By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2000


(Page 95)

From the March 21, 1874 issue of the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE:
Reminiscences Of Crab Orchard And Vicinity

The first protestant Church in the Mississippi Valley-Old Monuments-Lewis Craig-The first Church in Crab Orchard-Raccoon John Smith.

Though, in my occasional visits to the neighboring town of Lancaster, I have always passed in a few yards of the site of "Old Gilbert's Creek Church," yet I have never examined its historic locality until a short time since. In company with Mrs. T., after a pleasant seven miles drive over an elegant Kentucky turnpike, I reached the foot of the knoll crowned by this spot of hallowed memories. Reaching the summit commanding a wide-extended view of an admirable country, dotted all over with cozy farm-houses, and now and then an elegant mansion, we found ourselves in an old church-yard, a

--solitary, silent, solemn scene,
Where heroes, peasants, hermits lie,
Blended in dust together.

It is almost completely filled with graves, marked with many moss-covered stone, and, to our mind, with all the attendant surrounding scenery, fully as capable of evoking into poetic expression the genius of Thomas Gray as the old church-yard which inspired his immortal elegy. Here rest the remains of the rude but brave pioneers and pious forefathers of all this beautiful section of country. Here is nothing new to mar the sacredness of that which is old and hallowed by precious associations. Save an inclosure itself bearing the impress of Time's corroding touch, the citizens of the neighborhood have seemed disposed to let the moldering monuments and the grass-grown graves remain just as they have looked for fifty years. Busying ourselves with transcribing the records of the monuments, many of which we could scarcely decipher, we found them "short and simple," rudely carved, some of them characterized by spelling not according to Webster, and occasionally a spasmodic attempt at epitaph in rhyme. Upon one of those monuments, marking the resting-place of an old lady-whose existence dated back to 1766, we found this repetition of a favorite epitaph in country church-yards:

Remember ? as you pass by
As you are now so wonst was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepair for death and follow me

Another monument over the remains of an old lady, a victim of the cholera in 1833, contained these words:

From a tedious train of troubled years,
The prisoner called to be released,
Midst cramps and aching pains
She felt her fetters loosed
And mounted to her heavenly rest.

Other stones told us of Jonathan Taylor, who was born in 1744; of Margery Cloyd, born in 1770; of Samuel M. Douglass, born 1797; of Rachel Calloway, born 1755; of Patience Crow, born in 1772; of Mary Thurmand, born 1786; of Edmund Ramsey, born 1788; of Elizabeth Quinn, born 1777; of Mary Ramsey, born in 1748; of Nancy Ramsey, born in 1756-these last two being wives of Larkin Ramsey, who was himself born in 1756.

Of the old church itself nothing remains save a pile of brick, stones, and rubbish, and a piece of the old box-pulpit lying in a corner of the yard. How long since the house disappeared, or since it was a place for worship, I do not know. A gentleman, not of the neighborhood, says he used to attend Church there forty-five years ago. I am told there is an interesting account of the old Church in a "History of Ten Churches," published under the auspices of the Baptist denomination.

The founder of this Church was Louis Craig. He had been pastor of a Church in Spottslyvania County, Va., and when he emigrated to Kentucky in 1780, most of his large Church there came with him. They were constituted when they started, and were an organized Church on the road. They settled at Craig's Station, on Gilbert's Creek, at the foot of the knoll we have mentioned, and built their house in 1781. The Baptists occupy a conspicuous position in the history of Protestantism in Kentucky; for immediately after the Revolution multitudes of them flocked into the State, chiefly from Virginia, and they dotted the wilderness with their houses of worship. "Before their houses were erected the worshipers would assemble in the forest, each man with his ? sentinels would be placed to guard against surprise from the Indians, while the minister, with a log or stump for his pulpit, would dispense the word of life."

Lewis Craig, then, stands on record as the founder of the first worshiping congregation in this State, and that congregation at Old Gilbert's Creek Church. Before his emigration from Virginia he had been several times imprisoned for preaching the gospel. At one time he and several other Dissenters, when arrested and led through the streets of Fredericksburgh, all joined in singing, "Broad is the road that leads to death." While in prison he preached through the grate to large crowds. The author of the "History of Ten Churches" says: "He was in the ministry near sixty years, and was about eighty-seven when he died. He was not a very skillful expositor of Scripture, but he dealt closely with the heart; he was better acquainted with men than with books; he never dwelt much on doctrine, but mostly on experimental and practical godliness." From what we have heard of him, he might have possessed some of the eccentricities of the old-time preachers, and might have been one of that kind described by Robert Burns, as one who

--clears the points o' faith
Wi' rattlin' an' thumpin'!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's stampin' an' he's jumpin'!



