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Special Collections Online at UT

State of Tennessee Land Grant Collection

Identifier: MS-0141

  • Staff Only

This collection contains 22 documents listing land grants that were granted to the trustees of the Nashville University and East Tennessee College. All were signed in 1839 by Governor James K. Polk and Secretary Luke Lea. While each grant was sold to an individual, only some of the documents contain individual names. Each document is for a different tract of land and the grants include exact geographic locations.


  • 1839 November 12-18

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.


0.25 Linear Feet (5 folders in 1 oversize box)


This collection includes land grants from the State of Tennessee to Nashville University and East Tennessee College. All were signed in 1939 by Governor James K. Polk and Secretary Luke Lea.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Knox Polk was born in North Carolina in 1795. His family moved to Tennessee when he was a child. He was educated University of North Carolina, graduating with honors in 1818. He then returned to Tennessee and studied law, earning admission to the Bar in 1820. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1823 and served until 1825, when he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. He held this position until 1839, when he was elected Governor of Tennessee. He was not reelected in 1841 or 1843, but managed to secure the Democratic nomination for President in 1844 as a "dark horse" candidate. Polk won the election, and served for one term. He died on June 15, 1849, three months after leaving the White House.

Born in Surry County, NC on January 21, 1783, Luke Lea moved to Tennessee with his parents in 1790. He became a clerk in the State house of representatives from 1804-1806 and commanded a regiment under General Jackson in the Creek and Seminole Wars in 1818. He was elected to the U. S. Congress as a Jacksonian in 1833, serving until 1837. From 1837-1839 he held the position of secretary of state of Tennessee. In 1850, he was appointed by President Fillmore to be an Indian agent at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., where he died on June 17, 1851.


Materials are arranged in chronological and numerical order by date and land grant number. Materials are in five folders within a single box.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA