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WARREN COUNTY occupies a position nearly midway between the northern and southern boundaries of the State, and lies for the most part at the western base of the Cumberland table-land. Portions of the county have a high elevation, but most of it is from 900 to 1,000 feet above sea level. Ben Lomand, within about two miles of McMinnville, is the end of one of the spurs included within the county. Most of the county is based on the lithostrotion bed of the Lower Carboniferous. On the slopes of the table-land, including its spurs and out-liers, the mountain limestone outcrops in full force, and at points, especially on the northern slopes, it is covered with a rich soil. Capping the table-land and its flat-topped spurs are found the coal measures, which include two or three thin strata of coal, but which are of little value. In the lithostrotion bed are a number of layers of impure limestones, which, when burned, yield a hydraulic lime or cement. Quite a number of wells have been bored in the county for petroleum, but with poor success, very little of that article of commercial importance being met with. Excluding the mountain portion, the county may be said to be flat high-land, sufficiently cut by streams, with deep valleys, to give contrast and variety to the surface. The eastern portion is made rough by the spurs and outliers of the table-land, and it supplies many mountain valleys, coves, and picturesque gorges, precipices and waterfalls. The south-eastern part of the county lies on the Cumberland plateau, and has the elevation, soil and physical features which pertain to that region. Over thirty varieties of stone are found in the county, varying from the grayish limestone to coarse sandstone. Near Collins River, seven miles from McMinnville, running into Forest Peak, is Higginbotham Cave; which consists of numerous halls and grottoes, adorned and beautified with encrustations. Some of the chambers are magnificent in their proportions, one extending over and area of seven acres. The cave is a point of much interest to pleasure seekers.
The lands situated on the lithostrotion bed have the characteristic chocolate color, and are naturally very fertile, being in some respects preferable to the rich, black lands of the central basin. the depth of the clay sub-soil enables the land to retain an amount of moisture which the underlying limestone in the central basin renders impossible. Three-fourths of the county are red or chocolate lands, and the remainder are mountainous, but some of the best soils in the county are to be found in coves on the mountain sides. By cove lands are meant those lands which run up on the sides of the mountains. They are generally very productive. The north sides of the mountains are of unusual fertility. Corn, wheat, rye, oats, the grasses, and all fruits grow well in the county, particularly the latter, of which the apple grows in extreme abundance.
The timber of the county includes yellow poplar, ash, linn, chestnut, buckeye, sugar, hickory, oak, black walnut, locust, dogwood and the many other unimportant species.
Collins River is the main stream of the county. this stream rises in Grundy County, passes near McMinnville, just below the town receives the waters of Barren Fork, and empties into Caney Fork. Hickory Creek is a branch of Barren Fork, and Charles Creek empties into Collins River, they, with the two named and Mountain Creek composing the principal streams of the county.
When the pioneers came to what is now the territory of Warren County, they found the valleys and coves covered with an almost impenetrable growth of tall cane and the mountains and hills with heavy timber. Game was plentiful and many are the stories of exciting bear and deer hunts handed down and now told with keen relish by the sons of the hardy pioneers. The Indians had all been removed prior to that time, yet ample evidence of their presence here at one day remains; the ruins of an Indian village on Woodley Creek in the Seventh District, near John Woodleys old mill site, and an Indian mound of large dimensions on Collins River, in the Sixth District, and numerous other mounds and old burying grounds remaining at present. Among those who secured grants from North Carolina calling for lands in Warren County were Wm. Banton, P. W. Anderson, Richard Butcher, Jeremiah Bolin, Joseph Colville, John Doak, Jesse Dodson, Sarah Elam, Joseph Franks, Robert Gordon, James Hubbard, Edward Hogan, Edward Hopkins, John Jones, Enoch Tobe, David Johnston, Wm. Johnston, Thomas Lowery, Isaiah Lowe, Luthrell Lott, John Looney, Samuel McGee, Wm. Richardson, John McGee, Daniel Cherry, Wm. C. Smartt, James Kane, John Woodley, Henry J. A. Hill and Aaron Higginbotham. So far as known, the first man to settle in the county was Elisha Pepper, who came to what is now the neighborhood of McMinnville from Virginia in about 1800, and lived to be one hundred years of age, during which time he never saw a train of cars. When the question of voting money to aid in the building the McMinnville Branch Railroad, Mr. Pepper vigorously and bitterly opposed the scheme, and upon the success of the