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Calhoun was established in 1835 by James Nash and named after the great statesman and Senator, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The town was incorporated on February 10, 1870.

In 1841, Calhoun vied for the county seat. Despite Calhoun being the larger of the two communities, Clinton was named the county seat because it was more centrally located.

The pottery business was one of the earliest industries with as many as six companies in operation at once. Calhoun was nicknamed "Jugtown" due to the large amounts of earthenware shipped throughout the country from this small community.

In the late 1800's there were over 56 businesses and the population reached 800 people.