Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Unicoi County (2024)

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Unicoi County

Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Unicoi County (11)

Unicoi County was formed in 1875 from
Carter and Washington counties

(Public Acts of Tennessee 1875, Chapter 68)

The county seat is Erwin.
Selected Published County Histories
  • Around Home in Unicoi County (Helton, 1986) [name index]
  • Erwin and UnicoiCounty (March, 2007)*
  • Greasy Cove in Unicoi County : Authentic Folklore (Alderman, 1975)*
  • Unicoi and Limestone Cove (Barnett, 2009)
  • Unicoi County, Erwin, Tennessee, Celebrates the Birth of a Nation (Alderman, 1976)
  • Unicoi County: Then & Now (Stevens, 2008)
  • Valley of the Long Hunters (Masters, 1969)
  • Wonders of the Unakas in Unicoi County (Alderman, 1964)*

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

Published Local Records
  • 1880 Census Unicoi County, Tennessee (Padgett, 1995) [name index]
  • 1880 Census, Unicoi County, Tennessee (Sistler, 1996) [alphabetical by surname]
  • 1900 Census, Unicoi County, Tennessee (Padgett, 1995) [name index]*
  • 1910 Census, Unicoi County, Tennessee (Padgett, 1995) [name index]*
  • 1920 Census, Unicoi County, Tennessee (Padgett, 1996) [name index]*
  • Cemeteries of Unicoi County, Tennessee, Including Genealogical Information (Unicoi County Historical Society, 1989) [name index]*
  • Marriages of Unicoi County, Tennessee, 1876-1904 (Padgett, 1989) [name index]*
  • Unicoi County, Tennessee, Death Record Abstracts, 1908-1936 (Nikazy,1997) [name index]*
  • Unicoi County, Tennessee, Vital Statistics, 1914 Through 1925 (Wiefering, 1994) [name index]*
Local Records on Microfilm

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

Earliest records include:

  • marriages from 1876
  • wills from 1876
  • deed index from 1876
  • chancery court minutes from 1876
  • county court minutes from 1875
  • circuit court minutes from 1876
  • tax books from 1876
Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspapers were published in Erwin. Scattered early issues are available from 1887, and a complete run begins in 1941. 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
  • Greene, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington Counties Cemetery Records, ca. 1780-1960 (Manuscript Microfilm #320, 1 reel)*

Search for Manuscripts Material in our Catalog

Census Records
  • Census on microfilm for Unicoi County: 1880, 1900-1930
  • State-wide census index: 1880
  • State-wide census index on microfilm (Soundex): 1880, 1900-1930
  • Unicoi County census records in book form: 1880*, 1900*, 1910*, 1920*
Additional Research Aids forUnicoi County

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

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Unicoi County Formation Act

ACTS OF TENNESSEE1875, CHAPTER 68:

"An Act to create a new County off of Madison, Henderson, McNairy and Hardeman Counties in the State Tennessee."

SECTION 1.BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That a new county is hereby established, to be composed of fractions taken from Madison, Henderson, McNairy and Hardeman counties, to be known and designated by the name of Wisdom.

SECTION 2.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the county of Wisdom shall be bounded as follows, viz.: Beginning at a point south, 12½º west 13.30 miles from the city of Jackson, runs east 3.05 miles; thence north 61.05 miles, east, 17.88 miles; thence with the arc of a circle with the radius of 11 miles from the town of Lexington, 8.965 miles; then east 1 mile; thence south 7.95 miles; thence west 8 miles; thence with the arc of a circle with the radius of 11 miles from the town of Purdy 13.863 miles: thence west 5.10 miles; thence north 28½º west 9.30 miles; thence north 2.22 miles to the beginning, 278 square miles.

