in the Wear Valley of
Sevier County, Tennessee
before, at, and followingthe turn of the
When you leave Sevierville, the countyseat, head south on U.S. 441 toward Dollywood, Dolly Parten's famous andpopular theme park in Pigeon Forge. But look past the McDonalds andWendys and WalMarts and Holiday Inns--and Dollywood--to the hills, thetrees, and the gorgeous flora and fauna of the area. Picture yourselfamong those settlers--Dolly's and Merle's and my ancestors--who saw thisland for the first time in the late 1700's. And when you get to the rightturn where U. S. 321 heads up the hollow to the west--can't be more thanfour or five miles--take it.
This is the mouth of Cove Creek Hollow, and comingup on the right in just a mile or two is Walden's Creek Road, where I turnedoff of 321 when I was there in the summer of 2003. Funny. IfI'd been going this way a couple hundred years ago, that Walden's Creeksign wouldn't've been there, and I'd've kept going right on up 321 intothe Wear Valley to Crowson's Cove. But I'll tell you about that in a minute.
Most of the folks listed below were rather firmlyentrenched and settled-in before Tennessee became a state in 1796. Around1807, the land they had claimed as their own, land they had cleared andfarmed and homesteaded, became legally available to them in the form ofland grants they could purchase for a dollar an acre. Isham Gwin,my gggg-grandfather, finally got to buy his 249 acres in this way--in aplace they'd all come to call Crowson's Cove.
But in the spring of 2003, I knew none ofthis, and when school was out for the summer, I headed for east Tennesseeto see if I could find out anything about this Grandpa Isham. Theonly things I knew for sure were that his son, John Gwin, claimed to havebeen born in Tennessee and that he'd married his sweetheart, Jane Walker,in Blount County on 12 Apr 1812.
I waded through building after building and fileafter file of data for two days. Finally on day three, my last there,at the Archives in Greeneville, Greene Co., TN, I "discovered" a reel ofmicrofilm with a copy on it of the deed to Isham's grant. That deedsaid right on it that Isham's land was in Crowson's Cove "on the watersof Walden's Creek," and when I turned off onto 321 and got to that sign,I figured I was "home". Felt good to stand on or near where I thoughtmy gggg-grandpa had stood and owned and farmed land.
After I got back to New Mexico, out of curiosityI learned how to draw a map of the property using the survey instructionslisted in the deed. And yet, even though I now could see the shapeof the farm and knew that it was located "on the waters of Walden's Creek,"I still didn't know exactly where on Walden's Creek Crowson's Cove andGrandpa Isham's land was.
Reading the deed again, I realized that some ofIsham's neighbors were listed in it as owning adjoining property, and Idecided on a plan. If I could get hold of the deeds for those properties,I could make maps of their farms, too. Then using the names of other neighborswho'd certainly be mentioned on their deeds, I could make even more maps,until--what? Well, I really didn't know for sure, but my hopes were thatsomewhere along the line, a clue would turn up that would allow me to knowfor certain where his farm had been, perhaps even leading me to his gravesite.
About that time my double-fourth cousin BarbaraWard joined the fun, and within days she had found those deeds at herhometown's LDS Family History Center! She sent me copies, and wewere off to the races, putting together plat maps of the Shields,Brickey,and Bennifield properties, posting them on the website as well.Then the well seemed to go dry, as it were, and it seemed that the projectwould grind to a halt.
Meanwhile, though, unbeknownst to either Barbaraor me, longtime Sevier County researchers and historians George andJuanita Fox, who had been searching for years for the location of Crowson'sCove, made an interesting discovery. An old map of the area, made about1830, clearly showed that many of the watercourses of Sevier and Blountcounties had names different from what they're called today. This was aboutthe time that many were renamed and today's labels were attached. Whathad been called this river was now called that river, and that one this.And then the gold mine: what is now called Cove Creek had once been Walden'sCreek! We were in the wrong hollow! This information, plus his findingof the deed for the "Meeting House" property adjoining that of Peter Brickey--"forthe use of the Baptist Congregation in Wears' Cove", led them to the siteof the church's graveyard where the first white settler in the valley (AaronCrowson, for whom the cove is named) is buried. The local Baptist Associationassured him that while the Wear's Cove Baptist Church had been gone forsome years, the cemetery still marked the place where the people "cameto meeting".
