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)

Meigs County, Tennessee

Meigs County Education, Geography, and History

Meigs County, Tennessee Courthouse

Meigs County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 11,753. Its county seat is Decatur

Etymology - Origin of Meigs County Name

Named in honor of Return Jonathan Meigs (1740-1823), Tennessee country pioneer, American Revolutionary officer who distinguished himself at Sag Harbor and Stony Point, and longtime Indian agent.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Meigs County

Created 1836 from Rhea County; named in honor of Return Jonathan Meigs (1740-1823), Tennessee country pioneer, American Revolutionary officer who distinguished himself at Sag Harbor and Stony Point, and longtime Indian agent.

Meigs County was formed in 1836 from Rhea County (Acts of Tennessee 1835-36, Chapter 96).

There were fires at the Meigs County courthouse in 1904 and 1964.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Created in 1836 from Rhea County, Meigs County is named for Return Jonathan Meigs (1740-1823), a colonel in the American Revolutionary War and later an Indian agent from 1801 until his death in 1823. The county encompasses 195 square miles and is bounded on the west by the Tennessee River. The lower Hiwassee River crosses through the southern portion of the county, where it enters the Tennessee. The county contains fertile bottom land and ample timber, as well as a vein of iron ore.

The Tennessee River Valley was first inhabited by generations of Native Americans, and Meigs County contains many prehistoric and Cherokee sites. Hiwassee Island, at the mouth of the Hiwassee River, is the site of a large Mississippian Period town dating from the eleventh century A.D. and includes several temple mounds surrounding a plaza. The Cherokees later occupied the island. In 1809-10 Sam Houston lived with Oolootek (John Jolly), leader of three hundred Cherokees living on Hiwassee Island, also called Jolly's Island. Today the area is Hiwassee Island Wildlife Refuge, noted for its use by migrating sand hill cranes.

In the Hiwassee Treaty of 1817 and the Calhoun Agreement of 1819, the Cherokees ceded the land on the east bank of the Tennessee River north of the Hiwassee to Tennessee. The first settlements in the Meigs County area were in the Ten Mile Valley in the north, while later families settled near the site of Decatur. The territory south of the Hiwassee remained in the Ocoee District of the Cherokee nation and was not opened to white settlement until 1836. Most of the Cherokee residents were removed as part of the Trail of Tears in 1838, crossing the Tennessee in Meigs County at Blythe's Ferry. A few Cherokee residents remained, notably John Miller, Richard Taylor, Colonel Gideon Morgan, and John Jolly. The Meigs County government, Tennessee Valley Authority, National Park Service, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have planned a monument near the Hiwassee inscribed with names of the Cherokees removed in 1838, as well as a walking trail along part of a removal route. Construction of the memorial and surrounding park at the former site of Blythe Ferry began in 1998, and parts of the park are already open to the public. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: MEIGS COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 217 square miles (561 km2), of which, 195 square miles (505 km2) of it is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) of it (10.11%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Roane County, Tennessee (North)
  • McMinn County, Tennessee (East)
  • Bradley County, Tennessee (Southeast)
  • Hamilton County, Tennessee (South)
  • Rhea County, Tennessee (West)


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