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McMinn County, Tennessee
Mcminn-county-courthouse1.jpg
McMinn County Courthouse in Athens
Seal of McMinn County, Tennessee
Seal
Map of Tennessee highlighting McMinn County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1819
Named for Joseph McMinn[1]
Seat Athens
Largest city Athens
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

432 sq mi (1,119 km²)
430 sq mi (1,114 km²)
2.1 sq mi (5 km²), 0.5%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

53,794 increase
125.10/sq mi (48/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website mcminncountytn.gov

McMinn County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is located in East Tennessee. As of the 2020 census, the population was 53,794. The county has a total area of 432 square miles (1,120 km2). Most of the county is within the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains. Its county seat is Athens. McMinn County comprises the Athens, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.

History[]

McMinn County was created in 1819 from Indian lands and was named in honor of Joseph McMinn (1758–1824).[1] McMinn was a militia commander during the Revolutionary War, a member of the territorial legislature, speaker of the state senate, and eventually governor of the state of Tennessee. McMinn died on October 17, 1824, and is buried at Shiloh Presbyterian Cemetery in Calhoun.[2]

The first railroad in East Tennessee, the Hiwassee Railroad, began construction in McMinn County in the late 1830s, but was halted due to financial difficulties. Work was resumed by the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad (ET&G) in 1849, and by the mid-1850s rail lines connected Chattanooga, Knoxville, and the Tri-Cities. The ET&G was headquartered in Athens before moving to Knoxville in 1855.[1] A train depot from this early railroad period still stands in Niota. A number of communities sprang up along the railroads in subsequent years, most notably Etowah, where the L&N built a large depot in the early 1900s, and Englewood, which developed into a textile manufacturing center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[1]

Like many East Tennessee counties, McMinn was polarized by the Civil War and the issue of secession.[1] On June 8, 1861, the county voted against secession by a margin of 1,144 to 904.[3] The county provided 12 regiments for the Union Army and eight for the Confederate Army during the course of the war.[3]

On August 14, 1920, in a long and bitter debate on the suffrage amendment at the Tennessee State Capitol, State Senator Hershel Candler of McMinn County denounced suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt on the floor of the state senate, saying Catt “would be glad to see the day when negro men could marry white women without being socially ostracized. This is the kind of woman who is trying to dictate to us. They would drag the womanhood of Tennessee down to the level of the negro woman."[4]

In August 1946, an uprising known as the Battle of Athens erupted when the McMinn County sheriff and several other county officials (most of whom had ties to Memphis political boss E.H. Crump) attempted to fix local elections. A group of World War II veterans launched an armed assault on the jail in Athens, where the county officials had retreated with the ballot boxes. After an exchange of gunfire, the county officials turned over the ballot boxes, and the votes were counted in a public setting.[5][6]

On December 11, 1990, a crash involving 99 vehicles occurred along Interstate 75 near Calhoun in heavy fog, killing 12 and injuring 42.[7][8] The accident, which occurred in an area prone to fog, was reportedly the largest motor vehicle crash in United States history at the time, in terms of the number of vehicles involved, and was blamed by some on the nearby Bowater (now Resolute Forest Products) paper mill.[9][10]

McMinn County came to worldwide attention in January 2022, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the county's Board of Education voted unanimously to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus from its curriculum over concerns about offensive words. The book, featuring Nazis as cats and Jews as mice, received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Art Spiegelman wrote and illustrated the book based on his parents’ experience in Nazi-occupied Poland and later at Auschwitz.[11][12]

Geography[]

U.S. Route 411 near Etowah

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 432 square miles (1,120 km2), of which 430 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.5%) is water.[13] Most of the county is within the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains, which is characterized by a series of parallel ridges separated by valleys oriented in a northeast-to-southwest direction. The Hiwassee River forms the county's border with Bradley County to the southwest. Starr Mountain, a large ridge in the southeastern part of the county on the edge of the Unicoi Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Appalachian province, forms part of the county's border with Polk County to the south and Monroe County to the north and east.

