Scrapbook clippings with Monroe County, Tennessee Ties

Maryville Enterprise, October 16, 1929


Indian towns on Tennessee River (Tenassee) now Little Tennessee as given in Timberlake Map in 1765 (is now in Monroe County, Tennessee). Niles Ferry as starting point 17.5 miles west of Maryville, on State Highway.

Fort Loudon, 1 mile up river; Tuskeegee, 1 1-4 mile above Niles Ferry; Tommotley, 2 miles near Ball Play Creek; Toqua, 3 miles; Tennessee, 5 miles; Choto, 6 miles, Metropolis, opposite or east side river is Four Mile Creek; Settacoe, 7 miles, opposite the butt of Chilhowee Mountains; Chilhowee, 23 miles from Maryville, north mouth of Abram’s Creek; Tallassee, 30 miles, is now Calderwood on both sides of the river; Tellico, was 16 miles from Tanasee, west, is now Tellico Plains, on river of same name.

Opposite Tallassee Station, now called (1929) on Tennessee, Carolina Railway is old Michael Harrison place, then to Pleasant Henry, now Tallassee Land Co., Floyd Ambrister, Manager and Principal owner, were graves in bottom and west of house, near line fence; often plowed up bones and water dug up graves when high water were on. In one of these in fall 1928 or sping of 1929 was found a coin. On one side was "George II. with DG Mag Bri-Fra-et Ir-Rex-Fe" being around the outer rim. This has been translated--"George II by Grace of God, King of Brittain, France and Ireland". The coin is somewhat larger than our U.S. silver dollar. On the other side of the coin is an emblem of the "Knights of the Garter" and in French, "Honi Soi Qui Maly Pensi" and "Diem et mon droit"

translated "Evil is to him who evil thinks" and "God and my right".

George II was born October 30, 1683 and died October 25, 1760, crowned October 11, 1727, married August 22, 1705 Wilhelmia Charlotte Caroline, daughter of John Fredric Margrave of Brandenburg and Anspash. Sir Alexander Cummings carried 7 Cherokee Indians to England to see the King in March 1730, arriving there June 1730, introduced to the King on June 22, 1730. They arrived home May 11, 1731. In Judge Samuel E. Williams book, "Travels in Tennessee", frontspiece has these 7 and the center is Oukah Ulah (or Oukanaekah, or as Ukwanequa in SC and Onconecaw later as Checonnunia, and in 1756 called Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter), he was from Tennessee, and in 1756 said "I am the only one alive who went to England". Another from Tennessee country was 6th from left or second from right in picture, Glogoittae. One of these must have been the one whose graves we are to talk of now.

Some 25 years ago, one Susan Milligan (married Cu Taylor), succeeded to the lands of her father, John (Jack) Milligan, across the river from present Calderwood. She dug into a grave, found a crown, laid it on a stump while she dug further. Two young men picked it up and started off. She clung to them, they knocked her down and carried off the supposed crown. She had them indicted for assault under Atty. Gen. Andrew J. Fletcher. They offered to return the crown if she would appoint an agent to receive it and said agen Virgil Grant was to have the case dismissed. So done, they gave him a tin crown and he took it to her. She denied that it was the crown that she had found. As the years have gone by, the young men have let slip that they substituted with her and that they sold the crown for considerable money to a man from New York.

Now as to the coin found some 10 miles lower down the river and by men on the Tallassee Land Co. land, it is thought to be a medal given to one of the two Cherokee Indians, either Oukah Ulah or Glogoittae, who went to England and were introduced to George II in June 1730. Mr. Floyd Ambrister has the medal in his possession and has been offered several hundred dollars for it, but says it can not be bought from him. The land company has built a fine log hotel, developed many medicinal springs on the 7000 acres they control, and are now building an addition to the hotel, so as to have over 100 rooms. A dam has been built near one mile away, which will give them lights for over 400 places, and have other streams that can be dammed and give all they shall ever need. There are more mounds and graves on these acres and on the property opposite Calderwood that may yet reveal much of Indian lore and names. The new dam will soon hide most all these from further investigation.

