Cheatham County, Tennessee Tour


                 PUBLISHED BY
                     J. M. ALLEN
                        Corresponding Secretary CCHGA




CCHGA 0             Cheatham County & Ashland City
CCHGA l              Gupton's Cross Roads -- Henrietta
CCHGA 2             Bettstown or Betsytown
CCHGA 3             Lock "A" & Fox's Bluff
CCHGA 4             Cheatham Lake
CCHGA 5             Mouth of the Harpeth
CCHGA 6             Harpeth Shoals
CCHGA 7             Sydney's Bluff
CCHGA 8             River Bluff Park
CCHGA 9             Marrowbone Creek - Site of Steamboat building
CCHGA 10           Sunrise Bluff
CCHGA 11           Log House - 111 Elizabeth Street
CCHGA 12           The "Lively Lad'' P1ant
CCHGA 13           Forest Hill Cemetery
CCHGA 14           Demonbreun Grave Site
CCHCA 15           Sycamore Mills
CCHCA 16           Pleasant Yiew
CCHGA 17           Cheatham Wildlife Management Area
CCHGA 18           Sam's Creek Springs
CCHGA l9            Pegram
CCHGA 20           Cave Springs
CCHGA 21           The Narrows of the Harpeth
CCHGA 22           Indian Mounds
CCHGA 23           Kingston Springs



   An Act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee passed February 28, 1856, created
the county of Cheatham, composed of parts of the counties of Davidson, Robertson, Montgomery
and Dickson. The question for forming a new county, as created by the Act, was submitted to the
people at an election held on the first day of April, 1856, at which election a majority of the votes
cast were in favor of the new county. After the survey was made and submitted to the Governor
the new county was created. The first County Court in Cheatham county was held at Sycamore
Mills, on Monday May 5, 1856. W. L. Gower was elected Chairman, and F. A. Harris County
Court Clerk, pro tem, and Williamson Gatewood, Sheriff pro tem. It is not known just when or
where the first settlement was made in Cheatham County. One account is that of Adam Binkley
who settled with his wife and sons on Sycamore Creek near the village of Sycamore Mills in the
year 1780, but this date may be in error. Other accounts of early settlement is to be found
throughout the county in various publications of early histories of the counties listed above. The first
settlements were made along the streams, where many sparkling springs were found. Benjamin
Darrow settled near Sycamore Mills about the year 1790. About the year 1825 George Brown
established a paper mill on Spring Creek, about four miles southwest of Pleasant View, and ran it
for several years. At the June term of 1857 the County Court ordered the erection of a Court
House. Accordingly a two-story frame building was erected in the year 1858 on the corner of
Main and Cumberland Streets in Ashland City and was used as a court House until 1869, when
the county sold it and the lots belonging thereto to Mrs. E. M. Cooper for $1,926.00. The building
was then used as a hotel, known as the Central Hotel. The new and more substantial brick court
house was then erected. Shortly after the organization of the county a small jail was erected, built
of logs, but later a brick jail was built. The asylum for the poor was built in 1874. The population of
the county in 1856 was estimated at 7,100; the 1860 census, 7,258; the 1870 census at 6,678; the
1880 census at 7,956, and the 1886 census at 8,500.   R. A. Ray was the the first resident lawyer
in the county, and had a fair practice established when the Civil War began. Ashland City history
begins with and is connected with the organization of the county. It was surveyed and platted in
1856 under the direction of commissioners appointed by the first county court for that purpose.
The public square on which the court house stands if 300x600 feet, and the town lots vary in size.
The court house is two-thirds of a mile from the river landing. Two public sales of the town lots
were made, the first on October 6th 1856, and the second on November 1st, 1858. At these sales
65 lots were sold for the aggregate amount of $10,000.00, and the lots were sold on 12 months
time, and the purchase money was paid into the county revenue, as required by law.

