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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)

Obion County, Tennessee

Obion County Education, Geography, and History

Obion County, Tennessee Courthouse

Obion County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 31,807. The county seat is Union City. The county was formed in 1823 and organized in 1824. It was named after the Obion River.

Obion County is part of the Union City, TN–KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Martin-Union City, TN-KY Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Obion County Name

Named for the Obion River, chief watercourse of the area, the origin of the name of which is obscure: possibly an Indian word meaning "many prongs" or the name of a French-Irish explorer.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Obion County

Created 1823 from Indian lands; named for the Obion River, chief watercourse of the area, the origin of the name of which is obscure: possibly an Indian word meaning "many prongs" or the name of a French-Irish explorer.

Obion County was formed in 1823 from Indian lands (Acts of Tennessee 1823, Chapter 114).

There was an earthquake at the Obion County courthouse in 1842.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Created on October 24, 1823, and organized on January 19, 1824, Obion County included what is now Lake County until 1870. The county took its name from the Obion River; the word Obion is thought to be an Indian word meaning "many forks." Situated in the rolling hills of northwest Tennessee, Obion County has earned the nickname "Land of Green Pastures."

Many early settlers were Scots-Irish from the Carolinas and Virginia. The first known white settler was Elisha Parker, who arrived in the area in 1819. In 1820 Colonel W. M. Wilson settled three miles southwest of the future town of Troy; organization of Obion County took place in his cabin. Davy Crockett was among those present on March 16, 1825, when the county seat of Troy was laid out. Crockett's association with the history of Obion County is well known; he served the area in the US House of Representatives, and his claim of a record kill of 103 bears was made in Obion County.

The history of Union City, the present county seat, was tied to the railroads. Laid out in 1854 by General George Gibbs on land he received in 1829, the town derived its name from the intersection of the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: OBION COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 555 square miles (1,438 km2), of which, 545 square miles (1,411 km2) of it is land and 10 square miles (27 km2) of it (1.88%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Fulton County, Kentucky (north)
  • Weakley County (east)
  • Gibson County (southeast)
  • Dyer County (southwest)
  • Lake County (west)


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