FRANKLIN COUNTY. (History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present, (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing, 1886)
Goodspeed Publishing was based in Chicago, Illinois. The company produced and published many works on local history and biography in the 1880s. The works were primarily divided into sections for each county they studied and provide an important snapshot of the lives and the economic situation that existed at that time. The works are viewed as a significant resource for American genealogists because they contain economic data and personal biographies of many prominent citizens.
FRANKLIN COUNTY is bounded on the north by Coffee County, northeast by Grundy, east by Marion, south by the State of Alabama, west by Lincoln, northwest by Moore, and contains about 500 square miles, one-fourth of which lies on the Cumberland Mountain and Its western escarpment.
The topography of the county is greatly diversified, a portion of it lying on the Cumberland Plateau, a portion in the valley of Elk River, a portion on the Highland Rim and a very small portion in the Central Basin. The rim is in the Devonian formation. the basin in the silurian, the Cumberland Table-land in the carboniferous. The carboniferous strata are the surface rocks of the Highland Rim and the table-land. The soils of the rim are the siliceous or flinty, found in the basin on the inner half of the rim, and calcareous, found on the outer half, which is a red clay. The soil of the basin is almost entirely al calcareous; that of the table- land is the sandstone soil. The limestone of the rim is the coral or St. Louis formation, while that of the basin is the Nashville group. The latter is a blue limestone; the former is gray, or grayish and blue. The rim is about 1,000 feet above the level of the sea; the table-land about 2,000; and the basin about 700.
The mean annual temperature of table land is 54 deg., of the rim 57 deg., of the basin 58 deg. The soil of the Cumberland Table-land is thin and sterile, but well adapted. on account of its climatic advantages, to the raising of all kinds of fruit. Along the western base of the mountain is a wide belt of land with a dark clay surface and red clay subsoil, furnishing a fine agricultural land. Then come the valley lands of the Elk River, which flows through the county from northeast to southwest. West of the river lie the barrens, so-called, which afford considerable pasture, but the soil is thin and not good for agriculture. In the western portion of the county, and running down the river, is found the black shale formation with its ” rock houses,” or alum and copperas caves, in which are often found native alum and copperas. There are several coves, among which Farmers’ Cove, Lost Cove, Round Cove and Sinking Cove lie upon the table-lands, and are wholly shut in by the mountains, beneath which their waters find outlet. Buncombe Cove lies along the base of the mountain and is almost shut in by an outlier. It is watered by the head waters of Bean Creek. There are several other coves, among which is Roark’s, one of the largest in the county. The most fertile lands are found in these coves and in the valleys of the Elk and its tributaries. The best timber is found on the mountain slopes, and consists principally of oak, ash, chestnut, beech, poplar, cherry and walnut. The barrens are covered mostly with a lightgrowth of scrubby oak. The Elk River and its tributaries furnish the principal drainage of the county. Mineral springs are abundant, the most noted of which are Hurricane Springs, Estill Springs and Winchester Springs. The former of these springs is a noted summer resort, where thousands of pleasure-seekers make their annual visits. There are also many noted cave springs which furnish pure free-stone water.
There is, an extensive marble bed upon Elk River, commencing about five miles below Winchester, and extending down the river ten miles and five miles on either side. The marble is of excellent quality anti consists of gray and red, clouded with green porphyry and various shades. This vast mine of wealth has only been slightly developed. Coal has found to exist in great quantities near University Place, and at Anderson, Keith’s Spring, Maxwell and other points, but, as yet, it has not been mined to any considerable extent.
Many beautiful cascades and waterfalls end caves are found upon the mountains. Natural scenery in the county is extensive. Viewing the mountains from Winchester, their grandeur arises to sublimity. And standing upon the mountains and overlooking the grand valleys of the Elk and its tributaries, with Winchester and its church spires in the foreground, one is led to exclaim with the poet:”God hath a being true,
And that ye may see
The leaf of the tree;
In the wave of the ocean,
The furrow of land;
In the mountain of granite.
The atom of sand!
Ye may turn your face
From the sky to the sod.
And where can ye gaze
That ye see not a God?
“The settlement of the territory now composing Franklin County began with the beginning of the present century, when all was a vast wilderness, inhabited only by Indians and wild animals. It was a hazardous undertaking to come here in that day and open up a new country west of the mountains where the light of civilization had never shone, and where neither schools, churches, mills, factories, nor any conveniences existed, such as the pioneers had been accustomed to. None but brave and courageous men and women could ever have accomplished such a dangerous and hazardous undertaking. The early settlers came mostly from Virginia and the Carolinas, and some from Kentucky and Georgia. It may be truthfully said that with the exception of those who have settled since the war the inhabitants of the county are nearly all descendants from the best families of ” Old Virginia” and the Carolinas. It is claimed that Maj. William Russell, who settled on the Boiling Fork, near Cowan, and Jesse Bean, who settled on Bean Creek, both about the year 1800, were the first two settlers in the county. This is quite probable, as these two families are prominently mentioned elsewhere in the organization of the county, the first court being held at Maj. Russell’s house, and Mr. Bean being one of the commissioners to locate the county seat. Bean Creek took its name from the Beans who settled thereon.
Samuel Miller and his wife, nee Elizabeth Montgomery, were both born in this county, the former in 1801 or 1802, and the latter, who is still living, in 1803. The parents of these persons were, of course, among the very early settlers. The families of Larkin and Hunt, settled on Bean Creek, about 1806. The Beans who had previously settled there, established, in 1812, a gunsmith shop and powder mills in two caves on Little Bean Creek, the remains of which can still be seen. David Larkin, hearing of the massacre of two children by the Indians, one night in 1812, mounted his horse and rode to the place: Finding no one about the house, he endeavored to arouse some one by calling; but the lady of the house, thinking him one of the Indians, would not come from her place of concealment. The next morning the bodies of the children were found and buried. James Russey, grandfather of James Russey, proprietor of the Ballard House, in Winchester, and William M. Cowan, Christopher Bullard, James Cunningham, George Taylor, Samuel Norwood, James Dougan, John Bell, John Cowan, George Davidson, John A. S. Anderson, William P. Anderson and James B. Drake, were all prominent early settlers, who came to the county about 1800 or soon thereafter.
The following were early settlers with date of settlement accompanying their names: Edward Finch, 1808, from South Carolina, settled on what is known as the Anna Finch farm, near Winchester. He brought with him Lewis Finch (colored), who was then four years old, and is now living. William Lucas, 1808; George Grey, on Crow Creek, 1809; Alexander Faris, Robert and Isaac T. Hines, 1812; Joseph Miller, from Georgia, 1815; John B. Hawkins and Isaac VanZant, 1817. The latter settled on the farm where his son Isaac now resides. Matthew R. Mann, 1819, afterward engaged in cotton spinning; Thomas Gore, Sr., 1822; William L. Sargent, 1829; Col. Davie Crockett was also one of the early settlers of the county, who came soon after the war of 1812, and settled in a “face camp,” on Rattlesnake Spring Creek, near Salem. Here he married the Widow Patton.
It is said that he attracted much attention at the early camp-meetings, as all were anxious to see him. He remained in the county only a few years. George Grey settled on Crow Creek in 1809, and built a cabin and planted some corn.
An old lady by the name of Londey, and member of Grey’s family, was ill and in bed on an occasion when a party of Indians approached with evil designs. The family seeing the ” red skins ” approaching fled into the mountains, leaving Mrs. Londey in the house. The Indians carried all the goods out of the house, placed the invalid lady on a bed a safe distance from the house, then burned the latter, cut down the corn, and fled without doing further damage. Mr. Grey then moved upon and improved the farm now owned by Isaac Grey, about three miles from Winchester. John A. S. Anderson and William P. Anderson, assisted by George Grey, made most of the early surveys of land, especially the Government survey, whereby the lands were surveyed into sections of 640 acres each. In May, 1809, while J. A. S. Anderson, assisted by George Grey and James B. Drake, was surveying a Government line, he discovered “a remarkable cave and a remarkable spring. ” They had with them a dried beef tongue, which Mr. Anderson threw into the water, and it sank beyond all recovery. Thereupon they named the spring “Tongue Spring, ” hence the name of Tongue Spring Creek. On May 25, 1809, they planted some corn and deadened some timber, and camped on Rattlesnake Point, and ” bark was their food. ” On May 30 they came upon an Indian camp, ” and shouted around them and advanced, and the Indians absconded and left their meat and one horse, ” which, as Mr. Anderson said, the party got, “the horse to ride and the meat to eat.” There were nine Indians in the camp. Rattlesnakes were then abundant and ” monstrous, ” as related by Mr. Anderson. On one occasion, when he was obliged to undress his feet to enable him to walk over the slippery rocks, he stepped his heel on the head of a rattlesnake, discovering which he made his escape unharmed. The foregoing facts about the surveying party are taken from Mr. Anderson’s field notes made at the time, and now in possession of Mr. Isaac Grey.
