Excerpts From "MY DAY AND LOCALITY" by Charles Wesley "C. W." Hicks, 1916 Monroe Co., TN
CHARLES WESLEY HICKS wrote this as a series or articles to be published in the Madisonville, Monroe Co., TN, newspaper under the heading "My Day and Locality". The series ran in 1916 when Mr. HICKS was about age 74. I believe there were several articles and the final article may have been published as late as 1921. I have not seen the newspapers or microfilm. C. W. Hicks was a lawyer in Madisonville as had his kin been before him. He was a Civil War veteran and participated in the Civil War Questionaire project, completing a form about 1922. He included some of the information in this paper as well as additional information about his childhood and war experience.
CHARLES WESLEY (1842-1923) was the son of MARK MORE HICKS (1811-1883) and CATHERINE BAYLESS (1819-1863), grandson of CHARLES HICKS (1782-1836) and SARAH HOUK and of WILLIAM BAYLESS (1774-1845) and CATHERINE HAIRE (1776-1819) of Washington Co., TN. I have found just a few factual errors in Mr. HICKS' account. He seems to have forgotten to mention that the parents of WILLIAM BAYLESS were SAMUEL BAYLESS (1751-1825) and MARY NODDING (1754-1810). DANIEL BAYLESS, who Mr. HICKS names as his grt-grandfather was, in fact, the father of SAMUEL BAYLESS making him the grt-grt-grandfather of CHARLES WESLEY. This DANIEL (1716-1800) was married to JOHANNAH LAKE. The man who is called "RIVER DANIEL" by Mr. HICKS was, I believe, DANIEL L. BAYLESS (1777-1867), a son of SAMUEL and MARY (NODDING) BAYLESS and, the husband of MARY IRELAND (1779-1863). A second error I noticed is that Mr. HICKS refers to one of his brothers as GEORGE MILTON, as WILLIAM MILTON and as just plain MILTON. Of these, it is certain that MILTON, at least, is correct.
The reader should understand that there may be errors in some of the historical accounts given and I encourage the curious to read about the early history of this country and the world. New discoveries since the time of Mr. HICKS have shown new light on many old beliefs and some of the historical facts in this document may no longer be accepted as true.
I found a faded transcript of the news articles in the BAYLESS family file in the Athens, TN, public library. It was from this transcript that I have copied the articles. The transcript ended in mid-sentence and, as of this date, I do not have the "rest of the story". The library transcript was of poor quality. Many of the lower case letters, a, e and o, were so alike that I had difficulty determining which letter was intended and, I probably made errors in making decisions as to which letter to use. Of the upper case letters, H, M and N were very similar and, again, I made decisions, right or wrong, as to which letter was intended. Some of the grammar and punctuation is awkward and some sentences are seemingly incomplete or lacking proper form. I do not know if this transcript from the library is an accurate copy of what Mr. HICKS wrote or if it is, in fact, an unproofed transcript by an unknown researcher. I do not know if the entire work ran in the paper but I do know that at least three columns did run as the family file also included a negative print-out of them from microfilm. I tried not to change any of the content or form. One exception to this was the capitalization of some proper names or nouns and changing the words "camp ground" to "campground". "Campground" appeared in both forms in the old transcript. My apologies to Mr. HICKS and to the readers of this version of "My Day and Locality" for any errors.
I have found this document of such historical and genealogical interest that I felt it must be put into a form which could be used and enjoyed by many others and not just remain unappreciated in a folder in a drawer or on a reel of unviewed microfilm.
I have made an Index of names that appear in this document and have also attached a transcript of the Cival War Questionaire of CHARLES WESLEY HICKS. It may be of interest to compare the data in the questionaire to the information in "My Day and Locality". The questionaire has not been indexed.
To find a particular name on this page, use the FIND ON PAGE feature of your browser. Check the Index for the names in this article. Also, please note that I have omitted some of Mr. Hicks' historical narration regarding the prehistory of TN and regarding Bible stories.Barbara Ribling Grandma Hudson's Scrapbook: http://www.bribling.net Alternate URL for My Main Page: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/5456 URL for This Page: http://www.bribling.net/cwhicks.htm C. W. Hicks' Civil War Questionaire: http://www.bribling.net/cwquest.htm Index for "My Day and Locality": http://www.bribling.net/cwndex.htm E-Mail: email@example.com Monroe Co., TN, USGENWEB Page:http://www.tngenweb.org/monroe/
"MY DAY & LOCALITY"
My day began on Dec. 23, 1842, in a cabin one fourth mile west of the COLTHARP school-house in the old seventh district of Monroe County, Tenn. The cabin was one of the first built in the Hiwassee District. It was a low one-story, built of unhewed logs notched together with the ends sticking out, covered with boards four feet long laid on log ribs and poles laid on to hold them in place. The chimney was of sticks and clay, the fire-place four feet wide. The cracks between the logs were chunked with sticks and daubed with red clay. The floor was laid of undressed plank loosely on log sleepers, planks sixteen inches wide and eighteen feet long. The only nails in the building were made by a blacksmith and were used to nail the planks on the battens of the door shutters, which were hung on wooden hinges. It was built by JACOB GIVENS. My father dug and walled the old well at the place, which is a spring and overflows several months in the year.
I am about 23 years younger than Monroe county and the opening of the Hiwassee District for settlement. The district included all the land bounded by the Little Tennessee, Great Tennessee, Great Tennessee and Hiwassee rivers and the top of the first, or Chilhowee, range of mountains, locally called STAR'S Mountain, for an old Indian who lived near it and the Tellico Mountain. In 1817 JOHN C. CALHOUN, the Secretary of State, at Washington, made a treaty with a deputation of Cherokee Chiefs by which the territory was ceded to the United States and came under the control of the State of Tennessee. The Indians moved to the mountain and west of the Hiwassee. The state had the land surveyed into ranges of Townships six miles square running north and south and numbered one, two, etc., east and west from a meridian starting at the Tennessee opposite the mouth of Clinch near Kingston running south. None of the lands east of the Little Tennessee are so laid off. Every man, as near as he could, laid off a boundary for entry to suit himself. The townships above named, were divided into 36 sections one mile square. The sixteenth section, in each township, if suitable for agriculture, was set apart for school land to support the free schools. They were rented out and the proceeds applied to pay teachers. The schools thus depending on the uncertain crops were usually short and unsatisfactory. In April 1819 the treaty was reaffirmed by CALHOUN and the chiefs at Washington and the land put on sale. A large amount of the land was entered that year and a few got cabins built and moved in. That fall the counties of Monroe and McMinn were organized.
NOTE: - The writer of the above intends if health, time and space in the paper permits, to give rambling sketches of local history, tradition and observation from the time the white men first visited it until the present; showing the conditions of the people their habits etc.; and the wonderful changes that have taken place. Many of the early settlers will be mentioned, and genealogy and tradition of my numerous branch of the HICKS family will be interwoven.
Monroe County was organized and the first courts held at the house of WILLIAM DIXON on what is known as the TIPTON lands lying west of the river from Morgantown, which was founded in 1813, six years earlier. A term or more of courts were held at some homes on Fourmile. Then a log Court-house was built at Coldwells where G.L. HENDERSON SR. now resides and courts held there a few years. About 1826 on a vote of the people the present county site under the beautiful little name of Tellico defeated Coldwells. About 1832 at the instigation of JAMES MADISON GREENWAY, a prominent merchant, who had his store in the old house belonging to Mr. P.G. KEELE on the south side of the Public square, the Legislature changed the name to Madisonville in honor of a part of the name. Tellico Lodge No. 80, F.&A.M. still retain the original name, JOHN MCCROSKEY, father of T.E.H. MCCROSKEY, Atty., was the first sheriff of the county and held the office six years. WILLIAM DIXON only lived a short time after the county was organized. He owned several negroes and made a will setting them all free at the death of his widow. She bought a tract of land where Chestua Campground was located, and moved there. About 1826 she married WILLIAM BAYLESS, a widower, and became my step-grandmother. The negroes took the name of BAYLESS. There were HIRAM, NUTE, GEORGE and ABBA. Only one of their descendants, BILL BAYLESS, son of ABBA, I think is living. After grandfather BAYLESS died about 1846, his widow and the negroes moved to Madisonville and she lived in a house on the north side of the lot now belonging to MR. W.T. POWERS. She died in 1858 of Cholera when it last scourged the town. She was buried at Chestua Campground and not knowing that she died of Cholera and without the knowledge or consent of my parents, I went to the burial. Only those necessary were there and they were excited and moved hurriedly. The air reeked with carbolic acid, the first I had ever smelt, so I became alarmed, stood at a distance and soon left. My folks were alarmed at what I had done, pulled up and gave all the watermelons to the hogs, filled a crock half full of fresh pine tar, put water on it and made me take a swallow three times a day for a week or two. It was a bitter dose.
