1902 Encyclopedia > Tennessee


TENNESSEE, one of the United States of North America, the third added (June 1796) to the original thirteen, its predecessors having been Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792). Tennessee is bounded on the E. by the Unaka Mountains, which divide it from North Carolina, on the S. by the line of lat. 35° N., dividing it from Georgia,
Alabama, and Mississippi; on the W. by the Mississippi river, dividing it from Arkansas and Missouri; and on the N. by a line which erroneous surveys have caused to vary greatly from the intended boundary,—the line of lat. 36° 30' N.—the variations all being measured to the north of that parallel. The actual boundary commences at the north-east corner of the State 7 miles north of 36° 30', and continues at that distance as far as the frontier of Virginia and Kentucky, where it diminishes to 5 miles; thence to about its intersection with 86° 30' W. it increases to 11 miles; thence a deflexion southwards to a point about 2 miles from the Cumberland reduces it to 10 miles ; there it suddenly shoots north again to 12 miles, which distance is increased to 12|- by the time it strikes the Tennessee; on the other side of that river it becomes very nearly coincident with the normal 36° 30'; and to that line it adheres with very slight aberrations until it strikes the Mississippi. The eastern boundary has one deviation from the stipulated line : it runs along the culminating ridge of the Unakas till within 26 miles of the Georgia frontier, when it turns due south, giving to Tennessee a triangular piece of territory which should belong to North Carolina. The area of the State was 41,750 square miles in 1880. Its extreme length is 432 miles and its width 109.
Configuration and Geology.—Commencing at the eastern Geology, frontier, the State of Tennessee is divided into several districts, having distinct characteristics and separated by well-marked natural boundaries, whose general direction from north-east to south-west corresponds with the trend of the main valleys (see the geological sketch map in-serted on pi. II.).
1. The mountain region of East Tennessee is a long nar-row belt of very irregular surface, comprised between the Unaka Range and a disjointed chain of lower mountains, the principal of which are called the Chilhowee Range, and the whole of which may be considered as constituting the secondary mountain system of the State. The inter-vening space is occupied by broken masses forming hills, mountains, and valleys, some parallel to the principal ranges, some crossing the space at right angles to them. This region varies in width from 28 miles to about 7. All the rocks of this region and the next to it belong to what constitute in England the Silurian and Cambrian systems, the former being found in the western and the latter in the eastern part of the district. It has been contended that some metamorphic rocks near the crest of the mountains belong to the Archaic (Huronian and Laurentian) system; but the preponderance of geological opinion now assigns them to the same formations as the neighbouring rocks, the difference in structure being due to metamorphic action. The lowest of these, called in Tennessee the Ocoee group, is believed to be coeval with the Potsdam group of the American system,—the Lower Silurian and perhaps the Upper Cambrian of the British Isles. It consists chiefly of slates and conglomerates, with the sandstones of the Chilhowee group above. Above these last are the Knox dolomite group, with its shales and limestone more separated from the other two groups and perhaps not exactly corresponding to any other recog-nized formations. The crystalline metamorphic rocks are mainly syenitic and micaceous gneiss, with micaceous, horn-blendic, and talcose schists. Occasional small dykes of diorite, greenstone, and basalt traverse these rocks, some-times interstratified, but oftener breaking through them.
2. The rocks of the first division are tilted at very high angles; those of the second division, the eastern valley of the Tennessee, are fractured and distorted at nearly every conceivable angle, and, in consequence, it is the edges of the uplifted strata which here form the surface. The strata have been eaten away to form valleys, or left standing as

