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E   ‘   THE HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY
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Q.; ` i . INVENTORY OF THE COUNTY ARCHIVES
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I F No. 95 WILSON COUNTY (LEBANON)
    • A • • • •
it Nashville, Tennessee
V, The Historical Records Survey
g September 1938
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§Q Ths Historical Rscords Survsy
92;
 
i Luthsr H. Evans, National Dirsctor
j T. Marshall Jonss, Stats Director
il Division of Uomsn's and Professional Projects
€t D Ellon 5. Woodward, Assistant Administrator
A, Elizaboth D. Coppsdgs, Stats Director
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· Z; Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator
Di Harry.S. Borry, Stato Administrator
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 , FOREWORD
I The Inventory gf gpgpty Archives pf Tennessee is one of a number
of bibliographies of historical materials prepared throughout the United
States by workers on the Historical Records Survey of the Works Progress
Administration. The publication herewith presented, an inventory of the
archives of Wilson County, is number 95 of the Tennessee series.
The Historical Records Survey was undertaken in the winter of
l935·36 for the purpose of providing useful employment to needy unemployed
historians, lawyers, teachers, and research and clerical workers. In
carrying out this objective, the project was organized to compile inven-
tories of historical materials, particularly the unpublished government
documents and records which are basic in the administration of local gov-
ernment, and which provide invaluable data for students of political,
economic, and social history. The archival guide herewith presented is
intended to meet the requirements of day-to-day administration by the
‘ officials of the county, and also the needs of lawyers, business men and
other citizens who require facts from the public records for the proper
conduct of their affairs. The volume is so designed that it can be used
by the historian in his research in unprinted sources in the same way he
uses the library card catalog for printed sources.
The inventories produced by the Historical Records Survey attempt
to do more than give merely a list of records--they attempt further to
sketch in the historical background of the county or other unit of govern-
ment, and to describe precisely and in detail the organization and functions
of the government agencies whose records they list. The county, town, and
other local inventories for the entire country will, when completed, consti-
tute an encyclopedia of local government as well as a bibliography of local
archives.
The successful conclusion of the work of the Historical Records
Survey, even in a single county, would not be possible without the support
of public officials, historical and legal specialists, and many other groups
in the community. Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged.
The Survey was organized and has been directed by Luther H. Evans,
and operates as a nation-wide project in the Division of Women‘s and Profes-
sional Projects, of which Mrs. Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator,
is in charge.
HARRY L. HOPKINS
Administrator

 iv
y PREFACE
t The Wilson County courthouse was entered by field workers of
, The Historical Records Survey January 15, 1937. The final recheck
~ was completed November 28, 1937.
A large part of the eounty's records was housed in an attic
storage room, where they had been exposed to the ravages of dust and
time for many years, thus making a great amount of cleaning and ar-
ranging necessary before the actual inventorying of the records could
be started. The county built the necessary shelving in the attic
storage room, relieving the disordered condition that had prevailed.
The Survey's workers vacuum cleaned and arranged all bound records,
and arranged chronologically, and filed by years the trial papers of
the circuit court clerk and the clerk and master.
The most serious threat to Wilson Gounty‘s records is the ever-
present danger of fire. The quarterly county court has recently been
called into special session to consider the issuance of bonds to build
` a new courthouse to replace the present one, which was built in 1883.
If errors have crept into this inventory, they are necessarily
slight ones, for no efforts have been spared to keep them at an irre-
ducible minimum. The Survey is certain that every record in the
Wilson County courthouse last November is listed in this inventory.
The arrangement of bureaus and entries in this book is the result
of process of trial and error and is the most practicable in view of
the complex and illogical nature of some of the bureaus, particularly
the county court.
The user of this inventory is advised to read the introductory
sections — Historical Sketch of Wilson County; Governmental Organiza-
tion and Records System; Housing, Care and Accessibility of Records,
and Abbreviations, Symbols and Explanatory Notes. The essay sections
preceding the bureau entries contain information on the present and
historical nature of the bureau and list the records each bureau or
officer is required by law to keep and may also be helpful in inter-
preting the record entries.
