Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy
Early Benton County History
County was formed from the western section of Humphreys
County by an act of the state legislature on December 19,
1835, noting that as of January 1, 1836, "the county
of Humphreys shall be and the same is hereby declared
divided, making the Tennessee River the dividing line of
said county". George Camp, Sr., Green Flowers,
Ephraim Perkins, Lewis Brewer and John F. Johnston were
directed as commissioners to locate the county seat at
Camden. Samuel Halliburton housed the county and circuit
courts at his home on Cypress Creek until permanent
facilities could be located.
eight civil districts were laid out in January, 1836 with
Benton County formally being organized at Tranquillity,
on the Reynoldsburg-Huntingdon stage road, on February 7,
1836. Four days later, the state legislature took a small
portion of the southeastern corner of Henry Country, and
added to Benton County, it's ninth civil district.
County was originally named for Thomas Hart Benton who
was born in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1782.
Benton was a conservative who concluded that slavery was
economically and morally wrong. He subsequently fell out
of favor with most southerners who regretted having named
their county after him. The state legislature voted on
February 4, 1852, "That the county of Benton retain
its original name in honor of David Benton, an old and
respected citizen of said county".
Tennessee was permanently settled by Whites at the site
of Nashville by 1779. Although claimed by North Carolina,
it was actually held by Native Americans. The cession of
this area by North Carolina was accepted by the federal
government in 1790. In 1796, this territory was
incorporated into the State of Tennessee with it's
admittance to the Union on June 1st.
to provide some form of government for the area of
Western Tennessee, Stewart County was formed in 1803. As
the southern portion of Stewart County became more
populated, Humphreys County was formed in October of
though North Carolina had ceded it's western territory to
the federal government, it still retained the right to
issue land grants in the territory. By 1838, North
Carolinians had claimed over 8 million acres in Middle
and Western Tennessee. It wasn't until 1818, that
Tennessee rather than North Carolina was granted the
ability to issue land titles to the Western District of
Tennessee, and then only after it had been purchased,
through the Jackson Purchase of 1818, from the
the Western District was divided into seven surveyor's
districts. Benton county was in Surveyor's District 12.
It was also required that all North Carolina grants had
to be executed by October 1, 1820. In December of 1820,
though still part of Humphreys County, the area of the
future Benton County was opened to settlement by the
Benton County land entry was made by Daniel Buchanan on
November 28, 1820 for 160 acres on the Big Sandy River.
The town of Big Sandy now includes part of it.
Some of the above information was
summarized from Jonathan K.T. Smith's "Benton County
volume of the Tennessee County History Series" by Memphis State University Press (1979).
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