Weakley County

Weakley County

Weakley County was formed in 1823 from Indian lands

(Acts of Tennessee 1823, Chapter 112)

The county seat is Dresden.

There was a fire at the Weakley County courthouse in 1948.


Selected Published County Histories
  • Cary Lawn: A Special Place  (Vaughan,  1991)
  • Historical Address Delivered by Col. John A. Gardner, on the Early Times in Weakley County (Gardner & Bolling, 1876)
  • History of Tennessee from the Earliest times to the Present: Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Gibson, Obion, Dyer, Weakley and Lake Counties (Goodspeed, 1978)
  • Life and Times of Greenfield, Tennessee with Sketches of Weakley County (Prins, 1965)*
  • Weakley County (Vaughan, 1983)*
  • Weakley County Bank: Since 1887 (Freeman, 1987)
  • Weakley County, Tennessee: History & Families, 1823-1998 (Weakley County Genealogical Society, 1999) [surname index]

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


Published Local Records
  • 1880 Census of Weakley County, Tennessee [2 vols] (Weakley County Genealogical Society, 1982) [surname index in each volume]*
  • Family Bible Records, Weakley County, Tennessee Families [name index]
  • Guide to the Weakley County Court Records: Held by the University of Tennessee at Martin, Special Collections Department (Weakley County Genealogical Society, 1999) [name index]*
  • Minutes of the County Court of Weakley County, 1827-1846, 1853-1857 [3 vols. in 7 pts.] (WPA, 1941-1942) [name index in vol. 1, pt. 1 and vol. 3, pt. 1]
  • Neighbors in Weakley County, Tennessee: A Land ownership Map, 1827-1833 (Vowell, 1986) [name index]*
  • Private Acts of Weakley County, Tennessee (McIntyre, 1994)
  • They Served the Flag: The Second World War Veterans of Weakley County, Tennessee (Saunders & Downing, 2001) [name index]*
  • Weakley County Obituaries [1967-2011 -- each volume covers one year] [combined index for 1965-2009] (Weakley County Genealogical Society) [name index in each volume]
  • Weakley County, Tenn. Census of 1860 (Willis & Sellers, 1999) [surname index]
  • Weakley County, Tenn. Tax Lists, 1828-29-30-31-32 (Simmons & Willis, 1996) [arranged by year, then by first letter of surname]
  • Weakley County, Tenn., Wills & Administrations [vol 1. 1828-1853; vol. 2 1851-1875; vol. 3 1875-1889; vol. 4 1889-1900] (Willis, 1996- ) [surname index in vols. 1 & 2; name index in vols. 3 & 4]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee: 1850 Census (Porch, 1973?) [surname index]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, 1880 Census (Sistler, 2001) [alphabetical by head of household]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee Cemetery Listings [2 vols.] (Daughters of the American Revolution. James Buckley Chapter, 1980) [surname index in each volume]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee Deed Book [1822-1833] (Crumpton, 2003) [name index]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Grant Book, 1794-1844 (WPA, 1941) [name index]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Marriage Book, no. 1, 1843-53, no. 2, 1846-54 (WPA, 1939) [name index]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Marriage Records [vol. 1 1843-1854; vol. 2 1854-1865; vol. 3 1866-1873; vol. 4 1873-1880] (Martin & Willis, 1996-) [v. 1 name index for grooms; v. 2 surname index for bride & groom; v. 3 surname index for groom; v. 4 surname index for groom, surname index for bride]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Marriage Records [vol. 1 1843-Sept. 4, 1863; vol. 2 Sept. 4, 1863-1878] (Weakley County Genealogical Society, 1980) [both volumes alphabetical by groom with bride index]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Marriage Records [vol. 4 1873-1880;   vol. 5 1880-1886*] (Willis & Griffith, 1997-) [name index for groom, name index for bride]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee Marriages: July 9, 1878-November 20, 1886 (Smith, 1998) [alphabetical by groom, alphabetical by bride]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee Miscellaneous Records [includes James Harrell's Civil War diary, history of Weakley County, cemetery records, muster roll of 2nd Regiment of TN Cavalry, Companies H & I](Hays, 1996) [name index]
  • Weakley County Tennessee Record and Will Book B, 1840-1861 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Record of Occupant Entry, 1827-1833 (WPA, 1941) [name index]
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Register Survey Books, 1784-1857 [2 vols.] (Willis, 1995-) [surname index in each volume]*
  • Weakley County, Tennessee, Vital Statistics, 1908-1912 (Willis, 1997) [surname index]
  • Weakley Remembered (Weakley County, Tennessee) [4 vols. : vol. 1 grants 1794-1844, tax list 1828, 1843, will books 1828-1861, Guardian Book A; vol. 2 Bible & family records; vol. 3 County Court minutes 1827-1835 & 1853-1857, occupant entry books 1827-33, partial land entry claims 1838-1885, and 1850 mortality schedules; vol. 4 Bible & family records] (Baker, 1981)*
  • Will & Record book, 1828-1842 (WPA, 1938) [name index]
  • Wills from Weakley County Will and Record Book, 1828-42 (Daughters of the American Colonists. Isaac Dawson Chapter, 1979) [name index]