The legal sections have been carried through the last session of
r the legislature.
Similar and related records are connected by cross·referencos.
The number assigned this inventory, 95, merely indicates the
alphabetical position of Wilson among the counties of the state.
It was definitely a pleasure to work in Wilson County. In no
county has the Survey met with better cooperation than that extended
by the Wilson County officials, particularly County Judge E. G. Walker,

 V
i Preface
County Court Clerk C. O. Dodson, and Circuit Court Clerk G. W. Alexander.
Judge Walker took a great personal interest in the work and was directly
A responsible for obtaining better housing conditions for the county‘s
records. Mr. Dodson was never too busy to answer questions and help
the Survey’s workers in his well-kept office. Mr. Alexander likewise
was very kind. The Survey wishes to take this opportunity to thank
Mr. J. H. Williams, clerk and master; Mr. W. C. Witherspoon, register;
Mr. O. Z. Luck, chairman of the board of education; Mr. Elbert Ellis,
former trustee; Sheriff P. T. Burnotto, and the other county officials,
without whose help the work would never have been carried to a success-
ful conclusion.
Ths historical and legal sections of this inventory were prepared
under the supervision of Madison Bratton; the forms received from the
field were edited by Miss Mary Alice Burke; the field work was carried
on under the general supervision of Mrs. Elizabeth W. Litchfordg Miss
Vylva Holland arranged the material in the book for publication;
Ballard O. Donnell was directly in charge of the Survey in Wilson County.
Inquiries relating to the work of the Survey in Tennessee should
be addressed to the State Director of The Historical Records Survey,
Works Progress Administration, Nashville; and those relating to its
national operations, to Dr. Luther H. Evans, National Director, 1734
New York Avenue, N. W., Washington.
T. Marshall Jones
State Director
The Historical Records Survey
Nashville
September 9, 1938

 - l -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. Wilson County and Its Records System
Page
I. Wilson County Historical Sketch ............... ...... ..... 3
Map of Wilson County ............ .... . ........ .......... B
2. Governmental Organization and Records System .... .... ..... 9
Chart of Wilson County Government ............. ...... ... 18
3. Housing, Care and Accessibility of Records ...... .... ..... 19
4. Abbreviations, Symbols and Explanatory Notes ............. 21
Floor Plans 0f Wilson County Courthouse ....... ........ . 24
B. County Offices and Their Records
I. Quarterly County Court .... .... . ....................... ... 26
Court Proceedings. Reports. Dockets. Bonds: county
officials; miscellaneous. Tax Rolls. Financial Records.
Miscellaneous.
      lll!IllllilllllIIllIlll!l•OO•I|lOl|I|I¤•IIIIl  
Accounts and Fees. Warrants: record of issue; cancelled.
III. County Court Clerk ....... ........... . .... . ....... ........ 37
Licenses: automobile; merchants; privilege; miscellaneous;
expirations. Professional Registrations. Vital Statis-
tics: marriages; births; deaths. Financial Records:
general accounts; fees and taxes; miscellaneous.
I-VI   IIOIIIIOOIIIIOOIIIOIllllllllllllllllllllltIOIIIII  
Original Papers. Real Property: warranty deeds; trust
deeds; leases; liens; miscellaneous. Personal Property.
Miscellaneous Instruments. Financial Records.
\¤r•       OICIOIOIIIUOIICIOUIIIIICIIIIIIOCCOIOII  
Record of Proceedings: original papers; minutes; miscel-
laneous. Dockets: trial dockets; rule dockets; execution
dockets; miscellaneous. Jury Records. Financial Records.
Miscellaneous.
VI.       IliliilltlltllliilOOOOIIIIOOIOIIIOIIIQOQI  
Record of Proceedings. Dockets: rule dockets; trial
dockets; execution dockets. Financial Records: receipts
and disbursements; loans and notes; bonds; delinquent
taxes; miscellaneous.
