The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 23 Jun 1904, Vol. XXIV, No. 15.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE.----The county was divided into six districts. These districts were both civil and military. Each district elected a justice and a captain of militia. The captain was required to enroll every resident in his district, whose age was between 18 and 45 years, into a military company. These companies were required to assemble four times each year for company drill and instruction. Besides these, they were to be as minute men, subject to call for military duty and always ready to respond. The first district or division, consisting of 57 men, elected Thomas COULTER captain. He lived near Holsten river above Lenoir City. The second division consisting of 63 men elected Richard OLIVER who lived on Tennessee river but who afterwards located at Oliver Springs. The third division consisting of 38 men elected Gray SYMS, who lived on Emory river. The fourth division of 28 men, elected George INGRAM who lived near Clinch river and the Anderson county line. The fifth division of 37 men elected James WALKER, who lived near Poplar creek. The sixth division, consisting of 52 men elected Hugh FRANCIS as captain. The total of the six companies was 275 men being all who at that time, 1801, were subject to military duty. It must be remembered that Sequatchie Valley and parts of Marion, Hamilton and all of Rhea county was embraced in the then boundaries of Roane county.
A military office carried with it vastly more honor that a civil one and each officer prided in the efficiency of his company. It is no matter for wonder then that, in five days after the call was received for a company for service under JACKSON against the Creek Indians, Capt. BACON'S company had assembled at the muster ground at the big spring, where the town of Washington, Rhea county, was afterward located or that cattle was as quickly being collected at the Bullock pens on the first branch below the mouth of Caney creek. These cattle were herded on the cane which grew luxuriantly on the branch and river bottoms, till Gen. James WHITE arrived from Knoxville with a boat load of arms and ammunition for the men. When the troops began the march the cattle were driven into the rear. There was the same alacrity(?) by the men of Roane county in response to the call when Dick DUNLAP'S battalion assembled and when General John BROWN'S brigade was ordered out, and the same quick response when Capt. James FREEMAN'S company left South West Point in open flat boats to support old "Rough and Ready" in Mexico. When the toscin of war sounded in 1861, more men volunteered into the ranks from Roane county than there were voters therein, and against their country's call volunteers responded with old time alacrity to help Cuba in her struggle for freedom. Every descendant of Roane county ancestors has a right to feel pride in the military history of his county. But the ardor of its people is only what might be expected when we remember, as been heretofore shown, that so large a per cent of the original settlers were soldiers of the resolution. Of the two hundred and seventy-five men who resided in Roane county in the beginning of the past century there were many notable and interesting characters. Judge David CAMPBELL who was one of the most profound jurists of the state owned a one thousand acre tract of land on Tennessee river near what was known as the Indian old field. Wilie (pronounced Wyly) BLOUNT, owned two tracts of land in the county, one of 4,200 acres on Clinch river. He was a brother of Gov. William BLOUNT and was himself Governor from 1809 to 1815. John RHEA, congressman from this state and grandfather of congressman RHEA, of Va., owned 1750 acres of land on Hickory creek but did not reside on it. (Just here interline that the word "hickory" is from the Indian vocabulary, but we have butchered the euphony of the word by the barbarity of our englicising it.) Another John RHEA, an old bachelor, owned land on the north side of the river extending from the river reservation, now the Van STOWE farm, to the Bullock pen branch, about eight miles. These lands are now owned by Col. J.W. BOWMAN, P.W. EVANS and others. RHEA'S house was located where the BOWERS home now stands. There were two CLEMMONS brothers, Jacob and Frederick, one of whom was the father of John M. and grandfather of Samuel C. (Mark TWAIN,) but which one has the distinction I am not sure. Jacob had 190 acres of land on Tennessee river and Frederick lived on the Clinch. They both belonged to Capt. FRANCIS' company. This Capt. FRANCIS was the father of Charlie FRANCIS, who fought Mike FOUCHE at the noted battle between the champions of the whig and democratic parties in Kingston in 1844. FRANCIS was killed in a skirmish at the forks of the road near Mr. PECK'S house in Anderson county in 1864.
