BEDFORD COUNTY lies in the great Central Basin of Tennessee. The prevailing rocks are limestone generally thinly bedded and flaggy, but with some fine building stone. The limestones belong to the Nashville and Lebanon formations, limestones low geological series. West of Shelbyville excellent building stone abounds. Two other varieties of limestone are found in the county, called white rock and sandstone or fire rock. The white rock, found in the northwest corner of the county, bears a good polish and makes a good appearance in buildings, standing the weather well. The sandstone or fIfe rock occurs in thick beds eight miles west of Shelbyville, and is coarse, soft and easily worked, but in thin slabs is flexible. The sandstones which cover the knobs are of little value.
The surface of the county is undulating and is interspersed with hills and valleys. West of the road that leads from Shelbyville to Murfreesboro, and north of Duck River, the country is comparatively flat, and east of this road it is undulating, with lines of rounded hills. These hills rise in some instances to an elevation of 200 or 300 feet, and are usually capped with sandstones, and together with the slopes and crests, are heavily wooded. The soil is comminuted limestone and sandstone, with an intermingling of rich black humus, and is exceedingly fertile, durable and generous. South of Duck River, and running west as far as Sinking Creek, the surface continues much the same, while west of Sinking Creek the hills rise much higher than anywhere else in the county. Gentry Hill is about 850 feet above the valley lands below. Another hill, and probably the most noted elevation in this part of the country, is Horse Mountain, three miles east of Shelbyville and in plain view from the town. One side of Horse Mountain is heavily timbered, while on the other flourishes an excellent vineyard. At the base of the mountain is a fine spring, and which years ago was the location of a camp ground. During the late war Horse Mountain was used as a signal station by both the Northern and Southern armies. Zinc or copper was supposed to exist in the mountain, and during the war a party of Federal soldiers leased the property for a term of years, and had an Indiana geologist make a visit to the mountain for inspection. Nothing ever came of the venture. There are several varieties of soils, different in color and productiveness. They may for convenience be called the mulatto, the red and the black. The mulatto predominates and is the characteristic soil of the county , and the best of clover, wheat, oats, sweet potatoes and cotton grow well on it. The red soil is confined chiefly to the cedar belt, on the north side of Duck River. The black soil is found upon all streams and on the hill sides. Corn, wheat, oats, cotton, clover, potatoes and all the grasses grow well in the county, and all kinds of fruit, such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries and all the smaller fruits and berries, grow in abundance. The timber of the county is made up of ash, poplar, walnut, butternut, elm, buckeye, sugar, maple, oaks, red bud, sumac, dogwood, hickory, beech, box elder, gum, cedar and mulberry.
The streams of the county are Duck River (which runs nearly centrally through the county from east to west. Its tributaries from the south are Norman, Shipman, Thompson, Little Flat, Big Flat, Sugar, Powell and Sinking Creeks; from the north, Noah Fork, Garrison Fork, Wartrace Fork, Butler Creek, Fall Creek, North Fork and Clem Creek. All of these streams furnish good water-power, particularly Duck River. In the east and southeast part of the county numerous springs of excellent water are to be found, while in the level part they are not so frequent.
Upon the formation of Bedford County, in 1807, the territory embraced in her boundaries was made up of dense canebrakes and vast forests, both almost impenetrable, and was but sparsely settled. From information gleaned from such men as Nimrod Burrow and Thomas S. Word, Esqs., of Flat Creek, and J. E. Scruggs, Esq., of Fairfield, who are among, if not the oldest citizens now living, the writer is of the opinion that the first settlement of the county was made about 1805 and 1806, as follows; Clement Cannon settled near the present site of Shelbyville, in the Seventh District; Philip Burrow, William, Wilbourn and Freeman Burrow settled on Thompson Creek, in the Twenty-fifth District; John Blackwell settled near Three Forks of Duck River; Capt. Mat Martin and brother, Barkley, and William McMahan settled on Garrison Fork of Duck River, in the First District. The above settlements were all made at about the same time, and if any were made prior to them, no information of the same can now be found.
Among the other early settlers were Cuthbert Word, Samuel Card, Thomas Knott, Robert Snoddy James Eddy, William Hix, Robert Hastings, Henry Hastings, Nathan Hubbard, Stephen Hastings, William Haslett, William Burrow, Banks Burrow, Joseph Hickenbotham, Thomas Gibson, Hazen Blair, John Casteel, Michael Holt, Joseph Walk er, Joseph Erwin, William Crutcher, William Hickman, Henry Davis, Isaac Muse, Richard Muse, Anderson Davidson, Andrew Erwin, William Finch, Mrs. Mary Scruggs, William P. Finch, John Tillman, Christopher Shaw, "Salley" Sailors, Robert Furguson, Thomas Dean, Thomas Hudson, James Reagor, David Floyd, Michael Womack, William Pearson, and the Davises, Deerys, Eakins, Armstrongs, Stones, Caldwells, Burdetts, Galbraiths, Wades, Whitneys, McKissacks, Ruths, Hollands, Marshalls, Nelsons, Moores, Arnolds, Shrivers, Bomars, Mullines, Norvilles, Shaffners; Kings, Youngs, Kimbroes, Hooziers, Ewells, Halls, Hords, Ewings, Davidsons, Smiths, Vances, Stokes, Osborns, Finches, Scotts, Crouchs, Mosleys, Neils, Thomases, Peacocks, Woods, Fugetts, Hoovers, Suttons, Murfrees, Steeles, Harrises, Wilsons, Coopers, Tunes, Mortons, McCuistians, Clordeys, Greens, Browns, Fishers, Thompsons, Parsonses, Turrentines, Tilfords AIlisons, Lents, Blantons, Warners, Worthams, Atkinsons, Andersons, Sharons, Stallings, Sims, Brames, O'Neals, Coffeys, Gaunts, Stephensons, Drydens, Harrisons, Greers, Barretts, Whites, Gambills, Deans, Campbells, Williamses, Floyds, Pearsons, Bobos, Reids, Reeveses, Morgans, Parkers, McGills, Rays, Hastings, Dunaways, Dicksons, Allans. Landers, Landises, Anthonys, Enlisses and Maupins.
The following persons were granted
land lying in Bedford County by the State of North Carolina for military
services during the Continental war,
between the years 1785 and 1790:
Amos Balch, 1,000 acres;
George and Richard Martin, 3,000 acres;
Thomas Talbot 2,000 acres;
George Cathey, 2,500 acres;
James Brandon, 1,000 acres;
Robert Smith, 5000 acres.
Between 1790 and 1800:
John Sloan, 1,000 acres;
Ruth Greer, 2,000 acres,
James Grant, 5,000 acres;
Stokely Donaldson, 1,000 acres;
Samuel Patterson, 2,400 acres;
Ezekial Alexander, 1,000 acres.
Between 1800 and 1810:
Norton Pryor, 1,360 acres;
David Justice. 2,000 acres.
Below is a list of those who received grants of land from
the State of Tennessee between the years 1800 and 1810:
George Doherty, 2,500 acres;
Andrew Jackson, 320 acres;
Thomas Overton and John Brahan, 640 acres;
Malcom Gilchrist, 260 acres;
John Bright; 122-1/2 acres;
James Greenlee, 300 acres;
Tilman Dixon, 274 acres;
James Bright, 45 acres,
James Lewis, 2,000 acres;
James Patton, 274 acres;
Daniel Ship, 532 acres;
John Baird, 2,500 acres;
George W. Campbell, 730 acres;
Thomas McCrery, 1,000 acres;
William Martin, 50 acres;
John Smith, 1,000 acres;
Ephraim Drake, 275 acres;
John Coffee, 100 acres;
Edward Harris, 800 acres;
Oliver Williams, 60 acres;
Joseph Greer, 150 acres;
Jesse Maxwell, 320 acres;
Robert White, 1,000 acres;
Aaron Cunningham, 640 acres.
Probably the first mill erected in the county was the water-power corn-mill built by Mr. Goge, on the creek by that name, in about 1809 or 1810. Previous to the erection of this mill the pioneers carried their corn to Phillips' horse-power mill in Rutherford County, or reduced it to meal by means of the mortar. In about 1812 Joseph Walker erected a water-mill on Garrison Fork of Duck River, near where the town of Fairfield was afterward located, and David Shipman erected a water-mill at the head of the creek by that name. The Wilhoit and Germany mills on Duck River, both water-power, were built about 1814 or 1815. Other early mills were the Cannon Mill, at Shelbyville, on Duck River; Ledford's mill, on same river; James Sharp's mill, on Thompson Creek; John Sim's mill, on Duck River, two miles above Shelbyville; Henry Wiggins' mill, on Flat Creek, and Conway's and Pruitt's mills, on same creek; Horseley's mill and Crowell's mill, all of which were water-power, and Joshua Holt's water-power near Flat Creek. The mills of the present, outside of those located in the different towns heretofore mentioned, are as follows by districts: Third District, James Mullen's and N. C. Germany's corn-mills, water-power; Seventh District, Tune & Co.'s flour and corn-mill, waterpower on Duck River, and Wilhoit Mill, owned by Strick Parsons, on Duck River, waterpower; Eighth District, G. W. Gregory's saw and grist-mill, water-power, on Falling Creek; Ninth District, William Taylor's steam grist- mill; Tenth District, N. R. Taylor's horse-Power grist-mill; Eleventh District, John Hall's water-power saw, corn and flourmill, On Duck River, Fletcher Ray's water-power grist-mill on North Fork Creek, and Adams' & Simmons' steam saw-mill; Eighteenth District, J. N. Neeley's water-power corn-mill on Sinking Creek, R. M. Sikes' water-power corn-mill on Rock Creek, and Whitehead's steam corn-mill; Twenty-first District, F. M. Johnson's water-power corn-mill on Flat Creek and Eugene Blakemore's water-power corn-mill on Duck River; Twenty-third District, Hix Bros. water-power grist-mill on Flat Creek; Twenty-fifth District, Mrs. Smith's steam corn-mill, Joseph Wilhoit's water-power corn-mill on Duck River, and Jacob Anthony's water-power corn-mill on Thompson's Creek.
One of the first cotton-gins in Bedford County was the Cannon Gin, near Shelbyville, built by Clement Cannon about 1812. Other early gins were those of John Tillman and Tom Mosley, in the Fairfield neighborhood, and later L. P. Fields had a gin in the same neighborhood. There were, no doubt, other early cotton-gins, but a faithful effort to learn whose they may have been and their location was unrewarded. The cotton-gins of the present are Taylor & Hester's, in the Tenth District, with which is also a carding machine; William Taylor's in the Ninth District; W. J. Loyd's cotton-gin and carding machine, in the Eighth District; George Vernatti's, in the Fifth District, and Mrs. Smith's gin and carding machine in the Twenty-fifth District. While there were no doubt a large number of still-houses in the early days, yet they all disappeared years ago, and with few exceptions have passed from the memory of the present citizens. One of the first, if not the first still was owned by Philip Burrow, father of Nimrod Burrow, Esq., and was situated near the present town of Flat Creek; John Holt also had a still at about the same time and in the same neighborhood. Other early stills were those of Nathan Evans in the Twentieth District, on Sugar Creek, and of Simpson Neice and Leslie Bobo in the Twenty-second District, on Flat Creek. Later on distilleries were established. The distilleries of the present are four in number, and are as follows: The Zach Thompson Distillery is the most extensive one in the county, is situated near the town of Wartrace, and full particulars of the same may be found in the history of that town; Marcus L. Rabey's distillery in the Twenty-second District, and Blakemore & Co.'s distillery, in the same district, each have a capacity of sixty gallons per day; T. F. Wooton's distillery, in the Twenty-fifth District, has a capacity of forty gallons per day. So it will he seen that whisky forms quite an item in the products and exports of Bedford County.
