This document was transcribed by Jan McFarlin in 1999. The text and grammatical construction appears as in the original. Names appear as spelled and no effort has been made to modify the document to fit today’s accepted literacy form.
COFFEE COUNTY is situated partly on the Highland Rim and at the base of the Cumberland. The rocks are the same as found everywhere in the basin. Near Manchester, the county seat, a bluish or dove-colored marble appears in abundance, forming the bed of Bark Camp Fork of Duck River, which is admired by geologists for its subdued beauty and fine quality. Near the above town a conglomerate is met with that answers a very good purpose for millstones. Some of it has all the characteristics of buhrstone, being hard and gritty. Wherever exposed, it has a cellular structure. A short distance from Manchester, on the Bark Camp Fork, is a copperas cave, so called, being a great opening under a huge, shelving rock. The copperas found in this cave is used by the people for domestic purposes, such as dyeing, etc. The cave is semi-circular and lies beneath a precipice over which a stream of water falls fifty feet. The projecting rock above is a mixture of flint and limestone, and below is a bed of black shale. The late Dr. Troost, State geologist, made a report on the minerals of Coffee County in 1837 in which he mentioned the existence of iron ore in more than one place, notably near the mouth of Compton Creek, where he reported were ore banks sufficient to warrant the erection of furnaces.
The surface of the country is beautifully diversified with hill and valley, abounding in springs of pure water, and traversed by numerous streams which furnish splendid water-power for milling purposes. The water-power near Manchester is probably unsurpassed in the State, both Barren and Bark Camp Forks of Duck River having several waterfalls each of from twenty-five to thirty-five feet. The site of the present paper-mills was surveyed in 1847 by Government civil engineers with a view to locating a United States armory at that point, and had the locality been accessible then, as now, the armory would have been established, as the report was favorable.
The soils of the valleys are very fertile, and adapted to the raising of all kinds of grain and the grasses, and grapes, apples, peaches, pears, and other fruits grow in abundance.
The timber is beech, sugar, maple, elm, ash, black and white walnut, cherry, mulberry, yellow poplar, locust, linn, buckeye and other varieties.
Barren and Bark Camp Forks unite and form Duck River near Manchester, and the other streams of the county are Dowdy, Riley, Cat, Spring, Compton, Gatewood, Woolen, Gage, Norman and Noah Creeks, all emptying into Duck River, and Berry Fork, Garrison Fork, Bean and Pond Springs Creeks. Elk River touches Coffee County at Call’s mill, in the Twelfth District.
Coffee County, or rather the territory now embraced within the boundaries of the county, was probably settled as early as 1800, at which time, so say traditions, the face of the country was covered with a thick growth of tall cane. However, if such was the case, there remain few if any indications of that fact at the present. Probably the first settlement was made on Noah Fork of Duck River, in the neighborhood of the site of the present hamlet of Needmore, in the Second District, by Daniel, John and Neely Patton, brothers, while at or near the same time one Eastland settled in the neighborhood of the old stone fort, near the site of Manchester, in the Sixth District. Just when and from where those pioneers came is not definitely known, though the date is supposed to be about 1800, as other settlers coming seven and eight years later found them here with surroundings indicating a domicile of several years’ duration. During the year 1809 Joseph Hickerson, John J. Smith and William Roberts came to the county, the former from North Carolina and the two latter from South Carolina. Mr. Hickerson settled on Duck River, two miles southwest from Manchester, in the Sixth District; Mr. Smith on Dowdy Creek, in the Fourth District; and Mr. Roberts in Adam Bend of Duck River, in the Fifth District.
The other early settlers of the county were as follows: Hunley and Herald Wiggins, William Murry, Timothy Carroll, James Nelson, Andrew Ervin, James Berry, Lecil Bobo, R. E. Lasater, William S.Waterson, Jesse Wooten, George Arrington, H. Morgan, Samuel Murry, Claiborne Harper, William Howard, D. S. Wright, John and David Hickerson, Louis Carden, Henry Rivers, John L.Taylor, Thomas Allison, Reuben Carden and Joseph Brown, in the neighborhood of Manchester and the sixth District; Reuben George, Robert S. and Adam Rayburn;, William Hodge, William Cross, Norman Norton, Thomas Douglass, Whitley Herald and Robert McCreary in the First District; William Waterson, Sr., Andrew Maxwell, William McFaddin and James Moore in the Second District; Thomas Patton, John Keel, Alexander, James and William McMirtle, Andrew Irwin, Thomas Bell, Jonathan Webster, William Farren and James Cunnegan in the Third District; Smith and WillisBurke, John Blythe, James Prier, William Holland and Henry Wilson in the Fourth District; Duncan Neal, William Bowden, Hugh Davidson, Sr., Hugh Davidson, Jr., William Smith, HarvardBlackman, Benjamin Jenkins and William Barton in the Fifth District; Walter Brixey, S. J. and J. T. Crockett, G. W. Roberts, Abraham Howard, James F. Phillips, Samuel Austell and WilliamHoward in the Seventh District; John Charles, William L. Carden, E. Good, M. C. Phillips, W. C. Charles and James Winton in the Eighth District; Charles Colston, Richard Cunningham, StephenWinton, Hiram