The greater portion of the best lands in Franklin County were entered by location of land warrants and other claims granted by North Carolina to individuals for military services while the territory belonged to that State. Henry M. Rutledge was executor of the last will and testament of Gov. Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, who in his lifetime owned a large tract of land, mostly in this county. As executor, Mr. Rutledge sold this tract, consisting of 73,000 acres, to Col. Thomas Shubrick for $535 of English money. As an individual he then purchased the whole tract back from Col. Shubrick, and the deeds of these conveyances are the first that appear on the records of Franklin County. The Rutledge lands lie mostly in Districts 8 and 9. In May, 1808, Glen. Andrew Jackson and John Hutchins, assignees of John G. and Thomas Blount, received a patent from the State of Tennessee for 1,000 acres located on the Boiling Fork, just below Winchester.
The following is a condensed list of a few early grants, entries and purchases; July, 1796, State of North Carolina to Thomas Dillon, an assignee of the Blounts, 5,000 acres on Elk River, including Fendleton’s Spring, and a large camp made by Major Ore & Co., on their way to Nickajack; March 5, 1805, Thomas Dillon to E. Thursby, for $4,500, 18,000 acres on Elk River; April, 1807, Henry M. Rutledge to Wm. P. Anderson and John Strother a large tract on Elk River and on both sides of Logan Creek; in 1808, State of Tennessee to John Maclin and John Overton 4,935 acres, and to Nicholas Tramel 840 acres, both on Elk River; and to Solomon Wagoner, Wm. Russell, Absalom Russell and John Cowan each 200 acres on the Boiling Fork, and to James Cunningham and Robert Bean each 200 acres on Bean Creek; to James Metcalf 200 acres on Metcalf Creek, and to Wm. Metcalf 200 acres on Elk River; in 1809, State to James Patton and Andrew Erwin 1,000 acres, to Andrew Jackson 640 acres, and to John Winford 640 acres, all on Elk River.
We have cited the foregoing grants, which are only a few among the many, to show how a few individuals originally came into possession of so much of the best land of the county. In 1824 the State of Tennessee began to sell the remaining lands at 12-1/2 cents per acre, purchasers were allowed to select and enter these lands in quantities to suit themselves. The first of these entries was made by Thomas Newland, April 5, 1824, for thirty acres, the whole tract costing only $3.75. During the years 1824 and 1825 there were 508 entries made in the county for tracts mostly under 100 acres each. Entry 508 was the last one made at that price. The entries have never been permanently closed for the mountain lands, but are still being made. It is believed that all of the lands have been entered once. In many instances the original purchasers have abandoned or neglected their lands, and in this way some tracts have been entered the second and perhaps the third time. The last entry, No. 3,868, was made May 22, 1886, by Peter H. Plumer for 150 acres.
The first grist-mill in the southern part of Franklin County, was built by George Stovall about the year 1810, and as early as 1815 Districts Nos. 2 and 3 had over a dozen cotton-gins. This county at that early day was one of the leading cotton-producing counties of the State. The cotton was shipped out of the Elk River on flat-boats, and thence by way of the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, where it was sold for from 1-3\4 to 2-1\4 cents per pound. Peter Simmons, John R. Patrick and Dick Holder, early merchants of Salem, used to ship large quantities of cotton on “flats” from the mouth of Bean Creek to New Orleans, and then walk back through the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indian nations. In 1828 a Mr. Heiston, from Ohio, established a tan-yard on Bean Creek. He sold it to Mr. Smith, and he to Mr. Lipscomb. This was the first tanyard in that part of the county.
Among the early cotton-gins were those erected in the upper end of the county by Sims Kelly, John Oliver, Wm. Faris, Wm. O’Rear, Geo. McCutcheon and James Sharp, and one in the Cowan neighborhood by John Holder and one at Wm. Bledsoe’s place, by Wm. Street, and one were Isaac Grey now lives, by George Grey. Isaac Gillespie had a cotton-gin, tan-yard and grist-mill in Owl Hollow. At the same time gins were owned and operated in the lower part of the county by James F. Green, James Woods, Mr. Trigg and others. The owners of the cotton-gins would receive all cotton brought to them and give the farmers receipts for the amounts. The latter would then sell the receipts to the merchants for goods. About the year 1836 Franklin County raised 4,500 bales of cotton all of which was shipped on ” flats” to New Orleans. During the early settlement of the county the merchants went on horseback to Baltimore to buy their goods, which were then brought in wagons from that city to their destination, being about 700 miles. Enough goods were purchased at one time to last a year; and goods were hauled on the same route through this county from Baltimore to Nashville. It is claimed that as high as 800 wagons loaded with goods en route to Nashville and other points encamped at one time on the side of the road near Caldwell’s Bridge. This method of obtaining goods continued until near the year 1840, when transportation was opened up by way of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers to Nashville, after which time and until railroads were constructed, the merchants of Franklin County bought their goods in Nashville, and had them brought from thence in wagons to their places of business. The shipment of cotton on flats to New Orleans was discontinued about the same time. The Winchester Sulphur Springs were then a fashionable summer resort, and were visited annually by the wealthy planters of the South. For some years before the war a Mr. Butterworth had a cotton-mill in Owl Hollow, which was burned during the war and afterward rebuilt and again burned. Another cotton-mill was erected near Estill Springs, about the year 1851, and was destroyed by fire a few years thereafter.
The Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad was completed through the county in 1851. It has stations within the county, at Estill Springs, Decherd, Cowan, Sherwood and Anderson. It passes through the Cumberland Mountains in this country by deep cuts, and a tunnel 2,200 feet long. The Sewanee Mining Company has a railroad from Tracy City passing by University Place, and connecting with the Nashville & Chatanooga Railroad at the base of the mountain near Cowan. This road was completed in 1858. The Decherd, Fayetteville & Columbia Railroad was completed to Fayetteville about the same time me. It has stations in this county at Dechard, Winchester, Belvidere, Maxwell and Huntland.
The Falls Mill Manufacturing Company are operating a cotton-mill on Bean Creek near Salem. Whit Ransom now owns the Town Creek Mills, which were established by Anson Butterworth. These mills consist of a woolen-mill, with about twelve looms, a carding-mill and a large grist and flouring-mill, all run with water-power. They are located about five miles west of Winchester. R. C. Handley, Ben. A. Oehmig, A. J. Kinningham and Estill Bros. each own and operate grist and flouring-mills on Boiling Fork. Corn & Miller have a grist and flouring-mill on Elk River. There is also a grist and flouring-mill in Sinking Cove. Grist-mills and saw-mills are found on almost every stream. There are also a number of steam saw-mills and other manufacturing establishments throughout the county outside of the village. An agricultural and mechanical society existed for a few years before the war. And along in the ” seventies ” the Grange movements struck the county. A number of Granges were organized, and some stores were attempted to be run on the Grange plan, but all this has passed away.
When the county was new malarial fevers prevailed to some extent. In 1843 and 1844 typhoid fever made its first appearance in the county. At first it nonplussed the physicians, but they soon learned to treat it successfully. The first cases of cerebro-spinal meningitis made their appearance in the winters of 1848 and 1849. The temperature of the climate is mild and pleasant and never goes the extremes of heat and cold. The people of the county are remarkably healthy. No eases of cholera or yellow fever have ever been known in the county, except one or two, which were brought here from abroad.* The raising of cotton has been dispensed with, and the farmers are now turning their attention to the cultivation of cereals, grasses and live-stock. In 1855 there were raised in Franklin County 135,816 bushels of wheat, 475,293 bushels of Indian corn, 71,980 bushels of oats, 1,283 bushels of rye, and 1,110 bushels of barley. And the live-stock was enumerated as follows: 4,680 horses and mules, 7,906 cattle, 6,296 sheep, 25,379 hogs.
The county of Franklin was created by an act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, passed December 3, 1807. The act provided ” that there be a new county established within the following bounds, to wit: Beginning on the southeast corner of Warren County; thence with the south boundary line of Warren County to the eastern line of Bedford County; thence with said line to the southern boundary line of the State; thence east with the State line to the southwest corner of Bledsoe County; thence northwardly to the beginning; which said bounds shall constitute a new and distinct county to be known by the name of Franklin.”
The act also provided that the courts should be held at the home of Maj. William Russell, near Cowan, until otherwise provided by law; and that the general musters and courts-martial should be held at the same place, or place of holding courts. By a subsequent act, passed November 14, 1809, creating the county of Lincoln, all the territory east of Lincoln, south of Bedford and north of the State line, was attached to and made a part of Franklin County. And by later acts of the General Assembly creating Moore, Coffee, Grundy and Marion Counties, Franklin has been reduced to its present limits. Before the organization of Franklin County a portion of its territory lay in what was then called White County, and in many of the original conveyances the lands were described as being in White County. The early records of the county court, or court of quarter sessions, were lost or destroyed during the late civil war, and consequently no account of the first election of magistrates and county officers can now be given. It is certain, however, that such election was held in the year 1808, and the first county court organized at the home of Maj. William Russell, as provided by the act of creation.
An act of the General Assembly, passed November 22, 1809, provided for the holding of an election “at the place of holding courts on the first Thursday and Friday of February, 1810, for the purpose of electing seven fit and proper persons as commissioners to fix on and establish a permanent seat of justice in and for the said county of Franklin,” with power to fix on a place for the seat of justice, and to purchase a tract of land “not less than forty acres;” to lay off into lots, streets and alleys, and to reserve in the most convenient place two acres for a public square, on which to erect the public buildings; to sell the lots at public sale, and make deeds of conveyance to purchasers; “to let out, the building of the court house, prison and stocks, and to appropriate the money arising from the sale of lots in payment for the same.”
