White County Abstracts
from
The Tennessee Gazetteer
Eastin Morris
1834

[The reader must remember that, in 1834, parts of the present-day counties of Cumberland, Dekalb, Putnam, and Van Buren were in White county.]

    Arch Cave and Big-bone Cave. Two celebrated caves on the dividing line between White and Warren counties, on the Cumberland Mountain. They are six or eight hundred yards apart, or rather their mouths are, for they unite. They were discovered in 1806, and were sold out in shares to 40 or 50 persons for sixty thousand dollars; and were afterwards purchased by Col. Ross of Virginia. About twenty thousand pounds of salt petre were made from the Arch Cave. There are several branches to the Big-bone cave; from one of which the dirt has been collected for upwards of half a mile. Three men are said to have explored this cave, a distance of ten or twelve miles; they were doubtless mistaken as to the distance. The bones of a large animal, supposed to belong to the cat species, were found in this cave. "The ribs were placed on the back bone, the lower end in the ground, Jacob Drake five feet nine inches high, walked erect in the hollow. The width of the ribs was between four and five inches. The hollow of the back bone was between two and three inches in diameter. The socket of the bone, working in the shoulder blade, six inches. The tusk, between four and fives inches in diameter, similar to a dog's. The claw, twelve inches in the round, from point to point; straight, nine inches hollow, one inch in diameter; weight one pound and three quarters. There was also a scoop net made of bark thread; a mockason made of the like materials; a mat of the same material enveloping human bones, were found in salt petre dirt six feet below the surface."-Haywood.
    Blue Spring Creek, an east branch of the Calf-killer, in White county.
    Bridge Creek, an east branch of Calf-killer, in White county.
    Brush Creek, an east branch of Calf-killer, in White county.
    Calf-killer river, a north east branch of the Caney Fork of Cumberland, which rises in the Cumberland mountains N. E. of Sparta. It interlocks with the head streams of the Caney Fork, is rapid in its descent, shaping its course generally to south and south west, and is 30 or 40 miles in length. Its confluence with the Caney Fork, is about eight miles south of Sparta. Its principal tributary streams on the east side, are, Bridge, Brush, Bluespring and Wildcat creeks. On the west side, Plum, Cherry and Town Creek. The latter forms a junction with the Calf-killer. About half a mile below Sparta, on the Calf-killer, is a fall of about fifteen feet nearly perpendicular, at which place there are mills and iron works. This is thought to be one of the most eligible sites in the western country for a national armory. In the neighborhood of these falls are found inexhaustible mines of iron ore of good quality. Upon this river, above Sparta, are six or seven salt springs, at which considerable quantifies of salt have been made.
    Calhoun's Creek, a branch of Calf-killer, and forms a junction on the line of White and Warren counties, S. W. of Sparta, called on modern maps, Rocky river.
    Cane Creek, a branch of the Falling water of the Caney Fork of Cumberland, fourteen miles north west from Sparta, in White county. This creek runs with great rapidity, falling in some places 20 or 30 feet, and passes over a fine bed of stone coal.
    Caney Fork, a branch of the Cumberland river, rises in Warren, White and Jackson counties, and flowing N. W., enters Smith, and falls into the Cumberland at Carthage. It is navigable as high up as Shippingsport, at the falls, in Warren county, where the whole stream falls over the rocks one hundred feet.
    Cherry Creek, a branch of Calf-killer in White county.
    Clifty Creek, a north branch of Caney Fork, in White county.
    Clifty, a post office, where the Knoxville road crosses Clifty creek, at Eastland's, in White county, 12 miles east from Sparta.
    Cumberland Mountains, one of the ridges of the Appalachian chain, and the continuation in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee of the Laurel mountains of Penn. As a separate ridge, Cumberland mountain distinctly commences S. W. from the great Sandy river, and following a direction of nearly S. W., separates Kentucky from Virginia, and entering Tennessee, traverses this State, and entering Alabama, crosses Tennessee river, and gradually terminates in the north part of Alabama. The ridge is about thirty miles broad, and enlarges in Tennessee to the width of fifty miles. In one place there is a ledge of rocks, near the summit, thirty miles long, with a perpendicular front to the S. E. of about 200 feet. Claiborne, Campbell, Anderson, Morgan, Fentress, Roane, Bledsoe, Overton, White, Rhea, Hamilton, Warren, Franklin, and Marion are the principal mountain counties in this State. The principal mountain, ranges through the State in an oblique direction from N. E. to S. W. between longitudes 7° and 9° W.
    Denton, a post office in White county, established in 1833.
    Doe Creek, a branch of Calf-killer, in White county.
