th day of November 1815 an Act was passed to run out Jackson County, ascertain the center and remove the seat there. The Act provided that after the center of the County had been ascertained by a survey, an election should be held between the nearest eligible site to the center and the then County Site. Those voting for the "Old" should vote Williamsburg and the ones voting for a change should vote "New Court House." The election was fixed for the first Thursday and Friday in August 1816. The new town, is established, was to be called "Gainesboro", (then spelled Gainesborough) in honor of Gen. Edmond Pendleton Gaines of Fort Erie memory. From some cause the provisions of this Act were not complied with, so, on the 6th day of October 1817 another Act was passed for the same purpose, under which an election was held on the First Thursday and Friday in August 1818, which settled the question and removed the Seat of Justice from Williamsburg to Gainesborough. This Act of Legislature appointed as commissioners to lay off the town, Philip Mulkey, Thomas Butler, William Scanland, James Terry, Joseph Hawkins, James Vance, Alexander Keith, Esq., James W. Smith, and William Rash. Under the authority given by law, said Commissioners advertised the sale of lots in the Knoxville Register and Carthage Gazette, and sold the same to the highest bidder, and from the proceeds of the sale built a Court House and Jail.

On October 1, 1819 an Act was passed, formally removing the County Site from Williamsburg to Gainesborough and directing the Justices of the County at the November session following to adjourn all the Courts to said New Town, thus the Courts were opened in Gainesborough in a private house provided by the Commissioners in January 1820. A little more than 106 years ago, when established the name was spelled "Gainesborough", now the "ugh" is left off, though the Post Office department kept it up for many years, when it too, left the "ugh" off.

The Town was laid off on forty acres of land, given to the County by David Cox, great grandfather of Alex. M. Cox, who resides in this County.

Picturesquely situated among the hills, washed by Doe Run (Doe Creek) and its tributaries, with a fine "Spring", on what is now Tan Yard Branch,

Gainesboro was considered fortunately located, being before the age of steam and telephone, the advantage of being nearer to the river than a mile and a quarter, was not realized.

The streets were made to vary twelve degrees from the cardinal points of' the compass, the better to suit the location of the town. The Court House was a square brick structure with a diagonal roof and with a weather vane, a fish on top, for same. It was situated where the present Court House now stands and served the purpose for which it was erected until the night of August 14th 1872, when it was burned by an incendiary, as was always supposed. It fell a prey to the ravages of war about 64 years ago.

Gainesboro was incorporated by an Act of the Legislature July 7, 1820, and so continued until the passage of the four mile law, though the corporate government was not kept up as we are informed, more than a fourth of the time. Francis McConnell, Robert Jennings, Swancy Burris, John Matthews, George Cox, Alfred Murray, Andrew Whitley, Alexander Montgomery and Samuel G. Smith were named the first board of Aldermen and we are traditionally informed they chose Samuel G. Smith as the first Mayor.

The first man hung in Jackson County was a Negro servant of said Smith's, who made on attempt upon his (Smith's) life, for which he was condemned and executed. He was hung about 96 years ago (up to this date, 1936 something like 125 years ago). His name was Dave _______. The next and last man) hung in this County up to this writing (1936) was a Negro men by the name of Lafayette Richey, who was hung on the 9th day of May 1894, for the murder of William Stephens, a white man whose body was found on Sheely's Knob, about two miles from Gainesboro on the morning of December 3, 1892.

Hon. Nathaniel T. Williams was the first Judge to hold Court in Gainesboro. He filled the position for years, and was succeeded by Hon. Abram Caruthers, who graced the bench for a long period.

