Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Island in the French Broad

There are several references in documents to the island purchased by Thomas Jones in the French Broad River, on the border of Jefferson and Cocke County, Tennessee.

In the Fifth Survey District of Tennessee Grants 1-800, 1807-1812 Volume A (published in 1990 by Diane E. Pedersen), it lists entry #436 as:

Thomas Jones enters 10 acres in Jefferson County on an island in French Broad River, known as Runyon Island, opposite where Col. Permenus Taylor lives on the north side and nearly opposite where David Beck lives on the south side. Part of War. No. 1332 for 400 acres dated 21 May 1810.
Entered 28 Aug 1810 Thos Jones.
The actual land grant text reads:
            The State of Tennessee                        Number 2022
To all to whom these presents shall come greeting know ye that in consideration of an entry made in the office of the Surveyor of the Fifth District of Number 436 founded on a warrant of Number 1332 issued by the Commissioner of East Tennessee to William Reed for four hundred acres of land dated the 21st day of May 1810 entry dated 28th of August 1810 ten acres of which said warrant is vested in Thomas Jones the Enterer by assignment. There is granted by the said State of Tennessee unto the said Thomas Jones and his heirs a certain tract or parcel of land containing four acres lying in the County of Jefferson in the District of Hamilton being an island in French Broad River beginning at the upper end of the island at a [cucumber tree?] opposite where David Beck now lives Hence North Fifty East Fifteen poles to a red Eden tree on the river bank north twenty three west with the river fifty nine poles to a stake north thirty two west forty six poles to a stake south sixty six west six poles to a stake on the bank of the river then with the river south twenty six east ninety four poles to a stake on the river south thirty seven east fourteen poles to the beginning surveyed by the 7th day of September 1810 with the herediaments and appurtenenses to the said Thomas Jones and his heirs forever In Witness whereof Willie Blount Governor of the State of Tennessee hath hereonto set his hand and caused the Great Seal of the said State to be affixed at Knoxville on the Fifth day of October in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eleven and of American Independence the thirty sixth.
By the Governor WG Blount Secretary                                    Willie Blount

In the Surveyor Entry Book for the District South of French Broad written by George Fox, it shows that Thomas Jones received a deed (page 361, No. 980) on 25 November 1806 for 164 and three-quarter acres in Cocke County, adjacent to the mouth of a branch on the French Broad River on the Jefferson County line “corner to Funley, George; crossing Seahorns Road; corner to Lewis, William. Surveyed and recorded by Gordon, George DS (Chain bearers: Jones, John; Swann, Daniel).”
William Lewis received a grant on the same date, 25 November 1806, for 99 ½ acres on the French Broad River in Cocke County adjacent to the corner of Thomas Jones’ property. This land was also surveyed by George Gordon and included chain bearers John Jones, Daniel Swann and Jonas Hawkin.
In the Installments Due book by George Fox, it shows that David Beak [Beck], assignee of Thomas Jones for 164 acres, owed 5 installments of $72.36 and ¼ in Cocke County in 1807. So apparently Thomas Jones acquired the land and assigned it to David Beck several months later. This is useful, as seen above, Thomas Jones later received a grant in 1810 for 10 acres on the island in the French Broad River in Jefferson County, across from land where David Beck was living (the same 164 acres originally assigned by Thomas Jones to David Beck in 1807).

I did some research to see who David Beck was, and apparently he was born about 1765 in Pennsylvania and married Sarah Hunter in Jefferson County in 1803. Beck and family moved to Hamilton County, Tennessee by 1820, apparently vacating the land assigned by Thomas Jones in 1807.

I have mentioned Parmenus Taylor a few times in connection with Thomas Jones' land. He was apparently in the Battle of Kings Mountain on 7 October 1780, and served as a Major in the Revolutionary War and Colonel in the Tennessee Militia. He was born about 1753 and died in 1827.

