Jay Guy Cisco.

Historic Sumner County, Tennessee, with genealogies of the Bledsoe, Gage and Douglass families and genealogical notes of other Sumner County families online

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Online LibraryJay Guy CiscoHistoric Sumner County, Tennessee, with genealogies of the Bledsoe, Gage and Douglass families and genealogical notes of other Sumner County families → online text (page 20 of 21)
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by Indians. There was quite a romance connected
with their marria^q^e. it beinti^ an eloj^cment. .Andrew
Jackson made a rope ladder and helped his partner to
steal his bride from an ujiper room in the old Kock
Castle homestead of the family. After the death of
Samuel Donelson his widow married James Sanders of
Sumner Comity, by whom she had several children.

Georg;e Smith had a son. Harry, who was the father
of Mrs. Horatio I^Jerry. who inherited the Rock Castle
estate, where she now resides.


Thomas Sharp Sjiencer, called the "Chevalier
Beyard of the Cumherl;)n<l X'alley." was a native of
\ irginia, and a lK»ld. daring' hunter, who at an early
day went to Kentucky in search c>\ adventure. I'rom
Kentucky he came to what is now Tennessee, in 1778,
with a parly of hunters, who matle their camp at
Bledsoe's Lick. After a lime all of the parly returned
to the settlements except Spencer and one other,
whose name is given in some of the histories and as
Holliday in others, as elsewhere slated in this story a>
Drake. He was a man of gigantic si - ^e and great
phvsical stnMigth. .'ind ne\er knew the meaning i<\
the word fear. Many stories are told oi his prowss
and of his adventures with the Indians, and if ihvy
were all collected they would li!I a volume winch
w<ndd rea<l more like romance ihan fact. He helped
to build the first cabin, make the first clearing and
plant tb,e tii'st co!-n in Middle Tennessee. He was a

So Ml-: Si'MNiiK Count LANS 301

nephew of that Jiulj^e Sanniel Spencer, wlio issucil tlic
warrant for tlie arrest of John Sevier for hi.Ljh treason
in 178S, and who was killed hy a tnrkcy gobbler.

In 1/9-1 S])cncer made a jonrncy to \'irginia to
collect some nionev that was due him from an estate.

Spenckr's Choice. Fcik.mkk IIomf, ov Davm) Shelhv
Ekkctkd in 17i^8

Retnrning. he was shot from anilnisli l)\ Indians, at
what is now called SjKnccr's ilill, in \ an lUnen
Connty. The seat of justice (jf that county was so
named in his honor. .So, also, were .Spencer's Creek
and Spencer's Lick.

After the death of .Spencer, the body of land con-
taining 6-10 acres, lying one mile south oi Ciallatin,

302 Historic Sumxer Couxiv^ Tlnx.

ami known to this tlay as "Spencer's Choice,'' pasNcd
to tlic ownership of his hrothcr. W ilh'am. and his ^i^-
ter, Elizabeth. The latter purchased her brother s
interest, and then sold the entire tract to David SIkI-
by, who, in 1798, built the stone residence still statu 1-
ing and occupied by A. P. Ilowisson, the presi-ut


William Trousdale was born in Oran,:^e County.
North Carolina, September 23, 1790. lii 1796 his
father, Capt. James Trousdale, moved to Tennessee,
and settled on a f^rant of 650 acres of land on which
the town of (Gallatin was afterwards located. He \va?
educated in the common schools of the county. In
1813 he volunteered for the Creek war, and was
elected Third Lieutenant. Took part in the battk':
of Talladega and Tallahatchie. Re-enlisted in 1814.
and was at the capture of Pensacola, and in the battle
of New Orleans, under Jackson. After the close of
the war he returned home and resumed his studios.
Adn)itted to the bar in 1820. In 1827 married -Ali^s
]\lary Ann Prngg'. In 1835 he was elected to the
State Senate. In 1836 he was made Major General
of Militia. He was Colonel of the Second Regiment
of Mounted \'olunteers in the Seminole War, in 1S3".
After the close of that war he declined to accept liie
apjiointment as Brigadier General in the Reguhir
Army, tendered by President Jackson. He wa> a
Democratic elector in 1840. in 1847 he was appoint-
ed by President Polk. Colonel oi' the l-\.urt«.vutli
United States Infantry, and as such participau>i in
the battles of Conlrcras, Cherebusco. !\lolina ile! K« >
and Chepullepec, in the war with Mexico. In this last
battle he commanded a brigade. He was twice wound-
ed, but refused to leave the field. On August 23,
1848, he was made ISrigadier General by ])revet. fn
1849 he was elected Governor of Tennessee, anu


