Brawley’s Fork by Robert Bush

The monthly meeting of the Auburntown Historical Society was held Thursday night, May 19 in Auburntown. Presenting a program entitled “Early Tennessee History and History of Brawley’s Fork,” Robert Bush delivered an outstanding presentation to those in attendance. 
Several from the Woodbury and Bradyville communities attended this meeting to hear Mr. Bush speak of his research experiences and conclusions as related to the settlement of Bradyville and the Brawley’s Fork area. 
Much of the same circumstances that led to the development of these settlements also affected the settlement of greater Cannon County. Even after the one hour presentation was concluded, attendees of this meeting continued discussion in an open forum with Mr. Bush that continued for another hour with the meeting actually concluding at 9 p.m. 
One member was heard to express that he learned more about Tennessee history in this one hour presentation than he had learned in a lifetime. Such was the sentiment by others fortunate enough to have attended this particular program presented by one of Cannon County’s own historians.
Mr. Bush has become a respected authority on the history of Cannon County and with special interest on the Brawley’s Fork and Bradyville area which he considers his ancestral home. His research has often been presented in the Cannon Courier and has provided those interested in the county history with much insight with regard to its early settlement.
Meetings of the Auburntown Historical Society are open to the public for attendance. “We strive to bring the highest quality programs available to our community for our membership,” said Danny Nichols, current treasurer and co-founder of the society, adding. “We aren’t just talking about history, but we’re actually making it.”
Nichols noted that after 6 years of existence, the Auburntown Historical Society has become a venue sought out by historians in the area who desire to present programs of interest to the public.
“We welcome visitors, we invite membership,” he said.

Local Columnist

An Early History of Tennessee and Cannon County's Brawley's Creek is the subject of a free program to be presented by local historian and writer Robert Bush, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the regular monthly meeting of the Auburntown Historical Society.
“My interests in the earliest history of Cannon County began as a small boy walking the hills and valleys of the upper Brawley Creek, while listening to the many tall tales as told by the oldtimers in the area,” said Bush, who is a well-known contributor to the Cannon Courier.
Bush said that after graduating from Woodbury High School his interests increased as he explored the old Sagely cabin in the old Dug Hollow on numerous occasions.
“I was mystified by the notion that it could have been built as early as 1784,” Bush said. “The rich archaeological history of the upper Brawley Creek suggested Native Americans had been in the area for untold centuries before the Europeans arrived.”
As a student at MTSU in the early 1970s Bush began studying the microfilm housed the college library.
“There was no internet in those days,” Bush recalled, adding, “Between classes I studied the Census records and the earliest settlers that may have lived along the upper Brawley Creek.”
This led Bush, in later years, to numerous trips to the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, where he explored the extensive land grant system of early Tennessee. Of particular interest was how the grant system impacted the early settlement of the upper Brawley Creek, especially the area described as Hopewell, just south of the town of Bradyville.
"In those days research into the land grant system was a slow process, since every file had to be requested and then pulled by a staff member, and in turn, looked up on a hand cranked microfilm machine,” Bush observed. “Today, the process is much quicker, and information can be extracted more readily.”
Mary Hughes, president of the Auburntown Historical Society, said that everyone is invited to the lecture, which begins at 7 p.m. at Auburntown Church of Christ Fellowship Hall and is free and open to all. For more information about the Auburntown Historical Society, visit