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A Bit of Johnson County and Mountain City History

Johnson County was 175 years old in 2011. A bill was introduced to the 21st General Assembly of Tennessee in December of 1835 to form a new county out of northeast Carter County and to call it Johnson County in honor of Thomas Johnson (late), a prominent and respected citizen of what would become Johnson County. The bill passed and was enacted on January 2, 1836 and a new Tennes-see County was born.
Following is a synopsis of the act.
Section one of the act includes the co-ordinates of the new county. The county as laid out in the act is bounded by the states of North Carolina and Virginia on the east and north respectively and Carter County and Sullivan County on the west.
Section two names William Gott, Robert Reeve and James O’Brien commissioners “to designate a proper place for the permanent lo-cation of the seat of justice for said county, with due regard to population and territory.” They were to proceed on or before March 1 to select the site.
Section Three states that the county court “shall at their first or second session appoint five or seven at their discretion, good kind lawful men, citizens of said county, commissioners to purchase land for the county seat and to call the new county seat Taylorsville. It was named for Col. James P. Taylor, a prominent citizen of Carter County. The commissioners were to lay off the town in lots, sell the lots, collect and appropriate the monies.
Section four states that the different courts would be held at the house of Thomas Johnson (deceased) until the county seat was located.
Section five states the new county shall be governed by the same laws that other counties in the state are subject to and that Carter County would hold jurisdiction over the county until Johnson County officers were elected.
Section six decrees that the citizens of Johnson County shall vote with Carter County for governor, members to congress and members of the general assembly “until the next apportionment of members of the general assembly.”
Section seven says each commissioner or other official appointed by the county court must take an oath or affirmation that they will truly and faithfully execute and perform the different duties to the best of their abilities and they be bonded in the sum of five thou-sand dollars.
Section eight requires that commissioners appointed by the court shall keep a fair and regular statement of monies and if there is any surplus of monies after erecting public buildings, it would be turned over to the trustee.
The ninth and final section says the pay for each commissioner or anyone appointed to an office or anyone who works for the county will be decided by the court.
The land for Taylorsville was purchased from William P. Waugh by deed dated September 7, 1836 and the deed was recorded on October 18, 1836. The commissioners who concluded the transaction were: Greene Moore, Chairman, John Ward, James Brown, James B. Morley, and Ezekiel Smith. Twenty-five and a half acres were bought for the town. Lots were laid out and sold. I have a copy of the deed for the first lot sold. It was sold to Andrew L. Wilson.
The name of Taylorsville was changed to Mountain City by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly on March 11, 1885.

Note: The just published book by the Johnson County Historical Society, Pictorial History of Johnson County, is a tribute to John-son County’s 175 years of existence. The book may be purchased at the Johnson County Welcome Center on South Shady Street in Mountain City. Go by and get yours while they’re still available.