Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 3, 2013

More about Tennessee fence, branding laws

By Old Uncle Gib
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — If you will look at the lot behind the new Art Circle Public Library, where the Wilson house was torn down on Webb Avenue, you can still see their old “open range” fence posts. They are shown in the photo when they were in use.

The Chronicle of March 30, 1904, had this notice, quoted as written, “There is a spirit growing among our people that makes for cleaner streets and better walks, along with other needed sanitary measures. The hogs should be banished from our streets and will be. It is only a question of a short time. We say, speed the day when hogs, and their accompanying multitude of flees, will become conspicuous on our streets by their absence.” 

Go on your computer and put in “Tennessee Fence Laws” and “Tennessee Brand Laws,” you will get more information than you ever wanted to know, unless you are a farmer. 

A few excerpts from the Tennessee Brand Laws, Title 44 Tennessee Statutes, Animals and Certification: 44-7-101, “Any person owning any cattle, hogs, sheep or goats, horses or other animals, running at large, shall have an earmark or band different from those of such person's neighbors.” #102: "Such marks or brands shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk of the county in which such animals run, but the same brand or marks shall not be recorded to more than one (1) person in the same county." #103: "When a dispute occurs in regard to a brand or mark, the person first recording the same is entitled thereto."

Fences & Confinement, 44-8-110, “All persons owning notoriously mischievous stock, known to be in the habit of throwing down or jumping fences, shall be required to keep the same confined upon their own premises." #111, "Owners of such livestock shall be liable for all damages done by the same to enclosure or crops of others. Various fencing materials included: Stone, Plank & Post & Rail, Worm or Crooked Rail fence five feet high, Bank, Plank & Wire, Osage orange, and Wire as described in statute."

Title 44, Part 4: Running at large. 44-8-401: "(a) It is unlawful for the owners of any livestock, as the same are commonly known and defined, to willfully allow the same to run in this state. (b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor." #404: “Such animal running at large may be brought before a judge of the court of general sessions of the county, who shall cause the same to be advertised, with a description of its marks, color, size, and age, and the name and residence of the taker-up, in three (3) public places in the county, one (1) of them being the courthouse door.” 

Goodness, if any loose livestock wanders in front of my place I can hardly wait to hold it to take it to the office of the General Sessions Judge! Thus ends our discourse on Open Range, with the hope that someone enjoyed the information.