Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, my cousin and I give thanks by honoring our distinguished ancestors. This consists of identifying new family cemeteries and maintaining existing ones. This years goal was to find a new one.
My cousin Billy Pittard located the resting place of our 4th Great Grandfather: Julius Howard Williams. There are two Williams family cemeteries in the area. One is located at 12649 Cainsville Rd, Lebanon, TN 37090, the Julius Williams location is about 3 miles southeast on Greenvale Road (it’s on private property).
Julius was the first to settle in Tennessee of this family line. He was the son of Joesph Williams, which is suppose two be buried there too (although no headstones were legible with the name). The original homestead was near a spring down the hill from the cemetery.
Julius owned a racetrack on Cainsville Road where Simmons Bluff intersects. President Andrew Jackson was a friend and raced horses there according to family legend.
His daughter Rebecca Jane (Becky) married out 3rd Great Grandfather Reverend John Phillips. John Phillips died of unknown causes at the age of 40 in April 1862, only about a week after the Battle of Shiloh. His father-in-law Julius died the next month, and we discovered several other Williams family deaths July thru October 1862. #coincidence?
Becky died a year after the war at age 43. Her children (our great grandfathers and their sisters) were scattered to various families in Wilson and Rutherford Counties.
The cemetery has been very well taken care of over the years. In fact, it’s the most intact one we have discovered. If only other landowners were so reverent of the hundreds of small family cemeteries across the region.
The tall, square, two-story dwelling at the end of Waters Street in Watertown, sits like an ancient matriarch, fanned and sheltered by the waving branches of majestic trees. It watches with calm eyes as you approach as though it were wondering which of its children were returning for a visit. It is a house which has been filling up with memories for the pioneer Waters family since it was built in 1844 by Wilson Lawrence Waters.
One of the more beautiful memories was the 50th Wedding Anniversary of its builder and his wife on Dec. 17, 1894, when the mansion was ablaze with light and old-fashioned bouquets from Mrs. Waters’ garden supplied every room with wild and beautiful color.
A faded little booklet, a cherished possession of great-granddaughter, Christine Teasley, includes a nostalgic poem written for the occasion by Mr. Waters’ brother, the Reverend James Waters, which gives an intimate and endearing word picture of the family and festivities in connection with that memorable wedding day. James was only 8 years old when his brother married but he recalls in fine detail the meat and dessert portions of that wedding feast, which consisted of turkeys, chicken pies, cherry cobblers, custard pies, and cakes with icing!
Little wonder that the neighbors turned out to honor Mr. Wilson Lawrence Waters on this important occasion; he was virtually and admittedly “Mr. Watertown.” In its earliest days the whole town was on his 400 acre farm. His store supplied the needs of the community and from it he sold the first turning plow in Wilson County. In 1845 the Post Office was moved to his store and the Three Forks designation was dropped in favor of Waters’ Town, later combined into one word, Watertown, in honor of Mr. Waters.
He also built and operated a water-powered grist mill and saw mill. He was the leading spirit in getting the old stagecoach road (Walden Ridge Road) replaced by the Lebanon-Sparta turnpike, and acted as President. But perhaps his greatest accomplishment for Watertown was his securing a route through the town for the Nashville and Knoxville Railroad (later, a part of the Tennessee Central system). This proved a heady tonic for the community and occasioned a spurt of economic and population growth. He lifted the first shovel of dirt before a large gathering of citizens in 1887. He was also the man who drove the last spike at Smithville.
This listing of accomplishments, however, gives only one view of the man. A yellowed and age-mutilated clipping describes Mr. Waters as “up to his eyes in business.” And that was true; but Mr. Waters was also the possessor of psychic powers. He was aware of his gift of prophesying the future of his dreams, so he kept a Dream Book wherein happenings and events were recounted which eventually took place in the manner he had foreseen in his dreams. A Peabody student used the book as a basis for what must have been a most interesting thesis.
The Wilson County History reports that while Mr. Waters was in the legislature in 1865, he made a stirring appeal requesting that colored persons be tried in the same way that whites were. His ability to project into the future was not limited to dreams; his appeal was rejected but his idea was sound and prophetic, and even though its time had not yet arrived-arrive it most assuredly would, as Waters full well knew.
Like grandmother, like granddaughter! An equally festive and beautiful occasion was the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Wilson Lawrence Waters’ granddaughter, the charming Christine Phillips Forrester and her husband, Robert L. Forrester, which was celebrated at a brilliant reception given by the Forrester children. In a newspaper interview Christine said that her life had been “so full and wonderful” that it was hard to believe that so many years had rolled by; and when she read the invitations being sent out, she said, “a little pepper got in my eyes.”