proposition, declared he would have none of the railroad in his, and although living for years in sound of the passing trains, persisted in his opposition and declaration, and never could be induced to look at the cars. Other settlers of the same neighborhood area Andrew Gambill, Lyon Mitchell, Joseph Colville, Drs. John Wilson and Wm. P. Lawrence, Edward Hogue, Wm. North, John Davis and Wm. Lisk, all of whom came between 1800 and 1810. The different settlements over the county made at the above time were as follows: John Smith, James Elkins, Thomas Russ, John Russ, Wm. Collier, James Collier, Wm. Lusk, in the Second District: Rock Martin, Jeremiah Jaco, Thomas Gribble and Joseph Campaign, in the Third District; Wm. Neals and the Hillises, in the Fourth District; Jacob Martin, Jacob A. Kome, W. J. Stubblefield, Wm. Smith, George Edwards, Jesse Safley, David Safley, Ezekial McGregor, Wylie Ware and John Meyers, in the Fifth District; Henry J. A. Hill, John Rogers, Isham Dikes, John Gross, John Bass, James Kane and Charles Sullivan, in the Sixth District: Joseph Cope, Robert Tate, Levi Rogers, John Woodley and Joshua Cartwright, in the Seventh District; Elisha Reynolds, Dr. Archibald Faulkner, Asa Faulkner, Leroy Hammond, Jesse R. Edwards, Stephen Tipton and Ransom Gynn, in the Eighth District; W. C. N. King, Miles Bonner, Wm. Smartt, John A. and James Northcup, George Matthewson and H. J. King, in the Ninth District; Maj. Rains, Silas Alexander, Dr. Turner, Thomas Wilson, Isaac Wilson, Thomas Hopkins, Mason French, John, James and Brown Spurlock and Jesse Crisp, in the Tenth District; Michael Deberry, George Spangler, Allen Youngblood, James Lance, Russell brewer, Richard Ware, Britain Snipes, Isaac Starkley, Reuben Davenport, Archibald Prater, Robert Biles and James Whitlock, in the Eleventh District; John Kirby, Wmn. Kirby, the Hoppes, the Edges, the Stockstills and the Womacks, in the Thirteenth District, Jesse Gibbs, Thomas Borin, Samuel Honn, Clement Sullivan, Absalom Clark, Chesley Webb, Pleasant Blackman, James Durham and Samuel Hooster, in the Fourteenth District; Wm. Womack, James Webb, Sr., Solomon Mullican, Anderson Mulligan, James Green, Biras Webb, Abner Womack and Harrel Byers, in the Fifteenth District. among the settlers of various parts of the county from 1810 to 1815 were James Cope, James Forest, John England, Alexander Brown, Stephen Jones, Wm. Miller, Joseph Mitchell, Elihu Sanders, John Campbell, Joshua Adkins, John Dodson, Jesse Dunlap, Reuben Elan, Micajah Estes, Ralph Elkins, John Flemming, Hughes French, Elijah Fletcher, John Fortner, Jesse Gibbs, Lewis Howell, Joshua Hickerson, Howell Harris, Gillam Hurst, Nicholas Hughes, Irwin Hill, Lewis Jarvis, Reuben Hampton, Thomas Allen, andrew Buchanan, John Barclay, Jeremiah Combs, James Kane, Oliver Charles, Wm. Cummings, Elijah Drake, Martin Johnson, John Lucas, Jonathan McMahan, Wm. Jacobs, George. Lane and Joel Mayberry.
Among the early mills of the county were the water-power gristmills of Archibald Porter, on the head waters of Barren Fork of Collins River, near the Cannon County Line; Perry and James Whitrock, on Barren Fork, all in the Eleventh District; W. A. Hancock, on the southwest prong of Barren Fork, in the Tenth District; James Martin, on Barnes Creek, in the Fifteenth District; John Woodley, on Woodley Creek, and Josua Cartright, on Henry Creek, in the Seventh District; Henry Hill, on Hill Creek, in the Sixth District; James Shell, on Collins River, John Drake, at Buck Springs, and John Schrader, on Hickory Creek, in the Fifth District; Harry Macon, on Hickory Creek, George Savage, on Barren Fork, and ______ Tillford, on Little Hickory Creek, in the Ninth District; ______ Wilson, on Barren Fork near McMinnville, in the First District; Dr. Archibald Faulkner had a grist-mill, and the first woolen-mill and cotton-gin on Hickory Creek, in the Eighth District; Henry Bridleman built and operated a cotton factory, on Charley Creek, in about 1812. In 1846 Asa Faulkner erected a large cotton-mill on Charley Creek, two miles north from McMinnville, which was operated successfully until the late war, after which time it was converted into a cotton-gin, and run as such for a number of years. In 1861 Mr. Faulkner and S. B. Spurlock erected a second cotton factory on Barren Fork of Collins River, within 100 yards of the railroad, which went into operation the following year with 2,000 spindles, and had a daily capacity of 2,500 yards of cotton domestics. The mill was destroyed by the federal Army in 1863, and rebuilt on the same foundation in 1866, and has 2,016 spindles, 60 looms, employs 54 hands and has a daily capacity of 2,400 yards. Since Mr. Faulkners death, in the latter part of 1886, the mills have been idle, the property being in litigation. The mills of the present, outside of McMinnville, are as follows: First District, Mood & Debards planing-mill, saw, flour and grist, on Collins River, at Shell ford; Marshall & Masons, J. C. Ramseys and C. M. Fingers saw and corn mills, on Charley Creek; W. T. Chasteens saw and corn-mill on Collins River; J. Grizzles and Wisley Wilsons saw and grist-mills on Barren Fork, Third District; T. H. and Clay