McMinn county was organized in 1810 at Calhoun and the courts were held there a few years, when a committee was appointed to select a county site and the place where Athens now is, was chosen.
The committee in their report stated that they had first selected the bluff on Eastanolle Creek where DESOTO is said to have camped. This is about one mile and half below Athens where the old paper mill used to be. That report got destroyed in the office of HON. H.Q. ALLEN when it got burned a few years ago. He told me from memory what was in it. DESOTO with his 800 Spanish soldiers were, probably the first white men that visited this section, in 1540, all of the county being then called Florida. They started their exploration at San Spirito, now Tampa Bay, and traveled nearly north to Macon County, N.C. where they discovered the mica mines. About five years later when sons of the men got back to Cuba they told to these mines and in 1540 the governor of Cuba sent men under DELUNA to work them. Spanish tools have lately been found in the best mines showing the place where DESOTO worked and the visit of DESOTO with certainty. From there to Coosa, Ala. The route of DESOTO is not laid down with any certainty by any writer. Most of them suppose he went south of the Allegheny mountains, which would have been nearly southwest, which would have brought him corn for his men, horses and hogs. He started with thirteen hogs and they increased until at one time there were about 300. He was careful not to eat them as he wanted them for the use of a colony he intended to found when he should find a place that suited him. Occasionally he gave as a present to a Chief one or two pigs, and it is probable that from these or others that escaped, the wild hogs of our southern swamps and mountains originated. He traveled slowly, only ten to fifteen miles a day, frequently camping for a considerable time at a place; his men searched the country for forty to fifty miles around. They were trying to find a country full of gold like Mexico and Peru. DESOTO was with PIZARRO in his conquest of Peru and got a fortune as his part of the booty obtained in that great robbery.
Instead of coming down the river they may have come by where Murphy now stands and there struck the great Wauchesa trail, which was the main path used by the Cherokee in going from one of the three sections of their country to another. It came out on the Tellico above Lyons Creek, coming down the mountain nearly as the public road now runs. This was as easy and comparatively level route to the one down the Tennessee. When he reached this section, DESOTO found that there were no inhabitants east of the Little Tennessee and north of the Great Tennessee to the Ohio, it being the great "Kentucky" or "Dark and Bloody ground" where he could get no supplies and forming a great barrier to his further progress north. He forced the Cherokees to furnish him with provisions, and like slaves carry them and his baggage. This doubtless, caused them to keep up a tradition to his camping places until the whites moved into this section.
The Little Tennessee River rises in the Blue ridge in Raburn County Georgia, flows in a northwesterly course through Macon County and others, by Franklin, N.C., breaks through the higher Great Smokey Range into Monroe County, Tenn., and joins the Tennessee, formerly the Holston near Lenoir city; thence it flows by Loudon to Kingston where it receives the Clinch and strikes the outlying foothills of the Cumberland mountains, or Table land for they are nearly level on top and about fifty miles wide at one place, which turns the river back in a great horse-shoe bend with a narrow neck a few miles below Loudon; thence it takes southwest with the ranges of hills to Chattanooga where it cuts through the Tableland, separating Lookout Mountain about 30 miles long, then it runs into the valley which the Sequatchy River has cut down in the tableland, and takes its course southwest into Alabama where it turns west running nearly across the north end of that state, there it turns north, crosses the states of Tennessee and Kentucky and empties into the Ohio at Paducah. From Xuala which has generally been identified as Qualachee, now Quallytown, N.C., to Coosa, Ala.; no place mentioned by DESOTO'S men has been certainly located. They describe a place where two rivers meet at a large island. Writers have claimed that this was where Rome, Georgia, now is. But there is no island where the two rivers meet there and they have to suppose that the island has disappeared. The description of the place of one of their camps is filled by the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee. They gave an account of following a large river with many islands in it which were inhabited by Indians, one island fifteen miles long having a town at each end they camped on for some time. I have been unable to hear of such an island now. The island at the mouth of the Hiwassee has in past time been inhabited, but by whom is not known. A few years ago two statues were dug up there, which looked like the idols of the Aztec Indians of Mexico. I saw a drawing of them made by the late R.J. ONLY of Calhoun. They were squat, chubby and with their mouths wide open. All of the Aztec idols and their pictures that I have seen, had the mouth open. None of the Indians north of Mexico are known to have been idol worshipers. These two must have come from there. From the mouth of the Hiwassee DESOTO likely followed the river to Lookout Mountain, kept to the south of it and on to Coosa, a town of the Muskogees, later called Creeks.
The first settlement made in the Hiwassee District was in 1756 when Fort Loudon was built on the Little Tennessee half mile above the mouth of the Tellico River. It was built and a settlement made there by soldiers and people from Charleston, S.C. This section at that time was claimed to belong to that colony and it assumed jurisdiction over it. Later when the boundaries were settled, this territory fell to North Carolina.
Fort Loudon was surrendered to the Indians August 8, 1760, twenty-six of the people killed and the rest held as prisoners until they were ransomed the next year. This broke up the settlement. The next settlement was at the old Iron works on the Tellico River near "The Mansion" above Tellico Plains. An old Gazeteer, published in 1810, now belonging to DR. S.D.G. NILES of McGhee, says the manufacture of iron was begun at Telliqua, which stood on the MCSPADDEN farm near the lower end of the plains, had been destroyed by COL. CHRISTIAN many years before 1799. Whether the English who began the iron works were the same as were running them from 1846 to 1856, I do not know. At the last dates the JOHNSONS, the old man called "JUDGE" and his son, MORTIFER F. were operating the works. They were said to have been from England and New York and to have built "The Mansion". About 1850 at our place ten miles away, I heard the bing, bing, bing of the even strokes of the great water-power trip hammer beating out bars of iron wagon tire, plow forms, etc. They had a foundry and made cooking vessels, etc. I heard my uncle, W.J. HICKS, say that when he was a boy, say 1838, he took dried fruit for his mother and sold it there and bought a skillet.
The upper part of the state was settled with facility because there were no Indian inhabitants east of the Little Tennessee River to defend the territory, and the Indians could only disturb the settlers by going on a war path. Not so with Hiwassee District. They had about twelve towns along the west bank of that river, two on the Tellico and several on the Ocoee and Hiwassee and any intrusion by the whites would have been quickly discovered and resisted. Those who started the iron works at Tellico in 1799 must have had a special permit from the Indians to put up works there, for it was eighteen years before they ceded the territory and moved out of it. The Indians lived entirely in town, usually located on the second bottom of the rivers, and left the balance of the country for hunting grounds.
Our HICKS family, which is large and prolific of sturdy boys, thereby keeping up the family name, are said to have come from Westmoreland County, England, where some of them are still to be found. ELIAS HICKS came from there and in New England by preaching his religious dogmas split the Quaker church in two and formed a new sect called Hicks-ites. According to tradition given me by my father, a family of our branch landed at Baltimore about the year 1700. There one of the girls married ISAAC SHEPHARD, a great cutlerist and hardware manufacturer. Naming children for him got the name, ISAAC, in the family. From Baltimore they moved to Rockbridge County Virginia. From there three brothers named SHADRACH, MESHAC and ABEDNEGO, called for short SHADE, MESH and BED, moved to Sullivan County, Tennessee. Most of the HICKS of the state are sprung from them and we claim kin with all who can trace back to them.
