Historical Sketch of Wilson County Tennessee

                  A Historical Sketch of Wilson County, Tennessee
                   From Its First Settlement to the Present Time
                                  by J. V. Drake

                Published for the Author by Tavel, Eastman & Howell
                                  1879, Nashville



The following sketch has been prepared for the information and gratification of 
Wilson countians, whether at home or abroad, and such others as may take an 
interest in the history of our county.  The subject of which it treats is one 
that should engage the attention of all.

One of the chief distinctions between a civilized and a savage people consists 
in a record--the one being known by a written history, the other by a tradition.  
The people of Wilson county are not savages, they are a moral, intelligent, 
patriotic, and industrious people, and as such have a history.  So far as I 
know, it has never been written.


Indeed we have no written history of the State extending down to a later date 
than the beginning of the present century, if we except what is incidentally 
given in the reports of the state geologist and of the Bureau of Agriculture, 
Statistics and Mines.  This imperfect sketch is intended to supply in some 
degree the deficiency, so far as Wilson county is concerned.

I have endeavored to group such facts and reminiscences concerning the 
discovery, early settlement, establishment, organization, and development of our 
county as will give the reader an outline of its history.  The names of more 
than three hundred early settlers as well as the first magistrates and county 
officials have been included.  Also sketches of Lebanon, and the villages and 
hamlets of Wilson.  Paragraph notices of some of the more prominent men of our 
county have been given, as well as of Wilson countians who have gone abroad and 
attained local or state distinction.  I have given also, in chronological order, 
the names of our circuit judges, chancellors, attorneys general, clerks, clerks 
and masters, trustees, registers, state senators, representatives, and sheriffs, 
from 1799 to 1880.

My sources of information are county records, senate and house journals of the 
legislature, "Resources of Tennessee" and sundry old gentlemen and ladies of the 
county, to each and all of whom I hereby tender my thanks.  I am indebted also 
for kindly assistance in looking over the records to John S. Carter, Jordan 
Stokes, Jr., John Perkins and S. G. Stratton, the courteous and efficient clerk 
of the circuit court.  My thanks are due likewise to John C. Farr, Esq., for 
sundry kind offices.

Notwithstanding its many imperfections,  I trust this sketch may meet the 
approval and generous indulgence of those for whom it is written; and if it 
shall afford them half the interest in reading it that the author has had in 
writing it, he will have been amply rewarded for his effort.  This is his 
contribution to the general history of his native state.

Lebanon, April 14, 1879                                              J. V. Drake


"The Cumberland County"
  Part of North Carolina
    Ceded to the United States
      Territorial Government
        State of Tennessee
          Her Governors
            Wilson County Established
                  Topography and Streams
                    Timber and Rocks
                      First Settlers
                        Beginnings of Civilized Life
                          County Organized
                            First Magistrates and Other Officials
                              The Courts
                            Land and Soils
                          Products of the Soil
                        Live Stock
                    Public Roads
                  The Schools
            County Seat Founded
          Beginnings, Growth and Present Status
        Villages and Hamlets
      Public Men
      Clerks of the Circuit Court
            Clerks and Masters
              Clerks of County Court

The history of the discovery and settlement of "The Cumberland Country", of 
which the territory embraced within Wilson county was a part, is, so far as the 
white or European race is concerned, involved in no mythological fiction.  No 
fabulous stories are told of some adventurous founder of a colony in the 
wilderness, whose exploits and achievements are unwarranted by reason, and 
without the range of probability.  On the contrary, the discovery and settlement 
of these western solitudes by our forefathers are of such recent date, and 
attested by so much concurrent testimony, both written and traditional, as to 
place the authenticity of their general history beyond controversy or cavil.

With respect to the uncivilized tribes, called savages, or Indians, found here 
upon the discovery of the country by our ancestors, and whose origin is yet 
perhaps problematical with the ethnologist, we have nothing to say, only so far 
as they may incidentally be mentioned in connection with the discovery, 
settlement, and progress of the white people.  And of that pre-historic race, 
known as the Mound Builders, which preceded the Indians, and of which they knew 
nothing, and of which we have no knowledge, except as we gather it from the 
remains of their skeletons, mounds, fortifications, and other artificial works, 
existing in the Mississippi Valley and elsewhere on the continent, it is not our 
province further to speak.  They were here long anterior to our knowledge of the 
New World, and belong to the pre-historic age.  We shall, therefore, in our 
sketch of the county, begin with its settlement by our ancestors, the hardy 
pioneers of the wilderness, whose stout hearts and strong arms expelled the 
marauding savage and wild beasts of the land; whose enterprise and industry 
opened out the highways of the community, felled the forests and made the virgin 
soil to teem with harvests of plenty; and whose lives of toil, hardship, 
privations and dangers, display a moral and physical heroism worthy of any 
country and of any age.  Although no monumental pile may rise toward heaven to 
commemorate their heroic deeds, no local bard sing their praises, still they 
shall no be foregotten; their names and memories will live and be cherished.
"When marble moulders, and when records fail."

Their noblest monument is the great state their wisdom and valor helped to 
establish their greatest praise, the gratitude of their posterity, who 
perpetuate so noble a heritage.

It may not be amiss to remark just here that the whole territory embraced within 
the limits of the state of Tennessee was originally the western division of 
North Carolina, and at one time constituted Washington county of that state.  
This was divided and subdivided until no less than seven counties had been 
established, namely, Washington, Sullivan, Green and Hawkins, which lie east of 
the Cumberland Mountain, and Davidson, Sumner and Tennessee counties, west of 
it, when North Carolina ceded her western territory to the United States.  It 
was accepted by act of congress, approved April 2, 1790, by President 
Washington.  It was then erected into the Territory of the United States, South 
of the Ohio river, of which William Blount was appointed governor.  Thus it 
continued until it was admitted into the Union as the state of Tennessee, June 
1, 1796, Gen. John Sevier having been elected her first governor.  His 
successors in office are as follows:  Archibald Roane, Willie Blount, Joseph 
McMinn, William Carroll, Sam Houston, William Hall, Newton Cannon, James K. 
Polk, James C. Jones, Aaron V. Brown, Neil S. Brown, William Trousdale, William 
B. Campbell, Andrew Johnson, Isham G. Harris, William G. Brownlow, D. W. C. 
Senter, John C. Brown, James D. Porter, and the present incumbent, Albert S. 
Marks, making twenty-one in all.

County Established

Our County of Wilson, the nineteenth in the order of organization, was 
established by act of the General Assembly of Tennessee, passed at Knoxville, 
October 26, 1799, and named in honor of Major David Wilson, a Pennsylvanian by 
birth but a citizen of North Carolina by choice.  He served through the 
Revolutionary war with distinction, and finally settled in Sumner county, where 
he possessed a large body of land, granted him for his military services.  He 
was one of the first Magistrates of Sumner county, was twice elected a member of 
the legislature, and once speaker of the house of representatives.  Wilson 
county, which lies a little north of the center of the state, was formed out of 
that part of Sumner lying south of the Cumberland, and was originally much 
larger than it is now, being bounded then as follows:  "Beginning upon the south 
bank of Cumberland river, at low water mark, as the mouth of Drakes's Lick 
Branch, the north-eastern corner of Davidson county, to the Cherokee boundary; 
and with said boundary to the Caney Fork; and down the Caney Fork, with its 
meanders, to the mouth thereof; thence down the meanders of the Cumberland 
river, by the south bank, to the beginning."

It has since been very much diminished by the formation of new counties out of 
its territory to the east, south-east and south, and is bounded now as follows:  
On the west by Davidson; on the north by Sumner, from which it is separated by 
Cumberland river; on the north-east and east by Trousdale, Smith and DeKalb; on 
the southeast by Cannon; and on the south by Rutherford county; and has an area 
of 578 square miles, or about 370,000 acres, according to a survey made in 1868 
by Gen Alexander P. Stewart.

Topography and Streams

The surface of the county in the main is rolling, modified by numerous valleys, 
where it is sometimes level, but mostly undulating; and by a number of ridges, 
hills and knobs, in the central, eastern and south-eastern parts, where it is 
often abrupt and precipitous.  Its average elevation above the level of the sea 
lies between five and six hundred feet.

Jennings' Knob, which is situated six miles south-east from Lebanon, is the 
highest elevation in the county, being 1,221 feet above the level of the sea as 
measured by Professor A. H. Buchanan.

