Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where oh where is the West Fork of Flat Creek?

Where is the West Fork?  Being a Larry Hagman fan I know where South Fork is. Now I just need to find out where the West Fork of Flat Creek is in Knox County, TN. This Flat Creek area is a mystery to many. Lucille Wallace the author of the 1950's version of the Forgey Family History was unclear about it's exact location. She seemed to place it in Hawkins County, not realizing that area later became a part of Knox County, TN. This threw me and others off. When I began searching for Flat Creek I looked at maps for Hawkins County and couldn't find it. When I posted a query at a message board I was told it was in Knox County; I then located the general area.
When I received photocopies of the deeds I noted that Hugh Forgey sold his Flat Creek property to Christian Shell. I found a Shell Lane and Cemetery on a map for the area; I assumed the land was in that area. The land was not literally on Flat Creek. I had read that sometimes the nearest creek was mentioned on these early deeds, and did not mean the property was located on the creek.
Now that I am trying to put together a narrative family history I decided I wanted to include a map of the area where the family lived. I decided I should try to do some fact checking. I got the deeds out and read the location descriptions. Glad I did that because the deeds do say the family properties were located on Flat Creek. Here is what they say:
  • James Forgey's grant states the location "Beginning on the North side of the Holston River on a Branch of Flat Creek"
  • Alexander Forgey's deed states the land was "on the waters of Flat Creek"
  • Andrew Forgey's deeds state "on the waters of Flat Creek"
  • Hugh Forgey's deeds state his land was "on the west Fork of Flat Creek"
Armed with these descriptions I am now trying to locate the exact location. My ancestor Hugh's property description is the most descriptive "West Fork." I have not been able to locate a map with that particular location. I did find a query posted by someone also looking for that location. I also found out Hugh's brother-in-law John Beaird lived on the West Fork of Flat Creek. I checked the taxlist I have for Hugh Forgey when he lived on Flat Creek. I google searched some of the names plus Flat Creek. When I searched Bostian Graves I found a website where I found this info "The writer has no knowledge as to the original grantees to tracts of land on the head waters of Little Flat Creek. Most of them had served in the Continental Armies of North Carolina or Virginia during the Revolutionary War. Daniel Graves and his father Boston (Sebastian ) Graves (Graff) were in the area May 23, 1797.it is believed they came to Tennessee from Montgomery County, Virginia. They had earlier lived in Orange County, North Carolina. Since this recorder (Scharmal Veronica Triesch Conley) is a descendant of both Daniel and Boston Graves much of this compilation will relate to them and their descendants. On May 23, 1797, Daniel Graves bought 200 acres of land from John Beard. The land was located in the head waters area of Little Flat Creek, first known as Gravesville and later Graveston. The land is recorded in Book C-1, pg. 131, Knox County, Tennessee. "  
I remembered that Lucille's book, and the earlier Forgey Family History did state James Forgey's land was on Little Flat Creek. I will have to order copies of the rest of the Flat Creek deeds to see whether any of the later ones offer a more detailed description of the location? None of the deeds I've seen say anything about Little Flat Creek. There was a Little Flat Creek and a Big Flat (a Forgey relation John Sawyer's lived on Big Flat Creek). Since I did find a couple of references to Little Flat Creek when I googled the names appearing on the Taxlists it is possible the Forgey properties were located on that creek? 
I will contact the Knox County archives regarding the West Fork of Flat Creek. In early times Little Flat Creek may have been known as the West Fork of Flat Creek? If so the Forgey properties may be located near present day Emory Road and the Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. It was thought Washington Pike Presbyterian Church was located on Forgey land, but Flat Creek is several miles from there; not likely.


Karen DJ said...

Ahh Annette, real estate is my forte! A couple of observations:
Headwaters: Headwaters are very small but get larger bodies of water on their way down, that empty into a named body of water, in your case Flat Creek. You are lucky it has remained the same name all these years.
West fork vs Big or Little: The west fork can actually be north or south depending on which direction from source the fork ends up. It can be big or little depending on the size of the creek.

Do you have maps of the time period? You cannot go by what creeks will be named today. Have you traced the land owned by your Forgey's to the present day? If you do you will have Section, Township, Range numbers that will pinpoint your location without any problem whatsoever. I would be happy to help with your land problem.

Annette said...

Thanks very much Karen! The Forgeys sold there properties on Flat Creek in the early 1800's. I have not traced to property to the present owners. I live in California and have not been to Tennessee. Thanks for the idea about tracing the title to the present day. That might be the best way to find the land. Unfortunately Eastern Tennessee never used Section, township etc. However, there should be a way to search ownership titles. I am trying to find early maps too. Using present maps I am finding many branches of both Flat Creeks. Thanks again!