Tennessee's Lost County

Photo courtesy of Connie Lewallen Roach

    James County was created by an act of the Tennessee Legislature on January 30, 1871. Lands were taken from a small portion of Bradley County and the eastern third of Hamilton County. James county was named in honor of  Rev. Jesse J. James, the father of Elbert Abdiel James who introduced legislation for the formation of the county.  Ooltewah, an Indian name meaning "place of the owl," was selected as the county seat.

    The county went bankrupt in April of 1919 and was annexed into Hamilton County by a vote of its citizens on December 11, 1919. Few records remain of what was once James County due largely in part to courthouse fires in 1890 and 1913. The few remaining James County records are now kept in Hamilton County.

Goodspeed's History of James County

1890 James County Special Soldiers, Sailors, 
Marines and Widows Census

1919 James County Civil District Map

1902 James County Map

James County Marriages 1913 - 1919

James County Southern Claims Commission Index

James County Will Book 1887 - 1919


Goodspeed's Biographies of James County

Anderson, John
Burell, Thomas S.
Chesnutt, John C.
Chesnutt, Joseph D.
Childers, James C.
Eldridge, Jessie C.
Green, Jesse A.
Heaton, Jackson C.
Matthews, Pleasant L.
McDonald, Wiley P.
McCallie, William A.
Robert, Philip M.
Roddy, Thomas H.
Runyan, Simeon P.
Smith, John W.
Watkins, Zachary T.
Wells, George P.
Yarnell, Samuel I.

Photos from James County
Click on image for larger view

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Second James County Courthouse and County Court c. 1895

james_courthouse_1913.jpg (64951 bytes)

Third James County Courthouse 1913

james_highschool_1910.jpg (55730 bytes)

James County High School 1910

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James County Court circa 1900 -1900