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Robertson County, Tennessee

The land which is now within the boundaries of Robertson and Montgomery counties was first known as the Tennessee County of North Carolina. In 1796, the state’s first general assembly met in Knoxville to organize a new state government, and the name Tennessee was officially adopted for the developing state. An act passed by that assembly provided for the division of Tennessee County into two counties.  The eastern half was named Robertson in honor of James Robertson, Father of Middle Tennessee and early leader of the Watauga and Cumberland settlements. The act also provided for the commissioners to purchase fifty acres of land for Robertson County’s seat of government and specified that the town be named Springfield.

The act further provided for the commissioners to raise money to build a courthouse and jail.  The site selected for the county seat was geographically centered in the middle of the county, and, in accordance with the legislative act, the town was named Springfield. The town was laid out in 1798, and the first log courthouse was completed on July 15, 1799.  The fertile land in Robertson County was an excellent choice for the agriculturalists who settled here. They brought with them the skills of distilling whiskey and cultivating tobacco, two enterprises which have prospered.

Robertson County was once known world-wide for its fine whiskey, and, at one time, there were over seventy-five whiskey distilleries in operation in the county. Tobacco has been a commercial product since around 1820, and Springfield has been acknowledged as the dark-fired tobacco capital of the world. The agricultural-based economy has flourished over the years and has in this century expanded to include industrial development.

Although the economic base has fluctuated and changed as civilization spread across Robertson County, the rolling hills and fertile land are as enchanting today as they were 200 years ago when they attracted the first settlers. Robertson Countians, both established and new, have taken great pride in their land and their legacy to pass it on intact and enhanced.

(reprinted from Robertson County’s Heritage of Homes)

 
Copyright © 2008 Robertson County Historical Society
Last modified: February, 2010