Overton County was formed in 1806 from
Jackson County and Indian lands
(Acts of Tennessee 1806 [2nd Session], Chapter 27)
The county seat is Livingston.
There was a fire at the Overton County courthouse in 1865.
Selected Published County Histories
- Bicentennial Echoes of the History of Overton County, Tennessee, 1776-1976 (Eldridge, 1976) *
- Echoes From the Foothills (Livingston Academy, 1952)*
- History of Overton County, Tennessee (Overton County Historical Book Committee, 1992) [surname index]*
- Our Wonderful Overton County Heritage (Knight, 198?)
- Overton County: An Informal History (Oakley, 2006)
- Overton County, Tennessee, Pictorial History (1996) [surname index]
- This & That: Genealogy, History, Overton County, Tennessee (Dishman, 2008)
Additional county and community histories can be found at the Bibliography of Tennessee Local History Sources: Overton County. The items in the bibliography may not all be available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Published Local Records
- 15th Census of the United States, 1930: Overton County, Tennessee (Gann, 2002) [name index]*
- 1820 Overton County, Tennessee Census (Cox, 2005) [name index of head of household]
- 1836 Overton County, Tennessee, Civil Districts & Tax Lists (Douthat, 2001) [name index]*
- 1862 Tax List for Overton County, Tennessee (Tate, 1996) [name index]*
- 1880 Census, Overton County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1993) [alphabetical by head of household]*
- 1900 Overton County, Tennessee Census (Manis, 1999) [name index]*
- 1908 Through 1912 Birth and Death Records, Overton County, Tennessee (Dishman, 2001) [surname index]
- 1910 Overton Co., Tn Census Index (Gray, 1996) [alphabetical by head of household]*
- Cumberland Co., Tennessee, Fentress Co., Tennessee, Jackson Co., Tennessee, Loudon Co., Tennessee, Morgan Co., Tennessee, Overton Co. [1891 enumeration of male voters] (Reed, 1990)
- "I Now Pronounce You Man & Wife": Overton Co., Tennessee Marriages, 1867-1927 (Gray, 1996) [alphabetical]*
- Index of Overton County Roll Call : Cemetery Records, 1795-1975 (Norris & Ledford, 19??) [name index]
- Index to Deeds, 1806-1865 [vol. 1 1806-1859; vol. 2 1810-1865] (WPA, 1940) [alphabetical indexes by grantor and grantee]
- Overton County 1850 Census (Pierce, 1989) [surname index]
- Overton County 1870 Census (Pierce, 1990) [name index]*
- Overton County Roll Call [Epitaphs: vol. 2 M-Z] (Norris, 2000) [alphabetical]*
- Overton County Roll Call: Cemetery Records, 1795-1975 (Norris, 1987)*
- Overton County, Tennessee, 1820 Census (Davis, Moulton & Mullins, 1988)
- Overton County, Tennessee, Circuit Court Minutes, 1815-1824 (WPA, 1939) [name index]
- Overton County Tennessee Death Certificates, 1908-1912 (Gray, 1999) [alphabetical]*
- Overton County Tennessee Death Certificates, 1914-1925 (Gray, 1999) [alphabetical]*
- Overton County, Tennessee: Genealogical Records (Whitley, 1983) [surname index]*
- Overton County, Tennessee, Minute Book, 1852-1856 (WPA, 1936) [name index]
- Overton County Tracker: Former Overton Countians Buried Away from Home According to Overton County Newspaper Obituaries (Norris, 2004) [alphabetical listings]
- Overton County Veterans: Spanish American War - Vietnam War (Norris, 2002?) [alphabetical listings by war]
- Reference Docket, 1818-1839, Receipts for Land Tax, 1838-40 [index] (WPA, 1936)
- Revolutionary War Veterans in Overton County, Tennessee (Stover & Elliott, 2020)
Local Records on Microfilm
An inventory of microfilmed Overton County records is available on our website. Individual reels of microfilm may also be purchased.
