Bedford County Tennessee
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Records of County Court


The records of the County Court of Bedford County do not extend farther back than 1848, those previous to that date having been destroyed with the court house in 1863 by fire. Beyond that date but little if anything of the transactions of the court can be ascertained at the present day.
The first sessions of the court were held in 1808, at the house of Mrs. Payne, near the head of Mulberry Creek (now in Lincoln County), and the only record extant of those sessions is a marriage license issued by the county clerk to John Tillman and Rachael Martin.

During portions of 1809 and 1810 the courts were held, as before mentioned, at Amos Balch's residence, from where they were removed to Shelbyville in the latter part of 1810.

The first session of the court of which there remains any record was held in the court house at Shelbyville, beginning October 1, 1848, when the following justices were present;
William Galbraith, chairman

John W. Norville
James Hoover
Newton C. Harris
Jacob Serley
Garrett Phillips
James Wortham
John W. Hamlin
Price C. Sterle
Dudley P. T. House
Joseph P. Thompson
John L. Cooper
James Foster
Joseph Anderson
Meredith Blanton
John O'Neil
Green T. Neeley
William Thompson
John A. Brown
Joshua Hall
B. F. Green
Isaac B. Holt
Herrod F. Holt
Lemuel Broadway
Joseph Hastings
James H. Miles
Kindred Pearson
William Taylor

The transactions of the court during 1848, or at least so much thereof of interest, were as follows:

A commission of lunacy was appointed to inquire into the mental condition of Eliza Jane Gambell.

Sarah Terry emancipated Bob and John, two of her slaves.

The commissioners before appointed to let out the contract for building a bridge across Duck River, at or near. Skull Camp Ford, made a report to the effect that the contract for said bridge had been awarded James Wortham, at the price of $1,700. The report was signed by E. J. Frierson, John T. Neil and William Galbraith, commissioners, which report was accepted by the court.

The following election judges were appointed for the November, 1848, election:

First District - William D. Clark, Anthony Thomas and Samuel McMahan
Second District - G. G. Osborn, John L. Davidson and Francis H. Keller
Third District - Henry Holt, John Shaffner and John A. Moore
Fourth District - John Norville, Robert Clarke and Nathan Chaffin
Fifth District - Andrew S. Lawrence, George W. Bell and William Weaver
Sixth District - James P. Couch, John Knott and Henry Brown
Seventh District - E. J. Frierson, George Davidson and Thomas Holland
Eighth District - Thomas Wheeler, Jacob Fisher and Robert Terry
Ninth District - Ziza Moore, Jason Winsett and Absalom Landers
Tenth District - Alfred Ranson, Fredrick Balt and James Mankins
Eleventh District - William B. Phillips, Robert Rayson and Charles L. Byren
Eighteenth District - Fielding Bell, James Statling and James B. Jones
Nineteenth District - William Wood, John Larne and James H. Curtis
Twentieth District-Miles Phillips, Jackson Wallace and Randolph Newson
Twenty-first District - Samuel Thompson, Richard Phillips and Herbert Smith
Twenty-second District - John C. Hix, Henry Dean and Arthur Campbell
Twenty-third District - James H. Miles, John Hastings and John Reed
Twenty-fourth District - Elisha Bobo, Watson Floyd and Thomas Anderson
Twenty-fifth District - John Koonce, Levi Turner and Gabriel Maupin.

The commissioners appointed for that purpose reported that they had let the contract for repairing the bridge across Wartrace Fork of Duck River to Henry Stephens for $79. The report was signed by Samuel Phillips, Philip Cable and Robert Chambers, commissioners, and was received by the court. The tax levy for 1849 was 81 cents on each $100 worth of property for county purposes, 25 cents on each free poll, and licensed privileges one-fourth of the State tax. During that year William Presgrove and Nathaniel M. Wheeler were allowed $75 for building a bridge across North Fork of Duck River, on the Lower Nashville Road, near Presgrove's mill.

In 1853 John R. Eakin, A. Ervin and John Meyers, bridge commissioners, made a report that the bridge across' Garrison Fork of Duck River, heretofore ordered built by the court, was complete, which report was received; the town of Wartrace Depot was incorporated; a bridge was ordered erected across Garrison Fork of Duck River at Wartrace.

In May, 1866, the court passed an order for the erection of a new jail, and appropriated $15,000 for that purpose, and levied a tax of 10 cents on the $100 and 50 cents on each poll to raise the money. The following jail commissioners were appointed to prepare plans and award the contract for building the jail: Thomas C. Whiteside, W. E. Wisdom, Joseph H. Thompson, William Galbraith, W. G. Cowan, Henry Cooper, W. B. M. Brown, William Houston, Jr. and W. T. Tune. In July of the same year the court appropriated $6,000 more to be used in construction of the jail, and several additional appropriations for the same purpose were subsequently made.

 AHGP Tennessee

Source: History of Tennessee, Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1886.


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