JOHN HICKS, my great-grandfather, I guess was a son of SHADE of Sullivan County, for he named one of his boys SHADE. He, JOHN, married COMFORT MALONE and moved to Sevier County. They raised eight children ISAAC, WILLIAM, SHADRACH, ABRAHAM, JOHN, CHARLES, GEORGE and SARAH. ISAAC went to Illinois and one of his sons got to be judge, is all I ever heard of them. WILLIAM was the father of the late REV. WILLIAM HICKS who was the father of REV. W.W. HICKS, of Holston Conference M.E. Church S. ELIZABETH HICKS, daughter of WILLIAM, married a FORD and they lived at one time where JAMES REYNOLDS now lives on Chestua. They moved to one of the upper counties and they have been lost sight of. SHADE married BETSY MASH (Hash?) and settled on the farm where JAS. LEE now lives about one and a half miles west of the Chestua Camp ground. His sons were ISAAC, DOW, GARRETT, TOLBERT, GEORGE, ASBURY, MERIDITH and two girls, one of them married W. MALONE and the other married WM. CARTWRIGHT. ISAAC, DOW and the two girls moved to Meigs County and have been lost sight of. PROF. W.P. HICKS of New Hope, is a grandson of TOLBERT and ROBERT HICKS, of Dancing Branch, is a grandson of GARRETT. GEORGE died leaving one daughter, SUSAN, who married CLINTON CLEPPER and went to Lebanon, Mo. ASBURY was the father of the late WESLEY R. and J. CALOWAY HICKS, of Notchy Creek. MERIDITH married a CASTEEL and W. CHAPMAN HICKS, of Gudger, is one of his sons. ABRAHAM HICKS married POLLY RAPER, settled on Big Creek and lived at one time on the farm where RICHARD HICKS now resides, one mile west of Chestua Campground. He was the father of A. RUSSELL, RICHARD'S father, and of HAROLD of Rocky Springs, who was the father of JOHN, ABE, of Big Creek, and HENRY, of Madisonville. JOHN HICKS married PEGGY HOUK, lived on north side of Chestua Creek, opposite of where E.R. LEE now lives. Only two children, MARY ANN married JONATHAN LASSITER and moved to Georgia. MARTIN MCGILBERRY, married a MILLARD and lived just across the branch from where the late JOSEPH WHITE lived. His son, JOHN H., was the father of MRS. L.L. WILSON and M.W.C. MCDONALD, of Etowah and others. GEORGE HICKS married MARY HOUK, settled in the place Madisonville now is and put a cotton gin on or near the lot now owned by UNCLE SAM FRASIER, COL., and was the father of the late A. THOMPSON, G. WASH and JAMES C. and grandfather of J. C. of Sweetwater. SARAH HICKS married WM. STONE. They ran the ferry and lived at Morganton 1858, when they moved to a house close to the north side of the west of S.J. COLTHARP'S house and tended the mill that stood where the bridge now is. Three of them died there of fever. The late CLARK STONE was a son, and some of his children lived near Sweetwater. One of his sons married a daughter of C.C. CARTER, J.P., of Madisonville.
In my next I will take up the history of grandfather CHAS. HICKS and try to give some more entertaining traditions than in this issue.
CHAS. HICKS, my grandfather, was born in 1783. Their children were JOHN ADAM, MARK MORE, ALBERT, ROLSTON, GEORGE MILTON, NARCISSA, ELIZA, CRAWFORD and WESLEY JONES. The first place grandfather lived was on Boyd's Creek, Knox County, where JOHN ADAM, my father, MARK MORE, and probably ALBERT were born. Boyd's Creek rises in Sevier County and runs across a part of Knox and empties into French Broad River. I heard grandmother talk about the alarms of Indian raids and being in a fort where all the settlement had gathered for protection and how they dreaded attacks on account of the small number of men there was to make defense. This was likely McGaha Station, or fort, as it stood in that locality. It became a question of whether they should remain in the Fort or leave it and try to hide in the woods. An old Quaker woman said, "If we be in the woods, and they be in the woods they be sure to get us." They stayed in the Fort and were not attacked.
The family moved to Louisville, Blount County, where GEORGE MILTON was born, November 29, 1817, also NARCISSA, and maybe another was born there. When the Hiwassee District was opened in 1819, grandfather came to the land sales and entered a quarter section of land on Chestua Creek one and one-half miles southwest of the Camp ground where E.R. LEE and CHAS. PATTERSON now own, and built a cabin east of the spring on the creek. Where the Register's office was opened and the entries taken I have never learned, but it was probably near Morgantown, as that was the closest settlement to the lands. In February 1820 the family moved to their new cabin. It took two days and a piece to make the trip in the heavy six horse wagons of that time. There were few two-horse wagons. They have come into use mostly since I can remember. The bodies of those large wagons would hold fifty bushels of shucked corn in the ear. They sloped out and upward at the ends so that the cover protected two feet in the front and three feet beyond the hind end of the bed. A tool box was built across the front end and a similar one about the middle of the left side. A feed box was hung by chains across the back end. Chains were swung to the sides of the bed to lock the wheels at steep hills. The present day brakes have been invented and put on the running gear of wagons since I was a young man. So has the thimble skeins for oil and axle grease. The old strap or tar skeins and tar bucket hanging on the coupling pole are gone. The family likely stayed the first night at brother ABE'S, who lived on Baker's creek about two miles from the brick mill, in Blount County. The next night they stayed with the LACKENS family who lived on the ABRAHAM STAKELY place on the old federal road two miles west of Mo. They had followed that road from near Brick Mill. Next morning they followed that road southwest through the woods about a mile to SAMUEL LANE'S and got fire to take to their cabin.
They got fire to carry a mile to their cabin because friction matches had not yet been invented. About 1850 matches in blocks about two inches square and only partially split off, first came about. They were of poor quality and if after careful rubbing and handling you got one out of four or five to smoke and start a feeble flame it was lucky. They next day after they got to the cabin, a herd of fourteen deer passed and crossed the creek within a hundred yards of it. Game was so plentiful that grandfather could kill a deer or turkey almost any morning before breakfast. Father told us that when a boy he could catch 75 to 100 partridges during a winter. Pheasants, squirrels and all other small game were abundant. So were rattle snakes. The first warm day in the spring fourteen were killed that had crawled from the rocks near where the spring was. One day, the offal of a chicken was thrown out from the kitchen when a large rattle snake ran under the house for it. The boys found a large one in the field where they were hoeing corn. Father being the oldest, it fell to his lot to kill it. He was barefoot. He slipped around in front of it, stretched out on the ground to cut its head off with his hoe. He chopped into it several inches back and the head ran at him with its mouth open and almost reached his toe before it became exhausted and stopped. One night, wolves got after the sheep and they waked father up to help blow the horn, which they kept up for several hours to scare the wolves away.
The country was very sparsely settled for a few years after they came and those living within seven or eight miles were treated and visited as neighbors. LANE was where MRS. A.L. COLTHARP now owns.
The old house was partly standing a few years ago. IRBY BOYD lived where CAPT. J.D. WILSON lives and I think one of the family died and was buried there for there used to be a lonely grave with a little house over it some distance west of the dwelling. BOYD moved to Polk County. A family named BIRD lived where JOSEPH HAMILTON is on the south prong of Chestua Creek. RICE lived across the road west from the BLOOM place near Englewood. Intimate friendship existed between grandmother HICKS and MRS. RICE until old age, until I was a young man. So with MRS. REYNOLDS, who lived at the place now owned by T.F. WILSON on Dancing Branch. Father told of going three miles to RICE'S to borrow meal and on account of no roads and being cloudy he got lost, was delayed some hours and rode much out of the way, to the great uneasiness of the family before he got home. A family named HAYS lived where MRS. SCRUGGS now lives. One of the girls married the late COL. ARCHIBALD BLIZZARD of Athens. These were about all their neighbors for the first year or two.
