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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Journal

John Sevier

published in Vols. V and VI
of the Tennessee Historical Magazine,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

John Sevier's Journal

Vol. V
January 1794

January begins on Wednesday 1794.

W. 1 Mr. McKee & lady dined here, (Fair day)

T. 2 M. Lovely & Mrs. Murphy Do. (Fair day) (also David Brown & John[image ALT: A blank space]Set up a bed stead for which I gave him 30‑ in cash pd a guinea down.

F 3 Rained today.

S 4 Fair day Jack Sevier Junr. came here with Miss Mary Ann31

Sun 5 Fair day. Jack Sevier32 went away. Mrs. Sevier33 & Kitty went to meeting.

M 6 Cloudy. Mr. Weir fell off his house.º Val Sevier lay here all night & took me Fulltons horse away.

Tu 7 Went to see Mr. Weir & let him blood (Snowed today) (Tobys sow piged last night and three of mine).

W 8 Snowed last night 2 Inches deep, — cloudy. Gillaspy J. Galliher34 and Mr. Condlig lay here.

T 9 cloudy. Frank came here. Blooded Mr. Weir, G. Gillaspy served (ex 'o) Jno Sevier Junr vs Taylor execr.

 p167  F 10 cloudy & rainy (Self poorly) (Mr. Weir some better)

S 11 cloudy

Sun. 12 went to see Mr. Weir he is some better Received letter from G. Blount sent by James Gallispie 12th Mr. Harrill dined here on his way to Guare (?)

Mon 13 cloudy Blooded Mr. Weir (Snowed)

Tues. 14 Mr. Murphy dined here35

On the 14th Jany John Sevier Genl Dreamed he was in an unknown country Supposed from some immagination that it was france, at which place his son Dickkyº came to see him, & welcomed him there, thought that his son Dickky was in a military Service Dressed in dove couloured Silk cloth trimed with blue sattin & said to me I will go with you to head quarters & introduce you to the Commander in Chief to which proposal I agreed & as we went there appeared the largest number of people ever beheld & all in quiet being some distance I conversed with him on the way respecting his fare and how he liked the service, to which he repledº that the fair was better than he could describe the officers had taken great notice of him, and he was well contented to remain there all his days. I thought we gradually ascended towards the top of a high Hill of beautiful ground where there stood a large building which appeared to be built of either Diamond or Glass as I could see through the walls with doors & windows all round. The same we entered in, and immeadeately asscended the first pair of stairs. My son going before me, then proceeding up the second, then the third &c till we go to a very great height, the building still appearing to be a great height above us, he then told me they had the best station that was ever formed, for says he, we can from this place see all the nations in the world and what the armies are doing pointed out at the same time Large Countrys & Cities. Told me that such a place was Russia, another that was Germany, then prussia England, Holland, Denmark Turky and as well as I can remember all the Countries in the known world. They seemed to lye at a great distance, looking like great piles of old buildings, both in Cities & Countries & of different sizes,  p168 lying all around the place we stood which appeared to be so high that we had an easy view of all the world, notwithstanding we were not near the top my son told me I could not see the commander in chiefe at that time, but he would introduce me some other time. I then began to take great notice of the beauty of the palace, I thought I was then in everything appeared to be all light & beauty & wondered that I had never seen nor heard of such a building before & that other nations had not built in the same advantagious manner, on which I awaked.

Wed. 15 Fair & cold

Thu. 16 cloudy towards evening (Rained)

Fry 17 Rained & cloudy all day (John MaMahonº borrowed one Gall of Linseed oil killed three Hoggs

Sat 18 Rained & Cloudy also warm

Sun 19 Fair and warm, Mrs. Sevier and Nancy went to meeting. Cap. Brown Dined here

Monday 20 Warm, & Rained in evening & night; Mr. Waddle lay here all night went to see Mr. Weir who is getting better.

Tues. 21 Rained in the morng. Mrs. Sevier Betsy & self dined at Mr. Sherrills John Fuhky put a floor in the stable.

