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)

Sumner County, Tennessee

Sumner County Education, Geography, and History

Sumner County, Tennessee Courthouse

Sumner County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 160,645. Its county seat is Gallatin, and its largest city is Hendersonville. The county is named for American Revolutionary War hero General Jethro Sumner.

Sumner County is part of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Sumner County Name

Named in honor of Jethro Sumner (1733-1785), French and Indian War soldier, Revolutionary War commander at Charleston, Brandywine and Germantown who defended North Carolina against Cornwallis in 1780.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Sumner County

Created 1786 from Davidson County; named in honor of Jethro Sumner (1733-1785), French and Indian War soldier, Revolutionary War commander at Charleston, Brandywine and Germantown who defended North Carolina against Cornwallis in 1780.

Sumner County was formed in 1786 from Davidson County. (Public Acts of Tennessee 1786, Chapter 32).

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Archaeological evidence in Sumner County indicates occupation by Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian cultures in the deep past. Two easily accessible prehistoric mounds stand at Castalian Springs, where Native Americans for centuries came to hunt the game which gathered at the springs and its salt lick. The first white long hunters included Henry, Charles, and Richard Skaggs, and Joseph Drake in 1765. Among other early explorers and long hunters were James Smith and an eighteen-year-old male mulatto slave in 1766, and Kasper Mansker, Isaac Bledsoe, and others in 1771-72. The first permanent settler was the fearless Thomas Sharp Spencer, who earned that distinction by living several months in the hollow of a sycamore tree at Bledsoe's Lick in 1776, then planting crops and building cabins from 1776 to 1779. By 1783 settlers had erected three forts--Mansker's, Bledsoe's, and Asher's--for protection against Indian attack.

In 1786 the North Carolina General Assembly created Sumner County and named it for Revolutionary War General Jethro Sumner. The rolling hills and well-watered lands attracted pioneer leaders of the stature of Daniel Smith and Anthony Bledsoe as well as those of more meager means such as Hugh Rogan. However, Native Americans did not passively accept this frontier advance; periodic warfare resulted in the deaths of both Indians and settlers, including Robert Peyton, the last known Sumner settler killed by Indians. The opening of wagon roads, the influx of new settlers, and a preemptive strike at the Indian raiders' base village of Nickajack ended the Indian wars by 1795. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: SUMNER COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

Sumner County is located in Middle Tennessee along the northern boundary of the state, on the border with Kentucky. The Cumberland River was important to early trade and transportation, as it merges with the Ohio River to the west. Sumner County is in the Greater Nashville metropolitan area. As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 543 square miles (1,407 km2), of which, 529 square miles (1,371 km2) of it is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) of it (2.54%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Davidson County (southwest)
  • Macon County (east)
  • Robertson County (west)
  • Trousdale County (southeast)
  • Wilson County (south)
  • Allen County, Kentucky (northeast)
  • Simpson County, Kentucky (northwest)


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