The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 29 Jun 1905, Vol. XXV, No. 15.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McElwee. ---Edward OWINGS was married in the Chester district of South Carolina in the year 1779, the year that constitution of the United States was put in force and General Washington elected to the Presidency. His oldest son was born on the following year and the second one, Samuel, whose after life was more intimately connected with Roane county affairs that either of the other children was born in the same district on the 13th of August 1793. At the age of seven years he came with his father and family to Tennessee. Educational advantages being limited in the then western country, the OWINGS children received only "The Old Log School House" education, that is to "Read, write and cipher to the rule of three."
Dillworth was the speller used in those days. It was a curiously shaped book, that is, it was like a music note book, wider than long. It was made this way, so the introduction said, that it would be more conveniently used by two students at the same time. The manner of spelling as taught therein was peculiar. Where a word began with two vowels, like the word Aaron it was spelleed big A little a, r on, ron, Aaron, or Europe was spelled big E little e-r-o-p-e, rope, Europe. There were some rude pictures about the middle of the book and following these the words were defined. This part was called the Grammar part, but was not considered essential to an education. To spell to the pictures was sufficient. It was equal to a present day diploma. It was hard on the youngest son, Alford, to spell in the class. He "stuttered" badly and before he could utter the word some one else would spell it. His wife used to say that when he came courting she just looked at him and guessing what he was trying to say would answer before he could repeat the question, and Alfred always asserted that she took the advantage of him in that way and agreed to marry him when he had not asked her. His wife was Polly LONG. Her father was "Old Billy LONG" lived at Cave Spring. He and Maj. John SMITH were neighbors during their lifetime and were buried close together in the old Smith graveyard. James P. HAYNES built a mill on Caney creek in 1820 but after a few years sold out and went west. OWINGS took the mill and added a saw mill. He lived here until all of his family were grown, five sons and one girl, Nelly. Nelly married Jo. SCROGGINS and went with the other members of the family to Kansas in 1856.
An older brother, William, married Abigail RANDOLPH. He died a few years afterward and was buried on the old "Neddy" OWINGS farm, now the Carter place. He left two young sons, Marion and Jehu. Marion died a few years ago and was buried in the Rockwood cemetery. Jehu is a citizen of our town.
Another brother, John went to Middle Tennessee. He has numerous descent in both Tennessee and Kentucky.
One of the girls married Moses RUSSELL and went to Arkansas. The town of Russellville, Ark., took its name from him.
Another of the girls married John PANKEY and moved to north Alabama where PANKEY died. She was living in 1894 with a son-in-law at Cairo, Ill.
Another one of the girls married William KING but only lived a few years. She was buried by the side of her brother William in the family cemetery. She left one son, William, who became noted as a Confederate scout and soldier in Missouri, to which state his father moved after the death of Uncle Neddy. After moving to Missouri, KING and his sister-in-law, "Aunt Nellie" were married at the ages of 65 and 61, respectively.
Samuel OWINGS who was more distinctly a Roane county man married a Miss Sarah RANDOLPH Oct. 30th 1814. He had only recently returned from the army, having served under Gen. JACKSON in the campaigns against the Indians in Alabama, taking part in a number of engagements, the last one of which was that of Tohopeka or Horse Shoe Bend. He was on picket duty after the battle and saw the great chief, WEATHERFORD, when he rode into camps on a spotted "Apalachacola" pony with a deer thrown across behind him, WEATHERFORD had killed the deer as he came into camps to surrender. (To be continued.) Note: The second part is missing.
The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 10 Aug 1905, Vol. XXV, No. 21.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE. --In the year 1798 William JOINER and three companions, journeying on foot from Wilkes county, North Carolina to the settlements around Nashville, by way of the Avory trace, that is the road cut by the state of N.C. in 1778, came upon a company of Indians camped under a Hemlock tree, which still stands a few yards above the ford of Clifty creek where the Rockwood and Blake road crosses. The Indians had a deer hanging to a limb and were preparing to "jerk" the meat. This alarmed the whites as Indians always prepared their meat in this way when starting on marauding expeditions or journeys. The party of the whites fell back a half mile or more and turned off of the road, up a steep ravine, above what is now known as the MELHORN place, where they found a spring at which they camped. The parties by turn stood picket two hours each. JOINER'S turn was from twelve to two. It was a dark cloudy night with the stillness only broken by the occasional howl of a wolf or the mournful note of a night owl's dull too-who. As JOINER stood there in the dark beneath a frowning cliff, watching over his sleeping companions, he mentally declared that he would not live in these mountain wilds if the entire wilderness was given to him. Yet in 1814 he returned to this place from the west with his wife, Betsy, and stopping at the same place, built a cabin at the mouth of the ravine, where he lived till his death in 1849. He was a small man and remarkably active. Althoug of a peaceable and jovial disposition, he had one bitter enemy who came from the same county as he. This man, John GARDNER, had no outer rim to his ears and JOYNER said it was "crapped" for hog stealing before he left the old north state. JOYNERS house was burned and GARDNER was always accused of the act. Whiskey was cheap and plentiful in those days, and JOYNER often went on a spree. When drinking he was full of fun, but taking no notice of any one, talking only to himself or his dog "Watch." The first game of cards we ever saw played was between him and "Watch." He always claimed when drinking that we were named for him, and would often take us home with him to see Betsy and Judy. Betsy was his wife and Judy her little dog. We went home with him when he got his new cabin up. We were some five or six years old. He had a jug of whiskey and got funny. On top of the mountain we sat down to rest. He began telling "Watch" how he knew that Watch saw GARDNER fire the house. Because when he saw the fire said, "GARDNER set that fire, then he looked at Betsy and Betsy looked at Judy and Judy looked at Watch and Watch he smiled."
