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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)

White County, Tennessee

White County Education, Geography, and History

White County, Tennessee Courthouse

White County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 25,841. Its county seat is Sparta.

Etymology - Origin of White County Name

Named in honor of John White (1751-1846), Revolutionary War soldier who saw action at Brandywine, Germantown and Stony Point, and was the first white settler of White County.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of White County

Created 1806 from Jackson and Smith counties; named in honor of John White (1751-1846), Revolutionary War soldier who saw action at Brandywine, Germantown and Stony Point, and was the first white settler of White County.

White County was formed in 1806 from Jackson and Smith counties
(Acts of Tennessee 1806, Chapter 36).

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
The Tennessee General Assembly established White County on September 11, 1806, from a part of Smith County and named the new county for John White, one of the first settlers in the area. The Knowels, Rascos, and Swindells were among other early settlers; John H. Howell brought his family from North Carolina to a cave near Burgess Falls.

White County's first court was held at the house of Joseph Terry at Rock Island, now in Warren County. In 1809 the state legislature authorized the establishment of a county seat at Sparta. Commissioners Thomas Bounds, Benjamin Weaver, Aaron England, Turner Lane, James Fulkerson, Alexander Lowry, and Nicholas Gillentine laid out the town. The first courthouse was constructed of logs in 1810; in that same year, Eli Sims, a native of Ireland, came to White County. He established the county's first cotton gin, and in 1824 he and his slaves built a two-story brick house that still stands outside of Sparta and is recognized as the county's first brick dwelling.

White County furnished soldiers for the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. In addition to the men who served on both sides of the Civil War, aggressive partisan units on both sides settled old scores and kept the Upper Cumberland in turmoil. The most notorious of these partisans was Samuel W. "Champ" Ferguson. General Braxton Bragg also moved his army through Sparta on his way to Kentucky in 1862. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: WHITE COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 379 square miles (983 km2), of which, 377 square miles (975 km2) of it is land and 3 square miles (7 km2) of it (0.74%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Putnam County (North)
  • Cumberland County (East)
  • Bledsoe County (Southeast)
  • Van Buren County (South)
  • Warren County (Southwest)
  • DeKalb County (West)


White County High School

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