served two Icrins. In May, 1853. Presirlcnt Pierce
api)oiiite(l him .Minister to Brazil, which office he heUl
four years. Died in Gallatin, ^vfaich 27. 1872, leav-
ing many descendants.


Captain \\'illi.im W'.'dton was not for many years a
citizen of .^umncr Cinmiv, Init ionir enou;::^h to deserve

Governor William Trolsdale

mention here, lie was born in Hertio C'nunty. Xorlh
Carolina, a conniy that has ^iven to Tennessee many
of her prominent men. in 1760. lie was of En.c;lisli
Cavalier descent ; attained his early manhood about
the bejiimiinij^ <n" the Revolutionary war. and at the
age of 17 enlisted in Majcjr I Tardy }klurfree's battalion



^yy^T' '-"^■'■.'>^' ^^'^^ cniinissionecl a Lieutcn-
'.'Ht. rind tl,c>n Uq>Uuu. lie was in nianv of il,e nio^t
i.nportant encra.qc-nicnts of the war. and demeaned
ninsell as a brave and .gallant soldier. He was , ice
akcn prisoner. In December, 1783 he was married
to Sarah Jones, and in 1785 removed to what is now
Sumner County rennessce and settled at Man^ker's
Station near C.oodlettsville. The ne.xt vear he located
a body ot land ni what is now Smith' Countv, on a
M.t ot wh.cli the county seat was afterwards 'located
(Carthao^.) Captam Walton continned to re.ide in
Sumner County nntil 17%, when he removed to his
new home. At that time Smitii Conntv was a „ r?
ol Sumnen ^^•hen Smith Connty wa's formed' he
uas one ot its first ma.i^isirates, a po>ition lie har|
held m Sumner County. When the question ni a
county seat came up. throuo-h his influence it uas

ot^the town tor a courthouse and other public build-


Captain A\ alton inau-erated the j.lan. and was the
contractor who built what is known as -Waltoirs
Koad. which connects the Cumberland countrv with
Knoxv.lle and I-ast Tennessee, and was for' man v
>(.ars one ot the most traveled roads in the State

mem at that day. I he Tennessee Central Railroad
closely ollows us course from Lebanon to Kingston
across the Cumberland Mountains '"- '

Alarch 0. ISir,. leavm- a handsome fortune and manv

descendants, all of whom have, up to tlm dav. C
useful and honorable citizens.


Franl. \\ aaherred was a native of \ir;^inia : served
ui lie War ot Independence under (General I^afaveitc
and was with that ofliccr at the sei-e of Vorklown He
was (.ne o. diat -allant band that stormed the I^rittish

SoMii Summ:r Couxtians 305

works under coniinand of tlie fjallant J'Vcnch com-
niaiidcr. lie came to Sumner County, an<l settled
near. Bledsoe's Lick, on lands which belonged to the
late Senator William J'., liate. lie was a carpenter by
trade, and some ot the old houses still standing in
that vicinity attest the excellence of his work. He
did nnich of the woodwork on Cragfunt. the home of
General lames W'nichester. lie was a useful citizen;
reared several sons, one of whom was the ancestor of
the late Senator Bate. Two of his children married
into the Colonel Anthony Bledsoe family. His wife
was a sister of Cieneral Sumpter, of South Carolina.


