Rutherford County Historical Society.

Publication (Volume 16) online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryRutherford County Historical SocietyPublication (Volume 16) → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation

$3.50 The Copy


Publication No. 16


Murfreesboro, Tennessee 371 30

The Cover

On the oover of Publication Number l6 Is Cherry Shade.
This historic home stood across the old highway from the
Tennessee Farnera Co-Op In LaVergne, until 1971) when It
burned. The house was listed In the book "Bsarths tones" as
being built by John Fflll. During the Olvll War, John
Blrdwell's faially lived here. A federal soldier from Ohio-
Leopold Spetnagel died here January 1) 1863 . Later the W. H*
Cartwrlght family lived here. On page 60 of this publication
is a story of Cherry Shade during the time of its occupancy
by the J, R. Parks Family.

The Rutherford County Historical Society would like to
thank Janes Matheny for drawing the sketch on the cover. We
also appreciate Mrs. Ladelle Craddock for her work in typing
and Mr. Gene Sloan for the index to this publication.





Published by the



President. • Mr. Gene Sloan

Vice-President Miss Aurelia Holden

Recording Secretary Miss Louise Cawthon

Corresponding Secretary. •• ••• Mrs. Susan Daniel

Treasurer. ..Mrs. Kelly Ray

Poblicatlon Secretary • •• .Mr. Vfalter K. Hoover

Directors Mrs. Dotty Patlgr

Dr. Ernest Hooper
Mr. Janes Hatheny

Publication No. 16 (Uraited Edition-350 copies) is distributed
to menbers of the Society. The annual membership dues is $7.00 (Family
$9.00) which includes the regular publications and the monthly NEV6-
LETTER to all members. Additional copies of Publication No. 16 may be
obtained at $3*50 per copy.

All correspondence concerning additional copies, contributions
to future issues, and membership should be addressed to:

Rutherford Coun^ Historical Society

Box 906

Murfi-eesboro, Tennessee 37130





The Rutherford County Historical Society-
Box 906
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130

Publications # 1, 2, 3, U, 5, 8 and 9—- OUT OF PRINT

Publication # 6: Link Community, LaVergne, Fellowship and

the Sanders family — $ 3.50 + $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 7; Hopewell Church, Petition by Cornelius Sanders

for Rev. War Pension ■ $ 3.50 + $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 10: I86I4 Diary, Peter Jennings, Henderson Yoalaun,
Early Methodist Church, and Overall
family ■ $ 3,50 ♦ $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 11: State Capitol, Ben McCulloch, Petition of
Michael Lorance, A Country Store, and
Soule College ■— $ 3.50 + $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 12: History of Sewart AFB, Goochland and

Will Index $ 3.50 + $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 13 s Tennessee College, Coleman Scouts, New
Monument in old city cenetery and Rev.
War Pension of James Boles $ 3.50 ••■ $ 1.00 postage

Publication # lU: Muifreesboro Presbyterian Church, Kirks and

Montgomerys, Russel Home, John Lytle, and John

M. Leak Revolutionary Pension — — $ 3.50 ■•■ $ 1.00 postage

Publication # 15 : Whigs in Rutherford County, l835-l8U5 - $3.50 > $1.00 postage

Index of Publications 1 through 5 ■ $ 5.00 + $ 1,00 postage

iBliO Rut>iffrfnrd County Census with Tndpy $ 5.00 + $ 1.00 postage

Deed Abstract of Rutherford County I803 - I8IO $10,00 + $ 1.00 postage

GRIFFITH ; Illustrated bi-centennial publication $ 2.00 + $ 1.00 postage


Plate # 2: Tennessee College in Murfreesboro $ 5.00 + $ 1.00 postage

Plate # 3! Rutherford County Courthouse, 1900— $ 5.00 + $ 1.00 postage

AVAILABLE FROM ; William Walkup, 202 Ridley St, Smyrna, Tenn 37167 —

Rutherford County Map I878, shows land owners $ 3,50 + $ 1.00 postage

CEMETERY RECORDS of Rutherford County:

