Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Benton County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Benton County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Benton County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: December 19, 1835
County Seat Camden
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee  Gotoarrow.png  Benton County West Tennessee county on the Tennessee River. Established 1835.

Quick Dates

Benton County's civil records start the following years:[1]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1881 1838 1881 1840 1836 1836

County Courthouse

Benton County Courthouse, Camden, Tenn.
Benton County Courthouse
1 E Court Square
Camden,TN 38320
Phone: 1-731-584-6053
  • County Clerk has marriage and probate records
  • Register of Deeds has land records
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court has court records

Mon.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Template:RAOGKcourthouse


The county is named after "Creek War veteran David Benton (1779–1860), an early settler in the county."[2]

Parent County

1835--Benton County was created 19 December 1835 from Henry and Humphreys Counties.
County seat: Camden [3]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[4] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[5] (male)

Boundary Changes

"Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the My Tennessee Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss

  • Lost census: 1890
  • No marriage records prior to 1846.[6]

Places / Localities

Populated Places

Cities and Towns:

Bass Bay
Benton Cut
Big Sandy
Birdsong Heights
Black Center
Chestnut Hill
Eagle Creek
Lick Creek
Mount Moriah
Pleasant Hill
Post Oak
Sandy Point
Sawyers Mill
Tin Cup

Neighboring Counties


Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Benton County biography, cemetery, land, marriage, and probate records. To determine which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.

Research Guides

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans


Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

The Tennessee Cemeteries page provides explanations of the following online resources:
Catalogs Online Gravestone Transcriptions Cemetery Gazetteers
FHLC Find A Grave Find A Grave list

TNGenWeb Cemetery Database ePodunk

USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project
Benton Co., TNGenWeb Project

Published Benton County cemetery records:


1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Benton County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Benton County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. [The USGenWeb Census Project®]


  • Smith, Jonathan Kennon Thompson, An Abtract of the 1840 United States census for Benton County, Tennessee ([S.I. : s.n.], 1977 (Memphis : R.H. Harris) FHL US/CAN Book 976.833 X28s

1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners


  • Sistler, Byron and Barbara 1880 census Benton County, Tennessee (Nashville, Tennessee : B. Sistler and Associates, 1990) FHL US/CAN Book 976.833 X2

1890 - Lost, but substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 2 1891. [Benton County is included in Vol. 2.]
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890


  • Benton County 1891 Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of 21 years of Age and Up. Henry County Tennessee Archives. Free lookups available!


  • Dunlap, Linda and Denham, Laura 1900 every-name census index, Benton County, Tennessee ([Paris, Tennessee] : W.G. Rhea Public Library, [2003?]) FHL US/CAN book 976.833 X22


  • Dunlap, Linda and Denham, Laura 1910 every-name census index, Benton County, Tennessee ([Paris, Tennessee] : W.G. Rhea Public Library, [2003?]) FHL US/CAN book 976.833 X22


  • Dunlap, Linda and Denham, Laura 1920 every-name census index, Benton County, Tennessee ([Paris, Tennessee] : W.G. Rhea Public Library, [2003?] FHL US/CAN book 976.833 X22


Church records include baptisms, marriages and burials, as well as information about family members and clues about family migration.  For additional information about church records, religions, and religious archives in Tennessee, see Tennessee Church Records.

  • Church histories tell when a church started in the area, who the early members were, give data about church leaders, etc.
- Family History Library Catalog - Benton County Church History

  • If the records you need are not available through the Family History Library, contact the church(es) in the area where your ancestor lived.  Two sites that give information about churches in Benton County are:
    - List of Benton County churches with addresses and phone numbers (Yellowbook)
    - List of Benton County churches (TN HomeTownLocator)

The churches with the largest membership in Benton County are the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church. For more information about religions in the county, see the charts showing membership by faith created by the Association of Religion Data Archives.

  • In 1936, a helpful guide to early Benton County church records was published by the Works Project Administration. [7]Use this guide to locate which church records exist and where they were housed in 1936. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has filmed some of these records. To locate which records are available at the TSLA, go to the appropriate "county fact sheet" on the TSLA Web site and scroll down to "selected manuscript material". All filmed church records at the TSLA for the county are listed.


County Court


Template:DNA DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Benton County residents. Attempts have not been made to verify the lineages of those tested.

Family Histories

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]

As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Benton, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 28,000 entries.

