Hawkins County lies in upper east Tennessee, and extends somewhat in the shape of a parallelogram from the Virginia line to the northern boundaries of Grainger and Hamblen Counties. It is divided into two almost equal parts by the Holston River, which traverses its entire length. It is one of the largest counties in the State, having an area of 570 square miles. The surface is much of it broken, but the uplands are more fertile than in many counties. Iron ore is found in some localities, but is not now worked. In marble Hawkins county surpasses any other county in the South. It is found in all tints from a pale pink to a dark, richly variegated chocolate color, and in inexhaustible quantities.
The first permanent settlements within the limits of Hawkins County were made in 1772, very soon after the settlements on the Watauga were begun. They were made in Carter’s Valley, a short distance west of New Canton.
Amoung these pioneers were Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Love, Mr. Long and Rev. Mr. Mulkey. At about the same time Messrs. Carter & Parker established a store in the neighborhood.Soon after this store was robbed by a party of Cherokees, & when Henderson Co.’s treaty was held with the Indians the proprietors of the store demanded as compensation all the lands in Carter’s Valley, extending from Cloud Creek to Chimney Top Mountain of Beech Creek. This was granted upon the payment of a small amount advanced by Robert Lucas, who then became a partner of Messrs. Parker & Carter. the firm leased their lands to the settlers much after the manner of the Patrons, in the early history of New York. This continued for a time, but when it because known that the lands lay in North Carolina instead of Virginia, the settlers refused to recognize the ownership of the firm, and the right and title to the territory acquired was denied by the former State. They were afterward included with the members of the Henderson Company, to whom a grant of 200,000 acres was given by the government of North Carolina as a compensation for the trouble they had been to in obtaining these lands.
The deeds obtained by Henderson & Co. from the Cherokees is recorded in the register’s office of Hawkins county. It was given by “Oconistoto, the chief warrior and representative of the Cherokee Nation, and Attakullakulla and Savanocka, otherwise Coronoh, appointed by the warriors and other head men to convey for the whole nation.” to Richard Henderson, Thomas and Nathaniel Hart, John Williams, John Luttrell, William Johnston, James Hogg, David Hart and Thomas H. Bullock. The compensation for the immense tracts conveyed by these deeds as expressed at £10,000.***
The settlement in Hawkins County was confined chiefly to Carter’s Valley until about 1780. Several stations or forts were built, and it is said that a Presbyterian Church was organized there as early as that date. At about the same time a fort was built at Big Creek. Not from from this fort, about three and one-half miles above Rogersville, Thomas Amis in 1780 or 1781 erected a stone house, around which he built a palisade for protection against the Indians. The next year he opened a store, and erected a blacksmith shop and a distillery. Very soon after he also put into operation a saw and grist-mill, and from the first he kept a house of entertainment. A Baptist Church was organized, and a school established very soon after the settlement was made. The church was probably organized by Thomas Murrell, who located on the farm now owned by John A. Chesnut on the Holston River, some time prior to 1782. Among the school masters, who taught in the school at this place, were John Long in 1783; William Evans, 1784; James King, 1786; Robert Johnston—. and Samuel B. Hawkins in 1796.
Thomas Amis was twice married, and was the father of fourteen children. The stone house, in which he lived, is now occupied by his grandson, Thomas Amis, and is in a remarkable good state of preservation. In 1780 he represented Hawkins County in the Legislature of North Carolina, and took an active part in restoring Gen. Sevier to the rights of citizenship. He owned two or three large tracts of land, one of which included the site of Rogersville; he died in 1798. In 1784 Joseph Rodgers, an Irishman, arrived at Amis’, and for a short time was engaged in keeping store, but in 1785 or 1786, probably the latter year, he married Mary Amis. Mr. Amis then gave the newly married pair a tract of land, upon which, inn 1787, was established the seat of justice for Hawkins Couty. There they continued jto reside until their death in November, 1833. Rachel, another daughter of Thomas Amis, married James Hagan, a countryman of Rodgers, with whom he was in partnership in merchandising for a time. He afterward removed to a farm abouve town. Of other early settlers of the county, only a few of the most prominent, will be located. Perhaps no Tennessean of his time ranked higher than William Cocke, who settled at what was known as Mullberry Grove about 1780. He was a lawyer by profession, and his name appears upon the records of all the older counties of East Tennessee, as a practicing attorney, but during the greater portion of his life was engaged in filling some official position. In 1783 he was elected attorney-general for Greene County, and the next year was sent to the convention, which met at Jonesboro. In 1785 he was made a member of the Council of State of the Franklin Government, was chosen brigadier-general of militia, and was sent as a delegate to the United States Congress. In 1786 he represented Spencer County in the Franklin Assembly. From the fall of the State of Franklin until 1794 hewas actively engaged in his profession. In that year he was chosen a member of the Territorial Assembly, and in 1796 was a member of the Constitutional Convention. The first Legislature elected him as one of the members of the United States Senate, where he remained for twelve years. In 1810 he was elected judge of the First Judicial Circuit, but after serving one year he was impeached.**** Stung by the ingratitude of his countrymen, whom he had served so long and faithfully, he at once left for Mississippi, where he remained until his death.
