In 1804 a heated election was held for selection of a permanent county seat. The contest raged between proponents (the polecats) of Bledsoesborough, a site on the Cumberland near Dixon Springs, and supporters (the moccasin gang) of William Walton, whose land grant was situated at the confluence of the Cumberland and Caney Fork Rivers. Walton, a Revolutionary veteran, operated a ferry and tavern at the site. An abundance of refreshments, including a full supply of whiskey furnished by Colonel Walton, may have influenced the victory claimed by the moccasins, who determined Carthage, destined to become one of the most important towns in Middle Tennessee during the steamboat era, as the county seat. Throughout the winter of 1805 the town was laid out and public buildings were constructed. By 1879 a new courthouse building, “the handsomest in the State,” was erected and continues to grace the town square. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Macon, Jackson, Putnam, DeKalb, Wilson, and Trousdale counties.