And the act further provided that the town so laid off should be called and known by the name of Winchester, and should be the place of holding courts for the county of Franklin, as soon as the improvements would authorize an adjournment thereto. This election was accordingly held, and George Taylor, Jesse Bean, Samuel Norwood, James Dougan, John Cowan, John Bell and George Davidson were duly elected as such commissioners. In compliance with the foregoing, it is evident that the commissioners selected the site for the seat of justice, and caused the town to be surveyed and platted, but owing to reasons already given, neither the original plat nor the record thereof, nor the record of the sales of lots can now be found.
The, register’s office shows that on the 10th day of February, 1812, the said commissioners purchased of Christopher Bullard, for a consideration of $1 twenty-six acres of land, upon which the town was located; and that they afterward sold the town lots and made deeds of conveyance to the purchasers. And it is to be presumed that they performed all the duties incumbent upon them pertaining to the erection of the public buildings, etc., the details of which can not be given in full on account of the loss of early records. The first court house and jail were erected soon after the foregoing purchase. The former was a small brick structure on the site of the present court house. The latter was erected on a lot at the west end of College Street, and in 1813, very soon after its completion, it was consumed by fire. On the 8th of November, the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the drawing of a lottery for the purpose of rebuilding the public prison in county of Franklin, and for other purposes; and Wallis Estill, William Russell, Sr., Col. James Lewis, Christopher Bullard, James S. M. Wherter and Thomas Eastland were by said act appointed commissioners to superintend the lottery, and upon the receipt of the proceeds thereof, to proceed to rebuild the public prison in said town, erect stocks, and finish the work of the court house therein, by the appropriation of said moneys thereto. From the foregoing it is evident that the first court house was finished in about 1814. It was small and inconvenient, having no room sufficient for holding the sessions of the courts. However it was used until the year 1839, when it was torn down and the present court house erected in its stead. The contract for the brick work was let to Elisha Meridith, and that of the woodwork to Reeves & Oehmig. The building cost about $10,000. It is a substantial brick structure of medium size, with county offices on the first floor, and the court room on the second.
The prison was rebuilt as provided by said act, on the west end of College Street, and was used until 1855, when it was condemned on account of its being insecure.
A committee, consisting of W. W. Brazelton, L. W. Gonee, John T. Slatter and Thomas Finch was then appointed by the county court to erect a new jail. Accordingly at the July term, 1855, of the county court, this committee reported that they had sold the old jail for $300, and that the new one had been constructed on Main Street and was then completed and occupied by the jailor and his prisoners. The new jail was built under contract by John Steele, of Lincoln County.
In January, 1881, the county purchased of Luke Kelly and wife, for a consideration of $2,200, a farm consisting of 150 acres, with buildings thereon, as a home for the paupers of the county. This farm lies about seven miles northwest of Winchester. The authorities have employed a man to superintend the farm and oversee the paupers at a salary of $350 a year.
The average number of inmates in the poor-house thus far has been about fourteen. Prior to the purchase of this farm the paupers of the county were provided for by annual appropriations made by the county court, and a few outside of the poorhouse are still furnished relief in that way.
The county is divided into civil districts numbering from one to eighteen, respectively. The First District magistrates, and all the others have two each, making a total of thirty-eight.
We give herewith the vote of Franklin County at the presidential elections commencing with 1848:
1848–Lewis Cass, Democrat, 1,207; Zach. Taylor, Whig, 390.
1852–Franklin Pierce, Democrat, 1,136; Winfleld Scott, Whig, 330.
1856–James Buchanan, Democrat, 1,427; Millard Fillmore, American, 331.
1860–John C. Breckinridge, Democrat, 1,528; Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat, 26; John Bell, Union, 388; Millard Fillmore, American, 331.
1868–Horatio Seymour had a majority of about 1,200 over Gen. Grant. The vote of some precincts were thrown out, and the exact figures are not now accessible
1872–Horace Greeley, Democrat, 1,740; U. S. Grant, Republican, 267.
1876–Samuel J. Tilden, Democrat, 2,275; R. B. Hayes, Republican, 276.
1880–Gen. Hancock, Democrat, 2,187; Gen. Garfleld, Republican, 357; Gen. Weaver, Independent, 16.
1884–Grover Cleveland, Democrat, 2,091; James G. Blaine, Republican, 645; St. John, 30.
It will be observed that Mr. Tilden received the largest Democratic vote ever cast in the county, and Mr. Blaine the largest Republican. Up to and including the year 1880 the voters of that part of Moore County which was cut off from Franklin County voted in the latter. The vote of 1884 is the true vote of the county as it now stands geographically.
In 1860 there were 10,249 white and 3,599 colored people in the county, making a total of 13;848; in 1870 there were 11,988 white and 2,972 colored, making a total of 14,970; and in 1880 there were 18,846 white and 3,530 colored, making a total of 17,176. The colored population in 1860 were nearly all slaves, who became free by virtue of the emancipation proclamation, after which it seems that a large number migrated from the county. as shown by the fact that in 1870 there were 627 less negroes than in 1860; during the same time the white population increased 1,748 in number. During the last decade the whites have increased 1,648 and the blacks 538.
The county court clerks were Absalom Russell. 1808-13; Edmund Russell, 1813-34; W. B. Wagoner, 1834-36; W. W. Brazelton, 1836-40; Isaac Estill, 1840-44; Sherwood Williams, 1844-48; Wm. E. Taylor, 1848-58; R. F. Sims, 1858-60; John G. Enochs, 1860-64; Thos. Short, 1864-68; John G. Enochs, 1866-71; Clem Arledge, 1871-82; Wm. E. Taylor, 1882-86. The registers were: John Keeton, 1808-26; Solomon Wagoner, 1826-36; Jesse T. Wallace, 1836-44: James L. Williams, 1844-48; Jesse T. Wallace, 1848-52; W. D. McNeil, 1852-56; Adam Hancock, 1856-60; M. G. Osborn, 1860-64 (war interval.) Wm. Stewart, 1865-66; D. R. Slatter, 1866-69; J. J. Martin, 1869-74; N. R. Martin, 1874-78; J. B. Ashley, 1878-86. The chancery court clerks and masters were: John Goodwin, 1834-38; Hu Francis, 1838-58 H. R. Estill, 1858-71; T. H. Finch, 1871-85; CIem Arledge, present incumbent, 1883 to–
Since the late civil war the office of county trustee has been held respectively by the following named gentlemen, to wit: Wm. Buchanan, Wm. R. Francis, Sanders Faris, R. J. Turner, R. G. Smith and the present incumbent, A. J. Skidmore. Circuit court clerks, since the war: George W. Hunt, 1865-66; Thos. J. Jackson, 1866-74; W. W. Estill, 1874-78; H. P. Stewart, 1878-82.; Nathan Francis, 1882-86. Sheriffs since the war, omitting dates: John W.Custer, J. W. Williams, H. D. Willits, D. J. Martin, H. P. Stewart, R. F. Oakley, J. J. Turner, and the present incumbent, C. A. Majors. J. W. Syler is the present county surveyor, J. P. Waddington coroner, and W.B. Watterson superintendent of schools. Owing to the loss of some records, and the manner in which others have been kept, it is impossible to compile as full and complete a list of county officers as might be desired. The average annual expense of the county for the last ten years has been $9,000, and according to report of J. W. Williams. judge of the county court, filed July 5, 1886, county warrants had been issued between October 1, 1885, and the date of his report amounting to $10,057.81; and the total amount received into the treasury for the same time was $9,291.61, leaving the county in debt in the sum of $766.20 at the date of said report.
The tax duplicate of the county for 1886 shows 337,930 acres of land assessed, and the total taxable property assessed at $1,687,170. And the amounts of taxes levied are as follows, to-wit: State, $5,061.51; county, $5,670.26; school, $8,948.84; highway, $2,530.75; total, $22,211.16. Number of taxable polls, 2,435.
The first term of the county court** was held in the spring of 1808 at the house of Maj. William Russell, near Cowan, where the county business was transacted until the seat of justice was established at Winchester, and a place provided for holding the courts. The courts were first held at Winchester about the year 1814, when the first court house was completed. An act of the General Assembly passed October 16, 1812, provided ” that the county courts should be held in the county of Franklin on the third Mondays in February, May, August and November;” and the sessions were accordingly held on those dates until a subsequent act provided that the county courts in each and every county in the State should be held ” on the first Monday in every month.”