Wilson is supplied with an abundance of excellent, living water, chiefly blue 
limestone, though there is found here and there sulphur, chalybeate and other 
mineral waters.  Besides springs and wells, which abound all over the county, 
and the Cumberland, which washes its northern border a distance in a direct line 
of about twenty-five miles, the county has the following important creeks:  
Cedar, Spring, Barton's, Spencer's, and Cedar Lick, which, with their 
tributaries, lie wholly within its limits, and run in a north-westerly direction 
into the Cumberland; Stoner's, Suggs', Hurricane and Fall Creeks, which have
their sources and greater parts of their valleys in this county, and flowing in 
a westerly direction, ultimately discharge their waters into Stone's river; 
Smith's Fork and Round Lick, with Spring and Fall creeks, have their sources 
near each other in a group of hills, in the south-eastern division of the 
county, the former flowing in a northerly course to the Cumberland, and the 
latter in a north-easterly direction to the Caney Fork; Sinking creek, the head 
springs of which flow from the Pilot Knob and Lindsay Martin hill, both the 
property now of James H. Hancock, runs in a south-westerly and westerly 
direction to a sink, a little south of Gladeville, where it disappears--hence 
its name; and Pond Lick creek, which begins at the Robin Shannon spring, now the 
property of Jesse L. Moore, runs in a south-westerly course into Sinking creek, 
near the point of its subsidence.  All these streams and their tributaries have 
desirable valleys, with greater or less bodies of rich and productive lands, 
furnishing a great number of beautiful farms, and some excellent sites for mills 
and other machinery propelled by water-power.

Timber and Rocks

Wilson County has also an ample supply of forest timber, consisting of several 
kinds and species including a number of trees invaluable for building and 
cabinet purposes.  They are the white, red, post, chinquapin, water and other 
species of oak, white and blue ask; red or cork and slippery elm; sugar 
birdseye, swamp and white or silver maple; black walnut, yellow poplar, red 
cedar, chestnut, wild cherry, buckeye, red mulberry, beech, sycamore, cotton 
wood, hackberry, linn, sassafras, box elder, dogwood, iron wood, red and black 
haw, hornbeam, holly red bud, persimmon and branch willow, with a number of 
creepers, chief among which is the grapevine.   Yellow poplar is pretty much 
confined to the hill country and the valley of the Cumberland; the chestnut, to 
a few hills and ridges; the cedar, chiefly to the rolling lands of the west, 
south and southwestern parts; while the rest are distributed more or less all 
over the country.

Originally the county was covered with an almost unbroken forest, there being no 
prairies or barrens, only a few rocky glades, here and there, among the dense 
cedar-brakes; but more than half of its area has been cleared of the timber for 
purposes of cultivation and pasturage, leaving, according to the census of 1870, 
about 152,000 acres of woodland.  The poplar cedar, walnut and cherry being in 
great demand by the mill men for conversion into lumber for the carpenter and 
cabinet workman, may, in some localities, begin to show signs of deficiency, but 
with proper husbandry enough yet remains to answer all practical purposes for an 
indefinite period.

The county has likewise an abundance of rocks, much of it suitable for building 
materials, consisting of several varieties of the blue limestone, sandstone, and 
perhaps other rocks.  In a few localities sandstone has quarried of good grit 
and made into grindstones.  Besides the above, there is, on some of the higher 
hills and ridges to the south-east a stratum of black shales or slate, mistaken 
by the inexperienced for stone coal.  It is not suitable for roofing purposes.  
We have no iron, lead, or other ores, in quantities sufficient for mining 
purposes.  Nor have we any marble, granite or coal.

This was the goodly land that attracted our forefathers from beyond the 
mountains.  Through some adventureous traveller or daring hunter, they heard of 
the beautiful hills and verdant valleys, its plenteous game-and-grand forests, 
its rich soil and bright waters, and straightway they determined to come and 
possess it.

"Westward the course of empire takes its way"

The first settlers of this county were emigrants chiefly from North Carolina, 
Virginia, South Carolina and East Tennessee, with a few from Georgia, Maryland 
and perhaps other States.  For much of our information in the respect, we are 
indebted to a number of the old citizens, surviving children of pioneers, and to 
whom we hereby make our acknowledgments.  Among these are Levi Holloway, James 
Clemmons, Mrs. Martha Ozment, Mrs. Byrd Smith, Joseph Williams, Edward G. 
Jacobs, Turner Waters, John T. Goodall, John Palmer, John Perkins, Paulding 
Anderson, Mrs. Edward Freeman, Tom Alexander, Stephen Woodrum, Lindsay Martin, 
and John F. Doak, a staunch old Democrat, whose regard for fine horses is only 
excelled by his admiration for President Jackson, Polk and Johnson, and whose 
great ambition is to die as he has lived sober and solvent!

Pioneer Settlers

>From the best information we have been able to obtain, the first permanent 
settlement in the county was made about the year 1794, on the north end of 
Hickory Ridge, near a bold spring, the head of Spencer's creek, about five miles 
west from the site of Lebanon, by John B. Walker, John Harpole and others whose 
names are not remembered.  Prior to this, the wild beasts and the still wild 
savages, had held the territory now constituting our county in almost 
undisturbed away.  It is true, Edmund Jennings, who gave his name to the highest 
knob in the county; Tom Spencer, for whom one of our creeks was named; and Joe 
Bishop, a noted pioneer of Smith county and other hunters from Sumner and 
Davidson counties, had traversed its forests in pursuit of the buffalo, or to 
rescue women and children from the Indians.  But it was not until now that a 
cabin was built, the cane and timber cleared away, and the soil made tributary 
to the wants of man.  How many persons constituted this primary community, what 
all their names were, what their joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, privations 
and hardships, and all the thrilling events of their border life, we have no 
means of knowing; they have passed away, leaving no adequate record.

The next settlement, it is thought, was made on the waters of Spring creek, 
about eight miles south from the site of Lebanon, about the year 1796, by John 
Foster, John Doak, David McGathey, Alexander Braden, and the Donnell families.  
It was known as the "Donnell Settlement," they having numerical ascendency.  
Indeed, there was, and is yet, an extensive relationship of this name, several 
members bearing the same of several given or Christian names, as William, Thomas 
and Robert.  It was sometimes doubtful as to which individual was meant, even 
when addressed by the full name.  To avoid the confusion prenomens, or 
nicknames, were conferred by common consent.  Thus they had Captain Billy, 
Poplar Billy, Cedar Billy and Sugar Billy; Long Tommy, Short Tommy, Tiptoe 
Tommy, Big Robin, Little Robin, and Uncle Robin, with a number of Georges, 
Johns, James', Samuels, Calvins, Etc.  This Family has furnished no less than 
seven ministers of the gospel.

Much about the same time, if not before, settlements were made on Barton's 
Creek, on Smith's Fork, on Cedar Lick, on Stoner's Creek, and perhaps in other 
localities.  We present here the names of a goodly number of the pioneers of 
Wilson, designating their places of settlement, or neighborhoods, by the creeks 
on or near which they are located.  Doubtless, a few worthy names have been 
overlooked, but we do not know them, and have done the best we could.  They are 
as follows:  ON BARTONS' CREEK - Charles Blaylock, Elijah Trewitt, Levi 
Holloway, Henry Shannon, Snowdon Hickman, William Eddings, Thomas Moss, Eleazer 
Provine, Byrd Wall, Williard Thomas, Samuel Wilson Sherrill, George Swingler, 
Zephaniah Neal, John Goldston, Benjamin Eskew, John Lane, Jeremiah Still, John 
K. Wynn, George Wynn, Thomas Sypert, Benjamin Winford, William Peace, Jas. 
Mayes, John Cage, Alexander Chance, Josiah Martin, Henry Reed, William Elkins, 
Neddy Jacobs, John Impson, John Alcorn, Frank Anderson, Thomas Conyers, and 

ON SPRING CREEK - James Cannon, Solomon Marshall, James Chappell, Walter 
Carrouth, Martin Talley, George Alexander, Joseph Moxley, Hugh Marrs, Bartlett 
Graves, Spencer Talley, John Forbus, William Bartlett, William Sherrill, John 
Stembridge, Josiah Smith, Alligood Wollard, Thomas Williams, Purnel Hearn, John 
Jones, Josiah Jones, John Walsh, Samuel Elliot, Samuel Mottley, Richard Hankins, 
Arthur Hankins, Gregory Johnson, William Steele, Henry Chandler, Arthur Dew, 
Daniel Cherry, Adam Harpole, Sampson Harpole, and others including "the Donnell 

ONE CEDAR CREEK - Hugh Roane, John Provine, Alexander Aston, Samuel Calhoun, 
Perry G. Taylor, John L. Davis, Matthew Figures, David Billings, Irwin 
Tomlinson, Joseph Trout, Hooker Reeves, Lewis Chambers, Matthew Cartwright, 
William Harris, Andrew Swan, Wm. Wilson, Joseph Wier,, James Wier, Thomas 
Brevard, Robin Johnson, Henry Jackson, and others;

