Thanks to Kay Pacheco for providing this information.  It came from, "Rutherford County-History of Tennessee", by Goodspeed
Publishing Co.  1887


Geographically speaking Rutherford County occupies the exact center of the State, and almost the exact center of Middle Tennessee. Few if any vertical sections of any great depth have been made, and it is believed no record has been kept. The county embraces an area of over 500 square miles, the outcrop being blue limestone and shales. It is what geologists term lower Silurian. It is probable that the depth of this formation extends from 500 to 1,000 feet with occasional thin strata of other formations. 

Soil, Timber, Crops
The soil of this county is exceedingly fertile, being either of a black or brownish red color; the latter color is doubtless due to the iron oxides contained in it. Although there are many places where the ground is apparently covered with stone, yet by careful husbandry there are few places that cannot be made to yield a rich harvest to the careful and industrious husbandman. Fields that have been cultivated for nearly a century, and are apparently worn out by the cultivation of corn and cotton, are soon reclaimed by a few years' growth of red clover, or by seeding in the blue-grass, make excellent grazing lands. The native growth of timber embraces almost every kind grown in the temperate climate. The native trees that are valuable in the markets are oak, hickory, walnut, poplar and cedar,  vast quantities of the latter being shipped to all parts of the county,  and until within the last few decades was almost the exclusive article of produce for the market, and it is still more largely cultivated than any other one thing, yet large quantities of wheat and corn are raised.  The production of these three articles is almost marvelous in some instances with a suitable season. The intelligent farmer has learned the necessity of a rotation in crops for the improvement of the land and to guard against over production in some articles and the  necessary consequences - dull prices for that article. His crops are now more varied, more wheat and corn and pasture lands. This brings about a necessity for more stock, and such is now seen. The county is now largely engaged in breeding fine horses, cattle and sheep. These are bringing rich rewards to those so engaged. Large quantities of rye, oats, barley, tobacco, potatoes, hay, peas, pans, wool, butter and cheese are also produced. The product of the orchard and garden embraces everything from the smallest and sweetest berry to the finest apple. The quantity is only limited by the effort of the producer. The east fork of Stone River enters this county near Reddyville in the eastern part of the county and flows almost in a northwest direction through its entire course. It forms a part of the boudary line between Districts No. 17 and 19; from 19 it receives Andrew and McKnight Creeks as tributaries. At the corners of Districts No. 17, 19 and 22, it received Cripple Creek (named from an accident befalling a man while crossing it) as a tributary; this with its branches rises mainly in District No. 22. Stones River passes through the central part of District No. 22, and near the western part received Cave Creek from the south and Bradley Creek from the north. The last named with Stones River forms the boundary line between Districts Nos. 22 and 15. Near the central part of District No. 21 it receives Bushman Creek. Stones River then forms the boundary line between Districts No. 15 and 5 on the north, and Districts Nos. 22, 21, 9 and 6 on the south, where it unites with the west fork of Stones River. 

Rivers and Boundaries 
The west fork enters this county near the southeastern part of the county, and forms a part of the boundary between Districts Nos. 21 and 25; at the northern extremity of District No. 25 it receives the waters of Long Creek, which is the boundary line between District No. 25 on the east and Districts Nos. 20 and 11 on the west. The main stream forms the boundary between Districts Nos. 18 and 11;    near the center of District No. 11 it receives the waters of Lytle Creek, and near the center of District No. 11 it receives a tributary of its own name. The head waters of the last named is called Dry Fork. West fork passes through Districts Nos. 13 and 9; near Florence Station it receives the waters of Armstrong Creek, the two branches, east and west fork, unit, and form one stream near Jefferson. The river passes out of the county in a northwest direction; from the south on the boundary of Districts No. 6 and 2 it receives Stewart Creek. Stones River was discovered and explored as far as Jefferson by Gen. Uriah STONE and four men in 1794. It was for STONE that the river was named. Other streams in the county were named in honor of prominent families. 

