Commissioners Erect the City
On October 18, 1809, the Tennessee General Assembly passed an act to establish the permanent seat of justice for White County. The act called for an election of seven commissioners. The commissioners' duties were to locate a county seat, survey and sell lots in the town, and erect the necessary county buildings. Expenses were to be paid with the money received from selling the lots.
The election was held on the first Monday and Tuesday in January of 1810, and resulted in locals choosing Commissioners Thomas Bounds, Aaron England, James Fulkerson, Nicholas Gillentine, Turner Lane, Alexander Lowrey and Benjamin Weaver. Upon election, the commissioners founded the town of Sparta, named after the capital city of Laconia, Greece, because both were built on small rivers. Sparta was officially incorporated in 1813.
The center of county business was soon moved from Rock Island to the town's present location, and a new log courthouse and jail was built in 1810. It was replaced with a two-story brick building in 1815, that was erected at a cost of less than $5,000. It stood until 1894 when it was replaced with another structure. The third structure was replaced in 1974 with a modern new courthouse, costing $1 million.