Whence Came Gamaliel  

(The following was submitted by  Vicki Connor.  We need to thank her for taking the time to transcribe it and submitting it for our use.)

This is a little book I found in a family history library here in Nasville,
TN. It is called "Whence Came Gamaliel". I’ll send some excerpts of the book
to the list. If you are looking for history of early Monroe area, this is a
good read. Here we go.

"Whence Came Gamaliel" written in 1979 by a number of people.

In 1796 James CRAWFORD with Anne, his bride of a few months, came to America
from Ireland. Their first son, born on the ship, died during the voyage and
was buried at sea. They had traded an estate in Ireland to the English
Crowne for a land grant in America. They arrived at a point on the line
between Kentucky and Virginia and deposited their papers in the courthouse.
The courthouse burned destroying the title to the land grant but the
CRAWFORDS pushed on westward and stopped at a knoll now on the Howard EAKLE
farm about two miles from the present village of Gamaliel. James CRAWFORD,
at the time, was in his early twenties but on crutches due to rheumatism.
With the help of this wife, he built a cabin in which his family of three
boys and four girls were born. Old Jim’s children, except for one daughter,
Mary (Polly), and one son, Big Jim,  scattered at an early age. While the
children were growing up, Old Jim did not conduct himself as he should. He
had a habit of riding to Tompkinsville and getting Hilariously drunk. He
bought the liquor for his cronies, then they would amuse themselves by
playing jokes on him, like putting burrs under his saddle. One son, Big Jim,
was over seven foot tall and heavily built. He finally broke up these
maneuvers by theatening the drunks and shaming his father. The old gentleman
was of stubborn Scotch descent and when he resolved to stop drinking, he
did. Twice in his life he was bitten by a copperhead snake. He said his body
was so saturated by alcohol that the snake bite poison did not kill him.
After the death of his wife, a son, Sam, migrated to Texas and took Old Jim
with him. He did not like the change in enviroment. So he rode a pony all
the way from texas to the Hascal GRINESTAFF place in Gamaliel. He was 81
then and came to live with his son, Big Jim. They later moved to a house
where Cordell NEWPORT now lives. He died there in 1864 at the age of 88.

Big Jim married Jane PINCKLEY, daughter of Silas PINCKLEY, a Revolutionary
War Veteran. Silas PINCKLEY had wanderlust in his system and was continually
moving to a less inhabited area. He spent a few years a few miles from
Gambriel in the Bugtussel direction. He was a God-fearing church-going man
who did not believe in witches and ghosts but liked to near  the danger of
Timber wolves, wildcats, and rattlesnakes! Once he fought eight baby
wildcats in his cabin. He and his descendants have left a great influence on
Gambriel’s inhabitants. After leaving the section he spent his last days in
the west and south near Reel Foot Lake making shoes for slaves. Silas
PINCKLEY had a deep sabre cut across his head. He was wounded in the
Revolutionary War. The cut healed leaving a deep furrow. He liked to stand
under the eaves of the house during a rain and let his grandchildren see the
water pour through the furrow. After his death in 1829, his wife came back
to Gambriel where she lived until her death in 1844.  Big Jim and his wife,
Jane, had eleven children, only two of whom lived to maturity. Big Jim was a
religious, law-abiding, civic minded citizen as was his sister Mary
(nicknamed Polly), who was an ancestor of the Gamaliel COMERS.

Mr John HAYES, son of Aaron HAYES of North caolina, settled on the East Fork
of Barren River on the site of the Sydney STANFORD house. The two men
foresaw that a town was springing up and on May 21, 1844, deeded ten acres
of land, at a point where their farms met, to be used for community
betterment.         A school was established with John PENDERGAST (he later
removed to California during the gold rush and started a Bible College in
Yolo County) as teacher. He was succeeded by Samuel DEWITT (1792-1853) who
taught and preached in the little log builing below the present entrance of
the cemetery. Four men, of which Big Jim was one, financed the building and
the school for a time. Samuel DEWITT said Gamaliel was a good bible name and
this was a good village and the town took the name that he suggested.
Samuel DEWITT, his daughter, and two grandchildren are buried in Gamaliel
Cemetery. Their graves are completely covered by coffin shaped stones.
Samuel DEWITT’S epitaph reads: "Quo animo vivit a eternus", in which the
literal translation is "He lived with a mind for eternity".            At
the time the town was named, there were seven families in a mile radius:
Robert WELCH at the David CLARK place; Maston COMER, lived in log house
below the cemetery; Charles BROWNING and John MEADOR lived in the Salt Lick
(Bugtussel) direction, also Mrs. David LYONS lived on the site of the Edward