Joseph McMinn located in the extreme upper end of Hawkins county about 1787, and soon took an active interest in the affairs of the county. In 1794 he was elected with William Cocke, to represent it in the Territorial Assembly, and two years later was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He then served two terms in the Upper House of the General Assembly. In 1815 he was elected governor of the State, a position he continued to hold until 1821. Soon after he was appointed Indian Agent at Calhoun, now in Bradley County, and was filling that position at the time of his death. The above named men were the most illustrious of the first settlers of the county. Among others who had settled prior to 1783 were Mordecai Haygood, who lived on the Holston, about eight miles above Rogersville; Peter Cocke, who lived in the same neighborhood, and Rodham Kenner, who located about one mile above Spear’s Mill. He was prominently connected with the affairs of the county, and was a member of the Legislature one or more terms. Capt. Thomas Caldwell lived ten miles above Rogersville on the north side of the river. John Saunders lived on the river opposite Kenner’s. William Cox, Sr., Charles and William Payne, Obadiah and Elijah Chissom also lived south of the Holston, and the last named kept a ferry across that stream. Thomas Lee, Cornelius and John Carmack and Thomas Gibbons lived in Carter’s Valley. William Armstrong settled at Stony Point. Among others who had located in the county prior to 1783 may be mentioned John cox, Col. John Smith, William McGehee, Peter Harris, James McCarty, Hutson Johnston, John Evans, George Ridley, James Blair, Thomas Brooks, Elisha Walling, William W. Brown, capt. Thomas Hutchings, James Short, Abraham Rice, William Ingram, William Lauson [Lawson], Reese Jones, Capt. Thomas English, James Berry, Benjamin Murrell, George and Littleton Brooks, Thomas Henderson, Thomas Caldwell, Robert King and Martin Shaner. Among those who came in during the next two or three years were Robert Gray, Richard Mitchell, Samuel Wilson, William Bell, John Horton, Robert Stephenson and John Gordon.
Some time about 1795 one of the most extensive iron works of those days was erected near the present town of Rotherwood, by Daniel Ross & Co., and a considerable business was done there for a number of years.
Hawkins county suffered much less from Indian depredations than some other sections of the State. A few instances of massacres and robberies are mention by Haywood, but most of these occurred in what is now Hancock County. the comparative immunity of this section from Indian attacks was due partly to the position of the county and partly to the vigilance of the settlers, who had taken every precaution for the protection of themselves and families. The Indians made several incursions into Carter’s Valley, but finding the people in the forts and prepared for them they retreated without doing serious damage. On one occasion the families that had gathered into the fort at Big Creek, because greatly in need of salt, and a young man, Joab Mitchell, volunteered to go and and procure a supply. While upon his return he was attacked by a part of Cherokees and mortally wounded. He succeeded, however, in reaching the fort, and his remains were interred in that depression which has since borne the name of Mitchell’s Hollow. In December, 1787, William English was killed by the Indians, and two of his children carried into captivity. The county court records of 1790 contained the following entry: “Whereas it has been represented to the court by Thomas King, that Matthew English and Elizabeth English, orphan children of William English, who was taken and killed by the Indians in December, 1787, at which time the aforesaid children were carried into captivity by the Indians, supposed to be of the Wyandotte nation, and are yet in captivity. Thomas King therefore represents that the said orphans might be recovered if there was property sufficient for that purpose. Ordered by the court that James Blair and William Patterson do receive from the said Thomas King or from any other person the property belonging to the estate of the said William English, and the same apply as they shall think best for the redemption of the said orphans, and Thomas King was discharged thereupon of said property.
