The Historic Blue Grass Line
A Review Of The History Of Davidson
And Sumner Counties,
Sketches of Places and Events
the Route Of The
GALLATIN INTERURBAN RAILWAY
By James Douglas Anderson
Originally Published by the NASHVILLE-GALLATIN INTERURBAN RAILWAY,
Nashville, Tennessee. 1913
V.Incidents By The Way - Continued.
From Mansker's Creek to Gallatin
The Roberts Home, of ante-bellum days, still stands on the east side of Mansker's Creek, in Sumner County. Here three attaches of the Union and American and of the American grew to manhood. Eugene Roberts was secretary and treasurer of the company, Robert Roberts was business manager and Albert Roberts was chief editorial writer. As "John Happy" Albert Roberts obtained quite a reputation as a humorist. Mr. Roberts work in the political field was recognized by President Cleveland, who appointed him Consul to Hamilton, Ontario.
Hendersonville, in 1830, consisted of a store and stage office and the man that conducted them. The brick building in which this "department" was carried on still stands on the north side of the pike, east of Drake's Creek, and in front of "Hazel Path," home of Mrs. Nannie Smith Berry. From that one store a thriving village has sprung in this rich and populous section.
"Rock Castle," a short distance south of Hendersonville, furnished several events that show that the dangers, privations and hardships of the pioneers. On account of continual hostilities with the Indians it took seven years to build the house, 1784-1791. It was built by stone masons brought from Lexington, Ky., for that purpose. Two men engaged in building the house, while fishing on Drake's Creek, were killed by Indians.
In 1794 two boys named Anthony Bledsoe , cousins, one a son of Isaac Bledsoe, both of whom had then been killed by the Indians, were living at Gen. Smith's while attending school near by. After returning from school one afternoon in March they went to the quarry with a Negro waggoner and there all were attacked by Indians. The Negro surrendered and his life was spared; the boys had not been born to surrender and were killed, scalped and partially stripped of their clothing. The place where they were killed is known, but their graves are now unmarked. Gen. Smith himself was wounded by Indians while traveling the Buffalo trail between Mansker's and Bledsoe's.
Gen. Smith rendered distinguished services to his county before he came to this section in 1783 and located the "Rock Castle" tract of 4,000 acres and built his home. He was a learned man, a surveyor of great name, made the first map of Tennessee, was territorial secretary by appointment of Washington, member of the Constitutional Convention in 1796, and United States Senator for about eleven years. His last years were spent in developing his plantation, now owned by Mrs. Nannie Smith Berry. He died in 1818 is buried at Rock Castle.
A Rock Castle Romance .- The early history of Rock Castle, clouded with tragedy, is brightened by the tradition of a romance in which Fate seems to have given compensation, as far as possible, to all parties concerned. Mary (called Polly) Smith, the only daughter of Gen. Smith, and Samuel Donelson, son of Col. John Donelson, wished to marry. There were parental objection at Rock Castle with the usual result. One afternoon in 1797 Polly, then in her sixteenth year, sat in her room at Rock Castle listening to the sounds of axe and hammer in the forest, not far away. She understood and was ready that night when Donelson and Andrew Jackson came with a sapling ladder and placed it beneath her window. Polly got up behind Jackson on horseback and the party crossed the river below Rock Castle and went to the Hunter's Hill neighborhood, where the ceremony was performed. The mutual compensation: Samuel Donelson brought Jackson a wife from Kentucky; Jackson helped Donelson get a wife from Rock Castle, and the master of Rock Castle, in the following year, succeeded Jackson (resigned) in the United States Senate.
Gen. Smith never invited Polly to come home until after she was left a widow with three young children: John, who served in the creek war and died son afterward; Andrew Jackson and Daniel Smith. Under the circumstances of the marriage - in the absence of other considerations - it was fitting that Jackson should adopt Andrew J. Donelson, which he did, and sent him up the political ladder as he helped his mother down the sapling ladder.
Daniel S. Donelson built and lived in the brick house now the home of Mrs. Berry. The house on the knoll opposite the Presbyterian Church at Hendersonville was built by Dr. William Williams, who married a daughter of Daniel S. Donelson. This property was first owned by Col. Henderson, of Revolutionary fame, for whom Hendersonville was named. His remains are buried on the place.
Polly Smith Donelson married James ("Jimmy Dry") Saunders and two of her children by this marriage were Mrs. Meredith P. Gentry and Mrs. Robert L. Caruthers.
The Franklin Families And Farms .- Within a distance of three miles, beginning with J. W. Russwurm's Brookhaven Berkshire Farm, and ending with Fairview, there are ten farms touching the pike that are now or have been the homes of Franklins - all descendants of one man, James Franklin. Besides there is one farm, half a mile south of the pike at Avondale depot, and four a short distance north of Pilot Knob that come under this head.
James Franklin's ancestors were Huguenots and settled in Virginia. His father moved from Virginia to North Carolina, and here James Franklin was born and reared. When James was about grown his father died in North Carolina and his mother married again. This was against, the wishes of his two sisters and himself and the three, taking several slaves, started for the West, but were overtaken by their step-father, who went back with the girls and the slaves but one. With this servant James Franklin continued his westward journey. It is family tradition that he was a member of the Long Hunters that lived in this section several months in 1772 (camping on land that afterward was the home place of his granddaughter, Mrs. Dr. Horace F. Anderson), and that this visit influenced him to settle in this locality after coming to Nashborough. Be that as it may, James Robertson has put James Franklin's name on record in an Act of the North Carolina Legislature as one of the immortal seventy, who staid through the darkest days of the settlement, and who, for that reason, were entitled to pre-emptions of 640 acres without any expense to themselves. It is also of record that James Franklin assisted Mansker in building his first fort, near Goodlettsville, late in 1779, or early in 1780; and that in 1783 James Franklin, James McKain, Elmore Douglass and Charles Carter went eight miles east of Mansker's along the Buffalo trail leading to Bledsoe's and built a fort on the west side of Station Camp Creek three-fourths of a mile north of Pilot Knob, on land now owned by a Mr. Cunningham.
