History of Hamblen County
Hamblen County was formed in 1870 from parts of Jefferson, Grainger and
Hamblen County is located in East Tennessee, one of the state's three "grand
The County Seat of Hamblen County, TN is Morristown
This is the Introduction to Hamblen County History
found in the Hamblen County History of Tennessee.
THE GOODSPEED PUBLISHING CO.
Reprinted 1990 by Mountain Press
PO Box 400
Signal Mountain, TN 37377
This is an ongoing project, and the detailed history will be added as time
HAMBLEN COUNTY is a small county lying along the left bank of the Holston
River, and divided into two almost equal parts by the East Tennessee,
Virginia & Georgia Railroad. It was formed from fractions of Jefferson,
Grainger and Hawkins Counties. The first settlement in this territory was
made in 1783 by Robert McFarland and Alexander Outlaw, both of whom located
at the "bend of Chucky". Shortly after Gideon, Daniel and Absalom Morris
settled in the vicinity of where Morristown now is. They were brothers, and
had been among the first settlers on the Watauga. Gideon Morris had three
sons; John, Gideon and Shadrach, all of whom after marriage remained In the
neighborhood of the old homestead. John lived south of the present town in a
house still occupied by one of his descendants and Gideon west of town on
what is now known as the Hobb's place, while Shadrach, who subsequently
removed to Indiana, located on the site of Rheatown. In 1792-93 a road was
laid out through what is now Hamblen County, and extended to the western
limits of Jefferson County, where it was met by the road from Knoxville.
This road afterward formed the line between the counties of Jefferson and
Grainger, and became a section of the great stage route from Knoxville to
Abingdon, VA. It was along this road that most of the early settlers
located. Beginning at Morristown and going eastward was William Chaney, who
lived on the lot now occupied by Joseph Brown's residence; Thomas Daggett, a
little less than a mile beyond, and Phelps Read, about two miles east
Morristown. In the neighborhood of Read were John Crockett, Richard Thompson
and Isaac Martin. Still farther to the east were Isaac Barton, Joseph
Shannon and James McGhee. In the vicinity of Russellville and Whitesburg
were Samuel Riggs, James Roddye, Caleb Witt, William Pulliam, William B.
Roddye and Jesse Hoskins. Daniel Taylor located on the Holston River at
Marshall's Ferry. Sherrod Mayes and James Shields also lived on the Holston.
John Evans was one of the first to locate on Panther Creek. Jesse Cheek
settled at what is known as Cheek's Cross Roads, where he carried on a store
for many years. A store was also opened there some time prior to 1810 by
Deaderick & Wendell. About 1835 P. B. Anderson and James W. Deaderick,
ex-chief Justice of Tennessee, and G. A. & G. H. Cheek were engaged in
business at the same place during the thirties. An early settler just
southwest of Morristown was Clisbie Riggs, who ran a still-house, while
about three miles northwest were the Noes, David and John.
Of the pioneers of the county, the one in whom the greatest interest centers
is David Crockett, the son of John Crockett, but as a sketch of his life
appears in another chapter of this work it will not be repeated here. When a
lad he came to the county with his father's family, and remained until two
or three years after his marriage. The records of Jefferson County show that
on October 21, 1805, he was licensed to wed Margaret Elder, and that on
August 12, 1806, he received a license to marry Polly Findlay. The first
named lady, for reasons not now known, refused to proceed with the marriage
after all of the preliminaries had been arranged. Polly Findlay was the
daughter of a respectable farmer residing In the vicinity of what has since
been known as Findlay's Gap.
James and William Roddye, mentioned above, were both prominent citizens. The
former was a member of the convention which formed the constitution of the
State of Franklln, and after the fall of the FranklIn government, was a
representative to the Legislature of North Carolina. Upon the organization
of Jefferson County he was elected register, and in 1797 became a member of
the State Senate. William Roddye was a member of the Constitutional
Convention of 1796 from Jefferson County.
