Trousdale County will be 150 years old in the year 2020 – that’s next year!
Already the county government, the Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce are making plans to celebrate the occasion with parties, publications, more parties and festivities. And did I mention parties?
Our articles this month recount how we became a county in 1870, despite people living here since the 1780s.
When the first settlers arrived here to build their simple log cabins on the banks of Little Goose Creek, this was land still claimed by the state of North Carolina. We might point out that North Carolina’s claim to this land had not gone through the proper channels. That is, the Native American inhabitants had not been consulted or paid for said land.
That small detail aside, the land between the Smoky Mountains and what is now Nashville was deeded to men from North Carolina who had served in the American Revolution, as that state was too poor to offer the men money for their service.
The first people to stake claim were men who took their land permits and traveled here and found land to their liking, had it surveyed and registered with the land office in Nashville. Some people had illegally built cabins and claimed land before this, but they were few in number and were for the most part allowed to stay.
But what we need to know is this, what became the town of Hartsville lay in the old Sumner County. That original county was quite large and with time was cut up into smaller units such as Macon County, Smith County and Wilson County.
Each of those counties then established a county seat and formed their own governments. But we were left in the original county.
In 1870 following the Civil War, the state of Tennessee held a Constitutional Convention. As a part of that reorganization of the state’s basic laws and legal language, there was a change in how small a county could be.
Previous attempts by the people of Hartsville to have their own county had been hindered by those limits.
Now a person had to be able to leave their home and travel to their county courthouse, conduct business and return home in one day!
We were not able to do that.
A recently published book written by the late George Wynne tells of his growing up in Castalian Springs around the year 1900. In the small book, he writes, “travel in those days was limited strictly to horse drawn vehicles, such as buggies, carriages, wagons, and very often horseback… unless we planned to go somewhere by train, about 8 to 15 miles was as far as we could travel and return home the same day.”
And that was written about the year 1900, 30 years after we were created as a county!
The State Legislature passed a bill creating Trousdale County on June 21, 1870!
We will discuss how we got our name in another article and how our lines were drawn out. But first, did the people of the affected area agree with the new proposition?
A vote had to be taken and only those people in the proposed new county were allowed to mark the ballot according to their views.
The Nashville newspapers reported on the results of the vote in their July 13 issues: Of those people in the former Smith County area – 51 against and 351 for. Of those people in the former Macon County area – not one vote against and 97 for. Of those people in the former Sumner County area – 42 against and 359 for. Of those people in the former Wilson County area – 7 against and 46 for.
The final tally: 100 people were against the formation of a new county and 854 people were for – a solid vote for a new county!