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Copyright © 2008 - 2014 by Andrew J. Morris





A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.

Robert Heinlein

History of Stewart County Tennessee

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Local History Notes:

Stewart County History

Stewart County was erected on November 1, 1803, from a part of Montgomery County and was named in honor of Duncan Stewart, an energetic and prosperous farmer. At that time this county included a vast domain extending west to the Tennessee River and south to the Alabama line. After the Chickasaw purchase was made, October 19, 1819, the jurisdiction of this county for a while extended to the Mississippi River and covered more than twelve hundred square miles, more than one-fourth of the entire state.

The earliest settlers arrived about 1795, mostly from North Carolina. Among them were: Geo. Petty, Samuel A. Smith, Britton Sexton, James Andrews, Samuel Boyd, and Elisha Dawson. They settled on or near the site of Dover. About 1800, Duncan Stewart arrived with a large number of immigrants from North Carolina, among them were: John Kingins, Christopher Brandon, Joseph Smith, Tillman Sexton, and Ethelred Wallace. In 1809 and 1811, John Wofford and James Wofford came. From Virginia came: James Scarborough, Sr., Jas. Scarborough, Jr., Davis Andrews, and Ebenezer Rumphelt; other pioneer families were, the Lewis, Gorham, Weaks, Parchman, Walter, and Akers families.

Most of the settlers from North Carolina had grants of land for services in the Revolutionary war. For several years they suffered much from the depredations of the Indians.

On November 1, 1803, the Legislature passed an act in which a commission was appointed to select the county seat. The county was organized on March 12, 1804, at the house of George Martin, near Bald Island, by the following named magistrates: Thomas Clinton, Joshua Williams, Wm. Allen, and Geo. Petty.

In 1805, thirty acres were bought of Robt. Nelson and a county seat laid out. Although the act creating the county specified that the name of the county seat should be Monroe, it was, nevertheless, called Dover. It was incorporated in 1836.

Among the early lawyers who practiced at Dover were: Nathaniel McNairy, Jesse E. Rice, H. C. Roberts, Jas. Roberts, Percy W. Thompson, Aaron Goodridge, E. P. Petty, J. B. Reynolds, J. W. Wall, C. M. Brandon, J. W. Rice, M. Brandon, Jesse L. Harris, J. O. Shackleford, Peter Lynch, Hiram Valentine, John Reddick, Wm. Fitzgerald, West H. Humphreys, Geo. W. Marr.

Early physicians were: Doctors Brunson, Huling, Cato, Outlaw and Roberts.

Probably the first school was taught by John Ferrell in 1806. Alexander Coppage was a noted teacher of 1826. In 1840, McDougal opened a 'Male and Female Academy.'

The Baptists established the first church, probably in 1803.

From 1854 to 1856, a servile insurrection, probably the only one in the history of Tennessee was fomented in this county, supposedly by white preachers. The plan was for the negroes to overcome their masters on a certain day and then to leave for Ohio where they expected to be free. In December, 1856, the plot was discovered by the vigilance committee. Six of the leaders were hanged and many were whipped.

Stewart County was for more than fifty years the center of the iron industry of Middle Tennessee.

Statistics of Stewart County: Population, 1920, 14,664. Assessed valuation of taxable property, 1921, $5,620,099. Area, 500 square miles. Number of farms, 2,612. Railway mileage, five. Drained by the Cumberland River which intersects the county. The Tennessee River flows along the western border of the county. Its surface is hilly and partly covered with timber. Soil fertile. A large amount of export tobacco is grown. Other staple products are corn, wheat, oats and live stock. Several iron mines have been worked in the county. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad passes through the county. Dover, the county seat, has a population of about five hundred and has good schools and churches, a weekly newspaper, two banks, and flourishing business houses. Scholastic population of county, 5,576; high schools, one; elementary schools, sixty-three.

From: Moore, John Trotwood. Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923. Vol. 1. Chicago, IL, USA: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1923.




Local History and Genealogy Links:

Tennessee Facts:
Tree: tulip poplar
Bird: mockingbird
Flower: iris
Nickname: Volunteer State
Motto: Agriculture and Commerce
Area (sq. mi.): 42,244
Capitol: Nashville
Admitted: 1 Jun 1796






Stewart County Facts:

Seat: Dover
Established: 1803
Formed from: Montgomery


Some Historic Photographers from Stewart county TN

  • Acrie, R W
Courtesy of Classyarts.com





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