What does Section Sixteen of Elkton and neighborhood…
have to do with the price of eggs in China? Nothing, but it was to do with people from Remembering the Shoals. Lucinda Menefee Laughlin is the maternal grandmother of George Henry Peebles. George Henry “Dick” Peebles was born in Elkton, Giles County, Tennessee. He resided at Center Star in Lauderdale County for a time, but spent most of his life in Lawrence County, Alabama around Courtland. His descendants are many and those living span the counties of northern Alabama and other states, including the Shoals.
William Menefee, Sr., and his sons, John and William, and his son-in-law, Benjamin Long, were among the first settlers of section sixteen of Elkton, Giles County, Tennessee. They came from Lincoln County, Kentucky; traveled what was called the Kentucky trace; came over the Cumberland Mountains, crossed Elk River near the head of it; came along [Page 42] the State Line and the old man Menefee stopped on the South side of the river opposite Elkton and settled above the ferry where Samuel Fain afterwards put up a distillery. This was about the middle of November, 1808. The old man died the following March.
John Menefee settled soon afterward on the Huntsville road three miles South-east of Elkton where William S. Ezell now lives. William Menefee Jr., settled one mile North of his brother John. Benjamin Long settled half a mile North of Elkton where Dick Baugh lives at the Big Spring, near where Hanserd lives. No person then lived in Elkton. Benjamin Long was the first to settle near the town.
Mrs. Lucinda Laughlin, who is a daughter of William Menefee, Sr., and a sister of Benjamin Long’s wife says she was nearly twenty years of age when her father came; that there was not a “cane amiss” where Elkton is situated. She says, at the time her father came, John Shoemaker was living at the ferry on the river above Elkton called Shoemaker’s ferry near where the old McCutcheon trace crossed the river.
She was married the eighth of March, 1810, to Alexander Laughlin by Wm. Phillips, Esquire. The license was the first issued by German Lester, Clerk of the County Court, etc., and is now in the possession of Captain George Bowers. She was twenty-one years old when she married Alexander Laughlin; then lived on the South side of the river at Shoemaker’s ferry, and was here a year before her father came.
He [her father William Menefee] kept salt and flour to sell. He came from East Tennessee, came down the Holston in a boat and brought salt and flour. He and two of the Massengales, brothers of his first wife, owned a boat; they lived on the Holston and boated down salt, flour, and other commodities and Laughlin sold for them.
Of the first settlers now living (1876), Mrs. Laughlin was older when she came than any I have conversed with in the last year. I have conversed with none who has a more vivid and distinct recollection than she has of early times. She states that at the time her father moved to this County, her brothers Renlar and Laban were boys living with her father, and her brother Jarrett Menefee came out the next Fall. William Phillips and Benjamin Long were appointed Justices of the Peace in 1809. They were the first Magistrates in the Southern part of the County. Captain Thos. Phillips built the first house in what [Page 43] is now the town of Elkton the latter part of 1810.
Source: A Brief Sketch of the Settlement and Early History of Giles County Tennessee by James McCallum, 1876