It is related that a boy, on one occasion, came suddenly upon a party of Indians not far from one of the forts. He turned and fled, with the savages in close pursuit. Before reaching the fort he was compelled to cross a small stream, and just as he reached the bank the foremost Indian caught him by the back of his loose hunting shirt. But the lad was not a captive. Straightening out his arms behind him he sped on to the fort in safety, leaving his pursuer holding the shirt.*****
In 1785 the State of Franklin organized Spencer County, including, besides other territory, the present Hawkins County. Thomas Henderson was chosen county court clerk and colonel of militia, and William Cocke and Thomas King representative to the Assembly. The remaining officers are unknown. In November, 1786, the Legislature of North Carolina passed as act creating Hawkins County. It included within its limits all the territory between Bays Mountain and the Holston and Tennessee Rivers on the east to the Cumberland Mountains on the west. the county court was organized at the house of Thomas Gibbons, but as the early records were all destroyed during the late civil war nothing is known of its transactions.
The circuit court for Hawkins county was organized on the first Monday in October, 1810, by William Cocke, judge of the first Judicial Circuit, who appointed Thomas Cocke, clerk. The first grand jury empaneled was as follows: Joseph McMinn, foreman; John Johnston, Hezekaih Hamblen, George Hale, John Critz, John Hamblen, Robert McMinn, John Remes, Jacob Miller, James Haygood, Joes Gillenwater, Gabriel McCraw, Samuel Smith, Rodham Kenner and David Bagler. Michael Rork, constable, was appointed to wait upon them. The first criminal case tried at this term was that of the State vs. Obediah Gents for horse stealing. A change of venue was applied for, but denied. He was found guilty and sentenced to receive thirty lashes, to stand in the pillory two hours per day for three successive days, to be branded upon the right hand with the letter H and on the left hand with the letter T, and to be imprisioned in the county jail for six months. during the first years of the court few criminals cases of importance were tried. A vigorously contested case, and one which created a general interest throughout this section of the State was begun in 1820. It was the trial upon a change of venue from Campbell County, of Robert Delap, indicted with being accessory to the murder of Eve Martin. The principal, Mitchell Marcum alias Marcom, was not tried in Hawkins County. Delap was convicted. He appealed to the supreme court, and the case was remanded for a second hearing. this was had in april, 1822, after an application for another change of venue had been denied. The defendant was again found guilty, and again took an appeal to the supreme court the decision of the lower court was comfirmed and Delap was executed.
Another case which caused intense excitement was tried in May, 1861. Two slaves, John and Ned, the property of a Mr. Haynes, on the night of May 1, brutally murdered George R. Kite, Richard Kite, Mary Haynes and Louisa Haynes, and set fire to the house. When the deed was discovered excitement ran very high, as a general insurrection of the slaves was feared, and the lynching of the murderers was prevented with difficulty. a special term of the circuit court was called to meet on May 9, 1861, at which time Judge D. T. Patterson presided. They were promptly convicted, and were hanged on the 12th of June following.
Since the close of the war two executions have taken place. The first was that of W. N. Berry, hanged in August, 1875, for the murder of his wife. The second that of Joseph Harris, of Hancock county, executed in November, 1881. He was convicted of the murder of two men in Rogersville for the purpose of robbery.
The first chancery courts were held in 1825. the division consisted of Sullivan, Hawkins, Grainger and Claiborne Counties. The judges of the supreme court alternated in presiding over the chancery court from that time until several years later.