ridges, giving the whole tract a deeply channelled character, the ridges consisting of sandstone and dolomite and the valleys of friable schists. These all trend in the prevalent direction of the Appalachian upheaval, from north-east to south-west. The rivers take the same directions, except when they break through transverse fissures in the ridges, or work round their terminations where they give way to the outcropping of other rocks; in these cases the current runs at right angles to their prevalent direction. All these formations belong to the Silurian period, the oldest cropping out to the eastward, the later members appearing to the westward. In some spots the Subcarboniferous rocks which once covered the entire valley have escaped the erosive action which swept the rest away. The whole district is a valley of denudation which has been excavated by the Tennessee and its tributaries,—some breaking through the Unaka barrier, and others descending from Virginia along the longitudinal valleys above described.
3. Rising in a steep elevation at from 800 to 1200 feet
above the average level of the eastern valley of the Ten-
nessee is the plateau popularly called the Cumberland
Mountain. This mass, superincumbent on the Silurian
system, consists of four very distinctly marked formations,
—(i.) the Devonian black shale, (ii.) the Subcarboniferous
silicious beds, (iii.) the Mountain Limestone, (iv.) the Coal-
measures. These can easily be distinguished one above
another on the face of the eastern escarpment; but on the
western side the first two extend in a wide plain far beyond
the base of the plateau, constituting the fourth district.
The Mountain Limestone is shaly at the bottom, and more
solid at the top, where it abounds in silicious concretions.
The Coal-measures consist of thick slabs of sandstone and
conglomerate with the seams of coal interstratified between
them. In its southern portion the plateau is divided longi-
tudinally by the narrow valley of the Sequatchie river,
which cuts deep into the subjacent Silurian beds. The
portion east of this valley, known as Walden's Ridge, has
its strata much disturbed and tilted, conformably with
the Silurian rocks below; the western portion, on the con-
trary, has all its strata nearly horizontal. This formation,
averaging about 40 miles in width, is divided by a stratum
of conglomerate 80 feet thick into the upper and lower
Coal-measures, the former of which are much the more
productive, but cover a less area, large portions of it hav-
ing been carried away by denudation. These coal-seams
are believed to average an aggregate thickness of 8 feet
and to cover an area of 5000 square miles.
4, 5, 6. The Subcarboniferous area, the central basin,
and the western valley of the Tennessee can best be con-
sidered together. They consist of the Subcarboniferous
silicious beds, together with the basins formed by their
erosion. On the western face of the Carboniferous belt
the Mountain Limestone has been carried away with the
harder rocks of the Coal-measures above it, but the under-
lying silicious beds have resisted all erosive forces and are
spread out over an extended area on both sides of the
Mississippi. In Tennessee they form a margin round the
central basin and are styled by local geologists the " high-
land rim." They consist of two strata, a lower one dis-
tinguished by the absence of lime and iron, and an upper
one which contains both these materials in abundance.
Both members consist mainly of a peculiar gravel, formed
of silicious concretions embedded in a stiff retentive clay.
The upper stratum has in addition considerable horizontal
beds of limestone; it contains abundant fossils of a large
coral, Liihostrotion canadense, by which it is easily recog-
nized, is very fertile, and possesses inexhaustible beds of
limonite. The lower stratum is destitute of both fossils
and minerals and is of but little account for agriculture.
Excavated from this formation is the central valley of
Tennessee (No. 5), surrounded on all sides by an escarpment of about 200 feet in depth, by which descent is made from the "rim" into the valley. All the members of the Silurian period, except the three lowest, are represented in this valley, which has been formed by the erosive action of the rivers within its borders : its higher strata were carried off northwards by the Cumberland and its tribu-taries, westward by the Duck, and southward by the Elk, the last two being tributaries of the Tennessee. A channel of erosion along the lower portion of the Duck river con-nects this valley with another (No. 6) much narrower—the western valley of the Tennessee—where again the Silurian beds have been reached by the removal of the Subcarbon-iferous formations above them. Again, south of the main basin, the portion drained by the Elk is nearly separated from the rest by a number of detached hills of the Subcar-boniferous formation, marking the watershed which divides the headwaters of the Elk from those of the Duck.
7, 8, 9, 10. A little west of the Tennessee river the Palaeozoic rocks disappear under the Cretaceous formations (No. 7), and these in their turn are covered successively by the Tertiary, Quaternary, and recent formations (Nos. 8, 9, and 10). The tract of ground covered by these four formations constitutes the Mississippi slope of western Tennessee, all of whose rivers run westward and discharge into the Mississippi. The dip of the strata is very slight, and the surface inclines with a very gentle slope.
In general terms, the territory embraced in Tennessee may be described as a great mountain chain on the east, from the foot of which extends a gently inclined plane, interrupted by an elevation, the Cumberland or Carboni-ferous plateau, and a depression, the central valley.
Rivers.—The Cumberland and the Tennessee are the principal Rivers, channels of inland navigation, while the Mississippi, washing the whole western frontier of the State, is its outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. The headwaters and embouchure of the Cumberland are in Kentucky, but much the greater part of its navigable stream is in Tennessee. From its confluence with the Ohio, at Smithland, Kentucky, to Nashville, a distance of 200 miles, it is generally navigable for eight months in the year, and during high water it is sometimes accessible to light-draft steamboats more than 300 miles further. The Tennessee rises in Virginia, crosses east Tennes-see in a south-western direction, and enters Alabama a little above Bridgeport; in that State it assumes successively a westerly and a northerly direction, and then re-enters Tennessee and crosses the State northwards to its confluence with the Ohio at Paducah, Ken-tucky. Its navigable waters are divided by obstructions into three portions,—(1) from the mouth to Florence, Alabama, 300 miles, where navigation is arrested by the Muscle shoals ; (2) thence through Alabama, about 100 miles, when the river breaks through the Cumberland Mountain; and (3) from Chattanooga to Kingston, about 100 miles further.
Agriculture.—In 1880 the number of farms was 165,650, embrac- Agricul-ing 8,496,556 acres of improved land, valued at $206,749,837. The ture. principal productions are Indian corn, wheat, oats, cotton, tobacco, potatoes, pea-nuts, and hay, particulars of which for different years are shown in the following table :—