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Maryville Enterprise, November 26, 1930


All loyal Americans are, or should be, interested in the early history of our country. Any narrative of events in which our ancestors took part, is of special interest. The following is of interest to the Woods family, who were early in the State of Tennessee; William Woods came from North Carolina near the tear 1780.

Near the year 1788, the settlers in Blount County were greatly annoyed, and some lives were sacrificed by Indian depridations.

There was no open declaration of war, but the Indians were troublesome, so that white men’s lives were in constant jeopardy.

A family, consisting of husband, wife, two daughters and one son lived not far from Morganton, now in Loudon County. It was necessary for the son to start early one morning to take a bag of corn some distance to the mill.

When near one mile from home he met four Indians. They passed without disturbance, but from their manner he was convinced that they were not upon a peaceful mission. He proceeded to mill. Upon his return to the home, he found the entire family had been butchered, and was convinced that the four Indians had committed the crime.

A few days later, a party of white men, signalled with white flag of truce a party of Indians to come across the Tennessee River. And while seated in one of the small cabins, the young man whose parents and sisters had been butchered a few days before, being one of the party, seized a tomahawk. And before he could be stopped, had split open the heads of each of the four Indians and said to his companions "they are the four who slew my family, do with me what you please". While his act was contrary to all rules of war, his friends failed to do anything with him. The Indian tribe demanded he be turned over to them, the whites refused, then open hostilities commenced. The whites retreated to a block house, but after several days of being beseiged, the Indians retreated.

Some 30 days thereafter a party of 31 men upon horses were sent over to reconnoiter. They went down the river to a ford, crossed over and thence up the river to a point called Indian Orchard. There the Indians ambushed them and had them so well surrounded that their only way of escape was toward the river. But there the bluffs were 12 or more feet high, and very precipetous. Being the only way, they rode for the cliffs, sprang off with their horses. The water proved to be deep, so no one was hurt; but one wounded man was unhorsed and had to swim. He found foothold on a rock located some distance from shore. One Thomas Brown held his flint-lock gun so that it did not become damaged by the plunge. He saw the man on the rock and that an Indian was fast swimming towards him, with a tomahawk in his hand. So he turned quickly in his saddle and with unerring aim, shot the Indian through the head and saved his friend. But at the same time he felt a sharp pain in his back and realized that he himself had been wounded. A brother to the man on the rock had reached safely the other side, when realizing his brother’s condition, and hearing his call of "for God’s sake come and take me out", unhesitatingly plunged back on his horse, facing the rapidly gathering Indians, swam to and brought his brother safely to the other side, pursued by a fusilade of bullets. Seventeen of the thirty-one were killed, and only three escaped unhurt.

One of the three was William Woods, then only seventeen years of age. He married July 9, 1796 to Keziah Acklin in Abingdon, Virginia. And from this came Woods, Jackson, Mayo and Beasley families of Blount Co. TN, Illinois, Kentucky, etc. A son, William W. Woods, a minister, married into James Houston’s family, thus connected with Tedford, Bennett, Craig, Patrick and other pioneer families. By a second marriage in 1821 to a widow, Mary (Hanna) Brown of Hawkins County, Tennessee, was a son, Alfred Campbell Woods. His son, Alfred C. Woods, related this story to his son, Charles W. Wood, who manuscripted the incidents in 1900. In relating this escape, in later years to his children, William Woods attributed his escape to the fact that his horse was a slow moving black, and nearly always in the rear, while the Indians seemed to be trying to kill the front ranks. Of the fourteen who escaped, thirteen arrived at the block house that night; the fouteenth man was Thomas Brown, who was shot in the back. And after going near two miles from the battlefield, found he could go no farther, turned aside, hid in a thicket where he found a small stream of water where he spent the night, feverishly and thirstily drinking water and vomiting blood. Toward morning he realized that he must get help or die. So as soon as light enough to see, by some means he mounted his horse and started, not reaching the block house until late in the afternoon, nearer death then was safe. A surgeon happened to be there, found that the bullet had passed nearly through the body, lodging just under the skin in front. He removed the bullet, cleansed the wound as best he could, drawing a silk handkerchief through the body several times. Brown recovered and was soon able to be about again. (Sent to me by the Woods family--"Tab"). Will E. Parham.