The first lawyer of prominence in Hawkins County was William Cocke, who is mentioned elsewhere. He had two or three sons, who also became lawyers. One of them, John Cocke, located in Grainger county; another, Sterling Cocke, remained in Hawkins County. He was admitted to practice in 1812, and six years later was made attorney-general, in which position he continued for many years. He was not looked upon as a lawyer of great ability, but was a man of strict integrity and of pleasing manners. Peter Parsons, a somewhat prominent lawyer of his time, was a resident of Rogersville for a few years, but subsequently went to Alabama. Orville Bradley, who was licensed to practice in 1817, was a bachelor of large wealth, and never gave that close attention to his profession necessary to secure success. One of the ablest of the early members of the Rogersville bar was John A. McKinney, uncle of the late Judge Robert J. McKinney, and father of Judge John E. McKenney. He began practice about 1807, and very soon took a leading position at the bar. He was appointed United States district attorney by John Quincy Adams, and was chosen to represent the county in the Constitutional Convention of 1834. He died in 1845. His great success was due to his thorough knowledge of the law, his untiring perseverance and his incorruptible integrity. He was associated during the latter years of his life with his son-in-law, John Netherland, who had formerly resided in Sullivan County. The latter is still living, but for some time has been retired from the active prosecution of his profession. He was an eloquent speaker, and because distinguished as a great criminal lawyer. He has always taken an active interest in politics, has served several terms in the Legislature, was an elector for the State at large on the Whig ticket in 1848, and in 1860 was the Whig candidate for governor.
Two other men of eminence in the profession, in the early history of the State, resided in the county. They were Pleasant M. Miller***** and Judge Samuel Powell. The latter resided on a large farm near Rogersville. He began the practice of law in Tennessee early in the century, and soon became favorably known for his ability and legal attainments. In 1807 he was elected a judge of the superior court, and so continued until that court was abolished. In 1814 he was chosen to represent his district in the XIV Congress, and while in that position he was tendered a seat upon the supreme bench, which he refused. In 1821 he was elected judge of the First Judicial Circuit, and from that time was upon the bench for twenty consecutive years. He was the preceptor of several men who afterward obtained eminence, among whom were Robert L. and Abraham Caruthers.
Among other resident attorneys of the county prior to 1860 were Michael McCann, admitted to practice in 1823; Dicks Alexander, for many years clerk of the chancery court; William O. Winston and George R. Powel.
The present members of the Rogersville bar are F. M. Faulkerson, A. D. Huffmaster, Hugh G. Kyle, Thomas McDennott, W. P. Gillenwaters, W. N. Clarkson, T. C. Sensabaugh, H. C. Jarvis and Ellis Cocke.
Rogersville was founded by Joseph Rogers, who settled upon the site in 1786. At the June term of the county court in 1787 the commissioners appointed “for fixing on a place for building the courhouse, prison and stocks” reported “that it be fixed at Joseph Rogers’, on Crockett Creek.” Joseph Rogers then relinquished the right and title of two acres of land for the use of the public buildings, and Thomas Hutchings, Hutson Johnston, Francis Doherty, Joseph Cloud and Thomas Gibbons were appointed commissioners to lay off the town, which was done on June 15, 1787. At about this time, or very soon after, Mr. Rogers entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, James Hagan, and in 1789 they applied to the Legislature to establish a town at Hawkins Courthouse, where a number of lots had already been laid off. It was accordingly enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, on December 22, 1789, “that Thomas King, Thomas Hutchings, Joseph McCulloch, Thomas Jackson and Elijah Chissom be, and they are appointed, commissioners and trustees for designing, building and carrying on a town at Hawkins Courthouse by the name of Rogersville, and they, or a majority of them, are hereby empowered and required to lay off thirty acres of land, including the public buildings at the said courthouse, in half-acre lots, with convenient streets and alleys.”
Previous to this time a store had been opened by Rogers & Hagan, and a courthouse and jail had been erected. The character of these county buildings is not known, but they were probably very temporary structures, since in 1794 the Territorial Assembly granted the county permission to levy a tax for a jail and courthouse. The oldest courthouse now remembered was a one-story hewed-log building, weather-boarded. It stood in front of the Bank Building, with its side to Market Street, now the main street of the town. It was occupied until 1836 or 1837, when the present substantial brick building was erected. In 1807 the old jail and lot were sold, and a new brick jail erected upon the site of the present one, which was built a short time prior to the war.
As before stated, the first store was opened by Rogers & Hogan. Among the other firms in business from 1790 to 1800 were Joseph Parks, Hugh & Campbell, North & Nelson, and Sherman & King. They were succeeded early in the present century by Samuel Neill and William Simpson, who did business in a small frame house immediately opposite where the hotel now is; Francis Dolzell [Dalzell], whose store was on the adjoining lot west, and Nicholas Fain, who was located where the post office now is. The first hotel was kept by Joseph Rogers, who continued in the business until his death.