Prominent among the early settlers of Sumner
county was the Wilson family. Zaccheus Wilson was
one of three brothers who removed from Pennsylvania
and settled in ^Mecklenburg County. North Carolina,
about 1760. At the time of the Mecklenburg Conven-
tion, May 20, 1775, he was present and signed the
Mecklenburg Declaration, pledging himself and his
extensive family connection to its supp(>rt and mairi-
tainence. He was a member of the Convention that
formed the State Constitutit)n of Xorth Carolina in
1776. He was a man of liberal education, and ver)
popular in the county in which he lived. His family
were Scotch- Irish Presbyterians. His eldest brother,
Robert, removed with him to Tennessee, and to Sum-
ner County soon after the close of the Revolutionary
War. Zaccheus lived to an advanced age, and lies
buried in an unmarked grave about one half mile
south of Gallatin on the old cotton factory grounds.
Samuel Wilson married a Miss Kncxx. daughter of
Captain Patrick Knox, who was killed at the battle of
Ramseurs Mill. Major David Wilson, brL>ther of
Zaccheus. a native of Pennsylvania, was an olticer in
the War of Inde])endence, and for his service received
from the State of Xorth Carolina, a track of lantl in
.Sumner (. ountv, Tennessee, where he settled. He was

306 Historic Sumni:r CoUxVTV, Tknn.

a member c»t the 'J\'rrik)rial Assembly in 17\)A. and
was the Speaker of the 1 louse of Representatives.
He .was a magistrate of Sumner County as early as
1787 His residence was alxnit two miles east from
Gallatin. He was a valuable member of the new set-
tlement, and took an active part in all public affairs
and in the Indian wars. Wilson County was so named
in his honor. Jle married Sallie McConnell. sister
of General James White the father of Hugh Lawson
^^'hite. His remains lie in an unmarked grave ncctr

Samuel Franklin Wilson was born in Sumner
County in the month of April, 1845. In 1861 he left
school and entered the Confederate Army as a private
in Company 1, of Colonel William B. Bates' regiment.
He was in the battles of Corinth, Richmond Kentucky,
where he was wounded; Perryville, and Mnrirces-
boro. where he was again wounded. In iHCo he took
part in the ']"ullahoma campaign. He lost an arm at
Chickamauga, which ended his nn'litary career. After
the close of the war he attended the University at Pen-
field. Georgia, and graduated from the University of
Georgia with secf>nd hcmors. in 1868. in 1869 he
graduated in law at Cumberland I'niversity, and com-
niencetl jiracticing at Ciallatin. In 1871 lie was elected
a member of the [.egislature. and in 1879 of the State
Senate. In 1880 he was nt)minated for Governor on
the ''low tax platform.'' but was defeated. In 18S4
he was an elector (jn the Cleveland ticket, ami the
next year was appointed b\- I^resident Cleveland
United States Marshall. In 1895 he was a[)pointcd
one of tlie Judges of the Court of Chancery Appeals,
ami has servcl continurm'^ly since.


George Winchester was a younger brother of Gen-
eral James Winchester. He was born in Maryland.
an<l served in the war of the American Revolution,
and afterwards came to Sunnier Counlv. and was a


member of its first County Court. After Xorth Caro-
lina ceded the territory now known as Tennessee to
the United States. Winchester was api)ointed hy Gov-
ernor lUonnt a justice of the peace, in 1790. J le also
appointed him Kej^ister of Sumner County, and Sec-
ond ^lajor of cavalry for Mero District. The next
year he Avas ajjpointed I^'irst Major of the cavalry of
]\Iero District. lie participated in nearly all the fights
with the Indians; led several expeditions against them,
and was active in all public affairs. lie located the
first permanent water mill in Sumner County, on
}31cdsoe"s Creek, near where it crosses the Gallatin
and llartsville pike. He was greatly beloved by the
people for his kindness of -heart and for his many vir-
tues. He was killed and scalped by Indians near the
town of Gallatin, about the east end of what is now
Water Street, on the morning of August 9. 1794,
while on his way to the seat of justice to attend court.
He A\as never married.


