The little stream, Hurricane Creek, was often used to establish land boundaries.
My first impression of this valley was in error. I prematurely judged it from our modern age viewpoint and I couldn’t understand why our forefathers settled in this long, narrow, rugged valley that is rimmed by steep thicketed hills and bounded to the north by the Cumberland River. But after a few trips through there and with the aid of a topographical map, some history books and discussions with people who know the area, I began to understand why this valley was a good homesite in the early 1800’s.
Perhaps the first consideration was safety. The valley, bounded by steep hills and the river, was a good place to defend against intruders.
The second consideration must have been convenience. The northern end of the valley is near Granville to the east and Carthage to the west. Also, the river offered convenient shipping locations and crossing points.
Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN
Up the hill on the southern end of the valley was Chestnut Mound and the important east-west trail leading to far away places.
The low land was good for farming and the hillsides offered refuuge from the river at flood stage.
Considering the advantages against the disadvantages, I doubt that any of us could have chosen a better location for the circumstances at the time.
County records show that several Dickens families bought, sold, and occupied lands in this valley for more than a century. At the time of my year 2000 visit, of the few houses that remain, only one (that I located) was occupied by a Dickens.
After many hours of research (in the TN State Archives, Court Houses, Libraries) I believe I’m qualified to make the following statement in good conscience and with little fear of contradiction: The Hurricane Creek settlement was the first permanent Dickens settlement in Tennessee that thrived for more than a century (from the information that was available to me in the 1980's. Later documentation could possibly dispute that. The late 1700's - early 1800's was a time of great movement of families to recently opened Indian lands).