RECOLLECTIONS OF TENNESSEE, by Memucan Hunt Howard
[Note: In 1883, at the request of ex-governor James D. Porter, Memucan Hunt Howard wrote his recollections of Tennessee. Mr. Hunt was one of the men who surveyed west Tennessee when the land was opened for settlement after 1818. He describes his life, travels, survey methods, early settlers, and land sales. He also describes events he witnessed or heard about, including one of the Andrew Jackson duels. In 1902 a shortened and edited version appeared in the American Historical Magazine (VII, pp. 55-79). The handwritten original and a typescript are owned by the Tennessee Historical Society and are available on microfilm from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (Mf. #678, H-135).
This web page was made by scanning and ORC processing a typed transcription owned by the late G. Tillman Stewart of Henderson County, Tennessee. The late Roy W. Black, County Historian of Hardeman County, had a “copyist” type the transcription sent to G. Tillman Stewart, so it is unlikely to have been made directly from the original. The typed transcription seems to have been a rough copy that was not proofread or corrected. For this web page, typographical errors in the typed transcription have not been corrected. Hopefully all of the scanning/OCR errors will have been caught. Anyone doing serious research or wanting to quote passages should get the microfilm copy, which is available for interlibrary loan. Everyone else should simply enjoy the good read!]
My delay in sending Memican Hunt Horard's [Memucan Hunt Howard's] story of his surveying in the Range and Sections in West Tennessee was occasioned by the moving of my library to another section of our home. My books, manuscripts, ect. (although several months have passed) are so badly mixed I cannot find anything: and only found the book a few days ago. I hope it is not too late to get data you may select it into your history. Abstract whatever data you may need. There is lots of important points in it: it is a pity Mr. Howard used hyphens for periods. It's copied as he wrote it. My Copyist seems to become wobbly as she nears end of the MS. Please return as soon as you are finished as I will need to draw heavily on the Rangs & Secruin [Range & Section] area. Most Cordially yours, Roy W. Black.
Several years ago you asked me to write something of my knowledge, observations, etc. of, and about Tennessee, its men things etc. for the Historical Society of Nashville, which I did not promise to do-fearing that I might not write anything that might be thought of any interest, or value, and so the matter rested untill January last, when I received a letter from an old, and valued friend, Doctor J. Berrien Lendsley, in which he said ""No one knows as much as you do about the ""old land office system of Tennessee- I would take it as"" a great favor if you would give me an account of that ""office for my second volume, also any suggestions you have "to make, or hints or references bearing upon my design." I took the subject into consideration for several days, and became satisfied that I do know as much, or more, about the matter he refers to than any one else, for the reason that all others who knew as much as I do-or more- are dead, and I wrote to Doctor Lindsley that I'd endeavour to comply with his request as best I could, and have done so- and in looking back over sixty three years, since I went first to Tennessee- into the mine of mind or memory-so to speak-and stirring things up in my endeavour & desire to aid an old and esteemed friend in his very laborious and responsible undertaking many things have been brought up- some of which would be out of place in such communications as I have made to him, but not so (or less so) in such statements as I make at your suggestion. I do not know to what extent matters and things outside of the State of Tennessee should with propriety be indulged in, but at the risque of being thought egotistical and prolix have concluded to begin outside of Tennessee-where and when I was born on the 14th of December 1798 in Granville County North Carolina, and at the age of twelve years-or thereabouts-was taken from school, and put into a country store about a dozen miles from home, where I was not to get any wages, but my board only, with one of the two proprietors of the store, in which a general assortment of such dry goods and groceries were kept, as were usually in such establishments including apple and peach brandy-which were in as active demand in a retail way as any article on hand-especially once a month-on Saturdays when what were called warrant tryings-magistrate courts where small debts were adjudicated-took place as which the neighboring people would congregate, and often indulge in drinking, and sometimes in quarreling & fighting-thus makeing a most unchristian Sabbath eve, extending into the ensuing night sometimes- I remember well the first whiskey I ever saw was brought to the store in an old fashioned, short square, bit mouthed Scotch snuff bottle, by an old man named Ned Jones for his own drinking, and I got him to let me smell and taste of it, and found it as revolting in a crude state, or with water only as other strong drinks which should be used only medicinally, and but little in that way.
The War with Great Brittain, of 1812, coming on goods could not be obtained with which to replinish the store, and it was closed when I had been there about seventeen months, and I made up my few things into a bundle to take home with me, and then about to leave I was met unexpectedly & agreeable surprised at the gift of twenty five silver dollars, by my landlord, and went home in a very cheerfull mood and the richest boy in the neighbourhood. All sorts of merchandise became both scarce, & dear- for instance salt got to be five Dollars per Bushel, sugar, coffee, iron, steel, etc. equally exhorbitant in price, and such produce as the people made for market scarcely worth transportation to one-money of course exceedingly scarce and almost every one impecunious. I was at once put to work with the Negroes on the plantation, untill an Uncle and my-father made up a load of manufactured Tobacco, with which a Negro man and me were sent to the lower part of North Carolina, and Virginia, to peddle it off from House to House, camping out of nights, and if Tar could be had cheap to take that article back, as we did, having procured it for one Dollar & firty cents per Barrell of some thirty odd or forty gallons- In this swampy country-near the "great dismal swamp"-where large swamps are, or were, called "Poscons" there was in common use a Native Tea, secured from a shrub, or bush, resembling the Privet of Tennessee, which might become valuable if properly managed, and is known there as "Yopond Tea" it has been known and used by some Indian Tribes as the "black drink" as I have been informed by R. J. Meigs Esq. of Washington, D. C. formerly of Nashville, who in early life spent some time at an agency with an Uncle who was Indian agent I believe-with what tribe I have forgotten. It seems that when they convened in council on business in a square surrounded by cabins with broad jutting eaves, under which the chief and head man would set, on the inside of the square, they would delegate two of the Tribes to fill a large Iron Kettle with water, into which a quantity of the Tea leaves and the present or preceeding year's growth of the twigs, which had been dried & placed in a small tight structure at said center of the square, build a fire under the Kettle, and when boiling the two persons attending it would dip it up with long handled gourds, and pour it back into the Kettle untill deemed prepared for use, when a gourd full would be taken to the head chief who would drink freely of it, when it would be taken to the next one, and he would drink of it, and so it would pass the number of them al , again, and again, untill their stomachs were so full that they were eructate, and cast up a portion of the liquid, and then considered themselves prepared for business- This tea was something like - if now identical with, the famous Matte of Paraguay, which the Frenchman, Bompland, went there to investigate and was detained a number of years by the famous tryant Doctor Francis (I believe that was his name) who seemed to control the people as perfectly as if he had them caged, and under lock, and key. On another occasion the same Negro man and me were sent on another expedition of the kind named, to the Southern part of N. C. and northern part of S. Carolina- and-again I was sent with another darkie to Petersburg, Virginia, with a waggon load of leaf Tobacco prized into hogshead, and a neighbor sent along his waggon and team, with a load of the same under my care and control in this way, and working on the plantation, and that of a Bachelor uncle who had entered the army, I was employed about two years, and untill I was offered in Nov. 1815, after the close of the War a situation in a store in the country village (Oxford) at seventy five dollars, and my board, for the first year, where dry good, groceries, stationery, and a few common medicines, were kept- in this establishment I became Bookkeeper after not many months, was given in charge the key of the Iron safe, and seemed to be more relied on than a young man was whom I found there when I first went there, and was several years my senior, and he left. The active man of the firm of two persons, who owned the establishment I was in, was Clerk & Master of the Chancery Court, which had a day or two-or more if necessary assigned it, in which chancery cases were tried by the Circuit Court Judge, who had chancery jurisdiction, and it fell to my lot to copy Bills, answers, Depositions, etc. whenever required, count every word and endorse on the copy the number of "copy sheets" consisting of ninety words, for which the Clerk fee was twenty cents for each copy sheet. In addition to the duties named one of us had to be at the store at night to charge the day's work of two Negro Blacksmiths owned by one of our employers- every thing in the way of business was carried on, on the credit system. My employers established a Tanyard also which was just getting under way when I went to live with thew, and we had to take in hides, weigh and pay for them and send them to the Tanyard, receive for it the leather & sell it, keep account of these various matters which required so much and constant time, and attention, that I had sometimes barely time for eating, and the necessary rest & sleep. My wages gradually crept up to One hundred and eighty Dollars per annum, when I was offered by an Uncle, Doctor Thomas Hunt, who had formed a partnership with Samuel Dickens, under the name firm of Hunt and Dickens to locate land warrants in West Tennnessee-then known as the Chicasaw, or Forked Deer, country-the liberal and inviting salary of Four Hundred Dollars per annum, which I accepted, and informing my employer-who was the manager of the partner affair-he at once proposed to furnish capital, take me in as equal partner in business, if I would remain, but I had agreed to go, and went, assured that I'd have an easy enough time of it examining lands and getting the situation of good lands to be entered when the land offices opened for Entry. I found it to be an exceedingly rough hard business, camping in the wild woods, which I done almost all the time for about four consecutive years, the latter part on my own account, and untill sleeping on the ground on raw Bear and Deer skins-which are very impervious to water when raw-until it became as familiar and as much a matter of course as it is now to sleep in a House on a bed. My employer made in less than two years, and mainly from my labour & attention to his business, I suppose more than twenty thousand dollars-which he- having been brought up in ease and abundance did not properly appreciate and being of an extragant & liberal disposition, soon got rid of, as with a considerable inheritance also; his partners plan was to get all he could and keep all he got. My wages was to be eight hundred dollars after the first year and for risqueing my health and life, I got no money, but about One Thousand Dollars in property and my employer failing, I paid out, and lost by him, about four times as much as I had rec.' from him. In early life I contracted the very pernicious habit of chewing tobacco, not long after of smoking it too, and eventually of snuffing it also-the first and last are disgustingly filthy habits, the other useless and often offensive to others, and all of them expensive nusiances, benefiting only the producer of the articles and those who deal in it. I quit the use of Tobacco many years ago and have not the slightest desire to indulge in either habit named-Young people should be very careful to avoid all bad habits, as with many it seems to be very difficult to get rid of them-drunkeness is the worst and a terrible one it is-leading to innumerable crimes & much misery. Now I suppose that what I have written may seem to be a sort of egotistical Rigmarole, inappropriate to the subject on hand, and perhaps it is, but to me it seems that my experience etc. if it should fall under the notice of any poor toiling person, and should benefit them in any way and help a little in encouraging good, and avoiding bad, habits-even in a single instance I will be remunderated, and for that purpose I have written the foregoing. Should occasion seem to justify, or commend it, I may again depart as far from the subject I have undertaken to say something about as I have already done.
Well, I will now take leave of my native home, which I left on or about the 28th of March 1820, expecting to return in about a year, instead of more than five years was the case, and the next day joined three other men-all of course on horseback with saddle bags, cloth leggins- none had an umbrella-My horse and outfit I had paid for with part of my earnings-and set out with eighty eight Dollars & 'fifty cents, in cash. Horseback in travelling was the usual method with both sexes, of travelling in those days, except with families removing, and a day's journey, thirty to thirty five miles. I had never seen a mountain, and when we were approaching and within six or eight miles of the Alleghanies the sun-which had been obscured by clouds-shone put brightly and displayed one of the grandest scenes I had ever beheld- the trees on the mountain, being covered with ice,-rain having fallen and freezed. We entered Tennessee through the "Deep Cap" near the head of Watauger River-attributary of the Holston, and travelled down it. I read or heard afterwards that a man named Bean with a wife & children had located on said River at an early day, and left his family to take care of themselves, & had wandered off himself-was gone for several years, but finally returned, and finding a young baby on hand-evidentally not his, took out his knife and cut off a piece of one of its ears so as to know it from his own-in those days cattle, hogs, and sheep were marked by various ways of cutting their ears, and marks were recorded with some county officer. Houses of entertainment were sufficiently numerous, generally at convenient distances apart, pretty well kept, and charges very moderate.
East Tennessee lies between two very dissimilar Mountain Ranges including a portion of each, both trending about South West and about parallel and at a distance apart I suppose of eighty to a hundred miles or more, the Alleghanies to the South East, consisting mainly of hard compact grey granite of excellent quality; the Cumberland Range to the North West of modern sandstone, covered for.a few feet in depth with a lean unproductive earth, mainly of sand and has a limestone base, I believe, without any local fertilizer except the lean leaves of the trees, and the trees themselves, save at the "Crab Orchard" only, where limestone crops out; and is generally well timbered considering the poverty of the soil. This beautifull country between said Mountain Ranges abounds in productive valleys abundant water power, mineral springs in variety and dispersed over the country, conglomerate marble of the best quality, splendid scenery abundance of coal along the Cumberland Range. Iron Ore and limestone convenient to the coal it is said, and Iron Ore in this part of the country. In 1831 I was engaged in gold mining in Georgia in partnership with three other men and in returning from there with one of my partners passed through upper E. T. where I visited some gold mines on a branch of Coker Creek of Tillico River and panned out particles of goldmines not very productive & are limited. We were induced to make this detour by a Mr. Carroll with whom we met in Georgia, who lived at, and owned, Iron Works at the falls of that River, and was with us-we found excellent water power at the falls, a low mountain of slate, of excellent appearance, and Iron Ore within two, or three, miles which we saw and if of good quality this place must become valuable. For a number of years after I went to Tennessee Knoxville was supplied in part, or altogether, with groceries taken there from Nashville 200 miles by common road waggon and for many years dry goods were supplied to Tennessee by the same method of conveyance and chiefly from Baltimore I believe, which was the most convenient large commercial seaport, and had the advantage of the National Turnpike Road for a large portion of the way-this road was a very great improvement, and convenience, and was I believe for years a source of convention, and wrangling between the two dominant political parties-the Whig party in favor of it, and to public improvement by the general Government. This Road was I believe the only road of the kind, or good road, in the country, at the time of any extent. The introduction of steam boats on the Western Rivers done away with in a great measure with Road Waggons and in various parts of the country Turnpike Roads were constructed-notably in Middle Tennessee where the common dirty road was in winter or very wet weather about as bad as I ever saw-after a few years Rail Roads began to be built, and have well nigh, destroyed the Turnpike Roads of which quite a number had been constructed in Middle Tennessee-especially leading into Nashville, and very soon changed the then common method of travel and transportation of all produce merchandise etc. and now permeat almost all tolerably well settled parts of the country and rendering portions of it easy of access which had been inconvenient of approach before; notably East Tennessee which thereby has been made quite easy to reach and is now an interesting and inviting part of the State. In this section of the State I saw the "grand oak" a shrub or very diminutive oak but a few feet in height and producing abundance of acorns- I had never heard of them before but have seen them since in abundance in New Englan.
