History of Campbell County, Tennessee
History of Jacksborough

Time Line

Reprinted with Permission from Dr. Miller McDonald from his book Campbell County Tennessee USA: A History of Places, Faces, Happenings, Traditions, and Things.

       The town of Jacksboro and the land area surrounding it are more closely tied to Campbell County, its government and history than any other. As a small town it ranks among the oldest.

     Settlers inhabited the flat land below the great Eagle Bluff before the state of Tennessee was formed in 1796 and before Campbell County was created ten years later.

     Well before the Revolutionary War, many adventurous and independent individuals, used to extreme hardships of life and primitive conditions, came to the area. Largely of Scottish ancestry, they settled on land that later was to become Campbell County. Log homes were built. Fields were cleared and fenced.
Trading posts were established or forts constructed to either peacefully trade with or fight the Indians at the particular time or moment.

     These very early settlers, some of whom traveled back to the east to fight in George Washington's Army of the Potomac, formed the basis for the strong, free and independent character that we see in many Campbell Countians today. 

     Prior to the advent of the white man, the area was used as a favorite camping ground and village by Indians. There was an abundance of wild game and the ground was fertile for growing corn and other vegetables. The Eagle Bluff, prominent for miles around, provided an easy landmark for those on long hunting trips to get their bearings.

     Years later, when the Campbell County area was a part of North Carolina, the population of the land had grown substantially. In many instances, land grants of a hundred or so acres could be purchased from North Carolina for as little as $5. Stockley Donelson was a noted surveyor. He was also one of the most successful land speculators of his time and had made many land purchases. In the area of what is now Campbell County. In 1793, he secured title from the governor of North Carolina to much of the area that encompasses Jacksboro and the land southwest of it including Caryville. Donelson, who had been surveyor general of the State of Franklin and also had served as territorial legislator for the area, was a man of considerable influence and power. His name shows up in many of the early deeds and land transactions. Among his land sales in 1796 included sale of 2,000-acre tract of land to Andrew Jackson, his brother-in-law, -beginning on the east side of Coal Creek at the mouth of the first branch that falls into the Cove. This land approximated a significant part of the area that includes Jacksboro and Caryville and was known as Walnut Cove because of the abundance of black walnut trees in the area.

     About this time, Andrew Jackson's star was beginning to rise. He was 29 years old and Tennessee had been admitted to the Union in 1796. He was elected the first representative to the U.S. Congress. 
The following year he became a United States Senator. In going about his duties, Sen. Andrew Jackson was shocked to find that wholesale land frauds had been perpetuated at several of the land offices of North Carolina. To Jackson's amazement, this implicated his brother-in-law, Stockley Donelson. Jackson observed, "When you set a bear trap, you can never tell what particular bear is going to blunder into it!" 
Jackson, of course, had no prior knowledge of Donelson's activity. Incidentally, Donelson was never brought to trial, despite several attempts to bring him before the Bar, because the North Carolina governor would not grant extradition. Finding life In Washington not to his liking, Jackson resigned as United States Senator after only a year in 1798. He was appointed Judge of the State Superior Court which met in Knoxville.
Jacksboro, as a small settlement, was first known by the name of Walnut Cove. The post office was also named Walnut Cove after the area including the Jackson land. The postmaster from October 15, 1806 to May 30, 1819 was Sampson David.

     In 1802, Andrew Jackson was elected Major General of the Tennessee Militia. By 1819, he had easily become the most popular man in the state. His defeat of the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend in March, 1814, had been followed in January, 1815, by his smashing victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans. This made him a hero of national note. He continued to gain prominence.

     On May 31, 1819, to honor Tennessee's hero, Andrew Jackson, the name of Walnut Cove was changed to Jacksonboro. The postmaster was Sampson David from May 31, 1819 to June 8, 1826. Succeeding postmasters were Joseph Peterson, June 9, 1826 - October 10, 1828; Joseph Hart, October 11, 1828 - May 26, 1829.

