A GENEALOGICAL MISCELLANY II,
MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996
SPRING CREEK, TENNESSEE
(A Historical Sketch)
Through the enterprising efforts of several influential citizens, including James H. Otey, Episcopalian bishop; Leonidas Polk, William Stoddert, James J. Alston and Samuel Dickins, the Tennessee legislature passed a law chartering Madison College, December 20, 1837. It was to have been administered through a board of trustees and would offer academic degrees of bachelor of arts and master of arts; "said college" /to/ be established in Madison County, this State." (ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1838, Chapter 218, pages 315-317) Apparently this movement to establish a college in Madison County failed to get beyond the planning stages.
Samuel Dickins (1781-1840), member of a prosperous, well-connected family, had served in the North Carolina House of Commons, 1813-1815; 1818; served briefly (Dec. 2, 1816-Mar. 3, 1817) in the United States House of Representatives. He and his first wife, Jane (Vaughn) Dickins (a native of Mecklenburg County, Virginia) and their several children moved from his native Person County in North Carolina to Madison County, Tennessee in 1820. (The latter county was established in 1821 and the territory it covered in the recent Chickasaw Purchase was temporarily taken into Stewart County, Tennessee.)
Dickins "established himself as an efficient surveyor and locator of land in western Tennessee and in 1821 was appointed by Archibald D. Murphey and Joseph H. Bryan to locate and sell the Tennessee land claims of the University of North Carolina. His partner was Dr. Thomas Hunt; their firm 'Hunt and Dickins' employed numerous young men to help with the work. Dickins was compensated for his services with the usual 16 2/3 percent of the value of the lands surveyed. For selling, collecting and paying, he received 6 percent and later 10 percent, all payable in land. In an 1823 meeting of the university's board of trustees it was noted that he had sold 25, 000 acres of land, something over the amount specified. His actions were approved and commended and other sales were authorized from time to time." (DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY, edited by William S. Powell, University of N.C. Press, 1986, volume 2, pages 64-65, "Samuel Dickins")
The several heirs of Samuel Dickins bought out his widow, Fanny Burton Dickins' interest in the Hazlewood plantation on which Samuel Dickins had lived for years, who in turn sold for $10,000 to one of Dickins' daughters, Martha L. and her husband, Dr. Joel Bugg, the entire 2000 acres except for 1/4 of an acre designated as the family graveyard, on January 22, 1841. (Madison County Deed Book 7, page 435; deed registered April 29, 1841) The Buggs, who were non-residents, sold the entire plantation to John C. Rogers and John L. Moore, also for $10,000, January 1, 1846. (IBID. Book 10 page 428; deed registered June 8, 1846) These two men immediately mortgaged this property in order to meet the complete installment payments due on it, January 15, 1846. (IBID., page 436) Then, Moore sold 110 of the 2000 acres, including the mill and millpond to Rogers, October 15, 1847 for $2000. (IBID. Book 17, page 225; deed registered March 16, 1854) Evidently Rogers' dwelling was located near the old Dickins' residence. He lived on the south side of the Lavinia-Medina Road (Highway 152), then called the Trenton Road, west of the village that sprang up nearby called Spring Creek.
SPRING CREEK, named for the stream by this name, a tributary of the Middle Fork of the Forked Deer River into which it runs two miles west of the village is located in northeast Madison County, Tennessee. It is north east of Jackson, some seven miles north of Interstate 40 with its juncture with U.S. Highway 70-East, the latter highway routed directly through the village.
Other than Colonel Dickins there were several men with ambitious plans for themselves in this locality. Jeremiah (Jerry) P. Haughton, who came to the area late in 1825, through sound management accumulated a sizeable estate. Besides a successful farming operation he established a grist mill on his homeplace southeast of what became Spring Creek on the creek of the same name. In partnership with William Powell Godwin he formed a manufacturing firm, a cotton spinning "factory," consisting of the spinning equipment and steam mill built on a six acre tract on the southwest side of the creek. (This was a short distance northwest of today's Blair Lake in the Springbrook subdivision.)
In August 1842 Haughton sold his partner, Godwin, enough of his own interest in the firm — their partnership dating from June 1840 — to make them equal partners. (Madison County Deed Book 12, pages 201-202) Also, in February of that year Haughton had conveyed for use of this firm "the water privileges" of Spring Creek "above & between the factory" and his mill. (IBID., deed book 8, page 246) This factory was a successful business venture; both men and their families profited and as did indirectly the community in which they lived. When Godwin died in 1848 he left his interest in the firm to his widow, Mary M. B. Godwin. (Madison County Will Book 5, pages 59-60; will of W. P. Godwin, executed April 6, 1848 and probated September 5, 1848)
William P. Godwin had married Mary M. Burton, a niece of Colonel Samuel Dickins' second wife, Fanny Burton Dickins (who were married August 2, 1831), in Rutherford County, Tennessee, June 20, 1836 and they moved to Madison County about two years later. In the Spring Creek cemetery, which began as the Hazlewood plantation graveyard, Godwin is buried with a tombstone reading, "In Memory of Dr. Wm. P. Godwin. Born in Kent Co., Del. July 4, 1802. Moved to Tenn. 1827. Died Aug. 12, 1848. " His wife's tombstone reads, "Mary M. B. Godwin, wife of Dr. W. P. Godwin, dau. of F. N. W. Burton. Born Jan. 17, 1815. Died Jan. 9, 1858. "
Mary Godwins younger sister, Lavinia E. (both being daughters of Frank N. W. Burton and wife Lavinia Murfree Burton), was married to Joseph H. Stewart, also in Rutherford County, June 4, 1850 and they moved immediately to Spring Creek, residing with the Godwins there. Unfortunately he soon died and was buried in the same burial ground as the Godwins. His tombstone reads, "Joseph Henry Stewart. Born near Smyrna, Del. Feb. 22, 1823. Died Mar. 12, 1851. He was the last of his race. The only child of Thos. Stewart decd. of Del. & Ann Godwin decd." (This is a broken box-vault tombstone.) Likely, Stewart was a kinsman of W. P. Godwin. (Lavinia Stewart was remarried to Duncan H. Selph, president of Madison College, December 21, 1852.)
The Godwins owned several parcels of land including their resident farm about two miles south of Spring Creek. The spinning factory was closed sometime in the 1850s. Jeremiah Haughton had acquired the Godwin share and at his death, his widow, Martha, received as her dower the homeplace, 538 acres and the grist mill. (Madison County Court Minute Book 9, page 416) There was not a single cotton spinning mill in Madison County by 1860. (U.S. 1860 Census, "Manufacturers Report," Washington, D.C., 1865, page 569)
The Spring Creek settlement grew steadily in its early years. The Madison County court had approved a road being laid out from what became its county seat, Jackson, in the summer of 1822 to the "center" of Carroll County to the north, routing it through or near Samuel Taylor's tract of land at the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Forked Deer River and Spring Creek, two miles west of what became the village of Spring Creek. (Madison County Court Minute Book 1, pages 8, 53) A post-office, Forked Deer, was opened there in August 1820 with Taylor as postmaster. It closed, April 1824, when he moved to Jackson where he served as postmaster until his death in November 1825. The Jackson to Huntingdon road, crossing Spring Creek, was an important adjunct to the earlier Carroll Road by early 1825. (IBID., page 462)
The people in this part of Madison County would not be without a post-office long as one was opened at "Spring Creek" in the spring of 1824. Colonel Dickins' plantation was a major focal point so that two new roads were routed through what became Spring Creek soon after the county was organized. The postmaster jobs were notoriously political — appointments were made along personal and political reasons. The list of the postmasters who have served this community follow, along with the dates of their appointments. Post-offices were generally kept in general stores owned by the postmasters. This was the arrangement until May 1990 when a frame building designated as the Spring Creek Post Office was opened on the west side of U.S. Highway 70-East near the southwest corner of the village crossroads. Before then people picked up their mail which was sorted in "pigeon holes" (or it was delivered to mailboxes at peoples' driveways). Since then mailboxes have been available along with the other postal services. (The post-office has borne the name Spring Creek except when John W. Burton was postmaster, March 24, 1835-June 8, 1835, when he called it Health Rest for some eccentric reason.) The following list is from TENNESSEE POSTOFFICES AND POSTMASTER APPOINTMENTS, 1789-1984, by D. R. Frazier, 1984 and with confirmation by the present writer with the postmaster in the summer of 1996:
April 14, 1824
Sept. 22, 1825
John W. Burton
Dec. 22. 1832
William W. Wood
March 18, 1836
Newton W. Copeland
April 23, 1836
Alfred B. Christian
April 22, 1839
Allen L. Wood
Feb. 18, l842
Aug. 15, 1844
Feb. 7, 1848
James H. Driggers
Sept. 23, 1850
James S. Coats
Dec. 28, 1852
Robert B. Turner
April 21, 1859
Sept. 20, 1859
Robert N. Hill
April 22, 1861
E. H. Argo
Sept. 29, 1869
John C. Hays
June 20, 1810
John C. Askew
Jari. 30, 1871
James S. Coats
Oct. 15, 1872
William C. Kizer
Dec. 16, 1878
J. L. Williams
Jan. 28, 1880
Hugh fl. Caldwell
Dec. 28, 1881
T. W. Williams
March 8, 1882
Robert W. Swett
April 24, 1882
John B. Haughton
July 11, 1890
David W. Ward
May 3, 1895
Thomas E. Askev
Feb. 13, 1907
Dennis L. Walker
March 4, 1925
Thomas R. Gaskins, Jr.
