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Fentress County, Tennessee

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Surnames/tags: tennessee us_history appalachia
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Welcome to Fentress County, Tennessee!
... ... ... is a part of Tennessee history.
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Project Purpose

The purpose of this sub-project is to have a foundation for all things relating to Fentress County, Tennessee. From cities, to citizens, to favorite tourist spots, to cemeteries, we aim to have it all here for you in one central location.

Ongoing List of Things to Do

  • Contributing to the main project page as needed
  • Church records of christenings, marriages and burials
  • Voter or citizenship rolls
  • Records of wills and deceased estates
  • Land tenure records
  • Tax lists
  • Muster lists for militia service
  • Census records, indexed and uploaded

Fentress County History

Fentress County was formed in 1823 from portions of Morgan, Overton and White counties. The resulting county was named for James Fentress (1763–1843), who served as speaker of the state house, chairman of Montgomery County Court, and commissioner to select seats for Haywood, Carroll, Gibson and Weakley counties in West Tennessee.

Fentress County was the site of several saltpeter mines. Saltpeter is the main ingredient of gunpowder and was obtained by leaching the earth from local caves. The largest mine was in York Cave, near the Wolf River Post Office. At one time, twenty-five large leaching vats were in operation in this cave. According to Barr (1961) this cave was mined during the Civil War. Buffalo Cave near Jamestown was also a major mine with twelve leaching vats. Manson Saltpeter Cave in Big Indian Creek Valley was a smaller operation with four leaching vats. These caves may also have been mined during the War of 1812, as saltpeter mining was widespread in Kentucky and Tennessee during that era.

In the runup to the American Civil War, when Tennessee Governor Harris asked the State Legislature for a vote of secession, the two representatives from Fentress County (Reese T. Hildreth and R. H. Bledsoe) voted for Secession.

Sgt. Alvin Cullum York (1887–1964), a hero at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I, was born and lived in Fentress County. He established the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute in Jamestown in 1924. York's house and farm are part of Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall.


Fentress County is part of Middle Tennessee, one of Tennesee's Three Grand Divisions. These divisions are not only geographic, but also cultural and defined in state law. Fentress County is also part of the Central Region of Appalachia.

Adjacent counties

Pickett County
Pickett County
Scott County
North arrow
Overton County
West arrow Fentress County,
East arrow East
Scott and Morgan counties
South arrow
Putnam County
Cumberland County
Morgan County

Protected areas

  • List and link wildlife areas/parks/etc

Government Offices

  • List and link county offices


  • General Overview of the current population/ages/races/marital status/etc



(must be officially part of the county)


County Common Areas

Things to do/see

  • touristy things

County Resources

County Records

Church records

Voter/Citizenship Records

Estate/Probate Records

Land/Homestead Records

Tax Lists

Military Service Records

Census Records

See also


Every fact needs a reference - use inline citations

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