Anderson County Tennessee
Anderson County lies partly in the valley of East Tennessee, and partly on the Cumberland Table-land, and embraces an area of 450 square miles. Its surface is very broken. Walden’s Ridge running through the entire length ofthe county, parellel with the table-land which forms the watershed between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Several creeks flowing northwesterly unite and form the South Fork of the Cumberland, while Coal Creek and Poplar Creek flow in an opposite direction and empty into the Clinch, which traverses the southeastern portion of the county.In minerals the county is one of the richest in the state. Coal and iron are abundant, and soft lead, zinc, limestone and marble are found in considerable quantities.
The settlement of the county was begun near the close of the last century, the eastern portion having been settled first. Among those who located near the Knox County line in the vicinity of Bull Run, were David Hall, Isaac Coward, John Chiles, Joseph Black, Joshua Frost and John Garner. The land now occupied by the site of Andersonville was entered by John Gibbs, who afterward transferred it to his son-in-law, John Whitson.
The Weavers, Sharps, Clears and Rutherfords also settled in the neighborhood. Whitson and Gibbs subsequently engaged in running a mill and distillery about three miles northwest of Andersonville. Whitson in partnership with Robert McKamey also established a store, which they continued until 1836 when they removed to Clinton. Peter Clear had a tannery. He was a very devout Methodist, and frequently made a place for holding religious services. Rossville abut six and one-half miles north of Clinton was settled by Robert Ross, whose son, James Ross, did an extensive mercantile business there. The latter also represented the county in the Legislature two or three times. Aaron Slover settled about three miles from Rossville on the river. Robertsville was established by Collins Roberts, also a prominent merchant. Thomas and Joseph Hart had a saw and grist-mill on Hinds Creek. A colony of Germans among whom were John Clodfelter, George Baumgartner and John Leinert settled about four miles west of Clinton. The land where Clinton now is, was owned by John Leib who had a mill on the creek. In connection with John McWhirter, he also ran a ferry across Clinch River opposite the town. Another ferry about six miles below was kept by John Sutherland. Stephen Bradley and Joseph Black were his neighbors. William Tunnell who represented the county in the Legislature, once or twice located in the vicinity of Clinton. Richard Llewallen and James and Robert Kirkpatrick lived two or three miles north of Clinton. William Hogshead, who also lived above the town, was the first, and for some time the only lawyer in the county. Settlements were also made in Poplar Creek at an early date.
Anderson County was established by an act of the General Assembly passed on Nov 6, 1801. On Dec 15, following, the court of pleas and quarter sessions was organized at the house of Jospeh Denham, Sr. The original justices were: Hugh Montgomery, William Underwood, Frederick Miller, James Grant, John Kirby, William McKamey, Joseph Sinclair, James Butler, William Standifer, and Solomon Massingale. James Grant was appointed chariman; J F Jack, solicitor; Stephen Heard, Clerk; Thomas Hill, Trustee; Kinza Johnson, Register; John McKamy, ranger; John Underwood, sheriff; Francis Vickery, entry-taker; Samuel Crawford, scirvener; and Joseph Glasgow, coroner, at the June term, 1802, the court met at the house of John Leib, which stood near the spring in what is now Clinton, and continued to meet there until Dec 1803, at which time the courthouse a log structure was completed and occupied. It stood a little to the east of the present site, and was occupied until 1821 or 1822. The present stone courthouse was then built under the superintendance of William McKamy, John McAdoo, John Gibbs, John Leib and Quin Morton. The first jail was also built of logs, and was completed in 1802. Thirty years later, the present jail was built, but the first had not been occupied for several years previous, the prisoners having been taken to Knox Co.
The first grand jury summoned by the court of pleas and quarter sessions, was composed of the following men: John McAdoo, foreman; Richard Medlin, Nathamiel Hale, James Scarbrough, Page Portwood, N Davis, Samuel Worthington, Jeremiah Jeffrey, C Willhight, Richard Linville, Joseph Sharp, John Day, James Abbott and Henry Russell. The first indictment was found against John Vancy, who submitted to the court and was fined twenty five cents. The second was against Samuel Ussery for sending a challenge; upon trial he was acquitted. At the June term of the court, in 1804, Isaac Crane was put in the stocks two hours for contempt of court, and as he still persisted in his disorderly conduct he was committed to jail. The circuit court was organized some time in 1810, but all the earliest records of its transactions have been destroyed. The chancery court was organized on June 26, 1856, by Seth J W Lucky, who appinted W H Whitson, clerk and master. Judge Lucky continued upon the bench until 1861. The court was then suspended for three years, after which S R Rodgers served as chancelor until 1866, when he succeeded by O P Temple who remained upon the bench until 1878. Mr Whitson continued in the office of clerk and master until 1882. He was then succeeded by S M Leath. The latter in 1886 was elected clerk of the county, and the vacancy thus created was filled by the appointment of J C Scruggs.
