Pioneer Families of Madison County

History of Colston Hagan and Family
by J. Weldon Harris

Author: This article was obtained from Aunt Kate Payne Worley's daughter-in-law Nadyne in about 1985. We really don't know who the author was. Perhaps someone reading the article will provide us with 'the rest of the story.' Billy F. Payne (g2gSon of Colston) Later note from Diane Ramsey: Billy just e-mailed me stating, "I just got an email from Geraldine Harris from NY who knew the author of the article. It was her uncle J. Weldon Harris and was written August 21, 1963.

Augusta, Georgia. Colston Hagan had two reasons for leaving Georgia. First, he could not agree with his brothers and sisters on the dividing of his father's estate. Second, he married a full blooded Cherokee. Her people did not want her to marry a white man. Since Colston Hagan is my great grandfather on the maternal side of my family, his wife's name is Zilphia Hagan. I do not know her maiden name.

One cold winter morning, Grandpa Hagan loaded his family and what few household goods he had on an ox wagon and drove north to Powell's Valley, Green County, Tennessee. This happened in the early part of the 18th century. Grandma Hagan gave birth to two sons and one daughter. Uncle James, Uncle Chrisley and Grandma Mahalie Hagan Randall. He lived in Powell's Valley a few years, then he moved to California Creek in Madison County, North Carolina.

While shopping in Marshall one day, he met Blue Bill Anderson, of who Anderson Branch bears his name. Blue Bill Anderson told Colston Hagan he could get some cheap land on Anderson Branch; whereupon Colston Hagan went to Anderson Branch and bought a large tract of land at ten cents per acre from the State of North Carolina. He settled on a tributary of Anderson Branch which is called Hagan Branch.

Grandpa Colston's wife's name is Zilphia Hagan. She was a full blooded Cherokee. The long trip overland by wagon and foot was too much for Grandma. The exposure to the bitter cold and the long trip destroyed her health. She was bed ridden and an invalid the rest of her life. Grandma Zilphia Hagan died from her afflictions and grief. She always wanted to go back to her people. She is buried in the Hagan cemetery located on Hagan Branch which is one of the upper reaches of Anderson Branch.

Grandma had three daughters: Aunt Betsy Hagan Anderson, born in Appling, Georgia; Aunt Matilda Hagan Goforth; Grandma Mahalie Hagan Randall, born in Madison County, North Carolina.

Her sons: Uncle Peter Hagan; Uncle Cebron Hagan; Uncle Lawrence Hagan (who served in 20 KY Infantry); Uncle James Hagan; Uncle Chrisley Hagan. Grandma Zilphia had three children born in Madison county: my Grandmother Mahalie Randall and Uncle Chrisley (I do not know the third one that was born in Madison County.) Grandpa Hagan served in the US Army with three of his sons: Lawrence, James, and Chrisley Hagan.

Aunt Betsy had two daughters: Matilda and Elizabeth and four sons: Lawrence, Jack, Dave and Harry Anderson. Her son Lawrence served in the rebel army. He was captured and placed in military prison in Tennessee. He was released at the close of the Civil War. He settled near Cherokee, North Carolina. Lawrence Anderson visited Madison County once after he left for the far west end of the state, that was in 1913 or 1914. He told me a military guard struck at him with his bayonet. The bayonet on his gun went through the side board where he was laying. He rolled to the back side of the bed just at the guard made his stroke.

My Grandfather Hagan raised eight children -- five sons and three daughters. Aunt Betsy Hagan Anderson, the oldest born in Appling, Georgia; Aunt Matilda Hagan Goforth; Mahalie Hagan Randall, the youngest, my Grandmother; Uncle Cebron; Uncle Lawrence; Uncle Peter; Uncle James and Uncle Chrisley.

