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History of Tennessee Counties
Loudon County lies on both sides of the Tennessee River, and extends
north to the Clinch. The Little Tennessee also passes through
it. It embraces about 275 square miles, and has more tillable
land, in proportion to its size, than any other county in East
Tennessee. The territory south of the river contains the fertile
valleys of Sweet Water, Pond, Fork, and Town Creeks, and to the
north are the broad bottoms of the Tennessee River. Marble of
the finest quality has recently been discovered in the vicinity
of Loudon, and several quarries have been opened.
The part of the county lying south of the rivers, formerly belonged
to the Hiwassee District, and was not settled until 1819-20, but
settlements were made on the north bank of the Tennessee and Little
Tennessee, within the present limits of the county, previous to
the beginning of the century. Among the first settlers were James,
William and Samuel Blair, Jesse
and Simeon Eldridge, Henry Bogard, Jacob
Gardenhill, John and Pomeroy Carmichael,
John Browder, Benjamin Prater and William
B. Lenoir. On October 25, 1813, the Legislature passed
an act for the establishment of the town of Morganton, which had
been laid off at the mouth of Baker's Creek, on land owned by
Hugh and Charles
Kelso. The commissioners appointed were William
Lowry, J. J. Greene, John Eakin, Richard Dearman, Matthew Wallace,
James Wyley, John Lambert, Sr., and Joseph
Duncan. It was at that time on the border of the Hiwassee
District, and became an important trading post. It was subsequently
included within the limits of Monroe County.
The first settler south of the river is said to have been William
Tunnell, who entered the land now owned by T.
J. Mason. Several others, however, located at about the
same time. Among them were James Blair,
Robert and Ebenezer Johnston, James
Johnston, Robert Campbell, James Greene, Barnard Franklin, Robert
Cannon and James Bacome, all
of whom lived on the road leading to Philadelphia. The Johnstons
-- Robert and Ebenezer --
were bachelors. They owned a cotton-gin and press, a hemp breaker
and grist-mill. Robert Cannon kept
a house of entertainment. James Johnson,
a young man who married a daughter of James
Johnston, opened a store where William
E. Huff now lives. Thomas Johnston
and John Hoston located on the river
above the ferry. The latter operated a saw mill, and built large
boats for the river trade. About a mile below the ferry were John
and James Harrison. The ferry was
kept by James Blair.
In the fall of 1821 or 1822, a town was laid off about six miles
southwest of the ferry by William Knox
and Jacob Pearson, who named it Philadelphia.
It was then in Monroe County, but it is now near the line in Loudon
County. Among the first settlers in that vicinity were Jacob
Grimmett, Stephen Bond, William Reynolds, George Yokum, Daniel
Prigmore, Hardy Jones and James Bacome,
who removed from his first location in 1821. The first store in
the town was opened by Robert Browder.
About 1824 Morgan & Jacobs, of
Knoxville, established a store with S. H.
Crawley as manager. The first hotels were opened by Robert
Carden and Capt. James Maddy. Carden
was also the first blacksmith. Capt. James
Dodd ran a still-house, and Lewis
Patterson a tan-yard. The latter was succeeded by Robert
Shugart, and he by J. D. Jones
and Eli Cleveland. A gristmill was
built about 1821 by Jacob Pearson.
For ten or fifteen years succeeding 1840, the town was at the
height of its prosperity, and a large amount of business was carried
on there. Of the merchants of that period may be mentioned R.
R. Cleveland, James Chestnut, E. E. Edwards, Hugh Smith
and John Stanfield.
The first church was erected by the Presbyterians in 1822 or 1823.
