The Heritage of Daniel Haston


The Caney Fork of the Cumberland
Introductory Materials - Pages iv-1
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What is in This Book?

More than 1200 names of people, places, natural features and events will be found between the covers of this book.  For the convenience of the reader names are arranged in alphabetical order under various headlines such as "Fords," "Mills," etc.

Rock Island - Explanation of a Name

The name is derived from the massive rock which forms an island in the Caney Fork opposite the mouth of the Rocky River.  The name first applied to the island but very soon covered the area in the vicinity of the island.  This usage of the name continued until 1881 when the Railroad reached the Caney Fork and the station was named "Rock Island."

The ferry, bridge, tavern, houses and farm buildings disappeared in the vicinity of the island.  The community growing up around the Railroad Station became Rock Island.  Many present day travelers do not even know that there is an island in the river and that the waters of Caney Fork now cover early mill, bridge and home sites.

A Word From the Writer

The Caney Fork is almost a part of me.  I have seen it running, dancing and sparkling over the shoals like a child playing on a warm summer day and as a quiet pool, without movement like an old man taking his afternoon nap.  I have seen it in an ugly mood, racing down the valley and between the high cliffs, carrying trees, buildings and other debris on its flood crest.

By boat, I've traveled from Big Bottom to the Cumberland, up the Rocky and Collins.  On foot I have covered the 125 miles shore line of the Great Falls Reservoir and much of the lower river, visited old fords and mill sites and explored caves.

It was my good fortune to have had a part in bridging the river and building new roads.  The many springs that feed the Caney Fork furnished the cool, clear water to quench my thirst and the waters of the river have filled my canteen.  Many a day I've shaved on the bank of the river after our party had eaten a lunch prepared by the farm wife where we spent the previous night.

And when the day was drawing to a close it was my privilege to meet the people who lived in the isolated bends of the river or on a rocky hillside and share their hospitality.  Sitting on the front porch or in front of an open fire I heard the tales of the first settlers, many of whom were veterans of the Revolutionary War and of the next generation who left their families on the Caney Fork, Cane Creek and Rocky River to travel South with Andrew Jackson and help win the Battle of New Orleans.  I took many notes, read local history and became an adopted son of Tennessee.

The "Bridging together" in this manuscript is the natural result of such experience.  My sincere wish and hope is that it will preserve some of the names of people and places that made the river's history for future generations.  Times have changed.  For the new generation, gone is the opportunity to sit around the family circle and learn by word of mouth of the past.

--Arthur Weir Crouch

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