ON SPENCER'S CREEK - John B. Walker, John Harpole, William Harris, William 
White, Brittain Drake, Lewis Kirby, William Gray, Joel Echols, Robert Mitchell, 
Thos. R. Mitchell, Phillip Koonce, James McFarland, Moore Stevenson, Mrs. Bettie 
Echols and family, Jerre Hendricks, Richard Drake, and others;

ON CEDAR LICK CREEK - Theophilus Bass, Clem Jennings, John Everett, Reuben 
Searcy, Joshua Kelly, James Everett, John Gleaves, Jas. H. Davis, Thomas Davis, 
Howell Wren, William Ross, Edmund Vaughan, Harman Hays, George Smith, Daniel 
Spicer, and others;

ON CUMBERLAND RIVER - Elijan Moore, William Saunders, Caleb Taylor, Bartholomew 
Brett, William Johnson, Josiah Woods, William T. Cole, Joseph Kirkpatrick, Henry 
Davis, James Tipton, Thomas Ray, Reuben Slaughter, Daniel Glenn, James A. 
Hunter, Ransom King, Henry Jackson, Ephraim Beasley, Sterling Tarpley, Charles 
Lock, William Petway and others;

ON STONER'S LICK CREEK - Blake Rutland, Zebulon Baird, John G. Graves, Benjamin 
Graves, Thomas Watson, Joseph Watson, John Wilson, John Williamson, Henry 
Thompson, Thomas Gleaves, Ezekiel Cloyd, Anderson Tate, Jacob Woodrum, Ezekiel 
Clampet, Andrew Wilson, James Cothron, David Kendall, and others;

ON SUGG'S CREEK - Benjamin Hooker, Aquilla Suggs, William Warnick, William Rice, 
Benjamin Dobson, Hugh Gwynn, Jenkin Sullivan, John Roach, James Hannah, Hugh 
Telford, Green Barr, Peter Devault, John Curry, Thomas Drennon, Joseph Hamilton 
Castleman, and others;

ON POND'S LICK CREEK - Robin Shannon, John Ozment, Lee Harralson, John Spinks, 
John Rice, and others;

ON SINKING CREEK - Thompson Clemmons, William Bacchus, David Fields, Lewis 
Merritt, Frank Ricketts, Fletcher Sullivan, James Richmond, Robert Jarmon, John 
Winsett, Jesse Sullivan, William Parsley, and a little later, John Billingaley, 
Seldon Baird, Dawson Hancock, Jonathan Ozment, and others;

ON HURRICANE CREEK - William Teague, John Bibson, William Hudson, Nicholas 
Quesenbury, Charles Warren, Jacob Bennett, Elisha Bond, Robert Edwards, John 
Edwards, Bradford Howard, George Cummings, John Merritt, Joseph Stacy, Frank 
Young, Henry Mosier, Charles Cummings, John Wollen, Absalom Knight, Thomas 
Miles, Peter Leath, Gideon Harrison, and others;

ON FALL CREEK - William Warren, Samuel Copeland, Joseph Williams, Jacob 
Jennings, William Allison, Hardy Penuel, Joseph Sharp, Sampson Smith, Frank 
Puckett, James Quarles, Roger Quarles, Matthew Sims, Shadrac Smith, James Smith, 
Charles Smith, Aaron Edwards, John Edwards, Hugh Cummings, Isaac Winston, 
Williams Worthan, Burrell Patterson, Absalom Lasater, John Alsup, Lard Sellars, 
Joseph Carson, Charles Gillem, Arthur Harris, Walter Clopton, Richard Hudson, 
William Smith, Henry Williams, John Donnell, Adney Donnell, and William Lester,
who was four times married and who had by his several wives thirty-four 

ON SMITH'S FORK - Dennis Kelly, John Kelly, David Ireland, John Adams, David 
Wasson, John Armstrong, Isaac Witherspoon, Robert Bumpass, John Allen, Richard 
Craddock, Edward Pickett, Elisha Hodge, Thomas Flood, James McAdoo, Samuel 
McAdow, Abner Bone, Thomas Bone, William Richards, George L. Smith, Samuel 
Stewart, William Beagle, James Johnson, John Know, William Knox, John Ward, 
Solomon George, Reason Byrne, James Godfrey, Henry Payne, James Thompson, James 
Thomas, Thomas Word, James Ayers, Wm. Jennings, Charles Rich, Abner Alexander, 
William Oakley and James Williams, who was the Seventh Sheriff of the county, 
and who had in succession three wives, by whom he had twenty-seven children.

ON ROUND LICK - Including Jenning's Fork - John W. Peyton, John Phillips, 
Benjamin Phillips, Edward G. Jacobs, Samuel Patterson, John Green, Samuel 
Barton, Alexander Beard, Jordan Bass, Solomon Bass, John Lawrence, John Taylor, 
James Taylor, Evan Tracy, David Beard, Joseph Barbee, John Barbee, Shelah 
Waters, David Young, George Clark, James Shelton, William Neal, Joshua Taylor, 
Isaac Grandstaff, Daniel Smith, Jacob Vantrease, Duncan Johnson, Joseph Foust, 
James Hill, Joseph Carlin, John Patton, George Hearn, John Bradley, Wm. New 
Robert, Branch James Edwards, William Howard, John White, Edmund Jennings,
Thomas Byles, William Palmer, Park Goodall, Jerre Brown, Thomas B. Reese, James 
Rather, John Swan, James Scoby, James Hobbs, James Newby, John Caplinger, and 
perhaps others.

We have given above more than three hundred names of the early settlers of the 
county.  They all have passed away, but most of them have left a posterity to 
perpetuate their names.  Many of these are doubtless quite familiar to our 

First Mills, School, Church, Cotton Gin, Etc.

The first water mill erected in the county was built, it is thought, by Thomas 
Conyer, on Barton's Creek, about three miles north of west from the site of 
Lebanon, about the year 1796.  And the first licensed water saw and grist mill 
was built by Matthew Figures, on Cedar Creek, about seven miles north east from 
the site of Lebanon, in 1798.

The first horse mill in the county was built in "the Donnell Settlement," eight 
miles south of the site of Lebanon, near Doak's Cross Roads about the year 1798.  
The miller was a stout youth by the name of Robert Donnell; since well known to 
the public as Rev. Robert Donnell, a prominent minister of the Cumberland 
Presbyterian Church.

Before the erection of these and other mills in the territory now embraced with 
our county, the early settlers had to go to mills in Sumner or Davidson, or 
convert their corn into meal by the use of the mortar and pestle.  Many of the 
people never saw any meal, made in this way, but some of the old people now 
living have not only seen such meal, but helped make it.

The first school taught in the county, as we are informed, was by Benjamin 
Alexander, in "the Donnell Settlement" about the year 1801.  For first High 
School, see further on in this sketch.

The first church house built in the county, was erected by the Old School 
Presbyterians near the site of Shop Spring, on the Sparta Pike, about the year 
1799, and the Rev. Samuel Donnell was the first pastor.  It was about his time 
that a disturbance arose in this branch of the church upon the two items of 
fatality and classical education, which resulted in the formation of the 
Cumberland Presbyterian church, February 4, 1810.

The first cotton grown west of the Cumberland mountain was in Clover Bottom, in 
a field to the right hand of the bridge across Stone's river, where the 
Nashville and Lebanon pike crosses that stream, by John Donelson, afterward 
father-in-law-of Andrew Jackson, about the year 1789-'90.  Its cultivation for 
home consumption seems to have spread rapidly, for in 1802 there were no less 
than four gins already built in Wilson County:  One by George Alexander, in the 
neighborhood of old Center Hill; other by John B. Walker, on Hickory Ridge; and 
the others by Moses Echols and Daniel Trigg, in other sections of the county.  
These has no presses attached.  The first press built, where cotton was 
"bagged," not baled, for transportation was on the John B. Walker farm, on 
Hickory Ridge, about the year 1805.  It was grown there to some considerable 
extent, and became a staple product, as it did in some localities in the county 
just after the termination of the late civil war.

The oldest house in the county, so that we have been able to learn, was built by 
Samuel Wilson Sherrill, on Barton's Creek, near where the Lebanon and Tucker's 
Gap crosses that stream, two and a half miles south of west from Lebanon.  It 
was built in 1797-98, of hewn cedar logs, the door shutters being made of split 
boards, and smoothed with the drawing knife, and nailed together with wrought 
nails made by hands.  It is still in use, the door shutters being now eight-two 
years old, and strong and serviceable if not handsome.  The next oldest is one 
of the buildings occupied by John F. Doak, built by his paternal grandfather in 
1800.  It is of hewn yellow poplar logs, and is now in an excellent state of 
preservation.  Its present occupant has had it weatherboarded, and otherwise 
renovated, to make it harmonize with more recent improvements.  It is said by 
some that the old McClain house is the oldest in the county; but I do not know 
with certainty.

