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)

Rutherford County, Tennessee

Rutherford County Education, Geography, and History

Rutherford County, Tennessee Courthouse

Rutherford County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 262,604 and 288,906 in 2014, making it the fifth-most populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Murfreesboro, which is also the geographic center of Tennessee. As of 2010, it is the center of population of Tennessee.

Rutherford County is included in the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Rutherford County Name

Named in honor of Griffith Rutherford (1721-1805), North Carolina legislator, Indian War soldier, chairman of the legislature of the Territory South of the River Ohio (later Tennessee).


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Rutherford County

Created 1803 from Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties; named in honor of Griffith Rutherford (1721-1805), North Carolina legislator, Indian War soldier, chairman of the legislature of the Territory South of the River Ohio (later Tennessee).

Rutherford County was formed in 1802 from Davidson, Williamson and White counties. (Private Acts of Tennessee 1803, Chapter 70).

There was a tornado at the Rutherford County courthouse in 1832.

Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
Created in 1803, Rutherford County came from sections of Davidson, Wilson, Williamson, and Sumner Counties and is named in honor of Griffith Rutherford, an Irish immigrant who served on the council of the Southwest Territory. The county's 619 square miles encompass the geographic center of the state.

Until 1794 the land that is Rutherford County was the seasonal hunting and fishing ground of the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Shawnees, Creeks, and Choctaws. Early maps depict the Nickajack Trail and the Creek War Trace converging near present-day Murfreesboro at the springs camp of Black Fox, a noted Cherokee chief. After a series of treaties negotiated between settlers and native tribes failed, militia under Nashville founder James Robertson wiped out Black Fox's camp. The Cherokees last used the camp springs site of the legendary leader as they were forcibly marched along the Trail of Tears to reservations in Oklahoma.

Stones River, a major tributary of the Cumberland River named for explorer Uriah Stone around 1767, provided a transportation route and water source for settlers and power for mills built throughout the county. Jefferson, a river town now covered by the waters of Percy Priest Lake, was the first county seat. Centrally located Murfreesboro gained county seat status in 1811. From 1818 to 1826 Murfreesboro was the capital of Tennessee. Smyrna, LaVergne, and Eagleville are incorporated towns within the county. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: RUTHERFORD COUNTY

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 624 square miles (1,616 km2), of which, 619 square miles (1,603 km2) of it is land and 5 square miles (13 km2) of it (0.81%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Wilson County (north)
  • Cannon County (east)
  • Coffee County (southeast)
  • Bedford County (south)
  • Marshall County (southwest)
  • Williamson County (west)
  • Davidson County (northwest)


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