CARROLL COUNTY lies on the dividing ridge between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. It is bounded north by Weakley and Henry Counties, east by Benton and Decatur, south by Henderson and Madison, west by Gibson, and has an area of about 650 square miles. The. eastern portion is drained by the Big Sandy River and its numerous tributaries. This river flows through the county in a northerly direction, and thence to its junction with the Tennessee. The central and western portions are drained by the Obion River (which flows to the Mississippi) and its tributaries, Beaver Creek, Crooked Creek and Rutherford Fork. In the western and northwestern portions of the county the surface of the country is gently undulating, while in the eastern and southeastern portions it is somewhat broken and hilly. The soil is generally a clay loam mixed with sand, and the subsoil is a reddish clay. With proper cultivation the land produces well. The timbers are the oak in its varieties, hickory, poplar, gum, beech etc. There are numerous springs, but for family use the people generally depend upon wells and cisterns.
The first settlements in the county were made at McLemoresville and Buena Vista about the year 1820. R. E. C. Dougherty, at whose house the county was organized, held the land office for West Tennessee at McLemoresville as early as 1820. The first entry of land at this office, was made December 6, 1820, by David Gillespie. Other early settlers in the western part of the county were Dr. S. Y. Bigham, Rev. William Bigham, David Marshall, Robert Gilbert who cleared the site of McLemoresville, Rev. Abner Cooper, Rev. Reuben Burrow, Revs. James and Robert Hurt, Reddick Hillsman, William Harris, Lewis Demoss and Nathan Fox. James Hampton, Wm. Horton, Moses Roberts, W. A. Crider and son R. H. Crider (who is still living), and Nathan Nesbit and son Wilson (the latter still living), and Samuel Rogers were among the first settlers in the vicinity of Buena Vista, and elsewhere in the eastern part of the county. The first settlers in the vicinity of Huntingdon were Samuel Ingram, John Crockett (father of W. G. Crockett now of Huntingdon), James H. Gee, Wm. A. Thompson, Thomas Ross, John Gwin, Robert Murray and others. Among the early settlers in the vicinity of McKenzie were J. M. Gilbert (the present mayor of that town, who is now over eighty-six years of age), Ambrose Dudley, Thomas and Wm. Hamilton, Elam Cashon, Green Bethel, Wm. Rogers and John Green. Later came James and Richard Cole, Stephen Pate, John McKenzie and others. As the organization of the county took place almost immediately after the first settlements were made, it should be borne in mind that every person hereinafter named in connection with the organization of the county and of the courts were early settlers. Large tracts of the most valuable lands of the county were entered by the location of North Carolina military land warrants, and owned by non-residents. Mimucan Hunt & Co. held such warrants for twenty tracts of land, each containing 5,000 acres. In September, 1794, Mr. Hunt conveyed to Isaac Roberts five of said tracts. 25,000 acres, all lying on Beaver Creek in Carroll County, for Mr. Roberts’ share for locating the land warrants, and obtaining the grants from the State for the aforesaid twenty 5,000-acre tracts. These lands were all located west of the Tennessee River and largely in Carroll County. In January, 1821, Dr. Thomas Hunt, executor of the will of Mimucan Hunt, then deceased, conveyed to Thomas H., Jesse, Samuel and Nathan Benton, the interest in said lands belonging to their father, Jesse Benton of North Carolina, all of which appears of record in the register’s office at Huntingdon. The Indians left the county about the time the settlers appeared. But the unbroken forest was then infested with bears, wolves, panthers, deer, wildcats, the smaller wild animals, and snakes. It is said that the reputation this country then had in North Carolina, was "fifty bushels of frogs to the acre, and snakes enough to fence the land." The wild animals destroyed many of the domestic animals of the early settlers, but they were hunted and subdued until all of the more destructive ones have become extinct. The first bridge built in the county was McKee’s bridge on the Big Sandy. In 1822, and prior thereto, there were no mills in the county, and the first settlers had to go to Humphreys County to get their milling done, and family supplies, such as salt, coffee, etc, were then brought from Reynoldsburg on the Tennessee River. The first gristmill in West Tennessee, was built in Carroll County by Isaac Blount on Blount Creek, on the site of the mill since owned by Joshua Butler. In March, 1824, Wm. Harris and Reddick Hillsman obtained leave of the county court to build a mill on Reedy Creek, and John Stockard was granted leave to build one on the same creek. Prior to this the same privilege had been granted to one Green, on Hollow Rock Creek. About the same time R. E. C. Dougherty built a mill on Clear Creek. James Shields erected the first cotton-gin in the county, on a place near Buena Vista. The first will probated in the county was that of David Clark, deceased, probated in June, 1824. Andrew Neely was the first infant ward and John S. Neely the first guardian. Wm. Roberts, called Bit Nose Bill, was the first man married in the county. About 1831 the Huntingdon turnpike leading to Jackson was constructed. For the years 1821 and 1822 the counties of Gibson and Dyer were territorially attached to Carroll, and for 1823 Gibson alone.