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Account of 1833 wedding found in records; further events in Polly's life given

This article was on Polly's wedding was taken from old Blount County records.

"Fair was she to behold that maiden of sixteen summers. Black were her eyes as the berries that grow on the thorn by the wayside. Black, yet softly they gleamed beneath the brown shades of her tresses. "William was anxious to win this energetic Polly and Polly was just as anxious to be won. He was somewhat of a dashing type, strong, handsome, rode a fine horse and played the violin. This was against him with Polly's family for they still held to primitive ideas and the violin didn't belong to their ideas. "But Polly's heart was completely won and all objections were overruled."

Polly Millsaps and William Ghormley were married in 1833 near the side of Chilhowee. Polly was only sixteen. It was with regrets that her family saw her married to the fiddler. A wedding dinner was given at Polly's home and the day following an Infair' was held at the home of the bride groom. They were happy, at least for awhile. Their first children were Hugh, John, and Nancy. Polly couldn't get away from her religion taught her from childhood. Her husband did not share her view. He loved to go to dances. Her heart was not in this. He often made the music for the dances. She felt it was all wrong and discontinued going to them. Fifteen years later William died suddenly while making music for a neighborhood dance. When the music was at its highest he suffered a hemorrhage that caused the fiddler's death. In 1945 Polly was still a young woman and carried her ideas of dancing with her all through her life. Polly lived with her three small children. But before long she met an Englishman, John Simpson, and they were married. He had only been in America a short time. He was a man of culture and education, was a builder by trade. Simpson was a widower and had two married daughters who came with their father to this country. The girls decided to go West with their husbands and there they settled in Indian Territory. One instance recorded here - one of the daughters wrote her father a sad experience she had with the Indians. They came to her home one day when her husband was away, burned the house, killed her baby and carried her away. In her despair she had the idea that preserved her purity and saved her life. She tore her handkerchief into bits and dropped them piece by piece along the way. When these gave out she tore up her apron likewise in hopes her husband could track her. He did and when the Indians had stopped for the night. The Indians were quarreling over the white face. Her husband had a band of white men with him. When they were overtaken the mother requested that the Indian that killed her baby be tortured to death the same way her baby was tortured. Polly and the Englishman were happy. All of Polly's children loved their new father. Under Polly's influence he became a Christian. Now here comes another sad chapter for Polly. Simpson died. She was still a beautiful woman. Later she met a widower, Robert Sherwood. He was somewhat older, but a prosperous farmer. Polly needed a home and someone to look after her. So she married him. Polly lived to be 94 years of age.

Submitted by: Brenda Thomas

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AN INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER devoted to serving the best interest of Monroe County, Madisonville, Tennessee, 37354 Jan. 13, 1971

Monroe County Women


Site of Carringer Post Office                                                                                  In the Yesteryear

Happy people at Tallassee revival gave Happy Top' school its name

Postoffices in the early days of Monroe County were many times located in homes.

One of these was the Carringer Post Office which was located a short distance from Tallassee School, known as "Happy Top," and therein lies an interesting story.

Gentry Millsaps of Maryville in a history of the Post Office and the area around it states that his mother, Mrs. Sam Millsaps, was postmistress of Carringer Post Office throughout World War I and until 1919 when she moved to Maryville.

"Carringer Post Office was built on the back porch of our home where it remains today in fair condition. The home and post office and surrounding farm lands still belong to the children of Sam and Marie Millsaps, Thelma, Reba and Gentry Millsaps," Millsaps said.

