Category: About Grainger County

“Surviving History” — Highly Regarded Book on Harris Family of Bean Station

By , April 18, 2015

Mascaro Book CoverRenowned local historian Robert McGinnis highly recommends Marilyn Mascaro’s book about the family of B. Y. Harris.

Robert said he couldn’t put the book down, and that the research — especially the documentation — was excellent.  So, if you have ancestors in the Bean Station area, this may be of interest.

Click here to learn more about the book (link takes you to

1836 Map of Hawkins County Boundaries

By , January 7, 2015

For years, this site’s Webmistress has wished for a map of the Hawkins County Civil Districts in 1836, overlaid on a current map, for her own research.

She is immeasurably grateful for the incalculable efforts of Jim Jackson for his having created just such a map.

Jim not only created the map, he created a single, combined list of names from the 1830 Census, 1840 Census, and 1836 Tax List for Hawkins County.

This is an important resource for neighboring Claiborne, Hancock, and Grainger County researchers.

Click the map image below to visit Jim Jackson’s site and view his work.

Thank you, Jim!

1836 Districts

Click this reduced-size map image to visit Jim Jackson’s site and view a larger version.

“Disappearing Appalachia”

By , August 20, 2014

There are several photos and bits of historical information about Grainger County locations in an on-line article from the Tennessee Alumnus magazine. Click here to read the article.

Historic Joseph Cobb House

By , February 13, 2014

House Built in Grainger Six Years After County’s First Settlement

by C. C. Justus

Built only six years after the first settlement in Grainger county, a historic house is now one of the old landmarks in that section.  It was constructed of hewn logs and weatherboard by Joseph Cobb, whose wife was a niece of William Bean, said to have been the first white settler in Tennessee.

Joseph Cobb HouseThe mother of the present register of deeds, J. J. Brady, was born in this house seventy years ago, now it’s part of the burnaby condos for sale, you can get his house by contacting their agency.

Brady and Sheriff J. H. Whitehead, who now live in the house are among the few democrats who have held county offices in Grainger.

Two hundred yards from the house is a giant cedar tree, large enough in pioneer days to hide an Indian, who was shot out with a rifle.

The Beans owned the lands of the historic site.

[Click the image for a larger version.]

Source:  Unidentified newspaper clipping, dated 10 Feb 1924.  Submitted by James Cook.

Grainger County’s “Parents” and “Children”

By , February 11, 2014

The graphic image below shows the counties from which Grainger formed and the counties that formed from Grainger.

The origin of this graphic is unknown.  No copyright infringement is intended.  We would appreciate knowing the designer’s identity.

Click on the image to view a larger size.

Grainger County "Parent" and "Child" Counties

Grainger County Courthouse Fire in 1946

By , February 4, 2014

Grainger Court House Burns, Old Records Believed Safe

Valuable Papers Are in Vaults; Officials Confer Today on Steps for Rebuilding; Loss $200,000

Rutledge, Jan. 17 — Only the 42-year-old brick walls of the Grainger County court house were standing today.  Fire yesterday destroyed the entire interior, with loss estimated at $200,000.

Officials met this afternoon to consider what to do.  Steps will probably be taken to rebuild.  A special session of County Court will be called, probably next week.

Most Records Safe

Records in vaults were believed safe.  They were those of the county court clerk, register, Circuit Court clerk, clerk and master, and those of the trustee which were in a steel safe.  Other minor papers, in filing cabinets, burned.

W. I. Daniels [sic], county court clerk, today opened temporary offices at the Red Cross rooms.  He saved most of his records and furniture.

Trustee Arnold Roach is using the directors’ room of the Citizens Bank & Trust Co.

“We do not know the cause of the fire,” said Mr. Daniel today.  “It seemed to have started in the back of the building upstairs.  Some seem to think it might have started from a defective flue and others think it may have been wiring.  There had been a fire in an open grate.  The fire was going through the slate roof when it was seen and it was too late to do much.  We used a garden hose to play water on the vaults.

Morristown Sends Aid

“Firemen came from Morristown, but the fire had gained such headway there was not much the could do.”

The fire was discovered by a passing truck driver, who gave the alarm.

