Hardeman County was officially opened to settlers in 1820. By the year 1830, ten mills were in operation on the banks of the Hatchie River and its tributaries, including three on Spring Creek, two on Clear Creek, (an offshoot of Clover Creek) and others on Pleasant Run Creek, Porter’s Creek, Piney Creek and Mill Creek. Many of the early mills also served as river ports and settlers entering the county often settled and formed communities that later became the towns still thriving in the county.
Other settlers pushed inward, forming strong communities that banded together to fend off the bands of fierce Chickasaw warriors remaining in the wilderness. These warriors were reported to have been some of the finest and fiercest warriors in North America.
Founded in the early 1800’s
The Cloverport Community on Highway 138, north of Toone, was established as a settlement before 1810, beside a port on Clover Creek where boats traveling up the Creek from the Hatchie River would unload their cargo. Cloverport settlers operated a variety of mills, including a mule-drawn sorghum mill. The community had one of the first steam-including a mule-drawn sorghum mill. The community had one of the first steam-operated cotton gins.
Birthplace of Freed-Hardeman University
Essary Springs was established on the banks of the Hatchie River south of Pocahontas, just below the Davis Bridge Battleground. The community was named for a mineral spring, thought to have medicinal powers, located on the farm of a pioneer family named Essary. The community had two general stores, a hotel, a boarding house, post office and school. Hundreds made journeys to the picturesque springs each year for medical purposes. In 1888, resident A.G Freed and D.S. Nelms established the Freed School, the predecessor of Freed-Hardeman College, in Henderson, Tennessee. Part of the old school is still in use today as the including a mule-drawn sorghum mill. The community had one of the first steam-operated cotton gins.