A town called Danville & Levi Woodbury Part IV

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County Historian

These first commissioners appointed by the state legislature also proposed a different name/or this new county seat -- now to be called Woodbury - replacing the name Danville. The old town site would be increased in size to cover some 62 acres. Some refused to sell portions of their land to create a larger town. A town square was marked and identified, believed to have been about three acres.

Many local residents did indeed participate in this great event by selling, swapping and donating partials of land to increase the size of the town site. Some names as recorded by past historians were H. Y. Henderson, Nathan Neeley, Adam Elrod, Joseph Pinkerton, Henry Trott Jr., Abel McBroom, H.D. McBroom, William Young, Patsy Gannon, Mary Gannon and James Taylor. Commissioners also named additional streets for the town, two would be called Main and High streets. Numerous cross streets were designated also. Some of these cross streets were renamed in later years.

Again, according to the Woodbury historian Sterling Brown these first lots were only about four rods (poles) wide. It is interesting to note when the town of Bradyville was laid out along the upper Brawley Fork, its lots were also four poles wide.

Levi Woodbury, as far as anybody's knows, never visited this community that was named after him. In the whirlwinds of Tennessee's politics, the Jacksonian Democrats had recently lost the governor's race to the Whig party. As mentioned, this new county was even named after this Whig Governor, Newton Cannon.

These first commissioners were quick to move on a motion to select the town of Danville as the new county seat and also to rename the town. It may have been an effort to gain something of a foothold against the Whigs in this somewhat unusual 1836 election?

Levi was a close friend and ally of Tennessee's famous president, Andrew Jackson more popularly known as 'Old Hickory.' Levi Woodbury, served in Jackson's so-called cabinet as secretary of the Treasury. He was actually from the state of New Hampshire. Jackson recognized early-on Levi's unique abilities as an effective administrator and organizer. He certainly had an eye for the detail. Levi Woodbury was considered twice as a possible presidential candidate - in 1836 and again in 1852. In an effort to give him some name recognition for a possible presidential run the Jacksonian Democrats may very well have been behind the move to name towns after him. However, Levi Woodbury's politics were not strong enough to beat out the Van Buren faction of the Democratic party. Martin Van Buren became the Democratic candidate for president and won the national election of 1836.

By 1852 Levi Woodbury's name came up again as the best choice to beat the Whigs. Unfortunately Levi's presidential ambitions came to an end when he took sick and died. The Democratic party's search for a candidate led them to what some would call in those days a 'dark horse' candidate at the time of their convention - someone totally unknown - Franklin Pierce. Pierce was also born in New Hampshire. Pierce was nominated after the delegates attending an unruly convention cast ballots 35 times in order to secure a nomination. Franklin D. Pierce won·the 1852 national election over the more popularly known Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott. (The end.)

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Robert Bush
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