To commemorate the conclusion of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary Year, the organization will host a picnic at the Jamestown Community Park, Tuesdray, May 22, 5-7pm. Everyone is invited to attend this special event, for an evening of food, music, a presentation about the organization’s mission, activities and plans for the future. Garrett Farms is providing Choice Beef Burgers for the grill and the Grill Masters will be Willie Beaty and John Beaty, who are known for flipping some great burgers. Leonard Anderson, one of  Fentress County’s favorite entertainers will be at the mike with some much requested songs. There will be door prizes and perhaps a surprise or two.

The Fentress County Historical Society has been preserving, promoting and sharing the history of this place we call home since May 22, 1968. The organization was begun with a small group of individuals, led by Mr. Ruble Upchurch, who was elected its first president. Wanda Hatfield, who was a member of that original group, is still a member of the Society, sits on its Board of Directors and is Editor of its Newsletter.

As the Society begins its second half-century of serving as service to the people of Fentress County, it is at a milestone. With its holdings – archives, library, museum – located in separate buildings, FCHS leadership realizes that it is time to bring all its holdings together in one location in order to better preserve, add to and more effectively present them to the public. With a significant bequest from the late Helen Linder Hull, the organization is moving forward with a campaign to raise the remainder of the money needed to construct a building or purchase an existing one that is adequate to meet the needs of today and allow for expansion to meet the needs of the future.

It is with this in mind that, at this important point in the Society’s history, its leadership is hosting this 50th Anniversary Picnic in the Park – to say “Thank You!” to those who have already given to the Fentress County Historical Society Building Fund, to present plans for future growth to the community and emphasize the importance of everyone’s support in this endeavor that will honor the past and preserve it for future generations.

“We look forward to seeing friends and neighbors from all across Fentress County at this important event,” said Willie Beaty, Chairman of the FCHS Building Committee. “Come out to the Jamestown Community Park on May 22, from 5 to 7pm. Enjoy the evening and learn about what your support of this endeavor can mean for Fentress County.”

Reservations are not required. See you at the Park!


The Historic Sites Committee of the Fentress County Historical Society will celebrate Historic Preservation Month with its customary placing of a plaque on a local building of historical significance. The building chosen as this year’s plaque recipient is Ye Old Jail Museum Building on the Courthouse Square.

The building, which houses the Ye Old Jail Museum and the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1898, after the previous jail had burned. It served as the Fentress County Jail from that date until 1979, when a new jail was built and attached to the southwest corner of the Courthouse. The current jail is a part of the Justice Center.

The plaque installation ceremony will be held on May 22, at 12:30pm, with officials of the Fentress County Historical Society, the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce and other local officials participating. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

For additional information about the event, or about previous Fentress County Historical Society historic marker recipients, contact the FCHS at www.fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org or visit us on Facebook. The Society, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Year is a 50l(c)3
not-for-profit organization.


2018 is the twenty-ninth year that the Fentress County Historical Society has produced its annual Heritage Day, an event that has always focused on one particular aspect of Fentress County history. This year, the Society’s 50th Anniversary Year, will be very different, as its Heritage Day will be a cumulative look back at previous Heritage Days.
The Heritage Day theme, this year, is taken from the Society’s theme for its 50th Anniversary, “Looking Back – Moving Forward: A Celebration of 50 Years of Preserving and Sharing Fentress County History”. To be held, Saturday, April 28, 9:00am to 3:00pm, in the York Elementary School, Heritage Day will feature many of the themed displays from past years, including those focused on education, business, the Civil War, The Way We Worked in Fentress County 1850-1960, and more. Displays will be arranged by year; and some unique new displays will be available for viewing for the first time.
A highlight of this year’s Heritage Day will be a presentation of First Family Certificates to individuals who have recently completed their First Family documentation, as well as recognition of all First Family certificate holders who are present. With almost one hundred members of Fentress County’s First Families group, this part of the day’s program will be an important part of the event’s activity. The presentation and recognition ceremony is scheduled for 11:00am-11:30am.
The midday program will also include the announcement and introduction of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 2018 scholarship recipient as well as a surprise musical presentation. The Society will have a book sale table and other booksellers are expected to be present.
Lunch will be available. For $5.00, Heritage Day attendees can have a midday meal of sandwich, chips or nuts, dessert and a drink. Door prizes will be drawn for and winners announced throughout the day.
This twenty-ninth Heritage Day will round out the Fentress County Historical Society’s year long 50th Anniversary celebration, which has included several programs and seminars, an open house and other activities. The Society was founded on May 22, 1968, when Ruble Upchurch convened a meeting with about fifteen interested persons for the purpose of organizing a historical society. This group elected officers, drafted a constitution and set about the business of preserving and sharing the history of Fentress County. Since that time, the FCHS has been at the forefront of collecting, preserving and promoting the historical and cultural heritage of this place we call home.


