History & Facts of Tennessee Counties

Tennessee Counties  •  Tennessee Extinct Counties  •  Tennessee Burned Courthouses

Tennessee County records can vary extensively from county to county both in quality and quantity. Some have been carefully maintained while others have been much mistreated and uncared for. Many Tennessee records have merely vanished. For genealogists doing research in Tennessee there's no valuable replace to have an on-site research of county court house records.

Tennessee is divided into 95 counties. Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders.

Tennessee Counties

The register of deeds office holds Tennessee deed records. Court and probate records can be found in the county court. However, Davidson County and Shelby County have separate courts for circuit court and probate issues. Most records can be found at the county seat, but not all records have survived for each county.

County Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Anderson November 6, 1801 Knox and Grainger Counties Clinton
Bedford December 7, 1807 Rutherford County Shelbyville
Benton December 19, 1835 Humphreys County Camden
Bledsoe November 1807 Roane County and Indian lands Pikeville
Blount July 11, 1795 Knox County Maryville
Bradley May 2, 1836 Indian lands Cleveland
Campbell September 11, 1806 Anderson and Claiborne counties Jacksboro
Cannon January 31, 1836 Rutherford, Smith and Warren counties Woodbury
Carroll November 7, 1821 Indian lands Huntingdon
Carter April 9, 1796 Washington County Elizabethton
Cheatham February 28, 1856 Davidson, Dickson, Montgomery and Robertson counties Ashland City
Chester March 1, 1879 Hardeman, Henderson, McNairy and Madison counties Henderson
Claiborne October 29, 1801 Grainger and Hawkins counties Tazewell
Clay June 16, 1870 Jackson and Overton counties Celina
Cocke October 9, 1797 Jefferson County Newport
Coffee January 8, 1836 Bedford, Warren and Franklin counties Manchester
Crockett Movember 1871 Haywood, Madison, Dyer and Gibson counties Alamo
Cumberland November 16, 1855 White, Bledsoe, Rhea, Morgan, Fentress and Putnam counties Crossville
Davidson October 6, 1783 Part of North Carolina Nashville
Dekalb November 1845 Perry County Decaturville
Decatur December 1837 Franklin, Cannon, Jackson and White counties Smithville
Dickson October 25, 1803 Montgomery and Robertson counties Charlotte
Dyer October 16, 1823 Indian lands Dyersburg
Fayette September 29, 1824 Indian lands Somerville
Fentress November 28, 1823 Morgan, Overton and White counties Jamestown
Franklin December 3, 1807 Rutherford County and Indian lands Winchester
Gibson October 21, 1823 Indian lands Trenton
Giles November 14, 1809 Indian lands Pulaski
Grainger April 22, 1796 Hawkins and Knox counties Rutledge
Greene April 18, 1783 Washington County Greeneville
Grundy January 29, 1844 Coffee, Warren and Franklin counties Altamont
Hamblen June 9, 1870 Jefferson, Grainger and Greene counties Morristown
Hamilton October 25, 1819 Rhea County and Indian lands Chattanooga
Hancock January 7, 1844 Hawkins and Claiborne counties Sneedville
Hardeman October 16, 1823 Hardin County and Indian lands Bolivar
Hardin November 1819 Indian lands Savannah
Hawkins January 6, 1787 Sullivan County Rogersville
Haywood November 3, 1823 Indian lands Brownsville
Henderson November 7, 1821 Indian lands Lexington
Henry November 7, 1821 Indian lands Paris
Hickman December 3, 1807 Dickson County Centerville
Houston January 21, 1871 Dickson, Humphreys, Montgomery and Stewart counties Erin
Humphreys October 19, 1809 Stewart County Waverly
Jackson November 6, 1801 Smith County and Indian lands Gainesboro