SECTION 3.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the purpose of organizing the county of Wisdom, J. N. Hunter, W. L. Stegall, J. M. Simmons, James Pedy, J. F. Hamlet, M. L. Cherry, J. H. Mitchell, R. T. McAntyre, B.J. Young, J. W. Perkins, William Rush, H. Murley and Ingraham Wilson shall be, and are hereby, appointed Commissioners on the part of the several fractions in which they reside, who shall before entering on the discharge of their duty, take an oath before some Justice of the Peace, faithfully and impartially to discharge all the duties incumbent upon them in this Act, and in all cases of vacancy that may occur among said Commissioners previous to the organization of the County Court of said county of Wisdom, the same shall be filled by the remaining Commissioners, and all vacancies occurring after the organization of such court shall be filled by said court of the county of Wisdom. The said Commissioners shall enter into such bond and security as may be required by the said County Court of Wisdom, and payable to the Chairman thereof, conditioned for the faithful performance of their duties, as required by this Act. A majority of said Commissioners shall constitute a Board competent to do all things herein enjoined on them. They shall keep a record of all their proceedings as Commissioners, which shall be returned to the County Court of Wisdom at its first session, and the same shall be recorded by the Clerk thereof, on the records of said court, and the shall make such returns after the organization of said court, as shall be directed thereby.

SECTION 4.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That is shall be the duty of said Commissioners, first giving thirty days’ [sic] notice in one public place or more, of the time and place to open and hold an election, in one place or more, in each of the fractions proposed to be stricken off from the counties of Madison, Henderson, McNairy and Hardeman, in order to ascertain whether two-thirds of the voters residing in each of the said fractions, are in favor of, or opposed to, the formation of said new county of Wisdom, and all persons qualified to vote for members of the General Assembly, residing in said fractions, shall be entitled to vote in said election, and each voter who is in favor of the formation of the new county shall have on his ticket, “new county,” and each voter opposed to the formation of said new county of Wisdom, shall have on his ticket “old county,” and if after counting the vote cast in said election it shall appear that there are two-thirds of the legal votes cast in each of said fractions in favor of the new county, then, in that case, the county of Wisdom shall be, and is hereby, declared a county, with all the powers and privileges, and advantages, and subject to all the liabilities and duties, with other counties in the state.

SECTION 5.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That in order to carry into effect and make certain and accurate to the provisions in the fourth section of this act, said Commissioners are hereby empowered and authorized to canvass and take the census of the qualified voting population in the bounds of the several fractions, proposed to be stricken off from the counties of Madison, Henderson, McNairy and Hardeman.

SECTION 6.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the due administration of justice, the different Courts to be holden in the said county of Wisdom shall be held at such place or places, as may be designated by the said commission, until the seat of justice shall be located, and all writs and other process issuing from said courts, returnable to the place shall be legal, and the courts of the county of Wisdom shall be under the same rules regulations and restrictions, shall have, exercise, and possess the same power and jurisdiction as prescribed by law, for holding courts in other counties, and said county shall be attached to the eleventh (11th) Judicial Circuit, and the first Circuit Court shall be held at the time designated by the judge of said Circuit, and shall be attached to the 10th Chancery District, and the Chancery Court shall be held on the first Mondays in June and December.

SECTION 7.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That all officers, civil or military, now holding office in said county, shall continue to hold their offices, and exercise all the functions and powers thereof, until others are elected and qualified according to this act;Providing, that nothing in this act shall deprive the counties from which the fractions have been taken from having, exercising, and holding jurisdiction over the county of Wisdom, and the citizens thereof, in as full and ample a manner as they now have, until the election of county officers takes place according to this Act.

SECTION 8.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That said Commissioners are hereby empowered, and it shall be their duty, to appoint five qualified and suitable persons to divide said county into not less than ten civil districts, designating boundaries and places for holding elections in said district, and perform all the duties relating thereto, which by the laws of the State such Commission are required to do.

