A History of Way, Tennessee

Nell Morisette
NewsTribune Special Columnist

On December 13, 1938, Mrs. M.P. Hatchett from Ada, Ok., wrote a letter to the County Clerk. Benton County, Camden, Tenn. She was trying to trace the Hatchett line in America. She knew an Edward Hatchett who married an Anah Ross and lived here. Mrs. Hatchett also wanted information on Nancy Ross and Dicy Harris. She wrote that Edward Hatchett was buried on or near his homeplace in a small cemetery and was thought to be about 50 years old when he moved to Benton County. G.B. Holladay answered her back and sent quite a bit of information. (I have some of the letters.)

Hatchett's Land Entry Book, page 180, Benton County, Tenn., 1881, State of Tennessee, Benton County Reads:"George Damewood by virtue of the several occupant and reserve laws now in force in said state enters 190 acres of land as his reserve in said County of Benton in Range 9 section 4. Beginning at the southeast corner of entry number 2553 for an acres in the name of George Damewood and runs east 50 poles to the northeast entry number 536 in the name of Joshua Williams and to the low water mark of the Tennessee River. Thence north veering east with the meanders of the Cherry, thence west and completement - Dec. 14, 1841, George Damewood."

Across the face of the entry appears, "This location is transferred to Edward G. Hatchett June 10, 1842. George Damewood, Agent Thomas H. Burton. "These court records show that E.G. Hatchett was living in the Way community. The old Hatchett place lies in the 10th Civil District at Way, Tenn., near the Post Office, which is near the Hatchett Spring. It is several miles northeast of Camden; by road it's ten miles. Way is one and a half miles east of Flatwoods Methodist Church. The location of the old Hatchett homeplace, spring orchard and burial ground are well know, the burial ground being an Indian one.

On March 12, 1849, E.G. Hatchett sold a tract of land to James J. Farmer (Deed Book "c" page 14). On July 14, 1849, in Deed Book "c" page 225 he sold a tract of land to B.A. Russell.

On May 6, 1847, E.G. Hatchett appeared in open court and proved by his own oath that he had killed two wolves in the limits of Benton County and produced the scalps thereof to the court.

Minute Book number 2 Benton County Court, page 301, dated Nov. 1, 1847, shows E.G. Hatchett, R. TL. Rushing, N.G. Page, E. Perking, William and John Pafford, appointed to view and mark a road.

The following information shows a Ross family lived in the same area. Minute Book number 2 Benton County court, page 291, Sept. 6, 1847 reads: "It is ordered by the court that Williams Holmes be appointed overseer of the Stage Road to work from the Tennessee River to the four-mile post on Paris Road, hands as follows: Willie Arnold, William Durdin, James Pinkney, F.R and Asbury Cuff. The hands of Elijah Penick, James Ross, Hyram Johnson, A.T. and Amos Corbitt and all hands in the bounds shall work under said Holmes on said road which is established in the first class." This road passed by the old Hatchett homeplace and Hatchett Spring.

Minute Book number 2, page 390 Benton County Court May 7, 1849 reads: "It is ordered that William Garrett be appointed overseer of the new road to work from James Bridge to Samuel Ross' old place." It is given to show another Ross family lived 17 or 18 miles from the Old Hatchett place.

What was Colley's Landing on the Tennessee River was in earlier days called Ross Landing and was about eight miles from the Old Hatchett place. Claude Melton stated that a Ross family lived on-half mile west of the Hatchett place, above the homeplace and spring.

B.F. (Frank) Davidson, born in 1847, married Caroline Pafford, born July 27, 1855, and they were living in the Tenth District in 1910 in Way, Tenn. Frank owned and was running a merchandise store on the old Hatchett homeplace in 1900. The Post Office was in his store, and Frank was Postmaster. Caroline Pafford Davidson was born near the old Hatchett property.

Frank said that the burial place on the Hatchett homeplace was Indian and that Flatwoods Methodist Cemetery was located about one and a half miles west of the old residence, spring and orchard, and if any of the Hatchett family died here, they were probably buried in the church cemetery. No tombstones or sandstones have the name Hatchett or Ross on them. In fact, hardly any of the older graves in the county had markers with names on them. Frank died in 1937. His son E.D. Davidson rant he store some times between 1900 - 1929.

Claude Melton, born May 5, 1886, married Mary Childress. They bought the store from E.D. Davidson. I can remember the store when Claude ran it. Claude also had an ax handle mill. George Childress married Allis Davidson. He ran a sawmill. Sherman (Tot), a brother to George, married Euel Davidson, a sister to Allie. Tot also ran a blacksmith shop. A gristmill was run by William (Bill) Berry, later run by his son, Tom Berry.

The dry good and groceries were delivered by steamboats. The boat docked on the west side of the Tennessee River by Reynoldsburg Island. The Wesley Chapel Church was established around 1900 by Wesley Melton in the Way community. The Children of Way attended school at Cherry Grove.

If you wanted to visit a little community that used to be called Way, Tenn., leaving Flatwoods Methodist Church, go down Flatwoods Road to Cherry Grove Road, turn left - first place on the right is where James Jackson lives on the old Hatchett homestead. James still uses the Hatchett Spring, the only remains of Way, Tennessee.


If you have suggestions and/ or additions for these pages, please feel free to write County Host

Brian Nichols

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