Isaac M. JOHNSTON, was born at his present location April 20, 1838, son of James and Elizabeth (McNew) JOHNSTON.  They were of Irish descent, and natives of Virginia, the father of Smith County, and the mother of Washington.  The father was born August 30, 1789, and died, where our subject now lives, September 12, 1871; the mother born April 9, 1801, died December 25, 1876, at our subject’s present home. His grandfather, Robert JOHNSTON, was born in Londonberry, Ireland, and came to America when a young man, settling in Smyth County, Va., where he died after he had spent a long life as a school teacher.  His parents were married in Sullivan County, about the year 1819, and after their marriage they settled in Washington County, Va., where they lived some two or three years, then immigrated to Tennessee, and settled in Claiborne County, where they spent the remainder of their days.  The father was a successful planter, and filled the office of magistrate twelve years. He and wife were worthy members of the Anabaptist Church, was deacon in the church for several years before his death.

Our subject is the youngest of eleven children, only three of whom are still living.  He was reared on his father’s farm, an occupation he has never deserted.  As this mother’s death, 1876, he came in possession of the homestead by buying out the different heirs; now owns upward of 400 acres of land.  March 3, 1859, he married Miss Nourvesta SOUTHERN, of Claiborne County; to their union born eleven children – eight sons and three daughters – two sons are dead.  

Our subject entered the Confederate States Army in August, 1863, and served with credit the remainder of the war.  He enlisted in Company L., first Tennessee Cavalry, connected with different commands while operating in Tennessee, and when the regiment started to Virginia, our subject was captured near Knoxville, and sent as a prisoner of war to Rock Island, Ill, where he was kept until the close of the war; reached Iowa June 27, 1865, and resumed the peaceful occupation of the farm.  He took part in the siege of Knoxville, Bull Gap, and many other battles; was in the battle of Rogersville, Tenn.,  Our subject is a staunch Prohibitionist.

Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

SMALLING, Benjamin Forsyth

BENJAMIN FORSYTH SMALLING was born in what was Bedford County but now is part of Marshall County, Tenn., November 24, 1825.  He is the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Bostic) Smalling, and is of German lineage.  His father was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., about 1800, and his mother was born in Wilkes County, N. C. about the same year.  They were married in early life and from this union were born three children.

Our subject was reared on the farm and received a practical education in the common schools.  Farming has been his chief occupation, although he has spent some time in trading, saw-milling, etc.  During the civil war he was commissioned enrolling officer of his district and afterward was as an officer of the commissary department in the Confederate Army, where he remained during the war.  While he participated in no battles he was often exposed to the dangers incident to war.

October 5, 1847, he was married to Miss Ann F. Morton, who was born in Hardeman County, Tenn., January 13, 1830.  To this union were born nine children, six of whom are living; these are Forsyth, James M., Constantine W., Benjamin, Mary C. and Elizabeth BMr. Smalling has a farm of 100 acres of fine land which he manages in a profitable way.  He is a Democrat and he and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Our subject’s grandfather Col. Benjamin Forsyth, was a commanding officer in the war of 1812, and was killed in a skirmish near Lake Champlain.  He wore a sword at the time of his death which he had captured from a British officer.  He made the remark when putting the sword on that he would “fight them with their own weapons.”  He was killed soon after this occurrence.  The sword was labeled with its full history by Gen. Scott and sent to the widow of Col. Forsyth and may be seen at this time at the home of James M. Smalling, four miles east of Nashville, Tenn., on the Lebanon Pike.

Transcribed by Kathryn Hopkins

Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford & Marshall Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Reminescences [Sic], Observations, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1988.


J. J. McCORKLE, farmer, was born in Sullivan County, January 4, 1846, the son of Samuel and Lucinda (Colbaugh) McCORKLE, the former a native of Tennessee, and born in 1818, the son of Joseph, a native of Pennsylvania, and of Irish origin. The father was a highly successful farmer, and died in 1885. The mother, born in 1812, in Sullivan County, was the daughter of John COLBAUGH, a soldier in the war of 1812, and a farmer. Their children were William M., John J., Eliza, Mary, Martha, Susan and Harriet.