Faulkners saw-mill on Caney Fork, Fourth District; Jacob Stypes flour and corn-mill on Rocky River, Fifth District; George Meads corn and saw-mill on Collins River, sixth District; H. L. W. Hills grist-mill on Hill Creek, T. J. Mansfields grist-mill on Woodley Creek, and Fitts & Faulkners saw-mill on Dry Branch of Hill Creek, Seventh District; John Woodleys corn and saw-mill on Woodley Creek, Eighth District; Garrison McCulloughs saw, flour and corn-mill at Viola, and thomas Peas grist-mill on Dry Branch of Hill creek, Ninth District; W. T. Swans corn-mill on Hickory Creek, and Widow Davis corn-mill on Barren Fork, Tenth District; Dave Darnells saw-mill on Barren Fork, Eleventh District; B. F. Youngbloods woolen and corn-mill on Barren Fork, and J. B. Justices corn-mill on Mountain Creek, Thirteenth District; C. Fingers and Adam Titles corn-mills on Charley Creek, Fourteenth District; Cleve Williams, William Houstons and Dr. Parkers saw and grist-mills on Charley Creek, Fifteenth District; S. W. D. Greens corn-mill and A. J. Goodsons corn-mill on Caney Fork.
On November 22, 1807, the General Assembly passed an act entitled An act to divide the County of White into two separate and distinct counties, thereby establishing Warren County, and in February, 1808, the new county was organized with following boundaries: Beginning on Cumberland Mountains where the line of White County strikes the same; thence northwesterly with the said mountain to the Indian boundary line; thence along said line to the most eastwardly branch of Duck River; thence north to the east boundary of Rutherford County; thence with lines of Rutherford, Wilson, Smith and White Counties to the beginning. The territory of Warren was subsequently materially reduced by the formation of Franklin and Grundy Counties on the south in 1809 and 1844 respectively; Coffee and Cannon Counties in 1836, and De Kalb in 1837, leaving and area of only 440 square miles, and with boundaries as follows: North by the Counties of De Kalb and White, east by Van Buren County, south by the Counties of Grundy and Coffee, and west by the Counties of Coffee and Cannon. During the first two years of the countys existence the courts were held at the house of Joseph Westmoreland, and in a log courthouse erected near there, on the east side of Barren Fork of Collins River, only a short distance from the present county site. In March, 1809, the county court appointed James Taylor, Thomas Matthews, Benjamin Lockhart, John Armstrong and James English as commissioners to locate a site for the permanent seat of justice, purchase the same, lay it off into town lots, and after selling them at public auction, let contracts for the erection of a courthouse and jail. The commissioners selected a site on the lands of Robert Cowan, Joseph Colville and John A. Wilson on the north side of Barren Fork of Collins River, which land is described as follows: Beginning at a stake near Dr. Wilsons improvement and running thence west 99 1/2 poles to a stake; thence south 66 poles to a stake; thence east 99 1/2 poles; thence north 66 poles to the beginning, containing 41 acres. The land was deeded to the commissioners August 4, 1810, for the consideration of $100, and later in that month McMinnville was laid off and the lots sold. Contracts were at once let for the erection of a brick courthouse and jail, both of which were completed the following year. The courthouse was a two-story building and stood in the center of the public square. It was torn down and the present building erected in 1858 at a cost of about $12,000. The building is a large, roomy structure, two stories in height, and stands to the left of the public square, the Iatter having been neatly fenced and converted into a park. A log jail was built near the log courthouse in 1808, and a brick one was built at McMinnville in 1810 upon the removal of the county site. A third jail was erected in 1839, and the present substantial stone and brick was erected in 1876, costing about $4,000.
Warren County is divided into fifteen civil districts and has a total area of 281,600 acres of land. In 1870 there were 247,070 acres assessed for taxation, which were valued at $1,800,862, and the total value of taxable property was $2,535,768; in 1886 the number of acres assessed was 231,888, valued at $1,135,563, and the total value of taxable property was $,1617,171. The tax aggregate for 1886 shows taxes assessed in the county as follows: State, $1,976; county, $3,234.34; school, $4,042.92; poll, $494. In 1870 the cereal and fruit products of the county amounted to 73,391 bushels of wheat, 339,250 bushels of corn, 56,348 bushels of oats, 1,072 bushels of rye and $27,639 worth of fruit, while 12,328 gallons of brandy was distilled from the latter. The live stock for the same year amounted to 3,884 horses and mules, 3,687 cattle, 12,495 sheep and 18,814 hogs. In 1886 the products amounted to 66,200 bushels of wheat, 680,850 bushels of corn, 52,500 bushels of oats, 2,173 bushels of rye and $60,000 worth of fruit, from which there were distilled 50,000 gallons of brandy, and the live stock amounted to 4,500 horses and mules, 6,816 cattle, 8,100 sheep and 22,000 hogs.