We travelled on after entering Tennessee by Beans Station, Knoxville, etc. to Camphells Station, about fifteen miles West of Knoxville, where we stopped for the night and the proprietor Mr. Campbell, as bed time approached held prayers-it being the first time it had been done where we stopped since we commenced our journey, and it carried me in thought and feeling right back home, it having been my father's practice from my earliest recollection to hold prayers night, and morning, the time of doing as being announced by the ringing of a Bell arranged for that purpose only, and when rang was an invitation to all in hearing to attend, usually a chapter in the Bible was read, a hymn given out and sung and a prayer offered. I think this very commendable habit quite too much neglected. At this place Admiral D. G. Farragut told me at a reception given him and Captain Drayton, (I believe it was) also of the U. S. Navy, about the termination of the Civil War in this City (N.Y.K) he was born and lived untill five years old. We travelled across Cumberland Mountain in a somewhat diagonal direction, along the Knoxville and Nashville Road, the distance across the mountain on this road is something more than fory miles most of which is a tolerably level country, free stone springs of water, tolerable plenty, and chalyebeate springs occuring occasionally, there being frequently veigns of iron ore permeating the sandstone. Much of the tree growth of this elevated region is chestnut, a tree I had never seen before I undertook this trip. This Mountain Country had been known as the Wilderness and had been a very dangerous region through which to travel on account of hostile Indians them lurking about waylaying travelling Roads and murdering the whites' whenever they could-Moving families were guarded across this mountain for some time (Haywood 235)-there were but five settlers on this Mountain at this time, nearly or quite all of whom had located there on the travelled ways for the purpose of entertaining travellers, and movers, the lands nearly all vacant-not owned by any one on account of its poverty, and so remained for many years-none being owned by individuals except was occupied as stated.
At Sparta about four miles West of the foot of the Cumberland Mountain two of our company took the direct road to Nashville, the other and me went on by Shelbyville to Pulaski to see Mr. Gideon Pillow on whom I had been directed to call on business, and ascertained that he lived about a dozen miles North West of Pulaski, and to reach his residence we has to go along bye ways over a very rich broken country, where quantities of undecayed dead cane was lying on the ground, and I ascertained subsequently that soon after the disappearance of the cane, which was quite sudden, a luxuriant crop of "Nimble Will" a very good grass for grass eating animals, sprang up as if by magic, and apparently without seed or root to spring from. I had never heard of this grass before I went West, and I believe it disappeared almost or quite as suddenly. Dog Fennel (May weed of N. C.) comes and goes, I believe in the same manner, and is a very stinking worthless weed unless it possesses enough of tanin to make it of some value, as I have heard it probably did. Another very pestiferous growth that seems to make its appearance as suddenly and misteriously as the two mentioned, is a sort of creeper, shrub, or vine, called "Bucky bush" and in its growth where a joint of it touches the ground roots put out, take hold of the soil, extends itself, smothering, and destroying the grass; and I have heard disappears as suddenly and mysteriously as it appeared. On the way from Mr. Pillow's to Nashville I called as I had been directed to do near Franklin to get a mule to use as a pack animal and joined our traveling companions with whom we had separated at Sparta, at Nashville, where we supplied ourselves with all necessary articles (Tent excepted) for camping, and left with one horse will loaded with them.
Some years previous to this, and at this time, there had been, and was considerably litigation growing out of confliction land titles, which could only be obtained from North Carolina at considerable expense, trouble, and delay, communication between the points being then both slow and tedious, very unlike what it is now. Them the late John C. McLemore Esq. who had become somewhat prominent in land matters, conceived the idea of procuring from N. C. copies of all titles to lands in Tennessee, which eminated from that State and at great personal expense and trouble done so, having the copies taken almost entirely in a number of large well bound Books, and a few small ones with pasteboard or paper covers in which I believe claims that had been over-looked or in some way omitted were copied. Certified copies from these Books were in a short time made legal, many of which I have made out. The books proved to be a very great convenience to the community, but not a very profitable investment, but a convenience to Mr. McLetuore. I knew Mr. McLemore well was associated with him in business for about ten years, and had charge of the Land Office and Books mentioned a considerable part of that time, and know him to have been one of the most generous, kind hearted, benevolent men I ever knew, always in debt and "hard up" for money, always on the borrow and always sacrificing property whilst he had any. Once the owner of a large interest in both the Rice and Ramsey tracts of land of 5000 acres each on a part of both of which Memphis situated. His interest in the first named one which included the mouth of Wolf River, was I believe an eighth of the six hundred and twenty five acres, and in the Ramsey tract upward of Fourteen hundred acres. His entire interest in the two tracts now worth millions of Dollars, I suppose, and its generous philanthropic owner died at Memphis in indigent circumstances. It is gratifying to me to know that I 'rendered him much valuable and important service, he having been very kind to me on many occassions. I believe the State purchased the Books of copies of Mr. McLemore, at a very inadequte price when he had little or no use for them, and was as usual in immediate want of money.
The first permanent settlement made in Middle Tennessee by White people appears to have been made at Nashville in 1799 by Capt. James Robertson and others, as stated in Haywood's History of the State, page 82, and the first white child born therein was John Saundres (Haywood Page 126). A law was passed by M. C. in 1780 donating to the officers and soldiers of the N. C. line in the army of the Revolution land warrants with which to enter lands in her Western territory, now Tennessee and to encourage the men no doubt, (Haywood 116). In 1781 a law seems to have been passed giving warrants with which to enter lands to men employed to guard the white settlements, and were known as Guard right warrants. (Haywood 128 and 129) preemptions were allowed about 1780 (Haywood 123). In 1783 John Armstrong was appointed by N. C. to sell land Warrants to raise revenue with which to pay off the State's indebtedness for articles purchased, or taken for the use of her officers, and soldiers, and sold it seems amounting to three millions of acres in parcels of 5000 acres, and less (Haywood 108, 109, 250). North Carolina gave in 1783 to General Nathaniel Greene of the Revolutionary army 25,000 acres of land South of Duck River, now in Maury County, in one of the best sections of upland I ever saw (Haywood 124). The General's father was a Quaker preacher of Rhode Island, and the son of Quaker also, but joining a Military Company was ejected from the Society. Both were Blacksmiths I have heard. A daughter of the General married Sir. Peyton Kepierth, an Englishman, who settled in Southern Virginia between the Dan and Stanton Rivers near their juntion, had three sons and one daughter or more I believe, their names were Peyton, George, and Grey-the two first I knew-they were gentlemen in its true sense. I believe-Sir Peyton dying the widow married Edward Littlefield, Esq.-A Rhode Islander I believe, and with the family removed to their 25,000 acres of land in Maury County- I think it was after this second marriage-not an acres of which has been owned by any of the family for many years I believe-Mr. Littlefield was at one time a prominent member of the Legislature of Tennessee. A large part of the lands of Middle Tennessee were taken up by John Armstrong and Military Warrants, some by preemption, or head rights & guard right claims- The so called salt lick, and six hundred and forty acres, including each, was reserved (Haywood 245) John Armstrong was the name of the man authorized by N. C. to sell Warrants--hence the appellation given them. Many of them perhaps three hundred thousand acres or more, were granted in 1783 or thereabouts on very imperfect surveys made by Isac Robards, Henry Rutherford, _________ Harris and perhaps one or two others, and so made on account of the hostility of the Indians. These surveys were required to be made to run to the point of the needle of the compass and were made so, and all surveys made thereafter in West Tennessee (and none ware made untill after its cession by Chicasaw Indians to the United States in 1818), were required to be made to the true Meridin-that is parallel to and at right degrees to the left of the point of the needle. John Armstrong, Warrants only were located in West Tennessee prior to December 1820 I believe-besides those granted therein as named above, a considerable number were entered under N. C. at or about the same time and were called special Entries, & were granted by Tennessee after the treaty of 1818, whether the Rice Ramsey tracts on which Memphis is situated were special Entries or not I don't know but believe the latter was. Quite a number of special Entries were made adjoining the State line-the first called for beginning at the South West corner of the State on the Mississippi River and running East with the State line, then North etc. and then called for that one and for each other & thus extending East along the old State line for many miles. I remember of but one N. C. claim--a special Entry I believe being made in West Tennessee immediately on Tennessee River, and that one was for 1800 acres in the name of William P. Anderson at and including the mouth of Bird Song Creek some six or eight miles above Johnsville, and includes the only extensive body of good land I met with on that River- which I meandered from Reynoldsburg up about ten miles and found it to be one of the worst and most disagreeable jobs I ever undertook on account of cane breaks, in one of which we spent an uncomfortable night. Isaac Robard, only of the surveyors named above L believe, entered West Tennessee from its East side and he from opposite the mouth of Duck River and proceeded about due West untill he reached Big Sandy River, at or near a bluff, and as it made a corner, and from it four tracts of 5,000 acres each were granted to my grandfather Memucan Hunt- each tract extending six hundred and forty poles- (two miles) West and twelve hundred and fifty poles north, two of them, and the other two the same distance South- he then proceeded West and struck in the forks of Beaver Creek of Obion River a few miles above Huntingdon and there made another corner, and made others in that vicinity of 5,000 acres each-from which eight tracts were granted to my said grandfather, on one of which Huntingdon is situated also a 5,000 acre tract or two in his own name. Still proceeding West he struck Rutherford's Fork of Obion where he made another corner or two from which three tracts of 5,000 acres each were granted to my said grandfather, who had several partners in the ownership of these 75,000 acres-but his name alone was used in obtaining titles-his partners were Thomas Polk, James Galloway, Jesse Benton (father of Col. Thos. H. Benton, Jesse, etc.) Pleasant Henderson, who removed to, settled and died on one of the tracts near Huntingdon, and A. Murphey-this company including Isaac Robard owned I have heard 140,000 acres altogether as above stated and elsewhere. About 1828 (or 1827) I had accasion to have the testimony of Henry Blair, then of Wilson County-a chain carrier of Isaac Robard perpetuated at a corner made in 1783 about two miles east of Huntingdon when I am pretty sure that he told me that his powder horn was shot off his side by an Indian on this expedition, and not in Middle Tennessee as stated in Haywoods History. The other surveys named started I believe from the Mississippi River, and worked East and North. Henry Rutherford, and his brother John, lived and died I think on land granted to them at or near the Key corner- the former was made Entry taker about 1835 or 1836 of Lauderdale-on the District System being abandoned, and an Entry taker appointed in each County in its stead. I was at his house in 1836 on business with him as Entry taker and had to await his return from a mill about ten miles distant I understood, where he had gone to get a bag of corn ground and he came home riding on the bag of meal, was then he told me 77 years old, or in his 77th year. I have been several times at this Key corner settlement but never saw the old Key corner tree.
In Nov. or Dec. 1785 the assembly of N. C. passed an Act establishing Davidson Academy and gave it two hundred & forty acres of land out of the six hundred & forty acres, (on four hundred acres of which Nashville had been established) and exempted it from Taxes for Ninety nine years--now and for some time passed called free Territory & lies mainly so, but partly Wt. of the 400 acres, and will be taxable after 1884 (Haywood 211). After the cession of W. Tennessee in 1818 by the Chicasaws to the U. S. it was required by the State to be laid off into five Surveyors Districts; the first one called the ninth, is bounded East by Tennessee River, South by the State line, extended North fifty five miles, and Wt. some forty or fifty miles. I have forgotten how far, and Samuel Wilson was appointed principal surveyor of it. The tenth District was bounded East by the ninth extended West thirty miles, bounded So. by the State line & extended North 55 miles and Adam R. Alexander, was appointed principal Surveyor of it.
The Eleventh District is bounded East by the tenth South by the State line, West by the Mississippi River and extended North fifty five miles, as does the 9th & 10th and Jacob Tipton was appointed principal Surveyor of it. The twelfth District is bounded East by Tennessee River, North by the State line, South by the 9th Dist. and part of the tenth and extends about half way from the Tennessee River to the Mississippi, and Robert E. C. Doherty was appointed principal Surveyor of it. The Thirteenth District is bounded East by the 12th North by the State line, South by parts of the 10th and 11th Districts, and West by the Mississippi River and John B. Hogg was appointed principal surveyor of it. There was another District laid off at the same time I believe, which was bounded West by Tennessee River, South by the State line, extended East & North, and was called the eighth, and Gen, Samuel William was appointed Surveyor of it. The line between the 12th and 13th District measured on the ground I believe something over forty six miles from the line of Kentucky South, which added to the fifty five miles, which the 9th, 10th & 11th Districts extend North of the South boundary of the State and it makes the width of the State at that point a little more than one hundred and one miles-not quite a degree and a half-but was subsequently increased by an addition of about a mile and three quarters, of an average from Tennessee River to the Mississippi from Mississippi as hereafter stated. Tennessee is wider immediately Et. of Tennessee River than it is immediately West of it, an offset having been made there of several miles up the River to compensate Kentucky for her loss of territory on its East side. The Principal surveyors of the District of West Tennessee (and of the eighth too I suppose) were required to have their Districts surveyed into sections five miles square, and to have a Map of each made on a scale of three hundred and twenty poles (one mile) to the inch, with all Rivers and Creeks, adjoining and crossed correctly represented thereon where crossed by Range, or Section lines-Range lines were those running N & So. and section lines those running Et. & Wt., and Surveyors were allowed to vary from closing each section, not more than twenty poles. The corners of sections to be put firmly in the ground and about three feet above ground hewed six or seven inches square, each face or surface to look or face toward the contiguous section, and to have plainly marked (cut) on it the Range & Section it pointed to. At one mile in each direction No. So. Et. & Wt. a small mile post was put up with one chop or notch on one side and four notches on the other side, at two miles another with two notches on the side the one was on & three on the other side, and so on from one corner to another at every mile on all Range and Section lines, showing the distance in either direction, North, South, East, or West, to a corner, by the number of notches on said mile posts. All range and section lines were marked on the nearest trees with a blaze and one chop above and another below it four or five feet above ground, and pointers marked in like manner, and their bearing and distance from the corner post taken. Corners of surveyes of tracts of land were marked with three chops of an axe, five or six inches apart, on each side of the corner tree from which lines of tracts of land went off, the kind of tree named and pointers similarly marked on the side toward the corner, the kind of tree and its bearing and distance taken-sometimes this was neglected or omitted- all claims to land that emenated from North Carolina were required to be represented on the District maps if they could be identified, as nearly all of them were, before the offices were 9pened for Entry under the laws of Tennessee, and nearly or quite all were made on John Amstrong Warrants, amounting I'd suppose to three Hundred Thousand acres or more in W. T. The offices of the five west Tennessee Districts were all opened simultaneously on December 1820 at different points (to wit) that of the Ninth where Lexington, Henderson County is situated. That of the Tenth a mile or two below where Jackson, Madison County is located. rhe eleventh at the bluff (Memphis). The twelfth where McLemoresville, Carroll County is, and the Thirteenth eight or ten miles North of Jackson Madison County at Col. Robert H. Dyers. Entries were made according to the numbers Warrants had drawn--that is at each office the Warrant that had drawn number one-which was endorsed on it- was called, then number two, and so to the end or last number and when present was presented with an accompanying Entry stating the number of the Warrant, of acres, and other description particulars and District, Range, and Section, and naming some particular object represented on the Map, or cours & distance of each object or of the section corner or a mile stake or a Range or Section line by which the Entry could be correctly represented on the Map, and giving the length and course of one line, or more if necessary. No entry could be more than twice as long as wide unless confined by other tracts or natural objects, or object, Daniel Cherry had a one thousand acre warrant that drew number one, and was entered on Cherry's bluff-known first as Harris' bluff-Win. H. Harris having first settled it, now in Haywood County I believe, and known as Cherryville-Mr. Cherry settled on it, and died there I believe. Entries were recorded in a Book kept for that purpose copies were issued to deputy surveyors who surveyed the lands and returned the platts & certificates to the office where they were recorded in another Book and with the Warrant delivered to the locator who filed them with the State Register at Nashville, who issued Grants on them untill an office was established at Jackson from which Wt. Tennessee lands were Granted.
