Robertson County History

A Family Tree Connection ~ ENNIS/BINKLEY/CLINARD

ENNIS, BINKLEY, CLINARD DESCENDANTS: This past fall I saw a cute little yard sale sign on the corner of Hwy 431 at Mt. Sharon Road and it drew me down Mt. Sharon Rd. A ways down was another hand drawn sign that pointed down the driveway.

The yard sale was set up on the carport and I immediately spotted an OLD handmade ladderback chair with an old bottom that was probably originally a rocker, but those were gone. So set that aside for $5 – sold!

IMG_5054Next up a box of English dishes with a pretty black floral pattern – mine! Some lovely little country paintings for very little – put in my pile. Then a box of old silver stuff. Loved the Sheffield salt shakers and some neat old pewter and silverplate silverware. Cheap, so into the pile.

IMG_7338I was turning over a silver-plate dish and noticed a name scratched on the back – ENNIS. Hmmm….

IMG_5036In all my Clinard research, Ennis had been one of my stumped branches. My 4th great-grandfather, Joseph Clinard’s daughter, Elizabeth “Betsy” Clinard (born 1830 in Robertson County) had married a Captain John Ennis (Born 1809, died after 1880 based on census).

In the 1880 census, Joseph Clinard was living with his daughter and son-in-law, John, listed as a farmer, Betsy and two sons.

John Ennis 71
Elizabeth Ennis 50
William Ennis 17
David Ennis 15
Joseph Clinard 83

That had always made me think that any family keepsakes such as photos, Bibles, etc. had probably been left with Betsy, his daughter.

Pursuing that information years ago, I started calling the few Ennis families in the Robertson County phone book and happened up Mr. Ennis on Mt. Sharon Rd. We talked for quite a while, and luckily I took lots of notes. Mr. Ennis wasn’t in good health at that time and he told me his wife had done lots of research on his Ennis family, but had passed away. But she had ordered an Ennis family genealogy book and it had arrived and was there somewhere. He didn’t know much about his family history as there had been some kind of family disturbance. His daughter lived close by and took care of him. We rang off and I kept meaning to follow back up with him but never did.

…back to the yard sale…2014

IMG_5036So I turned over a round silver dish and see the name Ennis scratched in it. I looked at the friendly couple holding they yard sale that I had been chatting with as I browsed, and held up the dish. Are you the Ennis family?

“Yes, this was my father’s things and we have been cleaning out the house to get it ready to rent.”

A lightbulb instantly went off in my head – I had found Mr. Ennis that I had talked to so many years ago on the phone, but was saddened that I had never followed up to meet him.

So my next comment was – My Betsy Clinard married Captain John Ennis! Do you know anything about them?

Both of their faces lit up… We do! And we have his PICTURE!!!

Now, any of you that are into genealogy know that the photo is the holy grail, right along with the hand-written family tree going back many generations. Thankfully the yard sale was slow that day, so we got to talking and exchanging information, and the husband and daughter ran to house to find Captain John Ennis. They had moved all the family memorabilia to their house to sort through later but his portrait was large so had stood out.

After a bit they came back with Capt. John Ennis.. and here he is and Betsy and their children too!



 IMG_5034We were all so excited to meet and exchange family information. Pam Ennis Anderson was the daughter that he had mentioned taking care of him in our phone conversation.

I went home and immediately pulled up my information on the Ennis/Clinard line and started digging through my files for my notes from my interview with Mr. Ennis. As with most of us, we don’t really pay attention to those stories our elders are telling us until they are gone, and years later we wonder about their lives. Well, I had asked him a few key questions that cleared up some mysteries for Pam about her family.

Pam came to visit me a while later and brought that Ennis book her mother had ordered, along with a few other photos that were in their family files.

IMG_5762William Brown Ennis (born August 03, 1863) was married to Lucy K. Polk Binkley, daughter of Montgomery Binkley of Pleasant View and Frances Felts. William Brown Ennis died Aug 3, 1940 in Cheatham County at 77.


IMG_5761I need to finish putting all their family details into my tree, but wanted to share this fun “reunion”.



Categories: Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Robertson County History | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Reverends & 1879 Revival, Crawford, Clinards & Wilkinsons


Following up on my “Lewis Clinard family” blog, I wanted to share some wonderful photos and history shared with me by my Clinard cousins Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner and her brother Lucian Rawls. Their grandparents were Susan Emma Crawford and Archibald Wilson Clinard. Susan Emma Crawford’s father was Rev. James Howard Crawford of Robertson County.

