Frequently Asked Questions

Have any early county records been lost?

  • Records created under the jurisdiction of Spencer County, State of Franklin, do not exist. References to Hawkins Countians during that period may exist in the limited contemporaneous records created in Washington or Greene Counties.
  • Most records found in Tennessee courthouses are transcriptions, either from original documents, clerk’s notebooks, or earlier volumes. Tennessee statutes permitted record books to be re-copied. Early land record books in Hawkins County actually refer back to the original record book number and page.
  • Records were lost during the Civil War. At least one late 19th Century affidavit from a County Court Clerk attests to this fact, and the loss is referenced in published histories of the county.

Are any Hawkins County records in Virginia?

  • While the boundaries of Hawkins County were originally included in the King’s grant for the colony of North Carolina, many early settlers — especially in the Carter’s Valley area — considered themselves to be Virginians. They transacted their official business (land, estate, etc.) in Virginia. So, it is important to check the records of bordering counties, especially.

What’s up with all the confusing land records?

  • That is the subject of entire books, articles, seminars, and Web sites. Hawkins County has a unique place in the history of Tennessee land transactions. One crucial event, the Henderson & Company purchase from Oconostota, is registered in Rogersville. Many land grants registered in Rogersville are for tracts located in Middle and West Tennessee. The hotly contested "Sims Tract", which contains Melungeon history in present-day Hancock County, was originally in Hawkins County.

    For starters, see the TNGenWeb Special Project, The Land of Our Ancestors. Additionally, see Tennessee Land: Its Early History and Laws.