Historic Timeline

Thanks to diligent researchers, we are able to discover the origin of the Wynnewood Mineral Springs Resort and also view its impact throughout the late 1700s and Civil War era.
In prehistoric times, free-flowing mineral springs created sizeable salt deposits at the area known as Bledsoe’s Lick.  This mineral salt attracted game from the largest species such as Mastodons on down to the smallest of animals.

Humankind first visited the area during the Paleo period (15,000 B.C. to 5000 B.C.), leaving behind Stone Age artifacts.  Native Americans known as Mound Builders erected a mud-walled village just north of the springs around A.D. 1350.

In 1772 Isaac Bledsoe, a long hunter from Virginia, followed a buffalo trail to the mineral springs.  He was the first person of European descent to come into this area. Great herds of buffalo roamed the landscape when Bledsoe arrived, but their numbers soon began to dwindle, as their hides were in great demand.

1778-9 long hunter Thomas Sharp Spencer spent the winter living in the hollow of a giant sycamore tree about 50 yards south of the mineral salt Lick.  According to legend, Native Americans in the area were afraid of him because of his large stature, and he left huge footprints.  Today a stone monument marks the location of Spencer’s famous tree.

In 1789 Isaac Bledsoe became the first private owner of the 640 acres surrounding the lick/springs.  It had previously been reserved by the State of North Carolina as a public source of salt.

The oldest Wynne sons had fought in the Mexican-American War of 1845.  In the 1860s the family once again had sons embroiled in war, four of whom fought for the Confederacy.

As with many southern families, the Wynnes were divided about seceding from the Union.  A. R. was a southerner, a slave holder, and a Democrat, yet also a Unionist and openly opposed to secession.  In January 1861, A. R. and Dr. T. J. Kennedy, the resident doctor at Wynnewood, wrote to U.S. Sen. Andrew Johnson,  “As lovers of the Union, as lovers of the South, as disciples of those who taught us to look upon the Constitution as the most sacred legacy that our fathers bequeathed to us, ... we highly appreciate your great effort in support of the Union and the Constitution.”

Click here to see the original letter.

Wynne’s sons were of a different mind.  All four of appropriate age joined volunteer Confederate units prior to Tennessee’s secession.  Andrew Wynne and Joseph Guild Wynne enthusiastically joined Col. William B. Bate’s Sumner Greys, mustered from Castalian Springs.

Click here to read Col. Bate's letter to A.R. about his sons as soldiers  

Val Wynne joined the Shelby Riflemen in Memphis and later rode with John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry.  Hall Wynne joined the Confederacy in Texas and was the only son to die during the Civil War.  When Tennessee seceded, A. R. and Dr. Kennedy followed the boys’ lead and declared their loyalty to the Confederacy.

Wynne’s conflicted pre-war loyalties resulted in two separate arrests by authorities during the war … one by Confederate officials and one by Unionists.  Both times, he was cleared of charges and sent home.  The second time, he suspected that one of his neighbors had caused his arrest.  He wrote to his family, “Tell all the children to stay at home and be prudent.”

The Wynnewood home was not damaged by either army, as so many others were, although it was located on a major road between Gallatin and Hartsville.  We know that large numbers of troops used this road.  According to Walter Durham's book, Rebellion Revisited, “At Castalian Springs, Union officers selected a campsite on A. R. Wynne’s farm about 600 yards southwest of his big log house.  The location provided easy access to the river nearby and was equal distant between Gallatin and Hartsville.”  This encampment was fortified by Union troops off and on throughout the war.