HISTORY OF TRIGG COUNTY
I - II - III - IV - V - VI -VII - VIII - IX
CHAPTER X.ROARING SPRINGS PRECINCT-TOPOGRAPHICAL AND PHYSICAL FEATURES- CAVES AND CAVERNS-COMING OF TEE PIONEERS-THEIR SETTLEMENTS-EARLY INDUSTRIES A ND IMPROYRMENTS-EDUC ATIONAL FLCILITIES-CHURCHES-SKETCHES OF THE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS- VILLAGE OF ROARING SPRINGS-GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT, ETC., ETC.
ROARING SPRINGS is voting precinct No. 10, and embraces a larger geographical area than any other division of the county. It is bounded on the north by Cadiz and Montgomery Precincts, on the east by Christian County, on the south by the State of Tennessee, and on the west by the Precinct of Linton. The surface of the country is agreeably varied, and contains many natural scenes to delight the eye. Casey's Creek rises near the Tennessee line, flows through the central part of the precinct in a northerly direction, and empties into Little River. This is one of the most beautiful and romantic streams in the country, being fed along its entire course by springs of the purest water issuing from rocky bluffs and caves, with which the country abounds. One of these caves, called McGovern's Cavern, is a place of some note, and is visited yearly by a great many sight-seers. It is about fifteen feet from the roof to the bottom; from sixteen to twenty feet 'wide, and has been explored for a distance of 800 yards, beyond which it is impossible to go on account of the depth and coldness of the water which issues from the cave.
Little River forms part of the northern boundary of the precinct, and receives in its course a number of small tributaries which traverse the country in various directions. A place of considerable note near the river is a cave on the Garland Jones farm which was used as a place of concealment by runaway negroes during the days of slavery. This cavern is twenty feet in height, fifteen feet in width, and extends into the earth for a distance of about two miles. Hardy's Cave, another spot of interest on the river, differs from the ones named on account of the interior being perfectly dry. It has been explored for over a mile, and the supposition is that it extends much further.
The southern part of the precinct is drained chiefly by Saline Creek, which rises near the State line, and flowing a northwesterly course empties into the Cumberland River. There are several other small streams in different parts of the precinct, none of which is deserving of special mention. Near the State line is the highest part of Trigg County. This region is known as the "fiat lick" or "fiat woods" and contains a large area of very level land, much of which is too wet for tillage without being artificially drained Owing to this fact it was not settled in a very early day, and its resources have been developed within a comparatively recent period. Agriculture is carried on very extensively, the best farming lands being in the northern and central parts of the precinct, and especially along Casey Creek and its tributaries, where can be seen some of the largest and best improved plantations in the county. Perhaps the most interesting spot in the county, and certainly its greatest natural wonder, is the roaring spring which gave name to the village and precinct. This spring, or torrent rather, issues with great rapidity and a loud roaring noise from a limestone cavern about one hundred feet below the line of the surrounding country, and after running for a distance of perhaps sixty feet enters an opening in a large rocky cliff opposite the mouth of the cave and is lost sight of. The cavern, which is very broad and high, was explored a few years ago by a party of gentlemen who penetrated it for a distance of three miles without finding the terminus. The atmosphere of the interior is said to be very invigorating and retains a temperature of sixty degrees Fahrenheit throughout the entire year. At one time in the early history of the county the waters of this stream were utilized to operate a small mill built at the mouth of the cave, to reach which it was necessary to descend a flight of steps 100 feet cut in the stone bank.
Settlement.-Roaring Springs is one of the original voting precincts of the county, and was settled shortly after the beginning of the present century. Among the first white men who sought homes here were Robin and Josiah Boyd. They settled on the farm owned at the present time by Mrs. Robinson, and came perhaps as early as the year 1805. The Joiner family came about the same time and settled in the southern part of the precinct on Dry Creek, where several descendants are still living. Jesse Cox, a Baptist preacher, came from South Carolina about the year 1803 or 1804 and secured a tract of land lying in the southwest corner of the precinct, on which he lived until the time of his death in 1849. His son, George Cox, was born near the original homestead in 1817, and is still an honored citizen of the precinct. John Potts came in a very early day and located near the creek which bears his name. The place on which he made his first improvements is owned at the present time by Lewis Garnett.
