Of Madison Co TN


"The Cedars"
Home of Adam Huntsman

In the 1830's and 1840's this was the home of Adam Huntsman, a prominent lawyer and politician of Madison County. This peg-legged lawyeer was a leader in the writing of the Tennessee Constitution of 1834. He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1823 - 1827 and again from 1835 to 1837. He was such a bitter enemy of David Crockett that their campaigning was often a rough and tumble affair. Note "The Cedars" lining the street that leads to the home. Tradition tells us that Huntsman and Crockett made a bet that Huntsman lost, and he planted the trees to pay his bet. Huntsman and his wives are buried in the Salem Cemetery about a mile west of the house. A Malone family lived in a house on this site curing the Civil War. It burned in the early twentieth century. W.H. Collier, who designed the first large Corliss Engine for the Southern Boiler Works, bought the land and started building a stately home but met with severe financial difficulties. In later years it was restored and now is the ome of John Vanden Bosh, a Jackson attorney.

Emma Inman Williams /Marion B. Smothers / Mitch Carter - Excerpts of Jackson & Madison Pictorial History 1988

In 1829 Crockett was opposed by William Fitzgerald of Weakley County. Crockett cried foul when a legislative gerrymandering of the district occurred. Despite this Crockett won and returned to Washington. Fitzgerald managed to defeat Crockett in 1831, but lost to him again in 1833. Lurking in the background during this period was an individual named Adam Huntsman. One of our first settlers, Huntsman had come to Madison County in 1821. He built his residence in the Cotton Gin Grove Community, (His home site is adjacent to the F.O.P. Lodge on Cotton Grove Road.) Huntsman was nicknamed "Peg Leg," having lost a leg in the Creek Indian War. Also sporting a hair piece and false teeth, he was one of Jackson's first lawyers and county commissioners.

Huntsman represented Madison, Hardeman, Haywood, Fayette, . Tipton, and Shelby Counties in the state senate for two terms from 1831-1835. His rivalry with Crockett began in 1828 when citizens urged him to run against the incumbent. Aware of Crockett's popularity, Huntsman declined to run. In 1831, Crockett publicly broke with Andrew Jackson, pressident of the United States! Crockett stated that Jackson's followers reminded him of large dogs with collars that had Jackson's name on them as owner. It was a risky statement. . Huntsman continued to poke fun at Crockett, writing satirical editorials in local newspapers describing him as a lost horse.

In 1835 Huntsman finally came out to run against Crocker: in a fun-filled campaign across the Western District. Perhaps the high point of the election occurred when the two were traveling together, speaking on the stump for hours at a time. Staying together at a prominent Democratic farmer's home, they shared the same bed. Waiting until Huntsman was asleep, Crockett crept in the darkened house to the room where the farmer's daughter slept. Hearing a scratching noise on her door, the young woman woke up screaming. Crockett then went back to his bedroom, stomping a wooden chair leg on the floor. The sound was exactly like the noise Adam Huntsman's peg leg would have made. The farmer was furious and threatened to kill him. Only Crockett's interference saved him, but the story circulated through the district to the delight of Crockett's supporters. Election day found Huntsman winning the election by a narrow margin of 4,652 votes to 4,400.

Crockett was furious with the outcome and again cried foul. He claimed that President Jackson used his "franking" privilege to flood West Tennessee with material against him. He also claimed that the Union Bank in Jackson paid twenty-five dollars a vote for Huntsman, a princely sum in those days. There would be no contested election however. Crockett, in a foul mood, marched to the steps of the courthouse where he snarled at his supporters telling them, "You can go to hell, for I am going to Texas." It was a great mistake, for Crockett would be killed eight months later defending the Alamo. Huntsman continued to be active in politics until his death in 1849. He is buried in Old Salem Cemetery on Cotton Grove Road with all three of his wives. Prominent in many fields, he is best remembered for his defeat of Crockett.

Excerpt from "Tales of Madison County" by Harbert Alexander (Hillsboro Press 238 Seaboard Lane - Franklin TN 37067)

Adam R. Huntsman, attorney and congressman, was born in Charlotte County, Virginia, February 11, 1786, to Jacob and Mary Devine Huntsman. Huntsman attended schools in Virginia before migrating to Knoxville around 1807. There he studied law and was admitted to the bar. Huntsman began his law practice in Overton County, where he remained until 1821, when he moved to the newly settled Madison County in West Tennessee. In addition to his law practice he took part in land speculation and shared a merchant partnership. Closely associated with Andrew Jackson and the rising Democratic Party, Huntsman fought in the Creek Indian War, apparently losing his leg during this conflict; thereafter he wore a wooden leg. From 1815 to 1821 Huntsman represented Overton, Jackson, and Smith Counties in the Tennessee General Assembly. In 1824 he was appointed one of three commissioners to improve the navigable rivers of the Western District. He returned to the legislature as state senator for Madison, Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood, Shelby, and Tipton Counties from 1827 to 1831. Huntsman served as a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention of 1834. He was the "timber-toed" Democratic candidate who defeated Davy Crockett in the 1834 congressional race, prompting Crockett to declare his intention to go to Texas. Never a Democratic front-runner, Huntsman nevertheless served the party well as a dependable "war horse." He influenced legislation on banking, tariffs, and internal improvements. Huntsman married three times: first to Sarah Wesley Quarles in 1825; then to Elizabeth Todd in 1829; and finally to Nancy (last name not known), sometime in 1847 or 1848. Huntsman was the father of four children. He died on August 23, 1849, and is buried in Old Salem Cemetery in Madison County.

Biography from Connie L. Lester, Mississippi State University

(Notes of Shelly at Rootsweb World Connect) I know that Sarah (Sally Wesley Quarles, daughter of Wm. Quarles and Ann Hawes Quarles was born in 1798. I also know that she married my great-great grandfather, Adam Huntsman, who defeated Davy Crockett for Congress (although Sally didn't live to see it). What I'm anxious to learn is the date of their wedding, which probably took place in White, Putnam or Overton County, TN. Sally died in 1825 in Jackson, TN. She and Adam had one daughter that I know of, whose name was America Ann. I know she married Timothy Scurlock in the 1840's. I don' t think Sally and Adam were married in or before 1814, because Wm. Quarles was murdered in 1814, and in his will mentioned all his children and in-laws, and Adam Huntsman wasn't mentioned. Sally was supposedly Adam's first wife (he married again, then again after her death) , but I suspect he might have been married previously, although no records exist of it. Any information about the wedding date of Adam Huntsman and Sarah Wesley Quarles would be greatly appreciated