The office of county register is a constitutional office, established by Article VII, Section 1, of the Constitution of Tennessee, and is regulated by the general statutes found in "Tennessee Code Annotated", Title 8, Chapter 13; Title 10, Chapter 7 (public records); Title 47, Chapter 9 (U.C.C. Secured Transaction); and Title 66 (real property and registration of instruments). The salary of the county register is set by T.C.A. §§ 8-24-102 and 8-24-104. The end of the old minimum/maximum variation in salary is effective from September 1, 1993.
The principal duty of the county register is the registration of instruments which the law requires to be, or allows to be, filed or recorded. These instruments include, but are not limited to: deeds of conveyance of real estate, powers of attorney, deed of trust, mortgages, liens, land sale contracts, plats, leases, military discharges, and papers of the Uniform Commercial Code. The purposes of such registration are also varied. The records of the register's office provide a public record of real property ownership, liens and various other transactions that affect the public interest. The basic fee schedule for the register is found at T.C.A. § 8-21-1001.
The following acts once affected the office of county register in Roane County, but are no longer operative.
1. Acts of 1829, Chapter 149, Page 116, required the personal representative of John PURRIS deceased, to turn over to the Register of Roane County, upon his request, all the books and papers of the decedant, PURRIS, which records should be kept preserved by the Register, and used as a basis for plats and certificates which would be issued in the 4th Surveyor's District. The Register must make a bond in whatever amount might be decided by the Quarterly Court.
2. Acts of 1831, Chapter 162, Page 131, provided that all instruments and deeds of conveyance, heretofore registered in Roane, and 15 other named counties, although their certificates might not recite that the deeds, or instruments, had been acknowledged by the grantors, or proved by subscribing witnesses, yet they were as good and valid, and binding upon all parties, as if they had been acknowledged and proved at the time of their execution. The above mentioned omissions would not effect any lawsuit, filed or to be filed.
The administration of county government is placed, through a coordination of duties and responsibilities, in various elected or appointed officials, plus various boards, agencies and commissions. For general law on county administration, see "Tennessee Code Annotated", Title 5 (Counties) and Title 8 (Public Officers and Employees). Specific subject headings in the Combined General Index in Volumes 14, 15, and 16 of T.C.A. may be checked for other statutes relating to county administration. These duties are summarized in the "County Government Handbook", a CTAS publication.
The following private or public acts constitute part of the administrative and political history of Roane County but are today no longer operative because they have either been superseded, repealed, or failed to receive local approval. Also referenced below are acts which repeal prior law without providing new substantive provisions.
1. Acts of 1801, Chapter 5, Page 34, Section 24, provided for the inspection of certain commodities which were held out for public sale. Inspectors were to be appointed and trained for the job. The commodities to be inspected were pork, beef, lard, butter, hemp, and a host of other products offered for sale to the public. Warehouses were to be built at designated places and serve as inspection points. In Roane County the warehouse was to be located at Kingston and all goods included in this law were to be brought to this warehouse for examination and approval before being sold to the public.
2. Acts of 1805, Chapter 56, Page 56, appointed Thomas I. VANDYKE, Samuel ELKRIDGE [ESKRIDGE], Jacob JONES, John McCUNE, as Commissioners who would act with the ones formerly appointed, who have not removed from the county, as Commissioners for Kingston who were possessed with all the powers stipulated before. It was their duty to procure a deed to themselves and their successors for the public square laid out for the town, and to secure suitable workmen to build a courthouse, prison, and stocks in the city. Included in this Act were provisions to fill any vacancies which may occur among the Commissioners.
3. Acts of 1806, Chapter 34, Page 141, was the legal authority for the Commissioner of Kingston in Roane County to make all the rules necessary to good order in the town with provisions incorporated in them to fine those who were guilty of violating them. The money derived from the imposition and collection of fines could be spent as the Commissioners decided was in the town's best interest. The Commissioners were empowered to enlarge the said town by changing its boundaries and filing plats showing the changes.
4. Acts of 1807, Chapter 102, Page 161, had provisions for the Sheriff of Roane County to hold an election to choose five Commissioners for the city of Kingston. The election would be held on a day set aside by the Quarterly Court. The Commissioners would appoint a clerk and fix the salary, appoint a Treasurer and fix a bond and salary, and were empowered to levy taxes but they could not exceed the amount in this Act. Included was a grant of some specific powers.
5. Acts of 1815, Chapter 80, Page 81, named Gilbreath BARTON, Adam COX, and Solomon GERAN, as additional Commissioners for the town of Kingston who were to supervise the building of a courthouse, prison, and stocks in Kingston, and who would be subject to the same regulations and restrictions as the other Commissioners.
6. Acts of 1815, Chapter 133, Page 164, required the Sheriff to hold an election to select five Commissioners for the town of Kingston who must meet the qualifications specified in this Act, who, when elected, must be sworn into office and make performance bonds, who had the task of appointing a town Clerk and fixing his salary, and who would choose one of their own number as Treasurer. Other rules, regulations, procedures, and grants of authority were contained in this Act which seemed to be the first comprehensive, detailed Charter for Kingston.
7. Acts of 1817, Chapter 83, Page 93, Section 4, made it legal for the County Court of Roane County to sell the Courthouse and the lot on which it stood in Kingston under the same rules and subject to the same liabilities as those imposed upon the Commissioners of Knoxville (which were not repeated in this Act). All the proceeds of the sale were to be applied to the cost of a Old Courthouse.
8. Acts of 1820, Chapter 36, Page 40, incorporated the people of Kingston as the Mayor and Alderman of Kingston, which corporation would exist and operate under the same rules and regulations as those contained in the Charter of Murfreesborough in Rutherford County. The Roane County Sheriff would hold an election in the city on the first Monday in January, next, to elect seven alderman for Kingston.