General James Winchester was born at While
Level, Md., February 6, 1752. He received a liberal
education, and in May, 1776. was appointed a Lieuten-
ant in the Third Maryland in the \Var for Indepcr.d-
ence. He was a brave and gallant soldier, and ]>ar-
ticij^ated in a number of engagements. He was taicen
prisoner 1)y the British and held until 1780 when he
was exchanged. After the close of the war he nvwed
to Tennesbce and settled in Sumner County on Bled-
soe Creek, where he owned a' large body of valuable
land. He was a man of education, of culture and re-
finement, and was a very useful citizen. His military
experience made him invaluable in repelling the at-
tacks of the Indians. He directed the scouts and spies
and frerjuently accompanied troops in their pursuits
of the enemy. He was a member of the Territorial
General Assembly in 1794 and Speaker of the first


State Senate in 1796. Jn the War of 1812 he was
commissioned a IJrij^adier (ieneral and placed in com-
mand of one winp;- of the Xorthwestern Army. At the
disastrous battle <jf the i\iver Raison he was taken
prisoner by the British anil sent to Oucbec, where he

General James Winchester

was held for more than a year. ITe was severely
criticised for surrendering-, but the criticism was un-
just. While ridinj;^ amonj:^ his panic-stricken soldiers.
tryin£^ to rally them he was surrounded and taken
prisoner, and after he had snrrenrlered, on the pmmise
of the British commander that tlie men should receive
such treatment as civilized victors accord to van-

Some Sumxcr Couxtians 309

qiiislied. be sent an orrler to his. army to surrender.
^I(l^t of the men surrendered, and man}' of them were
treacherously and brutally massacred.

In 1814 General Wincliester returned to his home
in Sumner County, where he died July 27, lcS20.

Genera! Winchester was one c»i the original pro-
prietors of Memijbis, Juds^e John Overton and Gcri-
ei-al Andrew Jackson bcin,E: the others. They in part-
nership ])urchased the Rice j:^rant of 3,000 acres on
which the city was built. General Winchester's son,
^lajor Marcus 15. Winchester, who served on his
staff, and was taken prisoner with him. was the first
Ma}or of Memphis.

General Winchester married ^liss Susan P.lack, of
Sumner County. His home. "Cras^font." a large, sub-
stantial stone building, constructed under his own per-
sonal supervision, and by workmen brought for that
purpose from the East, is still standing and occujiicd.
though it has ])assed from the possession of the fam-
ily, lie and his accomjilished wife dispensed a liberal,
oidtimc Southern hos])ita1ity. They were the parents
of six sons and six daughters. The county sear of
Franklin County was named in honor of General Win-

The old Winchester home, "Cragfont," is now the
property and i> the home of W. ]•. C. Satterwhite.

They had children: .Maria, married Mr. IJendlorc.
of X'ew (Orleans: Selina. married William LimcI Rob-
inson, t>f Xew Orleans: Caroline, married C)rvillc
Sheil.w and moved to Lexingt<.)n. Ky. : Louisa, mar-
ried itldmund Rucker. Their S(«n, General K. W.
Rucker. a gallant Confederate soldier, now re>ides
in r.irmingham. Ala. Helen, never married. Ahuira.
married (Jol. .\lfred R. Wynne; Marcus 15.. moved to
Mem[)bis and was the first Mayor of that town, elect-
ed ill 1827 and served two terms; Lucilius. married
Amanda Pdedsoe, daughter of Isaac F.ledsoe, of Sum-
nei' Counlv; \'alerius, married Samuell;i Price, of

310 Historic Sumnf.r County, Trxx.

Nashville; Tames, married Mary House of Sumukt
CoiiiU\- ; George, married ^^faivina Gaines, aunt i<i
Hon. John W'eslc)' Gaines; Xapoleon, no informalion.


Colonel Alfred R. A\'vnnc was a son of Robert and
Cynthia (Harrison) Wynne. He was born in Sum-
ner County in 1800, and lived to be about four score
and ten years of a.£;e. He received a g-ood education
at Hickory Ridi;c, Wilson County, then, at the a.iL^e of
16 years, returned to his native county and became
clerk in a store at Cairo, where he remained for sev-
eral years, then commenced business on his own ac-
count at the same place. Three years later he sold
out and en,q-a,L;cd in the milling business at Stanij^s
Mill. In 1S34 he jiurchascd a farm at Castalian
Springs, where he continued to reside luitil his death.
He was a Colonel of militia, having command of 1200
men under the old military laws. In 1866 he was
elected a State Senator and served one term. He was
for forty-seven years jjosttiiaster at Castalian Springs.
In March 1825 he married Almira, a daughter vi
General James and Susan IMack Winchester. Fourteen
children were born to them, some of whom are now
living in Sumner Coimt_\ at the old Castalian Springs

Colonel Wynne had one sister, Cxnthia. who mar-
ried Albert Gallatin Donoho. of Trousdale Count\',
and whose son. Dr. Donoho. has for years been a
prominent ph\sician of Ilartsvillc.