(Page 96)

From the September 18, 1875 issue of the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE:
Centennial Celebration At Millvue, Williamson County, Tenn.

Mr. Harvey Chrisman, a merchant of Millvue, gave an excellent entertainment to the posterity, relatives, and friends of his mother-in-law, who makes her home with him, on the occasion of her hundredth birthday, Aug. 27. A stand and seats were arranged in the shade on the river-side, and after a sermon by the Rev. A. F. Lawrence, and remarks by the writer, a procession was formed with the preachers in front, followed by the venerable matriarch Mrs. Nancy Vaughn, then came her daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, the old citizens and neighbors. In all three hundred were in the procession, on actual count, as it crossed the Harpeth Bridge. The dinner was abundant and prepared in superior style, and dispensed with generous hospitality by Brother and Sister Chrisman, who are members of my charge at North's Chapel, Harpeth Station. Owing to the busy season, sickness, distance, and other causes, only 84 of the offspring of Mrs. Vaughn were present-the total number is over 300. She has been the mother of 15 children, 2 sons and 7 daughters yet living, 6 of the latter present. Of the 112 grandchildren, 73 are living, 39 are dead; 23 or 24 were present. Of 177 great-grandchildren, 157 are living; 20 are dead, and 54 or 55 were present. There is but one great-great-grandchild. I am personally acquainted with four of Mrs. Vaughn's daughters: Mrs. Nancy C. Primm, Murfreesboro, has been the mother of 8 children, and has 24 grandchildren.

Mrs. Judy Chrisman, Millvue, 7 children, 33 grandchildren-20 present.

Mrs. Martha J. Beech, Millvue, 12 children, 34 grandchildren, only 24 present.

Mrs. Susan Lampkin, near Millvue, 13 children, 17 grandchildren, 11 present.

Mrs. Saluda McLawn, West Tennessee, and Wm. Vaughn, now dead, each had 13 children. The posterity generally are complying with the command, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." Mrs. Vaughn is remarkably active, cheerful, and industrious, and is entering her second century with the hope of everlasting life.

S. M. Cherry


From the August 5, 1876 issue of the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE:
Salem-Bellbuckle-Church Dedication

Salem Church and Camp-ground, located on Bellbuckle Creek, Bedford co., Tenn., about ten miles from Shelbyville, are historic. The first cane was cut on this creek in 1805. Here, at an early day, the Norvels, the Suttons, the Featherstons, the Peacocks, the Cages, and others, built log-cabins, and formed an important settlement. As early as 1807 or 1808 the neighborhood was included in the Duck River Circuit. Tradition says that in 1807 the neighbors cut round poles, and erected a meeting house on Mr. Norvel's land, and called it Salem. A few years after a hewed log house took its place, and close by a camp-ground was constructed, which became famous in the annals of Tennessee Methodism. At this place the Annual Conference held its session in 1821. Here on this camp-ground, hundreds, yea, thousands, of souls were converted. A large congregation was collected at Salem, and in the course of time a new framed-house, commodious and attractive, superseded the hewed-log structure. In the course of years the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad penetrated this magnificent country, and a depot was established one mile from Salem, and called Bellbuckle. Around this depot there has sprung up a handsome village, which is now growing and becoming an attractive place. Near by, on a handsome elevation, there has been an academy-building erected, and where, for some time, a very flourishing school has been in progress, over which the Rev. A. T. Crawford, of the Tennessee Conference, presides, and where a large number from year to year are rapidly advancing in their studies.

It became evident that Salem must be brought to Bellbuckle, and one year ago a new church was projected, which is now complete, and was dedicated on Sunday, July 23. The house is made of brick, and is the most beautiful, well-constructed, commodious, and tasteful church-building we have seen for many a day. It will seat about five hundred persons. On Saturday morning, July 22, the dedicatory services began. An able sermon was preached by the Rev. J. B. West, D.D., to a very large and appreciative congregation. A collection followed. At 3 o'clock P.M. the Rev. J. D. Barbee, of Murfreesboro, delivered an impressive discourse, which was heard with much interest. Sunday morning at 9 o'clock the Sunday school convened. At 10, the entire debt having been fully provided for, the house was solemnly dedicated to the worship of Almighty God in the presence of a crowded assembly. This was followed by a sermon by the writer and the sacrament of the Lord's-supper. At night Dr. West preached again, and on Monday the Rev. J. W. Hunter was to occupy the pulpit.