Vol, 1: Northwestern third of cotmty and part of Wilson and

Davidson counties, 256 cemeteries with index and

maps ■ $10.00 + $ 1.00 postage

Vol, 2; Eastern third of Rutherford and the western part of

Cannon County, 2U1 cemeteries with index

and maps ■ $10.00 + $ 1.00 postage

Vol, 3: Southwestern third of Rutherford County, 193

cemeteries with index and maps $10.00 ♦ $ 1.00 postage

ALSO AVAILABLE FROM ; Mrs. Fred Brigance, 1202 Scottland Dr.,Mboro, Tn 37130—
Marriage Records of Rutherford Coxinty

1851 - 1872 $10.00 + $ 1.00 postage


Hart's Spring on Taylor's Trace

by: Walter King Hoover , Page 1

The Childress Family of Tennessee

by: John Williams Childress 20

Young Man John Esten Miles Went West

by: Gene H. Sloan 35

The Story of Fosterwllle

by: Elvira Brothers I43

A Story of Cherry Shade, LaVergne, Tennessee

by: James L. Chrlsman.... 60

Petition of Will law Cocke for Revoluticnary
War Pension

Furnished by: Mrs. Hughey King 70

INDEX for Publication No. 16

by: Gene H. Sloan 75

Walter K. Hoover

The Big Hart's Spring, located or.e mile wtjst of Smyrna,
Tennessee, still flows free and clear, its v/al-ers meandering
through the town. Few citizens know of this spring or notice
Hart's branch, because today's water supplies issue from a
metered spigot.

The Indians and explorers frequented these waters long
before domestic and industrial life came to thir ares.

In my boyhood, I, along with other boys of the vicinity,
fished, swam in, and explored this spring and stream, I
recall wagons, with barrels and buckets, hauling water from
this stream for domestic and industrial use. Before and
after bridges, the fords provided a place for the traveler
to water his animal, or to wash his dusty buggy or automobile,
even himself. We skated on the ice in the winter. Wildlife
and livestock came daily to drink. These waters provided
many an ardent fisherman with bait of crayfish and minnows.
Many repented sinners were refreshed by bapti:;'- in t"r;?3e

As you climb the highland rim, or descend the Cumberland
Plateau, to and from Rutherford County, which is imbeded in
the central basin, the geology and topography has a deep
fascination for the student of history. A knowledge of the
ridges, plains and streams, add new dimension to the enjoy-
ment of our restless earth.

In the early nineteen thirties the town of Smyrna
employed engineers to study the possibility of using the
waters of Hart's Spring for the city water supply. For some
reason deep wells took precedent.

Some years ago my curiosity about the origin of the
Hart name caused me to investigate its historical background,
here's what I found.

Man's desire for the unknown and his desire for gain
caused the colonial explorers to penetrate the Smokey Mountains
as early as 1673. Some came this way to get away from the
Crown, and the Revolutionary War. Others wanted to learn what
was in the vast region drained by the Tennessee and Cumberland

The French from Canada laid claim to this territory,
as did the Spanish from Florida. The endless forest was also
claimed by the native Indians as a hunting ground. These
were mainly Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw and Shawnee, along
with less noted tribes.

For about seventy-five years this Mid-Tennessee and
Mid-Kentucky area was criss-crossed and explored by fur
traders of all these powers; each of these powers vying for
the support of the native Indians, bribed them with supplies
and guns. This boundary and ownership conflict subsided
about 1775. The native Indians contested until about 1795.

British South Carolina, prompted by this contest for the
interior of the continent, attempted a permanent settlement
by pushing through the Smokey Mountains to establish Fort
Louden on the Little Tennessee River in 1756-57. Fort Louden


fell to the Indians in 1760, thus bringing to an end South
Carolina's efforts to gain this region.