Colonel Wynne's wife inherited from her father
an interest in the proi)erl\- known as IJlcrlsoe's l.ick.
He organized a c<iinpany. which erecte<l the large log
buiUlings and occupied as a hotel (hiring the summer
momlis. He gave to the place the name "Castal'.in
Springs." Later he purchased the other interests and
became the sole owner. At his death ilic pro|)eri\"
passed io lii> tlnee children, Winchester Wymie. of


Gallatin : Masses Sue and L<»ui.se Wynne, who reside
at the old i)lacc. The two sons of \\'inche>ler Wynne,
Georq^c and Julmond Wynne, reside with their parents
in the old home.


Dr. McDonald, in his "History of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church.' paints a woeful picture of
spiritual matters in pioneer times. He says: "'(Ortho-
doxy, the catechism, a deathless attachment to prin-
ciples and to ecclesiastical rip^hts. a holy horror of any
innovations on the traditional methods of work, sing-
ing- Rouse's Psalms, and hearing sermons three hours'
long on election, made up the religion of many among
the best citizens."

"Rut alter the revolution, mainly through the in-
fluence of the French soldiers who had aided u? ii
that struggle, infidelity swept over all this western
frontier, and threatened for a while to carry all the
poptdation. All the historians are agreed in their
testimony to this vast prevalence of infidelity. Some
say that nine-tenths of the ])eoplc were intidels. 'I'iic
general lack of preaching, and the bad character of
niany who did ])reacli. helped to sweep faith away
from the face of ilie ccnuitry. . . ^[ost of the
preachers were bad men. Drunkenness, wrangling,
licenti'jusness and heresy brought the most of them to
grief sooner or later."

'ibis may have been true of some sections, but not
of the Cumberland coimir\ . where there was but lit-
tle lawlessness, and few crimes ci^mmitted against
God or man.

Carr names several jireachers who had arrived in
tlie Sumner County seitiements before 170.-^. calls
them "eminent men of ( I(h1,"' who "warned the people
to flee the wraih o\ Gorl." The pioneer i>reachers
were, as a rule. Lfood men. and tbev exercised an m-

312 Historic Sumner Couxtv, Texx.

fluciicc for G^ood. Tliey were not men of learning",
but wliat ihcy lacked in cducatifMi they made up in

The pioneer preaciier was one of the people, one
who. in early youth, was noted for his great piety,
and for frequent and fervent prayers in puhlic. lie
was the pride and tlie i<iy of his mother, the hope of
his father, and the model to which all the mothers for
miles and miles aroiuid pointed their sons. He was
a p^eneral favorite with all the ])iou5 girls, and fre-
c|uentl\' the butt of the bail young men. He felt that
he was called to ju-each. There coidd be no doubt
ofjt, he had heard the summons and had no choice
but to obey. He usually married while quite young,
and the general verdict was that he had made a grave
mistake in not marrying some other girl. But mistake
or no mistake, in due course of tiu'.e he was surrounrl-
ed by a numerous brood of children, which, if rumors
were to be credited, were the worst children in the
whole settlement. And to this day we sometimes
hear the same report of preachers' children. 13ut it
is not always- true.

Tiie worldly ])OSsessions of the Pioneer Preacher
were few. They consistetl of a horse, bridle and sad-
dle, a pair of saddle bags, a pocket bible and a hymn
book, the last two being well worn, dog-eared, thumb-
marked and greasy from constant use. If he was
married he also owned a meager lot of household
furnitm-e and llxturcs, only such as was absolutely
necessary for his fannly. More would have been ex-
travagance and a burden to a man who had no per-
manent abode, a shephcrfl with a scattered llock. The
j^reacher was extravagant in piet\- and pra\er, but in
nothing else.