The raising of cotton was begun by the early settlers, and it has always been the staple production of the farmers. Grains and vegetables have been raised for home consumption, while cotton has been raised for the market. Tobacco to some extent has always been, and continues to be raised, in the northern part of the county. The people are industrious and generous, primitive in their habits, and manufacture and wear a great deal of home-made clothing. The United States census report for 1880 gives the agricultural products of the county as follows: Indian corn, 1,018,415 bushels; oats, 37,694 bushels; wheat, 88,396 bushels; hay, 1,131 tons; cotton, 10,505 bales; Irish potatoes, 9,377 bushels; sweet potatoes, 25,099 bushels; tobacco, 69,167 pounds. And the live stock was enumerated as follows: horses and mules, 7,428; cattle, 10,754; sheep, 7,166; hogs, 35,398. In 1860 the population of Carroll County was white, 13,339; colored, 43098. In 1880 the population was white, 16,524; colored, 5,579, the increase of the white population for the twenty years being 3,185, and of the colored 1,481, the per centum of increase of the former being nearly twenty-four, and of the latter a little over thirty-six.
The county of Carroll was organized by an act of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, passed November 7, 1821, which provided that a new county, to be called Carroll, should be established within the following bounds, to-wit: "Beginning on the west boundary of Humphreys County [noe the west line of Benton County] at the southeast corner of Henry; running thence west with the south boundary of said county to the southwest corner of Henry County; thence south parallel with the range line to a point two and a half miles south of the line dividing the Ninth and Twelfth Districts; thence east parallel with the sectional line in the Ninth Disfrist; thence north to the northeast corner of Range 2, Section 11, in said Ninth District; thence east with the district line to the west boundary of Perry County [now west line of Decatur County], thence northwardly with the west boundary of Perry and Humphreys Counties, to the beginning." The act also provided that the court of pleas and quarter sessions should be held on the second Mondays of March. June, September and December of each year, at the house of R. E. C. Dougherty at McLemoresville until otherwise provided by law. By a subsequent act passed November 21, 1821, Sterling Brewer of Dickson County, James Fentress of Montgomery County, and Abram Maury of Williamson County, were appointed commissioners to fix on a place as near the center of the county as an eligible site could be procured, within three miles of the center thereof, for the seat of justice. In accordance with said act the first bench of justices of the peace consisting: of John Gwin, Edward Gwin, Senator Mark R. Roberts, Samuel Ingram, John Stockard, Thomas Hamilton, Samuel A. McClary, Banks W. Burrow, Daniel Barecroft, and John Bone, commissioned as such by Gov. Carroll, met on the 11th of March, 1822, at the house of R. E. C. Dougherty at McLemoresville, and organized the first county court, then known as the court of pleas and quarter sessions, by electing John Gwin as chairman. The first entry on the minutes of the court following the caption, read as follows: "Ordered that the county tax be equal to the State tax, except on white and black polls. That each white poll be taxed equal to one hundred acres of land, and black polls equal to two hundred acres of land. And that James A. McClary take a list of the taxable property south of Rutherford Fork of the Obion River, and Thomas Hamilton a list of all north of the South Fork of the said river; John Stockard a list of all west of the dividing ridge dividing the waters of Sandy and Obion Rivers and between the South Fork and Rutherford Fork of the Obion; John Brown a list of all east of said ridge and north of Sandy Bridge, and Samuel Ingram a list of the property south of said bridge and east of said ridge." On the second day of the term the following county officers were elected: Sion Rogers, sheriff; Littleton W. White, register; Wm. Adams, ranger; Banks W. Burrow, trustee;. John S. Neely, coroner, and John McKee, George Sevier and Wm. Barecroft, constables. And thus the organization of the county was completed.
At the June term, 1822, Banks W. Burrow, Thomas A. Thompson John Stockard, Samuel Ingram and Mark B. Roberts were appointed commissioners to lay out the county seat and superintend the sale of the lots and the erection of the public buildings. Nathan Nesbit was subsequently added to said committee. Then came Sterling Brewer and James Fentress, two of the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly, and reported that they had chosen for the site of the seat of justice, a tract of land belonging to the heirs of Mimucan Hunt, and lying on the north bank of Beaver Creek The title of this tract, consisting of fifty acres, was not obtained until July 21, 1823, when it was obtained by said commissioners from Thomas Hunt, executor of the will of Mimucan Hunt, of North Carolina. The first courthouse, built in 1822, was a small log cabin, without a floor, erected where the present one now stands, and Nathan Nesbit, chairman of the court of pleas and quarter sessions, blazed his way through the forest from his residence, five miles east of Huntingdon, to the county seat, carrying with him his cross-cut saw, with which he sawed the door out of the new court house, and entered therein and opened the first court held at Huntingdon, December 9, 1822. At this term the jurors of the court brought their provisions with them and camped out. The town of Huntingdon was surveyed and platted by James H. Gee, under the supervision of the commissioners appointed to lay out the town. And at the March term, 1824, of the court the following allowances were made to the surveyor and commissioners, to-wit: "James H. Gee, for 5 days' services, at four dollars per day, $20; two chain-carriers, for five days' services, $1.50 per day, $15; for making 480 posts for the lots, $12; for whiskey and paper at the sale of lots, $10; Nathan Nesbit, 24 days as commissioner, $72; John Stockard, 18 days as commissioner, $54; Samuel Ingram, 24 days as commissioner, $72; Thomas A. Thompson, 20 days as commissioner, $60; Banks W. Burrow, 4 days as commissioner, $12." At the December term, 1823, the name of the county seat, which up to that time had been called Huntsville, was changed to Huntingdon. They were anxious to retain the first syllable, and thereupon James H. Gee, who was a musician as well as a surveyor, and who was fond of the old tune Huntingdon, suggested that name and it was adopted. The sale of the lots, the date of which the records do not show, must have taken place prior to March 10, 1823, as evidenced by the record of a deed of that date from the commissioners of Huntingdon to John Crockett for Lot 16. There were 117 lots and the public square in the original plat of the town. At the March term, 1824, of the court of pleas and quarter sessions commissioners were appointed to let the job of clearing the public square, and Jack Aspy was awarded the contract.
