Fayette County

Fayette County

Fayette County was formed in 1824 from Indian lands

(Acts of Tennessee 1824, Chapter 36)

The county seat is Somerville.

There was a fire at the Fayette County courthouse in 1925.


Selected Published County Histories
  • 150 Years in Fayette County, Tennessee, 1824-1974 (Fayette County Sesquicentennial, Inc., 1974)
  • Fayette County (Morton, 1989) [name index]*
  • Fayette County: History of Tennessee (Goodspeed, 1990)
  • Fayette County, Tennessee: Tragedy and Confrontation (Walls, 1969)
  • History of Fayette County, Tennessee, 1986 (Fayette County Historical Society, 1986) [surname index]
  • History of Tennessee From the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties (Goodspeed, 1979) [name index]
  • Nineteenth Century Homes of Fayette County (Morton, 1974)*
  • Our Portion of Hell, Fayette County, Tennessee: An Oral History of the Struggle for Civil Rights (Hamberger, 1973)

Additional county and community histories can be found at the Bibliography of Tennessee Local History Sources:  Fayette County. The items in the bibliography may not all be available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.  


Published Local Records
  • 1880 Census, Fayette County, Tennessee (Sistler, 2003?) [alphabetical by head of household]*
  • Cemetery Records from Fayette County, Tennessee (Morton, 1974) [surname index]
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, County Court Minute Book B, 1840-1844 (West, 1983) [name index]*
  • Fayette County Cousins: Fayette County, Tennessee, Some Early Settlers & Their Descendants [2 vols.] (Morris, 2012)
  • Fayette County, Tennessee Deed Books [vol. 1 April 1825-February 1835;   vol. 2 February 1835-July 1837] (Hutchings, 2001-) [name index]*
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, History of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Somerville, Tennessee (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, Immanuel Episcopal Church Record, 1848-1854 (WPA, 19??) [name index]
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, Marriage Record Book A, 1838-1857 (WPA, 1936) [name index]*
  • Fayette County, Tennessee Marriages 1838-1857 (Swenson & Ingmire, 1981) [surname index]
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, Marriages, 1838-1871 (Sistler, 1989) [alphabetical by bride and groom]
  • Fayette County, Tennessee, Minute Book A, 1824-29 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Private Acts of Fayette County, Tennessee (McIntyre, 1994)
  • Seventh Census of the United States, 1850: Fayette County, Tennessee, Free Population Schedules (Carpenter, 1979) [surname index]
  • Transcription of the Historical Record of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Gallaway, Tennessee, 1879 (Rosser & Cargill, 1992) [name index]


Local Records on Microfilm

An inventory of microfilmed Fayette County records is available on our website.  Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.   

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1838
  • wills from 1836
  • deed index from 1825
  • chancery court minutes from 1924
  • county court minutes from 1833
  • circuit court minutes from 1829
  • tax books from 1919

The following reels are available on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives:

  • Estate Settlements -- 1858-1860   (#33, 1 reel)*
  • Inventories -- 1854-1856   (#33, 1 reel)*
  • Marriage Records -- 1838-1871   (#13, 1 reel)*
  • Wills -- 1836-1905   (#34, 1 reel)*
  • WPA Records, Fayette County (Record Group #107, Roll 18, 1 reel). Roll includes Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Minute Book A (1824-1829),  Marriage Records (1838-1857),  Church Minutes of Immanuel Episcopal church, LaGrange, TN (1848-1854) and History of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Sommerville TN (undated).*


Newspapers on Microfilm 

Newspapers were published in Somerville.  Scattered early issues are available from 1840, and a complete run begins in 1957.  Microfilms are loaned to Tennessee libraries.  Individual reels may also be purchased.  An Inventory of Newspapers on Microfilm at the Library and Archives is available on our website.


Selected Manuscripts Material
  • Armstrong Family Letters, 1832-1901 (Microfilm Manuscript #1920, 1 reel) *
  • City of Somerville Records, 1853-1915   (Microfilm Manuscript #622, 1 reel)*
  • Fayette County Miscellaneous Records, ca. 1807-1944   (Microfilm Manuscript #569, 2 reels)*
  • Margaret Travis Gray Genealogical Materials: Gray - King Lineage, 1886-1994   (Microfilm Manuscript #1776, 1 reel)*
  • Moscow Methodist Church Records. Fayette County, 1890-1970  (Microfilm Manuscript #360, 1 reel)*
  • Mount Pleasant Cumberland Presbyterian Church Records. Macon, 1847-1935. St. Thomas Episcopal Church Records. Somerville, 1872-1916   (Microfilm Manuscript #225, 1 reel)*
  • Mt. Pisgah Primitive Baptist Church Records. Fayette County, 1832-1901   (Microfilm Manuscript #361, 1 reel)*
  • Somerville Reporter and Falcon Records. Fayette County, 1882-1906   (Microfilm Manuscript #642, 1 reel)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 


Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for Fayette County:  1830-1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index:  1830-1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm  (Soundex):  1880,  1900-1930
  • Fayette County census records in book form:  1850,  1880*


Additional Research Aids for Fayette County

 *   Indicates this title may be borrowed on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives.