  • Benton County Genealogical Society. Families and Histories, Benton County, Tennessee, 1836-1992. 2 vols. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co., 1987, 1992. FHL Collection 976.833 H2f v. 1; publisher's descriptionFree Lookups Available!
  • Griffith, Brenda Cauthen and Benton County Genealogical Society The First Families of Benton County, Tennessee. Camden, Tennessee : Benton County Genealogical Society, 2001.FHL Collection 976.833 C4f. “The materials contained in this book were obtained from the applications received by the Benton County Genealogical Society for acceptance into the First Families of Benton County Tennessee Charter Membership”—P. [i]. Free Lookups Available!
  • Ray, Worth Stickley. Tennessee Cousins: A History of Tennessee People. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1968. FHL Collection 976.D2; Free Lookups Available!
  • Smith, Jonathan K.T. Benton County, Tennessee Heritage Notes. Memphis, Tenn.: Richard H. Harris, 1975. FHL Collection 976.833 H2st
  • Smith, Jonathan K.T. Miscellaneous Families of Benton County, Tennessee. TSLA. Microfilmed in 1985: FHL Collection 1429846 Item 22 [Includes Armer, Penick, Greer, Wodelstedt, Booker, Clement, Fuller, Cooley, Tatty, Davis, Wiseman, Melton, Cooper, Brumager, Burer, Key, Beasley, McCutchen, Gillispie, Cuff, Patrick, and Bain families.]
  • Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical gleanings in Benton County, Tennessee. Memphis, Tenn.: Richard H. Harris, 1974. FHL Collection 976.833 V28s; Free Lookups Available!


The Benton County Register of Deeds is located at the Courthouse, E. Court Square, Rm. 101, Camden, TN 38320-0008; Telephone: (901) 584-6053. It has has land records beginning with the county's organization in 1836. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.

Other records available include:

  • Benton County Deed Books Vol. 2-May 1843-Jan 1849 ([Mayfield, KY?]:Simmons Historical Publications,s.d.). Digital version available at World Vital Records ($). Available for purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.
  • Benton County Deed Books Vol. 3-Feb 1849-Nov 1852, ([Mayfield, KY?]:Simmons Historical Publications,s.d.). Digital version available at World Vital Records ($). Available for purchase at Simmons Historical Publications.
  • The Family History Library has microfiled records from the Register of Deeds Office of Deed Books 1836-1885 and Trust Books 1874-1882. It also has some published land records.
  • Wills, Laura Benton County, Tennessee, Deeds Volume 1 (June 1830 - April 1843) Free lookups available!

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. January 25, 2005. [In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service.] TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at The TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories



Revolutionary War

War of 1812

Civil War

Civil War service men from Benton County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Benton County.

Confederate Soldiers
Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Benton County:

Spanish American War

World War I and II


  Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at the TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Benton County click on the following city:

This newspaper has been partially abstracted:


  • Miller, Alan N. West Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1821 to 1889. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2man. Purchase at [Includes Benton County.]


Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Benton County, Tennessee have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a.
Benton County Genealogical Society Quarterly
Family History Library has volume 3, no. 1 (Jan - Mar 1991) - 21, no. 4 (Dec 2009) with some issues missing.
FHL 976.833 D25b. Free lookups available for 1989 - 1997 Quarterly.
BYU Family History Archives has BCGS quarterly volume 17 and volume 19
Family Findings
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Benton County, Tennessee records have been published in Family Findings, the quarterly of the Mid-West Tennessee Genealogical Society (42+ vols.). The Family History Library has most issues of this quarterly FHL US/CAN 976.8 B2f.
Tables of contents for some volumes are available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb Project:
Many articles from this publication have been reproduced on the TNGenWeb Project website, try this specialized Google search.
West Tennessee Historical Society Papers
Family History Library has Volumes 1 - 16 and 30 FHL US/CAN Book 976.81 B5w. The West Tennessee Historical Society Papers are indexed in PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
To view Table of Contents and complete articles from 1947 - 2005 see Shelby County Register of Deeds


Learn if your Benton County ancestors went to prison!


Probate records are court records created after an individual’s death that relate to a court’s decisions regarding the distribution of the estate to the heirs or creditors and the care of any dependents. You may find the names of married d=ghters or other relatives and their residences; or information about the adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. Probate records do not always give an exact date of death, but the death usually occurred within a few months of probate. These documents are important to family history researchers, because they usually exist for time periods before civil birth and death records were kept.

The County Court Clerk has responsibility for the probate records of Benton County. Some probate records are kept at the Benton County Archives.

FamilySearch has made scans available of the following records:

The following Benton County probate records have been abstracted, indexed, or both:

  • 1836-1910] Benton County Genealogical Society. Wills of Benton County 1836-1910. Camden, Tennessee: The Benton County Genealogical Society, 2009.
  • [1837-1861] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Index to Tennessee Wills & Administrations 1779-1861. Nashville, Tenn. Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1990. FHL US/CAN 976.8 P22s. [Includes an index to this county's probate records.]


The original Benton County Tax Books 1836-1909 were microfilmed by TSLA in 1968. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 944046, 557667.