George had seen our work on our website, and hegraciously made copies for us of all the Crowson's Cove deeds he couldfind. I came home from work one evening to find a wealth of deeds in anenvelope from him. The result? Now the little project has turned into aplan to plot the plats of the entire cove. So welcome to the workshop!I hope you can find something here to help you with your own quest.
|01||Amerine, George||no||no||no||unk.||unk.||W. Lovelady, C. Coulter, P. Brickey, I. Gwin, C. Bennifield, K. Veach||.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||unk.||unk.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||.||unk.|
by William Davis
|yes||yes||yes||3.00||St. of TN||P. Brickey, H. Haggard, C. Coulter||.||.||yes||24 Mar 1807||?--313||Mark Moore||.||yes||11 May 1807||.||.||.|
|03||Beaty, Samuel||no||no||no||91.50||St. of TN||T. Steward, McMurry||.||.||yes||29 Apr 1807||2--576||Mark Moore||.||yes||25 May 1807||.||.||.|
|04||Bennifield, Charles||yes||yes||yes||24.75||St. of TN||I. Gwin, K. Veach||.||.||yes||18 May 1807||2--693||Mark Moore||.||yes||18 Jun 1807||.||.||.|
|05||Boze, Abednego||yes||yes||yes||374.00||St. of TN||W. Lovelady, K. Veach, J. Sims, J. Fryer, W. Davis, J. Thomas,||.||.||yes||18 May 1807||2--718||Mark Moore||.||yes||20 Jun 1807||.||.||.|
|06||Brickey, Peter||yes||yes||yes||124.50||St. of TN||H. Haggard, Bapt. Cong.,C. Coulter, Amerine, I Gwin, R. Shields, W.Hatcher||.||.||yes||21 Mar 1807||4--15||unk.||.||NO||unk.||.||.||.|
|07||Coulter, Charles||yes||yes||yes||82.75||St. of TN||P. Brickey, Bapt. Cong., Amerine,W. Lovelady||.||.||yes||18 May 1807||unk.||Mark Moore||.||yes||30 Jun 1807||.||.||.|
|08||Crowson, Aaron||yes||no||no||95.75||St. of TN||W. Crowson, R. Crowson, H. Haggard, Brumley & Co.||.||.||yes||26 Mar 1807||2--703||Mark Moore||.||yes||18 Apr 1807||.||.||.|
see Kelly, John
|no||no||no||146.25||St. of TN||A. Crowson, M. Renfro, Parker, Walker, W. Crowson, K. Veach||.||.||yes||27 Mar 1807||2--620||Mark Moore||.||yes||12 May 1807||unk.||.||8 Feb 1808|
see Haggard, Noah
|no||no||no||150.00||St. of TN||R. Shields, A. Crowson, H. Haggard,||John Catlet, Peter Maples|
|yes||18 May 1807||2--540||Mark Moore||yes||20 Jun 1807||unk.||14 Nov 1807|
|11||Davis, Parsons||yes||no||no||233.75||St. of TN||S. Richardson, J. Thomas, W. Davis||.||.||yes||16 Mar 1807||unk.||unk.||.||NO||unk.||.||.||.|
|12||Denton, David||yes||yes||no||59.25||Susannah Richardson, qv||P. Davis||John Hill, Wm. Gwin, Sam'l Wear||.||NO||16 Mar 1807||unk.||Mark Moore||.||yes||18 Apr 1807||.||.||.|
|13||Davis, William||yes||no||no||167.25||St. of TN||A. Boze, P. Davis, S. Parsons,||.||.||yes||18 May 1807||unk.||unk.||.||NO||unk.||.||.||.|
|15||Giddin, James||no||no||no||140.25||St. of TN||John Giddin, Davidson and Moore, I. Giddin||.||.||yes||18 Apr 1807||3--516||Mark Moore||.||yes||11 May 1807||.||.||.|
|16||Gwin, Isham||yes||yes||yes||249.00||St. of TN||C. Bennifield, G. Amerine, P. Brickey, R. Shields||.||.||yes||19 May 1807||4--31||Mark Moore||.||yes||30 Jun 1807||.||.||.|
|17||Haggard, Henry||no||no||no||180.00||St. of TN||A. Crowson, (W?) Hatcher, W. Crowson||none||.||yes||25 Mar 1807||2--497||Mark Moore||.||yes||11 May 1807||unk.||.||unk.|
