Difference between revisions of "Unicoi County, Tennessee Genealogy"

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==== Parent County  ====
==== Parent County  ====
'''1875--'''Unicoi County was established&nbsp;23 March 1875 from [[Washington County, Tennessee|Washington]] and [[Carter County, Tennessee|Carter]] Counties. Early records may be found under Washington and Carter Counties. <br>'''County seat:''' Erwin <ref name="Handybook">''The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America'',10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).</ref>  
'''1875--'''Unicoi County was established&nbsp;23 March 1875 from [[Washington County, Tennessee|Washington]] and [[Carter County, Tennessee|Carter]] Counties. Early records may be found under Washington and Carter Counties. <br>'''County seat:''' Erwin <ref name="Handybook">''[http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50140092 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America]'', 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002), 644.</ref>
==== Pronunciation  ====
==== Pronunciation  ====

Revision as of 17:44, 5 August 2010

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Tennessee  Gotoarrow.png  Unicoi County

Location of Unicoi County
Unicoi County Boundary Map

East Tennessee county established in 1875. From 1784 to 1788, this land was claimed by the abortive, short-lived State of Franklin.

County Courthouse

[[Image:thumb|right|220px|Unicoi County Courthouse, Erwin, Tennessee.

In the 1780s, this county's land fell within the bounds of the State of Franklin.

Many historic records are currently being rehoused and prepared for public usage. They will be available in the fall of 2011. The Register of Deeds is currently open (July 26, 2010).[1]

Unicoi County Courthouse
 100 Main Street
 Erwin, TN 37650
 Phone: 423-743-9541

Unicoi County Clerk
Birth, marriage and probate records
P.O. Box 340
100 Main Street, Suite 100
Erwin, TN 37650
Phone 423-743-3381

Unicoi County Register of Deeds
Land records
P.O. Box 305
Unicoi County Courthouse,Suite 202
Attn: Register of Deeds
100 Main Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650
Phone: 423-743-6104

Unicoi County Circuit Court Clerk
Court records
P.O. Box 2000
Erwin, TN 37650
Phone: 423-743-3541

Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - noon (County Clerk)


Unicoi County takes its name from a Native American term for the Appalachian Mountains

Unicoi is a Native American Cherokee term for the Appalachian Mountains. It is believed to mean "white or fog-draped."[2]

In August 1784 delegates from Washington County (including land that eventually became Unicoi County) and other western North Carolina counties which had split off from Washington County (all now in Tennessee), declared their Independence from North Carolina because of perceived neglect, and misuse by North Carolina’s legislature. By May 1785 they petitioned to be admitted to the United States as the new State of Franklin. The Franklin statehood request was denied. By 1789 the hopes for a State of Franklin faded. North Carolina became a state in 1789 and ceded her westernmost counties to the United States. The ceded counties, including most of Washington County (and eventually Unicoi), became the Southwest Territory. In 1796 the Southwest Territory was admitted to the United States as the new State of Tennessee.

Parent County

1875--Unicoi County was established 23 March 1875 from Washington and Carter Counties. Early records may be found under Washington and Carter Counties.
County seat: Erwin [3]


Hear it spoken (Voice of Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch, 2010)

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

  • Lost census: 1890
  • County records are complete[4]


Populated Places

Banner Hill Earnestville Lillydale Riverview
Briggs (hist.) Erwin Limestone Cove Rock Creek
Brownlow (hist.) Fordville (hist.) Loganton (hist.) Rocky Fork
Bumpus Cove Flag Pond Love Station Shallowford
Chestoa Harris Mill Marbleton Unaka Springs
Clearbranch Hulan Hollow Pleasant Garden Unicoi
Coffee Ridge Indian Creek (hist.) Rice Bend Woodby Hill
Davis Springs Kittyton (hist.) River Hill

Neighboring Counties


Research Guides



1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Unicoi 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.


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. 7 1891. [Unicoi County is included in Vol. 7.]
  • 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.








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

  • [Vinson] Descendant of Vinson family, migrated from Russell Co., VA to Unicoi Co., TN at the turn of twentieth century. Y-DNA 12 Marker Test, FTDNA (Kit 23453). Genetic signature available online (labelled V-2 in Haplogroup J), courtesy: The Vinson DNA Project, World Families Network.

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]




The original Unicoi County Deed Books are held at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed Deed Books 1-7 (1876-1903), Trust Deed Book 1 (1876-1899), and Index to Deeds and Mortgages (1876-1920). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 972739-972744.

Local Histories



War of 1812

  • Embry, Hermione D. "War of 1812 - Tennessee Pensioners on List - January 2, 1883," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul. 1961):95-98. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 B2a v. 8 (1961); digital version at journal website. [Includes Unicoi County pensioners (p. 97.]


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 Unicoi County click on the following town:


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 Unicoi 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.

East Tennessee Roots

Genealogical articles with abstracts of Unicoi County, Tennessee records have been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to these articles is available online. Surname indexes to Volumes 9 and 10 are also available online. The Family History Library has collected most issues of East Tennessee Roots FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 D25e.

Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin

Genealogical articles with abstracts of Unicoi County, Tennessee records have been published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (39+ vols., 1972-present), the journal of the Watauga Association of Genealogists. The organization has posted tables of contents for most volumes on their website. Back issues are available for purchase. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Books 976.897 B2w, including Margaret W. Hougland and Betty Jane Hylton's Bulletin Subject Index: The First Thirty Years, 1972-2001 (Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Association of Genealogists, 2002) FHL US/CAN Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001.


The original Unicoi County wills are held at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed wills covering the date range 1876-1947. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 972738.


The original Unicoi County Tax Books 1876-1899 are kept at the County Courthouse. In the 1970s, TSLA microfilmed these records. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Film 972745.

The following Unicoi County tax records have been abstracted:

  • [1798] 1798 Tax List, Carter County, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 9, No. 4. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. [Includes digital images of the original source; includes area that later became Unicoi County.]

Vital Records


The original Unicoi County Marriage Books are kept at the County Courthouse and TSLA. In the 1970s and 1980s, the TSLA microfilmed Marriage Books 1 to 16 (1876-1955). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 972735, 1928855-1928860.

The following Unicoi County marriage records have been abstracted:

  • [1908-1936] Nikazy, Eddie M. Unicoi County, Tennessee Death Record Abstracts 1908-1936. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1997. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8982 V28n.

For deaths of Methodists in Unicoi County (or what later became Unicoi County) between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Societies and Libraries

The Unicoi County Historical Society
405 Ohio Avenue
Erwin, Tennessee 37650
Located at Unicoi County Public Library

Watauga Association of Genealogists
Upper East Tennessee
P.O. Box 117
Johnson City, Tennessee 37605-0117
Publications: The Bulletin (May and October)

East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay Street
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901-1629
Phone: 865-215-8824
Email: eths@east-tennessee-history.org

Unicoi County Public Library
201 Nolichucky Avenue
Erwin, TN 37650-1239
Phone: 423-743-6533
Fax: 423-743-0275
Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 11 am - 3 pm

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Unicoi County, Tennessee


  1. Telephone conversation with Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch, July 26, 2010.
  2. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002), 644.
  4. Robert M. McBride, Tennessee County Data (Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee State Library and Archives, 1966), 46.