Harpole, David Simpson and David Banks in the Ninth District; William Lackey, John Adcock, Charles Roach, Hugh O’Neal, James Darnell, John Brandon and Daniel Epley in the Tenth District; Robert Bean, James Cunningham, Isham Womack, James Sheid, John Crockett, Sr., Stewart Cowan and P. T. Stephenson in the Eleventh District; William J. Howard, Amos Austell,Peter Willis, H. M. Rutledge and Robert Lackey, in the Twelfth District; William Moore, Benjamin Deckerd, Thomas Anderson, Robert Ragon, _____ Montgomery, _____ Ferrill, B. S.Stephenson and the Gunn family in the Thirteenth District; James Timmons, Arthur Rutledge, Coleman Blanton and John Childress in the Fourteenth District; William Heathcock, John Nelson, HamiltonDuncan, Ambrose Duncan, Douglas Duncan, William Lunley and John Sherrill in the Fifteenth District. Among the citizens of the county at the time of its organization, living in various localities, were Randolph Gibson, William Richardson, Walter Stroud, Ephram Cate, Alfred Bradley, Jesse Reynolds, Rush N. Wallace, R. R. Price, Larkin Burnham, John G. Walker, Westley Sutton, HenryPowers, Isaac Rains, Gabriel Jones, James Zell, Johnson Gossett, Wade Stroud, Alexander Downey, Josiah Berry, John Lusk, William Montgomery, John Bragg, Charles and Joseph Gentry, Alexander Neal, John W. Camden, David Ewell, William Johnson, Thomas Blair, A. Stafford, Smith Carney, Moses Hart, C. Rainwater, David Butler, Henry Flipp, William Collins, Hiram Wyatt, Moses B. Childress, Samuel V. Simms, Sherill, Adam, Anderson and James Oliver, Daniel McLain, JamesTaylor, Travis Bowden, John and William Beard, Charles Oldfield, J. D. Robinson, William and Felix Carroll, G. W. Haggard, J. L. Kelling, G. W. McGrew, Michael Stevens, Levi Donnell, James A. Brantley, R. F. Ross, Moses F. White, H. S. Emmerson, Larkin Burnham, Johnson Garrett, Gabriel Jones, John Herriford and William Holmes.
So far as known, the first grist-mill erected in Coffee County was that of Josiah Berry on Barren Fork of Duck River, three miles northwest from Manchester, built in 1812, and the second one was built by Joseph Hickerson, on Brewer Creek, near Manchester, in 1815. Both were water power. Between 1820 and 1830 Joseph Hickerson erected a saw and corn-mill on Duck River in the Sixth District. Arthur Rutledge erected what was afterward known as the Childress mill, on Compton Creek, in the Fourteenth District. Thomas Busby built a corn, wheat and powder-mill on Spring Branch of Duck River, in the Fifth District, which was afterward bought by Lecil Bobo, and as such ran up to about 1850, and Wm. Williams built a corn-mill on Barren Fork of Collins River, all of which were water power. Between 1830 and 1840 Jonathan Webster built a corn-mill on Noah Fork, in the Third District; Howard Blackmore built one on Spring Branch of Duck River in the Fifth District; John Stevens built on on Gage Creek in the same district; Wm. Smith built on on Bradley Creek; all water power. In 1830 Wm. Bowden and Hugh Davidson erected cotton-gins on Duck River, in the Fifth District. At Blue Springs, two and a half miles north from Tullahoma, Messrs. Nash and Calley established a wagon manufactory, planing-mill and saw-mill in 1863, to which a branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway was built during the same year, and for several years an immense business was transacted. The mills were removed a number of years ago and the railroad torn up. The minor industries of the county, located outside of Manchester and Tullahoma, are as follows: Third District – Samuel Brantley‘s saw and grist-mill and Beckman Bros.’ flour and grist-mill on Noah Fork. Fourth District – James Drake‘s still-house. Fifth District – Sims, Davis & Hildebrand‘s flour, grist and still on Gage Creek. Sixth District – B. P. Bashan‘s and John Tolliver‘s grist-mills on Brewer Creek; L. D. Hickerson‘s (Jr.), saw-mill on Haggard’s branch and James W. Stephen‘s grist-mill on Goodman’s branch. Seventh District – T. E. Jones‘ grist and saw-mill at Hillsboro; James Howard‘s corn-mill, and Call & Huffer‘s still-house on Bradley’s Creek. Ninth District – John A. Bryant‘s two grist-mills on Barren Fork of Hickory Creek. Tenth District – George Schroeder‘s corn-mill and still on Hickory Creek, and James Fletcher‘s still on Barren Fork of Collins River. Eleventh District – O. H. Allen‘s grist-mill on McGowan Creek, and J. A. Lusk‘s corn-mill and T. S. Gunn‘s still on Bean Creek. Twelfth District – E. A. Call‘s flour and grist-mill, Ellis Davidson‘s grist-mill, E. A. Call‘s and W. W. Harris‘ stills; all on Bradley Creek.
On January 8, 1836, the General Assembly passed an act entitled “An act to establish the county of Coffee” out of territory to be cut off from the counties of Bedford, Warren and Franklin. The above act appointed Hugh Davidson, Alexander Blakely, John Hickerson, William Bradshaw, Thomas Powers and Lecil Bobo commissioners to run the boundary lines and locate a permanent seat of justice for the new county, and in February following the lines were run, leaving the county bounded on the north by the counties of Rutherford, Cannon and Warren, east by Warren and Grundy, south by Franklin and Moore and west by Bedford. The seat of justice was located upon the lands of James Evans and Andrew Haynes, the same being described a “situated on the south side of Bark Camp Fork of Duck river on both sides of the road leading from Winchester, Franklin County, to Nashville, being within four miles of the center of the county and supposed to contain 200 acres.” Messrs. Evans and Haynes donated the above land to the county by deed registered March 1, 1836.