    Fallingwater, a north east branch of the Caney Fork of Cumberland, in White county. This stream has its source in the Cumberland mountains, and is about thirty miles long. Seven or eight miles above its junction with the Caney Fork, is the celebrated cascade, which gives name to the creek. "In the course of one mile, the descent is supposed to be three hundred feet. The large fall is a perpendicular descent of water of the depth of two hundred feet, or as some think one hundred and fifty. The country on both sides of the stream, both above and below the fall, is nearly as level as the adjacent country generally; and what is very remarkable, the only difference, in the aspect of the country, as produced by the falls, appears to consist in the depth of the channel, which would seem to have been an excavation out of the solid rock. The perpendicular height of the clifts on each side of the stream, is about three hundred feet. The bottom of the channel below the falls, is almost inaccessible for many miles below the falls, and the descent to it is difficult and even dangerous. The width of the sheet of water which falls from the rock is about eighty feet, and produces a noise which can be heard for several miles." This is the account given of these fails by Judge Haywood, and it is said to be substantially correct. I have conversed with several gentlemen who have visited them, as well as the falls of Calf-killer and Taylor's creeks, and their descriptions agree with those given by Judge Haywood, in his Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee. Mr. Rhea marks this fall at sixty feet.
    Hill's Creek, a north-east branch of the Caney Fork of Cumberland, N. W. of Sparta, in White County.
    Lost Creek, a west [north?] branch of Caney Fork, in White county. Upon this creek are extensive falls, some of them thirty feet in perpendicular height. It affords sufficient water to propel machinery about half of the year, and is about ten miles in length. "And nature, after exhibiting much variety in the romantic appearance of its falls, and the impetuosity of its current, has, as if weary of its passage, directed its course to the foot of a stupendous mountain, where the stream is ingulphed and lost in the silent grandeur of the surrounding objects."-Haywood.
    Milledgeville, a post office in White county, 10 miles W. from Sparta.
    Petersburg, a town established in 1809, on the north bluff of the Caney Fork of Cumberland, on the land of Joseph Franks, in White County.
    Plum Creek, a branch of Calf-killer, in White county.
    Polkpatch Creek, a west branch of Caney Fork, in White county.
    Rock Island, a post office in White county, at Parris, 13 miles south from Sparta. [Rock Island was the first seat of White county, but fell into Warren county when that county was formed.]
    Sparta, a post town and the seat of justice of White county, established in 1809, and incorporated in 1813. It is situated at the foot of the Cumberland mountain, near the Calf-killer, a branch of the Caney Fork of Cumberland. It contained in 1833, about 200 inhabitants, four stores, three taverns, three doctors, one divine, six lawyers, one printing ofilce, six cabinet makers, two hatters, two shoemakers, four tailors, three brick layers, three blacksmiths, five carpenters, two saddlers, two tanners, one tinner, three wagonmakers, an academy, one church, &c. It is 86 miles east from Nashville via Lebanon, and 99 via Murfreesboro', and 628 miles from Washington City, in lat. 35° 53' N., lon. 8° 22' W.
    Taylor's Creek, one of the tributaries of the Caney Fork, three miles S. of Falling water, in White county. On this creek is a beautiful cascade, about 80 yards wide; above the principal fall, the stream is about 60 feet wide, and falls over a rock ten feet; and about 40 further, the water falls 25 feet, and in 40 yards more the whole stream pitches over a rock 100 feet; twenty yards below this, on the south side, is a cascade still more beautiful; a creek six or eight feet wide falls from the summit of an overhanging rock, a distance of at least three hundred feet. The chasm below these falls is something like 100 yards wide and 3 or 400 hundred deep.
    Two mile Creek, a west branch of Caney Fork, in White county, above the mouth of Calf-killer.
    West's Fork, a west branch of Caney Fork, in White County.
    White, a county in Middle Tennessee, erected in 1806. It is bounded on the north by Jackson and Overton, on the south east by Bledsoe; north west by Smith, north east by Overton, Fentress and Morgan, and south west by Warren (or the Caney Fork of Cumberland.) Length, 40 miles; mean width, 19; area, 750 square miles. It is drained by the eastern branches of the Caney Fork. This county contains many natural curiosities, for descriptions of which, see 'Arch and Big Bone Caves', 'Falling Water,' 'Calf-Killer,' 'Taylor's Creek,' &c. In 1820, White contained a population of 8,701, and in 1830, 9,967. Seat of justice, Sparta; cen. lat. 36° N., lon. 8° 30' W.
    White Oak Creek, a west branch of Caney Fork, in White county.
    Wild-cat Creek, a branch of Calf-killer, in White county.

APPENDIX

A list of Lawyers in the State of Tennessee, with their places of residence.

        Sparta.
Nathan Haggard,
David Ames,
A. B. Lane,
Saml. Turney,
John H. Anderson,
Richard Nelson,