Reverend James Howard Crawford

Birth 29 Dec 1830 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Death 11 Mar 1891 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Rev. James Howard Crawford, portraitfrom Bonnie Reasoner Mills

Rev. James Howard Crawford pic w:hat, from Bonnie Reasoner Mills

This is Julia A. Betsy Crawford, James Howard Crawford’s sister who married Hiram H. Bell

Birth 13 Jun 1833 in Robertson Co, Tennessee, United States
Death 30 Jan 1905 in Robertson, Tennessee, United States

Betsy Bell, Emma Crawford's Aunt


This dapper fellow is believed to be their sibling, Joseph W. Crawford

Birth 1823 in Moore Cty, NC
Death 1875 in Kevil, McCracken, Kentucky, United States

Joe Crawford, Ruth Reasoner collection

(Let me know if you have a photo and can confirm it or not…)


Another sibling is Reverend John Crawford

Birth 20 NOV 1818 in NC
Death 16 FEB 1902
We don’t have a picture of John yet, but here is his obituary writeup from the 1902 Methodist Review.

Rev. John Crawford, Methodist Review, 1902

Now back to Reverend James Howard Crawford…

Rev. James Howard Crawford in frame, from Evelyn Bell

His first wife was Mary Susan Culbertson 1836 – 1866, and their children were:

  • Susan Emma CRAWFORD 1859 – 1950
  •  Thomas W. Crawford 1862 –
  •  Joseph William Crawford 1864 – 1936
  • Susan Emma Crawford, striped shirt,oval

(We don’t have a photo of Mary Susan Culbertson yet or her two sons)

Rev. James Howard Crawford’s second wife, Frances C Anderson 1844 – 1933

Frances C. Anderson


Bonnie Mills, daughter of Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner and great-granddaughter of Susan Emma Crawford, has been working on their Clinard/Crawford/Rawls family history and shared what she knew about the Crawfords.

“I have a small amount of info about James Crawford.  Rev James Crawford: Jim Crawford was a Methodist minister as well as a farmer, according to the 1850 and 1860 Census.  At the time of the 1860 Census he was in Springfield.  In the 1870 Census he was in the Barrren Plains Post Office area.

His first wife was Mary Susan Culbertson.  Their first child died at age 4 months.  They then had three healthy children.  Jim’s fifth child and wife died when the child was 2 months old.

Jim’s second wife was Francis Cumi Anderson.  They had four children and lived on a farm off of Springfield Road according to Emma Mae Clinard Rawls.

It was said by Emma Mae Clinard Rawls, his granddaughter, ‘”He treated the kids very tight.  A few rules they always followed were you always went to church, no work on Sundays and you choose your friends carefully because you are judged by the people you run with.” ‘

According to Emma Mae Clinard, he died while he was a preacher at Mt. Zion, but she mentioned that he also preached at Mt. Sharon at some time. He died of injuries suffered while hauling timber.  His grave is marked with a gravestone at Mt. Zion Church Cemetery.

I have his father, Charles Henry Crawford, as being a school teacher in the 1850 census.

I do have in my old notes from my grandmother that his son James Robert “Jim” Crawford (1876-1950) was also a Methodist minister.  On Susan Emma Crawford Clinard’s, his half sister, death notice he was listed as living in Greenbrier, TN”


Forest Grove Methodist Church


Another of my Clinard cousins who also likes to dig in history brought me a copy of the “Greeneville Methodist Church History” from the Joelton area which included a chapter on Forest Grove Methodist Church. It would appear that James Howard Crawford was a preacher for the Forest Grove Church in 1879 as well as Mt. Zion.

From the Greeneville ME Church history:


“Forest Grove Methodist Church is located in Davidson County four miles north of Joelton, Tenn., on the Springfield Hwy. It is one of the four churches on the Joelton Circuit. Having been built around the year 1870, it is one of the old landmarks in the county. Exact dates are hard to obtain as no records were kept.

About the year 1870 a movement was started to build a church. Jim Cooper, Sr., was appointed architect and builder. Cage Wilkinson Sr., Gil Reasoner, and Andrew Drake were liberal donators of both their time and money in the project. Few families could be termed as having even comfortable means of living, but every man, woman and child were willing workers in the service of the Lord.

