Established in March 1856, Roane County was named for
Virginia jurist Spencer Roane. The town of New California was selected as the county seat, and in 1858, the name was changed to Spencer to further honor the judge. The courthouse built in 1859 was destroyed by fire in 1887. A new county courthouse was completed in 1889, and the railroad arrived in Spencer in 1892. New businesses and industry flourished as Spencer became the county hub. Summer normal schools were established throughout the county to prepare young teachers for state certification. In 1914, Spencer High School graduated one pupil in its first class. The early recognition for education expanded with the construction of one- and two-room schools within each community. Timbering began as people moved westward and established new homes and farming lands. The development of the gas and oil industry soon followed, and Roane County became a major producer by the early 1900s.
About the Author
Jack Nida is a native of Roane County, a retired businessman, and author of three volumes of family history books. He was born in Amma during the Great Depression, and it remains his home for several months each year. The Roane County Historical Society inspired his interest in genealogy, including his collection of photographs contained in this book. Many of the society’s members provided the necessary assistance for the book’s completion.