Jan. 4, 1927
May 3, 1927
Feb. 18, 1935
Thomas R. Gaskins, Jr.
April 13, 1935
Jan. 1, 1940
May 11, 1943
Sarah Nichols Waller
Feb. 29, 1968
Cheryl W. Studards, OIC
Oct. 2, 1981
Kathleen A. Stratton
July 24, 1982
Cheryl Lynn W. Studards
(still postmaster in 1996)
Sept. 23, 1982
The village of Spring Creek was plotted through the efforts of Dr. John C. Rogers but no copy of the survey is known to be in existence. Dr. Rogers, Wyatt Mooring, Jesse Gray and several other local citizens petitioned the Madison County court for a charter of incorporation which was granted January 2, 1854 with its boundaries defined, "Beginning at Spring Creek opposite G. W. Haughtons. Runs east so as to include said Haughton's dwelling house, thence a due /sic/ north east to the stage road at J. P. Butlers, thence north east with said road opposite J. L. Moore's residence so as to include said Moore's residence, then a westerly direction to Dr. J. C. Rogers including his residence, thence south to the run of Spring Creek, thence with the meandering of said creek to the beginning." The corporation was governed by an elected mayor and board of aldermen. (Madison County Court Minute Book 6, page 165)
The present-day north-south route through the village of Spring Creek is U.S. Highway 70-East; this was known as the Jackson-Huntingdon Road and within the corporation it was designated as Main Street. The east-west route, crossing Main Street, were Lexington Street (Highway 152 or Spring Creek Law Road) and Walnut Street (Highway 152, Lavinia-Medina highway). The two latter streets, Lexington and Walnut, were part of the old Lexington-Trenton Road. A small lane called Vine Street opened onto Lexington Street east of the village crossroads.
On May 9, 1856 Alfred Jones, a local merchant, sold to Jesse Gray, in the latter's capacity as mayor of Spring Creek, for $150, a vacant lot to be used as a public square for the village, located near the southwest corner of the village crossroads. Many years later David W. Ward acquired this lot and it became a part of his homeplace. (Madison County deed books 18, page 711;
63, page 77; 65, page 276; also Madison County tax book, l900, civil district 12: D. W. Ward, H. P. Kizer. Because the corporation had been rescinded the heirs of Alfred Jones made a formal deed to D. W. Ward for this parcel of land, May 24, 1904.) Just north of the public square lot, J. W. Robertson bought a lot on the Trenton Road from Robert B. Love in February 1869. (Madison County Deed book 28, page 385) The Beers map of 1877 indicates Robertson's carpentry shop as "w. shop", i.e. workshop. Adjoining was a blacksmith shop, that of J. Haskins or J. W. Lewis, designated on this map as "B. S. Sh."
The village had incorporated under a law passed by the General Assembly of Tennessee January 7, 1850. The little municipality sought a broader, more inclusive charter from the State of Tennessee which was legislatively approved January 28, 1858; still governed by a mayor and aldermen. Its bounds were defined, "Beginning at an oak with persimmon points, on the waters of Spring Creek, running in a northerly direction to the corner of Dr. J. C. Rogers' fence on the Trenton Road to a large sugar tree, thence north with the fence on the east side of Rogers plantation to Jno. L. Moore's line, thence east with said Moore and Rogers dividing line to the stage road to the Lexington road, thence in a southerly direction to the waters of Spring Creek so as to exclude the old Presbyterian Church, thence down said creek with its meanders to the place of beginning." (PRIVATE ACTS OF TENNESSEE, l'857-1858, Chapter 39, page 56)
The name of only one mayor of the village, that of Jesse Gray, a merchant, is known to have been recorded in an extant document, but it was an office likely "passed around" among the leaders of Spring Creek. Years later, with its glory days behind it and with a reduced commercial interest, its citizens sought to have their municipal charter repealed which was granted legislatively March 13, 1883. (ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1883, Chapter 70, pages 67-68)
The Baptists established the Baptist Male Institute in Spring Creek, beginning in March 1852 with only three students but finished the school year with about fifty-five students. The school became a denominational institution of the West Tennessee Baptist Convention through the efforts of Alexander Askew and Reuben Day. Appointed to "manage the affairs of said school" were Jeremiah P. Haughton, Alexander Askew, John C. Rogers, John L. Moore, F. N. W. Barton /sic/, John R. Woolfolk, Walter Key, John Herring /Herron/, Shem Cook, Wyatt Mooring, Jesse Gray and Reuben Day. (PROCEEDINGS of the annual meeting of the West Tennessee Baptist Convention, 1852; hereafter cited as PROCEEDINGS) The denomination's girls' school was located in Brownsville, Tennessee. In 1854 the male institute's trustees purchased three acres in Spring Creek "upon which they intend erecting the College building so soon as practicable." At the trustees' meeting, July 11, that year, Duncan H. Selph was appointed president and Reverend John Bateman assistant teacher of the school. The academic year was scheduled to begin September 18. (IBID., 1854, page 18) Although the deed of purchase by the trustees of the school for the three acre tract they had bought went unrecorded, it is recorded that the land was purchased by them from John C. Rogers (as noted in a deed from John C. Rogers to John S. Hill, March 3, 1866; Madison County Deed Book 24, page 11)
The D. G. Beers Map of Madison County and Jackson, Tennessee, 1877, that portion showing Spring Creek reveals the location of some of the older landmarks. The bounds of the Baptist school shown on this map are somewhat at variance with the legal description of the three acre lot given in the WEST TENNESSEE WHIG, Jackson, March 27, May 17, 1861, and dotted lines show the actual layout of the acreage, on the map reproduced in this book on page78, as drawn by James H. Hanna, civil engineer, retired, Jackson, Tennessee.
In 1854 the school's name was amended to West Tennessee Baptist Male Institute with Elder Selph continuing as its president. The school was granted its charter of incorporation March 2, 1854(ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1853-
1854, Chapter 194, pages 607-609):
Sec. 58. Be it further enacted, That Nash, W. Benton,* John C. Rogers. John R. Woolfolk, John L. Moore. Alexasdee Asken /Askew/, Duncan H. Selph, Jeremiah P. Houghton /Haughton/, Elisha Collins, Jacob Hill, Henry O. Smith, Henderson Owen, K. C. Crisp, E. H. Osburn, James A. McDerson, J. R. Rutlage and their successors, be, and they are hereby constituted a body politic and corporate, by the name and style of the 'Trustees of the West Tennessee Baptist Institute', and shall have perpetual succession and are invested with all the legal powers and capacities to buy, receive, possess, hold, dispose of and convey any property, either real or personal, for the use and benefit of said institution; may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered unto in any court in this State or elsewhere.
Sec. 59. Be it enacted. That said board of trustees shall have power to care all by-laws necessary for the government of said institution, not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of this State or of the United States; and shall have full power to appoint such officers and agents as may to thee seem necessary for the prosperity and well-being of said institution; and shall have power to procure agents to travel to lecture and solicit subscriptions in such sums and upon such conditions as they in their by-laws, may designate and prescribe.
Sec. 60. Be it enacted, That said board of trustees shall have power to endow said institution with whatsoever amount they say deem necessary the interest of which alone shall be appropriated to its support; Provided, that said endowment fund, as well as the interest, shall be under the control and direction of said board of trustees.