Ebenezer Boyd settled in the southwest corner of the precinct as early as 1810. Paul Patrick came the same year and settled the Rasco farm, about three miles from the Springs on Casey Creek. Joseph Led. ford settled in the central part of the precinct about the year 181& J. Mills and a man by name of Wood came a few years later and located near Casey Creek, the former on a part of what is now the Crenshaw farm and the latter on the Greenwade place. John Cower settled on the Crenshaw farm about 1817 and remained two years, when he sold out to Cornelius Crenshaw. Thomas Mathers settled in the southeastern part of the precinct in a very early day. The Dawson family became residents as early as 1817, settling near the head waters of Casey Creek, where several descendants are still living. John Mathers and William Gillum settled on Gillum Creek in the southwest corner of the precinct prior to 1818. A man by name of Greer came about the same time and located on the Widow Dunn's place. Among other families who resided in the precinct anterior to 1820 were those of Elias Burbridge, Lewis Izell, Hugh Gray, William Reed, James Daniel, John Ford, Cornelius Burnett (father of Dr. Isaac Burnett), John Greenwade, the Northingtons, McCulloms, Lindsays, Blantons, Millers, Torians, Colemans, Cornelius Crenshaw and John H. Scott, Thomas Nance, and in 1820 Thomas Crenshaw. Later came Lewis and James Garnett, Elder Peyton Nance, Lesenberry Nance, John T. Hays, Alexander Harrell, all of whom were residents prior to the year 1830, many of whom are mentioned in a preceding chapter.
Mills, etc.-The honor of erecting the first mill in Roaring Springs Precinct belongs to Saxe Lindsay, who in the year 1819 or 1820 built a small structure on Little River. Lindsay operated the mill with tolerable success for several years and finally sold out to Jesse Carter, who put up a frame building which he supplied with good machinery, and valued the property at $3,000 At his death Elbridge A. Coleman purchased the mill, which he has continued to improve until it is now one of the best mills in the county, and represents a value of $5,000 The second mill in the precinct was built by Thomas Nance in 1825, and stood at the mouth of Roaring Springs Cave. This has already been alluded to. Mr. Nance built a distillery which he operated in connection with his mill, and with the two did a good business until the time of his death in 1835. For ten years the mill stood idle, but at the end of that time the property was leased by a Mr. Foster, who operated it until about 1849 when it was abandoned and allowed to fall into decay. At the present time no vestige of either mill or distillery is to be seen.
Schools.-" The early education of that day was obtained under many disadvantages, and there was very little of it. The spelling book, the English Reader, Pike's Arithmetic and Murray's Grammar were the text books in most of the schools. A session was from ten to twelve weeks with five days in the week and a few hours each day. The houses were made of logs about twenty feet long, with one window between two logs, under which a plank was placed on pins for a writing desk. The seats were made of logs, ten to fifteen inches in diameter, split in two, out of which a pair of benches were made and put on legs about two feet high, so the boys' legs could dangle down and be convenient for the teacher's switch. When the hickory failed to secure the proper discipline the ferule was applied to the palm of the left hand, so that the bruises occasioned by a too vigorous application would not interfere with the writing lesson. The only retaliation a pupil was allowed for this cruelty was the privilege of 'turning out ' the teacher in order to force him to give a recess during the holidays. In this all the children were allowed to take part, forcing him by threats or the actual administration of a good, sound ducking, which had the effect not only to secure the recess but also a 'treat' of whisky and egg-flog to boot. Among the early teachers of the precinct was Mrs. Maya, who taught iii a little building which stood on the Canton and Lindsay Mill road one mile northeast of the spring. This building was used for school and church purposes until 1849. A schoolhouse was built the latter year near the spring, and stood on ground now occupied by the Methodist Church. The first pedagogue in the building was Alfred Lindsay. Wesley Warrell and Miss Carland (wife of Thomas Crenshaw) taught here also. Other teachers at the same place were William Glover and Cornelia Auburn."