The number of lawyers resident in the county has at no time been very large. The first was WIlliam Hogshead, who began about 1802 and continued for many years. The next resident attorney was probably John G Whitson, who was licensed to practice in 1842, and remained at Clinton until 1857 or 1858, when he removed to Knoxville. W G McAdoo entered the proffession at a little later date, and in 1852 was elected attorney-general. He then removed to Knoxville. In a lsit of the lawyers of Clinton, published about 1853, R D Bowman, G W Silvertooth, WIlliam H Husbands and W W Griffey also appear.
D K Young also located in Anderson County previous to the war. He soon took a leading position at the bar, and in 1873, when the Seventeenth Jucicial Circuit was formed, he became the presiding judge, a position he continued to hold until 1886. His successor, W R Hicks now judge of the second judicial circuit located at Clinton soon after the close of the war, and until his election in 1886 was a prominent member of the bar. Congressman L C Houck was also a resident of Clinton for several years. The present membrs of the bar are Judge D K Young, D R Coard, C J Sawyer, W L Gamble and James Fowler.
The commissioners appointed to locate the county seat were William Lea, Linza Johnson, William Standifer, William Robertson, Joseph Grayson, Solomon Massingale and Hugh Montgomery. They were instructed to locate it as near the river Clinch, on the north side as circumstances would permit between Island Ford and Samuel Worthington’s. They fixed it upon the land of John Leib, who donated forty acres for that purpose. The town was soon after laid off and named Burrville in honor of Aaron Burr. It continued to bear that name until after the fall of Burr, when by act of the Legislature in 1809 it was changed to Clinton. Of the earliest residents of the town, but little is now remembered. Jared Harbin and Manpage Vowell were the first tavern keepers, Arthur Crozier was a magistrate, clerk of the circuit court, and later in partnership with his son, A T Crozier, was engaged in merchandising and running a tannery. Dr Hugh Barton, John McWhirter, Samuel Terry and John Leib were also among the first settlers. John McAdoo, father of Hon W G McAdoo of Knoxville, lived just above town. He was a farmer, magistrate and shoemaker.
Beginning with 1820 the principal merchants from that time to the war were James McKamy, S H Crawley, William Dickson, Crozier and Son, Cobb and Wheeler, John Whitson, Robert McKamy, John Jarnagin and Co., W W Walker, George W Baker, Carpenter and Ross and Lewis Miller. John Whitson and John Jarnagin were also hotel keepers.
In 1806, Arthur Crozier, B C Parker, J Roysden, Hugh Barton and Samuel Frost were appointed for Union Academy, and during the next two years, James McWhirter, Quin Morton and Joseph Hart were added to the original board. At what time the academy was put into operation is not known, but it was probably late in the twenties. A frame building was erected on the hill in the south part of the town, and occupied until the war, when it was destroyed. Among the teachers was Charles Y Oliver, who had previously served as sheriff of the county, and G W Stewart. After the war, a new lot was purchased, and a substantial building was erected upon it. The school is now under the control of a board of trustees composed of some of the leading citizens of the town, who have leased the property for a term of five years.
About 1845, the Baptists, chief among whom was Maj John Jarnagin, erected a brick building near the first academy, and established a seminary, which was maintained until the war, when it too was destroyed and has never been rebuilt.
No church building was erected until about 1840, when the Baptists built their present home. Previous to that time the courthouse and the academy had been used for holding services. About 1851 the Methodist Episcopal Church South erected a house of worshsip, and recently the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church have completed a building.
In 1867, the completion of the Knoxville and Ohio Railroad to Clinton added much to the prosperity, and other roads will soon be built which will still further increase its importance. The business interests of the present time are represented by the following firms: Kinkaid and Overton, R C Dew, Henry Clear, Jr., Jospeh Straighter and Mehan andDeBona, general merchandise; F Clear and J M Gamble, groceries; P M Lisles, Dail and Carden and ____Brooks, drugs. The manufacturers consist of the Edes, Mixter and Heald Zinc Company’s Smelting Works, employing from forty to fifty hands: Narcross and Thomas’ Sons Mill, employing about thirty men, and J W Narcross’ planing mill.
The second largest town in the county is Coal Creek, situated about ten miles north of Clinton, on the Knoxville and Ohio Railroad. It is the result of the mining operations in that vacinity, and has grown up since the opening of the railroad. The land upon which it is built was principally owned by Randal Adkins and Joel Bowling. The first store was opened by Calvin Queener. The business of the present consists of the stores conducted by Rufus Edwards, Charles McCarsey, Heck and Petree, D H Blackburn, John Bittle and the Black Diamond Store.
In 1857 the county completed the issue of $100,000 of bonds in payment for a similar amount of stock in the Knoxville and Kentucky (now Knoxville and Ohio) Railroad, then under construction. From this stock the county has never received any dividend, and the payment of the bonds has imposed a heavy burden upon the taxpayers. The principal and the interest, amounting to about $300,000, has now been paid, with the exception of a few thousand dollars, which has been provided for, and the county is in a more prosperous condition than ever before.
Source: Goodspeed’s History of East Tennessee. Pages 837-840. From the reprinted 1887 edition.