The county had a population of 5,725 in 1810, of 10,348 in 1820, of 16,210 in 1830, of 10,803 in 1840, of 10,179 in 1860, of 11,147 in 1860, of 12,714 in 1870, of 14,092 in 1880 and of 16,060 in 1886. There were 2,431 votes cast in the county at the August election, 1886, of which 1,885 were for the Democratic nominees and 546 for the Republican.
While the county is watered by numerous streams, several of which become at times too high for fording, there is not a single bridge of any consequence in the county and not one built by the county. The county roads are improved to a certain extent, but not sufficient to prevent their becoming almost impassable during a few of the winter months. There is but one railroad in the county the McMinnville branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway which enters the county near the Warren, Grundy and Coffee lines, passes in a northeast direction almost through the center of the county and out near where the Warren, White and Van Buren County lines come together, the length of the road in the county being thirty-four miles. The road was completed from Tullahoma to McMinnville in 1868 and to Sparta, in White County, in 1886.
The county court of Warren County was organized in March, 1808, at the house of Joseph Westmoreland, half a mile south of Barren Fork, where a log courthouse was afterward erected. Upon the location of the county seat at McMinnville, the court was removed thereto. though early records of this court were destroyed during the late war, and but little or nothing can be learned of the proceedings or of the officers of the same. The same is true of the other courts. The following is an incomplete list of the officers of this court:
Chairmen - Since 1860 the chairmen of the county court have been in the order given, Philip Hoodenpyle, Thomas Mabry, John Smith, Philip Hoodenpyle, Thomas S. Meyers, S. D. Walling, John Smith, John S. Meyers, W. B. Smartt, S. C. Norwood, John Smith, John W. Ford, J. L. Miller, J. W. Gales, I. B. Neal, S. J. Walling, John R. Parker and J. C. Meyers, the present incumbent.
Clerks - Joseph Colville, from 1808 to 1836; then in the order given: Wm. Edmondson, Wm. Armstrong, Wm. Lusk, Richard McGregor, J. F. Morford, A. R. Hammer, Samuel Henderson, J. H. Roberson, S. Henderson, J. H. Roberson, A. H. Gross and W. L. Swann, the present incumbent.
The circuit court was organized with the county, but as to the early officers nothing can be learned, save that Pleasant Henderson was probably the first clerk. Since 1865 the clerks have been S. C. Norwood, John J. Lowery and A. J. Curl, the present incumbent.
Sheriffs - Wm. Smartt, from 1808 to 1816, Isham Perkins succeeding him. Since 1848 the sheriffs have been J. E. Higgenbotham, Chas. M. Forrest, R. P. Burks, Wm. Grove, G. W. Hennegan. Wm. Grove, R P. Burks, W. L. Lust, R. P. Burks, John M. Drake, W. L. Steakley, H. P. Maxwell and Ulysses Vanhooser, the present incumbent.
The chancery court was organized in 1836 with Wm. Anderson presiding as chancellor, who appointed J. F. Morford clerk and master.
Since the organization the chancellors have been Wm. Anderson, B. L. Ridley, John P. Steele, B. M. Tillman, A. S. Marks, John W. Burton, E. D. Hancock and Walter S. Beardon, present incumbent.
Clerks and masters - J. F. Morford, R. H. Mason, P. H. Coffee and J. C. Biles, the present incumbent.
Among the early lawyers of Warren County were Thomas K. Harris, Commodore Rogers, Stokley D. Rowan, B. L. Ridley, Andrew J. Marchbanks, Napoleon Baird and William Armstrong. Other lawyers of a later date and up to the beginning of the civil war, were Archibald Hicks, John B. Forrester, George Stubblefield, Joseph Carter, Washington Britain, Horace H. Harrison, Wright S. Hackett, John L. Spurlock and Thomas V. Murray. For several years after the close of the war the practicing attorneys were T. V. Murray, J. F. Thompson, John H. Savage, F. M. Smith, C. J. Spurlock, W. J. Clift and M. D. Smallman. The lawyers of the present are John H. Savage, F. M. Smith, E. W. Munford, M. B. Smallman, James S. Burton, C. C. Smith, Thomas Lynd, W. V. Whitson, W. E. B. Jones, Samuel T. O. Neal, W. W. Fairbanks, W. T. Murray and Frank Spurlock.
