Reprinted in the Putnam County Herald, 22 July 1937, Page 6.
Sixty Years Ago
This is the seventh installment of this series of re-published items from the old "Cookeville Chronicle," which began publication in Cookeville on October 5, 1877, with Carnes and Cope, editors and publishers.
"Local News" Issue March 21, 1878
And still another improvement. Cookeville is to have a daily mail, which goes into operation the first of April.
The Braswell brothers will be executed at this place next Wednesday. The Chronicle will be issued the next day, containing all the proceedings. Those who are not subscribers can get extra copes for five cents per copy.
Capt. J. H. Curtis announces, in this issue as a candidate for re-election for a second term to the office of Circuit Court Clerk.
We have never heard the least complaint against Capt. Curtis as the present Clerk, and, should the people grant him the favor now asked at their hands, he will doubtless continue to give satisfaction.
In company with Sheriff C. J. Bohannon and other, we rode out Saturday evening to select a suitable place to erect a gallows for the execution of the Braswell brother. The place agreed upon is about one-half mile from the Courthouse, Southwest of Cookeville, on the land of Mr. T. J. Shaw.
We announce the name of Col. Geo. H. Morgan, of Gainesboro, as a candidate for Chancellor, of this Chancery Division, in this issue.
Col. Morgan has served the people in the capacity of Attorney-General for one term, and, so far as we know, has given satisfaction, and if the people favor him with the position to which he now aspire, they will doubtless have no cause to regret it.
Those who have business at this office are respectfully invited to call and attend to it. Those who have no business can -- well, a printing office is no place for loafer.
The Tennessee Historical Society is taking steps toward making preparations for the celebration of Nashville's Centennial in 1880.
Mr. J. L. Lawrence, of Alexandria, a first class practical printer, paid us a visit last week. John makes things lively where he stays, and we commend him to our brethren of the press wherever he goes.
We are informed that the candidates for Judicial offices opened the canvass, at Smithville, on the first day of Circuit Court, at that place.
Somebody has been visiting our wood yard, too often, for the last two months. Look out or you will get your foot in a trap some night.
One of Sparta's legal limbs, and our friend, W. M. Green, paid Cookeville a professional visit last Saturday. Will is a brilliant young lawyer and his prospects for great success in the future are quite flattering.
The Braswell Brothers
On last Friday evening, the Rev. Dr. Leftwich, accompanied by several young ladies and gentlemen, visited the Braswell boys, for the purpose of talking to, and instructing the doomed brothers concerning the welfare of their deathless spirits.
Seats had been prepared in the jail yard, by the jailer, and the boys were brought out. They are reported as being very deeply impressed with the services and pleased with the prsence of the ladies. The services consisted in the singing of appropriate gospel songs, reading the scripture and prayer. They wrote a letter to their people who live in this County, which is published by their permission, in which they state that the petition for their relief had been presented to the governor; and that they sent him a note requesting him to come and see them. That they had been visited by many of the good citizens of Nashville and had the prayers of about 2,000 people in the city, and in Edgefield while they were all the time praying for themselves.
Again, on Sunday evening, they were visited by a reporter of the (Nashville) American, who was with them when the steward brought in their rations. They cordially invited him to share it with them, and said they always had plenty to eat. It was plain, substantial food, but well cooked and good enough. It is said that Joe has learned to read and write since his confinement in jail, and has transcribed the entire record in their case and indexed it. Both of them know the testimony in the Court record by heart.
During the American reporter's stay with them, Saturday evening, they made a statement of considerable length in which they claimed that the evidence presented to the Supreme Court as given in the bill of exceptions was entirely different from the way it was given by the witness on the trial before the lower Court; that there was a conflict of testimony that did not anywhere appear in the record transmitted to the Supreme Court. They made no sort of a confession of guilt, but as to their innocence said:
"We are inocent (sic) of the crime of which we have been charged. We are the subjects of wicked machinations against our lives. We know we are innocent: We are preparing every day to meet our terrible fate, if it must come. We expect to be baptized tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, and thus prepare ourselves for the great hereafter."
Religious services were again held in the jail yard, on Sunday evening when both the boys joined the Church and baptism was administered by the Rev. J. P. McFerrin.
(Cookeville was first incorporated by an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, passed February 14, 1856, more than eighty-one years ago. The town was governed by this Act for more than twenty-five years, when in order to outlaw the saloon, the Act incorporating Cookeville was repealed in the Eighties. In 1903, Cookeville was again incorporated by Act of the General Assembly, by reason of the progress then made in prohibition legislation, whisky could not then be sold in an incorporated town of the population of Cookeville, and the people were anxious to avail themselves of the benefits of incorporation, and in April 1903 the town was incorporated for the second time by an Act of the General Assembly, which Act amended in some particulars has now been in force for more than thirty-four years. The following is a copy of the first Act of the General Assembly incorporating Cookeville, passed February 14, 1856.)
"Chapter 262 - An act to incorporate the town of Cookeville, in the County of Putnam, and for other purposes.
Section 1. Be it Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That the citizens of the town of Cookeville, in Putnam County, are hereby incorporated by the name of the Mayor and Aldermen of Cookeville, may sue and be sued, contract and be contracted with, hold real and personal property, assess taxes to improve the streets and public squares , for the benefit and good order of the town.
Section 2. Be it Enacted, That there shall be elected by the qualified voters of said town, a Mayor and six Aldermen who shall hold their offices for twelve months, and until others are elected and it shall be the duty of the Sheriff of said County to advertise and hold the first election. That the said Board of Mayor and Aldermen may appoint a Constable to execute all corporation business as may be necessary, and, after the first election, shall thereafter hold the elections as provided in this Act, give security in any sum that may be designated by the Board for the performance of his duty.
Section 3. Be it Enacted, That five of the Aldermen shall constitute a Board to perform all business; they shall keep a record of the proceedings, and shall have power to make all by-laws and ordinances necessary for the good order of said town not inconsistent with the laws of the State.
(Omitting Sections 4, 5 and 6.)
Neill S. Brown, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Edward S. Cheatham, Speaker of the Senate
Passed February 14, 1856.
(The records are not available from which to compile a complete list, in regular order, of the Mayors of Cookeville under the original Act incorporation the town, but among those who so served were Major J. C. Freeze, Dr. J. M. Goodpasture, Capt. H. H. Dillard, James M. Douglass, Jesse Arnold, Houston S. Boyd, Henry P. Davis, Anderson Sloan and Capt. Walton Smith.)