Early Settlers 
Previous to 1780 the Indians held undisputed sway in the county. The old trace leading from Nashville to Chattanooga is yet to be seen. Along this route the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and particularly the Cherokees, held undisputed sway from time immemorial.  Soldiers sent out by Gen. ROBERTSON went as far as Black Fox  Camp Spring in 1793. In 1794 ORR's expedition, sent out by Gen. ROBERTSON, followed the trace by way of Murfreesboro, and September 7, 1794, camped near Black Fox's Spring. This expedition extended as far as Nickajack, where the Indians were defeated. Few Indian troubles occurred after that time. The first settlers in the county were mainly from Virginia and North Carolina.  Those coming from Virginia came mainly by water by way of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers; those coming from North Carolina over  the mountains on pack-horses. The parent State, North Carolina, as an inducement to have the lands on the "Cumberland" settled up, offered 640 acres to each head of a family who would live upon the land; hence the large number of 640-acre grants.  Samuel WILSON, grandfather of Col. JETTON, is said to have visited the vicinity of Jefferson as early as 1788-89, and marked out lands. He soon after returned with his family and settled at Wilson Shoals on Stones River. He has the honor of having planted the first corn within the forks of Stones River; also of having killed the last elk in the county, near Murfree Spring. He left a large and respectable family and died in 1827, and was buried with the honors of war near where the United States Cemetery now is. Thomas NELSON,  Thomas HOWELL and William ADKINSON settled near Stewart Creek. Col. Robert WEAKLEY and Robert BEDFORD each owned grants at the confluence of the east and west forks of Stones River. These lands were taken up previous to 1800. It was largely through the influence of these two men that the first seat of justice was located at Jefferson. William NASH, who, with Col. WEAKLEY, surveyed the line separating Rutherford from Davidson, is said to have owned the first store in the county. It was he who administered the oath of office to the justices of the first county court. Nimrod MENIFEE settled the land now marked by the United States Cemetery. The place is marked by two historic events, one the opening of the second year of the county courts, and  the other, fifty-seven years later, within a few days, the opening of  the second year of the war and with it one of the bloodiest battles of modern times. Robert OVERALL settled near Overall Creek, to which his name was given. His family has been prominent in the history of the county since its inception. Another early settler in that vicinity was Capt. Richard RANSOM, who came from North Carolina in 1810 and settled near the head of Overall Creek. Rev. James BOWMAN was another settler in that vicinity, and was one of the early ministers of the Presbyterian Church. Each of the last  was the head of a large family. Charles READY settled near Readyville, to which his name was given. He settled in the county about 1800, and was one of the seven justices that constituted the first court in Rutherford County; also he was one of the seven commissioners to select a new county seat, appointed by the General Assembly in October, 1811. Of all these he was last to die. Thomas RUCKER, another one of the seven justices, lived between Murfreesboro and Jefferson; his place came in one vote of being  made the county seat, instead of Murfreesboro. Richard SANDERS  and family came from North Carolina about 1806, and settled on Stones River, in the neighborhood called "Raleigh." In the same vicinity were the FLOYDs, BRASHEARS, WIGHTs and GOODLOEs. Murfreesboro marks the settlement of Capt. William Lytle the great natural feature of this county caused more good mills to be erected at an early day than was the case in other places.   A few tread-mills were established in the county, but the vast  majority of the mills were propelled by water-power. Thomas  RUCKER built a mill on his place called the "Cave" Mill in 1799.  Louis ANTHONY's mill was built on Stones River, adjoining Henry  GILHAM's place, in 1804. CUMMINGS' and SMITH mills each  existed at the beginning of 1804. John M. TILFORD built a grist and  saw-mill on the west fork of Stones River, near the Salem Pike, in 1814-15; a distillery was added to this later. Samuel TILFORD built a mill on the east fork in 1815. David DICKMAN built a mill on the west fork in 1809, and in the same year James RUCKER built a cotton-gin, the first in the county. Rates then were fixed by law as  follows: Dinner, 25 cents; supper and breakfast, 20 cents each; lodging, 8-1/8 cents; horse, with corn or oats and fodder, 33-1/8  cents; oats, per gallon, 8-1/8 cents; whisky, one-half pint, 12-1/2  cents; peach brandy, one-half pint, 12-1/8 cents; French brandy,   rum or wine, one-half pint, 50 cents. The following kept ordinaries  previous to 1820: William MITCHELL, William NASH, Harvey  POPE, Charles O'FLYNN, Hugh GOOD, James HILL, William   HANSBROUGH, W. R. HEARN, Thomas MAYFIELD, Peter WILLIAMS, William RATHER and T. GOODRICH. It is claimed  that William NASH started the first trade-store in the county. This was near Jefferson about 1803. The usual stock in trade consisted of few articles of dry goods, some groceries, a little powder and lead  and the inevitable barrel of whisky. Money being scarce a system of xchange was instituted. Large ox hides were rated at about $4; inferior ones proportionately less; wolf scalps, at $2.50 each, 
receivable for taxes; deer skins, 50 cents; deer "saddles," 50 cents 
per pair; 'coon skins, 25 cents each. These, with other produce, 
were sent to New Orleans by flat-boat, a journey requiring a month 
or more to complete. Dollars were frequently cut into halves or 
quarters and given for change, hence two "bits," four "bits," etc. 