The push for claim and settlement now came from North
Carolina and Virginia. By 1760 Daniel Boone was in the area.
By 1768 William Bean had a cabin on the Watauga River in
East Tennessee.

Other families followed Bean to form the Watauga
settlement. By 1776 Watauga was organized under a self
government and asked to be annexed to North Carolina but
was not recognized.

After Daniel Boone took back glowing reports of the
over -mountain country, other people came; among them was our
NATHANIEL HART and Thomas Hart and David Hart. On one of
their expeditions they discovered our big spring and branch
flowing into the Stuart's Creek, Stones River, and Ciomberland

This occurred about 1772, and from that time until
today the spring and its branch flowing through the town of

Smyrna, is known as, and referred to in documentary locations,


as Hart's Big Spring and Hart's Branch.

The Harts, along with others, Weakley, Stone, Ridley,
Shelby, etc., who came to this area realizing the future
values of land, made great effort to secure title for profit

Thomas Walker named the Cumberland Mountains and the
Cumberland River; Stones River was named for Uriah Stone.


Hart's Branch named for Nathaniel Hart. I cannot

discover where Stuart's Creek (later Stewart's Creek) got
its name.

and their offspring. The town of Jefferson, Tennessee, was
early laid off and promoted to form a base for land sales.

In 1777 Washington County was formed, with Jonesboro as
the county seat in 1779. The success of the Watauga settle-
ment created a buffer zone between the coming settlors and
the dangers beyond. Widespread interest among the settlers
and land speculators grew to a flood after the Revolutionary

In the fall of 17 74, a company of land speculators made
a purchase or treaty between themselves and the Cherokee
Indians. This company consisted of Richard Henderson, John
William, William Johnson, John Luttrell, John Hogg, Leonard
Bullock, Thomas Hart, David Hart and Nathaniel Hart. This
purchase terminated at Watauga in March of 1775. This company
obtained from the Cherokees two deeds. One known as the
"path deed", which had to do with land in East Tennessee.
The other was known as the "Great Grant", which reached from
Kentucky and Ohio Rivers to the head springs of the most
southward branch of the Cumberland River. This, of course,
included the Stones River, Stuart's Creek and Hart's Branch
and Hart's Spring on Taylor's Trace.

Later in the judgment of the courts of North Carolina.
in 1782, this purchase was held illegal. At the same tiire,
the North Carolina legislature, considering this land company
having been at great risk and concluding that they should have
compensation adequate to their expense and trouble, enacted
that they (as a group) should have two hundred thousand acres
laid off in one survey. This was laid off in East Tennessee
and granted to the Henderson Company, and settled all debts.


This same legislature of North Carolina, in the same
session of 1782 by Act, allowed the settlers on the Cumberland
six hundred and forty acres to each family or head of the
family, every single man of age who was settled on the land
before June 1, 1780, not to include salt licks, or salt
springs which were public property. (Nathaniel's estate will
claim the Hart Spring track under these laws later.)
Commissioners came with guards from North Carolina to lay off
and allot this land. They also laid off the county of
Davidson and appointed civil and military officers.

Nathaniel Hart was much involved An the settlement of
Nashville. The articles of agreement or compact of govern-
ment entered into by the settlers on the Cumberland River
dated May 1, 1780, carries Nathaniel's signature as the
second to sign. This compact became a necessary agreement,
because North Carolina offered no protection or recognition,
nor did the coloniel Government, they being involved in the
Revolutionary War. This compact gave order to personal and
property rights, military protection from the Indians, etc.

To help confirm this story and give the reader more
insight, I here enter this reference. A mention of Hart's
Spring was in the fall of 1776 on the occasion of the Militia
returning to Nashboro from the destruction of the Cherokee
villages near what is now Chattanooga. They were three or
four days on their return, and on the night before arriving
camped at Hatt ' s Spring.