   The first lot sold was No . 9, purchased by Joseph Willis for $165.00. The lowest price paid for
a single lot was $32.00 and the highest price $400.00. Thomas N. Hooper purchased lot No. 2
for $400.00. In 1856 David McKelley and Wm. Demonbreun opened the first blacksmith shop in
town. The first merchants were Burke & Yeargin who opened a general store at the temporary
court house on the corner of Main and Cumberland Street. W. W. Sanders opened a general store
in 1858. G. W. Hale, J. N. Allen, and Arnold Allen were also merchants before the War. By an
Act of the General Assembly, passed December 3, 1859, Ashland City, became an incorporated
town under the name of Ashland City, the original name having been only Ashland. The Act
provided that a Mayor and six Aldermen be elected and at the election held in January, 1861, for
that purpose, W. C. Charlton was elected Mayor and John C. Hale, G. W. McQuarry, W. W.
Sanders, Jesse Chadoin and James Gray were elected aldermen. BY an Act of the General
Assembly, passed March 29, 1883, the Act of the Incorporation was repealed and the Charter
abolished. Ashland City Lodge No. 327, F.& A. M., was chartered soon after the close of the
Civi1 War, with A. J. Bright, W. M., William M. Carney, J. W. and J. N. ALlen, W. W. The
charter of the Lodge was suspended in 1885 nearly all of the members having either died or moved
away. The first newspaper in the town was "The Cheatham County Plain Dealer", H. B. Stewart
publisher, and Captain S. D. Power as editor. It existed for a few months and then suspended.
"The Reporter" was established in September 1883, by W. H. Hooper, who sold it in August,
1884, to S. W. Barbee and edited by the publisher. Dr. Joseph Hudson was the first physician in
the town. He located when the town was laid out and remained in the city in the practice of his
profession for ten years. The postoffice was established in 1857, and J. N. Allen was the first
postmaster. He was followed by A. J. Bright and W.W. Sanders, who was appointed in 1866.
Prior to 1867, there was only one weekly mail. From that date until 1877 the mail was
semi-weekly and later became daily, except Sunday. James Smith opened the first hotel after the
town of Ashland City had become a town in name. This was about the year 1858, in a house on
Main Street, and the following year Jesse Chadoin opened a hotel in the "temporary court house"
known as the Central Hotel.

   These remarks are but a small accounting of our heritage and early beginnings - there is much
more available - should you (you should) become interested in more; check the local libraries of
the county and the archives - don't forget about the other counties that Cheatham sprang from, for
prior to 1856 much information about the area is located in their records.


   Located on Highway 12 North near the Cheatham Montgomery County line is this quaint little

   Montgomery County, Tennessee deed records show that a purchase of a 390 acre tract of land
from William Ward and wife Prudence was made on July 21, 1808 for $900.00 by Mr. Abner
Gupton. The tract began at the mouth of Raccoon Creek at Joseph Cartwright's North West
corner and was originally land granted to Jonathan Drake by the State of North Carolina. Mr.
Gupton purchased another 320 acres from a Dorcus Gray on September 4, 1808 at a cost of
$640.00 which was on the lower ide of the Raccoon Fork at Half Pone Creek.

   Abner and wife Judith lived in this area and bore three children there named Judith, Robert
Thomas and Elizabeth. The settlement was known as "Gupton's Cross Roads". Family tradition
and history indicates that the community was later named "Henrietta" for Abner's granddaughter,
Mrs. Henrietta (Gupton) Duke, daughter of Robert Thomas Gupton and Martha Henrietta (Power)

   Abner was one of the first to come to this area in Northern Cheatham County. He was the
ancestor of numerable descendants in Middle Tennessee and provided Cheatham County with its
Northernmost community/township.

   It should be noted that this is the home of Pat (Head) Summit, Coach for the University of
Tennessee Women's Basketball Team and former Olympic Women's Team Coach.

NOTE: SEE: Edna (Zornes) Cabler "Ashland City Times" article of December 19, 1979


   Near the end of Neptune Road on the Cumberland River, not accessible by the public,
Bettstown or Betsytown was located in the early to mid l830's. It lay at the foot of Harpeth Shoals
thus playing an important roll in river traffic as did Ashland City which was at the head of Harpeth
Shoals. Both thrived as a result of "lighter" business and transfer of freight made necessary by
Harpeth Shoals. In 1838 A. W. Van Leer, Daniel Hillman and R. Baxter opened up the
Clay-Steam Forge at Betsytown in connection with Cumberland Furnace and the town became
valuable as a shipping port for Pig Iron.

