White County

White County

White County was formed in 1806 from
Jackson and Smith counties

(Acts of Tennessee 1806, Chapter 36)

The county seat is Sparta.


Selected Published County Histories
  • Civil War in White County, Tennessee, 1861-1865  (Dudney, 1985) 
  • Early Settlers of the Mountain District of White County (Haston, n. d.)
  • Field Trips into White County, Tennessee  (White County Retired Teachers' Association, 1970?) 
  • Heritage of White County, 1806-1999  (White County Heritage Book Committee, 1999)* [surname index]
  • History of a Pioneer Church [Macedonia Baptist Church] (England, 1969?)
  • History of Tennessee From the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with a Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren, White (Goodspeed, 1979)
  • History of White County, Tennessee (Seals, 1974) [name index in separate volume]
  • It Happened in White County, Tennessee  (White County Retired Teachers' Association, 1986?) 
  • Memorable Historical Accounts of White County and Area  (Rogers, 1972)
  • Mining on "the Mountain": Life in the Coal Towns of White County, Tennessee, 1882-1936 (Huehls, 1996)
  • Mountain Coal; Black Gold: A Visual Journey through the Coal Fields of Bon Air; Ravenscroft; Clifty and Eastland, Tennessee, 1886-1934 (1999)
  • Pictorial History of Sparta-White County, Tennessee (First National Bank, Sparta, Tennessee, 1984)*
  • Pictorial History of White County, Tennessee  (Marchbanks, 1994)
  • Pioneers of White County, Tennessee (Phillips, 2003)*
  • Schools of White County Tennessee 1806-2006 (White County Teachers' Association, 2006)
  • White County, Tennessee in a Nut-shell (White County (Tenn.) Immigration Bureau, 19??)*

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


Published Local Records
  • 1840 Census, White County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1986) [alphabetical]
  • 1880 Census, White County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1999)* [alphabetical]
  • Bon Air Mountain Cemeteries (Colley, 2004)* [name index]
  • Cemeteries of White County, Tennessee [3 vols.] (Clark, 1995)* [name index]
  • Cookeville-Sparta Tennessee Polk City Directory: Including the Following Communities: Baxter, Bloomington Springs, Buffalo Valley, Cookeville, (2002, 2003,  2015 - 2019)
  • Fred Clark Book of Cemeteries of White County, Tennessee [2 vols.] (White County Genealogical-Historical Society, 2003)*
  • History of White County, Index  (Kirkeminde,  1982?) [name index]
  • Lost Creek Cemetery (Dodson, 1996) [alphabetical listing]
  • Minute Book, 1806-1820 [vol. 1-2  1806-1811 & 1811-1812;   vol. 3  1812-1814;   vol. 4  1814-1817 (in 2 pts.);    vol. 6  1819-1820] (WPA, 1938-40) [name index]
  • Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions [vol. 1 1817-1819; vol. 2 1820-1823 (in 2 pts.); vol. 3 1824-1827 (in 3 pts.)] (WPA, 1940-41) [name index]
  • Name Index to History of Tennessee ... Together with ... Sketch of the Counties of White, Warren, Coffee, DeKalb and Cannon (Marsh, 1972)
  • Old Union Cemetery, White County, Tennessee: Tombstone Inscriptions & Genealogical Notes (Dodson & Dodson, 1993) [name index]
  • Our White County Relations in the Civil War (Haines, 2006) 
  • Private Acts of White County, Tennessee (McIntyre, 1994)
  • United States Census White County, Tennessee 1850 (Lindstrom, 1991)* [surname index]
  • White County Marriage Records. Part of Book I, January 11, 1859, to June 11, 1881 (Rhinehart, 1985)* [name index, bride and groom]
  • White County Marriage Records, June 1881 to March 1921 (Rhinehart) {name index}
  • White County Marriages, March 1921-August 1957 (Austin et al, 1995) [alphabetical listing]
  • White County Tennessee, 1870 Federal Census USA (McComb, 1990) [surname index]
  • White County Tennessee 1900 [census] (White County Historical Genealogical Society, 2009)* [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee, Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1835-1841 [2 vols.] (WPA, 1941) [name index in vol. 1]
  • White County, Tennessee Death Records, 1926-1935 (Freeman, 2004?) [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee Death Records, 1936-1945 (Freeman, 2003?) [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee Deed Abstracts [vol. 1 1801-1820; vol. 2 1820-1834] (Murray, 1992-1995)* [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee, Inventories and Old Wills, 1831-1840 (WPA, 1936) [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee, Inventories and Will Book, A, 1810-1828 (WPA, 1936) [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee, Minute Book, 1820 (WPA, 1936) [case name index]
  • White County, Tennessee, Oldest Marriage Book, 1809-1859 (Mitchell & Doliante, 1977)*
  • White County, Tennessee, Vital Statistics, 1914 Through 1925 (Wiefering, 1995)* [alphabetical by groom with bride index]
  • White County, Tennessee Will Book, Volume 1 (May 30, 1810-April 12, 1823) (Willis, 2005) [name index]
  • White County, Tennessee Will Book, Volume 2 (April 12, 1823-December 1828) (Willis, 2005) [name index]
  • White County's G.I. Honor Roll Book: The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps (1946) [alphabetical]