We have been provided with a partial list of early settlers or our county and town. Joseph and Elizabeth Eaton, widely and favorably known to the traveling public, settled where Gillem Maxwell now lives (E. 0. Smith's residence now) and kept a public house. They subsequently owned and kept for many years the "Eaton Tavern", which was afterwards owned by their daughter, Mrs. America Harris, and stood on the lot where Dixon & Stafford's law office now stands and is owned by John H. Dennis, now owned by B. L. Quarles, Sr. (and occupied by Mrs. Hampton.) Col. J. W. Smith built the first house that was erected where the "Gipson Old Hotel" now stands, and where Henry R. Anderson now lives (this lot is owned and occupied by the Gainesboro Telephone Co.). He occupied it as an office, being Clerk of the Court, and it was said that Courts were held there until the Court House was finished. Col. William Lock built the house now occupied by Thomas J. Williams and family. His wife, Mrs. M. A. C. Williams, being, a granddaughter of Col. Lock. (This is the lot an which Dudney & Sutton Co.________to date this is owned and occupied by Ben Baugh Co.) John McCarver, grandfather of John L. McCarver, Esq. who resides in the County, built a house on the lot where Bowen A. Butler now resides (now owned and occupied by T. C. Strode). It was kept by him and afterwards by Mrs. Galbraith, mother of the late Hon. Thomas J. Gailbreath, as a hotel. Said house was subsequently the residence of Col. Thomas L. Bransford and his son in-law, Russel M. Kinnard.

Major Alexander Montgomery built a house and resided on the lot where W. W. Draper's law office now stands (this lot now owned and occupied by G. B. Settle's widow). Robert Jennings, one of the incorporators of the town, and a leading citizen, settled and built on the lot where James T. Anderson now resides (R.A. Montgomery now owns and occupies this property.

The firm of Settle, Whitley & Smith, composed of Leroy Settle, Andrew Whitley, and James W. Smith, was the first firm of merchants doing business in Gainesboro. They erected a building on the corner where the hotel now stands. The house was built by them about 107 years ago, but was destroyed by fire on the night of January 27th, 1887. James G. Smith, father of the late Hugh M. Smith, of the fifth district of this County, who dies on the 24th day of June 1897 was clerk of this firm.

An illusion to a literary celebrity, whose father and mother lived at Gainesboro for a short time, Mr. John M. Clemens, father of Samuel L. Clemens, the famous comic writer, better known in the literary world as "Mark Twain", once resided in a house that stood on the vacant lot on the southwest corner of the public square. A tradition had it that Mark was born in said house, where Hon. George H. Morgan, who once lived in Gainesboro, (afterwards moving to Cookeville, where he died several years ago), addressed a note of inquiry to Mr. Clemons, and received the following facetious reply: "according to the best information I can get, I suppose I first saw the light of day at Fayetteville, Mo. It was before my recollections. I might as well have been born in Fentress County, or Gainesboro, Tennessee, my parents having resided there a short time before I became an American Citizen. I had no choice in the matter, however, and know nothing about it, except from family traditions." So Mark was not born here, but his parents once lived here.

John Clemens, (father of Samuel L. Clemens, alias Mark Twain, with a notice, of whom we began this sketch) kept the first open Hotel in Gainesboro. It stood near the Jail, on the north side of lots that Dixon & Stafford's law office stands on, and where Eaton's feed stable once stood, (this is where the blacksmith shop that is operated by Stonewall Robbins stands, to date this is owned by James W. Draper. The building is used by R. W. Hawkins for storing away lumber.) The Tavern, as public houses were then called, was built of logs, as were most of the houses erected in Gainesboro on its first settlement. The situation of the town when located was in an unbroken forest.

Joseph Eaton, alluded to in a former sketch, was the first man to be married in Gainesboro. His bride was Elizabeth Dudney, daughter of Abraham Dudney, a soldier of the Indian Wars and of 1812. She was an aunt of John B. Dudney, who resides in Free State. This marriage took place early in 1820. Their first child was born October 16, 1821, in a cabin situated on the lot now occupied by Mrs. L. Washburn's residence, and this was the first child born in Gainesboro, in the person of Mrs. America Harris. She was the mother of the late Esq. N. B. Young, who died very suddenly on the morning of December 12, 1915 while on his way to Granville with the Band from this place. They walked up the Bell hill and he died just as they reached and re-entered the conveyance. Judge M. B. Young who died very suddenly January 8, 1898, was taken while attending to a lawsuit in the Court House, and died five and one half hours later at the home of his son, Horace G. Young in Gainesboro. She, Mrs. Harris, lived to a good old age and died at the home of her son, N.B. Young in Gainesboro, on the 19th day of January 1895 at one o'clock-ten minutes-A.M. at the age of seventy three years, two months and twenty-eight days. Her first husband, Merlin Young, was a very popular man, being several times elected sheriff and Circuit Court Clerk of Jackson County. He died November --, 1871 very suddenly, in this county, on Salt Lick Creek. He was teaching school at the time of his death.

