HISTORY OF TENNESSEE - HUMPHREYS COUNTY
GOODSPEED PUBLISHING CO. (NASHVILLE) 1886.
HUMPHREYS COUNTY belongs to that geological division of the State known as the Highland Rim, while a portion of it lies also in the Western Valley of the Tennessee. The prevailing rocks of the county are freestone and limestone. The former is easily quarried and worked, and is susceptible of high polish, and the latter, though undeveloped and utilized, will produce an excellent quality of lime. The county is on the edge of the great iron belt of Hickman County, and abounds in iron ore. In 1833 an attempt was made to develop the iron industry of the county, by Messrs. A. W. Vandier, D. Hillman and John Sullivan, all experienced iron men, and a furnace was erected in the spring of that year on Big Richland Creek, eight miles we st of Waverly. The furnace went in blast in the latter part of the above year and continued in operation until 1835, when it was found to be unprofitable, as the cost of handling the metal was too great, owing to the limited facilities for transporting i t to market. That was the first and only attempt to develop the iron interests of the county. Iron ore banks, from which more or less ore has been taken, are on the waters of Hurricane Creek in the Eighth District, on Tumbling Creek in the Ninth District, and Big and Little Richland and White Oak Creeks in the First District. Pipe, pot and honeycomb iron ore exist in almost any portion of the county, except in the lowlands and river bottoms. The surface of the county is uneven and broken. On the uplands the soil is mostly strong and good, reddish, and often gravelly, while in the river bottoms it is rich and alluvial. Most all of the cereals are grown with profit, corn and peanuts in particular. The average yield of corn in the bottom land is about fifty bushels per acre. Cotton can also be grown profitably. The county is drained and well watered by numerous. small streams, the prominent ones being Duck and Buffalo Rivers, Tumbling, Hurricane, Blue, Trace, Big and Little Richland, White Oak, Indian and Bear Creeks. Of these Hurricane, White Oak, Big Richland and Blue Creek, furnish excellent water-power for driving machinery. The hill lands are especially adapted to all kinds of fruits; and apples, peaches, pears, plums and cherries grow well and yield abundantly. Timber of all kinds abounds in the forest, red and white oak, chestnut, poplar, hickory, ash, walnut, beech, locust and sycamore being in almost inexhaustible quantities. Humphreys County is particularly noted for its enormous crop s of the finest peanuts. The value of this crop alone amounts annually to several hundred thousand dollars.
While the neighboring counties of Stewart and Dickson were organized only a few years previous to Humphreys, yet the settlement of the two former was at least ten years in advance, of the latter. This was due to a great extent to the fact that up until 1805 the eastern boundary of the Indian Territory was marked by the Tennessee Ridge, and the country for twenty-five and thirty miles east of the ridge was infested with Indians, most of whom were hostile, and it was extremely hazardous for the white settlers to venture into that section. Yet a few hardy pioneers, induced by the abundance of cheap lands, wood, water and game, braved the hardships and perils, and settled along some of the numerous creeks as early as 1800, though it was not until 1805 th at this county became anything like settled. Probably the scene of the first white-settlement was on Trace Creek, a shallow Stream which flows west through Waverly to the river. This creek was used by the Indians as a trail, and took its name from Natchez Trace, named for the settlement in the "Mississippi Country."
All of Humphreys County was granted by the State of North Carolina at the time this was a portion of that State, to survivors of the Continental war, and was afterward farmed out in smaller tracts to the settlers as they arrived from the older States. Among the military land grants issued were the following: Thomas Hambleton, 640 acres; Peter Barcate, 3,840 acres; Willis Barrow, 640 acres; John Gray Blount, 640 acres; William Blount, 1,240 acres; Henry Johnson , 640 acres; Sylvester Adams, 100 acres; Bailey Hooper, 640 acres; David Childers, 640 acres; Thomas Dillin, 1,000 acres; James Tate, 1,500 acres: Maj. John Walker, 1,700 acres; and Thomas Mulhollen purchased 3,500 acres for 10 pounds per 100 acres. Among the very early settlers were Moses Box, who came from North Carolina in 1800, and Settled on Trace Creek, near the present site of Waverly; John McAdoo and Gen. Jarman came from North Carolina during the same year. Then came Benjamin Holland, from East Tennessee; William and Samuel King, David Bibb, Daniel Foresse, from Virginia; William May (father of Dempsy May, who still lives at the age of ninety-two years), William Lomax, Joseph Shouse, Drury Taylor, Charles Brown and John Johnson, from Georgia, all of whom settled on Hurricane Creek; and John Hales, Jonathan May, William and Henry Hunter, who settled on Tumbling Creek. In 1805 Abel Rushing, Stephen O'Guin, William Allen and James Moss came from North Carolina, and settled on White Oak Creek. Other settlers at that time and neighborhood were the Haglers , Laniers, Whitleys, Winns, Reeves, Outlaws, Calstons, Colliers, Curleys, Lankfords and Crosswells. Those settling on Big Richland Creek about the same time were William Fortner, George Turner, John Toller, Nathan Ragon and Maj. John Burton. Those of the settlers from 1800 to 1805, who settled in the western portion of the county were Samuel Parker, John and Jesse Holland, all of whom came from Georgia, and settled on Trace Creek; Jesse Rodgers, John Thompson, Kemps Crawley, Cass, Madlock and Louis Bairfield came from North Carolina, and settled in the vicinity of what afterward was the site of Reynoldsburg.
During the period between the years 1810 and 1820 land was granted to citizens of Humphreys County by the State of Tennessee as follows: Levi Kirkland, 285 acres; William Tubbs, 250 acres; Levi Powerly, 60 acres; Samuel Sproggin s, 640 acres; James MeElyer, 320 acres; William McKinsey, 285 acres; John Bennett, 60 acres; William Brather, 640 acres; Jacob Northington, 480 acres; Drury Morgan, 640 acres; Daniel Shouse, 5 acres; James Porterfield, 320 acres; John Wood, 67 acres; John H. Burton, 15 acres; Martin Hardin, 37 acres; Henry Green, 240 acres; Jacob Garrison, 640 acres; John Curtis, 200 acres; Joshua Williams, 3,840 a cres; Griffith Rutherford, 274 acres; Robert Thompson, 320 acres; Alexander McCall, 148 acres, and Gardner Robertson, 640 acres. The above, together with the following, were among the early settlers in general: Robert Lawson, John McSwine, Samuel McFall, Smith Metlock, Zachariah and Louis Baker, William Sooker, D. P. Hudson, Elisha Turner, Royal Hudson, Peter Black, Benjamin Hudso n, Henry Pugh, Stephen Harris, James Young, Hugh Dickson, David Burton, Thomas Black, James Wilson, Elijah Hendricks, Fred Grash, Alexander Brown (whose son, Dr. John Brown, is living yet, having reached the age of ninety-two years) and Rev. Nimrod Crosswell. David Northington, a colored man, was also one of the very earliest settlers of the county, and lived to an extreme old age. Another noted darkey and early settler, who is yet in the land of the living, is old Tom Wylie, generally known as Free Tom.
