This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.

Grainger County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Grainger County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded information needed
Seat Rutledge
Largest city Bean Station
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

302 sq mi (783 km²)
280 sq mi (726 km²)
22 sq mi (57 km²), 7.31%
 - (2000)
 - Density

74/sq mi (28/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Grainger County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee known for its tomatoes. Together with Hamblen and Jefferson counties, it is part of the Morristown Metropolitan Statistical Area which is, as of December 2005, considered a component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette, TN Combined Statistical Area.[1] As of 2000, the population was 20,659. The 2005 Census Estimate placed the population at 22,283 [2]. Its county seat is Rutledge6.


Grainger County holds the distinction of being the only Tennessee county named for a woman, Mary Grainger Blount, the wife of Territorial Governor William Blount. The state legislature formed the county in 1796 from parts of Hawkins and Knox Counties, and it once included parts of Campbell, Claiborne, Hamblen, and Union Counties. The county seat was located in Washburn in North Grainger County, for some time before moving to Rutledge in 1801.

Nestled between the Holston and Clinch Rivers, Grainger County retains much of its rural nature. Rutledge, the county seat, has a population approaching 2,500. Founded in 1798, the town was named in honor of General George Rutledge of Sullivan County. Blaine traces its origins to the 1700s, when it was known as Blaine's Crossroads because of its proximity to the residence of Robert Blaine. George Bean Sr., goldsmith, jeweler, and gun maker, settled Bean Station, the county's most recently chartered town (1997). Bean Station served as a crossroads along the Old Kentucky Road (U.S. Route 25E) and the New Orleans to Washington Road (U.S. Route 11W). These towns lie to the south of Clinch Mountain, which splits the county into two geographical sections. Communities north of the mountain include Thorn Hill, Washburn, and Powder Springs.

Agriculture still accounts for a significant portion of the county economy, with tobacco the major money crop, though cattle raising continues to make important gains. Grainger County tomatoes have become a national trademark.

Small businesses represented a second source of economic development. Grist mills, hatters, saddle makers, tailors, lawyers, and dry goods merchants supplied the necessities for isolated agricultural communities. Taverns such as the nationally renowned Bean Station Hotel along the New Orleans to Washington Road provided accommodations and refreshments to weary travelers.

By the late 1800s a tourism industry had developed around the mineral springs flowing from Clinch Mountain. The most famous, Tate's Springs, flourished until the Great Depression. It included mineral baths and waters, an enormous hotel, cabins, and a golf course. The resort declined and closed following the Great Depression and a major fire. Today a gazebo is the most important reminder of its former grandeur. More recently, the Tennessee Valley Authority's construction of lakes on both sides of the county, Cherokee Lake to the south and Norris Lake to the north, has revived the recreational industry. Fishing, camping, water sports, and development of lakefront property continue to contribute to the county's economy.

Grainger County's industrial growth has been limited. The Shields family operated Holston Paper Mill, one of the earliest local industries. The Knoxville and Bristol Railway, which once ran through the Richland Creek Valley, succumbed to flooding. The vegetable canneries of the 1910s closed after a tomato blight destroyed their primary produce. Locally owned Clinchdale Lumber Company logged the county's timber in the early part of the century. Later, timbering gave way to knitting mills and zinc mining. Black marble is quarried in Thorn Hill. In 1974 the county built an industrial park to spark economic growth with mixed results. Almost half the people of the county now travel to surrounding towns for employment. Overall, the county remains one of small businesses and agriculture, although a 1999 count identified 3,643 residents employed in the industrial sector.

During the Civil War a state of near-guerrilla warfare brought economic, political, and social chaos. A major skirmish occurred near Blaine around Christmas of 1862. A year later the battle of Bean's Station pitted the forces of Confederate General James Longstreet against a Union army under General J. M. Shackleford in a planned surprise attack that failed through the blunders of Longstreet's staff.

Grainger County claims a number of notable citizens. James Ore, pioneer Indian fighter and Knoxville merchant, was one of the county's first settlers. Several members of the Cocke family served in the state and national legislatures, including John Cocke (1796-1801, 1807-13, 1843-45), Sterling Cocke (1815-19), William Cocke (1813-15), and William Michael Cocke (1855-57). Members of the Lea family associated with Sam Houston, founded a city in Texas, surveyed the Iowa territory, and taught at the University of Tennessee. Andrew Johnson operated a tailor's shop in Rutledge. DeWitt Clinton Senter, successor to Governor William G. Brownlow, grew up in Grainger County, as did Spencer Jarnagin, a U.S. senator (1843-47). John K. Shields held posts as Tennessee Supreme Court chief justice and U.S. senator (1913-25). His brother, Knoxville banker W. S. Shields, provided the land for the University of Tennessee football stadium. John Williams served as U.S. minister to Turkey. Dr. Herbert Acuff achieved national recognition as a surgeon. Roy H. Beeler became attorney general of Tennessee. Theo Tate was U.S. treasurer, and Robert Taylor Jones served as governor of Arizona.


Grainger County is bounded on the northwest by the Clinch River (impounded by Norris Dam to form Norris Lake) and on the southeast by the Holston River (including Cherokee Lake). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 783 km² (302 sq mi). 726 km² (280 sq mi) of it is land and 57 km² (22 sq mi) of it (7.31%) is water. Clinch Mountain is a major geographic feature that effectively separates the county into a southern section (including Rutledge) and a northern section (including Washburn).

Adjacent Counties[]


Age pyramid Grainger County[1]

As of the census2 of 2000, there were 20,659 people, 8,270 households, and 6,161 families residing in the county. The population density was 28/km² (74/sq mi). There were 9,732 housing units at an average density of 13/km² (35/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 98.41% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. 1.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,270 households out of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 8.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.50% were non-families. 22.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.90% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,997, and the median income for a family was $33,347. Males had a median income of $25,781 versus $19,410 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,505. About 15.10% of families and 18.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.40% of those under age 18 and 26.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[]


  1. ^ Based on 2000 census data

External links[]

Coordinates: 36°17′N 83°31′W / 36.28, -83.51

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Grainger County, Tennessee. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.