The “minute books” of the county court prior to year 1832 have been lost or destroyed. The officers of this court are a county judge and the magistrates of the several civil districts of the county. Prior to 1868 the county court was presided over by one of their number elected as chairman, and since that date by a judge elected by the people This court continued to hold its sessions up to and including the June term, 1863, when, on account of the war, it suspended action until April, 1865, since which time it has held its regular sessions. J. N. McCutcheon served as judge of the county court from 1868 to 1870, and Judge J. W. Williams, the present incumbent, has held the office ever since. There are no records of the circuit court in the county prior to the fourth Monday of January, 1824, when the court was held by Judge Nathaniel W. Williams. Nathaniel Hunt, Esq., was then the high sheriff and James Fulton attorney-general, and Jonathan Spyker clerk. Judge Williams served one year, and was succeeded by Judge Charles F. Keith, who served until 1830, when he was succeeded by Judge J. C. Mitchell, who served a series of years. On the 26th day of January, 1825, Robert L. Mitchell, then seventy years of age, appeared and flied an affidavit, attesting his services in the war of the Revolution. In January, 1829, Samuel Suddarth was tried for manslaughter, found guilty, and sentenced ” to be forthwith branded on the brawn of the thumb of the left hand with the letter M in the presence of the court, and that he be imprisoned in the jail of the county six months, and to pay the costs of this prosecution, and to remain in jail until the same be fully paid.”
The most dramatic and most lasting of all the historic episodes in the history of Franklin County, was the killing of Tom Taul and the trial of Rufus K. Anderson as the murderer. In this case the sheriff summoned, in all, 168 men to appear in court, all of whom were examined touching their qualifications to act as jurors in the cause, and out of this number “twelve good and lawful men” were found competent to try the prisoner. The killing took place in 1829 and the trial in 1830, but the social and political estrangements which they brought still linger here. Rufus K. Anderson was the son of Col. Wm. P. Anderson, of whom mention has been made in connection with the settlement of the county. The Andersons were wealthy and aristocratic. Thomas P. Taul was the son of Col. Micah Taul, who had been a colonel in the war of 1812 and a member of Congress from Kentucky. Coming to Tennessee, he located at Winchester, and soon took rank among the first lawyers of the State, and he and Hopkins L. Turney were then the leading members of the Winchester bar. Tom Taul is said to have been the most brilliant young lawyer in Tennessee at that time. He married Miss Caroline, the accomplished daughter of Col. Wm. P. Anderson, and sister of Rufus K. In a few years Mrs. Taul died of consumption, childless. On her death bed she gave her property to her husband by a deed. After her death the Andersons claimed that Taul had never been kind to her and that he had coerced the deed. Rufus K. Anderson, a young man of the highest notions of civil life, had gone to Alabama before his sister’s marriage and before Col. Taul moved to Tennessee, and had never seen his brother-in-law, Tom Taul. After the death of his sister, he returned to Winchester, and asked to have Tom Taul pointed out to him, which being done, he walked across the street to where Taul was standing, and shot and killed him. The trial came off in less than a year and Col. Taul employed Col. Sam Laughlin, a most powerful prosecuting lawyer, and other lawyers of distinction to prosecute Anderson, who was defended by Hon. Felix Grundy ,Hopkins L. Turney and other distinguished lawyers. By the time the trial came on the whole county was divided under the respective banners of the contending parties. The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.” Whether the verdict was just, or whether the jury was led to commit an error, will never be known with certainty.
The State of Tennessee vs. John Farris, was an action brought against the defendent at the June term of 1830, for killing his slave named James. The trial took place at the July term following. One hundred and thirty-four men were brought into court and examined before twelve “good and lawful men ” could be found competent to act as jurors. Able counsel was employed by the defendant, and the jury returned a verdict into court of ” not guilty.” The foregoing causes have been mentioned because of their historic importance. There have been other murder trials, and many important civil cases, which might be mentioned if space permitted.
In May, 1862, the circuit court convened for the last time until the close of the war. In July, 1865, it again convened with Judge Wm. P. Hickerson on the bench, since which time it has held its regular sessions. Judge J. J. Williams is now the presiding officer, whose term is about to expire.
The first records found of the chancery court are its proceedings in 1834, when L. M. Bramlett was chancellor. For a number of years following, this court was held at Winchester, for Franklin and Coffee Counties. Bloomfield L. Ridley was chancellor from 1842 up to the late late civil war, as shown by the records. Only one session of this court was held between 1861 and 1866. At the August term, 1865, John P. Steele presided as chancellor, and served as such until 1870, since which time Hons. A. S. Marks, John W. Burton and E. D. Hancock, have filled the office of chancellor, in the order named.
A few persons have been hanged in the county by due process of law, but a greater number have probably been hanged without it. It is believed that the first hanging which took place in the county, was that of Adkinson or Adkins, who killed his wife with a shoe last. This occurred about the year 1821. Just after the close of the late civil war, Rolly Dotson, a noted bushwhacker, murderer and desperado, was taken from the jail by an organized body of men and hanged to a tree in the court yard until he was dead. Henry Huddleston, colored, was hanged to the same tree in 1882, for committing a rape on a white woman. In 1871, three negroes were hanged under the bridge of the Boiling Fork, at Winchester, for burning a church at Hawkerville. All these, excepting the first, were without process of law. Other hangings, both legal and otherwise, have taken place within the county.
Perhaps no county in the State has ever had, according to its population, such an able bar as Winchester has produced.
The eminent jurist, Judge Nathan Green, came from Virginia when be had reached middle life, and settled on land owned by his uncle, John Faris. He was plain in dress, and not known for two years as anything but a farmer. No little merriment took place one day when Mr. Farris brought Green into court to take charge of and conduct a law suit in which the former was involved. The trial made the lawyer-farmer famous, and he at once stepped to the head of the bar and in a short time became chancellor, and soon thereafter a member of the supreme court, where he so long distinguished himself. This was the home, for many years, of Tom Fletcher, one of the greatest criminal lawyers the State has ever produced. He, like Green, came to the bar in middle. life, after failing as a merchant. He was the author of a paper anonymously written in 1824, styled ‘ The Political Horse Race,” which attracted much attention in the race between Jackson, Clay, Adams and Crawford.
Maj. Edward Venable, who in 1857 was appointed ambassador to Gautemala, and died immediately after reaching that country, was also a prominent member of the Winchester bar. Frank Jones the gifted stumper and brilliant congressman, lived here and was the most popular man of his day. Thomas and Isaacs, brothers-in-law. both marrying the daughters of Col. Bullard, and both at times, in turn, representing the distrct in Congress, lived here and were men of rank. Judge Isaacs was among the ablest lawyers the State ever had. Forrester, a man who made his mark, and was several years a member of Congresswas lived here. James Campbell was a man of great legal reputation with an unblemished life. He also married a daughter of Col. Anderson, and practiced a number of years at the Winchester bar, then went to Nashville, and about 1847 made a visit to the Winchester Springs, where he committed suicide. Hopkins L. Turney, father of Judge Peter Turney, was a self-educated man, and for many years one of the leading members of the Winchester bar. He was a man of fine personal appearance, kind and affable, influential and popular. As a jury lawyer he was rarely equaled. He served in the Legislature, in Congress, and in the United States Senate. Micah Taul, of whom mention has been made, was a man of great learning and eminent as a jurist. While be and Hopkins L. Turney were the leading members of the bar, they were generally employed on opposite sides of the principal trials in litigation. Frank Estill was a very prominent member of the Winchester bar for many years prior to his death, which occurred only a few years ago. A. S. Colyar, now of Nashville, began the practice here about the year 1844. He was a close student, and a man of great firmness, and devoted to his client’s cause, and it is too well known to need further mention. To him acknowledgement is made for much valuable information compiled in the foregoing concerning the Winchester bar and the trial of Rufus K. Anderson.
Judge Peter Turney, who was colonel of the First Tennessee Confederate Infantry, and who since the war has served sixteen years on the bench of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, lives here, and was for many years a member of the Winchester bar. Many other prominent lawyers have been members of this bar, and Felix Grundy, in his day, practiced here. The present members of the bar are ex-Gov. A. S. Marks, Capt. Tom Gregory, T. A. Embry, John Simmons and Estill and Whitaker, whose biographies appear elsewhere in this work. Other members are Scott Davis, Burt Russey, J. B. Ashley, Nathan Francis, Mr. Curtis, Brannon and Thompson, John H. Martin and James Taylor. Senator Isham G. Harris was born, reared and educated in this county. The old log cabin in which he was born is still standing a few miles from the town of Winchester.