As heretofore shown three of the sons of JOHN HICKS married HOUKS. The HOUKS came from Germany about 1720, rather they fled from there, a young man and his wife. There was a law in the state where they lived imposing heavy penalties for destroying, damaging or mutilating any church property, relics or images of the Virgin mary, etc. The HOUKS were Protestants. The young wife had a Roman Catholic cousin who was very sick and in order that those who came to visit might pray to the Virgin Mary for recovery of the sick one, an image painted on paper and cut out life-size was set up at the gate. When the Protestant cousin visited the sick one and saw the image set up for worship, she took up a pair of scissors that swung at her apron strings and clipped the ears of the image off. This brought about a criminal prosecution and to avoid arrest, her husband hid her in the woods on the bank of a river until he made arrangements to ship to America. They had some gold, and to avoid an excise of revenue tax on exporting it, they concealed it by sewing it up in the skirt of the wife's dress. In going aboard, she had the misfortune of falling into the sea. Her husband having the gold on his mind in his alrm cried out, "save my gold, save my gold!" This gave the secret away, the gold was found and the tax had to be paid. When they first landed, their name was pronounced as if spelled "HOKE" with the "O" long. I have never heard the name of any of their children but ADAM, who was my great-grandfather. The mother of the great Methodist orator, HENRY BASCOM, was a HOUK, but whether she was of that family, I know not. Very likely she was a sister of ADAM. ADAM HOUK married MARY MALONE, a sister of JOHN HICKS' wife, and settled in Sevier County. They raised six girls and two boys. As previously shown, JOHN HICKS raised seven boys and one girl.
After three of the HICKS boys had married three of the HOUK girls, well might MARY HOUK say to COMFORT HICKS, "What a house full of boys you have raised," and COMFORT HICKS replied, "Yes, and you have raised enough girls to marry them all." The boys were ARK HOUK, a carpenter, of whom I heard but little said; JOHN, called JACK, father of the late HON. L.C. HOUK, whose three children, HON. JOHN C. HOUK and others live in Knoxville. Besides the three girls, PEGGY, MARY and SARAH, who married HICKS boys, one married a CHANDLER and the family lived in Sevier County. One of their daughters married the late E.E. MCCRESKEY, of Knoxville. Another HOUK girl married EDMUND HUNT, who was raised in Philadelphia, Pa., and had been a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War. He could crack the drum sticks over his head and keep snare drum rolling all the while. Their daughter, SADIE HUNT, married the late LEONARD CAUTH, of Riceville. Another, BARERY, married GEORGE GIBSON, a brother to the late CHARLES and TIMOTHY GIBSON, of Athens.
GEORGE GIBSON, husband of BARBERY HUNT, was an outspoken union man in time of the Civil War and with others was arrested by the Confederate authorities and imprisoned at Knoxville. They tried to escape by picking a hole through a brick wall. Just as he was crawling through, a guard discovered them and fired, killing him. His wife at home below Athens had what she called a "presentment" and saw her husband shot and killed in the night. She waked up the family and told them about it and did not go to bed anymore that night. Next morning she was informed of the circumstances as she had seen them. This she told to her cousin W.J. HICKS, in 1870 when we were attending chancery court at Athens, and he told me the same day. Some years after that she had a son killed on the railroad on which he was running. She claimed to have seen that; waked the family up and told them he was killed and they would bring him home in the morning. It occurred as she predicted. This she told her cousin, ELIZA JOINES, who told me. MRS. GIBSON for second husband married WM. CRITTENDON, of Riceville, and died about ten years ago. She would have been called a clairvoyant by the spiritualists on account of her seeing those distant occurances. Such power is pretty well established, those having it are usually in some distress, have a suture of the skull open, a part of the bone removed, or some other defect about the head and go into trances or cataleptic fits.
The HUNTS lived for some time in a house that stood by the road on top of the hill north of the creek from where grandfather HICKS lived and their children were very intimate. HUNTS later moved to the lower part of McMinn County.
REBECCA HOUK married GEORGE MILLARD, who built a hewed log house that was torn away only a few years ago where L.R. (TIBBY) HICKS now lives in Madisonville. ELIZA, who married OBED PATTY, father of FRANCIS PATTY, of near Nomaburg, was born there. MILLARD sold the place to GEO. HICKS, who lived there since I can remember. MILLARD moved to McMinn County below Athens, where some of the children of FRANK, a son, still live.
Some of the broken English and to count a dozen in German had been handed to me from great grandfather HOUK, which I give as I heard and understood it, not vouching for its correctness "Mock de duro so," "Shut the door to." "High you Yawoob, hail to it." "Get up Jacob, daylight." The count is ein, zwa, dri, fere, finis, sox, siva, au, ni, sa, eliva, swilla.
JACK was twice married. One of his daughters, SALLY, married a CHAMBERS, their son T.D. ARNOLD CHAMBERS, of Fork Creek, being the father of WILLIAM and ROBERT CHAMBERS, of Sweetwater, and of MRS. BYRON JOHNSON. Ex-congressman L.C. HOUK'S mother was the second wife of JACK HOUK, and like her he had blue eyes. The HOUKS generally had large brown or black eyes and dark skin.
I am told that some of the BAYLESS family of Washington County have a record of their genealogy running back to their ancestors in England, but I have not seen it. WILLIAM BAYLESS, my mother's father, was a son of DANIEL BAYLESS, one of three of that name in that county, but how he was designated I never heard. One of the others was RIVER DANIEL, a great grandfather of ALBERT G. MCDONALD, of Fork Creek. I have only heard of four of great grandfather DANIEL BAYLESS' children. One of his daughters married a HOSS, father of the late HENRY HOSS, once clerk and Master at Jonesboro, and the father of EMERY E. HOSS, a Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church South. AILSY married a man named TABOR and they lived on the place where JAMES HARRILL now lives one mile southeast of Madisonville. When I was a small boy, my mother told of visiting her Aunt AILSY TABOR at that place and what a big head without bottom, the head of Chestua Creek was there. It is said to be that way yet. TABORS moved to Bradley County near Cleveland where she died a very old woman, about 1865. SAMUEL BAYLESS came to Madisonville and kept a hotel at the southwest corner of the public square in an old building that was torn away a few years ago to make room for R.C. DEFAUVER'S store house. He was the father of DR. WHITE BAYLESS, who lived and died near Morgantown, father of the late W.R. (DICK), of Tellico Plains, and BEN, of near Athens. The late DR. B.M. BAYLESS, father of THOMAS C. was also a son of SAMUEL. That old BAYLESS hotel is said to have been the one where DAVY CROCKET stayed all night when he spoke here on one of his political campaigns. I saw R. KING ROBINSON, attorney, now of Ardmore, Oklahoma, married in that hotel. WILLIAM BAYLESS, my grandfather, married CATHERINE HAIRE, of whose family I know little, she having died in Washington County when mother was small. Their children were SAMUEL, LEE, HIRAM, PIKE, SMITH, HANNAH, PHEBE and CATHERINE. CATHERINE, my mother, was first named MARY and after her mother's death it was changed to her's. SAMUEL married TIMANDRA BROWN, daughter of JACOB BROWN, who founded the first settlement on the Nollichucky River. I met her an old partly paralyzed woman in 1870. One of her brothers, GABRIEL BROWN, was killed while storming the fortress of Corro Gordo at the city of Mexico in the Mexican War. Somebody was climbing up and stealing corn through a crack in JACOB BROWN'S crib. The fellow he suspicioned came there one day. BROWN called one of the negroes and told him in the fellow's presence to go and get a ladder and set it up at the end of the crib so that whoever was stealing corn through the cracks could climb up easy. He missed no more corn.