Mrs. LYONS was very eccentric and did not understand children. She
complained that the noisy children at play worried her and threatened to
burn down the building. One Sunday night the building burned and Mrs. LYONS
has always been charged with one school building. As soon as possible the
citizens erected a new building on the other side of the cemetery entrance.
The new building was used until 1893 for both school and church purposes.
Gradually other families had been moving in the area. Immigrants from
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas added new names. Samuel COMER and
his wife, Nancy FITZPATRIC COMER, settled on what is now the Shannon COMER
place. They made Gamaliel their home, church and school. Watt A DOTSON
removed from near Burkesville. Their son, John DOTSON, BECAME Gamaliel’s
first postmaster, 8-29-1870 to 5-24-1872. John married Mary J JONES fron
Clinton county. They were married by Dr. A W POTTER who served as preacher,
doctor, and teacher in Gamaliel during the Civil War. Dr POTTER was very
inflential in the community. He performed many marriage ceremonies. He
reared the mother (an orphan) of Blanche HARLIN and is an ancestor of Bill
SCHEPKE. Three TURNER brothers, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednigo, settled in
the direction of Sugar Creek and the former village of Alexander. Meshack
and Shadrack are ancestors of Monroe County TURNERS.    Watt DOTSON’S wife
was Harriet HOWARD, daughter of Obediah HOWARD who deeded 400 acres to freed
slaves. This land is about one mile from Gamaliel off the Flippin Road.
Their log church and cemetery still remain but most of the blacks have moved
to cities. Only seven people of the little village of Freetown remain and
their little boxed houses have been razed during the last fifty years.

On August 29, 1844, John D. WELCH was playing on the school ground and
was stricken very ill. He asked to be buried on the ground where he had
spent so many happy days. Thus, Gamaliel Cemetery was started. In 1957 there
were about 1250 graves. Gamaliel is one of the few towns whose cemetery
numbers more graves than the town has inhabitants. Many of the people who
attended church and school in Gamaliel were from outlying districts.    Many
people came from Old Union Church on the howard HATCHER farm. Samuel DEWITT
and his wife, Mary, became Christians at Old Union. Samuel DEWITT became a
Christian in 1820 and preached at Old Union until his death in 1853. He also
preached at Gamaliel, Tompkinsville, Old Mulkey, Red Boiling Springs,
Bbaghdad, Gainsboro, and Layfayette. The Old Union congregation was at first
made up by members who had migrated from Old Union in the latter part of the
18th century. Many people from Gamaliel attended church at Clementsville and
Old Mulkey. Many members of Old Mulkey transferred to Gamaliel. Everyone
here regardless of beliefs and affiliations worshipped here side by side
until 1882.  When the Civil War started in 1860 the little town was ripped
asunder. Brother turned against brother and father against son. Marauding
bands of guerillas plundered, set fire to and plagued the people terribly.
Dr. BOBO, an Englishman, lived on the Lillard YAYLOR farm. He was a southern
sympathizer in the midst of a nest of northerners. He vowed not to shave or
cut his hair until the south whipped the north. At the time of his death,
his head was the size of a bushel basket.