An election of county officers was held in March and the county formally organized in May, when William S. Watterson, John G. Walker, John O. Johnson, Joseph Hickerson and Jesse Wooten were appointed to survey and lay off the county site into town lots, sell the same and award contracts for building a courthouse and jail. The sale of lots took place soon afterward and the contracts awarded for a brick courthouse and jail. The courthouse was completed in 1837 and was destroyed by fire in December, 1870. The building was a two-story brick and cost about $10,000. The present courthouse was completed in 1871 and stands on the site of the one destroyed. It is a handsome brick two-story building of modern style. On the ground floor is the county court room and the quarters of the county officers, while the second floor is devoted to the circuit court and jury rooms. The building stands in the center of a large public square, inclosed with a combination iron and wood fence, and cost about $15,000. The first brick jail was completed in 1837 and was used as such up to about 1857, when it was destroyed by fire. The present brick and stone jail was completed in 1859, costing about $6,000.
At the organization of the county it was laid off into thirteen civil districts, but was subdivided at different times until there are now sixteen their territory belonging originally to counties as follows: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixteenth and part of the Fifteenth Districts to Bedford; Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth to Franklin; Ninth, Tenth and part of fifteenth to Warren. The county had a population of 8,184 in 1840; of 8,354 in 1850; of 9,689 in 1860; of 10,237 in 1870; of 11,500 in 1880, and about 12,000 in 1886. At the August election, 1886, there were 2,249 votes polled in the county, of which the Democratic ticket received 1,833, and the Republican ticket 416, giving a Democratic majority of 1,387. In 1870 there were 253,816 acres of land assessed for taxation in Coffee County, the value of which was $l,520,201, and the total value of property assessed was $1,911,074. The number of acres assessed in 1886 was 261,610 valued at $986,599, and the total value of property assessed was $1,421,415. The tax aggregate for 1886, shows taxes assessed as follows: State, $4,264; county, $4,039; school $6,695; roads, $888, with additional railroad and telegraph taxes as follows: Main stem of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad, total tax of $1,262.02; McMinnville Branch of Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, total tax of $1,270.77. In 1870 the cereal products of the county were, wheat, 43,075 bushels; rye, 10,226 bushels; corn, 309,503 bushels; oats, 25,462 bushels. In 1886 the products were, wheat, 58,160 bushels; rye 4,500 bushels; corn, 650,290 bushels; oats, 35,000 bushels.
In 1870 there were in the county, 3,009 head of horses and mules; 2,448 head of cattle; 8,107 head of sheep, and 17,226 head of hogs. In 1886 there were 4,100 head of horses and mules; 5,800 head of cattle; 7,300 head of sheep, and 20,800 head of hogs.
The Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad runs through the extreme southwest corner of Coffee County, and was completed in 1852, while the Sparta or McMinnville branch of the same runs in a northeast direction across the county, being completed to McMinnville in 1856, and to Sparta in 188 __. The two roads furnish ample transportation facilities for the county.
Adam Rayburn, Alfred Ashley, Robert S. Rayburn, Alex Downey, John G. Walker, Larkin Burnham, Wm. Hodge, Johnson Garrett, James Zell, Wm. Montgomery, Gabriel Jones, Lecil Bobo, Josiah Berry, John W. Camden, John Herriford, John Charles, James W. Arnold, John Lusk, Jesse Wooton, Wade Stroud and Wm. Holmes, all bearing commissions from the governor appointing them magistrates for Coffee County, met at the old log Baptist meeting-house which stood on the site of Manchester, the county seat, on Monday, May 2, 1836, and after taking the oath of office, organized the county court by electing John W. Camden, chairman. Daniel McLain, John Bell, James A. Brantly and Moses F. White, who had been chosen clerk, sheriff, register and trustee, respectively, at the March election produced their certificates of election, qualified and assumed the duties of their offices. The sessions of the court were held in the meeting-house until the completion of the courthouse in 1837.
The circuit court was organized in June, 1836, at the old Stone Fort Tavern, with Judge Samuel Anderson on the bench, and James Whitesides as attorney-general; George W. Richardson was the clerk, he having been elected to that office at the March election. The early records of this court were destroyed by fire, there being none now previous to 1854, and the writer secured the above information from the older citizens, among whom were Messers. Wylie Hickerson and R. E. Lasater, of Manchester, both of whom were residents of the county at its formation.
Like those of the circuit court, the records of the chancery court were destroyed to a great extent by fire, those of the year 1868 being the earliest, and the deficiency was filled by the memories of the citizens. The court was organized with the county, and Judge B. L. Ridley was probably the first chancellor presiding, George Arrington being appointed clerk and master.
Below is given a list of the judges, chancellors, attorney-generals and different county officers, together with the date of their service: Samuel Anderson, 1836-44; A. J. Marchbanks, 1844-61; Wm. P. Hickerson, 1865-67; N. A. Patterson, 1867-69; William P. Hickerson, 1869-77; J. J. Williams 1877-86; M. B. Smallman, present incumbent.
- Attorney-generals: James Whitesides, 1836-44; Joseph Carter, 1844-52; George Stubblefield, 1852-61; Fred A. Hanford, 1865-66; Newton I. Temple, 1866-68; W. J. Clift, 1868-69; J. G. Mohler, 1869-70; J. H. Holman, 1870-72; J. D. Tillman, 1872-78; A. B. Woodard, 1878-86; W. V. Whitson, present incumbent.
- Chancellors: B. L. Ridley, 18 —-; B. M. Tillman, 1868-71; A. S. Marks, 1871-78; John W. Burton, 1878-84; E. D. Hancock, 1884-86; S. A. Key, present incumbent.
- Clerks and Masters: George Arrington; J. L. Thompson; S. N. Burger; J. J. Pittman; James Price, 1868-71; T. J. Wilson, 1871-77; John S. Moore, 1877, and present incumbent.
