Tennessee Had Two Military Districts

The military district in Tennessee which shows on most historical maps is actually District #2–along the Cumberland River where it first crosses the present TN-KY boundary all the way west to the spot where the Cumberland turns north back into KY.

At the time District #2 was created, the Tennessee-Kentucky boundary line did not exist as it does today.  Tennessee extended well north and included the areas that would eventually become Allen, Simpson, and Warren counties (among others) in Kentucky.  Actually, the TN-KY line was not finalized until many years later, when TN citizens discovered that they now lived in KY and were given a choice which state they wanted to conduct their legal business in.

This district includes the Red River with branches beginning across the current KY boundary line in old Simpson county, as well as in Sumner county TN.  These branches join to form the Red River.  And it eventually empties into the Cumberland in present-day Montgomery county TN (originally Davidson county).

Military District #1 was created in 1780 as a military reserve by North Carolina to award lands in lieu of pay to soldiers who served from NC in the Revolutionary War.  It lay between the Powell and Holston Rivers along the Clinch in East Tennessee and may have originally crossed the current Virginia boundary line.  These rivers joined to form the great Tennessee River.

District #2 was created in 1783 by North Carolina for two reasons:

  1. Military District #1 was inadequate to supply enough land to fill all the claims that were submitted.
  2. A substantial area in District #1 became involved in what is known as the Glasgow Land Frauds and grants ceased for a time, to allow for investigation into the charges and claims arising from those charges.

See my Genealogy News Sheet Blog on Genealogy Evidence, Monday August 21, 2006: Exact Proof:  Little-Known and Never-Used Military Records for more details and a short bibliography of source materials to document your ancestors in these military districts.  There is also a checklist of Bounty-Land Records, revised in my blog of 28 Feb 2008.

Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

PS  Watch for my cute and clever tee shirts, mugs, and tote bags–you will surely want something with my picture on it!  HA!

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5 Responses to Tennessee Had Two Military Districts

  1. proarenee says:


    Your military district information is just what I needed. I am trying to piece together a community of land grant soldiers who settled in the Watauga Purchase or State of Franklin on the South side of the Holston River, ca 1780. My research info comes from A.B.Pruitt’s book of of North Carolina Warrants in Tennessee. I need to find the land grant info. These men were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. I have their pension files but they enlisted in Pennsylvania and were discharged from there. Is military district #1 just composed of those who served from North Carolina? Could they have settled temporarily, then received the land grant for Tennessee? What do you suggest?

  2. admin says:

    Whenever military lands opened up, claimants appeared. First, follow the warrant numbers which AB Pruitt includes. Then check his North Carolina Land Warrants and Entries Index for your names. Follow those names through the North Carolina works which Pruitt indexed. It could be that your ancestors enlisted in PA for the up-front payments given to soldiers. They could have originated in PA, gone to NC and then shopped around for the best enlistment deal. Or you could have a PA man claiming lands in a TN military district because he served and thought he was eligible.

    Byron Sistler has compiled a multi-volume index to TN Land Grants. Check that next. Then follow the directions on how to access the originals. The original grants are on microfilm through the Family History Library–check TN, then Land and Property to find the call numbers–there are several land districts. Be sure you are in the right one for the filmed copies.

    Many thanks for your comment, Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

  3. lghayes says:

    How do I find this article?

    Genealogy News Sheet Blog on Genealogy Evidence, Monday August 21, 2006: Exact Proof: Little-Known and Never-Used Military Records

  4. admin says:

    lghayes: on the right menu of my Tennessee Blog, click on Genealogy Blog Home link. Then go to August, 2006 and the post for 21 August. There you will find the list of evidence in military records. Thanks for your question. Arlene

  5. jhill8992 says:

    Please accept and pick up the the Ancestor Approved Award at Roots’N’ Leaves

    I learn so much about my Tennessee roots from you. Thanks.

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