Manchester of Yesteryear: How Coffee County was established

The following article was published in The Manchester Times in 1976.

Coffee Established by State in 1836

Coffee County was established by the State Legislature on Jan. 8, 1836, after area settlers had fought for several years to have the new county created.

Immediately, settlers of the area turned their attentions to establishing a county seat, and there was a brief, but bitter controversy over the site between residents of the Manchester or “Stone Fort” area and those of the Hillsboro area.

John Hickerson, an early settler who fought long and hard to have Coffee County established, and then fought again to locate the county seat in Manchester, wrote that when the bill was passed in the legislature creating Coffee County, “the victory was much talked about as the Battle of New Orleans.”

Hillsboro area settlers, most of them educated people from Chatham County, N.C., had allowed several acres of free land to stand in the center of their town when developing it because they hoped to set this land aside as the site for a courthouse and jail once Hillsboro (earlier called Pond Spring) had been named the county seat.

However, Mr. Hickerson and his followers organized well and when the new county’s 21 appointed commissioners met to decide the county seat, Manchester prevailed, despite a vigorous fight by Hillsboro residents.

The first jail and courthouse were completed on the square in Manchester in 1837.