The Goodspeed Publishing Co., History of Tennessee
Also See Biographical Sketches
Surnames A thru L and
Surnames M thru W
Green County is the fourth county in size in East Tennessee, having an area of
530 square miles. It lies between the Unaka Mountains on the south and Bays
Mountains on the north, and is traversed by a series of valleys and ridges. The
principal stream is the Nolachucky River, which receives as tributaries Lick
Creek, Little Nolachucky, Horse Creek and Camp Creek. The soil of the county is
generally fertile, with the exception of the extreme southern part, and even in
this section the lands are found to be well adapted to tobacco culture. The
richest farming lands occupy the northern portion of the county and the bottom
of the Chucky River. The minerals embrace almost every variety found in East
Tennessee, with the exception of coal. Iron is especially abundant in many
places, and has been worked with success. The settlement of what is now Greene
County was begun about 1788. One of the first settlers was Anthony Moore, who
in that year located not far from Hendersons Station, and whose daughter is said
to have been the first white child born in the county. Other settlers followed soon
after, and during the next two years, the greater part of the land, along Lick Creek
and the Nolachucky River had been occupied. Daniel Kennedy came in 1779,
and located on the river four miles east of Greenville, at the mouth of Holley
Creek. He was one of the most prominent pioneers of the State, and deserves to
rank with Sevier, Shelby and Cocke. He was chosen clerk of the county court
upon the organization of the county, and continued to hold it under four
successive changes of government, a sufficient proof of his integrity and worth.
He was an ardent support of the State of Franklin, and was an active participant
in the convention which founded it. He was also elected a brigadier-general of the
Among the other early settlers of the county were James English, on the
headwaters of Lick Creek; Joseph Hardin, on the Roaring Fork of Lick Creek;
George, William and Henry Conway, at the mouth of Lick Creek; Amos Bird, on the
Chucky River; Alexander Galbraith, on Sinking Creek; James Delaney, on Holley
Creek; Lewis Brayles, on Horse Creek; James Houston, in what is known as the
Cove; Lanty Armstrong, on the sight of Rheatown; Robert Carr and Robert Hood, on
the sight of Greeneville; James Patterson, who had four sons -- James, Andrew,
Nathaniel and William -- located on Lick Creek in 1783. The Moores, Rankins and
David Rice also settled in the same vicinity. A station was erected by the
Carters about eight miles northwest of Greeneville. Tephaniah Woolsey lived
south of the river. About 1790 a large number of Friends or Quakers began
to come into the county from Pennsylvania and North Carolina, although a
number of person of that faith had come several years before. Among the
pioneers were William Reese, Garrett
and Peter Dillion, William and Abraham Smith, Solomon, David and John B. Beales,
Samuel and Mordecai Ellis, Abraham Marshall, Samuel Pearson, Samuel Stanfield
and George Hayworth. The first religious services were held on the eleventh day
of the ninth month, 1791. Other meetings were held from time to time, and on the
twenty-eighth day of the second month, 1795, New Hope monthly meeting was
organized about one mile west of Rheatown where a house of worship was erected.
A church house was also erected on Lick Creek at an early day.
While some of these Friends were slave-holders the great majority was opposed to
the institution of slavery, and it was among those earnest, simple and
God-fearing people, that the first society for the abolition of negro slavery in
America originated. The first branch of the Tennessee Manumission Society was
organized at Lost Creek Meeting-house in Jefferson County on February 25, 1815.
On that day eight persons met for the purpose of forming themselves into a
society, under the style of the Tennessee Society for promoting the Manumission
of Slaves. These persons were Charles Osborne, John Canady, John Swan, John
Underwood, Jesse Willis, David Maulsby, Elihu Swan and Thomas Morgan. The
constitution for this society was as follows:
Each member is to have an advertisement in the most conspicious part of his
house, in the following words, viz.: Freedom is the natural right of all men. I
therefore acknowledge myself a member of the Tennessee Society for promoting the
manumission of slaves.
That no member vote for a governor or legislator unless he believes him to be in
favor of emancipation.
That we convene twelve times at Lost Creek Meeting-house. The first on the 11th
of the third month next ****** shall proceed to appoint a president, clerk and
treasurer, who shall continue in office twelve months.
The required qualification of our members are true Republican principles ****
and in form of ***** and that no immoral character be admitted into the society
as a member.
Soon after societies were formed in Greene, Sullivan, Washington and Cocke
Counties and in Knoxville, and on the 21st of November, 115, the first general
convention was held at Lick Creek Meeting-house of Friends, in Greene County.
The second annual convention was held on the 19th and 20th of November, 1816, at
Greeneville. Unfortunately the first minutes of this society have been lost, and
but little is known of the original members of other branch societies. The first
secretary was John Marshall. How long this society existed could not be
ascertained, but the following facts are learned from the minutes of the eighth
annual convention, held at the Friends Meeting-house at Lick Creek, in
Jefferson County, on August 12 and 13, 1822.
