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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)

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Overton County, Tennessee

Overton County Education, Geography, and History

Overton County, Tennessee Courthouse

Overton County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 22,083. Its county seat is Livingston.

Overton County is part of the Cookeville, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Overton County Name

Named in honor of John Overton (1766-1833), pioneer attorney, supporter of Andrew Jackson, Tennessee Supreme Court judge, cofounder (with Jackson and James Winchester) of Memphis.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Overton County

Overton County, Tennessee was formed in 1806 from Jackson County, Tennessee and Indian lands. The county was named for Andrew Jackson's friend Judge John Overton, Judge of the State Supreme Court, and co-founder, with Andrew Jackson and James Winchester, of Memphis. In 1835 the county seat was moved from Monroe to Livingston. There was an election in 1835 to see if the people preferred Monroe or Livingston. Jesse Eldridge and ten others who favored Monroe, started out to vote but stopped overnight in the Oakley community. Eldridge, who personally favored Livingston, arose early in the morning and released the horses of the others who favored Monroe. He then rode to Monroe and voted.

Overton County was originally a part of Davidson County and later Jackson County. In 1805 Moses Fisk surveyed the first village in what is now the community of Hilham. On September 12, 1806, the area of Overton County was established by the state legislature as a county. The Indian Territory that had been within, in which Cherokee Chief Nettle Carrier presided over, was conceded to Tennessee for use by the white man. Overton County, at one time, included part of the territory that eventually became Fentress, Clay, Pickett, and Putnam counties, and since many of the early records of these counties have been partially or entirely destroyed, the extant records of Overton County are important.

The original courthouse was burned by Captain John Francis and a band of Confederate guerillas from Kentucky in April of 1865. This sensless act so close to the end of the Civil War might have destroyed all early County Records had it not been for County Register of deeds James Richardson. Mr. Richardson had hidden the county deed books in the cellar of his home. A few record books in the offices of the County Clerk, the circuit Court Clerk and the clerk and master were also saved.

Overton County was formed in 1806 from Jackson County and Indian lands. (Acts of Tennessee 1806 [2nd Session], Chapter 27).

There was a fire at the Overton County courthouse in 1865.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Named in honor of Nashville judge John Overton, Overton County was carved out of Jackson County on September 12, 1806. With an area of 434 square miles, the newly created county encompassed all of what is now Fentress County, as well as portions of Clay, Putnam, Cumberland and Scott Counties. It is situated on the escarpment of the Highland Rim to the west and the Cumberland Plateau to the east.

Prior to the establishment of the county the area had been used as a hunting preserve by Native Americans, and white encroachment into the area violated existing treaties with the Indians. In the Alpine community the Cherokee inhabitants were referred to as "Nettle Carrier" Indians and were friendly with white explorers. In 1763 a party of Long Hunters explored the area and camped for a time at the current location of Waterloo on Spring Creek and later along the Roaring River. A number of the Long Hunters chose to remain, to the chagrin of the Cherokees. In 1769 one of those frontiersmen, Robert Crockett, was ambushed in the Oak Hill area and killed; he is purported to be the first white man to die in Middle Tennessee. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: OVERTON COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 435 square miles (1,126 km2), of which, 433 square miles (1,122 km2) of it is land and 1 square miles (4 km2) of it (0.33%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Pickett County (northeast)
  • Fentress County (east)
  • Putnam County (south)
  • Jackson County (west)
  • Clay County (northeast)
  • Cumberland County (south)


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