The Statehood of Tennessee
Before the Nickajack expedition the people throughout the territory
began to take steps looking to statehood. This, they believed, would
give them greater power to protect themselves from Indian
hostilities; and they felt certain, judging from the stream of
immigration flowing in, that the population was sufficient to
entitle them to admission as a state into the Union.
The general assembly prepared the way for admission. A resolution
was passed requesting the governor to cause a new census to be
taken. While earnestly desiring the admission of the territory, the
governor thought it best to sound congress as to what steps should
be taken. Dr. James White, the territorial delegate, after
canvassing the matter, decided that congress would not act in
advance of an application on the part of the territory.
Immediately upon receipt of Dr. White's suggestion, an extra session
of the assembly was called, meeting in June, 1795, and an act
providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants was passed. In the
event the enumeration should disclose sixty thousand inhabitants, a
convention was to be called to frame a constitution for the
permanent government of the state.
On November 28th the governor certified that the enumeration of
inhabitants taken under the act of July 11 amounted to seventy-seven
thousand, two hundred and sixty persons. In this enumeration it was
found that there were in the territory ten thousand, six hundred and
thirteen slaves and nine hundred and seventy-three "free persons of
color," probably meaning the free negroes and the Melungeons, the
latter a people of unknown origin and described more fully in a
preceding chapter of this history.
A proclamation was issued for elections to be held on December 18th
and 19th for choosing five persons. in each of the eleven
countiesJefferson, Hawkins, Greene, Knox, Washington, Sullivan,
Sevier, Blount, Davidson, Sumner and Tennessee-to represent the said
counties in a convention to meet at Knoxville January 11, 1796, for
the purpose of forming a constitution or permanent system of
government. The members-elect who appeared, produced their
credentials, and took seats, were:
Joseph Anderson; George Doherty; Alexander Outlaw; William Roddye;
Hawkins County: James Berry; William Cocke; Thomas Henderson; Joseph
McMinn; Richard Mitchell.
Greene County: Elisha Baker; Stephen Brooks; Samuel Frazier; John
Galbraith; William Rankin.
Knox County: John Adair; William Blount; John Crawford; Charles
McClung; James White.
Washington County: Landon Carter; Samuel Handley; James Stuart;
Leroy Taylor; John Tipton.
Sullivan County: William C. C. Claiborne; Richard Gammon; George
Rutledge; John Rhea; John Shelby, Jr.
Sevier County: Peter Bryan; Thomas Buckingham; John Clack; Samuel
Wear; Spencer Clack.
Blount County: Joseph Black; David Craig; Samuel Glass; James
Greenaway; James Houston.
Davidson County: Thomas Hardman; Andrew Jackson; Joel Lewis; John
McNairy; James Robertson.
Sumner County: Edward Douglas; W. Douglas; Daniel Smith; D. Shelby;
Tennessee County: James Ford; William Fort; Robert Prince; William
Prince; Thomas Johnson.
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to: Tennessee History
Back to: Tennessee Genealogy
Will T. Hale. A history of Tennessee and Tennesseans: the
leaders and representative men in commerce, industry and modern
activities, published Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913.