A law was passed by North Carolina escheating such warrants as had been owned by those for whose Military services they were issued and who had died without lawfull heir, or heirs, on satisfactory proof of the fact being made; of the University of the State, and Col. Thomas Henderson of Raleigh, was appointed to procure, or have procured, the required proof, and agreed to give him a certain percentage of the claims he might secure- Col. Henderson employed a number of men residing in different parts of the State to procure the proof required-dividing his pay with then, by which means many Warrants were obtained to which the University and these agents became entitled- the entire amount of these Millitary Warrants I never knew-Hunt & Dickens located a large amount of them and also of John Armstrong's Warrants-somewhere between three & four hundred thousand acres-no other Company located so large an amount except McLemore& Vaulx (John C. McLemore & James Vaulx)- who located a larger quantity I believe.
We in going West from Nashville, purchased cloth for a Tent at Reynoldsburg where we crossed the Tennessee River on or about the 24th of April 1820 when it was a very thrifty proserous village, and contained at one time twelve or fifteen stores and groceries, but proving to be very sickly, & the Court House being moved eight or nine miles up Trace Creek to Waverly, & the country, contiguous, mostly poor and broken, the place went down rapidly and when I was last there, some twenty five years ago, contained but one family and that one occupied the old Court House. Immediately on crossing Tennessee River reaching high land on the old Natchez Road -three or four miles we commenced camping, and as soon as we could procured tanned Deer Skins with which to make leggins to protect ourselves against snakes briars, bushes, vines, prickley pear (Indian Tear blanket) etc. In a few months our Horses had become nearly exhausted, not having been accustomed to live on the "Range" the two mules we had stood it better. Mr. Dickens being taken sick with fever-this was on the waters of Tennessee Rivers-we' procured a log hut some ten or twelve feet square covered it with boards floored with punchion (timber split & roughly hewed) no fire place, and candles not to be had, and in it the sick man, Samuel McCorkle and me, with our camp bedding, took up our temporary residence-the sick man became alarmed and requested McCorkle and me to sing for him-he a member of a church, and we not; we happened to know a song or two or a part of one or two and done the best could-McCorkle could sing but indifferently and I less-we had a doleful time in this pen for a week or so, and untill the sick man got over his fright and able to travel and left for Middle Tennessee never to take the woods again, and left the labourious and rough business of the Company in my charge-his partner, whom I represented, having remained in N. C. With McCorkle, Joel Pinson, James McDaniel, David Moore and two packmen, we proceeded to business and had to take on foot in a better section of, country on the waters of Forked Deer and Big Hatchie Rivers- Our method of examining the country was to send the two pack men with the pack animals and our supplies from a section corner along a Range or Section line for five, or ten miles, to another section corner, as agreed on before starting-where all were to meet and camp as near the corner as a suitable camping place could be found- one of the packmen to keep directly on the Range, or Section line, be carefull in stepping as regularly and uniformly, as possible, and to count every other step he made (say that of the left foot) and having been furnished with a leather strap about a foot long, and an inch or so side, with a row of sixteen holes in its middle, and a leather string a little larger than the strap, both together fastened to the breast of the coat and the string run through the holes in the strap each man having practiced from one mile post to another had very correctly ascertained how many of his double 'steps would make an out" and would pull the ,string out a hole- sixteen, "outs" was a mile- he would in a Book carried for the purpose make a note of the quality, timber & peculiarities of the land, all changes etc. passed over-two of the four outsiders, would go out from a section corner each way on the Range or section line on mile, and the other two, two miles- each having a compass and to the distance agreed on before starting, and proceed parallel to the line the packmen were to pursue, measure and ,note the quality etc. of the land as in the case named - always connecting with a corner post or a Range or Section line - those having the short line one day would have the long one the next-we soon became remarkably accurate in our measurements-nearly or quite as much so as if carefully measured with a chain especially in tolerably open woods.
Each party had a trumpet or horn by which we could generally find each other and the packmen, the more readily-The Trumpets were carried at our backs to prevent it from interfering with the with the compass needle. On emerging from the swamp of the middle fork of the Forked Deer River, about a dozen miles above Jackson when going south-to high land we came to a large bold spring of water and camped between it & a mound some six or seven feet high, and extensive enough for Houses & a small yard, and a large body of beautiful rich level heavy timbered land adjacent to it, with which Pinson was so much pleased that some one of the Company proposed to call it Mount Pinson; we did not see or know of the large Mounds two or three miles further South for months afterward, but persons who had seen them supposing it was the large Mound that we called Mount Pinson adopted that name as having been intended for it, and they have borne that name since. Pinson left soon after this he subsequently removed to Pontotoc Mississippi, or its neighborhood from Lincoln County Tenn. He was an active sprightly agreeable gentleman. I saw the large mound a year or two later supposed it to be about 70 or 75 feet high, and was nearly four hundred yards in circumference-near it was a square Mound (I think it was square) about twenty feet high smaller Mounds dikes etc. abounded thereabouts. The land including the spring and low Mound we had called Mount Pinson, was entered by Hunt & Dickens for Col. Thomas Henderson, who built & lived and I suppose died on it, I was once at his house there-we soon learned that whenever we came upon a Mount that there-was almost certainly good land and constant running water near.
We worked on South and West untill within sixteen or eighteen miles of the bluff (Memphis) near where Fanny Wright, afterwards made a settlement she named Nashoba-the Indian name of Wolf-and our provisions giving out, I with the two packmen and pack animals went there to get a supply-got as much flour as we wanted and all the Bacon (generally called "Old Ned" by the Surveyors) the place afforded about sixty pounds. Our supply of food consisted entirely of what we could make of Flour, or Corn Meal parched when out of coffee, or sassafras, or spice wood Tea by way of variety-In the fall oppossum were tolerably plenty & fat and very easily caught, and was considered very good eating except by Mr. McCorkle who would not eat the them-sometimes a quarter of venison could be had of an Indian for a quarter of a dollar-but rarely-on an occasion or, two after this I purchased and had carried along sweet Potatoes, when Meal or Flour could not be had-At another time I paid two dollars a Bushel for corn, and we had to pound' it in a Mortor to make meal of it. At this time-Autumn 1820, Winchester, & Carr (Marcus B. Winchester, son of Gen. James Winchester, and Anderson B. Carr) had a store at the bluff as also had a Mr. Rollins, their trade being almost entirely with Indians, Chicasaw, Choctows, and some few Creeks I believe, many of whom were hunting over the Southern portion of Wt. Tennessee and killing the game, it being their last chance for hunting there, and thereby the wild animals were made very wild, and timid, which in some measure contributed to the safety of us who were alone and unarmed mall sorts of woods, where there were no inhabitants near-at the bluff lived a man named James, who kept a log Tavern on a small scale near the Mouth of Wolf River-A Mr. Irvin had located at Fort Pickering, where there two Block Houses, a man named Grace had located on the Mississippi not far above the mouth of Wolf, William Lawrence, a deputy surveyor of the 11th District made this his home, as did John Balston, another deputy - Paddy Maha as he was called-(An Irishman I believe) had located there, and had some sort of claim to the largest of a group of small islands lying about opposite the mouth of Wolf River, or nearly so, known then and afterwards as "Paddy's Hen & Chickens," whether they are still there or have been carried away by the River I don't know. A Spanish Judge named Fay lived directly across the River- I was at his house having crossed the GREAT River not knowing that I'd ever have the opportunity of doing so again. A man named Robard I believe had settled on President Island nearly opposite Fort Pickering and a family of bachelors named Person, from N. C. had settled or was about to do so on Norcoma Creek near the State line, 6 or 7 miles So. of Memphis-No other person had settled in the county of Shelby at that time that I know of unless Jesse Benton had on Big Creek or was about to do so. William Lawrence and John Robertson being frequently seen surveying and looking at land were called it was said, by the Indians Billy Hockana, and John Yockana in their language meaning land-Billy Land and John Land about this time or soon after a Mr. Balch from East Tennessee with his family removed to the bluff and he became the first Sheriff of the county I believe--his wife's brother Samuel Browns went with them I believe as did Miss E. Brown a sister of Mrs. Balch and Mr. Brown. Miss Brown' afterwards married Win. Lawrence. Alfred Taylor, came about the same time he was the brother of Mrs. Tipton, wife of the surveyor of the District, and returned soon to H. Tennessee. Gen. Tipton had not removed to Wt. Tennessee and was represented by Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Taylor, and when he removed to Wt. Tennessee settled a few miles Et. of Covington, Tipton County, to which place the office of his District was removed, he was succeeded as principal surveyor of the Eleventh District by Edmund V. Tipton, who removed the office to his place some 25 or 30 miles above Memphis, on, or near the old State Line. Gen. J. Tipton was an obliging worthy gentleman whom I liked very much. Thomas Carr, brother of Anderson B. Carr settled at the bluff a short time before the land office opened there in Dec. 1820, built a row of log cabins which constituted his very comfortable and well kept Tavern. In the fall of 1820 when some sixteen or eighteen miles Et. of the bluff, one of my Company & myself met a little while before night before reaching camp, and hearing a loud roaring to the Westward which we at once recognized as an Earthquake Sound, such as we had frequently heard before, we stopped immediately, near the dead trunk of a standing tree which vibrated perceptably-a year or so afterward when near the same place four of us together had put up our tent on the approach of a thunder storm which soon reached us and we were prostated by lighting but not injured- I had been felled once before by lighting in N. C.
There were four bluffs on the Mississippi within Tennessee known as the Chicasaw bluff- The first in descending the River was I believe opposite the Middle or upper part of Lauderdale County and had been left by the River before I went out there & the old Channel filled up with mud, and overgrown with Cotton wood. The second one is a few miles above the mouth of Big Hatchee River, was entered by Judge James Trimble in 1820 for himself and others, and is occupied in part by Randolf, was quite a business place and shipping point for some years, was entered with a thousand acre escheated Warrant issued for the services of a negro slave a drummer owned by a family named Cambrelling, I believe, who enjoyed [enjoined?] the issuance of the Grant-a strong point in their favor- and eventually gained the land I believe. The fourth bluff as it was called is the one Memphis occupies. There was at the time I am writing about in what is now Tipton County one settler only therein, his name was Stewart and he settled I believe in 1819 on the Mississippi a very little below the lower end of the bluff Randolph is on, on a very excellent pieve of bottom land, above overflow-Jesse Benton became its owner, removed the one hundred & sixty acre Warrant entered there including Stewart's occupant claim, and entered a Thousand acre warrant including the Stewart place and adjacent lands. One man & family had settled in what was for a while a part of Tipton County, now Lauderdale, his name Samuel Given, and his place is about eight or ten miles Et. of Fulton, near Hatchee bottom north side, there were a few settlers at the time named in the Eastern part of what is Henry County, a few in Carroll, on Big Sandy River, in that County, Henderson, and McNairy, counties, along the old Natchez Road and in Benton also, Thomas Fite had settled in what is now Gibson County, about six miles Et. of Trenton and him & family were its only occupants-unless a family named Randolph (I believe) had done so likewise. In Hardeman, Fayette, Haywood, Crockett, Weakley, Dyer, Obion, and Lake counties there was not an inhabitant that I am aware of. Mr. Fits erected a motor to be operated by water on the hank of the Little River, near his place for reducing corn into meal by erecting at its hauk a tolerably large water wheel on a shaft extending over the current of the stream, in the shaft was permanently fixed several projecting arms which by means of lifting other arms attached permanently to an upright beam or pestle, which fell as often as lifted into a large wooden mortor below into which corn had been placed--the current of the stream continuing to operate the affair untill stopped by arrangements made for that purpose--the affair would continue to go on regularly, and Mr. Fite said beat up a squirrel occasionally when tempted to get a grain of corn. There was a water mill on Spring Creek of Forked Deer River 12 or 13 ins. No. Et. of Jackson, Madison County erected by a Mr. Taylor mother 8 or ten miles Et. of Et. of No. Et. from that one erected by a man named Curry-brother of the Mr. Curry who was for some years postmaster at Nashville- these are I believe all the water mills that were then in West Tennessee. Steele Mills were introduced and used along the Mississippi as it became settled and were very convenient and usefull, fastened to an upright post on a tree. Kill dried corn meal was brought there to supply the wants of the people. On one occasion I sent my company on from Doherty's office (McLemorville now) where business with the office detained me untill the next day, to Curry's Mill called fourteen miles to get a supply of meal, and early the next morning set out on foot without having had breakfast, and at about six miles in passing a cabin was attacked by a large fierce dog, had barely time to seize a stick which happened to be in my reach and as the brute reared up to seize me I gave him as hard a blow as I could on the side of his head, my stick broke and left some eighteen or twenty inches in length, and the dog recovering f on the stun of the blow, made another effort to get hold of me, and stricking him again with all my strength, my stick broke again close to my head, he returned again to the attack, and right at me on the ground lay a kind of wood which I had barely time to reach down and get as he made the third attempt to seize me-with this billet of wood I gave the beast a telling, blow and with such force & effect that he immediately ran off- and I too hurried away-this sudden and very brisk fight I am sure did not last more than half a minute. There did not appear to be any person about the cabin it is a wonder to me that that dog did not kill or ruin me-it seems to me that, on that and many other occasions my life has been providentially preserved for which I cannot feel sufficiently gratefull to an overruling Providence. If I had my will, and way, with dogs I'd have every Bull dog, blood hound, Mastill & Spitz dog killed- and the greater part of the remainder also- I like a good dog but detest a bad one.
