Genealogy Trails

Polk County, Tennessee

Organization of Early Settlers

"Confederate History of Polk County, Tenn."

by A. J. Williams

Polk County was organized under an Act of the Legislature passed in 1839, and what is now the First District was taken off McMinn County, and the remainder of Polk County was taken off of Bradley County. The county officers were elected in March, 1840. The Justices of the Peace elected met at Columbus and organized the Quarterly Court on the first Monday in May, 1840. The county officers-elect gave bond, took oath of office, and assumed their duties as such.

That part of Polk County taken off of McMinn was acquired by treaty with the Cherokee Indians by the Treaty of 1819. The remainder of the territory of which the county is composed was acquired by treaty made by the Ridge party of the Cherokee Indians with the United States in December, 1835. They removed west of the Mississippi, to what was afterward known as the Cherokee Nation, but he Ross party denied the validity of the treaty and refused to move. But in 1837 and 1838 the United States soldiers under General Scott gathered up the Ross party and moved them to the Cherokee Nation and what is now part of Oklahoma.

In 1836 and1837 the whites began moving into the Ocoee Purchase. A few came in 1836, and many in 1837. What is the First District was settled immediately after the treaty of 1819.

The Cherokees had three years to stay after the treaty made with Ridge. The time was out May 3, 1838, and the Cherokees had made no preparations to move, and , as before stated, the Ross Party was gathered up and taken to the Cherokee Nation by ten United States troops.

The First District was settled by such men as Louis Armstrong, the man who cut the old Armstrong Ferry Road, also known as the Stock Road. It leaves the old Federal Road this side of Athens and joins it again just north of Old Fort. Dr. Alexander once lived at the same place; also Bobby Cobb and Wash Price. Wash's father first lived there, and left  the farm to Wash. Dr. Patton lived at the mouth of Ocoee River; Old Billy Baker lived where Jim Calhoun now lives; Henry Bradford lived at Patty; Cole Mayes lived near line; Old John War, Bobby Hood, and Moses Parris lived up near the Savannah farm; George Corn, father of Wash Corn and Mrs. Elizabeth Shamblin; Old Man Patterson lived close to the Savannah farm; and Old Man Maddoux and James Sloan also lived in the First District before Polk County was organized.

Into the Ocoee Purchase came such men as Davy Dell Knox, William Biggs, Newton Taylor, Stephen Blankinship, Erby Boyd, Robert McClary, John White, G. W. Harbison, Absalom Coleman, Reubin Kanester, Bobby Hood, Abaraham Lillard, Dona Morris, John Parris, John Weaver, Jesse Hilliard, Alex McConnell, Josiah Harrison, John Williams, Thomas McClary, John Crumwell, Elisha Williams, Jarvis Williams, Sim Browder, John Roy, Nelson Lawson, James McClary, Jack Johnson, Jacob Clemmer, Zachariah Rose, Solomon Summary, Samuel Duggan, John Richie, Jacob Howell, Evan Campbell, Thomas Jones, Matt Marrow, Jason Matlock, Travis Rogers, Lock Stubblefield, Parson Kimbrough, Moses Ferguson, John F. Hannah, John and William Shields and William Taylor. In the Third and Fourth Districts: James Pittitt, Isaac Swan, Samuel Dunn, Matt Dunn, Sanders Griffin, Matthew McNabb, Amos Ladd, High Phillips, Alf Armstrong, Samuel Parks, Jeremiah Lillard, Volentine Harbison, John and Abraham McKissack, Andy Kerr, and Lewis Arthur. In the Greasy Creek District: William Rymer, Elijah Clayton, Samuel Madden, and William Pace. On Springtown: Harve Witt, William Morgan, Josiah Childers, Bally Witt, and James Forester.

transcribed by Pam Rathbone