Sec. 61. Be it enacted. That said board of trustees shall have power to elect a principal or president of said institute, which principal or president, when elected, shall be ex officio the president of the board of trustees, and such professors and tutors as they may deem necessary for the promotion of literature and morals in the institution.
Sec. 62. Be it enacted, That said board of trustees shall have full power and authority to fill all vacancies that may occur in their body from death, resignation or otherwise and in connection with the faculty to use a cosmos seal which shall always be deposited with the president and confer all such literary honors and degrees upon any student of the institution or other persons as are usually confered by any institution of learning in this State or in the United States.
Sec. 63. Be it enacted. That any five of said board of trustees called together by the president shall constitute a quorum to transact the business of the institution and shall have full power to elect annually, without /outside/ their body, five directors, whose duty, when elected, shall be to cooperate with the board in promoting the interest of the institution. The board shall have its annual meeting on the second Wednesday in July, at which time they shall elect the directors for the ensuing year. The names of the first directors shall be Wyatt Mooring, Jesse Grey, John Herron, John H. Lanier, Lem'l Day and Walter Kay /Key/. The president shall have power to call a meeting of the board of trustees at any time when he may deem it necessary by giving ten days notice.
Sec. 64. Be it enacted. That said institution shall be located in Spring Creek in the county of Madison, State of Tenneseee; Provided that the citizens thereof, or of said county, shall raise a fund sufficient to procure a suitable site and erect the necessary buildings, but in case they fail to raise a sum sufficient for these purposes, said institution shall be located in that town or vicinity where the citizens thereof shall donate to the board of trustees for the benefit of said institution the sum of ten thousand dollars.
Sec. 65. Be it enacted. That said board of trustees shall have full power at any time hereafterto give to said institute a more particular name in honor of the most distinguished and liberal benefactor or otherwise as they may think proper, which name so given shall in all acts. instruments and doings of said body politic, be superadded to their corporate name aforesaid and become a part of their legal appelation by which it shall be forever known and distinguished.
Sec. 66. Be it enacted, That no misnomer or erroneous description of the corporation hereby created, in any will, deed, gift, grant, devise or other instrument of contract or conveyance, shall vitiate or defeat the same but the same shall take effect in like manner as if said corporation were correctly named and properly designated; Provided, always, that the description in such case or cases be sufficient to ascertain the intention of the parties.
Sec. 67. Be it enacted, That the land on which said institution shall be situated, together with the buildings, school fixtures and apparatus of said corporation, shall be exempt from taxation, both for state and county purposes.
*The first two names in this list, Frank Nash and W. Benton are garbled for actually one name Frank Nash W. Burton.
So prosperous was the school becoming that with the influence of the well-to-do planter, Jeremiah P. Haughton the name of the school was changed in 1857 to MADISON COLLEGE and an ambitious building program was begun. Elder Selph continued as president (who with W. T. Bennett handled the collegiate program and Charles Watson headed the preparatory department). For younger students and for those who entered the college with academic deficiencies the preparatory department was a necessity. There had been ninety-six students in attendance for the academic year ending June 1857; fifty in the collegiate course, forty-six in the preparatory course. (PROCEEDINGS, 1857)
The building begun in 1857 resulted the next year in a new brick $15,000 structure which stood on the northeast corner of the Jackson-Huntingdon road at their juncture with Lexington Street. The building was described as "a spacious building, three stories high, with library rooms, society rooms, rooms for /scientific/ apparatus, recitation rooms, a large chapel with ten large and airy dormitories. " (PROCEEDINGS, 1858, page 10; "Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Central Baptist Association, September 26, 1858")
The location of the college building was on the site of the present King residence in Spring Creek, the second house east of U.S. Highway 70-East and north of the junction of the Spring Creek Law Road (Highway 152) with U.S. Highway 70-East. The building faced Main Street or what is now U. S. Highway 70-East. The college catalogues carried pictures of the college and president's house, a rather glorified depiction insofar as the landscape was concerned.
Owing on the building, however, was a large debt of $6000, the other expense having been met by subscription and the generous loan of Jeremiah P. Haughton. The board of trustees appointed the Reverend Joseph R. Hamilton as president of the college and Elder J. B. White as professor of mathematics and natural science. Scientific chemical apparatus was acquired for use of the students. (PROCEEDINGS, 1858) Hamilton was an Englishman; middle-aged.
At the request of the Convention and the college's board of trustees the membership of the latter was increased by legislative action, February 17, 1858 (PRIVATE ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1857-1858, Chapter 66, page 140), so as to consist of Alexander Askew, Spring Creek; Jeremiah P. Haughton, Spring Creek; Samuel P. Clark, Shady Grove, Carroll County; Jeremiah Crook, Jacks Creek, Henderson County; Reverend Reuben Day, Jackson; Jacob Hill, Jackson; A. K. Jones, Mifflin; Reverend Aaron Jones, Jr., Jackson; W. T. Key, Spring Creek; John L. Moore, Jackson; Reverend Meredith H. Neal, Lavinia, Carroll County; Robert Nesbet, Bluff Springs; Reverend William Noland, Danceyville; Henderson Owen, Memphis; Colonel John Blackwell, Shelby County; John K. Pearce, Trenton; John C. Rogers, Spring Creek; Joseph R. Rutledge, Brownsville; William Rhodes, Championville; Reverend William Shelton, Brownsville; Reverend A. A. Sanders, Purdy; R. S. Thomas, Brownsville; John West, Lexington; John R. Woolfolk, Cotton Grove; Reverend George W. Young, Durhamville. (Also, LIFE OF EGBERT HAYWOOD OSBORNE, by Ancil W. Stovall, St. Louis, 1898, page 29)
Students examinations began on June 11, 1858 and lasted through June 17. The board of trustees were to have met in the college chapel for its annual meeting, June 16. (PROCEEDINGS, 1858)
In the 1858-1859 school year the faculty consisted of the Reverend Hamilton, Reverend White (formerly president of a school in Wake Forest, North Carolina), William T. Bennett as professor of ancient languages; Charles Watson served as principal of the preparatory department. Alexander Askew was college bursar. He also kept a boarding house for some of the students. (He bought 3 acres on Main Street, nearly opposite and slightly north of the college, from John C. Rogers, May 1858, where his large residence was built to "board" students. See, Madison County Deed Book 20, page 559.) A liberal arts program was heralded. Board could be had (inclusive of everything except "lights") for $8 a month. (TENNESSEE BAPTIST, September 13, 1859)
From "Madison College at Spring Creek" by Emma Inman Williams, THE JACKSON SUN, December 3, 1944, page 16; based on information in the college catalog of 1858-1859:
Sixty-five students enrolled for the forty-week session in 1859-1860. Thirteen of these were expelled during the year. These had probably either been 'indisposed to study' or had 'indulged in practices forbidden by regulations.' This church institution boasted that it would not tolerate idleness, intemperance or any vice by which injury is committed upon all who are in any way connected with the institution; that 'no student will be retained in the institution who is guilty of intemperance, profanity or any species of immorality or any conduct which renders him an unfit associate for young gentlemen of correct habits.' Students at Spring Creek were required to attend some divine service on Sunday, could not cut classes, could not change their boarding house without the consent of the President, could not be absent from their rooms after seven in the evening except on Wednesday prayer meeting nights and the Sabbath, could not frequent any bar-room or place where liquors were sold, should not associate with idle or vicious com any, should not take part in a duel or carry a pistol, should respect the members of the faculty.
At the West Tennessee Baptist Convention's annual meeting, in 1859, the college board of trustees submitted a report indicating that they had been "laboring under an accumulating debt, chiefly for building. The entire indebtedness of the institution, inclusive of interest, is about $14,000, $8000 of which are now due and the balance falling due in the space of three years. The local board has paid about $8000. The local board feels very sensibly the weight resting upon them and by reason of the death of our Brother J. P. Haughton, to whom is due the chief indebtedness, some immediate arrangements have to be made by which it shall be liquidated." (PROCEEDINGS, 1859) Other than the Reverend Hamilton as a teaching president, 1859-1860, Lysander Houk, Giddings Buck and Isaac Day were engaged as teachers. There were only two graduates by this time, I. B. Day and T. M. Hutchison. (IBID.)