In the early days the militia laws were in force in Bedford, as in all other counties in Tennessee. The early officers of the militia were Brig.-Gen. Robert Cannon; Cols. Samuel Mitchell, John A. Moore and S. B. Blackwell. The militia consisted of two battalions, which formed one regiment. Musters were held semi-annually. The battalion muster was held each spring on Sinking Creek, and the general (or regimental) muster was held in the fall at Shelbyville. The officers would bedeck themselves on muster day in close-fitting, homespun coat, half-moon hat, and presented a great sight as they would drill the rank and file, armed with shot-guns and cornstalks, accompanied by music from the piercing fife and drum. After the drill would begin the "fist and skull" fights, which would continue throughout the day.
Bedford County was erected by an act of the General Assembly December 3, 1807, which act is as follows:
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, that a new county be, and the same is, hereby established south and southwest of, and adjoining the county of Rutherford, by the name of Bedford, in memory of Thomas Bedford, deceased, which said county shall begin at the southwest corner of Rutherford and southeast corner of Williamson County, on the Duck River Ridge, and run thence with said Williamson County line to the line of the county of Maury; thence along the same southwardly to the south boundary of the State; thence eastwardly to the east boundary of Rutherford County; thence along the same to the ridge that divides the waters of Duck River from those of Cumberland; thence along the same westwardly to the east corner of Williamson County leaving Rutherford County its constitutional limits, and all that tract of country included in the above described lines shall be included within the said county of Bedford."
Section 2 of the act provides for the holding of the courts of the new county at the house of Mrs. Payne, near the head of Mulberry Creek, until the next General Assembly. The county was surveyed and organized in the early part of 1808, the courts being held at the place designated by the act creating the county. Of the courts, court house, etc., but little is now remembered, and as the county was reduced in limits the following year, thereby placing Mrs. Payne's residence and farm in a new county (Lincoln), the county seat was soon removed. On the 14th of November, 1809, the General Assembly, passed the following act, which reduced, materially, the limits of Bedford County, the territory taken in the, formation of Lincoln County:
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, that the lines an boundaries of Bedford County shall be as follows, to wit: Beginning on the northeast corner of Maury County and running south with the eastern boundary line thereof to the extreme height of the ridge dividing the waters of Duck River from the waters of Elk River; thence eastwardly to the extreme height of said ridge to the present eastern boundary line of the said county of Bedford; thence north to the south boundary line of Rutherford County; thence westwardly with the said line to the southern boundary line of Williamson County, and thence with the said line of Williamson County to the beginning."
Section 2 of the act provides for the appointment of John Atkinson, William Woods, Bartlett Martin, Howell Dandy and Daniel McKissack as commissioners to locate a county site for the new county on Duck River, within two miles of the center of the county. Benjamin Bradford and John Lane were subsequently added to the above commission by the Legislature. The county was resurveyed by Malcom Gilchrist, and the county site was located temporarily at the house of Amos Balch, on the Lewisburg road, two and one-half miles southwest of the present county seat. In May, 1810, however , the county site was permanently located at Shelbyville, 100 acres of land being donated for that purpose by Clement Cannon. Amos Balch and William Galbreath each offered to donate to the commissioners fifty acres on which to locate the county seat, but as the site selected was more central and the donation more liberal their offers were rejected.
Bedford County was materially reduced in territory by the formation in 1836 of Coffee County on the east, and again in 1837 by Marshall County on the west. At present Bedford County is bounded on the north by Rutherford County, northeast by Cannon County, east by the counties of Cannon and Coffee, south by the counties of Moore and Lincoln, west by Marshall County, and has an area of about 475 square miles. Originally the county was divided into twenty-five civil districts, but upon the formation of Marshall County in 1837 a number of these districts were placed in that county, and other districts have since been merged into each other, and at present there are only nineteen districts, they being designated numerically as First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-first, Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth.
In 1810 the population of Bedford County was 8,242, and in 1830 had increased to 30,396. At that time it was the most populous county in the State. The formation of the new Counties referred to before and various other causes, reduced the population materially, and in 1870 it amounted to only 24,333, and at present the population is about 26,000. The voting population is about 4,500, and at the presidential election of 1884 Mr. Cleveland received in the county a majority of 171 votes over Mr. Blaine, though the usual Democratic majority far exceeds that given to Mr. Cleveland. Bedford County has a total area of 332,800 acres, of which 203,511 were improved in 1885. During the above year the total value of property assessed for taxes was $5,183,560. There are in the county 741 town lots, at a total value of $522,515. The taxes of 1885 amounted as follows: Poll tax $7,508; State tax $13,787.41; county tax $11,489.51; school tax $21,295.41; road tax $4,399.84. The tax levy for 1886 was 20 cents on the $100 worth of property for county purposes; 20 cents on the $100 and $1 poll for school purposes; 11 cents on $100 for roads and highways.
The cereal products of the county for 1885 were of corn 1,682,358 bushels; wheat 257,425 bushels; oats 87,408 bushels; rye 6,145 bushels, and of barley, 108 bushels. During the same year there was owned in the county live-stock as follows: 11,426 head of horses and mules, 14,188 head of cattle, 16,020 head of sheep and 46,251 head of hogs.
The first court house was erected in 1810 or 1811. The building was of frame, very small, and stood on the northwest corner of the Public Square. A second building, this time of brick, was erected in a few years, and stood in the center of the Square. This building was destroyed by a tornado in 1830. In its stead was soon afterward erected a large brick court house on the site of the one destroyed, which stood until 1863, when it was destroyed by fire, together with a large portion of the county records. A party of Confederate soldiers bad taken quarters in the court house, and through their carelessness the building was set fire to and entirely destroyed. Upon the reopening of the courts after the war they were held in various buildings, principally in a hotel which stood on the south side of the Square, and in 1869 the erection of the present court house was begun, but was not completed unti11873. The building is one of the largest and handsomest court houses in the State, and was erected at a cost of about $120,000. It is of brick, with rock foundation. The principal court room is 40x90 feet in size; county court room, 20x40 feet, and chancery court room, 20x40 feet. The circuit and chancery court rooms are on the second floor, while the county court room and county officials' quarters, six in number, are on the first floor. Besides these there are four jury rooms, and in the basement are eight good rooms. Including the porches the building is 120 feet long and 91 feet wide. The pillars for the lower porches are of blue limestone, square, and in AshIer masonry, while those above are of cast iron, Corinthian in style. The building is surmounted by an elegant cupola, containing a clock and bell that cost $1,500. The building stands in the center of the Square, and is surrounded with a grassy plat, enclosed with a neat and substantial iron fence, erected on a stone base. Altogether it is a handsome edifice, and presents a striking appearance, and of which the citizens may well be proud.
Several jails were erected by the county at different times, all of which were of small consequence, until the building of the present jail in 1866 at a cost of $35,000. The jail is a solid stone building, two stories in height, and is one of the most secure jails in the State. It is conveniently arranged into cells and corridors, and light and air are admitted through several long, narrow windows, through which the smallest person could not escape. It is one of the handsomest and most conspicuous buildings in Shelbyville.
In 1832 the first poor asylum was established by the county. At that time 160 acres of land were purchased, lying in the Third District, three miles northeast from Shelbyville, adjoining Horse Mountain, on which were standing several log houses, which were fitted up for the accommodation of the county's poor. In 1883 two substantial frame houses of two rooms each, 16xl8 feet, were erected at the asylum at a cost of $2,300. These buildings were burned in May, 1886, and new ones in their place are in course of construction, the county court having appropriated $2,500 for that purpose at its July meeting.
Bedford County is traversed by numerous turnpikes or macadamized roads, a majority of which lead to and from the county seat. The average cost of these turnpikes was $1 ,500 per mile, and toll-gates are established every five miles, by means of which the expense of construction and maintenance of the pikes is derived. The turnpikes of this county, their establishment and the number of miles of each are as follows: Shelbyville, Murfreesboro & Nashville Pike, built in 1832, 12 miles; Shelbyville & Fayetteville Pike, built in 1852, 9 miles; Shelbyville & Lewisburg Pike, built in 1856, 11 miles; Shelbyville & Unionville and Shelbyville, Richmond & Petersburg Pikes, built in 1858, 18 miles of the former and 9 of the latter; Shelbyville & Fairfield Pike, built, part in 1859 and completed in 1865, 8 miles; Shelbyville. Flat Creek & Lynchburg Pike, built in 1875, 9 miles; Shelbyville & Fishing Ford Pike, built in 1875, 5 miles; Shelbyville & Tullahoma Pike, built in 1874, 10 miles; Shelbyville & Wetumpka Pike, built in 1881, 5 miles; Shelbyville & Versailles Pike, built in 1885, 8 miles; Wartrace & Beach Grove Pike, built in 1874, 6 miles; Bell Buckle & Flatwood Pike, built in 1882, 5 miles; Bell Buckle & Beech Grove Pike, built in 1882, 6 miles, and Bell Buckle & Liberty Gap Pike, built in 1882, 5 miles.
The bridges of importance
of Bedford County, together with their cost and earliest time at which
bridges were built, are as follows:
Shelbyville bridge, across Duck River, built in 1832, present cost $2,000;
Fairfield bridge, in the First District, across Garrison's Fork, built in 1856, present cost $1,000;
Scull Camp Ford bridge, in the Seventh District, across Duck River, built in 1856, present cost $3,000;
Warner's bridge, in the Seventh District, across Duck River, on the Shelbyville & Fishing Ford Pike, built in 1856, present cost $2,000;
Hall's bridge, across Duck River, in the Eleventh District, built in 1875, present cost $2,000.
Columbia Ford bridge, in the Eleventh District, across North Fork built in 1881, present cost $400;
Unionville Turnpike bridge, across North Fork, built in 1860, present cost $500;
Sugar bridge, in the Twenty-first District, across Sugar Creek, built In 1850, present cost $400;
Fall Creek bridge, across Fall Creek, in the Eighth District, built in 1860, present cost $500;
Flat Creek bridge, in the Seventh District, across Flat Creek, built in 1855, present cost $1,000;
Flat Creek bridge, in the Seventh District, on Lewisburg Pike, built in 1850, present cost $800;
Lynchburg Pike bridge, across Duck River, in the Seventh District, built in 1876, present cost $3,000,
Fall Creek bridge, on the Columbia Pike, in the Eighth District, built in 1885, cost $400.
There are numerous small bridges across small streams throughout the county, but are not of sufficient importance to be given special notice.
The Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad has a branch leading from Wartrace to Shelbyville, eight miles in length, while the main line passes through the eastern portion of the county. This railroad, together with the various turnpikes, furnishes means for ample transportation for Bedford County, while, in addition, Duck River can be used for transporting lumber to a great extent. In point of agriculture, manufactures, stock and wealth Bedford County ranks with the best counties in the State, while in health, climate and educational facilities the county has few equals in any portion of the South.