The weather was pleasant, the congregations immense, the contributions liberal, and all came away well pleased, having traced the history of Salem Meeting-house from a round-pole cabin to an elegant brick edifice. And what was a pleasing feature in this matter, many of the children, grandchildren. And great-grandchildren of the members who worshiped in the first house are now pillars in the Church at Bellbuckle, or are pupils and teachers in the Sunday-school.

Brother Hinson, the pastor, intended to continue the meeting through the week, and we hope, with good success. The signs were promising.

J. B. McFerrin                     



(Page 97)

From the July 4, 1874 issue of the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE:
History Of Another Virginia Huguenot Family

Some thirty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Hawks, of New York, discovered in one of the families under his pastoral care, an autobiography of one of its ancestors. This ancestor was the Rev. James Fontaine, a persecuted Huguenot of France, whose sons and daughters became a part of that colony of refugees at Monacon Town on James River. Any record of this family should be of interest to the public, from the fact that hundreds of descendents of this man have worn the laurels of distinction at the bar, in the Church, in the State, in literature and science, and that more than two thousand persons in the United States claim him as ancestor. This autobiography to which we have alluded, was edited by Dr. Hawks, and in speaking of the family, we will condense some of the incidents and events connected with the life of him who suffered so much for religion's sake.

James Fontaine, in his native sunny France, was a child of affluence, and as such, was living in the enjoyment of all the accomplishments of wealth, education, and refined society. The merciless persecution stripped him of every possession, and, as an exile, he sought refuge under the friendly protection of the English crown. With a characteristic perseverance, and adaptation of self to circumstances, he applied himself to a trade and became a skillful artisan. He was so far successful that he became possessed of sufficient capitol to open a little store, the proceeds of which, united with what he realized from his instructions in the French language, enabled him to engage in the manufacture of worsted goods. This was profitable also.

Desiring to become connected with a French Church, he went to Cork in 1695, then crowded with exiled Huguenots. Here he preached to his countrymen for several years, until a faction sprung up in his congregation requiring Mr. Fontaine, who was a Presbyterian, to receive ordination at the hands of a Bishop of the Church of England. This constrained him to resign his charge and he removed to Bear Haven, and engaged in the fishing business. Here having become a justice of the peace, through that strange lot seeming disposed successively to make him a "Jack-of-all-trades," he called down upon his own head threats of vengeance from a party of desperate characters, in his attempts to destroy the contraband trade then being carried on between Irish robbers and French privateers. He had sent so many of these men to Cork for trial, that to all engaged in illicit traffic his name was well known, his character as administrator was feared, and his life was threatened.

In 1704, a privateer anchored before his house with intention to demolish it and capture the inmates. The Huguenot undismayed, prepared for defense, sent away all the papists, retained the Protestants, only seven in number, supplied them with arms, as also his wife and children, posted them at the windows, himself in the tower above the door. An officer and twenty men came forward to the attack, and first fired at Mr. Fontaine. Fortunately he was not touched, and discharging his blunderbuss he completely disabled the officer, who had to be carried back to the vessel. Twenty more men, with another officer and two small cannon, approached, but the Huguenot quailed not. Seeing that the first cannon-ball only made a slight scratch on the wall, he bade his little garrison take courage and fear nothing.

Mrs. Fontaine displayed, herself, a Spartan heroism in this affair, as is fully evident in the fact that she played the part of surgeon to the garrison, encouraged her children to continue loading muskets for their father and his men, and thus was of material assistance in repelling the attack, so much so that, after incessantly battering away at the Huguenot's little fort all day, the enemy retired, with three killed and seven wounded. The only damage sustained by the defense was a man wounded and one of the children slightly. The privateer did not renew the attack.

The Huguenot's obstinate and successful defense, while rendering Mr. Fontaine's name famous in England and France, yet increased the impending danger, for the French privateer having resolved upon revenge an attack was constantly apprehended. In course of time the crew of a privateer landed at midnight, and approached his fortification, now in a better state of defense than before, Mr. Fontaine having purchased some six-pounders, and the Government having supplied powder and ball. The garrison, however, consisted only of Mr. And Mrs. Fontaine, the children and four servants. The assailants began their work by setting on fire the outbuildings and the stocks of grain, and continuing the attack incessantly, by two o'clock next afternoon succeeded in making a breach in the wall. Through this opening the children, protected by a mattress, kept a continual firing upon the foe. The father was so unfortunate as to be disabled, by the bursting of his musket, from any farther active part in the defense. Yet this circumstance did not prevent an obstinate resistance on the part of the others of the garrison, until finally a parley was proposed.