|18||Haggard, Henry||no||no||no||81.75||St. of TN||unk.||unk.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||Mark Moore||.||yes||11 May 1807||unk.||.||unk.|
|19||Haggard, Noah||no||no||no||150.00||Wm. Crowson, qv||R. Shields, A. Crowson, H. Haggard,||John Catlet, Peter Maples|
|.||yes||18 May 1807||2--540||Mark Moore||.||yes||20 Jun 1807||unk.||.||14 Nov 1807|
|20||Hatcher, William||yes||no||no||160.25||St. of TN||R. Shields, P. Brickey, H. Haggard,||John Shields||.||yes||26 Mar 1807||#623||Mark Moore||.||yes||11 May 1807||.||.||.|
|21||Johnson, Ezekiel||yes||yes||no||87.50||John Fryer, qv||John Fryer, Mary Renfro||Archibald Johnston,|
|.||yes||18 May 1807||2--422||Mark Moore||.||yes||18 Jun 1807||unk.||.||2 Jan 1808|
|22||Kelly, John||no||no||no||146.25||Richard Crowson, qv||A. Crowson, M. Renfro, Parker, Walker, W. Crowson, K. Veach||.||.||yes||27 Mar 1807||2--620||Mark Moore||.||yes||12 May 1807||unk.||.||8 Feb 1808|
|23||Lovelady, William||yes||yes||yes||176.00||St. of TN||A. Boze, G. Amerine, C. Coulter, K. Veach||none||.||yes||20 Mar 1807||#569||unk.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||.||.unk.|
|24||Maddox, William||yes||yes||yes||53.25||St. of TN||J. Fryer, J. Sims, S. Parsons||none||.||yes||18 Mar 1807||#596||Mark Moore||.||yes||12 May 1807||unk.||.||.|
|INCOMPLETE...||(especially this column)||...BELOW||THIS||LINE|
|25||McGhee, Jacob||93.75||Richard Shields||.||.||.||.||.||.|
|no||no||no||52.50||St. of TN||unk.||none||.||NO||unk.||unk.||Mark Moore||.||NO||21 Aug 1807||unk.|
|27||Parsons, Samuel||no||no||no||unk.||unk.||Wm. Maddox||unk.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||unk.||unk.||.||NO||unk.||unk.||.||unk.|
see Denton David
|35.50||St. of TN||P. Davis||John Hill, Wm. Gwin, Sam'l Wear||.||yes||16 Mar 1807||.||yes||.||.||.|
|36||Veach, Kinsey||85.50||Wm. Parker||M. Partin, R. Crowson||.||.||yes||.||NO||.||.||.|
|37||Veach, Kinsey||129.75||C.Bennifield, J. Fryer, A. Boze, G. Amerine, W. Lovelady, J. Sims||.||.||yes||.||NO||.||.||.|
|Beaty, Samuel, 91.5 acres, bk. 2 p. 576-7|
1. Beg at a red oak on Thomas Stewart's line thencewith vacland n44e 6/50 to a white walnutBoze, Abednego, 374 acres, bk. 2 p. 718
1. Beg at a stake w/ John Fryer, Jr.,n37e 39/22 tasCharles Coulter 82.75 acres
Beg. on a rock corner to William Lovelady,runningw/ vacland n5e 15/0 to a post oak,Crowson, Aaron, 95.75 acres, bk. 2 p. 703
1. Beg at a white oak w/Wm. Crowson's line n74w 22/15tas
1. Beg at a stake on Aaron Crowson's line thence n36e55/0 to a hickory
Haggard, Noah, assignee of William Crowson, 150 acres, bk. 2 p. 540-1
1. Beg at a pine w/Richard Shields, thence w/ his lines43e 32/50 tasJohnson, Ezekiel, assignee of John Fryer, 87.5 acres--bk. 2p. 422
1. Beg at a poplar on Mary Renfro's linethence s87w 14/0 tas
Kelly, John, assignee of Richard Crowson, 146.25 acres, bk. 2 p. 620
1. Beg at a red oak w/Aaron Crowson s85e w/vacland 34/45 tasw/Mary RenfroMcGhee, Jacob, assignee of Richard Shields, 93.75 acres--bk. 2 p. 294-5
1. Beg at a stake w/ Wm. Hatcher running w/ vaclandn5w 8/27 to a red oakRenfro, Mary, 59.25 acres--bk.2 p. 337
1. Beg. aas w/Mary Renfro thence s59w 37/80 to a hickorySims, Joshua, assignee of John Fryer, 74.75 acres--Bk2, p. 121
1. Beg. at a post oak w/Madox on A Person's line and running w/ Madox n54w (27?)(77?)/0to a white oak.