Reprinted with Permission from Dr.
Miller McDonald from his book Campbell County Tennessee
USA: A History of Places, Faces, Happenings, Traditions, and Things.
town of Jacksboro and the land area surrounding it are more closely
tied to Campbell County, its government and history than any other.
As a small town it ranks among the oldest.
the flat land below the great Eagle Bluff before the state of Tennessee
was formed in 1796 and before Campbell County was created ten years
Well before the
Revolutionary War, many adventurous and independent individuals,
used to extreme hardships of life and primitive conditions, came
to the area. Largely of Scottish ancestry, they settled on land
that later was to become Campbell County. Log homes were built.
Fields were cleared and fenced.
Trading posts were established or forts constructed to either peacefully
trade with or fight the Indians at the particular time or moment.
These very early
settlers, some of whom traveled back to the east to fight in George
Washington's Army of the Potomac, formed the basis for the strong,
free and independent character that we see in many Campbell Countians
Prior to the advent
of the white man, the area was used as a favorite camping ground
and village by Indians. There was an abundance of wild game and
the ground was fertile for growing corn and other vegetables. The
Eagle Bluff, prominent for miles around, provided an easy landmark
for those on long hunting trips to get their bearings.
Years later, when
the Campbell County area was a part of North Carolina, the population
of the land had grown substantially. In many instances, land grants
of a hundred or so acres could be purchased from North Carolina
for as little as $5. Stockley Donelson was a noted surveyor. He
was also one of the most successful land speculators of his time
and had made many land purchases. In the area of what is now Campbell
County. In 1793, he secured title from the governor of North Carolina
to much of the area that encompasses Jacksboro and the land southwest
of it including Caryville. Donelson, who had been surveyor general
of the State of Franklin and also had served as territorial legislator
for the area, was a man of considerable influence and power. His
name shows up in many of the early deeds and land transactions.
Among his land sales in 1796 included sale of 2,000-acre tract of
land to Andrew Jackson, his brother-in-law, -beginning on the east
side of Coal Creek at the mouth of the first branch that falls into
the Cove. This land approximated a significant part of the area
that includes Jacksboro and Caryville and was known as Walnut Cove
because of the abundance of black walnut trees in the area.
About this time,
Andrew Jackson's star was beginning to rise. He was 29 years old
and Tennessee had been admitted to the Union in 1796. He was elected
the first representative to the U.S. Congress.
The following year he became a United States
Senator. In going about his duties, Sen. Andrew Jackson was shocked
to find that wholesale land frauds had been perpetuated at several
of the land offices of North Carolina. To Jackson's amazement, this
implicated his brother-in-law, Stockley Donelson. Jackson observed,
"When you set a bear trap, you can never tell what particular bear
is going to blunder into it!"
Jackson, of course, had no prior knowledge of
Donelson's activity. Incidentally, Donelson was never brought to
trial, despite several attempts to bring him before the Bar, because
the North Carolina governor would not grant extradition. Finding
life In Washington not to his liking, Jackson resigned as United
States Senator after only a year in 1798. He was appointed Judge
of the State Superior Court which met in Knoxville.
Jacksboro, as a small settlement, was first known
by the name of Walnut Cove. The post office was also named Walnut
Cove after the area including the Jackson land. The postmaster from
October 15, 1806 to May 30, 1819 was Sampson David.
In 1802, Andrew
Jackson was elected Major General of the Tennessee Militia. By 1819,
he had easily become the most popular man in the state. His defeat
of the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend in March, 1814, had been
followed in January, 1815, by his smashing victory over the British
at the Battle of New Orleans. This made him a hero of national note.
He continued to gain prominence.
On May 31, 1819,
to honor Tennessee's hero, Andrew Jackson, the name of Walnut Cove
was changed to Jacksonboro. The postmaster was Sampson David from
May 31, 1819 to June 8, 1826. Succeeding postmasters were Joseph
Peterson, June 9, 1826 - October 10, 1828; Joseph Hart, October
11, 1828 - May 26, 1829.
served two terms as President of the United States, being elected
1828 and re-elected in 1832. As President, Jackson ruled with an
iron hand and made many enemies in the process. His strong overbearing
and even domineering actions created a strong opposition that united
nationally in the whig Party, which later became the Republican
party. There was a large Whig following in Campbell County and there
was significant disapproval by a large number of Campbell Countians
of Jackson's activities, which may account for later name changes
of the county seat. Notwithstanding this, Jackson went on to be
regarded as one of the nation's outstanding presidents and as one
of the fathers of the Democratic party.
