Transcribed by: Charles A. Sherrill
A project of the Bradley County Historical Society
Cleveland, Tennessee, 1992
Donated by: Charles A. Sherrill to the
TNGenWeb Bradley County, TN Genealogy Website
June 06, 1999

NOTE: You may use the "FIND [Ctrl F]" function in your browser to search for names, but these petitionsare wonderful to read.


These petitions were written by residents of Bradley County to the Tennessee State Legislature in the years between 1837 and 1866.
The issues and concerns expressed by the petitioners reflect life in Bradley County during its formative years. Such issues as disputes with the Ocoee Land Office, citizenship for Cherokee Indians, establishing academies for basic education, and electing and feeding the local militia point out the differences between Bradley County then and now.

However, there are also striking similarities between issues of importance in the antebellum years and those which preoccupy Bradley Countians today. The petitions about transportation, building government edifices, legalizing liquor sales and exposing political corruption are all about topics familiar to readers of the "Cleveland Daily Banner" today.

The Bradley County Historical Society has sponsored the transcription and reproduction of these petitions in order to provide added research material and enhance our understanding of those who have gone before.

The original petitions are on file at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville. A microfilm copy is available for interlibrary loan. These transcriptions were made from the microfilm copy. A print copy of each petition, reproduced from the microfilm edition, is on file at the History Branch of the Cleveland Public Library.

Because these documents were written by pioneer settlers in a primitive land, the spelling, punctuation and grammar in the originals does not meet today's standards. For the most part, these errors have been transcribed verbatim onto these pages. However, where it was necessary for clarification, commas, periods and capital letters have been inserted. The text has also been broken into paragraphs for easier reading. Where a word was illegible, the transcriber has made his best effort to determine the word, and has indicated this with a bracketed question mark [?].

The contrast provided by both the differences and the similarities of issues concerning Bradley Countians of then and now remind us that although our world is always changing, the past shines a light on the present and provides a window into the future.


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Petition Number 63, Year 1837
[The envelope is addressed to Hon. J.F. Gillespie, Nashville, Tenn., and is postmarked at Chattanooga on Nov. 13. A clerk has written "Petition of 117 citizens of Bradley County for a repeal of the Tipling act of 1837". A notation on the envelope indicates that the petition was referred to the Committee on Tippling Houses. There is a cover letter but the actual petition is missing.]

To the Hon. J.F. Gillispie James Walker & Joseph McMillen Sirs after Our respects we send you this petition of 117 signers praying you for relief -- from your Hon. body as we consider the act oppressive and unconstitutional. And grant us licens for retailing spirituous Liquors and all other domestic productions. We remain your friends and humble servants & etc.

R. L. Brashares[?]
William Daughrty[?]
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Petition Number 94, Year 1837_
[No cover sheet or envelope]
To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee Greeting
The under signed your Petitioners begs leave humbly to Represent That wherease by the last session of the General Assembly in discribing the bounds of Bradley County and establishing the same manifest in Justice has been done to the citizens in South East Corner of McMinn County and the Citizens in the south west Corner of Monroe.
And as the Counties now are situated the Inhabitants have from some parts of the Counties and Bradley McMinn and Monroe to travel to their different seats of Justice something like 40 miles and for Remedy there off.

We your petitioners pray that you give us a new County bounded as follows Viz.
Beginning at the house of Thomas Lasleys from thence to the top of Starrs Mountain thence with the top of said Mountyn to the Highwassee River thence south to the line of the State of Georgia thence East with said line to the Corner of North Carolina thence with the North Carolina to the head of Tellico River thence down said river to the first ford below the Iron works thence with the Great Road to the begining. Containing the Constitutional Number of square miles with out encroaching in the Least on any of the adjoining Counties.
The Primises considered your Petitioners as in duty Bound will ever pray & etc.

Nicholas S. Peck
Edward D. Malone
C.L. Turk
James S. James
William Hollaway
John Smith
Andrew McClellan
Wm. Watson
John Thomas
Burrell J. McDaniel[?]
John Jones
L.D. McDaniel
John M. Dobtson
John Dillard
Wm. Shelton[?]
Younge Davis
Jaynes[?] Thomas
Nedom Hamby
Jno. D. Wiggins
Gus[?] Borrin
Burgess Witt
Samuel L. Bradford
Daniel H. Brock
Samuel Lasley
William Watson
John Dye
Nathaniel Barnett
W. Cane
Richard Witt
John Smith
Robert Smith
Stephen Dye
William Dearmond
Leander Hughs
William H. Crocket[?]
Jefferson Dye
John Adams
Erly Dye
Hillery Prince
Peter Cane
Joseph Balding
John Cane
Thomas Balding
Francis Cane
Robert Smith
Elisha Williams
Benedict Ellis
David Cunningham
John Elliot
Samuel Boling
Joel F. Hamilton
William Boling
John Shelton
Thomas Riddle
George Burger
Jackson Club
Adam Burger
Samuel Club
Charles Dillda
Rubin Deaver
Simian Dillda
Nelson Jaret
Barny Casteel
Wm. Read
Mathew Dorety
George Calor
Charles Dorety
Robert Calor
Allen Castteal
Nathan Smith
Henry Castteal
Nathan Thomas
Abraham Hester
Jrid Hitowee
Garret Buckner
Eliza Jonston
William Kincer
William Jonston
William Smith
Henry R. Hedreck
Jessee White
William F. Carter
Elisha White
Jerry Riddle
Elisha Hammers

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Petition Number 18, Year 1839_
[The envelope is addressed to Hon. John F. Gillespie, Nashville, Tennessee. The clerk has added, "Petition and accompanying documents of Erly Boyd of Bradley Co praying to have refunded money wrongfully paid by him. 1839"]

Cleveland, Ten.
November 1st, 1839

In compliance with the request of Erly Boyd, Esq., the enclosed petition is forwarded to you with the hope that you will have it disposed of in such a manner that the prayer of the petitioner may be granted. Being personally cognizant of the facts stated, I think it perfectly right that the money prayed for in the petition should be refunded to Mr. Boyd. He requests me to state that you will use your influence to have the bill for his relief passed before the 5th proximo, as he is anxious to enter some more land and will stand in need of funds.