From the first days of the settlement up to the year 1812 the Indians were a source of great annoyance and trouble to the whites, and raids were made by hostile savages upon the settlements frequently, when the houses of the settlers were burned and their stock run off. In not a few instances the lives of the settlers were sacrificed in defending their families and property. The Indians had several large villages and encampments in the county, the leading ones being on Tennessee River, about two mile s below Duck, at Hurricane Rock Hill, and on the hills around Paint Rock, both of the latter being on Duck River. Some time between 1810 and 1815 the Indians were moved across Tennessee River, that stream being made the eastern boundary of their nation, and during their removal many depredations were committed. The settlers had a blockhouse, or fort, at Reynoldsburg, but the same could not be taken advantage of by all, as many lived some distance there from. Of this number was a farmer, named Johnson, who lived on the banks of the Tennessee River. One morning along in 1814 his house was attacked by a roving band of Indians, and Johnson was killed and his house set fire to. One of Johnson's children was also killed, and a Mrs. Manley, who was at the house at the time, was seriously wounded in the knee, and died afterward from the effects of the wound and fright she received. Mrs. Crauley, the wife of a neighboring farmer, was also at Johnson's house at the time, and was taken captive by the Indians and carried away. She afterward made her escape, and after several days spent in wandering and hiding in the forests. succeeded in reaching the settlement, and was returned to her home again. 0ne day she was so closely pursued by the savages that she crawled into a hollow log and lay there, shaking with fear, while her pursuers passed and repassed over the log. The Indians also killed Bill Martin about that time. Martin was a hunter and trapper, and spent as much as a week and sometimes two away from his family. He had gone down the river on one of his expeditions and was ambushed and killed. The Indians who murdered the trapper were about six in number, and after robbing the body of the dead trapper of gun, ammunition, etc., the party proceeded in their canoe up Big Richland Creek, where they were surprised and killed by a posse of settlers, headed by the brother of the murdered man. The Indians had been betrayed by having in their possession the rifle of their victim.
The Paint Rock mentioned above is somewhat of a curiosity. It is a bluff which rises perpendicularly out of Duck River, standing some eighty feet out of the water. About fifty feet above the Water are found the figures of the half moon and seven star s cut in the face of the rock. At a later day these figures were painted red, hence the name. Who engraved the figures is unknown, as they were there when the first settlers came. There are many traditions and stories handed down in regard to the rock and its figuring, one of which is that it was the work of DeSoto's troops. Long after the removal of the Indians across Tennessee River they continued their depredations, and it was necessary that the eastern shore of the river be constantly guarded by r angers. The settlers would take turns in standing guard.
In November, 1811, occurred the earthquakes, which were distinctly felt in Humphreys County. They are known now as the "great shakes." Dr. John Brown, one of the oldest citizens of the county, who resides on White Oak Creek, and to whom the writer is under obligations for valuable information, tells an incident of the "great shakes," the first of which occurred in the night time, while the family were asleep.: The shock was so violent they were all awakened, and the house trembled and shook as though persons were on the roof The first thought of the Doctor's father was that they were attacked by the Indians. Hastily dressing, the father aroused the family, and the balance of the night was spent in waiting for the dreaded attack. None came, however, and the next day the cause of their scare was explained by another violent earthquake, which shook and rattled the house, and made the trees quiver and shake as though in an ague. Dr. Brown stated that sometimes the bed would shake so violently he could with difficulty hold himself on it.
In 1814 occurred what it now known as the "McSwine flood," which was very destructive, of property along on Duck River. The flood takes its name from a family of that name who had quite a narrow escape from drowning during the unprecedented rise of the water. The early industries of the settlement were few and slow to develop. Corn-mills, cotton gins aiidstill-houses were its leading branches, and their facilities were limited. The old fashioned corn-mill constructed of two stones and a hollow log was used at first, but soon gave way to the water-power mill. The first one of the latter was probably erected by John Massing on Cane Creek, in about 1810 or 1812. The water was conveyed from the creek to the mill through a race, and the o ld fashioned water-wheel was used. The building was a small, square, low log house, with a pole roof and no floor. From ten to twelve bushels of grist was an average day's grinding, and a toll of one-eighth was charged. Other mills of that day were James Lattimer's, on White Oak Creek, John Brown's on Lewis' Branch, Robert Thompson's on Big Richland Creek, and John McFall's on Harman's Branch. The number of mills increased as did the demand, and ' at the present time there are no less than thirty excellent steam and watermills in the county as follows: Orson Denslow's steam corn and saw-mill in the First District; John Thomas' steam corn-mill on Dry Creek; Junius M. Palmer's steam saw-mill at Johnsonville; Frank Long's corn-mill on Bear Creek; H. H. Box's water corn-mill near Box Station in the Second District; J. B. Brigg's saw and grist mill in the Big Bottoms, and Henry Warren's steam grist and saw-mill -hear Plant post office in the Third District; A. G. Brown's water saw and grist-mill at the head of Richland Creek, and A. D. Simpson's saw-mill in the Fifth District; Thomas & Brown's steam flour, corn, saw and planing-mill, at Waverly, and H. H.Hopkins & Sons' grist-mill and store and heading factory in the Sixth District; Thomas Clark's water-power grist-mill, on Blue Creek in the Seventh District; G. W. Hillman's ,Hurricane Mills," including a flour, corn, woolen factory, etc., on Hurricane Creek, and S. C. Owen's steam saw-mill, in the Eighth District; Riley Beazley's water-power grist-mill, on Indian Creek in the Ninth District; McAdoo & Simpson's steam stave factory and grist-mill, and J. B. Briggs' steam stave factory in the Tenth District; James Hendricks' waterpower grist and saw-mill in the Eleventh District; J. H. Mullinnick's steam saw and grist-'Mill in the Twelfth District; Dr. J. E. Shipp's steam saw and grist-mill in the Thirteenth District, and A. J. Turner's water grist-mill o n Richland Creek in the Fifteenth District.
John Brigham had a still-house on Long Branch, James Brigant had one on White Oak Creek, as did also John Summers, John Stoddard and Charles Summers. These were among the first established. In later years the smoke of the still could be, seen in almost any direction rising up from the creek valleys. In the language of Dr. John Brown, "they were too numerous to mention at this late day."
'The cotton-gin came in use in this county along in the "teens." At that time cotton growing was carried on extensively, as there were plenty of slaves to do the work, and an abundance of suitable land. The early cotton-gins were owned as follows: one on Hall's Creek by James Forrest, one on White Oak Greek by John L. McCrackin, all of which were waterpower, and a horse-power gin on a branch of White Oak Creek, owned by David Wells. The cotton-gin did not remain long in use in the count y, as the cotton crop grew smaller and smaller each year. The tan-bark industry was at one time an important one in the county, and quite a number of tan-yards were in operation. They were long since abandoned, as they ceased to be remunerative. These tan-yards were as follows: Johnson & Gould operated a large yard near Johnsonville, N. F. Lucas had one in the Sixth District, Hugh Lucas and George Sullivan each had one in the First District, the latter being situated on Little Turkey Creek, and -- Thompson had one in the Fourth District. Considerable bark continues to be shipped each year from the county, but the supply is failing fast.
A section of Humphreys County worthy of especial mention is the Third Civil District, known as the "Big Bottoms," because it borders on the Tennessee and Duck Rivers, and includes a very rich alluvial bottom of some 18,000 acres, 6,000 of which is of a low and comparatively level upland. Not until after the organization of the county was the Big Bottoms settled. About 1812 some five or six families settled there as hunters and herdsmen. The land at that time was considered worthless, and indeed for many years afterward would bring no price at all in the market. Along in the "forties" that section began to be settled, and at the present time it is the most densely populated portion of the county. As late as the fifties land situated in the Bottoms could be purchased for $2 per acre which cannot to-day be bought for $100 per acre. It is the best farming section in the county, and is excelled by no land in the State. The average yield of corn is 75 bushels per acre. Stock is raised extensively by the farmers, while the grasses and some wheat are grown.