We have tried to ascertain the names of the first couple married in Wilson,
but failed.  We have endeavored also to find out the name of the first white 
child born in the county but did not succeed.  We have been told, however, who 
was the first white male child born here, but we doubt the correctness of the 
statement, as it will drive us to the alternative, either that all the women of 
the county were barren for five or six years, or that all the children born 
within the same periods were girls!  One of the "oldest inhabitants," and one 
who is well posted, too, says that Josiah S. McClain, well known as the clerk of 
the county court for a period of more than forty years, was the first white male 
child "to put in his appearance" in what is now Wilson county having been born 
January 1, 1799.  This was before the county was established, and strictly 
speaking he was born in Sumner county.  Nevertheless, we speak of many things as 
having occurred in Wilson, before its legal existence.  The county has now a 
population of 3,261 inhabitants.

Organization of the County

The first county court, or court of pleas and quarter sessions with probate 
powers, was organized and held at the house of Capt. John Harpole, on Hickory 
Ridge, about five miles west of the site of Lebanon, on Monday, December 23, 
1799.  The house stood near the large spring on the John B. Walker farm, more 
recently known as the Dr. Thomas Norman place, and now the property of Col. 
James Hamilton.  The following named gentlemen were commissioned magistrates, 
to-wit:  Charles Kavanaugh, John Alcorn, John Lancaster, Elmore Douglas, John 
Doak, Matthew Figures, Henry Ross, William Gray, Andrew Donelson and William 
McClain.  Charles Kavanaugh was elected chairman; Robert Foster, clerk; Samuel 
Roseborough, Sheriff; John Alcorn, register; John W. Peyton, trustee; William 
Gray, ranger; Henry Ross, coroner; and William Quesenberry, surveyor.  Benjamin 
Seawell, Esq., was elected the county solicitor.

James C. Hambleton was the first attorney admitted to the bar of Wilson County, 
Dec. 24, 1799.  He heads the long list of a bar distinguished for its ability.  
Among the prominent men who began the practice of law at this bar, we may 
mention Harry L. Douglass, Samuel Houston, George Samuel and William Yerger, 
Robert M. Burton, John S. Brien, Jordan Stokes, William L. Martin, Robert Hatton 
and Edward I. Golladay.

Of the visiting attorneys were Andrew Jackson, Felix Grundy and Ephraim H. 
Foster of Davidson; John J. White, John H. Bowen and William Hadley, of Sumner; 
Samuel Anderson and Charles Ready of Rutherford; and more recently, Col. John 
Head and Col. Jo C. Guild of Gallatin.

The court held its sessions at the house of Captian Harpole until March term, 
1802 when it adjourned to meet at the house of Henry Turney, on Barton's Creek, 
about three miles south-west from the present county seat.  Here it adjourned 
its sittings until December term, 1802, when it adjourned to meet at the house 
of Edward Mitchell of Lebanon, which had that year been located and established 
by the commissioners as the permanent capital of the county.

The Courts

The courts established under the Constitution of 1796 were at first two, besides 
the magistrates', namely, the court of pleas and quarter sessions for each 
county, and the superior or district courts.  The former had a more extended 
jurisdiction than the present county court.  In addition to probate and other 
county matters, it had jurisdiction of civil and criminal causes with trial by 
jury.  The latter was the court of highest resort until 1810, when the court of 
errors and appeals was established.  The judges of this higher court were of 
equal grade until 1831, when Judge Catron was elected the first chief justice of 
the state.

Under the Constitution of 1834, the judicial system was re-organized, and 
besides the magistrates' courts, county courts, circuit courts, chancery courts, 
and the Supreme Court of Tennessee were established.  The number of judges 
constituting this latter court has varied from time to time, but it consists now 
of five, one of whom is chief justice.

The first circuit court was held in this county on the first Monday in 
September, 1810, and the Hon. Thomas Stuart was the first judge to preside; H. 
L. Douglass, clerk; and Alfred Bach, Esq., solicitor general.

The first chancery court was held here on the 25th day of July, 1836, the 
honorable L. M. Bramlitt being the chancellor, and John H. Dew, Esq., clerk and 

The county is divided into 25 civil districts, and has 51 magistrates, two to 
each district, except that of Lebanon, which has three, and 26 constables.

Land and Soils

The land surface of the county embraces, as before stated, about 370,000 acres, 
about 165,000 acres of which is in cultivation.  The rest is wood and pasture 
land, except old, worn-out fields which are not numerous and a few glades and 
rocky points on some of the hills and ridges.

About three-fourths of the county is enclosed, generally by good fences, some of 
stone, but much the greater proportion of cedar.

The soils may be divided into four classes, as follows:

1.  The river and creek bottoms, which are alluvial and of great fertility, 
producing nearly everything grown by the farmers of the county.
2.  A dark soil, peculiar to the cedar flats, the least desirable of any we 
have, and subject to drought, being usually near the rock.
3.  That found on the hills, ridges and plateaus of the north-western and middle 
portion of the county, and the slopes of the hills of the eastern and south-
eastern parts, is a sandy, mulatto-colored soil; it has been called the CORN 
soil, though it produces wheat, cotton, tobacco, potatoes, etc., well.  It is 
excellent for apples, peaches, grapes, and other fruits.
4.  That found in the valleys and lower parts of the county, outside of the 
bottoms, which is also a mulatto soil, but is more compact and clayey.  It has 
been denominated the WHEAT soil, and does not fall much behind the last named, 
giving ample returns to the farmer.  The lands vary in price from $7.50 to $75 
per acre, depending upon soil, timber, locality and improvements.

Placing the average price at $15 per acre, the farms of Wilson are worth, in the 
aggregate, $5,550,000.  On account of the decline in the prices of lands since 
the census report of 1870, we have deducted one fourth of the cash value as 
therein given for our county.  We presume a like decline has attended every 
other county in the state.

Wilson ranks as the sixth county.  Those outranking her in this respect are, in 
the order of greatest value, Bedford, Davidson, Maury, Rutherford, and Shelby. 
Wilson is credited in its census report for 1870 with 3,059 farms, ranging in 
size from three to nearly one thousand acres each.  They are mostly occupied by 
their owners, very few entire farms being rented.  Land rents on the shares, 
from one-third to one half the crop; in money, from $1 to $5 per acre, according 
to quality of soil.

Products of the Soil

The products of the soil, as given in the census reports for 1870 were as 
follows:  Corn, 1,173,201 bushels; barley, 11,355 bushels; wheat, 241,715 
bushels; oats, 151,067 bushels; rye, 3,189 bushels; sweet potatoes, 33,362 
bushels; irish potatoes, 25,945 bushels; clover seed, 1,117 bushels; grass seed, 
932 bushels; hay, 5,850 tons; cotton, 1,205 bales; tobacco, 332,901 pounds; 
sorghum molasses, 47,794 gallons.  Also orchard products, value, $24,660; 
produce of market gardens, $11,740; forest products, $9,668 (not less now than 
$175,000); home manufactures, $45,909, being in the aggregate about $255,237.


The livestock, according to the same authority, were as follows:  horses, 9,682 
head; mules and asses, 4,150 head; milk cows, 5,185 head; working oxen, 584 
head; other cattle, 7,399 head; sheep, 24,023 head; and hogs, 48,708 head, with 
a multitude of domestic fowls.  Estimated value of livestock, $1,919,019.


The population by the census report of 1870, was as follows:  white, 18,544; 
colored 7,331; male, 12,898; female, 12,983; Indians, 6; total, 25,881; 
scholastic, 8,062; voting, 5,332.

Taxable Property

The taxable property, as given by the assessment of 1878, was as follows:  Real, 
354,580 acres; value, $3,982,858; personal, less $1,000 exemptions, $982,818; 
aggregate, $4,965,676.  This shows a decline since the census report of 1870, 
owing to the stringency of the times.  Poll tax on 4,164 polls, $4,164.

According to the census report of 1870, Wilson county took the lead in the 
production of wheat, sorghum molasses, butter, and in rearing horses, over all 
counties in the state.  It stood second in the growth of barley, grass, and 
clover seed, and in raising hogs, and third best in mules and asses, and animals 
for slaughter, the value of the latter being, in 1870, $622,714.

Roads and Railroads

The county is traversed by the number of good roads, most of them being 
turnpikes.  Eleven of these pikes, radiate from Lebanon, besides three or four 
others which lie in other sections of the county.  There is a number of common 
dirt roads, most of them being in rather bad condition, especially in the winter 

All these roads connect Lebanon directly with the villages and other points of 
interest in the county, as well as with the towns and villages in the adjoining 

Besides the turnpike, which runs from Lebanon to Nashville, the Tennessee and 
Pacific railroad is completed from the latter to the former place, furnishing 
ample facilities for speedy transportation of passengers and freight from one to 
the other.