Our subject educated himself by the light of a pine knot, and has been very succesiful as a farmer. When seventeen years old he joined Company H, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, and was mustered out April 6, 1866, as captain, in the First United States Artillery. He has since been farming, and for five years was a trustee, and for four years a sheriff. September 20 1866, he married Ruthey E., a daughter of John and Louise (Amess) HENTRIX, and born in Carter County January 15,1849. They have eight sons and four daughters. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church, of which he is an elder. He is an able and esteemed man.


Transcribed by Kris L. Martin

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.

JOHNSON, Robert T.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, was Jacob JOHNSON, who immigrated to Tennessee from Millerstown, Md., soon after the close of the Revolutionary war, and settled near Eden Ridge,within five miles of Kingsport, Sullivan County. He was a farmer by vocation, and alsb kept a tavern. He lived there until his death, which occurred in about 1854. He was married to Elizabeth CHURCH, who was a native of Maryland, being born near Hagerstown. She died in 1848. To the grandparents six children were horn, of which our subject’s father was the fourth child. Thomas C.,. the father, was born in Sullivan County on June 5, 1806 and was reared on the farm and acquired a practical education in the schools of the neighborhood.

He removed to Carter County in 1834 with Dr. Joseph POWEL, Sr., with whom he made his home and studied medicine, but never practiced. He was a farmer by vocation, and was quite a prominent man in the county, and served a number of Years as deputy sheriff and coroner, and was lieutenant colonel of militia, and also major and adjutant under Col. Daniel STOVER. He was a member of Deshield Lodge No. 238, F. & A. M., but was initiated in Kennedy Lodge of that order. He was an industrious and enterprising citizen, and always took an active part in public affairs. He was industrious and successful, and accumulated a good competency. He died January 5, 1879.

The maternal great-grandfather of our subject was Samuel TIPTON, who was the eldest son of Col. John TIPTON, who fought in the battle of Franklin with Gen. John SEVIER. Col. John TIPTON immigrated to Tennessee from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and settled in what is now Carter County during the Revolutionary war. He was the grandfather of Gen. Jacob TIPTON, for whom Tipton County, Tenn., was named. Abraham TIPTON, the grandfather of our subject, was the son of Samuel TIPTON, and was named for Col. Abraham TIPTON, who was killed in Bear Grass, Ky., during the Revolutionary war by Indians. He was born in Carter County August 27, 1794, and married Martha LACY of Carter County. He served as sheriff and justice of the peace of Carter County for a number of years, being elected sheriff in 1836, the first one after the adoption of the new constitution, He was elected to the State Senate in 1849. He was also adjutant and major of militia. He died July 3, 1868. To this union two children were born, of which our subject’s mother was the second. Nancy J., the mother, was born in Elizabethton on November 7, 1818.

The parents of our subject were married January 8, 1887, and to them have been born nine children, six of whom are living. The children are as follows: Martha B., born May 28, 1838, now Mrs. HUFF, of Doyle Station, White County, Tenn.; Saraphenla, born December 30, 1840, married John T. KING, of King’s Springs, in Carter County, and died November 2, 1884; Anna M., born December 13, 1843, now Mrs. D. N. REECE, and living at Carter Depot, Carter County; Mary C., born September 6, 1847, now Mrs. W.T. RUCHER, of Doyle Station; Ada L., born January 3.1850, married Hiram BOWMAN, of Johnson County, and died December 8, 1877; A. T., born May 28, 1853; Eugene, born November 7, 1859, died same day; Robert T.,born December 20,1860; William, born February 25, 1858, A. T., is a resident of Elizabethton. William is United States mail agent on the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railway, between Bristol and Chattanooga. He was married on April 6, 1887, to Miss Ella BRIDEWELL, of Knoxville, and is also a resident of Elizabethton.

Robert T., the subject, is depot and express agent and telegraph operator at Elizabethton, and is also engaged in merchandising at that point, being senior member of the firm of Johnson & Waters. He was married September 6, 1868, to Josie B. HYDER, youngest daughter of Elder J. H. HYDER. To this union three children have been born. The mother of Mrs. R. T. JOHNSON is a sister to Andrew FLETCHER, who was Secretary of State under Gov. BROWNLOW’s administration.


Transcribed by Kris L. Martin

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.