- Chairmen of county court: John W. Camden, 1836-37; Adam Rayburn, 1837-39; Robert S. Rayburn, 1839-41; Michael Stevens, 1841-42; Robert S. Rayburn 1842-45; John G. Walker, 1845-46; Wm. B. Williams, 1846-47; John G. Walker, 1847-48; James L. Woods, 1848-49; L. W. Marbury, 1849-50; Michael Stevens, 1850-51; John G. Walker, 1851-52; James A. Brantley, 1852 until June, 1856; R. W. Casey, county judge from June, 1856, to January, 1858; James A. Brantley, chairman, 1858-60; R. W. Casey, 1860-61; M. A. Carden, 1861-62; R. W. Casey, 1862-66; GreenvilleFletcher, 1866-68; H. W. Carroll, 1868-69; James Price, 1869-70; W. L. Carden, 1870-71; James K. P. Carroll, 1871-72; E. A. Rutherford, 1872-74; J. M. Sims, 1874-75; E. A. Rutherford, 1875-79; C. N. Townsend, 1879-82; J. W. Wagoner, 1882-83; H. F. Smartt, 1883-84; W. L. Carden, 1884-85; C. T. Wilson, 1885-86; Lewis B. Morgan, 1886-87, and present incumbent.
- County court clerks: Daniel McLean, 1836-38; Levi Donnell, 1838-39; W. A. Hickerson, 1839-40; Lecil Bobo, 1840-44; John W. Anderson, 1844-48; James Darnell, 1848-52; A. M. Short, 1852-54; Hiram S. Emmerson, 1854-70; James Darnell, 1870-78; Simeon Ashley, 1878-86; Charles T. Wilson, August, 1886 to January, 1887 when court appointed J. W. Wagoner.
- Circuit court clerks: George W. Richardson, 1836-38; Daniel McLain, 1838-42; Willis Blanton, 1842-50; Frank Ragsdale, 1850-54; C. C. Brewer, 1854-61; Daniel McLain, 1865-70; John A.Moore, 1870-74; W. T. Wilson, 1874-78; H. A. Phillips, 1878-86; Simeon Ashley, present incumbent.
- Sheriffs: John Bell, 1836-42; Daniel McLain, 1842-48; Columbus Brawley, 1848-54; Francis M. Boyd, 1854-58; J. A. Carden, 1858-61; Burrell Ward, 1861-68; A. J. Usselton, 1868-72; H. W.Carroll, 1872-74; J. H. L. Duncan, 1874-78; F. H. Thomas, 1878-79; W. H. Carroll, 1879-80; E. Gray, 1880-82; H. W. Carroll, 1882-84; John H. Ashley, 1884-86, and present incumbent.
- Registers: James A. Brantley, 1836-40; R. F. Ross, 1840-48; Charles Toliver, 1848-56; W. F. Gibson, 1856-58; Daniel McLain, 1858-65; Burr H. Emerson, 1865; R. R. Ferrill, 1865-66; Burr H.Emerson, 1866-79; B. S. Stroud, 1879-86, and present incumbent.
- Trustees: Moses F. White, 1836-42; Uriah Sherrill, 1842-50; James N. Campbell, 1850-52; E. E. Thacker, 1852-61; H. Shackleford, 1861-65; J. A. Carden, 1865-66; H. Shackleford, 1866-68; Wm. P. McDonald, 1868-69; G. D. Emerson, 1869-72; John S. Moore, 1872-76; E. Gray, 1876-80; W. T. Wilson, 1880-82; J. H. Smith, 1882-86; B. P. Layne, 1886, and present incumbent.
Company G. Twenty-fourth Regiment of Infantry, was organized in June, 1861, at Hillsboro, and Wm. May was elected captain; I. T. Roberts, first lieutenant; John Oliver, second lieutenant; David Hepp, third lieutenant. At the reorganization at Corinth, Miss., in 1862, I. T. Roberts was chosen captain; F. M. Womack, first lieutenant; John Arnold, second lieutenant; Wm. Meadows, third lieutenant.
Company A, Thirty-seventh Regiment of Infantry, was organized at Tullahoma in the summer of 1861, of which E. F. Hunt was elected captain; Carroll Blackwell, first lieutenant; Lewis Powell, second lieutenant; Arthur Edwards, third Lieutenant. Hunt was elected major of the regiment at the reorganization of the same at Corinth.
Company K, Twenty-fourth Regiment of Infantry, was organized at Manchester in July, 1861, and officers were elected as follows: T. C. Goodner, captain; Wm. Seay, first lieutenant; Henry McBrown, second lieutenant; Frank H. Ragsdale, third lieutenant. At the reorganization at Corinth, T. C. Goodner was re-elected captain; Frank H. Ragsdale, first lieutenant; C. Barton, second lieutenant; RobertMcGuire, third lieutenant.
Company E, Sixteenth Regiment of Infantry, was organized at Manchester in the early part of 1861, electing officers as follows: C. C. Brewer, captain; S. G. Crocker, first lieutenant; G. W. Turner, second lieutenant; J. E. Bashaw, third lieutenant. At the reorganization at Corinth the letter of the company was changed to that of B, and J. H. L. Duncan was elected captain; E. W. Walker, first lieutenant; J. H.Ensey, second lieutenant; W. H. Fisher, third lieutenant.
