Mary Ann Lane Thomas, widow of Archie Thomas, Jr., and editor of the “Springfield Record,” republished “Chronicles of Robertson County” in 1902. “Chronicles” had first appeared there in 1882, and the author was Dr. J.S. Mulloy.
Mary Ann Thomas was assisted in this republishing effort by Judge John E. Garner and W.W. Pepper.
She said that Mulloy was an “aged and revered citizen of Mitchelville Station in (the) eastern part of the county.”
She noted that he was born on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 1819, “where the post office known as Mulloys is situated.”
Mulloy lived early enough that he was able to tell vividly the stories of Thomas Kilgore. He could tell point by point the trail from the settlements in east Tennessee to Kilgore’s Station to “Mancols” (Mansker’s) and to the Bluff (Nashville).
Mulloy wrote about the days when “Cabin Rights” had to be purchased. He remembered the days when there really were beavers that gave Beaver Dam Creek its name.
Mulloy described a time in Robertson County history when there were no mills to grind corn. It had to be pounded in a wooden mortar to make hominy.
Corn meal was made by grating corn on a homemade grater. Then Johnny cake could be prepared. The dough was put onto a wooden paddle and cooked in hot ashes.
Sugar came from the maple tree. Shoes were created from “dressed” deerskin.
Wild geese and ducks needed to be caught to make the feathers into a “bedtick.” Until enough feathers were gathered, dry grass could be used.
On cold nights, buffalo and bear skins were used for cover.
Dr. Mulloy also wrote about the “frolics” that were held, despite the hard times in which the early settlers lived.
He told that a fiddler got up on a platform and played a “lively reel or jig.” The dancing began.
Later, when there were less Indians and more settlers, work and fun could be combined. There were log cabin raisings and log rollings.
Mulloy remembered quilting parties and corn shuckings.
He said that the participants were divided into two teams. A pole was laid across the heap of corn, and the shucking started. If anyone found an ear of red corn, the reward was a gulp of whiskey.
The captain of the team that shucked the most corn would be put on the shoulders of other participants and carried around. The procession would be accompanied by “John Come down the Hollow” or by “Aggie, Pull the Whipsaw Down.”
Everyone joined in by singing the chorus, according to Dr. Mulloy. They would then walk around the house where the quilting was being done. Supper and dancing came next.
Mulloy also mentioned the deer drives, the squirrel hunting match, and the “shooting match for beef or pony purse.”
He noted that men who took part in such matches were ready with the marksmanship shown when they accompanied Jackson at “Tallego, HorseShoe, and New Orleans.”
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.