Cumberland City

From THE ALBANY-CLINTON COUNTY SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, 1836-1986, published in the Mountain Echo and transcribed and submitted by Lisa Haug.

Shortly after the Civil War, Northern carpetbaggers, capitalist (which one depends on your point of view) purchased large tracts of virgin timber and vast tracts of land mineral rights from farmers in the Cabin City area of Clinton County.

As soon as the owners of the mineral rights could, they opened several coal mines. At one time in the 1880's or 1890's, there were as many miners (300) as residents (234) in Albany.

As the minerals were mined and demand grew for coal, immigrant miners came into the Cabin City area to settle and work. A railroad was built to convey the coal to the steam-powered side and sternwheelers that piled their trade along the Cumberland River. The riverboats stopped at Rowena, Albany and other communities to take on coal for resale and other goods for trade up and down the river, and discharge goods for Cumberland City and the surrounding area.

The virgin timber was cut and transported to the Cumberland River by wagon and rail and was gathered into large rafts at the mouth of Indian Creek. These logs would then be floated down the river to Nashville and sold. The men who took the logs down the river would then walk and hitchhike back home. The last known raft pilot in Clinton County was Allen Grider.

If you lived or worked in Cabin City in the late 1800's and early 1900's, you would have purchased needed goods from Thomas Stephens, L.G. Campbell and Perry Smith. Stephenson also ran a tannery to tan domestic and wild animal hides for reuse by families. Campbell was also Cumberland City postmaster and later minister of the Cumberland City Methodist church. The general mercantile store for the area was run by Osco Anderson.

When the river was low from lack of rain, the riverboats could come upriver only as far as Rowena. When this occurred. Merchandise had to be brought from Burnside by horse and wagon to the Cumberland City area. This took two days at best. If the weather took a turn for the worse, it would take longer.

Some of the names of Cumberland City settlers were Dick, Guthrie, Campbell, Stephenson, Anderson, Pierce, Bell, Penticuff, Jones, Denny, Guffey, Carton, Marlow, Woodson, Brumley, Brown, Buchett, York, Smith and others.

Had the minerals and timber not run out, and the travel through Tennessee to Burnside not bypassed it, Cumberland City could have been the most populated, best located city in Clinton County.

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