The early history of Tennessee is described in “Ramsey’s Annals”, also known as The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1853), by James Gettys McGready Ramsey (see and

Ramsey’s Annals describes the boundaries of Cocke and Jefferson Counties, and references Parmenus Taylor’s property (and the island likely to be Thomas Jones’ property).
Cocke County—Beginning on the North-Carolina boundary, on the south side of French Broad River, one mile from said river; thence, down the river, one mile, to where it intersects the line of Greene County; thence, with that line, to Nollichucky River, a small distance below Captain William White’s house; thence, down the said river, to French Broad, leaving all the islands to Jefferson County; hence, down French Broad, in the same manner, to the bent of said river, opposite Colonel Parmenas Taylor’s; and, from thence, a direct line, to the top of English’s Mountain, within one mile of Sevier County line; thence, parallel with that line, to the uppermost house on Cozby’ Creek; and, from thence, an easterly line, to a point on the boundary line of North-Carolina, as to leave six hundred and twenty-five square miles in Jefferson County; and, from thence, with the North-Carolina line, to the beginning.
The Formation Act of Cocke County describes the same area (Acts of Tennessee 1797, Chapter 8, passed 9 October 1797,

Billie McNamara also describes the shifting county line boundaries in a post on the Knox County, TN mailing list (KnoxCoTN) dated 1 February 2000 (see and copied below). This post also references the island purchased by Thomas Jones and land owned by David Beck: 

"This is the kind of information that's often confusing to genealogists, because it usually relates to only one individual's farm or property line. While the transcription below centers on Jefferson County, it mentions border counties: Knox, Grainger, Sevier, Hamblen, and Cocke."

Tennessee Legislative Acts
The private act has often been used as a means for transferring parcels of land from one county to another, often because the boundary lines would bisect an individual landowner's property, placing the landowner under the jurisdiction of two counties. This type of boundary change was often very general in its description of the land transferred, without any metes and bounds description.

The following is a summary of acts which authorized boundary changes for Jefferson County.

1. Acts of 1796, Chapter 34, Page 77, appointed Joseph Greer, Abraham McClery, and William Bailes, as commissioners to run the boundary line between Knox County, Jefferson County, and Sevier County agreeable to an act of the Legislature and the Representatives of the Ohio Territory which divided Jefferson County into two district counties (published herein). All the inhabitants of the area would perform their duties in Knox County until the line was ascertained.

2. Acts of 1803, Chapter 46, Page 92, appointed David Stuart and William Taylor as commissioners to run and mark the line between Cocke County and Jefferson County agreeable to the Act of the General Assembly.
3. Acts of 1804, Chapter 19, Page 31, authorized David Stuart to appoint one chain carrier in Jefferson County and another one in Cocke County to assist him in ascertaining, measuring, and marking the line between the two respective counties beginning on the south side of the French Broad River.

4. Acts of 1805, Chapter 14, Page 15, provided that Peter Bryan and Joshua Gill, who were commissioners appointed by Sevier County's Quarterly Court to ascertain the line between Sevier County and Jefferson County, be allowed the sum of $2.00 each for each and every day they have served as such which amount would be paid by Sevier County. Mordecai Lewis would also be allowed the sum of $2.00 per day for each day he had spent surveying the line between Jefferson County and Sevier County. Chain carriers were to be paid $1.00 for each day they worked at that task.

5. Acts of 1806, Chapter 1, Page 1, set up surveyor districts and offices across the State so as to include Jefferson County among them.

6. Acts of 1811, Chapter 41, Page 49, changed the line between Jefferson County and Cocke County beginning on the south side of the Nolachucky River, at the narrow neck in Outlaw's Big Bend of the said River, thence due west 90 poles to the river bank; thence with the present line between the two counties; and all that appeared north of the said line would be added to Jefferson County.

7. Acts of 1811, Chapter 110, Page 128, stated that after the passage of this Act, the line of Cocke County would be changed so as to include the inhabitants on the waters of Cosby's Creek, which was supposed to be in Jefferson County. These people would hereafter be considered as citizens in Cocke County.

8. Acts of 1815, Chapter 13, Page 14, stated that the new cut road so far as it extended through the plantation of Thomas Crossley on the road leading from Cheeks Cross Roads to Dodson's Ford on the Holston River would be hereafter considered as the line between Hawkins County and Jefferson County, leaving Crosby in Hawkins County.

9. Acts of 1817, Chapter 23, Page 26, rearranged the boundary line between Jefferson County and Cocke County so as to include an island in the French Broad River, lately known by the name of Kenney's Island, thence running south to the lines of the said counties so as to include the lands of David Beck in Jefferson also. (Emphasis added – I believe the reference to Kenney’s Island means that Thomas Jones no longer owned the island by 1817.)  