William Gipson, father of the late John M. Gipson, resided at an early day on the lot where G. B. Murray's law office now stands (this is the lot now owned and occupied by Joel Poston, a World War soldier). Our old friend, the late Edward M. Cason, father of Lewis Cason of Route # 2, married there, his first wife having been Louisa Gipson. This occurred in 1882. He died at his home on the Cumberland River in this County, January the 1st, 1895 at 6 o'clock A. M. He was 90 years old, lacking two days at the date of his death.

Robert White lived, and kept a Tavern on a portion of the lot now owned and occupied by W. W. Draper, father of Garland G. Draper of Memphis. This lot is now owned and occupied by G. B. Settle's widow and family.

Martin B. Ray was the first shoemaker of the town. His residence and shop were on the lot now owned and occupied by Byrd L. Quarles, Sr. (This lot to date is owned and occupied by Misses Carrie and Nell Gore).

Samuel Gillem, father of the late General A. C. Gillem and Luke P. Gillem, settled where Frank Sadler now resides. This lot now owned and occupied by Mrs. America Gailbreath (to date Mrs. Addie Gore Settle owned and occupied this lot). Afterwards on the lot now occupied by James A. Williams, Sr. This lot is still owned and occupied by his widow, Mrs.Kibby Kirkpatrick Williams, and since the death of Mrs. Will1iams her daughter now owns and resides there, at which place Gen. Gillem was born. He will be remembered as having commanded the forces (Union) that killed General John H. Morgan near the close of the war between the States, at Greenville, East Tennessee.

William A. Gailbreath, grandfather of the late W. M. and Thomas Gailbreath, held the office of Circuit Court Clerk acceptably for many years. He was a Christian Preacher.

John S. Turner was County Court Clerk for a number of years, residing in a house near Esquire N. B. Young's present residence (this is where his widow, Mrs. Sadie Welch Young, lives). Afterwards, where Dr. Z. M. Young now resides. This is the lot now owned and occupied by B. C. Butler. (To date it is owned and occupied by Mrs. Zula Chapman, Nee Zula Harris, Whitaker).

Joel Settle, grandfather of M. Y., T. G., and G. B. Settle, resides in what was known as the "High House", a good hewed log building which stood near where the free schoolhouse stood. This is the lot on which is located the residence of Burris Smith, occupied by Walter Brooks, a son-in-law, (since then the residence was destroyed by fire and the lot was sold to the Baptist Church, and they have erected a building, and have organized a Baptist Church).

Sampson W. Cassetty moved to Gainesboro in 1831, resided in the last mentioned house for a time, then moving to a house near Montpelier Academy, that stood on the lot where Bailey C. Butler is having a new residence erected. S. L. Pate now owns and occupies this house, his son, I.B. Pate, bought the lot and erected a residence where Montpelier Academy stood. This is occupied by T. L. Gist (to date is occupied by B. L. Pruett, Sr.) Mr. Cassetty was Clerk of the County Court continuously for 12 years. He has been dead many years. His wife, Nancy Cassetty, lived many years after the death of her husband, and at the home of her son-in-law, Captain M. L. Gore, where Gillem Maxwell now lives. (this lot on which is located the residence of E. O. Smith). At the present time, 1936, this lot and house is owned and occupied by Luke K. Dennis. Nancy Cassetty was born May 21, 1804 at Burksville, KY and was married to Sampson W. Cassetty in 1831, and moved to Gainesboro immediately thereafter, at which place she made her home until her death March 7, 1895 at the age of ninety years, nine months and fourteen days. She joined the Church under the teaching of Father Pendergrass.

Amos Chapman lived here for a long time, also Nat and Jesse Jackson, each of the former kept hotel, while Jesse sold goods. Nat married two of the Chapman daughters successively. Chapman was a great fiddler, and taught dancing. He afterwards moved to the farm now owned by James A. Williams's daughter, Mrs. Fillmore Roddy.