The delegates present were as follows: Green Branch -- John Marshall,
Samuel McNees and David Stanfield; Maryville Branch -- David Delzel, Isaiah
Harrison, Aaron Hackney and Andrew Cowan; Hickory Valley Branch -- Isaiah
Harrison and John Coulson; Nolachucky Branch -- Lawrence Earnest; Turkey Creek
Branch -- William Milliken; Washington Branch -- Joseph Tucker; French Broad
Branch -- William Snoddy and John McCroskey; Holston Branch -- Jesse Lockhart;
Jefferson Branch -- John and James Caldwell and Elisha Hammer; Middle Creek
Branch -- John Kerr. Beaver Creek, Sullivan, Powells Valley, Knoxville and
Newport Branches were not represented. James Jones was chosen president; Thomas
Doan, clerk, and Asa Gray, treasurer. The whole number of members in the various
branches was reported at 474. Robert M. Anderson and Jesse Lockhart were
appointed to draw up a memorial to Congress, and Stephen Brooks, Thomas Doan,
Wesley Earnest, Abraham Marshall and James Jones were appointed the committee of
inspection for the ensuing year. As had been the custom at each preceding
convention an address advocating the abolition of slavery, to be distributed to
the various branch societies, was prepared. Since it inaugurated the
anti-slavery agitation, which culminated in the civil war, the organization of
this society must be regarded as one of the most important events in the history
of the country.
The first Methodist society in the State was organized in this county. It was
named Ebenezer, and was established in the Earnest neighborhood some time about
1790. This neighborhood is on the Nolachucky River, opposite the present
Fullens Depot. Henry Earnest located there in 1778 or 1779. He was the father
of five sons and six daughters, and it is said that his wife with the children
constituted four fifths of the membership of the new church. The first church
building was erected prior to 1795, as in that year the Western Conference held
its annual meeting there. From this time for several years this church seems to
have been a favorite meeting place of the conference, that body having convened
there in 1801, 1805, 1807 and 1822. One of the largest camp-grounds ever built
within the bounds of the Holston Conference was erected about one and one-half
miles from Ebenezer, near what is now Hendersons Depot. It was used for many
years and was not abandoned until the civil war. It was known as Stone Dam
Another Methodist society was organized at a very early day at Vanpets, in the
vicinity of Carters Station, on the north side of Nolachucky, in the western
part of the county, where a camp-ground called Center was erected some time
prior to 1813. The first church building was built as early as 1792.
The first Baptist Church in the county was organized in 1793 or 1794 on Lick
Creek. Among the first members were Phillip Hale, Robert Fristoe, William
Johnson, B. Hopper, Samuel Baker, Thomas Wyatt and Richard Curtin.
Another church known as Flay Branch was organized at New Providence
Meeting-house in 1803. Of its early members may be mentioned D. D. Shackleford,
Nehemiah Woolsey, George Jones, Thomas D. Mason, V. Reynolds, Joshua Hardin,
Frederick Dewitt, Joseph Reynolds, James Houston, J. Gilbert, H. Gilbert,
Jeremiah Broyle and Giles Parman. The name of this church in 1885 was changed to
Mountain View. Among other churches of this denomination are Roaring Springs,
organized originally in 1817, present church of that name constituted in 1872;
Clear Fork, 1825; Caney Branch, 1844; New Lebanon, 1848, Susongs Memorial,
1877; Romeo 1878, and Lovelace, 1879.
The Presbyterians organized the first church in the county at Greeneville, for a
sketch of which see elsewhere. A second church known as Providence was organized
In 1783, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed an act dividing
Washington County for the second time, and establishing the county of Greene. On
the third Monday of August, the court of pleas and quarter sessions met at the
house of Robert Carr, which stood near to what is known as the Big Spring in
Greeneville. The magistrates present were Joseph Hardin, John Newman, George
Doherty, James Houston, Amos Bird and Asahel Rawlings. Daniel Kennedy was
elected clerk; James Wilson, sheriff; William Cocke, attorney for the State;
Joseph Hardin, Jr., entry taker; Isaac Taylor, surveyor, Richard Woods,
register, and Francis Hughes, ranger.
For convenience the county was divided into four civil districts, three of which
lay north of the Nolachucky and French Broad Rivers, which the fourth included
all the residents south of these streams. For these districts the following
assessors were appointed: First -- Lanty Armstrong, Owen Owens and William
Stockton; Second -- Gideon Richie, James Dillard and Henry Conway; Third --
Alexander Kelly, Jeremiah Jack and Henry Earnest; Fourth ----- -----. The
constables appointed were John Hammond, James Robinson, Joseph Box and Robert
At the November session, 1783, the first grand jury was summoned. It was
composed of the following men: Henry Conway, Joseph Carter, David Russell, Lanty
Armstrong, Alexander Galbraith, Archibald Stone, Andrew Martin, James Rogers,
Jeremiah Jack, Anthony Moore, George Martin, David Copeland, Richard Woods,
Robert Allison and four others whose names could not be deciphered. This jury,
however, found no indictments and was soon discharged. The court which was begun
on February, 1784, levied a tax of one shilling specie on each 100 pounds of
taxable property for the purpose of erecting public buildings. At the same
session a road was ordered to be laid off from Robert Carrs to the confines of
the county in the direction of Sullivan Courthouse. At the next term Robert
Carr was allowed £8 for the use of his house by the court while at the same time
the sheriff entered a protest against the jail erected by Mr. Carr.