Caleb Witt and Isaac Barton were among the earliest of the pioneer Baptist
preachers of East Tennessee. Some time prior to 1794 they organized Bent
Creek Church, near Whitesburg. In that year it had a membership of
fifty-one, and was represented In the Holston Association by James Roddye,
Isaac Barton and Caleb Witt. In 1804 the church known as Bethel South, now
the Morristown Baptist Church, was organized by Isaac Barton. The first
Methodist Church in the county was probably organized at "Read's
Meeting-House," near Phelps Read's. About 1815 a campground called Sulphur
Spring was established four miles south of Morristown. Among the original
campers were Solomon Wyatt, Francis Daniel, Sherrod Mayes, Benjamin McCarty
and Joseph Daniel, with their families. In 1825 a Methodist Church was built
at Russellville, which was then just beginning to assume the importance of a
village. Among the members were Clisbie Austin, Paul Potter, Henry Stewart,
William Pulliam, Jacob Frizzle, Hugh Cain and John Miller. A log house was
at first erected, and was used until a short time prior to the civil war,
when it was replaced by a brick. In 1832 the Presbyterians organized a
church known as Bethesda, a short distance west of Russellville.
For several years Russellville remained the only village in the territory
now embraced in Hamblen County. Sometime about 1830 a paper-mill, of
extensive proportions for that day, was put into operation by Samuel and
Milton Shields, about three miles north-east of Morristown. It, with a store
or two, was carried on there for several years.
About 1820 Martin Stubblefield, one of the early settlers of Grainger
County, near the old County Line Church, removed to Morristown and built a
house near where the depot now is and where he continued to reside until his
death. He had several daughters, one of whom married Henry Countz, and
another, William Chaney, Jr. Although from the first settlement of the
county, the neighborhood was known as Morristown, it was not until 1833 that
a post office was established there. At the same time a store was opened by
John M. Coffin in the house now occupied by A. H. Gregg as a residence. At a
little later date Jehu Morris began business on the opposite side of the
street in a building standing upon the lot where D. Pence & Co's. store now
is. These merchants were succeeded by Drury Morris & Co., and Read & Noe,
afterward Cocke, Read & Co. During the decade preceding the civil war the
village developed into a town, and was incorporated. Its growth was greatly
promoted by the building of the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, which
was chartered in 1852 and completed In 1858, the last spike having been
driven on May 14 of that year. In 1856 or 1857 the construction of the
Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap & Charleston Railroad was begun, but no part of
it was completed until 1867.
Among the merchants of Morristown from 1855 to 1862, besides these mentioned
were J. M. Mims, J. W. Nicodemus, M. Carriger & Bros., Sawyers & Jackson,
and J. W. Clyne. During this period a large steam flouring-mill was erected
by a stock company composed of several of the leading business men. A steam
saw mill and a machine shop were also put into operation.
In 1857 a newspaper, the American Statesman, published by F. M. Wylie and
H.C. Craig, was removed to Morristown from Dandridge. They continued its
publication about one year. Mr. Wylie then procured the services of Rev. W.
C. Graves, as the editor of a paper known as the Religious Intelligencer; it
was devoted mainly to religious subjects, but contained a secular
department. The first number appeared April 16,1858. Soon after Mr. Wylie
was succeeded by W. E. M. Neal and J, De M. Roberts, as publishers, but no
change was made in the editorial management. In the early part of 1861 the
name was changed to the Holston Intelligencer, and so continued until its
suspension the following June. The first school of importance in Morristown
was opened about 1850 in the building now occupied by the girl's high
school. Among the first teachers were S.D. Miles, John Portrum, Prof. Hodges
and John N. Southern.
Since the close of the war Morristown has grown steadily In population and
wealth. During the past two or three years the growth has been remarkably
rapid, the population having very nearly doubled in that time. The first
firms to resume business after the close of hostilities in 1865 were
Waggoner & Bewley and Capt. James A.' Bird. Among others who succeeded were
P. Smith & Co., W. T. Gill, Brown & Noe and Morris, Kidwell & Co The
mercantile interests of the present time are represented by G. B. McCrary &
Co., J. N. Hilt & Co., D. Pence & Co., Marsh, McCord & Co., Brown &
Stubblefield, Goodson & Legg, Van Hess & Bro., Craig Holley & Craig and S.