Several of the above were men of profound learning and of more than ordinary ability, while all of them enjoy reputations of successful lawyers and practitioners. B. L. Ridley was judge of the chancery division from 1840 until 1861; Andrew J. Marchbanks was circuit judge from 1836 until 1861; John H. Savage represented the district in Congress from 1849 to 1857 and was chairman of the Tennessee Railroad Commission from April, 1883, to December, 1884, and is, at present, member of the House of Representatives of Tennessee; M. B. Smallman is at present, circuit judge; W. V. Whitson is the present attorney-general, and W. W. Fairbanks is a member of the present Tennessee Senate. Col. H. L. W. Hill, now a resident of the Sixth Civil District, represented the district in Congress in 1847-48.
When a call for volunteers to defend Texas in her struggle for independence was made, a company was quickly raised in Warren County, at the head of which, as captain, was Gen. John B. Rogers. Later, when a call was made for volunteers to enlist in the Florida war another company was organized, but from some cause was not received. Again, in 1846, Warren County responded to the call for volunteers, and organized and sent a company to the war between the United States and Mexico. The company was commanded by Capt. Northcup, and belonged to the First Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Infantry.
When the war between the North and South broke out Warren County, with her usual promptness, arrayed herself on the side of and espoused the cause of the South, and in answer to Gov. Harris call for volunteers raised four companies. The men rendezvoused at Estill Springs, Coffee County, and from there, on May 24, 1861, went to Camp Trousdale, where they were organized into the Sixteenth Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, of which John H. Savage, of McMinnville, was unanimously elected colonel, and Thomas B. Murray lieutenant Colonel. The Warren County companies were as follows: Company 1, Thomas B. Murray, captain; A. P. Smartt, first lieutenant; James Hill, second lieutenant; Thomas York, third lieutenant. Company 2, D. M. Donnell, captain; W. S. Hackett, first lieutenant; E. C. Read, second lieutenant; J. M. Castleman, third lieutenant. Company 3, P H. Coffee, captain; George Marchbanks, first lieutenant; W. W. Mooney, second lieutenant; J. A. Rains, third lieutenant. Company 4, L. H. Meadows, captain; H. L. Simms, first lieutenant; W. G. Etter, second lieutenant, B. J. Solomon, third lieutenant. At the reorganization of the regiment at Corinth, Miss., in 1862, Col. Savage was re-elected, and of the Warren County companies the following officers were chosen: Company C, D. C. Spurlock, captain; E. C. Read, first lieutenant; Cicero Spurlock, second lieutenant; J. L. Thompson, third lieutenant. Company D, J. G. Lamberth, captain; Wm. White, first lieutenant; F. M. York, second lieutenant; H. L. Brown, third lieutenant. Company E, J. J. Womack, captain; J. K. P. Webb, first lieutenant; B. B. Green, second lieutenant; Jesse Walling, third lieutenant. Company H, James M. Parks, captain; W. G. Etter, first lieutenant; H. L. Hayes, second lieutenant; John Akeman, third lieutenant.
The Fifth Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, subsequently known as the Thirty-fifth Regiment, was organized at Camp Smartt, near McMinnville,
September 6, 1861, and of which Benjamin J. Hill, of McMinnville, was elected colonel. Five companies of this regiment were raised in Warren County, as follows: Company B, Capt. John W. Towles; Company C, Capt. Charles W. Forrest; Company D, Capt. W. T. Christian; Company F, Capt. Ed. J. Wood; Company H, Capt. John Macon. From Camp Smartt the regiment went to Camp Trousdale, and from that place went to Bowling Green, Ky., and was placed in Gen. P. R. Cleburnes brigade of Albert Sidney Johnstons army. Later in the war Col. Hill was made n brigadier general of cavalry. Warren County was visited at periods throughout the occupation of Tennessee, by detachments from both armies, and considerable damage resulted to both the county and McMinnville from such visits.
