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Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town


One of the United States, lies between 36° and 37°42' north latitude, and 81°30' and 90°10' west longitude from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Kentucky and Virginia, southeast by North Carolina, from which it is separated by the Iron and Unaka mountains, south by Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, and west by Arkansas and Missouri, from which it is separated by the Mississippi river.  Its superficial area is 45,600 square miles.

Physical Aspect-- This state is widely diversified in surface, soil and climate.  The eastern portion abounds in mountains and hills, some of them lofty, and presenting scenery peculiarly grand and picturesque.  The middle section is less bold in its features, though hilly, and gradually becomes undulating, and even level, as we approach the Ohio.  The geological formation is wholly secondary, except a small portion of the eastern part, which is transition, and numerous spots of alluvion on the banks of the streams.  The soil of the western division is black and rich; in the middle there are large quantities of excellent land; and in the eastern or mountainous parts the soil is generally thin, except in the valleys, where it is exuberantly fertile.

Mountains-- Of these, the Cumberland, or Great Laurel ridge, is the most remarkable.  Stone, Yellow-Iron, Smoky, and Unaka mountains, join each other, and form (in a direction nearly northeast and southwest) the boundary between North Carolina and this state.  Northwesterly of these, and separated from each other by valleys from five to fifteen miles wide, are Bays's, Clinch, and Powell's mountains, and Copper and Welling's ridges.

Rivers--  The principal rivers are, the Mississippi, Cumberland, Tennessee, Clinch, Holston, Duck, French, Broad, Hiwasse, Nolichucky, Reelfoot, Tellico, Obion, Elk, Forked Deer, and Wolf.

Climate--  The climate is comparatively mild, and generally healthy.  On some low grounds, however, in the western part of the state, bilious attacks and agues prevail more or less during the summer and autumn months.  In the eastern division, the temperature is so modified by the mountain air on one side, and the breezes from the Mexican gulf on the other, that its climate, perhaps is as desirable as any in the Union.  The winters are by no means severe, and snow seldom falls to a greater depth than ten inches, or lies upon the ground longer than ten days.

Productive Resources-- The chief products are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, sugar, wax, silk, wool, cotton, hemp, flax, hay, pitch, tar, tobacco, rice, wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats, potatoes, and Indian corn.  Of the mineral and fossil resources, iron, gold, bituminous coal, salt, marl, buhr-stone, and saltpetre, are the principal.  Nitrous earth is obtained from the caverns, of which there are several in the state.

Manufactures--  In 1850, there were in Tennessee 2,789 manufacturing establishments, that produced goods to the value of $500 and upward each annually.  The principal manufactures are cotton and woolen goods, leather, pottery, machinery, carriages, cordage, &c.

Railroads-- The principal roads in Tennessee now in operation are, the Charleston and Memphis, and one from the Georgia state ;ine to Chattanooga; but there are several other roads in rapid process of construction, and still others projected.

Commerce--  Tennessee has no direct foreign commerce, but its internal and river trade is large.

Education--  There are in Tennessee two universities, and six colleges, namely: East Tennessee college, founded in 1792; Greenville and Washington colleges, in 1794; Nashville University, in 1806; Jackson college, in 1833; Cumberland university, in 1844; Franklin college, in 1845; and Union college, in 1848.  There are also two theological seminaries, a law and a medical school, about 200 academies and high schools, and 1,500 common schools in the state

Population--  In 1790 was 30,791; in 1800 was 105,602; in 1810 was 261,727; in 1820 was 422,813; in 1830 was 681,904; in 1840 was 829,210 and in 1850 was 1,002,625.  Number of slaves in 1790 was 3,417; in 1800 was 13,584; in 1810 was 44,535; in 1820 was 80,107; in 1830 was 141,603; in 1840 was 183,059 and in 1850 was 239,461.

Government--  The legislative power is vested in a general assembly, consisting of a senate of 25 members, and house of representatives, of 75 members, and the executive power in a governor (eligible six years out of eight); all chosen biennially (the odd year), the first Monday in October.  The judicial power is vested in a supreme court, of three judges, elected by the legislature for twelve years, and inferior courts, whose judges are elected by the legislature for eight years.  Every free white citizen of the United States, of the age of 21 years, and a citizen of the county wherein be may offer his vote six months next preceding the day of election, is entitled to vote for civil offers.  Ministers of the gospel are not eligible to a seat in the legislature.  No person who denies the being of a God, or a future state of rewards and punishments can hold any civil office.  Lotteries are prohibited; and persons who may be concerned in duels are disqualified for holding office in the state.

