McMinn County Biographies-- Joseph McMinn
Joseph McMinn


Joseph McMinn was born June 22 1758 in Pennsylvania into a Quaker family. At age 16 he joined the continental army and Cherokee Indians.

He was married three times-- Hannah Cooper, Rebecca Kincaid and Nancy Williams (married her in Roane County and tried unsuccessfully to divorce her).

He helped draft the first state constitution and insisted that a "Bill of Rights" be included.

He was a man dedicated to making this state the best it could be.  He was  speaker of the General Assemblies three of the eight times he served.  He helped prepare the state motto which is still used today.

He was elected Governor in 1815 and re-elected in 1817 and 1819.  While he was governor Tennessee established its first penitentiary, more schools were established and the Hiwassee Purchase was made.

With the Hiwassee Purchase, land was opened up to become Hamilton, Bradley, McMinn and Monroe counties in 1819.  When the land was opened it seemed appropriate that one county should be named for this special person.

After he retired he became Cherokee Agent and lived at Calhoun where he also may have been a farmer and ran a trading post and tavern.

On November 17 1824, while working at his desk, Joseph McMinn died.

He is buried in the Presbyterian Graveyard of Calhoun (Now known as the Shiloh Presbyterian Cemetery).


The marker placed on his grave was placed there many years after his death

The DPA had an article about Governor McMinn in the Bicentennial Edition in 1976. DPA ARTICLE

The following two links are to lists of his letters as Governor Letters Pt 1 Pt 2

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