Young Franklin lived awhile with the Lauderdale family, near Bledsoe's Lick, married one of the Lauderdale girls, settled on his 640 acres pre-emption north of Pilot Knob, lived there, died there and is buried there, in a marked grave.
His five sons were: Isaac, James, John, William and Albert, each of whom seems to have been remarkably successful in acquiring ownership of fine lands and good homes close to the old roof tree.
John owned the present T. B. Wilson place east of Avondale. Isaac owned "Fairview," and Albert lived at the present "Kennesaw." A daughter, Mrs. John Armfield, built the "Brookhaven" residence of J. W. Russwurm. Of the third generation, Dr. James Franklin lived adjoining "Brookhaven," and his children still own the place and live there. Dr. Josh Franklin lived near Avondale depot (house burned); Mrs. Dr. Horace F. Anderson lived at the mouth of Cage's Bend road (place now owned by H. R. Vaughn); A. C. Franklin lives north of the creek from this point; Walter Franklin lived between there and "Kennesaw," which was the home of Captain James Franklin, and is now owned by his son Harry. Opposite "Kennesaw" is "Oakley," for half a century the home of the late Dr. John W. Franklin, a grandson of the original James.
The Man That Killed an Indian Chief - James McKain, a fourteen year old boy, was a member of Donelson's party and signed the Compact of May, 1780. The County Court in 1783 elected him constable at Mansker's Station, and in that same year he went with Franklin, Carter and Douglass and helped them to build the fort on Station Camp Creek.
Charles Morgan, a brother-in-law of Gov. William Hall, was wounded and scalped alive near Bledsoe's Lick in 1788. Before he died he said the Indian that shot and scalped him had a hair-lip. This was Ne-ussee (signifying moon), a celebrated warrior and chief and the only hair-lipped man in the Nation.
In 1789 James McKain, while a member of a scouting party, led by Col. George Winchester, near Smith's Fork, a tributary of Caney Fork, killed a hair-lipped Indian, and after peace had been established the Indians said Moon had been killed. James McKain located a 640 acre tract on Drake's Creek. He married a daughter of Amos Eaton, of Eaton's Station, and his daughter married James Franklin, Jr. One of the children of this marriage was Dr. James Franklin, with whom McKain spent his last years, and at whose home, half a mile west of Saundersville, McKain died in 1857 at the age of ninety-one years.
Another grandson, Mr. Benjamin Franklin, now (1912) eighty-three years of age, told the writer: "I never heard my grandfather say he killed "Moon." He always said he had two bullets in his rifle, that he aimed at "Moon" and fired; that "Moon" fell pierced by two bullets, but that somebody else might have shot him, too."
James McKain's chair, powder horn, hunting knife and family Bible are in possession of Dr. Jim Franklin's children, who still reside in the house where their great grandfather died. (Note - James McKain appears in several histories and official records under the erroneous name "Cain," "McCain" and "McCann.")
A Pioneer Preacher, A Murderer and a Detective - In 1767 one Isaac Lindsay and four other South Carolinians came across the mountains to the Cumberland River and down that stream to the mouth of Stones River on a hunting and exploring expedition. Presumably this was the same Isaac Lindsay who came with a great many other hunters and explorers in 1780 to take advantage of their explorations. Isaac Lindsay's name it affixed to the compact. He settled first at Eaton's Station and was a member of the first Davidson County Court. Later he was granted 800 acres on the north side of the Cumberland River, in Sumner County, and going there settled on a river bluff, about a mile south of the present site of Saundersville. Mr. Lindsay was a member of the first County Court (1786) of Sumner County.
The bluff where he settled and the island nearby have ever since borne his name.
Mr. Lindsay later became a Methodist preacher, died at the bluff and is buried there.
His son, Isaac Lindsay, was a Methodist preacher for eight years, retiring in 1816 and settling near his old home at the Bluff. In this same neighborhood also resided a young man named Carroll, a worthless character, but with nothing particular against him. Mr. Lindsay had known him from infancy and suspected no evil design when Carroll told him he had discovered a very rich silver mine in Missouri, had some of the ore then hid in the river bottom and wanted Mr. Lindsay to be his partner and go with him, get the ore, proceed with him to Nashville and have it tested.
Lindsay and Carroll were seen together going toward the river bottom on December 14, 1840. Three days later Lindsay's horse was found grazing in the woods. His body was found floating in the river. Carroll was not to be found.
At that time W. R. Saunders, an intelligent, cultivated and unassuming young man, lived with his father, Rev. Hubbard Saunders, a Methodist preacher, who, in 1798, had settled on a tract of land north of the pike (still the family homestead), half a mile west of the present site of Saundersville. Soon after this murder young Saunders left home. In a short while he was going from place to place in Arkansas and then in the Indian nation, asking questions about the prices of lands, newest immigrants, etc. He located Carroll, then revealed his purpose to Carroll's employer, who helped along the ruse to get Carroll in irons. Carroll was tried in Gallatin, was defended by Jo. C. Guild and was hanged in South Nashville along with two other murderers, Payne of Franklin County, and Kirby of White. The hanging of Kirby and Carroll together was in good taste, for there was a remarkable similarity in their crimes. Kirby lured old man Elrod into Pine Mountains to show him a saltpeter mine in a cave. In both cases the admissibility of certain declarations by deceased as to his intentions, etc. in starting on a journey were passed on by the Supreme Court and are frequently quoted in the criminal courts now. (Note- Kirby vs. State, 9 Yerg. 383; Carroll vs. State, 3 Hump. 315; Payne vs. State, 3 Hump. 375.)
Saundersville got its name from W. R. Saunders, who was the first merchant and the first postmaster there. The first tavern was the Read Hotel. In the latter days of the stage coach Thomas S. Watson conducted a public tavern (still standing) where the stage passengers and other travelers always made it convenient to stop. At this time and for years after the war Saundersville was a flourishing village.