After getting out supplies at the bluff we worked our way North and East and one day when some twenty miles or thereabouts from the fluff we had very rough woods which so delayed us that near night three of us by means of our Trumpets, met together, greatly fatigued, and spent the night in a bank of leaves by the side of a log like so many pigs-had neither fire or food, and the next day reached camp both tired and hungry-before we three met wolves were howling furiously in the thicket about me-this was the one time I ever felt in danger from them-we were not distrubed that night in our bed of leaves- I knew a deputy surveyor who undertook close companionship with "John Barleycorn" and carried a Jug of "Soup" as he called it, with him done some poor incomplete work, and was pretty soon laid away as are very many of those who indulge too freely in that dangerous beverage. My labour of this year from late April, was extremely fatigueing and perilous-I underwent as much as my strength would permit from which, and that of those under my control mainly, resulted a profit of some forty or fifty thousand dollars to the firm I laboured for and for that labour and exposure I got considerably less than nothing which expression seems paradoxical-and I explain by repeating what I have said- that I paid out subquently, and lost by my employer about four times as much as I had been paid by him for said services, etc.
All our woods work had to cease late in November and we had to come in and prepare for the opening of the land offices on the 6th of Dec. I believe I am not positive as to the day of the month-I was literally in rage nearly shoeless and hatless-- everything I had on barely worth a dollar.
I camped many nights after this year 1820 at a spring a little Et. of the Bayou Guiso-just back of Memphis when business with the land office required my attention. On one occasion some forty of fifty Indians had congregated at the bluff and inaugurated a grand drinking spree-racing on their ponies over an old field where were peach trees a mile or so below the mouth of Wolf River, pumelling each other with black bottles etc. and immitating some of the loose material of the white race in several ways, and winding up with sore heads, swelled face etc. One stout old fellow with several stout grown sons, camped near my camp, and with him I exchanged a pretty nearly used up pack Horse for a Poney and gave him six dollars "to boot", of which he placed in the hands of a Doctor Davis, who had recently settled at the bluff, and whom he knew, two or three dollars, with which to get something to eat, and material for shirts for themselves after they had spent the balance in a drunken spree they had agreed to take. Doctor Davis had married the sister, of the mother, of John, Robert, and Frank Porterfield, and of Mrs. Elliott, and Mrs. A. G. Adams, and was a most agreeable gentleman.
In 1821 I think it was with another man I went down on big Hatchee to look for an old corner tree of the Hatchee connection made about 1783, I was taken with fever and returned without completeing the undertaking & had to ride and walk together about forty miles to reach my head quarters and had a hard spell-became unable to walk- in 1822 or 1823 (I have forgotten which) I had another attack when eight or ten miles below where Somerville, Fayette County is, became very yellow & my Company thought I'd die as they told me afterward-the nearest settlement was that the bluff-nearly forty miles- I had and took some of Lee's antebilious pills and they acted promptly, up, and down, for several days, and probably saved my life. Those pills had gone out of use entirely I believe. In 1822 my feet became so much swollen from being constantly wet that I was obliged to quit the woods untill relieved. Rev. Alexander McDaniel of Giles County was with us for a week or two when we first commenced business in 1820, held prayer at night, before doing so would give out a hymn and sing, had a strong voice and made the woods ring. When the time for opening the land offices had nearly arrived, I was sent to the bluff with some fifty odd or sixty thousand acres of Warrants- it was the only office that was difficult to get to, or from and I of course had to go there-the rough hard work generally fell to my lot to do-there was a small pathway but not a house for about ninety miles and the Company going there consisting of Gen. James Winchester, Judge James Trimble, Judge John Overton, O. B. Hayes, Esq., all of Tennessee, B. F. Hawkins of N. C. & others had gone before I was ready to start, but I overtook them at Big Hatchee, and we all reached the bluff in a couple of days, as well as I remember, and when the entering had nearly terminated preparations were made to return, and Gen. Winchester and nearly all the rest, started back on the same pathway they had gone down on, but I fearing that the little water courses on that way might have risen so as to make it troublesome to get on easily I consulted with Jesse Benton, and O. B. Hays, about the matter, and having heard that some of the Cherokee Indians in removing West, nearly on the State line had made a pathway & built a bridge over the too principal water courses, and it being as near for Mr. Benton, and Mr. Hays who were going to Nashville, as the other route, with them, aid a Mr. Bird, of Alabama I went- the distance to where I was going was almost twice as great as that taken by the other party but much safer-we got on well found Bridges as we had heard we would, and in three days I believe reached the Old Natchez Road at the State line, where a man named John Chambers, had settled for the purpose of raising cattle on the Range, and there spent a night-The next morning, Mr. Benton, and Mr. Hayes, started on to Nashville by Colbert Ferry on Tennessee River-Mr. Bird, to Alabama, and I took and kept on the Natchez Road toward Reynoldsburg to a new way leading from that place Wt. to the settlements on Forked Deer River, and on it to said settlements where I was to meet the party I was in the employ of, and arrived there before Gen. Winchester & party did. I heard that they had a perilous and very uncomfortable time of it. About the junction of 1821 and 1822 John C. McLemore, Sugars McLemore, Samuel Dickens and myself formed a partnership to locate land Warrants, Mr. Dickins to furnish my part of the capital as being equal to my services in the woods-we located three Hundred and thirty odd Thousand acres of Warrants-amongst them over a hundred thousand acres of escheated claims, which the Legislature of Tennessee refused permission to be entered unless her colleges could come in for a share with the University of N. C. this caused a compromise to be made by which the University got about forty percent of this new batch of warrants; Cumberland College at Nashville about thirty five per cent, and East Tennessee College about twenty five per cent of them- I estimate the per cent that each got on the quantity of these Warrants entered by us for these three institutions-and we entered most or all of them I believe. For the entering of these and other warrants the land offices were opened again in Dec. 1822, and I or course assiged to the most difficult one to reach, that at the bluff. Win. Harris who first settled Harris' bluff (sind Cherry's bluff) was employed to go with, and see me safe over Hatchee, the little River being high and the bottom covered with water-we could not get our Horses over the So. fork of Forked Deer on account of the ice on the water that covered the bottom and had to wade, part of the way, and break the ice as we went untill we reached high land-our wet pants soon freezed on us and night about to set in, and several miles to go through woods without a path & a small Creek to cross before reaching Bicknell Crook's, he having but recently settled on another path which joined the one we had been on several miles further on-our only chance for getting to a House was to get to Mr. Crooks-he once lived a mile or so from Nashville on the Charlotte Road, and married the widow Roper, mother of Wm. P. Davis, who was for some years alderman at Nashville-when we thought ourselves near enough to raise Mr. Crook's dogs by yelling, we done so, and stirred them up and reached the House so much exhausted and worn out that I could scarcely eat or sleep-we procured a Horse from Mr. Crook and continued on next day-one of us would ride a few miles dismount and tie the Horse and walk on the other coming up would mount & ride on, passing the one on foot, and going a few miles further would dismount & tie the Horse & so on untill at about 25 miles from Mr. Crook's we arrived at the bluff on Hatchee about thirteen miles So. Wt. of Brownsville, where a Mr. McGuire (I believe that was his name) had recently located- I went to the River immediately and having crossed there before when the River was higher than now & a large part of the four miles of bottom overflowed, and being informed that a man named Bridgman had located near the termination of the bottom about five miles from the ferry near where Wesley is, I told Mr. Harris that he might return and report me as having passed safe over Big Hatchee. I reached Bridgman's before dark found two families of women and children, occupying a double cabin with a passage between the rooms-the men out hunting- I got something to eat & a bed, and the next morning by the time I could see the pathway had got something to eat and a piece of bread to eat on the way and was off at a brisk walk for Treadwell's-the first House I supposed forty miles called. I did not take a rest that day of ten minutes expecting to have to lay out alone unless I could reach Treadwell's, but about sun set I came to a Mr. Bradley's newly settled place about two miles from Treadwell's and there spent.the night-was very much worn out & too much so to eat or sleep comfortable. I was at Treadwells next morning in time to join John Ralston, and Maj. George Wescott Hockley who were going to the bluff, had seven miles to walk to the mouth of Big Creek where it empties into Loosa Hatchee, at a bluff, then had to paddle a perogue fifteen miles-back water from the Mississippi- to the bluff where we arrived after night, having been delayed by thin ice that formed on the still water-Maj. Hockley- a Philadelphian- became somewhat prominent at an early date in Texas affaris, and died that I believe-was never married- had lived in Nashville, and also in Covington, Tipton County-was an Executor of his Aunt Patience Wescott, of Philadelphia who owned thirty two thousand and five hundred acres, of land (N. C. grants to John Rice) in Tipton Cty. I carried with me to the bluff as well as I recollect fifty six thousand acres of land Warrants-had a rough time returning by the way I went down, and in the Perogue was the Deputy that carried "soup" with him on surveying expeditions and some other "soup" drinkers, and having with them a supply of "soup" soon became inefficient paddlers and that fell to the lot of the non "soup" drinkers- we spent an uncomfortable night in a rough cabin at the mouth of big Creek, recently put up by a man named Williams I believe, and not yet occupied-having arrived after night-on arriving at Treadwells next morning I found that my friend Jesse Fanton who had settled, or was settleing a few miles away had sent a Horse for me to ride up-he knew that I was down there on foot-but not knowing how to get the Horse back, and finding a man whom I could hire at a reasonable price to take me to Bridgman's near Hatchee I declined Mr. Benton's kind offer, and hired the man-got over the Hatchee that evening to Mr. McGuire' s (I believe that is the name) stayed there that night-several others who were along concluded to stop there for a while as the weather had become rainy & disagreeable. One other man & myself set out next morning on foot, and just at dusk reached a cabin that had been put up near where Mr. Harris & me had left the path for Mr. Crook's since I went down, found several men there in the open pen, and very poor lodging, next morning as soon at it was light, I called on my fellow traveller of the previous day to be up and prepare for a walk of six or eight miles- the So. fork of Forked Deer to cross, to a House- Caruther's I think, where we could get breakfast, he replied that he's stay there untill he rested unless driven out. I left of course, and a few miles from where I got breakfast, I got a mule and a dozen or so of miles further on, met my Company at the place agreed on. Now I suppose that a large part or all of what I have written may be viewed as irrelevant to the subject I undertook-I believe it is- but it shows what perservance can do, and if read by any one who needs encouragement, may be of some little service to them-It all seems-so to speak- a parcel of chaff- perhaps if so why winnow it- blow of the chaff, and some little grain maybe found perhaps- if not let it all go for nothing, and credit me only with good intentions and truthful facts for there is no exageration in what I have said or will say in a single instance that I am aware of-the truth of history is more or less marred by embellishment and exageration-even such amiable and excellent men as Sir Walter Scott and Washington Irving have so mixed fact and fiction that "Which is which" cannot be distinguished easily if at all-I admire the unpretentiousness of the latter, or of whoever designed his burial & what is about it-he was buried in the cemetery of the old church just above Tarrytown on the Hudson and along side of about half of a score of relatives & when I last saw it-as at first, had a head and foot stone only the former about twenty inches high on which was a plain inscription of but few words- Sir Walter was buried a few miles below Abbotsford at Dryburg Abbey, on the opposite or No. side of the Tweed and is much more pretentious.
I have to state things as they occur to my mind and one thing seems to stir up another, and sometimes seems to present themselves out of place. I forgot to say that the largest Military land Warrant issued by N. C. was to the heirs of Gen. Robert Howe, and was for sixteen Thousand acres and was entered No. and No. Wt. of Paris, Henry Cty. and the Rev. Samuel Hawkins a relative and heir removed to, occupies & disposed of it, Hunt & Dickens, locators- the next largest so far as I know was issued for the services of a chaplain, whose name I have forgotten was confiscated I believe, was for seven thousand two hundred acres, and entered by myself in the No. Wt. part of the Ninth District, Henderson County, McLemore Dickens & Co. locators-we were several years closing up our bus- fully and in my last transaction with my friend Dickins, whom I had served so faithfully and had caused him to accumulate so much in great measure from my labour, squeezed out of me all he could get. John C. McLemore always ready & willing to do his part in full, as was Sugar McLemore, who was an excellent judge of land & of its value. Out of the numerous persons engaged in the business I was engaged in one death only occured in thie wood, and that one Mr. Richard Hightower, father-in-law of the late O. B. Hays Esq. of Nashville, Mr. Hightower died in 1820 I believe at a fine spring a few miles South of Covington Tipton County-known afterward & now I presume- as Hightower Spring- I followed the business as it was offered or presented to me for about sixteen years-much longer than any one else did, and they are all dead I believe except myself and I suppose I have attained a greater age than any of them did- for a number of years I seldom saw a newspaper, and few Books.
The only man I knew of whom settled and lived on the land which the Warrant issued for his Services in the Army of the Revolution secured, was named Bob, whose Warrant for six hundred & forty acres was entered some six or eight miles South East of Paris Henry County, 12th Surveyors District, and I suppose he died on it. The legislature done itself credit by passing an act permitting him to make as many offsetts and corners as he thought proper so as to leave out the bad, and include the good, land-I believe I saw him a time or two, knew one of his sons- perhaps several I have forgotten about more than one.