NOTE: SEE: "Steamboating on the Cumberland" By Byrd Douglas


    Located at the end of Cheatham Dam Road off Highway 12 North in Cheatham County. The
Lock was completed and placed in operation November 26, 1904 at a cost of $490, 010 .77. It
was 52 feet wide and 280 feet long. lt was erected to control the waters of Harpeth Shoals, a five
mile stretch of the Cumberland River between Ashland City and Clarksvillle which interrupted
more steamboat business than all other natural impediments along the navigable course of the river.

    On November 19, 1906 Captain W. T. Hunter became the first Captain on the Cumberland to
deliberately "Jump" a Dam with a Steamboat. He accomplished this feat at Lock "A" on the "H. W.
Buttorff", while the water was at high level.

    The peak of the cliff overlooking Lock "A" is Fox's Bluff with one of the most scenic and
picturesque views of the Cumberland Valley anywhere in the area. It used to be one of the local
points of interest for visitors to the area but is now inaccessible due to the area being part of the
Camp Grounds at the Cheatham Dam Recreation Area ..

NOTE: SEE: "Steamboating on the Cumberland" by Byrd Douglas


    Located in the central part of Cheatham County and running the width and length of the
Cumberland River from the Cheatham Dam through both Cheatham and Davidson County to the
Old Hickory Dam and managed under the Natural Resource Branch of the U. S. Army Corps of
Engineers this lake along with its tributaries provides a multitude of recreational facilities for the
wildlife advocate.

    The office is located at Cheatham Dam. The lake actually stretches 67 miles from Cheatham
Dam to Old Hickory Dam. Approximately a dozen multipurpose recreation areas are located along
the banks of the lake and its tributaries within Cheatham County.

NOTE: SEE: "Cheatham County Fact Book l988" pg 74


    This Historic Area, accessible via Dozier's Boat Dock Road off Highway 49 West, in Cheatham
County is the site of a huge battle between the Shawnee and Chickasaw Indian tribes around
1710. During a rout of the Shawnee tribe from the Cumberland Valley by the Cherokees, warriors
of the Chickasaw Nation, allied with the Cherokees, posted themselves on both sides of the
Cumberland River (known as the river of the Shawnee) just above the mouth of the Harpeth River
(toward Ashland City) and conducted a devastating attack upon the Shawnee killing all in the party
and capturing their property. The main part of the Shawnee Tribe, however, had already departed
the Cumberland Valley removing themselves to the vicinity of the Wabash River where they were
joined by other remaining portions of the tribe from Green River in Kentucky. From this remaining
joint tribe came the great warrior Tecumseh and his brother a famous Shawnee Prophet. Some
historians feel that Jean Du Charlleville, one of the first white men in middle Tennessee, may have
been killed in the party of Shawnee that were attacked at this site.

NOTE: SEE: "Davidson County Tennessee - A Centenary History 1780-1880"
                      by Prof. W. W. Clayton


    The stretch of the Cumberland River, from about one-fourth mile north of the Ashland City
Bridge viewable from Chapmansboro Road, to an area just below Cheatham Dam near where
Betsytown was located in the mid lBO0's was known as Harpeth Shoals. A hazard to navigation
along this most busy shipping route between Nashville and points North and South. The Harpeth
Island lying here in the Cumberland was notably the Head of the Shoals which extends toward
Clarksville for about five miles. The completion of Lock A (# 3 on the tour) at Fox's Bluff in 1904
removed this nemesis to early river traffic. The Steamboat "General Jackson" Sank on the Shoals
on May 30, 1821. She was raised and subsequently sold at public auction in a very bad state of
repair. Many other boats laden with merchandise were lost here prior to the completion of Lock
A. The Harpeth Shoals played a major part in interrupting movement of boats during the Civil War.
On January 10, 1862 the gunboat "Slidell" along with four transport boats of the Union Forces
were sunk by Confederate Forces at Harpeth Shoals.

    The river itself has, in the past, been known as the "Chaouanon" or "Old Shaunanon" French for
Shawnee and on some early maps was shown as the "Skipakicipi. Some Indian tribes referred to it
also as the "Warioto".