The streets of Gainesboro were macadamized in 1849 by Jackson Porry Bocock, who afterwards procured___________the Legislature to change his name, and was thereafter known as Jackson Porry. _________ Where the large drain, which runs from near the Jail through the central part of the town, is located was once a deep gully, and this gully was filled in 1849, and the drain built by Andy and Jim Poston, same year.

Cholera appeared in Gainesboro in July 1850, and soon became an epidemic. It is uncertain what caused the cholera to break out here. Some thought it was caused by the manner in which the drain filled in, and others thought it was brought here by a prisoner, name unknown, who was brought here from Nashville and placed in Jail; then kept by William Gipson, who has been mentioned in a former chapter. The prisoner mentioned was attacked by the Cholera and was released from the Jail while sick. He recovered. While in Jail he was waited on by Dave Gipson, a Negro slave of William Gipson's. Dave was found sick in a cornfield on the above ______, where Mrs. Sadie Young now lives, and was brought to town, where he died.

The next victim of the Cholera Disease was William Hare, a brother of Mrs. David A. Rawley. He died soon after being attacked. This man was an uncle of Mrs. H. G. Young.

Mrs. Nep Montgomery, wife of Dr. Nathan Montgomery _______,soon afterwards other victims of the Cholera were; Salee and his wife, Mary Ann Salee (nee Cowan), Sallie Cowan, Hense Cowan, Robert Cowan , most of whom died at this place where Frank Kelly now resides, (this was the house located on the lot now occupied by Quarles and Reeves Co.)-(to date Roger Quarles Co.) and the Bank of Gainesboro, (to date Jackson County Bank). J. Kenner, a Negro slave of Dr. W. R. Kenner and Harriet Kinnard, a Negro slave of Russell M. Kinnard - the last victim was Josie Young, a daughter of the late Merlin Young by his first wife, who was a daughter of Bob White. Josie Young was a sister of the late Esq. N. B. Young. When the Cholera broke out she left town and went to the home of her grandfather, Robert White, who lived on the north side of Cumberland River, where Dr. Ragland now resides. (this farm is now owned by D. B. Johnson) - (to date J. M. "Mack" Draper is the owner of said farm). She died at the home of her grandfather. Besides these above named, several. others were attacked by the cholera, but recovered. Soon after the cholera appeared the town was almost deserted by its inhabitants, only a very few remaining to take care of the town. Among those who remained were Mrs. Elizabeth Eaton and the late T. G. Settle. So far as known, all who remained in the town to face death in one of its most fearful forms are now dead.

The keys to all the stores in the town were turned over to Mr. Settle and Mrs. Eaton. The people remained away from town until after frost and when they returned found the streets grown up in weeds.

The story connected with the naming of Doe Run, or Doe Creek, is as follows: Three white men, pioneers, were said to be making their way through this country when it was inhabited by Indians. They are supposed to have crossed Roaring River at what is now the Burris Ford, traveled up the hollow from what is now the Williams place, crossed the low gap to what in known as the "Beck Branch", where Dr. S. B. Fowler now lives (to date Dr. H. L. Baugh owns and where he lives with his son, B. F. Baugh). Thence down the forks of the creek near where Dr. S.H. Minor now lives, (this is the property and residence of G. Lee McGlasson). At this point one or the party killed a large doe", and from that the creek was named. It is said that the Indians killed one of the three pioneers at this point.


A sketch from the "Upper Cumberland" of December 24th 1885. (not signed, but we are sure it is the work of Judge George H. Morgan, and is written by him, in his style).

