History of Lebanon, Tennessee
Source: THE GOODSPEED HISTORY OF WILSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, Originally published 1886
Lebanon, the county seat of Wilson, was founded in 1802, at which time the commission appointed by the General Assembly for that purpose, selected the land of James Menees upon which to locate thc county seat. The town lots were sold at public auction on the l6th of August of the same year, among the purchasers being William Bloodworth, James Peacock, John Wright, Edward Mitchell, M. Stewart, William Crabtree, William Trigg, S. Harpole, William Gray, John Irwin, J. Providence, Peter Rule, John Impson, William Mien and others. Lebanon is situated on the east branch of Barton Creek (Town Branch), six miles south of Cumberland River, and about six miles north of the geographical center of the county, and on the Tennessee & Pacific Railway, thirty miles east from Nashville, and has a population of 3,000. The first settler on what is now the site of Lebanon, was Neddie Jacobs, who built a small log hut in 1800, and maintained himself and wife by fishing and hunting. He was an odd character, and is remembered chiefly for his fiddling propensities, as he would sit and fiddle by the hour, putting aside his beloved instrument only to replenish his larder with game. The first house after the town was laid out was built by John Impson, which stood near the spring in the Public Square. Thomas Impson, Edward Mitchell, Edmund Crutcher and James Anderson also erected houses at about the same time. The first brick house was erected in 1812 by Dr. Henry Shelby, and soon afterward another brick house was erected by Joseph Johnson. William Allen, an Irishman, was the first man to open a store in Lebanon, and the first hotel proprietor was Edward Mitchell, these two gentlemen engaging in business in 1808. The first physicians were Drs. John Tulloch and Samuel Hogg. The first post-master was John Allcorn, and the first school-teacher was an Irishman named John Trotter, in about 1805. The first church was the Methodist Church, which was erected in about 1812, of which Rev. German Baker was the first preacher. Previous to this services were held at private residences and in the court house.
In November, 1807, the General Assembly passed an act for the regulation of the town of Lebanon, by which Samuel Hogg, Edmund Crutcher, David Marshall, Joseph Johnson and John Allcorn were appointed commissioners. The act provided further that a majority of the commissioners should constitute a quorum, and that one of their number should be chosen as president to preside over their meetings. The commissioners were given power to levy a tax on all town lots, call out the able-bodied men to work on the roads, and appropriate money for the improvement of the town.
Edmund Crutcher was chosen as the first president of the commission, and consequently was the first mayor of Lebanon. The first newspaper established was the Lebanon Gazette, which was established in 1818 by Messrs. Ford & Womack. It was published but a short time. In 1842 the Banner of Peace, edited by Dr. F. R. Cassitt, was established in Lebanon and published in the interest of the university until 1851, when it was removed to Nashville. Other papers published in Lebanon have been the Chronicle, the Pocket, the Free Press, and the Cumberland University Magazine. The papers of the present time are the Herald and Register. The Herald was established in October, 1853, by W. Z. Neal and R. T. Spillers. It was a seven-column folio, and in politics was Whig. The paper was published until the civil war, when it was suspended for three years. In 1865 the paper was revived by Neal & Ward, the latter having purchased the interest of Mr. Spillard. In December, 1869, R. L. C. White purchased Mr. Neal’s interest, and in 1871 Mr. White became the sole proprietor and has continued as such to the present time. The Herald is a five-column quarto, has a good circulation, and is independent in politics. The Register was established in 1883 by D. C. Williams, who sold out the paper to J.D. Kirkpatrick in 1884. Mr. Kirkpatrick conducted the Register until June, 1886, when he sold the property to A. C. Durdin. The Register is a seven-column folio, Democratic in politics, and enjoys a good circulation and advertising patronage.
From 1800 to 1820, the business men of Lebanon were John Herrod, James Anderson, Edward Mitchell, William Mann, Benjamin Tarver, George Hallum, Joel Mann, David Marshal, Reddick Eason, Leonard Sims, Allan Avery, Patrick Anderson, Yerger & Golladay, Cage & Crutcher, Winchester & Cage, Jaspar R. Ashworth, and Nathaniel Dew. During the same period, Edward Mitchell, David Marshal and John Herrod were the tavern keepers.