Humphreys County is bounded on the north by Houston County, on the east by Dickson and Hickman County, on the south by Perry County and on the west by Benton County, and has an area of 375 square miles. The St. Louis branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad passes through the county east and west, and the Tennessee River forms its western boundary. The county was created out of what was then Stewart County, by an act of the General Assembly passed October 9, 1809, and was organized during the following year. A portion of the act authorizing the creation of the county is as follows:
AN ACT TO FORM A NEW COUNTY SOUTH OF STEWART AND WEST OF DICKSON AND HICKMAN COUNTIES.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee That a new county be, and is hereby established on the south of Stewart, and adjoining the counties of Dickson and Hickman on the west, to be known by the name of Humphreys, and bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at the mouth of White' Oak Creek on the bank of the Tennessee River; running thence east to the dividing ridge between the waters of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers; thence with the said dividing ridge to the Dickson Countv line, thence with the said line to the line of Hickman County; thence with the said line of Hickman County to Duck River; thence south and west for complement.
Sec. 2 That the first court, and all subsequent courts of said county of Humphreys, shall be held at the house of Samuel Parker, Jr., until otherwise ordered or provided for by law. And all courts held in and for said county of Humphreys shall be held by justices, commissions being issued to said justices in the same manner and under the same rules and restrictions, and shall have and exercise the same powers of jurisdiction as are or shall be prescribed for the courts of the several counties of this State.
Section 3 provided that the first court of pleas and quarter sessions should commence and be held on the first Monday of February, May, August, and November and might be continued six days if necessary. Section 8 provided that nothing contained in the act should.be construed so as to prevent the sheriff of Stewart County from collecting the taxes that had already been laid in said county, and the sheriff was authorized to collect said taxes and all arrearages of same in the manner as though Humphr eys County had not been established. A subsequent act passed November 22, 1809, provided that so much of Dickson County as lies west of the Tennessee Ridge should form part of Humphreys Countv. as follows: "Beginning on the said ridge where the dividi ng line between Stewart and Humphreys Counties strikes the Dickson County line; thence south along the top of said ridge so far as to include the waters of White Oak Creek in Humphreys County; thence west to said Dickson County line." It was also provided by the act that nothing contained therein should be construed so as to prevent the sheriff of Dickson County from collecting the taxes and arrearages due thereon.
The new county was duly organized according to the provisions of the above act, and was named in honor of Parry W. Humphreys, one of the judges of the superior court. The first sessions of the courts were held at the residence of Samuel Park er, Jr., who lived on Trace Creek, but as to the proceedings thereof, or the names of the justices nothing can now be learned, the records having long since been destroyed. In 1812 Reynoldsburg, then a forest, was selected as a county seat. The land was owned by Alexander Brerard, one of the first settlers, and was selected because of it being high ground, was on the Tennessee River and also on the Nashville & Memphis Stage Road. Mr. Brerard donated fifty acres to the county on which to build the public buildings and locate the town, and had the survey of the same made at his own expense. The town was platted in 1816 and was named in honor of Hon. J. B. Reynolds, a Tennessee member of Congress. A large, two-story brick court ho use and substantial log jail were erected at the county seat, but as to the date of their completion and cost of construction, nothing can now be ascertained. The old court house stands at the present time, having served for many years as a private residence.
At the time of organization Humphreys County comprised all the territory east and west of the Tennessee River now embraced in the counties of Humphreys and Benton. By an act of the General Assembly the county was divided in 1836, Tennessee River being made the dividing line. After the division it was decided to change the county seat, and a commission was appointed to select a more central point. A line was run east from Reynoldsburg, and the most central point was found on Blue Creek, about two miles south of the present town of Waverly, but the latter was chosen as the county seat on account of its natural advantages, one of which was the fact that it was on the main road of the Nashville & Memphis Stage Line, an all-important advantage at that Period. The land on which the new county seat was located was owned by David Childers, and was surveyed and laid out by Isaac Little in 1837. The county seat was then removed to Waverly, where it has since continued. A court house was a t once erected, also a jail. The court house was a large brick building, two stories in height, and cost upward of $6,000. The jail was also a brick, and cost about $3,000. in 1878 the court house and quite a number of the records were destroyed by fire . A few years previous to the destruction of the court house the jail was also burned.
From 1810 up to 1842 there are no records of the proceedings of the county court. At the January term, 1842, the tax was levied for county purposes as follows: On each $100 of taxable property, including real and personal, 7 1/2 cents; each poll 11 3/ 4 cents, and each merchant $2. At the following March term B. B. Spicer was qualified as sheriff of Humphreys County and assumed the duties of that office, while Thomas Lattimer, Robert H. Gouge, James Miller, James A. Simpson, John W. Ceamall, William Yeates, Benjamin F. Scott, William Rogers, Robert Smith, Robert Holland and Isaac Hendricks qualified as constables. Harry Nichols was granted license to practice la w at the same term. Nathan Shuffle, a pauper, was let out to the lowest bidder at the January term of court, in 1843, and at the July term James Buchanan was allowed premiums for the scalps of five wolves killed within the limits of the county, and John Buchanan was granted permission to erect and operate a grist-mill on Buffalo Creek. During the same year Susan B. Christopher,a free-born girl of color, was bound by the court to John Massey until she should become of age. At the March term, 1844, Wm. Draughn, county coroner, resigned his office, and William W. Webster was elected by the court to fill the vacancy. John A. Scott was granted a certificate stating that he was of legal age, and was also a man of good character. During the sessions of the court of 1845 William Miller was allowed premiums for five wolf scalps, and Nathan Schales premiums for ten scalps. In 1846 John N. Little was granted license to practice law, and James Moses was given permission to erect an office building, the same to be used as an apothecary shop. In 1847 Andrew Jackson was granted license to practice law, and H. L. Harmon was, fined $10 for contempt of court. A. L. Sanders was appointed, in 1851, to take a census of the voters of the county, but the report not being on file information as to the result of the census cannot be learned.
The old court house becoming unsafe the county court, in April, 1857, had the walls securely braced with iron ties. At the January term, 1868, the court passed an order for the erection of a new county jail, and appointed A. L. Atkins, John Wyley, D. R. Owen, Z. Drummond and G. L. Nelson a commission to award the contract and superintend the building of the same. At the September term the commission reported that they had awarded the contract to John M. McAdoofor $4,000. The specifications called for a two-story brick building with stone foundation, 22x27 feet in dimensions, and the cells to be fitted up in the most improved manner. The jail was completed in 1869, and is in use at the present time.
At the January term, 1877, the court passed an order for the erection of a new court house, and levied a tax for that purpose. D. B. Thomas, M. L. Faulks, T. L. Lanier, J. W. Nolen and Joseph D. Foresse were appointed a commission to draw up plans and specifications and award the contract for the erection of the building, and also superintend the same. The commission awarded the contracts for the different departments of work to different parties. The building was completed in 1878 at a cost of about $16,000, though the plans and specifications called for but $14,000. The court house in use at the present is an ornament to the county. It is a large two-story brick, with stone foundation. The first floor i s divided into four offices and two large halls. There are four main entrances; the upper storv is taken up with the court room, lobby and gallery. The building is of modern architectural design, and its gabled roof is covered with tin. P. J. Pauley< /B>, of St. Louis, was the architect.