The records of the County Court of Bedford County do not extend farther back than 1848, those previous to that date having been destroyed with the court house in 1863 by fire. Beyond that date but little if anything of the transactions of the court can be ascertained at the present day. The first sessions of the court were held in 1808, at the house of Mrs. Payne, near the head of Mulberry Creek (now in Lincoln County), and the only record extant of those sessions is a marriage license issued by the county clerk to John Tillman and Rachael Martin. During portions of 1809 and 1810 the courts were held, as before mentioned, at Amos Balch's residence, from where they were removed to Shelbyville in the latter part of 1810. The first session of the court of which there remains any record was held in the court house at Shelbyville, beginning October I, 1848, when the following justices were present: William Galbraith, chairman; John W. Norville, James Hoover, Newton C. Harris, Jacob Serley, Garrett Phillips, James Wortham, John W. Hamlin, Price C. Sterle, Dudley P. T. House, Joseph P. Thompson, John L. Cooper, James Foster, Joseph Anderson, Meredith Blanton, John O'Neil, Green T. Neeley, William Thompson, John A. Brown, Joshua Hall, B. F. Green, Isaac B. Holt, Herrod F. Holt, Lemuel Broadway, Joseph Hastings, James H. Miles, Kindred Pearson and William Taylor.
The transactions of the court during 1848, or at least so much thereof of interest, were as follows: A commission of lunacy was appointed to inquire into the mental condition of Eliza Jane Gambell; Sarah Terry emancipated Bob and John, two of her slaves. The commissioners before appointed to let out the contract for building a bridge across Duck River, at or near Skull Camp Ford, made a report to the effect that the contract for said bridge had been awarded James Wortham, at the price of $1,700. The report was signed by E. J. Frierson, John T. Neil and William Galbraith, commissioners, which report was accepted by the court. The following election judges were appointed for the November, 1848, election:
First District - William D. Clark, Anthony Thomas and Samuel
Second District - G. G. Osborn, John L. Davidson and Francis H. Keller;
Third District - Henry Bolt, John Shaffner and John A. Moore;
Fourth District - John Norville, Robert Clarke and Nathan Chaffin;
Fifth District - Andrew S. Lawrence, George W. Bell and William Weaver;
Sixth District - James P. Couch, John Knott and Henry Brown;
Seventh District - E. J. Frierson, George Davidson and Thomas Holland;
Eighth District - Thomas Wheeler, Jacob Fisher and Robert Terry;
Ninth District - Ziza Moore, Jason Winsett and Absalom Landers;
Tenth District - Alfred Ranson, Fredrick BaIt and James Mankins;
Eleventh District - William B. Phillips, Robert Rayson and Charles L. Byren;
Eighteenth District - Fielding Bell, James Statling and James B. Jones;
Nineteenth District - William Wood, John Larne and James H. Curtis;
Twentieth District - Miles Phillips, Jackson Wallace and Randolph Newson;
Twenty-first District - Samuel Thompson, Richard Phillips and Herbert Smith;
Twenty-second District - John C. Hix, Henry Dean and Arthur Campbell;
Twenty-third District - James H. Miles, John Hastings and John Reed;
Twenty-fourth District - Elisha Bobo, Watson Floyd and Thomas, Anderson;
Twenty-fifth District - John Koonce, Levi Turner and Gabriel Maupin.
The commissioners appointed for that purpose reported that they had let the contract for repairing the bridge across Wartrace Fork of Duck River to Henry Stephens for $79. The report was signed by Samuel Phillips, Philip Cable and Robert Chambers, commissioners, and was received by the court. The tax levy for 1849 was 8-1/2 cents on each $100 worth of property for county purposes, 25 cents on each free poll, and licensed privileges one-fourth of the State tax.
During that year William Presgrove and Nathaniel M. Wheeler were allowed $75 for building a bridge across North Fork of Duck River, on the Lower Nashville Road, near Presgrove's mill. The court ordered the census taken in 1851 by districts, which census was as follows:
First District, 93;
Second District, 163;
Third District, 187;
Fourth District, 145;
Fifth District, 164;
Sixth District, 119;
Seventh District, 232;
Eighth District, 99;
Ninth District, 160;
Tenth District, 156;
Eleventh District, 239;
Eighteenth District, 177;
Nineteenth District, 151;
Twentieth District, 189;
Twenty-first District, 109;
Twenty-second District, 209;
Twenty-third District, 195;
Twenty-fourth District, 205;
Twenty- fifth District, 206.
In 1853 John R. Eakin, A. Ervin and John Meyers, bridge commissioners, made a report that the bridge across Garrison Fork of Duck River, heretofore ordered built by the court, was complete, which report was received, the town of Wartrace Depot was incorporated; a bridge was ordered erected across Garrison Fork of Duck River at Wartrace.
In May, 1866, the court passed an order for the erection of a new jail, and appropriated $15,000 for that purpose, and levied a tax of 10 cents on the $100 and 50 cents on each poll to raise the money. The following jail commissioners were appointed to prepare plans and award the contract for building the jail: Thomas C. Whiteside, A. V. H. Wisdom, Joseph H. Thompson, William Galbraith, W. G. Cowan, Henry Cooper, A V. B. M. Brown, William Houston, Jr. and W. T. Tune. In July of the same year the court appropriated $6,000 more to be used in construction of the jail, and several additional appropriations for the same purpose were subsequently made.
In October, 1869, the court ordered a new court house erected, and appointed Thomas H. Caldwell, H. P. Clearland, L. B. Knott, William Gosling and William P. Cowan a building committee to prepare plans, estimates and specifications, and award the contract for building the court house and superintend the same. The building was completed in 1872. In June, 1872, the court issued articles of incorporation to the town of Flat Creek. In 1873 the court appointed John R. Dean superintendent of the county schools.
In 1874 the court ordered a new bridge
built across Duck River, at Hall's Mill, slid for that purpose appropriated
$500. In 1883 an order for the erection of two buildings at the Poor
Asylum, was passed by the court, said buildings to be of frame, two rooms
each, 16x18 feet, and appropriated for the erection thereof $2,500. These
buildings having been destroyed in 1886, the court at its last session
appropriated $2,500 with which to replace them. Owing to the absence of
the records it is impossible to give the term of years the different county
officers served. but the following is a correct and complete list of the
names of the officers in the manner in which they held office.
Chairmen of County Court: John Atkinson, J. W. Hamlin, H. F. Holt, P. C. Steele, William Galbraith, R. L. Landers, John P. Hutton, Thomas J. Ogilvie, Richard H. Stem, B. F. Foster and John W. Thompson, the present incumbent. County Clerks: Thomas Moore, James McKissack, William D. Orr, Robert Hurst, A. Vannoy, I. H. O'Neal, Joseph H. Thompson, R. C. Couch, Robert L. Singleton and Will I. Muse, the present incumbent.
The first sessions of the Circuit Court of Bedford County were held in 1808 at Mrs. Payne's house on Mulberry Creek, and were presided over by Hon. Thomas Stuart, circuit judge. Judge Stuart afterward held the courts at Amos Balch's, and was still on the bench when the county seat was located at Shelbyville. However, there remains no record of those early courts, the existing records beginning with December, 1853, at which time Hon. Westly W. Pepper was judge, John H. O'Neal was clerk and James W. Johnson was sheriff. The first grand jury was drawn in the following manner: the names of the venire were written on slips of paper and the papers placed in a hat, from whence thirteen names were drawn out by a child under ten years of age, and of the men whose names were thus selected was the grand jury composed.
During the sessions of the court in 1853, Gilbert E. Holder was fined $200 and sent to jail for three months for carrying a bowie knife. John Record was fined $5 for gambling, and William Neil was sentenced to one year's imprisonment in penitentiary for larceny. In 1854 Martha Dobbins was granted a divorce from William Dobbins. John W. Nelson was fined $5 for malicious shooting. Isaac Williams for larceny, was sent to prison for one year, and Mary Low was fined $5 for permitting one of her slaves to live as a free person of color. In 1855 Isaac Parker pleaded guilty to a charge of libel, and was fined $5. William Ballard was sent to prison for three years on a charge of altering bank bills. James B. Phillips served a judgment of $2,500 against Robert Cannon, for slander and for committing murder, John Wilson was sent to prison for seven years. In 1855 W. H. ________ was sent to the penitentiary for one year on a charge of larceny, and James Wagster, for disturbing public worship, was fined $10 and costs.
In 1857 William P. Puckett was fined $25 for malicious stabbing, and Joel Criscoe was sent to the penitentiary for five years for larceny. In 1858 James Ripley, on a charge of murder, was sent to the penitentiary for twenty-one years; Frank Bagley, for arson, was given a sentence of six years, and Jesse Phillips, for incest, was sentenced to five years imprisonment. In 1859 Bob, a slave, upon conviction of manslaughter, received the following sentence: "That he receive 100 lashes upon the bare back, then be imprisoned for ten days, and then receive another 100 lashes upon the bare back, to be well laid on by the sheriff of Bedford County."
There were no sessions of the court held during the late civil war. In 1864 Alexander Brown, for larceny, was sent to the penitentiary for one year; and on a similar charge, John Morton was sent up for three years. In 1865 Samuel Evans, Charles Ellison, Riley Kizer and Harriet Phillips, all colored, were convicted of larceny, and the first was sent to the penitentiary for one year; the second for three years; the third for one year, and the last one was let off with one month's confinement in the county jail.
In 1866 James Cheatham and Bush Varmory,
were each sent to the penitentiary for fifteen years upon a charge of larceny
and house-breaking. During that year James Brewer, Pinkney McDonald,
Van McFarland, John Bomer, Jesse Barksdale and Mary Ann Stenston, all confined
in the county jail on various charges, made their escape. In 1867
James Eakin, colored, was sent to the county jail for thirty days on a
charge of larceny, and on a similar charge George Morgan was sent to the
penitentiary for one year. In 1868 George Wood, Alexander Aldridge,
Alan Jackson and Alexander Elkin, were given terms of imprisonment on charges
of larceny. In 1869 Ann Jackson was again imprisoned on a charge
of larceny, and on similar charges Arch Cook was sent to the penitentiary
for twelve years; Abe Featherstone for two years and six months; Alfred
Davis for ten years; John Moore, ten years; Sarah Cannon, three years,
and, for stealing a horse, John Brown was sent for ten years.
In 1870, on charges of larceny, William King was sent to the penitentiary for ten years; James Simmons three years, and Caroline Houston three months in jail. In 1871 William Hamilton was convicted of murder and imprisoned for eleven years; Elizabeth Kiser, for larceny, was sentenced to imprisonment in State prison for one year, but her sentence was commuted to ten days in jail on account of her encientic condition; Edward Hilton, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment; and on charges of larceny James Jones was given four years in the penitentiary; James Gregor, two years; Hal Germiny, three years; Charles Dyer, four years; Fal. Hamer, one year; Green Smith, two years, and Ida Kains one year. In 1872 James S. Robinson, Lewis Cannon and Henry Gambell were sentenced, respectively, to terms of seven, three and four years' imprisonment on charges of larceny.
In 1873 John Daniel was sent to prison three years for larceny; Richard Wells, for murder, was sent for five years; and Mitch Pearson was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hung February 13, 1874. Pearson took an appeal to the supreme court, where the verdict of the lower court was reversed. He was again tried and convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to ten years imprisonment at hard labor. In 1874 John Fogelman, Henry Tillman, Jerry Meadows and David Nealey were convicted of larceny and all sent to the penitentiary for one year each. In 1875 William Campbell and Marion Shaffner were sent to the penitentiary for three and one years, respectively, for larceny, and Dr. Shannon, for horse-stealing, was sent to the penitentiary for twelve years.