10. Acts of 1817, Chapter 158, Page 184, which was incorrectly cited as Chapter 148 in the earlier Volume, clarified the true dividing line between Grainger County and Jefferson County to be the main stage road from Panther Springs to a house occupied by Phelps Reed, John Moffett, and Joseph Shannon, successively.

11. Acts of 1820, Chapter 154, Page 153, appointed Gabriel McCraw, of Hawkins County, Charles T. Porter, of Jefferson County, and Joseph Shannon, of Grainger County, as commissioners, who would run and mark the line between Hawkins County and Jefferson County from the marked corner on the watery fork of the Bent Creek where the road leading from Dodson's Ford on the Holston River to where Cheeks Cross Roads crosses the same, thence to Bull's Gap, all agreeable to the existing law. When completed, they would make out reports on the work and submit them to their respective courts.

12. Acts of 1825, Chapter 310, Page 321, named Johothan Wood, of Cocke County, and William Taylor, of Jefferson County, as Commissioners to run and mark the line between the two counties beginning at the French Broad River where the said line leaves the River below the Dutch Bottom and continue with the same to the extreme height of English's Mountain and report the same to their respective courts. Each county must compensate their man with a reasonable amount for his services.

13. Acts of 1827, Chapter 176, Page 151, changed the boundary lines between Jefferson County and Cocke County so that part of Jefferson County which was south of the Nolachucky River, or what was known as Robert Hill's Bend, be wholly contained within Cocke County.

14. Acts of 1845_46, Chapter 47, Page 101, Section 4, changed the lines between Jefferson County and Grainger County so as to run with the stage road from the head of Panther Spring to John W. Hill, Sr.'s place so as to include the property of J.N. Shannon wholly within Jefferson County.

15. Acts of 1845_46, Chapter 174, Page 259, moved the properties belonging to William Thompson, including his residence, out of Sevier County and into Jefferson County.

16. Acts of 1847_48, Chapter 51, Page 85, transferred the property of James Barton from Jefferson to Grainger County by changing the boundary to run with the stage road from Joseph Shannon's to Isaac Barton's.

17. Acts of 1847_48, Chapter 197, Page 332, rearranged the boundary between Jefferson County and Grainger County so that the line would leave Panther Creek, at or near Robert Potter's Senior, and strike it again at about forty rods west of the dwelling place of William Rice so as to include the dwelling and the lands owned by the said Rice wholly in Jefferson County.

18. Acts of 1849_50, Chapter 69, Page 223, realigned the boundaries between Grainger County, Hawkins County, and Jefferson County, so as to include the storehouse of Obadiah Boaz, at Cheek's Cross Roads in Grainger County, and so that the line would run with the main stage road leading from Knoxville to Jonesboro to Cheek's Cross Roads, and from thence along the Bean Station Turnpike to the residence belonging to Boaz.

19. Acts of 1851_52, Chapter 189, Page 271, Section 3, altered the dividing line between Jefferson County and Sevier County at Creswell's Creek so that all the lands of Thomas Stringfield would be wholly contained in Jefferson County. This Act was repealed by Acts of 1854, Chapter 130, but seemed to be reenacted again by Acts of 1856, Chapter 248.

20. Acts of 1851_52, Chapter 299, Page 570, moved the area beginning on the side of the road leading from Russellville to Knoxville where the Arnott Road intersects the said road near Taylor's Blacksmith Shop at Cheek's Road; thence with the said Arnott's Road to Arnott's Gap at the Greene County line, out of Jefferson County and into Hawkins County. All the citizens and property in the area would have the same status as other residents of Hawkins County.

21. Acts of 1853_54, Chapter 130, Page 204, changed the line between Hawkins and Jefferson County.

22. Acts of 1855_56, Chapter 161, Page 244, Section 2, changed the lines between Jefferson County and Grainger County so that the property of Charles E. Eckle would be included wholly in Jefferson County.

23. Acts of 1855_56, Chapter 248, Page 503, Section 4, moved the house and lands of Thomas Stringfield out of Knox County and into Jefferson County.

24. Acts of 1857_58, Chapter 47, Page 57, detached the farms of William Taylor and Jesse Hunt from Grainger County and attached the same to Jefferson County.