Someone stole some guns and ammunition from Morgan’s men. Time after
time, Gamaliel residents were interviewed in an attempt to locate this loot.
The people either did not know about this or would not tell. Dr. BOBO, Bill
HEFLIN, and Nat AUSTIN were taken to McMillan’s Landing and shot as an
example to the remainder of the citizens. Nat AUSTIN was an ancestor of
Miss. Glennie COMPTON and William C. HARLIN. Dr. BOBO’s wife, grand lady
that she was, refused to hold anything against her husband’s assassins. She
said to do so would be unChristlike. She went with her son to Texas where he
became adoctor and started the Bobo Clinic. The Bobo fishing hole in Line
Creek was named for Dr. BOBO.     When shooting the three prominent citizens
of Gamaliel failed to get results, the guerillas decided on other tactics.
They kidnapped every man in town except an old gentleman who could not walk.
The women and children carried on alone for about two weeks, not knowing
what had happened to there husbands and fathers. Gradually the men appeared.
They had been released one by one after being locked in corn cribs near
Celina, Tennessee.     Bill HAYES, great uncle of Howard, Vanus, and Glen
HAYES, was one of the group that was kidnapped. He was only nineteen years
old, did not understand what his fate would be, so he became very
uncooperative. They were going to shoot him. A good friend of the boy’s
father, Miles WELCH, begged for the boys life, saying that it was his
extreme youth that made him hysterical. Bill came home about the same time
as the others. His stay at home was short. He went to church at Ebenezer one
night and did not go in the house. A Bro. Goad was praying a hysterical
prayer begging the lord to come down. Young HAYES had his pockets full of
grenn apples. He took aim and threw an apple through the open door, hitting
the old gentleman on his bald head, nearly knocking him out. Upon hearing of
threats that he would be indicted, Bill left for Texas and lost contact with
his family and community.

Of interest is the fact that on the day the male citizens were
kidnapped, Mr. John NEWMAN, grandfather of Irene CLARK and Verda COCHRAN,
was the teacher in the little school. The teacher was caled to the door by
one of the kidnappers. The students waited for him for sometime. When it was
beginning to get dark and the teacher had not returned, they decided they
should go home. We can not imagine today’s students being that patient.
Mr. Miles WELCH was County Treasurer. He had collected quite a bit of tax
money. There was no bank in Gamaliel. He planned to take the money to
Tompkinsville as soon as it was convenient. When Mrs. WELCH noticed the yard
full of Bragg’s men, she hid the money in a stack of quilts. They searched
the house and found the money and Mr. WELCH had to pay the County for the
money which had been stolen. Mr. WELCH’s mother died and a funeral director
was called out of Tompkinsville. A few days later he started to the county
seat to pay the funeral expenses. Some guerillas robbed him of this money.
Soon after this his little children were standing in front of a window
watching their father riding horseback on a sack of corn going to the water
mill to have the corn ground into meal. They heard a shot and saw their
father roll off the horse. The soldiers took him away and after the wife and
children had mourned him as dead he was released. He was not hurt and had
only rolled off the horse for safety. Later a whole band of soldiers came to
the WELCH home (the Irene CLARK house) and made two little girls, Mrs. Shep
GUMM and Mrs. Mary McDONALD, (Titus McDONALD’s mother), carry enough water
up the hill from the spring for a whole company of soldiers to drink.

Bragg’s army camped for three days on the Ott TAYLOR farm. James
HARLIN had a log country store on the Hilary BURGESS farm. The soldier
robbed the store taking everything of value. They took brilliantly colored
four-inch wide ribbon and draped it on their horses letting the ribbon float
in the breeze. The HARLIN’s saved their silverware by throwing it in a
wide-mouth dug well. One little girl’s silk umbrella was saved when the
father gave it to his daughter, Mary, (the mother of Jeff and Estis COMER)
and told her to hide it. The umbrella is owned by Mrs. Harry Ross TURNER now
but age has taken its toll and it is ready to fall into dust. Some logs from
the store are still in the buildings owned by Glen GRINESTAFF.   Many of the
men in Gamaliel  camped under the Shelving Rock across from Blufork YORK’s
farm. They did this to avoid being insulted, tortured or even killed by the
querillas. They were shielded from the weather here and also the place was
hard to reach and they could not easily be discovered by the enemy. Usually
the querillas were harder on the men. An exception occurred near
Clementsville when the mother of Jim and George MARSHALL was shot when she
refused to tell where her husband was hiding. The husband was in the loft
with the ceiling put back in place. Mrs. MARSHALL fell in the fire place
with one child in her arms, the other by hers side. The two children, with
their descendents, lived in  Gamaliel for many years. Mrs. Daisy DUNCAN is a
granddaughter of the lady that was killed.