Sixty six Warrants were issued by a Resolution of the Legislature of N. C. called Resolution Warrants, and were entered in the names of the persons to whom issued by McLemore Dickins & Co.-four of them were granted to Andrew Z. Martin, son in law of S. Dicking, agent of the U. V. of N. C. by what authority I never knew-Said agend got possession of the Platta and certificates, and Warrants, of the remaining sixty one tracts, and after a while Grants came out I believe on all of them to a third person on some sort of transfer, this was done in order to give the U. V. a legal title- I did not, and do not think they were justly entitled to an acre of it. and if so the Tennessee Colleges may have been entitled to a percentage of them-they may have received it. I don't know, and I may be mistaken about the matter & all may have been legal and straight, but I don't think so-these Resolution Claims as we called them were when entered worth altogether about Eighty Thousand Dollars-the aggregate amount of acres 33,742 acres.
Wm. Lawrence edited the first news paper published at Memphis I believe, and Marcus B. Winchester, was the firstpost master and continued in office a long while- John Ralston, was a remarkably painstaking correct Surveyor, and very carefull in describing, corners & pointers and their relative position-he settled and died on Big Creek in that County.
The line between Tennessee and Kentucky reached the Mississippi where it runs Southward-it soon turned West-ward, then Northward for some miles, then Westward again and Southward forming a bend belonging to Kentucky entirely detached from the balance of that State, and can be reached only by the River or by passing through Tennessee Territory-Tennessee owns no Territory No. of latitude 36' 30' once sent an agent to Frankfort to negoiate for this bend but Ky. refused to part with it-it would be a valuable addition to Lake County, Tennessee. About 1833 or 1834 some of the authorities of Mississippi became dissatisfied with the line between that State and Tennessee as it had been run and then existed, and wished it run again as accurately as possible, on latitude 35 degrees believing that the line if correctly run would go further North than the existing one, and perhaps include part of Memphis, and commissioners were appointed by each State to rerun this line as exactly and correctly as possible, and they accordingly met at the corner of Mississippi and line of Tennessee, on Tennessee River and proceeded West along latitude 35 degrees with great care and precision, and instead of bearing off to the right or North gradually from the then existing line, went slowly and constantly the other way untill the two lines when they reached the Mississippi River were about three and a half miles apart-thus adding about two hundred or more square miles to Tennessee-hearing of this and controlling some Thousands of acres of land Warrants, I proceeded to Lagrange which I made my head quarters-having my wife me, & having friends and acquaintances--there, and examined a large part of the strip gained by Tennessee from her neighbour--supposing that it might be subject to Entry by land Warrant, I held, but I was mistaken and its proceeds etc. went as did the adjacent lands in Mississippi. On returning one Saturday evening after a days exploration, I learned that the Methodists had had a meeting that day at their Church a Mr. Neely was their preacher if I remember correctly, and at its close when the congregation was about dispensing Doctor R. who had been waiting outside with a whip or stick in hand, with which to castigate the preacher for some offence or suppose offence, and made the attack- the preacher however proved too much for the Doctor, took his weapon from him and knocked him down with it. The fray extended and other joined in as they were for one side, or the other, untill it became a sort of free fight. I give it as I heard it.
I have heard it said that the Indians were asked why none of them lived permanently in W. T. and they replied that it leaked too much. For a time after I first went there I though it rained, hailed, thundered & lightened with more wind than I had known elsewhere. There were a few unoccupied Indian cabins just within about 1823 some 60 or 80 ms. Et. of Memphis and near the same place I met with very large clam Shells, and have seen them since at a cut on the Memphis and Charleston Road, and thereabouts there is immense quantities I believe of Mark which is a very good fertilizer of properly used.
The original Maps of the several Surveyors Districts, if in existence-should be procured and taken care of if not already done by the State or the Historical Society-also the Books.
About 1856-Judge J. H. Lea, J. R. B. Knowles, Isaac Paul & myself were appointed to supervise the Tax list made out by Thomas J. Haile-Judge Lea gave the matter some attention, Mr. Paul scarcely any-Mr. Knowles & myself, with the valuable assistance of Mr. Hale done all we could for nearly two months without loosing two days many examinations of lots made corrected much errors as we discovered for all which we made no charge and got nothing. I copied the Book, and gave my Book of about one hundred pages to A. V. S. Lindsley Esq. I think it worth procuring & keeping. I entered a land Warrant of three hundred and fifty seven acres on a creek in the S. Wt. quarter of Fayette County, which runs (when there is water in it) So. Wt. across the line between Fayette and Shelby Counties into Wolf River)- in the name of Joseph Shaw, and called the Creek "Shaw's Creek" which name it has borne ever since I believe- Joseph Shaw was a Philadelphia Sea Captain with whom the late Jesse Blackfan, who lived in Nashville about a dozen years, sailed for a considerable time- took to Nashville and got him in as Clerk in the land office there- Capt. Shaw died there of Cholera in 1833.
I made a trip to the So. Et. part of W. T. looking for good vacant land about 1823 or 1824, had been told that a Mr. Boyd, who lived in a settlement on Snake Creek was a reliable man to get information about the country from, and on the way met a man who proved to be the Mr. Boyd I wished to see, I made all necessary enquiries of him- I knew the settlement had a bad name, and that a man named Dixon, had killed another named Stewart, a few weeks before- Mr. Boyd said if I only had a rifle, and went along swearing that I was after a man on a head some distance that I'd get on without trouble or danger-we got on without trouble-found the country generally poor broken & uninviting. There were a few Elks in the No. Wt. part of Wt. T., in all my ramblings I saw but two. Wild Turkeys were tolerably abundant, and in the spring could be heard in various directions soon after day light had appeared gobling- Then we'd generally listen for our Horse Bell or Bells- Horses are very gregarious and one bell would do for several or a gang-it seems that I can almost hear the gobling of the Turkeys and the Horse bells now. I think that there are but few song birds in the wild unsettled country-I am not sure but that there are thrushes. Singing birds like, and congregate about settlements I believe- and are more numerous So. than No. & their plumage handsomer. About 1827 there came to Nashville a Col. Baker Johnson from Maryland (Cumberland I think) with a letter to Gen. Jackson whom he found in Nashville at the land office where he delivered the letter- the Gen. read it immediately sat down and wrote a letter to some friend in Wt. Tennessee where Col. Johnson was going to see the country & perhaps to purchase land. The Gen. then asked me to write for him some five at six copies of the letter he had written which I done, and he signed them and they were directed to various friends of the Gen. in W. T. and delivered to Cal. Johnson. As it seemed probably that Cal. Johnson night become a large land buyer it was thought advisable that I should go with, and show him lands that Mr. McLemore had for sale, and I at once prepared to go and just as we were leaving, a white man was tied up and being flogged for some crime- We went direct to Paris, and on arriving there a white man was tied to a tree and undergoing a flogging-I rode over W. T. with Col. Johnson, showing lands that were for sale by Mr. McLemore f or several weeks until he was satisfied and left to return home and I never heard of him again- He had come all the way Maryland on Horse back and returned the same way-he appeared to be a perfect gentleman. Jackson, Madison Co. was located I believe on a 274 acre tract of land entered in the name of Shannon. Samuel Shannon; an heir, removed to the place and in 1824 headed a party that went to Santa Fe, New Mexico on a trading expedition- I wished to go but the death of my father prevented-all got back except Given. Wilson who died in that country-he was the brother of Samuel Wilson principal surveyor of the Ninth District-some of them brought back a number of Horses they had traded for-Notably William Branden, who died a few weeks after his return he and another young man named Doak made the first settlement where Jackson is- I had camped near the ravine at its north side before Doak & Braden settled there- There was a spring affording abundance of water in that ravine near where I camped which ceased to flow many years ago I have heard.
Returning once to where my father had settled on Big Sandy River, Carroll County, I met with a man named Morris who lived in the neighborhood going the same way I was-I knew him, but riding a sorry looking poney myself, and being roughly clad & having my compass in an old pair of saddle bags, a slight portion of which he got a glimpse of, he asked if it was "Tinkar tools" I had- taking me for a tinker.
One of our company soon after we first began business hand his horse bitten by a snake near where Brownsville is, one Saturday afternoon and died Sunday night in great agony apparently. I saw a man the day after he had been bitten by a rattlesnake, and a backswoods man present immediately got a root which the man bitten chewed and swallered some of the juice and applied some of the chewed root to the wound and seemed cured at once. I thought his thick sock had absorbed the poison & saved him. I made a point to kill snakes whenever I met with them, but one day coming on a large rattle snake in a cane brake I let it alone as it could get about in the cane better than I could. Another time with another man in a canoe or skiff, we crossing same back water to get into a settled place on the Mississippi came near a large rattle snake swimming near us end were afraid to attack it with the paddle lest it should get on board. Another time I with another man met with a medium sized rattle snake and killed it and found on it a rattle of sixteen buttons- A few hundred yards further on I met with and killed the largest one of the kind or of any other kind of wild snake which had only four buttons or rattles-others having been worn off probably-this snake measured eleven inches & a half in circumference & had fangs over an inch long. One day when alone I come to a puddle of dirty water in a bottom about which there was about half a dozen cotton mouth snakes- the mast aggressive snake I ever met with-worse than the copper head- they made for me as soon as they saw me and I departed faster than they approached me- as soon as they discover you they throw open their mouths which is very white within, hence the name given them- they are a dirty looking black with blunt tail-all poisonous snakes are viviparous, I believe, and those not poisonous oviparous, & have teeth something like those of geese-for protection against these reptiles & other things I suppose I have worn out near of quite a dozen tanned deer skins. Andrew J. Crawford was I believe amongst the first Methodist preacher of W. Tennesee-he was I beleve nephew of General Jackson- I knew his brother William, and showed him the land he afterwards purchased of John C. McLemore & settled on, about seven miles a little to the North of West from Somerville.
Bears live on wild fruits-Beach nuts, acorns grapes paw paw apples bugs worms etc. they find by turning over logs etc.- climb trees and pull in the limbs- called lapping-breading them often & leaving them in a tangled condition-like hogs they will eat almost anything-get fat in the fall, but hibernate when cold weather sets and get poor by spring-they are hard on green corn and hogs- I met with them often and they always ran off at good speed except once when another man & myself was approaching one it refused to give us the way & we offset around it-I never saw a wild Panther but have heard them-at an early day of the settlements near Lagrange, Fayette County a man named Jarman (I believe) and his brother in law whose name I have forgotten settled near Wolf River bottom below Lagrange I stopped at Mr. Jarman's & spent the night there he told me that his eleven year old daughter-then present, had gone to her Uncle's about a mile off & stayed all night about three weeks previously, and quite early the next morning had started home, her uncle and his son were up, and out, and in a few minutes after she left they heard her scream, and it immediately occurred to them that a panther they had heard screaming the night before had attacked her, and they made all the speed they could along the way she had gone and hearing them she jumped up and the panther reared up and seized her at the base of the scull and bit her there to the bone which was not well when I saw her-she had the presence of mind in the scuffle with the beast to save her face by averting it. With the aid of their dogs they killed the panther which was poor and was far gone with young ones and nearly starved-This is the only instance of any one being attacked by a wild beast in that country that I remember to have heard of-One night in 1820 when camped near where Covington Tipton County is we were suddenly awakened by the fierce yells of a panther quite near us--we were all up in an instant and ready to defend ourselves with chunks of fire our main reliance. Wild animals don't like the approach fire- the panther disappeared and we resumed our palate.
At an early day I went with Doctor Hunt to examine a tract of land he had an interest in, in what is now Gibson County there were very few settlers thereabouts, and coming to some very luxuriant pea vine, of which Horses were very fond-we stopped to let them eat of it and in a short time a fierce scream near us was made which alarmed him & he asked me what it was- I told him it was a panther, and he was for getting away as fast as he could, I told him we must go and see if it had made a trail through the pea vine which was very rank, and found that we could have galloped a Horse on it we could not see the animal, Some bushes preventing-we continued on to where a Mr. Reed had settled and there stopped for the night. A village called Yorkville was laid out at or near Mr. Reed's.
About 1826 or 1827 I arrived at the House of the Rev. J. Wright (I believe he was a Methodist preacher) just before night- he lived about six or seven miles No. or Wt. from Parris, Henry County, and found there, or he came soon after my arrival. Elder Smith of that church, and as we were to spend the night there we were informed that there was to be a witch killing there that night for the relief of a Mrs. Cook (daughter of Mr. Wright) who had been bewitched by a Mrs. Adcock of Bedford County, Tennessee. (I believe it was that County) and that every person who stayed at the House must be within before day light disappeared & not leave or go out untill broad daylight next morning, as doing so would destroy the efficacy of their intended operations- we of course remained in, and an oven was placed on the dirt hearth nearly filled with liquid of some sort, with some of the bewitched woman's fair, trimmings of her nails etc., the lid put on and closely closed with stiff clay-or something else, a fire made under, and on, the oven,-the witch in dimunutive form had by some means been gotten into the oven and when the liquid in it was about to give out the patient would by some kind of influence of the witch in diminutive form had by some means been gotten into the oven and when the liquid in it was about to give out the patient would by some kind of influence of the witch be powerfully impressed with the desire to relieve her, and would make every possible effort to reach & kick off the lid of the oven & set her at liberty-the bewitched woman was placed on a bed her husband and father stationed by it near the center of the large room, Elder Smith & me on a bed in one corner-wide awake to witness the scene, and about the time the liquid in the oven was about to give out and the other things burned, the patient began to roll back and forth on the bed, sprang out suddenly to get to the oven and relieve the witch, was seized by her husband & father and they had it up & down, "Hip and thigh" on and over the floor untill the woman was placed forcible on the bed where she was confined untill daylight, when doors were opened & all were let out-the woman's husband died soon after the occurence named, and I never heard of her troubles again-she may have died too. The bewitching occured at first it appeared where they moved from and some one there told Mr. Wright that if he could draw blood from the Witch, above her breath it would cure his daughter, and to relieve her he went to the House of the all edged witch seized her and scratched her forehead with something and drew blood, and for the assault was sued and well nigh or quite ruined by damages, costs etc. Mr. Wright was a well meaning good man I believe. I have had to lie out alone several times-once when thunder showers were passing a great part of the night- another time in a large swamp of Obion River--these two nights were spent very uncomfortably-I managed always to get fire and relied on fire chunks for safety if attacked, but was never disturbed even by any noise of a wild animal.
