The Story of a River, Its History, Features, Moods, People and Places with Particular Reference to Rock Island and the Area Above Great Falls
Brought Together By
It is through the generosity and sense of history that his son and heir,
Crouch has given his permission to reproduce here excerpts from his
Father's book. We thank him.
RECOLLECTIONS OF JAMES MCGIBONEY
|James McGiboney was born a short distance west of the
present village of Campaign in 1847. He told the writer that
he always understood that he was born about the time that John Cunningham
of Rock Island, a Revolutionary soldier, died.
Mr. McGiboney knew the area around Rock Island from the time he was able to walk having gone to the mill there asa small boy. The mill was located on the Island at its lower end. There was a timber dam at the lower end of the slough about 8 feet high. The old brideacross Caney Fork was nearly gone in his youth -only a few timbers remaining. The bridge just skirted the upper endo f the Island with an opening in the side so that a person could either stop at the Island or go all the way across the river. The bridge was originally built by the Mayberry family. They operated it for several years until it got in rather bad repair. Peter Burem then took over, repaired the structure and operated it until John B. Rodgers bought it along with the surrounding land. Peter Burem (Buram) was a preacher and sometimes preached at Asbury.
As time passed the mill pound became full of silt and the mill rotted down until it stopped operating about 1866 or 1867. Other mills had been built in the mean time. The bridge had been a toll bridge.
Rock Island was a great place for picnics. They were held on the island. Mr. McGiboney remembered that the Rock Island ferry operated all the time during the Civil War.
In talking about the Iron Forge on Rocky River, Mr. McGiboney said that a corn mill was operated at the same location and that it was one of the first mills in that section of the country.
The area bounded by the Collins River and the Caney Fork from the mouth of the former to the Narrows was called the "Wildnerness" and was the home of the Cunninghams. The old Cunninham Ford across Collins River was very rough.
The Iron Forge and mill were located on the left bank of Rocky River before (downstream from) the Rowland Ford.
In speaking of the Old Kentucky Road, Mr. McGiboney said that going north and after crossing Falling Water Creek, it bore off to the right to Algood and another branch turned left to Cookeville. Going south across Caney Fork River it followed the present McMinnville Road (US 70S) to the Red Store (Junction of US 70S and #30 Hwy. to Spencer) and left US 70S, crossing Collins River at Shell's Ford. It passed on to Viola and the Elk River and south to Alabama. In the early days it was used for transporting mules and slaves from Kentucky to the Alabama and Mississippi plantations.
The pool of quiet water just above Frank's Ferry was known as "Kings Eddy." Steam boats came up the Caney Fork as high as Frank's Ferry. The last one to make the trip sank on the return trip. After that Pin Hook was the head of navigation on the Caney Fork.
The saw mill at Bailiff Ferry (Where the summer camp for Webb School was later established) was operating before 1847. Mr. McGiboney's father had lumber sawed out at the mill for his house. He packed it up the 200 foot blugg to the top ofthe hill on his back and then carted it his home. There were some carts (2 wheels) but very few wagons in that part of the country before the Civil War. A few farmers owned horses but oxen were used for the most part for work on the farm.
Mr. McGiboney built a sturdy, light weight, yellow poplar boat when he was 74 years old. He used 1/2 inch boards. The boat was used constantly during the construction of roads and bridges in the Reservoir area. It was powered with a 3 1/2 H.P. motor. It was light, easy to handle and with a paddle could be used in either quiet or rough shallow water.
Mr. McGiboney went on to tell about Yankee Biscuit.
NATIVES EAT YANKEE BISCUIT
|The Bosson Ford just above the
present Great Falls Dam was not far above the Falls and was a rough ford.
Mr. McGiboney said the first wagon he ever saw cross the river at that
ford was a four-horse biscuit wagon belonging to the Yankee troops.
After a fight above Sparta some of the troops in their retreat crossed
at the Bosson ford. The wagon came down the hill at a full gallop.
It was hard on the wagon and many a young sapling was torn up by the roots.
A short time later the axle broke near what is now Campaign and tins of
biscuit were scattered over the road. At first the natives were afraid
to touch the tins but as the Yankees had dashed off with the horses and
did not come back for the wagon the local people gathered up all the biscuit
and enjoyed eating Yankee food because the local flour supply was bery
limited. All the iron on the wagon was carried off as iron was also
|Sam Grissom was a Rock Island philosopher and had bits of his wisdom, in his hand writing, hung about his store. Some one asked him what was Rock Island's population. "Heck," he said, "who knows where the city limits are?"|
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