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Special Collections Online at The University of Tennessee

Tennessee Company Land Grant

 Collection
Identifier: MS-2149

This land grant gives a parcel of land to the Tennessee Company, and specifically to Zachariah Cox and Matthias Maher, which was located in what eventually became the state of Tennessee. More specifically, this parcel was located near the Tennessee River and encompassed several of its tributaries.

Dates

  • 1795

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 the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection contains a land grant to the Tennessee Company from the State of Georgia for a parcel of land that eventually became a part of Tennessee.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Tennessee Company was formed in 1789 along with the South Carolina Yazoo Company and the Virginia Yazoo Company for the express purpose of buying land from the Georgia legislature. The South Carolina and Virginia Yazoo Companies quickly became embroiled in scandal when they made an illicit deal with the Georgia legislature to buy 20,000,000 acres of land for approximately 1 cent per acre, an amount well under the actual value of the land. This deal was never completed, as the companies in question attempted to pay for the land using outdated currency. The Tennessee Company joined the Yazoo companies in scandal in 1794, when it convinced Georgia legislators (many of whom were, conveniently, stockholders in the Tennessee Company) to sell them 40,000,000 acres of land for 500,000 USD (or approximately 1.3 cents per acre), an amount constituting a ridiculously low price for the land in question. There was widespread outrage when workings of these deals were revealed to the American public, and the matter quickly reached the nation's capital. The bill allowing the Yazoo land sales was repealed in 1796 and the state attempted to refund money to the various persons who had purchased land. Many of these people, however, refused the money and insisted on keeping the land even though the State of Georgia no longer recognized the sales contracts. The issue became a federal matter in 1803, when Georgia ceded all land west of its current border to the government. The matter was eventually settled in 1810 with the Fletcher v. Peck decision, which upheld the original land sales on the grounds that the contracts for these purchases were binding in perpetuity and thus could not be retroactively invalidated.

No information is available regarding Zachariah Cox and Matthias Maher specifically.

Arrangement

Collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

The Special Collections Library purchased this collection in September of 1998.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480