HISTORY OF TRIGG COUNTY
CHAPTER I. - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX - X - XI CHAPTER XII.BETWEEN THE RIVERS A DISTRICT THAT COMPRISES LAURA FURNACE, GOLDEN POND AND FERGUSON SPRINGS PRECINCTS-DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND-ITS OCCUPATION BY WHITE PEOPLE-SOME OF THE PECULIARITIES OF THE PIONEERS-WHERE THEY LOCATED-A BAND OF FREEBOOTERS-RELIGIOUS HISTORY-SKETCHES OF THE NUMEROUS CHURCHES -VILLAGE OF GOLDEN POND, ETC., ETC.
The section of country lying between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers comprises the precincts of Laura Furnace, Golden Pond and Ferguson's Springs, which together form the first magisterial district. The physical features of this region are considerably varied, the country along the Tennessee being high and broken, and in some places rising in precipitous bluffs of sand rock and limestone; back from the river the land is not so abrupt, but stretches away in undulations covered with a forest growth of deciduous timber of the varieties usually found growing in this latitude. The land lying contiguous to the Cumberland is more "checkered," with sloughs and swamps intervening among the hula, while skirting the water-courses that empty into the rivers are level lands of average fertility and productiveness. Taken all in all it is not what might be termed a good agricultural region, although there are a number of well improved farms in various parts of the district. "Seventy-five years ago L000 acres of land between the rivers would not have been exchanged for the same quantity of the richest 'barrens' in the neighborhood of Montgomery, Wallonia or Roaring Springs. Timber and water regulated the value of real estate in this country then, arid in this section of the county the settlers were blessed with an abundance of both. The finest springs, the coolest water gurgled up in the sandy bottoms, or came pouring out from the hillsides, and the whole country was covered in a growth of timber as luxuriant as could be found in any other portion of, the State, whilst in the other rich 'barren' sections of the county there were few springs, and scarcely a sufficiency of timber to afford roosts for the wild turkeys at night.
"Notwithstanding the gibes and ridicule heaped upon the early 8ettlers for selecting the locations they did, we think it most likely the present population, if thrown into a new country, would do precisely as they did. The cultivation of the soil was riot at that time profitable. The Settlers had no markets for the products of their farms; the country afforded an abundant supply of meats in the shape of wild game; and a spring of cool water, a few acres of Indian corn, filled the measure of both their ambition and comfort." This region is rich in mineral wealth, the finest quality of iron ore being found from the Tennessee line to the northern boundary of the county. It is easily accessible, and was worked very extensively in an early day, several large furnaces having been erected at different points, some of which are still standing. An account of the iron industry will be found on another page.
Pioneers.-The first white men who came to this part of the county were the hardy adventurers from North Carolina already alluded to, who floated down the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers on rafts. They seem to have been actuated by a spirit of adventure, and beyond erecting a few rude huts contiguous to the streams, made no further improvements. Following these came a few families of a more thrifty class of people, but these too have disappeared, leaving but faint traces behind them. As early as 1793 there was a small settlement near the present location of Redd's tan-yard, where a block-house was built as a means of defense against the Indians, hostile bands of whom kept the frontier settlers in a constant state of alarm. This was the second permanent settlement in this county, the first having been made in the neighborhood of Cerulean Springs a year or two previous. Unfortunately, the names of the persons who constructed the block-house have been forgotten, nor could any facts concerning them be learned.
Among the first permanent settlers was Allen Grace, the grandfather of W. D. Grace, who located near the site of Redd's tan-yard some time prior to 1800. He was a man of considerable prominence in the early history of the county, and his descendants are among its most intelligent and substantial citizens at the present time. Moses McWaters settled in the northern part of the district about the year 1802 or 1803, and improved a small farm in what is now Ferguson Springs Precinct. He had a family of grown up sons who secured tracts of land in the same vicinity. Levi Davis settled a place on Turkey Creek, known as the Vinson farm, about the same time. He earned the reputation of being a good citizen, and was thought well of by his neighbors. He died in a very early day, and most of his descendants moved off to other parts of the country. Robert Fergeson settled in the northern part of the district shortly after the year 1800. Robert Ferguson, after whom the northern precinct was named, came a little later and secured a tract of land lying a short distance from Cumberland River. Another early corner in the northern part was Abraham Lash, who settled near the Tennessee River. Eli Kilgore, Eli Ingram, John Blue, James Blue, Wiley Rhodes, James Barham and a man by name of Gregory were all living in the northern part of the district as early as 1812. Following close upon these were other settlements extending from the Tennessee line all the way down to the old Fulton Furnace section. Nathan Futrell settled where Laura Furnace has since been located in the southern part of the district. He owned the place for a number of years and planted a large apple orchard, the first in the county, a few trunks of trees of which may be still seen standing above the old furnace property. He was a relative of John Futrell, one of the earliest settlers on Donaldson Creek.