The first courthouse, heretofore described, was sold in 1824 to John Crockett who moved it away and used it for a kitchen. It was replaced that year by a frame house 20x24 feet, This stood until about 1830, when the third court house, 30x50 feet, was built of brick. John Parker and Jacob Bledsoe built the foundation, and George and John Simmons were the brick masons, and Joel H. Smith the carpenter. The fourth and present courthouse was completed in 1844. Joel B. Smith and Thomas Banks were the contractors. The rock for the foundation was hauled from Benton County. The brick work was sub-contracted to Wm. S. New for one cent per brick actual count. Mr. New in fulfilling his part of the contract lost heavily. The house cost about $12,000. It is a two story brick structure, with two offices and a court room on each floor.
The second courthouse was sold to Robert Murray and moved to his lot east of the public square and used as a warehouse. The first jail, erected in 1824, stood nearly opposite from the present one. It was a small hewed-log cabin, from which the prisoners frequently escaped. The second jail was built by Samuel Ingram, in the west part of town. It is now used for a residence. The present jail and jailer’s residence combined was erected in 1875, under the supervision of J. P. Wilson, W. B. Grizzard, G. W. Humble, A. R. Hall, W. E. Mebane, Alfred Bryant and L. A. Williams. It is a commodious two-story brick building, containing five cells for prisoners, and altogether cost $11,000. The poor farm, consisting of 134 acres, was purchased in 1852 from Thomas Butler. The buildings were improved in 1877 and later, by removing, the old log cabins and erecting in their stead neat frame cottages. The farm was enlarged in 1886, by the purchase from W. O. Davis of 104 acres of timber land adjoining it. The inmates of the poor asylum average about thirty in number, and appropriations are made by the county court for the support of about forty poor persons who reside with their friends throughout the county. The poor of Carroll County are well cared for.
The Nashville, Chattanooga, & St., Louis Railroad was completed through the county soon after the close of the civil war. It has stations within the county at Hollow Rock, Huntingdon and McKenzie. The Memphis & Louisville Railroad was completed through the county in 1860. It has stations within the county at McKenzie, Trezevant and Atwood.
The following is a list of county officers with dates of service: County court clerks: Edward Gwin, 1822-36; George Hem, 1836-40; Young W. Allen, 1840-52; Wm. H. Graves, 1852-68; Cyrus Wilson, 1868-70; W. H. Eason, 1870-78; Elijah Falkuer, 1878-86; J. C. R. McCall, 1886. Sheriffs: Sion Rodgers, 1822-24; Thomas A. Thompson, 1824-25 (died before close of his term); Sion Rodgers, 1825-30; James Latimer, 1830-32; Thomas Banks, 1832-36; Andrew Neely, 1836-38; John Norman, 1838-44; Jeremiah T. Rust, 1844-48; John H. Boyd, 1848-52; Geo. W. Holaday, 1852-58; Alfred Bryant, 1858-62; John Norman, 1862-64; Joseph A. Johnson, 1864-66; James M. Neely, 1866- 70; Alfred Bryant, 1870-74; E. W. Williams, 1874-78; J. F. Leach, 1878-82; E. E. Pate, 1882-84; F. C. Sanders, 1884-86 and re-elected. Registers: Littleberry W. White, 1822-27; H. H. Brown, 1827-32; Thomas A. Hawkins, 1832-40; John R. Clark, 1840-44; Martin Dill, 1844-48; Nathan Williams, 1848-52; Benj. F. Harrison, 1852-56; George L. Harris, 1856-63; J. H. Noell, 1863-68; Joseph McCracken, 1868-74; J. W. Walters, 1874-78; E. G. Ridgeley, 1878-82; J. W. Walters, 1882-86; S. A. Brown, 1886. Trustees; Banks W. Burrow, 1822-28, and perhaps to 1836; Mathews Bigham, 1836-42; China Wilder, 1842-52; Thomas Gray, 1852-54; Pleasant G. Wright, 1854-58; James N. Gardner, 1858-62, Wm. Harrison, 1862-70; James S. Ramsey, 1870- 78; J. F. Rogers, 1878-86; A. E. Hastings, 1886. Circuit court clerks: Benjamin B. McCampbell, 1822-40; James M. Henderson, January to August, 1840; Joel R. Smith, 1840-44; John Norman, 1844- 56; B. F. Harrison, 1856-70; W. R. Grizzard, 1870-82; C. P. Priestley, 1882-84; A. E. Hastings, 1884-86; A. W. Hawkins, 1886. State senators: Henry H. Brown, 1823; James R. McMeans, 1820; John D. Love, 1829; Robert Murray, 1831; James L. Totton, 1835; Robert E. C. Dougherty, 1837; Valentine Sevier, 1839; Isaac J. Roach, 1847; Beverly S. Allen, 1849; M. R. Hill, 1851; A. Benton, 1853; Isaac J. Roach, 1857; V. S. Allen, 1859; John Norman, 1865; Wm. H. Hall, 1869; J. M. Coulter, 1873; M. D. L. Jordan, 1875; A. G. Hawkins, 1877; L. M. Beckerdite, 1879; S. F. Rankin, 1881; James P. Wilson, 1883; John H. Farmer, 1885. Representatives in lower house of the Legislature: David Crockett, 1823; Duncan Molver, 1826; Joel R. Smith, 1833; A. M. Cardwell, 1837; Yancey Bledsoe, 1839; A. P. Hall, 1845; Beverly S. Allen, 1847; Granville C. Hurt, 1851; J. W. Wilson, 1855; J. B. Algee, 1857; J. D. Porter, Jr., 1859; J. M. Martin, 1867; B. A. Enloe, 1869; T. B. Brooks, 1873; L. L. Hawkins, 1877; J. R. McKinney, 1885.
