As early as 1867 people felt the need to move the county courts from Memphis. This particular proposal declares that Bartlett is the center of the county and the perfect setting for a new County Courthouse.
A few days ago we mentioned an effort on the part of prominent citizens of Bartlett Station to secure the erection of the County Court House at that place. As a matter of general interest we subjoin the petition to the Legislature now in circulation:
To the Citizens of Shelby County:
We, the undersigned citizens of Shelby county, will apply to the Legislature of the State, at its next session, for authority to establish the county court house at Bartlett, on the Memphis and Ohio railroad, for the following reasons, to wit:
The town of Bartlett is the geographical center of the county of Shelby, and the most accessible point to the citizens of the whole county, situated at the intersection of the Memphis and Ohio railroad, Memphis and Somerville plank road, and Brownsville and Germantown roads.
The great injustice to the citizens of the county who have business with the court to attend at Memphis, subjecting them to such enormous expense, requiring them to be away from their homes, while their business at home is neglected. From this point persons having business with the court can return to their homes at night from every section of the county.
There are many violators of the law who go unpublished because of the great expense and inconvenience which the prosecutor would be subjected to in going to Memphis. The cost of a court house in Memphis would amount to about $300,000. One can be built at Bartlett for one-tenth of that amount. In a point of economy the courts can be held at Bartlett at less than one-half the present expense of holding them. The following courts are already held in Memphis: United States court, Criminal, Common Law, Chancery and Municipal, which are a heavy burden upon the taxpayers, and considerable annoyance to the business men of Memphis. The Common Law court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Circuit court of the county. The city of Memphis has, by an act of the Legislature, the Register's office and a Deputy County Court Clerk.
As an act of justice to the citizens of the county, we think they are entitled to the county court house. It is well known to the citizens of the county, that for some years past efforts have been made, and with much encouragement in certain quarters, to annex a large portion of Shelby to Tipton, and if all the courts of the county are persisted in being held in the city of Memphis, it will result in the dismemberment of the county.
Establish the county site at Bartlett, the center of the county, and this will harmonize all opposition. Grounds suitable to erect a court house upon will be donated to the county by the citizens of Bartlett.
This place is very healthy, free from epidemics, well watered, and very pleasant, and affords every facility to the masses to attend here at a trifling cost.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger, Memphis TN, October 8 1867