Samuel Williams, the "Father of Chattanooga," once had property holdings "up and down the Tennessee River for more than 40 miles," his friend, attorney and business partner James A. Whiteside noted.
Col. Whiteside added in a deposition in the Williams lawsuit uncovered last year, "Our dealings and those in which we were principal actors during that time amounted to as much as $100,000."
Those were in the latter days of Ross's Landing and the early days of Chattanooga. Williams saw a great opportunity along with his brother George when a land office opened for the rich territory only recently occupied by the Native Americans. The Cherokees were his friends, but they were ushered away from their beloved homeland. Some of the Williams family went west with them.
Some of the early purchases by Samuel Williams were for as little as a penny an acre.
Col. Whiteside said, "The real estate of G&S Williams, with the exception of the home place, was much scattered, consisting of fractional interests undivided in many tracts of land in several ranges, townships, sections and quarter sections. They are scattered through the county from a point about two miles above Harrison to the Georgia and Alabama lines."
Elsewhere he said, "1 had also with them the connection in land operations which I've explained. I had frequent settlements with them about the cattle trading and much more frequently in relation to our land dealings in order to keep all things right in such complicated transactions. My settlements were almost universally made with George or with his own immediate supervision for he always appeared to understand business better than Samuel and would keep himself advised of all that was going on touching his interest. In making such settlements he very often said to me that if a partnership was like his and his brothers that he could have no trouble and would explain the advantages of such a partnership."
One legal document outlines the multitude of the Williams holdings. Col. Whiteside described them, "The first 30 prices of land on the list were entered in the names of George and Samuel Williams and myself at one cent per acre and were owned in individual thirds. The 31st tract was held by George and Samuel Williams. The 32nd was George and Samuel Williams and myself, also originally John Bridgman but his share was transferred and at his death belonged to the heirs of Elisha Thomas dec. The heirs of Z.B. Hargrove of Georgia - I do not know them - Tomlinson Fort, John S. Thomas, Farish Carter, Samuel Igou, Benjamin B. Cannon, David N. Bell and others I do not remember.
"The 33rd was owned by the Williams partners under the Hargrove Company by the heirs of Elisha Thomas as assignees of John Bridgman, and by six other individual locators, Samuel Williams being seventh. Thomas Crutchfield, David N. Bell, James Johnson and Hugh Price were some of the locators. I do not remember the names of the others. On this parcel the old town of Vannville was laid off and several held claims on it for lots purchased. Thomas Shirley and - Pendergrass are two that I remember. The town was afterward broken up and abandoned and no settlement for title has ever taken place.
"The 34th was held by the partners in the Hargrove Company and Hargrove heirs, by the heirs of Elisha Thomas and by David N. Bell. I think Mr. Bell had partners but do not know them. The 35th tract was originally taken by several locators, Samuel Williams among them. The 37th and 38th are the Chickamauga Mill tracts. The 38th was owned by the Hargove Company. Gardenhire and Keeny claimed a portion of it. The 40th tract belonged to George and Samuel Williams and myself - the heirs of Z.B. Hargrove, Farish Carter, Tomlinson Fort, John S. Thomas to the partners in the Hines Company to Thomas J. Park and some of his partners. His partners included Wafford and McAfee.The 41st and 42nd belonged to the Hargrove Company, the Hines Company and to Thomas J. Park and his partners. The 43rd belonged to the partners in the Hargrove Company, the partners in the Hines Company and to Thomas J. Park and to George W. Gardenhire, James Gardenhire and several other heirs of William Gardenhire dec.
"The 44th and 45th belonged to the Hines Company, Hargrove Company and Park Company. The 46th and 47th were the same but also to John Bridgman, who has since died. The 48th and 49th belonged to the Hargrove Company. The 50th to the 52nd belonged to the Hargrove Company. And similarly on down to the 62nd tract. The Hines Company and Hargrove Company have sought to consolidate their holdings."