VII. Probate or Monthly County Court .......................... 66
Minutes. Inheritances: wills; claims filed; administra-
tors and executors records; guardians records; miscel-
laneous; probate of mortgages and deeds.
      IIIIOI|IIOlI||OIIlI|OIIIUOOOOOOIIIIIIOIIIIU  
Court Proceedings.

 - 2 -
Table of Contents
Page
IX. Jury Commission .. ............. .. .¤....°............. .... 76
X.         ¤l|¤¤III¤O|¤I•8IIOI¤¤lIO¢I|lDI¤¤|¤||  
Civil Dockets. Criminal Dockets. Civil and Criminal
Dockets. Trial Papers.
XII   IllllOIIIOIIIOUIIOIIOUIIIIIIDIICOUIIIOOIOIIOOIICO  
XII. COTOHBT •••••••••••n•¤•¤•••••••••••••••••••••n•••••••••••  
    OCIUIIOOIIOOOIIIOIOIIII>IIIOIIOIIIOIIIIOIIIIIIII  
XIV!   OOOIUOOIOIIOIIIICIIIIDOIIOQCGIIIOUHIIIIBIIIO  
XV. Board of Equalization ........................... .... .... 83
XVI.   OOUIIIOOOIOUOIIOIOIIOOIIUIIIIIIIIIIOGD||||•||IOIO  
General Accounts. Road Funds. School Funds. Tax
Records: realty, personalty, and polls; delinquency;
miscellaneous.
  RGVBYIUG COHlH1lSSj.OI'1 •••••••••••••••••••¤••••••••••••••••••  
XVIII. Department of Education ...................... ......... .. 9O
Minutes and Reports. Record of Teachers. Pupils -
Records. Financial Records: accounts; vouchers and
warrants; miscellaneous. Miscellaneous.
      QQDIUOOIIIVIOIIOIlII|I|¢I•|OII|||lO|III•  
Medical Records. Examinations and Inspections. Vital
Statistics. Financial Record. Miscellaneous.
XX. Surveyor ....... ..... ................... .............. ... 99
Field Notes. Maps and Blue Prints.
XXI• Hj.gh‘4i/Ey D€p3.I"t]H]GYl.t ••••••••••••••¤•••••••••••••••••••••••  
Minutes and Reports. Financial Records. Record of
Prisoners.
      IIIOOIOIICUIIOIICIOIDUOOIIIIDIIOIIIIIIIII  
XXIII. Agriculture Department ............. ...... ............... 105
County Farm Agent: general index; 4-H club work;
contracts with the government; miscellaneous. Home
Demonstration Agent.
  OOIIOUIIOIOI|OIOIOI|||lIOIIOIIIIIOIIIOIIOIII  
Appendix (Table of Code Section Numbers) ................ ll2
Chronological Index ........ ..... ... .......... . ..... ..... 137
    OIOIOOOIOIOIUIIIIIIIOIIII¤lIO|lI•|IIOI  

 - 3 -
(First entry, p. 28)
1. WILSON COUNTY HISTORICAL SKETCH
Wilson County, in the heart of Middle Tennessee, was created by
the legislature at Knoxville, October 26, 1799, by an act which parti-
tioned Sumner County. The enabling act established a "new county ...
by the name of Wilson, to be contained within the following described
( bounds: Beginning upon the south bank of the river Cumberland, at low
water mark, at the mouth of Drake's Lick Branch, the northeast corner
of Davidson County, thence with the line of Davidson County, to the
_ Cherokee Boundary, as run and marked agreeably to the treaty of Holston,
“ _ _ and with the said boundary to the Caney Fork, and down the Caney Fork,
according to its meanders, to the mouth thereof, thence down the mean-
dere of Cumberland River, by the south bank, to the beginning" (§.A. ,
" 1799, ch. 2, sec. 4). The county was named in honor of Major David
‘ Wilson, a Revolutionary War veteran and the first speaker of the terri-
- torial legislature (University of Tennessee Rggggg, VI, pt. ii,
u Knoxville, 1929, 9). It has itself been partitioned in the forming of
Cannon, DeKalb, and Trousdale Counties (L.A. 1835-36, che. 33, 34, 47;
, 13.4. 1869-70, 2nd. ses., cn. 27; 1833-4oj En. 25.