Company A, Forty-fourth Regiment of Infantry, was organized at Needmore in September, 1861, of which W. P. Cherry was elected captain; Marion Chandler, first lieutenant; Carroll Haley, second lieutenant, Samuel Hart, third lieutenant. At Bowling Green, Ky., the letter of the company was changed to B, and the reorganization at Corinth the Forty-fourth and Forty-fifth Regiments were consolidated. Of the company David Buckner was elected captain; Thomas Goodlow, first lieutenant; Jack Chandler, second lieutenant; Jonathan Webster, third lieutenant. Buckner resigned the same year, and Chandler succeeded him as captain, and later in the same year Chandler resigned and was succeeded by Goodlow.
Company I, Fourth Regiment Infantry (Starnes’) was organized at Manchester in 1862. P. H. McBride was elected captain; Hal. Mason, first lieutenant; Wm. Crocker, second lieutenant; George Morgan, third lieutenant. Company D, forty-fifth Regiment of Infantry, was organized at Winchester, and was composed of men from Coffee, Lincoln and Moore Counties. A. Walt of Lincoln County was elected captain; James Grant, of Moore County, first lieutenant; Joseph Baxter, of Coffee County, second lieutenant. Company H, Eleventh Regiment of Cavalry, was organized at McMinnville in October, 1862, and was composed of about twenty men from Coffee and eighty from Warren County. The officers elected were Chatham Coffee, of Warren County, captain; J. J. Lowery, of Warren County, first lieutenant; Robert Bruce, of Coffee County, second lieutenant; —- Gurley, of Warren County, third lieutenant. In June, 1861, several of the prominent young men of Tullahoma, among whom were W. H. McLemore, Adam Grass, James and Ezekial Jones, joined Rutledge’s battery, and served with distinction throughout the war.
But little can now be learned of the schools of Coffee County previous to 1820. That there were schools in the county before that date there can be no doubt, but as to their location and who taught them there is no record. In 1820 Timothy Carroll opened a school on Cat Creek, a small stream of the Sixth District, and taught several months in the year up to about 1823. James Nelson taught a school at the foot of the hill, on which is now located Manchester, for a number of years beginning in 1823, and in 1839 Daniel McLain, the first county clerk, and afterward sheriff, register and circuit clerk, taught a school on Duck River. In 1837 a school was established in the old Baptist Church at Manchester, and when the new Baptist Church was erected it was moved there too and taught there until the county academy was built in 1847. This school was chartered by the Legislature in 1846, and the year following a one-story brick schoolhouse was erected. The building was burned in 1858. From that time until 1867 the school was taught in the Methodist Church building. At the above date a large frame building was erected and the Manchester Male and Female College was established, and is in operation at the present. Probably the first school taught in Tullahoma was by Mrs. Witherby, mother of Mr. James G. Aydelott, now a leading citizen of the city, who opened a small school in 1853. From that time until the close of the late war nothing but free schools were taught in the town. A school was established by the Masonic Lodge in 1867, known as the Masonic Institute, and taught in the frame building erected by the soldiers. This school continued, and was the only one taught in Tullahoma up to 1871, when it was abandoned. The Tullahoma College, was established under the auspices of the Methodist Church in 1872, and taught in that church until 1876, when a large frame building was completed for the school. The school continued in active operation until 1886, when it was succeeded by the graded public school. For the accommodation of this school a large two-story brick building was erected at a cost of about $6,000. At present 350 students are in attendance and six teachers employed. The Tullahoma High School was established by a stock company in 1882, under the management of Profs. Carden and Farras, and is at present under the tutorship of Prof. Samuel J. Farras, assisted by a corps of three teachers. A substantial frame building, costing upward of $3,000, was completed in 1883 for this school. The important schools of this county in operation at present are Bell Springs Academy, at the hamlet of Noah, chartered in 1880; Beech Grove Academy, chartered in 1869; Hillsboro Academy, chartered in 1879, besides the above mentioned schools of Manchester and Tullahoma. Good free schools are taught in each school district from four to six months in the year. In 1839 the scholastic population of Coffee County was 2,224, and the amount of money received from the school fund apportionment was $1,385.88. In 1867 the scholastic population was as follows: White—male, 1,642; female, 1,555; colored—male, 272; female, 254; total, white and colored male, 1,914; white and colored female, 1,809; grand total 3, 723. In 1885 the scholastic population was as follows: White-male, 2,389; female, 2,328; colored-male, 337; female, 385; total 5,439. During the latter year the county received by the semi-annual apportionment of school funds, $665.94 in April, and a similar sum in October. In 1885 teachers were employed in the county as follows: White-male, 38; female, 15; colored-male, 4; female, 5; total 62; and teachers were licensed as follows: White-male, 38; female, 15; colored-male, 4; female, 5; total, 62.