SECTION 9.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the Commissioners appointed by this Act shall appoint such person or persons, as they think proper, to open and hold the elections for county officers for said county of Wisdom, and such person or persons so appointed shall have power to appoint deputies, clerks and judges, and by himself and deputies, to administer all the necessary oaths, and perform all other duties now made the duties of Sheriffs or other officers holding similar elections, and it shall be the duty of such persons, so appointed, together with their deputies, after giving fifteen days’ notice, to open the polls and hold an election in each civil district in said county, for district and county officers, and the officers so elected shall hold their offices until the next regular election for the different officers so elected takes place in other counties in the state.

SECTION 10.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That it shall be the duty of the above named Commission, so soon as convenient, after the full and complete organization of the said county of Wisdom, to select and put in nomination two or more suitable locations for the seat of justice of the said county of Wisdom, having a due regard for health and convenience of a majority of the citizens of said county, neither of which places shall be more than three miles from the supposed or probable center of said county of Wisdom, which places shall be voted for by the legal voters of said county, and the site nominated receiving the largest number of voters, shall be and is hereby declared to be the seat of justice of the said county of Wisdom.

SECTION 11.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That it shall be the further duty of said Commission to superintend the erection of such public buildings as the County Court of said county may direct to be built, and shall let the same out, and shall take bonds with ample security, payable to themselves and their successors in office, conditioned for the faithful performance of his or their contract. The proceeds of the sales of all donations, lands, town lots, or other gifts that may be made, in consideration of the location of the seat of justice for said county of Wisdom, or otherwise, shall be a fund in their hands, to pay the necessary expenses in organizing said county, and paying for the erection of public buildings, ordered to be built by the County Court, and should any surplus remain in their hands, it shall be their duty to pay over the same to the Trustee, to be accounted for by him as other funds in his hands.

SECTION 12.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That said Commission of Wisdom county, be and they are hereby authorized to exercise all powers and privileges conferred on them by this Act, and any and all other powers, not in violation of the Constitution of the State, that may be necessary and proper for the complete setting up and organization of said county of Wisdom.

SECTION 13.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the fractions composing said county of Wisdom, shall be liable for thepro rataof the debts contracted, and owing by the counties from which they were taken, and shall also receive their portion of any stocks or credits belonging to said old counties.

SECTION 14.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That in conformity to the fourth section of the 10th Article of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, a new county be and the same is hereby established, to be composed of fractions, to be taken from the counties of Washington and Carter, to be known and designated as the county of Unicoi.

SECTION 15.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the boundaries of the county of Unicoi shall be as follows, viz.: Beginning at the state line, on the top of Iron Mountain, where Rictless's Ridge joins the same; thence a north course, including Samuel McKinney, the Honeycomb Rock on Stone Mountain; thence to the Muddy Spring, near Dry Creek; thence crossing Buffalo Creek at the Big Spring, lying at the lower end of Ellis' farm, nearly twelve miles from Elizabethton; thence to the top of the Haynes Knob; thence to the top of the pinnacle of the Buffalo Mountain; thence with said mountain (so as not to approach the town of Jonesborough at any point nearer than eleven miles), to the Stoney Point, on Nolichucky River; thence crossing said river; thence a direct course to the old furnace stack in Bumpass' Cove; thence to the old furnace on Clark's Creek; thence a direct course to where the counties of Washington and Greene join the North Carolina State line; thence with the State line nearly an east course to the beginning.

SECTION 16.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the purpose of organizing the county of Unicoi, William Tilson, Esq., Charles Bean, Josiah Sams, James V. Johnson, William McInterf, David Bell, Franklin Hannum, Richard N. Norris, and Thomas Wright shall be, and they are hereby appointed Commissioners on the part of the several fractions in which they reside.

SECTION 17.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That said county shall be attached to the first Judicial Circuit, and the first Circuit Court shall be held at the time designated by the judge of said Circuit, and shall be attached to the first Chancery District, and the Chancery Court shall be held at the time designated by the Chancellor.