The county lies on the south bank of the Cumberland River and is
2 dGlimit6d OH the north by Sumner and Trousdale Counties, on the east by
Smith and DeKalb Counties, on the south by Rutherford and Cannon
Counties, and on the west by Davidson County. Lebanon, the Wilson
County seat, is thirty miles east of Nashville on the main stem of the
_ Tennessee Central Railroad.
In 1930 Wilson County had a population of 23,926 (Fifteenth Census
of the United States, 1930, III,_QgpBlgtign, pt. ii, 896). Its altitude
varies from 350 feet in the Cumberland bottom lands to 770 feet on the
· eastern ridges (J. B. Killebrew, Introduction tg the Resources pf
Tgggggggg, Nashville, 1887, 1008). With its thousands of acres of green
and rolling pasture lands, Wilson County bears the definite stamp of the
·‘ soil and is one of the State's most important livestock counties (United
States Census of Agriculture, 1935, Tennessee Statistics by Counties,
1935. 13). `
~ ‘”‘ Beyond an occasional hunter or trapper, the region of Wilson County
_ was largely unknown to whites before 1790. The county was settled by per-
·‘) ·· sons who had received land grants from North Carolina, which until 1789
included present-day Tennessee, and by persons who had bought land from the
grantees (J. G. M. Ramsey, Annals gf Tennessee, reprint, Kingsport, 1926,
206, 504; Killebrew, gp. git., 841; "Deed Record, A", entry 77). The
first permanent white settlement was made sometime after 1790, probably
at Drake's Lick, on the Cumberland (A. P. Foster, Countigg gf Tennessee,
Nashville, 1923, 98; J. V. Drake, Historical Sketch gf Wélggg Qgggty,
Qggg., N. P., 1879, 10). The pioneers found the country a land covered
with vast forests and thick canebrakes. "There was no sign of any clear-
ed land nor any appearance of former cultivation. Nothing was presented
_ to the eye but one large plain of woods and cane, frequented by buffaloes,
elk, deer, wolves, foxes, panthers, and other animals suited to the
climate" (Ramsey, gp. git., 206), The few Indians were reputed to have

 g,. - 4 -
Wilson County Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 28)
been friendly (Goodspeed's History _g_i_f Tennessee gg Sketcheg gf Maury,
Williamsgn, Rutherfggd, Qedford, Marshall End Wilson Counties, Nashville
and Chicago, 1886, 841).
Wilson County was organized and the county court, then called the
. court of pleas and quarter sessions, first convened on December 23, 1799,
two months after the legislature enacted the necessary legislation. A1J°
though the minute books for the period have been lost, one of the court's
V first actions is supposed to have been directed at the beasts which had
for so many years sauntered unmolested through the deep forests, and two
dollars were offered for each wolf scalp presented (ibid., 845, 846).
The census of 1800, taken a few months after Wilson County was created,
“ found 3,261 persons in the county (Twelfth Census of the United States,
1900, I, Population, pt. i, 40). Of these, 729 were Negro slaves and
nine "free persons of color" (Ninth Census of the United States, 1870,
- Statistics 2; Popuistisn, 62, 63).
nn The sessions of the county court were held at the homes of various
citizens until the summer of 1802, after a site near a large spring had
been chosen for the county seat and called Lebanon, for then Wilson
County was an almost unbroken forest of cedars (Foster, gp. git., 98;-
Drake, gp. git., 9). Lebanon was established November 13, 1801, by act
of the legislature (P,A. 1801, ch, 49). Legend says the site of Lebanon
was first settled in 1800 by an oldtimer who maintained himself and his
wife by hunting and fishing, but who was remembered mainly for his fiddl-
ing marathons, which were interrupted only long enough to allow him to
replenish his larder with game and fish (Goodspeed's History, 853).