Avondale, the home of E. S. Gardner, was so named when purchased by his father, E. S. Gardner, about twenty-five years ago to be used in breeding race horses. He had at the head of his stud King Hanover, Imp. Quicklime and Himyar. In one year Himyar's get won more money than the get of any other sire. Avondale produced Ida Pickwick, Soufle, Adalia, Fraulein, Bracelet and others.
The Long Hunters - The hunting party of 1769, composed of twenty men or more, among them being John Rains, Casper Mansker, Abraham Bledsoe, Joseph Drake, Uriah Stone and Ned Carvin, had been away from home only eight months. The party, afterward called "Long Hunters," did not finally abandon their hunt and go back home until a year after they had left. Casper Mansker organized and led this party - the Long Hunters - in the fall of 1771. Among its members were Isaac Bledsoe and Joseph Drake. After camping elsewhere, with varied experiences, the party, in May, 1772, made their "station camp" - (their tents being made of Buffalo skins) - on the land later owned by Mrs. Dr. Horace F. Anderson, and near the branch that flows down the Cage's Bend Road. Tradition in the Gillespie, Cage and Franklin families for several generations marked the site of the camps by a large over-cup acorn tree, which stood about 200 feet south of the pike and 200 feet west of the branch. (Note. - The Federals burned this tree during the Civil War). Here they were stationed until they broke camp in the fall and returned home.
From this camp Station Camp Creek got its name, and Pilot Knob, on the north, was so called because it guided the hunters through the wilderness to and from their main headquarters, or station camp. (Note. - Pilot Knob is mentioned in a road making order on the minutes of the Davidson County Court, 1786, p. 109.)
Mansker and Isaac Bledsoe went from this station camp on their respective trips of discovery, which gave each of their names to a creek, a lick and a pond, all near Hendersonville. What a joyful time there must have been here at the mouth of Cage's Bend Road when Drake reported the number of deer at his pond; when Casper Mansker produced nineteen hides of as many deer killed between his two licks, only a few hundred yards apart, the day he discovered them; when Bledsoe told that the buffalos were so numerous at his lick the day he first saw it that he was fearful of being run over and trampled to death, although he was on horseback.
"One day," says Haywood, "twenty-five of the Cherokees came to the camp and plundered it in the absence of the hunters. Some of the party discovered the Indians, but before the whole company could be collected the Indians were gone. They made a visible trail where they came in, but were careful not to make one in their departure. They either went singly or up Station Camp Creek in the water. They took all the ammunition they could find and all the pots and kettles that belonged to the company. They carried off also and destroyed about 500 deer skins and a good deal of clothing, and, in short, they broke up the hunting expedition for the present. However, the hunters continued where they were until they had consumed the remainder of their ammunition, which was but small. They then broke up the camp and moved toward the settlements. They went as far as Big Barren River, in Kentucky, where they met with another corps of hunters, upon which Mansco and four or five others returned and hunted to the end of the season. They then returned to the settlements on New River."
Norris Chapel (Methodist) - The first church built in Sumner County was situated on Station Camp Creek, just north of the railroad at Pilot Knob. No vestige of it remains.
Gillespie and Cage - The residence south of the pike and east of the Cage's Bend Road, was built (the log "ell") soon after the land was purchased by William Gillespie, about 1793, and the brick front by his son-in-law, Jesse Cage, about 1836. Gillespie came here from the Watauga Settlement with Maj. William Cage, Jesse Cage's father, purchased two grants, aggregating 1,280 acres, the northern and eastern boundaries being Pilot Knob and Station Camp Creek, from which they extended south about two miles. After the death of Jesse Cage the farm came in the possession of his son, Dr. John F. Cage. After the war it was owned by Temple O. Harris, and then by Burrell Bender. Here the late Capt. Jesse Cage, of Nashville, Clerk of Sumner County Court for many years, was born and reared.
Cage's Chapel - Dr. John F. Cage was the leading spirit in building Station Camp, or Cage's Chapel, the land for which he gave off the east end of his farm near the creek.
Prof. Moses, uncle of Hon. Frank Moses, of Knoxville, was conducting a school there when the outbreak of the Civil War robbed him of his largest pupils.
The church site is now occupied by a residence. On the bank of the creek, near the church, stood Hunt's Mill, latter known as Baber's and then as Peyton's Mill. It was once a flourishing "custom" grinder. Its demise, about 1885, marked the first stage in the subsequent development of centralization in business.
But the worse feature about the going of the old mill was, the mill-pond went with it, with its "going-in-a-washing" privileges and its "lusty trout."
The publication of the number of black perch caught in this pond by Maj. D. C. Douglass and Dr. John F. Cage in one day, provoked a denial by a "Yankee" of that period who "proved" that the feat was impossible-much to the amusement of the neighborhood.
Bellemont - The brick residence on the creek bluff, south of the pike, at Number One, was built in 1836 by Thomas Baber. It was later owned by Dr. Robert Farquarharson, who sold it to John D. Goss in 1862.
Goss's father was a wealthy sugar planter in San Domingo. A map of his plantation, seven miles square, is still in possession of the family.
At the time of the famous Negro uprising in 1797 a friendly slave notified Goss of the coming trouble. He and his wife were two of the very few who escaped. They went to Maryland, where John D. Goss was born. In 1824 John D. Goss rode on horse-back from Baltimore to Nashville and started a furniture business. Later he married Elizabeth Bowie, whose father established a factory in Robertson County to make guns for Jackson in the second war with England. Elizabeth Bowie was a first cousin of James and Reason P. Bowie and was born in 1808 at the home of their father, Reason Bowie, which stood on the bank of Station Camp Creek, about fifty yards north of the present residence of W. A. Hewgley, one mile west of Gallatin.
Five years after retiring from a successful business career John D. Goss died, but his family retained possession of the place until a few years ago. The house was furnished with handsome mahogany furniture, much of which had been taken to San Domingo from France and brought to "Bellemont" via Baltimore and Nashville. The house stands to-day as sound as when first built.