'Churches.-There are several religious organizations in the precinct, the oldest of which is the Long Water Old School Baptist Church, about three miles south of Roaring Springs. This society was organized in a very early day, and at one time had a good membership, which has greatly diminished of late years. The house of worship is a log structure, which like the organization bears many marks of decay.
The Antioch Baptist Church near Little River was perhaps the first religious society organized in the precinct. It was established when there were but few sparse settlements in the county, and during the early days of a history supported a membership scattered over many miles of country. A log building was erected and used until about the year 1859, at which time the existence of the society terminated. Among the pastors of the church were Elders Jesse Cox, L. H. Averitt, Reuben Ross and Dudley Williams. The last regular preacher was Elder George Patterson.
Roaring Springs Christian Church, as an organization, dates its history as far back as 1833, at which time a meeting wa8 held in what was known as the Buford's Springs Schoolhouse, by Elder George P. Street, of Christian County, and a society established which took upon itself the name of the Lebanon Christian Church. The original members were William Northington, John Dawson, E. G. Lewis, L. T. Calloway, Andrew Lewis, Penina Dawson, Mary Calloway, Phebe Garnett and Martha Ledford. The schoolhouse was used as a meeting-place until 1835, when a log building was erected which served the congregation for a number of years. A frame building was afterward built and used until 1878, at which time the present commodious temple of worship was erected at Roaring Springs, at a cost of $1,500. A re-organization was effected in 1878, under the name of the Roaring Springs Christian Church, and the following officers elected: Albert Crenshaw, J. W. Hays and William Lewis, Elders; Thomas Crenshaw, Matthew Jones and John Rasco, Deacons; Thomas Crenshaw, Clerk; T. P. Campbell, J. W. Hays, Albert Crenshaw and M. Jones, Trustees. The ministers of the church have been Elders George P. Street, Samuel Calloway, M. Metcalf, John Ferguson, Jesse Ferguson and W. E. Mobley, the last named being preacher in charge at the present time. A Sunday-school was organized shortly after the church was established at the Springs, which has continued to increase in interest and numbers until it is now one of the most flourishing schools in the county. The first Superintendent was Henry Richards; present Superintendent is Robert Crenshaw. The present membership of the church is 115, among whom are many of the leading citizens of the community.
Shady Grove Baptist Church was organized in 1850 by Rev. George Patterson with the following members, to wit: Lee S. Harrell and wife and N. Harrell and wife, formerly members of the old Dry Creek Church on Saline Creek, which ceased to exist in 1849. Of the original organization nothing could be learned owing to the fact that the early records were not accessible. The four members mentioned formed the nucleus around which a flourishing society soon gathered, and among those who came in shortly after the organization were James Mathers and wife, Mrs. James Hester and daughter, Mrs. William Hester and William Cox and wife. A log-house was built in 1851 and stood until 1873, at which time the present substantial frame edifice was built at a cost of $950. The following preachers have ministered to the church at different times: Revs. James Preer, John B. Smith, David Bronson, Samuel McClain, L. McClam and Samuel Sumner. The present incumbent is Rev. W. L. Tidwell. Officers are: L. S. Harrell, N. Harrell, J. Harrell and John McCowen, Deacons; J. Harrell, Clerk. At present it has 110 members.