Food consisted solely of the product of the farm and forest. A little 
corn was raised, and either eaten as hominy or made into an 
indifferent meal, and then into bread. Turkey, deer and elk 
abounded; hogs were allowed to run at large, and when wanted
were hunted sown and shot; clothing was made of the coarsest 
homespun. A maid dressed after the fashion of the day looked as 
lovely to her rustic lover, though dressed in a homely garb, with 
cheeks aglow with health, as does now the belle of fashion, in her 
silks and jewels, to her gay suitor. Articles of household furniture 
were simple and plain. Gourds and cows' horns were dressed, and, 
with a handle adjusted, were used for drinking vessels. Stills were as 
numerous as the mills, and the whisky barrel as common as the meal 
tub. Instead of the social "glass" of the more refined society, they 
were simply asked to take a "horn," i.e., a drink; hence the origin of 
the expression "take a horn." Dr. Thomas NORMAN was born on 
the night following the completion of the survey of the county, which 
had been assigned to William NASH and Col. Robert WEAKLEY, 
consequently he as the first child born in Rutherford County. Black 
Fox Camp Spring was a marked place during the Indian troubles. 
There is a beautiful tradition of the celebrated Black Fox, who, when 
he was overpowered by his enemies, rather than fall into their hands, 
leaped into the spring with his arms and sank from sight. The story 
would have been incomplete had he not come to light again, and the 
tradition that buried him brought him out alive at Murfree Spring. 
About three miles from Murfreesboro is the old BRADLEY race 
track, which was a famous resort for sportsmen since 1820. Col. 
Robert SMITH was a prominent figure in those races. Betting, card 
playing, and the usual accompaniment were common at those races. 
Near this old race track is the old Indian dance ground, which is a 
circular track dug out of the earth and rock. Neither history nor 
tradition tells of its origin. 

Districts Divided
As the law now is, counties having a population of between 7,000 
and 10,000 must be divided into 7 civil district; those between 
10,000 and 15,000 into 12 districts; those between 15,000 and 
20,000 into 15 districts; those having from 20,000 to 25,000 into 17 
districts; those having from 25,000 to 30,000 into 20 districts, and 
those above 30,000 have 25 districts. These are numbered by the 
ordinal numbers. Previous to the constitutional convention in 1834 
the districts were named from prominent families, as SANDERS, 
READY, MAY and MURPHY Districts. The first divisions were 
made in 1804. The county was then divided into three divisions. 