NOTE: SEE: "Steamboating on the Cumberland" By Byrd Douglas


    Located to the West of Ashland City and visible from most any point within the city. It is
accessible by way of Highway 49 West and State Route 251 (River Road). Though privately
owned and closed to the public, it is often the subject of weekend nature lovers who climb to a
point at the South end for a breathtaking panoramic view of Ashland City. It is sometimes utilized
by Civic organizations for use by their members for nature hiking and repelling. It should be stated
that because the Bluff area is privately owned, all those that enjoy these activities probably do so
while trespassing.

    The old River Road bed underneath this bluff for many years was the only access to Ashland
City from the Southwest portion of the county. It is now closed to all traffic and much of it has
fallen into the river itself.

    Evening sunsets from the Ashland City River Bluff Park area are particularly delightful and from
most any point in Ashland City a beautiful view of the bluff is available.

    There is a story regarding an Indian Maiden who supposedly jumped to her death from the bluff
after being jilted by her brave. That story is not true, however, according to stories handed down
through the years by some of the areas early settlers. It seems that a young lady, a member of the
Gower family named Asinith (Called Sydney for short) was chased to the edge of the Bluff by an
Indian Warrior but was saved at the last minute by a young man who she later married.

NOTE: SEE: No reference.


    Located just off Highway 49 West (Cumberland Street) and accessible via the Ashland City
By-Pass Road.

    This park which was opened during the 1990's was once the site of the Ferry Boat Landing at
Ashland.City as well as the landing site of Steamboats and Flatboats. The area was included in the
original Ashland City township through the purchase of land from J. Lenox who in turn had
purchased the land from Arnold M. Allen in order that it might be included in the original plot of
Ashland City thereby creating a Port of Entry and access to the River.

    During the 1800's and into the early 1900's the area was extremely important to the
Steamboating Trade on the Cumberland. There were two warehouses located there and several
homes as well as the Ferry Landing and at one time a bridge was present across Puzzle Fool
Creek to provide access to a five acre lot that was utilized by the Sycamore Mills as a shipping
area for its wares. Remnants of the old bridge may still be seen in the creek bed and on the North
bank of the creek.

NOTE: SEE: Minutes of County Court proceedings & Ashland City City Council proceedings.
                    Old Photographs
                    Recollections.of citizens of Ashland City


    To the South of the area of the Ashland City By-Pass at the southern end of State Industries
property lies the mouth of Marrowbone Creek; historic site of an early Indian town. In later years,
during the middle 1800's, it was also the site of early industry in Cheatham County. More
specifically, it was the site of a Steamboat building enterprise. At this site, Captain David Hughes of
Nashville, in the 1850's built the steamer "Umpire" and "Hartsville" -- there may have
been others built there also.

NOTE: SEE: "Davidson County Tennessee A Centenary History
                     1780-1880" by Prof. W. W. Clayton


    Located along the Cumberland River and stretching from the mouth of Marrowbone Creek
Southward toward Nashville is a prominent cliff of red and gray limestone about three miles long. It
may be seen from the East side along State Highway 12 through Ashland City looking Westward
as an extended range of hillside stretching from Robin Hood Road to Thompson Road at the
beginning of the Industrial Park area. The actual "bluff" area must be viewed either from the river or
from various vantage points along River Road State Route 249/251 looking toward the East. At
the Northern end of this range lies the mouth of Marrowbone Creek which empties into the
Cumberland. One of the largest Indian towns ever discovered in this section of the country was
once located there. A little South of Marrowbone Creek along the river bottom at the base of the
cliff was once located a sulphur spring, the site of the old Cheatham County Poor House, a health
retreat, a resort area, a hunting fishing lodge, a camping ground, a building belonging to the Young
Women's Christian Association and a shale mine. The property is now privately owned and closed
to the public.

NOTE: SEE: "Nashville "Tennessean" article by C. T. Felts of February 9, 1925 or Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association Newsletters for November and December 1994


    This log house was once located at Forest Hill Cemetery on Forrest Street in Ashland City. It
was erected at that sight in the early l8OO's and utilized as a multi-denominational church meeting
place known as Leeland. Citizens came from far and wide to meet there and worship.

    Around the mid l8OO's and during the early period of the formation of Cheatham County, the
County Legislative Body met there in this log house.

    During the early 1900's it was disassembled and moved to this present site and reassembled
presumably to make way for the expansion of the burial sites at Forest Hill Cemetery.

