Saturday, January 21, 2012

A New Bridge

 There was a small newspaper in James County for a short while. It was called "The James County Times". It was located in Ooltewah, Tennessee. From time to time, I will bring you articles from the few newspapers that still exist.  Below is an article from Wednesday, December 2, 1914. This article was located on the front page in the far right hand column.

Hurricane Bridge Completed
The bridge across Hurricane Creek between Ooltewah and Ringgold near the State line erected by Champion Bridge Co., was completed Friday and accepted by the Bridge committee. This will add greatly to the convenience of public travel.

This bridge is still in existence, I believe. The bridge is located on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, just before you get to the Windstone Subdivision.

Champion Bridge Company was founded in 1854 by Zimri Wall in Ohio. In the 1880's, they expanded their business into the deep south.  You can read the history of this company here:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Lost County of Tennessee

County of James
The Lost County of Tennessee
"Created out of rivalry of politcal factions during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. James County consisted of parts of Hamilton and Bradley counties. Plagued by political strife and supported mainly by farmers unable to provide an adequate tax base, its forty-eight year history ended in bankruptcy and its territory became a part of Hamilton County."

This historic marker is located in front of the old James County Courthouse in Ooltewah, Tennessee. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 by the James County Historical Society.


Section II of the Act to create James County identifies the boundries set by the Tennessee General Assembly on the 30 January 1871 as:

   Beginning at the corner of Bradley and Meigs county lines;
   thence running along and with said Meigs county line to the middle of the Tennessee River;
   thence down the middle of said river to the Dallas Island, leaving said Dallas Island in the new county;
   thence continuing down the middle of said river to a point opposite the mouth of the Harrison Spring Branch, where it enters into the said river below Harrison;
   from thence southeast of the residence of the late George House on the East Tennessee and Georgia railroad;
   thence south, southwest of the Georgia State, line at or near Blackwell's ford on Chickamauga Creek,
   thence with the Georgia State line to a point midway between Fayette Howard's residence in Bradley county and the Hamilton county lines;
   and thence northwest along Antioch Ridge across the old Alabama road to T.C. Johes',{sic} leaving the said Jones in the new county;
   thence to the gap of  Round Mountain;
   thence by Nathan Hinch's, leaving said Hinch in the new county;
   thence to the Hamilton county line at Johnson's Gap on White Oak Mountain;
   thence with the Bradley county line to the beginning

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Beginning

Let's get started with the creation of James County, Tennessee.

James County was organized during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. People were trying to get their lives back in order. They needed to restock their farms and repair their homes, fences and fields. They needed to find a way to carry on. Schools needed to be built, roads needed to be created and maintained and other infrastructure added to the county.

Due to transportation factors in this part of rural Tennessee, a real problem existed. The city of Chattanooga was too far away to fulfill the needs of the rural residents living in the eastern part of the county. The roads to town were in need of repair or non-existent. The creeks were unmanageable, swollen or dry. The Tennessee River was treacherous, at best. Sooner or later, the river had to be crossed to get to town for supplies or to file land deeds, etc. The Tennessee River and the railroad would later hold the key to the county's growth.

The southwestern portion of Bradley County also wanted to be included in this new county for some of the very same reasons. People residing in this part of Bradley County lived nearly 20 miles from their county's capital. The roads were also poor and the streams were mostly impassable, as well. They, too, wanted better access to their government and economic trade.

The idea was that the newly proposed county and its county seat would be more accessible to all of these residents in both counties. This new area would cover nearly 300 square miles.

Political motives also played a part in the creation of the new county. The James County area was predominantly Republican, white and rural. The Chattanooga area remained largely Democratic and urban.

The State Legislation passed the act creating the new county 27 January 1871. The Tennessee General Assembly passed into law on 30 January 1871, an act to establish the new county, called James County, from the portions of the Territory of Hamilton and Bradley Counties. It was signed into law by Governor D.W.C. Senter.