From about 5000 BC until Uriah Stones navigated up an off-shoot of the Cumberland River in 1766, what is now Rutherford County was habitated by Native Americans. The last tribes in Middle Tennessee were the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Creek Indians. They used the area as their hunting grounds.When white settlers began the westward movement into Tennessee from places like North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, the Native Americans were forced to find other areas to hunt and live. Most of these new Tennesseans held land grants from the Revolutionary War. They planted corn and built homes from logs. Lumber was shipped out of the area on flat boats, up and down the river. By 1803, the state legislature deemed there were enough people to justify forming a new county, Rutherford County. It was named in honor of North Carolina General Griffith Rutherford, and was formed from portions of the counties of Davidson,Williamson and Wilson counties. Murfreesboro, the current county seat, sits in the center of Rutherford County, along the Stones River. The first county seat was established in the community of Jefferson, near Smyrna, and in 1811 the town of Cannonsburough was established as the new county seat. After just 33 days, the name of the town was changed to Murfreesborough, now Murfreesboro, in honor of Hardy Murfree,a Revolutionary War friend of William Lytle, who donated the land. In 1834 it was determined that the center of Tennessee was located on Old Lascassas Pike, one mile from downtown Murfreesboro. The location was nicknamed "the dimple of the universe" by local residents, and the spot was later marked with an obelisk by the Rutherford County Historical Society.
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