Another mention was in 1792 when the Cherokee Indians
were planning to attack the Cumberland settlement. General


Robertson sent scouts out Taylor's Trace to learn of the
number and intentions of the Indians. The scouts were
Jonothon Gee and Seward Clayton, who after going eight or ten
miles south of Buchanon's Station contacted the Indians in
the middle of the Trace; after some talk Gee was shot and
killed in the Trace. Another shot broke Clayton's arm, and
he ran into the woods, was pursued and killed. The Indians
hurried on to Buchanon's Station and attacked. When the
Indians retired. General Robertson collected what troups he
could and pursued them to Hart's Big Spring, near Stuart's
Creek. Not finding the Indians, he retired to the station,

Nathaniel Hart never lived at Hart's Spring, for he
had a home at Boonsboro, Kentucky, where he raised a family.
Captain Nathaniel Hart was born February 24, 1744. He married
Sarah Simpson of Fairfax County, Virginia, December 25, 1760.
They moved to Boonsboro in 1775. Corn raised at Boonsboro by
Hart was sent by boat to the starving settlers at Nashboro in
1779-80. Nathaniel was killed by the Indians near his home
in July 1782. He was survived by his widow and nine children.
Sarah Simpson Hart died at the end of March 1785 at the age
of 56.

Their children were Kosiah Thompson, Susannah Hart
Shelby, Simpson Hart, Nathaniel Hatt Jr., John Hart, Mary Ann
Hart, Cumberland Hart, Chinai Hart and Thomas R. G. Hart.

Colossal figures such as Henry Clay, Shelby, Brown,
Benton, Dixon, McDowell, Freemont are inimitably identifiable
by blood and marriage with the Harts.


A trip to Lexington, Kentucky, in search of Hart
information revealed many, many Hart relatives.

Being aware that many readers will not recall the
sequence of events that issued Tennessee, I have entered
these notations.

Daniel Boone and others had entered the wilderness.
1756 Fort Louden

1769 Bean's cabin on Watauga River

1770 James Robertson and others at Watauga

1771 1. Settlement of Rougersville

2. Jacob Brown's stone on Nolichucky River

1772 The Watauga Association

1775 1. Washington District formed

2. Revolutionary War

3. Henderson Company bought Middle Tennessee
17 76 Washington District annexed to North Carolina

1778 Cumberland settlement

1779 Nashboro

1780 1. Movement to Middle Tennessee
2. Battle of King's Mountain

1783 Davidson County laid out (went to Alabama State line)

1784 1. North Carolina ceded to Watauga the Tennessee


2. The State of Franklin was formed, John Sevier
Governor .

3. Congress closing the war ignored. State of Franklin.

4. North Carolina repealed its act of ceding the
Tennessee territory.


1788 1. State of Franklin died at the end of Sevier's term

as Governor.
2. Cumberland settlement did not join State of

Franklin statehood. 4

1790 1. North Carolina again ceded her west to Tennessee.

2. Ordinance of 1778 to be preserved.

3. Federal government passed act for territory south
of the Ohio River.

4. Tennessee capital moved to Knoxville.

1794 1. Indians severely punished.

2. Spanish influence broken.

3. First territorial assembly met.

1795 Sixty thousand whites in the territory.

1796 Tennessee admitted as a State.

1800 Nathaniel's land grant from North Carolina.

Since Nathaniel died in 1782 at Boonsboro, how and why
did he or his heirs get a land grant of 640 acres in 1800 in
Davidson County, State of Tennessee? After a search of land
laws of Tennessee, article 10, Sec. Z of the first Constitu-
tion of Tennessee, established at Knoxville February 6, 1796,
when Tennessee became a State, I find this statement: "All
laws and ordinances now in force and use in this territory,
not inconsistant with this Constitution, shall continue to be
in force and use in this State until they expire, by altered,
or repealed by the legislature." So the above reference
(paragraph 1, page 5) to settlers' land claims on the Cumberland
were still in force after Tennessee became a State.