The first school of any consequence established in Warren County was Quincy Academy at McMinnville, which was chartered by the Legislature in 1809, and of which John A. Wilson, W. A. Smartt, Alexander Perryman, Leroy Hammond, John Armstrong and Joseph Colville were appointed trusties. The following year a log school building was erected on Jail Street, and that fall the school was opened with Prof. R. McEwin as teacher. The school was attended by both males and females, and was taught for about fifteen years, being considered one of the best institutes of learning in this part of the country. In 1820 the Edmondson Female Academy was established at McMinnville, a two-story brick building having been secured for that purpose, continued in operation until the civil war. During the occupation of this section of country by soldiers the school building was used as a hospital, and later was destroyed. In 1830 a brick building was erected at McMinnville and Carroll Academy established, a charter for the same having been secured from the legislature. The school was successfully conducted until the civil war, when the building was destroyed and the school broken up. Irving College, nine miles south from McMinnville, was established in about 1835, and in 1845 was rebuilt and chartered by the Legislature, Prof. M. Owen being at the head of the same. The school passed through different hands and changes, but was successfully conducted up to May, 1861, when it was suspended, and remained so until 1882, when it was re-chartered. The buildings consist of a main school building and four dormitory buildings, all of brick. The Cumberland Female College at McMinnville was founded in 1850 by the Middle Tennessee Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, under a charter from the Legislature, and has continued to the present in successful operation. The main building is a substantial brick structure 125 feet in length and three stories in height. The east wing was added in 1885, and is a beautiful building, two stories in height and seventy-five feet long. The present faculty is as follows: N. J. Finney, A. M., president, and professor of languages, and mental and moral sciences; J. M. Paschal, A. B., mathematics and physics; Thomas Black, M. D., lecturer on natural science; Miss Tommie Buchanan, M. A., English intermediate branches; Miss Fanny Mashen, primary department; Mrs. Juanita B. Ewing, elocution and special vocalization; Miss Annie Wendel, instrumental music; Miss Nannie G. Halsell, piano, guitar and vocalization; Miss Laura Howell, M. A., principal of art department; Mrs. Tennie Tannatt, embroidery and general needlework; Miss Annie Clift, governess. In 1856 a brick building was erected at the hamlet of Vervilla, nine miles from McMinnville, and Hanner Highland Male and Female College established. With the exception of the suspension during the civil war this school has been in continuous operation. A private school was taught by Prof. J. P. Clark in McMinnville during the last year of the civil war, which was probably the only one in existence in the county at that time. A scheme was put on foot at the close of the war to establish a large college at McMinnville, to be known as Ben Lomand College, but the plan failed to materialize.
The first school of importance established in McMinnville after the war was Waters and Walling College, for which a substantial brick building was erected. The name of the school was that of its founders, L. B. Waters and H. L. Walling, one of whom donated the ground and the other the building. This was the public school of McMinnville until 1886, when the property was exchanged for the building occupied and owned by the colored Methodist Episcopal congregation, since when the latter has been used as a public school building and the former as a colored church and schoolhouse. Prof. W. E. Bell is the present superintendent of the city schools and principal of the white school.
At Viola, a hamlet on Hickory Creek, eleven miles from McMinnville, is a male and female college, which was established in 1883, at which time a handsome brick college building was completed. The above schools are the educational establishments of Warren County in addition to the common or public schools, which are distributed throughout the county. The forms of the public schools last from four to five months each year, and are, on the whole, an advancement over those of the surrounding counties, with a promising future. In 1839 Warren County had a scholastic population of 2,970, and received as her apportionment of school money that year $1,850.75. In 1867 the scholastic population was: Whitehall, 1,172; female, 1,214. Colored male, 312; female, 206; total, white and colored, 2,994. The scholastic population in 1885 was: White male, 2,301; female, 2,232. Colored: male, 416; female, 447; total, white and colored, 5,396. The county, for the above year, received $1,367.18 as her share of the school fund. There were, in 1886, eighty schoolhouses in the county, of which four were brick, thirty frame, and forty-six log. The estimated value of school property, including buildings, sites, desks, seats and apparatus was $16,200.
It was impossible to learn which were the pioneer churches of Warren County. All the denominations had organizations at an early date, and a number of churches were erected as early as 1804 and 1805, before the county was organized. The following, however, is a list of those of which information could be gleaned: The Primitive Baptists and Methodists erected Shiloh, a union church, in the Sixth District, as early as 1809 or 1810, and Sulphur Springs Meeting-house was a union church, erected by various denominations in the Seventh District as early as 1816, while Hickory Grove, Methodist, was erected in the Thirteenth District several years before. Mt. Zion, also Methodist, was erected in the Fifth District as early as 1820, and Caney Branch, Baptist, in the Tenth District, as early or before 1825. Ivy Bluff Meeting-house, in the Eleventh District, was erected in about 1836 by the Christians or Campbellites.