Some of the lawyers of these days in going the rounds of the Courts would have their frolicks and fun-on one occasion at Huntingdon a Bull owned by the Clerk of the Court made his appearance about night with other cattle, and having a bad name on account of breaking into cornfields in the neighborhood, several of the lawyers concluded to try him for his crime, managed to hamper & tie him to a stump, on the little square; had prosecutors and defenders appointed, witnesses summoned and were a great part of the night examining .witnesses, pleading for and against the Bull etc.-I heard of but didn't see this seene. Adams Huntsman, Berry Gillespie, Abe Martin, (as he was called) afterward Judge Martin, of Clarksville and all let off their fun making propensites in this way I believe-Hunstinan had a wooden leg and in riding along on one occasion met with a man going the same way that he was going and observed that the man frequently noticed his wooden leg and at length asked him how he lost it, he replied that it was a very unpleasant subject to be brought to his mind, but that he'd tell him if he'd agree not to ask him another question about it to, which the man agreed, well he said it was bit off-this made the man more curious than ever-as was intended-and he held in a which but finally broke his promise by saying, well stranger I promised not to ask another question about the loss of your leg but I'd like very much to know what bit it off? At another time it was said he was charged with the paternity of an illigimate child and replied that if it had a wooden leg he'd own it, but not without.
About nine or ten miles East of Paris is a quarry of stone known in the first settling of the country as Bonds lime kiln from which all or nearly all the lime used thereabouts was for some years-and may be yet, procured-I saw some of it that had been polished and it seemed to be a pretty good quality of conglomerate marble-the Court House steps at Paris was of that stone I believe. I have heard nothing of it for many years-it may become of value if I heard the truth about it if in sufficient quantity.
About 1841 Col. Louis D. Wilson, a nice middle aged bachelor of N. C. (for whom a county, and a village of that State was named I believe) came to Nashville on his way to West Tennessee to look at lands he owned there which my company had entered & having business there myself I went with him, and jointly with Mr. Frank McGavock of the vicinity of Nashville they owned 274 acres, on which Sparrel Hale had settle on the Mississippi, erected buildings, and it became a somewhat prominent shipping point for produce brought down, and goods to go up Forked Deer River- being near its mouth-the place being known as Hale's point we went in to the place and found that the River had carried away all of the land except about forty acres, intended spending the night there but finding the famous mankiller Col. John Smith of Missouri there and his death dealing weapons visible lying about in the room and expecting to have to sleep in the same room if we stayed there all night, we thinking we could sleep better some where else on very brief consultation determined to leave for Dyersbury sixteen miles I believe, late as it was, and reached there sometime after dark- we reached high land about half way before day light and disappeared and on a slope near the pathway a small piece of land that bad sunk perhaps ten or a dozen feet the trees still standing & growing on it
I suppose that the sand underneath had been washed out and let down the crust of the soil. Col. Smith T. had the name of having killed about half a dozen men-one of them in Nashville, and how he managed to escape punishment I don't know-he was claiming the land adjoining the Hale's Point place-he died at Mr. Hale's soon after I heard. Col. Wilson died at Vera Crux, Mexico, when under Gen. Scott at the tine he invaded that country.
Another time Harry Garret- a young lawyer of Dresden, Weakley County & I left Dyersburg together when the County Court was in session and heard afterward that just after we left, Alex McCullock and Mr. Hale, both magistrates, and the former a preacher too I heard, had a quarrel when on the bench, and Mr. Hale was stabbed by his fellow magistrate who had to secret himself untill the affair was settled with Esq. Hale-Mr. Garret and me stayed the night after leaving Dyersburg at Mr. Terrill's (I think that was the name) who had located at a narrow place of one of the Earthquake Lakes in which dead trees were still standing-and kept a ferry-the next morning our landlord took us a short distance from his house to show us a place where an Earthquake Crack as they were called had passed under, and split open a large tree, parts of the dead trunk of which was still standing on each side of the Crack. The earthquake of Dec. 1811 & Jan'6. 1812 rent the country in Dyer Obion & Lake Counties considerably. I believe it was in 1880 that Col. J. George Harris-then of Groten, Connecticut- now Nashville I believe, told me that Waitstill Avery his relation a prominent lawyer of upper N. C. but a native of Connecticut and Gen.. Andrew Jackson, fought a duel when the latter was quite young, and before he removed from N. C. in which neither were hurt. I never heard it from any other source, but have no doubt it was so-One half of the stock of the Lebanon & Nashville Turnpike Road was owned by the State, and the other half by individuals, Maj. Wm. B. Lewis was director on the part of the State and A. V. L. Lindaley and myself were directors on the part of individual owners of stock, and about or after the termination of the Civil War the three persons named with Joseph L. Carels, of Nashville I think made a tour of inspection of the road from Nashville to Lebanon, and were very much entertained by our intelligent and well informed companion Major Lewis, who amongst other things gave us an account as he understood it, no doubt correctly of the duel between Gen. Jackson and Charles Dickerson. In the first place the duel was forced on the Gen. who expected to be killed, Dickerson having been considered a sure and deadly shot, with a pistol, which his opponent was not and having offered to bet that he could hit any button on a coat, that might be designated. The Gen. and his party stayed the night preceeding the duel just within Kentucky and near the duelling ground, met at the fatal spot agreed on, the distance they were to be apart measured, pistols charged, the right to give the fire, won by Gen. Jackson's second, Gen. Overton; the parties taking their position at a mark on the ground, and the usual words were one, two, three, fire; the last word was pronounced sharply by Gen. Overton, fee 'er. I don't know why unless he thought it might possible disconcert Dickerson somewhat. Dickerson fired instantly, but Gen. Jackson did not fall as was expected, and no one thought that he had been wounded, as he raised his pistol Mr. Dickerson made a step back from the Mark, when Gen. Overton raised his pistol and cried out, "toe the mark, sir," and he done so promptly. Gen. Jackson raised his pistol deliberately took aim fired and Dickerson fell, mortally wounded. Gen. Jackson and party returned to the house they had stayed at the preceeding night. None of the party, excepting the Gen, suspected that he had been touched, and the blood creeping down his little [lithe?] body all the time. On reaching the house they dismounted and the party was left by the Gen, who stepped aside to where a negro woman churning, ostensibly to get a drink of buttermilk, but really to see his wound. Dickerson's ball having racked the surface of his breast, he opened his bosom clothing, and displayed the under-clothing which being saturated with blood, and being perceived by the woman, who was churning, she made an out cry that attracted the notice of the Gen's, party, and they immediately approached him and on discovering what was the matter asked why he had not told them that he was wounded, so that they could have dressed his wound; he replied that he didn't want the damned rascal to know that he had hit him. This is about the best illustration of "Pluck" that I ever knew, or heard of, practical and unmistakable. Perhaps Mr. Lindsley & Mr. Carel may remember & corroborate what I have stated in regard to the duel-it made a strong impression on my mind at the time. A few years ago I saw in a newspaper that the authorities of Nashville were making some changes in the names of some of the streets of the City and at the time I had occasion to write to Anson Nelson, Esq. & asked him to suggest to said authorities that they should honor themselves by changing the name of Spring or Church Street, to Jackson or Andrew Jackson Avenue, but have heard nothing of it since-no person's name would be interferred by making the change, and if made being an excellent locality-the owners of property would probably find their property more desirable more sought & more valuable than before the change was made-there is something in a name-The present Jackson Street is mainly in an undesirable part of the City and might retain its name. General Jackson was notoriously an excellent, kind husband and master, good traits indicative of other good qualities.
Now I will go out of the way to refer to a matter that might be acted on should occasion render it necessary to justify it. About twenty five years ago I saw it stated in Appleton's Encyclopedia that a fatal Epidemic prevailed in Athens and over Atuica some four of five hundred years before Christ, and that an obscure physician, whose name I do not remember, became suddenly famous by recommending that small fires be stimultaneously kindled all over the City and County) and kept up for a day or so by which he believed that all poisonous local air would be drawn out from every hole, and corner, and dispersed and pure air take its place, which might be available in restoring health to the community, that the suggestion was promptly acted on, that the fatal malady disappeared once, and gave the physician immediate prominence and practice; it is certainly reasonable to expect some beneficial result from adopting the recommendation when a remedy is needed which has caused me to mention it.
A crying evil of the present day is seduction. I know of no crime more extensively ruinous and destructive to the happiness, not only of the victim but of her family, relations, and friends. It is little if any better than willful murder. It is indeed worse in some respects, in consequence then willful murder and is it seems to me most inadequately punished. It is the duty of law makers to provide for the proper punishment of this great crime, as should be done for the slander of female character; also female character is a very tender thing and should be very carefully handled. But a few weeks ago in Kentucky and a few days ago in Pennsylvania we have heard of the result of the two crimes-not by the legal punishment of the guilty-but in a great measure on account of the laws delay & uncertainty-the injured parties having in each case inflicted summary punishment on the criminals-in Venice they have what I was told was called "The "Stone of Shame" they are about three feet square I suppose, one is along side of St. Mark's Cathedral, another at the end of the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal. There may be others that I didn't see and for certain minor offenses the criminals were made to stand erect on these stones which were designedly placed at every public and prominent place, and be jeered at by passers by. It struck me favorably as a very proper method of punishment for small crimes-the whipping poast is good medicine for some crimes-such as burglary, counterfeiting, heavy stealing & the like. Rich scoundrels aboud in this County and do not seem to be lessening-can and doutless do put themselves off from punishment, but the poor moneyless creature has to submit to the punishment prescribed by the law for the commission of a very unfit for it, and put forward it may be to give them prominence-whereas older persons of good common sense & experience should be entrusted with so important a matter as that of making laws--The Government has been swindled out of a very large amount of its public lands by shrewd unscrupulous men-more or less law makers, and mainly through the instrumentality of Rail Road charters-this thing should be stopped summarily or we will soon be without public lands of any value, and sold not given away-the first settlers of the Country who had the greatest dangers and difficulties to encounter had to buy and pay for their homes as others much less deserving such favors should do-the Riffraff of Christendom-and some outside of it-have been, and are being landed on our shores-in increasing numbers-some of them are beneficiaries in this land donation matter I suppose & will I hope make good citizens but many of them seem to promise no good at first, but may turn out in some, degree to be less objectionable than appearances seem to indicate. They are to pitied, having been borned and reared in abject provety & ignorance & without reasonable prospect of better things when the come-some of them exceedingly vicious and have introduced the Stilleto, and other savage cutting and stabbin weapons, which with the much too free & common use of the revolver is making for us a sanguinary record-have made it-even preachers have embarked in the bloody work- one preacher having shot and killed another in Louisianan a few days ago with a Revolver.
Enormous suffering loss of life and misery, that of some men gained by very trivial things sometimes as in the case of the Poet Keats who was buried in the Protestant burial ground in Rome and from whose Tombstone I copied the Epitaph dictated by himself when on his death bed (to wit) "Here lies one whose fame was writ in water" These few words gave him probably as much notoriety as did all of his poetry. Another instance is in the case of Col. David Crockett whose well known saying, "Be sure you are right and then go ahead." I used to hear repeated. The Col. was a goodhearted king well- disposed a little river some miles ahead, a Bridge that was over it having been destroyed & there being no good ford. At Trenton there was a meeting of candidates seeking office, the Col. being up for Congress made a speech, and as well as a gentleman (George W. Terrell) & myself could made out what he said- in part-"we being on the outside of the crowd, it was that the ruffle shirt fellows about the village were against him, but not being able to break down, had impored one of the Wellington's redoubtable troops to certify against him, a man that comes to this country in Gen. Ross's Army that captured Washington City, and deserting had turned lawyer and located in a village not far off; that he would not give him name but would underst d who he meant. He said the man looked as if he had been burned in a log cabin, scratched out of the ashes and had his face sewed with leather whangs. It was well understood who he meant. I knew him, he had a large broad, homely face, and was badly marked by small pox as can be imagined. I said nothing a few pages back about the delays of the law, and since doing so have received messengers J. C. and J. M. Gout, lawyers of Nashville, in verification of what I said, information that a lawsuit for debt had been terminated in my favor. I became owner of the claims fifteen years ago, an the 28th of last February, and these gentlemen have given it the most constant and vigilant attention and they did another previously of great importance, which was against the same parties, and was terminated favorably, and I cannot commend them too favorably. The first case named [omission here?] the fifth part of a long life some nine or ten miles Et. of Paris, Henry County, there is a certain well of very transparent sulphur water, about three hundred feet deep bored for salt water, I have thought that one could perhaps be had at Nashville, the surrounding hills giving a more favorable appearance that the country about the one in Henry County. About 1825, 1826, or 1827 I believe, an Irishman named Jackson, located at Paris, Henry County, and finding some very excellent potters clay in the vicinity established a pottery and made an excellent article. There was no very convenient transportation thereabouts then, as there is now, and Mr. Jackson, removing from the Country, the factory went down. I think it worth revival and prosecution. The prosperous city of Trenton New Jersey abounds on potteries. The Rev. Phillips Lindsey, and Dr. Gerand Troost, and Professor James Hamilton were Treasurers never adequately prized by Tennesseans and were not very well renumerated, especially Dr. Troost, who made various excursions throughout the State to the extent that his starvation salary would permit, developing the hidden resourses of the State untill the office of state geologist was abolished a "Penny wise and pound foolish" enactment-the good amiable old Doctor's extensive & valuable collection was removed from the State, instead of being purchased & retained by it. I suppose that Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley has not the best collection in the State- I gave him two Indian arrow heads,- such they are in shape & material-about a dozen inches long & proportionately wide-the largest I ever saw- procured them in West Tennessee- I recollect seeing in one of Dr. Troost's reports to the Legislature, a statement that on his return from one of his geological excursions into E. T. he rode into the Calf Killer River about a mile Wt. of Sparta and when his horse was drinking he noticed something very bright in the water, and managed to procure it & take it with him, and analyzed it, and it proved to have been a rich specimen of silver ore. In 1849 Mrs. H. & me left Nashville in a private carriage just as the cholera had ceased and stopped for some days at a Mr. Davis' about six miles Et. of Sparta on the Knoxville Road and I happened to mention the circumstances of the ore being found & analyzed by Dr. Troost & a son of Mr. Davis immediately said that that must have been some of the ore which his grandfather had carried to the Iron Works at the Calf Killer a mile Wt. of Sparta to have it tested, but nothing was made of it, and it was thrown away-the Iron works were there when I first passed the place in 1820, and a man named Rice was one of the persons concerned in them I believe- the grandfather named was the father of Mrs. Davis; I have forgotten his name-but the old gentleman said he thought he could show the spot, or near the place, where he got the ore about four miles nearly No. of Sparta and would go with us & endeavour to find it, and we made up a party of some five or six & went down the mountain westward & to the right or No. of the road to Sparta, & near the foot of the mountain crossed the Calf Killer, and within a few yards thereafter came to an Artesian Well that some one had bored for salt water & had reached some sort of water which ebbed & flowed regularly-gas seemed to accumulate below & would force up the water, which would flow off a few yards to the River-the water which would flow off a few yards to the River-the water would then recede & disappear untill brought up again by the gas. We went to about the place where the old gentleman thought he got the ore in question, but the aspect of the country had changed so much since he had been there (seventeen years I believe he said) that everything seemed unlike what it was when he saw it & our endeavours were fruitless. In Haywood's History of Tennessee, something is said about silver mines high up the Cumberland River in Kentucky. Some months ago- and before I knew that the Cholera was in a state of activity anywhere- I met with a slip cut from a news paper headed "Planets that Deal Death"-some remarkable calculations by an English Scientist-the orgin and recurence of Epidemics controlled by Planetary and Magnetic conditions-an outbreak proble in 1883 by B. G. Jenkins F. R. A. S. in the Pall Mall Gazette.