B. McCrary, general merchandise; W. M. Wilmeth, Allen Davis & Co., C. C.
Johnson & Sons, Henry Sanders and W. W. Williams, groceries; Carriger,
Roberts & Co. and J. S. Davis, drugs; G E. Spence, hardware; W. T. Rippetoe
and A. M. Sanders, stoves and tinware; A. H. Gregg, agricultural implements,
and J. N. Shipley saddle and harness.
The manufactories consist of a large steam flouring mill with a capacity of
100 barrels per day, owned and run by G. B. McCrary and R. L. Gaut; a sash,
door and blind factory, operated by H. Loop, and a carriage factory
conducted by H. L. Witt. A stove foundry is in the process of erection (?)
stock company. The town also contains two banks. Lookout Bank, with a
capital stock of $50,000, was organized on May 4, 1874, with G. T. Magee as
president and John Murphey, cashier. The present president is Judge James G.
Rose. In 1885 the First National Bank of Morristown was organized, with a
capital stock of $50,000. It is one of the best banking institutions in East
Tennessee, being ably and carefully managed. The officers are Maj. G. W.
Folsom, president, and G. S. Crouch. cashier.
The first newspaper published at Morristown after the war, was the
Morristown Gazette, established by W. W. Neal in 1866. In October of the
following year he sold It to L. P. & G. E. Speck, who continued its
publication until September, 1873, when it was purchased by the present
editor and proprietor, John E. Helms. It is ably edited, and ranks among the
best weekly papers In the State. In 1883, the Tennessee Pilot, a Republican
paper, was established by C. H. Darlington, who has since successfully
continued its publication. On January 11,1887, the first number of the
Semi-weekly Democrat appeared. It is edited and published by -----Jones and
-----Hill, and is constantly growing in popularity. Several other papers,
among which were the Baptist Reflector and the Holston Methodist have been
published at Morristown, but none have continued but for a short time.
The oldest church organization in Morristown is the Baptist. it being a
successor of the old Bethel South. The new house of worship was erected in
1868, the prime movers in the work being Drury Morris and Curtis Eames. In
1860 the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South began the erection
of their present church, which, how-ever, was not completed until after the
close of the war. In 1870 the Presbyterians erected a large and commodious
brick church. This was accomplished largely through the efforts of Rev. W.
H. Smith, who has since remained the honored pastor of the church. Recently
the members of the Lutheran and of the Methodist Episcopal Church edifices
have each erected a commodious church edifice.
The act creating a new county to be named Hamblen in honor of Hezekiah
Hamblen, of Hawkins County, was passed May 31, 1870, and William Courtney,
W. S. Reese, W. C. Witt, and James C. Davis, of Jefferson County, and John
C. Tate, C. J. Burnett and Rufus E. Rice of Grainger County, were appointed
to organize the county. At the regular election in August, the county
officers were elected, and on the 3d of October, 1870, the county court was
organized in an old store house in Morristown. The justices present were
Samuel P. Hixon, L. D. Milligan, L. F. Leiper, C. L. Gregory, George
McFarland, R. M. Hamblen, A. J. Donelson, Alexander Williams, Jonathan Noe,
G. W. Carmichael, C. J. Burnett, D. S. Noe, R. P. Sharp, William Felknor, S.
M. Heath, James Hale, William B. Ninnie, S. J. Couch, I. P. Haun and Samuel
Smith. L. F. Leiper was chosen chairman. No county buildings were erected
until 1874, when a handsome and substantial brick courthouse was built at a
cost of $21750. The commissioners appointed to superintend its erection were
R. M. Barton, J. C. Tate, J. C. Hodges, John Murphey and Joseph Eckle. In
1877 a jail was completed at a cost of about $3,000, and in 1886 a farm of
over 100 acres, located In the Fifth Civil District, was purchased for a
poor-asylum, but, notwithstanding these heavy expenditures, the county is
entirely free from debt.
The officers of the county since Its organization have been as follows:
Clerks of the county court-James Leftwich, 1870-72; D. W. C. Davis, 1872-78;
H. Williams, 1878.
Clerks of the circuit court-T. C. Cain, 1870-78; George S. Crouch, 1878-86;
Leon B. Smith, 1886-.
