Tennessee Counties
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Tennessee Counties

There are ninety-five counties in the State of Tennessee. The oldest county is Washington County, founded in 1777. The most recently formed county is Chester County (1879)

Bradley County, Tennessee

Bradley County Education, Geography, and History

Bradley County, Tennessee Courthouse

Bradley County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 98,963. Its county seat is Cleveland.

Bradley County is included in the Cleveland, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Bradley County Name

Named in honor of Edward Bradley (? - 1829), Tennessee militia officer, colonel of First Regiment, Tennessee Infantry in the War of 1812, member of the Tennessee state house and the Shelby County court.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Bradley County

Created 1836 from Indian lands; named in honor of Edward Bradley (? - 1829), Tennessee militia officer, colonel of First Regiment, Tennessee Infantry in the War of 1812, member of the Tennessee state house and the Shelby County court.

Like many East Tennessee counties, Bradley County was largely opposed to secession on the eve of the Civil War. In Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession referendum on June 8, 1861, the county's residents voted against secession by a margin of 1,382 to 507. The bridge over the Hiwassee River was burned on November 8, 1861, by members of the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy led by Alfred Cate.

Bradley County was formed in 1836 from Indian lands (Local Acts of 1836, Chapter 12).

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Located in southeast Tennessee, Bradley County was carved out of the Ocoee District, which had been part of the Cherokee Nation. Today, one of the top tourist sites in Tennessee is Red Clay State Historical Area, an interpretative center for the Cherokee removal known as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokees consider the park, located on the southern end of Bradley County, sacred ground. In the 1830s Red Clay became the last capital of the Cherokees as they fought removal by appealing to the US president and Congress and bringing suits in the federal courts. Further north is Rattlesnake Springs, the gathering point for the Cherokees as they left on their journey to Oklahoma. The Cleveland Public Library Historical Branch contains a collection of material on the Cherokee Indians.

The Tennessee General Assembly created Bradley County in February 1836. Its name honored Colonel Edward Bradley, a Revolutionary War veteran who served with Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812. Cleveland was designated the county seat and named for Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, a Revolutionary War hero from North Carolina who received recognition for his exploits at the battle of Kings Mountain. Today, Cleveland ranks eleventh in size among cities and towns in Tennessee. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: BRADLEY COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 332 square miles (859 km2), of which, 329 square miles (851 km2) of it is land and 3 square miles (7 km2) of it (0.84%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Meigs County (north)
  • McMinn County (northeast)
  • Polk County (east)
  • Murray County, Georgia (southeast)
  • Whitfield County, Georgia (south)
  • Hamilton County (west)


Cleveland State Community College and Lee University are located in Bradley County. Public schools in the county are managed by the Bradley County Schools school district or the Cleveland City Schools school district. The county district has four public high schools: Bradley Central High School, Walker Valley High School, GOAL Academy,REACH Adult High school . Cleveland High School is operated by the city school district. There is one State-accredited private Christian college preparatory school: Tennessee Christian Preparatory School.

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