On March 28, 1861, through its chairman, Dr. V. B. Woolfolk, the college board of trustees conveyed to Edward Willis as trustee the college grounds, to have the debts paid by March 25, 1863. The outstanding debts were a note due executors of Jeremiah P. Haughton, $5702.77 (due Jan. 1, 1863) and another one to the same executors, $750 (due April 21, year not given); a note due John C. Rogers, $805.08 (due April 25, 1859) and one due him, $49.52 (due January 25, 1860); a note due John L. Moore, $500 (due April 20, 1859); a note to Warlick and Gilliken for the use of John L. Moore, $463 (due June 16, 1858); a note due J. C. Rogers, John L. Moore, Alexander Askew and D. H. /Selph?/ for $600 (due May 1, 1858); a note due J. C. Rogers, $225 (due July 17, 1860). (Document recorded March 30, 1861 in Deed Book 23, page 14)
The Reverend J. R. Hamilton sued the college board, perhaps for back-salary and other debts, in the circuit court of Madison County late in 1860. Sheriff John R. Woolfolk was authorized by the court to sell the school and land on which it was located, April 22, 1861; the date of sale was extended to May 6, 1861. (WEST TENNESSEE WHIG, Jackson, March 29, May 27, 1861) The circuit court records for this period are missing but from deeds of a later date it is known that the Haughtons acquired title to the college and land and it was divided among the Haughton heirs. L. B. Haughton sold his interest to Alexander Askew. (Madison County Deed Book 29, pages 636-638; a 1/6 interest in the three acre lot "upon which Madison College is situated") The 1½ acre on which the college actually stood and the grounds immediately around it were later owned by G. W. Haughton's son-in-law, Joseph D. Askew, who sold this acreage to W. B. Rains, February 1896 (Madison County Deed Book 68, page 192; 1½ acre "known as the college lot"). Rains sold this lot to Charles Fly, February 1906. (IBID. Book 69, page 536)
College operations were suspended during the Civil War which began in 1861 as well as the legal proceedings regarding its sale and future operation. The Baptists at this point would not aggressively finance schools, especially those with debts. Tuition fees and generosity from benefactors of the college alone could not meet its obligations due principally to the initial large debt incurred with the construction of the imposing college building. The Reverend William T. Bennett began operation of the college, somewhat after the war, in 1866, and the West Tennessee Baptist Convention took it back under its supervision for a time. In the 1866-1867 school year eighty-eight students had been enrolled. Creditors compromised with the board of trustees, extending the time for the debts to be paid but the college failed with the closing of the session in May 1869. The West Tennessee Baptist Convention then "backed" Union University then located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee but which institution later merged with the West Tennessee College in Jackson to form the Southwestern Baptist University, in that city, which school eventually became known as Union University.
Madison College continued as a private institution, governed by a board of trustees. It continued to attract youth but it is likely the school's preparatory department was the most successful aspect of its operation. For
several years the Reverend John Owen Robinson served as president of the reconstituted college. On December 25, 1875 William A. Hughes, a native Virginian, who had taught school in the eleventh civil district of Madison county, was appointed president of the college, to begin his duties January 10, 1876. (THE JACKSON SUN, Jackson, January 7, 1876) Unfortunately, the college building was burned, a complete ruin, on Thursday, February 24, 1876. THE JACKSON SUN announced the tragic destruction in its February 25, 1876 issue:
A College Burned
Thursday evening the large college building at Spring Creek, knovn as Madison College, was destroyed by fire. The flames originated on the roof by sparks falling from the chimney, and when discovered were too far advanced to be overcome. The furniture of the building was pretty well saved. The building itself was valued at $15,000. It was one of the oldest college buildings in West Tennessee, and as a school enjoyed considerable reputation. The loss is a very serious one to the community in which it so long flourished and we extend them our sincerest sympathies.
In conversation with Mr. William Wadford Donnell (born 1907) and wife, Lanier Exum Donnell, of Spring Creek, June 19, 1996, the former recalled that his father, John Baxter Donnell (1865-1951) was a boy, attending the preparatory course of the Madison College when the building burned, who told this son about the fire and the fact that he had run home at the time to tell home folks about the burning of the college.
Joseph (Joe) D. Askew used some of the brick salvaged from the old college building to build his residence .3 mile north of the village crossroads (west side of the Jackson-Huntingdon Road). Construction on this house was finished in the spring of 1879. (TRIBUNE-SUN, Jackson, May 22, 1879) Askew and his second wife, Eula Utley Askew (1872-1951) continued to live there, she into her widowhood. This brick house was a local landmark until it burned in the 1980s.
Advertisements in the WEST TENNESSEE DIRECTORY (Louisville, Ky., 1872)
From LIFE OF EGBERT HAYWOOD OSBORNE, by Ancil W. Stovall, St. Louis, 1898, page 31
From WEST TENNESSEE DIRECTORY, published in Louisville, Kentucky in 1872, pages 135, 137:
SPRING CREEK is beautifully located on an elevation of land in the extreme northeastern portion of Madison county. It is distant thirteen miles from Jackson, the road being rather uneven and sandy. This, of course, is conducive to the trade of the village, causing many a purchase there that might otherwise go to Jackson. The town was far more fortunate than many of lie compeers during the days of the late disastrous war, suffering only the usual detriment to trade consequent upon a civil strife. An unusual spirit of enterprise characterizes its inhabitants. They look hopefully forward to the day when they shall occupy a move conspicuous sphere among West Tennessee towns. A pet theme of conversation is the proposed railroad from Huntington, distant twenty-four miles, passing through Spring Creek to Jackson. It will be a branch of the Nashville and Northwestern road. Though the proposition has been only a proposition for so long a time, due to the Nashville and Northwestern railroad being in litigation, still it will eventually be built. Another feature marking the enterprise of this little town and its vicinity, is its schools.
Founded in 1857, by Jerry Haughton, Esq., is a large, substantial three-story brick building. It occupies a commanding position, overlooking a narrow and fertile valley. The adjoining grounds are well shaded by forest trees, and could easily be made very beautiful. The building was built by subscription, the wealthier citizens fully appreciating the fact that good schools are absolutely indispensable to the progress of any community. The President, Rev. J. O. Sullivan, is a gentleman equal to the many responsibilities of his office.
Under the management of Major Jessie Taylor, is yet in its youth. This fall it enters upon its third term. It was founded by its present principal in 1879. Though just now laboring under many inconveniences, it bids fair to heroine a school worthy an appreciative people. The shady and extensive play-grounds are delightful concomitants of the many other features that insure the health and enjoyment of the Institute's large school.
There are three different religious congregations that regularly worship at the two humble, but comfortable, churches of the town — one Baptist, one Cumberland Presbyterian, and one Old School Presbyterian.
The business houses, though yet few in number, are owned by enterprising men, who make no little effort to secure their share of trade. In point of advertising, they set an example worthy the imitation of all non-progressives. Out of six stores, four readily embraced the opportunity to advertise in this work. The following are a list of our advertisers:
W. P. O'Neal, dealer in groceries, dry goods, boots, shoes, hats, etc.
Coats & Hall, dealers in dry goods, groceries, clothing, hoots, shoes, hat., etc. Medicine a specialty.
W. A. Fussell, dealer in groceries, liquors, tobacco and cigars. Fine liquors a specialty.
J. W. Fox, exclusive druggist; deals also in cigars and tobacco.
Those business men represent the commercial interests of their town. To them we refer all seeking knowledge of the facilities of Spring Creek as a trading point. The town contains about five hundred inhabitants, and was incorporated in 1858.
Those students in attendance at Madison College, 1858-1859, from its catalog, Cited in LIFE OF EGBERT HAYWOOD OSBORNE, by Ancil W. Stovall, St. Louis, 1898, pages 29-30: Johfl Askew, Joseph D. Askew, John O. Askew, W. J. F. Allen, S. M. Allen, John D. Cocke, C. C. Conner, Joseph D. Castellav, John P. Clark, J. B. Cullen, M. L. Day, A. J. Dawson, J. B. Day, Thomas C. Day, Thomas J. Dowling, Rufus, Donnell, George W. Fly, Hezekiah Gray, W. Curry Gray, William P. Godwin, F. B. Godwin, T. H. Godwin, J. G. Gilliken, D. H. Grant, S. P. Gillmore, N Holland, J. K. Holland, A. G. Haughton, T. M. Hutchinson, James Herron, George W. Hill, J. M. Harrell, H. C. Irby, P. S. Irby, W. D. Irby, L. R. Irby, H. H. Jones, Demetrius Lacy, Wyatt Mooring, J. R. Mooring, Chris T. Mooring, W. W. Mills, James W. Mills, Thomas B. Mills, H. H. Mills, J. F. March, W. W. Manly, J. W. Nowell, T. E. Prewitt, B. F. Prewitt, W. H Prewitt, Robert Paine, William Peacock, W. H. Parker, J. F. Richardson, H. H. Rhymes, T. R. Short, W. N. Shinault, G. T. Sells, T. C. Skinner, Sion Skipper, Thomas H. Simpson, E. L. Sanders, Lindsay Sanders, R. L. Smith, R. S. Thomas, Clinton Trottman, G. W. Tatum, Charles T. Watson, L. D. Walton, J. V. Woods, Chris C. Woods, T. H. Winfield, B. W. Wilkerson, R. A. Williford, Ferdinand Wood, John Woolfolk.