25. Acts of 1859_60, Chapter 135, Page 438, Section 7, changed the boundary line between Jefferson County and Grainger County so as to include the farm and residence of Mrs. Naney Senter wholly within Grainger County.

26. Acts of 1869_70, Chapter 48, Page 62, Section 5, moved the farm known as the "Dr. Cassin's Farm" now owned by John C. Tate, out of Grainger County and into Jefferson. The farm which was named the "Mastin Moore" farm, owned by D. W. C. Senter, went out of Jefferson County and into Grainger County.

27. Acts of 1877, Chapter 44, Page 59, noted in the preamble that differences of opinion existed on whether the line between Jefferson County and Hamblen County was nearer than eleven miles to the county seat of Jefferson County which, if true, would contravene the constitutional limitations. This Act described the line by metes and bounds and named William H. Eckle, Samuel P. Johnson, and Temple Harris, all of Jefferson County, and Rufus E. Rice, William Howell, and Wilson C. Witt, of Hamblen County, to run and mark the line as described herein. Plats of the line were to be made for each county and the commissioners would be paid a reasonable amount for their services by each county. This Act was repealed by the one following and the subject boundary line was restored as it was prior to the passage of this Act.

28. Acts of 1879, Chapter 55, Page 75, moved the home and lands belonging to William Phillips out of Jefferson County and into Cocke County.

30. Acts of 1879, Chapter 56, Page 76, detached the river island farm now owned by John Vance, Jr., which was situated in the Holston River from Grainger County and attached it to Jefferson County.

31. Acts of 1881, Chapter 54, Page 68, transferred the properties of S. A. Sims out of Jefferson County and into Sevier County.

32. Acts of 1883, Chapter 38, Page 44, realigned the boundary between Jefferson County and Sevier County so that the lands of John Russell, the heirs of William Felker, and Benjamin Manning, would all hereafter be contained wholly in Sevier County.

33. Acts of 1883, Chapter 54, Page 56, moved the properties owned by James A. Caldwell and John Caldwell out of Sevier County and into Jefferson County.

34. Acts of 1883, Chapter 139, Page 188, changed the boundary lines between Jefferson County and Cocke County so that the property belonging to J. K. Garner would hereafter be included wholly in Cocke County.

35. Acts of 1885, Chapter 104, Page 201, removed the lands of C. M. Bowen and Mary Bowen from Hamblen County and placed them in Jefferson County.

36. Acts of 1889, Chapter 106, Page 212, altered the boundary lines between Jefferson County and Sevier County so that the real properties belonging to S. A. Sims and Benjamin Manning would be contained wholly within Sevier County.

37. Acts of 1889, Chapter 189, Page 372, took the entire farms belonging to A. C. Huff and E. B. Hale out of Jefferson County and placed them in Hamblen County.

38. Acts of 1899, Chapter 385, Page 893, changed the line between Hamblen County and Jefferson County so that certain lands belonging to W. C. Watkins, which were conveyed to him by John Talbot, containing about 45 acres, would be located wholly within Hamblen County. Section 2 of this Act moved about 80 acres of land owned by M. A. Roberts out of Hamblen County and into Jefferson County.

39. Private Acts of 1901, Chapter 260, Page 572, rearranged the boundaries between Jefferson County and Sevier County so that the houses and farms of James Langston and M. A. Langston would be contained wholly within Jefferson County.

40. Private Acts of 1901, Chapter 283, Page 649, transferred the properties belonging to W. G. Cate, J. W. Douglass, J. P. Moore, W. G. Bull, and E. Bull out of Sevier County and placed them altogether in Jefferson County.

41. Private Acts of 1907, Chapter 227, Page 833, changed the boundaries between Jefferson County and Grainger County so as to include wholly within Jefferson County all of what was known as "Old McKinney Island" which was owned by E. G. Price, James Vance, and Samuel Vance, and located in the
Holston River.

42. Private Acts of 1907, Chapter 386, Page 1294, further removed from Jefferson County and placed altogether in Grainger County all the lands constituting "Vance's Island," owned by W. A. Frazier, which Frazier had bought from James K. Vance, and his wife.

43. Private Acts of 1937, Chapter 471, Page 1526, moved the lands belonging to Mack H. Hunter and Herbert Roberts, which adjoined one another, out of the Ninth Civil District of Jefferson County and into the Second Civil District of Hamblen County.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.