Many of the early settlers of this county were survivors of the war of the Revolution; and when the war of 1812 broke out between this country and Great Britain, the young men of Franklin County, sons of the veterans of 1776, formed themselves into “ranks of war, ” under the heroic Jackson, and others, to maintain the flag of the young republic. In evidence of the foregoing the following from the Home Journal of. September 30, 1880, is inserted: ” In the Home Journal, office we have the manuscript of what we print. It is yellow with dust, age and decay. The paper is just such as could be had in those days. This document was found among the papers of our grandfather, Wallis Estill, who has left quite a family of descendants in this county. It appears that the county had been drained of young men, and the old men — those over forty-five–formed themselves into a company to protect the honor of the United States against any disaffected persons, and against those who might do injury to the property of the younger men who had to go to battle. In the list of names will be found many familiar here in Franklin County Read it and see how nobly ministers of the gospel entered in behalf of liberty:
“WHEREAS, The honor of the United States has made it necessary that war should be declared against Great Britain by the United States; and whereas, in this contest it may evidently happen that the active part of our force may be called off to distant service, by which an opportunity will be afforded to the disaffected (if any such there should be amongst us), to do much mischief: Therefore, for the purpose of defending the frontiers and property of our younger brethren when flghting our battles abroad, and to suppress and put down any combination which may manifest itself inimicable to our beloved country we, the undersigned, all over forty-five years of age, and most of whom fought in the late Revolutionary war. have embodied ourselves into a company, to be denominated the Revolutionary Volunteers of Franklin County; and when the company is formed, officers to command the same shall be elected by the suffrages of the members of the company. Captain, Wallis Estill; first lieutenant, Richard Farris; second lieutenant, John Woods; ensign , James Russey; sergeants, A. Berryhill, Alex Beard, James Holland, Jacob Casterline; adjutant, James Lewis, Rev. John Davis, Rev. Wm. Ginnings, Jesse Embry, Jesse Bedu, John Champion, Samuel Henderson, Jos. Champion, John Chilcoat, Ralph Crabb, Jesse Toulan, Francis Adams, John Poe, Wm. Thompson, George Waggoner, Benj. Johnson, Samuel Rosebary, Archibald Woods. Rev. Andrew Woods, Rev. Peter Woods Rev. Robert Bell, David Milligan, Elijah Williams, Ebenezer Picket, Moses Ayers, John Denson, Joseph McClusky, James Weeks, Alex. Borehill, Nicholas Robinson, James Busby, Thomas Green, Samuel Reynolds, Jesse Perkins, James Holland, John Robinson, William King, Samuel Runnells, William Crawford, James King, Richard Miller, John Barnett, David Larkins, William McCloud, Samuel Handley, Jacob Van Zant, Sr., James Harris, Robert Hudspeth, Jesse Ginn, Thomas Herlep, John Cowan, William Russell, Sr., Daniel Champion, William Faris, John Herrod, John Nellum, John Dellehide, William Greenwood, John Stokes, David McCord, Charles Weeks, Randolph Riddle, Matthew Taylor.”
These noble men were among those who first secured, and afterward maintained. our liberties, and Time, the great leveler, has long since closed the green earth over all that was mortal of every one of them. Many of the citizens of this county served under Jackson in the Florida war, and. according to tradition, Jackson encamped with his troops just below Winchester, on one occasion, while the Indians were encamped on the opposite side of the Boiling Fork. In the brief but brilliant war with Mexico it is learned that Franklin County furnished Capt. George T. Colyar’s Company E. of the Third Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Col. B. F. Cheatham. This company, consisting of 116 men, rank and file, left Winchester in September, 1847, and was mustered into the United States service near Nashville about October 10,1847, and left for Mexico in the same month. Capt. Colyar died January 8, 1848, in the city of Mexico. His remains were sent to his home in Winchester. First Lieut. Sherrod Williams then became captain, and continued as such to the close of the war. The company was discharged about July 22, 1848. The following is a list of the survivors of the company now living in this county: A. J. Caldwell, John Thurman, F. M. Williams, Ed Jackson., William Adcock, David Smith, Nathan Boone and Gordon McCutcheon. The following are living elsewhere: T. H. Finch, Texas; W. H. Jones, Lincoln County; M. N. Matthews. Bedford County; Wilson Clark. Alabama; Berry Logan and William Taylor, Moore County; Ed Anderson and Alpheus Green, Texas. Oliver Posey is a survivor of some other command in the Mexican war, and lives in Franklin County.
Early in September, 1860, while court was in session at Winchester, two or three public meetings of a political nature were held, and speeches were made by M. Turney, A. S. Colyar, T. W. Newman, H. T. Carr, Jesse Arledge, Dr. B. W. Childs and others. Much excitement prevailed, and the following was offered by H. T. Carr:
” Resolved, That it is the sense of this meeting, that in the event of any one of the Southern States, or more, should, under the grievous wrongs now pressed upon by the sectional States of the North, secede from the Union, we hold it to be our duty to sympathize with, aid and assist our Southern brethren if an attempt is made to coerce them into submission. ”
Pending the discussion of the resolution the meeting adjourned without action thereon. The citizens of Franklin County were mostly extremely Southern in sentiment, and as soon as South Carolina and other States seceded from the Union, were anxious that Tennessee should do likewise.
The most intense excitement prevailed, and early in the spring of 1861 companies began to form and drill for the contest; and soon Capt. Miller Turney’s Company C, Clem Arledge’s Company F, Capt. Jos Holder’s Company I and Capt. N. L. Simpson’s Company D, of Col. Peter Turney’s First Regiment Tennessee Infantry, were completely organized and ready for the service. These companies were led with their regiment into the Confederate service long before Tennessee seceded from the Union. Then followed Capt. A. S. Marks’ Company E, Capt. James Engle’s Company I and Capt. Thomas H. Finch’s Company D, all of the Seventeenth Regiment Tennessee Infantry. Many joined the Forty- first Regiment Tennessee Infantry, some Joined Forrest’s cavalry, and mane others joined other commands. Including all of the foregoing, together with the recruits that subsequently joined these and other commands, it is safe to say that the county furnished over 8,000 soldiers for the Confederate Army.
The first command of Federal troops that made its appearance in this county was that of Gen. Lytle, who came here in the spring of 1862, with a small command from General Mitchell’s division, then encamped at Huntsville. He was in search of Terry’s Texas Rangers, who were encamped at Goshen. The day after the arrival of the Federal troops Col. Cox came in on the Decherd road with a squad of rangers. A sharp skirmish ensued, in which one ranger was killed. Col. Cox then retired, and two days later Gen. Lytle returned with his command to Huntsville. Soon thereafter Gen. Negley, with his command, passed through Winchester, on his way to Chattanooga Gen. Buell’s army advanced to Decherd, but retired therefrom when he fell back toward the Ohio River in August, 1862. On July 2, 1863, the army of Gen. Rosecrans took possession of Winchester and in force occupied all the surrounding country. Gens. Rosecrans, Garfield, McCook and others had their headquarters at private houses in the town. The provost-marshal occupied the old office of Dr. Wallis Estill, and Rosecrans’ staff occupied the building of the Mary Sharp College. The Normal School building (then Carrack Academy was used as a hospital; and when Winchester was in the rear of Bragg’s army almost every available house was used as a hospital. Briggs & Herrick kept a store in Winchester while it was under Federal rule, and were allowed to sell goods to the citizens. Rosecrans was here about six weeks, during which time all the forage in the surrounding country was gathered in for the support of his army. Soon after the Federal Army left, a company of citizens galloped into town and gutted the store of Briggs & Herrick, carrying away nearly all its contents. Gen. Slocum and his command occupied the town a short time thereafter, and Gen. Sherman’s army passed through Winchester, on its way to Chattanooga, in the winter of 1863-64.
Franklin County was directly on the line of the contending armies, and consequently her citizens suffered greatly from the ravages of war. No great battles were fought, nor were any extensive fortifications made within the county, and strangers passing through it now could not observe that there had ever been a war here.
The town of Winchester was laid out in 1810, when the site thereof was covered with timber. A Mr. Norwood cut the first tree on the Public Square, and the same year James Russey, grandfather of James Russey, now of the Ballard House, built the first house, locating it on the corner where the Ballard House now stands. It is said that the United States troops were quartered therein during the war with the Creek Indians. The latter James Russey is the oldest native-born citizen of the town.
Thomas D. Wiggins was the first merchant in Winchester, and sold his goods in a log cabin. The next merchants were Col. Crabb, Hayter, Spyker and Daugherty, and following them were the Decherds, Tom Pryor, Alfred Henderson, Tom Wilson, Joe Klepper, Mark Hutchins and Mr. Blackwood. The first saloon or grocery where liquors were sold was kept by Daniel Eanes & Son, between 1810 and 1820. The town grew rapidly at its commencement, and by an act of the General Assembly of the State, passed October 28, 1813, Ralph Crabb, Jonathan Spyker, James S. M. Wherter, James Estill and James Russell were appointed commissioners for the purpose of regulating the town, with authority to levy and collect taxes and compel the inhabitants to work on the streets and alleys. The first doctors were Higgins and Kincaid. In 1816 the learned Dr. Wallis Estill came from Virginia and located here. He soon rose to eminence, particularly assurgeon, and did nearly all the surgical practice in the county for nearly fifty years. Soon thereafter his brother, William Estill and Dr. John Fitzpatrick, of Virginia settled in Winchester, and both became prominent physicians. The latter died in 1854, and the former in 1874.