In 1817 a branch of the old State Bank was incorporated under the title of the Rogersville Tennessee Bank. Its capital stock was $4,000. The directors were Richard Mitchell, John A. Rogers, Francis Dolzell, William Hord, Jacob Miller, Dr. Joseph W. Carden, Hugh G. Moore, William Lyons, William Simpson and Nicholas Fain. This institution did business in the house now occupied by Mr. Caldwell, situated a short distance west of the public square. About 1828 this bank began to wind up its affairs. Ten years later the last Bank of Tennessee was incorporated, and one of the two branches allotted to East Tennessee was located at Rogersville, thereby causing great indignation among the citizens of Knoxville and Jonesboro. The new bank was organized with C. H. Coffin as president, and S. D. Mitchell, cashier. For the first two or three years it occupied the building formerly used by the old bank. The large and imposing brick building, which is still standing, was then erected. This bank continued in business until the war, but with a frequent change of officers.
The business of Rogersville in 1835 was conducted by the following individuals and firms: Charles H. Coffin and John A. McKinney, James K. Neill and P. S. Hale, Nicholas Fain & Son, R. G. Fain, Neill & Simpson, and Armstrong & De Wolf, merchants; Jacob Wax, coppersmith and tinner; F. B. Evans and George C. Speck, tailors; Joseph Huffmaster, carpenter; John Aston, cabinet-maker; George C. Bradley, hatter; Michael Baugh, silversmith, and Robert Carden, blacksmith. Richard Humphreys kept the present Hale Spring Hotel, which was built by John A. McKinney. Richard Smith also had a hotel where the post office is.
Among the business men of the fifties were Sevier & Simpson, McKinney & Rogan, Mitchell, Caldwell & C., James K. Neill, M. S. & R. D. Wells, Johnston & Thompson, William White and Mitchell & Kyle.
To Rogersville belongs the honor of being the place at which was issued the first newspaper published in Tennessee. It was known as the Knoxville Gazette, and the first number appeared on November 5, 1791, bearing the names of G. Roulstone and R. Ferguson as publishers. Where the building stood in which the paper was printed is not known, but as the lot on the northeast corner of the public square was purchased by Mr. Roulstone it is probable that that was the site of his printing office. The publication was continued at Rogersville for about one year, when he removed to Knoxville, which had been established during that year. The next paper established in the town was the Rogersville Gazette, the first number of which was issued in July, 1814, by Carey & Early. It was a five-column folio, with the couplet, “The Star Spangles Banner, etc.,” as its motto. A few years later the Western Pilot was established by John B. Hood, who afterward removed to Rhea County, and there published the first paper in East Tennessee below Knoxville. In 1827 Rev. James Gallaher, F. A. Ross and David Nelson established the Calvinistic Magazine, devoted mainly to the theological discussions of the times. It was published for about five years. On July 4, 1831, the first number of the Railroad Advocate was issued by an association of gentlemen, for the purpose of encouraging and advocating the building of railroads in Tennessee. It continued for little less than a year, and was probably the first journal of the kind ever published. In August, 1838, a prospectus was issued stating that a number of gentlemen had formed an association for the publication of a Whig paper to be known as the Holston Watchman, the first number of which was to appear about November 1. For some cause the publication did not begin until the following March, and then it was known as the East Tennessean. The editor was William Wales. It had but a brief existence, and in other papers was established until 1850, when the Rogersville Times appeared, bearing the name of L. L. Poats as editor, and LaFayette Jones as publisher. It continued for six or eight years, and was then succeeded by the Independent, under the editorial management of Rev. M. H. B. Burkett. In 1860 the State Sentinel was published by Capt. R. D. Powell. The papers established since the close of the war have been mainly published for campaign purposes, and have been short lived. Among them have been the Spectator and the Telephone. In 1885 Will T. Robertson established the Holston Review, a well edited and newsy Democratic paper. The Rogersville Herald, a Republican paper, was established in 1856.
The first schools in Rogersville, are said to have been taught in a small house, which stood near Union Spring. In 1806 trustees were appointed for McMinn Academy as follows: George Maxwell, William Armstrong, Richard Mitchell, Andrew Galbraith and Thomas Jackson, to whom were added in 1817, Peter Parsons, Orville Bradley and S. D. Mitchell. In 1813 or 1814 a brick building was erected, by money obtained, as was common in those days, from a lottery. The institution was also aided by a bequest from Gen. McMinn. Among the first teachers were John Scruggs and Rufus Kennedy. A few years prior to the war the present brick building was erected upon the site of the old one.