In May, 1785, the county was reorganized under the State of Franklin, and all
the officers who were reappointed were required to take a new oath of office.
The magistrates who appeared and qualified were Joseph Hardin, George Doherty,
Benjamin and John Gist, John Newman, Asabel Rawlings, John Maughon, James
Patterson, John Weir and David Craig. The old county officers were removed
except Daniel Kennedy, clerk and Francis Hughes, ranger. The county, as a whole,
was the most loyal to the Franklin government of any of the counties composing
the State, and jealously guarded against anything tending to weaken its
influence or authority.
In the records of the February session, 1786, is the following entry: An
anonymous printed paper, purporting to be an address to the citizens of
Franklin, is judged by the court to be a scandalous, wicked and seditious libel
against the States in the Union, and individuals of the Ecclesiastical order,
and the same is ordered by the court to be burnt by the High Sheriff to-morrow
at four oclock in the afternoon. At the next term David Crawley was brought
before the court on a charge of threatening the county of Greene, and it was
considered that he be bound to good behavior for one year and a day. An
amusing instance of the courts attempt to maintain its dignity against an irate
attorney is found in the following entries in the minutes of November, 1786:
Luke Bowyer fined five shillings for insulting the court. Fi. fa. issue for the
same. Luke Bowyer fined £10 for insulting the court and 5s for profane swearing.
Fi. fa. issue for the same. Luke Bowyer ordered to be confined in the stocks
for one-quarter of an hour; ditto one hour. At this juncture Mr. Bowyer
doubtless bethought himself of the maxim, that discretion is the better part of
valor, and submitted to the court.
Notwithstanding the troublous times through which the new State was passing, the
court of pleas and quarter sessions for Greene County continued to hold its
sessions regularly, and to discharge its duties with the greatest fidelity, and
even after every vestage of the authority of Seviers government had disappeared
from the other counties this court transacted its business in the name of the
State of Franklin. In August, 1788, however, the county passed once more under
the authority of North Carolina, and John McNabb, Alexander Outlaw, Abraham
McCoy, Alexander Galbraith, Joseph Hardin and John Newman, qualified as
magistrates. At this term new county officers were elected with the exception of
clerk of the court, and the following attorneys were admitted to practice: John
McNairy, Alexander McGinty, David Allison, Archibald Roane, Joseph Hamilton and
Andrew Jackson. In November, 1790, the county court was once more reorganized,
to comply with the government of the territory south of the river Ohio, but
there were few changes in the magistrates or other officers. The same may also
be said of what occurred six years later, when the officers qualified according
to the laws of the State of Tennessee.
The circuit court for Greene County was organized on March 7, 1810, by William
Cocke. The attorneys present were David Yearsley, attorney-general; John
Kennedy, John F. Jack and Samuel Y. Balch. The chancery court for the district,
composed of Carter, Greene, Washington, Cocke, Jefferson and Sevier, was
organized at Greeneville on May 16, 1825, by Thomas L. Williams, then one of the
judges of the supreme court. Of the attorneys mentioned above only Samuel Y.
Balch and James Reese are known to have resided in the present limits of Greene
County. The latter was a member of one of the Franklin Assemblies and later
represented Greene County in the Legislature of North Carolina.
About 1817 James W. Wyly received a license to practice, and from that time
until 1835 he was one of the leading advocates at the bar. At the latter date he
removed to Missouri. Contemporary with him were his brother, A. H. Wyly, and
George T. Gillespie. The former removed to Texas during the war between that
State and Mexico, and the latter, after serving for a time as clerk and master,
removed to Russellville, Tenn. Alfred and Augustus Russell were also lawyers of
some note during this period. About 1830 Robert J. McKinney, who had studied law
with John A. McKinney, of Rogersville, located at Greeneille. He at once took a
front rank in the profession, and it is doubtful if he ever had a superior as a
jurist in the State. In 1848 he succeeded Judge Reese upon the supreme bench,
where he continued to preside until the civil war.
About 1835, Thomas D. Arnold, formerly of Knoxville, located at Greeneville. He
was a man of only limited education, and of somewhat eccentric manners, but by
his strong native intellect and force of character he had already raised himself
to prominence. He had served a term in the Legislature, been attorney-general of
his circuit, and had held a seat in the XXII Congress. He engaged actively in
the practice of his profession and in politics at Greeneville, and in 1840 he
was elected to represent the First District in Congress.
