Difference between revisions of "Johnson County, Tennessee Genealogy"

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Text replace - "usgwarchives.org" to "usgwarchives.net")
Line 190: Line 190:
== Resources  ==
== Resources  ==
==== Getting Started  ====
==== Getting Started  ====

Revision as of 20:16, 31 January 2013

United States Gotoarrow.png Tennessee Gotoarrow.png Johnson County

Johnson County, Tennessee genealogy and family history research page. Guide to Johnson County (established 1836) genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

Hand and keyboard.jpg Tennessee
Online Records

Johnson County, Tennessee
Boundary map of Johnson County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Johnson County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Location of Tennessee in the U.S.
Founded: January 2, 1836
County Seat Mountain City
Adopt-a-wiki page
TGW 45x45.jpg This page adopted by:
TNGenWeb Project
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

Quick Dates

Johnson County's civil records start the following years:[1]

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1908  1838 1908 1840  1836 1836

County Courthouse

Johnson County Courthouse, Mountain City, Tenn.

Johnson County Courthouse
222 Main St.
Mountain City, TN 37683
Phone 423-727-7853

Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sat. 8:30 a.m.-Noon

County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1836;
Clerk Chancery  Court has divorce and court records.
Register of Deeds has land records.[2]


In the 1780s, this county's land fell within the bounds of the State of Franklin.

East Tennessee county established in 1836. Originally part of the pioneer Watauga Settlements, from 1784 to 1788, this land was claimed by the abortive, short-lived State of Franklin.[3]

The county is named after "Thomas Johnson an early settler of Carter County along the Doe River."[4]

Johnson County was created in 1836 from part of Carter County. However, the land on which Johnson County was located was also part of older Washington County, North Carolina, and Wayne (old) County in the State of Franklin. Wayne (old) County was created as part of the abortive, short-lived State of Franklin in March 1786.[5] It was created out of northeastern Washington County (organized by North Carolina in 1777). It was named for "Mad" Anthony Wayne of the American War for Independence.[6]The Franklin statehood effort collapsed by 1789. This county existed only briefly, its legality is questionable, and little trace remains.

The records of Wayne (old) County are now found at [Family Search and Tennessee County Facts

In 1796 the first county created by the new State of Tennessee was the reconstituted Wayne (old) County, only under the name of Carter County. In 1836 the northeast part of Carter County was divided off as Johnson County. The land on which the lost county of Wayne (old) was located is now part of Johnson and Carter counties in Tennessee.

Parent County

1836--Johnson County was created 2 January 1836 from Carter County.
County seat: Mountain City[7]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[8] (female)
  2. Hear it spoken[9] (female)

Boundary Changes

"Rotating Formation Tennessee County Boundary Maps" (1777-1985) may be viewed for free at the My Tennessee Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss

  • Lack of marriage records: 1836 to 1837


Populated Places

Buntontown Eureka Midway Stump Knob (hist.)
Butler Eastman Mill Creek Sugar Creek
Casper (hist.) Farthing (hist.) {{FHL|194954|subject-id|disp=Mountain City}} Sutherland
Centerview Fuller Neva Trade
Cold Spring Harmon Norris Upper Shady
Cowanstown (hist.) Heath Osborn Vaughtsville (hist.)
Crackers Neck High Health (hist.) Pandora Walnut Grove
Crandull Holy Hill Sandy Willen Gap
Damascus Ironville (hist.) Shady Valley Wills
Doeville Laurel Bloomery Shingletown Winchester
Dowell (hist.) Little Doe Shouns
Dry Hill Maymead Silver Lake

Neighboring Counties



Getting Started

Use the free Search for Surnames at Mountain Press's website to quickly search a variety of published Johnson County Bible, biography, cemetery, marriage, probate, and tax list records. To see which books are being searched, or to search each publication's index individually, click here. You are now equipped with a checklist of books to pull off the shelves at a genealogy library, or a wish list for your personal book collection.

Research Guides

African American

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png Tennessee African Americans


Tennessee cemetery records often identify birth, death, relationship, and military information, as well as religious affiliation.

The Tennessee Cemeteries page provides explanations of the following online resources:

Bibliographies Online Gravestone Transcriptions Cemetery Gazetteers
{{FHL|481337|subject-id|disp=FHLC}} Find A Grave | national search | county list  ePodunk
WorldCat TNGenWeb Cemetery Database  
  USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project  
  Johnson Co., TNGenWeb Project  

Published Johnson County cemetery records:

  • Carrier, Jeffrey L. Upon a Lonely Hill. The Cemeteries of Johnson County, Tennessee. Elizabethton TN: PDQ Printers, 1985. [Many Johnson County cemeteries; indexed]


1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population censuses of Johnson County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see Tennessee Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than nationwide online indexes.

