American History and Genealogy Project

State of Tennessee

Tennessee, one of the western United States, is bounded n. by Kentucky; e. by North Carolina; s. by Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi; and w. by the Mississippi River, which separates it from Arkansas and Missouri. It lies between 35° and 36° 30' n. lat., and between 81° 30' and 90° 10' w. Ion., and between 4° 39' and 13° 14' w. from W. It is at its mean length 400 miles, and its mean breadth 114 miles; containing 45,600 square miles, or 29,184,000 acres. The population in 1790, was 35,691; in 1800, 105,602; in 1810, 261,727; in 1820, 422,813; in 1830, 681,904; in 1840, 829,210, of which 183,059 were slaves. Of the free population 325,434 were white males; 315,193 do. females; 2,796 free colored males; 2,728 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 227,739; in commerce, 2,217; in manufactures and trades, 17,815; navigating the ocean, rivers, &c, 357; learned professions, 2,042.

This state is divided into 72 counties, which, with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

Eastern District
Anderson, 5,658, Clinton Johnson, 2,658, Taylorsville
Bledsoe, 5,676, Pikeville Knox, 15,485, Knoxville
Blount, 11,745, Marysville Marion 6,070, Jasper
Bradley, 7,385, Cleveland McMinn, 12,719, Athens
Campbell, 6,149, Jacksborough Meigs, 4,794, Decatur
Carter, 5,372 Elizabethtown Monroe, 12,056, Madisonville
Claiborne, 9,474, Tazewell Morgan, 2,660, Montgomery
Cocke, 6,992, Newport Polk, 3,570, Bentonville
Granger, 10,572, Rutledge Rhea, 3,985, Washington
Greene, 16,076, Greeneville Roane,' 10,948, Kingston
Hamilton, 8,175, Dallas Sevier, 6,442, Sevierville
Hawkins, 15,035, Rogersville Sullivan, 10,736, Blountville
Jefferson, 12,076, Dandridge Washington! 11,751, Jonesborough
 Middle District
Bedford, 20,546, Shelbyville Marshal, 14,555, Lewisburg
Cannon, 7,193, Woodbury Maury, 28,186, Columbia
Coffee, 8,184, Manchester Montgomery, 16,927, Clarksville
Davidson, 30,509, Nashville Overton, 9,279, Monroe
De Kalb, 5,868, Smithville Robertson, 13,801, Springfield
Dickson, 7,074, Charlotte Rutherford, 24,280, Murfreesborough
Fentress, 3,550, Jamestown Smith, 21,179, Carthage
Franklin, 12,033, Winchester Sumner, 22,445, Gallatin
Giles, 21,494, Pulaski Stewart, 8,587, Dover
Hickman, 8,618, Centreville Warren, 10,803, McMinnville
Humphreys, 5,195, Reynoldsburg Wayne, 7,705, Waynesborough
Jackson, 12,872, Gainesborough White, 10,747, Sparta
Lawrence, 7,121, Lawrenceburg Williamson, 27.006, Franklin
 Lincoln, 21,493, Fayetteville  Wilson, 24,460, Lebanon
Western District
Benton, 4,772, Camden Henry, 14,906, Paris
Carroll, 12,362, Huntingdon Lauderdale, 3,435, Ripley
Dyer, 4,484, Dyersburg Madison, 16,530, Jackson
Fayette, 21,501, Somerville McNairy, 9,385, Purdy
Gibson, 13,639, Trenton Obion, 4,814, Troy
Hardeman, 14,563, Bolivar Perry, 7,419, Perryville
Hardin, 8,245, Savannah Shelby, 14,721, Raleigh
Haywood, 13,870, Brownsville Tipton, 6,800, Covington
Henderson, 11,875, Lexington Weakley, 9,870, Dresden

Nashville, on the s. bank of Cumberland River, is the seat of government.

Cumberland Mountains run through the middle of the state, in the direction of n. e. and s. w., dividing it into two parts, denominated East Tennessee and West Tennessee. The western part of Tennessee is level, or gently undulating; in the middle it is hilly. East Tennessee abounds in mountains, many of them elevated, presenting much grand and picturesque scenery. Of the mountains, Cumberland, or Great Laurel ridge, is the most remarkable. It nowhere has an elevation of more than 1,000 feet. The names of the other mountains are Stone, Yellow, Iron, Bald, Smoky, and Unika, which form a chain in a n. e. and s. w. direction, and constitute the eastern boundary of the state. Northwest of these are Bay's mountain, Copper ridge, Clinch Mountain, Powell's mountain, and Welling's ridge, with valleys between them from 5 to 10 miles wide. These valleys open passages for rivers and roads. Caves of great depth and extent are found throughout the state.

