Richard Henry Timberlake's map of the
Cherokee - Creek Country 1760-1781
What is now Monroe County, Tennessee was once "Cherokee Indian
Territory, where the National Capital of the Indian Nation was located. The
capital, Chota (Echota), was located near the mouth of the Tellico River on
the Little Tennessee River near Fort Loudoun. The Indian nation covered
40,000 square miles and had a population of 25,000. According to Cherokee
law, Chota was known as a "Peace Village"' meaning that no blood could be
shed within its borders.
By 1800, many whites of both sexes had married Indians thereby obtaining
land in what was then called the Interior (deep into Indian territory).
Monroe County was created by a Private Act of the Tennessee General Assembly
November 13, 1819, from part of the Hiwassee Purchase from the Cherokee
Indians ( Treaty of 1819, sometimes referred to as the Calhoun Treaty).
Private Acts, 1819 Section 4. Be it enacted, that the said county of Monroe
shall be bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning at the beginning of McMinn
County thence running eastwardly with the line of Roane County to the
Tennessee River; thence up said river to the mouth of Cowee and Nanteyallee;
thence with the dividing ridge between said rivers to the eastern boundary
line of this state; thence south with said line to the line dividing this
state from the state of Georgia thence west to the county of McMinn; thence
with the said county to the beginning.
By the same act, the legislature decreed that the administration of justice
was to be held at the home of William Dixon on the south bank of the Little
Tennessee River, opposite the town of Morganton.
Population in the county at this time was 2,529. Monroe County Circuit Court
records, the entry is made that Circuit Court was held at the home of
William Dixon on the first Monday in May 1820 and that it was "holden by
Charles F. Keith, Judge, John B. Tipton appointed Clark, William B. Warren,
Justice of peace, Daniel Foute, Clark and John McCroskey, Sheriff.
Some of the first settlers in the vicinity of Tellico Plains were: Thomas,
John and Andrew L. Henderson, Austin and Alexander Rider, Samuel McSpadden,
James and Michael Ghormley, David and Wm. Stephens, John, Jacob, and Joseph
Smith, Wm. and Benjamin Reagan, Wm.Williams, Ainesworth, Carroll and
Bradley. Michael Carroll and William Bradley in 1821 erected a small iron
furnace, known as Tellico Ironworks.