The first church erected in what is now called Coffee County was the log meeting-house on Garrison Fork of Duck River, in the Second District, which was built as early as 1812 or 1814 by the Separate Baptists, and the second was the log meeting-house on the site of Manchester, erected by the Baptists in about 1815, and in which the magistrates met to organize the county in 1836. The former church was replaced with a frame building in 1859 and the latter also by a frame in about 1837, being used by all denominations up to that date. The other early churches of the county were Pond Spring, Baptist, in the Seventh District, erected in 1819; Carroll’s meeting-house, Methodist Episcopal, in the Fifth District, erected in 1820, now gone; Riley Creek Baptist Church, in the Fourth District, built for a church and schoolhouse in 1820; Hillsboro Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in the Seventh District, erected in 1820; Goose Pond Methodist Episcopal Church, in the Fifteenth District; Bean Creek Separate Baptist, in the Eleventh District, and Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal, in the Eighth District, all built in 1830; Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal, in the Ninth District; Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal, in the Fifth District; Fountain Grove Methodist Episcopal, in the Tenth District, and Noah Fork Baptist, in the Third District, all erected between 1830 and 1840; Hopewell Primitive Baptist, in the Eleventh District; Union Cumberland Presbyterian, in the First District; Hayter Camp Ground Methodist Episcopal, in the Twelfth District; Beech Grove Cumberland Presbyterian, in the Second District; Asbury Methodist Episcopal, in the Eighth District, and Mount Vernon and Spring Creek, both Methodist Episco- pal, in the Fifth District, all erected between 1840 and 1850; Hurricane Grove Separate and Missionary Baptists, in the Third District, erected in 1853. Of the above Goose Pond Church was destroyed by fire in December, 1886, leaving the District without a church, and Fountain Grove, Hayter’s Camp Ground, Hurricane Grove, Pond Spring, Mount Zion, Mount Vernon, Manchester Baptist, Carroll’s Meeting House and Spring Creek Churches have all been abandoned some five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago. The churches of the present are as follows: In the town of Manchester, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, frame, erected in 1850; Methodist Episcopal Church, erected first in 1852 and a new brick in 1883; Christian, frame, erected in 1870, and Missionary Baptist, brick, completed first part of 1887; Tullahoma Churches: Methodist Episcopal, frame, erected in 1855 and destroyed during the war. At the close of the war the military authorities stationed at the town caused a large frame building to be erected, and presented the same to the citizens to be used as a church, school and public building generally. Methodist Episcopal South, frame, erected in 1868; Methodist Episcopal North, frame, erected in 1872; Episcopal, frame, erected in 1875; Baptist, frame, erected in 1876; Cumberland Presbyterian, frame, erected in 1878; Christian, brick, erected in 1881, and Presbyterian, brick, erected in 1886. Beech Grove Churches: Cumberland Presbyterian, frame, erected in 1844; Christian, erected in 1878; Methodist Episcopal South, in course of erection; of the First District, Union Cumberland Presbyterian and Jarnigan’s Schoolhouse, Baptist; Second District, Mount Ararat Methodist Episcopal school; Third District, Noah Fork Separate Baptist, Wiser’s Bluff, Christian and Noah Methodist Episcopal South; Fourth District, Riley Creek Baptist and Holland Creek and Reden’s Chapel, both Methodist Episcopal South; Fifth District, Neal’s Chapel and Bethany, both Methodist Episcopal South; Sixth District, Blanton’s Chapel, Union, Ragsdale and New Union Methodist Episcopal South, Bethel Separate Baptist, Hull’s Chapel Methodist Episcopal North, and Busby Branch Separate Baptist; Seventh District, Hillsboro Cumberland Presbyterian and Union Churches and Pond Spring Baptist; Eight District, Mount Pleasant and Asbury Methodist Episcopal South; Ninth District, Mount Carmel and Hickory Grove Methodist Episcopal South and Antioch, Christian; Tenth District, Hopewell and Summitville Methodist Episcopal South, Pleasant Grove Separate Baptist and Mud Creek Missionary Baptist and Christ.
Eleventh District, Bean Creek Separate Baptist and Christian and Pleasant Hill Cumberland Presbyterian; Twelfth District, Pleasant Plains Christian; Fourteenth District, Concord Separate Baptist; Sixteenth District, Bacon’s Chapel Separate Baptist and Philadelphia Christian.
Manchester, the county seat, lies on the south side of Bark Camp Fork of Duck River, on a high beautiful level, 1,050 feet above sea level, eighteen miles distant from, and in full view of the Cumberland Mountains, and on the McMinnville branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, twelve miles from Tullahoma, and has a population of about 600. The location upon which the town was founded in 1836, was for many years known as the Stone Fort, a diagram and sketch of which may be found in the state department of this book, and was a post hamlet on the old stage route from Winchester to Nashville. As early as 1815 – Eastland established a tavern or ordinary at the foot of the hill on which the town now stands, which was known as the Stone Fort Tavern. In later years the tavern was kept by the father of Col. A. S. Collier, editor of the Nashville Union. Among the pioneer merchants of Manchester were John Bell, James White, Joseph Brown, Grimer & Morgan, Blanton & Co., and Hickerson & Powers, all of whom engaged in business prior to 1840. Between 1840 and 1850 Wylie, William A. and Leander Hickerson, Harvard Morgan, Anderson Powers and GeorgeArrington were the merchants; R. E. Lasater, Shacklefold & Co., James Neal, J. E. and G. W. Jackson, and L. Hickerson, from 1850 to the breaking out of the civil war, from which time to the close of the same there was no business transacted. Between 1865 and 1870 the merchants were Lasater & Rathbone, D. P. Rathbone, Wm. Blood, R. E. Lasater, Shackleford & Co., and Marcell & Bro. Between 1870 and 1880 D. P. Rathbone, C. McCrury, Marcell & Bro., Emmerson & Co., Burger & Kelton, Riggs & Son, Rutherford & Terrell, Moore & Timmons, G. T. Sain and SamuelCross. The present business men are E. S. Hough and Price & LeCroy, drugs; Wooton & Winton, Bryant & Harmon, I. J. Green, I. N. Jones, J. P. Adams and Willis & Wilkerson, general merchandise; T. J. Scott, W. J. Taylor and Wm. Ferguson, family groceries; Burger & Allwood, livery stable; Wm. H. Clay, undertaker, and Turner & Thomas, meat market; hotels, W. M. Green and L. M. Robinson. Samuel Murry erected a rope factory at the little falls on Bark Camp Fork of Duck River at Manchester, in 1823, which was destroyed by fire, and in 1847 A. B. Robertson erected a flour, grist and saw-mill on the same site, which was also destroyed by fire in 1871. During the first named year Wm. Murry began the erection of a cotton factory on Brewer Creek, three miles north of Manchester, which was completed and operated for a number of years by J. E. Bashaw. – Eastland operated a still-house under the hill at Manchester, as early as 1812, and in 1830 Joseph Hickerson erected a cotton-gin in the neighborhood. In 1852 W. S. Whiteman erected a paper-mill on Barren Fork of Duck River, at Manchester, which was burned in 1871. He also erected a powder-mill in 1862 near the same site, and manufactured powder for the Confederate Army until the destruction of the mill and magazines by the Federal Soldiers in 1863. In 1878 Charles Ohlemacher erected a hub and spoke factory near the depot, and operated the same for about five years, and then removed the same to Shelbyville. In 1879 the Stone Fort Paper Company erected a large frame paper-mill on the site of the old paper-mill, which is now operated by Hickerson & Wooton. The mill has a daily capacity of 4,000 pounds of paper, and about thirty hands are employed. Writing, news and wrapping paper are manufactured. The pulp used is also manufactured at these mills. Capital to the amount of $40,000 is invested in the enterprise. The early and present physicians of Manchester are Drs. Williams, J. E. Rhoades, Jackson, Miller, A. F. Vincent, Burgie, Barnes, J. D. Wooton and C. E. Price.
