Historically Speaking: Come Take Our Courthouse Tour This Saturday!



Dade County Historical Society Meeting, Courthouse Tour and Facts from Our Past

by Donna M. Street

The Dade County Historical Society will have our first quarter meeting this Saturday morning, March 10, at 10:30 at the public library. Come and join us. We will adjourn at noon for lunch on our own. Then members of the Courthouse Preservation Committee and the DCH Society will host tours through the historic courthouse from 1-3 p.m.

The public deserves to see the amount of work which has been done. The next phase will proceed as quickly as possible. There are no working bathrooms or water fountains in the building, but there are public buildings nearby which can be used.

Please take a few minutes of your time to come and see the walls taken back to the brick, the green paint that spruced up the building about 1953, and the floors in the courtroom all the way taken back to the hardwood. We will display the original blueprints for the building and have some handouts on the history of the building. There will be docents arranged around the building who will try to answer your questions about the past and the future use of the building.


Photo: Some of the demolition underway at the historic Dade Courthouse.

Donations will be accepted. Checks may be written to the Dade County Historical Society and cash is also welcomed. We hope that you will join us in reviewing what was past and dreaming what will be the future of the most iconic buildings in Dade County.

The Friends of the Library will have the Courthouse ornaments for sale during the tour for $15. There are also a few Historic Photo calendars still available and they will be for sale at $10 each. If you would like to be member of the Historical Society, you may join for $10 per year.

In the Feb. 20 issue of the 100th Anniversary of Dade County Special Edition of the Dade County Times in April 1938, there was a partial listing of facts reported by Walter W. Cureton of Rising Fawn. The following is the completion of that article:

R.H. Tatum was the Clerk of Superior Court in 1846; Jas. M. Hall in 1852; E.T. Rogers in 1854; J.G. Pace in 1869; M.A.B. Tatum in 1872; J.M. Sutton in 1879 and R. H. Thurman in 1881. J.R. Acuff was Clerk of Superior Court in 1897 and S.J. Hale in 1904.

A. Smith was sheriff of Dade County in 1862—10 years after Joseph Killian, who was sheriff in 1852. C.M. Tatum was Dade’s Tax Collector in 1869. John Clark was Tax Collector in 1876. B. M. Wilkerson was treasurer in 1874.

The legislature of 1849 made an appropriation of $3,500 to construct a road over Lookout Mountain.

Jas. G. Holmes was the county surveyor in 1856; W.G. Morrison in 1904. County superintendent of schools in 1878 was J.C. Taylor; N.W. Cole in ’79; W.U. Jacoway in ‘81; J.P. Jacoway in ’88.

Larkin Hendricks was the first Senator from Dade in 1838; and Alfred Street was the first member of the House in the same year.

The population of Dade County in 1840 was 1,364. Twenty years later it was 3,069; in 1890 it was 5,707, but in 1900 it was 4,578. In 1930 it was 4,146.

Rising Fawn was incorporated September 15, 1881. Corporation abolished by act of the legislature August 13, 1904.

In 1837 when Dade was created, the place chosen for the county seat was called Salem. The name was changed to Trenton in 1840. (The name was changed because of other places in the state by the name of Salem.)

The Cherokee Circuit was created in 1832, while Dade was still a part of Walker County. Turner H. Trippe was the Superior Court Judge in 1838.

Cole Academy, located in the Slygo Valley, was incorporated in 1856, with the following trustees: R. M. Aycock, Wm. I. Cole, S. H. Morrison, R.S. Taylor and A. Burnett.

The field opposite the Baptist cemetery north of Trenton, now belonging to W.F. Morrison, was one of, if not the first field to be cleared in Dade County. The field contains some 18 or 19 acres.

“The Old Blackburn Field” located on the Black Valley road between W.G. Morrison farm and the Conally residence, now owned by A.S. Doyle, was also among the first fields to be cleared and made ready for cultivation. The field lies along the foot of Lookout Mountain just south of the Doyle farm.

The iron bridge which crosses Lookout Creek east of Trenton on the Black Valley road, was once known as the “Pathkiller Ford,” named for Chief Pathkiller (Indian), whose tribes used the ford as a crossing place in going from one mountain to the other. The chief is said to have lived in the bend of the creek, just below the ford.


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