It was a small frame building, and stood where the graveyard now
is. The first preacher was Dr. Isaac Anderson
of Maryville. A few years later the Baptists built a house, which
was used until the erection of the present one. Eli
Cleveland and Richard Taliaferro
were the first preachers. The Methodists did not erect a church
until about 1850, but a congregation had been organized many years
Previous to the completion of the railroad to that point Loudon
was known as Blair's Ferry, and consisted only of a steamboat
landing, a store and a few houses. The first steamboat to pass
up the river was the "Atlas," which in 1828 ran up as far as the
junction of the French Broad and Holston. It was not until about
1835, however, that steamboats began plying regularly. In 1851,
Wiley Blair laid off a town covering
a portion of the present site of Loudon, and named it Blairsville.
He failed to sell any lots and the next year S.
M. Johnson & Co., having bought the land, had the town
re-surveyed, and named it Loudon. For the next four years it was
the terminus of the railroad, and its growth was rapid. Produce
in large quantities was brought from various points on the river
and transferred to the railroad, and it is said that steamboats
were frequently compelled to lay several days waiting their turn
to discharge their cargoes. Among the merchants of this period
were Orme Wilson & Co., Johnston &
Smith, S. H. Harvey & Co., Frank Goodman, W. C. Maclin &
Co., J. M. Wheeler, Hugh Tinley and W.
T. Lowe. Reynolds & Leuty opened a hotel; Jones
& Harris established an extensive foundry and rolling
mill; Mason, Wilson and other formed
a stock company and erected a flouring-mill, and Harvey
& King put a saw mill into operation. In 1854 a newspaper,
called the Loudon Free Press, was established by Samuel
and William O'Brien. It continued
for several years. The Orion was also published for a short
time previous to the war by J. A. Bannister.
It was not a financial success, and he departed suddenly, leaving
several creditors behind. In 1865 the Union Pilot, a radical
Republican paper was started at Philadelphia by M.
L. Blackburn, who soon after removed it to Loudon, and
thence to Clinton. Other papers have since been published as follows:
The Journal, by William Russell;
the Times, by W. C. Nelson;
the Republican Farmer, by Dr. Thomas
Foster; the Sun by W. H. Mitchell, and the Record,
established in March, 1886, with Dr. F.
W. Goding as editor. He was soon after succeeded by W.
H. Mitchell, the present editor and proprietor.
Soon after the town was laid out the Methodists, Presbyterians,
Cumberland Presbyterians and Episcopalians each erected a house
of worship. At the close of the war the Baptists formed an organization,
and purchased a store house, which was fitted up for church purposes,
and has since been occupied by them. The Methodist Episcopal Church
also organized a congregation and erected a house. During the
war the Presbyterian Church was torn down, and the building belonging
to the Methodist Episcopal Church South was badly damaged. The
latter was afterward repaired and occupied for a time, but was
finally sold to the county, and used as a school house. In 1882
the Cumberland Presbyterians erected a new church, and the old
building has since been occupied by the Presbyterians and Methodist
Episcopal Church South.
The population of Loudon is now rapidly increasing. Situated as
it is on the Tennessee River, at the crossing of the East Tennessee,
Virginia & Georgia Railroad, and in the center of a fine agricultural
country, its location is one of the best in East Tennessee. The
close proximity of inexhaustable beds of marble and large tracts
of timber furnish still greater advantages for the investment
of capital. The business interests of the town are represented
at the present time by the following individuals and firms: Simpson
& Bell, W. K. Sheddan, A. Howard, L. P. Campbell, Johnston
Bros., F. M. Felts, W. Warner, W. W. Fuller, James Mahoney &
Co., general merchandise; J. F. Horne
& Bro., drugs; Greer, James &
Co., hardware, and Horne Bros. &
Greer, produce and grain.
The formation of Loudon County from fractions of Roane, Monroe
and Blount Counties was authorized by an exception to Section
4 of Article X of the constitution of 1870. Several previous efforts
to form such a county had failed, on account of the impossibility
of complying with the general provisions of the old constitution.