The soil is various, but generally fertile. The western part has a black, rich soil; in the middle are great quantities of excellent land; in the eastern part the mountains are poor, but the valleys are very fertile. The country has a great profusion of native timber, poplar, hickory, walnut, oak, beach, sycamore, locust, cherry, sugar-maple, &c, and in some parts are great quantities of cane, very thick and strong. There are many medicinal plants, such as snakeroot, ginseng, Carolina pink, angelica, senna, anise, and spikenard. The soil produces abundantly cotton and tobacco, the staple commodities of the state; also grain, grass, and fruit. Cattle are extensively exported from East Tennessee.

In 1840 there were in this state, 341,409 horses and mules; 822,851 neat cattle; 741,593 sheep; 2,926,607 swine; poultry valued at $606,969. There were produced 4,569,692 bushels of wheat; 4,809 of barley; 7,035,678 of oats; 304,320 of rye; 17,118 of buckwheat; 44,986,188 of Ind. corn; 1,060,332 pounds of wool; 850 of hops; 50,907 of wax; 1,904,370 bushels of potatoes; 31,233 tons of hay; 3,344 of hemp and flax; 29,550,432 pounds of tobacco; 7,977 of rice; 27,701,277 of cotton; 1,217 of silk cocoons; 258,073 of sugar. The products of the dairy were valued at $472,141; and of the orchard at $367,105; value of lumber produced, $217,606; 3,336 barrels of tar, pitch, &c, were made.

A considerable portion of this state rests on a bed of limestone. Gypsum in large quantities has been discovered. Copperas, alum, nitre, and lead, are among the minerals, and some silver has been found. Saltpetre forms a considerable article of commerce. Many salt springs, and some valuable mineral springs, have been found.

The climate is mild and generally healthy. The winter in Tennessee resembles the spring in New England. Snow seldom falls to a greater depth than 10 inches, or lies longer than 10 days. Cumberland River has been frozen over but three or four times since the country was settled. Cattle are rarely sheltered in winter. Some low grounds in the western part of the state are subject to bilious fevers and fever and ague, but they constitute but a very small portion of the state.

The usual route to a market is down the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to the Ohio, and thence to New Orleans. Foreign goods come extensively from the east through Pittsburgh. Cattle, in considerable numbers, are driven from East Tennessee to an eastern market.

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Tennessee River, though it has not its rise nor its entrance, has its chief course in this state. It is 1,200 miles long, and is navigable for steamboats to Florence in Alabama, 259 miles above its entrance into the Ohio, and for boats 250 miles further. Cumberland River rises in Kentucky, but runs mainly in Tennessee. It is navigable for steamboats 200 miles to Nashville, and for boats 300 miles further. It enters the Ohio in Kentucky, 60 miles from the Mississippi. The Holston, Clinch, French Broad, and Hiwassee, are branches of the Tennessee. Obion, Forked Deer, and Wolf rivers, in the western part of the state, flow into the Mississippi, and are navigable for boats.

Nashville is the largest and most commercial place in the state. Knoxville, on the Holston River, is the principal town in East Tennessee, and was formerly the seat of government. Murfreesborough, in West Tennessee, was formerly the seat of government, and is in the midst of a fertile country. Memphis, on the Mississippi, is a place of considerable business. Clarksville, Franklin, Jonesboro', Winchester, and Columbia, are considerable places.

There were in 1840, 13 commercial and 52 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $1,495,100; 1,032 retail drygoods and other stores, with a capital of $7,357,300; 1,126 persons employed in the lumber trade, with a capital of $6,700; 31 persons employed in internal transportation, who, with 5 butchers and packers, employed a capital of $93,811.