In 1876 Joseph Williams was sent to prison for two years, and William Barksdale was sent to jail six months on charges of larceny. Thomas Rippy, for murder, was given ten years; William Holder, for house-breaking, was given ten years; and Abraham McMahan and wife recovered $120 damages from Thomas McEwen for slander. In 1877 John Bourke, for house-breaking, and L. Jones, John T. Dean, John Holt, Henry Cannon, Emmet Thompson, Willis Dallis and Harrison Brown were imprisoned for larceny, and John Jones was sentenced to be hung October 4,1877, for murder. Jones appealed his cause to the supreme court and the decision was reversed, and upon standing trial a second time was sentenced to imprisonment for life. In 1878 Robert Dixon, Philip Shuman, John Miller and Bill Morton were sent to the penitentiary for one year each, and Lafayette Revis, for house-breaking, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, and for arson Revis was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, the second sentence to go into effect upon expiration of the first. In 1879 Willis Frazier, for murder, was imprisoned for twelve years; and for larceny James Eakin, Henry Brown, James Waston and Jerry Ball, were sent to prison for one year each. In 1880 John Gaston, James Woodard and Lewis Thomas were given terms of imprisonment for larceny. In 1881 Mary Brown, Lula Thomas and Bob Chambers were given one year imprisonment in the penitentiary on charges of larceny.
In 1882 Frank Atkinson, for horse-stealing, was sent to prison for three years; James Stewart, murder, five years; and Ambrose Tillman, one year; Louis Kiser, two and a half years; Anderson Sims, one year; Henry Beedy, three years; Henry Lovelace, four years; William Allison, one year; Harrison Williams, one year; Bob Webb, one year, and Lewis Castleman two years on charges of larceny. In 1883 Charles Elkins, for murder, was sent to the penitentiary for twenty years; Jim Gamble, arson, two years; James Warren, murder, three years; Nan Roberson, arson, two years; and for larceny Wylie Chambers, Henry Amos, James Flack, R. C. Wyland, Tom Stamps and Tom Ganaway were each given one year imprisonment in the penitentiary. In 1884 Eliza Pepper, for murder, was sent to prison for life, and George Cross, John Cooper and Nelson Johns were given six and three years each, respectively, for horse-stealing; and Henry Mosley and George Stewart, for larceny, was sent up for one year each. In 1885 Carrie Cleveland, for murder, was sent to the penitentiary for three years, and William McGrew and Henry Carwell, for larceny, were each given one year. In 1886 Willis Rankin and Henry Lamb were sent to the penitentiary for one year each on charges of larceny, and Lamb was sentenced to three years' imprisonment on a charge of horse-stealing, his second sentence to commence upon expiration of the first.
The judges who have served on the Bedford bench were Thomas Stuart, James C. Mitchell, Samuel Anderson, Hugh L. Davidson, Henry Cooper, J. W. Phillips, W. H. Williamson and Robert Cantrell, present incumbent. Attorney-generals: Alfred Balch, William B. Martin, Thomas Fletcher, James Fulton, Abraham Martin, E. J. Frierson, Thomas C. Whiteside, H. L. Davidson, William L. Martin, James L. Scudder, B. M. Tillman, James W. Brien, William H. Wisener, Jr., James F. Stokes, M. W. McKnight and Lillard Thompson, present incumbent. Circuit clerks: Daniel McKissack, John T. Neil, Lewis Tillman, James H. Neil, J. M. Phillip, W. B. McBrame and John T. Cannon, present incumbent.
The Chancery Court of Bedford County convened for the first time in 1836, with Hon. B. L. Ridley presiding as chancellor and Robert P. Harrison as clerk and master. The following is a list of the chancellors and clerks and masters: Chancellors -- B. L. Ridley, Thomas H. Caldwell, John P. Steele, A. S. Marks, John Burton and E. D. Hancock, the present incumbent. Clerks and masters -- Robert P. Harrison, Robert B, Davidson, W. J. Whilthorn, Lewis Tillman, Sr., Lewis Tillman, Jr., T. S. Steele, William H. Morgan and J. S. Butler, the present incumbent. Other county officers have been as follows, in the order given as to terms: Sheriffs -- Benjamin Bradford, John Warner, John Wortham, John Warner, William Norville, K. L. Anderson, D. D. Arnold, James Mulins, J. M. Johnson, James Wortham, Garrett Phillips, R. B. Blackwell, Joseph Thompson, J. M. Dunaway, F. F. Fouville, J. J. Phillips, George P. Muse and D. W. Shriver, the present incumbent. Trustees -- John W. Cobbs, William Ward, Peter E. Clardy, Daniel Hooser, S. B. Gordon, J. L. Goodrum, William McGill and J. L. Goodrum, the present incumbent. Registers -- John Ake, Thomas Davis, A. Vannoy, D. B. Shriver, M. E. W. Dunaway, John W. Thompson, H. H. Holt and C. N. Allen, the present incumbent. School superintendents -- John R. Dean, J. L. Hutson, William H. Whiteside and J. H. Allen, the present incumbent.
Among the early distinguished members
of the Bedford County bar were Abraham Martin, who was district attorney
at one time, and who afterward removed to Montgomery, Ala., where he was
elected to the bench; Archibald Yell, who afterward removed to Little Rock,
Ark., and of which State he was elected governor and also representative
in Congress; William B. Sutton; William Gilchrist; I. J. Frierson, a member
of the Legislature at one time; William H. Wisener, at one time a member
of the Legislature and speaker of the Lower House; Henry Cooper, who was
judge of the circuit court for a number of years, and who was also a member
of the Legislature and for several years president of the Lebanon Law School
and United States senator for one term; Hugh L. Davidson, who for ten years
was judge of the circuit court and attorney-general for one term, and Thomas
C. Whitesides, who was district attorney for a while. The bar at
present is composed of Edmund Cooper, who was a member of the Legislature
one term, served one term as congressman, was first assistant secretary
of the United States Treasury under President Johnson, and was also chosen
by President Johnson as his private secretary; Thomas H. Caldwell, who
was at one time chancellor of this division, attorney-general for the State,
was a Grant and Colfax and Blaine and Logan presidential elector, and was
Tennessee's State Commissioner to the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876;
James A. Warder, who was United States district attorney, and is at present
one of the nominees of the Republican party for supreme judge; R. B. Davidson;
F. B. Ivey; Walter Bearden; Charles S. Ivey; Gen. Ernest Caldwell, who
is the present member of the Legislature and who was commissioned a brigadier-general
by Gov. Hawkins, and W. B. Bate.
Not a few patriots of the Revolution were among the first settlers of Bedford County, among whom were Capt. Matt and Col. Barclay Martin, who, with five of their brothers, fought for seven years under Gen. Washington; Capt. Christopher Shaw, William Campbell and James Hurst. There were no doubt others, but their names have long since been forgotten, and of them there is no record.
A full company was furnished by Bedford
County to the war of 1812, which company was present at the battle of New
Orleans. Among the members of the company whose names have been preserved
were William Hazlett, John Farrer , Michael Womack, James Gowan, John L.
Neil, Philip, James and William Burrow (brothers), John Casteel, William
Woods, "Sallie" Sailors, William P. Finch, Robert Furguson, Andrew Mathus,
Townsend Fugett, Wesley Rainwater,
Benjamin Webb, Martin Hancock, J. L. W. Dillard, John Murphey, Moses Pruitt, John Pool and James Scott. The company was commanded by Capt. Barrett.
When the Seminole or Florida war began in 1836, Bedford County promptly organized a full company, which, under the command of Capt. Hunter, participated in many of the engagements of that war. Among the volunteers of that war were Albert Smell, John Hudlow, John Stone, Standards Thomas, Abraham McMahan, Lewis Tillman and William Woods.
Bedford County furnished one full company
to the war of the United States and Mexico in 1846. The company was
commanded by Capt. E. W. Frierson, and was mustered into the First Tennessee
Volunteer Infantry, at Nashville. The following are the survivors
of the Mexican war who are living at present in Bedford County: James H.
Neil, Samuel J. Warner, E. M. Lacy, Stanford Sutton, John B. Fuller, J.
W. Buckaloo, C. W. Arnold and John D. Martin. Among those who volunteered
from the county and who have since died, were C. C. Word, James Scudder,
Berry Logan, Zechariah Lacy, Joel H. Burdette, Thomas G. Holland, Alexander
Turrentine, Joshua B. Scott, William McNabb, Appleton Tucker, Chesley Arnold,
Sullenger Holt, Stephen Jolly, John A. Moore and James L. Armstrong.
Bedford County was divided on the great questions which led to the late civil war, and when the election was held June 8, 1861, to vote for or against separation from the Union and representation in a Confederate Congress, the county voted in the negative by a majority of nearly 200. When the time came for action the county furnished almost as many soldiers to the Northern as to the Southern army. Indeed, so loyal was Shelbyville to the Union as to earn for the town the name of "Little Boston," and being on the line of march of both armies, witnessed many movements and counter-movements of large bodies of troops, and though much damage was sustained to property and not a few lives lost, yet through the influence of prominent citizens on both sides the consequences were no more serious than could have been expected in time of war.
In September, 1861, the "Shelbyville Rebels," the fIrst Confederate company raised in the county, was organized by the election of A. S. Boon as captain. Immediately following this company, Confederate companies were organized as follows, all of which were mustered into the Forty-first Regiment of Tennessee Infantry: Scudder Rifles, Capt. W. C. Blanton, organized in the vicinity of Unionville; Erwin Guards, Capt. M. Payne, organized at Wartrace; Richmond Guards, Capt. Brown, organized in the vicinity of Richmond; a Flat Creek company, under Capt. Keith, and Capt. J. F. Neil's Bell Buckle company, also about half of Capt. Thomas Miller's company, which went from Marshall County, was made up from Bedford County by those living near the county line.
During the same year a company was
organized at Bell Buckle, and James Dennison elected captain, which joined
the Second Regiment of Tennessee Infantry. During the summer of 1861 three
companies were organized in the county, and joined the Seventeenth Regiment
of Tennessee Infantry. They were as follows: a Flat Creek company,
Capt. J. D. Hoyl; a Fairfield company, Capt. James L. Armstrong, and Capt.
W. A. Landis' company, made up part in Bedford and part in Lincoln County.
In 1862 a company of artillery was organized in Shelbyville, of which J.
L. Burt was elected captain, and Capt. R. B. Blackwell also took out a
company in that year.
In 1862 Capt. Montgomery Little was deputized by Gen. Forrest to raise a company of 100 men to act as an escort to the daring cavalry commander, which company was to be mounted and known as "Forrest's Escorts." Capt. Little proceeded to Shelbyville where, October 6, 1862, he completed the organization of the Escorts. The company was composed of the picked men from Bedford, Rutherford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore Counties, and were provided with choice arms and the best horses the county afforded. On the above date the escort fell into line in front of the court house, on the south side, in Shelbyville, from which place they took up their line of march to Nashville, and from that time until the close of the war was with Gen. Forrest through all his campaigns.
The Federal troops furnished by Bedford County were as follows: Those who were attached to the Fifth Regiment of Tennessee Mounted Infantry: Capt. R. C. Couch's company, Capt. J. L. Hix's company, Capt. Robert C. Wortham's company and Capt. Rickman's company. Those of the Fourth Tennessee Regiment of Mounted Infantry: Capt. James Wortham's company and Capt. John W. Phillips's; and Capt. C. B. Word's company, of the Tenth Tennessee Mounted Infantry, known as Johnson's Guards.
