By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996


(Page 64)

            Acting in the interest of the United States, Tennessee and North Carolina governments, General Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby, as commissioners, made a treaty of cession for the western section of Tennessee and western Kentucky, with the traditional Indian owners, the Chickasaws, October 19, 1818. The treaty of cession was accepted by the national government and ratified when President James Monroe signed it on January 7, 1819. (TENNESSEE LAND LAWS, edited by Henry D. Whitney, 1891, page 486) The legislature of Tennessee convened in October 1819 and accepted the cession and expressed its intention of honoring the old North Carolina grants made heretofore in the newly-acquired territory and that it would also establish land offices so that the land could be speedily and effectively distributed.

            On October 23, 1819 the state legislature divided the area known as the Western District of Tennessee into seven surveyor districts; these were sub-divided into ranges that ran north and south in five mile squares called sections. (IBID., pages 202, 204) Present-day Madison County was located in two surveyor districts, numbers nine and ten. "One other district to begin thirty-five miles west of the Tennessee River, on the south boundary line of the state; to run north according to the true meridian fifty-five miles for its western boundary; thence east to the Tennessee River; thence up the Tennessee, to the southern boundary of the state and with said boundary to the beginning; which shall be known and distinguished by the name of the NINTH DISTRICT." One other district "beginning at the southwest corner of the last mentioned, running west with the south boundary line of this state thirty miles; thence north fifty-five miles; thence east to the northwest corner of the aforesaid district; thence south to the beginning; to compose one other district, which shall be known and distinguished by the name of the TENTH DISTRICT." (IBID., page 201)

            The first settlers in what became Madison County started to trek into the area in 1819, even before the lands officially were set for sale the next year. There were sufficient settlers to petition the state legislature for the forming of counties from the new territory.

            Among the first counties to be organized within the Western District of Tennessee was that one named for James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. It was destined to become one of the key counties of the state. MADISON COUNTY was created by the state legislature on November 7, 1821. (ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1821, Chapter 32, page 41)

            The several petitions addressed to the state legislature from the settlers of this area have been preserved and are kept in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. The present writer has taken their names directly from the original petitions as arranged for him by the clerk handling these papers.

            Most of the settlers who signed the petitions lived within what became Madison County. However, those persons living in Range Three of the Ninth Surveyor District, sections 6-11, lived in that area which became Henderson County on November 16, 1821.

            Madison County, as drawn with its range and section lines and published on the Mathew Rhea "Map of Tennessee, "1832 (and engraved by Tanner, Dawson and Knight, Philadelphia, Pa.), is shown on the next page (with curved arrows drawn to mark the division lines of the 9th Surveyor District (the eastern part of the county) from the 10th Surveyor District (more central and western part of the county).


(Page 65)


Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Legislative Petitions:

To the honourable the members of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. We the citizens of the western district in the state aforesaid residing on the waters of the Forked Deer River, beg leave to represent to your honourable body, that we labour under many inconveniences arising from the unorganized state of our country. We your petitioners therefore pray that you grant us relief by designating and laying off this section of country into counties having their constitutional limits or as near so as circumstances will permit, and in order more permanently to establish the lines of the same, your honourable body will see the propriety of circumscribing the Country of Stewart, Humphreys, Perry and Hardin to these constitutional limits or as near as circumstances will justify, your petitioners recommend the adoption of the above plan with a full persuation of its constitionality and that it will have a tendency to tranquilize the present as well as the future inhabitants of this country. Your petitioners further pray your honourable body to pass the necessary laws for the organization of a county that may include your petitioners who principally reside in the north west and north east corner of the north & south principal Surveyors District and in the Sections & Ranges as follows (to wit).