Kennesaw - Albert Franklin, son of the original James, had three sons, Albert C., Walter, and James. In the seventies, and later, their lands extended from Station Camp Creek, near Pilot Knob, eastwardly to the Balie Peyton farm. Albert Franklin bought his first race horse in 1868, and his two sons, Albert and James, naturally turned to the turf. As proprietor of Kennesaw, on the north side of the pike, east of Number One, Capt. James Franklin displayed a talent in horse breeding that amounted almost to genius. In Capt. Franklin's lifetime Glengary was at the head of Kennesaw Stud and the leading brood mares were Kathleen, Arizona, a great four-miler; and Nevada, all purchased with other brood mares in Kentucky. The three mares named and other Kennesaw brood were by Lexington, one of the greatest horses known to the turf. He sired more high class brood mares than any horse of this day. Under Capt. Franklin's mating and management Kennesaw produced: George Kinney (dam Kathleen), best horse of this day; Aranza (dam Arizona), winner in England; Amerique(dam of Armament); Stuyvesant, first horse that ever ran a mile in 1:40; Kingman, winner of Kentucky and Latonia Derbies and Clark stakes; Kennesaw, for whom the farm was named; Greenland, Gladstone, Lollie Eastin, Lillian Beatrice and Luke Blackburn, foaled in 1877.
Captain Franklin sold Luke Blackburn to Dwyer Bros. Ridden by McLaughlin, as a three year old, he won twenty straight races, beating every good three year old of his year. He is said to have been the best three year old ever foaled.
Kennesaw Farm was the first to sell a yearling for as much as $7,500- Joe Blackburn, full brother to Luke. Under management of its present owner, Harry Franklin, son of "Capt. Jim," Kennesaw has produced: Percita, dam of Prince Albert; Sierra Gorda; Ben MacDhui, winner of Canadian Derby and sold for $6 - 500.00; Benvolio, winner by one-fourth mile of Dixie Stakes, last four mile race run in Tennessee. Time 7:17 2-5. Von Rouse, sold for $15,000.00; Prince Ahmed, holds world's record of three-quarter mile in 1:11.
Fairview and Its Owners - Isaac Franklin, son of James Franklin, was born at the family homestead on Station Camp Creek, north of Pilot Knob, May 26, 1789. His father was neither poor nor rich. By the time Isaac Franklin was forty years old he had accumulated a considerable sum of money and had become very much a citizen of the world, spending each summer in Washington City and each winter in New Orleans or Natchez.
In the first decade of the last century the population of the eight cotton States, from Carolina to Texas, increased fifty percent; in the second decade, beginning the year Franklin became of age, the increase was fifty-five per cent. In the latter decade, though cotton prices had dropped and ranged around fifteen and sixteen cents, cotton planting amounted almost to madness. Immigrants flocked in by the thousands from Northern States and invested in cotton lands. Business and professional men labored the harder that they might have a sufficiency to buy and develop cotton plantations, upon which to retire. Franklin caught the spirit of the age. First, in 1831, he purchased ten or twelve tracts of land, aggregating about two thousand acres, four miles west of Gallatin, and a year or two later built thereon what was proven by sworn testimony to have been, at that time, the finest country residence in Tennessee.
"The grounds around were planted with choice trees and laid out in the best manner; here he had green houses, flower gardens, sumptuous furniture, several fine carriages, choice wines of all kinds, a stable of race horses, a large quantity of blooded stock and a number of picked servants, more than sufficient even for such an establishment." (Note- La. Sup. Ct. opinion in case of Acklen vs Franklin, June 1852).
But with all this splendor Fairview lacked the finishing touch of feminine presence and Franklin was there on only a few days a year until 1839. (La. Sup. Ct.)
Impressed with the immense possibilities of operating plantations in Louisiana, in connection with Fairview, Franklin, "in May, 1835, purchased the undivided half of near eight thousand acres of land in West Feliciana, upwards of two hundred slaves and all the stock necessary for the immense plantation, and immediately formed a partnership with a resident of the parish for the purpose of carrying on, as it was expressed, the business of planting upon several plantations in the parish." (Note - La. Supreme Court). A few years later he became "the undivided proprietor of the vast plantations in which he was before interested - had accumulated together more than five-sixths of his colossal fortune in immovable property." (La. Supreme Court.)
In 1839 wonderful change took place in the appearance of Fairview; a splendid macadamized road was completed along its front and the perfecting touch was given in the selection of a wife to preside over "the finest country home in Tennessee." On July 2 Franklin married Miss Adelicia Hayes, of Nashville, daughter of Oliver B. Hayes, an able lawyer, a leading citizen and Grand Master Mason of the Masonic fraternity in Tennessee. Franklin was then fifty years old. His bride was twenty-two, an honor graduate of the Nashville Female Academy and eminently qualified by birth, education and association to preside as mistress of such an establishment as the master of Fairview had provided.
Before the building of the turnpike the country now traversed by the Interurban was one community. A thirty-mile ride for a visit, on horseback or by private conveyance, was no more thought of than is a ride to Gallatin now, by steam, electricity or gasoline. The completion of the turnpike increased this intercourse and Fairview was an "open house" from May to October. The winters were spent at Belleview plantation in West Feliciana and at New Orleans.
By 1841 Franklin has developed three plantations in West Feliciana - Belleview, Killarney and Loch Lomond. Fairview, on the Cumberland, was run to supply mules, corn, bacon and other products necessary to carry on his plantation on the Mississippi. Transportation from Fairview was had by barge, flatboat or steamer.
The management of these four plantations, aggregating several thousand of acres, worked by many hundred slaves, called for the highest order of business sagacity, unerring judgment in the choice of subordinates and great executive ability. That Franklin had all these qualities is shown by the fact that in the last five years of his life he opened and developed four more Louisiana plantations - Angora, Loango, Panola and Monrovia, and at his death, on April 27th, 1846, in his fifty-sixth year, left an estate worth very nearly one million dollars.