    The historical significance of the house must be considered due to the fact that it was here that
much of the initial planning, laws and dreams for the establishment and government of Cheatham
County and Ashland City took place.

NOTE: SEE:     No reference available except court records and "Goodspeeds" History of
Cheatham County. Also records and conversations with James B. Halums, Cheatham County Historian.


   Located on Vine Street in Ashland City in the early l9OO's was the "Lively Lad" Plant.

    Mr. T. J. Stump, resident, store owner and inventor gave the gardening enthusiast the ingenious
tool of its day. Made from a forked stick and strip of metal, its invention helped put Ashland City
on the map.

    Mr. Stump applied for a patent in 1926 and commenced manufacture of the Lively Ladd, the
style of which he later improved upon, manufacturing several different styles. It could be used to
cut grass, weeds, briar or anything else with just a simple swing of the arm.

NOTE: SEE: From a newspaper article of the "Ashland City Times" by Kevin Hasey - date unknown


    Located on Forrest Street in Ashland City is the historic site of Forest Hill Cemetery. In 1836
Braxton Lee, one of the earliest settlers in this area, donated two acres of land on his farm to be
utilized by the community as a burial site or public cemetery. A multi-denominational Church was
located thereat and it eventually became known as the Leeland meeting grounds with citizens
coming from far and wide to attend services there. The Cheatham County Legislative body met at
this building during the early years of the formation of the county. The building itself, a log structure,
was disassembled in the early 1900'-, moved and reassembled at 111 Elizabeth Street, where it is
presently located. (Tour site # 11)

NOTE: SEE: "Goodspeeds History of Cheatham County" and family genealogies of the Braxton Lee Family.


    Located just off Marrowbone Creek Road off State Highway 12 the final burial site of Timothy
Demonbreun, known as one of the earliest middle Tennessee settlers.

    A monument has been placed there by the deMontbrun French Heritage Society.

    Nearby is the homesite of John Baptist Demonbreun, son of Timothy Demonbreun.

NOTE: SEE: Many, many publications and pamphlets of the deMonthrun French Heritage Society and family genealogies.


    Located to the South of Highway 49 just East of the Sycamore Creek Bridge on that Highway.

    This historical site once contained a cotton factory, a saw mill and later a powder mill which
played a significant part in the Civil War.

    The area settled by the Adam Binkley and Benjamin Darrow families and others also at one time
contained Cheatham County's earliest private school "Hillwood Institute". It was the site of the
meeting of the initial county governing body of Cheatham County on May 15, 1856. The old stone
dam is still present as well as the bridge; possibly the only county to have a fixed cable bridge of
the 19th century, built in 1893, and still standing.

NOTE: SEE:     Lois Barnes Binkley's Book, "The Deserted Sycamore Village of Cheatham
                        County" and the Historical Marker located thereat.


    Located on Highways 49 and 41A.

    Pleasant View, formerly known, in the late 1700's, as a part of a land grant known as "The
Horse Stamp Survey" was settled during that period - later incorporated around 1920 as the town
of Pleasant View  but relinquished its charter after a few years, however, in the 1990's it has been
chartered again as one of Cheatham County's four cities.

    Throughout the 1800's, the quaint little village was known as a halfway point between Clarksville
and Nashville and accordingly became a vital rest area and stagecoach stop.

    Many of the older buildings in the area still remain and are worth visiting, photographing and
enjoying. Of particular interest is the old Marvel Low House built in 1798 located three miles
North of Sycamore Mill which was utilized as a stagecoach stop and is considered qualified for the
National Register of Historic Sites.

NOTE: SEE:     Mary Ellen Walker's Book "Pleasant View and Environs, and Robertson County,
                        Tennessee 1787-1981"


    Accessible from State Route 250 (Petway Road) this Wildlife Management Area of the
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency covers approximately 22,000 acres in the middle portion of
Cheatham County just South of the Cumberland River.

    The area was purchased by the state in the mid-1930's at a price of $4.00 per acre. It was
bought for back taxes with the State Legislature making special provisions of its purchase.

    It contains an Archery range, firearms range and is a preserve for wild animals.

    One must be left on his own to decide the value environmentally, economically and otherwise of
such an entity within the county dependent upon vocation or avocation and feelings toward the
necessity for such a site.