John HUGHES is one of the most prosperous farmers of Carter County, and was born and reared in said county. He was born February 14, 1820, and is the son of James and Susanor (Hines) HUGHES. The father was a native of Sullivan County, Tenn., and was born May 15, 1790. He was the son of David HUGHES. The latter was born in Ireland, immigrated to America, was among the early settlers of East Tennessee, and was one of the Revolutionary soldiers. He was a farmer by occupation. The father of our subject was a wagon-maker by trade, and followed farming and trading. He was a successful farmer and trader, and amassed considerable wealth. He had gone on a trading expedition South, and while in Alabama, a man by the name of Carter from the same county as himself, who had started out with him on the expedition, murdered him, it is supposed on April 15. 1834. The mother was born near Blountville, Sullivan County, Tenn. October 29, 1792; she was the daughter of George HINES, a native of Pennsylvania, and of German extraction. She died at our subject’s home February 10, 1868. She was the mother of five sons, viz.: David, George, John, James and Albert. It may be noticed that our subject is the eldest, but two; at the present (1887) only three of the sons are living. viz.: John, James and Albert.

Our subject was reared on the farm, and educated in the country schools, receiving a practical training. He has devoted his life principally to agricultural pursuits, but in the meantime he has conducted tanning and distilling. He operated a very large tannery for several years prior to the war, and has done considerable distilling. He is practical in business, and has been successful in amassing considerable wealth, having a very limited capital to begin with. He has had much misfortune in his time. but has been successful against many embarrassments, and at present is one of the most successful and prosperous farmers in Carter County, Tenn. In 1879 he married Nancy Ellen CARRAL, daughter of William CARRAL. Two children, Albert and Mary Anna, blessed this marriage. The mother died in 1880, and in 1885 he married Martha J. DUNCAN. One daughter, Della Cleveland, has come to this marriage.



Transcribed by Kris L. Martin

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.



C. N. BROWN, a farmer in the Ninth District, was born February 28, 1887, in Carter County. He received a good common-school education, was reared on a farm, and has since followed farming. He was thrown upon his own resources when of age. He was married in 1882 to Miss Nancy WORLEY, a daughter of James B. and Emaline (Shell) WORLEY natives of Washington County, Va., and Sullivan County, Tenn., respectively. Mr. WORLEY’S mother was of German descent. Mr. and Mrs. WORLEY were active workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a very successful and enterprising farmer, and accumulated property quite easily. To Mr. and Mrs. BROWN seven children have been born, viz.: Lilly, Laura (now Mrs. Williams), Charles, Eugene, Lola (deceased), Lela and Mamie.

Mr. and Mrs. BROWN are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, in which Mr. BROWN has been treasurer and deacon for several years. Mr. BROWN is a Democrat in politics. He is a Master Mason. He was the eldest of six children of L H. BROWN, an old resident of Carter County Tenn. Mrs. Emaline WORLEY was a daughter of Aaron and Catherine (Glover) SHELL, natives of Sullivan County, Tenn. Mr. SHELL was of English descent. He was a prominent minister of the gospel in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

I. H. BROWN, the father of our subject, was born March 4,1810, in Washington County, Tenn., and when fifteen years old came to Carter County, Tenn., and excepting six years be lived at Blountville, has since resided in Carter County. He is a carpenter and cabinet-maker by trade. He was married April 14, 1856, to Miss Ruth NAVE, a daughter of John and Lizzie (Carriger) NAVE, natives of Pennsylvania, and among the earliest settlers of Carter County, Tenn. They were of Dutch descent. Six children blessed this union. Mr. BROWN served Carter County two years as register, and two terms as trustee, being elected on a Democratic ticket in a county which usually went Whig by about 1,700. He was the youngest of six children of Jacob and Christina (Ramey) BROWN, natives of Germany and Rockham County, Va., respectively. Mr. BROWN was brought to the United States by his parents when quite small. He served as a solider in the Revolutionary war. Mrs. I. H. BROWN died October 6, 1858. Mr. BROWN was married December 2, 1855, to Mrs. Margaret M. WILLIAMS. Three children blessed the union. Mr. BROWN began life a poor man, and what he is now worth is the fruit of his own practical business ability.


Transcribed by Kris L. Martin

Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.