"A short distance from the home and post office is the Old Tallassee School. In the beginning the Quakers established a church there. After the church fell into a state of disrepair, a school was built there. It was known as Tallassee School. The Quakers established a cemetery by the church and here rest my parents," Sam and Marie Cline Millsaps.

"The school was used for church purposes and when a revival was held there the people got happy. From that time on the school house was known as "Happy Top." Many years ago my father and mother left money to restore the school building.

"Many persons received their early education at Happy Top School.' An almost complete list of the teachers who taught there includes Virgil Grant, Jessie D. Millsaps, Irene Henry, Nora Young, who boarded at our house, Earl Best, Onley Best, Elizabeth Crye, Helen Croft, Myrtle Best and Willis Isabell.

"A decoration is held at the school each year on the second Sunday in June," Millsaps said.

A member of the family has a letter postmarked at "Caringer PostOffice." The name is spelled with one"r". The home and post office are located on the old Tallassee Road above Chilhowee Dam and Lake, on Vonore Rt. 3.

Submitted by: Brenda Thomas


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Knoxville News Sentinel, Saturday, November 15, 1969

Coffin Ready 20 Years

John Dotson, 95, Dies in Mountains

by Carson Brewer, News-Sentinel Writer

VONORE, Nov, 15 -- Uncle John Dotson died Thursday. He was buried today in the curley maple coffin that Preacher Ol’ (Oliver) Williams made for him nearly 20 years ago.

He was 95 years old. But he had lived all of those in the mountains of Monroe County and those of neighboring Graham County, NC.

He had lived for the past 25 or more years in the last house up Mulberry Creek, on the south side of the Little Tennessee River, immediately downstream from Chilhowee Dam, with his youngest son, Bill, and his family.

He operated the old Mulberry grist mill, down the creek from his home, until changing times put him out of business after World War II.

John Floyd Dotson was born on Jakes Creek, only a few miles from where he died at his home on Mulberry. He plowed a steer on Jakes Creek bottomland when he was a boy.

He later moved far up Slick Rock Creek, which serves as the boundary between Tennessee and North Carolina, now in Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests.

Far up Slick Rock, under towering Hangover Mountain, he herded cattle and killed rattlesnakes.

"I guess I’ve killed 1000 rattlesnakes," he said while reminiscing a few months ago. He said rattlesnakes sometimes bit his dogs, and his first aid for the dogs was kerosene.

"The next day, you could hardly tell they’d been bitten," he said.

He herded his own cattle under Hangover, as well as those of others, who paid him $1.50 per head to take care of them from spring through September.

Dotson also was a timber cutter. He worked for Babcock Lumber Co., which cut much of the virgin forest in Citico Creek and Tellico River drainages.

"I’ve eat dinner on a poplar stump eight feet through," he once said.

While living on Monroe County’s Ballplay Creek when he was in his 20s, he cut logs and ran them down the small creek when it was at high water. The big logs went down the small stream singly, rather than in rafts, and Dotson sometimes had to walk them. He said he nearly froze sometimes when he fell from a log into the cold water in the middle of winter.

Dotson’s coffin, with the curving grain of the maple wood smoothly polished, has waited for years in the room immediately above his bedroom.

Williams, who died several years ago, made two of those coffins--one for himself and one for his old friend John Dotson. He sent word one day to Dotson that he was making his coffin, "to pay for the toe that I cut off."

When the two were boys, they were playing on a big log one day. John Dotson was running up and down the length of the log, and Ol’ Williams was hacking at the log with a double-bitted ax. He cut off a Dotson toe.

John C. Hale, operator of Biereley-Hale Funeral Home, Madisonville, said he’s having to add seven inches to the depth of the coffin because Dotson became so stooped in his later years that the hand-made coffin, as it was originally made, wouldn’t accomodate the body.