Thomas RUCKER, John HOWELL and Thomas MITCHELL were 
ordered to make the divisions. The first was made by a line along the 
west fork of Stones River to the most westerly branch to the Indian 
"trace;" thence along the "trace" to the Wilson County line; thence 
along the county line to SMITH's mill; thence on a line to 
CUMMINGS' mill; thence to the place of beginning. The second 
contained all west of the river to the western boundary. The third all 
north of the road leading from SMITH's and CUMMINGS' mill and 
east of Stones River. James RUCKER, James HOWELL and 
William LYTLE were appointed cotton inspectors, each for his own 
warehouse or district. Tobacco inspectors were appointed after the 
manner of cotton inspectors. Polls were listed and taxes assessed in 
the various parts of the county by the justices of the respective 
districts. The heads of families, when not over age, were enrolled 
into militia companies, and they were listed by companies. The first 
of this kind was in 1805, when Justice John HILL listed Capt. John 
SMITH's company; William NASH listed Capt. Samuel 
McBRIDE's company; W. W. SEARSEY, W. W. SEARSEY's 
company; William LYTLE, Capt. John JOHN's company; William 
SMITH, Capt. O. M. BENGE's company, and Charles READY, 
Capt. Alexander McKNIGHT's company. These companies varied 
with the population. In 1806 the captains of companies were as 
follows: Capts. Alex McKNIGHT, Peter NOE, R. READY, Henry 
McCOY, Nimrod JUNKINS, William ROBINSON, Thomas 
YARDLEY, W. M. SEARSEY, W. A. SUBLETT, Samuel 
McBRIDE and John SMITH. The districts mentioned above have 
been subject to many changes since 1834, as well as before that 
time, this depending upon the whims and conveniences of the 
people. The county court every few years makes a slight change in 
these, so many having been made that it would be too tedious to 
follow all. The usual price paid for listing up to 1834 was $20 to 
each lister. In 1818 the captains of companies were WEBB, 
MILLER, DOAKS, GANAWAY, SUBLETT, MORRIS, COOK, 
FOX, THOMAS, ROBERTSON, GILFINS, TODD, WELTON, 
MOORE, HALEY, HUBBEL, CARSON, PATTON 
McKNIGHT, Thomas HARRIS, ELLIOTT and A. HARRIS. In 
1821 the number had increased to twenty-three companies, and in 
1824 to twenty-six. The number increased yearly till 1833, when the 
number had reached thirty-six companies. They were as follows: 
Capts. McGREGOR, STEVENS, SAUNDERS, CLEMENT, 
FINNEY, RIDLEY, FERGUSON, BLAIR, TRAYLOR, 
MURPHY, HARRIS, BARLOW, McLEAN, NORMAN, 
PARRISH, BLANTON, HICKS, LILLARD, EDWARDS, 
OSBORN, THOMAS, MATHER, SMITH, BIRD, IVY, HALE, 
NEWMAN, ROWLAND, HOOVER, ROBERTSON, FOWLER, 
KNOX, PREWITT, YOURIE, BARNETT and BROWN. From 
this time on the respect and enforcement of the militia laws gradually 
grew into neglect. This county was organized by an act of the 
General Assembly then in session at Knoxville, October 25, 1803, 
but the courts for the county were not organized till January 3, 1804. 

The county was named in honor of Gen. RUTHERFORD, of North 
Carolina, who was known in the Revolutionary war, and also in 
contests with the Indians within the confines of this county. It will not 
seem strange that the county should have been named in honor of a 
North Carolinian, when it is remembered that previous to 1796, 
Tennessee was a part of that territory. Rutherford County was 
formerly included in Davidson and Williamson Counties. The dividing 
line was "on the extreme height of the ridge between Mill Creek and 
Stones River; thence southwardly to the eastern boundary of 
Williamson; thence with the line of Williamson to the southern 
boundary of the State; thence with the State line east to the corner of 
Wilson County; thence with the Wilson County line north to the 
corner of Wilson; thence with the line of Wilson 6-1/2 degrees west 
to the southwest corner of Wilson; thence a direct course to the 
mouth of Sugg Creek; thence a direct line to the place of beginning; 
that the county so laid off on the east and southeast of the waters of 
Stones River, etc., be known and distinguished by the name of 
Rutherford." The same act that created the county also ordered the 
county board (justices) to meet in March, June, September and 
December annually. Rutherford County was declared a part of Metro 
District. By an act, November 7, 1803, Samuel WEAKLEY and 
William NASH were appointed to fix the boundary line between 
Davidson and Rutherford Counties. By an act, August 3, 1804, John 
HILL, Frederick BARFIELD, Mark MITCHELL, Alexander 
McBRIGHT and Peter LEGRAND were appointed to select a
central site for a seat of justice for the new county. They were to 
receive by purchase or donation forty acres of land upon which they 
were to erect or cause to be erected a "court house, prison and 
stocks;" to lay out a town to be named by the commissioners; lots
were to be sold at auction to the highest bidder; lots were to be 
advertised in the "Tennessee Gazette," and the proceeds of the sale 
to be used in the building of the court house, jail and stocks. On 
December 3, 1807, Bedford County was cut off from Rutherford, 
thus reducing the latter to the constitutional limits. Minor changes 
were made in 1815, 1837, 1843, 1844, 1848, 1851, 1852, 1854, 
1856, 1860, 1867, 1868, 1870, 1871, 1877, 1879 and 1883. 