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Cherokee National Forest (part)

State protected area[]

  • Chickamauga Wildlife Management Area (part)

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 1,623
1830 14,460 790.9%
1840 12,719 −12.0%
1850 13,906 9.3%
1860 13,555 −2.5%
1870 13,969 3.1%
1880 15,064 7.8%
1890 17,890 18.8%
1900 19,163 7.1%
1910 21,046 9.8%
1920 25,133 19.4%
1930 29,019 15.5%
1940 30,781 6.1%
1950 32,024 4.0%
1960 33,662 5.1%
1970 35,462 5.3%
1980 41,878 18.1%
1990 42,383 1.2%
2000 49,015 15.6%
2010 52,266 6.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1790–1960[15] 1900–1990[16]
1990–2000[17] 2010–2020[18]

2022[]

In 2022, USA Today reported that the poverty rate of the county was 19.2% (the national median rate was 14.2%), its violent crime rate was 515 (the national median was 205), its teen birth rate was 36.1/1k (the national average was 22.5), preschool enrollment was 26.2% (the national average was 39.2%), its Toxic Release Index score was 60,713 (national median was 110), and 39% of the population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.[19]

2020 census[]

McMinn County racial composition[20]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 45,993 86.33%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 2,361 4.38%
Native American 140 0.26%
Asian 430 0.81%
Pacific Islander 17 0.03%
Other/Mixed 2,693 5.05%
Hispanic or Latino 2,161 4.06%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 53,794 people, 20,804 households, and 13,685 families residing in the county.[18]

2010 census[]

As of the census of 2010,[21] there were 52,266 people, 20,865 households, and 14,632 families living in the county. The population density was 121.55 persons per square mile and the housing unit density was 48.52 units per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 91.96% White, 3.95% Black, 0.34% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, and 1.79% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic of Latino origins made up 2.84% of the population.

Of all of the households, 26.93% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 53.88% were married couples living together, 4.86% had a male householder with no wife present, 11.38% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.87% were non families. 26.02% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.65% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.94.

The population was distributed with 22.57% under the age of 18, 60.57% ages 18 to 64, and 16.86% age 65 years and older. The median age was 40.4 years. 51.43% of the population were females and 48.57% were males.

The median household income was $37,146 and the median family income was $47,726. Males had a median income of $38,459 versus $31,342 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,796. About 13.7% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.0% of those under the age of 18 and 11.9% of those over the age of 65.

2000 census[]

Age pyramid McMinn County[22]

At the 2000 census,[23] there were 49,015 people, 19,721 households and 14,317 families living in the county. The population density was 114 per square mile (44/km2). There were 21,626 housing units at an average density of 50 per square mile (19/km2).

The racial makeup of the county was 92.72% White, 4.48% Black or African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. 1.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,721 households, of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.40% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45, and the average family size was 2.90.

Age distribution was 23.90% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.80 males.

The median household income was $31,919, and the median family income was $38,992. Males had a median income of $31,051 versus $20,524 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,725. About 10.90% of families and 14.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.20% of those under age 18 and 16.80% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[]

Cities[]

  • Athens (county seat)[24]
  • Etowah
  • Niota
  • Sweetwater

Towns[]

  • Calhoun
  • Englewood

Census-designated place[]

  • Riceville

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Claxton
  • Conasauga
  • Goodsprings
  • Liberty Hill
  • Mount Verd
  • Reagan
  • Regret (historical)
  • Spring Creek
  • Williamsburg

Schools[]

The 1870 Tennessee constitution prevented black and white children from attending the same public schools.[25][26] In 1875, McMinn County had 56 white schools and 10 "colored" schools.[27] After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, Tennessee began to integrate schools.[28]