The aggregate amount of county taxes charged upon the duplicate of Carroll County for the year 1825, three years after the organization, was as follows: "196,932 acres of land, at 64-3/4 cents per each hundred acres, $1,353.87; 60 town lots, at 62-1/2 cents each, $37.50; 421 free polls, at 12-1/2 cents each, $52.62; 245 black polls, at 25 cents each, $61.25; 9 stud horses, $21.50. Total, $1,526.75." The State taxes charged in 1824 amounted to $266.07. Presuming that a like sum for State purposes was charged on the duplicate of 1825, and added to the $1,526.75 of county taxes for that year, the amount for both State and county would be $1,792.82. It will be interesting to compare the foregoing with the recapitulation of the duplicate of the county for the year 1886, which is as follows:
Number of town lots, 610
Number of acres of land ____
Total taxable property
The taxes charged on the total value of taxable property and on 3,456 polls are as follows, to wit: State tax, $7, 844.34; county tax, $9,992.95; school tax, $13,448.95; road tax, $1,876.08. Total tax, $33,162.32.
At the second term of the court of pleas and quarter sessions, held in June, 1822, William Arnold, Robert Hughes, Will Stoddart, Archibald C. Hall and Thomas Taylor were admitted and sworn as attorneys to practice in said court. At the same time William Arnold produced his commission from the governor and was sworn as solicitor general of the Thirteenth Solicitorial District. At the next term of said court, September, 1822, John C. Bowen, John McBride, Peter Honnell, David Crockett, the famous hunter, and Hezekiah McVale appeared, and each made oath to the killing of a certain number of wolves, and were allowed the usual bounty for destroying those destructive animals.
Then came Nathan Nesbit, John Stockard, Samuel Ingram, Robert Jainison and Enoch Enochs, commissioners previously appointed to divide an estate of 5,000 acres belonging to the heirs of Isaac Roberts, deceased, and submitted their report in full, which was confirmed, and each was allowed $4 per day for nine days’ services, and James H. Gee, the surveyor, was allowed $6.50 per day for ten days’ services, all to be paid by said heirs in proportion to their respective interests. The names of the men composing the first grand jury in this court were Samuel Woods, Robert Algee, Joseph Dixon, John Kelough, Lewis Demoss, Stephen Warren, William Patton, Thomas Finley, John Martin, Abram White, Henry Rogers and Peter Honnell. They were sworn and charged at the September term, 1822, and after deliberation they returned into court a "bill of indictment against William Robinson and Hawkins Wormack for an affray," and a presentment against Edward Owin, the clerk of the court, for an assault and battery "on the body of a woman slave, the property of Samuel McCorkle." At the June term, 1823, David Crockett was indicted for an assault, and upon being tried he made his own defense and the verdict of the jury was "not guilty." At the same term the fare at taverns was established as follows: "Breakfast, 25 cents; dinner, 37½ cents; supper, 25 cents; lodging, 12½ cents; whiskey, per half pint, 12½ cents; per pint, 25 cents; per quart, 37½ cents; feeding horse, 25 cents; keeping horse per night, 50 cents; night and day, 75 cents; man and horse per day, $1.50."
William Anderson, James H. Russell, James R. McMeans, James K. Chalmers, John L. Allen and M. A. Q. McKenzie were all admitted in 1823 as attorneys to practice law. The last term of the court of pleas and quarter sessions was held in March, 1836, and the first term of the county court under the constitution of 1834, was held in May, 1836. This court was composed of thirty-four justices of the peace, elected by the people, and was organized by appointing Samuel Ingram as chairman. From that year the county court continued to hold its regular sessions until December, 1863, when it suspended business, on account of the war, until July 3, 1865, when it was reorganized under Gov. Brownlow’s administration. It now consists of fifty-three justices of the peace, with Judge G. W. Humble, who has been the presiding officer as judge ever since 1872, and prior to that date he presided over the court for many years as chairman thereof.