The newspaper of the town is the Manchester Times, F. N. Miller, editor and proprietor. It was established in November, 1881, and is a live, progressive Democratic paper, and ably edited. Other newspaper adventures of the past were, in the order given, the Gospel Herald, founded in 1860 by Rees Jones; the People’s Paper, established in 1860 by A. Butterworth; The True Patriot, established in 1862 by P. C. Isbell; theConservative, established in 1868 by Hulfish Bros.; the Coffee County Democrat, established in 1871 by G. M. Emack; and the Manchester Guardian, established in 1874 by C. T. and T. J. Wilson, all of which were published for periods ranging from seven weeks to four years.
Harmony Lodge, No. 214, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1850. Stone Fort Chapter, No. 62, Royal Arch Masons, was instituted in 1851; Manchester Lodge, No. 207, I. O. O. F., instituted in 1878, and Stone Fort Lodge, No. 2146, K. of H., was instituted in 1881.
Manchester was incorporated January 6, 1838, and the charter was surrendered March 28, 1883, in order to permit the four-mile school temperance law to take effect, the Manchester College being a chartered institution.
Tullahoma, one of the most flourishing towns in Middle Tennessee, and a manufacturing center, is situated on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, and at the terminus of the McMinnville branch of the same, sixty-nine miles southeast from Nashville, eighty-two miles northwest from Chattanooga and twelve miles southwest from Manchester, and has a population of 3,000. Situated on the Highland Rim, 1,170 feet above sea level, being the highest point on the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga, with the Cumberland Mountains in view, a climate unsurpassed in the South, surrounded by excellent mineral springs, with a moral and progressive class of citizens, Tullahoma is one of the most desirable locations in the South, and is also a summer resort of considerable note.
The town was founded in 1851 by a town company organized for that purpose, at the head of which were Thomas Anderson, Benjamin Deckerd, Wm. Moore, Volney S. Stephenson and Pierce B. Anderson. In February, 1858, a charter of incorporation was granted the town, which, as amended, is in force at present.
A grocery store was opened by James Grizzard, the pioneer merchant, in the year 1851, and later in the same year L. W. Ingle opened a dry goods store and the first hotel, the Lincoln House, was erected by Meredith P. Pearson. Following the above and up to the breaking out of the civil war, the merchants were Gowan & McLemore, J. B. Witherby, J. E. Pearson & Co., Jordan & Morgan, Hunt & Shaw, John B. Smith, James Daniels, Simpson Bros., Berry & Gowan, McLemore & Enoch, Geo. W. Walden, J. W. Marshall, Simpson & Co., J. E. Rosborough, Jones & Galloway, M. Hollander, Edwards & Norton, J. F. Thomas, A. Woods, and J. R. Graham. Wm. Moore was the liveryman of that period, and during the latter part of the same the Veranda Hotel, was erected, of which J. E. Hogan was proprietor. Drs. J. E. Hogan, James Norton, Thomas Anderson, C. S. Harris, J. R. Blake, A. M. Holt and son Joseph, Street, Strong and Fain were the physicians of that period.
By March 1862, business had been entirely suspended in the town, but upon the arrival of Federal troops in 1863 stores were opened by J. F. Thomas, Wm. Crane and Lasater & Rathbone. From 1865 to 1870 the merchants were Campbell & Genthner, W. Wait & Co., S. J. Leichleucher, Marshall & Norton, Lasater & Elkins, Crane & Witherby, Witherby & Aydelott, Hickerson & Powers, Collins & Co., Marbury & Freeman and Lasater & Hill. From 1870 to 1880 they were I. F. Maynard, Ward & Powers, S. W. French, R. Wilson, D. S. Monger, Witherby & Aydelott, Hickerson & Powers, Campbell & McLemore, M. P. Marbury, Aydelott, Davidson & Co., and C. F. Hickerson & Co.