Aunt Betsy was expecting "Billy" would bring us with him and knowing we were fond of baked coon had prepared a fine young and fat one. It was cooked whole. In dressing it she had left the long eye lashes around its eyes. To give it a fine appearance she had set it up in a large pewter dish with a big red apple between its fore paws. My seat was in front of the coon. Its black eyes seemed to be looking me right in the face. After being seated Uncle Billy told Watch whom he had taught, to say grace. The dog put his paw over his face for a moment then looked up and whined. Then, Uncle Billy sliced a piece from the coon's back and put it on our plate. We went to put a piece in our mouth but saw the coon was looking at us and laid it down. Two or three times we tried to put it in our mouth but the coon continued to look and we laid it down. We made our meal of greens that had been cooked with the coon, corn bread and a tin cup of buttermilk. We have never eaten a piece of coon since.
Uncle Billy died in 1849 willing us his place and his dog. We got the dog but let Aunt Betsy and Judy have the place. She gave the land to a man named WHITE(?) to take [several words illegible] and Judy died the same day and Judy was buried at the foot in the same grave. Watch died in 1861 while we were in the army. Had we been at home we would have buried him with his old master at Post Oak Springs. Uncle Billy was a great admirer of Gen. JACKSON, and on the day he inaugurated president, 1828, JOYNER planted an apple tree, which still stands. Recently we ate an apple under that tree, and passed in mental review the olden times. Uncle Billy was as uncultured as the native wilds in which he lived but a nobler heart never beat in a human bosom.
The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 24 Aug 1905, Vol. XXV, No. 23.
About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE. ---From a correspondent we received a note a few days ago in which he says: "Your sketch of Billy JOINER, is incomplete as respects the brindle dog, Watch, in failing to tell of his many good qualities or high value as a 'slow track dog.' The value of such rare dogs in the olden time is known only to the old time deer stalker and a few men whose memory goes back to that age, such as Col. COLYAR of Nashville. I remember the old dog and his qualities, as well as his master, quite vividly. This dog would stealthily trail a deer for hours and at no time go beyond a few yards in advance of his master. It was easy to tell by his care in walking when he was getting close to the deer. When a shot was fired he would stand, although he might see the deer fall or go crippling away, till a look from the master would tell him to give chase. Uncle Billy herded cattle on the mountain range. When out of the woods Watch always walked in front of him and never failed to find any snake that came in their way. When Uncle Billy was listening for a cow bell, the dog would instantly stop his noise from panting at the wave of his masters hand, the only dog I ever knew so trained or capable of such training."
As a matter of fact Watch was almost as famous, locally, as Uncle Billy himself, who was known far and wide as "curiosity jiner." His smallness of stature, his peculiar mannerism, his quaintness of apparel, his excentric ways and witty sayings, made him a notable personage in the community.
He had a brother "Charleton" who came to Roane county in 1820 and settled in the ridges between Post Oak Springs and the river. His oldest daughter married a Morman Elder and went with him to Indexpendence, Missouri. The other members of the family moved to that state in 1847. After the civil war the old farm was divided into ten acre lots and sold to negro settlers. It soon became famous in criminal annals unther the name of "Jiners hollow." The negro dances were the "foct(?)" of many cases that cost the county hundred of dollars for legal procedure. But Alf LOVE, the fiddler, on growing old, joined the church. The red and blue ribbons that hung in long streamers from the fiddle keys were unloosed, the voice of the instrument was hushed. The strains of "Billy in the Low Grounds" "Natches under the hill," "Kitty Puss" and running the Rattlesnake" no longer entused the dusky dancers to "cut the pigeon wing" or set the razors flying in the air," and peace and contentment now reigns in "Jiner hollow."
"Dat fiddle wer hung on de kitchen wall,
Take care gals dat fiddle fall;
If it fall upon the ground,
Young fiddles grow up all around."