Throughout the war Shelbyville was infested with troops at short intervals, first the Confederates and then the Federals having possession. The same troops also visited Wartrace, and at that place entrenchments were thrown up by the Confederates, while the latter also dug a line of rifle pits around Shelbyville, extending from Horse Mountain to Duck River, and on the mountain both armies established signal stations at different times. The first troops to visit Shelbyville was a detachment of Confederates under command of Col. Gordon, during the summer of 1861. During 1862 troops visited the town as follows: Fourth Ohio Cavalry, Gen. Forrest's cavalry, Gen. Mitchell's division, Gen. Lytle's brigade, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment of Infantry, Gen. Wood's division, the First Kentucky Cavalry and Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's entire army corps, who came here on their retreat from Bowling Green, Ky. While here Gen. Johnston replenished his commissary department with about 30,000 head of hogs and a large quantity of beef. In April, 1863, Gen. Bragg's army was encamped in Shelbyville for a month or more. After the battle of Murfreesboro in December, Gen. Bragg retreated to Shelbyville, and going into camp remained until January, 1864. During 1864 Gen. Milroy’s division, a Missouri regiment of infantry, under command of Col. Fox, and the One Hundred and Seventh New York Regiment of Infantry encamped in Shelbyville.
At Wartrace, in April, 1862, the Forty-second Regiment Indiana Infantry, was attacked by Col. Starn's Regiment, when a sharp skirmish took place. In 1863 a lively skirmish occurred between the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry and the Confederate Cavalry under Gen. Wheeler at Wartrace, and in October following, Gen. Wheeler again had a brush with the Federal Cavalry, between 3,000 and 4,000 men being in the fight, two miles west of Shelbyville, in which quite a number were killed and wounded. On the 27th of June, 1863, four companies of the Fifth Tennessee made an attack on the Confederates who were holding Shelbyville. The Federals, commanded by Col. Bob Galbraith, advanced from Guy's Gap, and by the time Shelbyville was reached the Confederates were on the retreat. A running fight occurred on Martin Street, during which several were killed on the Confederate side. The Confederates retreated from the town and crossed Duck River at the Scull Camp bridge, at which point, being so closely pursued, they threw a large brass field-piece from the bridge into the river, and the cannon remains to this day in the mud at the bottom of the river. No lives were lost on the Federal side during the hot engagement.
In May, 1864, twelve soldiers belonging to the Fourth Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Federal), were captured while guarding the Shelbyville depot, which was stored with hay, by Robert B. Blackwell, who was at the head of a company of bushwhackers. The depot and contents were burned, and the twelve soldiers escorted a short distance from town and shot.
Shelbyville, the capital of Bedford County, is a beautiful town of about 3,500 inhabitants, situated on the east bank of Duck River, and almost surrounded by that winding stream, and at the terminus of the Shelbyville & Wartrace branch of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, sixty-three miles southeast from Nashville by rail, and fifty-five Miles as the "crow flies." The immediate surrounding country is most beautiful and picturesque, the town being enclosed between ranges of hills on the east, south and north. Shelbyville was established in 1810 by the commissioners appointed by the General - Assembly to locate the county seat of Bedford County. The land upon which the town was located (100 acres) was donated - to the commissioners by Clement Cannon, by deed dated May 2, 1810 and registered June 22, 1811. The town was at once laid off into lots and sold at auction to the highest bidder, and the county seat was then named Shelbyville, in honor of Col. Isaac Shelby, who commanded a regiment of 240 men in the storming of King's Mountain and capture of Col. Ferguson and the British Army under him October 7, 1780. Among those who purchased town lots of the commissioners were Archibald Alexander, Ben Brayford, Samuel Bell, Clement Cannon, George Cunningham, Daudy Howell, James Edde, Michael Fisher, Ben Gambell, Thomas Lordmore, William Lack, Lewis Marshall, Robert Murry, Joseph Mengee, William Newson, Abraham Thompson, Jonathan Webster, Joseph Woods, Joseph Walker, Henry Winro and many others. The streets of Shelbyville, all of which are macadamized, are ten in number, those running north and south being Martin, Brittain, Depot, High, Thompson, Cannon and Spring, and those running east and west are Daudy, Main and Bridge.
The town was incorporated October 7, 1819, and has continued as an incorporated town up to the present. At the first municipal election, held on the first Monday in November, 1819, Thomas Davis, David McKissack, James A. McClure, Giles Burdett. William 0. Whitney, John H. Anderson and Jacob Morton were elected aldermen, and by them Thomas Davis was chosen mayor and James Brittain recorder. The present municipal officers are as follows: Mayor, John W. Ruth; recorder, John W. Thompson; aldermen: First Ward, J. P. Ingle; Second Ward, W. A. Frost; Third Ward, S. J. McDowell; Fourth Ward, J. R. Burdett; Fifth Ward, J. T. Allison; Sixth Ward, Thomas L. Thompson; police: John Searcy, John Bartlett and Logan Harrison.
The Shelbyville fire department was organized December 2, 1885. In 1883 a good steam fire-engine and a hook and ladder wagon was purchased by the town at a cost of $22,000. A steam force pump was also purchased at a cost of $800, which was placed at the mill of Lipscomb & Co.
The Eakin Library, containing over 1,000 volumes of choice literature, was founded in 1881 by the widow of the late William S. Eakin, and from whom it takes its name.
The first merchant of Shelbyville was James Deery, who opened a general merchandise store on the town site in 1809, one year before the location of the county seat. The first mill was a water-power com-mill, and was built in about 1815 by Clement Cannon on Duck River, and a mill, known as the "Cannon Mill," is in operation on the same site at the present. The first blacksmith was Henry Tudale, and he was followed by Jeremiah Cunningham, Moses Marshall and Jacob Morton. The merchants of Shelbyville from 1810 up to 1840 were Benjamin Strickler, John Eakin, John and Spencer Eakin, Peter Donnelly, Hugh Wardlow, Robert Stephenson, J. C. and T. M. Caldwell, John A. Marrs, Brittain & Escue, Thomas Doris, George Davidson, Alexander Eakin, Thomas Reed, W. B. Brame, Robert Mathews, Robert Moffitt, Wardlow & Thompson, John N. Porter, William Deery, John Cannon & Co., Davidson & Caldwell, and Davidson & Jett. Richard White and R. P. Harrison were the hotel proprietors of that period. The merchants of the forties were John Eakin, Eakin Bros., George Davidson, William G., J. C. & T. M. Caldwell, Robert Mathews, W. W. Wilhoit, Seahorn & McKinney, William S. Jett, Eakin & Moffitt, James H. Deery and T. M. Caldwell & Co. Merchants of the fifties: John C. Caldwell, Jr., C. P. Huston, Baskette & Stamps, Wilhoit Bros., Armstrong Bros., Baskette, Jett & Co., Cowan & Strickler, Caldwell, Cowan & Co., John Wilts, John Nering, Mitchell & Shepard, J. W. Wallace & Bro., Roan & Cable, and Mitchell & Sperry. Merchants of the sixties: Thomas W. Buchanan, O. Cowan, John F. Brown & Co., Mason, Vandy & Co., Comey & Neiley, H. Frankle & Co., R. C. White, Thomas J. Roan, C. A. Warren, Evans & Shepard, Homer & Co., Buchanan & Woods, Graves & Gillis, George B. Woods, John H. Wells, and Trollinger & Tune. With but few exceptions the merchants of the seventies were the same as during the sixties.
The merchants of the present are as
Buchanan & Woods, J. S. Gillis, A. C. John & Co. and A. Frankle & Co., dry goods and notions;
J. P. Brown and Rice & Sandusky, clothing;
Allison & Hall and Leftwich & Co., dry goods and clothing:
Mrs. Dalby, Mrs. Martha Rainbow and Mrs. E. Cleveland, milliners;
C. A. Warrell, B. Dwiggins, Green & McGill, John Dayton & Co., E. W. Carney, G. N. Eakin, Morton Wilholt, Rutledge & Thompson, T. J. Warner, Hix Bros., Arnold Bros. and R. H. Whitman, groceries;
W. R. Haynes & Co., furniture;
C. W. Cunningham, books and stationery;
F. H. Otte, merchant tailor;
Evans & Shepard, Roan & McGrew and S. F. Knott, drugs;
John W. Ruth & Son, jewelers;
M. A. Rainbow, silversmith;
A. J. Jarrell, tinware and stoves;
O. Cowan & Co. and J. E. Deery, hardware;
Foman & Son, tinware and groceries;
Hope & Co., Eagle & Shaffner and W. M. Bryant & Co., grain dealers;
H. C. Ryall, lumber dealer;
Mathus & Low, commission merchants;
N. J. Calhoon & Bro., marble works;
M. L. Morton and E. W. Fuller, harness and saddles;
J. H. Hix, C. D. Gunter, T. J. Jones, P. Freeman, W. V. Allen, Arnold Bros. and T. J. Warner, saloons;
W. H. Caul, gunsmith;
Benjamin C. Gregory, photographer;
G. A. Cleveland, house and sign painter;
John Ledbetter and Reidenbery & Turner, butchers;
Jack Henderson, T. C. Ryall & Co., T. C. Allison, Hite & Taylor and Collins & Rankin, livery stables;
R. M. Bowen, G. F. Davis and J. R. Hunter, shoe-makers.
The only hotel of Shelbyville is the Evans House, J. C. Eakin, proprietor, which is a first-class hotel in every respect.
James Brown and Simpson & Burkeen are the barbers.
J. T. Landis will open a steam laundry, which is now in course of erection, during the fall.
The manufactories of Shelbyville are as follows: The Victor Flouring-mill, built in 1880, present proprietors Lipscomb & Co., is situated on Duck River, and has water and steam-power; capacity 250 barrels of flour per day. The building is a large two-story brick, and the machinery is of the most improved pattern; the Cannon Mill (water-power), which stands directly across the river, is also owned by this company; the Shelbyville Flouring-mill, also situated on Duck River, was built some time during the sixties by Robert Dwiggins. The mill has changed hands frequently, and is at present operated by E. Shepard, trustee; the building is a three-story brick, and the capacity of the mill is 225 barrels per day; Mullins Mill, water-power, situated on Duck River, one mile east of Shelbyville, is owned by J. C. Tune; Shelbyville Carding Machine, established in 1884, owned by Burdett & Co.; Shelbyville Manufacturing Company (stock company), was established in 1883, manufacture hubs, spokes, rims, double and single trees, etc., twenty-five men employed regularly; L. H. Russ & Co., manufacturers of carriages, and the celebrated New South wagon; McDowell Bros., manufacturers of wagons and buggies and general blacksmith; Southern Machine Shops (owned by stock company), established in 1884; A. J. Trolinger, cooper shop; E. H. Kohl, repair shop; H. C. Ryall, planing-mill; W. F. Holman, tannery; J. C. Eakin, fruit evaporator and canning factory .Probably the most important manufactory in the county, and the only one of the kind in the county, is the Sylvan Cotton Mills, situated two miles southwest of Shelbyville. These Mills were established in 1852 by Gillen, Webb & Co., but are now owned and operated by a stock company. The mills were destroyed by fire in 1881, but were rebuilt on a larger scale immediately thereafter. The present buildings are of brick, the main building being 50x186 feet, picker-room 40x56 feet and engine and boiler-room 40x60 feet; the machinery is all new and of modern make; the mills are provided with 3,680 spindles and 108 looms, and the daily capacity is 6,000 yards of drilling and sheeting. From 12,000 to 15,000 bails of Cotton are consumed annually, and between eighty and ninety operatives are given employment. All of the operatives reside in neat cottages in the vicinity of the mills, forming quite a village. A general store is kept by the company, from which the villagers draw their supplies.