Dotson leaves 80 descendants. These include two daughters, Mrs. Edgar Brown, Philadelphia, Tenn., and Mrs. Doak Summey; three sons, Jess and William Dotson of Vonore and Roy Dotson of Calderwood; 25 grandchildren, 43 great- grandchildren and seven great- great- grandchildren.


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The Republican, Saturday, March 6, 1875

We are pained to learn Thursday last that Mr. Benjamin F. Woodside, a merchant at Chilhowee, this county, was drowned in Abram’s Creek about noon last Wednesday. We got the following particulars of this unfortunate occurrence from Dr. James Martin:

Mr. Woodside and a young son of Mr. Boyd McMurray’s were crossing Abram’s Creek, a short distance above where it empties into Little Tennessee River, using a rope, stretched across, to pull the canoe over. The canoe upset, Mr. Woodside becoming entangled in the rope was swept under the water and was drowned, his body remaining fastened to the rope until rescued. Young McMurray reached the bank in safety.

The bereaved family and friends have our heart felt sympathies.

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Blount County Democrat, Thursday, October 19, 1882

The Body Brought to Loudon

Bob Taylor, one of the notorious "Taylor Brothers," whose murder of Sheriff Cate and his deputy, Conway, startled the whole country, was killed near Lebanon, Missouri on the 13th inst., by Sheriff Goodall of Laclede County, MO. Through correspondence with Sheriff Joe D. Foute of Loudon County, Sheriff Goodall was made acquainted with the facts of the murders committed by the Taylors, and as Bob used to be in that section (his brother’s wife lives in Camden County), the Sheriff soon spotted his man and undertook to arrest him on the train, after it left Lebanon. Goodall presented his pistol and told Taylor ro surrender. Bob tried to draw his pistol, but the Sheriff struck him on the head with his revolver, and as the blow did not seem to effect him, Goodall then shot Taylor, the ball ranging near the heart. John O. Estes, a deputy sheriff, knocked a pistol out of Taylor’s hand, and struck him on the head with a club after he was shot, breaking the skull. Taylor lived about a minute after being shot.

Sheriff Goodall arrived in Chattanooga Monday night with the body of Taylor, the same having been fully identified. The corpse was exposed to view until noon Tuesday, when it was brought to Loudon.

Some persons think that it is not Bob Taylor’s body. The whereabouts of the other Taylors is still unknown.


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Maryville Times, Friday, January 3, 1908

At McMurry’s Ferry on the Little Tennessee River about 22 miles from this place on Tuesday, December 21st., occured a very sad accident. Harley Dale and Tom Correll started across the river in a ferry boat, and got about half way across when the boat sunk, and drowned Harley Dale aged about 19 years. Correll being a fine swimmer succeeded in reaching the shore and gave the alarm. McMurry’s have a very fine ferry which is run on a cable. The boys started across to ferry a man and he is across the river with the above result. The body had not yet been found at Wednesday noon, as the river is high at this season of the year. Friends extend sympathy to the bereaved parents.

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Submitted by: Maxine Reggio

This is from the New Era Newspaper, Warren Co., Tennessee. It is one of the obits in one of my obit books.

Ray, Sheriff Charles E. New Era Newspaper Thursday, May 5, 1892 Knoxville, April 22 — For the past two months there has been a deadly feud among some families in Monroe County. The Murphy boys, desperadoes, and fugitives from justice, are the cause. The start of the trouble was when one of the Murphys ran off with a mountain girl by the name of Johnson. Her folks pursued and captured the girl after she had been at Murphy’s several days. A fight occurred then, and old man Johnson the neighborhood took up the row, until the entire south or mountain side of Monroe county was involved. There have been several fights, with several deaths. The Murphys are charged with all the killing. On April 1, the Sheriff of Monroe took a squad of deputies into the mountains to attempt the capture of the Murphys. He came up with them about dark on the 2nd of April, an a fight took place. In the battle Deputy Sheriff Charles E.Ray was shot in the head by one of the Murphys. A telegram received tonight from Madisonville states that Ray died yesterday afternoon. He was one of the most popular men in the county, and vengeance is sworn on the Murphys. A telegram was received here this afternoon from the Sheriff of the county ordering a case of Winchester rifles. It is reported that a large posse has been organized, and will go into the mountains after the Murphys. They are desperate men, thoroughly acquainted with the mountain passes, and other deaths are certain. They swear they will never be taken alive. The scene of the trouble is remote from railroad and telegraph.