If you have ever thought about becoming a member of the Fentress County Historical Society, there is a great opportunity to follow through on that thought waiting for you at this twenty-ninth Heritage Day, to be held at York Elementary School, Saturday, April 28. If you join as a new member at the Heritage Day event, you will receive, in addition to the other benefits of membership, a free lunch! The offer applies to both new individual adult memberships and new family memberships. Lunch will be served at midday and will include sandwich, chips or nuts, dessert and drink, for which the cost, otherwise, will be $5.00. To qualify, the new membership form must be completed and payment received at the Historical Society registration table prior to lunch being served.
This year’s Heritage Day will be the culmination of a year full of events celebrating the Fentress County Historical Society’s half century of preserving and sharing the history of Fentress County, Tennessee. The theme – “Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Celebration of 50 Years of Preserving and Sharing Fentress County History” - will be showcased by displays from Heritage Days held over the past several years.
Highlights of the day’s activities will be the presentation of First Family certificates recognition of Fentress County’s First Family Certificate holders, and the announcement of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 2018 scholarship recipient.
The Historical Society and others will have books for sale, door prize winners will be announced throughout the day, and free coffee will be available. Everyone is invited to come out to York Elementary School, April 28, 9am-3pm, to join the FCHS in celebrating its fifty years of service to Fentress County, to learn more about the people, places and events of this place we call home and visit with family and friends. Admission is free and everyone is invited.
The Fentress County Historical Society is a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit organization.
Find us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fentresscountyhistoricalsociety/


The Fentress County Historical Society is planning an auction to benefit its building fund. The auction, which will be held at the Jamestown Community Center, Saturday, March 24, 5:30pm until the last item is sold, is an event of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Throughout these fifty years, the Society has served Fentress County in historic preservation and promotion. As an organization, it has preserved artifacts and documents pertaining to the county’s history and its families, published books about our people, places and events, and presented free and open programs and workshops to educate our residents and other interested individuals about the unique heritage of this area.

“Throughout the years, we have fulfilled our mission without funding from any source other than memberships, fundraisers and small donations. Neither have we had a home, a central location in which to bring together our organizational offices, holdings, resources, programs and other activities,” said Tom Potter, Society President.

“During this, our 50th anniversary year,” he continued, “we see an opportunity to have a home, thanks to a bequest from the estate of Mrs. Helen Linder Hull. Her bequest provided us with the financial foundation upon which we can build a future home, although it is insufficient, in itself, to build or purchase such a structure."

To build upon the foundation provided by Mrs. Hull, the Fentress County Historical Society has set about to raise the money necessary to do just that. As a first step, the Society is planning an auction with a goal of raising a minimum of $5,000 to add to its building fund.

The public is invited to join with the organization in taking this step toward creating a new home that will hold, preserve and protect the history and heritage of Fentress County – one that will make all Fentress Countians proud.

Society board members and volunteers are contacting Fentress County businesses and interested individuals to request donations for the March 24 auction. Donations will be appreciated and publicly (unless otherwise requested) recognized, both prior to and during the auction.

Some great items have already been donated and many others are needed. If you have items to donate and have not been contacted, please call 931/879-9275

Everyone is invited to attend this fundraising auction for the Fentress County Historical Society at the Jamestown Community Center, Saturday, March 24, 5:30pm until the last item is sold. Darren Rudd Auction Company will be auctioneering.

There will be special guests and live entertainment. Food and beverages will be available, door prizes given away and, to round out the evening, an old-fashioned Cake Walk.

Wishing you and yours a bright & blessed Christmas & the happiest of New Years!



The Fentress County Historical Society will have a Christmas Open House, Saturday, December 9, noon to 3pm, at the Society’s museum in Allardt. This open house will be particularly significant, as it will mark the fiftieth Christmas that the Society has been preserving and promoting the history of Fentress County.

There will be music, refreshments, door prizes and a warm welcome for everyone. Guided tours of the museum will be given. The museum will be decorated for Christmas. Anyone having a vintage Christmas ornament that they would like to add to the Christmas tree is invited to bring it and hang it on the tree at a special 50th Anniversary “Decorate the Tree” ceremony.

Meeting for First Families of Fentress County Certificate Was a Success

Successful First Families of Fentress County Certificate Meeting

There was a productive meeting relating to doing research and documenting the information needed to obtain a First Families of Fentress County Certificate. It was held on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Fentress County Library.

Blank pedigree charts and family group sheets were given to each participant. Some of the handouts utilized were a county map showing the county boundaries in 1823, also a list of families that possible lived in this area in 1823. A sample time lime was also presented, in case someone would need to do one.

Three or four previously submitted applications were reviewed so the participants could visualized and learn some of the documents to copy and the way to utilize them in the application. Proof needed is showing he or she is the son or daughter of so and so.

Pedigree charts were printed using York’s Fentress County Families, a huge computer program utilizing more than 350,00 names. These charts show all the generations back to an ancestor who lived in Fentress County, before or at the time of organization. Primary sources  must be used to prove each generation.  Birth certificates, death certificates or obituaries can be used to document the first two or three generations.  Census records from the 1920 census back to the 1850 census can be useful.  Prior to 1850, the census records noted the number of males or females, broken down into age groups.  The 1880 census is the first one to note relationship to the head of household.

Ancestors being researched for a certificate included Thomas Stephens, Christopher Choate, Joseph Upchurch, and William Travis, but some were undecided as to which family they would use.  Copies of the family appearing in the 1820 Overton County Census and then in the 1830 Fentress County Census is proof enough that they lived in what became Fentress County.  Land records can also be used to show where the person lived.  The most difficult step can be the proving of the children or grandchildren of this ancestor.  Please allow time for this research.  Review Revolutionary War records, if they are available.

Since the documentation of the early ancestors are usually the more difficult ones to document, it will be necessary to  utilize something other than census records.  This is where estate settlements or wills can be an important resource.  Understandable, these records are in short supply, but some are out there.

The group was excited about getting on with their project.l  It was suggested that if they had problems beyond their capabilities, they they contact either Kathy Williams or Wanda Hatfield.


Workshop for First Families Certificate

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.