In 1841 David T. Patterson was admitted to the bar. He had studied in the office
of Judge McKinney, and was well equipped for the practice of his profession. In
1854 he was elected judge of the First Judicial Circuit, and six years later he
was re-elected. After the close of the war he served four years in the United
States Senate, and since his retirement has not be engaged in the practice of
his profession. In 1846 Samuel Milligan, also a pupil of Judge McKinney, began
the practice of law, but as more extended mention of him is made elsewhere it
will not be repeated here.
Among the other attorneys prior to the war were James W. Hale (who died in
1842), Robert M. Barton, J. Britton, Jr., Robert Johnson, J. G. Rose and Robert
McFarland. The members of the Greeneville bar at the present time are James
Robinson, R. M. McKee, A. M. Shown, James Armitage, Dr. W. A. Harmon, R. D.
Harmon, Samuel Shields, J. E. Hale, A. B. Wilson and W. F. Milburn.
Greeneville may be said to have been founded in 1783, when the court held its
first session at the house of Robert Carr. The name is first mentioned in the
records of 1785, but the town was not established by the Legislature, nor
regularly laid off until that year. The first settlers in the vicinity besides
Carr were William Dunwoody (properly Dinwiddie), and Robert Hood, all of whom
located about 1780 or 1781. Hood lived on what is now the south edge of town, on
land owned by Mrs. Walker. Dunwoody is said to have kept a tavern near the site
of Selfs hotel, but the first house of entertainment was kept by Robert Carr,
who in 1784 erected a house on the north side of Main Street, afterward occupied
by Dr. James Isbell. The tavern rates as fixed by the court were: Diet, 1s;
liquor, half-pint, 6d.; pasture and stable, 6d.; lodging, 4d; corn, per gallon,
8d.; oats, per gallon, 6d.
The first courthouse was completed about 1785, and in November of that year the
third Franklin convention was held in it. Afterward it served as the meeting
place for the Commons, while the Senate met in Carrs old house near the Big
Spring. The building is described by Ramsey as follows: It was built of unhewn
logs, and covered with clapboards, and was occupied by the court at first
without a floor or loft. It had one opening only for an entrance, which was not
yet provided with a shutter. Windows were not needed, either for ventilation or
light, the intervals between the logs being a good substitute for them. It
stood at the lower corner of the present courthouse lot. It was used until about
1804 or 1805, when both a courthouse and new jail were erected. The latter was
built of stone and stood near the middle of East Depot Street. It has had two
successors, one completed in 1830, at a cost of $1,700, and the other built in
1882. It is constructed entirely of stone and iron, and cost $14,000. The third
and present courthouse was erected about 1822-23. In 1870 a front, containing
four offices and two stair-cases, was added.
The first merchant in Greeneville was Andrew Greer, who had previously been
known as a prominent Indian trader. William Dickson began business some time
prior to 1800, and continued as one of the leading merchants until his death, a
period of nearly half a century. He was a man of wealth, and served two terms in
Congress, from 1801 to 1805. Joseph Brown and John Russell both opened stores
about 1800, the former in a small frame house where the Presbyterian Church now
is, and the latter on the lot now occupied by Brown & Brown. Among the other
residents of the town at about this time were James Stinson, county register and
tavern keeper; Robert Kyle, a tailor, and Valentine Sevier, clerk of the county
In 1819 the merchants of Greeneville were Deaderick & Sevier, William Dickson,
Henry & Peter Earnest, Lewis H. Broyles & Co., John C. Greenway & Co., and
Joseph Allen & Co. At this time Greeneville had ceased to be a village, and had
become a town of some 600 or 700 people. It was a good business point, and
during the next decade it continued to improve. The merchants were prosperous,
and many of them acquired a large amount of wealth, hence a sort of aristocracy
sprang up, which, on political issue, was opposed by the mechanics and the
laboring class generally. Among the latter the leaders were Andrew Johnson,
Mordecai Lincoln and Blackstone McDaniel. The last named was a plasterer and is
still living. Mr. Lincoln was a tanner and also carried on a shoe and saddlers
shop. he was a relative of Abraham Lincoln, and is said to have been very much
like the latter, both in character and personal appearance.
Mr. Johnson arrived at Greeneville, from North Carolina, in September, 1826, and
finding a good opening for a tailor, he concluded to locate. He was accompanied
by his mother and stepfather, and they took up their residence in a small frame
building nearly opposite Spencer and Browns factory. Andrew worked for a time
in a shop on Main Street, but subsequently removed to the corner of Depot and
Water Streets. Meanwhile he had married, and he now purchased the brick house
opposite his shop, where he continued to reside for several years. In 1828, in
an election for alderman, he led the opposition to the aristocratic elements,
and was successful. This he repeated two years later with the same result.