Jefferson June 11, 1792 Greene and Hawkins counties Dandridge
Johnson January 2, 1836 Carter County Mountain City
Knox June 11, 1792 Greene and Hawkins counties Knoxville
Lake June 24, 1870 Obion County Tiptonville
Lauderdale November 24, 1835 Haywood, Dyer and Tipton counties Ripley
Lawrence October 21, 1817 Hickman County and Indian lands Lawrenceburg
Lewis December 21, 1843 Hickman, Lawrence, Maury and Wayne counties Hohenwald
Lincoln November 14, 1809 Bedford County Fayetteville
Loudon June 2, 1870 Roane, Monroe, Blount and McMinn counties Loudon
Macon January 18, 1842 Smith and Sumner counties Lafayette
Madison November 6, 1821 Indian lands Jackson
Marion November 20, 1817 Indian lands Jasper
Marshall February 20, 1836 Giles, Bedford, Lincoln and Maury counties Lewisburg
Maury November 16, 1807 Williamson County and Indian lands Columbia
McMinn November 13, 1819 Indian lands Athens
McNairy October 8, 1823 Hardin County Selmer
Meigs January 20, 1836 Rhea County Decatur
 Monroe November 13, 1819 Indian lands Madisonville
Montgomery April 9, 1796 Tennessee County Clarksville
Moore December 14, 1871 Bedford, Lincoln and Franklin counties Lynchburg
Morgan October 15, 1817 Anderson and Roane counties Wartburg
Obion October 24, 1823 Indian lands Union City
Overton September 12, 1806 Jackson County and Indian lands Livingston
Perry November 14, 1819 Humphreys and Hickman counties Linden
Pickett February 27, 1879 Fentress and Overton counties Byrdstown
Polk November 28, 1839 McMinn and Bradley counties Benton
Putnam February 2, 1842 Fentress, Jackson, Smith, White and Overton counties Cookeville
Rhea December 3, 1807 Roane County Dayton
Roane November 6, 1801 Knox County and Indian lands Kingston
Robertson April 9, 1796 Tennessee and Sumner counties Springfield
Rutherford October 25, 1803 Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties Murfreesboro
Scott December 17, 1849 Anderson, Campbell, Fentress and Morgan counties Huntsville
Sequatchie December 9, 1857 Hamilton, Marion and Warren counties Dunlap
Sevier September 28, 1794 Jefferson County Sevierville
Shelby November 24, 1819 Chickasaw Nation lands acquired through the Jackson Purchase Memphis
Smith October 26, 1799 Sumner County and Indian lands Carthage
Stewart November 1, 1803 Montgomery County Dover
Sullivan October 18, 1779 Washington County Blountville
Sumner November 18, 1786 Davidson County Gallatin
Tipton October 29, 1823 Shelby County (previously Chickasaw lands Covington
Trousdale September 5, 1870 Wilson, Macon, Smith and Sumner counties Hartsville
Unicoi March 23, 1875 Washington and Carter County Erwin
Union January 3, 1850 Grainger, Claiborne, Campbell, Anderson and Knox counties Maynardville
Van Buren January 3, 1840 Warren and White counties Spencer
Warren November 26, 1807 White, Jackson, Smith counties and Indian lands McMinnville
Washington November 15, 1777 Part of North Carolina Jonesborough
Wayne November 24, 1817 Hickman County Waynesboro
Weakley October 23, 1823 Indian lands Dresden
White September 11, 1806 Jackson and Smith counties Sparta
Williamson October 26, 1799 Davidson County Franklin
Wilson October 26, 1799 Sumner County Lebanon

Tennessee Extinct Counties

Tennessee seems to have counties that no longer exist. They were recognized by the state, provincial, or territorial government. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the Nineteenth century; county borders have changed little since 1900 in the great most of states. These counties need to be investigated when doing family history and genealogy research. Pay close attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or combined with some other county.