The business of the present is as follows: Maynard & Sons, Carroll Bros. & Co., R. H. Richardson, Brainard & Smith, Moore & Hickerson general merchandise; W. E. Russell, J. W. Yates, W. M. Ross, S. J. McLemore, Crowell Bros., M. N. Moore & Sons, family groceries; A. B. Conley, R. Wilson, dry goods and clothing; Rutledge Bros., clothing and furnishing goods; George R. Crane, Williams & Sewell, drugs; George N. Carter, G. W. Bowden, jewelry; W. A. Marshall, furniture; Baird & McCoy, agricultural implements; Jacob Graft, Lawson & Dean, stoves and tinware; J. L. Jones, produce; Frank Hodgkins, restaurant; W. H. Gilbert, bakery and meat market; R. M. Staley, photographer; Mrs. Blakemore, Misses Bailett, milliners; Ward Bros., Elan & Kirk, livery stables; Marcell & Dewey, undertakers; hotels, St. James, John B. Carroll, proprietor; Hurricane Hall, Miller Bros., proprietors; and DeCorzelius, F. Corzelius, proprietor. The Tullahoma first National Bank was established in 1883, with L. D. Hickerson, Sr., president, and S. J. Walling, cashier. The present officers are L. D. Hickerson, Sr., president, and L. D. Hickerson, Jr., cashier, the latter having been elected in October, 1885. The cash capital of the bank is $50,000, with $6,000 surplus.
Since the close of the war up to the present time the following physicians have practiced in Tullahoma, in about the order named: Drs. W. T. Allen, Seth Hart, A. M., and Joseph Holt, W. M. Fariss, A. W. Booth, J. B. Cowan, J. W. Phillips and J. C. Smith, the last five being those of the present.
The manufacturing establishments are as follows: The Tullahoma woolen-mill, W. R. French, proprietor, was established in 1875, has 125 hands employed and capital to the extent of $100,000 invested; Tullahoma hub, spoke and rim factory, M. R. Campbell, proprietor, was established in 1874, employs forty hands, and has invested $45,000; Tullahoma file works, M. R. Campbell, proprietor, established in 1882, employs twenty-five hands, and has $30,000 invested; Tullahoma planing and saw-mill, George W. Steagall, proprietor, established in 1883, employs thirty hands, and has $20,000 capital invested; Tullahoma flour-mills, Hawkins & Co., proprietors, established in 1871, has a capacity of forty barrels per day, and capital to the extent of $10,000 invested; Tullahoma distillery (registered No. 533) established in 1882, has a daily capacity of three barrels, and capital invested $5,000; Tullahoma shirt factory, G. A. Moulton, proprietor, established in 1885, capital invested $800; Tullahoma Lodge, No. 262, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1853; Grizzard Chapter, No. 122, was instituted in 1869, and reorganized as Tullahoma Chapter, No. 122, in 1886; Tullahoma Lodge, No. 101, I. O. O. F. was instituted June 17, 1857, and reorganized March 21, 1866; Tullahoma Encampment, No. 34, I. O. O. F., was instituted originally at Lynchburg, and removed to Tullahoma, May 28, 1886; Tullahoma Lodge, No. 75, A. O. U. W., was instituted January 28, 1882; Tullahoma Lodge, No. 1,210, K. of H., was instituted in 1878.
The Tullahoma Courier was the first newspaper published in the town, it being established in 1856 by Martin Van Buren Hale, and published for about two years. Preparations were made a year or two later by Dr. Fain to publish a paper, but the same never made its appearance. In 1867 the Tullahoma Appalachian was established by a party of gentlemen, and of which George W. Davidson was editor-in-chief and John W. Davidson and James G. Aydelott were local editors. Following this was the Independent, which was owned by W. R. French and edited by John Bateman Smith. In 1874 the material of the Manchester Guardian was removed to Tullahoma and the Tullahoma Guardian established by T. J. Wilson, and is at the present the Democratic organ of the town. The Guardian is ably edited, and has a good advertising and subscription patronage. The Tullahoma Messenger, an independent journal, was established in 1884 as the Enterprise by J. D. Alexander. Subsequently the name was changed to that of the Republican, and in January 1887, the paper made its appearance as the Messenger, with T. S. Givan as editor and proprietor. Like its contemporary, the Messenger is meeting with success, being well edited and conducted. Tullahoma has been visited by three damaging conflagrations. The first fire occurred in 1861, the second in 1867 and the last in 1883. At the breaking out of the civil war Tullahoma had a population of about 500, with a good number of substantial business houses, but at the close of the conflict but little if anything remained of the once flourishing village, all the churches, schools and a majority of the business houses and residences having been destroyed. But to-day the town has seven churches, two schools and business and dwelling-houses that will compare favorably with those of any town in the South. The surface of the town is level, and the streets broad and regular, and, together with the principal business houses, are lighted with electricity, a first-class dynamo and full electrical apparatus having been purchased and put in operation in January, 1887. Rock Creek, a shallow tributary of Elk River, divides the town east and west and supplies ample water to the various manufactories located on or near the stream.
Tullahoma was considered an important point by both armies during the civil war, and when the Confederates fell back in 1862 the town was occupied by the Federals. During the same year the Federals evacuated the town, and after the battle of Murfreesboro Gen. Bragg and army occupied the town until the summer of 1863. While in possession of the place this time the Confederates erected Fort Raines on an eminence in the northern part of the town and dug rifle pits around the entire town. The earthworks enclosing about four acres of ground, can be traced at the present. In the latter part of the summer of 1863 Gen. Bragg evacuated the town, which was at once occupied by the Federal forces, who held it until Hood’s raid, when they temporarily evacuated, but occupied it after Hood’s retreat from Franklin and held it until the close of the war.
Beech Grove, in the northwest part of the county; Hillsboro, in the southeast part; Summittville, on the McMinnville Railroad, eight miles from the county seat and Noah (Needmore) eight and a half miles north of Manchester are villages of from fifty to one hundred inhabitants each.
Transcribed by Jan McFarlin 1999. Source: History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of the Counties of White, Warren, Coffee, Dekalb, and Cannon, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.