See Tennessee Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Johnson County, TN census assignments, including links to transcribed files. [The USGenWeb Census Project®]


1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners





1890 - Lost, but substitutes are available:

  • Reed, Sue S. Enumeration of Male Inhabitants of Twenty-one Years of Age and Upward, Citizens of Tennessee, January 1, 1891, as Provided for by an Act of General Assembly of Tennessee, Passed January 15, 1891, and Approved January 22, 1891. 8 vols. Houston, Texas: S.S. Reed, 1989. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2r v. 7 1891. [Johnson County is included in Vol. 7.]
  • Sistler, Byron H. and Barbara Sistler. 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Tennessee. Evanston, Ill.: Byron Sister and Associates, 1978. FHL US/CAN Book 976.8 X2s 1890.






Family Histories

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Johnson County, Tennessee at World Connect, results in more than 45,000 entries.

  • Scott, Samuel W. History of the Thirteenth Regiment, Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry, U.S.A. Philadelphia: P.W. Ziegler, 1903. Available at FHL; digital versions at Heritage Quest Online ($); and Google Books (full view). [Includes biographical sketches of some men from Johnson County].



TSLA microfilmed original Johnson County Deed Books 1 to 14, and 19 (1836-1891, 1897-1900) and Index to Deeds (1836-1910). FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 944470-944477.

The following Johnson County land records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

Law and Legislation

  • Tennessee State Library and Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1850: Index to Names. January 25, 2005. [In addition to creating new laws, legislative acts were often required to obtain a divorce, grant legitimacy to a child, or for appointments to or grant payments for public service.] TSLA has created an index to names that appear in these acts covering the years 1796 to 1850. To read more about this valuable resource Click here. The searchable index is available at TSLA; another version is available at World Vital Records.

Local Histories

  • Calhoun, Russ Sr. Lost Heritage. The People of Old Butler, Tennessee and the Watauga Valley'.Johnson City TN: Overmountain Press, 1998. [A documentation of the community, institutions and families displaced or otherwise affected by the Tennessee Valley Authority Watauga Reservoir.]
  • Johnson County Historical Society. History of Johnson County, 1986. Mountain City TN: Johnson County Historical Society, 1985.
  • Johnson County Historical Society. History of Johnson County, 2000, Vol II. Mountain City TN: Johnson County Historical Society, 2000.



Early migration routes to and from Johnson County for European settlers included:[10]


Revolutionary War

War of 1812

Civil War Civil War

Civil War service men from Johnson County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Johnson County.

Union Soldiers

Additional sources for Civil War soldiers from Johnson County:


Many Tennessee newspapers are filmed and available at TSLA. Most of these newspapers may be accessed by interlibrary loan to libraries within Tennessee, although there are some newspapers which are not available in or outside of Tennessee. For further information regarding interlibrary loan policies and newspapers not available for interlibrary loan click here. For a list of newspapers available at the archives for Johnson County click on the following cities or towns:


  • Miller, Alan N. East Tennessee's Forgotten Children: Apprentices from 1778 to 1911. Baltimore, Md.: Printed for Clearfield Company, Inc., by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000. FHL US/CAN 976.8 U2m. Digital version at World Vital Records ($). Purchase at Genealogical.com. [Includes Johnson County.]


Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers who are new to their area would not likely discover. This type of material may be found in local, regional, or statewide genealogical society journals. The following periodicals cover this county:

Ansearchin' News
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Johnson County, Tennessee Genealogy records have been published in Ansearchin' News, the quarterly magazine of the Tennessee Genealogical Society. To view a list of these articles, visit their county index. To read digitized versions of the first 36 years of articles (Vols. 1-36), browse their archive or conduct a surname search. The Family History Library has a complete collection of the Ansearchin' News quarterly FHL Book 976.8 B2a.

East Tennessee Roots
Several genealogical articles with abstracts of Johnson County, Tennessee Genealogy records have been published in East Tennessee Roots (10 vols.). A subject index to these articles is available online. Surname indexes to Volumes 9 and 10 are also available online. The Family History Library has collected most issues of East Tennessee Roots FHL Book 976.8 D25e.

Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin
Genealogical articles with abstracts of Johnson County, Tennessee Genealogy records have been published in the Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (39+ vols., 1972-present), the journal of the Watauga Association of Genealogists. The organization has posted tables of contents for most volumes on their website. Back issues are available for purchase. The Family History Library has a complete collection FHL US/CAN Books 976.897 B2w, including Margaret W. Hougland and Betty Jane Hylton's Bulletin Subject Index: The First Thirty Years, 1972-2001 (Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Association of Genealogists, 2002) FHL Book 976.897 B2w index 1972-2001.


Learn if your Johnson County, Tennessee Genealogy ancestors went to prison!


The original Johnson County probate records are kept at the County Courthouse. They have been microfilmed twice:

FamilySearch has placed scans of the following records online in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 collection. These are browse-only collections. Handwritten indexes may be found at the front or back of some volumes:

  • Wills, 1836-1872, 1882-1932 (2 vols.)
  • Letters, wills, 1827-1867
  • Bonds, Letters, 1839-1900
  • Claims against estates, 1872-1932
  • Insolvent estate records, 1874-1937
  • Settlements, 1848-1907 (4 vols.)