Local Records on Microfilm

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

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1838
  • wills from 1806
  • deed index from 1809
  • chancery court minutes from 1842
  • county court minutes from 1806
  • circuit court minutes from 1859
  • tax books from 1811


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

  • Deed Index -- 1809-1925 (#59, 1 reel)*
  • Inventories -- 1841-1942 (#37, 1 reel)*
  • Marriage records -- 1838-1910 (#40, 1 reel)*
  • Settlements and Wills -- 1810-1828 (#151, 1 reel)*
  • Settlements and Wills -- 1831-1893 (#53, 1 reel)*
  • WPA Records, White County (Record Group #107, Roll 89, 1 reel). Roll includes Inventories & Will Book A (1810-1828), Inventories & Will Book B [not complete] (1831-1840),  County Court Minute Book (1806-1811 & 1812-1814), County Court Minute Book, pts. 1 & 2 (1814-1817) and Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Minutes (1817-1819).*


Newspapers on Microfilm 

Newspapers were published in Bon Air and Sparta.  Scattered early issues are available from 1820, and a complete run begins in 1967.  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
  • Bon Aire Methodist Episcopal Church, South Records. White County, 1906-1972 (Microfilm Manuscript #456, 1 reel)*
  • Charles Leonard Papers, 1855-1992 (Microfilm Manuscript #1421, 8 reels)*
  • Curtis McDowell Papers, 1858-1881 (Microfilm Manuscript #1207, 1 reel)*
  • First Methodist Church Records. Sparta, 1825-1962 (Microfilm Manuscript #271, 1 reel)*
  • James A. P. Fancher Diary, 1864-1865 (Microfilm Manuscript #6, 1 reel)*
  • John Steele Cooper Scrapbook and Diary. White County, 1889-1930 (Microfilm Manuscript #1018, 1 reel)*
  • Joyce Bradley McComb Collection, 1778-1991 (Microfilm Manuscript #1731, 4 reels)*
  • Methodist Episcopal Church Records. Sparta, 1882-1937 (Microfilm Manuscript #508, 1 reel)*
  • Mount Gilead Methodist Episcopal Church Records. White County, 1830-1933 (Microfilm Manuscript #507, 1 reel)*
  • Sparta Methodist Episcopal Church Records. White County, 1825-1964 (Microfilm Manuscript #532, 2 reels)*
  • White County Cemetery Records, 1762-1970 (Microfilm Manuscript #784, 1 reel)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog 

Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for White County:  1820-1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index:  1820-1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm  (Soundex):  1880,  1900-1930
  • White County census records in book form:  1850*,  1870,  1880*


Additional Research Aids for White County

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

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White County Formation Act


"An Act to form a new county south of the counties of Wilson, Smith, Jackson and Overton."

SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county be, and is hereby established on the south and adjoining the aforesaid counties of Wilson, Smith, Jackson, and Overton, by the name of White, bounded as follows, viz:  Beginning in the late Indian boundary line, at the south west corner of said Wilson County; thence eastwardly with the said counties of Wilson, Smith, Jackson and Overton, to the west boundary of Roane County; thence southwardly with the line of said Roane County, to the south boundary line of this state; thence with the said south boundary line to the south east corner of Rutherford County; thence north with the east boundary line of Rutherford County, to the beginning aforesaid.

SECTION 2. And for the due administration of justice, BE IT ENACTED, That the first court, and all subsequent courts of the county of White, shall be held by the justices of the same, at the house of Joseph Terry, near Rock Island, until otherwise altered or provided by law; and all courts held in and for said county of White, shall be held by commission to the said justices, in the same manner, and under the same rules and restrictions, and shall have and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction, as are or shall be prescribed for the courts of the several counties in this state.

SECTION 3. BE IT ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the said county of White, to hold an election, at the place of holding courts in the same on the first Thursday in November next and the succeeding day, for the purpose of electing one colonel and two majors for the said county of White, under the same rules, regulations and restrictions as are prescribed by law in similar cases.

SECTION 4. BE IT ENACTED, That the election for company officers for the county of White shall be held at such places as the commandant of said county may think proper to appoint, which said elections shall be held on the third Saturday in December next, under the same rules, regulations, and restrictions as are prescribed in like cases.  And elections of members of the General Assembly, the governor and members of congress, shall be held at the place of holding court in said county of White, on the same days on which elections for the same purposes are authorized to be held; and the sheriff of said county of White, shall meet the sheriff of Jackson County on the succeeding Monday, at the place of holding court in said county of Jackson, and with him examine the respective polls of election for both counties, and declare the persons having the greatest number of votes duly elected, and give certificates accordingly.

SECTION 5. BE IT ENACTED, That the county of White shall, in all cases be considered a part of the district of Winchester; any law to the contrary notwithstanding.



