PISGAH HISTORY
By W. Thomas Carden

October 6, 1904
Interesting Account of Early Church and Schools.

The cemetery at this place is a large burying ground. For miles around the dead are brought to this place and laid away. A child of a man named Grimes was the first one buried here. The next burial was of Mrs. Griffin, who died at a campmeeting service. It is said that there are no preachers buried here. A man named Cross, who was surly and irritable, it is related, was buried cross-wise, because he was cross by name, nature and practice. This graveyard is unfenced and in a dilapidated condition. Stock runs over it and school children play with part of the tablets. Some of the lots are overgrown with weeds and briars. Some of the enclosures are torn down, many graves are unmarked. Some graves are covered with long flat slabs, which have the inscriptions engraved thereon. Many inscriptions have been effaced by the elements. The name of the disease that caused death , with the length of illness, is stated on some of the Tombstones. In early times coffins were made by some carpenter in the vicinity and usually cost $1.50 apiece, the price for the man's work. A winding sheet and veil were the furnishings for the corpse. In 1854 there was an epidemic of dysentery, called brown flux, which killed people by the score, oftimes almost exterminating large families. At one time there were fifteen graves before it rained. The Bull family was nearly all taken by this grievous malady.

Thomas J. ("Dip") Westmoreland, second son of Laban A. and Nancy Westmoreland, was born December 4, 1830, arid assinated in Lawrenceburg, November 9, 1858. He was killed by Lewis Kirk, who was one of Forrest's Scouts in the Civil War, and was himself killed by the Federals and buried near Esquire George Dismukes 'house. In 1903 his body was exhumed and carried to Lynnville. A large marble stone marks the resting place of Westmoreland. It was erected by G. W. Woodring of Pulaski. Dr. Monroe F. ("White") Westmoreland was an assistant surgeon in Hume Field's Company, First Tennessee Regiment. He was wounded at Romney, West Virginia, and died during the campaign in that State.

Tom Butler, Sam Tucker, Sr., and Mit Woodward, belonged to Wheeler's Cavalry. They are buried in this graveyard. Esquire W. F. Simpson, a member of the of the Third Tennessee Regiment, James H. Briggs, of the 32nd Tennessee and Harbard Young of the same Regiment are buried here.

Laban A. Westnoreland was born February 22, 1809, and died October 27, 1860. He was a noted character in this section, being a trader and merchant. He lived where Drs. Lancaster now reside. He went from this place to Bunker Hill where he sold goods for twelve or fifteen years. His mind became aberrant in his closing days. He moved to Mississippi but came back and died on the Giles Reynolds Farm.

Robert Tucker was born in 1800 and died October 10, 1865. He is buried here. Mary Dunivant, wife of Peter Dunivant, was born December 1, 1800, and died May 8, 1858. Many others are buried here, but, as mention will be made of them in other connections, notice will not here be made.

The old church, which was situated immediately behind the present house, was sold to R. M. Smith, together with one acre and forty four poles of land, July 28, 1868. The lot was surveyed by R. P. Yancey, County Surveyor, June 25, 1868. Mr. Smith paid $300 consideration. The old house was moved about 100 yards further back, where it now stands. It was used two or three years as a carpenter shop and undertaking establishment. Later it was a shed, storehouse and saloon. It has been used for school purposes. It is now a storehouse, occupied by Tarpley & Coggin. A Masonic Hall was added to it by raising it another story. Bradshaw Lodge Number 256, F. A. M., occupy this hall and have a flourishing organization. On one side are stock scales. Two graves are under the house.

September 14, 1867, a subscription was started for the purpose of erecting a new church building. William 0. Loyd, Sterling Abernathy and Alfred Houze were the building committee. L. B. Marks, Sterling Abernathy, William G. Loyd, Felix T. Abernathy, Wesley Harwell, Harbard L. Harwell, Reverend Stith M. Harwell, Elihu McDonald, Nicholas Grubbs and William Webb were the trustees. James M. Edwards and William C. Hollis were the contractors. Dr. William E. Lancaster and G. A. Hopkins were sureties. Professor S. A. R. Swan drew the plans of the house. The house is sixty feet long by forty feet wide. It was covered with yellow poplar shingles nineteen inches long and four inches wide. The house was to be finished by April 15, 1868. Work began November 5, 1867. June 5, 1868, $1,250 was paid the contractors for the framing. William R. Smith and Felix T. Abernathy took the contract to floor the church October 27, 1868, for $158, to bs finished December 25, 1868. H. E. Finn was given the contract to plaster the house, March 22, 1869, to be finished May 15, 1869 at 50 per square yard. $1,633 was paid on the first subscription, $262 was paid on the second, $194 on the third, $125 on the fourth. The sale of the old church and land amounted to $300. Total, $2,524. The church, however, cost $3,000 or more. Among the largest contributors were Dr. W. E. Lancaster, $50: J. L. Barnes, $60: H. L. Harwell, $96.29: James H. McCormick, $50: Mrs. A. E. Abernathy, $50: Sterling Abernathy, $77: Wesley Harwell, $100: Elihu McDonald, $95: T. L. Birdsong, $50: R. M. Smith, $50: William H. Oliver, $50: William G. Loyd, $50: Thomas G. Paine, $105.05: and David T. Reynolds, $50. Several of these supplemented their donations with work, material, and boarding the workmen. The first sermon delivered in the new church was preached one Thursday in September, 1869, by Reverend Thomas P. Brown. The following Sunday the church was dedicated.