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Hord Of Ancient Coins Found Near Madisonville.

Maryville Times, Monday, July 11, 1927

(By Mrs. Robert Magill in Chattanooga Times.)

MADISONVILLE, Tenn-- Just imagine how it must feel to be hoeing cotton with a long, hard day in prospect, and all at once begin to dig up clinking coins---and the deeper you dug the more coins rolled out. It sounds like one of Stevenson’s stories; but such was the experience of Eva Watson and her sister, Edith Watson, and their cousin, Bertha Mae Torbett, who, together with their brothers, were hoeing cotton on the farm of Ransom Watson, formerly the Joe Torbett farm near here last week.

The girls were working on a hillside in sandy land which had been cultivated this year for the first time. The "new ground" had been cleared about two years ago. The girls had gone to work early and had been working about an hour when Eva Watson saw something round as she was digging up some dirt around a cotton hill.

Her first thought, she said, was that someone had lost some money. She stopped to pick it up and began to scratch in the dirt, looking for more coins. The other girls came running at her call and began to dig. The more they dug, the more money piled up. By this time the boys had noticed the excitement and arrived on the scene.

Edwin Torbett, with his hands filled with coins, ran to the place where his father, Joe Torbett, and Sam Watson, were plowing in the same field. Mr. Torbett and Mr. Watson said when they reached the place where the money was found it looked very much like a flock of hens had been turned out on the hillside. The cotton crop near the scene was not spared, and now no cotton grows near the place.

It is needless to say that work on the farm was suspended for most of the day.

The girls said that when they found the coins, part of them were stacked together. There was no box, pot or any sign of anything in which the money had been hidden. Possibly it had been hidden near a stump and the stump decayed. It was all found within a radius of a few feet.

All the money was unusually well preserved, considering its age. As it was dug up it was not dark as might be expected; but appeared as though it had just been dropped in the sand. Soon after the money was found it was brought to the Bank of Madisonville and the bank soon filled with people to see it. It has since been on display there.

Among the coins found were some of the first ever to be coined in America. The first money was coined in 1792, and a 50 cent piece found was dated 1795. An American dollar was dated 1797. There was also a Spanish dollar with the words "Del Gratia Ferdin VII," dated 1797. This is the size of an American dollar.

There were four Spanish coins the size of the American dime or a little larger, which had the words "Del Gratia Carelus IIII," Three of these were dated 1780 and one 1807. Another Spanish dollar had the words "Del Gratia Carelus III," dated 1797. There was also some Mexican money.

Beginning in 1806, there were 50 cent pieces representing every year but three up to 1831. This was the latest dated coin found. There were eight 1824 50 cent pieces, the same number of 1829, and five of 1807, 1818, 1825, 1826, respectively. In all there were eighty-four 50 cent pieces.

The quarters, numbering twelve, were dated from 1805 on up to 1825. Five of the earlier coins have holes in them. The half-dollars had the words "Fifty-Cents" on the edge. The coins found at first amounted to more than $50, and some have been found since. The value, of course, depends on the premium on them. The good condition of the coins makes them more valuable; none of them being worn except those with holes in them.

Was the $50, a small fortune in early days, the property of an Indian or some one who lived in the community? These questions have perplexed the neighbors since the finding of the money. Some believe that it had been hidden by the Indians as it was near the trail of the Cherokees.