Methodist Episcopal Church South* at Roaring Springs was organized in July, 1852, by Rev. James R. Dempsey. The following names are those of the original members, viz.: Ephraim Blanc, Miss Mary Blanc, Miss Bettie Riane, George Blanc, James T. Jones and wife, James Ii. Hamilton and wife, Thomas M. Ogburn, Charles Ranson, Thomas L. Bacon, Mathew L. Bacon, Charles P. Bacon and William Smith. The first pastor was James R. Dempsey in 1851-52; in 1852-53, Thomas M. Penick; in 1853-54, - Neikirk and J. C. Petree; in 1854-55, - Neikirk and C. Y. Boggess; in 1855-56, D. D. Moore; in 1856-57, J. C. Petree; in 1857-58, W. W. Lambreth ; in 1858-59 and 1859-60, William Alexander; in 1860-61, Gideon Gooch; in 1861-62, H. M. Ford was appointed but failed to come and his place was supplied by James Gray. In 1862-63 and 1863-64 Gideon Gooch; in 1864-65 and 1865-66, J. C. Petree; in 1866-67 and 1867-68, Wilbur L. King; in 1868-69 and 1869-70, Thomas J. Randolph; in 1870-71 and 1871-72, Bryant A. Cundiff; in 1872-73, R. B. McCown; in 1873-74 and 1874-75, Robert C. Alexander, in 1875-76 and 1876-77, John W. Price; in 1877-78, 1878-7 9 and 187 9-80, Joseph F. Redford; in 1880-81 and 1881-82 and 1882-83, James W. Bigham, and at present Ben F. Biggs.
The membership never increased any till the second pastorate of Gideon Gooch.when there were about fifteen added to it, and again, during the third pastoral term of J. C. Petree there were several more added as also was the case during the terms of Bryant A. Cundiff, J. F. Redford and James W. Bigham. When first organized the organization took place in the dwelling house of Ephraim Blanc, but a schoolhouse was used as a place of worship until 1865; the present church house was erected at a cost of $2,500, James T. Jones and Thomas L. Bacon constituting the building committee. There is no Sunday-school at present, nor has there been save one or two years a denominational school there; for several years there was a school on the union basis in successful operation.
In the southern part of the precinct is a Presbyterian Church which was organized about thirty years ago. The society meets for worship in a neat frame building, and has a good membership. Joiner's Chapel Christian Church was organized about 1869 by Elder James Hester. Present preacher is Elder - Smith; present membership about thirty communicants.
Village of Roaring Springs. -- In 1846 Mr. C. A. Bacon purchased a tract of land from Ed Dawson, and removed to the neighborhood. He erected the first business house in the fall of 1847 and from a "local habitation and a name " sprang suddenly into existence an enterprising business point and one of the most thrifty villages of the county. Captain Bacon continued in the mercantile business until 1852, at which time he sold to Dycus & McNichols. The latter firm remained about two years, when the building was purchased by William Richards, who later took in Thomas Crenshaw, Joseph Ledford and Carter Ledford as partners. This firm continued in business for several years, and finally failed, owing to some mismanagement on the part of the senior partner.
In 1848 William Landrum built a log storehouse and sold goods for a few months. H. Robbins engaged in the grocery business in 1852, but closed out soon after and moved from the place. James Moss started a small store about the same time and ran it until the breaking out of the war. Among the other merchants of the place were A. McKinney, who is now one of the leading business men of St. Joseph, Mo., E. A. Stephens, Ephraim Weeks, H. C. Richards and J. J. Roach. In 1883 William Rasco came to the place, and is running a good family store at the present time. Milton Brandon has a general store also, and Mr. McGraw keeps the village hotel.
Roaring Springs Lodge, No. 221, A. F. & A. M., was organized in 1848. The first officers were C. M. Bacon, W. M.; Anthony Garnett, S. W.; Thomas Garnett, J. W. Present officers: C. M. Bacon, W. M.; James Hamilton, S. W.; John Donald, J. W.; John A. Bacon, S. D.; W. W. Lewis, J. D.; William Bradshaw, Sec., and Samuel Joiner, Tyler. First meetings were held in Capt. Bacon's office, which was used until 1852, at which time a room was fitted up in a vacant store building at a cost of $200. The present hail was built with the Methodist Church and represents a capital of $2,700.*- County of Trigg Kentucky , HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL - EDITED BY WILLIAM HENRY PERRIN - ILLUSTRATED. - F.A. BATTEY PUBLISHING CO. 1884.
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