Previous to 1873 the county paupers were farmed out to individuals, but in 1872 the court appointed a commission composed of G. L. Nelson, J. M. McAdoo and G. M. Tubb, to select a site for a county asylum. The commission was limit ed to $1,600 in the cost of buildings. After examining many different locations, the commission selected the old K. G. Lucas farm, three miles below Waverly, on Trace Creek, and purchased the same, including all the improvements thereon, for $6,00 0. The old mansion house and other buildings were repaired and converted into an excellent asylum, which has continued as such from that time to the present. The above are the only buildings owned by the county. There are but three bridges in the count y, one of which is across Hurricane Creek (in the Eighth District), which is 185 feet in length, and was built in 1883 at a cost of about $700; one across Trace Creek, near Johnsonville, in the Second District, built in 1884, and the footbridge across Trace Creek, at Waverly, all three being constructed at individual and public expense. The county is in an excellent condition financially, her orders selling at par, and her indebtedness amounting to less than $3,000. The tax levy for 1886 is as follows on the $100: State, 30 cents; county, 30 cents; special, 20 cents; school, 30 cents; road, 5 cents; poll, $2; all privileges same as State. In 1885 there were assessed 262 town lots at a total valuation of $98,945; 295,065 acres w ere assessed at, a valuation of $1,005,874; total value of personal property, less $1,000 assessed, was $64,194; total valuation of all real and personal property assessed, $1,169,013; total county tax for 1885 was $3,992.53; total school, $6,872.03; total road, $585.41; and the total amount of all taxes, $14,945.59.
The chairmen of the county court since the year 1842, that being as far back as the records go, have been as follows: H. B. Traylor, 1842; W. M. Carland, 1843; Whitberry White, 1844-46; James Yeates, 1847; A. Warren, 1848-52; J. Yeates, 1853-54; W. White, 1855-58; J. M. Mc-Adoo, 1859; C. E. Harris, 1860-61; J. D. Foresse, 1862; C. E. Harris, 1863 (no court from January, 1863, until July, 1865); J. S. Spann, 1865; G. L. Nelson, 1866-67; J. M. McAdoo, 1868; George M. Tubb, 1869-76; T. B. Traylor, 1877-78; J. J. McCauley, 1879-84; J. M. McAdoo, 1985; G. P. McCann, 1886. The county court clerks have been as follows: D . P. Hudson, 1810-36; James Teas, 1836-40; Coleman E. Harris, 1840-52; Levi McCullum, 1852-60; W. W. Hobbs, 1860 -63 (no clerks between January, 1863, and July, 1865); Levi McCullum, 1865-66; W. W. Hobbs, 1866 -71, when he resigned to accept the office of comptroller of State, to which he had been elected by the General Assembly then in session; G. M. Rogers, 1871-85; W. H. Meadon, 1885 -86., Registers: Hugh Dickson, 1810-14; John Thompson, 1814-25; J. C. Morrison, 1825-35; Henry H. Marable, 1835-36; Ubane Harris, 1836-44; H. B. Traylor, 1844-48; R. P. McCreary, 1848-50; D. A. Massie, 1850-56; G. M. Rogers, 1856-66; John H. Anderson , 1866-78; Henry H. Harris, 1878-82; J. P. Cowan, 1882-86. Sheriffs: B. B. Spicer, 1842; Lemuel McCullum, 1842-44; B. B., Spicer, 1844-48; Edward Cowan, 1848-50; B. B. Spicer, 1850-56; J. P. Foresse , 185658; B. B. Spicer, 1858-60; M. M. Massie, 1860-68; R. W. Coolie, 1868 -70; M. M. Box, 1870-74; W. A. Short, 1874-76; James P. White, 1876 -80; D. D. Collier, 1880-86. Representatives: D. B. Thomas, 1865-66; Dr. Henry Marable, 1867-68; James W. Harris, 1869-70; Ichabod Farmer, 1871-72; H. M. McAdoo, 1873-74; N. C. Parrish, 1875-76; R. J. Lawrence, 1877-78; Dr. J. M. Driver 1879-82; D. B. T homas, 188384; John J. McCaule , 1885-86. State' senators:' F. C. Muse, 1865-66; D. B. Thomas, 1867-70; S. L. Warren, 1871-72; Dr. W. A. Moodey, 1873-74;, Mitchell Trotter, 1875-76; H. M. McAdoo, 1877-7 8, and was elected speaker of the Senate; Vernon F. Bibb, 1879-84; D. B. Thomas, 1885-86. Humphreys County has, a population of 12,000. In 1860 the population was 9,096; in 1870, 9,326; in 1880, 11,379. There are 288,000 acres of land in the county, 57,432 of which are improved. In 1885 there were in the county 3,808 head of horses and mules, 7,548 head of cattle, 6,930 head of sheep , and 22,062 head of hogs. During the same year the cereals produced were corn, 826,941 bushels; oats, 24 ,521 bushels; rye, 177 bushels; wheat, 25,371 bushels.
While the circuit court of Humphreys County was established by act of the General Assembly in 1836, nothing can be learned of the proceedings of the court previous to 1860, as the records beyond that year have been destroyed. From hearsay, however, it is learned that the court tried, convicted and sentenced to death one Joe Bearden, some time during the thirties, on a charge of willful and premeditated murder, and that Bearden was subsequently hanged. No cases of importance were disposed of by the court during the years of 1860 and 1861, and from 1862 until the latter part of 1865, there were no sessions held. In 1866 L. D. Crockett, was fined $5 for gaming; Jesse Gwinn was fined $15 for assault and battery; Sarah and Stephen Cuman were divorced, and T. G. Ferguson was arrested for stealing a horse, but escaped from the officers. Afterward, however, Ferguson was captured, and upon conviction was sent the penitentiary for three years. In 1867 Turner B. Smith < /B> was convicted of grand larceny and sent to the penitentiary for three years, and Abner McCaslin was acquitted of the charge of murder after a long and exciting trial. In 1868 John Dorsey was sent to jail for thirty minutes. upon the cha rge of larceny, and in 1869 James Beach was I sent to the penitentiary for one year for larceny, while Jep Thomas and W. C. Thomason were convicted of assault with intent to kill, and were sentenced to penitentiary for the term of ten years each. In 1870 Mond Wind was indicted and arrested on the charge of murder, but made his escape from jail before his trial came off, and in the following year William P. Pearce was indicted and arrested on the charge of malicious murder, and he, too, made his escape from jail. J. A. Crowell, was sent to jail for twenty-four hours in 1872, upon being convicted of larceny, and in 1873 John M. Doak was sent to prison for three years on conviction of larceny. During the same year H. M. Little, circuit court clerk, was fined $10 by the court for contempt, he failing to attend to the duties of his office. In 1874 Hugh Collins, J. C. Tullass, Uriah Harrison and Hugh Collier, were each convicted separately of committing assault and battery, and each fined $5 and costs, and George H. Winfrey was fined $10 for contempt of court. In 1875 Wesley Batson and Thomas Nelson (both colored) were sent to jail for one year for larceny, an d the following year Bill Williams was sentenced to the penitentiary for one year for larceny, while Bale Wadkins was sent to jail for twelve months for malicious stabbing. In 1878 James Brooks was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years for larceny. John Boyer was tried for the murder of uncle, H. D. Boyer, and was acquitted, the jury bringing in a verdict of justifiable homicide, and Bale Wadkins was sent to the penitentiary for three years for slitting the ears of Nelson Goodrich. Bill York (colored) plead guilty to an indictment for arson, and was sent to the penitentiary for two years, in 1879, and Sheriff White was allowed $69 for the employment for thirty days to guard the county jail , to prevent the liberation by a mob of Sam 0. Gwinn, who was in durance vile on a charge of counterfeiting. Gwinn was afterward acquitted. In 1880 John Williams (colored) was convicted, after a lengthy trial, of the premeditated and malicious murder of his wife, and was sentenced to be hanged. The case was carried to the supreme court, where the decision of the lower court was affirmed, and Williams was returned to Waverly, where his death sentence was pronounced. The day of execution w as fixed for May 7, of the same year, and the place at Waverly. The present sheriff was in office ,at that time, and, under his directions, a scaffold was erected in the court square, where the execution took place as prescribed by law. An immense crowd of people came from miles around to witness the hanging, the people being estimated at between 3,000 and 3,500. Williams met his death with coolness, and rode from the jail to the scaffold on his coffin. During the same year, Conrad Hardwick was convicted of committing a rape, and was sent to penitentiary for ten years. In 1881 Jerry Turner and Jerry Jordan (colored) were sent to penitentiary for life on a charge of rape. In 1882 Guss Wyley (colored) was convicted of bugger y and sent to penitentiary for one year. In 1883 John Brown was convicted of bigamy, and imprisoned for two years, and in the following year, Tom Nelson, Alexander Williams and Mingo Lowing, were each sent to penitentiary for nine years for larceny. In 1886 Link Luffman was sent to jail ten days and fined $25 for larceny, and Lewis Smalley was sent to the penitentiary for one year for larceny.