Work was started in the wooded area, the timber was cut and the logs processed for the new church. Many denied the necessities of life to their families to build this place of worship. The work was done well, for the building stands today as nearly like the original as is possible. Sunday school rooms have been added and the interior has been remodeled.

Forest Grove has had a checkered career. In 1883 Conference failed to send a preacher as the people failed to support the church. The only services held that year were when a circuit rider would stop. James D. Crawford, who was loved by all, was asked to hold a revival. Reports have it that the church was filled on one of the preaching nights. During this revival of religion one night the building was well filled and at the conclusion of the sermon upon invitation forty came forward, accepted Christ and united with the church. This was a turning point in the life of the church. At the next Annual Conference the church was restored to the circuit.”


I have a few other pieces of the past about Rev. James Crawford & Forest Grove Church. Two documents my great uncle found of my great-great grandmother’s Sallie Smiley Wilkinson Clinard include a marriage certificate and letter home to her husband when she is at a church revival in 1879.

Sallie’s father, Micajah “Cage” H. Wilkinson (B: 1813 in Davidson Co., Tennessee, USA, D: 10 Jan 1874 in Joelton, Davidson, Tennessee, USA) was one of the donors to build Forest Grove. They lived just over the Robertson County line in Davidson County, somewhere along Sycamore Creek and the Springfield Hwy. Here’s a photo of my great-great-great grandfather that helped build Forest Grove United Methodist Church, Cage Wilkinson.

Micajah H. Wilkinson

My great-great grandmother, Sallie Smiley Wilkinson, his daughter, married Benjamin Boyd Clinard on Feb. 26, 1879. This colorful torn document shows that Reverend James Crawford Sr. of Forest Grove Church officiated their ceremony.

Ben boyd Clinard, Sallie Wilkinson mc, Crawford

Here’s photos of Sallie Wilkinson and Benjamin Boyd Clinard, my great-great grandparents that were married at Forest Grove by Rev. James Crawford. She was 18, he was 28.

Sallie W. Clinard oval, retouched by KC Boyd Clinard, oval portrait

A letter tucked into a family cookbook that must have been hers and passed to her daughter, Jessie Lee Clinard, was a treasured find, and one of the only ones we have from her. It is September the 22, 1879, seven months after they married and she is writing a letter to Boyd to tell him about the church revival she is attending at Forest Grove. (transcription below each page – Page 3 might have been the 1st page. Her lack of punctuation was bothering me, then she comments on it to Boyd and it tickled me when I transcribed that part)

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard, Church letter 1

* Page 1

Dear Boyd,

According to promise I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. The protracted meeting begun yesterday and the church was crowded all the men could not get seats there was preaching in the evening most every one carried their dinner, but we did not so came home and John Bracy, Thom Hinkle and Sam Rawls came home with us and eat dinner and all of us went back in the evening. John Harris said he was going to tell you that I had three beauxs. Brother Crawford preached and several joined the church and were babtised. Boyd every one said

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard church letter 2

* Page 2

I had got better looking since I had married Dear Boyd I did not enjoy myself one bit for I missed you more than I ever did it seemed like I was a looking for some one I did not know who Bud saw Uncle Hinc(?) last Monday and he paid over seven thousand dollars to the court and Bud said we would get our money in about a month he reckon some of it any way. O dear Boyd, how I wish you was here to go to meeting with me to night we all are going and I will think of you all of the time be certain to write me tell me when you are coming after me. I wish you would come Saturday week or when you can get ready don’t come until you get ready. Dear Boyd here’s this short letter for I do not feel like writing. A sweet good by write soon excuse bad writing and spelling I will try and write you a longer letter next time so good by for a while

Sallie Wilkinson Clinard church letter 3

*Page 3 (this is a poem but not sure if hers or just one of the day)

If all our hopes and all our fears

were prisoned in lifes narrow bound

If travelers through this vale of tears

We saw no better would beyond

O what could check the rising sigh

What earthly thing could pleasure give

O who would venture them to die

O who could then endure to live


From your true and loving wife, Sallie

 To her Husband, Boyd Clinard

 When far away and friends are few pray think of me and I will of you             



Here’s more photos of Susan Emma Crawford, daughter of Rev. James Howard Crawford and Mary Susan Culbertson from Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner collection.