Grandfather was a Major under JACKSON, in the Seminole War, in 1817, and was called MAJOR BAYLESS by his neighbors. I have in my yard a fig bush that grew from a sprout he carried home to Washington County with him from Florida, afterwards brought and set out near the creek where he lived, and then by me to Madisonville. It will be one hundred years next year since he brought it from Florida.
The children of SAMUEL and TIMANDRA BAYLESS were THOMAS, HIRAM, ANN and JANE. Some of the children of both TOM and HIRAM lived near Garls Mills a few years ago. ANN was one of the broadest and heaviest women I ever saw and must have weighed near 300 pounds. She married a CARTER and lived at Spring Place, Ga. In 1861 she and family visited her old home and in returning by wagon stayed all night at our house. She told of seeing a few nights before, a red haze or clouds all over the sky. It created considerable comment and was unexplainable. The astronomy taught in our high school here shows that the earth passed through the tail of a comet about that time, which may explain the red haze in the sky. Many believed it was a sign of war, which was then starting. JANE married a KING. Their son, SAMUEL KING, a contractor, lived in Etowah a few years ago. All the family of Grandfather BAYLESS, except SAMUEL, were brought to the Hiwassee District, called "The Purchase", when he came about 1825. HIRAM had the character of being a great athlete. He could turn somersaults and was never beaten at jumping or running. He traveled over several states and had many wrestling matches and was never defeated but once, and that by a big Virginian, who threw him easily. He started to California in the rush of 1849 and died on the White Plains. The letter that came back said they buried him sixteen feet and put brush in the grave as they filled it up to keep the wolves from scratching it up. He never married.
LEE BAYLESS in childhood fell from a barn loft and lay as if dead for several hours. His hearing and speech was impaired and he never grew to full stature of a man. He lived with his brother, SMITH, until, death about 1880. PIKE married JULIA HANEY, a daughter of the famous gingercake baker of sixty years ago and lived where JOHN MCCASLIN now lives on Middle Creek, where he raised five boys, SAMUEL, GEORGE, WILLIAM, JOHN and WILSON, and four girls. He weighed three hundred and fifteen pounds and could take a fence rail on his shoulder and beat any of the boys in a hundred yard foot race in spite of his fleshness. They and the HANEYS moved to Missouri about 1857, and located near Bois de Arc (Bowark) not far from Springfield, where WILSON still lived four years ago. Uncle PIKE was called to his door in the night, shot and killed by union bush-whackers in time of the Civil War. GEORGE died in the Confederate Army. MRS. HANEY made enough money selling cakes to buy several hundred acres of land and two or three negroes. She and husband with covered ox wagon loaded with cakes would meet the shows coming a hundred miles away and travel with them until out of reach of home. She set up her dirt oven and plied her trade in Missouri. JAMES H. (CAKES) MULLINS and others claimed to have MRS. HANEY'S recipe, but nobody ever imagined their cakes as good as her's.
SMITH BAYLESS, my mother's brother, married NARCISSA HICKS, my father's sister. Their children are REV. W.C. BAYLESS, of Jefferson City, SMITH BAYLESS, of Gudger, and MRS. S.J. PARKS, of Madisonville.
HANNAH and PHEBE BAYLESS, young women, often visited their uncle, SAMUEL BAYLESS, in town and Aunt AILSY TABOR and they went to camp meeting at the Cumberland Presbyterian Camp ground that was located across the branch northeast from where JAMES HARRILL now lives, where there are a number of gravestones still standing near by. There HANNAH was converted about the year 1830. They were seamstresses and milliners. When the leghorn hats and bonnets the ladies of that day wore became yellow or stained, they were soaked in buttermilk or a sour mash, hung in a barrel in fumes of burning sulfer until bleached white and then remodeled and trimmed to taste. PHEBE married ISAAC CHRISTMAN, a Baptist preacher, who lived on the farm where our townman, JOHN H. KIMBROUGH lived a few years ago, four miles east of Madisonville. They moved to near Springfield, Mo. One of the daughters married one of the HANEY boys out there. HANNAH BAYLESS married JARED STOW, who owned the late WILLIAM FAIN farm six miles out on the Athens road, and a grist mill on the creek and some negroes. It seemed that she had married well, but alas whiskey was kept and treated out at every store, log-rolling, corn shucking, raising and stills in every neighborhood, her husband got to using too much, neglected his mill and managed his business badly and lost his property. They raised seven boys and four girls some of whom are living. Their only grandchildren are REESE STOW and his brother, sons of HIRAM, and the children of JOHN STOW, of Athens. Uncle JARED reformed, joined the church and with his wife and some of the children are buried at Zion Hill Church, McMinn County.
Uncle SMITH BAYLESS was a self educated man, never went to school but three weeks, yet he was good in practical arithmetic and other rudimentary branches. He had a good knowledge of history, being familiar with such works as Josphus, History of the Popes, Gibbon's Rome, Hume's England. Bancroft's History of the United States, etc. Besides he could tell you the origin and tenets of all the political parties. Federalists, Whigs, Democrats, Knownothings, Republicans, etc., and was generally well posted on the current news. Yet with all of this fine fund of information he was so sensitive and timid that he would not speak in public even in the little neighborhood debating societies, but was a fine judge of the argument and was nearly always selected to preside. Although devoutly religious, he never could be induced to pray in public but once. He told me how it happened. A poor young preacher attending school at Hiwasse College preached at the campground. His efforts were tame and of short duration. He told me that when called on at the conclusion, that he just felt that if a young man so poorly qualified to preach still tried to do so, he, himself, could not afford to fail to pray. Those who heard him, said it was an able prayer. Grandfather BAYLESS was largely self educated even to practical surveying. He did a great deal of work all over Monroe County, dividing sections into quarters and other surveying. He and Uncle SMITH were good examples of what a determined young man may do under adverse circumstances by self education in self defense against ignorance.
In my next I shall take up family and local history.
The children of grandfather CHARLES HICKS were JOHN ADAM, MARK MOORE, ALBERT, GEORGE MILTON, NARCISSA, HOLSTON, ELIZA CRAWFORD and WESLEY JONES. The first three were born on Boyds Creek in Knox County.
JOHN ADAM died in infancy. MARK MOORE, my father, was born February 23, 1811. ALBERT married BETSY LASSITER and lived up the branch about a half mile north of Chestua Baptist Church on land now owned by G.J. MCKEEHAN. He died in 1836 of Typhoid Fever, leaving a widow and two children, SARAH and CYRUS. The widow married JOHN SMITH of Clear Springs and JOSEPH SMITH, near Brick School House, is their son. SARAH died unmarried about 1885. CYRUS died in Texas leaving one child, a girl. G. MILTON was born at Louisville, Blount County, November 17, 1817. He married ZILPHA LEE MCCLURE and lived with his mother in the old home place until he moved to town to practice law in January, 1857, and lived in the old house just north of Hotel Clue. He died in 1873 and is buried at Madisonville. His widow is still living. Their children are JONES MOORE, DANIEL, H.S., TUPPER and others.
HOLSTON and father made a flat boat load of household furniture about the year 1838 and floated it down the Tennessee River to Talladega, Alabama, to sell it, but found a poor market. Father left HOLSTON who was a single young man to try to sell the furniture and came home. The next he heard was several weeks later when BENJAMIN CASS, who had rode up and told him that HOLSTON had died of Typhoid Fever and had been buried. Several letters had been written, but it was before the day of envelopes, postage stamps or any of our present modes of communication, so that none were delivered.
ELIZA CRAWFORD was born February 3, 1834, and died in January, 1916, lacking only a few weeks of being ninety-two years old. She married DANIEL H. JOINES in 1851 and was buried by his side at Chestua Baptist Cemetery. They left no children.