There were no churches erected in McMinnville prior to 1837, the several school buildings and the courthouse being used in which to hold religious services by the various denominations, all of which had organizations. The first church erected in the town was the Primitive Baptist, a one-story brick, in 1837, at a cost of about $1,200. The old building stands at present. The Methodist Episcopal Church South was erected in 1838, costing about $1,200. The house is still in use but the congregation is building a handsome brick structure, which is nearing completion and which will cost upward of $15,000. The Cumberland Presbyterians erected a brick church in 1840 which was destroyed in 1860, and the present handsome brick edifice was completed in 1871 at a cost of about $14,000. In about 1848 the Christian congregation erected a church, and in 1871 erected their present brick house of worship, which cost about $6,000. The Methodist Episcopal Church North, a brick, costing about $3,000, was erected in 1867, and, the congregation disbanding, the building became the property of the colored Methodist Episcopal congregation and by them was used until 1886, when it became the property of the public schools by exchange. In 1876 the Presbyterian congregation erected a handsome frame church at a cost of $1,500. The churches of the county by districts are as follows: First District, Faulkners Chapel Methodist Episcopal South and Baptist, and Liberty Cumberland Presbyterian; Second District, New Union Methodist Episcopal South; Third District, Friendship Baptist, Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian, and Pine Bluff Methodist Episcopal South; Fourth District, Rocky River Primitive Baptist, Rocky River Christian, and Neal Schoolhouse Methodist Episcopal South; Fifth District, Bucks Springs Separate Baptist, New Smyrna Christian, and Central Union, and Dark Hollow Union; Sixth District, Shiloh Methodist Episcopal South, St. Mary and Sinai, both Union; Seventh District, Sulphur Springs and Hebron, both Union; Eighth District, Mt. Zion Methodist Episcopal, Blue Springs Primitive Baptist, and White Hall Cumberland Presbyterian; Ninth District, Bascoms Chapel Methodist Episcopal, and Philadelphia Christian; Tenth District, Caney Branch Primitive Baptist, Dripping Springs Baptist, Hollow Springs Baptist, and Wilsons Chapel Union; Eleventh District, Ivy Bluff Christian, Big Springs Separate Baptist, Oak Grove Methodist Episcopal South and Missionary Baptist, and Clearmont Presbyterian; Twelfth District, Hawkins Chapel and Chapel Hill, both Methodist Episcopal South; Thirteenth District, Hickory Grove Methodist Episcopal, Mt. Zion Christian, and Bethlehem Presbyterian; Fourteenth District, Concord Separate Baptist, and Salem Christian; Fifteenth District, Caney Fork Separate Baptist, and Bybees Chapel and Masons Meeting-house, both Methodist Episcopal South.
McMinnville, the county seat, is situated about 100 miles east from Nashville, on the McMinnville branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, and has a population of about 2,500. The town is situated on an elevation, about 1,000 feet above sea level, on Barren Fork of Collins River, and is encircled on two sides by mountain peaks and spurs that rise at least 1,000 feet above the town. The nearest and most prominent of the peaks or spurs is Ben Lomand, which is south about two and one-half miles. To the east five miles distant is Cardwell Mountain, and between the two are a succession of peaks and spurs of no particular name.
The town was founded in 1810, by the commissioners appointed by the county court to locate the permanent seat of justice, and the following year the courts were removed thereto from across the creek where they had been held for two years. Probably the first merchant of McMinnville was John A. Wilson, who opened a general merchandise store in 1811. From that time up to 1820, the principal merchants were Cane & Coffee and Joel Mabry. Since that time, the merchants up to and including the present have been as follows: Between 1820 and 1830, Thomas Caldwell, John Black & Bros., Alexander and William Shields, S. Colville and James A. Jenkins & Co. Between 1830 and 1840, Black & Mabry, William Black & Co., Black & Mercer, John Black & Bros., Thomas Caldwell, Alexander and William Shields, H. C. Coffee, S. Colville, John J. & R. B. Cane, L. A. Kincannon & Co., Kincannon, Bell & Pendleton, Payne & Lust, and M. T. Cox. Between 1840 and 1850, the same with but few exceptions as the preceding ten years. Between 1850 and 1860, Kincannon, Bell & Pendleton, Cane & Lust, D. G. Stone & Co., Morford & Coffee, S. L. Colville & CO., J. F. Colville & Co., Read & Glascock, Cane & French, Spurlock, Henderson & Spurlock, B. J. Hill & Co., Colville & Brown, Colville & Ross and M. T. Cox. There was no business transacted during the civil war. Between 1865 and 1870, Mercer & Coffee, R. Martin, Colville & Ross, C. Coffee & Co., Morford & Womack, W. P. & H. H. Faulkner, W. J. Jones, Milton Woodley. J. M. Cane, Gillis & Graves, Chapman & McCall, Hughes & Ritchey, Jesse Walling, Morford & Biles, B. J. Hill & Co., D. L. Brown, H. L. Walling and Parker & Hurbert. Between 1870 and 1880, Womack & Colville, D. L. Brown, W. D. & H. H. Faulkner, Morford & CO., H. L. Walling, Ross & Son, J. B. Ritchey, O. M. Thurman, J. C. Martin, Joseph Brown, R. H. Mason, Burroughs & CO., and Gross & Walling. At present, Womack & Colville, C. G. Black, Potter Bros., H. L. Walling, Hoodenpyle Bros., Webb & Brown, general merchandise; D. L. Brown, F. M. Smartt & Co., D. O. Jenkins, groceries; J. C. M. Ross & Son, O. M. Thurman, dry goods, boots and shoes; J. B. Ritchey, W. H. Flemming, drugs and books; W. H. Meadows, L. F. Jeanmire, jewelry; Mrs. Joseph Livingston, dry goods and notions; A. P. Seitz, hardware; Lively Bros., furniture; Mrs. W. C. Womack & Co., milliners; Houckins & Biles, livery stable; Warren Hotel, C. McClarty, proprietor. The McMinnville National Bank, P. W. H. Magness, president, C. Jesse Walling, cashier, was established in 1876, and has a cash capital of $70,000, with a surplus of $28,700. The Peoples National Bank, Sam. T. Colville, president, C. Coffee, cashier, was established in 1882, has a cash capital of $55,000, and surplus of $13,000. Both are first-class institutions, and do a general banking business.