In July, 1840, the Odd Fellows laid the corner-stone of a large brick building in which, in September, 1850, was opened the Rogersville Female Institute. Since that time the school has undergone various changes, and has been under the control of many different organizations. Finally the property and franchise of the institution were purchased by Joseph R. Anderson and Samuel N. Fain and transferred by them to the Synod of Tennessee. Since then it has been under the care of C. C. Ross, and now ranks as one of the best Female Colleges in Tennessee.
The early religious history of Rogersville is not well known. It is probable that religious services were held there from the establishment of the town. The first regular preaching was said to have been done by Rev. Charles Coffin, who, for a while previous to 1815, had given the people of Rogersville one-sixth of his time. In 1815 Rev. James Gallaher located at Rogersville and began preaching in the academy building, where the next year a Presbyterian Church was organized. The elders chosen were George Mooney, Edward Mooney, Samuel Neill, William Alexander, William Armstrong and John Armstrong. Mr. Gallaher continued to preach to this congregation until 1830. During the next three years the church was without a stated supply. In 1833 Rev. Phillip Wood assumed pastoral charge, and continued until about the time the schism in the Presbyterian Church occurred. The congregation then divided. The property was sold at auction, and was purchased by the old school party, of which James A. Lyons became pastor. He continued for some time. Among his successors were Rev’s. Carter, McBridge, Park, Jones, Page and Campbell. the retiring division chose James McLim as its first pastor, and soon after erected the Second Presbyterian Church. Among the ministers who served this church from that time until the war were John McCampbell, Rev. Mr. Mathes S. Sawyers, J. M. Huffmaster and J. W. Elliott. Since the close of the war the two congregations have again united and attached themselves to the Southern General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Services are held in the Second Presbyterian Church.
A Methodist Church was organized early in the history of the town and the congregation erected a house of worship at about the same time as the Presbyterians. The Baptists had no house of worship until about 1850, when, in connection with the Masonic fraternity, they erected a two-story frame building, and occupied the lower story. The building was destroyed during the war, and they have since had no church in the town. The members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, however, formed an organization, and have erected a neat house.
One of the first Masonic lodges in Tennessee was organized in Rogersville under a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee on December 14, 1805. It was known as Overton Lodge. The officers were Samuel Powell, Worshipful Master; Johathan Spryker, Senior Warden, and John Johnston, Junior Warden. In 1820 a new charter was issued by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, designating this lodge as Overton Lodge, No.5. Among the members at that time were Jacob Peck, R. L. Caruthers, Absolom Looney, S.J.W. Lucky, S. M. Howry, Orville Rice, Peter Parsons, H. Rutledge, Dr. P. McCarty, William Young and John A. Rogers.
Rogersville at the present time contains a population of about 1,000. It is one of the handsomest towns in the State, and has a large trade. During the construction of the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad a branch to Rogersville was begun, and in 1860 it had been completed from Bull’s Gap to the Holston River. After the close of the war it was purchased by H. M. Aikin, and completed to Rogersville. The business interests of the town are represented as follows: A.D.Simpson & Co., Hale & Rogan, H. C. Shanks, C. S. Mitchell, and Smith & Fudge, general merchandise; H. J. Nelson & Co. and J. M. Pierce, drugs; A. B. Rogan & Co., groceries and hardware; Hale & Riley, agricultural implements; Joseph Wright & Co., boots, shoes, saddles, etc., and V. Bagler, clothing. There are also three banking institutions as follows: Rogersville Bank, S. Neill, president, and W. D. Kenner, cashier; Citizens Bank of Rogersville, J. C. Stamps, president, G. A. Smith, vice-president, and J. M. Gray, cashier; and the Exchange and Deposit Bank, H. M. Aiken, president, and James Cooper, cashier.
