Fentress County, Tennessee Genealogy

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Fentress County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Fentress County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Fentress County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: November 28, 1823
County Seat Jamestown
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee  Gotoarrow.png  Fentress County

Middle Tennessee county. Established 1823.

Quick Dates

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

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1908 1905 1908 1830 1820 1905

County Courthouse

Fentress County Courthouse, Jamestown, Tenn.
Fentress County Courthouse
101 Main Street South
Jamestown, TN 38556
Phone: 1-931-879-8615

County Clerk has marriage records
Phone: 1-931-879-8014

Register of Deeds has land records
Phone: 1-931-879-7818

Circuit Court Clerk has court records
Phone: 1-931-879-7919

Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sat. 8 a.m.-noon


The county is named after "Tennessee state legislator James Fentress."[2]

Parent County

1823--Fentress County was created 28 November 1823 from Overton and Morgan Counties.
County seat: Jamestown[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

1905 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.

  • Lost census: 1890
  • Lost marriages: 1823 and 1904
  • Lost probate: 1823 to 1904

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Populated Places

Cities and Towns:

Banner Springs
Camp Ground
FHL 986493Clarkrange
Double Top
East Jamestown
Gilreath Mill
FHL 976.869 H2Little Crab
Little CrabJamestown
Pall Mall
Pine Haven
Red Hill
Sharp Place
Squirrel Flat
Wolf River

Neighboring Counties


Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Fentress County census, court, land, and tax 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.

One of the best places to start searches for Fentress County cemetery records is:

The following websites may contain Fentress County cemetery records:

  • Find A Grave can be searched by the name of a person or family to find where a person is buried. Usually gives birth and death dates often with a picture of the tombstone. May give obituaries, names of family members and links to their information in Find A Grave.


1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Fentress 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.


  • Sistler, Byron H. 1830 Census, East Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: n.p., 1969. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2p 1830.
  • Hatfield, Wanda S. Early Records, Fentress County, Tennessee: 1830, 1840, 1850 Census; 1833 Enumeration. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1988. FHL 976.869 X2h


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. Early Records, Fentress County, Tennessee: 1830, 1840, 1850 Census; 1833 Enunmeration. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1988. FHL 976.869 X2h


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. Early Records, Fentress County, Tennessee: 1830, 1840, 1850 Census; 1833 Enunmeration. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1988. FHL 976.869 X2h

1840 Pensioners


  • Carpenter, V.K.Seventh Census of the United States, 1850, Fentress County, Tennessee. Huntsville, Arkansas: Century Enterprises, Genealogical Service, 1969. FHL 976.869 X2p 1850
  • Hatfield, Wanda S. Early Records, Fentress County, Tennessee: 1830, 1840, 1850 Census; 1833 Enunmeration. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1988. FHL 976.869 X2h
  • Peden, Eva C. 1850 Census of Fentress County, Tennessee.Glasgow, Kentucky, Gorin Genealogical Publishing, 1992. FHL 976.869 X2pe 1850
  • Robbins, Kathleen W.1850 Fentress County Census. Huntsville, Tennessee: Scott County Historical Society, 19-?FHL 976.869 X2s 1850


  • Robbins, Kathleen W.1860 Fentress County Census. Huntsville, Tennessee: Scott County Historical Society, 198-?FHL 976.869 X2s 1860


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. 1870 Federal Census Fentress County, Tennessee. Pall Mall, Tennessee: W.S. Hatfield, 1992. FHL 976.869 X2h 1870


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. 1880 Federal Census Fentress County, Tennessee. S.I.:s.n., 1986? FHL 976.869 X2f
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1880 Census Fentress County, Tennessee. Nashville, Tennessee: B. Sistler and Associates, 1993. FHL 976.869 X22s 1880

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. 5 1891. [Fentress County is included in Vol. 5.]
  • 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.


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. 1900 Federal Census of Fentress County, Tennessee. Pall Mall, Tennessee: W.S. Hatfield, 1991 FHL 976.869 X2h 1900
  • Minton, Vestina L.Fentress County Census, Tennessee,1900.Harrogate, Tennessee: T. and V. Minton, 1990. FHL 976.869 X2m 1900


  • Hatfield, Wanda S. 1910 Federal Census of Fentress County, Tennessee. Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1989 FHL 976.869 X2h 1910


  • Ramsey, Gerald R.1920 Census of Fentress County, Tennessee.Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1994. FHL 976.869 X29f 1920



Court records began in 1842


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

  • [Brown] Descendant of William Brown, resident of Fentress County, Tennessee and Wayne County, Kentucky. Y-DNA 67 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 114770). Genetic signature available online (labeled Group No. 85), genealogical description available online, courtesy: Brown/Browne/Braun DNA Study. Matches have been found.
  • [Doss] Descendant of William Delaney Doss, probably born in Fentress County, Tennessee about 1829, the son of William and Nancy (Brown) Doss. SMGF. Genetic signature available online, genealogical description available online, courtesy: The Doss DNA Project, World Families. DNA did not match anticipated Doss family.
  • [Doss] Descendant of Fannie Doss, born in Kentucky about 1818, the daughter raised by William and Nancy (Brown) Doss. Raised in Fentress County, Tennessee. Her children used her surname. SMGF. Genetic signature available online, genealogical description available online, courtesy: The Doss DNA Project, World Families.

