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There are 95 counties in the State of Tennessee.
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Chester County, Tennessee

Chester County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Henderson
Year Organized: 1879
Square Miles: 288
Court House:

159 E. Main Street
County Courthouse
Henderson, TN 38340-2345

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Named in honor of Robert I. Chester (1793-1892), quartermaster in the War of 1812, colonel in Texas war for independence, US marshall and state legislator.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Chester County

Created 1879 from Hardeman, Henderson, McNairy and Madison counties; named in honor of Robert I. Chester (1793-1892), quartermaster in the War of 1812, colonel in Texas war for independence, US marshall and state legislator.

Chester County was formed in 1879 from Hardeman, Henderson, McNairy and Madison counties (Public Acts of Tennessee 1879, Chapter 42).

The last county formed in Tennessee was Chester County, created by the Tennessee General Assembly from parts of neighboring Hardeman, Henderson, McNairy, and Madison Counties. In 1875 this land was used to create a county named Wisdom County, but Wisdom County was never organized, and in March 1879 the general assembly repealed this act and created Chester County out of the same land. Litigation brought on behalf of opponents of the new county delayed formal organization until 1882.

Chester County was named for Colonel Robert I. Chester, a quartermaster in the War of 1812, an early postmaster in Jackson, and a federal marshal for the Western District. The county seat, Henderson, was founded along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad line in the late 1850s and first known as Dayton. In 1860 Polk Bray opened the town's first store. The town name was later changed to Henderson Station and then Henderson shortly after the Civil War to honor Colonel James Henderson, a veteran of the War of 1812. Incorporated in 1901, Henderson is home to two twentieth-century county landmarks: the Classical Revival-style Chester County Courthouse (1913), which was used in scenes in the movie Walking Tall about McNairy County sheriff Buford Pusser and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and Freed-Hardeman University. In 1907 local businessmen asked educators A. G. Freed and N. B. Hardeman, who had taught at the earlier Georgie Robertson Christian College, to head a new school named the National Teachers' Normal and Business College. In 1919 the name changed to Freed-Hardeman College, and in 1990 this Church of Christ institution acquired university status.

Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: CHESTER COUNTY


According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 289 square miles (748 km2), of which, 289 square miles (747 km2) of it is land and 0 square miles (1 km2) of it (0.08%) is water.

Chickasaw State Park is partially located in Chester County.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Henderson County (northeast)
  • Hardin County (southeast)
  • McNairy County (south)
  • Hardeman County (southwest)
  • Madison County (northwest)


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