REED SETTLEMENT , First Permanent Settlement 1818,
Written by Bobby Snider - 6th Generation Descendant,
Contributed by Lucille Jones:
Built with huge poplar, chestnut and oak trees cut and hand hewn on the settlement, this log house became home to Joseph and Polly Reed, and their 5 children in 1818. In the fall of 1817 when John Leverett and William Reed, 11 & 8 years old, were left here with the Chickasaw Indians to spend the winter and await the return of the father, Joseph and family. In the spring of 1818 Joseph and family returned from North Carolina to find the boys well and very happy to see them.
The area used mostly by the Chickasaw lies in a large bend in the old river as it turned and meandered from east to almost due north around what was to become the Reed Settlement - land granted by Governor Carroll to Joseph Reed in 1821. The kitchen together with the 20 x 20' living area was erected on this site complete with two fireplaces for heating and cooking, and garden spot on the north side, barn with corn crib, 5 stables for livestock and a storage shed, loom house and smoke house, family cemetery, the Reed Spring and other necessities of the times.
In the kitchen there are large cracks between the logs for summer ventilation. There is a gun point on the northside overlooking the family garden. Numerous peg holes for storage and hanging utensils, clothes and other objects line the walls. The children, Armintee, Polly Matilda, John Leverett, Joseph Jr., and William were all raised here, the youngest son, William continued to live here, care for his parents, fight in the civil war and raise his family.
Descendants of William Reed have lived her continually since 1818. The rest of the family spread into the surrounding community from Shady Hill to Warrens Bluff and the area around here became known as Reed Town. The descendants of Joseph and Mary "Polly" (Leverett) Reed are many and scattered unto both oceans.
Brief History of Joseph Reed: This history is through the courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. James A. Reed of Sanford, Colo. who have taken the time and money to do extensive travel and research in the South as to their ancestry.
Joseph C. Reed came from the State of Georgia to find a new home in the wilderness that was the home of the Chickasaw Indians in the year 1817, bringing along his two youngest sons John Leverett. and William. They came by canoe down the rapid Tennessee, burdened with only the equipment necessary for a long scouting trip for they were merely on a prospecting trip to locate a new home in the pathless forests.
When they came to the place where the Beech River empties into the Tennessee they turned into this small stream and paddled against the current for a few days until they saw a sloping park-like spot on its bank and near a large cool spring. They landed and happily walked over to the place that was to be their future home.
When they landed they saw no living thing but the birds and small forest animals but suddenly the wood were full of savage, half-naked Indians that glared at them from every tree and bush. The elder Reed thought of his flint-lock, but it had been left in the canoe, but there was no need for it, as he saw the Indians toss their bows away and advance toward them with friendly gestures. They exchanged presents with the redskins and remained with them in their nearby camp several days during which time Joseph made arrangements with the Chief to leave his sons in their care until he could walk back to Georgia to fetch the remainder of his family, his livestock and his tools. Joseph and his small company made up of his wife Mary "Polly", two daughters Armenthia and Polly, and his oldest son Joseph Jr., came overland by ox wagon, cutting and fording their way through dense undergrowth, streams and swamps.
When they finally arrived they found their sons well and hearty and joyous at their arrival. The following days found them felling the trees for a cabin and garden spot, and with the help of the friendly Indians the house, though rude, floorless and cheerless was livable and would protect them from the rigors of the coming winter.
Joseph Reed and family were the first white settlers, and the first to clear land and build a house in the confines of what is now Henderson County, Tennessee. The single room log house, built on the North bank of Beech River, 5 miles from the present town of Lexington, has been standing and continuously occupied by the descendants of Joseph Reed since 1818 and the pine logs are as sound as they were more than 130 years ago.
This history was compiled by B. Grissom, County Historian, also State Historian
Henderson County, Tennessee.