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]


"This Personal Ancestral File database contains genealogies of nearly every family to live in Fentress County from its foundation." (Info file):

As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Fentress, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 74,000 entries.


  • [Crawford] Edward Crawford's Family: With Special Emphasis on those Descendants Who Lived in or Passed through Macoupin County, Illinois: With Eventual Concentrations in Illinois, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee. n.p.: Crawford Family Book Committee, 1988. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 C856.
  • [Frogge] Farmer, Jane Frogue. The Family of Frogge: A Catalog of the Descendants of Arthur Robinson Frogge and His Two Families. 3 vols. Sun City, Calif.: J.F. Farmer, 1989. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 F922fa ff.
  • [Green] Patton, C.D. Faith of Our Fathers: Ancestors and Relatives of George and Pearl Green Patton; 51 Ministers and Lay People. n.p.: C.D. Patton, [1989?]. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 P278pf.
  • [Holt] Payne, Ruth Holt. A History of the Holt Family in Washington County, Arkansas. Lincoln, AR: Lincoln Leader, 1960. FHL US/CAN Film 1031513; digital version at Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Huddleston] Huddleston, George. Huddleston Family Tables. Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1933. FHL Book 929.273 H866h 1973; digital versions at Ancestry ($); and Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Owsley] Owsley, Harriet. Owsley Charts: Master Charts Compiled from the Unpublished Census, 1850-1860. Microfilmed 1959. FHL US/CAN Film 928764.
  • [Phipps] Young, Asher Leon The Phipps Tree. Nashville, Tenn.: A.L. Young, 1983 - 1989. FHL Book 929.273 P557y v. 1 and 2; digital versions at Family History Archives:The Phipps Tree, Volume 1 and The Phipps Tree, Volume 2.
  • [Scroggins] Rising, Marsha Hoffman and Gale Williams Bamman. "Forging Links in a Surveyor's Chain: Samuel M. Scroggins of Missouri and Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 4 (December 1995):268-276. FHL Book 973 B2ng
  • [Smith] Smith, Oma Ivadell. Smith-Garrett and Allied Families of Overton, Fentress and Pickett Counties, Tennessee: The Genealogy of Joseph Albert Smith and Nova Catherine Garrett. Jacksonville, Fla.: O. Smith, 1979. FHL Book 929.273 Sm61e
  • [Taylor] Taylor, Lillian Goff. Around the Fan Chart, or, European Background and Ancestry of Three Brothers: Robert Goff Taylor, Born 1918, Harold Newell Taylor, Born 1923, Bruce Carson Taylor, Born 1939, Sons of Lawrence Robert Taylor, 1893-1959. Houston, TX: Universal Print. Co., 1968. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); and Heritage Quest Online ($).
  • [Upchurch] Richter, Sue Bright. Upchurch - Bright Family Newsletter. Madison, Alabama : S.B. Richter, 1989-. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.27305 Up1b.
  • [West] Robbins, Kathleen W. West Family History Records: Presented to the Scott County Historical Society on May 31, 1985. [Oneida, Tenn.]: K.W. Robbins, 1985. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 W52rk.
  • [York] Cowan, Sam K. and Alvin Cullum York. Sergeant York and His People. n.p.: Fentress County Historical Society, [1965?]. FHL FAM HIST Book 921.73 Y82c.
  • [York] York, Bruce E. Are You Related to Sergeant York? Microfilmed 1995. FHL US/CAN Film 1598347 Item 8.


  • Fentress County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1820 and is located at Courthouse, Main St., Jamestown, TN 38556; (931) 879-8615. Land and property records include transfer of real estate or personal property, mortgages, leases, surveys, and entries.
  • The organization Strictly By Name provides free online indexes to early Fentress County land records. They offer a research service to photocopy and transcribe microfilm copies of the original documents for a small fee. Available indexes:
  1. Deed Book A: 1820-1838
  2. Deed Book B: 1837-1843
  • The Family History Library has microfilm copies of deeds 1820-1901 with indexes 1820-1904; land entry books 1824-1901.

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.] The 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

  • Hogue, Albert Ross. History of Fentress County, Tennessee: The Old Home of Mark Twain's Ancestors. Nashville, Tenn.: Press of Williams Printing Co., 1916. Digital version at Google Books. 1975 reprint: FHL US/CAN Book 976.869 H2ha.