This time the reception rooms of the ancestral home were decorated with arrangements of gold flowers and the banquet table in the dining room was centered with jonquils and forsythia in an antique cut-glass punch bowl, a wedding gift of 50 years ago. Christine’s lovely bridal gown was worn by her eldest grandson’s wife. All the family—tall, handsome people beautifully gowned and groomed-were assisting in greeting and serving guests. All of them happy to be together.
But all the memories were not so joyous; the old home and its occupants were not strangers to sorrow. Only a handful of months after their Golden Anniversary festivities in 1964, Robert L. Forrester lay dying. For over a half century he had practiced law at the Tennessee bar; he had been honored with the State Presidency of the Exchange Club; had served 18 years on the State Board of Education; and was a faithful member of the Masonic Lodge. He was an old-school gallant, a lover-husband who was a shield and protector for his bride for all the brief 50 years, supporting and encouraging her activities whether it was directing the First Baptist Church choir, becoming Department President of the American Legion Auxiliary, or Board Member of the National Federation of Music Clubs. And all the family felt a deep pride when Christine was elected Tennessee Mother of the Year in I 962.
Christine and Bob had given four sons to serve in World War II. That fateful day when the heart-reaking news that one of these, Robert L. Forrester, Jr., a Captain in the, Air Force, had ben killed in a plane crash in the Galapagos Islands (1942), the old house started filling up with neighbors and friends and loved ones and the branches of the tall trees swept the ground as though they, too, were bowed in grief.
Recent happy news (July, 1975) concerns another son of the house, Eugene, a West Point graduate, who is now Major General Forrester, Commander of Army Recruiting Command at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois.
With Bob’s passing, Christine set about dividing her things, moving to Nashville to be nearer to all of her children, and of necessity selling the old home. As the key was turned in the lock for the last time by the hand of a Waters’ descendant, the house stood square and silent with its windows looking wistfully down Waters Street – it had caught the character of its occupants-like them, it, too, would endure with quiet dignity whatever came its way.
May 30, 1995 my father Bobby Henderson took me on a memorable drive with his older brother John Dayton Phillips that changed my life. We toured five family landmarks.
My father was adopted, I learned, about this time. His birth mother Gertrude (Gertie) Henderson Phillips died just two days after dad was born. Robert Wayne Phillips, was the fourth child of Gertrude* and John Korman Phillips. To make matters worse, he was born with the near fatal condition of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (projectile vomiting). In 1926 this was usually fatal. His uncle, William Eugene Henderson (W.E.), stepped in and provided for a recently developed life-saving surgery procedure in Nashville. W.E. and his wife Jean subsequently adopted him from their brother-in-law (the original terms of this adoption have been contested by some of the Phillips I have spoken with).
Following her mothers death, the oldest J.K. Phillips sibling, Lucile Phillips (Ceil), was separated from her father John to live with her grandparents: Bettie and Robert Hatton Henderson at the Malone-Henderson home. According to Dayton’s wife Thelma, the 13 year old Lucile desperately wanted to raise her infant baby brother (the photo above breaks my heart). The two other boys, Ed and Dayton, remained with their father Johnny, who eventually remarried and had three more children.
*My paternal grandmother Gertrude, has two marked grave sites: one next to her husband John, in the Roselawn Cemetery in Murfreesboro, and the other in the Malone-Henderson Cemetery on Powells Chapel Road. The latter is where she is interned.
Growing up in Nashville, I had no knowledge of my Phillips ancestory. In 1995, I was moving to Denver, and my father took me out to meet them for the first time in my life. This video captures that experience. It’s a priceless record of family history from Uncle Dayton, Aunt Ceil and my father.
All three parts were shot May 30, 1995.
Part 1 – The Preston Henderson Cemetery on Puckett Road in Norene (formerly Henderson Crossroads) Tennessee. Bobby Henderson and Dayton Phillips:
Part 2 – Lucile Phillips Johns at her home on Mercury Boulevard in Murfreesboro, TN Aunt Ceil displays several family antiques and their history.
Part 3 – The Old General Store. As I recall, this was on Mona Road somewhere. I don’t think it’s still standing. There is a short clip of Eulalia Hewgley at the old Malone home on Powells Chapel Road.
The featured photo is at the Malone-Henderson Old Homeplace: right to left: Ed, Lucile, Bobby and Dayton.
Family members: I am researching 2nd Lt. George Malone of the 18th Tennessee. I will look for his grave in Atlanta this month when I’m down there. My guess is that he was killed in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. His regiment was at the Dead Angle, ironically right next to my GGF 2nd Lt. Walter Scott Bearden of the 41st Tennessee. Additionally, their General Joseph B. Palmer was wounded a few days later in the Battle of Jonesboro where my GGF was severely wounded too during the last fight of the Battles of Atlanta.