NOTE: See:     "Cheatham County Fact Book" 1988 pa 71


    Located just off State Route 249 (Sam's creek Road) on Deerfoot Drive lies this historic site
which was once utilized as a resort area and retreat by the citizens of Nashville and surrounding
area for relaxation, hunting, fishing and mending of hearts, minds and bodies in the beginning of the
nineteenth century (1800's). This was obviously the forerunner of the Wildlife Management Area
and contained several cabins and the "Old Hunter's Hall". The mineral waters emanating from one
of the springs thereat was shipped throughout the country with advertisement professing its curative

NOTE: SEE: Article by Mrs. Octavia Zollicoffer Bond which appeared in the "Nashville American" 11 October 1903 or Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association Newsletter of January 1995.


    Located on both sides of Highway U.S. 70 at the intersection of State Route 241.

    This Cheatham County settlement was earlier named Pegram Station for George Scott Pegram,
an early settler. The Nashville and Northwestern Railroad built a depot here around 1860 on its
line west which then ended at Kingston Springs,

    Today known simply as Pegram and one of Cheatham County's three incorporated cities, it is
one of the oldes't communities in Cheatham County and was once part of Davidson County.

    The city contains many fine older homes as well as many very fine newer homes.

NOTE: SEE:     "West Nashville Its people and Environs" by Sarah Foster Kelly.


    Located Just off U. S. 70, to the East of Pegram, on a 900 acre land site.

    Cave Springs is a home/school for mentally and physically handicapped youth started by Julia
Muir Grow to function, not as a nursing home, but as a mode to provide transition from one
environment to another.

    The school is internationally known and receives inquiries from all over the world. It is staffed by
volunteer individuals that live on the premises, are unpaid, but receive room and board.

    Cave Springs School has helped several hundred young adults back to the path of productive
lives and Cheatham County is indeed fortunate to have it located within its borders.

NOTE: SEE: "Cheatham County Fact Book 1989" pg 44


    Located approximately three and one half miles to the North of Highway 70 and accessible by
Cedar Hill Road in Cheatham County you will find this historic site once the homesite of
Montgomery Bell which was destroyed by fire in 1929. You will find there also a man made tunnel
cut through the solid rock bluff, where the flow of the river turns a horseshoe bend, believed to
have been started around 1818 and completed by 1820 with slave labor under the direction of Mr
S. (Sam) W. Adkisson. Utilizing hand drills and black powder a tunnel with a 12 to 15 foot water
fall was created to turn wheels to operate heavy hammers to pound pig iron billets into malleable
bars and plates. The Tennessee Historical Commission recognized this engineering masterpiece and
nominated it to be placed on the Historical Register of Historical Places and the National Park
Service listed the Narrows on the National Register on April 16, 1971.

NOTE: SEE: Cheatham County Fact Book 1994 Published by the "Ashland City Times" With article by Fannie Lou Barfield


    Located on both sides of U. S. Highway 70 Just beyond the Harpeth River Bridge in Cheatham
County lies this Historical Site commonly referred to as the Mound Bottom Site. Evidence of a
civilization dating back to about 900 to 1350 A.D. known as the Mound Builders or Mississippian
Culture which dominated the Southeast long before America was discovered exists here. It is
normally a closed site owned by the State with tours conducted by Rangers.

NOTE: SEE:     Cheatham County Fact Book 1994
                         Published by the "Ashland City Times" with article by Fannie Lou Barfield


    Located beyond Pegram on Kingston Springs Road.

    The city of Kingston Springs became-popular in the late I700's and early 1800's for its mineral
waters and as a resort area.

    Named for early settler Samuel Kingston, it was once part of Davidson County and today is
known as a bedroom settlement area for many fine citizens who choose to enjoy country style
living but make their means chiefly in Nashville. Recently, due to its nearness to Interstate 40 it has
become an area of thriving industry and many new businesses have located there.

    Many fine older homes are located in the downtown area and it is one of Cheatham County's
four incorporated cities. The Library located there is a most interesting structure recently
completed through the cooperation of the local citizens and county government and is quite worth a
visit to obtain further information regarding the history of the community.

NOTE: SEE:     "West Nashville Its people and Environs" by Sarah Foster Kelly