Revolutionary War

The following Fentress County Revolutionary War records are available online through TNGenWeb:

Additional resources include:

War of 1812


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 Fentress County click on the following cities:



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 Fentress County, Tennessee records 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.
Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter
The Fentress County Historical Society was established in 1968. For further information regarding the newsletter and Society, see their website: www.fentresscountyhistorical society.org.
The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History
Genealogical articles with abstracts of records of Fentress County, Tennessee have been published in The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, the quarterly of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society (23+ Vols.). To view a list of these articles, visit their online Index to Articles (1988-2005). Surname indexes are also available online for Vols. 2-22. The website also offers back issues for sale in paper and on CD. The Family History Library has a complete collection of this quarterly FHL US/CAN Book 976.85 D25m.
Overton County, Tennessee Kin
"This newsletter, although called “Overton County,” covers all the area in Overton, Fentress, and Pickett County, TN along with Monterey in Putnam County, and Clinton, Wayne and Cumberland County in Kentucky”—Vol. 7, no. 4, p. 2.
The Family History Library has vol. 1, issues 1-4; vol. 2, issues 1-4; vol. 3, issues 1-4; vol. 4, issues 1-4; vol. 5, issues 1-4; vol. 6, issue 1; vol. 7 issue 4, vol. 8, issue 2. FHL US/CAN 976.8684 B2n.
Indexed in the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI).
The Pellissippian
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Fentress County, Tennessee records were published in the The Pellissippian (25 vols., 1980-2004), the quarterly of the Pellissippi Genealogical and Historical Society. The society has posted tables of contents for all 25 volumes on their website. They also have back issues available for purchase. The Family History Library has acquired the first 20 volumes FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 D25p.


Learn if your Fentress 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 daughters 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 Fentress County Court has responsibility for the probate records, which began in 1905.


The following Fentress County tax records have been abstracted:[6]

  • [1833] Barham, Eleanor R. and Elizabeth R. Nichols. "1833 Enumeration, Fentress County, Tennessee," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring 1980):9-12. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. (600 names)
  • [1833] York, Bruce. "1833 Fentress County Tax List," available online, courtesy: TNGenWeb.
  • [1865] Tax List, 1865, Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter. Jamestown TN: Fall 1992. Vol. 4 Iss. 3.
  • [1872] Tax Books, 1872, Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter. Jamestown TN: Summer 1989. Vol. 1 Iss. 2; Fall 1989. Vol. 1 Iss. 3; Winter 1989. Vol. 1 Iss. 4; Spring 1990. Vol. 2 Iss. 1; Summer 1990. Vol. 2 Iss. 2; Fall 1990. Vol. 2 Iss. 3; Winter 1990. Vol. 2 Iss. 4; Spring 1991. Vol. 3 Iss. 1.
  • [1872] Hatfield, Wanda S. 1872 Tax Records, Fentress County, Tennessee. Signal Mountain, Tennessee : Mountain Press, 1991. FHL 976.869 R4h; online: free surname index and purchase details
  • [1875] Dog Tax, 1875, Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter. Jamestown TN: Spring 1992. Vol. 4 Iss. 1.
  • [1892] Tax Book, 1892, Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter. Jamestown TN: Spring 1989. Vol. 1 Iss. 1.
  • [1892] Delinquent Tax List, 1892, Fentress County Historical Society Newsletter. Jamestown TN: Fall 1992. Vol. 4 Iss. 3.

Vital Records


Birth records began in 1914


The original Fentress County marriage records are kept at the County Courthouse. Marriages records before 1905 are lost. 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 Fentress County marriage records are microfilmed:

  • [1905-1986] Available at the TSLA. Marriages 1817-1899 are available for interlibrary loan.
  • [1905-1963] Available at the Family History Library. Some volumes are indexed.FHL 978380

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


Death records began in 1914

  • Tennessee Deaths and Burials 1874-1955. Name index with extracted death certificate information.  Search by surname then browse through the results. You may need to supply variant spellings of the names.

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


Fentress County Historical Society
PO Box 1431
Jamestown, TN 38556
Phone: 1-931-879-7622

Upper Cumberland Genealogical Society
Putnam Library
48 East Broad St.
Cookeville, TN 38501

Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society
PO Box 330948
Nashville, TN, USA 37203-7507
The society serves the 40 counties of middle Tennessee of which Fentress County is one. It publishes The Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, a quarterly containing articles of genealogical and historical interest. Little-known Tennessee records are published and indexed, along with family genealogies, Bible records and material submitted by members. There is an alphabetical Index to articles in the Journal 1988-summer 2005



Fentress County Public Library
306 South Main St.
Jamestown, TN 38556
Phone: 1-931-879-7512
Fax: 1-931-879-6984
E-mail: fcpublib@txlakes.net
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Genealogy Reference Material available

Family History Centers

Jamestown Tennessee
Hwy 127 N
Jamestown, TN
Phone: 1-931-879-8708
Hours: By appointment only

This is not a mailing address. Due to limited staff, Family History Centers are unable to respond to mail inquiries.

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Fentress County, Tennessee


  1. "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), 639. (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. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.