James County

James County

James County was formed in 1871 from
Bradley and Hamilton counties

(Acts of Tennessee 1870-71, Chapter 66)

It was abolished in 1919 and incorporated into
Hamilton County where its records are held.

The county seat was Ooltewah.


Selected Published County Histories
  • *James County : A Lost County of Tennessee (Donnelly, 1983) [name index]*


Published Local Records
  • 1880 Census, James County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1991) [alphabetical by head of household]*
  • James County, TN Marriages, 1913-1919 (Douthat, 1986) [surname index]*


Local Records on Microfilm

Most James County records were destroyed by fire. A few scattered records are stored at the Hamilton County courthouse and the Chattanooga Bicentennial Library.  An inventory of microfilmed James County records is available on our website.  Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.    


Selected Manuscripts Material
  • Bradley County Miscellaneous Records, ca. 1835-1960 (Microfilm Manuscript #561, 1 reel)

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 


Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for James County:  1880, 1900-1910
  • State-wide census index:  1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm  (Soundex):  1880,  1900-1910
  • James County census records in book form:  1880*


Additional Research Aids for James County

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


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James County Formation Act



"An Act to establish a new county out of portions of the territory of Hamilton and Bradley counties, to be called the county of James, in honor of the late Jesse J. James."


SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county be, and the same is hereby established out of fractions of the territory of Hamilton and Bradley counties, to be known as James County.

SECTION 2. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the said county of James shall be bounded as follows:  Beginning at the corner of Hamilton, Bradley and Meigs county lines;  thence running along and with said Meigs County line to the middle of the Tennessee River;  thence down the middle of said river to the Dallas Island, leaving the said Dallas Island in the new county;  thence continuing down the middle of said river to a point opposite the mouth of the Harrison Spring branch, where it enters into the said river below Harrison;  from thence south-east of the residence of the late George House, on the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad;  thence south, south-west of the Georgia stat line, at or near Blackwell’s Ford on Chicamauga Creek; thence with the Georgia state line to a point midway between Fayette Howard’s residence in Bradley County, and the Hamilton County line;  and thence north-west along Antioch Ridge across the old Alabama road, to T.C. Jones’, leaving the said Hinche in the new county; and thence to the Hamilton County line at Johnson’s Gap on White Oak Mountain;  and thence with the Bradley County line to the beginning.

SECTION 3. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the purposes of organizing said county of James, the following named persons are appointed commissioners, to-wit:  James Talley,  P. L. Matthews,  James Childress,  Jesse A. Green,  James Guthrie,  James Rogers,  W. A. Pollard, of the county of Hamilton;  and Nathan Hinche and George Wells, of the county of Bradley;  who shall, before entering upon the duties herein specified, take an oath before some justice of the peace, faithfully and impartially to  discharge their duties as such commissioners; and in case of vacancy from any cause, or refusal to act on the part of any commissioner, his place shall be filled by the other commissioners, who shall elect his successor from the fraction of the county in which the vacancy occurred.   A majority of said commissioners shall constitute a board competent to do all things enjoined upon them as such commissioners;  and they shall keep a record of their proceedings, which shall be returned by them to the County Court of said county of James, at its first session, and the same shall be recorded by the clerk thereof on the records of said court.

SECTION 4. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the people of the said fractions of Hamilton and Bradley counties in which they reside, as to the creation of said new county of James, said commissioners shall cause, at as early a day as practicable,  an election to be opened and held in the fractions of the old counties that are to be included in the new county;  at which election those voting for the new county shall have written or printed on their tickets or ballots, the words, “New County;”  and those voting against it shall have written or printed on their tickets the words, “Old County;”  and said commissioners shall have power to appoint suitable persons to open and hold said election;  and such persons so appointed shall have power to appoint deputies, clerks and judges, and by themselves or deputies, to administer all necessary oaths, and do and perform all other duties necessary to the proper holding of said election.  Said election shall be held as such times and places as may be designated by said commissioners, and upon such notice of time and place as said commissioners shall direct.

SECTION 5. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the qualified voters of the fractions of aforesaid, composing said new county of James, in the election provided for in the 4th Section of this act, shall vote at the election held in and for the fraction of the old county in which he resides;  provided, that if there is more than one place of voting in said fraction, then it shall be lawful for said voter to cast his vote in any one of the said places.

SECTION 6. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the persons appointed and holding said election, shall make return of said election to said commissioners, at such time an place as they may designate in the order directing said election to be held, and who shall receive and count the vote of each fraction separately;  and if the requisite constitutional majority is found in favor of the new county, then the said commissioners shall proceed to complete the organization of said county as hereinafter directed. 

SECTION 7. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That whenever it shall be ascertained by the election aforesaid, that the vote of the people of the said fractions of said old counties are in favor of the said new county of James, then the commissioners aforesaid shall appoint not less than three, nor more than five, suitable persons, whose duty it shall be to divide said county into civil districts of convenient size, and fix the place of voting in each district.  The numbers of said districts shall not exceed four for every one hundred square miles of said new county.

SECTION 8. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That as soon as said new county is laid off into civil districts, the said commissioners shall appoint suitable persons to open and hold an election in said new county, for the purpose of electing officers to the various county and district offices provided for by law for each county in this state;  and such persons, so appointed, shall have full power and authority to appoint deputies, clerks and judges; and, by themselves and deputies, to administer all necessary oaths, and to do and perform all the duties incumbent upon them as officers of an election; said election be held at the time to be fixed by the commissioners, upon the usual notice, and at the places designated in each civil district, as provided for in section 7, and make due return thereof as the law directs.

SECTION 9. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That said commissioners, as soon as it is ascertained that the people of the said fractions of said old counties have voted in favor of the new county, shall designate a temporary county site for said new county, and procure a suitable building in which to hold the courts in said county, until an election by the people can be held for the purpose of locating, permanently, the county side of said county;  and the County Court of said county, at its first session, shall order an election to be held for the purpose of establishing the permanent county site; and said election shall be held and conducted , and returns made as now provided by law for the elections.   Each voter shall have written or printed on his ticket or ballot, the name of the place at which he desires the county site; and the place receiving the highest number of votes, shall be the permanent county site;  and the County Court of said county shall proceed, as soon after the election as practicable, to locate the said site, and to procure the erection of the necessary county buildings.

SECTION 10. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That said commissioners shall have power to make any change, in the lines of said new county, if found necessary, so as to conform with the requirements of the constitution of this state.

SECTION 11. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the County Court of Hamilton County, and the County Court of said new county of James, may appoint, each, two commissioners to settle any and all questions that may arise between the two counties, in reference to the county property of Hamilton County which may be included in the limits of the new county, whose decisions, if they agree, shall be final;  but, should they fail to agree, then they, the commissioners so appointed, shall choose a fifth person, as additional commissioner, and a decision of a majority of the commissioners shall be final; and the taxes to be assessed and collected for state and county purposes, for the year 1871, if said county is established, shall be collected for the new county.

SECTION 12. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That before the said new county shall be established, the commissioners appointed under this act, shall cause an actual survey of said county to be made, and an actual enumeration of the qualified voters in the limits of said county, in order that it may be ascertained if the said new county has the required number of square miles, and the number of voters as required by the constitution.

SECTION 13. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this act shall tak [sic] effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.


Passed on January 30, 1871


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