The Shelbyville Savings Bank was established in 1867 by A. W. Brockaway. From its establishment until 1873 William Gaslin was president and A. W. Brockaway was cashier. Brockaway was succeeded as cashier at that time by Dr .R. N . Wallace, and that gentleman was succeeded by his son, John R. Wallace. The bank suspended in September, 1885, with a capital stock of $40,000 and $120,000 on deposits, of which not over 20 per cent will be realized. The failure of the bank caused the failure of several business men. The National Bank of Shelbyville was established in November, 1874, by Edmund Cooper, who became president, with Albert Frierson, cashier, and B. B. Whitthorne, teller. Mr. Cooper is still president and Mr. Whitthorne is cashier and Edmund Cooper, Jr., is teller at present, capital stock $50,000. The Peoples' National Bank, with a capital of $60,000, has been recently organized, with N. P. Evans as president and S. J. Walden, Jr. as cashier. A building for this bank is in course of erection, and the bank will be ready for business during the present fall.
Shelbyville's secret societies are
Shelbyville Benevolent Lodge, No.122, F. & A. M., organized in 1819, suspended in 1833, and reorganized in 1847;
Chosen Friends Lodge, No.11, I. O. O. F., organized in 1845, suspended in 1885, and will be reorganized in the near future;
Sons of Temperance Lodge, organized in 1846, suspended in 1860, and reorganized in 1867, as Shelbyville Lodge, No.131, I. O. G. T.;
Olive Branch Lodge, No.4, A. O. U. W., organized in May, 1877;
Duck River Lodge, No.10, K. of H., organized in 1875;
Corono Council, No.426, Royal Arcanum, organized in December, 1879;
Local Branch, No.60, Iron Hall, organized in December, 1881;
Y. M. C. A., organized in 1884.
Colored secret societies.
Duck River Lodge, No.1947, I. O. O. F., organized in May, 1879;
Charity Lodge, No.25, F. & A.M.
The physicians of Shelbyville who have
practiced in the town and vicinity since 1880: Drs.
James G. Barksdale,
George W. Fogleman,
and Frank Blakemore;
the present practicing physicians are Drs.
J. H. McGrew,
R. F. Evans,
C. A. Crunk,
S. M. Thompson,
G. W. Moody,
J. H. Christopher,
N. B. Cable
and Samuel J. McGrew.
The practicing dentists are Drs.
G. C. Sandusky,
and J. P. McDonald.
The schools of Shelbyville consist of a graded public school, Dixon Academy, Female Academy and the colored free schools.
Shelbyville has seven white and four colored churches, as follows: Presbyterian, organized in 1815, and brick church erected in 1817. In 1856 the building was sold to the Catholic congregation and the present brick building erected at a cost of $10,000. In donating to the county the land upon which to locate a county seat Clement Cannon set apart a tract of ground upon which any denomination could have the privilege of erecting a house of worship. The Methodists took advantage of the free ground, and in 1820 erected a frame church. The building was destroyed by a severe storm in 1830. The congregation then abandoned the Cannon ground and erected a brick church in 1833, at a cost of $3,000. This building they sold, in 1881, to the Christian congregation and began at once the erection of the handsome brick edifice which is as yet incomplete, but in which services have been held for many years. This building has already cost about $12,000. The Baptist Church was organized in 1845, when a brick building was erected on the Cannon ground, the site of the old Methodist Church, at a cost of about $3,000. This church was destroyed by a wind-storm in 1870, and was rebuilt, at a cost of about $5,000. The Catholic Church was organized in 1855, and in 1856 the congregation purchased the old Presbyterian Church building, and the same is in use at present; the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized and a church erected in 1856. The building was destroyed in 1880. The congregation then purchased their present brick building from the Northern Methodists, which church was organized after the civil war, but disbanded The Episcopal Church was organized in 1853, and until 1861 held services in the Odd Fellows' hall. In 1860 the erection of the present brick church was begun. The ground was donated by William Gasling and the church was built by Hon. Edmund Cooper, as a memorial church to his first wife. The building cost $2,500. The Christian Church was organized in 1881, at which time the congregation purchased their present church from the Methodist Episcopal congregation. The colored churches are the First and Second Missionary Baptists, the African Methodist Episcopal South and the Union African Methodist Episcopal.
The first newspaper published in Bedford County was the Shelbyville Herald, Theo F. Bradford, editor and proprietor. In 1821 the Herald was sold to _____ Iredell, and with that gentleman was afterward associated J. Newton, and together they conducted the paper until about 1830. The Western Freeman was next established in 1832, with H. M. as editor, and John H. Laird, publisher. In 1836 the Peoples' Advocate was established by William H. Wisener, who was both editor and proprietor. About the same time the Western Star was published by Granville Cook. In 1840 the Peoples' Advocate was succeeded by the Western Advocate, with John W. White as editor and publisher. In 1844 the Free Press was published by I. C. Brassfield, and contemporaneous with the Free Press was the Whig Advocate, published by John H. Laird. In 1848 the Star was published by R. C. Russ. From 1848 to 1862 the Expositor was published by James Russ, Jr., and Ralph S. Saunders. R. C. Russ published the Bedford Yeoman from 1850 to 1855, and during 1857 and 1858 the Constitutionalist was published by J. H. Baskette. About the same time the Herald of Truth, a Baptist paper, was published by Dr. R. W. Fain. From 1862 to 1863 J. H. Thompson and T. B. Laird published the Tri-weekly News, and from 1863 to 1866 T. B. Laird published the American Union. In 1865 the Republican was published by James Russ, with Lewis Tillman as editor. In 1871 the Bulletin was established by J. L. and J. B. Russ, and previously these gentlemen established the Commercial, which paper was published in 1870 by T. S. Steele and S. A. Cunningham. Two years thereafter the Rescue, which paper had been started a short time before, was merged into the Commercial, and R. C. Russ became editor and proprietor, and occupies that position at the present time.
Besides the Commercial, the other papers of Shelbyville are the Gazette and Times. The Gazette was established in 1874 by J. B. and J. L. Russ. In 1880 A. L. Landis purchased the paper and conducted it for two years, and sold it to William A. Frost and William Russell. In 1884 Mr. Frost became sole editor and proprietor, and continues as such at the present. The Gazette is one of the most successful newspaper plants in the State. The office is supplied with an abundance of good material, and is equipped with a Campbell power news press and Gordon jobber. The Times was established by William Russell and D. M. Alford in the latter part of February, 1886, making its first issue on the 26th of that month, with Mr. Russell as editor and Mr. Alford as publisher. Although young in years, the Times is on a sound footing, and has evidently come with the determination of staying. All three of the papers are Democratic.
The first agricultural society of Bedford County was organized in 1857, and the fairgrounds were located near Shelbyville. The first officers were as follows: President, Hugh L. Davidson; vice-presidents, R. H. Sims, G. G. Osborn, Thomas Lipscomb, W. W. Gill and Henry Dean; treasurer, Lewis Tillman; recording secretary, J. F. Cummings; corresponding secretary , John R. Eakin. At the close of the civil war the society was reorganized as a stock company, and handsome and commodious buildings were erected on grounds just outside the incorporated limits of Shelbyville. Annual exhibitions are held, and the society has been deservedly successful. The present officers are as follows: President, J. J. Gill; vice-presidents, Oliver Cowan, Martin Euliss and T. C. Ryall; corresponding secretary, Ernst Caldwell; secretary and treasurer, John D. Hutton; general superintendent, C. N. Rice.
In May, 1830, Shelbyville was swept by a terrible tornado, which destroyed the courthouse, the Methodist Church, and quite a number of other brick buildings, and killed and wounded a number of people. Those who were killed were James Newton, David Whitson, _____ Arnold, _____ Reideout and _____ Caldwell. The town has also been visited at three different times with Asiatic cholera, which caused a large number of deaths each time. The first visit was in June and July, 1833, the second in September, 1866, and the third in July, 1873.
Wartrace, the second town of the county, is situated at the junction of the main line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and the Shelbyville branch of that road, eight miles east from the latter place and fifty-five southwest from Nashville, and has a population of 800. The town dates its establishment from the time of the completion of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad in 1852. The land on which the town stands was originally owned by Rice Coffee, and Henry B. Coffee was the first citizen of the village. Among other early citizens were Robert Buchanan, John Stephens, N. C. Harris, W. H. Clark, W. B. Norville, G. W. Martin, R. P. Gallaway, John R. Coffee, W. T. Grim, Willis Pruitt, S. A. Prince, S. C. Mills, J. D. Payne, Robert Ervin, M. Payne, A. G. Garrett, A. M. Keller and J. W. Tillford. The town was incorporated in October, 1853, under the name of Wartrace Depot, and Daniel Stephens was the first mayor elected. With the exception of the years of the late war the corporation has remained in full force and effect, and the officers at the present are as follows: Mayor, Sidd Houston; board of aldermen, R. P. Maupin, B. I. Hall, J. W. Haynes, R. V. Davidson and T. B. Davis; recorder, W. G. Wood; marshal, W. F. Hailey. Daniel Stephens and William Norville were the first merchants, they opening general stores in 1852. During the next eight years W. P. Green, Thomas Hart, W. K. Raibourn & Co. and Murphey & Stephens were the business men. From 1860 to 1870 the business men were Thomas Hart, L. P. Fields, Fields, Mackey & Co., D. Morris & Co., M. N. McKinney & Co., O. P. Arnold, J. A. Cortner & Co., Arnold Bros., B. W. Blanton, B. F. Davis & Co. and A. Murphey & Co.
From 1870 to 1886 the merchants have
been and are as follows:
J. D. Houston, drugs;
B. I. Hall, Davis & Co., Arnold Bros., B. W. Blanton and Cunningham, Davidson & Co., dry goods;
Smith Bros., family groceries;
C. B. Murphey, books and stationery;
J. W. Haines, furniture and undertaker;
W. E. Russell, tinware and stoves;
A. Ogle, saddles and harness;
Mrs. M. E. Clayton, milliner.
The hotels are the Healan House, Mrs. S. D. Healan & Son, proprietors, and the Chockley House, J. C. Chockley, proprietor.
The town has two good livery stables, owned by J. W. Tillford and W. G. Petty.
The banking house of B. F. Cleveland was established in 1882, of which B. F. Cleveland is president, and R. M. Cleveland is cashier. This establishment does a general banking business, and is of much benefit to Wartrace.
The manufacturers of Wartrace are as follows: J. A. Cunningham & Co., flouring-mill, erected in 1880 at a cost of $12,000, and the Wartrace Mill Company, established in 1882, the building of which cost $18,000; these mills are supplied with modern machinery, and do a large custom and shipping business; Ellington Bros., saw and planing-mill, erected in 1885, with $3,000 capital invested; John Butner, wagon-maker and blacksmith, and Harry Erwin, John Price and W. A. Schwarts, general blacksmiths.
Near Wartrace is situated the distillery of Zach Thompson, which has been in active operation since 1883, though it has been in existence for about fifty years. This distillery has a capacity of between seventy-five and eighty gallons of whisky per day.
The physicians who have practiced their profession in Wartrace from its establishment to the present have been as follows, in the order given: Drs. Walter H. Sims, W. T. Griswold, John M. Murry, T. H. Marder, A. S. Brown, R. F. Fletcher, H. K. Whitson and D. W. Duke.
The secret societies are as follows:
I. O. O. F., established in 1850, and reorganized in 1885;
K. of H., established in 1878;
K. of L., established in 1878;
R. A., established in 1861.
A Masonic lodge was organized in 1874, but was abandoned after a period of about six years.
Wartrace has splendid educational advantages. The Wartrace Academy was established in 1860, and has been continued every year since. In 1885 the present school building was erected. It is a large brick, two stories in height, and cost $5,000. There are five grades in the school, and the school term amounts to an average of ten months each year. The houses of worship of Wartrace are the Missionary Baptist, the congregation of which was organized in 1860, and the building was erected in 1870. It is a substantial frame, and cost about $1,500. The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized and house erected in 1876, at a cost of $1,500. The colored denominations are Baptists and African Methodist Episcopals, both of which have meeting-houses.