McMinn County Schools operates public schools serving most of the county for grades K-12. Included are McMinn County High School and McMinn Central High School. In 2020, the district had 5,493 students. It had two high schools, seven middle schools, seven elementary schools, and seven preschools.[29] As of 2022, a total of 31% of elementary school students tested at or above the proficient level for reading, and 40% tested did so for math. Also, 31% of middle school students tested at or above the proficient level for reading, and 40% did so for math. Furthermore 34% of high school students tested at or above the proficient level for reading, and 22% did so for math.[29]

Athens City Schools and the Etowah School District, respectively, serve their areas for grades K-8, with McMinn County Schools operating the high schools for those respective cities.[30]

Politics[]

In the 2020 US presidential election, 79.7% of voters in the county voted for Donald Trump, who attracted 46.9% of the vote nationwide.[31] Following Trump in the county vote were Democrat Joe Biden, Libertarian Jo Jorgensen, coal mining business executive Don Blankenship, and rapper Kanye West.[31]

United States presidential election results for McMinn County, Tennessee[32]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 18,198 79.66% 4,361 19.09% 285 1.25%
2016 14,691 78.33% 3,510 18.72% 554 2.95%
2012 12,967 72.71% 4,609 25.84% 258 1.45%
2008 12,989 69.13% 5,541 29.49% 259 1.38%
2004 11,980 66.54% 5,891 32.72% 132 0.73%
2000 10,155 61.17% 6,142 37.00% 303 1.83%
1996 7,655 51.78% 5,987 40.50% 1,142 7.72%
1992 7,453 46.61% 6,682 41.79% 1,855 11.60%
1988 8,462 64.70% 4,568 34.93% 48 0.37%
1984 9,604 64.83% 5,141 34.71% 68 0.46%
1980 7,825 57.76% 5,460 40.30% 262 1.93%
1976 6,638 48.34% 7,020 51.12% 74 0.54%
1972 7,423 70.56% 2,838 26.98% 259 2.46%
1968 6,098 52.92% 2,889 25.07% 2,535 22.00%
1964 5,624 51.93% 5,207 48.07% 0 0.00%
1960 6,585 61.16% 4,111 38.19% 70 0.65%
1956 6,075 59.83% 3,950 38.90% 128 1.26%
1952 5,778 62.39% 3,440 37.15% 43 0.46%
1948 4,432 57.84% 3,016 39.36% 214 2.79%
1944 3,091 41.07% 4,435 58.93% 0 0.00%
1940 3,901 42.77% 5,192 56.92% 28 0.31%
1936 4,310 51.11% 4,077 48.35% 45 0.53%
1932 2,790 50.77% 2,630 47.86% 75 1.36%
1928 4,421 68.59% 2,011 31.20% 14 0.22%
1924 2,654 58.85% 1,617 35.85% 239 5.30%
1920 2,800 62.63% 1,636 36.59% 35 0.78%
1916 1,726 61.34% 1,088 38.66% 0 0.00%
1912 667 30.98% 912 42.36% 574 26.66%
1908 1,320 58.30% 926 40.90% 18 0.80%
1904 1,669 62.39% 1,001 37.42% 5 0.19%
1900 2,057 60.48% 1,289 37.90% 55 1.62%
1896 2,235 60.92% 1,388 37.83% 46 1.25%
1892 1,842 55.27% 1,336 40.08% 155 4.65%
1888 1,901 57.04% 1,364 40.92% 68 2.04%
1884 1,663 56.13% 1,293 43.64% 7 0.24%
1880 1,463 54.75% 1,209 45.25% 0 0.00%



See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in McMinn County, Tennessee

References[]