The first term of the circuit court was held at the house of R. E. C. Dougherty, at McLeinoresville, beginning on Monday, April 1, 1822, with Hon. Joshua Haskell, judge, presiding. Benjamin B. McCampbell was appointed clerk, and Edward Gwin, Samuel Woods, John Gwin, Samuel McCorkle, Enoch Enochs, David Moore, Jonathan Dawson, Lewis Demoss, Edward Busey, John Stockard, Levi Woods, James H. Gee and John Komez were sworn and charged as grand jurors. This was the first grand jury empaneled in the county. Then came John W. Cook, Robert Hughes and Alex B. Bradford and were admitted and sworn as attorneys to practice in said court. At the September term, 1823, John Montgomery was prosecuted by the State for an "affray," whereupon Howell Ward, Julius Webb, Walter Connell, Wilson Lightfoot, Mathis Brigham, David Robison, Edward Busey, Theophilus Morgan, Jesse Walker, Nathan Nesbit, and Elijah Wheelis were einpaneled and sworn to try the prisoner, which they did upon the law and the evidence, and returned a verdict of "not guilty." This was the first petit jury em-paneled in the county, and the trial was the first criminal prosecution in the circuit court. During the war period this court suspended business from April 1862, until August, 1865, when it was reorganized, with Hon. L. L. Hawkins as judge thereof.
Only two persons have been hanged for the crime of murder in Carroll County. The first was Frank Oliver, colored, for the murder of a widow lady by the name of Rumley. After trial and conviction he was executed on the gallows in May, 1847, in the presence of 10,000 spectators. The other was Charley Phillips, colored, for the murder of Frank Prince, colored. After trial and conviction he was executed on the gallows in July, 1884. This execution was private, as provided by late statute.
The chancery court was established at Huntingdon about the year 1835, for all of West Tennessee. The records thereof having been destroyed during the civil war, the exact date is not given. As fast as chancery courts were established in other counties, the territory over which this court held jurisdiction grew less until finally it was limited to that of Carroll County. Pleasant M. Miller, of Jackson, Tenn., is said to have been the first chancellor. He was succeeded by George W. Gibbs, Milton Brown of Jackson, Andrew McCampbell of Paris, Calvin Jones of Somerville, and Stephen C. Pavatt of Camden, Tenn., the latter being chancellor at the beginning of the civil war. This court suspended business from 1862 until February, 1866, when it was reorganized, with Robert H. Rose as chancellor, and S. W. Hawkins, clerk and master. Chancellor Rose was succeeded by James W. Dougherty, and he by John Somers, who was succeeded in 1886 by A. G. Hawkins, the present chancellor. Joel R. Smith was the first clerk and master, and the following gentlemen have been his successors in that office, in the order here named: Henry Strange, Napoleon Priest, who died during his term; J. P. Priestley, who held the office when the war began; S. W. Hawkins and J. P. Priestley, the present incumbent, who has held the office ever since 1870. Among the distinguished early resident attorneys of Carroll County were Chancellor Milton Brown, Thomas Jennings and Berry Gillespie. Later came John McKernan, Benjamin C. Totton, Chancellor Stephen C. Pavatt, William and J. W. Dougherty, Josiah Hubbard, N. B. Burrow, V. S. and B. S. Allen, none of whom now remain. Then came the Hawkinses, all of whom still remain except Col. Isaac R. Hawkins, who has since died. The present resident attorneys are ex-Gov. Alvin Hawkins and his son Alonzo, Capt. A. W. Hawkins, the present clerk of the circuit court, who is also a physician and minister, and a survivor of the Mexican and civil wars; Joseph R. Hawkins, L. L. Hawkins, S. W. Hawkins and Albert G. Hawkins, the present chancellor; L. W. Beckerdite, H. C. Townes, the present State Senator elect; W. W. Murray, H. C. Brewer, the present postmaster; G. W. McCall and J. P. Wilson; also Commillis Hawkins, B. P. Gilbert and George H. Ralstone, the latter three being residents of McKenzie, and also I. M. L. Barker, who resides in the Nineteenth Civil District.