History--  Tennessee was originally a part of the province of Louisiana, as settled and claimed by the French, prior to the year 1763; or a part of Carolina, as granted by Charles II of England, to Lord Clarendon and others, in 1663.  The first settlement was made by Bienville, in 1740, who built Fort Assumption, on the site where Memphis now stands.  The first permanent settlements, however, were not made before 1768-69, and these were by emigrants from North Carolina and Virginia.  The country was included within the jurisdiction of North Carolina from 1729 to 1790, when it was placed under a separate territorial government, by the name of the "Territory South of the River Ohio."  In 1784, North Carolina ceded this territory to the United States on condition that they should accept of it within two years from the passage of the act, retaining jurisdiction over it herself, until Congress should make provision for a territorial government.  Upon this, the same year, the inhabitants resolved to organize a territorial government on their own responsibility; and according a convention of deputies formed a constitution for a new state, to be denominated "Frankland" and announced to North Carolina, that they considered themselves independent of her.  A portion of the people adhering to North Carolina, two conflicting legislatures, with their subordinate courts were exercising authority in the territory.  In 1789, the legislature of North Carolina authorized and instructed its members in Congress to execute deeds of conveyance for the territory of Tennessee, which they did the following year.  In 1796 the inhabitants, by a convention at Nashville, formed a constitution, and Tennessee was, the same year, admitted into the Union as an independent state.  The original constitution of Tennessee continued in force until 1835, when the present constitution was adopted by the people.  Motto of the seal, "Agriculture, Commerce."

