A Democrat and an Old Line Whig Older than the Constitution – Eyes that Saw Nashville Four-Score Years Ago.
At Pegram’s station, on the Northwestern road, lives a man who was born in Dinwiddie county, Va., in 1781, known by the neighborhood as Old Uncle Ben Woodward. He is the father of twenty children and the progenitor of 156 grand and great-grand children. He made his first visit to Nashville in 1807, when he thinks, there were not more than 500 inhabitants in the city, there being only two houses on Market street. His last trip to Nashville was made in 1861. He has not walked a step for nineteen years, having been sorely afflicted with rheumatism. He has always voted the Democratic ticket, and, old as he is, “hurrahed for our side” on hearing of their recent victory.
On Sam’s creek, in Montgomery county, lives another very aged man, John Hooper, born Feb. 25, 1788 in Elbert county, Ga. His people removed to Tennessee with him when he was at the age of five years. He is the father of thirteen children and ancestor to 200 grand and great grandchildren. His first visit to Nashville was in 1794, when, he thinks, the population of the place was not more than 200 – less, in other words, than the number of his progeny. He has resided at his president habitation forty-eight years, during which time he says he has killed one bear, scores of wolves, hundreds of deer and thousands of turkeys. His seeing is good, as he can read writing without spectacles and bragged that he can beat the best marksman on Sam’s creek. In politics he was an Old Line Whig while that party kept its identity, and has since been a Democrat, never failing to go to the elections.
This article originally appeared in The Nashville Union and American newspaper on November 29, 1874. It features two “ancients”, community elders: Benjamin Woodward and John Hooper. Benjamin Woodward is my fourth great-grandfather. He was born around 1782 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, to John Peter Woodward and Elizabeth Pegram. He had several wives, including my fourth great grandmother, Harriett Burnett. He died June 5, 1875 in Cheatham County, Tennessee.
I love finding gems like this. It gives insight to ancestors, instead of just names and dates.
Thank you to the Shacklett, TN – History Contribution Page on facebook for this great piece of history.