The trail which led from the Cherokee settlement in this county to the settlement of the same tribe in the Sevier County, followed approximately what is known as the Old Federal Road. The trail, it is said, led near the place where the coins were found, to the Indian town of Tellequah, now known as Tellico Plains.

This was a rendezvous and camping ground for the Cherokees when they were masters of this domain. Here the great chiefs called their clans together in councils of war. Here they planned their battles and their hunts, here they built their mounds and buried their dead. It is thought that when the town of Tellequah was destroyed, some Indians hid the money near the old trail.

This might account for the holes in the small pieces, as it was the custom of the Indians to wear money around their necks. It is said that the hills nearby were burned off and used by the Indians to observe the approach of the enemy.

During the Civil War, Sherman’s men camped near the place where the money was found and some think it belonged to some of his men. But others think that because the latest dated coin was 1831, that it was buried long before the Civil War.

The story is told by some in the community of an old Indian coming to a house nearby and telling the people that some money was hidden "beneath a stooping hickory" on the hill. It was said that he hunted several days for the money and never found it. He died soon afterwards, it was said.

The story which is more likely to be true is that "Uncle Husey" Torbett, who lived near the place where the money was found, hid it. Mr. Torbett, the great grandfather of the children who found the coins, lived some little distance from the hill of treasure. It was on what was once his farm that the money was found. He lived on what was known as the Old Federal Road, cut in 1812. He owned a large farm but did not work on it, working at Coker Creek.

Placer mining with primitive methods was used at Coker Creek up to the beginning of the Civil War. Mr. Torbett was in the War of 1812. It is supposed that there was where he got the Spanish and Mexican money. He was an old man at the beginning of the Civil War. As there were no banks in those days the people had to hide their money anywhere they could.

The Indians were also here, and the people did not know at what time there would be an outbreak among them. It was said that Mr. Torbett had more money than anyone in the community where he lived. Old residents recall the story among the neighbors of how "Uncle Huse" had lots of money when the war broke out and that he was told to hide it.

Where he put it remained a secret. One day he had been working at Coker Creek and came home ill. He died that day or the next. His sudden death is explained by some as being the reason he never disclosed where his money was hidden.

The old house on the farm of Ransom Watson, near here on the Old Federal Road, is said by old residents to be the oldest house in this section. It was built by "Uncle Huse" more than 130 years ago. Until recently it has belonged to the Torbetts.

The building of logs is situated on slight rise overlooking the Old Federal Road cut by Jackson and his men in 1812. The house itself and the farm are rife with historic interest. During the Civil War the old house was used as headquarters for Sherman’s staff. The army camped not far from the house.

Submitted by Glenn Teffeteller

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Blount County Standard, Tuesday, December 25, 1877

On the 18th inst., Jack hunt, the Monroe County wife murderer, was executed at Madisonville. From the report of the scene, to the Knoxville Tribune, we make the following extracts:

In response to inquiries concerning his spiritual welfare, Hunt stated that he was prepared to die, and after having been shaved, proceeded to clothe himself for the grave, remarking, meantime, that "this is a right serious matter when a fellow looks at it properly."

At noon there was an immense crowd surrounding the jail, who were kept back from the building by the Sheriff’s posse, composed of 56 armed men, while another squad of special policemen mingled through the mass of human beings.

Inside the prison was presented a scene touchingly affecting, by which the stoutest hearts were moved and tears glimmered in the eyes of the sternest spectators. Embracing her wayward boy who was doomed to die ere two hours elapsed, knelt the mother, who had reached full three-score years, imploring her son to make a full confession and tell her all--the motive that prompted him to murder his wife, and the horrible details therewith. Throughout this conversation, Hunt remained apparently unmoved by the mother’s appeals, and asked repeatedly that she cease weeping. In conclusion, he remarked to his mother: "I would do more if I could," referring to a former threat that he intended to kill Farmer, his brother-in-law, also. Just then the Sheriff interrupted the conversation by announcing that the time had expired and the culprit must be off for the scaffold.