Among the first merchants of our town, the firm of Kinnard & Bransford, occupied a house that stood on a vacant lot between the storehouses of James M. Kelly and Washburn & Cason, a portion of which is now used by T. J. Williams as a barber shop. Col. Thomas L. Bransford, the senior member of the firm, was a Kentuckian by birth. It is said that he took his start carrying the mail on horseback from Monticello to Jamestown. He was a man of ordinary being, being recognized as one of the leading "Whigs" of the State, tho' he did not devote much time to Politics. He was a fine "Stump" speaker. Governor James C. Jones said he was the best posted man on the Tariff, Banking and Financial matters generally that he ever saw. His last residence in Gainesboro was on the lot now occupied by George H. Morgan. R. M. Kinnard, the Junior member of the firm, married Col. Bransford's daughter. He is still living, being a member of the firm of Settle & Kinnard of Nashville, and is now very old. He was always recognized as a man of fine business qualifications and sterling integrity.

Maj. John S. Bransford, one of Nashville's most successful business men, is a son of Col. Bransford, and was born in Gainesboro, as was also Walter L. Bransford the energetic drummer of a leading Nashville firm.

Samuel E. Stone, one of the most successful business men that ever lived here, came from Virginia at an early period, as a young man, and went into the mercantile business with Joel W. Settle in the old house immediately above where the house of W. A. Crawford & Co. is situated. (This house was destroyed by fire Jan. 27, 1887). The firm name was Sam E. Stone & Co. Joel W. Settle, the junior member of the firm, lived here up to the close of the war between the States when he removed to Nashville, where he is still doing business, as a member of the firm of Settle & Kinnard. Mr. Stone married the sister of his partner, Miss Nancy P. Settle. He was born on June 7, 1809, and died on Sunday morning, May 28, 1854. His widow having since become the wife of Maj. D. W. Hawes. She died Nov. 30, 1886, and Daniel W. Hawes died Sept. 28, 1889, aged 80 years. Mrs. Lucinda Bransford, wife of Col. Bransford, was also a sister of J. W. Settle.

The late Dr. William R. Kenner became a citizen of Gainesboro a short time after its location. He resided at the place now owned and occupied by G. B. Murray. He was the uncle of Hon. John H. Savage, the distinguished soldier, politician of the mountains. Dr. Kenner was a kinsman of the Shields Family of Smithville and also of Celina. His wife was another sister of Joel W. Settle. She still survives, a venerable and sprightly old lady. Mrs. Kenner survived her husband many years, residing with her son-in-law, W. W. McCue, Esq. of this county, and died at his home. Mr. McCue died Oct. 11, 1890.

The late Watson M. Cooke, Nestor of Putnam County, for whom the County site was named, took start in Gainesboro as a merchant. He resided at the house owned now by J. M. Morgan, who afterwards became one of the leading merchants of Nashville. His brother, Bolivar H. Cooke, now the successful clothing merchant and head of the firm of B. H. Cooke & Co., Nashville, also commenced his career as a business man in Gainesboro.

We also mention Captain A. J. McWhirter, a present commissioner of Agriculture of the State, and son-in-law of Col. Bransford, as another who first learned business In Gainesboro.

At a later period S. J. Keith, a native of our County, now President of the Forth National Bank of Nashville, commenced business in our town by selling calico for Stone & Settle.

Passing from _______for the present to the legal Fraternity, the late Hon. James T. Quarles, the father of our merchant friend, John S. Quarles of Quarles & Stafford, was perhaps the oldest and one of the most scholarly and thorough lawyers that made Gainesboro his home. He was thoroughly practical, made a good Judge and lived to a good old age, becoming a member of the church shortly before his death. He was always honored for his strict integrity and high regard for truth. He came to Gainesboro at an early date and resided in a house located in what is now known as Captain M. L. Gore's field, (this field is now the property of Fred C. and Lucylle Smith McGlasson) just below town. His office is now occupied by James Walker as a shoe repair shop.

Hon. B. B. Washburn came from Smith County at an early period, residing where his widow still lives with her son-in-law, B. A. Butler. He was noted for his energy, was a good lawyer, and served several times as Special Judge, and spent his latter years a devoted member of the church. His brothers, L. and R. H. Washburn, are now among our most respected fellow citizens.

Ex. Gov. Preston H. Leslie of Kentucky practiced law here with Col. S. S. Stanton before the Civil War, residing two miles in the country on what is now Mrs. Mrs. M. A. Herod's farm.