The circuit embraced man\- settlements, some of
which were many miles frf>m the abode of the
preacher. He traveled on horseback, sometimes (ju
foot, from one a])pointment to another, stopping at
night at any friendl\- cabin when night overtt^ok him.

The Pioneer Preacher. 313

lie sometimes camijcd in the woods, sleepiiifj with
his back to a tree, while his horse pfrazed about. Some-
times he was overtaken Ijy storms, rain or snow, for
which he was illy prepared. .Swollen streams were
frequently encountered, and the qood man was put
to great inconvenience, his health and even lite being'
endangered. I'm he put his trust in J'rovidence and
landed safe!}- on the other shore. 1 le had a sublime
faith in IMovidence. He trusted Providence to i>ro-
vide food for his family during his itineracy, and
there is no authentic record of any member of such a
family starving to deatli. J )(jubtless some of them at
times went to bed hungry, but hunger is good for the
soul. Providence also provided for the preacher and
his faithful horse and su]^])lied them with food at
intervals. The Pioneer Preacher did not confine his
preaching to Sundays, but he "dispensed" the gospel
every time he found a few faithful souls gathered to-
gether in the name of the Lord. There were but few
roads in those days, and the good man was forced
to travel over mountains, across valleys and through
trackless forests, without e\en a blazed tree to guide
him on his way.

The Pioneer Preacher had no vacations with full
pay, such as the modern preacher enjoys. If he ha<l
any leisure it was s])ent in wrestling with the Lord
and fighting the devil back from his little tlocks.
Satan was abroad in the laud, and be did not then,
as now, take a vacation during ibe hcalefl term. n(.)r
did the preacher.

In those days there were but few cluuxdi edifices —
they were called "meeting houses." and were con-
structed of logs, with puncluon doors and benches,
the latler without backs or cushi(Mis. These buildings
did duty as school houses as well as places of worship.
Sometimes cattle, hogs and sheep resorted to them
for shelter from the storm. (Jne "meetin' house"
suftieecl for a whole settlemeni, all worshipped {o-
gether regardless of church aftiliations. The circuit

314 Historic Sumxrr County, Tkxx.

riders, cxliorter. pra\er mccliiif^- and 'spcriciice jneet-
mfi; all attraok'd ilic saint and the sinner, the i^orx] antl
the had. The con i^rei^a lion was usually limited hy
the nunihcr of settlers in the community. In sparsely
settled districts, where there were no meetinp;- houses,
the ]>eople assembled at the cabin of some one of the
neii;hbors for worship. There were no origans,
pianos, nor violins in the churches of that day. The
only music was the min,<,ded voices of the multitude
siny;in_i^. often out of harmony, but vociferous, some
in a hiqh key and some in a low key, each doini;^ his
or her best for the qlory of God.

The visit of the Pioneer Preacher was an event in
the lives of the settlers. The fattest chicken was
killed, and the best the cabin afforded was put upon
the table. "J'he good man said a lonj^ blessincc before
tlie meal, and held family prayer 1)cfore retirinCT ♦'it
night and before breakfast in the mornini^. Pie slept
in the best bed. the family occupying- the same apart-
ment, as the cal)in contained but one room. There was
no privacy except in the forest.

The Pioneer Preacher was not paid a stipulated
salary, as preachers now are, and often did not re-
ceive as much as S5 a year in the "root of evil." Con-
tribution boxes were unknown at that day. Salvation
was free. 'idie gosjud was not retailed at so mucli
per and ])erqui>ite^. The ])reachcr and his family sub-
sisted entirely upon penjuisites; an occasional peck
of meal, a ])ullet, a ham. a side of bacon, a saddle
of venison, a ])air of home-made socks or luittens.
a few yards of home-m ide jeans or linsey woolsey
and such articles as the people could s|)are from their
linu"teil stores; the>e were freely given and thankful!)

The Pioneer Preacher was an oracle: it was
through him that the news was s])read. a.nd this was

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20

Online LibraryJay Guy CiscoHistoric Sumner County, Tennessee, with genealogies of the Bledsoe, Gage and Douglass families and genealogical notes of other Sumner County families → online text (page 20 of 21)