|Although this article is from 1947, there is mention of the well in an article from the Tennessean dated 5/23/79. We are trying to locate the well once again since no one currently employed at Old Hickory DuPont knows where it is.|
|Rayon Yarns - October, 1947-Evelyn
Deeply hidden in the woods just north of Rayon City and off to the left of the old road to the Cellophane Plant, is an abandoned well. If you stumbled upon it by accident, you might be idly curious to know how it came to be there. Obviously it is a hand-dug well, lined with old worn stones, and could not be part of the powder plant ruins which are scattered over Hadley Bend. (photo at bottom of page)
A few old-timers who lived in the Bend before powder plant days remember the well, however. They know a story about it, handed down to them by preceding generations. They believe it marks the spot where a great American hero set up housekeeping with his young wife more than a century and a half ago.
Poplar Grove, first home of Andrew and Rachel Jackson, was located in Hadley Bend (then known, and for some years thereafter, as Jones Bend). Historians are agreed on this point, and some agree with the old-timers that the old well, known as Jackson's Well, marks the site of Poplar Grove and that well furnished water for the Jackson household. The available record indicate that this was indeed the place.
Nearly all of Jackson's adult life was spent within a few miles of the present Village of Old Hickory, which bears his famous nickname, with the exception of the periods when duty called him to leave his home in the service of his country. One of the most satisfying and happy periods of his story life must have been the few years that he and Rachel spent at Poplar Grove, here in our bend.
Andrew and Rachel Jackson were both 24 years old when they were married in Natchez, Mississippi, in the summer of 1791. They rode home together on horseback, with a party of acquaintances, along the old Natchez Trace in the fall of 1791 and for the next year or two made their home with Rachel's mother, the widow of Col. John Donelson, whose home stood near the intersection of the Gallatin Road and Two Mile Pike.
Jackson at 24 was already an up and coming young lawyer, shrewd trader in lands, well-known throughout the Cumberland Settlements. As a suitable home that his bride could call her own, he purchased from Rachel's brother, John Donelson, in February 1792, 330 acres in Jones Bend. The deed, on file at the Davidson County Courthouse, identifies the property as running east from the river 329 poles, or something over a mile. It was somewhat triangular in shape, bounded on the west by the Cumberland. This was the only property Jackson bought in the Bend during this period, so it must therefore have been the site of Poplar Grove.
No description is left of the house, or any record as to whether John Donelson constructed it, or whether Jackson himself was the builder. It seems probable that the property does not mention any "improvements," which was the usual designation of buildings already erected. No doubt it was of logs, as were most of the homes of that early frontier period. It got its name from the fine poplar trees that grew around it.
Poplar Grove was first occupied by the Jacksons not later than May 16, 1794, for a letter bearing that date was written from there by Jackson to John McKee and is still preserved. Jackson referred to his estate also as "Poplar Flat" as indicated by a letter he wrote to John Overton, headed "Poplar Flat, June 10, 1795."
The Jacksons lived at Poplar Grove until moving to Hunters Hill, and existing records indicate that Hunters Hill was first occupied in 1798. During the period spent in the Bend, Jackson's fortunes and fame were growing. He had come to Tennessee (then a part of North Carolina) in 1788, having been admitted to the North Carolina bar at the age of 20, and appointed as public prosecutor for the western district of Tennessee.
In October, 1797, Jackson sold his property in the Bend to his brother-in-law, Alexander Donelson. Alexander was never married, and when he died on May 23, 1834, "at his residence in Jones Bend" he willed his property, 404 acres, to his nephew and namesake, Alexander Donelson, Jr., son of Severn Donelson. The description of this property in the Davidson County Courthouse record books indicates that it was the same, with the addition of a few acres, that Alexander, Sr. had bought from Jackson in 1797. The Cumberland flowed along its western boundary.
Alexander, Jr., sold his inheritance in 1837 to John T. Dismukes "et al." It stayed in the Dismukes family (for whom Dismukes Street is named) until the United States Government bought it in 1915, as part of the huge tract on which the powder plant was built. At the time of sale, our "Jackson's Well" was on Dismukes' property. Though there is no proof that this actually was "Old Hickory's" well, the legend persists and there can be little doubt that Poplar Grove was located near it. Poplar trees still grow there, fine specimens of cottonwoods towering toward the sky.