We have no news worth relating except that the country is again becoming healthy, not withstanding we have had scarcely a drop of rain since you left.
Very Respectfully,
Your Obt. Servant,
John M Lea

To the Honourable General Assembly of the State of Tennessee at Nashville assembled:
Your petitioner, Erly Boyd, a citizen of the County of Bradley respectfully represents to your honourable body, That he purchased from a legal Occupant the right of pre-emption on the North West Fractional Quarter of Section Thirteen Fractional Township Two North Range One East of the Basis Line in the Ocoee District, which, as the assignee of such legal Occupant, he was desirous to enter at the maximum price of Seven Dollars and fifty cents per acre.
For this purpose he examined the Map left at Cleveland for public inspection and ascertained, as he though, that the fraction he wished to enter was laid down as containing thirty acres of land.

A few days after the Entry Takers Office was opened, he presented to one of the Clerks in the Land Office a location to enter the aforesaid fractional Quarter Section of land accompanied by proof of Occupancy and the assignment to himself, together with the requisite sum of money ($225) to pay for thirty acres of land.

Your petitioner was told by the Clerk in the Land Office, that he, the Clerk, was under the impression that the aforesaid fractional quarter section contained only twenty instead of thirty acres of land, and he requested your petitioner to postpone the entry and make further inquiry of the Surveyor, as the figures on his map were scarcely legible (being written on the margin of a representation of the Hiwassee River) and presented as much or more the appearance of being twenty than thirty.

Your petitioner being very desirous to enter said fractional quarter section without which his plantation would be materially injured, requested the Clerks in the Land Office to examine the map again, assuring them that said fractional quarter was laid down in the Surveyor's Map, a copy of which was of course given to the Entry Taker, as containing thirty acres. After some consultation and a re-examination of the amp, your petitioner was permitted to enter the land and a few weeks thereafter obtained a grant for the same, having paid into the Land Office Two hundred and twenty five dollars, the entry-money for thirty acres of land.

Now may it please your honourable body, your petitioner has learned since the entry just mentioned was made, that the aforesaid fractional quarter section contains only twenty instead of thirty acres of land; and that he was led into an error by the following circumstance: Between the time that your petitioner examined the Map and the opening of the Land Office, the Surveyor General of Ocoee District, having at first omitted to lay down a fractional quarter section of land lying in the neighbourhood of the fractional quarter your petitioner entered, on being informed of the fact, caused the fractional quarter before omitted to be represented in its proper place, thus altering the face of the amp and creating confusion in the minds of those who are unaccustomed to the examination of such instruments. A thirty acre faction lying immediately above the fraction your petitioner entered also assisted to lead him into confusion. Besides the map given to the Entry Taker of Ocoee District, although in general neatly and correctly drawn, appeared to your petitioner very obscure about the aforesaid fractional quarter, owing perhaps to alteration, and the figures which indicated the number of acres in said fraction are so indifferently written that they might have passed for a thirty as well as a twenty.

Your petitioner, notwithstanding he had learned from the Surveyor's Map, of which the Entry Taker's was intended tobe a correct copy, that the fraction he entered contained only twenty acres, in order to convince himself and your honourable body of its correctness, had the same surveyed at his own expense and has ascertained that it contains very little more than nineteen acres of land. This your petitioner considers proof conclusive that said fraction was intended to be marked on the Entry Taker's Map (as it is on the Surveyor's) as containing twenty acres of land. Your petitioner attributes censure, not the least, to any individual, and he prays that the certificates of the Entry Taker and Surveyor, or their authorized Assistants, herewith presented may secure the attention of your honourable body.

Your petitioner has, therefore, paid to the State of Tennessee the sum of $225, the price of thirty acres of land, when in fact he should have paid only $150, the price of twenty acres of land. The number of acres of land actually received, as the Surveyor's Map will show.

The State has therefore received from your petitioner too much money by $75, and the facts being laid before your honourable body, your petitioner requests that you will, upon a consideration of the justice of his case, declare by a special act of assembly, that the Comptroller be directed to draw upon the Treasurer of the State for $75, payable to your petitioner, or that the Treasurer be instructed to pay your petitioner $75, or that the President and Directors of the Bank of Tennessee, which institution received the proceeds of the sales of the Ocoee Lands, be directed to refund your petitioner Seventy Five dollars. And as in duty bound, he will forever pray. Cleveland, Nov. 1, 1839 Erly Boyd

I, John M. Lea, a Clerk in the Entry Taker's Office (Ocoee District) do hereby certify that Erly Boyd entered the North West Fr. Quarter of Section Thirteen Fractional Township Two North Range One East of the Basis Line, and that he paid the office $225, the price of thirty acres of land, which money was transmitted to the Superintendant of Public Instruction at the expiration of the "first quarter".

Cleveland, Nov. 1, 1839 John M. Lea
I Thomas H. Calloway, Deputy Surveyor of the Surveyor General of Ocoee District do hereby certify that the Northwest fractional Quarter of Section Thirteen Fractional Township Two North Range One East of the Basis Line is marked upon the Surveyor's Map as containing twenty acres only.
Cleveland, Nov. 2, 1839. Thos. H. Calloway,

Deputy Surveyor, O.D.
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Petitions To The
Tennessee State Legislature From
Bradley County, Tennessee
1837 - 1866
Jane Colmenares - County Coordinator
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