When my Grandpa Hagan lived in Powell's Valley, his son Uncle Peter got an unreasonable whuppin at school. He vowed if he ever lived to be a man he would whup that teacher. One day he came up missing at his house on Anderson Branch. Grandpa told his family Uncle Peter had gone to whup the school teacher. He left home on his horse (as cars were not plentiful and the roads were not quite as good as they are today.) When he got to Greenville, he found Uncle Peter in jail. Uncle Peter had almost beat the school teacher to death. They wanted $100 for Uncle Peter. Grandpa Hagan did not have any money; so he gave them his horse. He and Uncle Peter walked home.

Ben Freeman caught Uncle Peter sitting down (call of nature -- added). He slipped up on him and began to cut Uncle Peter with a knife. Uncle Peter jumped up and Freeman ran. Uncle Peter threw a rock at Freeman and knocked a small stump out of the ground.

A company of Rebel soldiers came to Grandpa's house one morning. They had a colored man tied. They had hit him with an army musket. The hammer had cut a hole through his skull. They hit Uncle Peter with an army musket breaking his jaw, knocking him out. Aunt Tilda asked them if she could turn him over and wash him. The captain said, "You might as well. We are going to kill the D-m S.O.B." They tied him to the Negro where they turned up Big Pine Creek. The Negro had to answer the call of nature. When he squatted down, they shot him and he rolled against some bushes. The white people were afraid to bury him. He lay there several days. Uncle Baxter Randall told me he passed the place several times and saw the colored man lying against the bushes. Maybe some Negroes finally buried him. Uncle Peter stayed a week in the leather strap they had him tied up with. When they got to the top of the mountain between Big Pine Creek and Spring Creek at Coley's Gap, he heard them cock their guns. He knew they were going to shoot him or more correct murder him and feed him to the bears, panthers, and other vicious animals that infested that region. At this time Uncle Peter pulled on the leather strap with all his strength. It broke -- he jumped into a wilderness of bushes and undergrowth. The soldiers fired at him but missed. Uncle Peter waded down Punchean Camp Branch two miles to Spring Creek -- down Spring Creek toward Hot Springs. He saw a man plowing in a field. He went to the edge of the field, whistled to the man waved at him to come to him. When he got to him he told him what had happened. The man kept Uncle Peter three weeks. He went home -- the war closed -- he was never bothered nay more. The reason he waded the creeks, they had dogs to track him by.

Grandpa Colston Hagan and his three sons: Lawrence, James, and Chrisley Hagan fought in the US Army for the preservation of our country. Uncle Cebron served in the Rebel Army.

I can only remember seeing Aunt Betsy one time. She spent the night with us when I was a small boy. Since I grew up about one - half mile from Aunt Tilda, I saw her more often than any of them. I would listen to her when she would be telling people about the wicked treatment the Rebel soldiers gave her. They took her work steer -- the only animal she had to make a crop with. She followed them to the base of Stoffor Knob at the head of Anderson Branch. She told the captain if he did not give her steer or oxen she would set he dog into the cattle, and they would be so scattered he would not recover (added) half of them. The captain told his men to cut her steer out of them -- saying -- "Let the damned old devil have her steer."

Uncle James and Uncle Chrisley were stationed at Leadvale, Tennessee. They sent Aunt Tilda word if she could get to Leadvale, they would give her some clothes. Aunt Tilda and Grandma started to Leadvale. On their way down Aunt Tilda told the people where they stopped for the night where they were going. In a few minutes some Rebel soldiers came into where they were. A large man, their leader, set his rifle by his side and told them the US Army was coming up the French Broad River killing men, women, and children, including all live stock and burning the houses. The best thing they could do was get on their horses and go back.. North Carolina. They went on to Leadvale and got some clothes.

