Maury County, Tennessee, History TNFlag TNFlag
Maury County, Tennessee

Maury County was formed in 1807 from Williamson County and Indian lands. The Cherokee Indian title was bought at Washington, D.C., on January 7, 1806, for $10,000 and $100 per year annuity paid to "Old Black Fox," who surrendered all claims to lands stretching from Duck River to Alabama. (What is now Maury had been part of that Middle Basin land that the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and sometimes Shawnees and Northern tribes, claimed as their own preserve, defended against trespass by all others).

On November 24, 1807, an Act passed at Knoxville created Maury County from Williamson. Maury originally comprised all of Giles, most of Lewis and Marshall, and portions of Bedford, Hickman and Lawrence Counties. Maury County was named in honor of Maj. Abram P. Maury of Williamson County, who was a member of the Tennessee legislature and an officer under General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. Maj. Maury was the uncle of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury.

The first court of Maury County convened in Columbia on December 21, 1807, at the house of Col. Joseph Brown. The first permanent courthouse was a two-story brick structure built in 1809-10 at a cost of $6,990. The second courthouse, a three-story brick, was completed in late 1847. After 56 years in use, the second structure was torn down. and the present stone courthouse was begun in 1904 at a cost of around $100,000.

In addition to the county seat of Columbia, some other important towns and communties in Maury County include: Mt. Pleasant, settled before 1810 by John Hunter; Ashwood, first settled by William Dever in 1807; Culleoka, settled before 1820 and platted in 1857; Campbell's Station, settled 1806-10; Carter's Creek, where an original land grant of 5,000 acres was made to Revolutionary soldier, Gen. Daniel F. Carter; Bigbyville, settled as early as 1804; McCain's, settled in 1809; Glendale, settled by the pioneer Thomas family; Spring Hill, settled by William Bond on Maj. George Doherty's Revolutionary grant, in 1808; Santa Fe (pronounced locally Santa "Fee"), settled 1806-10; Hampshire, settled about 1808; Cross Bridges; Sawdust, settled about 1811; Williamsport, settled before 1814; Water Valley; Neapolis; Kedron; and Lanton.

About 20 Confederate companies were enlisted from Maury County during the War Between the States, the county voting for secession on the second vote taken June 8, 1861 (the first vote taken in January 1861 was in favor of staying with the Union, but some Confederate companies were already enlisted by April and May). Columbia was under Federal occupation three times, the final lasting from December 20, 1864 until the end of the war. There were no major battles fought in Maury County, but there were numerous skirmishes, especially in the aftermath of the Battle of Nashville.

For Information about Notable Maury Countians, Early Settlers and Revolutionary Soldiers

For Information about Maury County Chronology

Maury County Topography and Migration

Maury County is part of about 600 square miles of Tennessee's Central Basin, which was once a prehistoric lake. The Highland Rim, reaching 1200-1500 ft. in altitude, formed the ridge around the ancient lake. Duck River, which flows through Maury County, provided a major drain for the bottom of the lake.

Lying within the protected valley formed when the great lake drained, Maury County has enjoyed reasonably mild weather, somewhat protected from wintry blizzards and tornadoes. Its sedimentary soil has always been lauded as rich and productive in limestone, gypsum, marble and phosphate, the mining of which became one of Maury's most important industries. The rich soil of Maury County has led to its citing as "the Garden Spot of the World," and the Central Basin has been referred to as "the Dimple of the Universe."

Besides Duck River, some other important but smaller waterways of Maury County, which provided transportation and early home and mill sites, are: Flat, Rutherford, Carter's, Cedar, Fountain, Bear, Bigby, Cathey's, Knob, Leiper's, Love's (Branch), Snow, and Turkey Creeks.

Several early North Carolina land grants were made on the waters of Flat and other creeks or along Duck River. An early popular migratory route into what is now Maury County was from North Carolina, through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky, down the Cumberland River to the Harpeth river and into the granted land.

From the extensive area of gently-rolling hills which was made Maury County in 1807 were cut Giles, most of Lewis and Marshall, and parts of Bedford Counties.

Sources: Century Review of Maury County, Tennessee and History of Maury County, Tennessee, by Turner

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Answers to Frequently-Asked Questions about Maury County Research

Question: How do you pronounce the name "Maury?"
Answer: Originally pronounced "Mawry," the name, through local usage, has become "Murry."

Question: Where would I find information on families living in Maury County before 1807?
Answer: When Maury County was formed in 1807, many families, whose property was located in what was formerly Williamson County may have records of marriage, tax, wills, court minutes and deeds in Williamson County (from 1799). Prior to 1799, the land that became Williamson County was contained in Davidson. Prior to 1783, this land was all part of Washington County, which also contained parts of North Carolina counties.

Question: Where is Maury County located, and how do I get there?
Answer: Maury County is bordered on the north by Williamson County, on the west by Hickman and Lewis, on the south by Lawrence and Giles, and on the east by Marshall County. The county seat, Columbia, may be reached by taking Exit 37 (coming from the south) off I-65, and coming from the north, by taking Exit 46 off I-65. It can also be accessed from US-31, US-43 and Hwy 412.

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Frank D. "Denny" Thomas, Volunteer for Maury County
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This page was last updated July 12, 1998.