In the Ninth District in the 10th Section and First Range, Petitioners No. 35
In the 10th Sec. & 2d Range, Petitioners No. 29
In the 10th Sec. & 3d Range, Petitioners No. 17
In the 11th Sec. & 1 Range, Petitioners No. 11
In the 11th Sec. & 2 Range, Petitioners No. 62
In the 11th Sec. & 3 Range, Petitioners No. 36

And in the Tenth Surveyors District
In the 9 Sec. & 3 Range, Petitioners No. 8
In the 10th Sec. & 1 Range, Petitioners No. 33
In the 10th Sec. & 3 Range, Petitioners No. 16
In the 10th Sec. & 1 Range, Petitioners No. 5
In the 11th Sec. & 2 Range, Petitioners No. 7


(Page 66)

And for the due administration of justice in said county, we further pray your honorable body to appoint the following gentlemen Justices of the Peace in and for said county (to wit), James Trousdale, Nelson J. Hess, 10th District 10th Sec. & 1 Range. B. G. Stewart, 10th Sec. 1st Range, 9th District. William Atchison, Abner Browne & James Thompson, 11th Sec., 2nd Range & 9th District. James A. McClary, 11th Sec., 3d Range & 9th District. William Harris, 9th Sec., 3rd Range & 10th District. Thomas Fite, 2nd Range 2nd Sec. & 13th District. John Rutherford at the key corner. John Bell, 3rd Range, 10th Sec. & 9th District. Samuel Taylor, 11th Sec. 1st Range & 9th District.

Your petitioners will ever pray &c. /dated September 28, 1821/

Benjamin Gwin
Samuel Viles
David Melton
Daniel Crouse
Edwin Bradberry
William Redings
Henry Chambers
Isaac Sellers
James Price
George Earnhart
B. M. Barrow
Jas. Burrow
I. Hunnell
Dan'1. Barcroft
William Barcroft
E. Stewart
J. Trout
Jno. McBride
B. McNabb
John Cornell
Jo. M. Taylor
Robt. Box
Spencer Grant
Robt. Graham
D. Connell
Jas. Winters
John Linch
Abner Marsh
John Oldham
John Page
W. B. Moore
Dickson McMillin
Jos. L. Price
Sam'l. Taylor
David Moore
E. Oldham
A. Brown
Robert Reid
T. P. ______
Elisha Harbour
James Harbour

Philip Huggins
John Jones
Lindley Box
Stanford Anderson
William Wilson
Willie Anderson
Daniel Sullivant
Eleven Sullivant
Thomas Gatlin
Burtis Alford
William B. Moore
Thomas James
John Gately
James Thompson
Jno. Hargrave
Jesse Thomas
Joel Thomas
James A. McClary
Thomas Palmer
C. W. Taylor
John Weaver
Isum Delany
John Cinch
Andrew Giffen
Will Harris
H. L. Gray
Francis Taylor
William Freer
John P. Thomas
William Stevenson
N. I. Hess
Lewis Williams
William Atchison
John Thetford
Jno. B. Hogg
Reuben P. T. Stone
Sam'1. Moore
David A. Moore
Thomas Black
Thomas Adams
Samuel F. Moore

Lewis Needham
Coston Sawyer
Joseph Thetford
Andrew Thomas
Simon Thetford
Jacob Bradbury
William Thetford
George Bradbury
Leven Sullivan
Willis Nichols
Thomas Grissom
Adley Alexander
Jacob Bradbery
John Fisher
John Bradbury
James Reade
Wm. Causlin
Jonethen Conel
Walter Thedford
Zacharah Thomas
Samuel Bradshaw
Carey H. Moore
William Moore
Jas . M. Alexander
John Hall
Edward Boswell
Archabald Dison
James Boswell
James Ashton
John Moore
John Evans
Grean Warren
Jeremiah Tinkle
Hennary Warren
George Anderson
James Dosse
John Steele
William Osburn
William Penn
Henry Reed
Thomas Bell



(Page 67)

