Greg Tucker, Rutherford County Historical Society
The decision to locate the new Rutherford County seat of government near Murfree’s Spring was voted by a four to three margin in the spring of 1812. The exact date of the founding of Murfreesboro, however, could fall on any one of several significant dates beginning with the 1812 decision as to location.
The Murfreesboro Centennial (100 years) was celebrated on June 12, 1912, based on a determination by the State Archivist. In anticipation of the city centennial, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution asked Robert Quarles, Tennessee State Archivist, to search state records to determine “the exact date for the founding of Murfreesboro.” In July 1911 Quarles announced his determination: “Murfreesboro was actually founded on June 12, 1812.” This was the date on which lots were first sold in the area that was to become Murfreesboro.
In 1938, however, M.E. Bragg, publisher of the Rutherford Courier, concluded that the City of Murfreesboro did not begin its official existence “until a deed was recorded” in 1813. The deed referenced by Bragg was executed on July 12, 1812, by William Lytle to the Murfreesboro town commissioners transferring title to the original “60-acre tract of land” that became the town. The deed was filed on March 12, 1813, and is recorded in Rutherford County Deed Book H, page 385. Bragg observed: “Because few people other than lawyers and abstractors have ever looked up the original deed, legends with little basis on fact have arisen about the beginning of Murfreesboro.”
Murfreesboro Founding Timeline
1803—Rutherford County chartered with county seat in Jefferson.
1807—Legislature charters Bedford County taking original southern portion of Rutherford County.
c1808-10—Major landowners up river from Jefferson lobby Legislature for new “centrally located” county seat.
October 1811—Legislature appoints commission to determine location of new county seat for Rutherford County.
November 1811—Legislature specifies that new county seat in Rutherford, wherever located, will be named “Murfreesborough.”
Spring 1812—Commission selects property offered by William Lytle near Murfree’s Spring for new county seat.
June 1812—New town, Murfreesborough, is surveyed and platted.
July 1812—Lytle signs deed to 60 acres.
August 1812—First town lots are sold.
March 1813—Lytle deed of sale filed.
June 1813—County Court convened for first session in new county seat.