Wednes. 22. Rained & snowed, cleared up in the night & turned cold John Fuhky put a floor in the stable.

Thu. 23 Fair day & pleasant for the season (John Fuhkee went to Gillaspys).

Fry. 24 Fair & cold. Jo. Greer & Ben parker was here all night. Self & wife went to see Mr. Weir

Sat. 25 Fair and pleasant (in the night Thundered & rained, Col. King L. here, 1. night.

Sun. 26 Cloudy in the morning.

Mon. 27 my father came here (Fair day & warm)

Tues. 28 Rained & cloudy day

Wed. 29 Snowed & Rained cleared up in the night & turned cold.

Thur. 30 Father went to Mr. Sherrills (Clear day & cold)

Fry. 31 Fair & cold (Sylva delivered of a Female child in the night.

February, 1794.

Sat 1st. day of Feby Father set out for home (a good day) dined at Mr. Sherrills36 with Mr. McKee and wife, Mrs. Sevier along

Sun. 2d Pleasant, son Jo. wife & Sally Keewood came here turned cloudy in the night.

Mon. 3 cloudy (Jo. set out for Knoxville wrote by him to Meek & Simms.

 p169  Tues. 4 Pleasant. The girls went to Ben Browns

W 5 Warm, self wife Jos. wife Miss Sally Keewood, Mary ann & Ruth went to Jonesbo. & came home in night Wind rose high & rained in night. Bought 8 lbs. shugar from May 1 bottle mustard 2 pr. w. shoes & sundry other things.

Th. 6 Cloudy but warm

Fry. 7 Pleasant, Bavildin (?) Harrill lay here all night.

Sat. 8 Pleasant, went to Wm. Colliers & dined there, stopped at Mr. Lovelys Charles lay here all night.

Sun. 9 Went to meetg. self wife & Ruth a Mr. Doake37 text 4 Ch. Ephesians 15 & 16 verses. Cloudy & like for rain.

Mon. 10 Warm & pleasant

Tues. 11 Warm Rob. Mcfarland & polly lodged here.

Wed. 12 Rained & turned cold transplanted two old apple trees.

Thur. 13 Snowed & rained

Fry 14 Cold & Cloudy

Sat. 15 Clear & cold

Sun. 16 cold

Mon 17 went to Greene lodged at Cs. Richardsons.

Tues. 18 Brak. at store.

Wed. 19 Rained nothing Extraordinary.

Thur. 20 Cold & Snowed at night

Fry. 21 Very cold & some snow.

Sat. 22 Pleasant — came home in comp. with Mr. Simms & wife. who went to Mr. Sherrills bro. home 12¼ lbs. maple sugar 6 yds plains 9 yards check 1 bott (?) (?) drops Do Brittish oil & peppermint spirit 1 lb Raisons

Sun. 23 Rained

Mon. 24 very cold.

Tues. 25 very cold.

Wed. 26 cold.

Thur. 27 Rained

Fry. 28 Moderated

March 1794.

Sat 1st. Warm & pleasant.

Sun. 2 Warm.

[March 3‑21. No record.]

[April‑July. No record.]º

July 1794.

Tuesday 22 July rained

Wednes. 23 Worked on road. Rained

Thur. 24 rained nothing extraordinary

 p170  Fry 25 Self & Mrs. Sevier wt to J. Seviers & retd same day a light shower in eveng.

Sat. 26 Rained heavily; Rebecca & nancy came here. Washingn wt. to town38 & came home.

Sun. 27 Rained.

Mon. 28 Rained

Tues. 29 rained, self & wife wt. to Mr. McCallisters returned the next day.

Wed. 30 Light shower of rain (Dog days began —

Thur. 31 Fair, began to drink & diet drink

August 1794.