Mr. Jenkins says as there had been great outbreaks in 1816-17, 1832-34, 1848-50, 1865-67 we might confidently expect the next in 1883-84 and goes on to say a good deal about sun spots, Planetary positions and other things connected with astronomy influencing epidemics & etc. as he may think. It seems that he is or was probably correct in regard to the appearance here again of cholera, and at a pretty regular period as has been the case since its first appearance- I know it was extensively fatal in the limestone parts of Tennessee in 1833 and 1849-was in Nashville during its prevalence there in those years, was not there in its next appearance there. Before its outbreak on this continent, in 1832- or 1833 I read a pretty long article on and about it by Doctor Drake, of Cincinnati (I believe) in which he gave his opinion that limestone countries would be exempt from cholera, and freestone one liable to its ravages as well as I remember, in which he was entirely mistaken 'for the exact reverse proved to be the case in its first appearance and during its continuance on each occasion its appearance in the limestone regions named was sudden furious and fatal in many instances- West Tennessee is almost entirely a freestone country and has been almost wholly exempt from the malady-nearly every case I ever knew or hear of there, was of persons landing from steamboats-it is approaching & will be with us I doubt not before the end of the year, and in mitigation-of it-or to avoid it people should be carefull of their food-eat & drink moderately, avoiding every thing indigestible or hard of digestion, and avoid all unnecessary excesses & exposures. In case of any Epidemic the Athens remedy mentioned on p. 67 might be worth trial-look out for sporadic cases of cholera before winter. When I first went to Wt. Tennessee I thought the No. Wt. portion of it very objectionable on account of liability to Earthquakes by which it had been apparently upheaved in some places and sunken in others, and light shakes were of frequent occurence. Disturbances of the kind have ceased I believe & may not again appear there soon, if ever- I have an idea that they are a necessity whenever the slightest disturbance takes place by reason of too great accumulation of weight or bulk at any one point that might disturb the equilibrium of the Earth in its rotation or its circuit, as Earthquake it seems to me is ordered by that sleepless supervising power that has created all things, cares for, controls, & directs all the world we see in infinite space-inhabited no doubt by countless billions of living creatures of some sort. Our little planet-so by comparison- that has been compared to a marble amongst cannon balls-going a head in its orbit with cannon ball speed and the utmost regularity breathing-so to speak-twice in twenty four hours (tides) with divers sore places as Vesurvious, Stromboli, Etna-those of Iceland, Sandwich Island, Rocky Mountain etc. often emitting objectionable matter; and old scabs-as the Great Sahara, Lybian and Arabian Deserts etc. like old burns or the result of something else. It may be, and little man riding through space on it, and sometimes-often-imagining himself great- I don't wonder at the exclamation "What is man that thou art mindfull of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?"
On page 74 & 75 I said something about the Rev. P. Lindaley, Dr. Gerald Troost & Professor J. Hamilton. It was not their talents, education and qualifications for imparting their knowledge & information to others only, that constituted their worth, but along therewith their pure sound morality-I never heard a whisper against either in the least degree. In this hive that I am in-or enormous wealth numberous charitable institutions-very well sustained-many charitable person-untold amount of squalid poverty, degradation, & misery and all intermediate grades, there have been & are some of the purest & best of people-such as Peter Cooper, W. E. Dodge, Margarett Prior, all three dead, etc. It must have been a singular sight to have seen the good old Peter, setting by the side of a table loaded with silver half dollars, and giving one to each poor person that called. When asked if the undeserving didn't ask for one sometimes, and that he thought it better to be sometimes imposed on rather than not do some good to the really needy Mrs. Prior, done more good with less means I suppose than any inhabitant of the city of her day-would start out with little or nothing, and be performing good deeds continually with means obtained from other charitable people. Asked her Quaker husband if she could take & bring up a female child, from the numerous poor children in some institution-he made her no reply at the time, but some days after said to her, "Margarett, if thee wishes to take & bring up a little girl thee can do so" she went to where there was a number of the, examined them carefully & selected a poor afflicted child, took her home & cared for her as a good mother would have done-most ladies-almost any-would likely have been influenced or governed by beauty, sprightliness etc.
Now I am almost tired out, and being quite feeble any way, must end the "Hotchpotch" that I have been laboring at for a number of weeks, and have ramified & extended it quite beyond my expectation when I began-have just read it over and am not at all satisfied with it, but am too tired & too much worn out to undertake to rewrite, and try to put it in better form-there is much more outside matter and chaff than there should be, but I'll send it to you as it is, and incongruous at it is & if you think it best to destroy it do so-or better return it to me. I have had to write nearly the whole of it from recollection & have written down recollections of things as they have come into my mind, spread over upward of sixty three years-often in writing barely able to do so at times from rheumatism in my hand, etc. Other times have written with tolerable facility, with best wishes for the welfare of you & yours here & thereafter I am truly
Hon James D. Porter
Yours etc. M. H. Howarde
N. Yk. July 6th 1883
17 Lafayette Place
New York, May 8th, 1885
Several years ago I was requested by Ex-Governor James D. Porter to write out something of my recollections and observations of matter and things in & relating to Tennessee etc. for the Historical Society of Nashville-which I done after a second request, sent it to him & by him it was presented to said Society as he informed me, but what estimate was accorded it, I do not know, as I never heard of its receipt by them from any other source than that named. Governor Porter requested me subsequently to continue the subject should anything occur to my recollection not previously stated worth naming, and I began making memorandums of things not mentioned in the statement I had made as they would occur to my recollection, but not having kept a copy, or notes of the statements already made I may repeat some things already said, but if so, it will be to a very limited extent I think-these memorandums were mislaid & for a considerable time were missing and I discontinued making them but recently very unexpectedly discovered these and have concluded to add to my former statements.
Sometime about 1828 or 1830-it may have been a trifle sooner or later Doctor Alexander Jackson, (father of U. S. Senator Jackson & Gen. W. H. Jackson) then residing at Paris, West Tennessee, spent several nights at my house near Paris, W. T. obtaining from me such information as I possessed of the Topography etc. of W. T. which was I believe as extensive & minute as that of any other person-I have campted over a great part of it for about four consecutive years- commensing before the counties or any of them had been laid off, when there were very few inhabitants in W. T. and none in about half-or more of these counties as subsequently established--the information sought by Dr. Jackson, was designed by him to aid him in preparing a paper he was to write, & read, as I understood, before some Society as Jackson W. T. I believe, which was carried out I heard afterward, and was highly eulogized I heard, but I never saw it-perhaps some member of the Doctor's family may have the original or a copy of it which could be obtained and would likely be quite an acquisition to the Society at Nashville I'd think.
When I went first to W. T. there were but few roads or paths in it most of them were newly made leading to new settlements-the oldest I believe of any extent was a narrow Indian trace as it was called, known as the "Massac Trace." which entered W. T. nearly south of Summerville passing a little West of North I think some 6 or 8 or 10 miles West of that village, and near & west of Wesley, Haywood County I believe & on generally in the direction named to Fort Massac, situated I believe in Illinois on the Ohio River about opposite to the mouth of the Tennessee River. The United States, had a pretty good road known as the Natchez road made from Reynoldabury [Reynoldsburg] on Tennessee River, a few miles below the Rail Road at Johnsonville, going something West of South through W. T. to the Chickasaw Indian Nation on which a few families generally remote from each other had settled a path way had been made nearly on and along the old south boundary line of the state by the first party of Cherokee Indians that moved West, on which were built two or three very rough Bridges over the main upper branches of Big Hatchee River-I have travelled along this Natchez road, and Cherokee path-the entire extent of the former, and along the latter from Memphis to the Natchez road, where a man named John Chambers had settled to raise cattle-I once purchased corn of him at two dollars a bushel, which we pounded into meal in a Humming Mortor-as such was called- our bread material having given out. There was also a path or paths leading from the Chickasaw Nation to the bluff (Memphis) where Indians goods were kept. Many of the first settlers on the Mississippi River had Steele Mills with which to grind corn into meal, generally nailed & made fast to a post and sometimes to a tree-some with two handles & some with one by which they could in a very few minutes grind enough for an ordinary family-they were a very great convenience-if I were Housekeeping I'd not fail to have one if to be had whether I lived in country or city.
I was once at Memphis, setting in my room about noon and heard an explosion from a gun or pistol, and on going out found that Judge King then holding court there had some difficulty with Charley Erwin, a printer, and shot him in the rist or arm-I saw the Judge that afternoon on the bench holding Court. At another time I was there, and in conversation with the proprietor of the Gayoso House, at its entrance, where the Rev. W. C of Edgefield-(now East Nashville) arrived and being acquainted with him introduced them-when an opportunity occurred the landlord asked me if that was the Rev. W. T., who had a fight with Mr. E of Nashville of which he had heard-I told him it was, he expressed admiration of him because he was a plucy fellow and would fight-The Rev. W. G., who had a fight with Mr. E of Nashville a Methodist preacher, ceased preaching, studied, or had studied law, and became the law partner of Mr. John Brown, who had removed from Sommerville to Memphis. W. G. got into a quarrel and fight at Memphis I heard with L. H. Coe-another lawyer- by whom he was severly but not fatally stabbed him- fighting in those days was considered a virtue I believe and whether it is better, or now much better, now I don't know.
In my former communications to the Society when writing about Earthquakes those of Dec. 1811 & Jan. 1812 I said nothing I believe about sand blows-as they were called-which were sometimes met with in the bottoms of the small streams that empty into the Mississippi in W. T. These were banks of sand, a few yards in diameter, and a foot or so more or less thick said to have been cast up by water spouting up during and by Earthquakes.
Mr. John Harding told me that in descending the Mississippi River, on his way to Natchez with some negroes for sale he stopped at New Madrid, where there was a settlement of white people, and a negro man made his escape. He had to proceed without him: after having been a while at Natchez he learned that the negro had been captured & was in confinement-he started alone in a skiff up the river, and paddled his skiff against its current to New Madrid a distance of some 600 or 700 miles got his man and started down the River stopping at Judge Foy's opposite the bluff (Memphis) (a Spanish Judge I believe) and sold to him the negro, was paid for him in silver, which he poured into the bough of his skiff, covered it over with Earth, on which he done his cooking, and proceeded on to Natchez, at that time there was no settlement between New Madrid and Memphis I believe and none from there to Natchez, unless at Vicksburg or Warrenton, about ten miles further down-it required a man of considerable nerve to perform such a trip as this alone. Judge Joe Phillips was a very genial agreeable gentleman, a good talker and loved to talk, he told me that Col. William Polk, of Raleigh N. C. arrived at Nashville, at the close of a very rainy day his boots completely saturated with water-gave them out to be dried, and when they were presented to him next morning they were so much drawned up by having been placed too near the fire that he could not get them on or wear them if on, there were a number of men at the Tavern where Col. Polk stopped gathered on some public occasion, and some one to have a frolic proposed that the Boots (not often seen or worn thereabouts in those days) should be auctioned off to the highest bidder, payable in land they were forthwith put and briskly bid for, were knocked off and the bid claimed by both a Mr. Lewis and Col. Weakly-as neither would yield to the other it was proposed that they should settle it by a bout as fisticuffs-no sooner proposed than accepted by the two bidders and at it they went-the latter coming out second best, Mr. Lewis got the worthless boots for about 400 acres of land the Judge said situated near the line of Davidson and Wilson counties, a title to which Col. P. got-this I should say was rought back woods fun-if it could be so called horse fun.