The following Johnson County probate records have been indexed and/or abstracted:


The TSLA microfilmed the original Johnson County Tax Books 1836-1889. FHL copies: FHL US/CAN Films 944480-944481.

The following Johnson County tax records have been abstracted:[11]

  • [1798] 1798 Tax List, Carter County, East Tennessee Roots, Vol. 9, No. 4. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals. [Includes digital images of the original source; includes taxpayers in what later became Johnson County.]
  • [1836] Douthat, James L. Johnson County, Tennessee, 1836 Tennessee Civil District and Tax List. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 1993. FHL US/CAN Book 976.899 R42d; online: free surname index and purchase details.
  • [1836] West, Betsy F. "Johnson County, Tennessee Tax List - 1836," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Winter 1978):184-189. For FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1836-1839] Historical Records Project. Tax List, 1836-1839, Johnson County, Tennessee. Typescript, Tennessee State Library, Nashville, Tenn. FHL US/CAN Film 24717 Item 4.
  • [1836-1839] Douthat, James L. Johnson County, Tennessee Tax List 1836-1839. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free online surname index; purchase details.
  • [1840] See 1888.
  • [1843] "Johnson County Land To Be Sold for Unpaid 1843 Taxes," Ansearchin' News, Vol. 49, No. 4 (Winter 2002):15. For possible FHL and online access, as well as indexes, see Periodicals.
  • [1861] "Jefferson County, TN Voters List - 1861," available online, courtesy: The Original Johnson County Tennessee Genealogy Page.
  • [1888] "Johnson Co. 1888 Voters Who Voted in 1840," available online, courtesy: The Original Johnson County Tennessee Genealogy Page.
  • [1891] "Johnson Co., TN List of Voters in 1891," available online, courtesy: The Original Johnson County Tennessee Genealogy Page.
  • [1922] "1922 Voters of Shouns, Tennessee, Johnson County," available online, courtesy: The Original Johnson County Tennessee Genealogy Page.

Vital Records


Marriages were not officially recorded in Johnson County until 1838, when a law was passed mandating the practice.[12] The following publication, based on early newspapers, helps to alleviate this genealogical obstacle:

The following Johnson County Courthouse marriage records have been abstracted and/or indexed:

  • [1838-1880] Sistler, Byron and Barbara Sistler. Early East Tennessee Marriages. 2 vols. Nashville, Tenn.: Byron Sistler & Associates, Inc., 1987. FHL US/CAN 976.8 V2s v. 1. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings in this county for the specified years.] Free Lookups Available!
  • [1906-1920] Moody, Gerry Dowell, compiler. Marriage Records of Johnson County, Tennessee 1906-1920. Privately published, 1989. [Indexes names of brides and grooms, and marriage dates for weddings during the specified years.]

For deaths of Methodists in Johnson County between the 1830s and the 1920s, try:

Societies and Libraries 

Johnson County Historical Society
P.O. Box 1
Mountain City, TN 37683
Phone: 1-423-727-5800

East Tennessee Historical Society
601 S. Gay Street
P.O. Box 1629
Knoxville, TN 37901-1629
Phone: 1-865-215-8824
Email: eths@east-tennessee-history.org

Johnson County Public Library
219 North Church St.
P.O. Box 107
Mountain City, TN 37683
Phone: 1-423-727-6544
E-mail: licenhour1@wrlibrary.org
Hours: Mon., Wed., Thurs., Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tues. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Archives of Appalachia
East Tennessee State University
Sherrod Library, 4th floor
P.O. Box 70295
Johnson City, TN 37614
Phone: 1-423-439-4338
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri. ETSU school holidays are observed.
The Archives of Appalachia is a keeper of memories. Collect, preserve, and share the written words, sounds, and images of the people of Appalachia. House nearly 18 million manuscripts, 56,000 sound recordings, and 250,000 still and moving images.

Family History Centers

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Johnson County, Tennessee


  1. "Earliest County Records," Tennessee State Library and Archives.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Johnson County, Tennessee page 641, At various libr40ries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. J. Mark Lowe, "The Land Grant Processes of North Carolina and Tennessee," Lecture, Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, Knoxville, Tenn., August 21, 2010.
  4. "List of counties in Tennessee," Wikipedia.
  5. “State of Franklin” in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture at http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=F061 (accessed 27 June 2010).
  6. Robert M. McBride, "Lost Counties of Tennessee," East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications 38 (1966): 4-6.
  7. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), 641. (FHL Collection Ref Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  8. Voice of Betty Jane Hylton, County Co-coordinator, Washington County, Tennessee TNGenWeb; Editor, Watauga Association of Genealogists Bulletin (2010).
  9. Voice of Lynnae Weller, Kingsport, Tenn. (2010).
  10. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  11. The Heritage Quest Online version of PERSI aided in the compilation of this list.
  12. Gale Williams Bamman, C.G., "Research in Tennessee," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1993):105. FHL US/CAN Book 973 B2ng v. 81 (1993)