Back to Government & Politics

First County Court

The first county court of Monroe county was held at the house or Green V. Caldwell, on Saturday, February 26, 1831. Andrew Rogers, John Curry and William P. Stephenson had been commissioned justices of the court by Gov. John Miller, and all were present and took their seats. They were commissioned to serve four years, unless sooner removed according to law. The court, after organizing, appointed Ebenezer W. McBride clerk of the court, who immediately executed a bond in the sum of $3,000, with Edward M. Holder, David Gentry, Richard Cave and Christopher C. Acuff as sureties. The appointment of McBride was all the business transacted by the. court at its first term. During vacation, and on March 25th following, the court having failed to appoint an assessor for the county, E. W. McBride, the clerk, appointed John S McGee assessor to that office.

The next regular term of the court was held on the 2d day of May, 1831, commencing on Monday. In the meantime, and during the vacation, John Curry and William P. Stephenson, two of the justices who were first commissioned, resigned, and Robert Simpson and Reese Davis were appointed to fill the vacancies. The two latter named, with Arthur Rogers, constituted the court. Robert Simpson was chosen president. The court then appointed William Runkle sheriff, and Samuel H. Smith collector of the county. It then proceeded to divide the county into townships as follows : All that portion of the county lying east of a line running north and south across the county, including ten miles in width, composed the lower or eastern township, and was called Jefferson township; the middle township embraced eleven miles in width, and was called Jackson, and all the territory lying west of Jackson township and attached to Monroe county was called Union township, making three original townships. After laying out and naming the townships, the court designated the places of holding elections and appointing the judges thereof as follows:

Jefferson township, at the residence of John Witt: judges, Asaph E. Hubbard, Richard Cave and Robert Donaldson.

Jackson township, at the residence of Green V. Caldwell; judges, James Mappin, Joseph Sprowl and John W. Kenney.

Union township, at the residence of Reese Davis; judges, Joseph Stephens, Jacob Whittenburg and George Saling. McBride was drowned in January, 1867, in the Mississippi river, six miles below Memphis, Tenn. He was at the time of his death en route for Greenville, Miss., whither he was going to collect some debts due him at that place. He took the steamer Platte Valley, at St. Louis, and when reaching a point, as stated above, six miles below Memphis, the boat struck the wreck of the old gunboat Jeff. Thompson, and sank. Mr. McBride and one of the employees of the boat- a boy- floated off on an ice-chest. The chest finally sank; the boy swam to a snag near by and was rescued, but Mr. McBride, who was then an old man, was drowned. Mr. McBride had accumulated quite a fortune, and was one of the most highly respected citizens of the county. He traded in horses and mules, which he sold to Southern markets.

Isaac Coppedge was appointed constable for Jackson township, Milton Wilkerson, for Jefferson, and Elliott Burton, for Union. Asaph E. Hubbard and Robert Donaldson, for Jefferson township, and Jacob Whittenburg and George Saling and Reese Davis and Joseph Stephens, for Union township, were recommended by the court to the Governor as suitable persons for justices of the peace.

Court met again June 4th, 1831, at the residence of Green V. Caldwell (Caldwell having recently died), the judges last mentioned being present. The clerk was ordered to issue ten licenses for merchandise. Stephen Glascock was paid $4 out of funds arising from the sale of lots in Paris for surveying the town site. It was ordered that John S. McGee be allowed one dollar and seventy-five cents per day for twenty-five days' services, rendered in assessing the county. This would amount to only $35 for assessing the entire county in 1831. The assessor now (1884) receives about $1,200 for assessing the personal and real estate. James R. Abernathy was appointed commissioner of the township school lands. John S. McGee was appointed county surveyor. James C. Fox was appointed town commissioner of Paris. It was ordered that seventy-five cents be levied as a county tax.

Reuben Burton was allowed $4.50 out of his state and county tax. The court met again June 21st, 1831, at the same place. Present, Robert Simpson and Reese Davis. In the proceedings we find the following: Ordered by the court, That James C. Fox, commissioner of the town of Paris, the seat of justice for Monroe county, proceed to give notice of the sale of lots in said town of Paris, by having it inserted in two public newspapers printed in this State, sixty days previous to the day of sale, and said commissioner shall proceed to sell said lots, in said town of Paris, on the 12th day of September next, on a credit of six, twelve and eighteen months, one-third payable at each term. The first license for the sale of wines and spirituous liquors was issued at this term of the court; also the first license for a tavern or public house of entertainment.

The first road overseers were appointed at the August term of the court. Robert Greening was appointed overseer of road district number 1, of the Palmyra road, which was upon the line of Marion and Monroe counties. Abram Kirtland was made overseer of district number 2, which laid between the North fork of Salt river and the township line dividing Jefferson and Jackson townships. Matthew Mappin was made overseer of district number 3, between the township line dividing Jefferson and Jackson townships, and range line dividing range 9 and 10. Stephen Scobee was made overseer of road district number 1, of the old London road in Jefferson township, which laid between the Monroe county line east and John A. Ives. Charles Eales was appointed overseer of district number 2, of the London road, which laid between John A. Ives, and township line dividing Jefferson and Jackson townships. James S. McGee, Alexander Thompson, Hasten Fike, Grant Noel James Noel and Larken Stamper were appointed road overseers of other districts.

Roads were then ordered to be laid off from the town of Paris to Columbia, Boone county; from Paris to the London road at the west end of John McLamey's lane; from Paris to intersect the Fayette and Franklin road; from Paris to the town of Florida. Archibald Rice was the first guardian appointed by the court. His ward was Lourey Adams, child of William Adams, deceased. His bond was fixed at $600. Quill pens were evidently used in those days, for in looking over the proceedings of the court, November term, 1831, we find this order:

It is ordered by the court, that the sum of $5 be allowed to Ebenezer W. McBride, clerk of this court, for paper, ink powder and quills furnished by him for the use of his office, to be paid out of any money in the county treasury not otherwise appropriated. For the year 1832, the delinquent State tax amounted to $13.97 and the delinquent county tax to $9.89. Edward M. Holden was granted a license to keep a ferry across the Middle fork of Salt river, near the town of Paris, at the place where the road leading from Paris to Palmyra crosses that stream. The court fixed the charges for ferriage as follows: Single person, 10 cents; horse, mule or jack, 5 cents; horse and gig, 50 cents; horse and dearborn, 621 cents; two horses and wagon, 621 cents; four horses and wagon, 75 cents; neat cattle, 5 cents each; hogs and sheep, 2 cents each. Five hundred dollars were appropriated by tort the court to clearing out of Salt river below the forks. A bridge was built across the Middle fork of Salt river, opposite Paris, in 1834.