The people of Carroll County are patriotic, and whenever the alarm of war has been sounded and the call to arms made, they have responded with gallantry. A company of volunteers, commanded by Capt. B. C. Totton was raised in the county for the Florida war. They went as far as Fayetteville, and not being needed, were not mustered into the service. In 1846 the county furnished a company for the Mexican war. Its officers were Capt. H. F. Murray, Lieutenants Isaac B. Hawkins, J. Richardson, N. B. Burrow; Sergeants J. C. Hawkins, James Ingram, B. F. Harrison and R. P. McCracken; Corporals John W. Myrick, Jesse Wiley, Ashton W. Hawkins and J. F. Townes; privates, seventy-four in number. The company served through the Mexican war as Company B, Second Tennessee Infantry, commanded by Col. Wm. T. Haskell. At this date, 1886, only twenty of these veterans are living, and of that number Dr. A. W. Hawkins, J. F. Townes, H. T. Bridges, M. Bunn, W. G. Crockett, A. R. B. Churchwell, Joseph Hamilton, Wright Mebane, E. D. Shoffuer and Ephraiin Williams are citizens of Carroll County. In February, 1861, a mass-meeting of the citizens of Carroll County was held in the courthouse, and Isaac R. Hawkins, Alvin Hawkins, B. M. Gains, L. M. Jones, A. P. Hall and Dr. Seth W. Bell were appointed a committee to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. The majority report of this committee, signed by Isaac R. Hawkins, Alvin Hawkins, Dr. Bell and A. B. Hall, was adopted. It read as follows "That we are in favor of the seceding States being restored to their allegiance to the Governinent of the United States, peaceably if possible, but forcibly if necessary." The territory being first within the lines of the Confederate armies, the first company of soldiers raised in the county was known as the "Carroll Invincibles," commanded by Capt. E. P. HalL The next were the companies of Capts. W. A. Marshall and — Shoffner. These three companies were mustered into the Twenty-second Tennessee Confederate Infantry at Trenton, Tenn.; in June 1861. The next were Companies C and H of the Fifty-fifth Tennessee Confederate Infantry, the former commanded by Capt. L. W. Clark and the latter by Capt. Alfred Bryant. These companies joined their regiment at Trenton in October, 1861. In the spring of 1863, Company B, of the Nineteenth and Twentieth consolidated regiments of Tennessee Confederate Cavalry, was raised in this county. The company was commanded by Capt. W. H. Hawkins. During the latter part of the war Capt. Rufus Thomas commanded a company in a Kentucky Confederate regiment, which was composed mostly of citizens of Carroll County. Parts of other companies from this county, also served in the Confederate armies. The following commands all served in the Federal armies: Five companies commanded respectively by Capts. A. W. Hawkins, J. M. Martin, P. K. Parsons, John A. Miller and Thomas Belew, were raised in Carroll County and mustered into the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry at Trenton, in September, 1862. The companies of Capt. Hawkins and Capt. Belew, were mustered for twelve months only, and were mustered out at the end of their term, and many of the men re-enlisted in another company which was raised in Carroll County, in the fall of 1863, by Capt. Clinton King and mustered into the same regiment. Another company raised in the county and commanded by Capt John Neely was mustered into the First West Tennessee Infantry in the fall of 1862. The following year this regiment was consolidated with the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry. Company M of the latter regiment was also raised in this county by Capt. John W. Harwood and Lieut. H. L. Neely. During the early period of the war, while Carroll County was subject to the control of the Confederate armies, many of her citizens remained loyal to the United States, fled to the armies of the government for protection, and enlisted in regiments from other States. The guerrillas and bushwhackers were a terror to the people of the county, who suffered much more from their depredations than from the armies of the contending parties. These roving bands of outlaws committed several most brutal and fiendish murders within the county. Since the war the people have become reconciled to the results thereof, and with manifest forgiveness for past offenses, are now peaceable, happy and prosperous. The records of the chancery court were nearly all destroyed during the war, while all the other county records were well preserved.
Towns and Merchants
Samuel Ingram and John Gwin each built a dwelling house on the site of Huntingdon before it became the seat of justice for the county, and John Crockett, the first merchant of the place, built his storehouse on what is now the public square, before the town was surveyed. Other early merchants of Huntingdon were Robert Murray, Ennis Ury and Amer Lake & Co. The first physicians were Jacob White, Robert Nicholson, Gabriel Norman and Dr. Hogg. Thomas Ross located the first tanyard in the town. The merchants during the thirties were those already named, and Clark & Morrison, Everett & Bullard, Edmund Grizzard, G. W. Grizzard and others. After 1840 Thomas K. Wiley and Thomas Hall became merchants of the place, and they and some of those already named continued in business until the beginning of the civil war, when all mercantile business was suspended and remained so until the war closed. When peace was restored, A. R. Hall, Allen & Dougherty, Joseph McCracken and A. C. MeNeal & Co. were the first merchants to resume business. The present business and business men of the town are as follows: Dry goods, Joseph McCracken, S. N. Williams, Priest & Son, J. C. McNeal and Carter & Priest; family groceries, Lee Brothers, E. G. Ridgeley, J. Finley, Frank Johnson and W. T. Warren; drugs, C. P. Priestley and Dr. John Threadgill; hardware, Samuel Hendricks. In addition to the above there is the milliner store of Mrs. Mollie Grizzard, two jewelry stores, two livery stables, two undertaker’s shops, one tin shop, one meat shop, one wagon and other mechanics’ shops, and three drinking saloons. The hotels are the Easen House, Ownsby House and Brown House. There is a grist-mill, sawmill, planing-mill, stave factory and shingle-mill all combined, and the proprietors, Wilder & Dalton, do an extensive business. There is also the steam cotton-gin of J. F. Leach & Co. which gins and puts up from ten to twelve bales of cotton per day. The benevolent societies are the Masonic Fraternity, K. of H. and Golden Cross. The religious denominations are Southern Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian and Christian. The latter has no church edifice. The colored people have three churches: Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian and. Baptist. The first newspaper published in Carroll County, was the Huntingdon Advertiser, the first number of which was published at Huntingdon, July 8, 1839, by W. W. Gates, who advocated the principles of the Whig party. After the suspension of this paper another one, known as the Courier, was established about the year 1849 by C. R. P. Byers. A few years later the Carroll Patriot, was established by Wm. H. Hawkins, and published until the beginning of the civil war. In 1868 The West Tennesseean was established by Dr. A. W. Hawkins, and afterward merged into the Huntingdon Courier, and published about two years. The Tennessee Republican, was established in March, 1870, by E. G. Ridgeley, and its publication is still continued. About the same time or a little later The Vindicator was established by Grizzard & Algee, who published it about two years, and then T. H. Baker published The Democrat for a short time. Huntingdon was incorporated November 14, 1823, re-incorporated January 2, 1850, and the charter was so amended in March, 1883 as to require the mayor and marshal to be elected by a popular vote instead of by the aldermen as was the former custom. Hon. George T. McCall is the present mayor. The town has a pleasant and healthy location on high rolling ground, and its population is about 800.