The judges who have presided over the Humphreys Circuit Court and their terms have been as follows: William Fitzgerald, November 19,1862, until the war closed the courts; Lucian L. Hawkins, 1865-70; James E. Rice, 1870-78; Joe C . Stark, 1878-86. Attorney-generals: L. L. Hawkins, 1860-62; John P. Dunlap, 1865-70; W. J. Broaddus, 1870; T. C. Mulligan, 1870-78; B. D. Bell, 1878-86. Circuit clerks: John N. Little, 1860-61; William P. R. Batson, 1861-62; John N. Little, 1865-68; W. P. R. Batson, 1868-70; H. M. Little, 1870-73; G. L. Harris, 1873-78; T. B. Traylor, 1878-86 and is the present incumbent.
The chancery court of Humphreys County was established in 1852, by an act of the General Assembly, and the first session of the court was opened at Waverly on September 9, 1852, and was presided over by Hon. John S. Brien, chancellor for the middle division of Tennessee. Judge Brien served until 1854, when be was succeeded by Judge S. D. Frierson, who served only a short time, being succeeded the same year by Judge S. C. Paritt, who served until 1861. R. H. Rose was the first chancellor after the war, and he held the office until 1867, and was succeeded by James W. Doherty, who served until 1871, and was in turn succeeded by the present incumbent, Judge George H. Nixon. Clerks and masters: David R. Owen was appointed in 1852 and served until 1874, when the present incumbent, Rev. A. C. Stockard, was appointed.
Humphreys County has furnished soldiers for four different wars. During the war of 1812 the militia, which for years before and afterward was kept in a perfect state of organization, was drawn upon extensively, and quite a number were drafted and volunteered and fought with Gen. Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, one of whom (Dempsy May) now lives to relate the many incidents of that memorable campaign. While the militia men were all subject to the draft, only squads of eight were selected from each company by means of drawing tickets, from a hat or box, a lottery being held whenever a draft was ordered and no entire company was taken, as it was necessary to keep up the home organization for defense from the Indians, who were troublesome at that time. Among the many from Humphreys County who served in the above war were Dempsy May, David Bibb, W. H. Knight, William Lomax, Henry Trinkley, Miles Turner, Samuel McFall, John V. Horner, Selman Edwards, Kemp Crawley, Smith Medlock, Samuel McSwine, Benjamin Medlock, Zachariah Baker, Lewis Baker, Able Rushing, Nelson Crosswell, Solomon Grices, Stephen O'Gw inn, Elisha Crosswell, Levi Johnson, Jacob Johnson, John Scholes and James Lewis, the latter being captain of one of the companies.
Of the soldiers of the Seminole war of 1836 only the names of George Norman, Thomas Johnson and Perry Brown can be learned, and of the Mexican war of 1846 only that of Col. Longford; though there were many more enlisted and served in both, yet after diligent search and many inquiries, other than those mentioned could not be secured.
For the great civil war, Humphreys County furnished sufficient soldiers to the Confederacy to form a full regiment. All through the latter part of 1860 and the early part of 1861 the war fever was high and the excitement intense in Humphreys County, and long before the cloud burst it was evident that when war was declared her citizens would promptly array themselves on the side of the South. Much indignation was occasioned by President Lincoln's proclamation, issued April 15, 1861, calling for volunteers, and served only to prepare a hearty welcome for the call for volunteers which followed soon afterward; and when the election was held, June 8, 1861, to take the sense of the people on the question of separation or no separation from the Union , not one dissenting voice was heard, the entire vote, 1,042, being cast in the affirmative. Upon the receipt of Gov. Harris' proclamation for the formation of the provisional army, the raising and equipping of soldiers was inaugurated in the county, an d on May 6, 1861, the first company left for Nashville under command of Capt. Joseph H. Pitts, which was assigned to the Eleventh Tennessee Infantry. In a few days the second company, under command of Capt. H. R. Lucas, left for the same destination, and was assigned to the same regiment. In the following October Capt. John G. O'Neil organized an Irish company at McEwen, and joined the Tenth Tennessee Regiment, and Capt. Frank Maney's "Humphreys' Light Artillery " was organized and went to the front. Then followed in quick succession Capt. A. A. Wilson's company, which joined the Fiftieth Tennessee; Capt. S. A. Napier's company which joined the Tenth Tennessee Cavalry; Capt. R. Garrett's company, and Capt. J. M. McAdoo's company, both joining the Fifty-fourth Tennessee, and the four companies of cavalry, under command of Capts. W.. H. Bass, S. D. Whitfield, 0. Alexander and W. W. Hobbs, all of which joined the Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, under command of Gen. Forrest, and also a battery of artillery under command of Capt. Samuel Burns, which was attached to the Fifty-fourth Tennessee. The above companies and batteries were with their respective regiments throughout the four years of the war, and participated in all the campaigns and engagements against the enemy, their history and that of their regiments being identically the same, of which an account in full is given elsewhere in this work. A company o f independent scouts was also organized and commanded by Capt. B. L. Phillips, but their movements were confined to the county entirely.
Some time in August following the fall of Fort Donelson Capt. Flood, in command of a raiding party of Federals, came out from the fort and skirmished and raided through the county, but no lives were lost on either side. After the battle of Chickamauga, Gen. Grant, in laying plans for the campaigns of 1864, determined to complete the Northwestern Railway (now the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway) from White Bluff, in Dickson County to the Tennessee River, and thus establish an additional line of communication with Cairo Ill., from which point he could draw his stores and supplies. Accordingly in the latter part of 1863 the troops were put to work building the railroad to Johnsonville. The work was done by the Twelfth and Thirteenth United States Infantry (colored), and Johnsonville was made a depot of supplies for the armies of Grant and Sherman, and was in charge of Col. Charles P. Thompson. The Eighth Iowa Cavalry, under command of Col. John B. Dorr, and the First Kansas Battery, under command of Capt. Marcus D. Tenny were stationed at Waverly in December, 1863, to guard the railroad, and remained until November, 1864.
Gen. Sherman went south after the battle of Atlanta in 1864, and Gen. Hood started toward Nashville. Gen. Forrest, with his cavalry, was sent to cut off all communications between the Federals at Johnsonville and Nashville, and seize or destroy th e immense amount of supplies at the former place. Gen. Forrest reached the Tennessee River in November, 1864, going through West Tennessee, and attacked and destroyed the tin-clad boats of the Federals stationed a few miles below Johnsonville, and then moved on up the river on the west bank to opposite Johnsonville, and opened fire on the town and shipping. Twenty-seven transports and three tin-clad gun-boats were at the Johnsonville Landing, and the latter were sunk by Forrest's batteries. Apprehending that the Confederates would succeed in crossing the river, Col. Thompson, in command of the Federals, ordered the transports and stores set on fire, and between $3,000,000 and $5,000,000 worth of property was soon in ashes. After the cannonading ceased Col. Thompson was re-enforced by a portion of the Twenty-third Army Corps, under command of Gen. John M. Schofield, and Gen. Forrest then withdrew to Decatur, Ala., rejoining Gen. Hoods army, while the Federals withdrew to Nashville b y way of Clarksville, the troops stationed at Waverly and other points in the county going with them. After the battle of Nashville, however, the Thirteenth United States (colored) troops came back into the county to guard the railroad and bridges.