The oldest surviving minute book of the county court dates from the
December term, 1803, and indicates that all varieties of business came
before the court. Several tax lists were received, an action in damages
was disposed of, witness bonds were taken, a deed was probated and or-
; dered registered, constables were appointed for several captain's dis-
tricts, and one Obediah Spradlin was "fined in the sum one dollar and `
fifty cents and getting (sic) who paid same to the chairman of this
Court" ("Minutes", December, 1803, entry 152, pp. 1, 2). Approximately
469 persons returned schedules on taxable land to the court at this
term. The largest single tract was apparently the 3840 acres of John
Buchanan. Most of the tracts were 220, 640, or 1280 acres. The minutes
’ of this session are signed by Andrew Donelson, Phillip Koance, and John
Adams, apparently members of the court (ibid., 2-22).
The county court met at the "Courthouse in ... Lebanon", June 23,
1806, the first time the minutes mention a courthouse (ibid., 235). A
jail--atwo—room calaboose, entered through the roof--was built before
· . the courthouse. The first courthouse was a small, cedar log building,
large enough for only the courts; the officials were compelled to
maintain offices elsewhere. The county’s second courthouse was completed
in 1818 and demolished in 1848. The next served untii 1881 when it was
destroyed by fire. The fourth and present courthouse was built in 1882
(Goodspeed's History, 896, 897).

 Wilson County Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 28)
The first settlements were near the river bottoms and along the
numerous small streams. The principal agricultural product was corn,
and the first grist mill, a horse-propelled arrangement, made its appear-
ance in 1798. Later, water—powered grist mills, saw—mil1s, and wool
carding machines were built (ibid., 841, 843). Still-houses, mostly
small affairs, were more numerous than schools, but these disappeared
during the eighteen-fifties (Philip M. Hamer, ed., Tennessee-A Histoyy,
1673-1932, I, New York, 1933, 348).
~ In the early part of the century, cotton was an important staple
and the first cotton west of the Cumberland Mountains is supposed to have
been cultivated in Wilson County. At any rate, there were several gins
in the county in the early period (Goodspeed's History, 844). The gins
have practically disappeared, and cotton itself has declined as a lead-
ing crop.
The first store in the county was opened probably in 1800. Its
stock consisted of staple groceries, nails, tobacco, ammunition, and
whiskey, all brought from the east by pack—horse. Salt brought from
eight to ten dollars a pound, nails twenty-five cents a pound. Simi-
lar stores, and dispensaries, called "ordinaries", soon appeared (ibid.;
Hamer, gp. pip., 186). Wilson County went without the services of a
newspaper until 1818, when the short-lived Lebanon Gazette was hope-
fully launched. The Banner gf Peace, published in the interests of
newly founded Cumberland University, followed in 1842, and was published
until 1851 when it moved to the greener fields of Nashville (Goodspeed's
History, 853). The same year that brought the Gazette brought Sam
Houston, then a young attorney, to Lebanon, where he stayed for a year
(Winstead P. Bone, History pf Cumberland University, Lebanon, 1934, 39).