The business houses of Wartrace are all of brick, and present a handsome and substantial appearance. The railroad has a large brick depot, for both passengers and freight.
Bell Buckle, the third town of the county, was founded in 1852 by A. D. Fugitt, the original owner of the land on which the town now stands. Bell Buckle takes its name from a small creek by that name, which runs near the town, and the creek derived its name from the fact of a representation of a bell and buckle, which are carved on a large beech tree, which stands near the head of the stream. The carving was discovered on the beech by the earliest settlers, and as to the carver; when the work was done, or the reason thereof, is one of the mysteries, though many traditions concerning the same have been handed down. Bell Buckle is situated on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway, fifty-one miles southwest from Nashville, and ten miles northeast from Shelbyville, and has a population of about 800. The town was laid off into lots in 1854 and incorporated in 1856. During the war the corporation lapsed, but immediately thereafter a new charter was obtained, since when it has been in force and effect. The present town board is as follows: Mayor, S. P. Jones; aldermen: G. H. Miller, W. R. Muse, T. J. Oglevie, B. E. Thomas, Z. T. Beachboard and J. M. Freeman; George Moon, recorder; A. Melton, marshal.
A. D. Fugitt opened a general store in Bell Buckle in 1852, being the first merchant. Clark & Miller, W. B. Norville, R. D. Rankin, W. R. Pearson and R. D. Blair, all of whom kept general stores, were the other business men of the fifties. The merchants of the sixties were Lamb & Weirback, W. C. Cooper, Norville & Beachboard, R. D. Blair & Son, Thomas & Claxton and R. D. Rankin, all general stores, while R. D. Wallace ran a flouring-mill. Between 1870 and 1880 the merchants were McFarrin Bros., Jamison & Miller, Haggard Bros., W. L. Garner, R. A. Hoover, T. J. Peacock, W. C. Cooper, J. F. Johnson, Johnson & Rite, W. P. Crawford, Oglevie & Crawford and B. E. Thomas, all of whom kept general stores, with the single exception of Thomas, who kept a stock of drugs in connection with the post office. The business men from 1880 and of the present are W. P. Crawford, T. J. Peacock, A. H. Newman, R. A. Hoover. J. W. Pattey and E. F. Gomer, general stores; D. W. Shiver & Co., A. L. Haggard and Howland Bros. family groceries; R. L. Justice, drugs and family groceries; B. E. Thomas, drugs and post office; and H. Hall, undertaker and cabinet-maker. The manufactories are represented as follows: R. F. Wallace & Co., plows and wheelwrights: George Bailey and Meldon Bros., blacksmiths and wagon- makers; W. S. Putnam, blacksmith and carriage-maker; R. F. Wallace, steam saw-mill and manufacturer of Wallace's patent double shovel. Bell Buckle has a large creamery, which was established in 1885 by a stock company with $5,000 capital. The creamery is supplied with milk from the numerous herds of fine milch cows in the neighborhood. It is fitted up with the latest improved machinery, and has a capacity of handling 6,000 pounds of milk per day.
The one hotel of the town is conducted by Mrs. Winnett. The railroad company erected a good brick depot in 1862, which is in use at the present time.
The streets run north and south and
east and west, being continuations of the following pikes: Bellbuckle &
Beach Grove Pike, leading east; Bell Buckle & Liberty Pike, leading
north; Bell Buckle & Flatwood Pike, leading west, and a short pike
leading into the Shelbyville & Fairfield Pike.
The practicing physicians of the town have been in the order named: Drs. Smith Bowlin, T. C. McCrory, W. F. Long, T. C. Henson, W. F. Clairy, J. W. Acuff, W. R. Freeman, T. F. Frazill, and H. E. Finney, dentist.
The secret societies of the town consist of Good Templar, Masonic and Odd Fellow, lodges of those fraternities being organized in 1860.
The first school established in Bell Buckle, and one of the first in the county, was Salem Academy, which was founded in about 1820. Numerous changes were made in the Old school, and in 1880, when a handsome brick building was erected and the name of the school was changed to that of Bedford College (see chapter on schools of county). Besides this school the public common schools are conducted for a term of five months each year. An addition of importance to the schools of Bell Buckle, and also of the county, is the Webb School, which was recently removed to that place from Maury County, where it was known as the Kuleoka Institute (see school chapter). The colored school, which is taught five months in the year, is held in the colored church building.
Bell Buckle is supplied with a number of good churches. The Methodist Episcopal Church, a handsome brick, was erected in 1878, at a cost of about $4,000; the Missionary Baptist Church (frame) was erected in 1873, at a cost of $1,500; the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was erected in 1883, is of brick, and cost $4,000; the Christian Church was erected ill 1883, is of frame, and cost $2,000. The colored churches are the Baptists and African Methodist Episcopal, both of which are frame buildings which cost each about $400.
Flat Creek is situated seven miles southeast from Shelbyville in the Twenty-fourth District, and has a population of about 150 people. The town was founded in about 1840 upon a tract of school land known as the Sixteenth Section. The first merchant was Thomas Newson, who kept a general store as early as 1841 or 1842. Other early business men were Blanton & Co., Hall & Warnock, Crunk & Friend, Keith & Baker, Long & Morgan, Long & Watson, Evans & Keith, Dean & Keith, Brennon & Dean and Hudson & Co., and during the time of the above business men a Grange store was in operation for several years. The business men of the present are as follows: John E. Wood, Hudson & Co. and Hale Bros., general stores; J. H. Farran, groceries; and John Bryant, saddles and harness. The Flat Creek Saw and Planing-mill war, established in 1870, by John D. Floyd, and is now owned by Phineas Hix. The blacksmiths are John Bryant, Nance Green and Matt Thomas. The early physicians of Flat Creek were Drs. J. Blakemore, Russ, Gordon, James Crunk, Shepard, Samuel Rager and Grizard and those of the present are Drs. Frost, Anderson Rager and Williams. Flat Creek has a chartered academy and also good common white and colored schools. The churches are as follows: Cumberland Presbyterian, built during the fifties at a cost of $1,000, frame; Methodist Episcopal South, built in 1885, and cost $1,000, frame; and Christian, built in 1870, and cost $1,500, frame. In 1850 the Primitive Baptists erected a large frame church, which was the first church in the town. This church passed into the hands of the Missionary Baptists, and afterward to the Separate Baptists, and that organization disbanding the church was abandoned, and while still standing and in a comparative state of preservation, is unused The Missionary Baptist (colored) congregation meets in the colored schoolhouse. Both the Masons and Odd Fellows have organizations in Flat Creek, both of which were established in 1850.
Fairfield, fourteen miles northeast from Shelbyville, in the First and Second Districts, is one of the oldest towns in Bedford County. The town lies on both sides of Garrison Fork of Duck River, which stream is spanned by a large bridge at the town, and is distant from Wartrace four and a half miles and from Bell Buckle five miles. The land upon which the town was founded was owned by Dr. J. L. Armstrong and Henry Davis; that on the west side of the creek belonged to Dr. Armstrong and was called Petersburg; that on the east side by Mr. Davis and was called Fairfield. The two towns were laid off into lots, and the lots were sold some time in 1830. From 1835 to about 1850 Fairfield (the name of Petersburg was soon dropped) was one of the most flourishing towns in the county, and a large amount of business was annually transacted. The building of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway destroyed the business to a great extent, and since that time the town has gradually but steadily declined, and at present there are not over fifty inhabitants. The early business men of Fairfield were Josephus Erwin, William Crutcher, William Hickman, Henry Davis, Isaac Miller, William Clark, Henry Davis, Jr., James Word, John West, _____ Marshall, David Brown, James Martin, _____ Miller and James Simms. Osbom & Bro. are the business men of the present. The blacksmiths are Osbom Bros. & Justice, James Martin and Buck Butner. H. A. Justice & Son have the one corn mill, which is on Garrison's Fork and is of water-power. The physicians of Fairfield and vicinity have been as follows: Drs. James L. Armstrong, Thomas B. Mosley, Needham King, Robert Singleton, George B. Sumner, David King, Allen Hall, J. B. Muse, Jack Morgan and Robert Morgan. Those of the present are Drs. Joshua Ganaway, Smith Bowlin, R. W. Kirch and S. K. Whitson, Fairfield has four churches-two white and two colored. The former are Missionary and "Hard Shell " Baptists, and the latter are Missionary Baptists and African Methodist Episcopal. The schools of the town are the Fairfield Academy (chartered), which enjoys an excellent reputation, and the colored free school.
Unionville, situated in the Eleventh District, twelve miles northwest from Shelbyville, has a population of about 200, and is one of the most prosperous towns in Bedford County. Unionville was founded in about 1827 upon the lands of Meredith Blanton and James Roy, and derived its name from the uniting of two post offices and establishing the same at that point. In 1828 Meredith Blanton erected a blacksmith shop, which shop has been operated continually from that time to the present by the Blanton family and is now owned by two grandsons of M. Blanton. The first business in the town was transacted by the firm of McGaffin, Rushing & Covington, who had a general store. Other early. business men, who were in the merchandise trade from that time unti1 1860, were William Collins, Blanton & Keller, Duggan, Moon & Barnes, Little, Brown & Denson and F. S. Smith. From 1860 to 1870 the merchants were Ganaway, Clary & Co., McCord & Ogilvie, Atkinson & McCord, Peter Barnes, Williams & Landis, Williams & Moon, Landis & Bro., Ganaway & Henden, Duggan & Henden, B. F. Duggan, J. M. Moon, McLane & Bro, Winsett & McLane, Winsett & Elkton and Winsett & Covington. From 1870 to 1880: Duggan & Clark, Duggan & Sons, T. N. McCord, J. A. Ganaway, Landis & Winsett, Covington & Landis, W. A. Ott, I. Covington, J. M. Moon, B. F. Duggan and H. R. Frierson. From 1880, including the present merchants: T. N. McCord, Blanton & Blanton, J. Covington, Covington & Blanton, H. R. Frierson and H. R. Freeman. The churches of Unionville are as follows: Methodist Protestant Church, erected in 1840 of logs, and rebuilt of frame on the same site in 1868, at a cost of about $1,500; Methodist Episcopal Church South, frame building, erected in 1856, and cost about $900; Cumberland Presbyterian Church, frame, erected in 1876, and cost $1,600; Christian Church, erected in 1878 at a cost of $1,000. The schools of the town consist of a chartered academy, at which school is taught ten months in the year, and the colored free school. The secret societies are the Masonic and Good Templars lodges, the former of which was organized in 1867, and the latter in 1885. The practicing physicians of the town are Drs. B. F. Duggan, S. S. Duggan and G. L. Landis.
Normandy, at the mouth of Norman Creek, twelve miles east from Shelbyville, in the Twenty-fifth District; Richmond, in the Nineteenth District, ten miles southwest from Shelbyville; Palmetto, in the Eighteenth District, twelve miles west of Shelbyville; Rover, in the Tenth District. sixteen miles northwest from Shelbyville; Haley's Station, three miles south of Wartrace, on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway, and Cortner's Station, six miles south of Wartrace, on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railway, are all flourishing villages of from twenty-five to fifty inhabitants each.