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Fayette County Formation Act


"An Act to establish the county of Fayette."


SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a county, to be called and known by the name of Fayette, be, and the same is hereby, established west of Hardeman and east of Shelby, beginning on the southwest corner of Hardeman County running thence north to the fifty sectional line in the tenth district; thence west to a point one mile west of the third range line in the eleventh district, the east county line, to the south boundary of the state; thence east on said south boundary line, to the beginning.

SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That, for the due administration of justice for said county, the courts of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions and Circuit Courts of said county shall be held at the dwelling-house of Robert G. Thornton, until otherwise provided for by law, to wit: the Courts of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions on the first Monday in December, March, June, and September, and the Circuit Court on the fourth Monday in June and December, in each year, each term to be held one week, if necessary, under the same rules, regulations and restrictions, and to have and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction, that other courts of judicature, of like grades, in this state may have or possess.

SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That the sheriff of said county shall open and hold an election, at the place of holding courts in said county, on the first Thursday, and succeeding day, of January, for the purpose of electing field officers for the militia of said county, under the same rules, regulations and restrictions pointed out by law in similar cases, and the militia of said county shall compose the __regiment.

SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the commandant of said regiment, having been first commissioned and sworn according to law, to divide his regiment into such number of companies as he shall think best for the convenience of said companies; and it shall further be the duty of the said commandant, to issue writs of election for company officers, according to law, as provided for in other cases of elections for company officers.

SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the commissioners appointed by an act of the present session of the General Assembly, entitled "An Act to amend an act appointing commissioners to fix on the permanent seats of justice in the counties therein names," be, and they are hereby, directed to fix upon a site for the seat of justice for the county of Fayette, and that they have all the powers and privileges, an emoluments, in fixing upon the seat of justice in said county, as are given them in the said act, as well as the said act is intended to amend.

SECTION 6. BE IT ENACTED, That the aforesaid county of Fayette shall be attached to the fifteenth solicitorial district, and the eighth judicial circuit, in the state of Tennessee.


Passed on September 29, 1824

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Fayette County Bibliography

PLEASE NOTE that the Tennessee State Library and Archives does not hold copies of all of the items listed in this bibliography. Please check the Tennessee State Library and Archives Online Catalog or visit the Ask Us a Question! web page to contact the Library and Archives and verify we have an item in our collection. We will respond to e-mail requests promptly; response time may vary, depending on the amount of research required to answer your question and the unique nature of your request. If you need immediate assistance you may call the reference desk at (615) 741-2764 or visit us in person.

Subjects :

