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.


  1. Glad to see this blog! I've added it to the TNGenWeb Social Directory page at and on the TNGenWeb Facebook page. I look forward to following your posts!

    1. Thanks! I am proud to be apart of the TNGenWeb Family.