It is hoped this road will, in the near future, be extended on to Knoxville, 
thus giving a direct all rail route from the present to the first capital of the 
state, without having to make a circuitous trip through two other states to 
accomplish the end.  Besides the railroad facilities, Cumberland river furnishes 
steamboat navigation half the year.  Hunter's Point and other landings are 
shipping points in this county.

Schools and Colleges

Wilson county has become rather noted for its schools.  Besides many common 
subscription and free schools, it has a number of excellent high schools, both 
male and female, and university of no little celebrity.

Professor George M. McWhirter, assisted by two daughters, established the first 
high school in the county, called Campbell's Academy, in 1810-1812, about six 
miles west from Lebanon on Hickory Ridge, and near the old Nashville Road.

It was a popular school for a number of years, many of the older citizens of 
this and adjoining counties having received their academic education within its 
halls.  It was subsequently transferred to Lebanon, where it was the principal 
male school for a number of years, Prof. Miron Kilborn, Rev. Thos. C. Anderson 
and S. C. Anderson, having been at different times among its teachers.  It was 
finally merged in the Preparatory Department of Cumberland university.

The next school of high grade was the Abbey Female Institute, established under 
the direction of Miss Harriet Abbey and her sister, Mrs. Kilborn, about 1830-35, 
in Lebanon.  Many of the matrons of the county will remember this school as the 
place where, when young, they spent many happy hours at school.

About the year 1842-44, Princeton College, Ky., under the direction of the 
Cumberland Presbyterian church, was moved to Lebanon, and its name changed to 
Cumberland university, of which Rev. F. R. Cossitt, D. D. was the first 
president.  It has been in successful operation ever since, excepting a 
suspension during the late civil war, and has been one of the most celebrated 
institutions of learning in the state.

It has its preparatory and academical departments, its engineering, telegraphic, 
theological and law schools, with a faculty distinguished for its ability.  Of 
its able teachers, now of the faculty, we may mention Rev. Thomas C. Anderson, 
D. D. for a long time its president, the late N. Lawrence Lindsley, L. L. D., 
once professor of languages; Gen. A. P. Stewart, at one time professor of 
mathematics; the late Judge Nathan Green, whose opinions, delivered while a 
member of the supreme court, are quoted as high authority by the legal 
profession everywhere, and who was for several years professor in the law 
school; and the late Judge Abraham Caruthers, "the best common law lawyer in the 
state," the founder of the law school, and for more than a dozen years one of 
its professors.  Its alumni are well represented at the bar and upon the bench; 
in the pulpit and in both state and national councils, as well as in the fields 
of journalism, education, and other departments of human enterprise.

Among other schools of excellence at Lebanon and elsewhere in the county, 
Greenwood Seminary, a popular school for young ladies, deserves especial notice.  
It was founded by the late Professor N. Lawrence Lindsley, LL. D., a courteous 
and accomplished gentleman and scholar, in 1850, on his beautiful estate four 
miles south-east from Lebanon, and counts its patrons from a number of western 
and southern states.  Since the death of Mr. Lindsley, in 1868, the school has 
been conducted with, if possible, increased popularity by his estimable and 
accomplished widow, Mrs. Julia M. Lindsley, assisted by a corps of able 

Wilson county is justly proud of her schools.

Churches, Mills, Etc.

The Methodists, Baptists, Cumberland Presbyterians, and Christians are 
numerically the principal religious denominations of the county.  They have many 
churches, or houses of worship, located here and there over the county, nearly 
all of them neat and comfortable, and some beautiful, especially in Lebanon and 
the villages.  The advantages of the pulpit and the Sunday school are extended 
to all.

There are many mills, saw mills and grist mills, propelled by water and steam, 
in the county.  Every neighborhood has one or more of each, thus furnishing the 
people with ample facilities for obtaining meal, flour and lumber.  Several of 
these manufacture flour for export, especially that at Lebanon, owned and 
operated by J. A. Lester & Co.  Flour made at these mills commands the highest 
price, not only in this state, but in New York and other markets.  This mill 
also supplies a home market for the sale of wheat to the farmers of Wilson and 
other counties.

The Fair Grounds of the Wilson County Agriculture and Mechanical association, 
located in Lebanon, reflect no little credit upon the association, and the 
county.  The grounds enclosed embrace about 20 acres, with well appointed 
improvements for purposes of comfort and exposition.  There is a large covered 
amphitheatre, a complete circle, with open court within, making a delightful 
promenade, as well as furnishing an ample number of seats for the spectators.  A 
floral hall and other buildings are attached.  The association was organized 
about the year 1852, and except a suspension during the late civil war, has held 
its annual fairs ever since.

The county has also its home for the poor, or asylum for the unfortunate and 
improvident, consisting of a farm and improvements, managed by a superintendent.  
The beneficiaries are but few.

County Seat

Lebanon, the county seat, was founded in 1802.  It is situated on the east 
branch of Barton's creek, six miles south from Cumberland river, about six miles 
north of the present geographical center of the county, and thirty miles east 
from Nashville, with which it is connected by the Tennessee & Pacific railroad.

The commissioners - Christopher Cooper, Alanson Trigg, Matthew Figures, John 
Harpole and John Doak - assisted by William Quesenbury, the county surveyor, 
sought to locate the town near the center of the county, but after examining 
several localities decided to locate it where they did on account of the big 

When Christopher Cooker saw this large, beautiful stream, he exclaimed, "Here Is 
the place!"  And so it was.

The abundance of excellent water determined the location, and the cedar groves 
by which the spring was then surrounded suggested the name of the town.  Lebanon 
was located on a small tract of land bought of James Meneis (sic), the town laid 
off and the lots sold, August 16, 1802 at public auction.  It was not a place of 
great expectations, as choice lots sold for only thirteen dollars each.

The first settler on what is now the town tract was Neddy Jacobs, in 1800.  He 
lived at first in a log cabin with a dirt floor.  After the town was established 
he built another with a puncheon floor; but Mrs. Jacobs didn't like the change 
at all; said she had never had any peace since they had moved into the new 
house.  It was putting on too much style to suit her notions of propriety.

John Impson built the first house after the town was laid off.  It stood north 
of the spring.  Thomas Impson, Edward Mitchell, Edmund Crutcher, and others 
built also.

William Allen, an Irishman, was the first merchant to open a store in Lebanon, 
in 1803.  His clerk was Jo Johnson, who subsequently became his partner, and 
finally bought him out.  The first physicians were Drs. John Tulloch and Samuel 
Hogg.  Edward Mitchell was the first hotel keeper, in 1803.  The first school 
teacher was an Irishman by the name of John Trotter, about 1805.  The first 
postmaster was John Alcorn, and the first mayor of Lebanon was Edmund Crutcher, 
the town having been incorporated in 1807.  The first church erected in Lebanon 
was by the Methodists, about the year 1812, and Rev. German Baker was the first 
pastor.  Previous to this, preaching had been held in private houses or in the 

The first courthouse was built in 1803, of cedar.  Some say it was a framed 
house, others say it was built of logs.  All are agreed that it was a small 
affair.  It was succeeded by the brick courthouse which stood in the center of 
the public square, and which was built by William Seawell in 1810-11.  Many of 
the people remember it, with its hipped roof, small doors and smaller windows.  
It was the temple of justice for nearly forty years.  In 1848, the present 
courthouse was built, and the old one pulled down and moved away.  This last 
courthouse is large and well constructed, furnishing ample accommodations for 
the courts, the clerks, sheriff and other county officials.

The county has had three jails, one wooden and two brick.  The first was built 
of logs, in 1803.  The second was of brick, and stood on the west side of the 
square, near the creek.  The third and present jail is also of brick, built on a 
flat rock, and is regarded as safe, few prisoners having escaped from it.

Dr. Henry Shelby built the first brick dwelling in Lebanon, about 1812.  The 
next was built by Joseph Johnson not long thereafter.  Mr. Johnson brought the 
first piano to Lebanon in 1815.  It cost $300 and was something new to the 
"backwoods" people of Wilson.  When the Misses Johnson would play upon it, the 
town and country people who might happen to be within hearing, would collect 
about the window, charmed with the music.  People thought old Joe Johnson was 
extravagant and putting on airs!  People will talk.  Some said his children 
would be ruined!

The first newspaper published in Lebanon was by Ford & Womack, 1818, but it was 
soon discontinued.  It was called the Lebanon Gazette.  In 1842 the Banner of 
Peace, edited by Dr. F. R. Cossitt, in the interest of the Cumberland 
Presbyterian church, was published at Lebanon, and so continued until it was 
removed to Nashville, about 1851.  Besides these, the Chronicle, the Packet, the 
Free Press, Cumberland University Magazine, the Herald and perhaps others have 
been published at Lebanon.