The business men of the twenties were James Johnson, Mathew Dew, Yerger & Golladay, Foster Crutcher, Hicks & Johnson, Pauldin Anderson, John Muirhead, David Marshal, Allcorn & Johnson, Harry L. Douglas, Frank Anderson, Thomas J. Thompson. Jasper R. Ashworth, T. J. Stratton and Henry Chambers. The hotels during the same period were conducted by David Marshal, George Helms, William Hartsfield and Harry L. Douglas. During the thirties the business men were Jasper R. Ashworth, Joseph Phillips, Lawrence Sypert, T. J. Stratton, William Hall, Edward and John W. White, John Hearn, John M. Hill, Dr. James Frazier, M. T. Cartwright, P. & T. Anderson, Stiff Harrison, E. A. & J. W. White, White & Price, Henry Smith, Peyton Ewing & Co., Fisher Bros., Dawson Hancock, Allcorn & Johnson, Ewing and Richmond, George H. Bullard, Mathew Cartwright, Gillespie & Mabry, Hearn & Hill, E. A. & J. W. White, and W. H. Wortham. Albert Wynn and a company composed of Obediah Gordon, George F. McWhirter and James G. Robertson, were the innkeepers, and a company composed of Gears, Wilkerson, Pyle, Porter & Co., conducted an extensive carriage factory during that period. At the same time a large cotton factory, owned and operated by a stock company under the firm name of the Tennessee Manufacturing Company, was in full operation, and upward of 500 hands were employed in the manufacture of cotton goods of all descriptions. The property was afterward destroyed by fire and never rebuilt.
The business men of the thirties with but few exceptions, and the following additions, were the same during the forties: L. Drifoos and John W. Price.
During the fifties the business men were George Harsh, Jacob Howard, T. J. Stratton, M. A. Price, W. T. Coles, Daniel R. Fakes, Burr Harris, A. R. Davis, L. Drifoos, J. H. Armstrong, Cook & Owen, P. G. Duffer, N. Cantrell, John A. Haynes, James McCasland, Ed R. Penebaker, Robert L. Williams, R, P. Allison, T. E. Davis & Co., Burgess & Mattley, G. W. Lewis, H. D. Lester & Son, A. M. Springer, J. F. Coe, Lester & Smith, and D. Cook, Jr. In 1854 the Lebanon Flour-mill was established on the site of the old cotton factory by W. W. Carter, for that time it was considered the best mill in the State. In 1859 John A. Lester, purchased a half interest in the mill, and since then several changes have occurred in its proprietorship, and at the present the property is owned by Mr. Lester and his son-in-law, Selden R. Williams. The mill is supplied with the most improved machinery, and has a capacity of 100 barrels of flour per day. The capital invested is $15,000.
The business men of the sixties were Dabney Carr, T. J. Stratton, J. Emanuel, W. H. Armstrong, W. H. Brown, Cash M. Park, D. Cook, Jr., Clark & Cook, Burgess & Co., J. L. White, L. Drifoos & Co., Charles Stone, A. R. Fonville, Kennedy & Aust, J. M. Woolard, J. T. Manson, Brittain & Neal, Coe & Morris, and T. Harrington. In August, 1866, the People’s National Bank was established by Mattley & Campbell, and has continued in business up to the present. The officers at this time are Judge Nathan Green, president; Samuel T. Mattley, cashier. The capital stock is $50,000 with $10,000 surplus.
The business men of the seventies were as follows: General Merchants–Robinson & Perry, J. C. Crawford, J. P. Tolliver, W. W. Donnell, J. H. Ozment & Co., J. O. Dillard, W. T. Cartwright, Hughlitt & Harris, Rosenthel & Bros., J. T. McClain & Co., J. B. Halley, C. T. Cox, D. D. Smithwick, Joseph Wharton, Goodbar & Means, G. W. Lewis, John W. Comer, M. J. Watkins, Leggon & Bros., Hatcher & Johnson, Donnell & Young, J. Harding, Thomas Jenkins, Lampton Bros., J. A. Lester & Co., Dillard & Wilson, Fish & Reese, L. A. & J. B. Wynn, C. L. Johns, G. W. Collier and G. W. Martin. Boots and shoes–Samuel H. Matherly and J. A. Haynes & Co. Tin shop and stoves–N. S. Williams. Drugs–A. P. Thompson, and Gwynn & Peyton. Livery stables–Swindle & Shorter, Murphey & Buchanan, and Orgain & Watkins.