Those students in attendance at Madison college, 1859-1860, from its catalog, cited by Emma Inman Williams in an article, "Madison College at Spring Creek", THE JACKSON SUN, December 3, 1944: S. M. Allen, J. O. Askew, T. H. Askew, Joseph Askew, J. Bradbury, G. T. Barksdale, G. Burrow, Eugene Brooks, E. H. Crook, G. H. Camp, W. S. Clampit, F. M. Dill, F. S. Deener, W. L. Eddins, D.H. Grant, Lafayette Grant, Hezekiah Gray, J. A. Gooch, W. P. Godwin, T. H. Godwin, C. Gray, J. C. Holloway, M. W. Harris, John S. Harris, S. C. Hear, J. N. Harrell, A. G. Haighton, L. R. Irby, P. S. Irby, H. H. Jones, Matthew Jones, H. F. Jones, J. W. Key, D. Lacy, A. J. Miller, T. N. Maxwell, J. T. McNeeS, T. B. Mills, M. H. Owen, B. F. Prewett, W. H. Prewett, John Porter, S. W. Puckett, John Richardson, J. P. Ragan, Thomas V. Rhodes, Butler Rogers, J. B. Staley, T. C. Skinner, T. R. Short, B. C. Simmons, G. S. Strayhorn, Alphonson Strayhorn, Leroy Strayhorn, R . L. Smith, T. H. Smith, G. W. Tatum, William E. Trahern, J. V. Woods, J. G. Woolfolk, F. Wood, R. A. Williford, W. M. Whitelaw, J. M. Withers. (The 1860 U.S. Census, Madison County, Civil District 12, also lists J. J. Miller, as a student, age 21, native of Kentucky.)
Efforts to locate original copies of the Madison College catalogs of which at least three separate issues, 1857-1860, were published, by the writer, have been unsuccessful. Mrs. Mattie B. McDaniel, a former teacher and native of the Spring Creek community, told the writer, June 25, 1996 that Mrs. Eula Utley Askew, wife of Joseph D. Askew, had one such catalog which she gave to William Boulton but his heirs know nothing of its fate.
The Springdale Institute, a private, co-educational school, operated in the early 1870s in Spring Creek. Public schools were still in fledgeling stages during this period. B. F. Campbell, MadisOn County superintendent of educated reported in 1874 that "no system of free schools /had existed! in this county for several years. " ("State Superintendent of Education's Report, l873~l874', 'Nashville, l875, Page 95) By early 1879 the Spring Creek public school and the one at nearby Claybrook were administered by the school directors of civil district twelve. (TRIBUNE~SUN, Jackson, February 14, 1879)
In the first decade of this century a frame schoolhouse was erected about .2 mile west of the village crossroads on the south side of Highway 152. Shortly after 1907 a high school was added at this location. There was such an interest in basketball that the parents of the community built the gymnasium for this school sometime after World War I. The high school was consolidated with other area schools to form North Side High School in Jackson, 1943.
The elementary school in Spring Creek (grades 1-8) burned on February 18, 1944, a fire caused reportedly by defective wiring. There were four teachers and one hundred, twenty-five students in this school at the time. The school was about forty feet east of the Baptist Church but the latter was not damaged by the fire. (THE JACKSON SUN, Jackson, February 20, 1944) The county court approved the rebuilding of this school, April 1944, using the insurance money, $14,000 and several thousand dollars more for equipment and furnishings. (Madison County Court minute book 42, pages 260, 378) This school was closed in the spring of 1964 with the area's elementary students being assigned to other schools. The location was sold to the Baptist Church in 1970 for $200 and its annex was built about fifteen years later at the site.
Jesse Gray, Allen L. Wood, James H. Driggers, Page Patterson, James Coiner, Reuben Day and William Williams sought to form a York Rite Masonic lodge in Spring Creek in 1850, a move that was initially approved by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, April 5, 1850; thus was chartered Spring Creek Masonic Lodge 193, October 10 1850. James Gray was First Master; Allen Woods, Senior Warden; James H. Driggers, First Junior Warden (and for some unexplained reason Driggers was expelled from the lodge in December 1852). The lodge membership grew steadily, composed of numerous ones of the progressive male citizens of the area.
The early lodge building was blown down in a storm in 1853 and had been re-erected by September 24, 1858 as shown in the annual returns of those years to the Grand Lodge. In October 1865, Dr. John C. Rogers formally sold a one acre lot on Main Street in Spring Creek to the elders of the Spring Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Masonic Lodge 193 and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with the three organizations sharing a frame building, with its lower floor assigned for religious services and the upper floor for the lodges. (Madison County Deed Book 41, page 494) The building stood just south of Dr. Vivian B. Woolfolk's property as shown on the Beers map of Spring Creek, 1877.
The Cumberland Presbyterians disbanded in Spring Creek as the old-line Presbyterian Church which shared its operation for a number of years, had previously and the congregation sold its interest in the lot and building to the Masons in 1911 (Madison County Deed Book 79, page 561) who sold it to Eula Askew who lived nearby, on the opposite side of the road, in March 1918. (IBID. Book 90, page 627) The local masons bought a lot close to the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 70-East and Spring Creek Law Road in August 1917. (IBID. Book 89, page 603) where a two-story frame building was erected. The lodge's quarters were upstairs and the lower floor was rented. In later years, Floyd McAlexander, merchant and postmaster, had a general store in this building which burned September 13, 1972 soon after which (October 7) Lodge 193 was granted by dispensation from the Grand Lodge to affiliate with Medina Masonic Lodge 399 which was the arrangement until the old Spring Creek lodge formally consolidated with Jackson Masonic Lodge 45 on December 15, 1988. (PROCEEDINGS of Masonic Grand Lodge, Tennessee, 1972, page 48) In 1996, the Towater store in Spring Creek stood where the 1917 lodge had been located before it burned.
The Spring Creek Eastern Star Chapter 378 was established with 29 members April 14, 1939; met in the masonic building, after the destruction of which members scattered, some affiliating with the Milan chapter, some with the Jackson chapter. The Spring Creek chapter disbanded with 31 members January 21, 1974.
