Chapter 3: The Log Cabin Town in 1826

In 1826, the greatest attraction in the little log cabin town was the preaching once a month at McCools Bottom Baptist Church, the old brick Church which stands just across the road from the cemetery. A lane ran the road up to the Church building and horses would be fastened to the fences as close as they could stand together and beautiful horses they were, too; everyone rode horseback in those days, for there were no vehicles. There was at this time one gig. A sort of two-wheeled carriage in the country, It was owned by Mr. Scanlon and was the wonder of everyone in the community. The prettiest sight in the country were the women riding horseback. Most of them were fine riders. The women then were all good looking for they had little to do, as they had slaves, except to care for their persons and to go to different kinds of amusements. The old church had three doors. The front door for the white people at the lower end of the building, and just inside was a stairway leading to the gallery. At the upper end of the Church was the door for the colored people and inside, another stairway to the gallery. The pulpit about four feet high stood on the side of the Church next to the river and on the opposite side of the house was another door looking toward the hill. On regular Church meeting days wherever the preacher went to dinner the whiskey bottle was set on the table. At this time there was no school house in the town, but Mr. McClaren taught at home some few scholars. There were three wells in the town. One on the hillside above Dr. N. C. Brown’s house, one above Mr. E. S. Scott’s house and the other back of Mr. E. P. Chamberlain’s house where his blacksmith shop now stands. They were so far apart that of course most of the water was carried from the river. The right of water way was claimed by Mr. Sam Sanders, who owned a ferry. This ferry was a long, flat bottomed boat with a steering oar at one end and was rowed with oars at either side. Mr. Jerry Craig was ferryman for Mr. Sanders. Mr. William McCoy also owned a canoe, and when he could make a little money by taking passengers he did so. Of course, this called out the comments of others, and the village poet wrote these lines on the subject:

Billy McCoy, that beautiful boy,
who lived in the town of Ghent,
He would keep ferry
In spite of old Jerry
and wouldn’t pay Sammy a cent.

Football was the Sunday game, cock fighting was a common occurrence, and always a signal for the country to gather to witness the fights. For a short while there was a rope walk above town, near where Tyson’s Mill now stands, and down near the river, across from Acra’s house, was a small swivel where men gathered to practice shooting. There were two grave yards; one on the side of the hill above the horseshoe bend, but the main one was in a field on the Walton Craig farm. This grave yard was planted in apple trees, and afterward when the orchard died out it was plowed up. All that remains of this old grave yard is three graves in small enclosure, with one cedar tree to wave above them. They are the graves of Mrs. Jane Keene’s great grandmother, brother, and little cousin. There was one hotel in town, the American House, two or three groceries, a brick yard on the pike across from where Dr. Brown’s house now stands, and one mill.


from the March 8, 1901 edition of the Carrollton Democrat