Earliest records include:
- marriages from 1867
- wills from 1870
- inventories of estates from 1848
- deed index from 1806
- chancery court minutes from 1846
- county court minutes from 1837
- circuit court minutes from 1815
- tax books from 1872
The following reels are available on interlibrary loan from the Library and Archives:
- Deed Index -- 1806-1904 (#32, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1801-1813 (#33, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1814-1825 (#34, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1823-1838 (#35, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1836-1845 (#36, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1835-1851 (#37, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1851-1858 (#38, 1 reel)*
- Deeds -- 1846-1865 (#39, 1 reel)*
- Inventories -- 1848-1861 (#21, 1 reel)*
- WPA Records, Overton County (Record Group #107, Roll 64, 1 reel). Roll includes General Index to Deed Books A-Q (1806-1865), Circuit Court Minute Book (1815-1824), County Court Minute Book (1852-1856), Reference Docket (1818-1822) and Receipts for Land Tax (1838-1840).*
Newspapers on Microfilm
Newspapers were published in Livingston. Scattered early issues are available from 1888, and a complete run begins in 1943. 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
- R. L. Mitchell, Jr., Ledgers and Diaries, 1884-1934 (Microfilm Manuscript #1563, 2 reels)*
Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog
- Census on microfilm for Overton County: 1820-1880, 1900-1930
- State-wide census index: 1820-1880
- State-wide census index on microfilm (Soundex): 1880, 1900-1930
- Overton County census records in book form: 1820, 1850, 1870*, 1880*, 1900*, 1910*, 1930*
Additional Research Aids for Overton County
- County Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications
- Early Tennessee Tax Lists at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Funeral Home Records at the Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Index to Tennessee Death Records 1908-1912
- Index to Tennessee Death Records 1914-1933
- School Census Records
- Tennessee World War I Veterans
* Indicates this title may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan from the Library and Archives.
Overton County Formation Act
ACTS OF TENNESSEE (Second Session) 1806, CHAPTER 27:
"An Act to reduce Jackson County to constitutional limits, & to form a new county east of the military reservation."
SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That the county of Jackson shall be reduced to constitutional limits, to wit: Beginning at the north east corner of Smith County, running thence east with the northern boundary of the state, to the south bank of Cumberland River, being the north east corner of the military reservation; thence south with the military line, twenty-one miles; thence south, twenty-three degrees east, so far as is necessary to leave six hundred and twenty-five square miles in the county of Jackson; thence west to the eastern boundary of Smith County, and with the same to the beginning.
SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That Thomas Draper, Henry M’Kinney, Ferdinand Hamilton, William Sullivan and John Dillingham, be, and are hereby appointed commissioners, who, or a majority of them, shall have full power and authority to purchase or procure sixty acres of land, as near the center of said county, as water and other conveniences will admit or is practicable, on some part of which shall be erected the court house, prison an stocks for the said county, upon the best terms it can be obtained, either by donation or otherwise, and to take a deed or deeds of conveyance for the same, in their own names, as commissioners in trust for the county, which shall be good or valid in law or equity, and shall vest in them and their successors in office, a complete title for the uses in this act expressed; and the said commissioners shall, by a majority, have pull power to elect any person or persons to fill any vacancies that may happen in their own body.
SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That the said commissioners, or a majority of them, shall within one month after obtaining a title to sixty acres of land, as aforesaid, cause a town to be laid off thereon, to be called and known by the name of Williamsburg, for county purposes, reserving two acres as near the center thereof, as may be convenient, on which shall be erected the court house, prison and stock for said county, which two acres in the plan of said town, shall be denominated the public square.
SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That the said commissioners, be, and are hereby authorized to sell the lots of said town at public sale, on a credit of twelve months, giving sixty days previous notice in the Tennessee Gazette, and by advertisement at six of the most public places in said county, and shall take bond and security for the payment of the purchase money, to themselves and successors in office; and the said commissioners, or a majority of them, are hereby authorized to execute in due form of law, deeds of conveyance in fee simple for the same, to each purchaser, which shall be good and valid in law to all intents and purposes, and the money arising from the sale of the aforesaid lots, shall be applied by the said commissioners to the building of the court house, prison and stocks; and they are authorized to contract with a suitable person or persons to erect the same, and the court house, to contain convenient rooms for juries, and the prison to consist of two rooms at least.
SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the said commissioners shall keep a fair and regular account of all monies by them received and expended, which shall be laid before the court of the said county, when demanded; and if the monies arising from the sale of said lots, shall not be sufficient to defray the expenses of sixty acres of land, and erecting the court house, prison and stocks thereon, the court shall have full power by a county tax to make up the deficiency: PROVIDED, that two thirds of the acting justices are present when the taxes are laid: AND PROVIDED ALSO, That the said tax shall not exceed twelve and one half cents on each white poll: not exceeding twenty-five cents on each blackpoll; not exceeding one dollar upon each stud horse kept for mares; not exceeding twelve and one half cents on every hundred acres of land; not exceeding five dollars on each merchant, pedlar or hawker, in any one year; which tax shall be collected in the same manner, and by the same persons, as public taxes are; and the monies arising from the taxes shall be paid by the collector thereof, first deducting the same per cent. as is by law allowed for the collection of public taxes, into the hands of the aforesaid commissioners, or a majority of them, to be applied to the purposes aforesaid.
SECTION 6. BE IT ENACTED, That the aforesaid commissioners shall give bond with sufficient security, in the sum of five thousand dollars, payable to the chairman of the court of said county, and his successors in office, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties enjoined on them by this act.
SECTION 7. BE IT ENACTED, That the courts of pleas and quarter sessions for the county of Jackson, shall have power to compel the said commissioners to lay before them, as soon as said buildings are finished, a fair and regular statement of the costs and expenses of the said purchase and buildings, together with their receipts for disbursements, and shall allow them a reasonable compensation for their services: PROVIDED, a majority of said court be present when said allowance is made, and shall give them a certificate for the same, signed by the clerk thereof, which shall be paid by the county as aforesaid.
SECTION 8. BE IT ENACTED, That a new county be, and is hereby established by the name of Overton, on the east of Jackson County, bounded as follows: Beginning at the north east corner thereof, where Cumberland River enters the state; thence south twenty-one miles; thence south, twenty-three degrees east, parallel with the upper boundary of Jackson County, about four miles to the wilderness road leading from Walton's Ferry; thence along the said road to the western boundary of Roane County; thence northwardly along the same, to the north boundary of this state; thence along the same west, to the beginning, including the territory within the bounds specified in the petition of the inhabitants resident therein, exhibited to the General Assembly at this session, which bounds so specified in said petition, begin as above, and run south twenty-one miles; thence south, twenty-three degrees east four miles; thence east twenty-five miles; thence north twenty-three degrees west four miles; thence due north twenty-one miles, to the north boundary line of this state; then west with the same to the beginning.
SECTION 9. BE IT ENACTED, That the first court to be held for the county of Overton, shall be held at the house of Benjamin Totton, and all subsequent courts until altered by law, shall have and exercise similar powers with any other county court in this state.
SECTION 10. BE IT ENACTED, That all elections for members of the General Assembly, the governor, and members of congress, shall be held at the court house, or place of holding court in said county, on the days on which elections for such purposes are authorized to be held; and the sheriff of the county of Overton, shall meet the sheriff of Jackson County, at the court house of said county of Jackson, on the succeeding Monday, and with him examine the respective polls of election for both counties, and declare the person who may have the greatest number of votes duly elected to the General Assembly, and give certificates accordingly; and it shall be the duty of said sheriff, to transmit a statement of said polls of election for governor and members of congress, to the speaker of the senate, in the same manner as directed by law.
SECTION 11. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county of Overton, to hold an election at the place of holding court, on the first Thursday and succeeding day in February next, for the purpose of electing one colonel and two majors for said county, under the rules, regulations and restrictions, as are prescribed by law for the election of such officers.