Susan Emma Crawford tintype, 1859, Reasoner coll

  Susan Emma Crawford, 2 orig photos Susan Emma Crawford, fan pic ~~~

Susan Emma Crawford married Archibald Wilson “Cooney” Clinard, an elder for 50 years at the Mt. Sharon Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Their home was the big two-story house that overlooks the Pebble Creek Golf Course and is still there today.

Archibald, Susan Emma Crawford family

   Here’s their daughters…Elva, Emma Mae & Lillian Clinard, Reasoner coll Lillian Clinard ((1886-1954), Reasoner coll

Emma Mae Clinard

And Archibald Clinard & Susan Emma later in life…

Archibald Wilson Clinard, (1855-1925), Reasoner

Susan Emma Crawford Clinard, Reasoner coll

Archibald Clinard & Susan Emma Crawford, Margery Reasoner collection

Here’s the most wonderful photo of Mt. Sharon Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1894 from Margery Ruth Rawls Reasoner’s collection. It was noted on back that it was the Sunday School. Archibald “Cooney” Clinard is pictured in the middle row, 6th from left and was a church elder for 50 years. I’m sure his wife and daughters are probably in here as well, and the rest are unidentified.

Note that the two photos are a little bit different with people showing on the edges in one and cut of in the other. Looks like several o the girls and women used the same bolt of polka-dot fabric. The boys in the front row have bare feet and I wonder why the one little boy got to sit on a chair.

Mt. Sharon Sunday School, 1894, Bonnie Mills

My great uncle has attended Mt. Sharon his entire life and said these are the earliest photos he knows of from Mt. Sharon. He made copies and put in the church’s archives.


Here’s a few more photos of Archibald & Susan Emma Clinard and their children from Mike Clinard’s collection.

Arch W. Clinard, Emma and 3 children


The grandchildren of Archibald Wilson Clinard and Susan Emma Crawford had a reunion at their parents old homeplace. From Mike Clinard’s collection.

Clinard Reunion June 14, 1986.  Grandchildren of Cooney (Archibald) and Susan Emma Clinard and the only living child of Cooney and Susan Emma. Cooney homeplace

That’s all for now!

Categories: Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Robertson County History | 1 Comment

Grange Hall School, Robertson County, TN

Grange Hall School

I inherited this photo of my grandfather, Robin Earl Bowie (1912-1991) and his brother Lucian Bowie and classmates at the Grange Hall School in Robertson County, Tennessee. It’s probably from around 1918-1920 or so if Robin was born in 1912. All the rest of the students and teachers are unidentified, so perhaps you can help with the rest. This is the Mt. Sharon and Palestine community.

Grange Hall school children, Bowies

The pile of wood debris in front of them looks like the school must have had the wooden roof shingles torn off and the door to the school appears to be on the far left edge of the picture.

When researching my Clinard family deeds, I ran across the deed for the land being set aside for this school in 1874. It is in the Robertson County Archives in Deed Book 19, pg 95. It reads:

May 27th, 1874

F. J. Carter to Wash Clinard & others

For the promotion of education and the dissemination of learning among the white population of my vicinity. I, F. J. Carter of the County of Robertson and the State of Tennessee, do hereby grant unto Wash Clinard, John T. McAfee, David H. Parker, W. J. Benton, and Chas D. Woodson as a body of Trustees, and their successors in office composing a board of trustees, the following lot or parcel of land lying and being in Civil District No. 16 of said County, and bounded as follows, viz, Beginning at J. C. Crawford’s North West corner in Mrs. Sarah Anderson’s South boundary line, running thence West, with said line 12 2/3 poles to a stake in the said line, thence South 12 2/3 poles to a stake, thence East 12 2/3 poles to a stake, thence North to the Beginning 12 2/3 poles. Containing one acre be the same more or less. To have and to hold the same upon which there is now being erected a house for the use of White Schools, Good Templar’s Hall, and Grange No 590 and I hereby bind myself, my heirs and assigned to forever warrant and defend the title to said Land, to said Trustees, and their successor’s forever. Now should it in the course of events happen that this property should fail to be used either for white schools, Good Templars, or Grange for the space of 5 years in succession, then the said property is to revert to the donor. In witness thereof, I have this 27th day of May, 1874 set my hand and affixed my seal.

F. J. Carter

(witnesses) W.B. Hoff, S. Clinard

~ ~ ~

My great-grandparents, John Willie “Jack” and Jessie Clinard Bowie lived off Betts Road in the Robertson County 16th District, just a mile or so from Old Hwy 431. My great uncle, James Boyd Bowie, younger brother to Robin and Lucian Bowie in the photo, remembered attending Grange Hall until the third grade. He described it as being located about where the “Mulch & More” business is today in front of the BP Douglas Market gas station between the old and new 431.