SECTION 18.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That all the rights, powers and privileges granted in this Act to the county of Wisdom, wherever applicable, be, and the same are hereby granted to and conferred upon the county of Unicoi, and they are hereby authorized to exercise all powers and privileges conferred on the Commissioners in the above Act establishing the county of Wisdom, and all other powers not in violation of the Constitution of the state, that may be necessary and proper for the complete setting up and organization of said county of Unicoi.

SECTION 19.BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.

Passed on March 19, 1875

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Unicoi 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.

Subjects :

  • Unicoi County in General
  • Elephant Hanging
  • Erwin
  • Greasy Cove

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Unicoi County in General
  • Alderman, Pat. In the shadow of Big Bald, about the Appalachians & their people. Mars Hill, NC, Bald Mountain Dev. Corp., 1972. 80 pp.
  • Alderman, Pat. The wonders of the Unakas in Unicoi County. Erwin, Erwin Business & Professional Woman's Club, 1964. 44 pp.
  • Barnes, Florence. An educational history of Unicoi County, TN. George Peabody College thesis, 1935. pp.
  • Biographical directory, TN General Assembly, 1796-1969 (Unicoi County, preliminary # 11). Nashville, TSLA, 1970. 61pp.
  • Churches & institutions of Unicoi County, TN. Milligan College, the college, 1994. 87 pp. (Restoration Movement term papers by Milligan College students enrolled in "Reformation of the nineteenth century," taught by Dr. Henry E. Webb)
  • Clayton, Austin B. Investigation of the TN Zinc Co. property, Bumpass Cove, Unicoi County, TN.N.p., US Dept. Interior, 1949. 14 pp.
  • Coleman, Richard D. The distribution & relative abundance of some immature aquatic insects in Red Fork Creek, Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1967. 36 pp.
  • Collins, Bobbie L. "Decoration day at Higgins Chapel cemetery in Unicoi County, TN: a time to remember & to celebrate life." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 54 (1988), pp. 82-90.
  • DePriest, Paula T. The macrolichen flora of Unaka Mountain, Unicoi County, TN - Yancy County, NC.UT thesis, 1983. 321 pp.
  • Earl, Matthew W. Cemeteries as a cultural trait in Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1995. 115 pp.
  • Flood insurance study: Unicoi County, TN: unincorporated areas. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1984. 27 pp.
  • Goodspeed's history of east TN (Unicoi County, pp. 904-906, 1287-1289). Goodspeed, 1887.
  • Health profile: Unicoi County, TN. Johnson City, ARCHA Health Systems Agency, Inc., 1981. 22 pp.
  • Helton, William W. Around home in Unicoi County. Johnson City, Overmountain Press, 1986. 624 pp. (revised & reprinted, 1987, 626 pp.)
  • Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol MSA, 1980-1987: an economic analysis. Nashville, TN Dept. Emp. Sec., 1988. 37 pp.
  • Lefler, James C. Growth & stand development of eastern white pine (Pinus Strobus L.) on grass balds of Unaka Mountain in Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1978. 45 pp.
  • Masters, Roxie A. The valley of the long hunters. Parsons, WV, McClain Print. Co., 1969. 246 pp.
  • Mayfield, George R. Avian populations of the high altitude red spruce forest & associated northern hardwoods Unaka Mountain, Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1995. 67 pp.
  • Miller, Tracy R. An investigation of the regional English of Unicoi County, TN. UT dissertation, 1973. 176 pp.
  • Payne, John H. A vegetational analysis of the Rattlesnake Ridge area of Unaka Mountain, Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1966. 49 pp.
  • Pratt, Andree W. Unicoi County court: 1876-1918. ETSU thesis, 1960. 100 pp.
  • Price, Albert L. A survey of the vegetation of Unicoi County, TN. Duke U. thesis, 1938. 62 pp.
  • Rodgers, John. Geology & mineral deposits of Bumpass Cove, Unicoi & Washington counties, TN.Nashville, TN Div. Geol., 1948. 82 pp. (its Bulletin # 54)
  • Rowe, Richard K. A study of eutrophication in Fishery Branch in Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1972. 59 pp.
  • Shekarchi, Ebraham. The geology of the Flag Pond quadrangle, TN - NC. UT thesis, 1959. 140 pp.
  • Sinclair, William J. The effects of water conservation practices on individual sewage disposal systems in Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1980. 69 pp.
  • Soil survey, Unicoi County, TN. Washington, D.C., US GPO, 1985. 99 pp.
  • TN Dept. Education. Unicoi County schools survey report. Nashville, the department, 1964. 1 vol.
  • TN Dept. Transportation [county maps] issued periodically.
  • TN Valley Authority. Ind. Div. Agricultural-industrial survey of Unicoi County. Knoxville, TVA, 1934. var. pp.
  • Thrasher, James A. An educational survey of Unicoi County, TN. UT thesis, 1932. 99 pp.
  • Unicoi County Hist. Soc. Hidden heroines of northeast TN. Erwin, Unicoi County Hist. Soc., n.d.
  • Unicoi County, TN & its people, 1875-1995. Waynesville, NC, Walsworth Pub., 1995. 233 pp.
  • US Geol. Survey [topographic maps] issued periodically. Quadrangles: Johnson City, Telford, Erwin, Unicoi, Iron Mtn. Gap, Flag Pond, Chestoa, Huntdale, Sams Gap, Bald Creek.
  • Veasey, Milton. Recovery of vegetation & soil following the 1925 fire on Unaka Mountain, Unicoi County, TN. ETSU thesis, 1986. 35 pp.