After the war, many soldiers were mustered out while they were in this
section. Many of these located in outlying sections, started small  farms
and increased the number of homes in the section. Some of the names added
and JACKSON.     Late one afternoon in the summer of 1871, Dr. C C RIGGS
rode into town. He located here after he had graduated from Dr. BROCKETT’s
School of Medicine in Flippin. He joined Dr. A W POTTER who had practiced
medicine in the vicinity for about fifteen years. In 1872 Dr. RIGGS was
appointed postmaster to suceed John DOTSON who had served for two years. For
eleven years he tried to get a successor. Washington would not pay attention
to his request because the little post office seemed such a small matter.
Dr. Oliver HAMILTON married a local girl, Nevada HARLIN, and located
herearound 1890. In 1887 Dr. R F CRABTREE built a home and practiced here
until his death in 1945. Dr. Jesse SMITH took up practice here in 1903. Dr.
E A TUCKER practiced here a short time. He was succeeded by Dr. CARLTON, Dr.
Clovis CRABTREE, Dr. John MARSH, Dr. Kenneth CRABTREE, Dr. Marcus PATTON,
Dr. W R BUSHONG, and Dr. James HEAD.         Mr. S D HARLIN owned the first
drug store in the town. Later Cokely CLOYD, Joe DOWNING, Geore ELLIOTT, Bill
ROWLAND, Wendell NIXON and Tim HEILMAN have served as pharmacists.
The village blacksmith played an important role in the town. Mr. S S
CRAWFORD, grandson of the first settler, along with his son, B O CRAWFORD,
served the people in that capacity for many years.

Col. Maxey and his siter ran a boarding house and village inn at the
location of the Clyde ENGLAND residence. Later a house built at the location
of the school building by Wickliffe COMER was used as a hotel and boarding
house. In 1918 Mr. And Mrs. Estis COMER established a small hotel where the
J W GENTLE house stands. They continued to operate this boarding house until
the automobile replaced the horse and buggy days.     A country store built
from logs was run by Watt DOTSON, later James HARLIN was at the location of
the former Natioal Store. John NEWMAN owned a general store where Gamaliel
Clinic now stands. Comer Brothers, Page & Co. replaced the Emberton, Pitcock
& Duncan dry goods building. S D HARLIN enlarged his stock of goods to
include hardware. His foster son-in-law, Estis COMER, along with his son, O
E COMER, Jr., continued to run the oldest business in the county until the
elder COMER’s death. Then the business was sold to Morris and Billy CARDER
and Dr. Kenneth CRABTREE and later it passed into the hands of the CRABTREE
brothers. Jim EMBERTON started a business at the location of YORK’s store.
It was bought by Mr. Sam CROPPER, later by P T BILES and still later to G L
COMER. In 1966 Mr. And Mrs. Harold YORK bought this business and continue to
operate it as Gamaliel Drug Goods.   East Gamaliel has in turn had Jackson
Brothers Store, N E West’s General Store and today, Mr. And Mrs. Mitchell
TAYLOR operate a business at the same location.    Various fabric shops have
been operated. The Gamaliel Fabric Shop owned by Mrs. Joyce POLAND and at
the present, Mrs. Lula LEE owns the V & L Fabric Shop, in east end.