Fri. 1 day of August 1794

Sat. 2 day of August Mr. Mckee & lady dined here —

Sunday 3d wt. myself wife & girls to meeting to Mr. Doaks

Mon. 4 Dry weather, Creek Indian hung Knoxville

Tues. 5 Dry weather. Wed. 6 Ditto. Thur. 7 Ditto. Fry. 8 Ditto.

Sat. 9 dry. (Self wife Ruth39 Betsy & Tobe went to Jonesbo. in carriage.

Sun. 10 return from Jonesbo (Dry)

Mon. 11 Fine Small rain

Tues. 12 A. Sherrill & d. Murphy came up

Wed. 13 rained.

Thur. 14 Fry. 15 rained

Wed. 20 Set out to Knoxville, my wife & Ruth went as far as Greene Staid till Fryday when we all left.

Thu. 21st Staid at Greene.

Fry. 22d Ditto Lodged at Hoskins. B. C

Sat. 23 Lodged at Brasiltons.40

Sun 24 arrived at Knoxville.

Mon. 25 Assembly met, dined with Governor.41

Wed. 27th dined with Governor

Thu 28th drank tea at Mr. Summervilles

 p171  Fry. 29 brakfirsted with Mrs. Duncan

Sat. 30 drank tea with Mrs. Blunt

Sun. 31 rained, rode out to J. Jackson C. O. with Cap. Richard.

(Remarks) this month was uncommonly warm with one or two Cool evenings.

September 1794.

Mon 1 Dined with Governor

Tues. 2 brakfirsted with C. Richard.

Wed. 3 Supered at Mr. Somerviles.

Thu. 4 Brakfirsted & dined with Jo Sevier.42 Fry. 5 Do. Do. Do.

Sat. 6 dined with Governor.

Sun 7 Drank tea at Mr. Sommervilles

Mon. 8 Drank tea with Mrs. Blount

Tues. 9 played Billiards43 at Mr. Duncans.

Wed. 10 Lodged at Mr. Woods.

Thu. 11. Suppered at Mr. Chisoms

Fry. 12 dined &c at Jo. Seviers. Sat 13 Do. Sun. 14 Do. Mon. 15 Do.

Tues. 16 Dined at Governors.

Wed. 17 Drank tea at Governors.

Thur 18 drank tea at Mr. Somervilles.

Fry. 19 dined at J. Seviers. Sat. 20 Do.

Sun. 21 Do with Governor wt. to meeting with him & his lady to hear Mr. Carrick.44

Mon. 22 Dined with Governor

Tues 23 took tea Mrs. Blounts.

Wed. 24 Brak. at C. Richards.

Thur 25 Dined &c Jo. Seviers. Fry. 26 Do.

Sat. 27 Dined at Mr. Stones.

Sun. 28 Dined with Governor. wt. to meeting with Gov. & his lady.

Mon. 29 ditto.

Tues. 30 Assembly was peroughed45 til first Monday next Octorº  p172 Members collected with the Governor at (?) (?) and drank wine that evening.

October 1794.

Wednesday 1 day of October dined at Governors

Thurs. 2 dined at Governors.

Fry. 3 dined with Governor set for home from Knoxville Accompanied by the Governor & Dr. White about 6 miles, also Maj. Lovely & Mr. Harrill came all the way Lodged that night at Mr. Meeks (Frost)

Sat 4 Lodged with M. Lovely at Judge Andersons.46

Sun. 5 Lodged with ditto at Col. H. Conways.47

Mon. 6 Lodged at Mr. Wyleys in Greenville Bro. home a loaf of sugar. Tues. 7 came home. Wed 8 Thur. 9 hard frost. Fry. 10 ditto. Sat. 11 ditto (began to take medicine) Sun. 12 Mon. 13 Mrs. Sevier went to Embrees48 & her mothers.

Tues. 14 Rained in the night & in morning (killed sm. Beef.)

