A Visit to Mecklenburg

by "Ora"
From Heiskell, S. G.  Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History, vol. 2, pp. 117-118.

     The following account of a visit to the venerable residence of Dr. Ramsey, is from "Ora," the Correspondent of the Mobile Advertiser, and was republished in the Knoxville Register of April 6, 1862.

     "I enjoyed a most delightful visit, a few evenings ago, in company with the talented and witty editor of the Knoxville Register, Col. J. A. Sperry, at the house of the celebrated historian of Tenn., Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, who resides at the junction of the Holston and French Broad Rivers, about four miles northeast of Knoxville. The road to the Doctor's house is a most delightful one, presenting some charming views of mountain and valley scenery. At the junction of the rivers, the Holston winds around a beautiful, undulating country, forming a picturesque, indented shore running from the north to the south; while some hundred yards above, it falls over a rocky bed making a pleasant murmuring sound and reminds one of the dark-rolling waters of the Danube. On the right is presented the mouth of the French Broad, running from east to west, with its high, rocky cliffs on the north side, jutting over some sixty-five feet. About three hundred yards from the mouth, under the cliff, gushes a clear, cool spring, which is approached by a small boat, the scene by moonlight is very exquisite.

     "Crossing the Holston, you ascend a graded bank, and near a high Indian mound stands an ancient looking building, once called Gilliam's Station built in 1790, and now the residence of the venerable historian, surrounded by primitive forest trees. Near the main building is a small cottage, over which is still to be seen the Doctor's original "shingle," on a plain board about four feet long and one wide, which was once painted white, but now faded, with black letters still plainly visible, Doctor Ramsey.

     "This was once the doctor's office and laboratory, and is still in its primitive state, while in an adjoining room is his library and museum. It was here he wrote his first volume of the history of Tennessee. The second volume which comes down to the times of the Mexican War, under Mr. Polk's administration, I learn is completed, the publication of which was prevented by the revolution. His museum contains many old Indian relics, and two pieces of Indian sculpture resembling very much the Indian style.

     "About 100 yards from the house is the ruins of the old Presbyterian Church of Lebanon, rebuilt in 1807, the first built in Tennessee, whose pastor was the Rev. Samuel Carrick, whose daughter married in 1798, the Hon. Hugh L. White, formerly United States Senator. The old high backed pew is still to be seen, where Gov. Sevier, the first Governor of Tennessee, was want to sit with his friends Capts. Crosby and Reynold Ramsey (the grandfather of Dr. Ramsey), both soldiers in the old revolutionary army, who at that day wore powdered hair and cues, with cocked hats, shorts and ruffled bosoms and cuffs.

     "In the old churchyard which contains the dust of a generation of over a century ago, is the tomb of Elizabeth Carrick, consort of the Rev. Samuel Carrick, who died in September 1783, at the time of the invasion of Knoxville by the Indians. The remains of both the grandparents of Dr. Ramsey also lie there, with Capt. Gillespie, the celebrated Indian fighter, and the old Indian chief Oconostota.

     "But I must close this already long letter, expecting to write you the next time from the old stamping ground of Chattanooga."


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