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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)

Pickett County, Tennessee

Pickett County Education, Geography, and History

Pickett County, Tennessee Courthouse

Pickett County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 5,077, making it the least populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Byrdstown.

Etymology - Origin of Pickett County Name

Named in honor of Howell L. Pickett (1847-after 1909), attorney and member of Tennessee state house from Wilson County who moved to Arizona and continued his career in law and politics.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Pickett County

Created 1879 from Fentress and Overton counties; named in honor of Howell L. Pickett (1847-after 1909), attorney and member of Tennessee state house from Wilson County who moved to Arizona and continued his career in law and politics.

Pickett County was formed in 1879 from Fentress and Overton counties (Acts of Tennessee 1879, Chapter 34).

There was a fire at the Pickett County courthouse in 1934.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Located along Tennessee's northern border with Kentucky, Pickett County lies in the picturesque Cumberland Plateau region of upper Middle Tennessee. In 1878 Lem Wright and Howell L. Pickett, legislators from Wilson County, led the move to organize Pickett County. The county was established in 1879 from sections of Overton and Fentress Counties.

The county seat is Byrdstown, where the Pickett County Courthouse, designed in Crab Orchard stone by the Nashville firm of Marr and Holman, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Originally the county seat was to be named Wrightsville after Lem Wright, but at the last minute support went to Colonel Richard Byrd of Kingston, and the county seat was named Byrdstown. During the Civil War, Byrd had struggled to keep Tennessee in the Union and when Tennessee seceded, he joined the Union army. Byrdstown was incorporated in 1917.

The county encompasses 240 square miles with the Obey and Wolf Rivers flowing through the western half of the county. Though hilly, the landscape has supported farming with corn, wheat, oats, grass, and livestock as the primary products. In 1943 Pickett County lost most of its best farmland, as well as a fourth of its population, when the US Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Obey River, creating the Dale Hollow Reservoir. The county continues to be rather sparsely populated, its 2000 population numbering 4,945 residents. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: PICKETT COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 175 square miles (452 km2), of which, 163 square miles (422 km2) of it is land and 12 square miles (30 km2) of it (6.68%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Wayne County, Kentucky (northeast)
  • Scott County (east)
  • Fentress County (southeast)
  • Overton County (southwest)
  • Clay County (west)
  • Clinton County, Kentucky (northeast)


Pickett County High School - High school
Pickett County K-8 - Elementary school/Junior high school

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