Lost and Discontinued Counties of Tennessee

In 1966, Robert M. McBride wrote an article, well illustrated with county boundary maps, showing where the lost and discontinued counties of Tennessee were.  See “Lost Counties of Tennessee,” East Tennessee Historical Society Publications #38 (1966): 3-15.

There are 95 counties in Tennessee.  In the past counties may have existed briefly or only on paper, some were long-lived. Watch for records if your ancestors resided in these areas.

The Watauga Association of 1772 took the name of Washington District at the end of 1775 and in July 1776, petitioned North Carolina for annexation.  NC created the county of Washington in 1777 from Burke and Wilkes counties.  There is little evidence that either of these NC counties or the District of Salisbury or Western District exercised any jurisdiction over Tennessee territory.  At the time of the 1790 census, Tennessee was known as Territory South of the Ohio River.

Bell–1870, along the border of Alabama, present Fayette, Hardeman, McNairy Counties

Christiana– 1870, name changed to present Loudon County

Christian–1852, 1869, parts of present Carroll, Gibson, Madison, tip of Crockett.  Also called Grant County.

Caswell–1785-86, under State of Franklin [settled from Caswell NC?], present Jefferson County

Cumberland–1837, 1844, 1856 as present Cheatham County

Etheridge–1870, parts of present Carroll, Henry, Weakley, and Gibson Counties

Hanes–1877, parts of present Benton, Decatur, Henderson, Carroll Counties

Hanover–1844, present Fayette County

Hatchie–1846, present Hardeman and McNairy Counties, overlapped with Bell

James–1871-1919,  eastern part of Hamilton County.  Citizens brought suit in 1890 to keep county intact until 1919.

Jones–1844, parts of Monroe, Loudon, and Blount Counties

Lewis–1843- 1869, present Lewis County

Nashoba–1871, southeastern Shelby County

Powell–1835, parts of present Hawkins, Greene, Sullivan, Washington Counties

Putnam–1842, 1854, present Putnam County

Spencer– under State of Franklin, 1785-86: present Hawkins, Hancock, parts of Claiborne, Grainger, and Hamblen Counties

Taylor–1852, parts of present Hardin and Wayne Counties

Tennessee–original county, 1788,  present Montgomery (1796), Robertson (1796), Cheatham, parts of Dickson, Houston, Stewart

Wayne–1785-86, under State of Franklin, present Johnson, Carter, parts of Unicoi and Washington Counties

Webster–1873, parts of present Claiborne, Campbell,Union

Wisdom–1875, present Chester County

These counties are “lost” because of change of name, failure to comply with constitutional requirements, temporary abolishment then being re-established, consolidation with another county, etc .   Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle   http://www.arleneeakle.com

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