  1. ^ a b c d e Bill Akins, "McMinn County", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 11, 2013.
  2. ^ John Thweatt, "Joseph McMinn," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 11, 2013.
  3. ^ a b C. Stephen Byrum, McMinn County (Memphis, Tenn: Memphis State University Press, 1984), pp. 23-32.
  4. ^ "The Overlooked Matter of Race During the Suffrage Debate". May 1, 2020. https://www.tnmagazine.org/the-overlooked-matter-of-race-during-the-suffrage-debate/. 
  5. ^ Information obtained from Tennessee Historical Commission marker 2A 102 in Athens, Tennessee. Information accessed: November 26, 2007.
  6. ^ (1 November 2020) "'Get the Hell Out of Here and Get Something to Shoot With'". Politico. 
  7. ^ Sneed, Calvin (December 11, 2015). ""Stumbling Out Of The Fog:" Memories Of The Worst Traffic Accident in Tennessee History". Chattanooga, Tennessee: WTVC-TV. https://newschannel9.com/news/local/stumbling-out-of-the-fog-memories-of-the-worst-traffic-accident-in-tennessee-history. 
  8. ^ Speaks, Dewaine A. (August 5, 2019). Historic Disasters of East Tennessee. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 17–23. ISBN 9781467141895. https://books.google.com/books?id=j2ijDwAAQBAJ. 
  9. ^ "Forensic Files: Killer Fog (Season 2, Episode 3)". https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1472364/. 
  10. ^ Ashdown, Kyle (January 13, 2018). "That Time A Paper Mill Was Blamed For A Massive Highway Crash". https://www.carthrottle.com/post/that-time-a-paper-mill-was-blamed-for-a-massive-highway-crash/. 
  11. ^ Shimron, Yonat (27 January 2022). "'Tennessee school board bans acclaimed Holocaust graphic novel, Maus'". Religious News. https://religionnews.com/2022/01/27/tennessee-school-board-bans-acclaimed-holocaust-graphic-novel-maus/. 
  12. ^ Gross, Jenny (27 January 2022). "'School Board in Tennessee Bans Teaching of Holocaust Novel Maus'". The New York Times. https://religionnews.com/2022/01/27/tennessee-school-board-bans-acclaimed-holocaust-graphic-novel-maus/. 
  13. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. http://www2.census.gov/geo/docs/maps-data/data/gazetteer/counties_list_47.txt. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  15. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  16. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/tn190090.txt. 
  17. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  18. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/47107.html. 
  19. ^ "Overview of McMinn County, TN". https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/tennessee/mcminn-county. 
  20. ^ "Explore Census Data". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?g=0500000US47107&tid=DECENNIALPL2020.P2. 
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". https://www.census.gov. 
  22. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  23. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  24. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  25. ^ Knaff, Sheila (May 1998). "A Case Study of the Effects of Integration on Two Black High Schools in East Tennessee". Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 
  26. ^ "School Desegregation in Tennessee". April 2008. https://www.usccr.gov/files/pubs/docs/TNDESEGFULL.pdf. 
  27. ^ (in en) Annual Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Tennessee for the Scholastic Year Ending Aug. 31, 1874. Tennessee Department of Public Instruction. 1875. https://books.google.com/books?id=1No9AQAAMAAJ&dq=McMinn+County+Schools+tennessee&pg=PA100. 
  28. ^ "Tennessee State Board of Education Records 1815-1958". Tennessee State Library and Archives. http://tsla.tnsosfiles.com.s3.amazonaws.com/history/state/recordgroups/findingaids/STATE_BOARD_OF_EDUCATION_RECORDS_1815-1958.pdf. 
  29. ^ a b "Mcminn County". https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/tennessee/districts/mcminn-county-107444. 
  30. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: McMinn County, TN". U.S. Census Bureau. https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/DC2020/PL20/st47_tn/schooldistrict_maps/c47107_mcminn/DC20SD_C47107.pdf. 
  31. ^ a b "Tennessee Presidential Election Results". https://www.usatoday.com/elections/results/race/2020-11-03-presidential-TN-0/. 
  32. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 

Further reading[]

  • Byrum, Stephen C. McMinn County. Memphis: Memphis State University Press (1984). ISBN 978-0878701766.
  • Guy, Joe. The Hidden History of McMinn County: Tales From Eastern Tennessee. Charleston: The History Press (2007). ISBN 1-59629-349-7.

External links[]

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