Joseph McMinn, farmer, state legislator, Indian agent, and governor, was born at Westchester, Pennsylvania, on June 22, 1758. McMinn served in the Continental army during the American Revolution. After the war, he moved to the future Tennessee and bought a farm in Hawkins County in 1786.
In 1790 Territorial Governor William Blount appointed McMinn to county office, and in 1794 he represented Hawkins County in the Territorial General Assembly. As a member of the state constitutional convention in 1796, McMinn was chosen to deliver a copy of the state constitution to U.S. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering in Philadelphia. He was elected to the first Tennessee State Senate and later served three times as Speaker of the Senate. He was governor of Tennessee for three terms between 1815 and 1821. During his tenure, the Jackson Purchase was completed, the State Capitol was moved from Knoxville to Murfreesboro, and the Bank of Tennessee was incorporated.
After retiring from the gubernatorial office in 1821, McMinn bought a farm near Calhoun. Two years later, he was appointed as agent of the United States to the Cherokees. He died on November 17, 1824, at the Cherokee Agency on the Hiwassee River and was buried near Calhoun. Both McMinn County and McMinnville in Warren County are named in his honor.
Charles W. Crawford, ed., Governors of Tennessee (1979)