Billy HOUSTON et al, Polly CLARK, Billie NICHOLSON, Dr Briggs PARRIS, Tommy CAPEHEART, Toll HALL, Unk SPARKS, Lusk Chapel, Macedonia
- I ran across the following while Googling tonight and thought it would be of interest to those on this list.
It is found on page 36 of a pdf file of the Winter 1985 edition of the Tennessee Genealogical Society's newsletter, "Ansearchin' News," which is online at http://www.tngs.org/ansearchin/pdf/1985-4.pdf:
EDLEY M. HOUSTON'S RECOLLECTIONS - Contributed by Jamye Wilson, 1601 Carlson Drive,
Klamath Falls Oregon 97603
The following letter appeared in a Fort Payne, AL newspaper dated 19 Apr 1915. "In
reply to your request for letters from early settlers, I was born in Tennessee on
September 18, 1829. Moved with my parents to Jackson County [AL] to Paint Rock when
five years old, then on to DeKalb [Co AL] the third of January 1843, about five
years after the Indians had been taken West.
We lived one year three miles below Lebanon which was then the county seat and a
flourishing little town. Quite a number of dwellings of logs and Hamptons large
tavern. The land office was there at the time too. The next year we moved to Sand
Mountain. We had to carry part of our stuff on horses up the mountain as there was
not a single wagon between the Smith and Roden gaps.
Uncle Billie NICHOLSON and his boys (13) together with my father and his boys made
the road up the Nicholson gap. When it was done, we finished moving. Mr. Nicholson
having put about one hundred and thirty days work on the road and my father eightyfour.
Our home on the Mountain was near Geraldine. I helped out on the first road
across that part of the mountain running from Nicholson Gap (now Dawson) by Geraldine
and Elrods mill (Briggs it was then) to Tennessee Valley.
The mountain was mild, beautiful and full of interest. I think it was the easiest
place to make a living I ever saw. Game was abundant, with little effort could kill
all the deer and wild turkey we wanted. The range was fine. Hogs were fat in the
woods nearly the year around. The woods for miles around us were nearly full of
cattle at that time for men from the valleys raised their cattle there. No feed in
winter was necessary. Our neighbors were few. The nearest one two miles away. It
was several years before the first church was built, Lusk Chapel, the oldest one
that I know of was built in 1846 I think. Macedonia near Geraldine was the second
one. We had preaching occasionally at dwellings.
I had lived in DeKalb seventy-three years with the exception of two years in the
Army. Am now in my eighty-sixth year. Yours, Edley M. Houston"
Edley's parents, Billy Houston and Polly CLARK, along with 5 sons and 6 daughters
moved to the top of the mountain to Geraldine where they built a log cabin near the
present home of Dr. Briggs PARRIS. Mr. Tommy CAPEHART, who lived at the present
Lathenville, was their nearest neighbor. Two or three families lived at Henagar.
When the Federal Land Office opened at Huntsville people could file claims on land
they wished to own. Before Billy Houston had time to file the claim to the land he
had cleared, Mr. SPARKS filed a claim on it. The result was a heated quarrel in
which Billy forbade Sparks to pass along the road. Some of the men nearby persuaded
Billy to agree that Sparks might pass along the road if he would not look at the
house as he passed. Sparks withdrew his claim and Billy filed his claim retaining
One of Billy's sons, Tom, a bachelor, filed a claim to the place now owned by Mr.
Toll HALL. He kept a water grist-mill near the Elrod Bridge for a number of years.
His unmarried sister, Mary (called Pop) and a widowed sister, Mrs. Jane MAY, lived
with him. This information was related to Lottie LOWRY by Thomas D. Houston and
Eliza Houston WIGLEY, a son and daughter of Edley M. Houston.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]