SECTION 12. BE IT ENACTED, That the election for company officers for said county, shall be held at their respective muster grounds, on the third Thursday in February next, in the same manner and form as is appointed by law for electing company militia officers.
SECTION 13. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be lawful for the sheriff of Jackson County, to collect the taxes for the year eighteen hundred and six, and all arrearages of taxes for any preceding year, and in the same manner, and with as full authority, as if this law had never been passed.
SECTION 14. BE IT ENACTED, That the county of Overton shall be in all cases whatsoever, considered as part of the district of Winchester.
Passed on September 11, 1806
Overton 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.
Overton County in General
- Allred, Charles E. & Samuel W. Atkins. An economic analysis of farming in Overton County, TN. Knoxville, UT Dept. Ag., 1927. 127 pp.
- Allred, Charles E. Education of farmers' wives & children in four counties of TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 43 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #27)
- Allred, Charles E. Farm organization by land class on the Eastern Highland Rim. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1939. 31 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #89)
- Allred, Charles E. Farm organization by soil type on the Eastern Highland Rim. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1939. 37 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #90)
- Allred, Charles E. Rural relief in Overton County, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1936. 33 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #4)
- Allred, Charles E. Significant changes in agriculture of north-eastern Highland Rim. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 41 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #61)
- Allred, Charles E. Social factors associated with land class in Overton County, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1940. 36 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #105)
- Allred, Charles E. Soil conservation practices in actual use by farmers, Eastern Highland Rim. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1937. 38 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #26)
- Allred, Charles E. Some economic factors associated with land class in Overton County, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1940. 57 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #100)
- Allred, Charles E. Some problems of rural relief in TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1935. 17 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #1)
- Alpine, TN., 1030; Cincinnati to Cumberland Falls, KY. 1990 1 videocassette ca. 15 min. (originally made as a home movie by Dr. Hugh W. MacMillan; shows shots of Alpine Institute & Christ Church, among others)
- Atkins, Samuel W. An economic analysis of farming in Overton County, TN. UT thesis, 1927. pp.
- Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Overton County, Preliminary # 20). Nashville, TSLA, 1970. 49 pp.
- Bonser, Howard J. Farm size in relation to land use, yields, volume, & value of production, & total nutrients, Overton County, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1944. 53 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #173)
- Braden, Kenneth S. "The Wizard of Overton: Governor A.H. Roberts." THQ 43 (1984), pp. 273-294.
- Butts, Charles. Geology & oil possibilities of the northern part of Overton County, TN, & of adjoining parts of Clay, Pickett & Fentress counties. Nashville, Williams Printing Co., 1919. 45 pp.
- Collins, W. Eugene. Local rehabilitation proposals for a TN rural county. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1936. 20 pp. (its Rural research series monograph #6)
- Crabtree, Lillian G. Songs & ballads sung in Overton County, TN: a collection. George Peabody College thesis, 1936. 316 pp.
- Dale Hollow Dam & Reservoir Project Obey River, TN. By the Corps of Engineers, US Army, Ohio River Division, Real Estate Branch, Columbus, OH. Columbus, the Corps, n.d. 1 v.
- Dickinson, W. Calvin. "Log houses in Overton County, TN." TN Anthrop. 15 (1990), pp. 1-12.
- Eldridge, Robert L. & Mary Eldridge. Bicentennial echoes of the history of Overton County, TN, 1776-1976. N.p., 1976. 226 pp.
- Glenn, Leonidas C. The northern TN coalfield included in Overton [& other] counties. Nashville, TN Div. Geol., 1925. 478 pp. (its Bulletin #33-B)
- Goodpasture, Albert V. & William H. Goodpasture. Life of Jefferson Dillard Goodpasture, to which is appended a genealogy of the family of James Goodpasture. Nashville, Cumberland Presbyterian Pub. House, 1897. 308 pp.