== TABLE ==

In 1884 1,250,000 bushels of pea-nuts were produced, as against 800,000 in 1883. In recent years considerable attention has been given to the cultivation of fruit and vegetables.
The live stock statistics in different years are shown in the table which follows next :—

== TABLE ==

Minerals. Minerals.—The chief minerals found in the State are coal, iron, copper, zinc, lead, and manganese. Of coal the output was 494,491 tons in 1880 and 1,100,000 tons in 1885 ; in the latter year there were also 268,400 tons of coke. In 1880 there were produced 89,933 tons of iron ore (326,040 tons in 1885), 153,880 ft> of copper ingots, and 792,621 cubic feet of marble and limestone. Of zinc 17,415 tons were produced in 1884. Besides the minerals already men-tioned, Tennessee yields millstone grit, hydraulic rock, barytes, fire-clay, gold, and petroleum. Manu- Manufactures.—Since 1875 the manufacturing industries of the factures. State have grown immensely. From 1880 to 1885 the number of establishments increased from 4326 to 4425, the capital invested from $20,092,845 to $40,763,650, and the value of the manufactured products from $37,074,886 to $75,216,211. In 1880 cotton was manufactured in the State to the value of $934,014 (in 1885 to $2,719,768), carriages and waggons $1,253,721, flour and grist-mill products $10,784,804, foundry and machine-shop products $1,191,531, iron and steel $2,274,203, leather $2,051,087, lumber $4,015,310, and cotton-seed oil, cotton seed, and cake to the value of $1,235,000.
Popula- Population.—The population of the State, which in 1860 was tion 1,109,801 and in 1870 1,258,520, was in 1880 1,542,359 (males 769,277, females 773,082). Of this last total 403,151 were Negroes. In 1887 the total population was estimated to number about 1,800,000, giving a density of 43 inhabitants to the square mile, as against 36'9 in 1880. The growth of the principal cities is shown by the following table :—

1870. 1880. 1870. 1880.
40,226 25,865 6,093 33,592 43,350 12,892 8,682 4,119 9,693 5,377


Chattanooga ..