WESLEY JONES HICKS was born in 1826 and died in March 1876, and was buried in Old Gray Cemetery at Knoxville, where his nice monument stands near the northwest corner. Only a few months before his death, he married Miss LIZZIE CORMICK, a daughter of TALLY R. CORMICK, a lawyer of Knoxville. They left no children. She died in 1915. About 1854-55, he was a student at Hiwassee College under DOAK, but he did not graduate. In 1856 he came to Madisonville and studied law under the late JUDGE GEORGE BROWN. He only obtained a moderate practice when the Civil War came on and soon shut down the courts and all civil process and military law was declared by the Confederates. Under this law he was appointed provost marshal with his headquarters at Loudon. It was his duty to settle all questions and keep order among the people, and in order to enforce his decisions he authority to command the soldiers to carry out his orders. When the Confederate forces were driven out of East Tennessee in the latter part of 1863, he went to his mother's at the home place and remained until the courts opened again in May 1865, when he and his brother, GEORGE MILTON, went into law practice under the firm name of HICKS & HICKS, Attorneys. While at home he did a considerable amount of work on a Digest of the decisions of the supreme court reports, which he never finished.
While the courts were suspended four years during the war a great number of lawsuits and other legal business accumulated so that when the courts were reopened in may, 1865, there was a great rush of business and the courts were overwhelmed with cases that soon threw them two or three years behind, although the terms were held for three or four weeks when possible. The lawyers all got a good practice, especially those who had established some legal character before the war. W.J. HICKS had all he could do for about three years, collecting more than two hundred dollars a month in fees, besides the work done on credit or requiring time to complete.
In 1868 when business began somewhat to slacken, he began to write a law book on Tennessee Chancery Practice, which he had printed at the office of the Daily Chronicle at knoxville in 1870. he entitled his book "Hicks' Manual of Chancery Practice". It gave law and forms for various kinds of bills, process, reports, orders and decrees. It was a great help to the lawyers, especially the new beginners. He used every matter of fact in giving the forms in his book and whenever convenient used such as he actually made in suits in court. In the form of a bill to wind up an estate for the payment of debts he used the cause JACOB GIVENS, Administrator, of ZACHARIAH GIVENS, deceased, against JAMES GIVENS, WILLIAM ERVIN and wife, MARTHA ERVIN and others. HON. O.P. TEMPLE was Chancellor, S.P. HALE, clerk and Master, JOSEPH B. HOUSTON, Sheriff. In 1869 he moved to Knoxville and went into partnership with HON. GEORGE BROWN, who had moved to that place in 1865. They made one of the leading and strongest law firms in that place. BROWN was especially good at cross examining witnesses and before Juries in the circuit court and not so good at any business that required writing or literary ability, yet in a rough way he usually got the substance of what he wanted written. HICKS was a good draftsman and especially good in Chancery where all the evidence and proceedings have to be put in writing, except the arguments and sometimes they are put into briefs and he was no orator, but made his points clear and on account of his character for truth and honesty he had great influence with the courts and juries.
He seldom, if ever, took or contended for a position he could not sustain by law or sound reason. So it suited for BROWN to take the Circuit Court and HICKS the Chancery.
In 1870, when the BROWNLOW Republican reconstruction regime was broken up and the rebels and their sympathizers after six years disfranchisement got to vote, they elected Democrats to office, A.T. HICKS, County Clerk, ELISHA E. GRIFFITH, Circuit Court Clerk, J.E. HOUSTON, Sheriff and EX.C. HARRIS, Tax Collector. Similar action took place in several other counties in East Tennessee. The authorities of the Federal Court at Knoxville brought pro warranto proceedings against those officers requiring them to appear and show cause why they should not be ousted from their offices on account of having been rebellious against the U.S. etc. None of them had been in the Confederate Army, but sympathizers of the cause. They employed BROWN and HICKS to defend the suits.
Those pro warranto proceedings against the county officers were something new to the lawyers of this section, and they were at a great loss as to how best to proceed to make defense. After examining the law in relation to such cases, W.J. HICKS decided there was no such grounds shown on the fact of the pleadings sufficient to sustain the suits and that a demurrer would lie in each case. He drafted a form of demurrer such as he wanted to use, and had a hundred or so printed. The typewriter had not then come into use. He filed demurrers in all his cases, being the first lawyer to take a step to make defense. When the other lawyers having like saw the demurrers and learned the course HICKS was taking, they went to him, got copies of his paper and used them. The court sustained the demurrers and dismissed all of the cases. This he considered one of his greatest victories. He told me that he gained considerably more than half of his cases in the Supreme Court, which he considered doing well as the lawyers on the opposite side had to lose more than half, when it would seem the average should be about equal. He seldom made an oral argument in the Supreme Court, but wrote out his brief argument, had them printed and filed them in the case, asked the judge to do him the favor to read them in investigating the case and he usually went off on a vacation to Tate's White Sulpher or some other mineral springs. He was a small rather weakly man and for several years before his death spent two or three months every summer at some watering places. He died of tuberculosis of the lungs and brain, being the only one of our HICKS connections I have ever heard of Having that disease. As a missionary from Church St., M.E. Church, South, he organized a Sunday School at Riverside in Knoxville which soon developed into a preaching place and Church at that time. About 1874, he began a work on the prophesies, explaining them and showing how they had been fulfilled so far as could be understood from history, beginning with the prophesies of Jesus, who was the greatest of all prophets. There was nothing visionary, forced or uncertain references in his writings but a plain clear statement of the facts of history and their application to the fulfillment of the prophesies. Now I regret that sickness and death cut short his work before it had progressed very far, but he rests in peace and some of his works will surely follow him. While at Madisonville under the ill advice of some of the doctors he got to using too much alcoholic liquors with a respect of ruining his business and usefulness in life. When he went to Knoxville, he determined that he would never, under any circumstances, touch it again. On his death-bed the doctor advised to give him stimulants - whiskey. He said, "No, I had rather die than take it." His wishes were respected.
GEORGE BROWN was raised on the farm where the late JOHN TERRY lived in a hollow on the road from Dancing Branch at RUFUS KINSER'S place. MRS. TERRY and MRS. SAM EAGLETON/MCSPADDEN, mother of JOHN T. were BROWNS.
JUDGE BROWN was six feet or more high and in his prime weighed about two hundred, large head and a little bald, heavy black beard, large wide mouth and large black eyes. He got but little if any more than a common school education, which was very limited in time of his youth, consequently his spelling and grammer were often incorrect. He sometimes spelled cash "chash." In reading bad handwriting to a court while he would be stalled on a work, trying to make it out, he would keep saying "that, that, that," when there was not "that" there. I think he often assumed ignorance and used erroneous expressions in order to adapt himself to the capacity of the witness or jury with whom he was dealing. In a murder case a witness partly named ISAAC, testified for the state, that he had read a warrant of arrest to the deceased before the fight had begun. BROWN had an inkling that ISAAC could not read, and to test him handed him a warrant and asked him to read it. ISAAC looked at it awhile and asked "Which row, Judge?" BROWN replied "Every row ISAAC, Every row."
He studied law under JOHN O. CANNON, married MARY, a daughter of JOHN SCRUGGS, and lived first in a house that stood just across the street north of the Baptist Church where he had a well dug and found a good stream, but before it was walled some earth caved in and so much fire damp gas accumulated that no one could ever afterwards get it out or work in it, so it was finally filled up. He afterwards bought and lived in the house lately known as the MCCLUNG House, where HARVEY MAGILL now lives. It was built by SAM SMITH of Cleveland. It was built of clear heart lumber, the joist and every other piece in it dressed and worked by hand, no planing mills and morticing machine then, making it probably, the best built house in town. In 1856, BROWN was elected Judge of the old Third Judicial circuit; we are now in the seventeenth, his term expiring in time of the war. At Knoxville he put up a hardware store on the east side of Gay Street on the side of a hill away over towards the Southern Railroad. There were only a few small business houses at that time north of where the Imperial Hotel was afterwards built. He was successful and after his death, his son, JOHN S. BROWN as Administrator, gave bond for one hundred thousand dollars, said to have been the largest such ever made in Knox County up to that time, about 1885.