King's Mountain is immediately on the line of North and South Carolina, is partly in each state it is said and is about 500 yards long by 60 or 70 yards wide-Wheeler's History of N. C. p. 59- on & about this mountain was fought one of the most desperate and furious battles of the Revolutionary War-the British under the command of Col. Ferguson, the Americans under that of Col. Campbell, and was said to have been fought in forty seven minutes (Wheeler's History of N. C. p. 103) there lived immediately about & around where I was born and reared Revolutionary soldiers, all of whom I knew & went to school with the children of most of them-my paternal grandfather and his oldest son, of the number-the latter entered the army when sixteen years old. Benjamin Hester & two of his brothers were of the number, and it used to be said of Ben Hester, that at the Battle of King's Mountain during the fierce raging of the Battle an American officer rode rapidly up to a company of the Americans and asked if there was a man present with a first rate rifle & was himself a first rate shot, and Ben Hester, said that he was the man and had this rifle,-the officer pointed to an exceedingly active British officer Col. Pat Ferguson, Commander of B. forces then in view, and said that I want you to take him off his horse for he is a host of himself Hester took deliberate aim at the officer & he fell-(Wheeler p. 107 says he fell having had seven or eight bullets shot through him-which account is true will never be known-Hester's bullet may have been one of the 6 or 7 or may alone have brought the officer-Col. Pat Ferguson down- (inWheeler's History p. 102) it is said that this Col. Ferguson was the inventer of a Rifle that could load in the breech & be fired seven times in a minute which was used with fatal effect, at the Battle of Brandywine. I don't suppose that five per cent of the people of Tennessee know that there were two governments existing and in operation at the same time in that State, under officers appointed severally by the adherants of each: but such was the case one party headed by John Tipton, in behalf of North Carolina the other by John Sevier, who represented the State of Franklin named in honor of Doctor Ben Franklin which was set up in Dec. 1784, and had a very turbulent existence for a few years-the partizans of each being exceedingly bitter toward each other and giving each other many poundings during their existence-money at this time was exceedingly scarce and its scarcity severly felt-the sal ry of the Frankland Governor was 200 lbs. annually, Judge 150 lbs., Treasurer 40 lbs., how much a pound was I don't know, but suppose it was two dollars as when I was a boy the paper money in circulation were small nearly square notes on very thick paper of ten, twenty, and forty shillings, and were in value one, two and four dollars severally, though Books of accounts were kept in Virginia currency of three and a third Dollars to the pound--Taxes were arranged to be paid in "good flax" linen of ten hundred, at three shillings & six pence per yard" good clean Beaver skins six shillings each, Raccoon and fox skins at one shilling and three pence, Deer skins six shilling, Bacon and tallow at six pence per pound good whiskey at two shillings & six pence a gallon- it was said that Racoon tails were sometimes sewed on to opossum skins so as to pass for coon skins- the opossum skin itself being worthless-this kind of payment for Taxes provided for by law shows the great scarcity of money at that time (Wheeler 94). The naming of the new State after one of the greatest civilians, if not the greatest man of the age in which he lived evidenced good taste & judgment in one thing at least-in my opinion-Franklin rather than Frankland, I think sounds better than Tennessee, when we think in connection with Tennessee of its meaning, which I have heard was in Indian a spoon-but don't know that to be so.
Doctor Franklin, was eminent in every usefull thing he touched except mathematics, which he said himself that he failed in-doubt-less for want of giving his mind steadily to it-he was quite an inventer, and discovered, and an improver of the inventions of others-noticed & investigated every thing about him fond of good music and the inventer of the Harmonica-an instrument unsurpassed f or sweet sound-was the pacificator of bickering amongst members of public bodies engaged in important business of which he was often a prominent member always forward to acknowledge & correct his own faults when made apparent, full of anecdotes and wise sayings as amply manifested in his celebrated Almanac, and permeated with good solid common sense as was Gen. Washington, A. Lincoln, and I hope and believe is the present President of the U. S.-the only Democratic President I ever voted for and would do so again if it were to do over-Doctor Franklin refused to take out Patents for inventions by which he could doubtless have made a large amount of money-wishing everybody that chose to have their benefit free of charge-and physically surpassed almost every one in water as he could swim like a Duck- I so much admired the characters of Washington and Franklin that I had their likenesses (both very good) represented on the gold face of my watch made of Tennessee gold-(the case only I suppose)- in Nov. 1835 and have worn it ever since-50 years next Nov., and had a similar one made for Gen. Samuel G. Smith, an old schoolmate, friend & relative, who was then secretary of state, and was sent by the Gov. (Cannon I believe-am not sure) to see about removing the remaining and greater part of the Cherokee Indians-who procured the gold at that time-found on Coker Creek of Tilleco River, of Tenn. R. in E.-had a star for each of 26 states existing at that time, and an Eagle- I was struck with what was attributed to General Green, who with others had met on some occasion, who said, "The Committee of Congress arrived last evening, and I had the honor to be introduced to that very great man Doctor Franklin, whom I viewed with silent admiration during the whole evening" and he certainly done more in aid of the Revolution than was done by any other civilian, not the least of which was that of procuring the aid of France, without which the struggle would doubtless have continued much longer, at much greater loss of blood. I treasure-at least with our own people, and no man of any nation seems. to have elevated himself and so universally in his own country & throughout Europe-especially in. the estimation of the higher ranks of men, If I had sons I'd want them to study Franklin, and to me it seems that nothing better could be published by a newspaper than well selected and copious extracts from Spark's Life etc. of this great & good man. He seems to have been physically, mentally and morally the superior of any man of whom I know any thing-had very poor prospects in early life was unsurpassed in industry, economy and temperance, and from having a very limited & poor education, became familiar & conversant with two living languages, besides his own, had a tolerable knowledge of one another and of Latin, the value of which could be appreciated when its connection with the others was made manifest. His sayings & doings were like good seed sewed in good soil ramified in all directions like the rays of the sun-providing general benefit to all who chose to heed them as did inhabitants of this and older countries inhabitants-his endeavours were to assist & benefit others which he did to great extent by advise & personal example.
On or about the 14th of March 1846 there occurred at Nashville the wildest & most reckless tragedy I ever witnessed-there had come there some weeks or months previously a stranger, E. Z. C. Judson, by name, who showing off in driving tandem about and becoming somewhat prominent at a ladies' fair, and in somewhat particular attention paid by him to a married lady, both there & afterwards, which caused more or less of talk amongst people fond of gossip- a knowledge of this talk reached the ears of her husband, Robert Porterfield, who was a devoted husband and an excellent young man of one the best & most prominent families of the place-he of course was greatly mortified & offended, and a family meeting was held 14th of March) and after it was over & his brother John-both very amiable & excellent young men, went to the Sulphur Spring situated in a sort of basin with a higher rim of land around it about a quarter of a mile No. Wt. of the public square which was very much resorted to by the people of the town-both armed with pistols-most unexpectedly Mr. Judson, having a boy along with him, came suddenly to the spring from the opposite direction from that by which the Porterfields had approached it, and they commenced firing their pistols at Mr. J. who retreated & when doing so begged them to let him alone-finding he had probably to kill or be killed, he fired once only, his bullet taking effect in the forehead of Robert Porterfield, who fell mortally wounded-the attention of J. Porterfield, was required by his brother, and Mr. J. proceeded to the public square where he was taken in charge by the authorities & carried into the Court House-the news of the affair spread like wildfire, and a mob speedily collected in and about the Court House- I boarded at the City Hotel, and going from the N. Wt. corner of the square toward the Hotel pistol firing began & when I was between the Court House & Nashville Inn, a rush was made by Mr. Judson & a pursuing mob for the City Hotel-the firing all at the fleeing Judson who it was said showed the activity of a cat and strength of an ox-he was fired at twice when dashing up stairs and in all was fired at by J. Porterfield mainly or altogether in immediate proximity to him thirteen times as counted by myself, and had been shot at least 3 or 4 times at the Sulphur Spring yet without having had his skin broken-he reached a vacant back room on the ladies part of the Hotel, was discovered leaped through a rear window on to a gallery dashed along that & another running along the wing of the Hotel toward the River & not being able to enter a room, attempted to let himself down by some lattice work erected to protect the gallery from the sun- the lattice work gave way immediately & he fell 41 feet as measured by me afterward to the ground below & was immediately surrounded by a mob who purposed to throw him over the bluff, some 40 or more feet I think on to the rocks below, but was dissuaded from doing so by Doctor W. A. Cheatham and Sheriff O. Lanier, mainly whom I could see & recognized from the spot from which he fell, having gone there a few minutes after he fell-while these efforts were being made in his behalf I saw him open his eyes-the general belief was that he was as good as dead-the mob was prevailed on to allow the fatally injured man-as he was thought to be, to be placed in Jail-that dark night he was taken by a mob from the Jail, carried to the Square near the City Hotel and hung and in the darkness the rope was cut by S. V. D. Stout, a carriage manufacturer & once mayor of the town-so Mr. Judson's life was saved once after running the gauntlet, by D. Cheatham & Sheriff Lanier & it may be some others-and a second time by Mr. Stout alone. Mr. Judson was again taken to prison & attended by Doctor T. R. Jennings, I believe, began soon to improve, and in a short time was taken hurriedly to escape a mob to Hude's Ferry, about five miles by the River and about half the distance by land, where it had been arranged that a steamboat should be-and was, in waiting for him and carried him away-thus ended one of the most reckless and unreasonable- I might characterise it perhaps as insane, scene imaginable. The Porterfields, I knew well-they were excellent gentlemen of high standing in society & most deservedly popular--were very sensative & honorable. The offence that caused all this tremendous uproar was in my opinion a somewhat indiscreet flirtation very much exaggerated of which the offended parties were not fully aware, and intended no unjustificable conduct on their part. Mobs often act as if they were brainless or crazy. I have seen several-one in Paris W. T. where a poor ignorant weak minded youth was plagued by some idlers as well as I recollect untill he become alarmed & run to make his escape was pursued by the idlers, increasing numbers joined in, and in passing a young man whom I knew he not knowing any thing of the matter picked up a piece of brick threw it at the poor alarmed & fleeing youth struck him violently on the head causing almost immediate death. I make it a point to keep away from Mobs & out of crowds, and think it a very good plan & one to be recommended & acted on.
Mr. Judson wrote considerable fiction it is said Ned Bunttine his non de plume. In speaking of sayings or adages, I have thought of some that of Gen. Jackson, for instance "By the Eternal" which seems to me to be a pretty strong oath- that of Davy Crockett I liked better and think it very good "Be sure you are right then go ahead" What could be better? Davy was a kind hearted nobleman of nature-always impecunious-if he had any thing others needed was ready to divide with them-that of Sam Patch, meaningless, "Some things can be done as well as others."
I had some personal acquaintance with both General Jackson and Mrs. Jackson, having spent several nights at the Hermitage during Mrs. Jackson's life and having been in partnership and had a good deal to do with these affairs for 8 or 10 years, of John C. McLemore, who married the niece of Mrs. Jackson, and at whose House in Nashville the General & wife were in the habit of visiting, and attending the Presbyterian Church, of which Mrs. Jackson was a member-coming down on Saturday & returning to the Hermitage on Monday-and I occupying a room at the House where I could unmolested do more of the large amount of writing I had generally on my hands than at the Land office down in town in the same time. Both the General & his wife have been ridiculed & slandered about their intimacy & marriage-the facts I believe are about as follows Mrs. Jackson-who was a Doneldson-had been married to one Lewis Roberts, who proved to be a very worthless, drunken man who treated her very badly, and General Jackson being a lawyer- of whom there were but few in that very sparsely settled country at that time, it was natural that she should ask his advice-especially as they were very often in each others company as they both boarded I believe with Mr. Hayes, who had married a sister of Mrs. Jackson-a.divo ce was applied for in Virginia by one of them-whether by Roberts o his wife I don't know. I suppose Kentucky where Mrs. Jackson had lived had not been admitted into the Union which occured in 1792-but I am not sure about that-at any rate an attachment had taken place between Jackson and Mrs. Roberts, and being informed that a divorce had been obtained they were married, but not long afterward it was ascertained that a divorce had not been but was in a short time and they after a short separation were married again at the time that these occurrences took communication between Eastern Virginia and Middle Tennessee was both uncertain a hazardous-as well as tedious on account of Hostile Indians-about as many days were required then as hours are now to communicate between them-there were very few schools of any sort in the country at that time and it could not be expected of females that they would have anything like the polish of females at the present time or when Gen. Jackson became prominent. I suppose Mrs. Jackson's education was about such as well to do ladies generally had at that time--I liked Mrs. Jackson-- she was a good kind amiable lady and had the entire love & devotion of Gen. Jackson, who was a first class husband Master & friend and a bitter enemy-to use a very coarse expression I have heard-for repeating which please excuse me- he went "the whole hog bristles & all" the General's truthfulness and honest was never doubted that I ever heard of, and he managed his own financial matters well. I was always Whig & Republican, and preferred Mr. Clay for President to any other person for that very important and responsible office-My last vote for President was Mr. Cleveland of whose honesty & capability I had conceived a good opinion which I still entertain and was disgusted with what seemed to me to be utter recklessness & rougery permeating law makers and officials of the Republican party under whom a great part of the extensive & valuable lands of the government had been recklessly frittered away for little or nothing and many many made rich as it said & believed by being beneficiaries of their own legislation-I see it stated in a news paper that the nobility of Europe-of England mainly-owned 21,000,000 of acres of our western lands-how did they get it? How large a space it is? It is 179 miles & a fraction square- or more than four times as large as Massachusetts, according to Mitchell's, late school Atlas-I saw it stated near the end of session before last it was I believe that a Bill had been introduced to withdraw about 95,000,000 acres of the public lands which had ostensibly been appropriated for making Rail Road, and had not been earned-how much in extent & quantity is that? It is 375 miles square or a little more than the state of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut & Rhode Island combined-What kingdom in extent and has been obtained for it? little or nothing & probably was intended but as a mere pretence and has been dropped that then Rail Road land grabbers may have another chance at it to gorge themselves at the expence and loss of the nation-I may however be mistaken about this-never have heard of the revival of the Bill. The late Coy. W. C. Brownlow is reported to have said on his first visit to Washington City on landing from the steamer that his first impulse was to steal something- as if the air itself was impregnated with thieveishness the breathing of which would beget a disposition to steal-of course it was his method of illustrating the opinion he had and was founded on general report- a shanefull reputation founded on the acres of our lawmakers-I suppose the population of Washington City other than lawmakers and office seekers & holders is about that of other cities. Mrs. Hayes became unpopular with the office hunters and numerous idlers that invest Washington because she interdicted the use of intoxicants at the Presidential reception-thus disappointing these loafers who would in gangs manage to present & fill their leather stomachs with liquor & eatables-with Mrs. Hayes I believe it was a principle-a duty- I was born & reared & lived untill grown near, and knew many of her relatives, who were numerous and remarkable for their sobriety and commendable conduct-her grandfather was from my native county in N. C., and knew many of them- his name was Isaac Webb. In my early life there certainly was much less crime than now-perhaps scarcely a tithe of it owing in a measure to the more stringent laws, and their being more promptly executed. Whipping, branding, exposing in the Pillary etc. were practiced legally & with great benefit I believe-under such laws and their prompt & impartial execution many of our rich people would have sore backs if they received justice.