In October, 1807 a bill was presented in the Tennessee Legislature to reduce the size of Roane County and create two new counties. The names for the new counties were Bledsoe and Cumberland. At the suggestion of the Grainger County Representative, John Cocke and the Montgomery County Representative, Willie Blount, the name Cumberland was struck out and replaced with Rhea.
The bill was sent to Governor Sevier in November and returned with his signature on December 3rd, 1807.
The original boundaries were changed in 1809 to place the dividing line between Rhea and Roane Counties at White’s Creek. In 1815, a small portion of Rhea County lying north of White’s Creek was returned to Roane County.
“Beginning at White’s Creek near Matthew English’s saw mill, at the mouth of Crab Orchard Creek, thence running up said creek to the mouth of Burke’s Creek, thence a direct course to the new corner of Rhea County, at the line of Overton County, is hereby declared to be and made a part of Roane County.”
In 1817 another Legislative Act enlarged Rhea County and eliminated a large part of present day Hamilton County from Rhea. Other Boundary changes were made in 1817, 1819, 1821, and 1833.
Several legislative acts to change the boundaries for individuals also impacted the county.
ACTS OF 1837-1838 – Changed the Rhea and Roane county line to include Leonard
C. Nance within Roane County.
ACTS OF 1849-1850 – Changed the line between Rhea and Hamilton Counties to
include John Gray and Roman Quarles in Rhea County.
ACTS OF 1859-1860 – Rearranged the line between Rhea and Cumberland County
“so as to embrace all the lands belonging to the estate of Thomas J. Gillespie,
deceased, in Rhea County.”
THE ACTS OF 1867-1868 – Included in Rhea County “the farm of Mrs. Ann
Russell, the farm of the heirs of John Gray, deceased, the farm of Mrs. Nancy
McGill, the farm of Alexander Hickman, and the farm of F.M. Bowers,” all
formerly located in Hamilton County.
ACT OF 1879 – Changed the Rhea-Hamilton line to include the farm of James A.
Kelly in Rhea County.
ACT OF 1881 – Placed the land of James Sladen in Bledsoe County.
ACTS OF 1889 – Moved all the lands and improvements belonging to Oxshee John
Thurman out of Rhea County and into Bledsoe County and the lands of Peter B.
Clouse and Theodore Flora out of Hamilton County and into Rhea.
Check this page later for further descriptions of boundary changes.