When GRANDFATHER HICKS came to enter land in the Hiwassee District, he got some money of his brother JOHN. Soon afterwards, JOHN came and claimed that he did not loan the money but put it in the hands of grandfather to enter land for him and insisted on having his proportion of the land that had been entered. As land was plentiful and cheap rather than have contention, he gave up three fourths of the quarter to JOHN, leaving only 40 acres. JOHN built a house just across creek on the land and gave more or less trouble about fences, stock, etc. all his life.
GRANDFATHER HICKS died of Typhoid Fever in 1836, while GEN. WOOL and GEN. SCOTT were preparing to remove the Cherokees west of the Mississippi. GRANDMOTHER HICKS lived until 1869 and died at the house of her son, MILTON, with whom she lived at Madisonville. A little square shaft monument marks their resting place in the cemetery at Chestua Campground erected in 1870 at a cost of $50.00 by W.J. HICKS, it being the first-except flat head and foot stones in the place. Such would not now cost more than ten or fifteen dollars. At the time of his death, Grandfather owned about four hundred acres of land including where the COLTHARP school house is, the old well place lands where JNO. WATSON lives, a part of the W.M. REYNOLDS place and a part of the lands of S.J. COLTHARP. JOSEPH HAMILTON, SR., told me that, had grandfather lived long, he would have gotten rich. He was a good trader, cabinet maker, carpenter and painter. He and father painted the dwelling house of REV. JAMES AXLEY, the noted Methodist eccentric preacher which stands or stood a few years ago just south of the road from the house of HON. JACOB C. WARREN near Sweetwater. AXLEY was opposed to slavery and did not want a negro to come on his premises. A neighbor borrowed a side saddle from him and sent it home by a little negro. When AXLEY saw him coming with the saddle, he called out loud, "set it down and go back."
There were no mixed paints brought on at that time, but the pure dry white lead, Prussian blue, chrome yellow, venetian red, etc. which has to be ground into the oil by hand with a rock pestle called a muller on a large flat rock with a rim round it to keep the paint on it. It required considerable skill and labor to mix and grind paints, especially to get the nice shades of color often wanted. I have a small table of yellow poplar painted red given me by grandmother in 1867, that grandfather made. It is so nicely and firmly put together that it will out last several of the present day machine made tables. They were both zealously religious, he being an exhorter and class leader in the Methodist Church. After his death, she kept up family prayers, said grace at the table and often prayed in public, being called on after a sermon, and it was seldom that she did not rise from knees happy and rejoicing, shake hands and talk around the alter. The first quarterly meeting on the Madisonville circuit was held at Grandfather's cabin soon after he moved into it. It was held by WILLIAM G. BROWNLOW, Presiding Elder, many years afterward, reconstruction Governor of Tennessee, first appointed by LINCOLN and elected in 1864. T.S. HAWK was the first preacher in charge of the circuit. JOHN GILBREATH, father of J. A. and grandfather of SIDNEY G., of school fame, was converted at that meeting. He became an energetic local preacher. Grandfather bought the land for the first school house and place of worship in the neighborhood. It was a log building and stood on the triangular piece of ground lying between the roads between the present Methodist Church and the cemetery.
The name "Chestua" is derived from the Cherokee name "Tsistui", or as some old writers called it "Chistuee", from Tsistii, rabbit, and ee, or I, an ending signifying place, literally meaning, rabbit place.
After my father and mother, MARK MORE HICKS and CATHERINE BAYLESS, were married in 1836, they lived one year with his father and worked in the cabinet shop. He then moved to the cabin on the old well place near the present Coltharp school house and went to hauling, that being a profitable business of those times, there being no railroad or other means of transportation except along the rivers by boats. I heard him talk of spending one winter hauling in the gold diggings at Dalonega, Ga., and of crossing the Tombigbee and Coosa rivers and of hauling salt from Saltville, Va., and Goose Creek, Ky. Every fall, one or two six horse wagons went after salt to supply the neighborhood, sometimes to Saltville, at others to Goose Creek. The salt of the latter place was considered the purest and best because it did not have so much gypsum or other Plaster of Paris in it. In going to Goose Creek, they went 64 miles to Cumberland Gap and turned westward through the mountains. All the dry goods had to be hauled from Baltimore or New York or some other sea coast city. Very few articles were brought on ready made. Women's hats and bonnets were one exception. Every town had its tailor, hatters, saddlers, shoemakers, tanners, seamstresses, etc., who worked materials, finished products of their trades. Blacksmiths made axes, mattocks, plows, chains, and nearly all other farm implements. JOSEPH JOHNSTON, a long time merchant of Madisonville, father of our townsman, JAS. A., FRANK and JOSEPH JOHNSON, told me how he used to go to Baltimore and New York for goods. He engaged here the necessary number of wagons to haul the goods he wanted to buy, loaded into them such furs, hides and other articles of trade as it would pay to haul so far, and started them on the road. He went horseback, taking about three weeks and got there ahead of the wagons in time to buy his goods and have them ready to load and start back home at once. It took the wagons about two months to make the trip to Baltimore and return.
Father built double shops for blacksmithing and woodwork of logs on the north side of the old federal road about two hundred yards west of the Coltharp school house where he did custom work in both shops for some time. A small boy, I saw the old fashioned poplar bedsteads with large turned posts, square rails with holes for the cords instead of slats, and the large creels or whirlcules cut in the headboard, painted red and set up against the trees around there to dry. They were then the height of fashion. Also, the light Windsor chairs that looked like they could walk with a large fancy flower painted on the back and beauty lines of goldleaf on the legs.
In 1847, father and Uncle SMITH BAYLESS built a mill right where the bridge crosses the creek south of the Campground. Uncle SMITH furnished the site and all material and father did the work an equal partnership. It was a very simple mill, not a cogwheel in it. The turbine water wheel, trunk to carry water to it, and the pressure block were cut from a large poplar tree by father and WILSON LANE. The wheel was attached to a large oak shaft extending up to the stones and the runner rested on it. The rock ran just as fast as the water wheel. It ground corn and wheat on the same rocks. Flour was bolted on a cloth bolt turned by hand.
But little wheat was raised which had to be tramped or flailed cut and imperfectly cleaned in the wind or by two men revolving sheet stretched between them or with a simple fan mill with one riddle for wheat and a coarser one for oats. The flour was usually dark and sometimes partly of corn.
In connection with the same dam that ran the gristmill, father built a sawmill on the north side of the creek. It was also a simple affair. A flutter wheel about six foot long and two foot in diameter having paddles like the wheel of a steamboat, with a crank in one end of the shaft working a piston which went up to a large frame called sash, through the center of which was stretched the large straight saw, was the main parts. The water was ten feet deep when the dam was full. In the summer time it was hard to keep a head of water. The limestone rocks in the neighborhood are full of small caves into which the water was continually breaking and draining the water off so no head could be gathered. They could tell where the hole was by the swirling whirlpool in the water over it. When they got one hole stopped by piling in brush and rocks, it would not be long before another broke out somewhere else.
About 1860, father sold his interest to JOSEPH WHITE, who kept it up until about 1875, when it washed away. GRANDFATHER BAYLESS had a mill higher up near where rocks crop out on south side, which got washed away in what was called "GOAIN'S flood."
HUGH GOAINS at the time lived in a house that stood on top of the hill south of the road on the lane, now COLTHARP land. A little cloud gathered in the sky in that neighborhood, began to roar and soon to rain and thunder. It passed up the creek increasing size and fury as it went. The mill creek in an hour was turned into a rushing torrent that swept the mill away. HUGH GOAINS was accused of having one too many wives, was sent to the pen, which was a notable event of the time of my boyhood.