Sherriffs-G. H. Boyd, 1870-76; George Livingston, 1876-78; Harvey L,
------1878-80; W. H. Mays, 1880-86; J. F. Hays, 1886-.
Trustees-Joseph Brown, 1870-72; D. M. P. Newell, 1872-73; J. E. Thompson,
1873-86; John H. Trent, 1886-.
Registers-L. B. Smith, 1870-74 P. T. Moser, 1874-76; S. B. Noe, 1876-78; W.
H. Parker, 1878-82; John W. Morgan, 1882-86; C. H. Robertson. 1886.
From: Clay Daniels [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 5:12 AM
Subject: Re: [DANIEL-L] Henry Co Virginia
Vickie, thanks for the informative reply. I have discovered that the 1790 &
1800 Virginia federal census has been lost and is not available, unlike
North Carolina. However, I did find a 1790 Henry Co Va tax list, which
Personal Tax Book A, page 5:
Apr 27: Daniel, Edward 1 tithe, no blacks, horses & cattle unreadable
May 22: Daniel, John 1 tithe, no blacks, horses & cattle unreadable
Personal Tax Book B, page 5:
March 29: Daniel, Nehemiah 1 tithe, no blacks, 2 horses & cattle
The two tax books are obviously done by two different tax
assessor/collectors, probably for different districts. The dates are
important too, as I found my Kimsey folks in Book B, all on the same day. So
we can assume that your Edward did not live next door to John.
The 1800 Henry Co Va tax list is more detailed as it shows the amount of tax
assessed, which looks to be 44 cents per black over 12, and 12 cents per
On Mar 31, 1800, Edward Daniel is assessed 92 cents for 1 white tithe, 1
black tithe (over 16), and 4 horses.
On Apr 23, 1800, John Daniel is assessed no tax for 2 white tithes, no
blacks, and no horses.
Edward & John are the only Daniel's shown in the 1800 Henry Co tax list.
As for Brunswick Co Va, in the 1788 tax list I find a John & Ann Daniel
living close, and another group of Thomas, Joseph, Jesse (?), Joseph Jr.,
and Robert Daniel living close to each other.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Vickie Lomon" <vlomon(a)sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 8:28 AM
Subject: RE: [DANIEL-L] Henry Co Virginia
Clay, at one time on the census in Patrick county, George Daniel had an
Edward Daniel living with him, we believe this is his son, Edward Daniel who
married Polly Consolvent in Patrick county, Va. Possible related to Our
Edward Daniel who married Ann, he's a possible newphew, some people think
the John Daniel listed on the census is John Daniel Sr. who was in Brunswick
county, VA. The Immigrant Daniel Line, but this line needs to be researched
From: Clay Daniels [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 3:55 AM
Subject: [DANIEL-L] Henry Co Virginia
Trying to track my Hiram Daniel back from Buncombe & Rutherford Co in
western North Carolina where he lived from 1799 to after 1810 before moving
to Tennessee. Since he is not related to Leonard Daniel who moved to
Rutherford Co from Granville Co NC, I thought I should investigate the
migration of a collateral family who are also my ancestors, the
Kinzey/Kimsey folks who moved to western NC from Henry Co Virginia.
In the 1782 Henry Co Virginia Personal Property Tax List, we find these
three Daniel households:
Name Tithes Negroes Horses Cattle
George Daniel 1 - 3 5
John Daniel 1 - 4 7
Reuben Daniel 1 3 4 7
Does anyone claim these folks or is anyone researching them? I'm
particularly interested in John as Hiram names his first apparent son John
A. Daniel born about 1790. Does anyone have access to the 1790 Henry Co Va
census and can do a lookup for the DANIEL folks listed there? Also, since
Patrick Co was formed (pending) out of Henry Co in 1790, (effective 1791),
was there a separate 1790 Patrick Co Va census?
We estimate our Hiram Daniel was born between 1766-1774 based on census
records, so he was not likely an immigrant. As you might suspect from
reading the Old Testament or Masonic lore, Solomon is also a big name in our
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