Ira Shares

Ira Bell is a native of the Stewart-Houston-Humphrey-Henry-Benton County area, and is very familiar with the families, locations and the history of the area we research. Quite frequently on various genealogy lists he shares information helpful to all of us in our quest for knowledge about the area and our ancestors. With his permission, I will reprint many of his helpful thoughts and information in hopes it will help visitors to our site. Thanks so much, Ira, for your generous and gracious nature!

Topics from Ira:

Cumberland Furnace & the Railroad Hendon/Herndon W.P.A. Records
Guice's Creek Carlisle Train Wreck Near Paris
What is LBL? Stewart Co. Times & Houston Co. Times "Lord Willin' and the Creeks Don't Rise"
Migration Routes    

About the Cumberland Furnace and the Railroad...

"Now your question reference to Cumberland Furnace and Vanleer,Tn.,was in both of them today, enroute to and from the Martin and Sexton reunion, at Stewart in Houston County.  My plans are to be back down there on the 17th and 18th, to and from another reunion, my graduating Class from High School our %%, and then Keel reunion at Dover Stewart County on July 18th also. I do not know where the Van Leer Cemetery is located but would be happy to inquire aroundthere and endeavor to get any information you might want.  The Railroad Branch line ran from Hematite on the L&N Bowling Green Ky to Paris Tn., line to Ponds on the NC&StL's Nashville-Memphis Line, construction was started on July 7th 1890, and completed Feb 1st 1893, it remained in service until Dec 27, 1936.. Prior to the construction of the Railroad all the iron was brought out by wagons and mules handled by slaves, until the Civil war. A little history of the furnaces at Cumberland, there was a line that extended from Vanleer to Cumberland and was operated by the Warner  Iron Company, L&N crews were not allowed down on the spur track, but all work was done by Iron Company personnel, when it was loaded either with slag, pig Iron or a hot pot (Molten iron being transferred  to the molding and cooling racks) the furnace operator would blow  his whistle and the first one there, would get to be the engineer of the locomotrive.  One day they had their usual foot race, with a tie resulting in first arrivsalls, needless to say there was some dispute over who would be the hogshead (Locomotive Engineer) that day, they were still in dispute and fighting who was to be operating the locomotive, and the train was moving.  They went past the depot too fast, turned the hot pot over against the depot, and you know what happened to that old wooded structure, with that molten pig iron against it.  It was rebuilt in 1920, and while I have not been down in that area, I understand it is still standing and has been remodeled into a livable house.  Do not know results of action against the battling iron movers."

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To the question of where Hendon and Herndon were actually the same family....

"Excuse the interruption, but as information in the Little village of Stewart in Houston Cop, which is just 2 miles from the Stewart/Houston County line, there was a family of Hearndon, and brothers all spelled the name differently. One was Herrington,,,one Herndon, another Hearndon and still another Hendon, consider these were brothers, and believe it or not they were not angry with one another.

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To the question, "What are W.P.A. records?"

They are records that were worked up in some counties, by The Roosevelt administration to provide work for some of the unemployed during the great depression of the early 1930s. WPA stands for "Works progress Administration". it was a government project same as the CCC's (Citizens Conservation Corp)  and the NRA (National Recovery Act) They served their purpose and put this country back to work, when unemployment was running over 22% nation wide and much higher in other sections of the country.

They would have gangs working on roads, typing old records in various counties and a lot of other things to put people to work.  Of course like anything else, there were a lot of Jokes about it, It was called WPA, We piddle around. Also a joke went around about the Boss on one gang ordered some additional Shovels for the men he had, message came back to him and he was told they were out of Shovels, and just have the men lean on each other. and many more. (A lot of these gangs when you passed them during this time they would be leaning on the shovel but I am sure it was not always that way as they did some good work and built a lot of things still in use today.

I will add it was a good thing for then and got people back to work, and then WWII came along and every one was building Military material.

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To the question: "Does anyone know where Guice's Creek is located in Stewart County?"

Guices Creeke is located in the east end of Houston and Stewart Counties, its head waters are near the Dickson, Houston County Line , runs parallel with Yellow Creek, west of  of it, across Houston County, north toward Cumberland City, into Stewart County and empties into Yellow Creek just before it empties into Cumberland River. It crosses Tennessee Highway 13 between Erin and Clarksville. There is a State Highway that runs from Highway 49 to Cumberland City (I believe it is SR47) that runs right beside Guices Creek into Stewart County then it turns Northwest and Guices Creek turns North East to intersection with Yellow Creek. in Montgomery County.

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Where is Carlisle?