Wed. 15 frost. Thur. 16 Do. Fry. 17 Do. Sat. 18 Do. Sun. 19 Mon. 20 Tues. 21 Wed. 22 Thur. 23 Fry. 24 Snowed in the night. Sat. 25 rained. Sun. 26 Fair. Mon. 27 Fair. Tuesday 28th Wed. 29 Thur 30 Memo. An order on J. Richardson in favour of Rogers for £15 dated 10th August 1792. Fry 31. Rained.

November 1794.

Sat. 1 day of November.

Sun. 2 Fair. Mon. 3 Dry began to pull corn. Tues 4 Dry & warm. Wed. 5 warm & dry. Th. 6 warm & dry Fry. 7 warm. Sat. 8 rained a little.

Sun. 9 Mrs. Sherrill much better. Mon 10. Mrs. Sherrill taken suddenly. Tues. 11 rained finished halg. corn. Frank ran49 away. Wed. 12 fair & warm. Thur. 13 warm. Fry. 14 cloudy. Sat. 15 rained & snowed at night.

Sun. 16 cold and Fine snow Mon. 17 clear & pleasant. John Richmond  p173 came this day and set in for the year at £25. Put up our Fattening Hoggs. Tues. 18 I went to court. Wed. 19 rained. Thur. 20 cold Thos. Young died suddenly at Frank Allisons. Fri. 21 snow. Sat. 22 cold, negroes began to grubb.

Sun 23 came home from Court Recd. from Jno. Sevier Junr 10 dollars. Mon. 24 Fair & pleasant. Tues 25 Fair. Jas. Oliver Died. Wed. 26 Fair & pleasant Thur 27 same. Fry. 28 cloudy. gave L. Peters order for £3 to the store. Sat 29 cloudy & light rain. Mrs. Sherrill Died. 3 o'clock at night.50

Sun. 30 Mrs. Sherrill buried in evening (Rainy)

December 1794

Mon. 1. first December, rained a little. Tues 2 snowed at night. Ruthy went to the Wheelrights. Wed. 3 fair. Th. 4 Joseph Sevier sit out for Knx & catey & his wife wt. to Greenville. Toby wt. to bring some things from there clear & cold Killed a beef Cone recd this day from Mr. Sherrill. Fry. 5 fair (sick myself) Sat. 6 Fair. Self & wife dined at Mr. Sherrills.

Sun. 7 Fair, rained in night. Negro Bet delivered of a Female child. Mon. 8 rained in the morning. cloudy & cool sent J. Richmond to shoemakers. Sent by him 2 dollars to shoemaker. Tuesd. 8 Wm. Greene Co. 180 lbs. pork. John Richmond 2 pr. overals 24. John Fickee 1 pr Do 12. 3 yds linen a 3. 3 yds of check some time ago. Wed. 10 warm & pleasant. Thur. 11 went to Jonesbo. Fry. 12 staid at Jonesbo. the Comissrs for town sit. Sat. 13 staid at Jonesbo. Mr. Sims came up.

Sun. 14 came home. Mr. Sims wt. home. Mon 15 cloudy. Negro Frank run away. Tues. 16 Fair & pleasant. M. Seviers wife delivered of a son. Wed. 17 fair & pleasant. Mrs. Sevier went to Jonesbo. Thur. 18 warm. Fry 19 rained & snowed in the evening & in the night 6 inches deep. Sat. 20 cloudy & flying snow. Snowed in the night.

Sun. 21 Cloudy & flying snow. Mon. 22 Fair & Pleasant. Killed 8 fatning Hogs. Tues. 23 clear & pleasant. Mrs. McCallister Mrs. J. Gillaspy Miss Daisy & Miss ––––– came here wt. home next day. Wed. 24 pleasant weather self & Mrs. Sevier dined at Mr. Sherrills. Mrs. McCallister51 & Young ladies wnt home. Thur. 25 cloudy & some rain. Mr. Sherrill Mr. Sherrillº Mrs. Beard Mr. Andrew Bears Mr. McKee Mrs. McKee Miss Peggy McKee Mr. Weir & wife Mal Murphy dined here today Came up a thuder Gust with Hail & small rain. Fry. 26 Fine day Sat. 27 Washington & Fickee wt. to Greene Fair day.