A list of deaths listed in the annual returns of Masonic Lodge 193 for the nineteenth century were abstracted by the present writer:
1857: Amos Williams died January 1857
1860: M. H. Rone died December 1859; William Oliver died Nov. 23. 1859
1867: William Aldridqe died August 28, 1867
1868: Joseph Betty /Beaty/ died 1864
1870: John Baxter died March 1, 1870
1871: R. L. Haley died March 6. 1871
1872: Calvin Flowers died Mar. 15, 1872; J. O. McFarlin died Nov. 2, 1871
1873: William McFarlin died April 21, 1873
1874: Samuel McAdoo died November 17, 1873
1875: E. P. Lowrance died July 25, 1875
1876: C. W. Lewis died Oct. 5, 1875; L. B. Herron died Oct. 13, 1875; G. D. Ward died April 28, 1876
1877: G. W. Mayfield died Nov. 13, 1876; Aquilla McFarlin died Feb. 13. 1877; J. B. Utley died Mar. 3, 1877; J. C. Ross died Aug. 28. 1877
1878: R. M. Gowan died Nov. 2. 1877; William Stewart died Sept. 4, 1878
1882: A. F. Love died June 1, 1881
1883: A. P. Mays died Jan. 13, 1882; William Blackmon died June 7, 1882; J. M. Williams died Dec. 11. 1882
1885: G. H. House died Nov. 10 1884; Major Gardner died Dec. 20, 1884
1889: R. M. Mason died April 25. 1889
1891: Daniel Nichols died Sept. 24. 1891
1896: J. C. Potts died Jan. 12. 1896
1898: H. M. Goodrich died Jan. 25. 1898; H. A. Thompson died May 5, 1898
1899: Milton Climer died Oct. 4. 1899; F. J. Fly died July 9. 1899
1900: W. J. Henderson died June 1, 1900
The area white Methodists organized themselves as a congregation called Mt. Carmel by the mid-1830s. John McFarlin of Maury County, Tennessee had bought a 160 acre tract, now about two miles south of Spring Creek, from Samuel Dickins for $750 on November 22, 1821 (Madison County Deed Book 1, page 57) and soon moved thereon. Perhaps a Methodist himself, McFarlin agreed with the Mt. Carmel congregation to allow them to build a meetinghouse on his land; he sold to them, through their trustees including Wyatt Mooring, John Bradbury and John Simmons, the "one acre where Mount Camel meeting house now stands, "April 29, 1837. (IBID. Book 5, page 348)
After a number of years the congregation decided to move to another nearby location, to the farm of Mary M. B. Godwin, probably for convenience because she agreed to allow them "to establish" a church and school on a 2½ acre lot on the stage road, conveying the same to the church trustees, Wyatt Mooring, James Christian, Ollen West, James Rone and D. H. Linsey, September 30, 1850. (IBID. Book 15, page 100) This church site was in an area now just west of U.S. Highway 70-East near its next and permanent location, acquired from John T. Rone August 24, 1875, about a mile and a half south of Spring Creek. (IBID. Book 59, page 273) For years this church-house stood just on the west margin of the old Jackson-Huntingdon Road but when the roadbed was altered, being moved about .1 mile east in the mid-1920s, part of an improved travelvay designated as Tennessee Highway One and U.S. Highway 70-East, it was temporarily isolated. In 1929 Madison County gravel-paved the lane connecting Mt. Carmel with the new highway. (Tennessee Highway One was also paved to the south, into Jackson itself about the same time.)
The Mt. Carmel congregation made major changes in their building in 1923 and 1949 and other minor improvements have been made over the years to the premises. Though its membership has diminished considerably in recent years, its members are loyal to their venerable church. (See the booklet, LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF THE CROSS . . . MT. CARMEL METHODIST CHURCH, 1850-1986, by Ella Katheryn Waynick Woolfolk, for more about this congregation's history.)
Sometime after the Civil War the black Methodists in the Spring Creek community organized themselves as a congregation known eventually as New Carmel. Among the early leaders of this congregation were Dorsey Boyd, Charley Watford and Dan C. Adams. On March 23, 1878 Joseph D. Askew conveyed three acres from the old R. B. Love tract to the "colored" Methodist Church "near Spring Creek," for one dollar, on which they were "to build a church house . . . to be used for church and school purposes only." (Madison County Deed Book 36, page 259; deed registered Dec. 30, 1878) This location was about .8 mile east of Spring Creek and off the Lexington Road (now Highway 152) .2 mile on a lane that lead to the present location of New Carmel cemetery. (At that time
this lane was a segment of a neighborhood road that lead to several farms along the stream, Spring Creek.)
The congregation built a frame meetinghouse at this location which building was sited to the left (east) as one ascends the hill just opening into the New Carmel cemetery. The site is now part of this cemetery. Here church meetings were held for many years and school sessions were held there too for a long time. On March 17, 1888 Augustus Askew donated an additional acre to the congregation "known as the Mt. Carmel church . . . worshiping near Spring Creek . . . as a place of divine worship." It was also part of the old R. B. Love tract (formerly part of the Haughton landholdings). (Madison County Deed Book 45, page 326; also, deed books 33, page 12; 42, page 623; 45, page A3) At some point now forgotten the congregation took its name as NEW Camel by which it has ever since been known.
In 1937 the aging church structure was demolished and the congregation moved to acreage recently donated to them by one of the church members, the late Charley May, which land was located on the north side of Highway 152 a mile east of Spring Creek. Some of the material used in the construction of the new church-house was taken from the old meetinghouse. This church burned in January 1959. The devout congregation rallied and built a new brick church at this same location which place was dedicated December 17, 1961. Improvements have been made to this building over the years.
(David W. Ward was long a major landowner and prominent merchant in the Spring Creek community; by word-of-mouth information, folklore, it was said that he had donated land for the pre-1937 church site for this congregation but no such deed is recorded and the Askew deeds are recorded and well-documented.)
Also located off the lane leading to the cemetery from Highway 152, on the left side (east) in the hollow before one ascends the cemetery hill, was a located a frame building used as a black male lodge quarters, perhaps that of the Knights of Pythias. After the lodge disbanded this "old hall" was used as a schoolhouse for several years before it was demolished.
Beyond the immediate vicinity of Spring Creek another black Methodist congregation was organized, also known as New Camel and spoken of as "Old" Carmel. It was located on George Anderson Road about three miles southwest of Spring Creek. It disbanded about 1960 and a white congregation, that of the Interfaith Community adherents have a new church-house at the same site.
Another black congregation called Lanier's Chapel, part of the old Dr. John H. Lanier plantation, was organized a few miles east of Spring Creek. This congregation disbanded about 1920. To reach the former location of this church one would begin at a point .8 mile north of the junction of Tige Hopper Road and Highway 152 where one would turn off on the west side of the former road onto a gravel road which shortly becomes a dirt fieldroad; following this fieldroad about a mile northeast one comes to the site of the old Lanier's Chapel Methodist church which stood to the south of the neighborhood travelway and across it, to the north, is the old, no-longer-used Lanier's Chapel cemetery. Many persons are buried here only six of whose graves are marked with tombstones, including that of Angeline, wife of Pompey Lanier, a long-lived black farmer of the area.
The black congregation, the Cool Springs Baptist Church, was located about a mile east of Spring Creek but it relocated, moving a short distance away into Henderson County.
The local black school was located just east of Spring Creek. It was a small frame building, serving grades 1-8. Black youth who wanted to attend high school had to go to Jackson or Denmark for such facilities. This Cool Spring School was discontinued in the spring of 1960 and its former students attended various other area elementary schools.
It wasn't long before integration redistributed black youth among area elementary schools and high schools further away (transportation to which was furnished as it had been in many instances for years by school buses).
The white Spring Creek Baptist Church has no written history and its congregational minutes are reportedly not extensive. Even so, there has been a Baptist presence in this area since the earlier pioneer days. In fact, the Forked Deer Baptist Association met in the Spring Creek neighborhood in September 1830: (THE GAZETTE, Jackson, September 11, 1830)
The Forked-Deer Baptist Association will commence at Spring creek meeting-house, Madison county, 13 miles North-East of Jackson, near the residence of Esquire Atchison, and Co. Dickins, on Saturday, the 25th day of this month. (September.) Several eminent ministers are expected to attend.
Reference was made in this old-time newspaper announcement to the residences of William Atchison and Colonel Samuel Dickins. Atchison was one of Madison County's earliest settlers; he bought an 80 acre tract from Jacob Bradbury in October 1820 when this area was still part of Stewart County. (Madison County was established November 7, 1821.) (Madison County Deed Book 2, page 240) He acquired about 240 acres to what is now the southwest of Spring Creek near Colonel Dickins' plantation, before he sold out in a few years, resigned from the county court in November 1833 and moved away. (IBID. Books 1, pages 16, 64; 3, pages 141, 321, 392; county court minute book 4, page 28) Atchison moved to civil district one, Gibson County, Tennessee.
When Atchison sold an 85 acre tract to John William Burton, recently of Rutherford County, Tennessee, September 25, 1832, the deed described it as joining the William Thedford and Jacob Bradbury lands, to the center "of the stage road leading from Jackson to Huntingdon thence north as the road meanders __ /number not given/ poles to the centre of the road leading from Lexington to Trenton, across the stage road from Huntingdon to Jackson thence west . . . reserving 1/4 acre in the centre of which stand the house known as the Baptist meetinghouse for the use and benefit of the Baptist society as long as the same society shall use the same as a house of worship. . . ." (Madison County Deed Book 3, page 321) This places the earliest community Baptist church near the location of the present Spring Baptist Church. From the description of this tract given in the deed from John W. Burton to Jeremiah P. Haughton, November 11, 1837 (IBID. Book 5, page 456), it is clear that the Baptist meetinghouse was located on what is now a place somewhat west of U.S. Highway 70-East and to the south of the crossroads in Spring Creek.