Harold WELCH has recently opened an antique business. Kirk DOTSON and
Everett CREEK will operate an antique business on Biles Street. Holland
Brothers have a very successful Office Supply business. Paul LEE operates
the Gamaliel Feed Mill in the east end. Gamaliel Fertilizer is operated by
Earl LYON. A grocery store operated by Mr. And Mrs. Claud NIXON is located
in Gamaliel with Mr. And Mrs. Billy STINSON operating a grocery within city
limits. Several people have been engaged in the restaurant business but at
present Mr. And Mrs. J T TAYLOR own the Gamaliel Café while Mr. And Mrs.
Paul RHOTEN operate the Dairy Bar. Kenneth ANDERSON owns and operates the
Gamaliel Service Center and Jerry FORD operates the J & J TV Sales and
Repair. Mr. And Mrs. Alfred TURNER have run a successful florist business
here for about five years. In 1961 an apparal factory was built to employ
about 350 people while in 1976 a new sportswear factory has opened. At
present Faye’s Beauty Shop, Cecile’s Cut & Curl, and Bernadine’s Beuty Shop
take care of the beuty needs of the women of the community. Kenneth BENTLEY
and Roger GILLENWATER now serve as barbers. Mrs. Mary MYERS owns a
successful novelty shop located in the Enterprise Building. A washateria has
been in operation since 1963. Originally owned and operated by Mr. And Mrs.
Tandy PEDIGO, it is now owned by Mr. And mrs. Harold YORK. Service stations
are owned by Paul RHOTEN, Willie Dee PHILLIPS, Ancil PROFITT, and Dean

In 1872 the city Chamber of Commerce was made up by Col. MAXEY, dr.
CRABTREE, Sam S CRAWFORD, S D HARLIN, and W W PAGE.     The Gamaliel Lions
Club was chartered in 1946. Its workcan not be measured as it labored to
improve the town. Electricity had been introduced in 1938. The Lions Club
secured street lights, paved streets, a water system, a garbage disposal
plan, a factory, incorporated the town, and various depatments were added to
the school. The Club secured medical and drug facilities for the town,
secured city hall and a fire department.      The Gamaliel Junior Chamber of
Commerce was short lived but did much for the school. They also built the
Gamaliel Community Park. The Gamaliel Sportsmen have lately built a new club
house.            In October, 1947, Miss rebecca HAYES, Monroe county’s
first Home Demonstation Agent, met with a group of ladies at the school
building in gamaliel and organized a Homemakers Club. Mrs. O E COMER, Jr.
Was the first president.     The Gamaliel Homemakers Club started a drive to
supply the grade school department with a library. More than 100 good books
were purchased during the 1953-54 school year.  Members of the Gamaliel
Homemakers Club have helped in numerous local charity drives., showers for
needy people, march of Dimes, and the County Hospital Drive. The Club has
cooperated with the Lions Club in numerous social affairs in the community
such as school banquets, parties for new comers, and celebrations on varios
occasions.     About the turn of the century, mrs. Lucy Ann NEWMAN gave a
lot to be used for school purposes.For thirty six years this building was
used as a school for both grade and high school. In 1909 the school was
accredited. It became a senior high school graduating it’s first class in
1933. In 1936 in collaboration with WPA a new building was built at the
present school location. New departments were added at intervals. In 1972
the school had out grown the old building. It’s floor space was more than
doubled and it now boasts an enrollment of 635 pupils with 39 instructors.
About 1890 R W COMER and S S CRAWFORD fell upon a plan to invent a telephone
that could be used to convey messages between CRAWFORD’s home and COMER’s
store. Ground hog skins were stretched over tin cans and the cans were
joined by string. Thumping the fingers on the skins would ring the phone and
actual messages could be conveyed. In 1897 the Home Telephone Company
established a system that not only served the town but connected us wit
Flippin, Tompkinsville, and Hermitage Springs. Mrs. Cornelia BAKER, sister
to Blanche HARLIN, was the first switchboard operator. The cold winter of
1952 wrecked the poles and the lines of this system and in 1954 a modern
dial system was installed.