It is in Stewart County about 8 miles from Tennessee Ridge in Houston county. and about 11 miles from Dover in Stewart County. on a Highway SR49 built on the road bed where the TR&BS railroad ran to reach  the Iron furnaces, TR is Tennessee Ridge and BS is Bear Springs, ..When I was younger since Carlile and Bear Springs were between TR and Dover we would refer to them as Car Springs and Bear Lyle. a combination of the two.

You know they had to come by buggy to Bear Spring to get on the train, as they were never able to build track over the Hills between Bear Spring and Dover and the Iron furnaces played out before they could get a tunnel through so the Railroad Stopped at BS of course since Carlile was on the Branch line it was necessary to change trains at Tennessee Ridge to catch a main line one to Clarksville.  Your Mother is right also about the mail Hack, I never knew they used horses, as steam power was in full sway when these lines were built.  This Train Between Erin, through Cumberland City, and Clarksville was called the Accommodation. A lot of History in this area.

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Train Wreck Near Paris

Of course that Bad train wreck near Paris was before my time, (Almost) I do not recall what the date was but the only one near Paris I ever heard about. Was when the Train Dispatcher, over looked at Faxon Back-up they had out running extra back to Paris when he ran an Erin Turn out also Extra and failed to instruct him to stay at Paris until the Faxon Back up returned.  (As I recall the story this dispatcher was either the son of the Trainmaster or the Chief Dispatcher) and just as the Erin Turn was leaving out the North end of the yard he realized he had not told him of the Faxon Back-up.  He knew about where they would meet on the main line, and went ahead and called the wrecker, notified the Hospital and doctors, as well as calling some of the officials of the railroad, and had everyone started toward the spot he figured they would hit.  Which was at a Station called Longchamps, which was the livestock loading pens near the Paris Fairgrounds, and they did hit head on at this place?  I recall when I was working this same job years later, some of the old heads would show me where form the second floor this dispatcher later that night jumped out.  I recall they said his father came in and started shouting at him asking why he would do such a stupid trick, he ask his father to stay back and quit shouting at him he had just overlooked the train.  When his father persisted he opened the window and jumped down to the passenger platform down below and no one saw or heard of him for a year or two after that, but found out he was working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad somewhere in Texas.

I have looked through my books here but found nothing about the particulars of this wreck.  Now I am not saying that was the one you are asking about, but it is the only one I heard about near Paris.  There was another one near Routon a few years later, but this would have been on the South end. I know if a lot of those old friends at Paris and Big Sandy were still around they could tell us the whole story. 

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To the question, "What is LBL?"

That stands for "Land Between the Lakes," and is located in Stewart County Tennessee and then on up into Kentucky.  The Two Lakes are man made from Damming up the Tennessee River and Making Kentucky Lake about 1940-1943 and then Damming up the Cumberland River and Making Barkley Lake.  Named for Alben Barkley former Senator from Kentucky and former Vice President.  Both Dams are located in Kentucky, just north of the Tennessee Kentucky Border, and 95% of the water is backed up into Tennessee.

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Newspapers of Stewart and Houston Counties

The Stewart-Houston Times was started when the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle bought both The Stewart County Times and The Houston County Times, and consolidated them, up to that time they were printed separately, and each were one double sheet each, The Houston County Times was referred to as the " GROWLER"., and was published by the Vinson Family, who came to Erin from Stewart County, and prior to that from Lyon County Kentucky, if I am not mistaken they also published the Stewart County times before they came to Erin.

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Lord Willin' and the Creeks Don't Rise

You know I have all my life heard the old expression, when someone would  talk about doing something in the Future they would say after it "The Good Lord Willing and the creeks don't rise" all my life in my mind I have seen a gully washing Toad strangling rain that would get the creeks up, but this originated in the area of the country where the "CREEK" Indians were located and they had  a habit of periodically having a "RISING" or going on the warpath, when they would get hold of that old moonshine, the white people would stay in until they sobered up and calmed down, That is my lesson in History for today.

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Migration Routes

To the Question: Does anybody know what the migration trails and major rivers were from Va. thru Ky. to Tn?

I am sure there were other ways, but all of my as well as my wife's ancestors that were in Virginia  either went to North Carolina, then to Tennessee or came to Tennessee through Cumberland Gap, on what was then the North Carolina, Virginia Border, but after Kentucky and Tennessee formed in was on the Kentucky -Tennessee Border, right where Virginia comes to a point  on the north Tennessee Line, at the Kentucky East border with Virginia. .  Then down the Cumberland River to Davidson, or Tennessee County North Carolina.

I am sure there were other routes but for the area of North Middle Tennessee, the first part settled in the middle portion, (East Settled first from North Carolina) Were these counties settled first as evidenced by the fact they were in Both North Carolina and  before treaty permitted settling across the Tennessee River west, were the father of all the Tennessee Counties west from the east Border of Stewart down to Alabama and Mississippi  State lines.

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