The local Baptists affiliated with the Central Baptist Association throughout most of its early history; the association's annual meeting was held in Spring Creek in September 1858; again, many years later, September 16-17, 1919; and perhaps at other times between these dates but unknown as many of this association's minutes are lost/missing. The congregation joined the long-established West Tennessee Baptist Convention in 1852 and its delegates to the annual meeting that year were Reuben Day and Duncan H. Selph. (PROCEEDINGS, 1852, page 6) The Convention's annual meeting was held in Spring Creek, September 7-10, 1853 and was there represented by Duncan H. Selph, J. P. Haughton, M. H. Cook and J. C. Rogers.
The Spring Creek Baptist Church was among the Madison County congregations to withdraw from the Central Baptist Association to form the Madison Baptist (now Madison-Chester) Association in 1924, an affiliation which has continued to the present time.
At some time before 1877 the local Baptists seem to have moved to a new location, south of Walnut Street, its present site about .2 mile west of the village crossroads. For many years the congregation met in a frame building, which later had a stucco exterior. It was replaced by an attractive brick building in 1960, present church home of this group. The windows of the church have a blue tint. An annex was built to this edifice in the mid1980s. This is presently a thriving congregation.
The picture above was featured in THE JACKSON SUN, Jackson, February 27, 1968. It shows the frame building in Spring Creek the upper story of which was used as a masonic lodge. This building burned in 1972. (Courtesy, THE JACKSON SUN)
The Haughton mill and cotton spinning factory, previously mentioned, were southeast of the village about a mile away and reached by a well-worn lane called the Haughton Mill Road which left the Jackson-Huntingdon Road, to the east, just before the main highway crossed the stream, Spring Creek. Adjoining these facilities were the Haughton homeplace, the mansion and outbuildings. The family graveyard was located nearby. (Today this burial ground is located about a mile east of Spring Creek village off Highway 152; situated about .5 mile south of this highway in a woods area near the old Haughton-Askew land; approach to it is over a fieldroad from Highway 152.)
In April 1859 Jeremiah P. Haughton and his son, George W. Haughton, paid John L. Moore $20,000 for the 800 acres he owned of the old Hazlewood plantation which was Moore's homeplace north of Spring Creek. (Madison County Deed Book 23, page 343) After his father's death, George Haughton bought out most of the sibling interests in this tract. Surveyed closely the tract was found to be about 789 acres; of these, 124 were sold to J. C. Askew and the remainder was divided among his heirs after George Haughton's death. His widow, Harriet, lived on a part of the tract about .5 mile north of the village. (Madison County Chancery Court minute enrollment book 1872-1874, pages 536-539) John L. Moore moved to Cleveland County, North Carolina. (IBID. Book 23, page 412)
In March 1912 John Baxter Donnell bought the Widow (Harriet) Haughton's homeplace, 155 acres, for $5275. (IBID. Book 82, page 643) The Haughton house burned soon afterwards and the Donnells built another house on the same site, which stood until 1944 when it too burned. The Donnell residence was one of three houses built in the same architectural style, about 1913, by a Mr. Brisendine for Donnell, Tom Utley and John Towwater; only the latter house is still standing about a mile north of Spring Creek on the west side of U.S. Highway 70-East.
Dr. John Cabe Rogers (May 27, 1821-August 23, 1878), one of the principal founders of the village of Spring Creek, moved to Memphis, Tennessee after the Civil War with his family and there he died during one of the yellow fever epidemics. He is buried in Elmwood cemetery in Memphis.
The 1865 Federal Direct Tax Assessment listing for Civil District 12, Madison County, would indicate the following persons with lots in Spring Creek: Alexander Askew, Thomas Boyett, Lemuel Day, Jesse Gray, James Gilliken, R. N. Hill, John S. Hill, J. W. Lewis, Mrs. Frances Moore, Curry Pettigrew and one lot owned by Pettigrew and Gray, merchants; Dr. John C. Rogers, J. H. Simmons, W. L. Stewart, R. B. Turner (seven lots), Turner and Mooring (two lots), J. R. Woolfolk, Dr. Giles Waller, G. W. and L. B. Haughton (two lots).
An Inset Map from the D. G. Beers Map of Madison County and Jackson, Tennessee (Philadelphia, 1877)
(From an article written by Thomas M. Gates in THE JACKSON SUN, Jan. 24, 1915, page 16):
We enter old Spring Creek where once stood Haughton's four and grist mill. The mill was run by spring water that bad been harnessed for the purpose. The mill was so close to the road that if the wind was blowing the old wheel would scatter mist In your face. The main street was closely built up with storehouses, all containing large stocks of goods. The hotel with commodious rooms which was on the left side of the street entertained the public. The stage coach horses were cared for at this stand and upon the arrival of which the inhabitants of the village were in a glee. The inhabitants of Spring Creek were high-toned and elegant people, many of them well to do, and a few very wealthy. It was quite a school center and the three-story brick building that occupied a prominent part of the village was called the Madison College., and was not only patronized by Madison county but all of West Tennessee. The old schoolhouse has gone to decay, the old water wheel has ceased to turn and old Spring Creek today is but a semblance of what it was long years ago. In this case it can be truly said, the top rail is under the bottom. Much credit is due Mr. D. W. Ward for trying to build up this once lovely spot and a few citizens living in and around Spring Creek for the interest they have taken in building a high school which is equal to any in the county outside of Jackson. The early settlers of Spring Creek were the Haughtons, Askews, Keys, Taylors, Moores and many others that I could mention if I had the space.
Polk's TENNESSEE STATE GAZATTEER, 1876-1877, page 367:
A village in the northeastern part of Madison county, 8 miles from Jackson, the county seat and point of shipment, and 168 by rail west of Nashville. Population 150. Mail semi-weekly.
Brown. J. L., blacksmith.
Coates & Hill, General Store.
Donnel, S. L., blacksmith.
Fassel. W. A, saloon.
Ward, G. D. & Co., general store.
JACKSON CITY DIRECTORY, 1900, page 340:
Askew A H, gen mdse
Lisenby Thos, saw mill & steam gin
Lisenby & Elkin, blacksmiths
Rone J A, mechanic
Ward D W, genl mdse
TENNESSEE STATE GAZETTEER, 1891-1892 (Nashville, 1892), pages 580-581:
Claiming 300 population, 14 miles from Jackson court house, 6 from Medina, the nearest railway approach on the C., St. L & N. O. R. R. and via McKenzie, 154 miles from Nashville. Forked Deer river and Spring creek furnish which a utilized by several mills, There are in the vicinity, three churches — Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian — and three public schools. The chief shipments are cotton and wheat. Mail tri-weekly by horse and rider. J. L Williams, P.M.
Askin J. C., live stock
Bethshers J. A., mill
Godwin F. B., physician
Godwin W. P., physician
Henson Anderson, shoemaker
Kizer Mrs., hotel
Lawler J. H., physician
Love A. F., physician
McLemore J. K. P., meat market
Rone John T., magistrate
Senter M. E. Rev. (Baptist), mill
Spain J., blacksmith
Stark Samuel, wagonmaker
Williams J. L. general store
Williams J. M., hotel
Wood C. C., grocer
Wood & Swett (C. C. Wood, R. W. Swett), saloon
Alfred B. Christian was an early merchant in Spring Creek but he sold out his store and warehouse on the west side of the Jackson-Huntingdon Road (Main Street), to the south of the village crossroads to James M. Pettigrew and Curry Pettigrew of Perry County, Tennessee in March 1844 (Madison County Deed Book 9, page 311), who continued to run a general store there for years. The Beers map also shows a C. Pettigrew lot on the east side of Main Street. During the 1850s Jesse Gray became Curry Pettigrew's partner in this business. Gray served as a mayor of Spring Creek; he later moved to Lake County, Tennessee where he died in 1878.
The D. G. Beers Map of Madison County and Jackson, Tennessee, 1877, in an inset map of Spring Creek shows the locations of several of the residents of that place. Dr. Rogers sold a lot to Alfred Jones on his "east and west line at the Trenton Road" in June 1849. (IBID. Book 12, page 513) Some of this land became the town square. Dr. Rogers also sold a three acre lot on the west side of Main Street to Duncan Selph in January 1857 for $472; he soon built a substantial dwelling there and before leaving the community a little over a year later, Duncan sold this place, March 1858 to Lemuel Day for $3000. (IBID. Book 20, page 676) This Day residence is shown on the Beers map. Day also owned a lot with a building on it on the north side of Walnut Street.