I found more information in the “History & Recollections, Palestine United Methodist Church 1857-2007” about Grange Hall at the Robertson County Library. I think there is also a copy at the Robertson County Archives.

“Since church and education was such an important part of our ancestor’s lives, both church and schools had to be built in close proximity to the homes of the people. The current Old 431 Highway was known as Whites Creek Pike and for many years it was a dirt road. Churches and schools were built close to this highway. the children walked to Palestine Church, Valley Grove School and Grange Hall. When the latter two schools consolidated into Sharon School, they rode on a flatbed truck. However, the children who lived on Palestine Road walked to the church to catch the truck….”

Margaret Walker’s “History of Robertson County Schools, 1789-1989”, compiled by Doris Moss Hill and Marjorie Shores Pike and printed in 2002 gives more information about Grange Hall and other community schools. There is a copy at the Robertson County Library.

“The early people realized the need for education. Schools were first held in the homes. Later schools were supported by subscription and tuition. School was held at Palestine Church with Dr. Gamble as teacher. Among the pupils were W. W. Porter, Welborne Porter, Shelly Binkley and Charlie Cobbs.

Joe Carter, grandfather of Travis Clinard, gave the land for Grange Hall. The Grangers, an organization of farmers, donated a sum of money for the building and reserved a room for their meeting place. Grange Hall was located on a hill with a pond nearby on the East side of the highway near the curve on the now Old Highway 431 which was referred to as “Uncle Sam’s Curve”. The curve got its name when Roy Haun built his mailbox as a statue of Uncle Same USA in the 1950s.

Louise Clinard Winters attended Grange Hall as well as Hazel Fryer Boyte Jones. Hazel remembers the day the stove pipe fell, cut and covered Crockett Frey with soot. She also remembers that the students went skating on the pond. It is recalled that Turner Frey and Edna Mae Fryer began their courting days at Grange Hall School.”

I was curious who the other students and teachers might have been so looked at the 1920 census. Here are a few pages of neighbors in the community.

Jack Bowie, 1920UnitedStatesFederalCensus_249092518

Grange, 1920UnitedStatesFederalCensus_Tennessee_Robertso_249092519

Poor House rd, 1920UnitedStatesFederalCensus_Tennessee_Robertso_249092520

Would love to see other photos of the old schools and churches. Share if you’ve got some!

Categories: Family History: BOWIE, Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Robertson County History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Villines Cemetery, Robertson County, Tennessee

On my way through Cross Plains one spring day, I was drawn to stop off at the Villines Cemetery on Hwy 25. It contains graves over 200 years old and holds several of Robertson County’s earliest settlers.

Villines Cemetery, Thomas Kilgore sign

Villines Cemetery iron gate

Villines Cemetery, stone wall

Villines Cemetery view to road

Villines Cemetery, big tree stump

Thomas Kilgore is the cemetery’s most famous inhabitant and his grave is in the corner closest to the road.

Villines Cemetery, Thomas Kilgore corner 2

Villines Cemetery, Thomas Kilgore

The following is excerpted from Goodspeed’s History of Robertson County, TN, originally published in 1886.

“The first settlement in Robertson County {The facts in regard to Kilgore’s settlement were condensed from the articles written by Dr. J. S. Mulloy, for the Springfield Record.} was made by Thomas Kilgore on the waters of the Middle Fork of Red River, three-fourths of a mile west of Cross Plains. The Legislature of North Carolina passed a pre-emption law securing to settlers of Tennessee 640 acres of land provided the settlement was made prior to 1780. In the spring of 1778 Kilgore left North Carolina with some ammunition, some salt, and a few grains of corn. Traveling on foot he passed through East Tennessee, and plunged into the wilderness beyond. Guided alone by the sun and the north star, he pushed on, seeing no white people until he reached Bledsoe’s Lick, where he found a colony of six or eight familes. After resting a few days, he went on some twenty-five miles west where he located. As a safe hiding place from the Indians, he selected a cave a mile west of where Cross Plains now is. It had a bold stream of water running from it into the Middle Fork of Red River, and by wading the stream he could enter the cave without leaving a trail.

