Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy

Migration Routes

The early settlers of Benton County immigrated into the Western District of Tennessee primarily from North & South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama. They either came directly when the Benton County portion of Humphreys County was first open to the public or relocated from other areas of Middle and Eastern Tennessee.

Although there were many different means by which the early settlers could have reached Benton County, the most probable was by boat on the major rivers. For those coming from North Carolina, it would have been the French Broad River to the Tennessee River. Those in Eastern or Middle Tennessee would have followed the Cumberland River to Dover in Stewart County or utilized the western branch of the Tennessee River as Colonel Donelson's party did in March of 1780, passing below Pilot Knob on their way to the Ohio River, then to the Cumberland River and on to Nashville.


With the peace treaty of 1814, Secretary of War William H. Crawford commissioned the surveying of roads or traces throughout the District. The old Natchez Trace ran from Nashville to Alabama and on to Natchez on the Mississippi River. The Natchez Trace diverted south at Reynoldsburg from Glovers Trace which connected directly to Nashville. The Trace followed the ancient Harpeth and West Tennessee Trails thru Benton County's Cypress Creek and Chalk Level community and continued due south, ending at Chickasaw Old Town, near Tupelo, Mississippi. Another branch of the Trace continued west through Eva, crossing Beaverdam, Burnside and Charlie Creeks and on through Camden and Glover's Gap (named for Chickasaw Chief William Glover). After 1823, this trail led further into the Western District.


Benton County Map

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).

If you have suggestions and/or additions for these pages, please feel free to write Ken Byers

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