On May 27, 1829, to conform to the name spelled
out in the enabling legislation creating Campbell County, the name
of Jacksonboro was changed to Jacksborough. Thomas Wier was the
postmaster from 27 May 1829 until 11 December 1849. Succeeding postmasters
were: James Williams, 12 December 1849 - 27 April 1853; Isiah S.
Daugherty, 28 April 1853 - 10 February 1854; George W. Smith. 11
February 1854 - 12 April 1858; James Terhune, 12 April 1858 - 26
September 1859; Andrew J. Bankston, 27 September 1859 - 11 February
1861; James Terhune. 12 February 1861 - 14 June 1861; C. J. Year,
15 June 1861 - 17 July 1865; Sue Cary. 18 July1865 - l 4 December
1865; Chapman J. Yeary, 15 December 1865 - 7 May 1866; Hugh L Wheeler,
8 May 1866-21 November 1870: John Heatherly, 22 November 1870-5
May 1874; John C. Hollingsworth, 6 May 1874 - 10 September 1885;
Spencer S. Dabney. 11 September 1885 - 5 August 1887.
It is conclusive
that Jacksborough was originality named for Andrew Jackson. It should
be noted. however, that there has grown up over the years another
account of the origin of the name of Jacksborough. Put forth by
an editorial writer around the turn of the century, it propounds
the writer's own idea that the town was named for James W. Jack,
a Revolutionary War officer, who transported a copy of the Declaration
of Independence to the Continental Congress. Since there is no evidence
to support this, it indicates that the story may have been politically
On 8 August 1887,
the name of Jacksborough was shortened to Jacksboro. Spencer G.
Dabney was postmaster from 8 August 1887-9 March 1888. Succeeding
postmasters were: Henderson Reid, 10 March 1888 -24 March 1889;
John C. Hollingsworth, 25 March 1889 - 19 July 1893; Joseph W. Weir,
20 July 1893 - 21 August 1897; Joseph H. Agee, 22 August 1898 -
6 January 1904; 28 November 1910; James F. Huddleston, 29 November
1910- 27 February 1913; William R. Irioh, 28 February 1913 - 19
November 1914; Robert L. Queener, 20 November 1914 - 7 April 1921;
Charles F. Perkins, 8 April 1921 - July 1931; Henderson Archer,
23 July 1931- 9 April 1933; Bessie T. Queener, 10 August 1936 -
29 November 1953; Ulysses B. Coker, 30 November 1953 - 29 June 1976;
Charles 0. Nelson, June 30 1976 - present
The location of Jacksboro as the county seat
for Campbell County was settled only after some debate and wrangling.
The act creating Campbell County in 1806 appointed as commissioners
James Grant, William Hancock, Jacent Cloud, Robert Glenn, Richard
Linville, Sampson David and John English to "lay out a place, the
most suitable and convenient in said county for the purpose of erecting
a court house. prison and stocks."
There were then
three localities contesting for the seat of justice - Grantsboro,
at the forks of the Powell and Clinch Rivers; Big Creek Gap, later
La Follette; and Walnut Cove, later Jacksboro. Walnut Cove was the
location that was finally selected.
favored different localities and were strongly divided in their
sentiments. They could not and would not agree on any location.
This impasse existed until the convening of the General Assembly
in 1807. On November 30, the General Assembly passed an act to amend
the act creating Campbell County with the following preamble: Whereas,
the commissioners appointed by the aforesaid act have omitted to
perform the duties thereby enjoined on them." It then went on to
name and appoint a new board of commissioners as follows: Thomas
Murray, Robert Glenn, Sampson David, John English, John Yount, James
Rice and John Newman. They were vested with the same powers as the
original commissioners with the only enlargement of powers to purchase
a tract of land of not less than 60 acres on which to build the
public buildings and lay out the town as contemplated in the original
act. On January 20, 1808, the commissioners promptly fulfilled their
duties and purchased from Colonel Hugh Montgomery 60 acres of land,
the present site of Jacksboro, and proceeded to lay out the town
with streets, alleys and public grounds.