At about this time a debating society was organized, and to it Mr. Johnson
doubtless owed much of his future success. The origin of this society is
described by Mr. McDaniel, a surviving member, as follows: Johnson and McDaniel
were intimate friends, and both, during their leisure hours, were fond of
discussing current political topics. The finally became involved in a discussion
of the merits of a bill then lately passed by the Legislature, extending the
criminal laws of the State over that part of the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee,
Mr. McDaniel advocating the measure and Mr. Johnson opposing it. The discussion
continued until at last a challenge to a public debate was made and accepted.
Assistants were chosen and other preliminaries arranged, and on the following
Saturday night the disputants, together with a small audience, assembled at the
shops of Mordecai Lincoln. None of them present except Mr. Lincoln knew anything
of parliamentary proceedings, therefore he was made chairman. Mr. McDaniel
opened the debate, but Mr. Johnson refused to speak until all the others had
finished, and then he proceeded with great trepidation. This debate led to the
organization of a society which met every week, and some times twice a week, for
two or three years, and Mr. Johnson soon became one of its most active members
and best speakers.
The subject of education early engaged the attention of the people of Greene
County, and Greeneville College, the first college in the State, was incorporated
in 1794. The trustees were Hezekiah Balch, Samuel Doak, James Balch, Samuel Carrick,
Robert Henderson, Gideon Blackburn, Archibald Roane, Joseph Hamilton, William Cocke,
Daniel Kennedy, Landon Carter, Joseph Hardin, Sr., John Rhea and John Sevier.
Hezekiah Balch was chosen president, and Robert Henderson, vice-president. The
first meeting of the trustees was held at the house of James Stinson and February
18, 1795. Robert Henderson, James Balch, Joseph Hamilton and John Rhea were appointed
to prepare a memorial to the President and Congress of the United States, soliciting
assistance for the college. This Mr. Balch offered to present. He soon after started
upon a trip to Philadelphia and the Eastern States, and, upon his return, reported
that had collected and brought a large number of books, and received $1,352 in cash
donations and $350 of subscriptions.
It was then decided to erect a frame building 60x30 feet, two stories high. Messrs.
Balch, Hardin, Kennedy and Henderson were appointed to fix upon a site for the
building in the neighborhood of Mr. Balchs plantation about three and one-half
miles from Greeneville. It was also resolved that the board propose a lottery
for the purpose of increasing the funds sufficiently for building the above house,
the sum to be $1,000, and Gov. Sevier, John Rhea and Joseph Hamilton be a committee
to prepare a scheme. Whether this resolution was carried into effect is not known.
In August, 1796, the trustees held another meeting, at which time Mr. Balch offered
to donate 150 acres to the college, but the conditions upon which he proposed to make
the donation were such that the trustees refused it. The plan for a building,
presented at the previous meeting, was found to be too expensive, and it was
decided to erect a house 32x26 feet, two stories high, with a stock of chimnies
at each end.
From this time until March 8, 1800, if any meetings were held, the minutes have
been lost; at the latter date Rev. Charles Coffin was elected vice-president to
succeed Rev. Mr. Henderson, and was commissioned to go to the Northern and Eastern
States to solicit subscriptions. The college building had not yet been completed,
and there is no evidence that the school had been put into operation. On July 1,
1803, the president was authorized to have the schoolroom glazed, and made
comfortable for the accommodation of pupils, and this was probably about the
date at which the college was opened. The first mention of any graduate was in
1808, when Hugh Brown received the degree of A. B.
After four years of labor, soliciting donations for the college, Mr. Coffin
returned in 1805, and reported that he had secured about $14,000, of which
$8,855.96 came from the other side of the mountains. These funds placed the
college upon a firmer foundation, and it at once entered upon a prosperous career.
In 1810 Mr. Balch died, and was succeeded by Mr. Coffin, who continued at the head
of the institution until 1827, when he accepted the presidency of East Tennessee
College. His successor was Henry Hoss, for a short time as president pro tem.,
and in 1838 Rev. James McLin succeeded him. It was then decided to remove to
reeneville, and a committee was appointed to superintend the erection of a
building at that place. This building was completed in 1841 upon a lot in the
northeast part of town, donated by Valentine Sevier. From some cause, however,
the college failed to prosper, and after three or four changes in presidents,
among whom were Samuel Matthews, Charles A. Van Vleck, and J. J. Fleming, the
college was suspended. In 1854 Rev. William B. Rankin, then principal of Rhea
Academy, was elected, and so continued until the suspension of the schools
by the war.
In 1818 Dr. Samuel Doak, who had formerly been president of Washington College,
came to Greene County and established a school known as Tusculum Academy. It
soon became known as an excellent institution, and in 1842, under the management
of Rev. Samuel W. Doak, who had succeeded his father, it was incorporated, with
the following board of trustees: Samuel W. Doak, president; John McGaughey, John
Moore, James Broyles, Alexander Williams, Andrew Johnson, William Crawford, R. J.