Fairview's 2,000 acres were valued at $40,000 its 138 slaves at $51,931 and its other personal property at $62,819. This was probably the taxable values, less than the real. Franklin also owned an undivided interest in fifty thousand acres of Texas lands, valued at $25,000. He owned choses in action in Mississippi. The bulk of his fortune, consisting of lands, slaves and farm stock - was in West Feliciana, La., his slaves there numbering between 600 and 700. Placing his wealth at seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, Franklin saved more than twenty thousand dollars for every year of his life after his twenty-first birthday, which was very good for a Pilot Knob boy between 1810 and 1846.
But his wealth did not free him of trouble. In January 1846, he wrote from New Orleans to his father-in-law: "I will be compelled to break up that (Fairview) whole establishment if I do not change my mind. I will take the greater part of the hands off next fall and put them on some of my lands in Louisiana; they give me more trouble then all my other property."
In recognizing the educational needs in the South Franklin, who began life about the same time Cornelius Vanderbilt did, was twenty five years in advance of the Commodore, and his philanthropy was greater, for he set aside a greater proportion of his estate for the establishment and maintenance of an institute for the descendants of his father and for deserving poor children of Sumner County. This provision of his will was attacked, but held valid by the Supreme Court of Tennessee (Note - 2 Sneed, 304) in December, 1854, after a contest in which Jo C. Guild and Edwin H. Ewing appeared for the trustees of the school; W. F. Cooper, for Emma Franklin, a minor daughter; John J. White and Return J. Meigs for the executors, O. B. Hayes and John Armfield; and Francis B. Fogg for Acklen and wife. John Marshall, of Franklin, special judge, delivered the opinion of the court.
But in June, 1852, the Supreme Court of Louisiana had held this clause void on the ground that it set up a perpetuity. In delivering a dissenting opinion Judge Preston spoke in most complimentary terms of Franklin's philanthropy. In part, he said:
"Having acquired great wealth by his own exertions, by industry, economy and good fortune, when by will he undertook to make the best disposition of it, in prospect of death, after providing most magnificently for his own immediate household he turned his thoughts to those connected with him by blood and to his native country, remembered its poor and provided an establishment in which they could receive the greatest blessings of life, a good and substantial English education. This must be, in the language of our code, an establishment of public utility, and forbidden by no law, human or divine * * * That this object was legal and highly laudable cannot be disputed * * * Upon the whole case I think every clause of the testament of Isaac Franklin can legally, and ought to be, carried into full effect. And especially that the great monument of wisdom and benevolence which he attempted to erect should be left to perpetuate his memory, since, in my opinion, neither our laws nor any motives of public policy exist for crumbling it to the dust."
But it was not left to "perpetuate his memory," nor has he any descendants to keep him name alive. (Note - Two young daughters died in June following his death in April and his other child, Emma, died unmarried). Still he deserves to be remembered as the first native Tennessean (Note- So far as the writer knows) who provided out of his fortune for the establishment and maintenance of an educational institution.
After the death of her husband and two of her children Mrs. Franklin returned to Nashville. In 1849 she married Col. J. A. S. Acklen, a lawyer of Huntsville, built Belmont, where Belmont College now is, and made that her home.
In 1882 Mrs. Acklen and her son, Col. J. H. Acklen, sold Fairview to Charles Reed, of New York, for fifty thousand dollars cash.
At great expense Reed converted it into a race horse nursery. His most noted studs were Mr. Pickwick, Highlander, Fechter, Rossifer, III Used and Muscovy, all of which he purchased. St. Blaise, for whom he paid $100,000, proved a failure in the stud. Under Reed's management Fairview produced The Bard, purchased by A. J. Cassett, the railroad president: Dobbins, purchased by Richard Croker; Thora, a great cup mare and the most celebrated mare of the age. Three of Thora's foals - Yorkville Belle, Dobbins, and Sir Joseph, sold at auction for $76,000.
The most noted horse owned (not bred) by Charles Reed was a steeple chaser called Trouble, ridden in this country by Pat Maney, celebrated for his skill in this particular form of horsemanship. Maney, brought from Europe, won for Reed $1000,000. When Trouble became too old to jump he took to the stage and was the chief figure in a racing scene until his death.
Several years after Reed sold all the horses he continued to reside at Fairview, but about four years ago sold the whole estate to a syndicate which subdivided the land and sold it off into small farms, as when Franklin, the first master of Fairview, found the land in 1831.
The Peyton Family and Home - The first farm on the north side of the pike after passing the entrance to Fairview is forever connected with pioneer and political history in Tennessee.
John, Ephraim, and Thomas Peyton were among the first who came and among the few more than seventy who stayed. John and Ephraim Peyton were twin brothers and has served together in the Revolutionary War.
Peyton's Creek, in Robertson County, indelibly associates their name with a fight near Kilgore's Station in 1782, in which several settlers were killed.
Defeated Creek, near the line of Smith and Jackson Counties and Peyton's Creek in the same section indelibly associate their name with an attack led by Fool Warrior and sixty followers on the camps of John, Ephraim and Thomas Peyton and several companions one night in February, 1786, when the ground was covered with a deep snow. The camp was on an island in Defeated Creek. All the members of the party were wounded except Ephraim Peyton and he sprained his ankle running through the creek. "In this naked and mangled condition they had to grope their way in crusted snow through a pitiless wilderness of cane-clad mountains alone (for no tow ever came together) for four days, bare-headed, bare-footed, without food, fire or any garments, except a shirt and pantaloons, marking all the desert with their blood." But they all arrived safely at Bledsoe's Lick, a distance of about seventy miles by the circuitous route they came, recovered of their wounds and fought many more Indian battles. (Note - Tennessee Gazetteer, 1834; account given by John Peyton to the Gazetteer Writer.)