     Andrew Jackson served two terms as President of the United States, being elected 1828 and re-elected in 1832. As President, Jackson ruled with an iron hand and made many enemies in the process. His strong overbearing and even domineering actions created a strong opposition that united nationally in the whig Party, which later became the Republican party. There was a large Whig following in Campbell County and there was significant disapproval by a large number of Campbell Countians of Jackson's activities, which may account for later name changes of the county seat. Notwithstanding this, Jackson went on to be regarded as one of the nation's outstanding presidents and as one of the fathers of the Democratic party.
On May 27, 1829, to conform to the name spelled out in the enabling legislation creating Campbell County, the name of Jacksonboro was changed to Jacksborough. Thomas Wier was the postmaster from 27 May 1829 until 11 December 1849. Succeeding postmasters were: James Williams, 12 December 1849 - 27 April 1853; Isiah S. Daugherty, 28 April 1853 - 10 February 1854; George W. Smith. 11 February 1854 - 12 April 1858; James Terhune, 12 April 1858 - 26 September 1859; Andrew J. Bankston, 27 September 1859 - 11 February 1861; James Terhune. 12 February 1861 - 14 June 1861; C. J. Year, 15 June 1861 - 17 July 1865; Sue Cary. 18 July1865 - l 4 December 1865; Chapman J. Yeary, 15 December 1865 - 7 May 1866; Hugh L Wheeler, 8 May 1866-21 November 1870: John Heatherly, 22 November 1870-5 May 1874; John C. Hollingsworth, 6 May 1874 - 10 September 1885; Spencer S. Dabney. 11 September 1885 - 5 August 1887. 

     It is conclusive that Jacksborough was originality named for Andrew Jackson. It should be noted. however, that there has grown up over the years another account of the origin of the name of Jacksborough. Put forth by an editorial writer around the turn of the century, it propounds the writer's own idea that the town was named for James W. Jack, a Revolutionary War officer, who transported a copy of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress. Since there is no evidence to support this, it indicates that the story may have been politically motivated. 

     On 8 August 1887, the name of Jacksborough was shortened to Jacksboro. Spencer G. Dabney was postmaster from 8 August 1887-9 March 1888. Succeeding postmasters were: Henderson Reid, 10 March 1888 -24 March 1889; John C. Hollingsworth, 25 March 1889 - 19 July 1893; Joseph W. Weir, 20 July 1893 - 21 August 1897; Joseph H. Agee, 22 August 1898 - 6 January 1904; 28 November 1910; James F. Huddleston, 29 November 1910- 27 February 1913; William R. Irioh, 28 February 1913 - 19 November 1914; Robert L. Queener, 20 November 1914 - 7 April 1921; Charles F. Perkins, 8 April 1921 - July 1931; Henderson Archer, 23 July 1931- 9 April 1933; Bessie T. Queener, 10 August 1936 - 29 November 1953; Ulysses B. Coker, 30 November 1953 - 29 June 1976; Charles 0. Nelson, June 30 1976 - present
The location of Jacksboro as the county seat for Campbell County was settled only after some debate and wrangling. The act creating Campbell County in 1806 appointed as commissioners James Grant, William Hancock, Jacent Cloud, Robert Glenn, Richard Linville, Sampson David and John English to "lay out a place, the most suitable and convenient in said county for the purpose of erecting a court house. prison and stocks."

     There were then three localities contesting for the seat of justice - Grantsboro, at the forks of the Powell and Clinch Rivers; Big Creek Gap, later La Follette; and Walnut Cove, later Jacksboro. Walnut Cove was the location that was finally selected.

     The commissioners favored different localities and were strongly divided in their sentiments. They could not and would not agree on any location. This impasse existed until the convening of the General Assembly in 1807. On November 30, the General Assembly passed an act to amend the act creating Campbell County with the following preamble: Whereas, the commissioners appointed by the aforesaid act have omitted to perform the duties thereby enjoined on them." It then went on to name and appoint a new board of commissioners as follows: Thomas Murray, Robert Glenn, Sampson David, John English, John Yount, James Rice and John Newman. They were vested with the same powers as the original commissioners with the only enlargement of powers to purchase a tract of land of not less than 60 acres on which to build the public buildings and lay out the town as contemplated in the original act. On January 20, 1808, the commissioners promptly fulfilled their duties and purchased from Colonel Hugh Montgomery 60 acres of land, the present site of Jacksboro, and proceeded to lay out the town with streets, alleys and public grounds.

Time Line



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