McKinney, Thomas D. Arnold, William West, John Blair, Silas Dobson, Jeremiah Moore,
Joseph Henderson, William Robinson, James Robinson, R. M. Woods, Rev. Isaac
Braughan, F. A. McCorcle, William Denney, Henry Earnest, Robert Rankin, William
M. Lowry, James Hale and John Jones. About 1845 five acres of land were donated
by Mr. Doak, and the two-story brick building, which is still occupied, was
erected upon it. Previous to that time a small house, still standing just back
of the Doak mansion, had been occupied by the academy for several years. Mr.
Doak continued as president until his death, about the close of the war.
At that time both Greeneville and Tusculum Colleges were in a somewhat
demoralized condition, and it was decided to consolidate the two institutions
under the name of Greeneville and Tusculum College. This was accomplished in
1868, and Dr. W. S. Doak became president. He continued at the head of the
college until his death in 1882, although the year previous he was elected
State superintendent of public instruction. In 1883 Rev. Jere Moore, the
present president, was elected. During the past year one of the finest college
buildings in the State has been erected at a cost of about $14,000, the greater
portion of which was donated by the widow of the late Cyrus W. McCormick, of
Chicago. The present faculty is as follows: Rev. Jere Moore, A. M., president
and professor of mental and moral science; L. C. Haynes, A. M., professor of
mathematics and physical science; T. S. Rankin, P. S., professor of natural
science and English literature; Rev. W. C. Clemens, A. B., professor of Greek;
Rev. S. A Coile, A. M. Vice-president and professor of Latin; Eduard Lindemann,
professor of music and modern languages.
The first schools in Greeneville, as now remembered, were taught in a log house
standing near where Rhea Academy is, and in the Presbyterian Church. The latter
was a boys school, and was taught for four or five years by Joseph Brown. The
former was doubtless the original Rhea Academy, and was opened about 1812. The
lot was donated by John Rhea in 1811, and it is said that he also furnished a
large part of the funds for the erection of the building. The present academy
was built about 1825, and about 1840 the building for the female department was
erected upon the lot given by John Dickson.
The date of the organization of the first church in Greeneville has not been
settled beyond dispute, but it is believed that the first preaching was done
by Rev. Samuel Doak in 1780, and that the church was organized about three
years later by Rev. Hezekiah Balch, who became the first pastor. The elders
were Anthony Moore, Maj. Temple and Joseph Hardin. The first exercises were
said to have been held under a clump of trees near the Big Spring. In 1792
James Galbraith, for $10, deeded three acres and four poles of land, near the
head of Richland Creek, to Anthony Moore, Alexander Galbraith, Maj. Temple,
John Reese, John Carson, Nicholas Hays, Thomas Russell, David Russell, David
McGill and Jeremiah Smith, elders of Mount Bethel Church. Whether any house
had been erected before this time is not known, but it is probably that a log
building had been used. The earliest church of which there is any certain
knowledge was a frame house which stood on what is now a vacant lot adjoining
the old cemetery on the north side. The congregations which assembled here
were very large, embracing the greater part of the people for ten miles
In 1796, after the return of Dr. Balch from his trip to New England, mentioned
in connection with Greeneville College, he began to expound the Hopkinsian
doctrines, and affirmed his belief in them. This produced a schism in the
church, and after a long contest before Presbyterian Synod and general
assembly the faction apposing Dr. Balch withdrew and was organized into a
separate congregation with Rev. James Witherspoon as pastor, under the old
name of Mount Bethel. They erected a log church, near where Spencer & Browns
factory now is, and there continued to worship until 1815, when they removed
to a point one mile east of town, where the present substantial brick church
now stands. The early ministers of this congregation were as follows: James
Witherspoon, 1798-1807; John W. Doak, 1807-09; James Balch, 1809-12; S. W.
Doak, 1813-44; and S. W. Wyly.
The Balch faction of the old Mount Bethel congregation adopted the name of
Harmony Church, and Mr. Balch continued as pastor until his death. In 1805,
Rev. Charles Coffin began preaching to the congregation one third of his time,
and from 1808 to 1820 he divided his time between Greeneville and Jonesboro.
In the latter year, he was succeeded at Greeneville by Christopher Bradshaw,
who preached alternately at Harmony and Timber Ridge until 1827. His successor
was Dr. F. A. McCorkle, who had been engaged in the practice of medicine for
about ten years. he continued the practice of his profession and also remained
pastor of these churches until 1855, when he was succeeded at Greeneville by
Rev. Ira Morey, the principal of the female academy. He continued about twenty
months, and was succeeded by Rev. E. T. Brantley, who preached to the congregation
from 1857 to 1860. Dr. McCorkle then filled the pulpit until the beginning of the
war. In 1865 the elders of the church were Samuel Milligan, Joseph R. Brown, J.
A. Galbraith, Dr. E. M. Shiffey and Robert McKee. Rev. J. W. Elliott was received
as stated supply, continuing until 1867. His successors have been S. V. McCorkle,
W. C. Harding, John E. Alexander and Samuel A. Coile. In 1848 the old house of
worship was abandoned, and the present commodious structure on Main Street was
built on a lot donated by Robert J. McKinney. In 1833 a camp-ground was established
on a hill one mile west of Greeneville, and camp-meetings were held there annually
for several years. The name Harmony was borne by this church until 1840, when it
was changed to Greeneville.