. 8

Also, when North Carolina ceded the western territories
to the United States in 1789 as a condition for membership in
the federal union, she retained the rights to grant lands
there to satisfy the claims of her revolutionary soldiers.

This territory became the State of Tennessee in 1796,
but it was not until 1806 that Tennessee was able to grant
land itself. In 1803 Governor John Sevier appointed John
Overton to settle and adjust the land laws between Tennessee
and North Carolina. Then in 1804 North Carolina gave up its
right to grant land in Tennessee. In 1806 Tennessee set up
seven land districts, one being at Jefferson, the seat of
Rutherford County. The Jefferson office was later moved to

Although North Carolina granted no land in Tennessee
after 1800, warrants issued before and after that year were
honored by Tennessee land offices as late as 1836.

So under the continuing old land laws of North Carolina,
the Watauga settlement. State of Franklin, and the Cumberland
settlement, which were not void until 1806; I discover in the
Davidson County, Tennessee, records, the grant to Nathaniel
Hart's heirs dated May 13th, 1800, that has been pending
since Nathaniel's death in 1782. I also found an order that
this land be surveyed for the heirs by Robert Weakley in
consequence of an entry No. 500 (or claim by the estate of
Nathaniel Hart) dated June 28, 1784, about two years after
Nathaniel's death. The ten pounds per one hundred acres
must have been paid by, and the claim executed by Nathaniel's
administrators or heirs. Robert Weakley's survey is dated
March 4th, 1797.

The Grant reads thus :

Nathaniel Hart's Heirs

Grant No. 468 May 13, 1800

State of North Carolina

To all to whom present shall come greetings, know
ye that we, for and in consideration of the siom of
ten pounds for every hundred acres hereby granted,
paid unto our treasury, by Nathaniel Hart, have given
and granted, and by these present do give and grant
unto Kosiah Thompson, Susannah Hart, Simpson Hart,
Nathaniel Hart, John Hart, Mary Ann Hart, Cumberland
Hart, Chinai Hart and Thomas R. G. Hart, heirs of
Nathaniel Hart a track of land containing six hundred
and forty acres, lying and being in the county of
Davidson (now Rutherford), on a branch of the Stuart's
Creek about two miles north of said creek including a
large spring on Taylor's Trace, known by the name of
Hart's Spring on Taylor's Trace. Beginning at two
white oaks above the spring near the cedar runs, east
sixty chains, crossing said Trace to a small biack oak
and ash, in the edge of the cedars, thence north forty
chains to Robert Russell's corner, and with his line,
in all, one hundred and six chains, seventy lengths to
a mulberry, thence west sixty chains to a stake thence
south one hundred and six and seventy lengths, crossing
the said Trace to the beginning, with all woods, waters,
mines, minerals, here warrant and appendents to said
land belonging to Kosiah Thompson, Susannah Hart,
Simpson Hart, Nathaniel Hart, John Hart, Mary Ann Hart,
Cumberland Hart, Chinai Hart, and Thomas R. G. Hart
their heirs and assignees, which land was surveyed for
the heirs of the said Hart, March 4, 1797, by Robert
Weakley in consequence of an entry No. '500, dated
June 28, 1784. (The grant signed by B. Williams,
dated January 23, 1800, Counter signed. Will White
secretary. )

From the time of the grant in 1800 until 1822, I find
no Hart records on our subject. Evidently the Harts were
centered at Boonsboro, Kentucky, and scattered all the way
back to North Carolina and Virginia. Some may have moved on
westward. Their father's vast estate had been divided among
the nine children, and a new generation had begun. By 1822
Rutherford County had been in operation for nineteen years,
and records are accumulating there.


So at the Rutherford County Court House I find an
indenture dated March 20, 1822, stating that Isaac Shelby,
first Governor of Kentucky, and wife Susannah Hart Shelby
(Nathaniel's daughter), sold to James Hart, now living on the
said land, this entire 640-A grant for $1500.00. James Hart
is perhaps a male heir of one of Nathaniel's children; he
could be a next generation relative. I have not located a
Hart geneology.