Passed on September 12, 1806

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White 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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White 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 (White County, Preliminary # 30). Nashville, TSLA, 1972. 92 pp.
  • Butts, Charles. Coals in the area between Bon Air & Clifty, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1917. 310 pp.
  • Cantrell, Gerry R., comp. History of White County churches. Sparta, n.p., 1980. 136 pp.
  • Clark, Darius. The Civil War diary of Darius Clark of White County, TN, Co. G, 16th TN infantry, CSA. Huntsville, J.J. Betterton, 1980. 35 pp.
  • Comstock, Charles. Freemasonry in pioneer times, White County. Sparta, n.p., 1929. pp.
  • Doran, Edwina B. Folklore in White County, TN. George Peabody College thesis, 1969. 437 pp.
  • Doran, Edwina B. "The rock woman & the little people-- White County legends." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 50 (1984), pp. 136-140.
  • Dudney, Betty J. Civil War in White County, TN, 1861-1865. TTU thesis, 1985. 68 pp.
  • Eldridge, Lewis W. The rehabilitants of White County, TN from Jan., 1963 through Dec., 1968. TTU thesis, 1970. 72 pp.
  • 5 county association: Cannon, Dekalb, Van Buren, Warren, White: promoting progress through cooperation. McMinnville, the association, 1974. 19 pp.
  • England, Bransford & Ruth H. England. The history of a pioneer church. N.p., Macedonia Baptist Church, 1969. 20 pp.
  • Fancher, Frank T. The Sparta bar. Milford, NH, Cabinet Press, 1950. 4 pp.
  • Fowler, Walter. An educational, economic & community survey of White County, TN. UT thesis, 1932. 79 pp.
  • Golden, Charles E. A survey of the causes of absences in the public school system of White County & Sparta, TN. Nashville, George Peabody College, 1955. 133 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of TN (White County, pp. 797-812, 860-884). Goodspeed, 1887.
  • Huehls, Betty S. Life in the coal towns of White County, TN, 1882-1936. TTU thesis, 1983. 101 pp.
  • It happened in White County. By members of White County Retired Teachers Association. Mrs. Anna Grace Bandy, ed. Sparta, the association, 1986. 107 pp.
  • Keele, Robert L. "Folklore of the branch line railroad." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 13 (1947), pp. 10-15.
  • Kirkeminde, Patricia B. History of White County, TN, index. Crossville, the author, 1982. 34 pp. (index to Monroe Seals' History of White County, TN)
  • McDowell, L.L. "A background in folklore." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 2 (1936), pp. 1-8.
  • Marchbanks, Nell & Wally Gillian, comp. A pictorial history of White County, TN. Sparta, the Expositor, 1994. 96 pp.
  • Moore, Debra. "Jim Bobo's fatal ride: a study in progress of a TN ballad." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 50 (1984), pp. 40-57.
  • Phillips, William J., comp. Pioneers of White County, TN. Whitesburg, GA, Wide Services, 1991. 139 pp.
  • Pictorial history of Sparta-White County, TN. Cookeville, Anderson Performance Printing, 1984. 189 pp.
  • Prater, Otto. Economic history of White County, TN. George Peabody College thesis, 1932. 126 pp.
  • Rogers, Eliza G. Memorable historical accounts of White County & area. Collegedale, College Press, 1972. 158 pp.
  • Seals, Monroe. History of White County, 1867-1935. N.p., 1935. 152 pp. (reprinted 1974 by the Reprint Company)
  • Soil survey, White & Van Buren counties, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1981. 86 pp.
  • TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of White County. Knoxville, TVA, 1934. var. pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Silver Point, Burgess Falls, Dry Valley, Monterey Lake, Sligo Bridge, Cassville, Sparta, DeRossetta, Pleasant Hill, Campaign, Doyle, Bald Knob, Lonewood, Herbert Domain.
  • Webb, Thomas G. "The pottery industry of Dekalb, White & Putnam counties." THQ 30 (1971), pp. 110-112.
  • White County Immigration Bureau. White County, TN in a nut-shell. Sparta, n.p., n.d. 5 pp.
  • White County, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 12 pp.
  • White County home & heritage [videorecording]. Comp. by Betty Huehls, narrated by Don Howard. Sparta, Rock House DAR, 1992. 1 videocassette
  • White County overall economic development program. N.p., Area Redevelopment Comm., 1962. 40 pp.
  • White County Retired Teachers Association. Field trips into White County history. Ed. by Mrs. Anna Grace Bandy. Artist Mrs. Veta Floyd. N.p., Brady Print. Co., 1983. 53 pp.
  • Willey, P., et al. "Aboriginal skeletons & petroglyphs in Officer Cave, TN." TN Anthrop. 13 (1988), pp. 51-75.
  • Williams, Carol. Legends & stories of White County, TN. George Peabody College thesis, 1930. pp.
  • Wren, Jenny & William Jenkins. From valley to mountain: the fruitful years: volume II of A saga of riches. N.p., L. V. Blaschak & W. W. Jenkins, 1987. 190 pp. (fiction)

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  • Flood insurance study: city of Sparta, TN, White County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1977. 15 pp.
  • Johnson, Rena J., comp. History of First United Methodist Church, 1825-1982, Sparta, TN. Cookeville, the compiler, 1982. 169 pp.
  • The Sparta expositor: souvenir supplement. January, 1902. Sparta, the Expositor, 1902. 56 pp.
  • Tubb, James R., Jr. Seventy years agrowing: the story of Sparta Spoke Factory, 1896-1966. Sparta, n.p., 1966. 16 pp.


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