“We all feel our fathers could not have chosen better women for our mothers than they did, could they have had all the advantages of our modern household arrangements.”…
“I have seen much of the world since I left you seventeen years ago [1862*]. I have lived in five different states of the Union, and visited many more, and know the average standard of morals and of the public conscience in a great many large communities, but I have never yet found the community so nearly free from moral defilement, and with so high an average of moral worth and so high a standard of duty, where manhood and womanhood have fewer stains upon them, than right here in Wilson County, within a circle of five miles from this point as a center.”
Friday, November 24, 2017 • The day after Thanksgiving
• Billy Pittard: (310) 880-7276
• Bob Henderson: (615) 477-0737
9:00 AM – Meet at Walterhill Church of Christ 7277 Lebanon Rd, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 The church is about a mile north of the intersection of Lebanon Road (US 231) and Jefferson Pike. 9:15 – Caravan hits the road!
Richard Henderson is the cousin of my GGGGG Grandfather Samuel Henderson (1737-1820). Samuel was my first Henderson to live and die in Tennessee.
“Richard Henderson (1734–1785) was an American pioneer and merchant who attempted to create a colony called Transylvania just as the American Revolutionary War was starting.
In 1775, a treaty was held between the Cherokee and a delegation of the Transylvania Company, headed by Richard Henderson. Under the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (or the Treaty of Watauga) at present day Elizabethton, Tennessee, the Transylvania Company purchased a vast amount of land from the Cherokees, including most of present-day Kentucky and part of Tennessee.
The treaty was technically illegal since the purchase of land from Native Americans was reserved by the government in the Proclamation of 1763 (the British, the governments of Virginia and North Carolina, and, later, the United States, all forbade private purchase of land from Indians).
After the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the organization of the state government in North Carolina, he was re-elected judge, but was prevented from accepting that position by his participation in a scheme organized under the name of the Transylvania Compact.” – Wikipedia
Day 4: Fredericksburg, Virginia. The visitor center was very helpful finding David’s position on the battlefield. I learned that they fought hard, standing their ground when two regiments to their immediate left broke and ran away. This opened up a huge hole in the line which filled with (ironically) Pennsylvania troops. The 7th held firm, despite fire coming in from 3 sides.
This is the precise position of Archer’s 7th Tennessee on December, 13 1862. It’s listed as Prospect Hill on the driving tour.
David Phillips was promoted to 3rd Lieutenant two months after Fredericksburg, probably because of his actions in that victory. A few months later, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, he would make 2nd Lieutenant. In that daring battle, Robert E. Lee’s finest hour, the 7th was sent straight up the middle towards a key primary objective: Fairfax. They were the tip of the spear here:
David Phillips went on to fight in many more battles. At Gettysburg he went straight up the center in Pickets Charge, captured at the Stone Wall. The 7th Tennessee lost 43% of their men in the assault. Out of the original 800+ men, they surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse with only about 50 of them.
My itinerary from Chancellorsville, was to Gen. Johnston’s surrender site in North Carolina, and then to Kings Mountain, SC where my 5th great grandfather, Captain James Maxwell fought with is son William, my 4th great grandfather. Based on the run of luck I was having, I decided to cut the trip short.
Later that rainy night, a semi blew a tire as I was passing it. It sounded like a cannon blast – that loud. Cousin Billy said that the yankee ghosts were after me. #3 out of the way. 😉
Just west of Cheat Mountain was the second prong of Lee’s attack at Elkwater, WV. The Union defensive position is an interesting remote site. It was originally an 18th century frontier fort against the Indians. By 1861, the strategic ground had become a cemetery. It’s the only fort I have seen built around a graveyard. Lee was unsuccessful here too. It was know as Camp Elkwater.
Heading due North, I drove through a very quaint small town in Beverly, West Virginia. The town visitor center has a great interpretive area housed in a former courthouse, circa 1801. There are numerous other historic buildings in town. The Battle of Rich Mountain is literally right up the road.
Rolling north into western Pennsylvania, I stopped in Washington, PA for the night. I like to plan my visits for Sunday traffic at the highest congestion points, if at all possible. So it was essential to get Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. in my rearview mirror by the end of the next day.
Day 4: Southpark Township, PA was a short drive. I arrived early Sunday morning at the cemetery of David Philips, my 5th great grandfather. Reverend Philips, served the Lord here at Peters Creek Baptist Church for 43 years. Prior to that, he was a Captain in the 7th Chester County Battalion, during the American Revolutionary War.
Note: for some reason, the family Tennessee branch changed the name to Phillips with two L’s.
Things were on track for getting to Fort Delaware before the last ferry at 4 pm. This changed at a turnstile on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The unexpected self-service cash receptacle required closer parking. I had to open the door to reach the cash slot. 100 miles later, I realized my wallet probably dropped out there (it was later found and turned over to police). Fortunately, I had a back up credit card, photo I.D. and cash stashed away.
The delay cost me about an hour, stopping to cancel cards and contact the authorities. If I made good time, I could still get to Chester County, on the other side of the state, and the last ferry to Fort Delaware.