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Elephant Hanging
  • Burton, Thomas G. "The hanging of Mary, a circus elephant." TN Folklore Soc. Bull. 37 (1971), pp. 1-8.
  • Ewing, James. "You mean they hanged an elephant?" TN Conservationist 36 (June 1970), p. 6.
  • Ewing, James. "Mystery solved: why they hanged the elephant." TN Conservationist 36 (Oct. 1970), p. 10.
  • Price, Charles E. The day they hung the elephant. Illustrations by Randy Hodge. Johnson City, Overmountain Press, 1992. 44 pp.

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Erwin
  • Flood insurance study: city of Erwin, TN, Unicoi County. Washington, D.C., FEMA, 1984. 17 pp.
  • Miller, Carolyn D. A walk together: the story of Calvary Baptist Church, Erwin, TN. Erwin, the church, 1974. 39 pp.
  • Padgett, Hilda B. The Erwin nine. Johnson City, Overmountain Press, 1993. 136 pp.
  • Swingle, Viola R. Erwin. Johnson City, Overmountain Press, 1976. 59 pp. (reprinted 1986)
  • TN Valley Authority. Div. Water Control Plan. Floods on Nolichucky River & North & South Indian Creeks in vicinity of Erwin, TN. Knoxville, TVA, 1967. 70 pp.
  • Unicoi County, Erwin, TN, celebrates the birth of a nation. Souvenir ed. Erwin, n.p., 1976. 48 pp.

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Greasy Cove
  • Alderman, Pat. Greasy Cove in Unicoi County: authentic folklore. Centennial ed. Johnson City, Overmountain Press, 1975. 48 pp.
  • Brown, Rosalie B. "Andrew Jackson & the Greasy Cove race track." THM (ser. 2) 2 (1931-1932), pp. 62-66.

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Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Unicoi County (12)

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Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Unicoi County (13)

Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Tre Hargett was elected by the Tennessee General Assembly to serve as Tennessee’s 37th secretary of state in 2009 and re-elected in 2013, 2017, and 2021. Secretary Hargett is the chief executive officer of the Department of State with oversight of more than 300 employees. He also serves on 16 boards and commissions, on two of which he is the presiding member. The services and oversight found in the Secretary of State's office reach every department and agency in state government.

Genealogical "Fact Sheets" About Unicoi County (14)

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