Researchers meet a variety of challenges along the way. Have you stumbled over ancestors and the lack of records they have left? Has the census record you need been lost to time? Do you need to create a FAN club (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) for an ancestor?
Court records can help, both with lost censuses and in determining FAN club members. Today’s document does both and it’s from Roane County, Tennessee in 1811. That 1811 date is important because not only is it early (Roane County formed in 1801), but Roane County’s pre-1830 censuses are lost or destroyed, making its court records invaluable.
Last week, I mentioned that today’s court record is one that I had not seen anywhere before. It is a jury list, but it is exceptional because it includes the names of ALL men called for jury duty ALONG WITH names of the men actually selected.
Talk about a FAN club. Not that many people lived in Roane County in the first ten years of its existence and most of the men called to jury duty at any given time would have known most of the other men.
On top of that, with no extant census records before 1830, this jury pool proves that these men were living in Roane County in 1811. Some of them lived in the section that was cut off in 1819 to become Morgan County, which lost its records in 1862. Other men might have moved on elsewhere or died before 1830.
Roane County Circuit Court Minutes, 1811
Monday the 2nd September 1811
Be it remembered that at a Circuit Court opened & held for the Second Circuit for the County of Roane, at the Court house in Kingstone on the first Monday of September in the year 1811 – Present the honorable James Trimble Judge etc etc – John Brown Esquire high Sheriff of Roane County returned into Court that he had executed a (Venira?) Facias to him directed from the worshipfull Court of please and quarter sessions held for the County fo roane, on the following persons, to wit, Jacob Anthony, John Avery, William Ballard, Thomas Blake, James Coulter, Tandy Center, George Crow, Isham Cox, Asa Cobb, Hugh Dunlap, Arden Evans, John Givens, Solomon Gerren, James Hope, John Harrison, Samuel Hays, David Haley, Hugh Lacky, Moses Looney, James McElivee, John McKamey, John McKinnie, Henry McPherson, Nicholas Nail, Thomas Oden, Joseph Robinson, Thomas Raybourn, John Rector, John Prator, John Smith, John Todd, Thomas Turner, Nathan Turner, Jacob Warren, Daniel Wester, Robert Williams, William Waller, John Wetherspoon, & Jesse White, out of which venire the following persons to wit John Givens foreman James Todd Jesse White William Waller Saml Hays Thomas Rayburn Jacob Warren Joseph Robinson Nichl Nail John McKamey Thomas Oden Asa Cobb John Rector Henry McPherson and George Crow who having been sworn recieved (sic) their charge and withdrew to enquire of their presentments.
John Brown high Sherriff of the County aforesaid returned here into Court that agreeable to an order to him directed from the County Court of Roane, he had summoned Allen S. Bacon and John Kennelly Constables to attend during the present Term.
John Kennelly sworn to attend on the grand Jurey for the Present Term.
Tandy Center, John Prator and Jacob (Anthony?) excused from further attendence (sic) as jurors during the present Term.
End of Jury Pool Entry
Here we have a mini-census view of Roane County in 1811. From my own research, I recognize many of the names here and know for a fact that Asa Cobb, Henry McPherson, Robert Williams and John Rector all had family ties through marriages into the Williams family.
I can’t emphasize enough that whether court minutes are indexed or not, it is well worth the time to delve into them.