The guerrillas and Federals carried on a bushwhacking war in the county during the Rebellion, and several on each side were killed. W. J. Kemp, living on Hurricane Creek, was killed by the Federals in 1863. Washington Box was arrested a t his home one night during the same year by a party of Jayhawkers, from West Tennessee, and taken to a hollow near his house, where he was shot and his body buried near a tree; - and Henry Box was arrested by Federals in 1864 and carried to an old mill on Big Richland Creek, where he was shot. James F. Leonard, a private of First Kansas Battery, was killed by guerrillas on Dry Creek, while on his way to Waverly Landing; and Fletcher A. Willey, a private of the same battery, was also killed by guerrillas about three miles east of Waverly, some time in June, 1864. Edward Barnes, a Federal sympathizer, was called to his door one night in 1864 and killed by guerrillas near Waverly, and Thaddeus Holland was arrested by Federals in 1865 and shot on Tennessee River. Trace Creek Baptist Church was burned by the Federals in 1863, and also much property in Waverly. In the early part of 1863 Bob Edwards and Right Price, two notorious characters, were caught stealing horses from farmers in the Big Bottoms, and were hung by Judge Lynch. Bitter as the feeling was during the war, all animosity toward the North has long since died out of the breasts of the people of Humphreys County, and a hearty welcome is ex tended to all Northern men who may go among them.
Waverly, the county seat of Humphreys County, is a flourishing inland town of about 800 inhabitants, and is situated very near the center of the county on the St. Louis branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, sixty-seven miles west of Nashville and eleven miles east of Johnsonville on the Tennessee River. Trace Creek flows through the north portion of the town, and is spanned by a substantial foot bridge 320 feet in length. At the time the commissioner elected Waverly for the new county seat, where the town now stands was an open field embracing forty acres, which was owned by Gowan Childers and Christopher Wagoner, the former owning the northeast ten acres and the latter the balance. In the summer of 1836 the above gentlemen donated the entire forty-acre tract without reserve to the county, and in the following fall the town was surveyed and laid out into town lots by Isaac Little, a surveyor. Some time during December of the same year the lots were sold to the highest bidder, all being thus disposed of except one, which was donated or deeded to Gowan Childers, on which to erect a residence.
The first house erected in the town was a log cabin, and was built by William Draughon early in 1837. This house was located on the northwest corner of the public square. About the same time John B. Patrick erected a log house on the southeast part of the town, and William Teas erected a log house on the center of the south side of the public square. . The latter was a double house, and in it Mr. Teas opened a stock of whisky, tobacco, etc., and also bought up and traded for coon skins. This establishment (the first in Waverly) was afterward purchased by William Childers, who conducted the business for a year or more and sold out to Solomon McCloud. About this time Yeates & Harris erected a cabin on the north side of the square and engaged in the sale of whisky. After continuing the business for about two years these gentlemen sold out their property to Richard Smith, who opened a tailoring establishment. The first hotel was erected on t he northwest corner of the square in the fall of 1838 by William Draughon, and about the same time Archie Matthews engaged in general merchandising where D. Cowan & Sons' handsome brick business house now stands.
Adam Walker built a store and family residence in 1838, and during the same year Puckett & McNeil built a saddlery and harness shop on Main Street west of Walker's place, and David Crenshaw erected a residence o-n the northeast corner of the square, and was followed soon after by Hurley Alexander, who built himself a home on East Main Street; William Pritchard also built a residence and furniture store in the extreme eastern part of the town. The above were all log houses. During that time work on the court house was in progress, and from that time on the growth of the town was rapid and very satisfactory to those who had the interest of Waverly at heart. During the forties the business was carried on by Luc as & Ross, general merchants; Archie Matthews, same; Freeman Yeates, same; Samuel Williams, same; Christopher Wagoner, same; Stale & Bartlett, same; Crenshaw & Ward, same. The first blacksmith was Samuel Williams, who ran his shop in connection with his store. Dr. Marable was the next gentleman to engage in smithing. From 1850 to 1865 the business was carried on by several of the above firms and by White Bros., general merchants; James W. Harris, same; John Wylie, same, and J. B. Wylie, same. During the occupation of Waverly by the Federal troops, from 1863 until the close of the war, the town was destroyed to a great extent, the whole north side of the public square being burned. In 1866 Berry Bowen opened a hotel on the northwest corner of the square opposite D. Cowan & Sons' store, and Messrs. Nolen & Spicer built the Nolan House near the depot. The f ormer was conducted for several years, while the latter was continued until 1873, when J. N. Nolan became sole owner of the property and rebuilt the same into the substantial and commodious Nolan House of the present, of which W. H McCutcheonhas been the popular proprietor for thirteen years.. From 1865 to 1870 the business of the town was carried on by John Wylie,W. A. Moore, James H. Draugbon, Thomas B. Traylor, J. H. Reynolds, D. Cowan & Sons, W. S. Traylor and Rice & ' Massi e. From 1870 to 1880 Cornwell Bros., Slayton & Anderson, G. W. Perry, Nolan & Goodrich. Harris, Rogers & Co., Harris & Lucas, White Bros., McCullum & Matthews were the business men. During that time a number of citizens organized themselves into a stock company for the purpose of conducting a stock store. B. F. McCullum was chosen store-keeper and manager, and a thriving business was carried on for a few years. It proved unprofitable, however, and was closed up. In 1877 J. N. Nolen erected. a large brick warehouse near the railroad, which has since been used for storing peanuts, corn, etc. The firm of Nolen & Goodrich also operate a marble-yard, which is located in the basement of the warehouse, and was established in 1878. The business men of the present are as follows: Nolen & Goodrich, general merchandising; D. Cowan & Son, same; Cornwell Bros. & Co., same; Harris, Rogers & Co., same; Moore -& McNeil, same; McNeil, M cCullum & Turner, same; White & Rogers, same; W. C. McCracken and D. C. Rudolph, drugs; D. White and Joe McNeiley, saloons; Reeves & Perine and J. D. Rowen, livery stables; James H. Martin, furniture and undertaker; Thomas & Brown, saw, planing and grist and flour-mill; H. H. Hopkins & Son, store and heading factory,; Thomas Young, meat market; A. D. Sears, tinware; James Coniiell, saddlery and harness; and J. C. Rudolph, D. C. Rudolph and A. G. Brown, blacksmiths. The physicians of Waverly are Dr. T. J. Alford, W. M. Slayden, E. Napier, and J. M. Driver; and the lawyers are H.C. Carter, T. L. Lanier, R. T. Shannon, J. T. Winfrey, and D. B. Johnston.
Waverly has two newspapers, the Waverly News and Waverly Times-Journal. The first newspaper was established by J. M. Driver in 1874, and was christened the Waverly Journal. Mr. Driver published the Journal several years, when he sold t he paper to H. M. McAdoo, who continued its publication until 1880, and then sold out to Edward S. Jones. Under the proprietorship of Mr. Jones the paper was published for a period of eight months, and then removed by him to Pulaski. The < I>News was established by J. M. Driver in 1884, and now has a circulation of 800 copies. The Times-Journal was established in 1880, by W. N. Sloan & Co., with Mr. Sloan as editor and publisher. It has a circulation of 600 copies. Both pa pers are Democratic in politics and are liberally patronized by the citizens of the county.
