In the new State of Tennessee, many laws were those that had already been set and followed in North Carolina. Recording “stock marks” was one of those. Everyone had to record his brand and ear-markings with the County Clerk.

Actually, before Tennessee even became a state, there were so many marks being “registered” that stock marks were bought and sold.

Members of a family used the same mark until a child got old enough to have his own. That is, he or she had to be 21 before he could “make his mark.”

On Oct. 17, 1803, for example, Henry Hunt, Joseph Choate and James H. Bryan recorded their stock marks with the Robertson County Court. It was regular business with the court.

Taxes had to be paid for a horse used for breeding, it should be noted. Because a horse of Jacob “Pickren” was not being used for “covering mares,” the court ruled that “Pickren“ did not have to pay the tax.

There was much business in court about taxes in those early days. As early as April 18, 1798, tax was set at 12 ½ cents per 100 acres.

Two years later in April, 1800, court minutes listed the persons responsible for returning a list of “taxable property.” For example, Isaac Dortch returned the list of taxable property for “Capt. Dortch’s company.”

Later there would be lists of those who did not pay their taxes, as well as a list of those whose land would be sold for nonpayment. The sheriff would be in charge of the sales.

Other business brought before the court was not so ordinary.

On April 19, 1799, Isaac Dorris was to oversee a new road. Everyone within 1 ½ miles would be responsible for clearing out the area.

That in itself was not so surprising. What was different was that the new road would go from “Karrs Creek through Springfield to Logan County Road.” Through Springfield! A major project was being started!

Earlier that year, Thomas Smith had brought Thomas Yates to court. Smith told that his son, Silas Smith, had part of an ear bitten off by Yates. Thomas Smith had witnessed the fight.

And on April 22, 1801, the court ordered that each person who killed a wolf in Robertson County would be paid. The County Trustee would allow one dollar per dead wolf.

The ordinary and the extraordinary. Both were present in the Robertson County Court Minutes of 1796-1807.

In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.

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