Lebanon has grown steadily, though slowly, notwithstanding it has been visited 
now and then by an epidemic, or an occasional fire.  Besides a number of private 
residences, two large cotton factories, Cumberland university, and two blocks of 
business houses on the public square, have all been consumed by fire.  The town 
has now six dry goods stores, three drug and book stores, 10 family groceries, 
two hardware stores, two millinery shops, three restaurants, five saloons, one 
bakery and confectionary, 2 saddle and harness shops, three tin and stove shops, 
two tobacco and cigar shops, three carriage and wagon shops, three blacksmith 
shops, two carpenter shops, two undertakers, three barber shops, one marble 
yard, one pork packing establishment, two flouring mills, one saw mill, a market 
house, a fine depot building, four hotels, four livery stables, two cooper 
shops, two free schools - one white and one colored - three private schools, one 
university, six churches - Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian, Baptist and 
Christian, and two colored - Methodist and Baptist, two printing establishments 
and two newspapers, two national banks, a Masonic hall, Odd Fellows hall, 1 
cotton factory, two dentists, six physicians, 20 lawyers, 10 preachers - six 
white and four colored, a number of beautiful residences and about 2,500 
inhabitants, of which about 500 are colored.

Villages and Hamlets

Statesville, a post-village, 18 miles south-east from Lebanon, on Smith's Fork 
creek, was established about the year 1812, on the land of William Bumpass, and 
named Statesville, North Carloina.  It was originally called Maryville, in 
compliments to Mrs. Bumpass, who given name was Mary, but upon the establishment 
of the post-office there being already one by this name in the state, it was 
changed to Statesville.  It is situated among the hills, and soil being rich and 
productive, the health good, and the water excellent.  Statesville was a 
prosperous village, reaching its greatest prosperity about the year 1835.  It 
had then seven stores, sundry mechanic shops, and other evidences of a thrifty 
place.  But it has since declined, having, after a lapse of more than 40 years, 
only four stores, four blacksmith shops, one saddle and harness shop, one boot 
and shoe shop, one wood shop, a tanyard, hotel, schoolhouse, two churches - 
Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian, a steam saw mill, a water grist mill, 
Masonic and Odd Fellows halls, three physicians, one preacher, and about 150 
inhabitants, on which about 30 are colored.

Statesville, although old and little, shows some signs of returning prosperity, 
and is now the center of a considerable local trade.  It is situated in the 
midst of a moral, industrious, well-to-do and hospitable people.

CAINSVILLE, a post hamlet, 18 miles nearly south from Lebanon, was established 
in 1829, in a healthy and fertile section of the hill country, on the land of 
George I. Cain, for whom it was named.  It is situated on the Statesville and 
Murfreesboro pike, about one mile south of Fall Creek, and was in its earlier 
days a flourishing village, having a number of stores, sundry mechanic shops, 
and other evidences of prosperity.  But since it has declined, having now but 
three stores, some mechanic shops, two churches - Methodist and Cumberland 
Presbyterian, a school, two physicians, and about 75 inhabitants, of which 15 
are colored.

Cainsville is situated in a fine agricultural district, in a moral, intelligent, 
prosperous and hospitable community, and has a trade of local importance.

GLADESVILLE, a post-village on the Statesville and Nashville road, 12 miles 
south-west from Lebanon, was established in 1852, on the land of Benjamin Hooker 
Jr.  John Bland was appointed the first postmaster.  It is situated in an 
undulating and moderately healthy section, though the village proper is located 
on a rocky glade, from which it takes its name.  It is old enough to have grown 
larger, but it didn't.  It has but two stores, one saddle and harness shop, one 
wagon shop, a cabinet shop, two blacksmith shops, a school house, Methodist 
church, Masonic and Odd Fellows halls, one physician, and about 40 inhabitants, 
of which a half-dozen are colored.  Gladesville is situated in the midst of a 
moral, industrious and clever people.

Mt. Juliet, a post-office and station on the Tennessee and Pacific railroad, 14 
miles west from Lebanon, was established on the land of Newton Cloyd in 1870, 
and named for old Mt. Juliet, which was situated about a half mile south of the 
depot.  Old Mt. Juliet was located in 1835, on the old Lebanon and Nashville 
road, on the land of John J. Crudoup, about a half mile west from the "old Eagle 
Tavern," which was well known to the traveling public in days gone by.  A little 
later, the stage road was changed, so as to run by Fountain of Health, when old 
Mt. Juliet declined.  The new Mt. Juliet was established as above stated.  It is 
but a very small place, having only two stores, a blacksmith shop, school house, 
Cumberland Presbyterian (Cloyd's) church, Masonic and Odd Fellows hall, cotton 
gin, a Methodist church, colored, and about 100 inhabitants, including the 
"colored addition" on the north, of which about half are colored.

GREEN HILL, a post hamlet, on the Lebanon and Nashville turnpike, 15 miles west 
from the former, was established on the land of Hugh Robinson, about the year 
1837, and took his name from the green grove by which it was then surrounded.  
The first improvement made upon the site was by John Donelson, about the year 
1806.  Col. Donelson fixed his summer residence here for a time, the locality 
being regarded as more healthy than his home on the Cumberland.  It is a broken, 
though fertile and healthy section of the county, and the people, enterprising 
and hospitable.  Though small in population, Green Hill has been from the first 
a place of local importance.  Its most prosperous days were before the era of 
railroads, when the mails and passengers were conveyed by the stage coaches, and 
when it was an important stand midway between Lebanon and Nashville.  It has now 
but one store, a blacksmith shop, one wood shop, a steam cotton gin, school 
house, one church used by all denominations, one physician, and about 100 
inhabitants, of which about 35 are colored.

LA GUARDO, a post village on the road from Leeville to Wood's ferry in the 
Cumberland, 12 miles north-west from Lebanon, was established about the year 
1835-36 on the land of Col. Turner Vaughan, who suggested the name of the place.  
It is situated in the valley of the Cumberland, about two miles south from the 
river, in an undulating, healthy and very fertile section of the county, and it 
is noted for its good schools, the sobriety, intelligence, refinement and 
hospitality of its inhabitants.  It was more prosperous before the late civil 
war than at present, having now but four stores, a blacksmith shop, school 
house, Masonic hall, five churches - Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian and 
Christian, and two colored - Methodist and Baptist, a steam saw mill, one 
physician, one preacher, and about 100 inhabitants, of which about 20 are 

LEEVILLE, (Stringtown, or Kelley's Church) a post hamlet and station on the 
Tennessee and Pacific railroad, six miles west from Lebanon, was established in 
1871, on the land of Rev. D. C. Kelley, and named from Gen. Robert E. Lee, 
grandson of Martha Washington.  It is situated just west of Hickory Ridge, in 
the valley of Cedar Lick creek, in a healthy and fertile section, and has one 
store, some mechanic shops, a school house, two churches - Methodist and 
Baptist, one physician, and about 75 inhabitants.

TAYLORSVILLE (Austin P.O.) a post village on Cedar creek 7 miles north-east from 
Lebanon, was established in 1836-40, on the lands of John N. Taylor and 
Philander Davis, and named for the former, at the suggestion of Gen. Paulding 
Anderson, its first merchant.  It is situated in a healthy, fertile and well-to-
do section of the county, and has now two stores, a blacksmith shop, school 
house, Mason hall, Union church, a water mill, one physician, and about 70 
inhabitants, of which 15 are colored.

SAULSBERRY - a very little, old village on the Lebanon and Trousdale Ferry road, 
10 miles from the former, being familiarly called Saul; hence Saulsberry.  It is 
situated on Dry Branch of Round Lick creek, in a healthy, broken and much worn 
section, the denuded rocks, many gullies and old sedge fields looking much as if 
the people ought to sell out and go to Texas.  Saulsberry was once a big little 
place, having a number of stores, mechanic shops, and other evidences of 
prosperity.  Its most prosperous period was in 1858-59-60, but the civil war put 
an end to its prosperity, and it has not yet revived.  It has now but one store, 
one blacksmith shop, one wood shop, a school house, Methodist church, and a 
population of about 60 inhabitants.  Saulsberry has no post office, but the 
people receive and forward their mails through the offices at Commerce and 
Tuckers Cross Roads.