Waverly was first incorporated in 1838, and continued under the charter then granted for several years, when the charter was abandoned. At different periods the corporation was revived and permitted to relapse, but as the records of the corporation ca n not be found nothing of the proceedings of the officers can be learned. January 3, 1885, the present corporation was established and the followed board elected: W. I. White, mayor; W. W. S. Harris, secretary and treasurer; T. U. Harris, recorder; R. M. Cooley, marshal; board of aldermen, W. I. White, James N. Nolen, J. P. Reaves, J. T. Winfrey, T. B. Traylor, R. J. McAdoo and W. W. S. Harris. The present board is composed as follows: J. N. Nolen, mayor; W. W. S. Harris, secretary and treasurer; T. U. Harris, recorder; W. H. Owen. marshal; board of aldermen, W. B. Foster and S. D. Sears for the First Ward, C. D. White and P. V. Rogers for the Second Ward, and J. P. Reaves and H. H. Harris for the Third Ward. The corporation is in a good condition fina ncially, being out of debt, and the wheels of the city government are kept well oiled by the prompt payment of corporation taxes. The town is divided into three wards, with two streets, Main and Church, both of which are kept in good repair. There are a bout 300 lots in the corporate limits, but the exact number can not be ascertained, owing to the absence of a plat or authentic information.
CHURCHES OF WAVERLY
Waverly is well supplied with substantial churches, having three as handsome church edifices as can be found outside of the cities. In 1847 the citizens in general erected a common meeting-house, in which all denominations met for worship, and the Masonic lodge held their meetings in the upstairs. The building was of brick, and stood near the northeast corner of the public square on the site of the present new Cumberland Presbyterian Church, now in course of erection. The old building stood until 1885, when it was torn away to give place to the above church. In 1878 the Old School Presbyterians began the erection of a brick church, which was completed and dedicated during the following year, Rev. J. W. Hoyt delivering the dedicatory sermon. T he building is a handsome brick, built in a modern style of architecture, and is handsomely furnished, the whole costing about $5,000. The Methodist Episcopal Church is a large, handsome frame building, over which the different benevolent societies have their lodge room. This church was completed during the present year at a cost of about $2,000, and was dedicated by Rev. Dr. J. B. West, on Sunday, April 11, 1886. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church will be completed during the present summer. The building is a handsome frame, and when completed will be an ornament to the town. The colored people have but one church, that church being the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. The church building is a substantial frame, and sits on a hill overlooking the entire town.
SCHOOLS OF WAVERLY
The first school established in Waverly was the Waverly Academy, which was opened in 1847, and during its time enjoyed a fair reputation as an institute of learning. The school was conducted on the subscription plan, and was continued until 1870, when the building was demol ished. Previous to this time, however, schools of but little account were held, and no school buildings were erected, and of them nothing can be learned. The present schools consist of one public and one subscription, and one colored public school.
The secret societies of Waverly are as follows: Masonic fraternity, organized as Priestly Lodge, No. 92, in 1838, and reorganized as Waver-
ly Lodge, No. 304, in December, 1866; Waverly Lodge, No. 758, K. of H., instituted September 4, 1878; Naomi Lodge No. 135, K. and L. of H., instituted September 15, 1879; Golden Cross Lodge, organized March 27, 1883; G. T., organized April 15, 1886.
In 1883 the town was visited by a very destructive fire, which swept away upward of $100,000 worth of property in the business part of town, ten stores and other valuable property being consumed. Since that time the destroyed houses have been replaced with substantial brick structures, and today with her handsome business houses, substantial churches and beautiful residences, Waverly presents as attractive appearance as any town of her size in Middle Tennessee. During the early part of the "seventies" Humphreys County Agricultural and Mechanical Association held annual exhibitions at Waverly.
Johnsonville lies on the Tennessee River and the St. Louis branch of the North Carolina & St. Louis Railway, and is eleven miles west of the county seat. The land originally belonged to T. K. Wylie, who made a present of the same to his son-in-law, John G. Lucas, and in 1858 Lucas erected a residence and warehouse there, and the place- was known as. Lucas' Landing. Soon after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson the landing was occupied by Federal troops, who established there a depot of supplies for Sherman's army, and stationed gun-boats in the river at that point for defense of the stores. Quite a number of buildings were, erected for the accommodation of the troops, and several stores were established, the merchants being Gossett & Welch, E. B. Kinsella, G. W. Gwinnup, J. B. Dickey, H. T. Hubbs, Gossett & Mathuia, J. T. Wagner & Bros., all of whom had general stores, including whisky, while hotels and boarding houses were kept by Weed & Phillips, Mrs. N. Cassiday, Elisha Wagoner, Mrs. Glenn and Mrs. Sallie Gould. At that period the town had upward of 1,000 population, not including the soldiers. In 1863 the railroad was completed by the troops to the town., and on the first train from Nashville was Andrew Johnson, afterward President of the United States, who with a party of officials made the initial trip over the new road. Upon the arrival of the train Mr. Johnson, among other ceremonies, broke a bottle of wine over the track, and named the town Johnsonville. When Gen. Forrest made his famous raid in 1863 almost the entire town was burned, and once more in 1864 was again destroyed. The soldiers evacuated the town in 1865. In 1864 Johnsonville was laid out and platted by Winfrey Shackleford & Lucas, about 300 lots being in the plat. The town has constantly declined since the war, and during the seventies there were not as many stores as during the sixties, and likewise with the seventies and eighties. The merchants at present are as follows: Wagoner Bros., general store, including drugs and whisky, also hotel; A. Gossett, general store and hotel; Thomas Jackson, provisions; James Parmer, saw-mill. With almost each stage of unusually high water Johnsonville is inundated by the Tennessee River. In 1883 an epidemic of small-pox visited the town from which several deaths occurred. The educational facilities of the town consist of a subscription school, though a building is being erected for an incorporated school, a charter for which will be secured as soon as the Legislature convenes. There are no churches in the town, and no organized denomination, The railroad company has a large elevator at the landing for handling freight.
McEwen, the second town in size in Humphreys County, is situated on the St. Louis branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, and fifty-seven miles west of Nashville, and seven miles east of Waverly has a population of a bout 350. In 1863 McEwen was but a railroad station, with nothing to mark it as such save a depot and huckster shop, the latter being owned by John Tousey, who bought up butter, eggs, chickens and country produce for the Nashville market. The land on wh ich the town now stands was originally owned by John Welch. In l869 the town was laid out and platted by John M. McAdoo, and there were eighty lots in the original plat. The first citizens of McEwen were the men who were engaged on the building of the ra ilroad, among whom was Michael Glyman, who in 1864 established himself in the whisky business. He was soon followed in the same business by Michael Biburn, while Michael Gibbons engaged in general merchandising. In 1 1866 Michael Brennen and Robert Bond opened general stores and engaged in the produce business also, as MeEwen had by that time become a good shipping point. Bond was succeeded in business by McAdoo & Thompson, and soon after Mrs. Thompson began merchandising, and W. W. Fussell opened a saloon. The business interests at present are represented by Michael Brennen, general merchandise; T. F. McQuade, same; J. F. Wright, same; Gibson & Reuben, same; J. G. Henslee, same; Dr. R. A. Harrington, drugs, and Thomas Williamson, drugs and g roceries. The first hotel was erected in 1870 and continued until 1873, when, for the want of patronage, it was closed. In 1886, however Dr. W. H. Daniel erected a large building and opened the McEwen House. Howell Thomas was the first blacksmith; he opening a shop in 1872, and is at present engaged in that business. W. H. Smith and Joseph Parish are the wagon-makers and wood-workers. In 1875 J. M. McAdoo erected a large steam flour and corn-mill at a cost of $6,000,which is in operation at the present. The only organized churches at McEwen are the Methodists and Catholics. The latter have been organized since 1865, at which time they erected a frame church building. In 1875 the frame was substituted with a handsome brick structure which was erect ed at a cost of about $6,000. It is the only church of that denomination between Waverly and Nashville, and has a large membership.