Among the records saved were those dating back to the establishment of the county in 1796.

This was the third court house of Grainger.  Court houses were building in 1801, 1848, and 1904.

Cost $200,000 to Replace

The building which burned cost $30,000, but replacement was figured at around $200,000.  It was an attractive two-story brick building, with 10 offices.

Court was not in session at the time of the fire.  Grainger County is a part of the Second Judicial District, of which Judge George R. Shepherd at Newport is judge.

Source:  Knoxville News-Sentinel, 17 Jan 1946, page 24

1801 Petition Regarding Courthouse

By , January 24, 2014

Petition 14-2-1801

Dated 29 October 1801

To the Tennessee General Assembly from Henry Howell, James Fears, William Millikin, and Michael Massingill

In 1797, they were appointed to purchase land and lay off a place for the erection of a court house, prison, and stocks in Grainger County.  They did so and contracted with Charles Smith to do the work, giving him their bond for $400.

The county received the properties and, for nearly two years, has used the building, for which it has paid only $100.

Smith brought suit, and the four were forced to pay the debt and court charges.  They now ask for a legislative act to refund their losses.

Source:  Abstract of the petition, published in the TN Genealogical Society‘s “Ansearchin'” News, Vol. 2, 1993, page 72.

Grainger County History DVD Available

By , January 26, 2012

DVD frontThe Grainger County Historical Society’s excellent DVD production, The Valley of Independence, is available for purchase.

While it deals primarily with Grainger County, several adjacent areas are discussed in conjunction with the Civil War and development in the region.

Order yours today by sending a check for $14.95 ($10 for DVD; $4.95 for priority shipping) to:

Grainger County Historical Society
PO Box 215
Rutledge, TN 37861

Historical Movie Preview December 2, 2011

By , November 28, 2011

The Grainger County Historical Society will debut its historical film, Valley of Independence, The History of Grainger County, on December 2 at 7 p.m. at the Old Rutledge High School auditorium.

Tickets are available for purchase at all branches of Citizens Bank & Trust Co. of Grainger County at a cost of $10 per ticket.

Attendees are asked to park at Rutledge Middle School by 6 p.m. and ride the shuttle bus to the Old Rutledge High School.

County Line Community

By , July 1, 2011

by James Cook

County Line is a very, very old community that I believe dates back to the late 1770’s. We just cannot prove that yet.

This community was located at the extreme eastern edge of Grainger at the county line with Hawkins. The community was at the crossroads of the road to Noeton, which ran from Hawkins County on the east to Holston River on the west at Noeton. This road to Noeton crossed a road that ran from the Old Stage Road [Lee Highway/11-W] south through this community and on to Holston River and Morristown. County Line community was situated mainly in the area of this crossroads.

Before TVA took the land, County Line was a small, thriving community. It included County Line Church, which was multi-denominational, including all Christian faiths. This church is documented back to 1792; but, again, I believe it’s much older.

The first minutes book is dated 1792 – 1816 and is in the possession of a Matthew Davis. He approached the East Tennessee Historical Society about microfilming the book and his transcriptions of the minutes. This was completed and published in 2007 by ETHS in their tri-annual publication, Tennessee Ancestors. The second minutes book (1817 – 1841) is missing at this time.

The last 2 books, covering 1842 – 1941, were donated to the Grainger County Archives by Carole and Dr. Robert Overholt of Knoxville. Stevvi Cook has transcribed both of the books (1842-1941).

The last church secretary was Edith Stubblefield Odom, who is Carole’s grandmother. The church was disbanded on November 9, 1941, and they "began tearing the church away" on November 17, 1941.

In addition to the church, there were a couple of stores, a grist mill and possibly a small dairy. The church cemetery is located across a creek that ran down the valley, which was not taken by TVA, and includes approximately 100+ graves, most of which are only marked with field stones or not at all. We’ve been cleaning out trash, clearing brush and trees, fencing and mowing the cemetery for 6 years now.

Older people who lived in this area have told me that there was an older church building east and between the crossroads and Hawkins County along with a cemetery. Others say there were several graves but few marked. One grave marker is shown on the land acquisition map by TVA. This community is clearly defined on this map.

County Line is still shown on some modern maps.

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