Sameal Molder
Robert Box
Joshua Penn
Thomas Hopper
Armstrong Rylie
David Spain
John _____
George C. Davidson
John Wood
Henry ________
Hervy Wood
John E. Davidson
Levi T. Woods
David Woods
Waller Cornell
John Cornell
John Winn
Joel Dyer
Thomas Fite
J. Butler
Jonathan Blackwell
Hardy Blackwell
Mat. Roberts
John Spencer
James F. Randolph
Jeremiah Randolph
Josiah S. Ellis
Micajah Harbor
Josiah Thetford
Thomas Sullivant
Millington Blalock
William Blalock
William Smith, Jr.
William Smith, Sr.
Nathan Clarck
Stephen Smith
Andrew Smith
R. Phelps
John Fisher
Sam'1. Hobbs
W. D. Lewis
Wm. Nash
R. B. Nash
Abijah Kelly
Ben Porter
Fred'k. Barfield
Geo. C. Barfield
Dan' l. H. Barfield
Jas. Sutherland
Wm. Erwin
Wm. Nash, Jr.
Young Wilson
William Norwood
Dan'1. Eastwood
E. B. McCoy
P. Raynes
John Wear
George Wear

D. Johnson
James M. Inge
Isaac Curry
R. Wood
Eli Sullivant
John Jones
Asa Weaver
William Spencer
Henry Rutherford
Jas. Langford
Willis Chamberlin
E. P. Chambers
W. C. Chambers
Griffith Rutherford
Olivir Crenshaw
John Hamilton
Ransome Hill
Jno. Rutherford
Jno. Rutherford, Jr.
William D. Lewis
Henry McPeak
John Parker
Isaac Manire
James Stallcup
Williby Hammond
Allen Forehand
James M. Lewis
George C. Best
Thomas Palmer
Jessee Wood
Greenup White
John Montgomery
Jurdon Spence
B. G. Stewart
C. Lane
Wm. Phimister
Benja. White
Abraham Hill
Curtis Sawyer
Abner Roads
David Poor
Elisha Ferrell
Henery Bettis
Thomas Neville
Anslem Russell
Abraham Osburn
George Gentry
John Bates
Thos. Kirk
Joel Redens
George Koins
Elijah Baker
John Ridens
Allen ______
Wm. Bettis
Drewry Bettis
Wiley Bettis
Sam'1. Waddill

George Gentry (again; marked through)
James Dillard
Abner Spence
William L. Mitchell
Will H. Dyer
Jas. Neavill
Jno. Rone
A. Weeks
L. W. Ellmore(?)
A. Duncan
Jas. Trousdale
Martin Lowrance
Henry N. Coulter
John Bowen
Sam'1. W. Farmer
Robert Edmonston
John Trousdale
Drewry White
W. R. Hess
Jno. H. Gibson
Jas. Vaulx
John Fare
Robert Tidwell
Jno. G. Caruthers
Michael Clarke
Jno. Clarke
Thos. Silivan
Philip Huggins
John Jones
J. L. Wortham
Charles Stewart
Jno. Young
L. S. Johnson
Peter Eaker
Zebedee Grentry
Harry Dodson
Joseph Bolding
William Bolding, Snr.
William Bolding, Jr.
Thos. Nash
John Kelly
John Nelson
John E_des
Isaac Vaneer
James Stallcup
Robert ______
Wm. Fitzhugh
John Bowen
Ben Franklin
Taylor Newman
William Patterson
John Patterson
______ Roberts
Hardy Blackwell
Hugh Butler
Thos. ______



(Page 68)

Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Legislative Petitions:

To the hon'ble the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, the petition of sundrie inhabitants west of Tennessee River humbly sheweth, that we reside in the 7th, 8th, 9th Sections of the First, Second and Third Ranges in the 9th & 10th Surveyors Districts. That the population of the free male inhabitants in those sections entitle us to be encorporated and organized into a county with the dew administration of justice agreeable to the constitution of this state and should we be included within the limits of any county laid out agreeable to a petition, exhibited to your honorable body for laying out the whole section of our country into counties having their constitutional limits. We pray you in your wisdom to encorporate and organize us into a county by defining our limits by the appointment /sic/ magistrates and by all other legal means which will give us a fair representation both in the general & state government.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
/dated September 28, 1821/

Roderick McIver
Wm. Ruleman
Mark Langston
Walker Williams
Stephen Williams
John Spencer, Sen.
John Spencer, Jun.
Fendal Whitworth
Sam'l. Whitworth
Isaac Whitworth
Jacob Hill
Lorenzo D. Whitworth
Philmer Whitworth