In 1884 McEwen Academy was established, a charter for the same having been granted by the General Assembly of that year, and the town is now within the jurisdiction of the four-mile law. McEwen Masonic Lodge, No. 525, was instituted in 1885. The Federal soldiers established a camp at MeEwen during the war, they being engaged in guarding the railroads.
Reynoldsburg, at one time the county seat, has long since passed out of existence as a town, and nothing remains but the old court house, which is occupied by Thomas Wylie as a residence. All the houses were destroyed or fell into decay and dilapidation after the county seat was removed, and the land on which the town once stood is now a fertile farm, yielding large crops of corn and peanuts each year. Among the citizens of Reynoldsburg were John and Robert Thompson, William Tooker, the Wylies, D. P. and Royal Hudson, Elisha Turner, Peter Black, Henry Pugh, Stephen Harris and Benjamin Hudson. The Wylies were the merchants of the town, and were probably the first of the county.
Bakerville, in the Twelfth District, situated on the Buffalo River, twelve miles Southwest of Waverly, is a village of 200 inhabitants. In 1866 the land where now stands the town was owned by Silas McKay. The first man to engage in selling goods in the town was William Wyatt, who is still in business. He was followed in succession by W. A. Sullivan, G. H. Riding and T. J. Hainey, all of whom continue in business at the present time. In 1871 the Christian Church, t he only one in the town, was organized, and in 1880 the Bakerville Academy was chartered under the four-mile law. A Masonic Lodge, No. 345, is the one secret society of Bakerville.
Box Station is a small village on the railroad with two stores and a post office, M. McCauley and W. K. Jackson being the merchants. The colored people, have an Old Fellow organization at the station.
Clydeton, in the First District; Trotters, in the Third; Sycamore, in the Twelfth, and Cuba and Shipps, in the Fourth, are steam-boat landings on Tennessee River; and Hustburg in the Third, Buffalo in the Thirteenth, Hurricane Mills in the Eighth, and Woolworth in the Eleventh are hamlets with Masonic lodges and post offices.
HUMPHREYS COUNTY SCHOOLS
Not a great deal of time and money were expended for educational purposes during the early days of Humphreys County, and school houses were few in number and far between. The first school of which there is now any recollection was taught some time in 1805, on the waters of White Oak Creek, in what is now the Eleventh Civil District. It was a subscription school, the tuition being $1 per term, and the term consisted of about three months. Not over twenty scholars attended this school, chil dren being almost as scarce as schoolhouses at that early day. The branches taught were reading, writing and spelling, all of which were thoroughly drilled into the minds of the children by the schoolmaster, one Joel Yarborough, an old pedagogue, who came from North Carolina. The house in which this first school was held was what was commonly called a pole house, being constructed out of large hickory poles. The house was about 15xl8 feet in dimensions, and was covered with a clapboard roof, hel d in place by poles. The floor was of puncheons, and the light and ventilation were furnished by means of gaps cut in the poles. Not over thirty scholars could be conveniently accommodated, and its accommodations were never severely taxed. The older sc holars would always carry their rifles with them to and from school, as deer, turkeys, wolves, wild cats and even bears were not infrequently encountered by them, and the rifles were carried both for sport and protection.
The schoolhouses were but temporary affairs, as there was no assurance that more than one or two terms would he held in them. The same building usually served for a church house also. Other early schools were on Tumbling Creek, in the Ninth District, on White Oak Creek, in Capt. Lewis' neighborhood, on Little and Big Richland Creeks, and on Hurricane Creek. They were also subscription schools, and were taught, in pole houses. Among other early teachers were Richard Turner, James Parker, Benjamin Johnson, Neal McDonald, James McLeod and, Eli Guthrie. With each succeeding year the schools increased in numbers and facilities. The first report of the superintendent of Humphreys County, made in June, 1873, shows the county to have had 23 schoolhouses, with 47 organized schools, 44 of which were white and 3 colored. There were 1,585 scholars between the ages of six and eighteen years enrolled, 1,499 of whom were white and 86 colored. Fifty-one, teachers were licensed during the year, 41 being male and 10 female, and a total of 46 teachers were employed, 36 male and 10 female. The average salary paid teachers was $35 per month, and the superintendent was paid, $500 per year. The condition of the schools of the county in 1885 shows quite an improvement, there being 4,488 school children, as follows: white, male 1,981, female 1,978; colored, male 260, female 269. There were 70 teachers licensed during the year, as follows: white, male 41, female 19; colored, male 5i female 5. There were 13 private schools taught, with a scholarship of 500, and 19 teachers. The private schools form quite a feature of the school system of Humphreys, they being in most cases superior to the public schools, inasmuch as higher b ranches of studies are taught, and the term is much longer. The private schools of importance which may be classed as permanent institutions, are as follows: One each at Pisgah and Ebenezer Churches,in the Third Civil District; Hurricane Mills Academy at the mills by that name, in the Eighth District'; one each at McEwen and Shiloh Churches, on Hurricane Creek, in the Tenth District; Bakerville Academy in the Twelfth District; Waverly High School in the Sixth District, and Bowdine Academy in the Thirteenth District. The public schools of today are 67 in number, and are divided among the civil districts as follows: First District, 5 white and 1 colored; Second District, 4 white and 2 colored; Third District, 3 white and I colored; Fourth District, 5 white; Fiftieth District, 3 white and 1 colored; Sixth District, 2 white and I colored; Seventh District, 4 white; Eighth District, 3 white; Ninth District, 5 white and 1 colored; Tenth District, 4 white; Eleventh District, 3 white; Twelfth District, 3 white an d 1 colored; Thirteenth District, 7 white; Fourteenth District, 3 white; Fifteenth District, 4 white and 1 colored. There are 27 frame and 42 log houses among the above school buildings, all of which are valued at $4,746.45, while the school furniture an d fixtures are valued at $412.34. In 1873 there were but 15 school districts, while at the present there are 29. The first county superintendent appointed or elected by the county court was T. M. Hogan, who served from 1873 to 1878 continuously, w hen he resigned. To Mr. Hogan was entrusted the building up of the public school system of the county, a trust which he faithfully discharged, and to him, probably, is the county indebted more than to any one else for the present condition of the public schools. Mr. Hogan was succeeded by T. F. McQuade, who served with satisfaction until 1881, when he in turn was succeeded by James Wagner. Mr. Wagner served only until July of 1882, when he handed in his resignation, which was promptly accepted by the county court, and D. B. Johnson was appointed to fill the vacancy. T. F. McQuade was again appointed to the superintendency in 1883, and served until 1885, when W. W. Little, the present incumbent, was appointed.
HUMPHREYS COUNTY CHURCHES
Of the different religious denominations the Methodists were the first to organize a church in Humphreys County, though the date of their first organization was prior only a few years to that of the Baptists. The Cumberland Presbyterians were first organized in about 1814, while the Old School Presbyterians were not organized until as late as the forties. Probably the first church in the county was built by the Methodists in 1806, and stood on what was afterward the site of Reynoldsburg. The building was a very ordinary log concern, with a puncheon door and pole roof, about 25x30 feet in dimensions, and would by crowding accommodate between twenty and twenty-five people. The first minister in charge was Rev. John Kirkland, and he was followed by Rev. John Browning. Both were counted as preachers of more than ordinary abilities, and are remembered by their good work. A few years later the Methodists erected a pole-house church on Long Branch, in the northwest part of the county, of which Rev. Nimrod Crosswell was the first pastor. Some time in 1810 the Baptists erected a church on Big Richland Creek, which was in charge, first, of Rev. George Turner, then by Rev. Levi Kirkland
Return to the Humphreys Co. TNGenWeb Page