|History of Crockett County, TN|
Click here to read another article about the History of Crockett Co.
Alamo is the county seat. The county is situated between the south and middle forks of Forked Deer River. The south fork of Forked Deer River forms the southern boundary line and the middle fork of Forked Deer River forms the northern boundary line. Pond Creek rises about 300 yards north of Alamo, flows northwest and empties into the main Forked Deer River, at about twenty-five miles from that town. Cypress Creek rises in Madison County, flows northwest, and empties into Forked Deer River, about ten miles north of Alamo.
The first settlement in this area was about 1824 near the Haywood County line, south of the present town of Bell's Depot. Among the first settlers was Francis M. WOOD, Charles WORTHAM, William JOHNSON, Timothy PARKER, Wyatt F. TWEEDY, Wiley DODD, William DYER, Thomas TWEATT, and William KAVANAUGH. About 1825, Thomas FERGUSON came to Crockett in charge of a party of laborers to open up a farm and put in a crop for Gen. Blackman COLEMAN, who had purchased a tract of land in the area now known as Lanefield.
A year or so later, Ferguson moved from the Lanefield neighborhood and settled what became known as Ferguson's Landing on the Forked Deer River. A short while later, James WYLIE and Abram EASON came from North Carolina and settled near him. A few miles farther down the river, a settlement was formed by Cornelius and Albert BUCK, Edward WILLIAMS, and Capt. MOODY settled. About the same time David NUNN, Parson KOONCE, William ANTEWINE, and Henry POWELL settled. Other pioneers of the county was John F. and C. H. FELTS, Stephen BOOTH, Spencer PAYNE, John BURNETT, Thomas YOUNG, Solomon HUNTER, David WILSON, Zachariah HOBSON, James HENDRICKS, Richard COOP, Miles JENNINGS, ____ DINWIDDIE, Solomon SHAW, Samuel WILKINS, Newton MAYFIELD, Thomas TUCKER, Wilson WYNN, James CARTER, B. G. and H. B. AVERY, Moses COX, John TATUM, Levin JAMES, B. F. COLLINGSWORTH, Robert EDMUNDSON, James McCLARY, Sugars McLEMORE, J. B. BOYKIN, Henry PEARSON, H. B. WILSON, R. W. SIMS, G. H. MASON, E. B. MASON, Anthony SWIFT, John McFARLAND, Solomon RICE, Joseph CLAY, John CLAY, John BOWEN, Isaac H. Mason, Hugh Raines, John HILL and Bently EPPERSON.
The first settlements were in the nature of small clearings. One pioneer, more bold than the others, would push forward into the woods, make a clearing and build a cabin, and in a short time the others would follow and settle near him.
How Crockett Came To Be....
The inconvenience of reaching the county seat of the counties that created Crockett induced the people that lived in the fractions of Haywood, Gibson, Madison and Dyer counties to take steps to form a new county as early as 1832-33. A petition was circulated and recieved numerous signatures before being forwarded to the constitutional convention of 1834, praying that body would grant them the authority to form a county out of the above fractions. The petition was not presented and nothing came of the efforts.
The request continued and resulted in the passage, on December 20, 1845 of an act by the General Assembly, entitled as follows: "An act entitled to establish the county of Crockett in honor of and to perpetuate the memory of David Crockett, one of Tennessee's distinguished sons. The act provided that the county should be formed out of the counties of Haywood, Gibson, Madison, and Dyer, and appointed Isaac M. JOHNSON, David WHITAKER, Joel NUN, Willis L. RIVERS, Kinchen HATHAWAY, Isaac H. MASON, Alfred T. FIELDER and Noah PERRY as commissioners to run the boundary lines, organize the county and select a location for a county seat. The act also designated the house of Isaac M. JOHNSON, near where the county seat now stands, as the place of holding the various courts, until the selection of a county seat and the erection of a court house.
In the spring of 1846, the above commissioners marked off the boundary lines of the county and selected the present county site, where a town was laid out and named Cageville, in honor of Lycurgus Cage, one of the first merchants of that vicinity.
The magistrates of the new county met at the disignated place in June, 1846,, and organized the county. Officers were elected as follows: clerk, Isaac M. JOHNSON; sheriff, John R. JELKS; register,N. W. MAYFIELD; trustee, Joel NUN.
In October of 1846 the circuit court met in session at Mr. Johnson's house. The court was presided over by Judge J. C. REED, and John MANNING was appointed clerk. The new county had its enemies among the citizens of the old counties, who sought to throw every obstacle in the way of and prevent, if possible its organization. The question of the new county's constitutionality was raised, and being present to Judge REED, that gentlemen decided adversely to the county, adjourned his court and returned to his home. Each fraction returned to their original county until 1845.
The New Act
But before lon the people began to renew their efforts of a similar law as the one in 1845 granting a new county. The new act was passed by the General Assembly November 23, 1871 and authorized the formation of Crockett County out of fractions of the counties. The act appointed William N. BEASLEY and John F. SINCLAIR of Dyer County; J. Frank ROBERTSON and David H. JAMES of Gibson County; Thomas J. HICKS and John C. PEARSON of Madison County; Asa DEAN and Francis J. WOOD of Haywood County, as commissioners to survey and mark off the boundary lines of the new county, locate the county seat and hold an election for county and district offices.
The act further provided for the name of the county seat as Alamo for the spot where David CROCKETT fell. The commissioners met at Cageville on December 19, 1871 and were sworn in by Isaac M. JOHNSON, acting justice of the peace of Haywood County. They organized as a commission and elected John F. SINCLAIR as president and F. J. WOOD as secretary.
A motion was ordered to take the census of the qualified voters of their respective fractions. On January 25, 1872 they met again and received the following report of the census:
The commissioner divided the county into districts:
On March 9, 1872 the following was elected:
Magistrates: John E. PEARSON, Thomas B. CASEY, F. M. THOMPSON, Robert W. MASON, John W. ROSEMAN, David H. JAMES, Shady D. HARPER, John J. FARRON, Lewis W. DANIEL, Isaac M. JOHNSON, George W. BOND, John C. COOK, Noah F. STALLINGS, John C. BEST, Zachary P. WARREN, John F. ROBERTSON, Dennis TATUM, Henry BUCK, Henry WYSE, Benjamin H. HARMON, James H. PERRY, Jonathan H. DAVIS, John F. SINCLAIR, Isaac H. NUN, William N. BEASLEY.
The sessions of the courts were held in the Odd Fellows and Masonic Halls until 1873 when the records were moved to a large carriage factory. The court house was completed in 1875 at a cost of $25,000.
The county jail was completed in 1874 at a cost of about $10,000. The building is a two story brick with the sheriff or jailor's residence combined with the jail.
In 1879 the county purchased 90 acres in the 6th District, two miles west of Alamo. This area was converted into an asylum for the poor. The farm and frame building cost the county about $2,000.
Crockett County had a population of 14,000 in 1886. The voting population in 1872 was 1,900; in 1878, 2,300; in 1882, 2,500; in 1886, 2,800. Of the 2,800 - 2550 voted for the Democratic party.
The average value of land per acre was $9.72 in 1885. In 1886 the county tax was 20 cents and the state tax 10 cents on $100.
The main crops was corn, oats, rye, and wheat. The yield of cotton in 1885 was about 800 bales and of that 1886 was 900 bushels.