9. Acts of 1822, Chapter 74, Page 65, designated John LOYD, Henry LIGGETT, Robert S. GILLELAND, Richard RICHARDS, William H. McEWEN, Samuel MARTIN, and David PATTON, as Commissioners for the city of Kingston with the authority to pass laws to preserve the health of the town, to prevent and remove nuisances, to provide for the licensing and regulation of businesses, theatrical and public amusement shows, to restrain and prohibit gambling, and to do all other things to preserve and promote the general welfare of the inhabitants. The Commission could appoint a Town Clerk, Treasurer, and High Constable, could levy and collect taxes, and the Justices of the town could issue warrants, as allowed under the law.
10. Acts of 1826, Chapter 35, Page 37, was the legal authority for Jesse GALLAWAY, of Roane County, to build a mill on his own land across the small sluice of the Clinch River on the north side of Harvey's Island, but in such a way that the free navigation of the river would not be obstructed.
11. Acts of 1829, Chapter 45, Page 43, required the personal representative of John PURRIS, deceased, the late Surveyor of Roane County, to file with the present Surveyor of the County the field notes, compiled by the said PURRIS, of all the surveys upon which plats and certificates were predicated, whereupon it would be incumbent then upon the present Surveyor to make out any plats and certificates which might be needed.
12. Acts of 1829, Chapter 49, Page 83, made it lawful for anyone in Roane County, or Rhea County, to enter in the Entry Taker's Office after next January 1, any vacant and unappropriated island in the Tennessee River. The Entry Taker's Office would be kept open for such a purpose until April at least. The rates to be paid per acre of land entered was set up in this Act, and the Entry Taker would be accountable for all money taken in in this manner.
13. Acts of 1829, Chapter 62, Page 55, was the authority for the present Commissioners of the town of Kingston to call upon the former Commissioners of the town, the Mayor and the Aldermen, and any other city official for any monies which might be in their hands to which the city was entitled, the same having been collected for the use and benefit of the said town, and if they failed or refused to pay the same, the present Commissioners could file suit against them to recover the same. The official acts of William McEWEN, and all other officials, were hereby ratified and validated. The present Commissioners were empowered to make any regulations essential to the maintenance of good order in the city whose limits were extended to include the land maintenance of good order in the city whose limits were extended to include the land of Ambrose JONES where he lived within its boundaries.
14. Acts of 1829, Chapter 275, Page 249, was the enabling law for the Director of the Branch Bank of the State at Knoxville to allow a credit of three years to the securities of John PURRIS, deceased, the late agent for the said Bank in Roane County, for any sum of money which might be due and owing from the agent, provided the securities execute their good notes for the same amount.
15. Acts of 1831, Chapter 41, Page 29, authorized and required the Treasurer of East Tennessee to pay to the heirs and personal representatives of John McEWEN, deceased, of Roane County, and James McKAMEY, of McMinn County, the sum of $50 each, out of any money which was unobligated and unappropriated. This was the amount improperly paid to the State for a License to operate a retail store in Athens.
16. Acts of 1831, Chapter 223, Page 193, stated that it had been represented to the General Assembly that Thomas BUTLER, William BUTLER, James GILBREATH, and Meriman RECTOR, were boring for salt in Morgan County, and therefore, the above named were hereby given the authority to enter upon a quantity of land in the neighborhood of the salt works in any of the three Counties of Morgan, Roane, and Anderson, but the land entered upon was not to exceed 5,000 acres and would not be taxable for the next 15 years.
17. Acts of 1832, Chapter 17, Page 10, Section 2, stated that the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in Roane County would not in the future allow James P. HAYNES more than $15 per year for keeping the bridge across Caney Creek in Roane County in good repair.
18. Acts of 1832, Chapter 43, Page 32, named Thomas N. CLARK, Thomas BROWN, William S. McEWEN, Samuel H. SMITH, Robert S. GILLILAND, David PATTON, Richard RICHARDS, and James McCAMPBELL, as Commissioners to resurvey the town of Kingston which survey must be agreeable to the plan on which the town was originally laid out. This Act further promulgated some general rules and regulations for the operation of the town.
19. Acts of 1833, Chapter 261, Page 143, was the legal authority for the County Court of Roane County, on the petition of John M. WALKER, and Jane P. McKAMY, to emancipate Jane, a slave, belonging to the estate of the late Col. Samuel WALKER, as provided in his Will and without requiring Jane to remove from the County, or the State, provided that the petitioners named above would enter into a bond to cover any damages the slave might do, or to cover the costs, if she became a public charge.
20. Acts of 1837-38, Chapter 75, Page 102, incorporated the city of Kingston under the Mayor-Alderman form of Charter, which contained general and specific grants of power to the corporation. The Sheriff of the county must hold an election on the first Monday in November, 1838, to elect a Mayor, six Alderman, and a Constable. The six getting the highest number of votes were elected Alderman. The city was granted the general taxing powers plus the special power to tax billiard tables.
21. Acts of 1847-48, Chapter 73, Page 113, declared that Paint Rock Creek in Roane County was navigable from the mouth of the said Creek to Col. BYRD'S mills in the said county. This Act was repealed in Item 22.
22. Acts of 1849-50, Chapter 204, Page 412, expressly repealed Acts of 1847-48, Chapter 73, above, in its entirety.
23. Private Acts of 1885, Chapter 41, Page 96, repealed all the laws amending the Charter of the City of Kingston in Roane County. The Trustee of Roane County was required to collect the taxes already levied for corporate purposes and pay the same on the debts of the city. Any balance remaining after the debts were paid would be applied to the purposes of the commons schools of the county.