The amount of homemade or family goods was $2,886,661. There were 26 woolen manufactories and 4 fulling mills, employing 45 persons, producing articles to the amount of $14,290, with a capital of $25,600; 38 cotton manufactories with 16,813 spindles, employing 1,542 persons, producing articles to the amount of $325,719, with a capital employed of $463,240; 34 furnaces, producing 16,128 tons of cast iron, and 99 forges, &c, producing 9,673 tons of bar iron, employing 2,266 persons, and a capital of $1,514,736; 4 persons produced gold to the amount of $1,500, with a capital of $400; 2 smelting houses for lead; 21 persons produced 13,942 bushels of bituminous coal; 5 paper manufactories produced articles to the amount of $46,000; other manufactories of paper produced articles to the amount of $14,000, the whole employing 87 persons, and a capital of $93,000; 177 persons produced hats and caps to the amount of $104,949; 454 tanneries employed 909 persons, and a capital of $484,114; 374 other leather manufactories, as saddleries, fac, produced articles to the amount of $359,050, with a capital of $154,540; 29 potteries employed 50 persons, producing articles to the amount of $51,600, with a capital of $7,300; 266 persons produced machinery to the amount of $257,704; 142 persons manufactured hardware and cutlery to the amount of $57,170; 34 persons manufactured 564 small-arms; 11 persons manufactured the precious metals to the amount of $28,460; 10 persons manufactured granite and marble to the amount of $5,400; 417 persons produced brick and lime to the amount of $119,371; 1,426 distilleries produced 1,109,107 gallons, and 6 breweries produced 1,835 gallons, the whole employing 1,341 persons, and a capital of $218,182; 518 persons manufactured carriages and wagons to the amount of $219,897, employing a capital of $80,878; 28 rope walks employed 258 persons, producing articles to the amount of $132,630, and employing a capital of $34,230; 255 flouring mills produced 67,881 barrels of flour, and, with other mills, employed 2,100 persons, producing articles to the amount of $1,020,664, and employing a capital of $1,310,195; 203 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $79,580, with a capital of $30,650; 193 brick or stone houses, and 1,098 wooden houses, were built by 1,467 persons, at a cost of $427,402; 41 printing offices, 5 binderies, 2 daily, 6 semi- weekly, and 38 weekly newspapers, and 10 periodicals, employed 191 persons, and a capital of $112,500. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $3,731,530.

Greenville College, at Greenville, in East Tennessee, was founded in 1794; Washington College, in Washington County, was founded in 1794; the University of Nashville, in Nashville, the most important literary institution in the state, was founded in 1806; East Tennessee College, at Knoxville, was founded in 1807; Jackson College, near Columbia, was founded in 1839. The Southwestern Theological Seminary, at Marysville, was founded in 1821. The number of students in all these institutions in 1840 was 369. There were in the state 152 academies, with 5,539 students; and 983 common and primary schools, with 25,099 scholars. There were 5S,531 white persons, over 20 years of age, who could neither read nor write.

In 1836 the Methodists had 127 travelling preachers, and 34,266 communicants; the Baptists had 413 churches, 219 ministers, and 20,472 communicants; the Presbyterians had 120 churches, 90 ministers, and 10,000 communicants; the Episcopalians had 1 bishop and 8 ministers. There were besides many Cumberland Presbyterians, and some Lutherans, Friends, Christians, and Catholics.

At the commencement of 1839 there were in the state 1 bank and 7 branches, with an aggregate capital of $2,292,757, and a circulation of $742,542. The state debt at the close of 1840 was $1,789,166.

The constitution of this state was formed in 1796, at Knoxville. This constitution was revised and amended, and ratified by the people, in 3Iarch, 1835. The governor is elected by the people for 2 years, but is not eligible more than 6 years in 8. The representatives are chosen biennially, and their number cannot exceed 75 until the population is 500,000, and never afterwards exceed 99, apportioned among the different counties according to the number of qualified voters. The senators are chosen and apportioned in like manner, and can never exceed one third the number of representatives. The legislature meets biennially, at Nashville, in October following the election. It can be called together at other times, by the governor, if necessary. The judges of the Supreme Court are chosen by the joint ballot of both houses of the legislature, and hold their offices during 12 years. Every white person over 21 years of age, who is a freeholder in the county where he offers his vote, or who has resided in the county 6 months immediately preceding the election, enjoys the right of suffrage.

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The internal improvements of Tennessee consist of several railroads. Lagrange and Memphis railroad extends from Memphis, on the Mississippi, 50 ms. to Lagrange, in Lafayette County. Somerville branch extends from the main road at Moscow, 16 miles, to Somerville. The Hiwassee railroad extends from Knoxville, 98* miles, to the Georgia line, where it unites with the Western and Atlantic railroad of Georgia. The New Orleans and Nashville railroad is designed to pass through this state.

This state was originally included in the charter of North Carolina given by Charles II., in 1664; but no settlement had been made beyond the Alleghany Mountains until 1757, when a few hany pioneers established themselves at Fort Loudon, on Watauga River. This fort was attacked by the Indians in 1760, when more than 200 men, women, and children, were massacred. But the savages were chastised and subdued by Col. Grant and his troops the following year, and a favorable treaty was made by the natives. In 1765 settlements began on the Holston River. During the earlier parts of the revolutionary war the people of this territory had frequent contests with the Indians, and, in the latter part of it, with the combined forces of the British and Indians. In 1784 North Carolina ceded this territory to the United States, but soon repealed the act, and the people set up an independent government, calling it the State of Frankland, which brought them into collision with North Carolina. The territory was finally ceded to the United States in 1790, and a territorial government was established under the name of the Territory Southwest of the Ohio River. In 1796, Tennessee was admitted into the Union. The citizens of this state bore an important part in the last war, and particularly in the defense of New Orleans.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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