County Seat
The above named board selected a site within the forks of Stones 
River for a county seat. The town was regularly laid out having about 
150 town lots and a Public Square on which was erected a good 
brick court house which stood till 1835. The town was named 
Jefferson. The following prison bounds were established: "Beginning 
at the junction of the east and west fork of Stones River running up 
the west fork of said river at low water mark to the first cross street; 
thence south to the south boundary of Main Street; thence east with 
said boundary so as to include the Public Square to a post ten poles 
below MITCHELL's ordinary on the south boundary of said street; 
thence north to the low water mark of the east fork of Stone River; 
thence down the same to the place of beginning." Norton GREEN 
was appointed overseer of the streets and Public Square. The 
following were among the first purchasers of lots in Jefferson: Peter 
COOK, Theophilus CANNON, Joseph BENNETT, William 
CARLISLE, Harrison GILLIAM, John BELL, Samuel BELL, 
Daniel FERGUSON, J. A. LEWIS, George DOUGLAS, Robert 
WEAKLEY, William HOWELL, Tomas STONE, H. H. HARRIS, 
Norton GREEN and Mark MITCHELL, who kept the first ordinary 
in the place. The rich farming lands surrounding Jefferson and river 
transportation gave it a prospect of becoming an important 
commercial emporium at no distant day. Some very distinguished 
men attended court at Jefferson, among whom were Felix 
GRUNDY and Thomas H. BENTON. Dissatisfaction arose as to 
the location of Jefferson as a seat of justice; a most central location 
was desired. October 17, 1811, the Legislature appointed Charles 
READY, Hugh ROBINSON, Hans HAMILTON, James 
ARMSTRONG, Owen EDWARDS, Jesse BRASHEARS and 
John THOMPSON commissioners to select a permanent seat of 
justice for the county. They were directed to have due regard to 
good water and a central location. Sixty acres of land were to be 
procured by purchase or donation. A struggle was made to secure 
the seat. Readyville RUCKER's place, Black Fox Spring and Capt. 
William LYTLE's place were offered. The commissioners visited the 
various places mentioned. Charles READY prepared a sumptuous 
dinner, the Rev. HENDERSON delivered an address, toasts were 
drank and strong efforts were made to have RUCKER's place 
chosen. The commissioners were also entertained by LYTLE, where 
the vote was taken on his proposition to donate sixty acres of land 
south of "Murfree Spring Branch" to the commissioners. The vote 
stood ROBINSON, HAMILTON, EDWARDS and THOMPSON 
- four in favor of LYTLE's offer. The opposition led by READY had 
ARMSTRONG, BRASHEARS and READY - three votes in favor 
of RUCKER's place. Such was their chagrin at their defeat that they 
refused to sign the deeds to the lots sold. All of the original deeds 
simply bear the names of Hugh ROBINSON, Hans HAMILTON, 
John THOMPSON and Owen EDWARDS. The only reserve made 
in the deed was a mutual understanding that LYTLE should have one 
lot redeeded to him. This was accordingly done and the 
commissioners gave the lot on the southeast corner of the Square. 
The land now in the hands of the commissioners was a part of the 
lands originally entered by William LYTLE and Archibald LYTLE. 
The sale of lots was advertised in the Knoxville and Nashville 
"Gazette" to begin on June 12, 1812. The lots sold at auction and 
were disposed of rapidly. George SMITH received Lots 12 and 15 
for $116.25. Other purchasers were Daniel DICKINSON, William 
LYTLE, Samuel WILSON, Henry TRATT, Robert JETTON, John 
M. TILFORD, Wilson KERR, Bennett SMITH, James 
HENDERSON, Blackman COLEMAN, Fred BARFIELD, 
Hezekiah CARTWRIGHT, William BOWEN, Hugh 
MONTGOMERY and Abe THOMPSON. The commissioners as 
soon as a site was fixed were to effect the removal of records to the <
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