I arrived in the beautiful upscale suburb of West Chester, PA about noon. The secluded Vincent Baptist Church was located on the edge of a wooded park. It was established in 1736, and the Church building is from 1812. The cemetery contained the remains of my 6th great grandfather: Joesph Philips. He is the first generation emigrant from Pembrokeshire, Wales. There were at least 30 more Philips buried around him in a long line. Most of the headstones had new metal tablets, with the inscriptions from 200+ year old, fading headstones.
Shooting four photospheres took about an hour (with a neighbors inquiry about what I was doing there). I was close to the go-no-go point of making it on time to the ferry.
I arrived at 10 minutes to 4 PM at Fort Delaware State Park. The park didn’t take Discover for the $14 fee, but waived the rules to let me write a check (I was hoarding my cash for the unknown remaining tolls).
Fort Delaware was one of the POW prisons my second great uncle David Phillips occupied. He was captured twice during the war, so he got two tours of the fort.
I had a little under an hour and a half to shoot as many 360º’s as I could. During the robot’s fourth gyration, I was talking with some young park rangers about my great uncle. An older park ranger inside heard me mention David Phillips. He came out with a photo of the young lieutenant, which he only received days before. My guess is their social media director caught a few tweets I have done recently about David and the fort.
Heading south from Delaware, I used up my last $3 on the final toll booth of my journey near Baltimore. I hate turnpikes! Arrived late at The Hampton Inn near Fredericksburg, Virginia.
I knew that a massive tire failure, one hour into the 2000 mile trip, was a bad omen. Two cans of fix-a-flat were ineffective on the defective one year old Continental rear tire. The $100 transport to the nearest Discount Tire store was performed by the best wrecker operator I have ever used*. We had lots of stories to share. It was an entertaining two hour diversion.
*Patrick, with Ron’s Towing of Sparta, even knew were the hidden towing eyelet was for the wench on my 530i. He educated me, NEVER let a tower use the wench as the only front secure-point. Each wheel should be tied to the bed rails.
$35 new Michelin Pilot Road 2, courtesy of the Discount Tire Road Hazard plan. Thank you Discount Tire!
Stoped for a short visit with high school buddy Scott Michael Sefsik on Center Hill Lake. Calculated a re-route, destination Kingsport for the night @ 3 hours.
Great sundown at Sunset Rock just past Sparta! (site of my first Rock Repel with Camp Widjiwagan). Got the last bracketed 100 image photosphere, just as the sun hit the horizon.
Day 2: Left Kingsport for Emory & Henry. Beautiful campus! Toured the 1836 Wiley Hall building, where my Great-Great Grandfather Walter Scott Bearden attended, before and after, the American Civil War. Beautiful campus! Wiley Hall is the site of the original college building, also used as a Confederate Hospital. In 1864 it was the location of a famous murder: a wounded U.S. Army officer shot in bed by Confederate Guerrilla raider Champ Ferguson.
Heading north, I stopped at Saltville, Virginia just up the road. “The Salt Capital of the South” was a Southern strategic resource. Salt was the primary means of preserving meat for the Civil War armies. A large battle was fought here in October 1864. The wounded were taken to Emory & Henry College not far away.
Pressing north into Western Virginia, I drove through the most scenic part of the Appalachian Mountains I have ever traversed. This is home to the George Washington and Jefferson National Parks. It reminded me of the Smoky Mountains, without all the tourists.
Warm Springs Virginia was home to David Phillips and the 7th Tennessee for the month of December in 1861.
Camp sites were plentiful at Hidden Valley Campground (no online reservations) just west of Warm Springs. I was pleasantly surprised to get a private Friday night camp site with vacancies on both sides. Firewood was plentiful not far from the site. New Bucket List Addition: Beautiful old Bed & Breakfast Mansion in this scenic valley: Hidden Valley B&B. Wish I had taken a pano here.
Day 3: I followed the 7th Tennessee’s trail north-west to Cheat Mountain, WV, site of Robert E. Lee’s first offensive of the Civil War. At 4000′ above sea level, it is the highest known Civil War fort in the country.
A road trip down the Bearden, Maxwell and Phillips history trail, including battle sites of the 7th Tennessee and cemeteries of my first two generations of Phillips in America. 360º imagery will be captured wherever possible.
I am a direct descendent of Captain Walter Scott Bearden, 41st Tennessee CSA, Private James Jarvis Maxwell, 4th Tennessee Cavalry U.S. and John Bond Henderson, 4th Tennessee Cavalry CSA| Uncle (G3) Lt. David Phillips 7th Tennessee CSA, and Great (G3) Cousin Major Shelah Waters 4th Tennessee Cavalry U.S.
National Archives: research will be conducted on Lt. David Phillips III, David Phillips, II and Major Shelah Waters