Tennessee Counties with Burned Courthouses

The destruction to Tennessee courthouses considerably has a bearing on genealogists in every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from all of our lifetimes, so are the documents they stored: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they're gone forever. Even though they have been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn up too. The most sad side of this is the reason why almost all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. Although, not all the records were damaged or lost. A number of Tennessee counties have dealt with a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Bedford County Courthouse - 1830 (tornado), 1863 & 1934 (fires)
  • Bledsoe County Courthouse - 1908 - (fire)
  • Blount County Courthouse - 1879 & 1906 (fires)
  • Cannon County Courthouse - 1934 (fire)
  • Carroll County Courthouse - 1931 (fire)
  • Carter County Courthouse - 1933 (fire)
  • Chester County Courthouse - 1910 (fire)
  • Claiborne County Courthouse - 1863 & 1931 (fires)
  • Cocke County Courthouse - 1876 (fire)
  • Coffee County Courthouse - 1870 (fire)
  • Cumberland County Courthouse - 1905 (fire)
  • Davidson County Courthouse - 1856 (fire)
  • Decatur County Courthouse - 1869 & 1927 (fires)
  • Dickson County Courthouse - 1830 (tornado)
  • Dyer County Courthouse - 1864 (fire)
  • Fayette County Courthouse - 1925 (fire)
  • Fentress County Courthouse - 1905 (fire)
  • Gibson??? County Courthouse - 1941 (fire)
  • Gile County Courthouses - 1813, 1857 & 1907 (fires)
  • Grainger County Courthouse - 1946 (fire)
  • Grundy County Courthouse - 1853 & 1990 (fires)
  • Hamilton County Courthouse - 1910 (fire)
  • Hancock County Courthouse - 1885 & 1930 (fires)
  • Hardeman County Courthouse - 1864 (fire)
  • Hardin County Courthouse - 1859, 1864 & 1949 (fire)
  • Hawkins County Courthouse - 1863 (fire)
  • Henderson County Courthouse - 1896 (fire)
  • Hickman County Courthouse - 1864 (fire)
  • Humphreys County Courthouse - 1876 & 1898 (fires)
  • James County Courthouse - fires in 1890 and 1913 caused extensive record loss.
  • Jackson County Courthouse - 1872 & 1926 (fires)
  • Lauderdale County Courthouse - 1869 (fire)
  • McMinn County Courthouse - 1964 (fire)
  • McNairy County Courthouse - 1881 (fire)
  • Macon County Courthouse - 1860 & 1901 & 1932 (fires)
  • Marion County Courthouse - 1922 (fire)
  • Marshall County Courthouse - 1872 & 1927 (fires)
  • Meigs County Courthouse - 1904 & 1964 (fire)
  • Monroe County Courthouse - 1820s (fire) 1860 (razed/Civil War)
  • Montgomery County Courthouse - 1878 & 1900 (fires) 1999 (tornado)
  • Morgan County Courthouse - 1826 & 1870 & 1904 (fires)
  • Obion County Courthouse - 1842 (earthquake)
  • Overton County Courthouse - 1865 (fire)
  • Perry County Courthouse - 1863 & 1928 (fires)
  • Pickett County Courthouse - 1934 - (fire)
  • Polk County Courthouse - 1895 & 1935??? (fires)
  • Putnam County Courthouse - 1860s (burned/Civil War) 1898 (fires)
  • Rhea County Courthouse - 1869 & 1927 (fires)
  • Rutherford County Courthouse - 1832 (tornado)
  • Scott County Courthouse - 1946 (fire)
  • Sevier County Courthouse - 1856 (fire)
  • Stewart County Courthouse - 1862 (fire/Federal troops)
  • Sullivan County Courthouse - 1863 (fire)
  • Trousdale County Courthouse - 1900 & 1904 (fires)
  • Union County Courthouse - 1870s & 1969 (fires)
  • Warren County Courthouse - 1852? (fire)?
  • Washington County Courthouse - 1839 (fire)
  • Wayne County Courthouse - 1973 (fire)
  • Weakley County Courthouse - 1948 (fire)
  • Wilson County Courthouse - 1881 (fire)
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