Soon after the town was laid out a hotel was erected opposite the Ballard House, and was for many years headquarters for the stage route. The site is now vacant. The Ballard House was built about 1830, and the block on the opposite corner about 1833. By an act of the General Asemble passed August 20, 1822, Winchester was encorporated and the town council given full power to enact all ordinances necessary to restrain vice and immorality and to otherwise govern the town. As early as 1826 or 1827 a branch of the State Bank was established in the brick building still standing opposite the southeast corner of the Public Square, and Dr. M. L. Dixon was the first cashier thereof. This bank suspended early in the “thirties,” and the town has never had a bank since. In 1832 the population of Winchester was about 600, and the business of the town nearly equal to what it is now. The merchants of the town during the “thirties” were Thomas Wilson, Joseph Klepper, Oehmig & Wells, Tolls & Russell. M. W. Howell, W. Williams, James Robertson, A. L. & J. W. Campbell, William & J. H. Knox, A. M. Cowan, Benj. Decherd, H. A. Rains, Hutchins & Pryor and J. & R. Snowden. Madison Porter was a black smith, and Wm. Buchanan had a tan-yard. There were two saddle and harness shops, one by Joe Bradford and the other by James Russey. M. Robertson had a cabinet shop, and Edmond Dyer was the silversmith. Winchester was then the only town of importance on a long stage route and in a vast country surrounding it, hence its business activity. There were then three hotels in the town: The Ballard House, which was built and kept by Henry Runnells; the old frame hotel on the opposite corner, kept lastly by P. I. Carl; and the third hotel was kept by Col. Crabb, in the third brick building in the town. It is now occupied by Mark Henderson and others. Dr. Matthew L. Dixon and Dr. Turner were the prominent physicians of the town and Dr. Wallis Estill was at the head of the profession:
Business of the forties: Merchants–Mark Hutchins, Thomas Pryor, Thomas Wilson, Ben Powell, F. A. Longhmiller, the Decherds, Brazeltons, J. T. Slatter, and others. Carriage and coach manufacturers–Thomas Logan and Hutchins, Porter & Co. The carriages were mostly sold to the wealthy planters of the South, and the business was very expensive.
Business of the fifties: Merchants-D. & A. R. Brazelton, Harris & Williams, Horton & Kennington, C. C. Brewer, Sanders & Henderson, H. Leonard & Co., N. R. Martin, Templeton & Stewart, Crutcher & Tennison, J. W. Templeton, W. B. Wagner, G. A. Shook, Honghton & Decherd, S. A. & T. J. Lockhart. Tailors-L. Stone & Co. and J. S. Kelly. Livery stable–John W. Curtis. Blacksmith–Owin Hill. The carriage making was continued by Thomas S. Logan.
The business continued about the same until the commencement of the civil war. For the history of the town during the war period the reader is referred to ” Military. ” On the return of peace a noticeable event was the occupation of one house at the Russey corner, now burnt, by two merchants, one a Federal soldier and the other a Confederate- one having his goods on one side, and the other occupying the other side. Soon after the war the merchants of the town were M. D. Embry, Avery Handley, D. S. Logan, John Vaughan, W. L. Bickley, Moffett & Clark, W. B. Miller, Matterson & McDowell, J. W. Degresse and P. E. Achey &; Co. Nearly all business was suspended during the war, and twenty years have passed away since it began to recruit. A reference to the business of the present will show how it has been re-established and increased. The merchants now are: Dry goods Wiley S. Embry, J. L. Baugh, Mark Henderson, Sim Venable and A. C. Plumlee. Dry goods and groceries-J. A. Gaines, T. J. Gaines, J. C. Garner, T. J. Jackson & Son and Whit Ransom. Hardware-Carter &i Brother. Tinner and stove dealer- John F. Vaughan. Drugs-G. G. Phillips and John M. Hutchins. Family grocery-H. Embry. Confectioner and baker-Johnnie Schrom. Manufacturer of leather, boots, shoes, saddles and harness-Matt P. Petty. Provisions-B. Templeton and Mrs. Rosa Ayers. Milliners-Mrs. Emma Brazelton and Mrs. N. E. Days. Furniture dealers and undertakers-Fred Wenger and Jacob Weidman. Repair shop-John Lawing. Jewelers- C. S. Crane and George R. Martin. Wagon-makers-John Kissling and Jack Miller, the latter colored. Manufacturers of carriages, wagons, etc., and dealers in all kinds of farm implements – Ruch & Little. The proprietors of the Winchester Spoke and Handle Factory are Wenger, Girton & Woodward, who employ ten hands, and do an extensive business. The blacksmiths are George Lefeber, James Lee, A. Knapper and Charlie Coleman. The boot and Shoe-makers are R. Kleinwaechter and Bill Street. Looney and Estill are dealers in coal; James N. Logan, painter; R. B. Williams, picture gallery; W. E. and M. A. Lockridge, livery stable. Hotels-Estill House, by Isaac Estill; Ballard House, by James Russey: Cole House, by Mr. Cole. Physicians-Shapard, Murrell, Grisard and Blalock. Dentists-Baird, Gattis and Slaughter. Societies-Cumberland Lodge of F. & A. M., A. L. of H., K. of H., K. & L. of H. and Temperance Alliance. For schools and churches see under their appropriate heads.
In 1855, the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the mayor and aldermen of Winchester to lay off the town into a suitable number of wards, and providing for the election of a constable and two aldermen in each ward. The town was accordingly divided into four wards, and the officers were elected, as provided in the act, which conferred upon them full power of the then existing laws for the government of incorporated towns. The last meeting of the council, during the war, was held June 16, 1862, and the action of the corporation was then suspended until January 7, 1867, after which a new council had been elected and convened. On the 13th of March, 1883, the General Assemble, upon petition of the citizens of Winchester, passed an act repealing their charter, to take effect at the close of the year. Accordingly the council held a meeting December 31, 1883, and made full and final settlement of finances, and adjourned sine die. According to the census of 1880, Winchester had a population of 1,039, which has not greatly increased since. The town has no saloons, but it has two colleges, and two free schools, and seven churches. ” The young ladies wear the blush of modesty and the crown of culture and refinement. The young men are thrifty, energetic and sober.”
The first newspaper published in the county, of which there is any account, was The Highlander, established and published in Winchester, in 1839, by H. Mabry. How long its publication continued is not known. The next seems to have been The Winchester Independent, which was established in 1850, by Alexander R. Wiggs, with George B. White as editor. Its publication continued about three years. Hon. F. A. Loughmiller, it is said, once published a paper in Winchester, the name of which and date of publication is clouded with uncertainty. The Winchester Appeal was established in February, 1856, by George E. Pulvis & William J. Slatter. It was American in politics and advocated the election of Fillmore and Donelson. Its publication suspended with the close of the year. The Home Journal was established in January, 1857, by Metcalfe & Pulvis, who published ten copies and then sold it to William J. Slatter, who was connected with it until October, 1884, when he leased it to H. H. Dulin, who had for many years been connected with it in the capacity of printer. It is now published by Taylor & Dulin. W. D. Watterson, Lewis Metcalfe and others have been connected with it for short periods, It has always been Democratic in politics.
The Franklin County News was established in June, 1883, by Phillips, Embrey & Co., who continued to publish it until 1884, when they leased it to Morrell & Snodgrass, who published until June, 1886. The company then sold it to Nathan Francis, the present publisher. It is also Democratic in politics.
Decherd is situated on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, at the junction of the Decherd & Fayetteville Railroad, and two miles from Winchester. It had its origin with the completion of the former railroad in 1851. The only house then was the log cabin in which Richard Holder was living. The place was named in honor of Peter S. Decherd. A good depot was built and Joseph Carter made agent, and Mrs. Davidson was put in charge of an eating house for the railroad company, which she kept up to the war. Among its first merchants were Carroll Walker, John March, Aaron Lynch and Cyrus Barnes.
Before the war a good academy was built at a cost of about $1,000. It was destroyed during the war. A union church was built by the Methodists, Baptists, Cumberland Presbyterians and Christians. This was destroyed by Federal troops in the early part of the war. After the army of Rosecrans occupied Decherd, it became and continued to be an important military station until the close of the war. It was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly passed January 30,1868, and the charter was repealed by another act passed April 3, 1885. The town contains three general stores, one family grocery. queensware and hardware store, one drug store, one steam grist and flouring mill, some mechanical shops, two churches and a public school.
Cowan lies on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, at the base of the Cumberland Mountains on the north side, and is noted for its extensive iron manufactory. The Sewanee Furnace was established here in 1880, with a capital stock of $200,000. It has since passed into the hands of the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, with the capital increased to $300,000. The company employs 100 hands, and manufactures seventy tons of pig iron per day. The buildings are large and extensive. Cowan is an old town located in one of the earliest settlements made in the county. It is at the junction of the Sewanee & Tracy City Railroad. Its present business, aside from that of the iron furnace, consists of four general stores, one drug store, one family grocery, one gristmill some mechanical shops, five churches (three white and two colored), two good hotels and one academy. The place has about 800 inhabitants, a large proportion being colored. It is pleasantly located and the surrounding scenery is delightful.
Sherwood is located on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, in the romantic valley of Crow Creek, and is 1,100 feet above sea level.
Ex.-Lieut.-Gov. C. D. Sherwood, of Wisconsin, after whom the place is named, located there in 1875, and purchased a large tract of land, and organized the Sherwood Colony, of which he is the president, his object being to build up a health resort and manufacturing town. The town has been platted into lots of the most convenient size to suit purchasers, including a large number of tracts suitable for fruit farms on the top of the mountain, to which a wagon road of easy grade has been made. This road leads from Sherwood to the University of the South, at Sewanee, only a few miles distant.
The colony consists at present of thirty Northern and ten Southern families. And the town, which is only nine years old, has two general stores, a steam saw, planing and shingle-mill combined, two churches, the Sherwood Academy, and one free school, the railroad depot and offices, a large number of dwellings, and some mechanical shops There are fine mineral springs at the top of the mountain, and A. J. Smith, of Wisconsin has purchased a tract of land, and made arrangements to build a hotel costing $20,000. To this hotel he intends to conduct the mineral waters through pipes. There are also fine springs of pure water at the site of the hotel. A son of Mr. Smith will commence the publication of a newspaper there in September next. The contract is let, and the office for the press is now being constructed.