Like many Tennessee counties, Wilson County felt the blast of the
Civil War, and its reminder today is the inevitable Confederate monument
in the public square. Never the scene of any conclusive operations, the
county was, however, occupied by troops or overrun with raiding parties
for e good part of the year 1862 (Official Records pf tgp Union and
Qggfederate Armies, series 1, XXIII, pt, i, Washington, 1880-1901, 393,
394; Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, ed., Battles
gpg Leaders pf the Civil Way, III, New York, 1887, 1888, 635). In
December of the same year, John Hunt Morgan, the renowned Confederate
raider, marched from Lebanon, this time to capture the Union garrison
‘ at Hartsville, on the other side of the Cumberland (Robert S. Henry,
Story gf the Confederacy, New York, 1931, 220, 221). A short time later,
after the Battle of Stone's River and the loss of nearly all of Middle
Tennessee, Lebanon was momentarily occupied by General Morgan before he
was dislodged by a detachment of Federal soldiers from nearby Murfreesboro
(Official Records, series 1, X, pt. i, 884, 885). Wilson County, however,
suffered mainly from the frequent raids of the quartermaster and commis-
sary departments, which picked the county clean of its fine horses and
cattle (Goodspeed's History, 852, 853). On April 6, 1863, J. S. McClain,
I county court clerk, made a brief entry in the minutes, reflecting the un-
settled state of affairs: "This being the first Monday in April and the
regular time for the meeting of the County Court, the Federal troops were

 - 6 -
. Wilson County Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 28)
in town and some of them occupied the court house. The justices of the
Court did not attend-·the Court did not meet" ("Minutes 1858-64", entry
l52s P• 594%
Lebanon and Wilson County are best known for Cumberland University,
A founded in 1842 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Bone, gp. git.,
7. 15, 35), and chartered by the legislature December 30, 1843 (§.A. l84§—44,
ch. 55). The university took its name not only from this religious asso-
ciation, but from the general associations of the region with the word
and from the fact the institution was supposed to replace Cumberland
A College, of Princeton, Kentucky (Bone, gp. git., 35).
Although Cumberland's fame grew in later years because of the law
school, the charter of incorporation did not mention the law, but des-
ignated Cumberland as "a Literary Institution", and authorized the trus-
tees to prescribe courses in "all the arts and science usually taught
in similar institutions, and confer the degrees of Bachelor of Aarts
(gig), Master of Arts (gig), and any other degrees of literary dis-
tinction which might or can be conferred by other Colleges or Universities
of the United States." The charter further authorized professorships of
agriculture and theology (P,&. 1845-44, ch, 55). Collegiate life at
Cumberland was governed by regulations set forth in the "Handbook of
Rules." According to the Handbook, the forty—five students, or such a
part of that number as lived at the University or within three—quarters
of a mile, were required to "attend morning prayers in the college at
sunrising." It was, further, an offense punishable by expulsion for a
student "to pick" or otherwise unlawfully open the lock of another
student's room or quarters (Bone, gp. git., 60). In 1847 Cumberland add-
ed a law department (Hamer, op. cit., 372; Goodspeed's History, 848),
and from then on Cumberland had an almost phenomenal record for turning
out successful lawyers, jurists, and politicians, including two United
States supreme court justices and the present Secretary of State. Its
one year law course has recently been extended to two years (Bone, gp.
ggj., 27). The university is currently involved in an unpleasantncss
with the American Bar Association.
Life in Wilson County moves today, as it always has, in peace and
_‘ tranquility. The county's population has varied within a range of only
five thousand during the last one hundred years; the 1930 figure was the
lowest since 1820. Starting with 3,261 persons in 1800, the number
reached 25,422 in 1830, fell back, and finally reached an all—time high
( of 28,742 in 1880. The census of 1930 counted 23,926 persons, a decrease
I of over two thousand in the decade of the twenties. In 1930, over fifteen
thousand persons lived on farms, between four and five thousand were
Negroes, and one tenth of one per cent was foreign born (Twelfth Census