Richard CAVIT, a brother of Alexander CAVIT, who, with his family, was massacred by the Indian under chief Doublehead, near the present town of Concord, Sept. 25th, 1793, owned 200 acres on Clinch river upon which he lived. He was the first to find the body of Wm. BRADBURY after he had been killed by the HARPS on the pathway that led through the gap. Some who had a thought to preserve the local history of that murder, cut BRADBURY'S name on a large stone by the roadside but unfortunately ommitted to cut the date, which is left now, partly to tradition to preserve. This stone is by the old pathway and about one hundred and fifty yards north of the gap that bears his name. CAVETT belonged to Capt. OLIVERS company. It is probable that there is no lineal descendants of his in the county now.
Nathaniel BUCKINGHAM owned a lot in the town of Kingston. He invented a sort of perpetual motion pump with which he proposed to propel machinery. All that was needed was a pool of water in which to set the pump. Just back of the court house and jail was a pond. The town gave BUCKINGHAM permission to build a mill in it. The pump was to lift water onto the wheel and the turning wheel would run the pump. The mill was a failure, but not more so than my ability to understand the mechanical principle of the pump from a study of the diagram.
The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 30 Jun 1904, Vol. XXIV, No. 16.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE.---John SMITH, one of the commissioners who laid out the town of Kingston, was a man of noted character. He was a lawyer by profession, an all around sport and a dangerous man in a fight. He was a wealthy man, owning and paying tax on 41030 acres of land in Roane county for the year 1802, besides other large holdings in other parts of the state. He was asked so often if he was if he was a descendant of Capt. John SMITH, of Pocahontas fame, that he always signed his name with a "T" added to it, meaning that he was John SMITH of Tennessee. He and Col. Wm. STAPLES shot a match for a stake of one hundred dollars a side. The match ground was in the hollow a short distance above the MUECKE lot. Owing to SMITH'S reputation it was feared by STAPLES friends that if he won, SMITH would find pretext to shoot him as he had the reputation of having killed eleven men at different times. Col. Joel HEMBREE stood quietly by with a loaded gun to shoot SMITH on the slightest sign or indication of danger. STAPLES won with the true spirit of a sport. SMITH congratulated STAPLES and they were fast friends afterward.
Old Calvin MORGAN built the brick house on the corner, now occupied by Mr. BRAZEALE as a public house. It was built in the year 1806. the brick were laid without a stretcher or header courses, every brick being tied in the wall. He said he was building for people to live in a hundred years after he was gone. It was for a tavern, with a corner room for a store and "ordinary" (a polite name for a saloon.) MORGAN raised a boy, Edward T. MORGAN, said to have been his son by a mulatto woman. The boy developed into a first class business man and managed the store and other affairs of the family. He was a man of fine personal appearance and there being no laws against miscegenation, he married a handsome woman of a leading family. Some of her relatives felt outraged over the affair and SMITH was their friend. On a certain Sunday Edward MORGAN and a man by the name of LAWLER had ridden out to church at what is now Lawnville. On their return Morgan was shot from the bushes at the turn of the road at the east fork of the hill one mile from Kingston. A few minutes afterwards SMITH and an uncle of the bride rode into town. SMITH was carrying a gun, which Uriah ALLISON now has; He keeps it as a souvenir. Another uncle by marriage drove up to the door of the Morgan house in a covered carriage, entering the house, the young Mrs. MORGAN arose to greet him. Taking her by the hand he put his arm around her waist and lifted her into the carriage. Closing the door he ordered the driver to drive on. They crossed Clinch at the Center ford, after which all trace disappeared. Public sympathy was with the relatives, and no investigation was ever made. It was afterwards reported that she entered a convent in Louisville, Ky., under the name of "Sister Angelics" and had recently died.
On one occasion SMITH was returning from a trip in Middle Tennessee where he had been looking after his large landed estate, and had stopped for the night at a roadside tavern, now Sparta. There were a large number of travelers seated at the supper table. The conversation had been about SMITH and the Kingston incident, no one knowing SMITH was present. One man very bitterly denounced him and made a very uncomplimentary assertion about a female of SMITH'S family. SMITH, who was sitting just across the table, shot him dead. Next morning the tavern keeper, acting as coroner, impaneled a jury. After hearing the evidence the following verdict was rendered: "The deceased made a false and slanderous report about a female relative of SMITH which, if left unchallenged, would tend to destroy the happiness of the home circle. It was SMITH'S duty to appeal to the law for protection, but in this case there was no law either civil or criminal that would have stopped the circulation of the slander. The law being powerless SMITH had as much natural right to defend his happiness as he would his life or liberty if assailed. We find that SMITH fired the shot in self defense under the law that guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This verdict was signed by John GARDENHIRE, John OFFICER and others.