The principal villages of Hawkins County are Mooresburg, Bull’s Gap or Rogersville Junction, Surgoinsville, Rotherwood, New Canton, Stony Point, War Gap, Austin’s Mills and Persia, some of which are quite old. Surgoinsville was established by an act of the Legislature passed in October, 1815. It was laid out upon land owned by James Surgoin and Arthur G. Armstrong, Joseph Klepper, Johan Loughmiller, James Surgoin and Edward Erwin, were appointed commissioners for its regulation. At this time Arthur G. Armstrong had a store, and John A. Rogers subsequently build a mill there. Mooresburg was founded by Hugh G. Moore who opened a store at that point. It is now a pleasant village of about 200 people.
Bull’s Gap post office took its name from the Gap in the ridge one mile to the east. This in turn was named for John Bull, the first settler in the vicinity. Since the completion of the railroad to Rogersville a thriving village has grown up, at its junction with the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad. It has two churches, a good school, four stores and a hotel. The merchants are W. S. Myers & Co., Mooney Bros. and J. W. Brown, dealers in general merchandise, and John McFerrin, druggist.
The following partial list of the officers of Hawkins County is as complete as could be made in the absence of records:
Clerks of the county court — Richard Mitchell, 1787-1812; S. D. Mitchell, 1812-36; William O. Winston, 1836-37; John Blevins, 1837-38; James M. Hord, 1838-43; C. Smith, 1843-44; R. Johnson, 1844-46; James H. Ellis, 1846-50; J. H._____, 1850-62; James R. Pace, 1862-65; James Lackey, 1865-70; Jo. R. Armstrong, 1870-86, and James Nugent, 1886-.
Clerks of the circuit court — Thomas Cocke, 1810-21; Willie B. Mitchell, 1821-40; George R. Powell, 1840-52; L. H. Rogan, 1852-56; James M. Hord, 1856-65; William M. Piper, 1865-70; John J. Wolfe, 1870-78; C. C. Spears, 1878-86, and A. Davis, 1886-.
Clerks and masters — Dicks Alexander, 1825-55; George R. Powell, 1855-58; Richard G. Fain, 1858-65; James R. Pace, 1865-70; C. M. Bales, 1870-73; D. M. Gray, 1873-85, and W. H. Watterson, 1885-.
Sheriffs — Thomas Berry, 1787-90; Joel Gillenwaters, 1796-98; Benoni Caldwell, 1793-1800; Alexander Nelson, 1800-02; Joseph Parks, 1802-05; Alexander Nelson, 1805-07; Absolom Looney, 1807-12; Thomas Gillenwaters, 1812-15; Gabriel McCraw, 1815-25; James P. McCarty, 1825-33; James Bradley, 1833-36; James P. McCarty, 1836-42; Benjamin Thurman, 1842-44; Jacob Miller, 1844-46; James P. McCarty, 1846-48; Samuel Smith, 1848-50; Henry Tartar, 1850-52; Harvey Hamilton, 1852-58; Elias Beal, 1858-78; C. M. Bales, 1868-70; C. C. Spears, 1870-76; R. L. Blevins, 1876-82; W. R. Sanders, 1882-84; M. H. Kenner, 1884-86, and H. C. Armstrong, 1886-.
Registers — William Alexander, —-1840; Adolphus Hutcheson, 1840-44; R. C. Crawford, 1844-52; R. M. Senabaugh, 1852-56; W. B. Mitchell, 1856-65; A. Lee, 1865-70; John Walker 1870-72, and L. L. Poats, 1872.
Trustees — Joel Gillenwater, -1826; John Johnston, 1826-; H. Watterson, 1836-40; James Y. Campbell, 1840-42; A. P. McCarty, 1842-44; Thomas Marshall, 1844-46; David Lauderbach, 1846-50; William Hutcheson, 1850-52; Martin Phillips, 1852-56; Robert Johnston, 1856-; Thomas chestnut, 1860-64; Frank Self, 1866-70; Joshua Smith, 1870-72; James Nugent, 1872-76; George Webb, 1876-82; I. S. Gillenwaters, 1882-86, and T. J. Parrott, 1886.
* See pages 268 and 269.
**The identity of these men could not be definitely determined by the writer. It is probable that they were John Carter and Joseph Parker. Col. Carter lived in what is now Carter County, but is possible that he may have owned an interest in the store.
***For the boundary of these tracts see 70.
****See page 373.
*****For these and other facts concerning the history of the county the writer is indebted to Col. Rogan, of Rogersville.
******See page 385.
Transcribed by Mildred Collins Wasser.