This week I want to remember my late cousin, Guy Denton, as I am writing some family history. During the Washington Bicentennial, Guy wrote an article pertaining to his great-great grandfather, Richard Green Waterhouse. In the narrative, Guy stated that Richard G. Waterhouse moved to Rhea County from Knoxville in 1809, buying land in the county. It happened that during that time Rhea County was just being established, and a county seat was to be located by a Commission in Knoxville.
Guy’s article also specified that Richard Waterhouse owned land along the Tennessee River which he wanted the Commission to see. His land was located below Washington in a place which was known as Robinson Landing. Waterhouse did show his land to the Commission, and they did agree that it was good land. Also, the rest of the Commission was persuaded that the land was good, and they were urged to make Washington the County Seat. Afterwards, Waterhouse plotted out lots in an adjoining area which was called Southern Liberties. Guy also states that this deed of gratitude was made on October 28, 1812 between Richard G. Waterhouse and the Honorable John Rhea, a member of the U.S. Congress.
Since Guy wrote the article about his great-great grandfather, Richard Green Waterhouse and his early association with Washington, I am going to follow an ancestral trail for this family. First of all, Guy owned and lived on the spot in Washington where Dr. Darius Waterhouse (one of Richard Waterhouse’s children) built his home.
Now, to the Waterhouse beginning. . . according to The History of Rhea County, the Waterhouse family of Rhea County began with Richard Green Waterhouse, who was born in 1775 and was raised in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He ran away from home at age twenty, passing through numerous states, and settling in Knoxville. Waterhouse also became interested in Rhea County, and was able to acquire the Stokeley Donelson 19,000-acre land grant in Rhea County. He settled approximately one mile from what is now Spring City.
Waterhouse had married Polly Tipton while in Knoxville, but they separated and possibly divorced. He then married Elizabeth Hackett of Rhea County. She was the daughter of John Hackett. Richard Waterhouse had twelve children; of these only two stayed in Rhea County.
Richard Green Waterhouse was educated, and people often asked him to write letters for them. Due to this happening so often, the Post Office was moved from White’s Creek to his store before going on to Roddy. He was a land speculator and surveyor, and also served in the War of 1812. Waterhouse died at the age of fifty-two, after contracting tuberculosis, and is buried at his home place.
His sixth child, Darius, was educated at Maryville College, and received his medical training at Transylvania College in Kentucky. He married Harriet Sharp, daughter of Elisha and Elinor Huff Sharp of Meigs County, and lived on a farm one mile south of Washington. (This is the site of the home which Guy Denton built.) Their children included Tapley, Frank, Cyrus, Darius, Euclid II, Alice, and Caroline.
Caroline married William Peyton Darwin, the oldest child of William Perry and Adelia Gillespie Darwin. (William Perry and Adelia are my great-great grandparents; this is how Guy and I are connected.) This union took place on January 7, 1885 at the home of her parents (“The Aspens”). William Peyton and Caroline had six children, including William Cyrus Darwin, Adelia Caroline Darwin, Eleanor Sharp Darwin, Darius Waterhouse Darwin, Alice Bethia Darwin, and Audrey Neilson Darwin.
Audrey Neilson Darwin was a postmaster at Evensville for thirty-one years, and married Ola Lester Denton of Evensville. They lived on the Darwin Family in Evensville and had one son, Guy Thomas Denton.
Hopefully, this sheds some light on how the Waterhouse family began here in Rhea County, and just how complicated family lines can be when we get into parents, grandparents, and siblings of each family member. Being able to find one’s lineage is somewhat like putting a puzzle together. Sometimes pieces fit, and other times we have to look further. However, this gives us insight into some of Washington’s earliest citizens. Remember that we need to learn from the past in order to live in the present and prepare for the future.
Pat Guffey can be reached at email@example.com