of the United States, 1900, I, Population, pt. i, 40; Fifteenth Census
of the United States, 1930, III, Population, pt. ii, 896; Tennesseg Qlgg
29.95 sal 9.1219121. Qizeaiarx. 1936, Nashville. 1936, 159)-
Wilson County's great cedar forests have long since been depleted,
1 but many cedars still grow from the rugged limestone outcroppings and
dot the rolling pasture lands. Among the ninety—five counties of the

 - 7 -
Wilson County Historical Sketch (First ontry, p. 28)
state, Wilson probably ranks first in amount of pasturage and numbers
of cattle and sheep, and is near the top in numbers of horses, mules,
hogs, and chickens, Wilson is the twelfth largest county in the state
in area, and over ninety—three per cent of its 613 square miles is
given over to agrarian uses of some variety. The principal crops are
corn, wheat, oats, and hay, Cotton has largely disappeared and tobacco
has declined in importance. Approximately two-thirds of Wilson County's
farms are operated by their owners. The total value of farm lands and
buildings has been placed at $9,964,747.00. Although much of the timber
is gone, the sawmill industry is still considerable, Manufactured at
Lebanon are pencils, blankets, cedar chests, novelties, and germicidal
sprays. Lebanon is also the site of a large mule market. Eggs and fowls
are shipped in quantities (United States Census of Agriculture, l935, I
Tennessee §tatistics by Counties; Mrs. John Rich Thomas, Wilson Qgugty,
in Tennessee Club Woman, No. 2, 1929, 45; University Record, 67-80),
I

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t )§* (First entry, p. 28)
· T5}. 2. GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AND RECORDS SYSTEM
A 7.7) The administration of county government in Tennessee has been ac-
 QQ complished by somewhat the same devices since the creation of the state
_ V3; in 1796. The system as designed in the Constitution of 1796 was, in
ti substance, borrowed from the parent state of North Carolina whose local
(ji- political institutions bore some resemblance to those of England. In
,;j_ colonial North Carolina efforts were made to make the colonial county
F. r life resemble its English model. This aim was partly realized by the colo-
` fil nial enactments of 1715 and statutes dating from that year, unless re-
7% pealed, are fully binding in Tennessee today (Frank W. Prescott, "Gov-
i * ernment and Finances of Hamilton County, Tennessee", in the University
Y Y of Chattanooga Seeieg Seience Studiee, I, No. l, July 1934, 9; Fred-
` ‘··—--.l -_ erick C. Dietz, Qeliggeel egg Social History eg England, New York, 1932,
`c»[~ 4`‘· 27-28; Charles L. Raper, Negeh Qegolina - e Study ge Eeglgeg Colonial
`{ `7 Governmegj, New York, 1904, 162; John A. Fairlie, Lgcal Geyegnmene ie
,.Y 5, Qeuntiee, Towns eee Villagee, New York, 1906, 30, 35; Thomas P. Aber-
_ i;· =i nethy, Qgem Frontier ge Qleeeeegee ge Teenessee, Chapel Hill, 1932, 136;
ji;_, _ Carlton C. Sims, Qountv Qeyeeeeeee ge Teeeeeeee, a mimeographed copy of
..g a doctoral dissertation in political science, University of Chicago,
*~3, I 1932, 2-9, to be found in the Tennessee State Library, at Nashville).
i f The county is an artificial geographical unit; its boundaries were
5 1 marked with a view to the convenience of the early inhabitants. It was
{ (_ the largest and most important political subdivision in England (Dietz,
’ e V ». gp. egg., 27), as it is today in Tennessee. The legal expression of the
,})£ i j Englist county was the shire gemot, or county court, which had jurie-
I _ ¤M diction over certain civil and criminal cases, and, much in the fashion
A N of the Tennessee county court, witnessed wills (ibid., 27, 38). The
’ ` road tax levied by the court after 1530 was almost exactly the same
1 J type of tax the court now levies (gegg., 3), and its judicial powers
" were largely carried over in Tennessee until the adoption of the Con-
s ' r stitution of 1834.
The legal nature of the Tennessee county is found somewhere in the
-i,» shadowy limits of a public corporation. In a series of court decisions,
f the county has been described variously as a."quasi-corporation",‘s0me-
times, for different purposes, as "an out-right corporation"; umd as
Q "a municipal corporation with limited powers" (Q 1917, 493, citing
’, Qtate Q;. gel. y Anderson Qeeeey, 8 Baxter 258; Seek y Peegeee, 2
{V Shannon's Cases 495, 3 Cates 255; ggegy County y geyge Qeeggy, l Swan
rlig 240; Megey y Peeeee; Reilroad Qemeegy y Wilsoe Qeegey, 5 Pickle 604;
·*§ Turnpike Company y Qeyideee Qo