By John L. Kiener,
Washington County Sessions Judge
Who was Capital Ross Smith, the author of Reminiscences of an Old Timer, “privately printed in 1930.” In Chapter 1, Smith traces his genealogy as follows: “I was born at Jonesboro, Tennessee, June 10, 1846, the oldest of four children; two sisters and a younger brother. My greatgrandparents emigrated to East Tennessee, then the State of North Carolina, about the year of 1870. On my father’s side, John C. Smith settled on the headwaters of Little Limestone, just east of Jonesboro. He held two land grants: one, 1783; the other 1784, from the State of North Carolina. These grants are now in the Lawson McGhee Library at Knoxville, Tennessee.
John C. Smith had two sons; John and Turner; two daughters, Sarah and Martha. Martha married a Snodgrass. Sarah married Josha Babb. In 1809, Turner married Mary Ruble, whose parents came from Virginia and brought with them an old walnut chest made in Ireland in 1788. The Rubles were of Scott-Irish descent, and I am inclined to think the Smiths were of the same stock. My father, W.H. Smith, a son of Turner Smith, lost his left hand in a premature blast near his home. This incapacitated him from hard labor. He afterwards went to school for several terms, and later ran for and was elected County Court Clerk in 1844, a position he held up to his death in August, 1854.
On January 17, 1845, he was married to Mary Ann Mauk by W.H. Russell, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. On my mother’s side her grandparents were German and came from Pennsylvania in 1779, and settled fourteen miles southwest of Jonesboro on Nola Chucky River. Their name was Mauk.
My grandfather, Samuel Mauk, married Sarah Broyles. They had four boys and four girls. He built and owned what was then called a cold blast furnace, where iron was made. He also owned a sawmill in the fotires. When both mills were operated, there was quite a little village called Mauktown, which was the voting place in Mauk’s District No. 1. At that time all districts in Washington County were named, not numbered.
In Part I and II of “Old Jonesboro” in the 1850s, a roster of the citizens of Jonesborough commencing at the old cemetery at the east end of Main Street on the north side going west, was listed, ending with the John P. Chester Hotel. Let’s now continue west and pick up Captain Smith’s description.
James H. Dosser, Merchant: Two-story brick. Married twice; a large family. Boys were Robert, Charles Ally, and Frank; two or three daughters; one daughter married Isaac Reeves; Charles is a lawyer. The others followed in the footsteps of their father and are now successful in business. Now the home of Mrs. A.P. Mathis.
The First Presbyterian Church, with R.P. Well, pastor. This building must have been begun in the thirties, as I find some members of the following dates: J.F. Deadrick, 1835; John Allison, 1836; R.L. Blair, 1839; Caroline Crawford, 1840; Deliah Humphrey, 1842; W.K. Blair, 1838. The Deadricks lead in numbers, with the Blairs second, and the Crawfords third. Then comes Chesters, DeVaults, Kennedys, Gammons, Boyds, Jacksons, Greshams, Lyles, Deakins, Naffs, McClures, McLins, Slemons, Nelsons, Stevensons, Sparks, Seviers, Crouchs, Luckys, Smiths, Willetts, Taylors, Rogans, Mathis, Aikens, Barkleys, Maxwells, Murpheys, Byers, Telfords. This was a very prosperous church when I was small. With my father and mother, I attended every Sabbath that the weather permitted and every seat was filled. Each family had its own pew. All pews were numbered, with doors to close. R.P. Wells, being from the North, left at the outbreak of the war. At the close of hostilities there were two factions, the Southern and Northern, both of which claimed to control the polities of the church. A compromise was made in which there are few and they are young, being born since the close of the war. All of the older members have moved or passed away.