The name of Peyton is also indelibly associated with the guerrilla warfare waged by the Indians around Bledsoe's Lick, as the following incident, vouchsafed by a member of the Peyton family, will attest:
"After the death of his wife in Virginia Robert Peyton came to Tennessee to live with his son John Peyton, whose home is now called "Peytona" but always called "Station Camp" while the Peyton family owned it, being situated between the two creeks by that name. Robert Peyton owned a great many cattle and told his son that he was going to "Bledsoe's Lick" next day to look for them. His son urged him to remain at home, saying it was dangerous to go, that the war had not ended and that the Indians were just waiting to surprise them, but the old man could not be dissuaded from his purpose. The next morning, June 7, 1795, Robert Peyton went to the fort on the hill east of Bledsoe's Lick, left his horse and was counting the cattle at the spring when the Indians rushed upon him. He ran towards the fort; the men at the fort saw him, got their guns, attempted to rescue him, but were too late. He was found dead with a knife sticking in his neck - the last man killed by Indians in Sumner County.":
John Peyton died in 1833. His two sons, Balie and Joseph H., represented this district in Congress - Balie as a Democrat in 1833, 1835 and Joseph H. as a Whig in 1843, re-elected in 1845 and died that year.:
Balie Peyton purposely opened his campaign for Congress in the Defeated Creek section and made such use of his opportunity and talents that his opponent, although a popular and able veteran of the hustings went down. Peyton removed to New Orleans, became a Whig - too much Jackson; campaigned many States; was U. S. District Attorney; declined appointment as Secretary of War; rendered distinguished service in the Mexican War as Chief of Gen. Worth's Staff; Minister to Chile; in California five years; returned to Station Camp in 1859; was Bell and Everett elector; spoke against secession at Gallatin, 1861, and was State Senator 1869-70. He died August 18, 1878.:
Station Camp was well known in its day and time among the lovers of the thoroughbred. It produced (among others) Fanny McAlister, Muggins, Satterlite, who ran successfully in England; Chickamaunga, Rosseau and Richelieu. :
Dr. Redmond Dillon Barry, Surgeon, Lawyer, Horse Breeder, and Farmer, Friend of Packenham and Jackson - On the bluff, south of the pike where it crosses upper Station Camp Creek, Dr. Redmond D. Barry once lived. This residence, a two story brick, was recently torn down and a brick cottage built on its site. Dr. Barry was a native of Ireland, a descendant of the nobility, and a schoolmate and friend of Gen. Packenham at Dublin University. Through the influence of Charles James Fox he secured a position as surgeon in the British navy, but his sympathies being with the colonies, he resigned, settled in North Carolina, practice medicine and made a fortune. He then studied law in the office of John Breckenridge (Attorney-General in Jefferson's Cabinet) in Louisville, removed to Gallatin, married Jane Alexander of the Mecklenburg (N. C.) Alexanders, and became a successful lawyer. But he is first known to local fame as the man who brought the first thoroughbred stallion, Gray Medley, and the first blue-grass seed into the country west of the Cumberland Mountains. So "The Blue-grass Line," running by the first home of the blue-grass in Tennessee, and in a blue-grass section, is not inappropriately named.:
Gray Medley was purchased from the famous stables of Gov. Williams, of Virginia, and was brought to the Barry farm about 1799 by a Negro hostler, Altamont by name, purchased from the Mt. Vernon estate to have charge of the horse here.:
The horse was kept in a log stable east of the residence. He was a vicious animal and only Altamont could handle him. He was a great success in the stud and was the great grandsire of "the Four Tennessee Brothers" of the Tonson family, which defeated the best horses of their time in races of all distances.:
Racing was inaugurated at Gallatin in the fall of 1804, the grand stand being where the L. & N. Depot now is and the track between the Blythe and Water Streets, running north from the depot. A large crowd was present from Sumner and adjacent counties. The chief event of the first day was a contest between Major-General Andrew Jackson's Indian Queen and Dr. Barry's "Polly" Medley, so named from Mrs. William Hall, a sister of Mrs. Barry. Polly Medley won. That evening at Dr. Barry's residence Gen. Jackson and Mrs. Hall, then a bride, opened the ball given in celebration of the occasion.:
"Could these old walls speak," and a descendant of Dr. Barry, in writing of the house that stood here, "they could tell of many a mid-night revel when the wit of Grundy, Houston, Jackson, Hamilton, and others was as sparkling as the wine they sipped. It was at this place the first court in the county was held, the judge presiding in a long robe, and the lawyers were required to were cockade hats.":
While standing at his front yard gate one day in 1815 Dr. Barry saw a horseman galloping down the road and through the creek and heard him shouting, "Peace, peace has been made." He was a courier on his way to Gallatin, and in passing handed Dr. Barry a letter. His face beamed with joy as he read of Jackson's victory at New Orleans, but when farther along he read that the friend of his school days had been killed his eyes filled with tears. Knowing Packenham as he did he had no patience with those who believed the "beauty and booty" reports.":
His reputation as a farmer, race horse breeder and lawyer firmly established Dr. Barry was not without opportunity to show his skill as a surgeon in this section. Going to Nashville in response to a message brought by a rider whose horse fell dead of exhaustion at his gate, Dr. Barry trepanned the skill of a prominent citizen - the first time this operation had been preformed in Tennessee. None of the Nashville doctors would attempt it. The patient lived for thirty years.:
In the old stone stable which stood until recently north of the pike Dr. Barry kept Polly Medley and other racers. A small detachment of Morgan's men, concealed in this stable, put to rout a Federal regiment stationed at the railroad bridge to the north. But not before the old barn had been pierced by a Federal cannon ball.:
Judge Thomas Barry, son of Dr. Barry, also lived at this place. Judge Barry, early in life, fell under the magnetic influence of Jackson, which was manifest in his devotion to the turf and in his political views throughout his career, even in his Unionism long after Jackson's death. Among the writer's earliest recollections of Gallatin (in the 70's) is an old man sitting in the shade on West Main Street talking Jackson to a group about him. The Judge had always been prominent in State politics, knew intimately all the big men of the State in ante-bellum days, and entertained his listeners by the hour. Opie Reid pictured the Barry home in "The Tennessee Judge.":
Greenberry Williams and Hanie's Maria - Greenberry Williams lived in a brick house torn down to make room for the present fair grounds in the western suburbs of Gallatin.:
The mention of Greenberry Williams brings back to life the days, previously referred to, when Gallatin rivaled Nashville as a turf center.:
The following table shows the white population of Davidson and Sumner, respectively, for the years named:
- 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 Davidson........ 2,728 6,861 9,173 12,066 15,989 17,457 Sumner.......... 1,840 3,332 9,961 13,303 13,179 14,891
The race horse craze then gripped the country as football and baseball hold it now. While Gallatin and this entire section were in this feverish condition Greenberry Williams came, in 1806, to identify himself with the history of the new State as the trainer of Hanie's Maria. This chestnut filly was purchased by James Hanie in 1809. She was then one year old and cost him $100. In 1811 he sent her to Greenberry Williams to be trained. In her first three seasons she easily won every contest and roused Gen. Jackson's ire, which was also easily done. Jackson canvassed Virginia for a horse to beat Maria and paid a fabulous price to Wm. R. Johnson for Pacolet only to have her beaten by Maria under the saddle of "Monkey Simon" a dissipated and impudent African hunchback, then noted for his performances as were Barnes and Tod Sloan a few years ago. A little later, at Clover Bottom, Maria and "Monkey Simon" took all the purses that were up. She beat everything sent to her to run against her and then she went to Kentucky and conquered the hitherto unbeaten Robin Grey, the great grandsire of Lexington, "the racer without a peer, the sire without a rival."