Historical Sketches and Traditions of Jackson County

The last residence of Colonel Thomas L. Bransford in Gainesboro was torn down when George H. Morgan built his residence at the same place in the early part of Eighteen Seventies. He bought the block, consisting of four lots as well as half of the block just South of his residence block, where he had his barn and stable, the lot comprising the East half of the latter block. R. M. Kinnard has become the owner of the property, for he made the deed to Judge Morgan, a warranty deed to the residenced block, but a quitclaim only to the lots across the street. Later Morgan & Smith built their law office on the Northwest corner of the residence lot. This office is still occupied as a Law Office.

George H. Morgan sold the residence, barn and stable to L. S. Anderson when he decided to go to Cookeville, having previously sold to L. K. Smith the North part of the block, where the office is now located, and where the "Smith Residence" was built. After L. S. Anderson's occupancy of the Morgan residence Dr. J.W._______ lived there for a time and after him, Hon. James A. Williams.

I am told by L. K. Smith, as he remembers, that Governor Robert L. Taylor was entertained there in the hospitable home of Mr. Williams when he came to Gainesboro on one occasion. Think it was in his second race for Governor. Mr. Williams was in the Legislature from Jackson County while Taylor was Governor one term, when he left Tennessee for Georgia in 1800. Hon. Bowen A. Butler lived at the Morgan residence. He and his family were nearest neighbors to L. K. Smith.

The question of a water supply for Gainesboro presented a difficult problem to the people. I refer to 1870. There was one public well in the town known as the Court House well. It was located in the Southeast corner of the Court House Square. Most of the town got water there except in the summer time, when the well went dry, or furnished only a limited supply. Most everybody hauled water in barrels from the Buckeye Spring, the Haile Spring, or the spring in the Gipson pasture. There were men who made it their business to haul water for other people, and others hauled for themselves. In the winter time and during a rainy season the Court House well furnished a sufficient supply for all purposes. I think family washings were sent out and done largely by Negro women, who carried them to the Gipson Pasture Spring, and elsewhere.

An amusing incident which might have been a tragedy occurred at the Court House well. Miss Tilda Patton came to the well to get water, accompanied by her small brother. Now, Jack was a rather mischievous youngster, and while Tilda was drawing the water, Jack came up and waved his hat over the wall and told her he was going to throw it in the well. She tried to get him to go away, but he persisted, lost his balance and went in, head first. Tilda screamed, the town was alarmed and the people rushed to the rescue. "Jack Patten has fallen into the well, he is drowned, or has broken his neck". You know how excited crowds will talk. Fortunately there was not enough water in the well to drown him, and in some miraculous way he hit the bottom without serious injury, only a few bruises and lacerations about the head and face.

Jackson County History

May I tax the patience of our readers while I make one more reference to "the house of John Bowen, on Roaring River", as the place where the first Court of Pleas and quarter sessions should be held.

In his interesting and instructive letter, published in the Sentinel, August ______ . Mr . L. F. Myers says: Nat Brown and brother James Brown, sons of John Brown, made the statement that the first court held in Jackson County, Tennessee was at their father's house, three and a half miles South of Hilham in 1803, and next at the Hickey Place, owned at the time by Benjamin Totten. Now, note the date 1803, when the first court was held at the Brown Place. Remember, the Act creating the County was passed Nov. 6, 1801. Where were Courts held during the interval of more than a year between that date and the f irst of the year 1803. Four Courts were to be held each year, December, March, June and September. Does not this demonstrate that the four courts at least, during 1802, were held at the house of John Bowen on Roaring River, as the Act provides? This does not detract from the interest in the John Brown place, where the Courts were held in 1803.

The Commissioners were required by the Act to procure 40 acres as near the center of the County as practicable, and lay off the town of Smithfield. I think Capt. Myers has helped to locate the lost town of Smithfield, and the site should be appropriately marked as well as the Bowen place, and the Hickey, or Totten place.

A. V. and W. H. Goodpasture say in their life of J. D. Goodpasture, page 16, that: Daniel Brown married a sister of Benjamin Totten, the first of Overton County. The Courts of the County (Overton) were organized at Totten's House on Eagle Creek, and continued to be held there until the General Assembly passed an Act that after the first day of June 1810 the Courts should be held at the town of Monroe.