Sam'l. Gardner
William Ruleman
Simeon Sullivan
James Wisdom
Charles Williams
Benj. Sells
Wm. S. Wisdom
Clark Spencer
Willm. Griffith
_______ (smeared name)



Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville. Legislative Petitions:

To the honorable the General Assembly. We your petitioners residing on the waters of the Forked Deer humbly sheweth, that we reside in the 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 Sections in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Ranges in the 9th & 10th Surveyors Districts west of the Tennessee River and that should we be included in any one county to be laid out by sd. General /Assembly/ & impartial plan represented to your hon'ble body for laying out the whole western district with counties having their constitutional limits, we pray to be incorporated and organized into a county as so much of our territory of sections as may be included in such county and thereby granting to us such relief as in your wisdom you may deem necessary as will leave us no longer in want of the due administration of justice & your petitioners will ever pray.
/Dated October 3, 1821/

Simon Johnson
James Brown
Lewis Jones
Samuel A. Lyon
James L. Price
Jno. H. Gibson
Wm. Espey

Robt. Doak
__________ (unreadable)
Henry Reagan
James Wright
Nathan Simpson
Joseph Hughes
Wade Hampton Hughes

R. H. Wynn
Adam R. Alexander
Elijah McAfee
Isaac Huggins
Benjamin Hughes
William Espey, Jur.
Ebenezer Alexander



(Page 69)

David Jeffreys
Wm. Bradshaw
William Pace
William H. Doake
Alanson F. Doak
Anthony T. Gray
Alex. Braden Sen.
Alexander Brallen Junior
(evidently Braden)
Carter C. Collier
Daniel King
Banester Tally
John Graves
Philip Graves
John Harrison, Sen.
James Adams
Henry Butler
William Butler
Char Butler
Abel Webb
Siras Webb
Micager Webb
Sam'1. H. Shannon
Greene L. Haralson
James Moss
James Harrison
John Hyte
Roderick Wright
Joseph T. Haralson
H. Haralson
William H. Haralson
James M. Haralson
Vincent Haralson
Stephen Booth
Thos. Adair
Jonathan Huston
Byland Chandler
Henry W. James
John Thomas
John Thomas, Junior
John Haly
Isaac Haly

Daniel Ross
Willm. Sheppard
Thomas Lacy, Senr.
Thomas Lacy, Jur.
Stephen Lacy
Hugh Lacy
John T. Brown
Archd. Hight
Gideon Harrison
Francis Herron
George Herron
Samuel Givings
Samuel Coner
Benjamin Blyth
Isaac T. Cates
William Pace
Fleming Pace
Wilson Brown
Murdock Murchison
Duncan McIver
Wm. Dalrymple
John Slone
Ben Rook
Simon Murchison
Daniel Murchison
Josep  Allen
James Rook
Zachariah Bennet
Thomas L. D. Parkes
Wm. Sargent
Isaac Brown
James Marlin
Charles Allen
Isaac Sellers
Pitts Chandler
Richard Sanders
James Alexander
Wm. Alexander
Anderson Odle
Jacob Clifton
Josep  Spruce
Quinton Spruce

Hawken Spruce
James Johnson
Eli Taylor
Joseph Wilson
Wm. Wilson
William Cant
Iredell Williams
Calvin Williams
John Parker
Allen Fuller
Wm. Haltom
John Liwallon
F. Frazure
Thos. F. Larrimore
W. T. Laramore
Smith Suleivan
Abner Fentress
West Fentress
Oen Quinley
William Deen
William Golden
Thomas Mathes
Caltern Mathes
Elijah Jones
Thos. Jones
Benj. Jones
Anderson Bruce
Obediah Nix
John Bruce
James Russel
Josua Henderson
Robert Rolens
Joel Bugg



At an election on the South Fork of the Forked Deer River recommending magistrates, we the judges of the aforesaid election do certify that Adam R. Alexander, William Braden, Duncan McIver, John Thomas, William Haltom, William Harris, Joseph Linn was duly elected or recommended by a majority of the populace, given under our hands & seals this 18th day of Augt. 1821:
/Dated October 10, 1821/


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