Gen. Jackson had seen only a few of Maria's performances before he was offering to stake $50,000 that Maria could beat any horse in the world. In his old age Jackson was asked if he had ever undertaken anything heartily that he did not accomplish. After a moment's reflection he replied: "Nothing that I remember except Hanie's Maria - I could not beat her." (Note - Some other counties in Middle Tennessee, as well adapted to the breeding of the race horse as are Davidson and Sumner, have never taken to that industry, while Davidson and Sumner, and especially Sumner, have become famous as a nursery for thoroughbreds. What caused this industry to take root in these two counties and not in others? To the writer the answer it plain: The influence of Jackson, Barry, Harding, Williams, Guild and Peyton. Dr. Barry got his love for the race horse from is father, David Barry, who maintained extensive stables in Ireland and England.)
A Monument to Mexican War Soldiers - Sumner County furnished three companies for the war with Mexico - the Tenth Legion, Capt. William Blackmore; the Polk Guards, Capt. Robert A. Bennett; Legion Second, Capt. William Hatton - about three hundred young men in all. The first two of these companies were in Campbell's Regiment; the third belonged to Cheatham's (the Third Tennessee) Regiment.
At the battle of Monterey Campbell's regiment won distinction and the soubriquet, the "Bloody First," by which it has ever since been know. Of the one hundred and twenty Americans killed in this battle eight were Sumner Countians. Forty-five Sumner Countians died of disease. In the cemetery in the western suburbs of Gallatin stands a monument erected by citizens in 1848 in memory of these forty-seven soldiers who died in the service of their country in this war. The monument contains the names and dates of birth and death of each of the men. The visitor will be impressed with the fact that most of them were under twenty-five years of age when they voluntarily put themselves in Death's way and won for Sumner County the name of the "Volunteer County of the Volunteer State."
The Trousdale Place - On the south side of West Main Street, half way between Town Bridge and the Public Square, is a small tract of land that is closely associated with every war in which this country has been engaged, down to the war with Spain. North Carolina gave this land to James Trousdale as part of a 640 acre tract for services in the Revolutionary War. It was next the home to James Trousdale's son, William, who was a soldier in the Nickajack expedition, in the Creek Campaign and at New Orleans; a private in the first Seminole War and with Jackson at Pensacola; a colonel in the Seminole War of 1836 and a colonel in the Mexican War. It was next the house of the last and greatly beloved Julius A. Trousdale, a Confederate soldier, and is now the site of a Confederate monument. No more fitting use could have been made of this property than to set it aside for the preservation of historic records and to keep fresh in the minds of coming generations the story of the valor and patriotism of Sumner County in times of public stress. Through the generosity of Mrs. Julius A. Trousdale, Clark Chapter, U. D. C. , now owns the old Trousdale homestead.
First House in Gallatin. - The entire tract of forty acres set aside for the Gallatin town site, under an Act of 1801, was, in fact, a part of the Trousdale grant. Trousdale reserved one acre on the south side of the square and upon this acre lot built the first house erected in Gallatin.
"For God's Sake, Colonel, Surrender!" - An incident on the square on the early morning of July 12, 1862, is historic because it shows warfare reduced to a science, or how to capture a regiment of six hundred with only ten men.
Thomas R. Love, a Gallatin boy at home to recuperate, piloted ten of Morgan's men, under Capt. Jo Desha, to the square, put the provost under arrest while he was asleep and proceeded to the old Johnny Bell hotel on Main Street. Placing nine men about the outside Desha and Love went to the room of Co. W. P. Boone, of Kentucky, who got out of bed half asleep and opened the door, looked down the barrels of two pistols and then - woke up almost speechless. Morgan and five hundred men were encamped a mile east of town on the Hartsville pike, but Desha and Love told Col. Boone that Morgan and his men then surrounded his (Boone's) regiment at the Fair Grounds and that he could avoid attack only by surrendering. Then the Colonel's wife, throwing her arms about his neck, exclaimed, "For God's sake, Colonel, surrender," and the Colonel surrendered for her sake as well as his own.
Morgan to the Rescue. - About daylight of July 21, 1862, while encamped two miles out the Hartsville pike from Gallatin, Morgan learned that all the male citizens too young or too old to serve in the Confederate army - all the others were in the service - had been started to Nashville at 9 o'clock the night before. "Also that the Federal commander had left for Nashville on the hand-car, after giving orders that if attacked by Morgan or Forrest, the citizens were to be killed and the Federals were to cut their way through to Nashville. Morgan, when he heard this, took his men down the Nashville pike and had a running fight with Pilot Knob to Edgefield Junction, about sixteen miles. He killed or captured nearly the entire Federal force and returned to Gallatin about 11 o'clock that night with his prisoners and a big part of the citizens." (T. R. Love, Gallatin)
The Federal commander referred to above was General Payne, who terrorized Gallatin for several years. Among his captives started toward Nashville afoot was Mr. John J. White, an eminent lawyer, then 70 years old; John L. Bugg, a brother-in-law of Gov. Trousdale and County Court Clerk for thirty or forty years; Samuel Blythe, Henry Bugg, and Robert Hallum.