Much search back and forth, through the Rutherford
County land records, show that our James Hart sold some of
this land, perhaps to pay Isaac and Susannah for on:
May 21, 1822 sold to William Garner 50-A $250.00
May 29, 1822 sold to John Fourville 71-A 213.00
May 29, 1822 sold to John Fly 201-A 813.32if
July 13, 1825 sold to Robert Ealm 76-A 202.00

Totals 348-A $14 78.32^1
James had sold about one half of the grant for almost
what it cost him. (Some may wonder about the one-half cent.

The United States authorized the coinage of one-half cents

April 2, 1792, and the first were coined in 1793; a popular

coin until 1857. )

In 1834 Hartsville, Tennessee, was a flourishing post

town. It was established in 1817 on the land of James Hart.

It contained twenty or thirty families, four stores, two

taverns and sundry mechanics. James Hart was a brother of

our Nathaniel, not our young James.


By a series of deed- from Hart to the present day
owners, I am able to establish a corner of the original Hart
grant. With a compass and the grant measurements, I have
here plotted the 640-A on today's map (see map, page 12-A).

Divided, subdivided, and sold many times, each time
increasing in value. Nathaniel anticipated these values
over two hundred years ago when he braved the Indians and
the wilderness to acquire this land. Speculation continues
today as values rise.

Diligent search reveals little of our James Hart from
1825 until his death in 1845. It is assumed that he had a
home in the vicinity of the big spring, and that his death
occurred there. His estate was administered by Thomas M.
Hart. Who was Thomas M? A son? A brother?

The 1820 census shows James Hart of Rutherford County.
Three males under 10 years of age, one 26 to 45 (himself),
one female under 10 years of age, one female 26 to 45 (wife).
Who was she?

There is a Mark Hart in the 1810 census of Rutherford
County who had two males under ten years. Could one of these
be James? Or were Mark and James brothers?

The Rutherford County marriage bonds of Rutherford
County compiled by the Col. Hardy Murphy Chapter of D.A.R.


Ann Hart married Samuel Wilson 12-26-1805

Martha B. Hart married Wiley Sanders 2-20-1832
Koshia Hart married Thomas C. Wright 8- 1-18 3 7
Frances E. A. Hart married Radford W. Reed 3- 6-1839
Samuel Hart married Edny M. Hedgepath 12-2 3-1846
William Hart married Mary E. Batey 1-17-1847
John Hart married Elizabeth Batey 1-22-1848

William Hart married Sarah J. Modrall 10-29-1857
Thomas Hart married Rebecca Johnson 7-19-1867

These records run from 1804 to 18 72 showing these Harts
in Rutherford County. Yet the Rutherford County Cemetery
records show not a single Hart burial record. Perhaps they
died in other counties or were buried in unmarked graves in
the wife's family plot.

Not finding any cemetery records of our James Hart's
place of burial, I searched the area in the vicinity of the
Big Hart Spring now owned by George W. Gwyn heirs. They tell
me that about 1940 Mr. Gwyn employed a Mr. Helton to mow the
grounds around the present Gwyn home. Mr. Helton in the
absence of Mr. Gwyn came upon grave markers (field stones);
and since his mowing machine would not pass over them, he
pulled them up and discarded them in an adjacent ravine.
Bessie Gwyn (Mrs. Ira McDonald) remembers these headstones.
She states that there were twenty-five or so of them, in
definite rows, and that her family thought them to be graves.
None carried names or legends to identify them. This is the
most likely spot of James' burial site.


The records show that James died in 1845 in Rutherford
County and that on March 3, Thomas M, Hart was appointed his
administrator. On April 21, 1845, this administrator
recorded this settlement.

List of sale of property:

2 weeding hoes

1 set gear

Single tree & Clevis

1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryRutherford County Historical SocietyPublication (Volume 16) → online text (page 1 of 6)