In 1843 a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation was organized by Rev. Isaac. S.
Bonham, with Thomas Lane, Lewis S. Self, Thomas Davis and two or three others
as elders. The membership was small, but they succeeded in erecting a small
frame house in the southwest part of the town, where they continued to worship
until 1860. In that year, under the ministry of Rev. John P. Holt, the present
large brick building at the corner of Church and Main Streets was begun, but was
not completed until after the close of the war. The present membership of the
church is about 100.
The first Methodist Church in Greeneville was built in 1821, and was known as
Mount Moriah. it stood fronting on Irish Street, upon a lot back of where Mr.
Blackstone McDaniel now lives. The trustees at that time were William Goodman,
William Carter, Elza Bridewell, John Whittenburg, Peter Whittenburg, Richard M.
Woods, William A. Hankins, Isaiah Harrison and Stephen Brooks. Afterward the
congregation removed to a frame house, which had been erected at the southwest
end of Main Street. This building was destroyed by fire and was replaced by
the present brick structure, which is now occupied by the Methodist Episcopal
After the close of the war a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, and for
about nine years occupied the old building erected before the war. The were
then dispossessed of this property through legal process by the Methodist
Episcopal Church South. They then worshipped in the courthouse until they
completed their present handsome church edifice in 1875.
About 1843 an Episcopal Church was organized and a house of worship erected.
Among the first members were Gen. T. D. Arnold and wife, Mordecai Lincoln and
wife, Mrs. John Dickson, Mrs. Matilda Martin, Mrs. Catherine Williams, Miss
Mary Lincoln and Loyd Tillman. The first minister was Dr. McCabe, his successors
were Dr. Goode, A. M. Royce and W. W. Cahagan. The congregation was never a
large one and, owing to deaths and removals, it has been still further decreased,
and for several years no regular services have been held.
In 1874 a Baptist Church was erected and a small congregation organized, but
owing to internal dessensions, it did not prosper, and the building was finally
sold for debt. It was purchased by O. B. Headrick, a member of the church and
still remains his property.
The first newspaper published at Greeneville was the Genius of Universal
Emancipation, a small monthly paper devoted exclusively to the cause of the
abolition of slavery. It was established at Mount Pleasant, Ohio, in July
1821, but was soon removed to Greeneville, the tenth number having been
issued from the latter place. The editor was Benjamin Lunday, a Quaker,
who, after four or five years, removed to Philadelphia. During his stay in
Greeneville he also published a weekly paper, the Economist and Political
Recorder. The successor of Lundy was Thomas Hoge, but the name of his paper
could not be ascertained. In 1844, the Greeneville Miscellany was published
by Charles P. Byers, and in 1849 the Greeneville Spy was established. The
first editors and managers were Charles Johnson and J. B. R. Lyon. With the
exception of about two years its publication, under several successive
managers, was continued until the war. In the fall of 1858 the Greeneville
Democrat was established by H. G. Robertson. The next year the name was
changed to the Greeneville Banner. It was a radical Southern Right paper,
which he continued to issue until the occupation of the town by the Federals,
in 1863. For the last few weeks it was issued as a small tri-weekly.
During the fifties, also, a religious paper known as the American Presbyterian
was published by J. Dobson. In 1865 J. B. R. Lyon established the New Era
which he continued under that name until 1886, when he changed it to the
Republican. Early in the seventies two papers, the Sentinel and the Reporter,
were established, the latter by the evangelist, Samuel W. Small. The two were
soon consolidated and published for a time as the Sentinel and Reporter.
In May, 1879, J. Lyon issued the first number of the Greeneville Democrat,
which he has since continued, and which has been an almost phenomenal success.
It has reached a circulation of over 1,900 copies, and yet almost the entire
work of the office has been done by Mr. Lyon. It is safe to say that no other
weekly paper in the State outside of the cities, has an equally large circulation.
Several other papers of short duration have also been published from time to
time. Among those were the Herald, National Union, Intelligencer and Bulletin.
Greeneville, during the past few years, has increased rapidly in both
populations and wealth. Since the introduction of tobacco raising into
the county it has become an important market for this crop, and the
manufacture and shipment of tobacco is now one of the leading industries.
The firms engaged in its manufacture are the East Tennessee Manufacturing
Company, the Greeneville Manufacturing Company and Howard & Alexander.
The other manufacturers of the town are Brown & Mosier, handle and spoke
factory, Lamon Bros., wagon factory; Spencer & Brown, drugs and medicines;
Stephen Bros., woolen-mill, and R. Snapp and J. R. Brown, tanneries.
The commercial interests are represented as follows: W. H. Williams,
William Lane, David R. Britton, M. P. Reeves, George P. Park & Co.,
W. R. Brown, J. R. Brown and Trim & Hardin, dry goods and groceries;
Boyd & Park and Isaac OHarrell, drugs; W. C. Willis, hardware; W. G.