After finding a location to suit him he kicked up some of the rich alluvial soil of the cane brake, and planted a few hills of corn. It is said that in order to secure his land it was necessary for him to remain until the corn matured, that he might carry a few ears back to North Carolina. He spent the summer in watching his little crop, meeting with several narrow escapes from the hostile savages. During this period he had no other food than the game which he killed. In the fall he gathered two or three ears of corn, returned to North Carolina, and had the title to his land confirmed. In the spring of 1779, with a few families besides his own, he returned to the spot, where he had passed the previous summer. A stockaded fort, “Kilgore’s Station” was at once erected to protect them from the Indians. This fort was situated on a commanding eminence about three-fourths of a mile from Cross Plains. Kilgore’s Station, from that time for years, was a land-mark in the overland emigration to Tennessee.

In 1780 or 1781 Maulding’s Station was built. It was located one mile west of the present Louisville and Nashville pike, and four miles east of Kilgore’s. That was the next settlement in Robertson County, but the Indians were so hostile that they abandoned it for a time and united with the people at Kilgore’s. Among the occupants of the latter station at this time were the Kilgores, Mauldings, Masons, Hoskinses, Jesse Simmons, Isaac Johnson, Samuel Martin, Yates, and several others. The first Indian massacres in the county occurred in 1781. A small colony had located in Montgomery County, near where Port Royal now is.

In 1782 the Indians became very hostile. Samuel Martin and Isaac Johnson were attacked, surrounded and captured; Johnson afterward escaped and returned to the station. In the same year the young Masons, while watching for deer at Clay Lick, saw a party of eight or ten Indians [p.830] approaching. The young men fired and killed two of the number, and then fled to the fort. That night John and Ephraim Peyton, on their way to Kentucky on a surveying expedition, came to the station, having left Bledsoe’s Lick in the morning. During the night the Indians stole all the horses at the fort. Pursuit was immediately made, the trail led across Sulphur Fork, and up one of its tributaries toward the ridge. About noon the pursuers overtook the thieves on the bank of the stream, fired on them, stampeded and recovered their horses. While returning to the fort the pioneers stopped at Colgin’s Spring for water. Here they were attacked by the Indians, who anticipating this, had managed to get in front of them and were lying there in ambush. One of the Masons was killed and Joseph Hoskins, fatally wounded. The condition of the occupants of Kilgore’s Station having by this time become so perilous, they abandoned it, and joined those at the Bluff, where they remained during 1783. The next year the colony, augmented by new accessions, returned. There they remained until Indian hostilities ceased, when they separated, and began forming independent settlements. Thomas Kilgore, after living half a century on the land which he had acquired by his heroic daring, died at the advanced age of one hundred and eight years.”

Here’s some other snapshots…

Villines Cemetery, Effie Tucker, Bert

Villines Cemetery, full view

Villines Cemetery, George W. Tucker, Effie

I loved this sweet little lamb

Villines Cemetery, lamb on headstone

Villines Cemetery, pine tree view

Villines Cemetery, Thomas Kilgore corner

Villines Cemetery, Thomas Kilgore grave, left corner

Villines Cemetery, William Winfield

To find individual headstones of the 48 known graves, visit the Findagrave website page at:

Categories: Robertson County History | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Robertson County Survey Book, 1824-1890s & Mansker Station Survey

When doing my research at the Robertson County Archives in Springfield, Tenn., I ran across a treasure amongst their holdings. I was researching property deeds in the early 1800s for my Lawrence Clinard, and happened upon their Robertson County Survey Book 1824-1898 of Tennessee Land Grants. To learn more about Tennessee Land Grants visit:

RC Survey Book No. 1824-

I opened it to find my Lawrence along with his sons, Joseph and John in the survey book…

Clinard, Lawrence, Miller, John, 1825 2 surveys

Clinard, Lawrence, Miller, John, 1825 2 surveys

Survey, Ben. Rawls, Andrew Clinard

What’s so great about this survey book is you have the tract drawn out, along with the property description, neighbors on the property boundaries, sometimes mention of land grants and their numbers, and the chain bearers that helped carry the chains for the survey. These were usually family, friends or neighbors so gives you some relationship identity. The surveyors are Anderson Stewart and Thomas Shaw. I’m pretty sure that the Millers were related to Lawrence’s wife, Rosina Miller, but have not been able to prove it yet.

Here’s some old survey information to help you do your calculations…

When deciphering the survey description, the little hand pointer is the “beginning” corner.

