John W. Stevens Letter, Dec. 12, 1878

I will say something of the settlers who settled about 15 miles above the mouth.  On the west side was one of the permanent settlers Wm. Reddick, who lives as ‘Squire and in other public business for a number of years.  This place was where Canton now is, right above him a family of the Vice’s settled of which I shall say something hereafter.  The east side was settled by such families as Maddox’, Grant’s, Harris and Allen’s, others coming in soon formed a little neighborhood; this was about the beginning of the present century [i.e. 1800-ish]. Allen put up a water mill and this made a public place, and the voting place for the upper end of the county until about 1820, at which time Nat Vice laid off the town of Visalia, and the voting place was then moved to that town.  About 1821 or 1822 an effort was made to move the county seat from Newport to the centre of the county.  The commissioners appointed, located the place above the mouth of Pond Creek, on the river, on the land of Richard Southgate, formerly the farm of ‘Squire Grant, on the east side of the river, about a mile below the old voting place.  The courts being held at Visalia as it was the most suitable place, until the public buildings could be built.  The public grounds were laid off, lots sold out at public sale, the Clerk’s office was built of stone by Joseph Dicken, and the jail was built by Wm. Decoursey, of hewed logs with two pens, about a foot apart with rocks pounded in between them, in this jail there were two rooms.  There were also a few houses built on lots that were sold.  The people of the County were not generally satisfied with the location, and an effort was made to move it to Visalia, but Newport having an equal chance, the county seat was taken back to Newport, and Richard Southgate took the lots all back again.  About this time there were two precincts added to the upper end of the County, namely Alexandria and Bagby’s, near Independence, now in Kenton, and the county seat at Independence; and the County seat of Campbell at Alexandria.  


from the Newport Local, December 12, 1878