The considerable decline in the population of Memphis is ac-counted for by two epidemics of yellow fever in 1878 and 1879 (see MEMPHIS). Chattanooga is still increasing at a very rapid rate in consequence of the vast development of the mineral resources of east Tennessee. Knoxville is also growing from the same cause, but not so rapidly as Chattanooga. Educa- f education.—Provision for common school education was made tion. oefore the Civil War, but was limited to white children. -A State bank was established for the purpose of regulating the currency, and a portion of its capital was reserved as a school fund ; its pro-fits were also to be used for school purposes. The fund on which interest is now paid is $2,512,500. A bill is now (1887) before the State legislature to increase the permanent State fund to $5,000,000. Besides this, the proceeds of a tax of 15 per cent, on property and a poll tax of $1 per annum are applied to the same purpose. Moreover, each county has the power of imposing a school tax on its people, and many incorporate cities and towns add still further to it by special taxes within their limits. All children between six and twenty-one (eighteen until 1885) are entitled to free education in the public schools. In 1875 the school population numbered 426,612, of whom there were 199,058 pupils enrolled. In 1886 the corresponding figures were 609,028 and 373,877, and in 1887 623,450 and 383,537. Besides the common schools numerous private schools exist. Higher education is provided for in several institutions, such as Vanderbilt university (Methodist) at Nashville, the university of the South (Episcopalian) at Sewanee or Cumberland Mountain, the south-western Presbyterian university at Clarksville, and others; the university of Tennessee at Knoxville is supported by State grants, and is not under the direction of any one denomination. Many smaller establishments entitled universities exist in various parts of the State.
Adminis- Administration, dec.—The legislative and executive functions of tration. government are carried on by a governor, a State senate, and a house of representatives, whose respective duties and prerogatives correspond almost exactly to those of the president, senate, and representatives of the United States. Both the senators (33) and the representatives (99) are elected for two years. The president of the senate, who is elected by the senators, succeeds as governor in case of the death of the elected governor during his term of office. The governor has the power of veto on the Acts of the legislature. In case of its exercise, the Act is returned to the legislature, when, if it passes by a constitutional majority in both houses, it becomes law in spite of the veto.
The judiciary administration is carried on by courts of four designations,—the county criminal courts, the circuit courts, the chancery courts, and the supreme court of the State. The county courts consist of the magistrates, who assemble at the county seat four times a year to transact county business. They elect a chair-man out of their own body, who by virtue of such election becomes the financial agent of the county. In counties large enough to justify it, a county judge is elected, who exercises criminal juris-diction. There are fourteen circuit courts, each having jurisdiction in several counties ; in these all common-law cases are adjudicated, except in those counties where there is a criminal judge. There are eleven chancery divisions, for each of which a chancellor is elected, who tries all cases in equity in his division. All these judges are elected for eight years. The judges of the supreme court, five in number, are elected by the people at large, but not more than two can be taken from any one of three divisions of the State, viz., the eastern, middle, and western. Their jurisdiction is purely appellate : they revise the decisions of the other courts, and their decisions are final, except where a question arises as to the interpretation of the United States constitution.
History.—At the time of its first settlement and occupation by History. Europeans Tennessee was part of the territory granted to the colony of North Carolina by Charles II. It was then, however, a hypo-thetical claim, the boundaries of which were chiefly determined by 36° 30' and 35° N. lat. The eastern boundary of North Carolina 1 was the Atlantic Ocean ; on the other side the western territory extended according to one theory to the Mississippi, according to another theory to the Pacific Ocean. When the English settlers began to cross the Appalachian chain, they found the French estab-lished on the Mississippi and its tributaries,—the Ohio, the Ten-nessee, and the Cumberland. The Spanish claim of an indefinite extension of their possessions in Florida was also a constant menace to the advances of the earliest English colonists in the direction of South Carolina and Georgia. The most important effort of trans-montane colonization by the British prior to 1760 was the estab-lishment of Fort Loudon on the Little Tennessee river in 1756 or 1757. But in 1760 this post was captured by the Cherokees and its garrison massacred; and the same fate befell a number of colonists who had settled between Fort Chissel (on New River, Virginia) and Fort Loudon. Early in 1761 Colonel Grant com-pletely routed the Cherokees and compelled their French and Span-ish allies to withdraw to Louisiana and Georgia.
Eight years later the stream of emigration began to set westwards,
mainly by two routes, of which one led through Cumberland Gap
to the valley of the Cumberland river, whilst the other followed ,
the course of the Tennessee round the southern border of the Cumberland plateau into the western Tennessee valley. A body of emigrants from Virginia settled on the banks of the river Hol-ston, in what is now Hawkins county, and formed the nucleus of a rapidly increasing colony, which was mainly recruited from Vir-ginia and North Carolina. The chief settlements were on the Watauga river, extending thence to the Nolichucky, both tribu-taries of the Tennessee. The colonists adopted a code of laws for themselves based upon those of Virginia, and entrusted their execu-tion to a bench of five magistrates. Their first trouble related to the title to their lands. They supposed themselves to be settling in Virginia ; but they were really in North Carolina, and therefore outside of the territory which had been ceded to the British crown by the six nations of Indians. A further obstacle wras a royal pro-clamation dated nine years before forbidding private persons to purchase titles from the Indians. Though the Cherokees had no longer fixed habitation in the country, they still claimed the whole valley for hunting grounds. The dilemma was solved by a lease negotiated for eight years. The next difficulty arose with the British Government in alliance with the hostile Indians. But out of these troubles the colonies on the Watauga, Holston, and Nolichucky emerged as a populous and powerful community.
When it was proposed to liquidate the debts incurred by both the
States and the Federal Government for war expenses by the sale of
public lands, an Act of Cession was passed in 1784 by the North
Carolina legislature ceding their lands west of the mountains, includ-
ing those of the Watauga settlers, to the Federal Government. But
in the following year the North Carolina legislature repealed the
Act of Cession, and the whole matter was thus indefinitely post-
poned. The Watauga community now declared itself independent '
of North Carolina; that State had relinquished its sovereignty over
them and the Federal Government had not accepted it. At this
time the transmontane territory consisted of Washington, Sullivan,
and Greene counties. It also embraced all the settlements on the
Cumberland, comprising the existing counties of Davidson, Sumner,
Montgomery, Robertson, and Williamson. Davidson county had
been organized by the influence of James Robertson (one of the
earliest arrivals from North Carolina, in 1769), who had moved to
the site of the future city of Nashville. But Davidson county took
no part in these proceedings. The State organized by the seceding
counties in August 1784 was called the State of Franklin ; its con-
stituent counties returned to their allegiance to North Carolina on
1st March 1788. A second Act of Cession was passed in 1790, by
which the defunct State of Franklin became part of the territory
of the United States south of the Ohio, including what now consti-
tutes Kentucky and Tennessee. The northern portion became a
State, under the name of Kentucky, in 1792, and the southern por-
tion took rank as the State of Tennessee in 1796, being received
into the Union the same year. The settlement of middle Tennessee
was much retarded so long as the path of access to it from east
Tennessee was through Cumberland Gap and down the Ohio. The
broader route round the south of the Cumberland plateau by the
Tennessee river was too unsafe for general use on account of the