McKenzie is situated at the crossing of the Nashville & Northwestern and the Louisville & Memphis Railroads. It was surveyed and platted in 1865 on lands belonging to James M. McKenzie, and buildings began at once to be erected, and the foundation for a prosperous town was at once established. A. G. Gilbert was the first merchant, and the next McKenzie & McClintoch and Mebane, Elbow & Covington. The town now contains four dry goods stores, six family groceries, two drug stores, one hardware store, three drinking saloons, two railroad depots, four steam cotton-gins, one planing-mill, one flouring-mill, two saw-mills, a livery stable, wagon and carriage shop, other mechanic shops, tw& hotels, the McKenzie House and Briant House; one weekly newspaper, the. Tri-County News, established in 1882 and published by H. C. Lawhon; two colleges, two public schools, white and colored, and three churches; Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian and Baptist; also two colored churches, Cumberland Presbyterian and Baptist. The population of McKenzie is about 1,000. Being located, as it was, on uncleared land, many of the forest trees have been preserved for shade, and altogether the town has a very attractive appearance. Trezevant on the Louisville & Memphis Railroad, ten miles southwest of McKenzie, was established in 1859 on lands belonging to L. B. White and W. A. Marshall. The first merchants were A. White and R. H. Algee. The former was the first postmaster. The business of the town now consists of five dry goods stores, two family groceries, one drug store, one grist-mill and three cotton-gins. The churches are the Cumberland Presbyterian, established in 1862; Baptist Mission, 1866; Southern Methodist, 1870, and Christian, 1875. The population of the place is about 400. Hollow Rock which took its name from a natural curiosity, being a large hollow rock located there, is nine miles east of Huntingdon on the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad. It was established soon after the close of the war, and its first merchants were Aaron Lipe and John G. Martin. It now has three general stores, one drug store, a good academy and four churches in its vicinity, viz.: Missionary Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Methodist and Southern Methodist.
McLemoresville, nine miles west of Huntingdon and the place where the county was organized, is now only a post hamlet, containing two stores, a steam cotton-gin, and a good school, the Methodist Institute, and it has a population of about 150. In the early history of the county, and before railroads were established through it, McLemoresville was a place of considerable business importance. Clarksburg, nine miles south of Huntingdon, is a post village which was established about the year 1850 on lands of Peter Wood. Kelly Clark was its first merchant. It has three general stores, a drug store, grist-mill, cotton-gin and about 100 inhabitants. Buena Vista, about eight miles east of Huntingdon, was established about the year 1850 on lands of Thomas A. Pasture. W. P. Chambers, its first merchant, is still in the business there. It has two general stores, a cotton-gin, a Baptist Church and a good academy. Atwood, four miles southwest of Trezevant and on the same railroad, was established in 1872 on lands owned by J. H. W. Cage. The first merchants of the place were W. H. Scalloin and J. J. Clark. The postoffice was established the, same year, and J. H. W. Cage was the first postmastcr. The town now contains four general stores, a cotton-gin, gristmill and saw-mill, and two churches, Methodist and Baptist, the former hay-in been established in 1859, and the latter in 1874. The village has 118 inhabitants. The Shiloh Cotton Factory was established about the year 1850, in the Ninth Civil District, by Prince, Carson & Co. who prior to the war manufactured cotton yarns. Since the war the property passed into the hands of Messrs. Cheek, Ethridge & Co. who for a number of years manufactured carpet warp. They have recently changed the business and now manufacture woolen goods entirely.
