Scott's Spring

The Press Journal, Louisiana, MO.
17 April,1902

Scott's Spring Historic Spot and Interesting Features Connected With It
as told by Judge T.C.Fagg

A half mile east of the Praire on the old road leading from Clarksville to Ashley, and perhaps three times that distance from the town of Cyrene, is the well known locality called "Scotts' Spring".

It was here that John Scott and Robert Fullerton built their double cabin in the year 1818. In this cabin home in 1819, was arranged the first Cumberland Church and afterwards in May, 1820, the first Presbytery of that denominaton in the state.

The road upon which this improvement was made, once an important highway of trade and travel between the towns mentioned, has in part been discontinued. The houses have disappeared and a large walnut tree three or four feet in diameter is all that is left to mark the spot around which are gathered so many interesting memories. The fountain from which the locality takes its name sends out a pure, limpid stream of water from beneath a ledge of limestone situated in a sort of amphitheatre.

Many a hunter almost exhausted by the arduous labor of the chase and many a dusty weary traveler along the highway, have stopped and knelt at that fountain. No one yet has been able to describe the intense pleasure and satisfaction of a drought of pure cold water to a man suffering fom a burning thirst. Some has said that "It can send a shock of pleasure to the soul more thrilling than the fabled nector of the Gods," but this conveys only a faint idea of the realty. Here is this amphitheatre and near the gurgling, cool stream of water that in all seasons and under all conditions has continued to flow in great abundance, the first public religious worship in the settlement was held. How free and unrestrained----how hearty and sincere was the worship. Just how long this spot continued to be the religious center of that community I do not know. For some unknown reason to me another site was selected on the other side of the praire some two or three miles distant, and a log church erected upon the spot where now stands the church bulding, known as Antioch. Ignorant of the purposes and motives that controlled this movement I have always regarded it a mistake. Some little distance below the spring and at an early day a tan-yard was sunk by someone whose name I have not learned..

In 1836 it was known as Gooch's Tan-yard, being owned by a man of that name, who was in someway related to the family of Rev. James W. Campbell.

In the early forties Mr. R.D. Brewington became possessed of the property and he established a tannery upon a larger scale a little farther down the branch, which he operated for several years. As I remember Mr. B. came from the state of New Jersey and stopped for a time in the town of Louisiana. A short time afterwards he moved to the town of Bowling Green where he went into business, and again in a few years removed to Hannibal where he died some years ago.There was a still house operated at the famous spring for a few years, but I am unable to fix the exact date. Perhaps it was just prior to the time that Brewinrton had possession of the property----I am not sure.

About the year 1845-or-46, Mr John W. Smith, an interprising merchant, established a store at this point and did a thriving business there for some years, but finally moved his goods to Praireville and then to Clarksville----there being no farther effort as far as I know to establish any sort of business at this point afterwards. Here were four distinct failures, a place of worship, a tanyard, a stillhouse and a store. Whatever our opinions may be as to the ligitimacy and responsibility of those various enterprises, they were all evidences of the advanced civilization and each had its earnest and faithful promoters and friends.

In the early days and before farms were supplied with cisterns, there was frequently much labor and expense in procuring drinking water, especially in the highland praires. At such a time, Scott's Spring furnished the only supply for a large district of country. Each farmer on the praire within the distance of eight or ten miles had a water barrel, mounted on a two wheel conveyance or ground sled, and hauled all the necessary water for the family use from this celebated spring. I remember in a severe drouth in mid-summer, more than fifty years ago, that just before noon on a hot day I called at the house of Mr. John Turner, ten miles below Bowling Green, and asked if I could get a drink of water. The old man was sitting under a shade tree in the yard. He said he didn't know how long he could keep life in him----that there was not a drop of water on the place and he was wetting his lips with vinegar and waiting for the water barrel to get back from Scott's Spring.

But the years have come and gone and notwithstanding the changes and failures that have occurred in the last four score and more, the stream of pure sweet water that comes gushing out from its hidden reservoir, still flows on with a current that no time nor season has ever changed or diminished. The surrounding lands have all been converted into the peaceful uses of an agricultural life----a beautiful blue grass plot covers the ground where the tanneries and still house once stood, and the little stream of water that flows on from the famous spring still hurries on to add its little tribute to the waters of Buffalo Creek and thence to be carried by its rapid current into the great Mississippi River.


This article photo copied from microfilm in the Library of the State Historical Society of Missouri at Columbia, MO. by Daryl Ann Rogers. Submitted by Bowen A. Rogers.
Also read about John E. Scott ...




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