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Early Settler in Carroll Co. Tennessee


Settlement of Carroll County Tennessee

The first settlements in the county were made at McLemoresville and Buena Vista about the year 1820. R. E. C. Dougherty, at whose house the county was organized, held the land office for West Tennessee at McLemoresville as early as 1820. The first entry of land at this office, was made December 6, 1820, by David Gillespie. Other early settlers in the western part of the county were Dr. S. Y.Bigham, Rev. William Bigham, David Marshall, Robert Gilbert who cleared the site of McLemoresville, Rev. Abner Cooper, Rev. Reuben Burrow, Revs. James and Robert Hurt, Reddick Hillsman, William Harris, Lewis Demoss and Nathan Fox. James Hampton, Wm. Horton, Moses Roberts, W. A. Crider and son R. H. Crider (who is still living), and Nathan Nesbit and son Wilson (the latter still living), and Samuel Rogers were among the first settlers in the vicinity of Buena Vista, and elsewhere in the eastern part of the county. The first settlers in the vicinity of Huntingdon were Samuel Ingram, John Crockett (father of W. G. Crockett now of Huntingdon), James H. Gee, Wm. A. Thompson, Thomas Ross, John Gwin, Robert Murray and others. Among the early settlers in the vicinity of McKenzie were J. M. Gilbert (the present mayor of that town, who is now over eighty-six years of age), Ambrose Dudley, Thomas and Wm. Hamilton, Elam Cashon, Green Bethel, Wm. Rogers and John Green Later came James and Richard Cole, Stephen Pate, John McKenzie and others. As the organization of the county took place almost immediately after the first settlements were made, it should be borne in mind that every person hereinafter named in connection with the organization of the county and of the courts were early settlers. Large tracts of the most valuable lands of the county were entered by the location of North Carolina military land warrants, and owned by non-residents. Mimucan Hunt & Co. held such warrants for twenty tracts of land, each containing 5,000 acres. In September, 1794, Mr. Hunt conveyed to Isaac Roberts five of said tracts. 25,000 acres, all lying on Beaver Creek in Carroll County, for Mr. Roberts’ share for locating the land warrants, and obtaining the grants from the State for the aforesaid twenty 5,000-acre tracts. These lands were all located west of the Tennessee River and largely in Carroll County. In January, 1821, Dr. Thomas Hunt, executor of the will of Mimucan Hunt, then deceased, conveyed to Thomas H., Jesse, Samuel and Nathan Benton, the interest in said lands belonging to their father, Jesse Benton of North Carolina, all of which appears of record in the register’s office at Huntingdon. The Indians left the county about the time the settlers appeared. But the unbroken forest was then infested with bears, wolves, panthers, deer, wildcats, the smaller wild animals, and snakes. It is said that the reputation this country then had in North Carolina, was "fifty bushels of frogs to the acre, and snakes enough to fence the land." The wild animals destroyed many of the domestic animals of the early settlers, but they were hunted and subdued until all of the more destructive ones have become extinct. The first bridge built in the county was McKee’s bridge on the Big Sandy. In 1822, and prior thereto, there were no mills in the county, and the first settlers had to go to Humphreys County to get their milling done, and family supplies, such as salt, coffee, etc, were then brought from Reynoldsburg on the Tennessee River. The first gristmill in West Tennessee, was built in Carroll County by Isaac Blount on Blount Creek, on the site of the mill since owned by Joshua Butler. In March, 1824, Wm. Harris and Reddick Hillsman obtained leave of the county court to build a mill on Reedy Creek, and John Stockard was granted leave to build one on the same creek. Prior to this the same privilege had been granted to one Green, on Hollow Rock Creek. About the same time R. E. C. Dougherty built a mill on Clear Creek. James Shields erected the first cotton-gin in the county, on a place near Buena Vista. The first will probated in the county was that of David Clark, deceased, probated in June, 1824. Andrew Neely was the first infant ward and John S. Neely the first guardian. Wm. Roberts, called Bit Nose Bill, was the first man married in the county. About 1831 the Huntingdon turnpike leading to Jackson was constructed. For the years 1821 and 1822 the counties of Gibson and Dyer were territorially attached to Carroll, and for 1823 Gibson alone.