Schools were taught in the old church for a long time. The earliest schools I can learn anything definite of were in the early 40's. Text books were scarce in those days. Anything and everything printed were used. Peter Parley's History, Webster's "Blue Back" speller, Pike's Arithmetic, Olney's Geography, and Kirkum's Grammer were the principal studies. Pounds, shillings and pence were the monetary denominations used in the arithmetics. Chicago was on the map as Fort Dearborn. Kansas City, Minneapolis, and other large cities of the present West and Northwest were not mentioned in the geographies. Lessons were studied in an audable tone and the house was filled with a hum and jargen which could often be heard for quite a distance. Should anyone of today, unacquainted with the custom of those times, hear and see a school conducted as in those times he would think he was in bedlam. In the summertime the larger and and trustworthy pupils were allowed the privilege of sitting beneath a shade tree hard by to prepare lessons. Sometimes an urchin would perch on the limbs. "Bull Pen", Tag, Base, Jumping the Rope and "Shinny" were favorite games. Woe be to the passerby who dared taunt the scholars by giving the opprobrous epithet of "School Butter" (a corruption of school better). Both teacher and pupils would pursue the offender and inflict severe punishment which generally consisted of ducking the party in the creek. The most important branch of the curriculum was the one employed in corporal chastisement. I am inclined to believe that much of the sturdihood of our older men is due to the many flaggelations they received at school. A plank stuck in a crack of the wall sufficed for an ample writing desk. Goose quills were fashioned by the teacher into writing pens. It was in the 50's before steel pens were introduced. Puncheon seat made of Chestnut logs, with peg legs and no backs, were the desks. Forked sticks were fastened to the walls and used as hat and dinner racks. The letter Z was called izzard, then spelled and pronounced thus; I-zzard, iz, izzard-a-r-d, zard, izzard. Afterwards it was changed to zed and then to Z. Friday afternoons spectators were present and spelling bees and declaiming and reciting were indulged in for their entertainment and the edification of the school. "Mary had a little lamb", (spoken generally by a girl). "The boy Stood on the Burning Deck" (-sung by a lusty lunged male with a srtident voice) were prime favorites. Now and then some of the older boys would "Bury Caesar" or "Fed Upon the Gramplan Hills" or "Sink or Swim" and the older girls would read an essay entitled "Spring" or "the Beautiful Snow". The last day of the school the big boys would "turn the teacher out" and demand a "treat". He generally complied and passed around ginger-cakes and apples. Miss Adeline Lester was the teacher at this place, 1846. She married a preacher named Sumner. He died and she married a man named Hudson. Wiley Willeford taught in 1848-49. Miss Anna Green, daughter of Reverend Colman Green, was one of the teachers here long ago. There were a Professor McIntyre; Profossor Yancey, father of W. J. Yancey, of Pulaski; Captain E. W. Holt; F. A. Dickerson, a graduate of Yale; S. A. R. Swan and a Professor Scales.

In the early 70's considerable animosity was engendered on account of school matters. Factions were arrayed against each other. One night Professor Scales was fired upon by unknown parties and an old hearse was left at his gate. Grogshops were plentiful in this section, several were on the hill. Rowdyism was rampant. This was the roughest epoch of Pisgah's History. In those times young boys in the summertime went in their shirt-tails to school. The home-spun jacket and blue jeans and cotton-cloth suits were good enough for everyone. Pride and vanity did not figure as they do in these modern days. During the early days of the War Marion Bass got hold of an old drum. The school boys and the young men of the community drilled themselves at recess and play-time in military tactics and maneuvers. They became rather proficient and received the compliments of their pedagogue. The men were preparing for actual hostilities and the martial strains and practice inflamed many a youthful heart to enlist and many a mother's joy went to war - some never returned '- some passed through unschathed - some were wounded and came home to be nursed back to health - all realizing the reality of battle was horrible, instead of being as they had antcipated.

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