- Goodpasture, Albert V. Overton County, TN. Address of Albert V. Goodpasture, delivered at Livingston, TN, July 4, 1876. Nashville, the author, 1954. 27 pp.
- Halsell, Orpha. History of Bethlehem Church & early settlers, 1776-1976. N.p., n.d.
- Halsell, Orpha. The Overton Area Group Ministry: twenty years of service, 1968-1988. N.p., 1989. 197 pp.
- Hatfield, Gilbert H. A study of rural cooperative organizations in Overton County, TN. UT thesis, 1929. pp.
- History of Overton County, TN. By Overton County History Book Committee. Dallas, TX, Curtis Media Corp., 1992. 1 vol.
- Hunter, Illard J. Local ability to support public schools in Overton County, TN. TTU thesis, 1962. 95 pp.
- Knight, George A. My album of memories. Knoxville, Southeastern Composition Services, 1971. 134 pp.
- Knight, George A. Our wonderful Overton County heritage. Knoxville, Southeastern Composition Services, 1972. 172 pp.
- Lee, Sara R. "The story of Pats O'Neal." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 30 (1964), pp. 21-26.
- McGlasson, Cleo. "Superstitions & folk beliefs of Overton County." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 7 (1941), pp. 13-27.
- Mason, John E. An analysis of pertinent social & economic factors affecting land use in Overton County, TN: a study in the Southern Appalachians. Washington, D.C., n.p., 1939. 83 pp.
- Mason, John E. A land use plan for Overton County, TN, based on an analysis of pertinent social & economic factors affecting land use. Raleigh, NC, n.p., 1937. 284 pp.
- Melton, Callie M. Pon my honor: folk tales from the upper Cumberland. N.p., 1979. 106 pp.
- Meriwether, Frank H. An assessment of ground water contamination by oil & gas wells in Overton County, TN. TTU thesis, 1988. 152 pp.
- Mitchell, R.L. Overton County, TN around the year 1880: taken from the files of the Livington Enterprise, 1931-1932. N.p., 1968. 32 pp. (made into a scrapbook by Robert L. Eldridge, historian, Overton County, & presented to the library, TTU, 1968)
- Overton County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
- Roaring River state scenic river: 1974 master plan (class I). Nashville, TN Dept. Conservation, 1974. 100 pp.
- Soil survey, Overton County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1909. 24 pp.
- Southern Association of Colleges & Schools. Education Improvement Project. The rural education improvement project: an "umbrella" of three educational improvement programs, one each in Overton County, TN, Wewahtichka, FL, Wheeler County, GA. N.p., the project, 1960. 5 pp.
- TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
- US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Dale Hollow Dam, Dale Hollow Reservoir, Byrdstown, Hilham, Livingston, Alpine, Riverton, Windle, Oklahoma, Crawford, Wilder, Cookeville East, Monterey, Obey City, Clarkrange.
- Wirt, Alvin B. The Upper Cumberland of pioneer times. Washington, D.C., the author, 1954. 82 pp.
- Eldridge, Robert L. & Mrs. Robert L. Eldridge. A history of the First Methodist Church in Livingston, TN, established 1836. Livingston, Enterprise, 1962. 56 pp.
- Livingston Academy. Class of 1952. Echoes from the foothills. Livingston, the Academy, 1952. 129 pp.
- Livingston Woman's Club. Facts concerning Overton County & Livingston. Nashville, 1928. pp. (clippings from the Tennessee Clubwoman, March- April 1928; bound with Goodpasture, A.V. , Overton County. Nashville, 1988)
- Norris, Gary D. The history of Livingston Academy Boys' Basketball, 1956- 1976. Livingston, the author, 1993. 325 pp.
- Whitaker, Sarah G. A history of Livingston Academy from 1909 through 1947. TTU thesis, 1964. 117 pp.
- Oak Hill United Methodist Women's Society. Remembering Oak Hill's past. N.p., Hibbs Printing Co., 1986. pp.