Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN

In my search for a documented link between Joshua , Jr. and Joshua, Sr. I looked more and more toward North Carolina in the mid-1700’s. One clue to North Carolina ties was Joseph C. Dickens and his wife Elizabeth Rachel. The census listed them both as North Carolina born. They settled near Carthage in Smith County.

Joseph C. was born in 1805 and Elizabeth R. was born in 1812. The first tax roll that I found for Smith county, TN is 1837. It lists Joseph C. in district 1 and he paid tax on 45 acres. At that time Joseph C. was 32 years old and Elizabeth R. was 25.

Since the Court’s record of Henry Dickens’ delinquent tax on his two tracts, 100 acres and 35 acres was in 1809, we know he was in Smith County by at least 1808. Since Joseph C. was born in North Carolina in 1805, Joseph was either brought here as a baby or he moved here later. My amazing logic, huh?

So the only clues I had to North Carolina roots were the few Dickens Households in Tennessee
in 1820, the fact that Henry was a landowner here in 1808, and the ages of Henry and John. When a person was their age in the 1820 census, they were not born in Tennessee. The land that we know as Tennessee today was an untamed territory when these would have been born in the mid to late 1700’s.

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Section 2. Looking Toward North Carolina Dickens 

Then I found another clue that opened a whole new aspect of the search. The following is a Smith County Court record from 1815. I knew it linked Samuel Dickens of North Carolina to people in Smith County, Tennessee but it was several days before I discovered its real importance.

The plaintiff in the case, Osborn Jefferies, had charged the defendant, Frederick Turner with using "false, scandalous, and malicious words." Turner was found "guilty in manner and form specified." He was ordered to pay one dollar in damages and costs. An appeal was filed.

Before the case came to trial, the court ordered that a deposition be taken of several men in North Carolina, including Samuel Dickens. If I had known my history or my geography better, perhaps I would have known what was meant by the phrase "in purson cty North Carolina."

When I inquired about the meaning of the phrase, an Archives worker reminded me that these transcripts had been typed from the original documents in 1940 and to not be surprised if sometimes they don’t make any sense.

For many days the phrase stayed on my mind. Did it mean "in person to a city or county in North Carolina?" If so, how was the officer to know where in North Carolina?

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