Mr. Hersheimer, of Wisconsin, has made arrangements to move his machinery to Sherwood and establish a large foundry which will employ sixty hands. It is a most romantic place, and as soon as the improvements now under way are completed it will no doubt become a popular health resort. The leading industry at present is the getting out of chestnut-oak tan-bark and shipping it to St. Louis and Louisville. About ninety car loads of this bark are shipped annually.
Anderson, a station on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, near the State line, is a small village containing three general stores, a station house, one church and a public school,
Sewanee, at University Place, has a fine railroad depot and a three-story business block, built of stone. Also a large frame hotel, kept by Col. S. G. Jones, six general stores, one drug store and an extensive coal mine. The latter is operated by Col. Jones.
Salem was an old town in the lower part of the county, which had much importance in its day. Some of the early merchants were John R. Patrick, Hedspeth & Simmons and Thomas B. Moseley. Prior to 1840 Salem was a noted cotton market. It had good merchants and for many years Mrs. Cowan’s hotel was considered one of the best in the country. On the 7th of March, 1878, the town was nearly all destroyed by fire. Mrs. Cowan’s hotel, some dwellings and every business house in the village were consumed. The loss was estimated at $34,000. The town has never been rebuilt. In its ” palmy days” it had a flourishing academy, the building of which is now used for the public school.
Belvidere, on the Decherd & Fayetteville Railroad, five miles below Winchester, has a station house, general store, blacksmith’s shop, etc.
Maxwell, further down on the same railroad, has a station house, two general stores, one church. a shoe shop, two doctors and a few residences.
Hunt’s Station on the same railroad, near the western line of the county, has a station house and express office, four general stores, one church, a public school, etc. Estill Springs on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, was formerly a summer resort, and frequently contained a summer population of several hundred. It was almost entirely destroyed during the war, and has not been rebuilt. There are two general stores there at present. Hurricane Springs lie near the Moore County line and about four miles from the railroad. It is now the great fashionable resort for invalids and pleasure-seekers. It has a large hotel and cottages for visitors. Winchester Springs, formerly a great summer resort for the wealthy planters of the South, are located in a romantic dell near Elk River, and about five miles from Winchester. The Springs furnish red, yellow and white sulphur, chalybeate, freestone and limestone water. It is a fine summer resort. J. R. Warner is the proprietor
In the settlement and growth of Franklin County, very little attention was paid to education, until villages with their academies became established. No adequate system of free schools existed prior to the late civil war. The first effort to establish an academy within the county, was made in the General Assembly of the State, by an act passed November 22, 1809, establishing Carrick Academy. Wm. Metcalfe, James Hunt, James Cunningham, Richard Callaway, Christopher Bullard and Geo. Taylor, were constituted a body politic and corporate, by the name of the Trustees of the Carrick Academy of the county of Franklin. The academy was established on the present site of the Winchester Normal. but when it was first organized and by whom first taught can not be stated. Prof. Witter conducted the school for some years prior to 1827 or 1828, when the school building was consumed by fire. In 1829, the trustees contracted with Wallis Estill to erect a new building, which cost $629. They then employed Prof. Robert Witter, a son of the former professor to teach the school. In 1855, a brick building (which forms a part of the present building) was erected at a cost of about $5,000. And in 1865 it was leased to the Bishop and Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Tennessee for ninety-nine years. A school was opened under the auspices of said church, and continued about two years, when the lease was surrendered back to the trustees who gave it. The war coming on the academy was neglected for a series of years, and in 1871 Prof. R. A. Clark took charge of it, and in 1873, he was Joined by Prof. J. M. Bledsoe and together they conducted the school until 1878. Carrick Academy was for males only.
Referring to early times it is found that among the very early teachers were Jonathan Burford whom, it is thought, taught the first school in Winchester, in a log cabin, near the Davidson Spring; and Rev. Andrew S. Morrison, who taught in a cabin, on the south side of Little Mountain. Abram Shook and M. K. Jackson were also among the early teachers. The Locust Hill Female Seminary, two miles southeast of Salem, was a flourishing school for many years before the late war. There was also an academy at Salem, which is now used by the free school. The Acme Academy, at Cowan, was chartered in 1882. It has an average of seventy pupils. The Sherwood Academy was chartered in 1881, and is doing a good work in that new and romantic village.
The Winchester Female Academy was founded by Rev. W. A. Scott, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The building was erected in 1835, and the school opened in December of the same year. Rev. Scott and his wife were the first teachers. They continued about three years, and were succeeded by Rev. T. C. Anderson, two years. He was followed by Rev. Biddle, who taught until his death, which occurred about 1856. About this time the name of the academy was changed to that of The Robert Donnell Institute, and the faculty changed frequently thereafter. Profs. Syler and Crisman taught at different periods, and after the war Rev. McKinzie taught, and was followed by Prof. A. M. Burney. In the early sessions of this academy there were from 80 to 120 pupils in attendance, and the number afterward increased to about 160, and finally decreased so that the school had to be closed for want of patronage. The building is now used by the free school.
The Winchester Normal, for both sexes, was chartered in May, 1878. Capt. B. Dufield. J. L. Baugh, W. W. Darner, G. G. Phillips, T. J. Gaines, John Simmons, James H. Davis. John Kaserman and H. G. Hampton were constituted a body politic and corporate under the name of “The Winchester Normal.” At the organization Capt. Dufield was elected president of the board of trustees, and Prof. J. W. Terrill was chosen president of the faculty and teacher of logic, mental and moral philosophy, etc.; Prof. R. A. Clark as teacher of mathematics, astronomy, etc.; and Prof. J. M. Bledsoe as teacher of Greek, Latin, etc. In May, 1878, the trustees of Carrick Academy, by authority of the county court, leased to the trustees of the Winchester Normal, the buildings and premises of the former academy for a period of fifteen years; and in December, 1881, a lease was made for fifty years more, to commence at the expiration of the first lease. This school was opened in September, 1878, with 220 students, including 160 free-school pupils, leaving only 60 who paid tuition. The free-school pupils were taken out at the end of the first year. The Normal has met with excellent success, and it is deservedly popular. From 60 paying students of the first year, the number has increased to 417 which were in attendance during the last year. Prof. Bledsoe retired from the faculty in 1881, and at present the faculty consists of President James W. Terrill, Prof. R. A. Clark, Miss Matt Estill, Miss Maud Terrill, Mrs. Colie Terrill. Miss Lillis Bledsoe, and Miss Fannie Stewart.
The history of the Mary Sharp College has been ably written and published in The Illustrated Baptist, from which is quoted a few extracts. This college, located at Winchester, ” was founded in 1850, for the purpose of giving to the daughters of the South a more thorough and practical education than could be obtained in any school for girls, North or South.” Two of the men most active and efficient in securing a departure from the custom of superficially educating girls, were Rev. J. R. Graves, the well known Baptist divine, now of Memphis, but then of Nashville, and Col. A. S. Colyar, now a distinguished member of the bar at Nashville, but at that time a citizen of Winchester.
” In the latter part of 1849, the services of Z. C. Graves, of Kingeville, Ohio, were secured. He WAS widely known as a most successful educator, and brought with him the entire faculty of the institution he left; Prof. W. P. Marks, for the chair of mathematics, his wife Mrs. Graves, for Latin and belles-lettres, and his sister Mrs. Marks, for the preparatory department. The professor of music was Johann Svensen, of the Conservatory of Music, at Stockholm, in Sweden. Two years after, Prof. Marks was succeeded by a brother of Mrs. Graves, Prof. G. D. Spencer. Save the music department, the teachers were all of one family, and a most harmonious and efficient band they were. Prof. Spencer taught until his death in 1864.”
” In January, 1850, school was commenced in a commodious private dwelling, which was purchased for a boarding house for the embryo college, the families of the faculty living in the same house. The pupils were at first less than twenty, and the teachers five. At the close of the year the students were more than a hundred, and the school was removed to the service and basement rooms of the Baptist Church, where it continued to be taught for two years, whence, at the beginning of 1854, it removed to its permanent quarters, in the main building of the present college edifice ” A thorough course of study was prepared, in which mathematics had a prominent place. English branches also. the Latin and Greek languages, with an extended and thorough drill in logic and metaphysics. The study of the Greek was unknown at that time in any institution for girls.
The name of the college was at first the “Tennessee and Alabama Female Institute,” but when the charter was procured it was changed to Mary Sharp College, to perpetuate the memory of the estimable lady who had made the largest donation for this first real “woman’s college” in this or any other land-Mrs. Mary Sharp-the childless widow of an extensive planter in the vicinity of Winchester. The college edifice consists of a main building, three stories high, 80×40 feet, with two wings, each 24×40 feet, two stories high, and a laboratory, 24×18 feet, at the rear, the whole making twenty-flve rooms for teaching purposes.
