October 13, 1904.
There was a grist mill on Buchanan Creek for several years, near where Bascom Smith now lives. It was operated by W. J. Abernathy. There was another mill on the Creek below J. H. Oliver's and another on the farm now owned by 0. E. Smith. Traces of these industries are almost extinct. In the early days several distilleries were maintained in this neighborhood. G. W. Oliver owned one of these plants. His son, W. H. Oliver.succeeded him in the business. John H. Oliver, a son, has a receipt of his father's for a large quantity of whiskey, which sold for 15 cents per gallon.
There were no post offices from Bradshaw to Pulaski as late as 1840. Mail was carried from Pulaski to Fayetteville. The office at Pisgah was granted in 1859 and discontinued a few years since, when Rural Free Delivery was introduced in these parts. In the early days newspapers were very small in size, containing only two sheets. There were no stock scales in these parts. Weighing was done on balances. Two pair of britching were used to hold hogs to ascertain their weight. Trading was a lucrative business. Several were engaged in this profession. large droves of hogs were carried annually from this section to Montgomery. As many as 1,200 head were in one drove. In the autumn and early winter was the time devoted to hogs. In the summer mules were bought and carried south.
Politics, in those days, were at the boiling point. The Whigs and Democrats were very bitter toward each other. Oft-times they were so hostile that they ran amuck. "Fist and skull" encounters were the common methods of settling their differences. The Democrats would have barbecues during political campaigns, and some of their prominent speakers would hurl all sorts of anethemas and vituperation at the Whigs. In turn the Whigs would try to out-do the Democrats, and thus the fires were kept burning. The Democrats would not attend the demonstrations of the Whigs, saying if they had a yellow dog that attended a Whig meeting they would kill it. Captain Holt had a negro called "Blue John", whom he had purchased from Daniel Leatherman. This colored gentleman one day in 1856 hallowed for Fremont, and it so angered Holt so much that he whipped the negro until blood ran down to his heels. Sterling Abernathy was a strong Whig. The leader of that party in this vicinity was William (better known as Jerry) Aymett, who was very witty. It was said of the Democrats during one of the campaigns that they were looking up to their leaders. Thereupon Mr. Aymett remarked that they were so low down that they could not look any other way.
In the original Twentieth Civil District have lived three men who afterwards became governors of Tennessee. They were Neil S. and John C. Brown and Isham G. Harris. The Browns were Whigs and were born and reared in this District. Three of their sisters married preachers. One married Reverend James Stevenson. Another married a Presbyterian preacher named McMillian, who was a Chaplin in the Confederate Army. Isham G. Harris was born at Winchester and came to this County when a young man and lived awhile with his brother, James T. Harris, who lived on Bradshaw Creek. James T. Harris was a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army. At the Battle of Shiloh, General A- S. Johnston fell mortally wounded and died in the arms of Isham G. Harris.
Pink Harris, a son of James T., rode up during this scene and said: "Uncle Isham, Father has just been killed". Isham G. Harris, in speaking of this sad incident to Dr. Jesse Mayes, of this place, afterward said, I learned just there, there was a wide difference between war on paper and war on the field.
During the war this country suffered greatly. The quota of soldiers from the grand old Volunteer State had many of the flower of manhood from these parts. Those who were left at home - old men, women and children - had many obstacles and deprivations to contend with. The soldiers of both Armies depreciated this section considerably. W. T. Sherman's Army marched through this place on its way from Memphis to Chattanooga. They camped on Bradshaw Creek several days. They foraged the surrounding country and destroyed a good deal of property. Milroy's Cavalry passed through Pisgah one night. James Rivers and Lewis Kirk, two of Forrest's Scouts, stood near the present parsonage, and watched them. After they passed Kirk went to the graveyard to see T. J. Westmoreland's grave. He had killed Westmoreland. A year after this he was killed.
During the war people used roasted wheat and sweet potatoes for coffee. Hitherto prosperous neighborhoods, during these dark days, the ravages of war times turned into dreary wastes and desolate ruins. Happy homes were bowed in grief. Robust manhood was stooped and maimed by exposure and bullets. Stock was gone, fences torn away, and farms over-run. During the reconstruction period the people were seriously handicapped in every way.
The oldest houses in this vicinity are the Lucy Place, the Houze residence, a house on G. W. Elder's place, and the house owned by Henry Butler.
Oliver, Lancaster, and Abernathy were merchants at this place several years ago. Captain E. W. Holt also sold goods here. R. M. Smith sold goods here for sometime. His sons, the firm of Smith Brothers, succeeded him. W. H. Lancaster has been in the merchantile business several years. He was burned out twice. He and Tarpley and Coggin are the only two stores here at present.
Joshua James was a blacksmith at this place. He moved away in 1837.
Dr. W. E. Lancaster, Dr. Jesse Mayes, Dr. Grant, Dr. Nelson, Dr. Wilson, and Dr. Carter were the physicians at this place for the last fifty years. A sketch of Dr. Lancaster will be given later. Dr. Jesse Mayes was a self-made, practical man of fine intellect. He practiced medicine for about forty years. He is well remembered to this day by a host of friends. Dr. Grant was a son-in-law of Dr. Mayes. He located in Nashville and at present is in the old soldier's home in that city. Drs. A. J. and G. W. Lancaster, sons of Dr. W. E. Lancaster, and Dr. R. E. Aymett are the doctors here now. They were reared at this place. Cupping and bleeding and the use of "yarbs and roots" were in vogue here for years, as also these customs prevailed elsewhere.
Martin Zimmerman was a tailor at this place for some time. He left Pisgah in 1842 and moved to near Rogersville, Alabama. He had three sons. Joe, the oldest, was wounded at Antietam, Virginia, having an eye shot out. He died in Texas two years ago. John died in prison at Fort Delaware. He was captured at Vicksburg. George died in Mississippi. A daughter died of Yellow Fever at Florence, Alabama, about ten years ago. Zimmerman lived where Dr. Lancaster now lives.
Miss Birdwell married John McCormack, Sr, one of the first settlers. At his death she married Josiah Phelps. She died in Texas in 1900, aged 89 years. Six children were born of the first union - five girls and one boy. Eliza married Milton Marks. Mary married Lee Abernathy. Marella married Alfred Rowe. Emily married William Houze. Patsy married Joel Dyer. John was the boy's name. He lives on Buchanan Creek, near this place, and is widely known as "Marse John". He was born in 1830. In 1859 he was street overseer and Town Constable of Pulaski. He was a slave overseer for years. Of the second marriage are the following children: Xantippe, who married Doc Wright; Julia, who was the first wife of Alex Loyd; Parthenia, who died in early life; Thomas Benton Phelps, who went to Texas, and Napoleon B. Phelps, who is dead. Mrs. Phelps crossed Elk River in an ox cart in 1809, on her way from North Carolina to this place. The most of her children are now dead. Their offspring are scattered in all parts of the United States.