powerful Indian tribes—the Creeks and the Cherokees. This obstacle was finally removed by General Jackson's crushing defeat of the Creeks in 1814, and a large cession of their territory.
The position of Tennessee during the Civil War was the same as that of the other middle and southern States. While secession was in agitation, it refused to secede; but when actual hostilities commenced it joined the Southern confederacy. Even then, how-ever, west and middle Tennessee sympathized with the South, whilst eastern Tennessee sided with the North. Each division sent very large contingents to the army which it favoured. A large portion of the State was, during the later years of the war, in the occupation of the Northern army, and many great battles were fought on its soil, notably those of Fort Donelson. Murfreesborough (Stone River), Franklin, and Nashville. Tennessee suffered more from the exhaustion attendant on the close of the war, and from the rigorous government which accompanied the period, of recon-struction, than any other State except Virginia.
See Geology of Tennessee, Nashville, 18G9 ; Elliott, "The Age of the Southern
Appalachians," in Amer. Jour, of Sc., April 1883; Bradley, "On the Silurian
Age of the Southern Appalachians," ih., April 1875 Haywood, The Civil and
Political History of the State of Tennessee from its earliest Settlement up to the Year
1796, Knoxville, 1823 ; Ramsay, Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth
Century ; Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, New York, 1860; Kirke, The Rear
Guard of the Revolution, New York, 1886 ; Reports of Tennessee Hist. Soc. and
of Bureau of Agriculture, Mines, and Immigration. (D. F. W.)

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