November 20, 1952


Transcribed by Janette West Grimes


* Cal's  Column *



   The next item in the old records is as follows: "Thursday, June 24, 1802. Court met according to adjournment. Members present (viz:) James Gwinn, Elmore Douglas and Will Kavanaugh, Esquires." Only three members of the Court were in attendance on the fourth morning of the session. We are still wondering how few members could constitute a quorum. We have already offered comment on each of the members here named.


   "Ordered that the corn levied upon by the Constables be sold agreeable to law, and that the monies arising therefrom be deposited in the Clerk's office." We do not know what corn or whose corn had been levied upon and we have no further comment, except to state that corn was one of the most needed of all commodities in the early life of Smith County. The most of the settlers ate this form of bread three times per day, and wheat flour was almost unknown in early pioneer homes in Smith County.


   "Ordered that Armistead Moore, Joel Holland, Richard Lancaster, William Pryor, George Roland, David Keilough, Godfrey Fowler, David Keilough, Sr., and Henry King be released from the Scire Facias, the State versus them, for their non-attendance as jurors at the March term." We have here the calling of certain men "on the carpet," for their failure to attend Court, three months earlier. Armistead Moore is presumed to have lived in the vicinity of the present Carthage, and is believed to have been a near relative of the present Moore family living in the South side of Smith County. Joel Holland is thought to have been an early settler in the present county of Macon, in the vicinity of the present Lafayette, whose location 150 years ago was in Smith County. We are not positive but we believe that the Holland family of the present Macon County is most probably descended from this very man. The Hollands have long lived in Macon County; but we do not have the exact line of descent, although we have been seeking such information for quite a time.


   The two Keiloughs, we understand, we father and son, and lived, we believe, on upper Jenning's Creek. Godfrey Fowler was an early Dixon's Creek settler. We have no information on either Richard Lancaster, William Pryor, George Roland or Henry King.


   "Ordered that Willeroy Pate and Willie Sullivan each be fined according to the act of Assembly for their non-attendance as jurors at March term last, subject nevertheless, to give in their reasons for their non-attendance, as aforesaid, until next Court, and that Scire Facias issue against Josiah Howell and Aaron Hart for their non-attendance as aforesaid." Willeroy Pate resided in the vicinity of the present Salt Lick Creek that empties into the Cumberland just below the location of old Fort Blount.


   Willie Sullivan is believed to have been perhaps a middle-aged  man 150 years ago. The first Sullivan home, whose location we have definitely ascertained, was just west of the Gap of the Ridge and very near the early west border of Smith County. In fact the Sumner-Smith line ran perhaps through part of the old Sullivan farm.


   However, there were numerous members of the family living in the extreme east end of Smith County, to the north of the present Chestnut Mound and known at that time and to the present as Sullivan's Bend. It is entirely possible that the Willie Sullivan about to be fined by the Cjourt of a century and a half ago, lived in Sullivan's Bend. But the name Willie, is found still today among the Sullivans of the present Macon County. We have Will Hall Sullivan as one of our nearest neighbors.


   Two of the first Sullivans of whom we have any definite knowledge in Macon County, were brothers, Joseph and Daniel Sullivan. Joseph Sullivan married Lydia Cook, and became the father of John J. Sullivan and perhaps other children.


   Daniel Sullivan married Mattie _____ , the last name not being known. Daniel Sullivan was the father of two children, a son, James, who married Nancy Weems; and another son, Samuel, whose wife's name is not known, except that her given name was Maria.


   The John J. Sullivan, above mentioned, married Mary Ann _____ , and became the father of Jeff Sullivan, Jennie, Josephine and Cora Sullivan. John J. Sullivan is though to have had a sister, or an aunt, Sarah, who married Jesse Cook.


   It appears that Daniel was the older of the two brothers, and that he was born perhaps about 1790, for he had a son, James born in 1810. It is probable that Joseph Sullivan was ten to 15 years younger than Daniel.


   James Sullivan and his wife, Nancy Weems Sullivan, were the parents of: Lockie Ann, married Robert Boyd; Josephus, married Lou Robinson; Jane, married Jarvis Rhoads; Loumisa, married J. Mattison Simmons; Willie, married  Martha Bandy; Jeff, died young; and Lafayette, died as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War.


   Samuel Sullivan, the brother of James, and his wife, Maria _____ , were the parents of Victoria and Hamlet Sullivan.


   We have some additional information on later members of the families of the two brothers, Daniel and Josephus Sullivan. We will try to give this in a later article.


   In addition to the above, we are gathering some information on the Sullivan family, from which our own wife is descended, but it is too fragmentary to be given at present.


   However, we have a fairly complete line of the descendants of another Sullivan of an early day who resided in Smith County many years ago. He was Jordan Sullivan, who married Becky Dillard. He is thought to have been a Virginian by birth, but came to the present Smith County about 1815. He fought under General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans in 1815. He resided for a number of years, near Elmwood, not far from Sullivan's Bend. Later he removed to Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, where he died. He is said to have been a great believer in witches, fortune telling and such.


   Jordan Sullivan and his wife, Becky, were the parents of: Hezekiah, went to Missouri; Mordecai, went to Illinois; Ira Leland, who married Mary Petty; Andurum Wilkerson, married Annie Ray and removed to Kentucky, and later to Illinois; Emily Barbara, married a McKinney; and Becky.