The act to establish the new county was passed Mary 27, 1870,
and approved by Gov. D. W. C. Senter,
on June 2, being the first act ever approved by a governor of
Tennessee. By this act the proposed county was named Christiana,
but by an act passed a few days later it was changed to Loudon.
The commissioners appointed to hold the election for the ratification
or rejection of the proposition were J.
Matthews and F. R. Hackney,
of Blount; John B. Tipton and J.
D. Jones, of Monroe, and W. Y. Huff,
J. D. Turner, Mitchell Rose, J. W. Robinson and W.
B. Hope, of Roane. The election resulted in the necessary
two-thirds majority for the new county. In August, following,
county officers were chosen, and on September 5, 1870, the county
court was organized at the Baptist Church in Loudon. Twenty-three
justices of the peace were present, and qualified. W.
Y. Huff, of the First Civil District, was elected chairman.
At the January term, 1871, S. A. Rodgers,
Thomas J. Mason and R. R. Anderson
were appointed commissioners to let the contracts and superintend
the erection of county buildings. The town square was donated
as a site for the courthouse, and a plan for that building submitted
by A. C. Bruce, was selected by the
county court. The contract was let to J.
W. Clark & Bro. for $14,200, and in September, 1872,
the building was ready for occupancy. In 1874 a house and lot
was purchased from E. C. Johnston,
and during that year a brick jail was erected at a cost of about
$5,000. Subsequently steel cages were provided for the cells at
an additional cost of over $4,000. In 1878 a farm for a poor asylum
was purchased from N. P. Bacon and
H. A. Crox for $5,300. It is situated
about one and one-half miles below Loudon, and contains 275 acres.
Notwithstanding these large expenditures, the county is without
a debt, except outstanding warrants amounting to about $2,000.
following is a list of the officers of the county since its organization:
Sheriffs -- J. D. Turner, 1870-76;
J. T. Carpenter, 1876-78; J.
D. Foute, 1878- 81; S. P. Cook,
Trustees -- S. Lane, 1870-74; G.
W. Littleton, 1874-76, T. J. Mason,
1876-77; S. A. Humphreys, 1878; Joseph
H. Williams, 1878-86; J. J. Duff,
Clerks of the circuit court -- John S. King,
1870-84; John W. Hayden, 1884;
J. E. Cassady, 1884-.
Clerks of the county court -- M. H. Taliaferro,
1870-74; M. L. Mourfield, 1874- 86;
E. S. Lineberry, 1886-87.
Registers -- Francis Beals, 1870-72;
J. L. McLemore, 1872-78; R.
N. Ragains, 1878-82; R. L. Loftis,
1882-86; J. B. Payne, 1886-.
Clerks and masters -- Mitchell Rose,
1870-73; Elbert Kerr, 1873-84; N.
H. Greer, 1884-.
Other elective offices have been held by citizens of the county
since its organization as follows: Judge of the third circuit,
Samuel A. Rodgers; attorney-general,
W. L. Welcker; State senator, Henry
A. Chambers, 1876-77; D. F. Harrison,
1877; representative to the Legislature, William
Cannon, 1876-78; J. T. Shipley,
The circuit court was organized by Judge
E. T. Hall on September 26, 1870. The first grand jury
was composed of the following men: Darius
Hudgins, H. N. Dale, J. C. Pennington, E. S. Adkins, A. M. Cook,
David Rogers, W. R. Best, H. H. Segal, J. C. Wyley, P. Whitlock,
R. C. Alford, J. E. Crowder and W.
J. Wells. The first indictment was found against Lafayette
and Samuel Franklin for the murder
of Hezekiah Hunt. The former was
arrested, convicted of murder in the second degree, and sentenced
to ten years in the penitentiary, Samuel
Franklin escaped arrest.
Among the attorneys who have resided at Loudon may be mentioned
Judge S. A. Rogers, W. L. Welcker, S. Lane,
H. A. Chambers, D. R. Nelson and E.
P. McQueen, the last of three of whom constitute the present
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