Here is another list of Samuel Williams properties and the value:
Lot 29, Market St. - $1,000
2/9th of Lot 35 Market St. - $110
2/9th of Lot 46 Market St. - $100
2/9th of Lot 57 Market St $94.44
2/9th of Lot 67 Market St. $44.44
2/9th of Lot 69 Market St. - $8.88
north half of Lot 37 Market St. - $55
2/9th of Lot 66 on Chestnut St. $34.44
north half of Lot 49 on Market St. $111.11
2/9 of Lot 66 on Chestnut St. $33.33
2/9 of Lot 39 on Chestnut St. $104.44
North half of Lot 25 on Chestnut St., $56.66
South half of Lot 15 on Chestnut St. $47.77
2/9th of Lot 31 on Walnut St. $88.88
2/9th of Lot 44 on Cypress St. $36.66
2/9th of Lot 56 on Cypress St., $10
2/9th of Lot 19 on Poplar St., $3
An undivided half of 531 3/4 acres at the home place, north bank of the Tennessee River $1,500
An undivided half of 2/9th of two and one ---occupied claims, one for quarter section in Chattanooga 1 and 1/9th acres $500
An undivided half of the northeast fr. quarter section 15 township, Range 5 west containing 100 acres $50
An undivided half of 114 acres in Brown's Island, Tennessee River $427.50
Still another legal documents says, "Samuel Williams became the individual purchaser of G&S Williams' undivided interest to the following described pieces of land or town lots, he being the highest and best bidder. No. of acres in each tract - 158, 120, 25, 160, 160, 152, 40, 146.160, 160, 120, 92, 160, 160, 160, 48, 20, 14 1/4, 52 1/2, 460, 64, 53 1/3, 32, 48, 160, 160, 1, 10, Lowry's Island in the Tennessee River 192, Oats Island in Tennessee River 31 1/2, Ross's Landing Island in the Tennessee River 21 1/2 of Lot 31 on Market St., 1/4th and 2/3rd of the south half of Lot 25 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 33 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 53 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 63 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 65 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 59 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 56 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 58 on Market St., North half of Lot 23 on Market St., south half of Lot 55 on Market St., 2/9th of Lot 57 on Chestnut St., 2/9th of Lot 34 on Chestnut St., south half of Lot 53 on Chestnut St., north half of Lot 58 on Chestnut St., 2/9th of Lot 39 on Walnut St., 2/9th of Lot 32 on Cypress St., 2/9th of Lot 30 on Cypress St., 2/9th of Lot 28 on Cypress St., an undivided half of 531 and 3/4th acres at the home place on the north bank of the Tennessee River, an undivided half of 2/9th of of 2 and 1/2 occupant claims, a fractional quarter section in Chattanooga 1 and 1/9th acres, an undivided half of the N.E. fractional quarter section, 15 township, range 5 west in the Ocoee District containing 100 acres, an undivided half of 114 acres in Brown's Island Tennessee River.
"Amounting in the aggregate to $6,369.04, which is secured by four notes, two at six months and two at 12 months, executed by Samuel Williams with John L. Divine and James A. Whiteside as security. And a lien retained upon the land and the town lots until the purchase money is paid, which report being unexcepted to, it is in all things confirmed. March Term of Court, 1845."
Another list having to do with Williams land holdings says:
Tomlinson Fort of Baldwin County, Ga.
Oats Island, Lowrys Island
Town lots in Chattanooga - Market, Chestnut, Walnut, Poplar, Cypress
21 acres Ross's Landing Island
342 acres of Brown's Island
14 acres at the Bell place
George and Samuel Williams sign land deal at Chattanooga in presence of Farish Carter and James A. Whiteside May 31, 1841
J. Nicholson's preference
J.B. Easton's preference
Milledgeville note returned to Col. Carter
Discount on N. York
To Porter for boatsman
Grigs by preference
To Porter for one-half floating town claim
To Thurman floating town claim
Col. Carter's order in favor of Major Hason
Purchase 2,500 acres coal banks
Purchase Brainard Mills
Amt. to S. Williams and Whiteside
Purchase N. Chicka coal banks $500
Purchase Clift & McRee's coal banks $200
Paid for impor Red Bird gr.
Paid Vail on land and mills making all $1,200
Paid for Walling spring
80 acres coal banks
Entry 40 acres, 40 acres, 20 acres, 20 acres, 80 acres
Entry Mrs. Wilburn 30 acres
Purchase half lot #40 Chestnut
Half #70 Market St. $233
Purchase lot 43 Poplar St $90
Purchase acre mouth of Chicka $15
State and county tax on land and lots for 1840 $53.42
Corporation taxes 1840 $4.47
Purchase lot #31 Poplar St $375
Fees on deed from Rawlings for 25 acre fraction $1.28
Purchase Allen White's interest in Jack & Clift's & McRee's coal bank coal entries and Haley land $528
Entry money on 40 acres $20.75
Entry money on 5 acres $2.50
Paid for grants $10
Amt due Carter, Boyce & Hines Sept. 20, 1842