Frederick Jones settled the old John Futrell place. He disposed of it a great many years ago and moved to Canton. Few of the old settlers are more kindly remembered. Beman Fowler settled the Andy Gordon farm. He was a resident of the place at the time and long before the formation of the county. He was a man greatly respected, and was for a number of years one of the early Justices of the Peace. He moved away at an early day, his destination being unknown. - Bradbury settled in an early day on the Cumberland River, in Golden Pond Precinct. An old gentleman by name of Young settled on the place now owned by William Gray. He was regarded as a thrifty, energetic and industrious old man. His death occurred a few years after the formation of the county. Joe Gilbert was an early settler, and lived for a number of years on Elbow Creek. He subsequently moved across the river and settled on Donaldson Creek, where his death occurred many years ago. David Grace, the third son of old man Allen Grace, and uncle of W. D. Grace, settled a short distance up the hollow from the present village of Golden Pond.
Charles Anderson, a worthy old gentleman, settled a place on Crooked Creek, not a great distance from Ferguson's Springs. Two or three miles in a northerly direction, at what is now known as the old Foley place, lived in an early day James Cummins and Van Anderson, the grandfather of Hon. Lush Anderson of Graves. "About the same time and in almost the same neighborhood, were a batch of settlers who were not spoken of so kindly. Jake McFadden, Herbert Wood, James Phillips and a few kindred satellites, whose names are not remembered, were very bad men. They came to the country as early as the year 1804, and their huts were scattered from the Oakley place to the Tennessee River. They belonged evidently to an organized band of plunderers, and were shrewdly suspected of being partizans of a lot of adventurers who made their appearance in the neighborhood several years before, and abandoned the country because there was nothing in it to make the avocation of the robber profitable." The presence of these characters gave the country an unsavory reputation, and while their depredations were not committed so much upon the people here they made this region a resort to evade the pursuit from other quarters. For a time their depredations were carried on with impunity, and while they scrupled at the commission of no form of crime, they were especially annoying in their principal business of horse-stealing. Their plan of operations was to run in large numbers of horses and keep them concealed among the hills and ravines until fears of pursuit were ended, when they would take the animals to Nashville and other points, where they were disposed of at good prices. The early settlers did not submit to this state of affairs without some efforts to bring those persons to justice, but singly the pioneers proved poor trappers of this game. The robbers were known to be desperate characters, adept in the use of weapons, and it often happened that when a party got close upon the thieves "discretion seemed the better part of valor," and the chase was given up. Civil authority seemed hopelessly incapable of remedying the evil, and accordingly the citizens took the matter into their own hands and organized a band of regulators, the effect of whose work was prompt and salutary. The honest residents cordially aided the company, which in a few months rid the country of the gang which infested it. McFadden and his accomplices succeeded in successfully evading the vigilants, and the reputation of the Jailer of Christian County at that time suffered by reason of a suspicion that he facilitated their escape.
The settlement of the country increased but slowly for a number of years, and those who came in belonged chiefly to the poorer classes. Improvements were few and of the most primitive kind. Small horse-mills or corn-crackers were put up in various settlements, but these did but little better work than the mortars with which almost every house was supplied. They did the work quicker, and such a mill was often kept running night and day, while the patrons coming from distances of several miles would wait patiently a day or two to get their gnats. One of the two earliest of these primitive mills was erected by Nathan Futrell, and stood near Laura Furnace. It was used by the neighborhood for several years and did a good business for a mill of its capacity.
Churches-T here are several religious organizations in the district, the oldest of which is Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Laura Furnace Precinct, which dates its history from the year 1842. It was organized by Revs. T. L. Baker, Jesse Cox and --- Barnes, with helps from the Mount Pleasant and Crooked Creek Churches in Tennessee. The first meeting was held at the dwelling of David Calhoun, and after the society acquired a permanency, religious services were conducted at different residences in the neighborhood.
