The First Settlers

A treaty was made with the Chickasaw Indians in July, l805, by which they ceded their claim to all lands north of Duck River and east of the Natches road as far as the ridge that divides the waters of Elk from those of Buffalo. This line passed through Giles County, entering it near the northwest corner, crossing the Lawrenceburg road at the eight-mile post, passed four or five miles west of Pulaski, crossed Elk River about three miles above Prospect and the State line at Phillips' mill, leaving a considerable portion of the western and southwestern part of the county in the Chickasaw territory.

Probably the first white men to penetrate and explore the forests and canebrakes of Giles County were the commissioners and their guard of citizens, who were sent to lay off a district fifty-five miles wide in the northern part of Middle Tennessee in satisfaction of land warrants issued by North Carolina to officers and soldiers of the Continental line, and also to lay off a tract of 25,000 acres south of said district, donated by said State to Gen. Greene. Among those to whom grants for land lying in Giles County were issued were the following: Martin Armstrong, 5,000 acres; William P. Anderson, 540 acres; Stockley Donelson, 5,000 acres: Robert Fenner, 300 acres; John Haywood, 5,000 acres; Henry Montford, 200 acres; Phillips and Shepperd, 5,000 acres; George Simpson, 152 acres; Henry Shepperd, 2,000; Howell Tatum, 311 acres; Henry Toomer, 340 acres; George Breckenridge, 150 acres; George Shields, 252 acres; Sam Shields, 116 acres; John Dobbins, 165 acres; James Reynolds, 5 acres; Charles Girard, 232 acres; James P. Taylor, 640 acres; James Williams, 100 acres; John Childers, 300 acres; John Dougherty, 500 acres; John Reynolds, 300 acres; James Montgomery, 200 acres; John Strother, 95 acres; John Temple, 83 acres; Richard Hightower, 100 acres; John Hughes, 50 acres; James Temple, 300 acres, and John Armstrong, 5,000 acres.

The first permanent settlement in the county was made in about 1805, on Elk River, near the mouth of Richland Creek, and in the neighborhoods of the present towns of Elkton and Prospect, one of which lies above and the other, below the mouth of said creek, by William Crowson, his four sons and son-in-law, Vincent, Thomas Whitson, Jordan Word, James Ford, James Wilkerson, Parish Sims, Thomas Dodd, John Reynolds, William Jenkins, Thomas Kyle, Thomas Easley, Simon Ford, John Hunnicutt and John and William Price. When these pioneers came they found the county a vast canebrake and forest, the cane being from twenty to twenty-five feet high. The settlers united their forces and cleared away the cane and built log houses for each other and the same kindness and courtesy was extended to each newcomer for years thereafter.

Other settlements were made in the county as follows: Thomas Reed, William Riggs, Joseph Moore, Daniel Cox, James Kimborough, Joseph and Elijah Anderson, Thomas Westmoreland, Rev. Aaron Brown and sons (Thomas and William). John Butler and John Barnett settled in the now Aspin Hill neighborhood from 1807 to 1809; Dr. Gabriel Bumpass, William Buchanan and sons (Maximillian, Robert, John and Jesse), Timothy Ezell, Mike Ezell and William Ezell settled in the neighborhood of Cross Waters in 1807 and 1808; John and Lewis Nelson settled a few miles northeast of Prospect in 1809; Lewis Kirk, Alex Black and Nathan and Robert Black settled on the site of Pulaski in 1806-07; Ralph Graves settled about 200 yards east of the present corporate limits of Pulaski, and in the neighborhood of the town Charles and James Buford, Somersett Moore, John Clark and son (Spencer), William Gideon, Nelson Patteson and sons (James and Bernard), Solomon E. Rose, Tyree Rhodes, William Kirley, Charles Neeley and John White settled between 1807 and 1809; Reese Porter and sons, Reese, John, David, James B. and Thomas C., settled in the Mount Moriah Church neighborhood in about 1807; John Dickey, James Ross, Hamilton Campbell, Joseph Bozler, James Ashmore and Daniel Allen settled in the Campbellsville neighborhood between 1808 and 1809; John Fry, William Dearing, George Malone, Gabriel and John Foulks, Daniel Harrison, John and William Rutledge, Jacob and Andrew Blythe, Joel Rutledge, Nicholas Absalom, Hugh Bowen, Thomas Moody, Andrew Pickens, John McCabe, James Angus, James Wilsford and James Brownlow settled on the waters of Lynn Creek between 1808 and 1810; John and Samuel Montgomery, Leander M. Shields, Samuel Shields, James Shields, Joseph Braden, Archibald Crockett, Alexander Shields and Robert Crockett settled in the neighborhood of Elk Ridge Church in 1808-10; Robert Gordon and sons (Thomas and John), the Widow Clark and sons, John and Sam Jones, Robert Alsop, Jacob Jarmin and John Henderson settled in the Brick Church neighborhood between 1808 and 1810; Adam Hightower, Hardy Hightower, John Kennedy, John Eliff, James McKnight, Samuel McKnight, Joel Jarmin, John Young and Nicholas Holly settled in the Bradshaw Creek neighborhood between 1807 and 1810; Rev. Alex McDonald and brothers (Joseph, Robert and John) and their relatives, William McDonald and James McDonald, settled in the Mount Pisgah Church neighborhood in 1808; William Phillips, William Menifee, and sons (John and William, and son-in-law, Benjamin Long), and John Phillips, settled in the Elkton neighborhood in 1808 and 1809. Other early settlers were P. Moore, Peter Lyons, James Hurst, James Knox, Walter York, John Jones, William Woods, Allen Abernathy, William McDonald, N. Boss, Abner Cleveland, John Wilson, William McGuire, David Flinn, James Flinn, Nathan Farmer, John Reasonover, William Centhall, John White, Thomas Taylor, John M. Cabe, James Grimes, John Yancy, James Hart, Robert Curren, Warrick H. Doyle, Edmund J. Bailey, Benjamin Tutt, James Morgan, William Eubanks, Joseph Johns, Richard Little, Absalom Bosin, John Cunningham, Owen Shannon, James Shannon, Isham Carter, William Hanby, Benjamin Phillips, Gabriel Higenbotham, Robert Miller, Lawson Hobson, Jonas Kindred. Samuel Parmly, Charles McCallister, James Reed, Andrew Erwin, Drury Storall, John Bridwell, William Ball, Eaton Walker, Guilford Dudley, Jonas Kindred, John Scott, James Hunt, Douglas Blue, Joseph Boyd, Samuel Black, John Bryant. William Riddle, William B. Brook, James Lindsey, Henry Scales, William Pillows, Robert McAshley, Richard Briggs, Jelly Pemberton and Orpha Black.

A number of the early settlers located on the Indian lands, cleared away the cane and undergrowth, built log cabins and began cultivating the soil. Complaints being made to the Government, the United States soldiers stationed at Fort Hampton, on Elk River, about four miles above its mouth, were sent to drive out the settlers. The soldiers burned the settlers' houses, threw down their fences and destroyed their crops, and succeeded in driving the people across the reservation line. After the soldiers returned to the fort, the settlers returned to their ruined homes, rebuilt their houses and fences, and planted their crops, only to be again driven out as soon as word was received at the fort of their presence on the forbidden territory. This destruction of property and crops by the Government soldiers occurred during the years 1809-11, and was a great hardship to the settlers, many of whom held grants for the disputed lands they occupied.