BIOGRAPHIES of HENDERSON COUNTY

CHARLES AUSTIN

On the banks of Doe Creek about 10 1/2 miles upstream from the Tennessee River, a man of about 29 and his wife, Phoebe Ellen Woodard, became the first settlers of what was to become Scotts Hill in the fall of 1825. Charles born March 26, 1796 and Phoebe were married in 1815 near Charlotte NC. With them they brought their five children fron Anson Co. They had seven more children to be born later. These pioneers included this Austin family which led this long expedition over the mountains to Carrolsville, which is today called Clifton, where they crossed the ferry. Charles led the colony to a land grant belonging to his father, Richard Austin. Charles and his wife built a log house out of of yellow poplar logs, it was built near what is no Austin Chapel Church. A fine spring is located near this log house on the bank of DOe Creek. Charles later acquired other land.

Others who came with Charles were his brothers, Morgan, Jeremiah and James; his half brother Pleasant Austin, a sister Isabella and husband John Stanfill. There was also Jacob Maness, Arch Jones, William Jones and Jonathan Duck. The first houses in the land grant were generally between todays' Fellowship and Old Reagan Road. This string of houses was later called Jonestown. Today (1992) the land grant is still in the Austin family. The log residence of Charles Austin was built before the winter of 1825. Cabins for others were also ready in time. The center of the settlement was centered around teh Charles Austin home.

The early growth was slow, there was no transportation or communication. There were no roads, just rough trails through the wilderness. The talk among the settlers was the need for a road to be cleared from Clifton across the river. The agreement to build this road came from William Whiet and Milt Buck, with the help of soem slaves they cleared a strip of land to be used for future stagecoach traffice. The first phase ran from Clifton to Scotts Hill, along what is today Hwy. 114. The second phase running from Scotts Hill through Shady Hill and into Lexington. The early mail was transported on these stagecoachs. Scotts Hill got a post office on August 1, 1850 and Dr. William H. Brigance was the first postmaster.

Another major stagecoach route this side of the river ran from Clifton through the lower end of the Doe Creek Valley making its way to Bolivar. It ran east-west passing just south of the Liberty Community over the main tributary of Doe Creek into the Presley Ridge Community then west of Saltillo through Purdy, at teh time the county seat of McNairy County" and then to Bolivar. This road was built in the 1\early 1820's.

Not long after the first settlers of the area arrived a strange occurance happened over the hill from the Doe Creek Cemetery on the night of November 13, 1833. A metorite, 20 foot molten sphere that fell, was so brith it could have blinded anyone that was in the immediate area, while blistering the skin. After impacting the earth it bored a hole into the ground a distance of 20 feet deep, that sent a shock wave over the area, emitting a shower of smaller molten rock. They didn't understand what had happened - the object glowed for days. After it cooled, children played inside the crate, calling it a gold mine. They collected rocks which were round in shape and egg-sized, some would break, then glisten like gold. Other residents called it a volcano, some families moved away. Thoday the site is covered well by timber and nature. All that is left is a faint ring of colored dirt on level ground.
Believed to be writen by an Austin Descendant

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