COMMERCE, a post village, about 13 miles nearly east from Lebanon, was 
established about the year 1822, on the land of Joshua Taylor, who suggested its 
name on account of the brisk trade which sprang up there at an early day.  It is 
situated on a rocky prominence, on the western margin of Round Lick Creek 
valley, and although more than a half century old, it has grown but little, 
having been exlipsed for a time by Saulsberry.  It has now but one store, two 
blacksmith shops, one wood shop, one shoe shop, a steam saw and grist mills, 
school house, Cumberland Presbyterian church, Odd Fellows hall, two physicians, 
two preachers, and about 60 inhabitants.

WATERTOWN - a post hamlet, on the Lebanon and Sparta turnpike, 13 miles east 
from the former place, was established in 1858, and named for Wilson Turner 
Waters, on whose land it was built.  It is located in the rich and beautiful 
valley of Round Lick creek, just below the junction of the three forks, in one 
of the most prosperous and substantial communities in the county.  It has but 
one store, one blacksmith shop, one wood shop, one steam saw and grist mill, one 
physician, and about 40 inhabitants, of which about half a dozen are colored.

CHERRY VALLEY - a post hamlet on the Sparta pike, 10 miles south-east from 
Lebanon, was established in 1848, on the land of Wilson T. Cartwright, who 
suggested the change to Cherry from Pleasant Valley, its original name, when 
applying for the post office.  It is situated in the pleasant valley of west 
fork of Round Lick creek and has two stores, two blacksmith and other mechanic 
shops, a Methodist church, Masonic hall, school house, two physicians, and about 
25 inhabitants.

SHOP SPRINGS, a post hamlet, on the Sparta pike, seven miles south-east from 
Lebanon was established in 1850, on the land of Thomas Waters, who suggested the 
name upon application for the post office.  It is pleasantly situated in the 
fertile and delightful valley of Spring creek, in the midst of an excellent 
community, and has two stores, two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one cooper 
shop, a wood carding factory, school house, two physicians, and about 75 
inhabitants, of which not more than a dozen are colored.

Besides these villages, we may mention the following post offices in the county:  
Bellwood, 10 miles north-east from Lebanon; Tucker's Cross Roads, six miles 
east; Henderson's Cross Roads, 12 miles east of south; Green Vale, 16 miles 
south east; Oak Grove, 16 miles southwest; Baird's Mills, 8 miles west of south; 
Rural Hill, 15 miles nearly south west; Beckwith (Curd's station) nine miles 
west; and Silver Springs, 10 miles west from Lebanon, on the Nashville pike, are 
all places of more or less local importance, each having, besides the post 
office, one or more stores, mechanic shops, etc.

Public Men

Wilson county has not been remiss in furnishing her quota of public men, whether 
in the civil or military service of the country.  Among the more prominent we 
may mention the Hon. James C. Jones, governor of the state from 1841 to 1845, 
and the United States senator from 1852 to 1858.  He was a fine stump speaker, 
and for awhile the idol of the Whig party of Tennessee.  His opponent for the 
first named was Gov. James Knox Polk, subsequently President of the United 

As representatives in the congress of the United States, we note, in the order 
of their election, the Hon. Samuel Hogg, Hon. Robert L. Caruthers, Hon. Robert 
Hatton, Hon. William B. Campbell, Hon. Edward I. Golladay, and Hon. Haywood Y. 

Of the organ law makers, Hon. Robert M. Burton and Hon. Burchett Douglass were 
the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1834; Hon. William H. 
Williamson and Hon. Samuel G. Shepherd, to that of 1870.  Wilson county, not 
being established at the time, had no delegates to the convention which formed 
the state in 1796.

Hon. Robert L. Caruthers was, for a number of years, one of the judges of the 
Supreme Court of Tennessee, a position which he worthily adorned, not only on 
account of his varied learning in the law, but because of his moral worth and 
his courteous and dignified bearing with the bench, the bar and the people.

Ed. R. Pennebaker was comptroller of the state treasury from 1870 to 1872; and 
Jesse G. Frazier, Esq. was clerk of the supreme court for several years.

Hon. Robert E. Thompson received the largest popular vote for representative of 
the general assembly ever obtained by any one for that position in the county; 
and his son, Lillard Thompson, Esq., received, in  1878, the largest popular 
vote for attorney-general ever polled for anyone in this judicial district.

Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, for a number of years professor of mathematics in 
Cumberland university, rose step by step to be lieutenant general in the army of 
the Confederate States.

Hon. Robert Hatton started out as captain in 1861, was soon after elected 
colonel of the Seventh Tennessee Regiment, and fell a brigadier general at Seven 
Pines, April 31, 1862.

Major John K. Howard, of the same regiment, and afterward colonel, was mortally 
wounded and died near Richmond, Va., in 1862.

Of Wilson countians in the struggle for Texas independence we may mention Mayor 
James S. Lester, who followed Gen. Sam Houston and the Lone Star banner until 
the final victory at San Jacinto in 1836.  He was subsequently a delegate to the 
Constitutional Convention, member of the Texas congress, and since her admission 
in to the Union, a member of the state legislature.  He is a son of William 
Lester, a pioneer of Wilson, one of the 34 children heretofore mentioned, and 
brother of Henry D. Lester, at one time sheriff of Wilson county.

In the Mexican war of 1846-7, Col. Jack Hays, a native of Wilson county, 
commanded a regiment of rangers on the western frontier of Texas, and resides 
now in Oakland, California.

Besides the Yergers, Golladays and Topps, who have made reputations beyond the 
limits of Tennessee, we may note briefly the following Wilson countians who have 
gone abroad and attained to positions of trust and honor; Jesse J. Finley, Esq., 
who removed to Florida in 1837 and subsequently became a judge of the supreme 
court of that state; Hickerson Barksdale, Esq., who moved to Texas and became a 
judge of the District court at Dallas; Wilson L. Andrews, Esq., who located at 
McKinney, and became also a judge of the district court, - Lindsay, who migrated 
to Texas a few years since and became a judge of the district court at 
Gainsville; Edward B. Pickett, a prominent lawyer of the Liberty bar, who has 
been once or twice speaker of the house of representatives, and is now one of 
the prospective governors of Texas.  There were also Edwin B. Tarver, Esq., a 
gifted orator, and at one time attorney general of the state, and Robert Green, 
Esq., on of the profoundest lawyers of the bar of his age, so regarded by judges 
of the supreme court, both natives.  We may also mention Charles Frizzier, who 
moved to Texas before the late civil war, and soon after became judge of the 
Marshall district court.  Pain P. Prim, who went to Oregon in 1850, was 
subsequently elected judge of a court, and is now chief justice of that state.  
Samuel C. Roan went to the Territory of Arkansas at an early day, was appointed 
governor, and subsequently a judge of the supreme court of that state.  John S. 
Roan, a brother of the above named, migrated to Arkansas in 1836, was a colonel 
in the Mexican war and subsequently governor of his adopted state.  W. W. 
Vaughan moved to West Tennessee some years since, was elected to congress since 
that late war, president of a railroad, and would have received nomination of 
the Democratic party of his district for congress in 1878, had he lived a few 
weeks longer.  M. L. Bell, who located at Pine Bluff in 1848, was a prominent 
candidate for United States senator in 1878.

Besides these, we may mention also Jos. W. Carter, who became a member of the 
McMinnville bar some years before the late was, was elected attorney general of 
his district, and subsequently represented Franklin county in the legislature.  
James P. Scott, Edwin Chambers, and Jack May Martin, all moved to Texas and have 
been members of her legislature.  Many other Wilson countians have gone to other 
states and filled positions of trust and honor, but whose names I have not time 
to collect.  It would be a pleasure to mention them here had I definite 
knowledge of them.  I had almost forgotten to mention John McHenry, who went to 
Louisiana about the year 1835, became a prominent lawyer, and subsequently judge 
of one of her courts.  He resides now in San Francisco, California, having 
acquired an easy competence.  There was Dr. William P. Smith also, who went to 
Texas in 1835 and became surgeon-general of the army of Texas commanded by Gen. 
Sam Houston.  He was a genial gentleman.  Rev. Dr. D. C. Kelley, a missionary of 
the M. E. Church to China, and now pastor of the McKendree church at Nashville, 
is a native of Wilson county.  He is quite a prominent member of his church, and 
bids fair to become a member of the College of Bishops.  And last, but not 
least, we may add that the biggest man in Texas, W. B. Trice, who attained to 
the weight of four hundred and fifty pounds, not but much behind Daniel Lambert, 
of London, is a native of Wilson county.  He went there with only twenty dollars 
in his pocket, driving a wagon to pay his way.  He worked at first for twelve 
dollars a month, chopped wood, drove oxen, milked cows, then played constable, 
shaved notes, made brick, built houses, and then became a merchant; finally he 
engaged in farming and banking, and now owns not only an excellent well 
improved, and well stocked farm, but is also president of the First National 
Bank of Waco.  So much for luck, pluck and grip.  The way is still open to 
others. Pitch in, young men, and try for your fortunes.  Trice is worth only 
about a hundred thousand, but that makes friends.  Success "makes the man," the 
want of it the fellow with the bulk of mankind.

