McMinn County, Tennessee

McMinn Co., TN

McMinn County, TN


McMinn County, located in southeast Tennessee, was established by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1819. Named for Governor Joseph McMinn, the county was created from lands ceded by the Cherokees in the Hiwassee Purchase.

Calhoun, the first town and county seat, was established in 1820 across the Hiwassee River from the Cherokee Indian Agency. The need for a more centrally located seat of government led to the county seat’s removal in 1823 to Athens, fifteen miles north. Athens was chartered in 1822. By 1830 McMinn County had a population of over 14,000, including 1,250 slaves.

The Hiwassee Railroad began construction of one of Tennessee’s first railroads in McMinn County in 1837. Plans called for a line from Dalton, Georgia, through McMinn County to Knoxville, a distance of ninety-eight miles. Financial problems and a general economic depression statewide halted construction in 1839 after the completion of sixty-six miles of graded roadbed and a bridge at Calhoun. Work was resumed in 1849 by the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad. Athens served as the railroad’s headquarters until 1855, when the central office was moved to Knoxville.

With the arrival of the railroad came the new towns of Riceville, Sanford, and Mouse Creek (now Niota), which developed along the line. During the Civil War, the railroad gained added significance, serving as a vital link for transporting troops and supplies between the Lower and Upper South.
Source: https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/mcminn-county/

Modern Day Adjacent Counties

McMinn County is bordered by Roane, Loudon, Monroe, Polk, Bradley, and Meigs counties.

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