In 1844 a log house of worship was erected on land donated by David Calhoun. It has been remodeled since and a second story built for the use of the Patrons of Husbandry, a lodge of which met in the hall for a couple of years. Since its organization the church has been ministered to by the following pastors, to wit: T. L. Baker, William Skinner R. R. Allen, S. R. McLane, W. E. McCaulley, D. S. Hanberry and A. J. Bird. The present incumbent is Rev. J. M. Ross, who reports an active membership of seventy-eight persons.
Cumberland River Baptist Church in Ferguson Springs Precinct was organized, in 1843, by T. L. Baker and Rev. Mr. Daniel, assisted by others whose names could not be learned. Meetings were held at the dwellings of different members until 1847, in which year a log house of worship was built on the land of Harrison McGregor. This building was used until 1868, when a new and more comfortable frame edifice was erected at a place known as Willow Springs. The following pastors have had charge of the congregation at different times: Revs. T. L. Baker, Jesse Cox, -- Hanberry, G. A. Patterson, Thomas Montgomery, E. L. MeLane, William McCaulley and J. M. Ross. There are sixty communicants at the present time and the church is reported in good condition.
Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Golden Pond Precinct was established in the year 1854, by Revs. T. L. Baker and George Patterson. The constitutional membership consisted of about thirty persons, and services were held for two years at a schoolhouse on Crooked Creek near the residences of Joel Coulsen and E. Grace. A temple of worship was erected in 1856 or 1857 on B. F. Luten's land, and cost the sum of $800. Among the pastors of the church are remembered the following : T. L. Baker, George Patterson, Thomas Montgomery, S. Y. Trimble, S. R. McLane, D. S. Hanberry, F. M. Holland and J. M. Ross, the last named being in charge at the present time. The records show an active membership of seventy persons.
Long Creek Old School Baptist Church is in Voting Precinct No. 2, and dates its origin back to an early period of the country's settlement. At one time it was a very active organization, but its strength has diminished con8iderably of recent years owing to deaths and removals.
The Walnut Grove Union Church in the southeastern part of Laura Furnace Precinct was built several years ago, and is used at the present time by the Methodists and Baptists, both of which denominations have small organizations. The house was erected under the auspices of the Christian Union Church, a society of which was kept up for some time, by Rev. J. M. Cress.
A society of the Methodist Church was organized at Redd's tan-yard, near the Tennessee River in Laura Furnace Precinct several years ago. Meetings were held in a ball, and for some time the society bid fair to become an aggressive organization, but owing to some cause unknown, services are rarely held at the present time. Another Methodist society known as the Indian Springs Church, in Golden Pond Precinct, was established a number of years ago, but like the one mentioned above its strength is gradually decreasing.
Turkey Creek Baptist Church, five miles from Laura Furnace, was established by Revs. E. L. McLane, G. A. Patterson and J. Outland. A building was erected one year later at a cost of $1,000. The society is making substantial progress, and the records show an active membership of fifty persons at the present time. The preachers have been Revs. Mc-Lane, Knight, Tidwell and Allen. At the present time the church is without a pastor.
Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in the northwestern part of Ferguson Springs Precinct was organized in the year 1880, with a membership of eight, which has since increased to sixteen. F. M. Holland is pastor at the present time and W. N. Ingram, Clerk.
Ferguson Springs Church, which is also a Baptist organization, was established about the year 1879, by Revs. W. L. Rowland and F. M. Holland, with an original membership of about eight persons. The society has increased but slowly since its organization, arid numbers only thirteen communicants at the present time.
Near Laura Furnace is a Catholic Church organized by a few German families under the supervision of Rev. Father Hasley in 1882. A log-house was built the same year. and the society is now maintained by about eight families, all of whom emigrated from Germany between the years 1880 and 1883.
Village of Golden Pond, which gave name to the second voting precinct, is situated a few miles west of the Cumberland, and is the only village between the rivers. It is a small hamlet of a couple dozen houses and serves as a trading point for a large scope of country. The first store in the place was kept by Frank Ingram, who handled a general assortment of merchandise, and for several years did a fair business. There are two stores at the present time kept by Bogard and Haydon respectively.*- County of Trigg Kentucky , HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL - EDITED BY WILLIAM HENRY PERRIN - ILLUSTRATED. - F.A. BATTEY PUBLISHING CO. 1884.
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