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.


The annual History & Heritage Day will be held April 28, 2018 at the York Elementary School in Jamestown, Tennessee, starting at 9:00 A.M.  The theme will be “Fiftieth Anniversary – Looking Back, Moving Forward.”  Past accomplishments will be shown.  Plans for the future will be exhibited.

Genealogy exchange is an important part of this event, so bring your family history and share with others.

Fiftieth Anniversary Coming — Looking Back

The Fentress County Historical Society was organized May 22, 1968 in the Fentress County Public Library. Twelve individuals were present at this meeting — eleven adults and one teenager.  Ruble Upchurch was elected as President, Mrs. Jane Dayhuff, Vice-President, and Wanda June Sewell was elected as Secretary-Treasurer.  Ernest Buck, Paul Sidwell and Charles Chambers were elected as directors.  All that were present at this meeting are now deceased, except for Wanda Sewell Hatfiield and the teenager, Daniel Smith. Daniel never joined as a member.

The first project developed by the Society was efforts toward the publishing of a new Fentress County History book. A few community histories were written, but the group was small, and little progress being made.

Will Peavyhouse and his wife did published a short, but interesting history of the Boatland area. Hazel Wheeler publish a history of the Wilder-Davidson area and later, a pictorial history of the City of Jamestown. Wilma Reagan Pinckley published several books about the area.  Janice Pile Brannon published a history of the Wolf River Valley Area. These were an outgrowth of the efforts of the Historical Society, but as a Society, we were making little progress.  Printed copies of the various census records for Fentress County became available.

Meanwhile, the Society had published Sgt. York and His People with added information and pictures to bring it up to date.  This book was originally published by Sam Cowan in 1922 and became one of our best sellers.

We needed money and requests were received for some of Albert R. Hogue’s books.   This lead to the reprinting of three of his books and these have proved to be a good addition to our collection.

Changes were occurring.  Members died and some left for other reasons.  New members came in and the society moved forward.  The long awaited History of Fentress County became a reality in 1987.  Two reprintings followed — all sold.

Some people had collected family information for a number of years.  The Casper Patton published two books about his families and this area.  His brother also published a book.  Maudean Wright Shanks researched and did a History of Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute in 1994.  Joyce Greer Crouch published two books — one on the Greer Family and one on the Crouch families.  The Society collected pictures and published a pictorial history in 1998.

New life came to the society when new members joined and became involved.   The veterans book came out in 2013 and came be credited to Myra Moody Smith.  This was followed by a book devoted to the men who served in World War I.  Joyce Greer Crouch and Kathy Stockton Williams are due credit for this book.

The Society is still “reaching for the stars” in that we have set out to reach our goal — a place to house all the materials that we have collected during the past forty-nine years.  We have a good chance of obtaining that goal in the near future.



The Fentress County Historical announces new days and hours at the Society’s museum in Allardt. The new schedule is Fridays –1pm-4pm and Saturdays—10am-1pm, exclusive of national holidays. Now is a great time to visit while school is out. Bring the children and introduce them to their Fentress County history.

The museum now has copies of Fentress Countians in the Great War, compiled by Joyce Crouch and Kathy Williams, for sale. These are soft cover copies; and they sell for $30 each. If you would like to have a copy mailed to a family member or a friend, $6 will be added for postage and handling.

While at the museum, take a moment to linger on the front porch and enjoy the beauty of the flowers recently donated to the Historical Society by PWP Greenhouse. The hanging baskets and container plants are a profusion of vibrant color and add a special attractiveness to the historic (former) Gernt Land Office at 1726 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Small group tours are given, with advance notice. To arrange a tour, call 931-879-9275.

Government Speakers Series Announced by Historical Society

The Fentress County Historical Society has announced that it will present a Summer Speakers Series, this year, in addition to the Visiting Author Series that has become popular here over the last two years.

The first program to be offered will take place Thursday, May 11th and will feature Jamestown City Mayor Darlene Monday Davis.  The event will be held in the large courtroom of the Fentress County Courthouse, starting at 5pm and is expected to last about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Designed to provide a platform for citizens to hear about and respond to matters pertaining to city, county and state government, the Historical Society anticipates that the series will present, in addition to Mayor Davis, officials from Fentress County Government and the State Legislature.

Mayor Davis will talk about the daily operation of the City of Jamestown, current historic preservation projects and those that might be planned for the future.  She will also discuss her goals and vision for the future of the city and entertain questions from the audience.

All citizens of Jamestown are invited to attend and refreshments will be served.





The Fentress County Historical Society has announced its 26th annual Heritage Roundup, Saturday, April 29, at York Elementary School.  The event is scheduled to start at 9am and continue till mid-afternoon. 

This year’s Roundup theme is Fentress Countians in the Great War, commemorating the service and sacrifice of Fentress County’s World War I veterans and their families.  A strong focus is being put on genealogy. Genealogists scheduled to be present are Bruce York with his Fentress County database, Burdenna Brown and others from the LDS Church, the Overton County Historical Society and Shawn Gray, with Overton County Kin.

A highlight of the event will be research recently compiled by Kathy Williams and Joyce Crouch who have, over several months, researched and collected information on the county’s World War I veterans.  Their research is extensive, meticulously recorded and organized in notebooks which will be available for viewing by Roundup attendees.  It is also being compiled as a book to be published by the Fentress County Historical Society and made available for sale.

There will be exhibits by the Sergeant Alvin C. York State Historic Park, the Sgt. York Patriotic Foundation, the Fentress County Historical Society and others.  There will also be a display of the entries in the Historical Society’s Great War poster contest, sponsored by Progressive

Savings Bank and conducted in Fentress County schools.

Jude Urbanski (Judy Urban), author of Chronicles of Chanute Crossing and I Can’t Remember Me, who was at Roundup last year, has committed to return for this event.  Music and storytelling will round out the program.

Box lunches will be available for $6.00 between 11:30am12:30pm. All activities are to take place inside York Elementary School.  So, sunshine or rain, the 26th annual Spring Heritage Roundup is the place to be on Saturday, April 29!  

This event is free and open to the public.