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Fayette County in General
  • Allred, Charles E. Educational status of rural relief families in TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1936. 41 pp. (its Report #22)
  • Allred, Charles E. Mobility of rural relief families in TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1936. 35 pp. (its Report #14)
  • Allred, Charles E. Relation of education to economic & social status of relief clients in TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 36 pp. (its Report #24)
  • Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Fayette County, Preliminary #46). Nashville, TSLA, 1974. 64 pp.
  • The booster, improving & uniting southern TN. Bolivar, n.p., 1938. unp.
  • Boyd, John. Greenville Dome, Fayette County, TN. N.p., 1940. 18 pp.
  • Cannon, Henry J. Agricultural address of Col. Henry J. Cannon, delivered at the annual agricultural fair of Fayette County, held at Somerville, west TN, October 16, 1855. Memphis Typographical Association, 1855. 26 pp.
  • Community information, Braden, Gallaway, LaGrange, Moscow, Oakland, Piperton, Rossville, Somerville, Williston. Prepared by Weakley County Chamber of Commerce & West TN Ind. Assoc. Jackson, the association. Annual?
  • Cornell-Tompkins County Committee for Free & Fair Elections in Fayette County, TN. Step by step: evolution & operation of the Cornell students' civil rights project in TN, summer, 1964. NY, W.W. Norton, 1965. 128 pp.
  • Cottle, Sarah A. With pen in hand: the story of a southern planter of the nineteenth century based on his diaries & letters. N.p., the author, 1991. 291 pp.
  • Denenberg, R.V. "Students get the vote out; Fayette County, TN." Nation (Aug. 10, 1964), pp. 45-49.
  • Dortch, J.H. An impartial review, the advantages & capabilities of Fayette County, TN: her great agricultural resources, her fine inducements to those who desire cheap, fertile lands. Somerville, Fayette Land Co., 1884. 44 pp.
  • Fayette County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
  • Flood insurance study: Fayette County, TN, unincorporated areas. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1983. 21 pp.
  • Gaines, Tom. Industrial land site survey of Fayette County, TN. Atlanta, Southern Regional Education Board, 1967. 33 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of TN (Fayette County, pp. 797-817, 840-887). Goodspeed, 1887.
  • Hamburger, Robert. Our portion of hell, Fayette County, TN: an oral history of the struggle for civil rights. NY, Links, 1973. 255 pp.
  • The history of Fayette County, TN, 1986. Somerville, Fayette County Hist. Soc., 1986. 289 pp.
  • Hunt, Frankie L. A history of the desegregation of the Fayette County school system, 1954-1980. U. MS dissertation, 1981. 351 pp.
  • Jenkins, Carol L. "Geophagy in Fayette County, TN: a symbolic interpretation." TN Anthrop. 5 (1980), pp. 73-91.
  • MATCOG/MDDD atlas of the cities in the six county area, Crittenden County, AR, DeSoto County, MS, Fayette County, TN, Lauderdale County, TN, Shelby County, TN, Tipton County, TN. Memphis, MATCOG/MDDD, 1976. 45 pp.
  • McKenzie, Robert T. An analysis of the economic efficiency of agricultural tenancy & of its implications for the advancement of the freedmen: Fayette County, TN, 1880: a test case. Vanderbilt U. thesis, 1984. 67 pp.
  • Memphis State University,. Institute of Criminal Justice. Comprehensive plan 1975 for Fayette-Lauderdale-Tipton counties. Memphis, MSU, 1975. 139 pp.
  • Mitchell, Francis H. "Tent City, TN." Ebony (Mar. 1961), pp. 61-67.
  • Morton, Dorothy R. Fayette County. MSU Press, 1989. 137 pp.
  • Morton, Dorothy R. Nineteenth century homes of Fayette County (1974 sesquicentennial ed.) N.p., the author, 1974. 67 pp.
  • 150 years in Fayette County, TN: 1824-1974. Somerville, Fayette County Sesquicentennial, 1974. 52 pp.
  • Parsons, Mildred. "Negro folklore from Fayette County." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 19 (1953), pp. 67-70.
  • Sharing our best. Collierville, Fundcraft Pub., 1978. 60 pp. (cookbook)
  • Sneed, John L.T. Address: on behalf of the Fayette County Monument Association to the people of Fayette County, TN. Memphis, Daily Argus Job Office, 1866. 22 pp.
  • Soil survey, Fayette County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1964. 75 pp.
  • TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Fayette County. Knoxville, TVA, 1935. var. pp.
  • Tent City, "home of the brave." Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO Industrial Union Dept., 1961. 22 pp.
  • Turner, Samuel F. The geology of Fayette County, TN. George Washington U. thesis, 1929. 61 pp.
  • US Comm. on Civil Rights. TN State Advisory Comm. Fear runs deep: a report by the TN State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights open meeting, March 17-18, 1971, Somerville, TN. N.p., the committee, 1971. 26 pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Brighton, Mason, Stanton, Dancyville, Hillville, Arlington, Gallaway, Lambert, Laconia, Whiteville, Eads, Oakland, Macon, Somerville, Hickory Valley, Colliersville, Rossville, Moscow, Moscow SE, Grand Junction, Slayden, Lamar.
  • Walls, Dwayne E. Fayette County, TN: tragedy & confrontation. Atlanta, GA, Southern Regional Council, 1969. 36 pp.
  • Wingfield, Marshall & Earle F. Whittington, eds. "Joshua C. Fleetwood's diary made during a journey on horseback from NC to Fayette County, TN in 1850." WTHSP 10 (1955), pp. 5-19.

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Ames Plantation
  • Barraclough, S. "No plumbing for Negroes: Ames Plantation." Atlantic (Sept. 1965), pp. 105-109.
  • Davidson, Faye T. "Ames Plantation, Grand Junction." THQ 38 (1979), pp. 267-276.
  • Ewing, John A. Planning the Ames Plantation project. Harvard U. dissertation, 1956. pp.

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  • Flood insurance study: city of Gallaway, TN, Fayette County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1982. 11 pp.

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  • Alston, Philip W. An address delivered at the laying of the cornerstone of Immanuel Church, LaGrange. Memphis, Enquirer Office, 1840. 9 pp.
  • DeBerry, John H. "LaGrange - La Belle village." THQ 30 (1971), pp. 133-153.
  • Madonna Circle (Memphis, TN). Welcome to "La Belle Village," LaGrange, TN: an ante-bellum afternoon. Presented by Madonna Circle & LaGrange Civic Club. Memphis, n.p., 196-. 12 pp.

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  • Flood insurance study: city of Moscow, TN, Fayette County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1980. 13 pp.

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  • Flood insurance study: town of Rossville, TN, Fayette County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1980. 13 pp.

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  • Egerton, John. Racial protest in the south -- 1969 style. Nashville, Race Relations Information Center, 1969. 33 pp.
  • Flood insurance study: town of Somerville, TN, Fayette County. Washington, D.C., 1982. 13 pp.


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