The Fentress County Historical Society has been issuing First Family Certificates to individuals who had an ancestor living in Fentress County in 1823 and could prove their linage back to that ancestor. Each step in the linage needs to be proven by using birth or death records, census records, estate settlement records, court records, or any similar record.
To help you in your endeavor, members of the local Historical Society will be at the Fentress County Public Library, 306 South Main Street, Jamestown, to assist you, from 9:00 A.M. until noon on Saturday, November 4, 2017. Someone can help you get started, point you as to where information can be found, and maybe give you the “little push” that will keep you going. You will learn how to use many of the items that can be used to document your application. This promises to be an interesting program, so plan to be there.
Your ancestor, why did he or she come to what became Fentress County, Tennessee? Did he get a land grant for service in the Revolutionary War? Or maybe he was the assignee for someone who received land for their service? He may have served as a chain carrier when the land was surveyed for another individual. Perhaps, the beauty of the area attracted his attention. It could have been the openness of the area — back East settlers were more close together.
The first settlers, to this area, arrived in the late 1790s or early 1800s when the land was yet considered as Indian Territory. Overton County was organized in 1806 — a large part of the eastern section was taken from Indian Lands.
The federal census records, for Fentress County, go back to the 1830 census and continue to the last one released, the 1940 census. These early records are a good starting point.
Another excellent resource is the early Entry Books which are available for this county and nearby counties. These record the first owners of the land and may contain a wealth of information. Deeds are recorded in both Overton and Morgan Counties, before the formation of Fentress in 1823.
Filling out the application form takes a little time, but can easily be done by following a few important steps. Application forms will be available. A $10.00 fee for the certificate must be submitted with the application.