Excerpts from the January 30, 1930, writings of Dr. Lewis W. Spradling
Sometime in the late autumn of the good old year of our Lord, 1825, there came down the old Richmond, Va., & Dalton, GA. Stock-Road, a heavy loaded wagon train, laden with settlers from the vicinity of Charlottsville, Albemaree Co., Virginia; amongst which were the families of Humphrey Reynolds and Richard Spradling. There were other pioneer settlers of East Tenn. in that train, but of these two, the writer has culled from meagre historic detail of ancestral preservation, barely enuf of record to establish its authenticity, that we, as descendants may preserve for those of the future who may care to preserve their genealogy. The trend of modern human life however, is gradually away from ancient customs, especially in the pride of birth, and boast of ancestry. The youth of today, is amply pedigreed who knew his Great grand-parents. Beyond that, they are not concerned! (The large majority of mankind can trace their lineage no farther than the third generation)
This memorable train of horse-drawn, covered wagons brought into this mountainous section of Tennessee these two pioneer families from the sturdy, rustic yeomanry of one of the oldest settlements of Virginia. They came as "Home-Seekers"-following the "Hiwassee Purchase" of the great string of fine, native forest, hitherto the "Happy Hunting Ground” of the Cherokee and other Native Indian tribes, who, following this memorable deal, emigrated to Oklahoma; At that time, 1825 and after, there was practically no cleared land anywhere. They had to clear the timber from the land for their first crops.
When one reflects a moment upon the progress of this end of the good state of Tennessee, its a bit remarkable, considering that we are but one hundred and five years old! According to history left by our ancestors who were on the ground at the very beginning of civilization, 1825. Thirty six years later, came the war of the rebellion, which undid about much of the structural work, wrought under untold difficulties and hardships; -leaving in four years later-a blood-soaked, desolate waste!--Without schools, without public improvements of any kind, and. incalculable damage to all private property. Many were homeless; and even those who possessed the remnant of a former home, were in constant peril, from newly liberated, semi-savage negro race roaming at large, without homes, most of them, and encouraged by enemies their depredations, and thus made a common menace. Unconsciously, they were compelled to assume the enormous task. of civilizing and educating this race and at the same time overcome the enmity left in the hearts of the liberating slaves, who were at the outset, sold to the native southern planters by those very men who were largely responsible for the war that liberated them!
When the wagon train arrived at the spot known as the Picklesimer place they pitched camp, and it was here that Humphrey Reynolds Senior, made his home. Spradling proceeded farther on westward and decided to enter land on Rogers Creek and at last building his home there.
Richard Spradling died in 1872 on the homestead on Rogers Creek, which he entered upon settling there in 1825. He raised a family of six children: Stanley, oldest son, lived and died at his home near Soddy, Hamilton Co., in 1886. Mortimer, lived and died at his home in Nopone Valley, Meigs Co. Richard lived and died at the old home on Rogers Creek, in the old third District of McMinn Co. The three girls were Mrs. Louisa Wade, mother of Silas Wade; Mrs. Amanda Sligar, and Mrs. John Hart.
Richard Spradling II raised a family of ten children; five boys, Robert, Jasper, John, James and Will. Five girls, Elizabeth, (Mrs. G.G. Jones) Louisa (Mrs. Wm.O. Davis,) Amanda, (Mrs. A.A. Holland)-Tennessee, (Mrs. Wm. T. Land) and Adaline, (Mrs. Geo. A. Arnhart.)
Robert, Jasper and John were veterans of the Confederate Army in the “War of the Rebellion”, serving three years and nine months, to the surrender. All of the boys lived on shares of the large homestead; Will, the youngest living in the old home until it was destroyed by fire in 1915. Robert, the oldest, moved his family in 1880, to a farm near Euchee, on Tennessee river, in the upper end of Meigs Co., where he lived until 1890, when he was elected County Court Clerk, and he moved to Decatur, where he lived and served continuously in that office until his death in 1906, having served 17 years.
Note to reader: In an article that appeared in the local paper in 1901 at the time Dr. Lewis W. Spradling moved his practice from Rogers Creek to Athens it states Richard Spradling Sr. and his wife Elizabeth had seven children, rather than six as is listed above. The child not mentioned above is Overton, who was evidently the second born.