In 1858, father swapped his blacksmith tools to CALVIN LEE for a fourteen and a half hand high, swaybacked mare with only one good eye, estimated to be worth $40.00, called Kit. She was the most valuable animal father ever owned. She lived sixteen more years, dying in 1864, and raised 14 colts. She was born in 1840, two years before I was and lived until I was twenty-two. CALVIN LEE was our closest neighbor, living where MRS. WM. REYNOLDS now lives and he worked in the SMITH shop on the road until it got burned up a few years later. While he was a work one day, he cut off a piece of red hot iron which flew into the top of his shoe. Acting on his first impulse, he put his foot into the slack tub to put the fire out. The hot iron began to boil his foot and before he could jerk it out and pull off his shoe, the foot was badly burned and scalded and he was laid up for sometime. He was a son of WILLIAM LEE, a first settler at the place where ED REYNOLDS lately lived on the creek a mile below E. R. LEE'S. He married POLLY, one of the many daughters of GEORGE C. HARRIS, who came from Washington County, built the old log house and lived sometime across the street from where L.R. (TIBBY) HICKS lives. Later, he bought the TABOR place where JAMES HARRILL owns, lived and died there. CALVIN LEE'S children, WILLIAM, TOM, JIM, TAYLOR, BIGE, MARY, SARAH and ZILPHA were school and playmates. They moved to Dry Creek and I have lost sight of them. The farm was first settled by REESE FREEMAN, a Baptist preacher, afterwards owned by LEE, then by Uncle DAN JOINES, then by WM. REYNOLDS.
I had five sisters, two full brothers and two half-brothers. All my sisters were born at the old well place. Only one was older than myself, MARY ELIZA, who died of scarletina at four years of age. PHEBE ANGELINE, born December 12, 1844, married WM. WILSON, son of SOLOMON, who have both been dead many years. Some of their children live near Etowah. SARAH ISABELLA married FRANK H. MITCHELL, who has been dead several years. SHAD and several of her children live near Sweetwater. FRANCES HANNAH died of diptheria thirteen years old in 1861, being the second case known in the community, GEORGE BAYLESS, a young man being the first case, he dying a short time before. The disease baffled the physicians like infantile paralysis is doing in New York today. All the rest of us children had it but recovered. CATHERINE ELIZABETH married LEWIS MITCHELL, who with several children lived near Ho. In 1853, father bought the WILLIAM CLIBURN quarter of land which adjoined the lands of the HICKS heirs on the east, where WM. TORBETT now lives, and we moved up there. The place was bought for $350.00, mainly for the large amount of fine poplar and pine timber on it. Several trees of both kinds were about four feet in diameter and required a six horse team to haul an eight foot cut to the sawmill. When we moved, sister LIZZIE was the baby and Mother and I took turns about carrying her and drove a large flock of geese before us. Brother WM. MILTON, born in 1864, went to Texas when a young man and has a family there, but we have heard little of him since he left. MARK AUGUSTUS, born in 1856, married JANE COCHRAN, and now lives on the Cumberland Mountain near Tazewell. Six of his girls married three pairs of brothers, two SAMPLES, two PATTERSONS, and two THOMAS. Two of his sons, MARK and JAKE, live near Sweetwater. Mother died in 1863 after seven years of poor health in 1864. Father married PENELOPE MCDONALD, widow of CHARLES MCDONALD. She was a daughter of THOMAS BAYLESS, son of RIVER DANIEL BAYLESS, of Washington County. Her mother was SARAH, daughter of GEORGE C. HARRIS. Her MCDONALD children were MARY, now MRS. GEORGE MCKEEHAN, THOMAS, ALBERT, JODIE, now MRS. J. W. THOMASSON, and GEORGE. The children of the last marriage were HOLSTON TUPPER HICKS, who lives in Texas and OLIVER HOUK (DICK) HICKS, living on the old REV. JESSE CUNNINGHAM land near the head of Fork Creek.
The HICKS lands in which father owned several shares were sold for partition in the Chancery Court just as the Civil War came on, and paid for in Confederate money that became worthless, which, with the loss of stock and other property, left us broke when the war closed. Father died at brother GUS' near Sweetwater, November 17, 1884, and is buried at Chestua Campground.
In searching over the site of old Ft. Loudon for some signs of the English people, three hundred men, women and children, who lived there four years from 1756 to 1760. I only found a piece of a small bowl, a piece of a mug or teacup, a piece of black quart bottle, and two iron spikes, which had likely been shot from a cannon on the hill into a bank near the river at attacking Indians. Why no more broken delftware? Because they used pewter plates and tin cups, as did the pioneers mostly for fifty years afterwards. Those plates were made of a low grade of pewter of tin and of lead, about the size of a dessert dish and were in general use at that time. They admirably suited the pioneers into the wilderness because they would not break in hauling over the rough roads and no roads, nor when dropped in handling. Another great advantage was that when a hole got punched in them or they were through they could be melted and melted anew. There were some still in use when I can first remember, and as late as 1870, when I bought and moved to the house where I now live, there were scattered about the place several of those old plates still sound. Buttons like the common four eyed pants button, molded of pewter, were in common use for hunting shirts and other rough clothing in the pioneer days. Father had button-molds made of the pieces of black slate held together with two wooden pins through owl holds. The form for the button was carved in the slates with a nock running to the edge to pour the metal in. We had no dish molds but someone in the settlement had, and everybody was ready to lend and help their neighbor for they were all dependent for help.
The table forks of my boyhood were only two tined and supposed to belong entirely to the left hand as the knife to the right, the forks to be used to spear meat from the dish and pin it to the plate while bits were cut from it and carried thence to the mouth. The idea of lifting beans, mashed potatoes, etc., would have been ridiculous. They would have slipped through and been as tedious as an Englishman eating soup with chinese chop sticks. The case knife was used to carry small and soft victuals to the mouth and I never heard of anyone cutting his mouth. Of course there had been a great "bringing up of father" with many of us old fellows, sometimes much against the grain, but we have learned to balance a fork between the thumb and fore-finger with the back extending out over the back of the hand and so eat. There was not one-tenth the number and kinds of spoons then as now. The big ones were made of iron at the blacksmith shops. The plates were of the old blue variety that are antiques now. Pint bowls with blue and yellow bands around them for sipping milk were common. My mother had a beautiful set of china, cream pitcher and sugar bowl colored brown with gold bands and other ornamental designs, and a pair of sugar tongs. But these were mostly kept on the shelf for ornament, sugar being too scarce and costly to be much used. When they bought some a pinch of sugar in the palm of the hand was considered enough for us. Sorghum had not been introduced from China to the United States until about 1853 and before that we only had the black New Orleans molasses and were starved for sweets.
About the year 1800 someone framed with upright and stays four or five fingers of wood on the snath of a very long mowing scythe so that by a swinging stroke the grain was cut and carried by the fingers so it could be lifted off by the left hand or if the grain was very heavy it was swathed by laying the back of the cradle on the ground and drawing it from under the grain. Although about eight feet wide was cut and four acres was a fair day's work for one. The old men were awkward with the scythe and cradle and did not like it. The young men took it up and the old ones went to binding after them and the women quit working in the harvest. The cradle was only in general use about seventy-five years until the reaper. The first reaper brought to this section was by W.M. STAKELY, who was the uncle of our friend, GEORGIA A. STAKELY, about 1855. He built and lived in what is now the boy's dormitory of the high school, and owned several hundred acres of land adjoining Madisonville on the north and a store on the northwest corner of the public square. He moved to Union Springs, Ala., after the Civil War, became a merchant and banker and died about 1899. The reaper he bought had to be hitched on to the running gear of a wagon to pull it. It had a large wheel to run the machinery and a boy stood in a hoop on the platform to rake the wheat off when enough for a bundle accumulated. The next reapers were brought about 1870. They had their own tongue and three arms and pegs in them that revolved round and raked the grain off at regular intervals. It took four or five men to bind and shock as fast as it cut, say ten acres a day. The first binders came about 1885.