Gallatin's Most Exciting Day - Election day, 1866, is credited with being the most exciting day, not only in the history of Gallatin but in the history of all Sumner County men who had fought in the Confederate army, who took part in the events of the day.
The Brownlow administration had sent a man to Gallatin to register the "loyal" men so that McKinley, a carpet bagger, would be returned to the Legislature from Sumner County. In three days the registrar has registered a sufficient number of the loyalists to return to McKinley, and started back to Nashville with his books on the 7 p.m. train. He was accompanied on the train by two strangers - the Klan had not been asleep - and when the train stopped at Saundersville the registrar accepted the very urgent invitation of his two companions to alight, get into a carry-all held in waiting by two more of the Klan, and ride back to Gallatin. Here, by persuasion, he reopened his books, registered all the Johnny Rebs and let for Nashville that night.
A few days before the election the carpet bagger captain of a Negro military company stationed on the first "rise" north of the L. & N. depot got orders to attend the polls and prevent the rebels from voting. The captain announced that he would carry out his instructions. The Klan got Mayor William Wright, a Union man, to issue an order that the militia would not be allowed to come to the polls armed and in a body, and if they did he would see that they were ejected. James J. Turner, Colonel of the 30th Tennessee, was appointed Chief of Police, with carte blanche in the naming of deputies. The word went down the line; there was no end of volunteer deputies; squads and companies were posted in houses along every possible route of the Negro militia to the square. Instructions were given that no shots should be fired without orders. Spies and scouts were sent out to report the movements of the enemy. The tension, high all morning, rose to a dangerous degree about noon as the guns of the Negro company flashed in the sunlight upon leaving their camp. They took a round about way of reaching the square from the south. On the first street south of West Main they marched toward Water Street, which would lead them to the square. When they got to Water Street they were confronted with Chief Turner and his 200 men, all with guns presented, eager for the order to fire. The carper bagger captain threw up his arms; the Negroes broke for the livery stable nearby; the Chief, with great difficulty, restrained his deputies; the Captain put up a white flag and asked for a parley. The Mayor was called and it was agreed that the militia should march back to camp as they had come; leave their arms in camp, go to the polls two at a time, vote and go straight back to camp. McKinley was defeated and then seated. (Note - Capt. Geo. B. Guild, in American Historical Magazine.)
A Gallatin Cock-fight. - "Just back of the Examiner office was, until it fell down through age, a long brick stable where Jackson had a fight with the game cock of Col. Edward Ward," wrote the American correspondent after Judge Barry's death in 1891. "The chickens were gaffed and the prize was $500 in gold. Jackson's chickens stuck his gaff in the hard ground and the question whether it should be pulled out was submitted to the judges. They decided that it could not and Jackson lost his $500. Judge Barry did not say whether he saw the "main," but vouches for its truth."
Howard Female College, on the East Main Street, is the only college in the State owned and controlled by the Independent Order of Old Fellows. It was chartered in 1837. United States Senator Fowler was at one time President of this institution.
Where Maj. Winchester Was Killed. - Eastwardly from the college, at the junction of the Scottsville and the Hartsville pikes, at 9 A.M. August 9, 1794, Maj. George Winchester, brother of Gen. James Winchester, was killed by Indians while riding along the Buffalo trail that ran from present site of Gallatin to Bledsoe's Lick. He was a member of the County Court and was on his way to attend a meeting of that body.
Spencer's Choice. - Among the hunters who came to this section prior to the first settlement were Thomas Sharp Spencer and John Holliday. They, in company with others, stopped at Bledsoe's Lick in 1778 and there raised the first crop of corn grown west of the Cumberland Mountains by an American. All left but Holliday and Spencer, and finally Holliday decided to go. Spencer went with him as far as the Barrens in Kentucky, broke his knife into halves, gave Holliday one half, returned to Bledsoe's Lick and set up housekeeping in a hollow tree twelve feet in diameter. The shell stump of this tree was still visible as late as 1823, near the present post office of Castalian Springs.
While living in this hollow tree, or later, Spencer located several tracts of land which he desired to possess for himself, but upon learning that he was entitled to only one under the law, he decided to keep the 800 acre tract adjoining the present Gallatin corporation limits on the south. From that time this tract has been known as "Spencer's Choice."
After Spencer's death David Shelby acquired about 640 of the 800 acres and in 1798 built a residence which is still occupied.
One of Spencer's peculiarities was his habit of wandering through the forest alone, lest a companion's talk might make him a mark for an Indian's bullet. He was a man of enormous size and huge strength. A Frenchman, helping at Demonbreun's trading post, is said to have fled to Illinois after seeing Spencer's tracks near Eaton's Station.
On one or two occasions the Indians, awed by his powers, or, perhaps, thinking he had a charmed life, let him get away when they could easily have killed him. A log that required the strength of three ordinary men to lift Spencer could handle without apparent effort. He "was the stoutest man I ever saw," says John Carr; and Gov. William Hall pays him a still higher compliment: "With all his extraordinary strength and courage there was no bluster about him, but he was one of the most kindly disposed men I ever knew. He has a fine face, as well as a gigantic form, and the broadest shoulders I ever saw."
Spencer was killed in 1794 while returning from Virginia, whither he had gone to get some money due him from an estate. The place where he met his death is called Spencer's Hill, in Van Buren County. The county site is named for him, also Spencer's Creek and Spencer's Lick.
There must of been some room for doubt as to whether Spencer was killed by Indians or white men, for James McKain, conversant with the circumstances, always contended that he was killed by white men. The Indians, McKain said, never took paper money; Spencer's money was in paper and was taken by those who killed him. The murder of Spencer was similar to that of Col. John Donelson.