   Ira Leland Sullivan and his wife, Mary Petty  Sullivan, were the parents of: Joe, married Calline Trawick; Tandy, killed by bushwhackers during the Civil War; Albert, married a Ferguson, and later a Robbins; Jane, married an Apple, and removed to Texas; Ira married a Trawick, a sister to Joe's wife; and Martha, married Joe Bellar.


   We knew Joe Sullivan personally. He was an old man when the writer met him. Joe was born December 1, 1840, and fought in the Civil War. He was a member of the 44th Tennessee Regiment, and was engaged in the battles of Shiloh, Maryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Knoxville and perhaps other engagements. He was under Gen. Bragg. Joe Sullivan died some years ago in the east end of Smith County.


   The Sullivan family in east Smith County is now few in numbers. We know only one male member of the family, although there are perhaps some others in that section that we do not know personally. The one we know is Avin Sullivan, a son of Ira, above mentioned. We have been a guest in his home in the Stonewall section of Smith County.


   We return to the old records after the above "wide detour." We do not know what disposition was finally made of the charges against Pate and Sullivan. Perhaps a later record will show how these cases were disposed of. We know nothing of Josiah Howell, nor of Aaron Hart.


   "Venire Facias-John Gordon, Joel Holland, Dempsey Kennedy, William Stephenson, William Thompson, John Poe, Joseph Berry, Daniel Kavanaugh, John Ward, William Wooten, Philip Sitton, Vincent Ridley, Jeffrey Sitton, William Vordine, Allen Wilkinson, William Kelton, George Thomason, Alexander Piper, Samuel Stalcup, Thomas Lancaster, Bolling Felts, Isaac Johns, John Shelton, William Lancaster, Lazarus Cotton, (spelled in the old records, Lazuroes); John Fite, Henry Moore, Joseph Collins, William Shaw, Charles McClennen, Grant Allen, Anthony Samuel, James Bradley, William Alexander, Jr., James Stephens and John Cooper."


   Above are the names of 36 of the leading citizens of Smith County seven score and ten years ago. We have but little information on any of them; and of some, we know nothing whatever, John Gordon is supposed to have been a relative of the man for whom the present Gordonville was named.


   Mention has been made already in this aricle as to Joel Holland. Dempsey Kennedy is believed to have been an early member of the same family to which the late Dick Kennedy belonged. This family lived in the gone by on lower Defeated Creek, but we are not positive as to where Dempsey Kennedy made his home.


   We have no information as to William Stephenson, but wonder if he could have been related to Adlai Stevenson, recent candidate for the presidency.


   William Thompson, John Poe, Joseph Berry, John Ward, William Wooten, and a number of the others are unknown to the writer.


   Daniel Kavanaugh is a newcomer to the records. However, Charles Kavanaugh and William Kavanaugh, supposed to have been brothers, were early members of the Court. They lived in the south side of the present Smith County, not very far from the Wilson County line. Daniel Kavanaugh, we suppose, was likely to have been either a son of one or the other or a brother.


   We have written the name Phillip Sitton as above set out, but this is not according to the copy on file at Nashville, which has it spelled Sutton. We are quite sure that the correct spelling is Sitton, for the reason that Jeffrey Sitton's name appears in the same list. The copyist spelled the name Sutton in this case also. But we know that Jeffrey Sitton was an early member of Dixon's Creek Baptist church. We also looked into the part of the old original records at Carthage and found that the copyist made the same mistake in an earlier record in the matter of the name Sitton.


   Jeffrey Sitton is believed to have been a brother of the Joseph Sitton, who sold a crippled heifer for beef on Dixon's Creek about 140 years ago and was "churched" for so doing. He made his acknowledgements and was forgiven by the church by a majority vote, but some of the members were not satisfied with his confession and kept up a lot of trouble until finally the church had to call in a "council" from other churches. This consumed months of time and a lot of hard feelings were engendered. This "council" recommended that the acknowledgements of Sitton be received by the church, and that those who would not submit to the action of the majority, be dealt with for insubordination. This was done and some of the dissenters were expelled from the church.


   Vincent Ridley, if our memory serves us aright, lived somewhere in the east end of Smith County and north of the Cumberland, in the vicinity of the present Difficult.


   This is our first time to ever see the name Vordine. William Kelton lived above the present Pleasant Shade. George Thomason is believed to have been a relative of John B. McDuffee, who resides at the present Hillsdale and who is now more than 90 years of age. His mother was the former Miss Martha Thomason, perhaps a daughter of the George Thomason in the above list.


   Alexander Piper was the ancestor of the present Piper families in Smith and Macon Counties. We are sorry that we do not have the connection between these families, but we are sure they are descended from Alexander or Alex Piper. The old Piper home was on the present Robert Earps farm on the waters of Nickojack Branch of Peyton's Creek. One of the Piper women of more than 150 years ago was Sarah, who married Tapley Gregory, a son of our own great-great-grandfather, Bry Gregory.


   Isaac Johns is believed to have been a son of Elias Johns and his wife, the former Miss Esther Ballou, one of the writer's great-great- great aunts.  

(To be continued)