History of Broad River Township
by G. A. Burgin
Broad River Township begins on the headwaters at the Charles Fortune farm on the Fairview and Old Fort Road. When I can first remember there was an old lady, Nancy Reed, who lived there. She had a boy named Ephersam and a girl Rhoda. They lived in a double log house called the High Porch Tavern. Level land opens just below where the hills seem to come together and there are some shoals between Broad River and its tributary, Flat Creek. There is a dividing ridge called Chestnut Hill.
About 1880 a man tried to settle a colony of Germans there, it was called the Dutch settlement. The land on Chestnut Hill was not fit for farming, they all left except Otto and Emil Kerstine, who stayed. Otto lived on Flat Creek for a while and then moved to Black Mountain. Emil married Lee Freeman's daughter and settled on Flat Creek, where he died. They were all fine people. Lee Freeman's wife was a Miss Wright. They had two children, a boy and a girl.
Just below Emil Kerstine on Flat Creek, Judson Nesbitt lived; just below him Josiah Nesbitt lived. He was deaf, and late in life he married a Miss Curry.
South of the Nesbitt church on Flat Creek is the home of Ebby Marlow, she was a widow. She had three sons; William M. married a Miss Gilliam, Alfred Gilliam's daughter of Broad River. Thomas M. married a Miss Harris and Jim M. married a Miss Garrison, a daughter of Calhoun Garrison of Broad River. On down the creek was Alford Morgan's place, his first wife was a Miss Bright from Rutherford County, and his second wife was a Miss Elliott. They had five sons and one daughter. Their son Rufus Morgan married a Miss Burgin, the daughter of Logan Burgin of Crooked Creek. Rufus Morgan and wife settled on Sand Branch. Burton Morgan married a Miss Elliott, a daughter of Johnson Elliot of Cedar Creek, and he settled on Sand Branch. John Morgan married a Miss Smith, a daughter of Jim Smith of Broad River and settled on Flat Creek. Vance Morgan married a Miss Mastiler and settled on Flat Creek, Jim Morgan the youngest son died when he was a young man.
Uncle Benny Nesbitt had four sons and two daughters. Tate Nesbitt married a Miss Pinkerton, the daughter of Jim Pinkerton of Cave Creek; Judson Nesbitt married a Miss Lonie Cooper from Fairview and settled on Flat Creek. John Nesbitt married a Miss Pinkerton; she was the daughter of Jim Pinkerton. They settled on Sand Branch. Andy Nesbitt married Miss Harper. She was the daughter of Pete Harper of Fairview. His second wife was a Miss Marlow of Flat Creek. He settled in the gap of the mountains between Flat Creek and Sand Branch. They had two girls, one married Dock Freeman at Bat Cave, and the other married a Mr. Bass at Fairview.
Back to the Charles Fortune farm. At the lower end of his farm the hills seem to come together. Broad River goes over some shoals there. William Garrison had a gristmill on these shoals. He lived a little below there on the Fairview and Old Fort Road, he had a farm in there. His wife was a Miss Murphy. They had four daughters and three sons. On down the road to Tom Byrd's Creek, Charles Wesley White lived. His wife was Leander Fortune's daughter. Charles White lived within a few months of being 100 years old. His wife, Sarah, lived past her one hundred and fourth birthday. She was a wonderful woman, they have six children living.
Leander Fortune was an old settler. He and William Garrison owned all that land in that opening on Broad River. Leander Fortune's first wife was a Miss Owenby, they had six children three boys and three girls, his second wife was a Miss Copening.
Down at the lower end of Leander Fortune's farm the hills seem to come together and there Broad River goes over some shoals. The Rev. Thomas Plemmons had a gristmill, a sawmill, and a shingle mill. They lived on the north side of the river. He had three daughters and two sons. On down the river was Tom Clingman Ledbetter's farm. He married Uriah Owneby's daughter.
On down the river was the John Garrison farm. He married a widow woman, a Mrs. Ledbetter. She was Miss Ebby Freeman before she married the Ledbetter, and they have five children, three girls and one son, John Garrison and Tom Ledbetter owned all that land in that opening in the lower end of the Garrison farm. There Broad River goes over some shoals. Garrison had a grist Mill and a sash saw mill on these shoals.
To the Tommy Elliott farm, he owned all the land in that opening, he was an old settler. His wife was Miss Murphy. They had two sons; his son Murphy married a Miss Freeman from Bat Cave. They had three children, two boys and one girl. His other boy, John Elliott, married a Miss Simmons from Buck Creek. They had three children, two girls and a boy.
Down at the lower end of Tommy Elliott's farm the hills seem to come together and run that way down to Albertus Murphys, Granny Duck Murphy's old home place. They had six children, five girls and a boy. On the shoal there he had a gristmill and a sash saw mill. At Albertus Murphy's place, Broad River goes through a gorge to George Ledbetter's place. Ledbetter owned all the land in that opening. His wife was a Miss Murphy. They had four daughters and two sons. George Ledbetter was killed by a deserter in the Civil War.
On the Hendersonville and Marion road up Laurel Creek you come to the Rev. James Ivy Moffitt place. His wife was Albertus Murphy's daughter. They had 8 children, five girls and three boys. Next is the J. M. Shuford old homeplace. They had five sons and one daughter. He was a pioneer schoolteacher in this part of the country. I went to him when I was a small boy. In those days there was one teacher. The schools then only lasted three or four months. The teachers then only got $25.00 a month.
On the Marion road off to the right is the Stone Mountain Church. The church was named after Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain joins Bald Mountain. Round Mountain is a big mountain all by itself and it is almost round. It is cut off from Stone Mountain by a low gap. Columbus Nanny lived in that gap. His first wife was Miss Panther. They had eight children, 5 sons and 3 daughters.
On the road going toward Marion is the old home of Walter Solomon. His wife was a Miss Smith. They had three daughters and two sons. He was in the late Civil War. He was captured by the Yankees and taken to Camp Douglas, New York and died there. Through the next narrow you come to Jim Bly Gilliam's old home place. He owned all that land in that opening. His first wife was Albertus Murphy's daughter. They had four sons and two daughters. His second wife was George Ledbetter's daughter. They had three daughters and one son.
Next is the Eleck Hudgin's old home place. His wife was a Miss Fortune. She first married a Mr. Gilliam. They had one son, Roby Hudgins. John Patilo Gilliam's wife was Dr. Ledbetter's daughter. They had five sons and three daughters.
It was upon Bald Mountain in September 1900, that a big settlement of good people lived up there. There were two churches I want to mention, one was on the north prong of Cedar Creek. It was called Mehanieum. It was a Freewill Baptist Church. It has a big membership. When I was a boy, John Henry Ballard was the pastor, he lived on Reems Creek. It would take a day to go over there. He would preach on Saturday and Sunday and go home on Monday. He preached at that church six years and got $12.00 in money. He preached once a month on Saturday and Sunday. John Henry Ballard was a good man. John and all the members are gone.
The other church was on the head of Broad River on William Garrison Sr's farm. They called it Eden. It was a Northern Methodist Church. They moved it over to Lakey Gap and built a log house. Then they moved it to Vance Avenue. Now it is a Baptist. They built a church on the Garrison farm where the old one was. It is a Baptist Church and is called Wilkey. It was named after Billy Wilkey, an old pioneer preacher.
All the old settlers of Broad River who lived there 75 years ago except one or two have gone one way of all the earth to that undiscovered country from which no traveler has ever returned.
My story of Broad River.....G. A. Burgin