Benjamin Totten was the father of James L. Totten, who practiced law at Livingston until some time in the Thirties, when he moved to Trenton, was elected to the Legislature in 1835, and soon afterwards moved to Mississippi, where he became a Circuit Judge of Benjamin C. Totten of Huntington who was on the Circuit bench from 1837 to 1845; and of Archibald W. O. Totten, who began the practice of law at Troy, and moved thence to Jackson, and was on the Supreme bench from 1850 to 1855. So Jackson County can claim these eminent Tottens as citizens originally in her boundaries, born at least Jackson Countians.

There is one other distinction that should, I think, be credited to James L. Totten. What young men and maidens of fifty or sixty years ago could fail to recall the song of "Roaring River"? There is not so _____ to the words, but there is a swing and "lilt" to the tune that is fascinating to the devotees of terpsichore.

In the early days at Gainesboro in the old fashioned dance they could dance, or tip the "Light Fantastic" to the tune of Roaring River for half the night. It is in exaggeration to say that this tune occupied the attention of the musicians and dancers for half of the night, for there were many other tunes used but "Roaring River" was the favorite. In fact, this tune, with variations and mutations unlike any other tune I know, h as no terminal facilities. Like Tennyson's Book, it goes on forever.

Judge E. L. Gardenhire told me that the author of "Roaring River" went from our country to Mississippi and there became a Circuit Judge. I have endeavored to recall the name, but could not read the reference to James L. Totten. I am now of the opinion that he is the man. Two verses of the song refer to local streams that serve to identify it with the County, as originally created, while the third is of modern origin, and here it is:

Roaring River

Hopper's Creek and Roaring River, My wife's dead and I'm a Widower.

Chorus -

I'll rack back to Roaring River, I'll rack back to Roaring River, I'll rack back to Roaring River, I'll rack back to Roaring River.

Hopper's Creek and Falling Water, Some old man will loose his Daughter.

Chorus -

I'll rack back to Roaring River. Ad libitum.

Aaron's Branch and Tally's Hollow, I will lead and she will follow.

Chorus -

If you think there is no music in Roaring River you should have heard John W.T. Meadows, Tecumseh G. Settle, or Samuel H. York in their palmy days, one or all together, on their old fashioned fiddles. The tune should be preserved, and I nominate Mrs. Clara Cox Epperson to put it on paper for posterity, and send it to Garland Draper. I am sure she knows the tune, for her father, Capt. Robert A. Cox, was an excellent violinist, and knew "Roaring River" with all its variations.

Speaking of Mr. Meadows, Mr. Settle, and Mr.York, all of whom were worthy citizens of Gainesboro and vicinity. When I was a boy recalls a custom prevalent at that time. Masonic funerals were always accompanied by music on the violin, slow solemn music, and the tolling of the Church bell. The procession would form at the residence and there take up the coffin, preceded by the musicians, a slow procession would wend its way to the cemetery, or the Church first, and then to the cemetery. The solemn notes of the bell end the slow mournful music of the violins, with the Master of the Lodge, or the oldest Mason present bearing a ponderous Bible, square and compasses open before him, and at the grave the responsive reading of the ritual. All those things were calculated to arrest the attention of' tho living, and make them think on this transitory state, and of things eternal.

I can now hear the strains of the tune most frequently used, which was the one used in the song: Columbia, Columbia, to Glory Arise, The Queen of the World and the Child of the skies.

L. K. Smith, Carrollton, Georgia.
September 1, 1930.

Jackson County History

Jackson County Sketches, copied by L. K. Smith, from the Upper Cumberland paper, issue dated December 24, 1885.

In December 24, 1885 issue of the Upper Cumberland announcement is made that the firm, of J. E. Gore & Co., Publishers of the paper, is dissolved by mutual consent. The impersonal partner having sold his interest to Dr. W. W. Baker of Bloomington. The transit had been purchased and merged with the Upper Cumberland. J. E. Gore and Dr. Baker were to continue the publication of the Upper Cumberland under the same name, J. E. Gore & Co. The paper was then about six and a half years old. It may be interesting "to view the Upper Cumberland of its date, nearly 50 years ago. Here ore some of the items:

Our choice for Governor 1886, Gen. Geo. G. Dibrell of White, Jackson County supported him, but the young man from East Tennessee, Robert L. Taylor, defeated him in the convention.