The prosperity of the Mary Sharp College has been unexampled. Commencing with less than twenty pupils, in ten years it had a patronage of 320 from eleven different States. The war left nothing but the bare walls of the college edifice standing. The expense of repairs fell heavily on President Graves, who paid it out of his own pocket. In 1865 pupils began to return, and although other prominent institutions of learning have sprung up in the immediate vicinity, this college has made rapid progress, and stands at the head of female colleges, and is able to prove that it is the pioneer college established for the higher education of women. That is, it is the first college founded in America for women where Latin and Greek are sine qua non for graduation. At the last commencement, 1886, the Mary Sharp College graduated a class of nineteen students. Over 5,000 young ladies (students) have attended this college since its commencement. The college is now in a flourishing condition and has the following able faculty: Z. C. Graves, LL. D., president; A. T. Barrett. LL. D., Prof. J. M. Bledsoe, Prof. C. F. Utermoehlen, Prof. E. M. Gardner. Miss Florence Griffin, A. M., Miss Mary Taylor, Miss Nannie Henderson, A. B., Mrs. K. C. Barrett, Mrs. J.M. Bledsoe, A. B., Miss Nannie Huff, Mrs. A. C. Graves, A. M.; A. T. Barrett, secretary. During the thirty-six years existence of this college, Dr. Graves, the founder thereof. has been its constant president.
Gen. Leonidas Polk (founder of the University of the South), a native of Tennessee, but late bishop of Louisiana, first conceived the idea of concentrating the interests of the Southern dioceses of the Protestant Episcopal Church upon one great school of learning. In 1856 he issued an address to the bishops of the Southern States, proposing to establish a university upon a scale that would reach the demands of the highest Christian education. Receiving the proposal with favor, the bishops of the South and Southwest, with delegates, assembled, for the first time, on Lookout Mountain on July 4, 1857, and decided to establish the proposed university. After many places were scientifically examined, Sewanee, Tenn., was chosen, on account of its healthfulness and delightful and picturesque scenery, as the site of the university. A charter was soon afterward procured from the State of Tennessee, granting the fullest power, and a domain of 10,000 acres of land was secured for the university.
An endowment of nearly $500,000 was obtained, and the corner-stone laid with great ceremony. Offices and buildings were erected, when the late civil war broke out and put a stop to all further operations. At the close of the war little remained, except the university domain. A movement was inaugurated in 1866 to revive the work. Funds were generously contributed in England, and in September, 1868, the trustees were enabled to put the university in operation upon a moderate scale. The prosperity of the institution from its opening until 1874 was on the rapid increase. At the latter date its numbers fell rapidly in consequence of the financial depression throughout the country, from which it did not recover until about 1880. Since then it has grown rapidly. The following is a list of the public buildings of the university, with cost of construction annexed: St. Luke’s Hall, $45,000; Hodgson Library, $12,000; Thompson Hall, $12,000; St. Augustine Chapel and Quadrangle, $70,000; Temporary building, 1866, $15,000. The school opened in September, 1866, with fifteen pupils, and closed its recent term, June 30, 1886, with 281 pupils. The faculty consists of Rev. Telfair Hodgson, D. D., Dean, and Revs. George T. Wilmer, D. D., W. P. DuBose, S. T. D., Thomas F. Gailor, M. A., S. T. B., Sylvester Clark, F. A. Shoup,D. D. and gentlemen-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, F. M. Page, M. A., Greenough White, M. A., B. L. Wiggins, M. A., W. A. Guerry M. A.. J. W. S. Arnold, M. D., and Dr. Albert Shafter as professors; Rt. Rev. John N. Galleher, D. D., Bishop of Louisiana, and Rt. Rev. J. F. Young, D. D., Bishop of Florida, as lecturers; J. W. Weber, instructor in book-keeping, and Robert W. Dowdy, second lieutenant Seventeenth Infantry, United States Army, commandant of cadets and instructor in military science. Sewanee, the site of the university, is on the elevated plateau of that name-a spur of the Cumberland Mountains. Its elevation above the level of the sea is about 2,000 feet and about 1,000 feet above the surrounding country, and its climate is unsurpassed. There are many elegant residences, and Sewanee and University Place combined contains about 1,000 inhabitants.
Under the present free-school system the educational interests of the county have reached the following statistics, to wit: Scholastic population-white males, 2,626; white females, 2,346; colored’ males, 690; colored females, 530. Grand total, 6,192, of which 4,100 attended school in 1885. The number of free schools are as follows: White, 62; colored, 9. During the last school year there were 38 white male and 28 white female, and 9 colored male and 3 colored female teachers employed, at an average compensation of $30 per month. The length of the school year was four months. About $17,000 are annually expended in the county for the support of the free schools.
The pioneer settlers of Franklin County were a Christian people, who worshiped God while undergoing the hardships of frontier life. A large number of the first settlers were ministers of the gospel. Public worship was held in every neighborhood in the cabins of some pious settlers. And as the people became more numerous they established camp-meetings at various places throughout the county. The early Methodist camp-meetings were located at Farris’ Chapel, Walnut Grove, Caney Hollow, Marble Plains and Dabb’s Ford. The Presbyterians established a camp ground at Goshen, and the Baptists established one near Salem. At these places the good people met annually in God’s first temples,” the groves, to worship Him. These camp-meetings were mostly continued until the late civil war, since which time all have been discontinued, except the one at Goshen, where services are annually held for a season on the camp grounds. But no tents are now used, as the people go to the grove in the morning, and worship during the day, and return home in the evening. The pioneer religious denominations were the Methodists; Baptists, Presbyterians and Lutherans, and Revs. James Faris, James Rowe, Elijah Brazier, Henry Larkin, Robert Bell and Wm. Woods were some of the pioneer preachers. Early churches were established by the respective denominations in the neighborhood of the location of the camp grounds before mentioned.
The Goshen Presbyterian Church was organized soon after the first settlement, and Rev. Robert Bell was the first pastor. Immediately after the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Goshen Church joined it in a body, It still exists and has a very large membership. There is now only one Presbyterian Church in the county. and that one was established at Decherd about 1874, and has now a membership of about sixty. Decherd also has two colored churches-one Missionary Baptist and one Southern African Methodist. At Winchester divine services were first held in private houses, and next in the court house, until 1827, when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church edifice was erected on the lot where the Christian Church now stands. This was the first church building erected in the town. The first Sunday-school in Winchester was organized about 1828, and was conducted by Benjamin Decherd and others in a room of the second story of the court house, where white and colored children were taught together. About 1830 the Methodists built a log church in the Moseley neighborhood. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Winchester was organized about 1820, by Benjamin Decherd and Judge Green, their wives, and others. Rev. Joseph Copp was pastor of this church early in the thirties. He was succeeded by Rev. W. A. Scott, who founded the Winchester Female Academy. The present church edifice was built in 1858. At present it has a membership of about 125.
The Missionary Baptist Church in Winchester was founded about 1849 by Rev. A. D. Trimble, pastor, with a membership of about twenty-five. The church edifice was eompleted in 1852. The present resident membership is about fifty, and about twenty-five bf the Mary Sharp College students, who reside abroad. Rev. Enoch Windes is the pastor.
The Catholic Church, at Winchester, was built soon after the close of the late civil war. Its members reside principally in the country. The edifice of the Christian Church at Winchester, was completed in 1885, Elder Floyd is the present minister.
The original trustees of the . Methodist Episcopal Church South, at Winchester, were Robert Dougan, Robert Haukins, Wiley Densen, Charles Farris, William Stewart and John Fennell. A lot was donated to this church by J. Gordon, and the church built thereon in 1834. The church was organized with a small membership-twenty-five, perhaps. In 1854 the church edifice and lot were sold to Prof. Charles Guita for the sum of $400. The new church building was dedicated in 1862 by Dr. McFerrin. The present membership is 140. Rev. W. T. Haggard is the present pastor. The Episcopal Church at Winchester was founded principally by Ashton Butterworth, the most liberal donor, and Rev. J. L. Park. The edifice was erected in 1874 and the church has a membership of about forty. The Christian Church at Cowan was built in 1880. At Sherwood there is a Union and also a Methodist Church, the edifice of the latter being built in 1881, and the former in 1883. There are two colored churches in Winchester-one Methodist and the other Baptist. There are many other churches throughout the county, of which, for want of space, we can not speak in detail.
Franklin County has had her full share of suffering on account of intemperance. It can now be recorded that intemperance is on the decrease, while temperance is on the increase. Only a few years ago nearly every village in the county had its tippling saloons; but in 1876 the “Star of Hope Lodge,” of the I. O. G. T., was organized in Winchester by J. J. Hickman, Grand Worthy Chief Templar, with a membership of sixty-five, which afterward increased to about 300. This lodge began the battle with intemperance and so prevailed upon the people as to induce them to petition the General Assembly to abolish the charter of Winchester. The charter being abolished the tippling houses had to immediately close up under the “four-mile law.” This induced other towns to have their charters abolished, and now there is not an incorporated town in the county and not a tippling saloon. But the colleges and schools are incorporated. It seems that under the laws of Tennessee incorporated towns mean saloons, intemperance and degradation, while incorporated colleges and schools mean temperance, education and good morale. It is to be regretted, however, that such a town as Winchester has to sacrifice its municipal government in order to suppress the ” traffic.”