In April, 1796, Tennessee County was divided into Robertson and Montgomery counties. Several men were appointed as Justices of the Peace. They were responsible for holding Courts of Pleas and Quarter Sessions.

Oaths were taken at Jacob McCarty’s house for those who were qualified as justices of Robertson County in July, 1796. These were William Fort, Isaac Philips, William Miles, Benjamin Menees, Bazel Boren, Martin Duncan, John Philips, Zebulon Hobart and James Crabtree.

Thomas Johnson was elected clerk by the court. Hugh Henry was elected sheriff. The coroner was Isaac Brown.

Minutes of the Robertson County Court from 1796-1807 have been copied and collected. They provide an interesting and entertaining look at the county in those early days. The minutes are also quite valuable because they existed before the first census in 1820.

Often it is a copy of the court minutes that gives the name of an early settler. But name or not – the picture of a “new world” is tantalizing.

At court on October 7, 1796, there was an order for a road to be “laid off” from “Will’s Fork of Sharps Road to the ford of the fur fork of the River where the old Kentucky road crosses same.” William Byrd was named the overseer of the “laying off.”

Wherever this road was to be, William Byrd and the men named to help him lived in the vicinity. The word “fur” is typical of the interesting spellings that may be found in the minutes.

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 1796, the court met at the home of Benjamin Menees. A protest was made against the Gaol (jail). Sheriff Hugh Henry felt that the present building was “insufficient.”

And on the next day, a woman was summoned to explain why her daughter should not be taken from her. It was felt that the child was not receiving proper care.

In July, 1797, Francis Hall showed the court his license to practice law. He was admitted.

Deeds for sales of land were recognized in court. Guardians for orphans were named. Particular people were excused from being jurors. Inventories of the estates of the deceased were presented to the court.

Tavern rates were set, but so were ferry rates on the Cumberland River. Each horse and man cost 6 ¼ cents. Each wagon cost $1. Each head of “horned cattle” cost 3 1/8 cents.

The required responsibilities of the court did not end.

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

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