Hunt arose, shed a tear at parting from his mother, carefully adjusted his hat, and braced himself to face the crowd outside with a careless air, in which he succeeded admirably, for as he marched through the line of guards and mounted the wagon in waiting, scarcely an emotion was perceptible in his countenance.

En route to the scene of execution, the prisoner was seated beside Gormley, a brother-in-law to Hunt, with whom he conversed quite freely, occasionally requesting him to deliver messages to this or that friend or relative.

Rev. Mr. Kefauver stated that he would, as requested by the doomed man, read the following letter from Hunt as his final message:

Madisonville, Tenn, Saturday Night, December 16, 1877

Dear Mother, Father and Brothers:

"I will try to write you a few lines to bid you all a final farewell. I do not want you, dear mother, to be more troubled about me than you can help. I want you to prepare to meet me in a better world, where sin and sorrow is not found. Will and Sam, I want you to be good boys, and try to get to Heaven when you die. There is more pleasure in living the life of a Christian. It looks plain to me now, though I did not think so, nor see it in that light, before I sought and believe I found pardon in a merciful Savior. I do not want any of you to grieve for me, but take warning by my misfortune and try to do better than it has been my misfortune to do. Farewell to you all, and may God bless and save you all."

A.J. Hunt


 The prisoner the requested Rev. Mr. Coltharp to speak to the crowd, and desired the minister to state that he (Hunt) was prepared for a better world, and desired the people present to meet him there.

When notified that his time had expired, Hunt mounted the platform temporarily erected on the wagon, and stated to the Sheriff that he felt better than he had for some hours previous. He then bade each goodbye, when the black cap was placed over his head, the rope (the same used in the execution of John Webb, and to be used on Harness) was adjusted, the wagon passed out, and Jack Hunt, within eight minutes, had passed into eternity.



Maryville, Tenn., December 20, 1877

Leaving this place at an early hour on Monday morning last, I wended my way slowly to Madisonville, arriving there about night, on the day previous to the execution of Jack Hunt. Just here I wish to state that I did not go see Hunt hung, but just to hear what he had to say, as was the case with the other 3,999 persons there assembled.

Nothing worthy of not ocurred on the way to Madisonville, except the seeing of many persons on the same mission as myself, "to hear what Jack had to say." On the night previous to the execution, the many roads leading out from Madisonville were lined with weary campers, coming in from a distance to "hear what a doomed man had to say." From early dawn till midday on the morning of the execution the people--men, women and children--poured in from every direction, to see a fellow man die, or in their own words, "just to hear what he had to say." But after all, Hunt said not a word, and came very near depriving all curiosity lovers from seeing a man hung, for the night previous to the hanging, he tried to end his life by taking morphine, but failed to accomplish his design.

Taking everything into consideration, Hunt took the thing about as easy as any man I have ever seen swing off. He seemed quite calm, and bore up like a man.

Hunt was a good looking young man about 23 years of age, was well dressed and cleanly shaved. Not withstanding the solemnity of the occasion there were many pleasant looking faces in the vast throng, but I believe this is the case on nearly all occasions. There is always something to make glad the hearts and bring a smile or pleasant look upon the faces of spectators, even at the hanging of their fellow men. Not glad that a fellow man was being put to death by hanging, but each individual, like myself, seemed glad that it was not "me." How very astonishing that so many thousands will congregate to see a man die. Why, if the announcement had gone abroad from all the pulpits and courts of the country, that Paul, noted orator of old, would, on a certain day, deliver such an address as that made by him, in self defense, before Felix, so many people would scarcely have come together to hear it. John, with all his combined oratorical powers, at this day, would fail to secure such an audience as this.

Not withstanding the vast crowd here assembled, not a drunk man was to be seen, and a more civil and well behaved crowd of people would be hard to find. Quiet reigned supreme.

We certainly sympathize with the relatives of poor Jack Hunt. May the people of Monroe County never again witness such a solemn scene.

Submitted by Glenn Teffeteller

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