Jackson County History and Genealogy- ALHN

Photo Courtesy: toledo-bend.com




History and Genealogy

Last updated 05/06/2009

Photos Added

Terrell Byrne house

L-R: Cleora Byrne, Tennessee Wade, Leona Byrne, Terrell Byrne, Charles Cooper Byrne (age 4)

photo taken 1896

School photo in Jackson County- taken 1900/1901

ID as written on back of photo: back row (always L to R): Pierce Byrne, Bonny Bell

2nd row: Littleton Wade, Maude Brown, Cora Frizell, Ola Bell, Ova Lambert, Alvin Wade, Boyd Bell, James Lambert, Pony Dickson (teacher)

3rd row: Ova Wade, Alva Lambert, (girl) Vinson, Omar Spurlock, Grover Brown, Haskell Byrne, Bill Wade

4th row: (girl) Bell, Cora Cannon, Arthur Byrne, Amanda Spurlock

5th row: Nettie Spurlock, (girl) Wade, Downey Wade, (boy) Wade, Charles Byrne, Robert Wade, (girl) Vinson, Ora Wade, A. Lambert, Margaret Wade

6th row: (girl) Wade, (girl) Brown, Webb Brown, Clyde Spurlock, Charles Williamson, Cecil Williamson, Ira Williamson, (boy) Wade, Alvin Spurlock, Bill Byrne

front: baby Spurlock

There is a high resolution version of this photo
here. It is 1.5 MB- a huge file size and

will take a long time to download if you have dialup internet.

Also for a better identification of these students and how they connect

as families with the 1900 census information click here.




The Beginnings of Jackson County Tennessee

The earliest settlers of Jackson County were, of course, the Indians, and Jackson County bordered Indian land. For a very interesting history that takes into account the Indian related events around Jackson County see:


The area of Jackson County was a part of many counties and 2 states before its formation in 1801, and the earliest settlers were found in these early counties' records. Many were in Sumner County as early as 1780, but not in the actual area that would become Jackson County. The counties in which the future Jackson County would be located were:

-Washington County from its formation as a county of North Carolina in 1777 until the formation of Davidson County

-Davidson County from it's formation as a county of North Carolina in 1783 until the formation of Sumner County

-Sumner County from it's formation as a county of North Carolina on November 17, 1786 through the date Sumner County was incorporated into Tennessee at its formation in 1796 to the date of the formation of Smith County. In 1790 North Carolina had ceded the land which later became Tennessee and that area was then known as "the Territory South of the River Ohio" until the formation of the state of Tennessee.

- Smith County from it's formation as a county of Tennessee on October 26, 1799.

There is no single name that has been found as being "the" first settler of the Jackson County area. It seems that most early settlers came as groups. Many people came with the Robertson and Donelson expeditions to "French Lick", the future Nashville, and from there went into Sumner County near Gallatin. In later years many migrated from there to locations in Jackson County in the area of Flynn's Creek near Fort Blount, Martin's Creek, the Little Indian River, and other branches of the Cumberland River. Another source of early settlers was the fact that the area was in the North Carolina military reservation. This was a large area of land for which military bounty land warrants were issued to Revolutionary War veterans for their service. Grants were issued by the state of North Carolina when the soldiers claimed their land. There was land set aside on both banks of the Cumberland River, and along Goose Creek, a large branch of the Cumberland River just east of the present day Hartsville (now Trousdale County).

Migration into the area was along several routes at various times. The Robertson expedition in 1779 came overland through Kentucky to "French Lick" (the future Nashville) from Virginia and North Carolina originating from the forts in the Watauga area and following the Wilderness Road. The Donelson expedition traveled by flatboats from the same area down the Tennessee River to the Ohio River, then upstream through very dangerous Indian territory up the Cumberland River to "French Lick" where they built Fort Nashboro. In 1787 Avery Trace was "blazed" from Clinch Mountain through the future Tennessee to "Beans Lick". It eventually ended at Fort Nashboro. The road ran by a ferry crossing at Flynn's Creek in the future Jackson County, Tennessee, being in Sumner County at the time. This gave a shorter overland route to the area. In 1791 Fort Blount was built near the Flynn's Creek crossing to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Immediately after 1800, other roads were being built, including the upper and lower Nashville Highways which roughly followed the paths of present day Highways 70 north and 70 south respectively. The upper Nashville Highway ran through the southern part of Jackson County. Avery Trace passed through Monterey to Fort Blount at Flynn's Creek where it crossed the Cumberland River at a ferry. The "Kentucky Road" seems to have roughly paralleled present day Highway 111 in Jackson County.