Now there was an Anderson woman on Anderson Branch that was a spy for the Rebel soldiers. If she heard anything of value had come into the community, she would inform the Rebel Army. They would send soldiers and take it away from there. They had not been home long until the spy had done her dirty work. One morning about 25 soldiers were standing around the house. They came in and began to search the house. One of them found Aunt Tilda's shoes her husband Eli Lunsford (added) gave her. Aunt Tilda told him her husband gave her them shoes -- "they are mine." The soldier said, "I am going to take them to my wife." Aunt Tilda said, "I am your wife; give them to me." Turning to the captain she said, "Captain, can I take those shoes?" The captain said, "if you can take them; you can have them." Bop went Aunt Tilda's fist into the soldier's mouth. Down went Mr. Rebel. Aunt Tilda on top of him beating him in the face with her fist. She put her shoes in her bosom and kept on fighting. One soldier started to hit her with his rifle. The captain would not let him interfere saying, "If he can't fight a woman, let him take a whuppin." They stood back and laughed at him. When he done things he should not, the soldiers, would tell him they would take him back to the woman -- she would fix him up. They teased him so much he ran away and joined another company of soldiers.

My Grandmother Mahalie Hagan Randall was about fourteen years old when the war ended. On one occasion when the Rebels were riding around. they came to Aunt Tilda's. One of them climbed up on a high head board of a bed. He fell astraddle of the bed and hurting himself very much. Grandma laughed at him. He told her he would whup her with his gun rod. Another soldier told him if he hit that child he would give him a whuppin. My Grandmother told me Mahalie Hagan Randall told me Uncle Chrisley Hagan ran away from where he was under military age and joined the US Army at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee to be with his father, Colston Hagan.

Some people on Anderson Branch gave Aunt Tilda some fresh hog meat. Grandma Mahalie Hagan Randall went to get it. When she turned up Hagan Branch leaving Anderson Branch she saw a bear going around the hill. Just at dark, they heard the single - tree on the sled rattle. They looked out and saw the bear. They pulled out an old rickety bed stead up against an old rickety door. All at once the bear lunged against the door knocking it down with the bed stead going down under the door. Mr. bear walked in over them and tried awful hard to get the meat from under a wooden bowl. Finally, he left. Aunt Tilda and Grandma laid under the door that night.

In 1908, when my father was working on the railroad, he was not working one day so he was walking through the National Cemetery at Knoxville, Tennessee. He inadvertently ran on Grandpa Hagan and his son James Hagan's graves. When he came home he told me about it. I thought Grandpa's children all knew about it. Now in 1970, Kate Payne Worley -- Aunt Tilda's granddaughter tells me that some of the soldiers told Aunt Tilda that some of the soldiers were buried in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some were buried in holes at Cumberland Gap like animals. Aunt Tilda made several trips to Chattanooga trying to find their graves. There is a caretaker at that cemetery. He has a record for every soldier and can take you to their grave.

Grandpa Hagan and son James Hagan died natural deaths while serving in US Army -- also Matilda's husband, Eli Leuns Lunsford (added). The National cemetery is located about one mile NW of the Southern passenger station at Knoxville.

Grandma Mahalie Hagan Randall told me while Grandpa Hagan was at Cumberland Gap, Uncle Chrisley was wrestling with some soldiers that Grandpa Hagan passed and said, "Let's go to the barracks." Uncle Chrisley said, In a few minutes." He wrestled a few more minutes. He said, "I am going up to be with my father." When he arrived at the barracks he found Grandpa Hagan lying across the bed -- dead. Thus ended the life of a good man. the father of the Hagan clan in Madison and Buncombe Counties.. who loved his family very dearly.



Uncle James Hagan was the father of Jack Hagan and one daughter, Jenny Hagan ____. They settled in Asheville. The writer knows Sammy Hagan, son of Jack Hagan, the grandson of Colston Hagan. Jack Hagan fathered 4 sons. I don't know about his daughters. Tommy, Sammy, Fred, Frank, and Riley Hagan. Tommy is dead. The following Hagans are buried in Hagan Cemetery: Uncle Lawrence Hagan, Uncle Chrisley Hagan, Grandma Hagan, Elija Hagan, Reece Jane Franks Hagan, Garrett Alexander Hagan.


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