In 1903 Gamaliel bank was established with R W COMER, president and
Tom COMER, cashier. S B RAY was cashier for many years. He was folowed by
Ray HOLLAND, Harry Ross TURNER, George DOWNING, Arvie GOAD, Voris COMER,
William HARLIN, Odell ISENBERG, and Larry PITCOCK. O E COMER, Sr. Served as
president from 1933-1969.  Two veterinarians have served the community.
First Dr. CAMPBELL who died in 1961 and later Dr. Franklin H HOLLAND who is
presently serving in that capacity.    From 1840 to 1882 the people in the
town worshipped together. In 1882 the Baptist Churchwas formed with Dr RIGGS
and Dr PAGE taking the lead. In 1944 the Methodist Church was built at its
present location. The Church of Christ has had four different buildings. The
present one was built in 1949 and remodeled in 1954. Gamaliel Church of
Christ had as minister Samuel DEWITT sometime after 1840. He was succeeded
by John PENDERGAST. Then Dr A W POTTER served as both doctor and minister
until about 1906. A regularly located preacher was not available until 1948
when Lloyd SPIVEY served until 1950. Others who have served are:
John C HOLLAND 1950-1952
Earl ROBERTSON 1952-1954
Charles TIDWELL, Sr. 1954-1961
David NEELEY  1961-1963
Bill SANDERS  1963
Nelson SHORT  1964-1968
Mack WHEELER 1968

Pastors who have served at the Gamaliel Missionary Baptist Church
have been:
W H SMITH 1884 T R JONES 1944
R H SPILLMAN 1889 Garnet MARTIN 1948
J H SWAN 1906 T R JONES 1952
James RICH 1916 G B MASTERS 1957
H A RUSSELL 1917 Howard COOK 1958
J S DENHAM 1919 Wyman COPASS 1961
L D ROBINSON 1921 Henry SMITH 1964
C E SCOTT 1924 Lester YOUNG 1966
Willie JENKINS 1925 James S JONES 1969
Rufus TURNER 1926 Spurgeon TAYLOR  1971
C E CARTER 1930 Claud McCUBBIN 1972
S L PRUITT 1940 Jerry W ANDERSON 1976

The Gamaliel United Methodist Church was organized in 1944. Pastors have
served are: Rev Holman COWHERD 1944-1945              
Rev C B RAINEY  1945-1947            
REV F A SANDERS 1947-1951             
REV T H PICKERELL  1951-1952             
REV J A HUMBLE 1952-1954          
REV Jack VIBBERT  1954-1961         
REV Sam WILLIS 1961-1962         
REV Hugh WARD 1962-1964
REV Otis MELTON 1964-1969         
REV Irvin GLADDIS 1969-1971         
REV Michael RICE 1971-1974         
REV Norman T O’NEAL   1974-

The Gamaliel Post Office celebrated its hundredth birthday August 29, 1970.
 It has had the following postmasters:        
John E DOTSON Aug 29, 1870        
Dr C C RIGGS  May 24, 1872        
James H VANDOVER Feb 27, 1883
John J NEWMAN Dec 17, 1883        
Alexander RITTER July 8, 1885        
R W COMER  Apr 20, 1889        
Harlin HAYES  July 27, 1893        
Joseph NEWMAN Jun 12, 1897        
Josiah NEWMAN Jun 30, 1897        
Wirt COMER  Dec 27, 1899        
Ernest JENKINS Feb 16, 1905        
Oliver HAMILTON May 12, 1914
Howard HAYES Aug 31, 1923        
Mrs Mabel HAYES Nov 23, 1932        
Mrs Maude COMER Feb 18, 1933        
Herman COMER Jan 1, 1955        
Glen Jackson Jun 15, 1956                   

Gamaliel lies one mile north of the Tennessee state line; eight miles southwest
 of Tompkinsville; twelve miles southeast of Fountain Run; eight miles northeast 
of Red Boiling Springs, Macon County, Tennessee; in the County of Monroe, and 
the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

"Whence Came Gamaliel" was compiled by Mrs. Harry R TURNER, Mrs. George C DOWNING,
 Mrs Guy PROFITT, Mrs Glen JACKSON, and Judy Jackson DOWNING. 


Return to Monroe Co Page.

This page provided by rootsweb