The garrison capitulated on condition that they themselves were to be guaranteed life and liberty, while the privateersmen were to have all the plunder. The astonishment of the assailants can be imagined when entering the house for their plunder, they discovered the force who had resisted them. In violation of the terms of capitulation, Mr. Fontaine, with his two eldest sons and two servants, were carried away as prisoners. The later, however, were afterwards sent ashore, while the privateer sailed away, still detaining the Huguenot. Mrs. Fontaine followed the course of the vessel along the shore, and by a signal, inducing a boat to come to shore, she bargained to ransom her husband for one hundred pounds sterling. Only a portion of the ransom could be paid by her, and leaving one of her sons as hostage, she went immediately to Cork to procure the remaining amount. The Huguenot, going to Kinsale, made a report of the outrage, and, in retaliation, all the French officers in prison at that place were ironed. This procedure aroused intense indignation against the captain of the privateer, and the Governor of Brest compelled him to set young Fontaine at liberty and return him to his home.

Of his sons, John Fontaine became an officer in the British service, visited America and buying a plantation in Virginia, settled near the Huguenot colony. Peter Fontaine was ordained the Bishop of London; Moses Fontaine studied law. These last two came to Virginia in 1716. Francis Fontaine was also ordained by the Bishop of London in 1719 on the recommendation of the Archbishop of Dublin and immediately settled in Virginia at St. Margaret's Parish, King William County. He is said to have been an eloquent and popular preacher. James Fontaine came to Virginia in 1717 bringing his wife, child, mother-in-law and thirteen servants.

Of the daughters, the elder, Mary Anne, married Matthew Maury, a Gascon Huguenot refugee, in 1716, and the next year the young couple came to Virginia. One son, the Rev. James Maury, of Albemarle, Virginia, was the progenitor of the renowned scientist, Matthew Fontaine Maury, a name known wherever a vessel navigates the ocean, and whose death, a little more than a year ago, the whole civilized world laments. From him also was descended the late Col. Harry Maury, of Mobile, Ala., and also Gen. Dabney H. Maury, still living, who conducted the defense of Mobile in the late war. All the Fontaines of Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, are descendants of this Huguenot family, and just here I fondly call to mind the sprightly little John Fontaine, and the little Anne Fontaine, now passing into womanhood, both of whom have received their instructions as pupils from me. The brave Confederate soldier, Lamar Fontaine, and reputed author of "all quiet along the Potomac," is also a lineal descendant of James Fontaine. The family is, and has always been, well represented in Church, State, and field.

In a curious old relic of the Huguenot colony at Monacon Town, to wit-a French baptismal register, we will translate one recorded baptism: "John Chastain, son of John Chastain and Marianne Castain, was born Sept. 26, 1721-baptized, Oct ? by Mr. Fontaine. His godfather and godmother, Peter David and Anne David, his wife, declare that this infant was born the day and year aforesaid. Signed, Jaques Soblet, Clerk." The Fontaine here mentioned was Francis Fontaine, and it would not be amiss to state that John Chastain was the progenitor of Rene Chastain, one of the earliest Baptist preachers of Virginia, some of whose family are now residing near Mt. Sterling, Ky.

The ancestor of this Fontaine family lost the partner of his sufferings in exile in the year 1721, and almost immediately thereafter, having written the memoirs of his life, to which allusion has been made, and given them to one of his family, he uses these words: "I feel the strongest conviction that if you will take these memoirs your descendants will read them with pleasure; and I here declare that I have been most particular as to the truth of all that is herein recorded. I hope God will bless the work, and that by his grace it may be a bond of union among you and your descendants, and that it may be an humble means of confirming you all in the fear of the Lord."

John F. Tarrant               

[Ttoo dark in original newsprint; typed verbatim by Mr. Smith-Note: all addenda has been retyped verbatim By L. Baty, since none of the original newsprint could be scanned by computer]


(Page 98)