In 1870 the Bank of Wilson was established with Dr. John Owen as president and T. J. Stratton as cashier. In 1872 the name of the bank was changed to that of the Second National, with James Hamilton, as president, and Mr. Stratton, cashier. The present officers are S. R. Williams, president: John Palmer, vice-president; W. H. Brown, cashier. The cash capital of this bank is $70,000. In 1875 Waters & Co., erected a large flouring-mill and stocked it with the best of machinery, and the mill is in operation at the present under the same proprietors. The capital invested in the property is $15,000.
The business interests of the present are represented as follows: S. Martin, J. E. Stratton, R. P. Oldham, McClain Bros. and Wilson & Waters, dry goods; J. L. Drifoos, Shannon & Co., Freeman & Whitescower, Monroe Fish, W. D. Chandler, Edward Wheeler, R. S. Haley & Sons, Huggins & Seagraves and Ligan & Bros., groceries; S. M. Anderson & Co., Gwynn & Hinds and McDonald, McKinzie & Co., druggists; H. M. Drifoos and J. F. Odum & Co., merchant tailors: D. L. Brown, clothing; John A. Haynes, Fakes & Co. and Samuel Matberly, boots and shoes; N. J. G. Allen, tinware and stoves; J. P. Cox, undertaker; R. M. Cartwell and Freeman & Whitescarver, saddlers; J. A. Woolard & Bro., J. T. Lee, Billings & Ragland and Ligan Bros., saloons; J. R. Shorter, Neal & Ligan, A. J. Rutherford, Hinse & Hannah, Hurphey & Buchanan and Johnson & Vance, livery stables; Trebbling & Smith, butchers; J. H. Watkins, John W. Conner and Mrs. Cal. Woodard, hotels. In 1884 the Bank of Lebanon was established with a cash capital of $25,000. The officers are James Hamilton. president; D. W. Dinges, vice-president, and S. G. Stratton, cashier. The manufactories of the present are the Lebanon Planing-mill and Barrel Factory, Williams & Covington, proprietors; John W. Reede and Pyle & Hartsfield, carriage manufactories, and John Shelton, marble-yard. In June, 1885, the Lebanon Creamery was established by a stock company with J. Moldenhower, a native of Denmark, as manager. Upward of 4,000 pounds of milk are received at the creamery each day, which is manufactured into butter and cheese. The machinery used in the creamery is of the most modern make, embracing a Danish milk separator, which separates the cream from the milk at the rate of 2,000 pounds per hour. The milk for the establishment is supplied by the many herds of fine blooded milk cows for which Wilson County is noted.
Among the early prominent physicians of Lebanon were Thomas Hogg, James Frazier, John Ray, L. W. White, Drs. Allison, Crutchfield, Miles and McCorkle. The present physicians of Lebanon are J. M. Anderson. J. W. Holbert, O. C. Kidder, F. A. Fleming, J. L. Fite, William Hannah and G. L. Robertson. Dentists: W.H. Bennett and A. F. Claywell. Lebanon has eight churches, as follows: Methodist Episcopal, Cumberland Presbyterian, Baptist and Christian (white), and Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian and African Methodist Episcopal (colored), all of which are treated of more fully in the chapter on churches.
The fraternal organizations in town are as follows: Lebanon Lodge, F. & A.M., No. 98, established in 1842; Magnolia Lodge, No. 69, I.O.O.F. established in 1847; Lotus Lodge, No. 20, organized in 1875; Lebanon Lodge, No. 69, A.O.U.W., established in 1883; Lebanon Lodge, K. of H., No. 292, established in January, 1876; and Cedar City Lodge, No. 23, G.T., organized in 1884.
Lebanon was first incorporated in November, 1807, and has continued as a corporation in some shape or other up to the present time, the form of government in force to-day being a taxing district, which went in force in 1881. The present officers are J. Matt Woolen, mayor; E. E. Beard, treasurer; J. P. Eastman, secretary and financial agent; W. H. Smith. marshal.