Local Records on Microfilm

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

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1843
  • wills from 1828
  • deed index from 1822
  • chancery court minutes from 1827
  • county court minutes from 1828
  • circuit court minutes from 1844
  • tax books from 1842


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

  • Deed Index -- 1825-1876 (#56, 1 reel)*
  • Inventories -- 1852-1858 (#30, 1 reel)*
  • Inventories -- 1858-1881 (#31, 1 reel)*
  • Marriages -- 1843-1866 (#34, 1 reel)*
  • Wills -- 1828-1842; 1834-1861 (#53, 1 reel)*
  • WPA Records, Weakley County  (Record Group #107, Roll 88,  1 reel). Roll includes County Court Minutes, vol. 1, pts. 1-3 (1827-1835),  County Court Minutes, pts. 1 & 2 (1835-1846 & 1853-1857), Marriage License Records No. 1 (1843-1853), Marriage License Records Book 2 (1846-1854), Grant Book (1794-1844), Wills & Records, Book A (1828-1842), Wills & Records, Book B (1840-1861) and Record of Occupant Entry (1827-1833).*


Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspapers were published in Dresden, Greenfield, Martin and Sharon.  Scattered early issues are available from 1840, and a complete run begins in 1935.  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
  • Archelaus Hughes Diaries, 1847-1893 (Microfilm Manuscript #1258,  1 reel)*
  • Archelaus Madison Hughes Diary, 1867-1884 (Microfilm Manuscript #414,  1 reel)*
  • Bondurant Family Papers. Weakley County, 1734-1978 (Microfilm Manuscript #914,  7 reels)*
  • Conner Family Papers, 1817-1940 (Microfilm Manuscript #1176, 1 reel)*
  • First Presbyterian Church Records. Weakley County, 1868-1962 (Microfilm Manuscript #783,  1 reel)*
  • First Baptist Church of Dresden Records. Weakley County, 1910-1983 (Microfilm Manuscript #807,  2 reels)*
  • Galloway Family Papers, 1832-1889 (Microfilm Manuscript #1117,  1 reel)*
  • Gardner Family Papers, 1809-1975 (Microfilm Manuscript #571,  1 reel)*
  • Gardner Family Records, ca. 1800-ca. 1950 (Microfilm Manuscript #638,  1 reel)*
  • Hickory Grove Methodist Episcopal Church, South Records. Weakley County, 1866-1928 (Microfilm Manuscript #846, 1 reel)*
  • Jolley Springs Missionary Baptist Church Records. Weakley County, 1888-1983 (Microfilm Manuscript #750, 1 reel)*
  • Macedonia Primitive Baptist Church Records. Martin, 1824-1969 (Microfilm Manuscript #288, 1 reel)*
  • Martin Church of Christ Records. Weakley County, 1874-1899 (Microfilm Manuscript #756, 1 reel)*
  • Mt. Moriah Methodist Church Records. Weakley County, 1913-1958 (Microfilm Manuscript #966, 1 reel)*
  • New Hope Methodist Church Records. Weakley County, 1831-1983 (Microfilm Manuscript #733, 1 reel)*
  • New Salem Cumberland Presbyterian Church Records. Weakley County, 1874-1978 (Microfilm Manuscript #728, 1 reel)*
  • Olivet United Methodist Church Records. Weakley County, 1887-1982 (Microfilm Manuscript #766, 1 reel)*
  • Thomas Elbert Reavis Diaries, 1908 - 1958 (Microfilm Manuscript #903, 1 reel)*
  • Thompson Creek Baptist Church Records. Weakley and Henry Counties, 1831-1982 (Microfilm Manuscript #732, 1 reel)*
  • Weakley County Cemetery Records, 1939  [Restricted] (Microfilm Manuscript #820, 1 reel)
  • West Tennessee Funeral Home Records: Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, and Weakley Counties (Microfilm Manuscript #1786, 86 reels)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 


Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for Weakley County:  1830-1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index:  1830-1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm  (Soundex):  1880,  1900-1930
  • Weakley County census records in book form:  1850,  1860*,  1880*


Additional Research Aids for Weakley County


* Indicates this title may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan from the Library and Archives.


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Weakley County Formation Act


"An Act to establish a new county west of Henry County."

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county, to be called and known by the name of Weakley County, shall be, and is hereby, established west of Henry County; beginning at the north-west corner of Henry County, running west with the state line, to a point four miles west of the north-west corner of range two, fractional section ten, in the thirteenth district; thence south to the fourth sectional line in said district, running parallel with the range line; thence east with the fourth sectional line, to the second range line in the twelfth surveyor's district; thence north with said range line, to the beginning.

SECTION 2. BE IT ENACTED, That for the due administration of justice, the court of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions and circuit courts of said county, until otherwise provided for by law, shall be holden at the house of John Tyrrell, under the same regulations and restrictions, and shall have and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction, as are or shall hereafter be prescribed for the several counties in this state.

SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of said county to hold an election at the place of holding courts in said county, on the first Thursday and Friday in February next, for the purpose of electing field officers for said county, which shall be conducted under the same rules and regulations as are prescribed by law in similar cases; and the militia of said county shall compose the _____ regiment, and be attached to the _____ brigade.

SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That the election of company officers for said county shall be held at such places as the commandant of the militia of said county may think proper to appoint, which said election shall be held on the __ Monday in _____ next, under the same rules, regulations and restrictions as are prescribed in like cases.

SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the sheriff of said county, in the days prescribed by law, shall hold an election at the place of holding court, for the purpose of electing a Governor, members of the State Legislature, members of Congress, and electors to elect a President and Vice President of the United States, under the same rules and regulations as are prescribed by law.