Sarah Gill (died 1880), widow, bought a seven acre lot on the east side of Main Street in August 1873; its location is given on the Beers map. (See Deed Book 31, page 342) George D. Ward bought a lot on the west side of Main Street, just north of the village crossroads in 1875. (Deed Book 33, page 309) Lemuel B. Haughton bought two lots of two acres, off Walnut Street in the Rogers land in 1866. (Deed Book 23, page 331) R. N. Hill bought acreage just northeast of the college lot in 1859 (Deed Book 23, page 432), some of which he conveyed to his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Hill in 1874. (Deed Book 34, page 307)
James S. Coats and John S. Hill, merchants, had a store on Main Street, selling dry-goods, groceries and hardware items. In February 1883 James S. Coats bought several tracts of land in Spring Creek from John L. Brown (Deed Book 46, page 295), noted on the Beers map as J. L. B. Brown purchased a portion of this acreage from Jesse Gray in 1867. (Deed Book 23, page 608) Dr. Vivian Broadus Woolfolk had lived many years in the Cotton Grove community but moved into Spring Creek where he acquired several lots as noted on the Beers map. One of these properties, bought in 1879, was land he sold to Thomas B. Utley (1843-1925) in 1888. (Deed Book 47, page 356) Several of the Utleys — Tom, J. B., Green — bought "the Rogers home tract" in 1866 from Dr. John C. Rogers on which was located the old Hazlewood plantation cemetery, hence the reason this burial ground is sometimes called the Utley cemetery. Dr. Woolfolk moved late in life to Gibson County.
In September 1890 F. M. Tubbs bought the old Bennett Maxey 75 acre farm that the latter had purchased from James Christian. This is noted on the Beers map as Mrs. M. on Main Street. In the same locality Mary Maxey and others sold, in September 1852, three one acre lots on the west side of the street, north to south, to Matthew Boyett, Dr. Zophar Jayne and Wyatt Mooring. (Deed Book 18, page 291) Maxey Hill was the first hill just north of the stream Spring Creek on the west side of the Jackson-Huntingdon Road about .3 mile south of the village crossroads. It was a "pain" to negotiate this hill with mules-horses and buggies during inclement weather.
Rufus M. Mason, who lived on a farm southeast of Spring Creek and a partner, Dr. Levi B. Herron, operated a mercantile business in the village, 1865-1871; its location being noted on the Beers map as Herron & Mason.
William P. O'Neal was a local merchant for several years, locating in 1870 (Deed Book 28, pages 592, 621) but he sold out in the mid-1870s and moved away. (Deed Books 31, page 342; 33, page 309) Alfred Jones, born about 1803 and his wife and their little daughters, Jane, Sophia and Mary Ann (Mollie) settled in Spring Creek where he merchandized for several years. After his wife's demise Jones was married to Karenhappuck (Happy) Hartsogg in Carroll County, June 30, 1853 and eventually they had a daughter, Katie. Jones died in September 1863 and his widow married William F. Kizer, October 5, 1870 and they had a daughter, Lucy. Her stepson, William C. Kizer and his family were long residents of Spring Creek too.
Happy Jones-Kizer had a dower from the Jones marriage adjoining the old public square. (Madison County court minute book 10, pages 66, 86) This place is noted on the Beers map as W. F. Kizer. Living in Gibson County, in March 1903, Mrs. Kizer and her daughter, Katie (Mrs. W. T. Dickey of Milan), and step-daughter, Mollie (Mrs. J. J. Donnell of Arkansas) sold her 2½ acre lot to David Watford Ward (1869-1961). (Deed Book 63, page 77) The same ladies sold their interest in the old public square that Alfred Jones had conveyed to the corporation in 1856, to Ward, in May 1904. (Deed Book 65, page 276) This became part of Ward's homeplace, on the west side of Main Street, adjoining to the north what is presently the Spring Creek post-office lot. The Ward dwelling, a rambling frame one-story structure, was demolished a number of years ago but the old Dr. George Walter Brasher house, built just to the south of the Ward residence, on land which Ward sold the doctor, is still standing.
David W. (Dave) Ward, whose mother was an Askew, wife of George D. Ward, built a brick store on Main Street, the second lot from the crossroads on the west side of the highway where he did business for years. He was one of the village's more progressive citizens. On the lot to the south of his store was the location of the blacksmith shop/grist mill and homeplace of Thomas K. Christenberry, Jr. for many years.
John Donnell the elder (January 30, 1789-August 20, 1882) came from Guilford County, North Carolina and settled in this vicinity soon after purchasing land in January 1834 (Deed Book 4, page 84); he and his wife, Jane, established residence, in a log house, located northeast of Spring Creek on some of which farm a few of their descendants still live. The 1865 direct tax assessment shows him with 564 acres valued at $6768. The Donnell cemetery, located on the W. B. Donnell farm, is about a mile northeast of the present W. W. and Lanier Donnell residence on the east side of U.S. Highway 70-East.
North of the village, chiefly to the northwest, flowed the Middle Fork of the Forked Deer River, in which a peculiar configuration of the riverbed lent to its old-time nicknames of "the devil's paw" and the "devil's hind leg." This well-known, old-time peculiarity was largely obliterated when the river was re-channelized. (See Madison County Deed Books 10 page 428; 23, page 499; 28, page 623; also, Chancery Court minute book 20, page 465:W. M. Moss v Amanda E. Smith and others, for location.)
The arrows on the following maps point to the general area in which the "devil's paw" and "devil's hind leg" would have been located.
Upper and Middle portions of Civil District 12, Madison Co., Tenn., 1877 (Beers Map)
U.S. Topographical Map of Spring Creek vicinity, 1966.
The natural channel of the Forked Deer River ran a "very crooked and irregular course," subject to overflow at times and filling- up with fallen timber. In February 1915 several of the citizens of this area appealed to the county court for the old riverbed to be replaced by a canal, north of the old channel near the political border separating Madison and Carroll counties, reducing thereby the length of the river from sixty miles to fifteen miles! After the considerable time and the necessary effort were spent in organizing the Madison County Drainage District 4, having survey work done, damages paid to persons with property involved and the election of district directors, who would serve two-year terms, the Tupelo Drainage Company won the contract to create the new Forked Deer River canal, the lowest bidder (agreeing to do the work for $25 an acre, with probable width of canal and adjoining land of 100 feet), in the fall of 1919; early the next year final approval was given for the financing of this work, the issuance of $85,000 in bonds. The river-canal was then newly-channeled in 1920-1922. (Madison County Drainage Book 1, pages 193-197; 500-516; 521; 546; 565; etc.)
At first people drew drinking water from local springs and in time from wells. After electricity was introduced some people had electrically-operated wells. In 1965 public water began to be distributed to local residents by the Spring Creek Utility District (organized with the assistance of the federal Farm and Home Administration), which gradually extended its operation until it became a part of the Jackson Utility District in 1992.
Haughton Family Notes began here.
Note: Individuals helpful to the writer in preparing this brief sketch about Spring Creek:
Lanier Exum Donnell, Williarn Wadford Donnell, Ella Katheryn Waynick Woolfolk, Mattie B. McDaniel, the Reverend C. W. Adams, William Walter Daniels, Kenneth Darwin Sneed, Cheryl Waller Studards, Steve Baker, Jack D. Wood, Robert D. Taylor, Jr., Bill Sumners, A. W. Gaskins.
Haughton Family Notes
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"Plan and Profile of Proposed Federal Aid Project No. 51, Section C," State Highway No. 1, Madison County, from Carroll County line to a point seven miles northeast of Jackson, Tennessee, prepared by the Bureau of Engineering, State of Tennessee, Department of Highways and Public Works. The first modern, hard-surfaced segment of this section of the old Jackson-Huntingdon Road. This highway section was graded and drained with several inconvenient curves in the old road straightened by Cresap Co., August 1925 to March 1927; same section hard-surfaced by Bryson Paving Co., January 18, 1928 until May 1929. (BIENNIAL REPORT OF COMMISSIONER OF DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS AND PUBLIC WORKS, STATE OF TENNESSEE, period ending June 30, 1930, page 136) The old Trenton-Lexington Road, crossing State Highway One at Spring Creek remained a county-maintained travelway for years afterwards; it was hard-surfaced finally in 1953-1954. At that time the old roadbed just east of Spring Creek was altered; it had run straight east and turned sharply to the south (as shown on the 1966 topographical map shown elsewhere in this article) about a half mile east of the village, but was now relaid veering to the southeast eliminating the old sharp curve.
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