Among the pioneer school teachers of the county were Soloman Perry, Wm. H. Province, Henry M. Bunch and Samuel Winn. In early times there were but few schools in the county, and they were supported by the subscription of the parents patronizing them, and were all of a primary character. Later as the population increased, academies were established at the villages throughout the county, and more competent teachers were employed. But all children residing at too great distance to attend such academies, and whose parents were not able to send them away to school, had but meager opportunities for obtaining an education before the inauguration of the free school system adopted since the civil war. Some statistics from the report of S. E. Tucker, the county school superintendent, for the last school year, 1886, will show the progress being made under this system. The items copied are as follows: "Scholastic population: White—male, 3,190; female, 3,129; total, 6,319. Colored—male, 1,008; female, 1,017; total, 2,025. Pupils enrolled in the schools during the year: White—male, 2,414; female, 2,214; total, 4,628. Colored—male, 648; female, 660; total, 1,308." From the foregoing it will be seen that of the scholastic population 1,791 white children, more than one-fourth of the whole number, and 717 of the colored children, nearly one-third of the whole number, were not enrolled in the public schools. This proves that the free school system is not as yet well sustained in this county. This is probably due to the fact that there were seventeen private schools sustained in the county during the same year. Several of the small villages each sustained a good academy. Huntingdon has a high school which employs a principal and two assistant teachers. This school is run five months in the year under the free school system, and five months as a private school. The county of Carroll is fortunate in having two good colleges, both located at the town of McKenzie, viz.: Bethel College and McTyeire Institute. The former was founded at McLemoresville in 1847, and became a chartered school in 1850. Its presidents before the civil war, named in succession, were Rev. B. N. Roach, Rev. C. J. Brady, Rev. A. Freeman, D. D., and Rev. Felix Johnson, D. D. The school was suspended during the continuance of the civil war, after which Rev. B. W. McDonald, D. D., Rev. J. S. Howard, A. M., and Rev. M. Liles, were presidents until 1871, when the school was moved to McKenzie, and Rev. W. W. Hendricks, then conducting the Hendricks High School, was chosen president. He superintended the construction of the main building, consisting of eight rooms, at a cost of $7,000. Two additional rooms were joined to the main building in 1886. The whole is constructed of brick, and finished in modern architectural style. Dr. Hendricks served as president until 1882, when he was succeeded by W. B. Sherrill, who served until June 1886, when Rev. John L. Dickens was unanimously chosen to fill that office. The college has an excellent faculty, a thorough course of study, and about 200 students in attendance.
The history of the McTyeire Institute as published with the minutes of the Paris District Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is as follows: "This school was founded September, 1867, by Capt. H. C. Irby, A. M., and called the McKenzie Male and Female Institute. In 1871 he associated with himself E. H. Randle, A. M., and chartered it as McKenzie College. They continued joint principals until the retirement of Capt. Irby, in 1874, when Mr. Randle became sole president, remaining until the close of the spring term of 1877. The Rev. Preston A. Miller, A. M., of Georgia, was then elected president, and remained one year; he was followed in 1878 by L. W. Galbreath, A. M., who likewise retired at the close of one session. Dr. A. P. Waterfield, who had owned the college property for some years, secured the services of the Rev. Edwin B. Chappell, B. A. (Vanderbilt), and W. D. Vandiver, Ph. B. (Central), as joint principals. He also produced some change in the. character of the college, advertising it as a fitting, rather than a finishing school—a classical training school, auxiliary to the Vanderbilt and. other higher educational institutions. Mr. Vandiver’s health failing, he returned to Missouri in 1880, and Granville Goodloe, M. A., another Vanderbilt graduate, was associated with brother Chappell; they continued in charge of the school two years. During this time the college was sold to the Rev. H. M. Sears, as a boarding-house for young ladies, and. the trustees of the Methodist Church built a fine brick academy, which was so far completed as to be occupied by the school in the spring of 1882. The trustees named this new building McTyeire Institute, in honor of our present beloved senior bishop. The same year brother Chappell, believing that he ought to enter the regular work of the ministry, provided for his retirement by the election of E. R. Williams, A. M., principal," who, with Mr. Goodloe, continued in charge of the school until September, 1886, when the latter resigned and was succeeded by Rev. J, H. Harrison, A. B. (Vanderbilt). It is accepted as the authorized school of the Methodist Church by the Paris, Union City, Dyersburg and Bolivar Districts. In 1882 the church came in possession of the property, as well as the school.
The pioneer churches of Carroll County were the Baptists, Presbyterians, Cumberland Presbyterians and Methodists, and among the pioneer ministers were Rev. Willis Bridges, Rev. Benjamin Peeples, Rev. Robert Baker, Parson Wear, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Allen T. Graves, Rev. Samuel McNutt, Revs. James and Robert Hurt, Rev. Wm. Bigham, Rev. Beuben Burrow and Rev. Abner Cooper. These ministers were all among the early settlers of the county, and they and other pious men and women led the way into the wilderness and established religious societies in various parts of the county, as soon as enough persons could be assembled together for that purpose. And the above named religious denominations have always been the leading churches in the county, and now have church edifices in all of the towns and villages, as well as in all parts of the county, so that the people are fully and conveniently supplied with opportunities for public worship. The Christian, and other churches, have also been established within the county. The first camp-meeting was held, in a very early day at the Shiloh Camp-ground in the northern part of the county, by the Cumberland Presbyterians. And the next camp-meeting was held by the Methodists at Carter’s Chapel. Afterward, camp-meetings were held at Black’s Camp-ground in the southwestern part of the county, and at William’s Camp-ground in the eastern part of the county. And later the Christian Church established a camp-ground about twelve miles south of Huntingdon, where they held annual meetings. No services have been held at any of these campground for many years. But the Methodists continued to keep their campground at Chapel Hill in the northeastern part of the county, in order, and to hold their annual meetings there.
Acknowledgments are hereby made to ex-Gov. Alvin Hawkins, Dr. A. W. Hawkins, W. G. Crockett and Judge G. W. Humble, and others, for valuable information pertaining to the history of Carroll County. Mr. Crockett is the only survivor of the first settlers of Huntingdon, being a lad when his father, John Crockett, settled there and opened the first store.
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