RELATING TO THE EARLY HISTORY OF LIMESTONE COUNTY
By Thomas Smith Malone
The Athens Post, March 21, 1867.
Page 2, Column 3.
The same year to-wit: 1808, in November, Samuel Robertson settled in this place, (Athens), on the South-east corner of the public square which has been known for many years as the “Bass Corner”.
Robertson established a trading house, furnishing provisions, as well as a few articles of merchandise, trinkets, etc. He remained here occupying the same place, trading, feeding and trafficking with all comers and goers, Indians as well as whites, until the year 1810, when Col. Meigs drove him off with the Military.
The start of Fort Hampton
The General Government, influenced by the complaints of the Chickasaws and Choctaws, sent Col. Meigs out this year to protect them in the quiet possession of their lands, and to maintain peace among the different races. The Colonel encamped in the fall of this year on Elk River, thirteen miles from Athens, a little South of west, and built a fort, which he named “Fort Hampton,” in honor of a noble and distinguished gentleman of that name, who was from South Carolina.
Shooting took place in 1817
Colonel Meigs is said to have exercised great mildness, forbearance and discretion m his government of the wild and fierce and turbulent men whom he had to manage. He displaced Robertson, with Wilder, and made this post a stopping and furnishing point between Fort Hampton and Huntsville. Wilder retained possession of this post until the year 1817, when the Military having been withdrawn Robertson claimed the spot, quarreled with Wilder, and in a fierce fight which ensued, shot and dangerously wounded him.
During the same year, 1808, David Broiles settled on the road leading from Huntsville to Browns Ferry, (since known as the township road), about five miles from the Ferry, on a little creek, which took his name, “Broiles Creek”.
Origin of some place names
While on the subject of creeks, I beg to give here the information in my possession as to the origin of their names: Limestone was called “Black Creek, by the Indians, but its name was changed by the white citizens, the Mitchells and Cummings, on account of the great amount of Limestone rock in its bed and on its banks.
The first cluster, or field of pine trees, was found on the banks of Piney and hence its name. The Burlesons and Moore have the credit of naming Swan, who were induced to give it this name from the large numbers of Swan and Geese they noticed on its waters near its mouth in the neighborhood of Moorsville.
Round Island has a remarkably round island at its mouth, and D. Broiles discovering it, named the creek from it.
Other early settlers
During this year, (1808) in September, George Rogers, in passing from one settlement to another, found a patch of corn, two acres, and made a halt and in a week brought his family and settled there, there being a rude partially finished cabin by it.
He induced a man, with a large family, by the name of John Rogers, not a relative, however, to settle near him the same fall. It was afterwards ascertained that Thos. Stone attempted a settlement there in the spring (May 1808), planted the corn, and was completing his cabin when he received a threat from a squad of roving Indians, and left.
These were the first settlers of Cambridge, and it grew within a year or two, to be the most populous as well as the most important town in the county, which ascendency it maintained until after the election between it and Athens, of which I shall hereafter speak.