1 Acre = 43,560 square feet – 1 Acre = 160 poles

A pole used for surveying was a wooden poled that was 16.5′ long. It was also sometimes called a perch.

A surveyor’s chain was made of 100 links and measures 66 feet long.

There are exactly 640 acres in a square mile and many of the land grants were in parcels of 640 acres

~ ~ ~ ~

Mansker Station Heritage Days & Bowen House survey

A few years ago, my mother and I visited Historic Mansker Station in Goodlettsville, Tenn., for their spring Heritage Days. This special event fit perfectly with my survey book discovery as they were re-enacting a surveyor plotting off the land for the Bowen House as they would have done it back in the early days of Tennessee.

So when you look at the original survey plats, this is what it would have looked like… Their surveyor is pictured in the red coat – you can just imagine him as Anderson Stewart, surveyor for Robertson County in the 1800s with his elegant handwriting and detailed drawings… His assistant is in the burnt orange jacket.

manskers, Master and Jr Surveyor

manskers, surveyor & Jr

manskers, surveyor & crew  manskers, surveyor compass on pole

The chain bearers stretch the chain between two points for the surveyor to get his measurement. They then drive a stake and move to the next section.

manskers, surveyor, chain holder

Manskers, master surveyor, pole:stake

manskers, surveyors compass face

They had to post guards around the perimeter as Indians were still a menace then. They would have been trekking through the wilderness – there were no cleared fields at that point. Can you imagine the ticks and chiggers they must have suffered from after a day of surveying???

manskers, surveyors:guard kneeling

manskers, Jr Surveyor

manskers, kneeling guard

Keeping a safe perimeter around the Bowen House while they survey…

manskers, guards:Bowen house

After we watching them working on the survey a while we headed up to the Bowen House for a tour. This was our first time to visit.

manskers, Bowen house

Now, back to those survey book pages.. I’m sure you’ll want to know if your ancestor is in the survey book so here are the index pages.

RC Survey Bk Index 1

RC Survey Book Index 2

RC Survey Book Index 3

RC Survey Book Index 4

RC Survey Book Index 5

RC Survey Book Index 6

RC Survey Book Index 7

RC Survey Book Index 8

RC Survey Book Index 9

RC Survey Book Index 10

RC Survey Book Index 11

RC Survey Book Index 12

RC Survey Book Index 13

RC Survey Book Index 14

RC Survey Book Index 15

Clinard, Lawrence, 47 aceres, 1826

Clinard, Lawrence, 50 acres, 1825

Clinard, Lawrence, 56 acres, 1826

Clianrd, Miller, Duncan, 1825 surveys

Cothran, henry, 48 acres, 1826, Clinard cb

Cothran, Henry, 50 acres, Clinard chain, 1825

Dulin, John, 64 ac, 1839, Clinard cb

Hollis, W.T, 289 acres, Clinard cb

Martin, GW, 15 ac, W Clinard, Farmer cb, 1858

Miller Survey Book index

Miller, John, 6 ac, pg. 175, 1828

Miller, John, 14 ac on Millers Cr., 1833

Miller, John, 50 acres on Brushy Fork, 1825

Miller, John, 50 acres, Millers cr, 1825 (2)

Miller, Joseph, 3 surveys, pg 191, 1829

Miller, Joseph, 10 ac adj Clinard, 1826

Miller, Joseph, 75 acres, pg. 153, 1827

Miller, Joseph, 95 acres, 1841

Miller, Joseph, 100 acres, 1829, pg. 192

Miller, Joseph, 100 acres, 1831, pg 202

Miller, Joseph, 200 acres, p. 191, 1829

Miller, Joseph, 242 ac, 1839

Miller, Joseph, 970 ac, 1840

Miller, Joseph, pg. 226, 1,000 acres

Miller, Jospeh, 100 ac, 1829, pg. 192

Parker, John, 228 acres, 1831, Clinard cb

Rawls, Benjamin, 80 acres, 1826  Binkley, Jacob Jr., 100 acres, 1826, Hinkles cb

RC Survey Book Joseph Bradley

That’s all for now! Hope you find a nugget of your history amongst these pages. If anyone knows anything about the surveyor in Robertson County, A. Stewart, let me know. I can’t seem to find any details about him.

Categories: Family History: CLINARD, NC to Robertson Co, Tenn, Family History: MILLER, NC to TN, Robertson County History | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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