From the legal. notices we see that W. M. Gailbreath was clerk of the Circuit Court, H. W. Williams, Clerk and Master, and in our neighboring County of Putnam, W. J. Isbell was County Court Clerk.

A new firm announced, Eaton & Roddy, Alex Eaton and Fillmore Roddy, successors to W. P. Herod & Co.

The lawyers whose names appeared in the advertising column were; George H. Morgan, L. K. Smith, T. H., W. B. Butler, Joshua Haile, Jr., Bowen A. Butler, Cox & Anderson, and Howell W. Williams.

G. W. Hampton and family are visiting T. J. Williams.

George H. Morgan has gone to Sparta this week on business.

Prof. Zimmerman's school exercises take place tonight at the Academy.

Misses Lillie and Minnie Carnes are visiting In our town.

Bloomington, Cookeville and Livingston are now moving to get the telephone extended to those points. Will not the citizens of Gainesboro and vicinity help --- say, enough to put the poles to the top of the hill?

From a correspondent it appears that Professor Carnes and Cummins have just closed a very successful term of school at Hilham. (W. D. G. Carnes and J. B. Cummins, as I remember).

B. S. Minor, S. H. Minor, D. H. Morgan and Miss Tennie Williams returned home on the steamer Bedford from Bowling Green, Ky., where they have been attending the Normal School. Misses Cora and Clara Cox, daughters, of Robt. A. Cox, returned home on the Steamer Bedford, from Dr. Price's School at Nashville.

Prof. Zimmerman's lecture at the church last Tuesday was quite a success.

John M. Tinsley and Miss Nannie Johnson were married at the residence of Z. T. Terry at Flynn's Lick last evening, Elder J. R. Hoover performing the ceremony.

F. K. Kelly wants the party who has his bridle to please bring it home. He needs it.

Hon. N. W. McConnell, Past Grand Master of Masons, will deliver an address publicly at the Installation of the Officers of Tannehill, Granville and New Bethel Lodges next Monday night, the 28th.

Directory: Circuit Court, Hon. N. W. McConnell, Judge, W. M. Gailbreath Clerk, meets Tuesday after the second Monday in January, May and September.

Chancery Court: Hon. W.G. Crowley, Chancellor, H. W. Williams, Clerk & Master. Meets second Mondays in March, and fourth Monday in September.

County Court: Hon. James Harris, Chairman, James W. Draper, Clerk, meets first Monday in each month.

Justices of the Peace: Ready at all times for business.

County Officers

W. C. Morgan, Sheriff. Lee Sadler, Trustee. A. Pharris, Coroner., J. H. Chaffin, Register: Wm. Gore, Surveyor: B. A. Butler, Notary Public: N. M. Cox, Supt. Public Instructions.


Christian Church, Elder W. D. G. Carnes, Pastor. Elder N. B. Young, Evangelist. George H. Morgan, Supt. Sunday School. Sunday School and Church worship every Sunday. Preaching second and fourth Sundays. Prayer Meeting every Thursday night.

Masonic Gainesboro Chapter

No. 86, H. H. Cason, H. P. Geo. H. Morgan, Recorder. Meets first Friday each month at 1 P.M.

Tannehill Lodge, No. 133, R. H. Washburn, W. M. H. P. Loftis, Secretary meets third Friday each month at 1 P. M.

Then follows the schedule of the arrival and departure of the Mails. Bloomington daily, except Sunday; Riddleton Tri-weekly, and Celina, Lafayette, Hilham and Marengo once a week, Saturday, Monday, Thursday and Friday, respectively.

N. B. Young, Postmaster.

Miss Maude Young, the sprightly little daughter of Judge M. B. Young, has been attending school at Dixon Springs, returned home the first part of the week.

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Jane Hembree Crowley
Charles Reeves, Jr.,

Jackson County Coordinators
This page last updated: 4 July 2000