Meigs County, Tennessee

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Meigs County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of 2000, the population was 11,086. Its county seat is Decatur.[1]



Before 1819, the area that is now Meigs County was Cherokee territory. White settlers established ferries to cross the Tennessee River from Rhea County as early as 1807. Col. Return J. Meigs, who was to become the county's namesake, operated an Indian agency across the river in Rhea County until 1817, when the agency moved east to the area that is now Meigs County. In 1819 the Hiwassee Treaty opened the land to white settlement, initially as a part of Rhea County.[2]

In 1985, the Meigs County Family and Community Education (“FCE”) Club began a large quilt to commemorate the early history of Meigs County, for a state project, the Tennessee “Homecoming 1986." The quilt includes images of fourteen sites representing the early history of Meigs County. The central quilt design, including a map of the area to locate the various sites represented, was created by the late Flossie Bennett, a longtime leader of the FCE. A committee of representatives from Ten Mile, Peakland, Concord, Goodfield, and Decatur, decided which sites would be included in the quilt. The sites chosen were the Elisha Sharp House (also known as the Sharp-Wasson-Worth House, c. 1825), the Stewart House (1830), the R.H. Johnson Stable, the Mount Zion church and Cemetery (1830), Zeigler's Mill (1850,previously Gettys Mill), the Washington Ferry (1808), the Pisah Church (1818), the old gymnasium (c. 1822), the old Meigs County Courthouse (1904), the old Volunteer Electric Cooperative BUilding (1935), the Ashley House (1885), and the Sam Eaves Store (c. 1861). Nell Jeannette Fields Worth also insisted that images of Hereford cattle be included throughout the quilt, since Meigs County is noted for its beef cattle. The quilt was awarded the “Best Original Design” at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum's Quilt Show. The quilt initially was displayed at the Meigs-Decatur Public Library, and as of 2010, now hangs in the Meigs County Historical Museum, in Decatur, Tennessee.[3]

A new building on Smith Avenue in Decatur, Tennessee, was built to house the collection of the Meigs County historical Museum. The new site was opened in July 2002.[4] The Meigs County Historical Museum houses many court and family records. On permanent display is a mural depicting Main Street Decatur in the 1930s. The mural was funded by grants from the Tennesee Arts Commission and the VEC Customershares program and painted by Bill McDonald, a local artist.[5]

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