The following Benton County tax lists have been abstracted:[8]

  • [1836] "1836 Land and Poll Tax List," Transcript, Benton County Public Library, Camden, Tenn. Digital version, by Brian Nichols, available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb.
  • [1836] "1835 Map of Civil Districts, Benton County, Tennessee" and "Benton County, Tennessee 1836 Tax List," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer 1994):56-61. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1836] Tax List, 1836, Benton County Genealogical Society Quarterly. Camden TN: Jul 1997. Vol. 9 Iss. 3.
  • [1836] Poll Tax Payers, 1836, Benton County Genealogical Society Quarterly
  • [1837] Cleveland, Harry Milton. "Benton County, Tennessee 1837 Tax List," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Fall 1994):107-110. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1844] Land Tax List, 1844, Benton County Genealogical Society Quarterly. Camden TN: Dec 2005. Vol. 17 Iss. 4.
  • [1865-1866] Smith, Jonathan K.T. United States Direct Tax Commission, District of Tennessee, Benton County, 1865-1866. Jackson, Tenn.: n.p., 1992. FHL US/CAN Book 976.833 R4s.

Vital Records


Marriages were not officially recorded in Benton County during the first few years of its existence. In 1838, a law was passed mandating the practice.[9] The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

  • Lucas, Silas Emmett. Marriages from Early Tennessee Newspapers 1794-1851. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978. FHL 976.8 V2L.

The following Benton County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1832-1869] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early West Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: B. Sistler & Associates, 1989. FHL 976.8 V2sb v. 1ff. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.]
  • [1838-1968] Benton County (Tennessee) County Clerk Marriage records, 1838-1968 Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1968. FHL 557642
  • [1832-1957] Hillis, Florence Elliott of the Lydia Russell Bean Chapter DAR (compiled and edited) Benton County, Tennessee Marriages 1832 - 1957 BYU Family History Archives
  • [1846-1850] Historical Records Project Marriage records, 1846-1850, Benton County, Tennessee Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1939. FHL 24590
  • Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950 - covers all counties in Tennessee.
  • Many county marriage records are indexed with images at Ancestry's Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 ($).  Be aware that this index is not complete for all counties.

The following books are available through the Family History Library and also have free lookups:

  • [1837-1900] Brewer, William Hulon Benton County, Tennessee marriage records, 1837 - 1900 Camden, Tennessee : Glover's Trace Chapter, Daughter of the American Revolution, 1985. FHL 976.833 V2bThe publisher feels that this book contains the most complete information on marriages in Benton County in existance [i.e. existence] as of this date."--Pref.
  • [1846-1850] Douthat, James L. Benton County, Tennessee marriage book #1 : 1846 - 1850 Signal Mountain, Tennessee : J.L. Douthat, 1981. FHL 976.833 V2d

In 1940 and 1941, W.P.A. workers pinpointed the location of Benton County divorce papers in diverse manuscript collections, see:

  • W.P.A. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey, 1941. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 A3gp.

For deaths of Methodists in Benton County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

  • Smith, Jonathan K.T. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, the Nashville Christian Advocate. [1847-1914] 10 vols. [Jackson, Tenn.]: J.K.T. Smith, 1997-2003. FHL 976.855/N1 V48sff; digital versions at David Donahue Memorial: Tennessee Records Repository. [Website expands upon the publications and includes deaths from the 1830s, 1840s, 1910s and 1920s.]

Family History Center

1921 Lone Oak Rd
Paris, TN
Phone: 1-731-642-2285
Hours: Wed. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m.; Thurs. 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; All other times by appt. Online catalog

These are not mailing addresses. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Societies and Libraries

Big Sandy Branch Library
12 Front St.
Big Sandy, TN 38221
Phone: 1-731-593-0225
Mon. - Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Benton County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 775
Camden, TN 38320
Website lists current leadership and publications for sale. The members receive the Benton County Genealogical Society which is published in March, June, September, and December.
Benton County Library
121 S Forrest Ave
Camden, TN 38320
Phone: 1-731-584-4772
Mon., Wed., Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tues. and Thurs. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Note: The County Archives is located in the basement of the main facility of the Benton County Public Library
West Tennessee Heritage Study Center
Paul Meek Library
University of Tennessee at Martin
Phone: 1-731-881-7060
Hours vary by semester
The Heritage Study Center holds a variety of genealogical resources including materials relating to the following counties in Tennessee: Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, Wayne, Weakley and Carlisle, Fulton, and Hickman counties in Kentucky.
West Tennessee Historical Society
P.O. Box 111046
Memphis, TN 38111
Phone: 1-901-475-6608


Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Benton County, Tennessee


  1. Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville, Tenn.: The Tennessee Historical Records Survey (W.P.A.), 1941; "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  2. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 638. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  4. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  5. Voice of Gene Black, FamilySearch employee, former resident of Bristol, Tenn. (2010).
  6. Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee States Library and Archives, 1966), 13.
  7. WPA. Guide to Church Vital Statistics in Tennessee. Nashville: Tennessee State Planning Commission, 1942. FHL 976.8 K23w
  8. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  9. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL 973 B2ng v. 81