Lawrence County, Tennessee


Lawrence County is located in Middle Tennessee, one of the state's three "grand divisions."
Lawrence County was formed mostly from Indian territory as a result of the Treaty of 1816 with the Chickasaw Indians, and Hickman County and a small portion of Giles County.

History of Lawrence County

Topography and Migration Patterns of Lawrence County

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Lawrence County

Lawrence County Records (Military, births, cemeteries, deaths, marriages, surnames, wills, census, tax lists, etc.)

Lawrence County Towns  Photos  ( A look into the past with photos of places, businesses and people.)

Lawrence County Obituaries  (Submitted Lawrence County Obituaries)

Lawrence County Research Helps (Links to Genealogy Info)

  Surname Interests of Lawrence County Researchers (click for list of surnames) 

Lawrence County Historic Sites of Interest

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Lawrence County Genealogical Society Webpage

Lawrence County Archives Webpage

Lawrence County Goodspeeds History

Lawrence Co. Rootsweb Mailing List: TNLAWREN

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Lawrence County History

Lawrence County was created October 21, 1817, by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly from mostly Indian Territory as a result of the Treaty of 1816 with the Chickasaw Indians. A section of Hickman County and a small portion of Giles County were included in its boundaries also. Local government was established in 1818.

The county seat, Lawrenceburg, was chosen in 1819 because of its proximity to the center of the county and the fact that Jackson's Military Road ran on the eastern edge of the town. In April, 1821, the road was changed to go through the center of the town. This road was a major thoroughfare from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, and has played a significant role in the development of the county. The county and county seat were both named in honor of Captain James Lawrence, U.S. Naval hero of the War of 1812.

One of the first commissioners and justices of the peace from Lawrence County was David Crockett. He ran a water-powered grist mill, powder mill and distillery in the area of the county that is now David Crockett State Park. Although he was only here for four or five years, David Crockett had a tremendous impact on the county and is a main attraction for tourists.

In addition to the county seat of Lawrenceburg, other primary communities are presently Summertown, Henryville, Ethridge, Leoma, Loretto, St. Joe, West Point, and Iron City. Most of these were once major towns and their existence came about either because of Jackson's Military Road or due to iron ore mining.

Several people have influenced Lawrence County's history. Colonel George Henry Nixon was Colonel during the Civil War, a politician, and the person most responsible for the railroad coming to Lawrence County. James Jackson Pennington was our most famous inventor having invented and patented a working model of an "Aerial Bird" -- similar to a zeppelin -- in 1877. Thomas Paine was a lawyer, politician, and teacher, but most important, he was appointed the first Commissioner of Education in Tennessee in the 1880's by the Governor. During this time he helped develop the public education system. In 1899 Paine was appointed Commissioner of Agriculture. James D. Vaughan  (web link) transformed Lawrenceburg into the undisputed capital of Gospel Music in America. People came from all over the south to attend his school of music. Vaughan Publishing Company printed gospel music books and had branch offices in South Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas.

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Lawrence County Topography and Migration

Lawrence County, like most other areas, is a melting pot of various nationalities. The greatest impact on the county was caused by several different migrations over the years. To begin, Lawrence County was settled by people largely from the Carolinas. These people were mostly farmers with a few tradesmen, such as harness makers, blacksmiths, and carpenters. The primary industries were sawmills, grist mills, cotton mills and iron ore mines. The arrival of the railroad in Lawrence County in 1883 helped to make the county one of the leading producers of iron ore.

In the early 1870's, a large number of German Catholic people came in search of better land, bringing many skilled tradesmen. Between 1908 and 1915, families moved here from Cullman, Winston, and Morgan Counties in Alabama. Most of these were cotton growers or in the timber industry. Cotton was a major crop until the 1960's. The timber industry declined because new trees were not planted.

In 1944, the Amish people migrated to this area and have been an asset ever since. They are simple-living people, holding onto their strong religious and cultural beliefs. They do not believe in bearing arms, worldly pleasures, electricity, mechanical machinery or automobiles. They are farmers and skilled craftsmen, and one of this counties main tourist attractions.

Life in Lawrence County was changed forever in the late 1950' and early 1960's with the influx of factory workers when Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company relocated its factory here. They are one of the world's largest producers of bicycles and lawn mowers.

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Answers to Frequently-Asked Questions about Lawrence County

Where is Lawrence County located?

Lawrence County is bordered on the north by Maury County, on the west by Wayne County, on the east by Giles County, and on the south by Alabama. US Highway 64 and TN Highway 43 cross in the county seat of Lawrenceburg.

What is the population, governing body, and scholastic resources of Lawrence County?

The population of Lawrence County in 1994 census was 35,303. Presently there are 13 public schools, and 4 private schools with a total scholastic population of 7,120, and a branch of Columbia State Community College. County Government is run by a County Executive and a board of 18 Commissioners.

Where were the Lawrence County schools located before consolidation?

Appleton, Barnsville, Belew Springs, Berendsen, Blooming Grove, Bonnertown, Brush Creek, Center, Center Point, Concord, Copperas Branch, County Line, Crockett, Deerfield, Dunn, Eagle, Ethridge, Fairview, Fall River, Fishtrap, Five Points, Flatwoods, Freedom, Gaitherville, Gandy, Goodhope, Goss, Gum Springs, Howardsville, Hudson, Idaho, Iron City, Jones Chapel, Jonestown, Lawrenceburg, Leoma, Liberty Grove, Long Branch, Loretto, Mars Hill, Mt. Nebo, Mt. Horeb, Oakhill, O.K., Park Grove, Pea Ridge, Pebble Hill, Peppertown, Piney, Pleasant Point, Pleasant Valley, Porter's Chapel, Quercus, Ramah, Redhill, Revilo, Richadrson Chapel, Second Creek, Silver Springs, Sims Ridge, Springdale, St. Marys, Summertown, Wayland Springs, West point, Wolf Creek, and Zion.

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Lawrence County Records

Anyone that has Lawrence County data bases or info you would like to contribute please e-mail. Submitter will be given credit.
Reita Jones Burress

Lawrence County Military Records  All Wars (click for list)

Lawrence County World War I  Veterans (TN State Library and Archives) Veterans A - L:  Veterans G - M:  Veterans N - Z: 

Union Civil War Soldiers Buried In Lawrence County (Known soldiers) Tombstone photos added!