Sun. 28 pleasant day. Mon. 29 wt. Jonesbo self & Washington cloudy. Tues. 30 rained a little returned from Jonesbo. Wed. 31 Fair.

Editorial Notes:

31 Mary Ann Sevier, sixth child of John and Sarah Sevier, born about 1771. She married Joshua Corlin and moved to Overton County.

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32 John Sevier, Jr., the third son, was born June 20, 1766, and married Sophia Garrett. Their daughter, Anna, married Henry Hoss, and their son was the late Bishop E. E. Hoss.

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33 Mrs. Sevier was Katherine Sherrill, beloved in history as "Bonny Kate." The romantic story of her rescue from the Indians by Sevier is well known. They were married on August 14, 1780, the year in which the first wife died. Katherine Sherrill Sevier was eminently worthy to be the wife of her great husband. She was the helpmeet and inspiration of thirty-five years of public service marked with great vicissitude. They had eight children: George Washington, Samuel, Ruth (m. first Col. Richard Sparks, then Daniel Vertner), Katherine (m. first Archibald Rea, then Mr. Campbell), Polly Preston (m. Wm. Overstreet), Joanna Goode (m. Windle), Eliza Conway (m. Major Wm. McClellan), and Robert. The names of the daughters are frequently mentioned in the diary.

After the death of Governor Sevier his widow moved to a secluded place, called "The Dale," in Clay County, and lived there for many years. Governor Sevier located two grants for something over 57,000 acres in Overton and Clay Counties. On this land many members of his family settled. Mrs. Sevier, his sons, George W. Sevier, Dr. Samuel Sevier, Valentine Sevier, and daughters, Katherine Campbell, Joanna Windle, Mary Overstreet, Sarah Brown and Ann Corlin. Mrs. Katherine Sherrill Sevier died October 2, 1836, at Russellville, Alabama, where she had recently gone to live with her son, Dr. Samuel Sevier.

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34 Theº "J. Gelliher"º here mentioned was probably the father of James Gallaher, the clergyman and author of "Western Sketch Book." A.

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35 The Sevier farm on Nola Chuckee, home and buildings were a marvel of fertility, comfort, convenience and tools for all kinds of farm work and production. The following is a fair sample of the old Sevier establishment. The Cowan house, about twelve miles north from the Sevier farm was built by John Cowan from Virginia, a soldier of 1812. It was a large two-story frame, with long upper and lower porches and ample back porch, gigantic rock chimneys, roof of walnut shingles, fastened on with walnut pegs. A big two-story rock springhouse contained all needful dairy paraphernalia, although only the family and farm hands were to be supplied. A vast double-log barn contained hay mows, threshing floor, graneries, and horse stalls. There were stored plows, harrows, harness, flails for threshing grain, sickles, reaping-hooks, the long English scythe blade and crooked snead, the clumsy Dutch scythe with short blade and straight snathe. There were two kinds of English scythes, a broader blade and a long narrow blade, known as the "black-snake scythe." There were many antiquated implements, known to Scotch farmers. At the house and in outhouses were all that pertains to the household, all that goes with production of flaxen thread and woolen fabrics, hackles, scutches, with long, swordlike wooden scutching-knives, brakes, small spinning-wheels for flax thread with "flyers" — all that pertains to flaxen thread, cloth and weaving. There were the "big wheel" for woolen yarns, smaller spinning wheels for fine yarns, reels for "hanking" woolen yarns in "crets." There were looms for weaving all kinds of cloth. In the garret were John Cowan's old leathern helmet, sword-belt and sabre, old markets and flint-lock pistols. Scattered on the floor were numerous Irish, English and a few American periodicals.

This description is by an eye-witness and frequenter of the Cowan house and is fairly descriptive of the John Sevier place, only that it is reputed to have been upon a larger scale of provision for everything. D.