The manufactories of McMinnville are as follows: Stave and barrel factory, Mead & Co., proprietors, was established in 1884, has a daily capacity of 3,000 staves and 1,500 sets of heading, with $12,000 capital invested; stave and handle factory, Burroughs & Co., proprietors, was established in 1874, has a daily capacity of 100 sets of spokes and 100 dozen handles, employs from fifty to sixty hands, and has invested $50,000; flour-mills, Faulkner & Walling, proprietors, was established in 1879, has a daily capacity of fifty barrels, with a capital of $7,000- the mill will in a few weeks be fitted out with a plant, of the roller or patent process, which will cost about $7,000; M. B. Harwell, manufacturer of furniture, has $5,000 capital, and manufactures about $6,000 worth of furniture annually. The factory was established in 1869, and improved in 1876; leather manufactory, Carson & Bass, proprietors, was established in 1886, manufactures leather annually to the amount of $3,000. Situated two miles from town are the woolen-mills of Cantrell & Faulkner and Clay Faulkner. The former was established in 1877 by Faulkner Bros. & Co. and has a capacity of 1,000 yards of cloth per day, employs sixty-two hands, and has $76,000 capital invested. The latter was established in 1873 by T. H. & Clay Faulkner, and in 1877 Clay Faulkner became sole proprietor. The mill has annual capacity of 150,000 yards of cloth, employs twenty hands, and has capital invested to the amount of $15,000. Wagon and buggy manufactory, J. P. Gardner, proprietor, established in 1867 with a capacity of about fifty wagons and buggies annually, and general repairing; capital, $3,000. All the above are in active operation. (Notice of the cotton-mills, near the town, may be found elsewhere in the history of the county. )
The Mountain Echo was the first paper published in Warren County, and was established in about 1815, by Henry Bridleman. In about 1830 Wm. Ford founded the McMinnville Gazette. Both papers suspended years ago. The papers of the present are the New Era, established in 1855 by D. F. Wallace, and now published by his sons, Wallace and Perry S., and the Southern Standard established in 1879 by R. P. Baker and John R. Paine, the former, publisher, and the latter, editor. In 1880 A. M. Burney became a partner in the Standard, and later became sole proprietor. For a few weeks in January, 1882, the paper suspended, and was revived by J. B. Ritchey and W. C. Womack, and conducted until the fall of 1882, when H. P. Neal and R. M. Reams purchased the outfit. R. M. Reams became, proprietor, and, editor of the Standard in March, 1884, and occupies that position at present. Both the New Era and Southern Standard are Democratic in politics, are well edited, and successfully published. The Standard offices is fitted out with a Campbell cylinder press.
Warren Lodge, No. 126, F. & A. M., was instituted in 1847; McMinnville Chapter, No. 99, was instituted in 1871; McMinnville Lodge, No. 146, I. O. O. F., was established in 1869; Coleman Encampment, No. 41, was instituted in 1885; Eureka Lodge, No. 6, Daughters of Rebecca, was instituted in 1876; Mountain City Lodge, No. 140, K. of H., was instituted in 1871; Tulip Lodge, No. 138, K. & L. of H., was instituted in 1880. One of the first physicians to practice medicine in McMinnville was Dr. J. P. Lawrence. Among the other physicians who practiced as late as the civil war were Drs. Sloan & Le Grand, Jesse Barnes, Dr. A. C. Rogers, Dr. Thomas Black, Drs. Alford and Bird Paine, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Smartt, Dr. John S. Young and Dr. M. Hill. Those practicing since the war and of the present are Drs. Sparks, Smith, Smartt, Black, Burger and Harrison.
Rock Island, on Caney Fork, at the mouth of Rocky River, was the first town of what is now Warren County, it having been the old county seat of White County at the time when that county embraced this county. It was quite a flourishing village at one time, and several sessions of the supreme court were held there, Gen. Andrew Jackson presiding. For years, however, there has been no town there, and but few people are aware of the fact of it having been the county seat. The site is in the Second District, twelve and a half miles east from McMinnville.
The villages of the county, all of which have populations ranging from 50 to 150, are as follows: Viola, on Hickory Creek, eleven miles from the county seat, in the Eighth District; Vervilla, on a branch of Hickory Creek, nine miles from the county seat, in the Ninth District; Morrison, 10 miles from the county seat, on the McMinnville Branch Railroad, in the Tenth District; Increase, in the Third District; Clearmont, in the Twelfth District; Meadville, in the Sixth District; Dibrell, in the Thirteenth District, and Jacksboro in the Tenth District.
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