Bedford County justly prides herself upon her splendid educational advantages, which, indeed, are surpassed by those of but few counties in Tennessee. Of the schools during the first ten years of the county's existence as such, there remains no record whatever, and from this fact one is led to believe that, while it is more than probable that schools were taught in the county as early as 1805 or 1806, they were of an inferior order, and contributed but little to the education of the county. The first school taught in the county, or at least the first one of any consequence and of which there is a record, was Mount Reserve Academy, which was established in about 1815 or 1816 by the Rev. George Newton, who came from North Carolina a few years previous to that time. The school was located three miles cast of the present site of Wartrace in a log house at the place now known as Bethsalem Presbyterian Church. Rev. Newton was a classic scholar, and taught with great success the English as well as the higher branches of a liberal education. This school continued at different periods until the civil war, when it was abandoned.
The next school was Dixon Academy, which was established in Shelbyville in 1820, and which in its day, and even at the present, was a noted school. A thorough classical course was taught at the school by such teachers as Rev. Alexander Newton, Prof. James Jett, Prof. Blake and Prof. Gonigal, and many of the afterward prominent men of he county and State were educated there. The building was of log, and stood in the center of an eight-acre plot of ground, which ground was donated to the school by Clement Cannon Esq., one of the wealthy citizens of that day. The log building was subsequently weatherboarded, and in that shape the building rendered service unti11855, when the present commodious brick building was erected. The school has been in continuous operation (excepting vacations) from its establishment to the present, having been conducted all along as a subscription school. The present principal is Prof. T. P. Brennon, who, in 1885, added a military department to the school, and the pupils are required to weal a neat uniform similar to those in use in the United States Regular Army.
Contemporaneous with Dixon Academy
was Salem Academy, which was established by
Rev. Dr .Thurston near where now stands Bell Buckle in 1825. This school
was taught in a double log house which was erected by the patrons of the
school. Dr. Thurston was succeeded as teacher by Prof. Blake.
In 1850 the school was removed to town and was known as the Bell
Buckle Academy, of which Thomas B. Ivey was the first teacher.
In 1870 the school was succeeded by Science Hill
School, which was established by Prof. A. T. Crawford; and Science
Hill was in turn succeeded by the present Bedford College in, 1880, when
a handsome brick school building, costing $5,000, was erected.
These schools were all a continuation of the old Salem Academy. In
about 1828 or 1830 Mrs. James Jett, wife of Prof. Jett, of Dixon Academy,
established an excellent female academy a short distance east from Shelbyville,
which was continued for about twelve years, until the death of Mrs. Jett.
The next school of consequence was the Martin School in Fairfield, which was established by Abraham Martin in 1828. Mr. Martin was a very successful teacher, and for eight years conducted a celebrated school. At about the same time Rural Academy was established one mile east of Fairfield on the east side of Duck River, of which Rev. Baxter R. Ragsdale was the first teacher. The school continued unti11846. In 1837 Clark M. Comstack founded a classical school at Big Springs on Sugar Creek, which he taught unti11846, when the school was abandoned.
In 1840 the citizens of Shelbyville erected a building by subscription and founded a female academy, which was first taught by Prof. Alford Dashiall. The school was run for about eighteen years, and the school building stands at the present, being occupied a residence. The school was succeeded by the present female college, which was established in 1858, when the large brick building now in use was erected at a cost of $15,000. The school is now under the management of Prof. J. P. Hamilton, and is very successful. In 1846 the Baptists established a school about one mile south of Fairfield, of which Abraham Tillman was the first principal. This school continued until the breaking out of the civil war, and after the war the building was remodeled and has since been run as a public high school, of which Prof. Joseph Estill is the present principal instructor .
University was established in 1852, and continued about four years,
Prof. Hamilton being the president. After the war the building, which
was considerably damaged, was rebuilt, and the university was continued
by Prof. C. W. Jerome. The building, which stands and is in use at
the present, is of brick, and cost about $1,200, exclusive of the ground,
which was donated by Judge Davidson and Moses Marshall, Esq. In about
1870 the building and grounds were purchased by the school directors of
the Seventh Civil District and converted into a public high school.
For the ensuing term seven teachers are employed for this school, and a
most successful term is anticipated. The school is one of three white
public schools in the Seventh District, one of which is at Sylvia Mills,
and the other at Fairview.
During the fifties Richmond, Fairfield and Unionville Academies (chartered), and a splendid school near Schaffner's Lutheran Church, known as the Jenkins School, were established, all of which are in use at the present. Wartrace Academy was chartered in 1860, Flat Creek Academy in 1875, Tumtine Academy in the Eleventh District, ill 1873, Center Grove Academy in the Ninth District, in 1878, and Liggett's Academy in the Eighteenth District, in 1880. The above is a list of the chartered academies of the county.
The Webb School at Bell Buckle, was removed from Culleoka in the spring of 1886, and buildings are almost completed for the school. They are of frame, the main building being one story in height, with two wing additions, affording a capacity for 150 to 200 students. The chapel has a floor area of forty-two square feet. W. R. Webb, A. M., and J. M. Webb, A. M., are the principals, while the school is owned by a stock company. A classical course is to be taught, and the school will no doubt prove very successful.
Under a general law of the General Assembly, passed March 6, 1873, the present public school system was inaugurated. The number of pupils enrolled the first year in Bedford County was 5,432, and in 1876 the number enrolled was 6,062. On June 30, 1885, the scholastic population of the county was white male, 3,612; white female, 3,354; total 6,966; colored male, 1,484; colored female, 1,417; total 2,901; total white and colored male and female between the ages of six and twenty-one years, 9,867. For the same year there were teachers employed in the county as follows: white male, 50; white female, 39; colored male, 21; colored female, 16; total 126. Number of schools in the county: white, 63; colored, 31; total 94. Number of school districts in the county, 21.
The different religious denominations were organized in Bedford County probably as early as 1806, and the Methodists and Presbyterians had camp grounds at different points in the county, where they would meet during the months of July, August and September. The Methodists had camp grounds at Salem, Steele's, Horse Mountain, Knight's and Holt's; the Presbyterians at Bethsalem, and later on, the Cumberland Presbyterians at Three Forks, Beech Grove and Hastings'. Probably the first meeting-house erected was Salem Church, which was built in about 1807 at Salem Camp Ground, one-half mile from the present town of Bell Buckle. The church was a log house, built of yellow poplar, unhewn logs, and the cane was cut, jogs cut and carried on the shoulders of men, and the-house built by the individual members of the church. The old building stood until about 1820, when it was replaced with a better log one, and in 1845 a substantial frame building was substituted for the log, and it is in use at the present time. In 1816 the Tennessee Annual Methodist Episcopal Conference was held at Salem Church. Other early Methodist Churches were Pleasant Garden, on Flat Creek, in the Twenty-fourth District, built in 1814; Holt's Camp Ground, near the Fayetteville Pike, in the Twenty-fourth District, built in 1823, and Mount Moriah, near Wartrace, built in 1823. In 1821 the Methodist Circuit extended from below Fayetteville to Hooker's Gap, and from four to five weeks were required to ride the circuit. Rev. John Brooks, one of the ablest of the Methodist Episcopal ministers, was the circuit rider.
The Presbyterians erected their first church at Shelbyville in 1815, and their second and only other one at Bethsalem, near Wartrace, in 1816. New Hope, at Fairfield, was probably the first Baptist Church in the county, it having been erected in 1809, and though having been rebuilt several times is still in use. Keele's church, named for "Billy Keele," on Garrison's Fork, near Fairfield, was probably the first church erected by the Separate Baptists, some time in 1812 or 1813.
The Cumberland Presbyterians erected their first churches at Three Forks about 1820, and at Hastings' Camp Ground about 1821. The Lutherans came into the county at an early day, and erected a church on Thompson Creek about 1826, though they were organized several years before that time. Their next church was Cedar Hill Church, in the Shaffner neighborhood.
In 1846 the Christian Church was organized in the county, and in 1855 the Catholic Church was organized in Shelbyville. The Episcopal Church was organized in 1853 (see Shelbyville Churches). The Northern Methodists came into the county since the war, yet are very strong at the present, having eleven churches in the county and at Caldwell's Camp Ground, three miles from Shelbyville on the Unionville Pike, which was named in honor of Hon. Thomas H. Caldwell, of Shelbyville.
The Duck River Bible Society, a very important adjunct of the churches, was organized at Shelbyville on the 16th of May, 1718, and has been in continuous operation up to the present. The society is an auxiliary to the American Bible Society, which was organized in 1816, and the Duck River branch was one of the first organized. Its leading object is to distribute Holy Bibles to the needy and destitute.
The churches of the present, outside of those in the towns already mentioned, are follows by civil district;
Center, Cumberland Presbyterian;
Shiloh, Methodist Episcopal South;
Bethlehem, Primitive Baptist;
Haley's Station, Methodist Episcopal South,
and Union Ridge, African Methodist Episcopal, in the Second District.
Mount Mariah, Methodist Episcopal South;
Bethell, Methodist Episcopal South;
Mount Olivell, Methodist Episcopal North;
Phillipi, Methodist Episcipal North, in the Third District.
Cross Roads, Christian,
and Guy's Gap, Baptist, in the Fifth District.
Whitesides Chapel, Methodist Episcopal South;
Nance's, Missionary Baptist;
Hart's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal;
Bellview and Browntown, Colored Missionary Baptists, in the Sixth District.
Mount Pisgah, Primitive Baptist;
North Fork, Missionary Baptist;
Hickory Hill; Methodist Episcopal South,
and Green Hill, Cumberland Presbyterian in the Eighth District.
Blankenship, Methodist Episcopal South;
Tarpley, Methodist Episcopal South,
and Bethlehem, African Methodist Episcopal, in the Ninth District.
Enon, Primitive Baptist;
Rover (town), Missionary Baptist;
Rover (town), Methodist Episcopal North;
Cedar Grove, Methodist Episcopal;
Mount Zion, Protestant Methodist Episcopal;
Kingdom, Cumberland Presbyterian,
and Poplar Grove, African Methodist Episcopal, in the Tenth District.
Ray's Chapel, Protestant Methodist Episcopal;
Crowell's Chapel, Lutheran;
Pleasant Valley, Methodist Episcopal South;
Zion's Hill, Methodist Episcopal North, and Comer Meeting-house
and Thompson's Ford, both African Methodist Episcopal and Cumberland Presbyterian combined in the Eleventh District.
United Presbyterian (at Palmetto);
Zion, Primitive Baptist;
Shiloh, Methodist Episcopal South;
Dryden's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal South;
Liggett Chapel, Methodist Episcopal North;
Liboum, Methodist Episcopal North,
and African Methodist Episcopal and Baptist, in the Eighteenth District.
Richmond (town), Christian,
and Branchville, Methodist Episcopal South, in the Nineteenth District.
Marvin's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal South;
Big Springs, Missionary Baptist;
Cottage Grove, Cumberland Presbyterian,
and Knight's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal South,
and one colored church each of Missionary Baptist and African Methodist Episcopal, in the Twentieth District.
Center, Methodist Episcopal South, in the Twenty-first District.
Mount Harmon, Methodist Episcopal
and Separate Baptist combined, in the Twenty-second District.
New Hope, Cumberland Presbyterian;
Mount Pisgah, Methodist Episcopal South;
Hickory Grove, Separate Baptist;
Caldwell's Chapel, Methodist Episcopal North;
St. Mark, Christian, and St. Mark, African Methodist Episcopal, in the Twenty-third District.
Normandy (town), Methodist Episcopal South;
Jenkins Chapel, Christian,
and Mount Bethel, African Methodist Episcopal, in the Twenty-fifth District.
Sylvan Mills, Methodist Episcopal North;
Mission, Cumberland Presbyterian;
Reed's Hill, Missionary Baptist;
Fairview schoolhouse used by Methodist Episcopal, Baptist and Christian congregations;
Robison's Hill, colored Missionary Baptist,
and Elbethel, Colored Missionary Baptist
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