See these links for maps of these roads:



Jackson County, Tennessee was formed November 6, 1801 from the eastern part of Smith County, being named after Andrew Jackson. Some say the county was also partly formed from "Indian lands", but the county at it's formation did not extend below the "Indian Line" established by the Holston treaty of 1791, a treaty with the Cherokee Indian tribes establishing a boundary between the Indian lands and the settler's lands. If one were to be absolutely correct, he would have to say that every inch of the United States was formed from Indian lands, but at the moment that Jackson County was formed, the whole county was formed from Smith County.

At the formation of Jackson County it occupied all of Smith County's eastern part and extended from the Kentucky state line as its north boundary running east to the Indian Line established by the Holston Treaty and then followed the Indian Line running southwest to the point where Wilson County touched the Indian line, which was the point where the Caney Fork River crossed the Indian Line- less than a mile downstream of today's Center Hill Dam. The Wilson County line followed the Caney Fork river to the Cumberland River, and the new county of Jackson followed the Caney Fork River from the point where the river crossed the Indian Line running roughly northwest to the point where the mouth of Smith's Fork of the Caney Fork branched. From that point the Jackson County line ran north to the Kentucky state line to the beginning.

On September 11/12, 1806 White County and Overton County were formed taking away a large part of Jackson County. Overton County took all of Jackson County's land east of a line running south from the point where the Cumberland River crossed the Tennessee/ Kentucky border, and White County took the strip of land on the south of Jackson County all the way to the Caney Fork River on the west.

Jackson County lost additional land on its south on February 2, 1842 with the formation of Putnam County. In March, 1845 Putnam was declared unconstitutional and Jackson County's land was returned to it. On February 11, 1854 Putnam County was reestablished and the southern part of Jackson was again taken.

Until 1870 with the creation of Clay County from it's northern part, Jackson County had the Kentucky state line as its northern border. The Kentucky state line forming Jackson County's north boundary was originally supposed to be an extension straight westward of the boundary line between North Carolina and Virginia. When the line was surveyed it was run too far north and was called Walker's line, named after one of the surveyors. The strip of land between the erroneous Walker line and what should have been the correct line was claimed by both states, and Kentucky registered deeds in the area until the dispute was settled on February 4, 1820 at which time the Walker Line was accepted as the true boundary by both states. This means that residents of the area might have deeds in Kentucky before February 1820, but afterwards all subsequent deeds would be registered in Jackson County, Tennessee. For a good history and explanation of the Walker line see:


In the beginning the Jackson County Court sat at Fort Blount, for only a few years. Afterward court was held at Gainesboro, the county seat. Since there was a courthouse fire in 1872, a lot of Jackson County records were lost that dated prior to that. During the time preceding that fire a lot of court cases involving Jackson County residents can be found in the Chancery Court records of Smith County. The District Court heard cases there for the district of Fentress, Overton, Jackson, Smith, Sumner and Wilson Counties according to some court cases I have seen in that court dating to the 1830s and 1840s.

Gainesboro was named after Edmund Pendleton Gaines who married the daughter of Governor William Blount, and Fort Blount was named after the Governor himself. In contrast the community of Nameless wasn't named after anybody.


If you have any records, photos, or anything regarding Jackson County's history or the genealogy of people who lived in Jackson County, your contributions of time and information would be greatly appreciated and encouraged. PLEASE HELP! When we all share, we all get things that we could never have any other way. Just click the graphic below to email me, David Johnson:

On-site Links:




Famliy Histories, Genealogy Reports, and Family Group Sheets

More on site records as they are donated or as I am able to do them myself

Links To Off-Site Genealogies:

Give me the link to your Jackson County genealogy and I will link to it here

Off-Site Links:

Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) North Carolina State Archives
An Inventory of Jackson County Records on Microfilm Available at TSLA The National Parks System- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System- main page
A history of Jackson County Tennessee by the former County Historian, Moldon Tayse  Search for Civil War Soldiers by Name- both Union and Confederate
Another History by Moldon Tayse included in the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture  
Rootsweb/Ancestry.com query board- Jackson County  
Genforum.com query board- Jackson County  

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