Judges of the Circuit Court

Since the establishment of the districts or circuits, in 1810, the following 
named judges have presided at the Lebanon bar; the last three being citizens of 
Wilson county; Thomas Stuart, J. C. Mitchell, Samuel Anderson, Hugh L. Davidson, 
Henry Cooper, John W. Phillips, William H. Williamson, and Robert Cantrell, who 
term expires in 1886.

Clerks of the Circuit Court

The clerks for the same period are as follows: Harry L. Douglass, Samuel C. 
Roane, Henry Shelby, John S. Topp, Samuel Yerger, William L. Martin, John W. 
White, Harris H. Simmons, James H. Britton, Calvin W. Jackson, Plummer W. 
Harris, Joseph T. Manson, William M. McCorkle, and Samuel G. Stratton, who term 
expires in 1882.

Attorneys General

The following is the list of Attorneys General, those marked with the dagger (+) 
being citizens of Wilson County, to wit:  Alfred Balch, William R. Hess, Samuel 
H. Laughlin, Samuel Yerger+, Robert L. Caruthers+, Thomas C. Whitside, Hugh L. 
Davidson, William L. Martin+, James E. Scudder, B. M. Tillman, James M. Brien, 
Horace Rice+, James F. Stokes+, Moses W. McKnight and Lillard Thompson+, who 
term expires in 1886.


The chancellors who have presided over the chancery court, from its 
establishment in 1836 to the present time are as follows, Chancellor being the 
only resident of our county:  Lunsford M. Bramlitt, Bromfield L. Ridley, John P. 
Steele, Charles G. Smith, Horace H. Lurton, Benjamin J. Tarver and George E. 
Seay, who term expires in 1886.

Clerks and Masters

The clerks and masters of the chancery court at Lebanon, from 1836 to the 
present time are as follows:  John H. Dew, James B. Rutland, John K. Howard, 
Jordan E. White, Orville Green, Haywood Y. Riddle, and Rufus P. McClain, now in 

Clerks of the County Court

The names of the Clerks of the county court from its organization, December 23, 
1799 to the present time, as follows:  Robert Foster, J. C. Henderson, John 
Alcorn,+ John Stone, Josiah S. McClain,+ Rufus P. McClain and Jessee F. Coe, who 
term expires in 1882.


+ These held office, the first for more than 25 years, and the second for more 
than 40 years.

+ Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, in his excellent work entitled "The Annals of Tennessee" 
states that William McClain was for a long time clerk of our county court, and 
that his son, Josiah S. McClain, was then (1852) clerk of said court.  Dr. 
Ramsey, usually so terse, graphic and reliable, has fallen into an error here, 
as William McClain never was clerk more than 40 years.  In the next edition of 
his valuable work, Dr. Ramsey will doubtless make the necessary correction. (end 
of footnotes).


The following is the list of trustees of the county from 1799 to the present 
time, so far as I have been able to collect them:  John W. Peyton, James Stuart, 
Edmund Crutcher, David C. Hibbitts, John Shorter, D. B. Moore, J. W. Edwards, J. 
T. Lane, Nathan Oakley, and L. N. M. Cook, whose term expires in 1880.


The following are the registers of the county from 1799 to the present time:  
John Alcorn, Henry Ross, James Foster, Thomas Edwards, Alfred H. Foster, Giles 
H. Glenn, Robert M. Holman, Allen W. Vick, and John F. Tarpley, whose term 
expires in 1882.

The following lists of senators and representatives may not be exactly correct, 
as some of the senate and house journals are missing, even in the office of the 
secretary of state.  Nor is there a complete set of the Acts of the General 
Assembly in the State Library; and if I have omitted any names it is because I 
could not find them in the imperfect records of the state.

State Senators

Hon. John H. Dew, 1809-1811; John K. Wynn (two terms) 1811-1815; William 
Seawell, 1815-1817; O. G. Finley, 1817-1819; William Steele (three terms) 1821-
1827; George I. Cain, 1827-1829; Joseph Johnson, 1829-1831; Burchett Douglass 
(Speaker) 1831-1833; Benjamin T. Mottley (two terms) 1833-1837; Paulding 
Anderson, 1837-1839; Benjamin T. Mottley, 1839-1840; Thomas J. Munford, 1840-
1841; Benjamin T. Mottley, 1841-1843; William L. Martin, 1843-1845; John 
Muirhead (two terms) 1845-1849; James Hamilton, 1849-1851; Paulding Anderson 
1851-1853; Jordan Stokes, 1859-1861; Z. W. Frazer, 1865-1867; Faver Cason, 1869-
1871; James Hamilton, 1873-1875; Robert E. Thompson, 1877-1879.


Hon. John Hawkins, 1809-1811 (Hawkins is scratched out and the name of Joseph 
Johnson handwritten in); Robert Edwards, 1811-1815; Harry I. Douglass, 1815-
1817; Robert Edwards, 1817-1819; William Steele, 1817-1819; Robert Edwards, 
1819-1821; Burchett Douglass, 1821-1825; John Williamson, 1825-1827; Robert M. 
Burton, 1827-1829; Burchett Douglass, 1829-1831; John G. Dew, 1831-1835; Robert 
L. Caruthers, 1835-1837; John Hall, 1835-1837; C. W. Cummings, 1837-1839; James
C. Jones, 1839-1841; Miles McCorkle, 1841-1843; John Muirhead, 1841-1843; Thomas 
K. Roach, 1843-1845; James Hamilton, 1843-1845; Henry S. Frazer, 1845-1847; 
Edwin Chambers, 1845-1847; Erastus S. Smith, 1847-1849; T. W. Davis, 1847-1849; 
Erastus S. Smith, 1849-1851, John W. Burton, 1849-1851; Jordan Stokes (Speaker) 
1851-1853; Robert E. Thompson, 1851-1855; T. C. Martin, 1855-1857; Robert 
Hatton, 1855-1857; John T. Gleaves, 1857-1859; Ed. I. Golladay, 1857-1859; Z. W. 
Frazer, 1857-1859; John R. Davis, 1859-1861; William L. Martin, 1859-1861; 
William L. Waters, 1865-1867; W. H. Grimmett, 1865-1867; Faver Cason, 1867-1869; 
Wilson L. Waters, 1867-1869; Giles H. Glenn, 1869-1871; A. W. Cox, 1869-1871; 
Andrew B. Martin, 1871-1873; Samuel G. Shephard, 1871-1873; Lee Head, 1873-1875; 
S. S. Preston, 1873-1875; Lee Head, 1875-1877; R. P. McClain, 1875-1877; James 
F. Stokes, 1877-1878; John T. Gleaves, 1878-1879; H. L. Pickett, 1879-1881.

Sheriffs of Wilson County (1799-1880)

1. Samuel Roseborough, two years, 1799-1802; 2. William Wilson, three months,
1802; 3. Nathaniel Perry, two years, 1802-1804; 4. George Hallum, one year, 
1804-1805; 5. John V. Tulloch, one year, 1804-1805; 6. Thomas Bradley, 13 years,
1806-1819; 7. James Williams, two years, 1819-1821; 8. Thomas Bradley, four 
years, 1821-1825; 9. John Hearn, six years, 1825-1831; 10. Paulding Anderson, 
five years, 1831-1836; 11. Benjamin S. Mabry, three years, 1836-1839; 12. 
Wilborn R. Winter, one year, 1839-1840; 13. Henry D. Lester, four years, 1840-
1844; 14. John C. Lash, three years, 1844-1847; 15. Robert Hallum, one year, 
1847-1848; 16. John C. Crittenden, six years, 1848-1854; 17. Jonathan Etherly, 
five years, 1854-1859; 18. Nathan W. McCullough, 1859-1866; 19. William E. 
Foust, four years, 1866-1870; 20. Andrew McGregor, four years, 1870-1874; 21. 
David W. Granstaff, two years, 1874-1876; 22. William P. Bandy, four years, 


Ads on the back include John C. Farr, attorney at law, solicitor in chancery;
Jordan Stokes & Son, attorneys; T. J. Shelton & Co., tombstone builders, Marble 
and Freestone Works; Greenwood Seminary; J. O. Ingram & Co. Livery and Sale 
Stable, Hitch one nickle, hay one dime, square feed 25 cents.  On south 
Cumberland street, W. A. Johnson, Cal. Ingram. J. H. Martin, agent, had an ad 
for the NC & St.L. Railroad, the "shortest, quickest and best route to Texas, 
Arkansas, Missouri.  C. B. Wheelock & Co., Nashville, advertised agricultural 
machines and implements.