Gass, queenware; R. Snapp, W. B. Taylor and L. W. Tipton, groceries; J. M.
Sanders and Mercer & Co., furniture, and R. Snapp and J. R. Brown,
saddlery and harness. The Bank of Greeneville was established in 1887
by Judge Hacker & Bro. and John Brobson.
Of the villages of Greene County Rheatown is doubtless the oldest.
It is situated on what was the old stage route, and at one time was a
thriving business point. It was made a postoffice in 1823, and named
in honor of John Rhea. Among the early residents of the village were
James Allen, a merchant, who was succeeded by Joseph & Nicholas Earnest,
Joseph Whinnery, a hatter; William Aiken, a tanner; Thomas & William Handley,
tailors; John Mathes, a cabinet-maker, and John Wright, who ran a saw and
gristmill. Some time in the twenties a Methodist Church was built at the
upper end of the town, and about 1845 a new frame building was erected
just above the old one. About 1850 the Presbyterians organized a church
and built a house. Since the war the members of the Methodist Episcopal
Church South have erected a new church edifice. In 1872 an academy was
built by Nolachucky Lodge, No. 323, F. & A. M., and since that time a
very excellent school has been maintained there.
The other villages of importance are Mosheim and Fullens, both stations
on the railroad. The latter place was established upon land owned by
James Fullen. It has a population of about 100, and is the seat of
Warren College, an institution established by the Methodist Episcopal
Church in 1883. Mosheim was formerly known as Blue Springs, under which
name it was known until about 1870. It is the seat of Mosheim College,
established under the auspices of the Lutheran Church. It also has a large
flouring-mill, owned by Reuben Roder, a general store, by D. R. Gass & Co.,
and a drug store, by J. A. Banghard. Warrensburg, situated in the Fourth Civil
District, is the oldest village in the county, and at one time was a place
of no little importance. The site was entered during the first settlement
of the county by Robert Warren, from whom it took its name. The business
of the village now consists of two general stores owned by J. C. Maloney
and R. J. Kidwell, and a drug store conducted by Marion Maloney.
The following have been the officers of Greene County since its organization,
so far as obtainable.
Clerks of the county court: Daniel Kennedy 1783-1802; Valentine Sevier, 1802-10;
Andrew Patterson, 1810-34; Merryman Payne, 1834-36; George W. Foute, 1836-52; E.
W. Headrick, 1852-68; V. S. Maloney, 1868-82; W. H. Piper, 1882.
Clerks of the circuit court: Valentine Sevier 1810-54; William West; 1854-56; M.
L. Patterson, 1856-62; William West 1862-65; D. R. Britton, 1865-86; J. B.
Clerks and masters: George T. Gillespie, 1825-36; Merryman Payne, 1836-43; David
Sevier, 1843-70; Henry A. Wilde, 1870-76; A. W. Walker, 1876-80; W. A. Allen
1880-86; J. K. P_____, 1886.
Sheriffs: James Wilson, 1783-85; James Houston, 1785-86; John Tadlock, 1786-87;
James Richardson, 1787-92; William L. Lovely, 1792-94; George Conway 1794-1800;
John Newman, 1800-02; Christopher Conway, 1802-04; James Patterson, 1804-06;
Andrew Patterson, 1806-08; James Patterson, 1808-10; Daniel Guin, 1810-12;
James Patterson, 1812-14; Daniel Guin, 1814-18; Hugh Carter 1818-24; Alfred
Hunter; 1824-26; Richard M. Woods 1826-40; James Britton, 1840-46; Loyd
Bullen, 1846-50; D. R. Johnson, 1850-54; James Jones, 1854-60, James G.
Reeves, 1860-66; A. W. Walker, 1866-74; William S. White, 1874-78; A. J.
Frazier, 1878-84; W. I. Dodd, 1884-86; A. J. Stephens, 1886.
Trustees: Thomas Doan, 1796-1804; James Shields, 1804-18; Joseph Brown, 1818-20;
W. K. Vance, 1820-34; James R. Isbell, 1834-36; Richard West, 1836-44, William
West, 1844-52; A. R. Anderson, 1852-58; Elbert F. Mercer, 1856-48; James W.
Cloyd, 1868-74; Charles O. Park, 1874-82; J. R. Hughes, 1882-84; J. A. Rader,
1884-86; J. W. McDaniel, 1886.
Registers: Richard Woods 1783-84; Robert Carr, 1785-87; John Hardin, 1787-89;
John Stone, 1789-94; James Stinson, 1794-96; James Dunwoody, 1796-98; James
Stinson, 1798-1806; George Brown 1806-36; Silas E. Burnett, 1836-42; Thomas
Lane 1842-74; T. R. McCollum, 1874-78; J. W. Bower 1878-84; O. T. French, 1886.
Table of Contents Page
Greene County TNGenWeb Home Page
This page last updated on Friday, October 10, 2003