Passed on October 21, 1823

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Weakley 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 e-mail the Library and Archives to 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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Weakley County in General
  • Allred, Charles E. Acquisition of farm land by credit corporations in TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1938. 49 pp. (its Monograph # 77)
  • Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Weakley County, Preliminary # 39). Nashville, TSLA, 1973. 30 pp.
  • Carmichael, Claudia J. A history of Weakley County, TN, through 1861. UT thesis, 1970. 75 pp.
  • Churches of Weakley County, TN. Martin, Martin Kiwanis Club, 1980. 30 pp.
  • Coppock, Paul R. "The Killgore killing." WTHSP 15 (1961), pp. 40-54.
  • Emergency operations plan, Weakley County emergency management. Nashville, TEMA, 1987. 1 vol.
  • Flood insurance study: Weakley County, TN, unincorporated areas. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1991. 1 vol.
  • Freeman, Mary E., ed. Weakley County Bank: since 1887. Dresden, Weakley County Bank, 1987. 88 pp.
  • Gardner, John A. "Early times in Weakley County: an address." WTHSP 17 (1963), pp. 68-84.
  • Gardner, John A. Historical address delivered by Col. John A. Gardner, on the early times in Weakley County. Giving a synopsis of the scenes & incidents from the past fifty years. Also a centennial oration, 1776- 1876, delivered by Rev. W.T. Bolling, at Dresden, TN. Dresden, Denham & Harris, 1876. 15 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of TN (Weakley County, pp. 831-842, 985-1024). Goodspeed, 1887.
  • Mainfort, Robert C., Jr. Archaeological investigations in the Obion River drainage: the west TN tributaries project. Nashville, TN Dept. Env. & Cons., 1994. 185 pp.
  • Martin, Joe A. The impact of industrialization upon agriculture: a study of off- farm migration & agricultural development in Weakley County, TN. U. MN dissertation, 1955. 149 pp. (reprinted 1973)
  • Martin, Joe A. Off-farm migration: some of its characteristics & effects upon agriculture in Weakley County, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1958. 43 pp. (its Report # 290)
  • Payne, Midlred Y. & James E. Spears. Folk miscellany of Weakley County, TN: commemorating the Martin, TN centennial 1873-1973. Martin, Martin Centennial Co., Inc., 1973. 37 pp.
  • Soil survey of Weakley County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1992. 106 pp.
  • Sun, Zhenbo. General geology & floristic survey of the Warman clay pit, Weakley County, TN. IN U. thesis, 1989. 77 pp.
  • TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Weakley County. Knoxville, TVA, 1935. var. pp.
  • Tillman Big Cypress Tree Natural Area, Weakley County, TN: master plan. N.p., 1955. 79 pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Crutchfield, Water Valley, Cuba, Lynnville, Harris, McConnell, Latham, Palmersville, Gardner, Martin, Dresden, Como, Rutherford, Greenfield, Pillowville, McKenzie, Bradford, Trezevant West, Trezevant East.
  • Vaughan, Virginia C. Weakley County. Memphis, MSU Press, 1983. 135 pp.
  • Vowell, Mary K. Neighbors in Weakley County, TN: a land ownership map, 1827-1833. Martin, Isaac Dawson Chapter, NSDAC, 1985. 104 pp.
  • Weakley County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
  • Weakley County Bicentennial Comm. at Martin, TN. Oral history tapes series. Recorded July-Aug., 1995. Sound cassettes. (a series of oral interview recordings on the subjects of family, events & development of Weakley County, TN)
  • Weakley remembered, Weakley County, TN. Compiled by Pansy N. Baker, Charlotte S. Reynolds. Bradford, Skullbone Print., 1981. unp.
  • Whatley, Thomas J. Trends & opportunities in Haywood & Weakley counties, TN. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1947. 24 pp. (its Monograph # 231)
  • Whatley, Thomas J. Costs & returns from dairying on 40 farms producing milk for processing, Weakley County, TN, 1947-1948. Knoxville, TN Ag. Exp. Sta., 1950. 30 pp. (its Rural research series monograph # 256)
  • Wilson, John M. Geohydrology of Henry & Weakley counties, TN. Nashville, TN Div. Water Resources, 1969. 49 pp.

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  • Community information, Dresden, TN. Prepared by Weakley County Chamber of Commerce & West TN Ind. Assoc. Jackson, the association, n.d.
  • Dresden Ind. Assoc. Standard industrial analysis. Dresden, n.p., 1958. 17 pp.
  • Vaughan, Virginia C. Cary Lawn: a special place. N.p., the author, 1991. unp.

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  • Community information, Greenfield, TN. Prepared by Weakley County Chamber of Commerce & West TN Ind. Assoc. Jackson, the association, 1989. 31 pp.
  • Prius, Dixie E. The life & times of Greenfield, TN, with sketches of Weakley County. Greenfield, Greenfield Hist. Soc., 1965. 220 pp.

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  • Community information, Martin, TN. Prepared by Weakley County Chamber of Commerce & West TN Ind. Assoc. Martin, the association, n.d. unp.
  • Downing, Marvin. "Woodley Farm, Martin, TN." WTHSP 38 (1984), pp. 51- 68.
  • Flood insurance study: city of Martin, TN, Weakley County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1989. 12 pp.
  • A history of First Methodist Church, Martin, TN. Martin, the church, 1960-. (vol. 1, 1874-1960; vol. 2, 1960-1991)
  • Martin centennial, 1873-1973: Martin, TN, June 28-July 4. Martin, Centennial Committee, 1973. 100 pp.
  • Manaess, Lonnie E. "A west TN town & World War II." WTHSP 32 (1978), pp. 110-119.
  • Thomas, Ronald C. "The founding of a happy town: Martin, TN." WTHSP 27 (1973), pp. 5-17.

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  • Community information, Sharon, TN. Prepared by Weakley County Chamber of Commerce & West TN Ind. Assoc. Jackson, the association, 1987. 28 pp.

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UT Martin
  • Cashdollar, Parker D. The economic impact of UTM on Weakley & Obion counties, 1986-1987. Martin, UTM, 1988. 33 pp.
  • Graves, Neil. The story of UTM's parent institution. Martin, published jointly by the UT National Alumni Assoc. & UT Martin, 1975. 349 pp.
  • Inman, Elmer B. A history of the development of the UT Martin Branch. UT dissertation, 1960. 241 pp


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