1850 Counties of  Tennessee

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Anderson northeast part, water by Clinch river, crossed by Cumberland Mts 750 Clinton 6,938
Bedford in central part 875 Shelbyville 21,512
Benton in western part, between TN & Big Sandy rivers 375 Camden 6,305
Bledsoe SE part, crossed by Sequatchie river 455 Pikeville 5,959
Blount SE boundary, TN river on NW side 900 Maryville 12,382
Bradley southeast part, drained by Hiawassee river blank Cleveland 12,259
Campbell north boundary, on north west side of Clinch river 672 Jacksborough 6,068
Cannon central part 100 Woodbury 9,982
Carroll western part, drained by Big Sandy river 960 Huntingdon 15,967
Carter northeast corner 540 Elizabethtown 6,296
Claiborne northern boundary, north side of Clinch river, drained by Powell's river 580 Tazewell 9,369
Cocke southeast boundary, with Nolachucky river on the north 374 Newport 8,200
Coffee central part 170 Manchester 8,350
Davidson northern part, crossed by Cumberland river 640 Nashville (State Capital) 38,881
Decatur western part, on west side of Tennessee river blank Derryville 6,003
De Kalb central part, crossed by Caney fork of Cumberland river 275 Smithville 8,016
Dickson northern part, Cumberland river on northeast 1000 Charlotte 8,404
Dyer western boundary, Mississippi river on the west 840 Dyersburgh 6,361
Fayette south western part 576 Somerville 26,719
Fentress northern bourdary 560 Jamestown 4,454
Franklin southern boundary 840 Winchester 13,768
Gibson western part 630 Trenton 19,548
Giles southern boundary 514 Pulaski 25,949
Granger north eastern part, Holston river on southeast, Clinch river on northwest 320 Rutledge 12,370
Greene eastern boundary, Stony Mts on southeast, crossed by Nolichucky river 700 Greenville 17,824
Grundy southern part blank Altamont 2,773
Hamilton southern boundary, crossed by Tennessee river 464 Harrison 10,075
Hancock northeastern part blank blank 5,660
Hardeman southern boundary, crossed by Big Hatchee river 720 Bolivar 17,456
Hardin southern boundary, crossed by Tennessee river 700 Savannah 10,328
Hawkins northern boundary, crossed by Holston & Clinch rivers 750 Rogersville 13,370
Haywood south western part, crossed by Big Hatchee river 600 Brownsville 17,259
Henderson western part 665 Lexington 13,164
Henry northern boundary, Tennessee & Big Sandy rivers on east 600 Paris 18,233
Hickman western part 726 Centreville 9,397
Humphreys western part, Tennessee river on west 475 Waverly 6,422
Jackson northern boundary, crossed by Cumberland river 625 Gainesborough 15,673
Jefferson north eastern part, Holston river on northwest, crossed by Nolichucky river 356 Danbridge 13,204
Johnson northeast corner 300 Taylorsville 3,499
Knox eastern part, crossed by Tennessee river 864 Knoxville 18,775
Lauderdale western boundary, with Mississippi river on west 375 Ripley 5,169
Lawrence southern boundary 680 Lawrenceburgh 9,280
Lewis southern part blank Newburgh 4,438
Lincoln southern boundary 650 Fayetteville 23,492
Macon northern boundary blank Lafayette 6,948
Madison west part 670 Jackson 21,470
Marion southern boundary, crossed by Tennessee river 600 Jasper 6,314
Marshall toward southern part 200 Lewisburgh 15,616
Maury central part 750 Columbia 29,520
McMinn southeast part 608 Athens 13,906
McNairy southern boundary 960 Purdy 12,864
Meigs southeast part, Tennessee river on northwest 215 Decatur 4,879
Monroe southeast boundary, near Tennessee river 750 Madisonville 11,717
Montgomery north boundary, crossed by Cumberland river 500 Clarksville 21,045
Morgan northeast part 640 Morgan 3,430
Obion northwest corner, w Mississippi river for its western boundary 700 Troy 7,633
Overton northern boundary 625 Monroe 11,211
Perry western part, crossed by Tennessee river 780 Perryville 5,822
Polk southeast corner 330 Bentonville 6,388
Roane eastern part, crossed by Tennessee & Clinch rivers 600 Kingston 12,185
Robertson on north boundary 350 Springfield 16,145
Rutherford central part 540 Murfreesborough 29,122
Scott no description blank Huntsville 1,905
Sevier on south eastern boundary, crossed by Nolichucky river 600 Sevier 6,920
Shelby at southwest corner, Mississippi river on west 600 Raleigh 31,157
Smith in northern part, crossed by Cumberland river 590 Carthage 18,412
Stewart on north boundary, Tennessee river on southwest, crossed by Cumberland river not listed Dover 9,719
Sullivan on northern boundary, crossed by Holston river 520 Blountsville 11,742
Sumner on northern boundary, Cumberland river on south 625 Gallatin 22,717
Tipton on western boundary, Mississippi river on west 415 Covington 8,887
Van Buren Central part blank Spencer 2,674
Warren central part 960 McMinnville 10,179
Washington on southeast boundary, crossed by Nolichucky river 590 Jonesborough 13,861
Wayne on southern boundary 504 Waynesborough 8,170
Weakley on northern boundary 6801 Dresden 14,608
White in central part 672 Sparta 11,444
Williamson central part 476 Franklin 27,201
Wilson northern part, Cumberland river on north 625 Lebanon 27,443

Nashville, TN

City, seat of justice of Davidson Co and Capital of Tennessee, situated on the south bank of Cumberland river, at the head of steamboat navigation, 120 miles from its entrance into the Mississippi, and 648 miles from Washington.  Built upon an uneven surface, amid the picturesque scenery of a fertile and populous region, few southern cities combine a pleasant situation with more attractive hospitality and refinement, or display, in proportion to their population, a greater number of elegant public structures.  Of these, a new state house is the most magnificent.  The court house is a spacious and convenient edifice; the churches are beautiful and costly; and the schools are excellent.  The medical department of Nashville university is in a prosperous condition, with commodious buildings, well supplied with apparatus and other means of instruction.  The other public buildings are the jail, the penitentiary, and an asylum for the insane.  Large steamboats navigate the Cumberland river to Nashville, during the greater part of the year.  When the water is low, the stream admits vessels only of 30 or 40 tons burden.  These carry on an extensive trade with New Orleans and intermediate places.  Water is elevated from the river into a reservoir, and thence distributed over the city.

Population: in 1830 was 5,566; in 1840 was 6,299 and in 1850 was 9,125.

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