Solomon B. Rozell

Referring from the sketch of SOLOMON B. ROZELL on page 13 of this publication, from page lOO6, HISTORY OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY (and others), TENNESSEE, by Weston A. Goodspeed, Nashville, 1886:
ASHLEY B. ROZELL may be mentioned as a prominent farmer and stock grower of Williamson County, Tenn. was born in the Palmetto State June 11, 1802, and is a son of Solomon and Mary Roze1L who were born in Maryland and North Carolina, respectively. They were married in North Carolina in 1800, and immigrated to this State about 1804 and located in Williamson County, but soon moved to West Tennessee where they remained several years, afterward moving to Shelby County, locating near Memphis, where both father and mother died. To them were born six children-five sons and one daughter-named Ashley B., Yerbie P., Rufard A., Martha D., Blackman L. and Claybion W. Our subject received a common school education and always followed the occupation of farming. In 1821 he became a minister of the gospel in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Tennessee Conference until 1833. Since that time he has been a local minister and is widely known in the State. In 1828 he was married to Margaret M. Rolston, who was born in 1809, and the daughter of Maj. Alexander Rolston. She died in 1830, and in 1882 he wedded Henrietta S. Burnett. born in 1810, daughter of Brooken Burnett, of Rutherford County. They have five children: Mary T., Logan D., Ruford B., Martha C. and Ashley B. Mrs. Rozell died in 1846, and for his third wife Mr. Rozell took Martha A. Chambers. She is a daughter of Thomas and Nancy Chambers, of Virginia, and was born in 1828. To them were born four children: William R., Henrietta, Lockie B. and Lizzie B. The family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and their early ancestors were among the first families that settled In the State. They are of French descent. Mr. Rozell has been quite prosperous, and in 1865 located on his farm of 420 acres of valuable land, known as the Mount View stock farm.

Memphis DAILY APPEAL, August 28, 1856:
At his residence near this city, on Tuesday last, Solomon Rozelle, one of our oldest and most highly respected citizens. Mr. Rozelle was one of the pioneers of West Tennessee having first settled in Henderson county, where he resided until 1829 or 30 when he removed to this county. He died at a very advanced age and has left behind him a large and highly respectable family of children besides the partner of his bosom.

GOODSPEED'S HISTORY OF TENNESSEE (Madison County), 1887, pages 900-901: Blackmon L. Rozell:
Col. Black L. Rozell was born in Maury County, August 5, 1818, and moved to Henderson County, West Tennessee, in the fall of the same year. The father and mother were natives of Maryland and North Carolina respectively. The father lived in different States until the beginning of this century, when he located in this State, and in 1831 moved to Memphis. The city was almost the daily rendezvous of the Indians, and he witnessed them crossing the Mississippi River in 1832. The father was a prosperous planter, becoming very wealthy. He died on his plantation near Memphis, in August, 1856, his wife following him in 1864. The father was eighty years of age, and the mother eighty-five. Our subject was reared on a farm, and in 1844 moved to Mississippi (Being one of the judges of election when Jas. K. Polk was elected President), and engaged in farming. In 1846 he graduated in the medical college at Cincinnati, and practiced for a number of years in Mississippi, and conducted his plantation at the same time. In 1861 he was elected colonel of the Third Mississippi Regiment, remaining with them twelve months, when he received authority from headquarters to raise a regiment, which he at once proceeded to do, but after having succeeded in raising the sixth company he was taken with severe sickness, and before he could recover, his companies had been mustered into service. He then was stationed as watch on the river in Coahoma Co., and remained there till close of the war; returned to his plantation and remained until 1871, when he moved to this city, but still retains and runs his Mississippi plantation. In 1850-52 and 1854 he served in the lower house of the Mississippi State Legislature, and was nominated for the Senate for the following two years, but declined to accept. In 1882 he served the people as mayor of this city. In February, 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Lizzie C. Lyon, of this city, and daughter of James S. Lyon. She waa born in this State, August 30, 1830. He and wife are members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Rozell is in politics Democratic. He is the only surviving member of his father's family, his brother, who resided near Nashville having died lately, in his eighty-fifth year, and having been a minister for sixty-eight years.

Solomon and Mary are buried in the Fowler Section of Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. They share a shaft tombstone:
(west side)

December 25, 1777
August 26, 1856
Aged 79 yrs. & 4 months
Blessed is that man that
maketh the Lord his trust
for his inheritance is

(south side)

MARY, wife of Solomon ROZELL
Born Oct. 11, 1779
Died June 6, 1864

(east side)

Farewell dear Father, accept these
tears, mortalities /sic/ relief,
'tis all that children, all that
friends may give.


Madison County Will Book B:
Pp 172-174, B. L. Rozell, Feb. 10, 1897-August 15, 1903
To be buried on So. Side of my wife E. C. Rozell and a "marble enclosure" put "over me" as I have done for her. Nephew A. B. Rozell of Friar Point, Miss. (son of my bro R. A. Rozell dec.) all notes I hold agt. him, my gold watch presented to me by my father April 1, 1840 and my ebony goldhead cane. Mrs. Mary E. Brand my niece $500 and pictures of my parents, myself and wife.

Dr. B. L. Rozell
Born Aug. 5, 1818
Died Aug. 13, 1903


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