White County, Tennessee
|White County, Tennessee|
White County Courthouse in Sparta, TN
Location in the state of Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
|Founded||September 11, 1806|
|Named for||John White, early settler|
379 sq mi (983 km²)
377 sq mi (975 km²)
3 sq mi (7 km²), .74%
61/sq mi (24/km²)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
On September 11, 1806, an act of the Tennessee General Assembly created White County out of Smith and Jackson counties, responding to a petition signed by 155 residents of the area. The county's original geographic area included all of what are now White and Warren Counties, as well as parts of modern Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Franklin, Grundy, Putnam, and Van Buren counties.
The origin of the county's name is in dispute. The county is officially held to be named for John White (1751–1846), a Revolutionary War soldier, surveyor, and frontiersman who was the first known white settler of the area. White had moved his family to the Cumberland Mountains from Virginia in 1789. However, some historians suggest the county was named for Revolutionary War soldier James White, the founder of Knoxville.
In 1840, White County became a destination for people from all over the country when Christopher Haufmann erected a large hotel on Bon Air Mountain, part of the Cumberland Plateau. The hotel was near some mineral springs as well as being at a high altitude; both were thought to be health-bringing, and people came from far and wide for the "cures" advertised by the resort. During this time, the Tennessee Supreme Court (including then-Judge Andrew Jackson) often met in Sparta, and the town was even considered by the Legislature as a potential site for the state capital, narrowly losing to Nashville.
White County was the site of a very large saltpeter mining operation during the Civil War. The Cave Hill Saltpeter Pits (No. 1 and No. 2), located on Cave Hill near the mouth of England Cove, were intensively mined and still contain numerous relics from that operation. Saltpeter is the main ingredient of gunpowder and was obtained by leaching the earth from these caves.
The Civil War impacted White County heavily, even though no major battles were fought in the area. Being on the border between the largely pro-Union East Tennessee and pro-Confederate Middle Tennessee, the county was the scene of bloodshed from partisans (called "bushwhackers") of both sides. One famous Confederate guerrilla was Champ Ferguson, who caused much mayhem and destruction before he was arrested after the war on May 28, 1865. Ferguson is buried in France Cemetery near Sparta. White County provided the Confederacy with 19 companies, and the Union Army with just one.
Over the following decades, White County slowly rebuilt from the ashes of war. The county was connected to the outside world by railroad, mainly because of the booming coal mining industries being started on Bon Air Mountain. The mountain was rich in bituminous coal, and enterprising local businessmen were quick to realize the profit potential that represented. Several mining towns sprang up on the plateau part of the county, including Bon Air, Eastland, and Ravenscroft. The coal mining industry employed thousands of White County men for decades, but as the 20th century went on, the mines started to close and the people started to move away, and the industry had vanished by the time of World War II.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 379 square miles (980 km2), of which 377 square miles (980 km2) is land and 3 square miles (7.8 km2) (0.74%) is water.
- Burgess Falls
- Calfkiller River
- Caney Fork
- Center Hill Lake
- Cumberland Plateau
- Falling Water River
- Great Falls Dam
- Rock Island State Park
- Scott's Gulf
- Sunset Rock
- Virgin Falls
Blue Spring Cave
Blue Spring Cave, located five miles northeast of Sparta, is the longest mapped cave in Tennessee and the tenth longest cave in the United States, with 35 miles (56 km) of passages. The footprints of extinct Pleistocene (Ice Age) jaguars were discovered in the cave in 1990 by Bill Walter.
- U.S. Route 70
- State Highway 26
- State Highway 84
- State Highway 111
- State Highway 135
- State Highway 136
- State Highway 285
- State Highway 289
As of the census of 2000, there were 23,102 people, 9,229 households, and 6,774 families residing in the county. The population density was 61 people per square mile (24/km²). There were 10,191 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.63% White, 1.64% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 1.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 9,229 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.50% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.60% were non-families. 23.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 27.90% from 25 to 44, 25.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,383, and the median income for a family was $34,854. Males had a median income of $26,706 versus $20,346 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,791. About 11.20% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.90% of those under age 18 and 13.90% of those age 65 or over.
- White County High School
- White County Middle School
- BonDeCroft Elementary School
- Cassville Elementary School
- Central View Elementary School
- Doyle Elementary School
- Findlay Elementary School
- Northfield Elementary School
- Woodland Park Elementary School
- Heritage Christian Academy
- George Gibbs Dibrell - Confederate general
- Champ Ferguson - Confederate guerilla
- Lester Flatt - Bluegrass legend
- Kellie Harper - women's basketball head coach at North Carolina State and a graduate of White County High School
- Benny Martin - Bluegrass Legend; invented the eight string fiddle
- Carl Rowan - journalist, author, U.S. Ambassador to Finland
- Pauline Weaver - Arizona mountain man, born in White County
- Earl Webb - Major League Baseball record holder for most doubles in a season
See also↑Jump back a section
- Carroll Van West, "White County," Tennessee Encyclopedia History and Culture. Retrieved: 24 April 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Brief History of White County, White County TNGenWeb Project website, accessed May 2, 2008
- Thomas C. Barr, Jr., "Caves of Tennessee", Bulletin 64 of the Tennessee Division of Geology, 1961, 568 pages.
- Larry E. Matthews and Bill Walter, Blue Spring Cave, Published by the National Speleological Society, 2010, 346 pages. ISBN 978-1-879961-36-4
- Based on 2000 census data
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: White County, Tennessee|
- Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce
- White County Schools
- White County TNGenWeb
- Tennessee Department of Transportation Map of White County
- White County at the Open Directory Project
|DeKalb County||Cumberland County|
|Warren County||Van Buren County||Bledsoe County|