TNGenWeb Project
Three Grand Divisions of Tennessee

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There is a paper under the map links and notes.
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East Tennessee

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Middle Tennessee

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West Tennessee

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These modern maps were made by TNGenWeb’s very own Charles Reeves.

NOTES

Tennessee is divided into Three Grand Divisions: Eastern, Middle, and Western. Prior to statehood (1796), and even prior to Tennessee’s territorial period (1790-96) there were legal divisions in Tennessee. North Carolina applied these names (at least) to her divisions/districts in her “Western Reserve” or “Western Lands:”

Eastern Division/District
Middle Division/District
Military Division/District
Western Division/District

In 1806, when Tennessee created her Surveyor’s Districts, two land offices were formed. One in East Tennessee, one in West Tennessee. The slight problem is that the “West Tennessee” of those times is really “Middle Tennessee” of today. It seems that there was some consideration given to the fact that all those lands in the 1806 Congressional Reservation (generally the western third of the state) were Chickasaw lands and perhaps never going to really be part of Tennessee. In any case, it does cause genealogists to take a second look when they find an 1810 White Co TN Militia unit in West Tennessee. After the Great Chickasaw Cession of 1818, the area west of the west waters of the Tennessee River became known as Western Tennessee, commonly called West Tennessee.



THREE GRAND DIVISIONS OF TENNESSEE
Eastern, Middle, and Western

Compiled by Ronald Lee, Reference Librarian
Tennessee State Library and Archives
From the Acts of Tennessee.
Used with permission.

The earliest official reference to the three divisions of Tennessee is the Acts of Tennessee 1835-1836 Chapter 3: An Act to establish a Supreme Court in pursuance of the 2nd sec., art. 6, of the Constitution of the United States. Section five of the act states that the Supreme Court shall hold one session in each year at the following places, to wit: at Nashville, in the Middle Division, at Knoxville in the Eastern Division, and at Jackson in the Western Division. Section eight of the act lists the counties included in each division. The counties are as follows:

Eastern Division
Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hawkins, Jefferson, Knox, McMinn, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, Sevier, Sullivan and Washington.

Middle Division
Bedford, Davidson, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Maury, Montgomery, Overton, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

Western Division
Carroll, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.

The 1858 Code of Tennessee, Section 100 (derived from the 1835-1836 acts), lists the three grand divisions: for the administration of justice in the Supreme Court there are three grand divisions of the State: the Eastern, Middle, and Western. Sections 101, 102 and 103 list the counties in each division. The counties are as follows:

Eastern Division (Section 101)
Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Sullivan, Union and Washington.

Middle Division (Section 102)
Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Overton, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

Western Division (Section 103)
Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.

The three divisions of the state are listed again in the Acts of Tennessee 1923, chapter 70: An Act to require the Supreme Court of Tennessee to sit, hear cases and determine same in each of the three Grand Divisions of the State as required by the Constitution, and to repeal all Acts and parts of Acts in conflict herewith. The act again specifies the Supreme Court to meet at Knoxville for the Eastern Division, Nashville for the Middle Division, and Jackson for the Western Division. The specific counties in the three divisions are not listed.

The Code of Tennessee 1932 restates the three grand divisions. Title 2, Chapter 4, Article 1 states that for the administration of justice in the supreme court and the court of appeals, there are three grand divisions of the state: the eastern, middle, and western. In the listings, Marion and Sequatchie County have been moved to the Middle Division, and Cumberland County has been moved to the Eastern Division. The counties listed are as follows:

Eastern Division (Article 1, Section 148)
Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union and Washington.

Middle Division (Article 1, Section 149)
Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

Western Division (Article 1, Section 150)
Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.

The 1955 edition of Tennessee Code Annotated again restates and defines the divisions. Title 4 Section 109 states there are three (3) grand divisions of the state: the eastern, middle and western. In the listings, Marion County has been moved back into the Eastern Division. The counties listed are as follows:

Eastern Grand Division (Section 110)
Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union and Washington.

Middle Grand Division (Section 111)
Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

Western Grand Division (Section 112)
Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.

The 1991 edition of Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) details the grand divisions of the state of Tennessee. TCA 4-1-201 states that there are three (3) grand divisions of the state: the eastern, middle and western. In the listings, Perry County has been moved from the Western Grand Division to the Middle Grand Division. The counties listed are as follows:

Eastern Grand Division (TCA 4-1-202)
Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Grainger, Greene, Hamilton, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union and Washington.

Middle Grand Division (TCA 4-1-203)
Bedford, Cannon, Cheatham, Clay, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Moore, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, White, Williamson, and Wilson.

Western Grand Division (TCA 4-1-204)
Benton, Carroll, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Madison, Obion, Shelby, Tipton and Weakley.





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This page was first posted on:
3 March 1998

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