Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

July 30, 2013

A place of their own

By Old Uncle Gib
Chronicle correspondent

— In 1888, A.A. (Alkana) Burnett and his wife, Martha Bentley Burnett, were in court with Joseph Hyder, et. al., over 167 acres, land in deed of conveyance from Nancy C. Hyder to Martha F. Bentley,  which lay on the south side of the Crossville to Rockwood Road, in the Bentley homestead, and exempted the 10 acres known as the Pollard tract.  

The 1830 Land Act of Tennessee made it possible to purchase up to 5,000 acres of land for 1 cent to 12.5 cents per acre to encourage people to move to the less populated areas of the state. The portion of Bledsoe County that later became Cumberland County was smack dab in the middle of this area. Land speculation was a fearsome business with many grants and plats overlapping.

Two of the largest purchasers of land were Thomas B. Eastland and Everhard Land Company, which bought up lands for their coal companies. In 1889, Everhard vs. J.B. Johnson went to the state supreme court. This involved the Silver Spring Farm, part of the Benjamin Bentley land. Well, these lawsuits are all very wearisome, so let's finish the story.  

Benjamin Bentley and his first wife, Mary Stewart Bentley, did finally get their own undisputed plats of land. The Chronicle reports, “In 1888, Mrs. Scott of Lebanon came to the mountain to identify the graves of Major Benjamin Bentley and his first wife. The first Mrs. Bentley was buried here 35 years ago (1853) and so far as was known, only Mrs. Scott and Uncle Jack Greer could locate the graves. The bones were resurrected and taken to Nashville where they were finally interred. The removal was made at the insistence of Mrs. Allen of Lebanon, a daughter of the Major.”

Benjamin and Mary Bentley were re-buried in Section 9, Lot 15, at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville. Their daughter, Mary Stewart Bentley Allen, was the wife of Joseph Webster Allen. The Allens and their daughter, Kate Maxwell Allen, are all buried in the same section and lot at Mt. Olivet with Major Benjamin and Mary Bentley.

There are several families with ties to Major Benjamin Bentley who still live in Cumberland County today.

If you have more information to share on Benjamin Bentley send your note to Crossville Chronicle, Attn: Uncle Gib; P.O. Box 449, Crossville, TN 38557-0449.

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Old Uncle Gib is a weekly historical feature published each Friday. Old Uncle Gib is a pseudonym that was used by S.C. Bishop, who founded the Chronicle in 1886. Bishop actively published the Chronicle until 1948.