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36 Probably the father of Mrs. Sevier.

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37 Rev. Samuel Doak, one of the first preachers west of the Alleghanies, founder of Washington College, today a flourishing Presbyterian institute. He was a man of great courage and wide influence. He was born in Augusta County, Virginia, 1749, and died in Bethel, North Carolina, in 1830.

Thayer's Note: The school has severed its ties with the Presbyterian church, and is now a high school. It once had a website, but by 2017 all trace of it seemed to have disappeared.
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38 This was probably Jonesboro, eight miles distant.

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39 Ruth, the sixth daughter. She married first Col. Richard Sparks, U. S. A., then Daniel Vertner, of Mississippi. She died in 1834. (Heiskell's "Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History," p204). "Betsy" — Elizabeth, the eldest daughter. She married W. H. Clark and died early, leaving one child, Sarah Hawkins Clark, who married General James Rutherford Wyly. (Heiskell, p203.)

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40 A Brazzleton was a wealthy man of Newmarket, in Jefferson County, in 1848. His son was a colonel of cavalry in the Confederate Army. This was probably an ancestor.º D.

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41 William Blount, the governor of the Territory south of the Ohio. Knoxville became the residence of the governor in March, 1792.

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42 Joseph Sevier, born 1763, was the oldest child. He married an Indian woman. His son, Rev. Jack Sevier, was a Methodist preacher. (Heiskell, p201.)

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43 'Tis worthy of note that billiards was played in Knoxville in 1794. It shows how the backwoods kept up the graces of civilization. Not many centuries have elapsed since an advanced Frenchman was burned at Paris as a wizard for billiard shots that would be commonplace now and perhaps Sevier might have made. D.

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44 Rev. Samuel Carrick, 1760‑1809, a Presbyterian minister; native of Pennsylvania, educated in Virginia; president of Blount College, later the University of Tennessee, from its beginning in 1794 until his death.

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45 "Poroughed," prorogoved.º The word has not come down to this day and was seldom used then in political speech. We would say, adjourned, in almost any case. D.

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46 Joseph Anderson, 1757‑1837, one of the territorial judges appointed by President Washington. Born near Philadelphia, served in the Revolution; member constitutional convention of 1796; senator from Tennessee, 1797‑1815; comptroller of the U. S. Treasury, 1815‑1836.

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47 The wife of James Sevier, the second son, was Nancy Conway, of Washington County.

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48 "Mrs. Sevier went to Embree." Embreeville was a furnace village in sight from the Sevier farm on Nola Chuckee River, said to have been named for Elihu Embree, who edited the first abolition newspaper in America, at Jonesboro. His son, Elihu Embree, Jr., served in the 19th Tennessee, C. S. A. D.

Embreeville, or "Embree," as it was sometimes referred to, was then, and still is, on the south side of the Nolo or Noli Chucky River right at the foot of the Unaka, a spur of the larger Iron Mountain, both part of the Appalachian Range; and the Sevier home place was about two miles down the river on the north side. It is very probable that smoke from the old time furnace stack and from charcoal pits was "in sight" of the Sevier home, but not in sight of buildings or Embreeville Village. A.

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49 "Frank ran away." While a horse gifted with the name of Franklin — quite popular in 1794 — might have been the Frank that ran away, we are enlightened further along on page 17 that the "run-away nigger" had come to be a feature of that early day. D.

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50 Probably the mother of Mrs. Sevier — November 30, 1794.

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51 The McCalister mentioned lived near McAlister's Schoolhouse, two miles down Hominy Branch from Washington College. They were kin to the McAlisters of Nashville, of whom is Hon. W. K. McAlister, lately of our Supreme Bench. In East Tennessee the name is still pronounced with the broad Scotch "a," "McOlister," while at Nashville it has the flat "a," "McAlister." D.

The civil district in Washington County, where the McAlisters resided is still called "McAlister's District." A.

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