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Clay County, Tennessee

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  • John L. Reeves (1821 - 1851)
  • Dr. James "Asa" Reeves (1776 - 1870)
    James Asa Reeves Birth: 1776 South Carolina, USA Death: Jul. 15, 1870 Hermitage Springs Clay County Tennessee, USABurial: Reeves Cemetery Hermitage Springs Clay County Tennessee, USA Created by: Shei...
  • Robert Robert Hudson (1820 - 1901)

Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Clay County, Tennessee.

Official Website

Clay County was formed in 1870 by combining pieces from surrounding Jackson and Overton counties. Secretary of State Cordell Hull's first law office (now a museum) was located in Clay County.

Clay County's early inhabitants farmed and worked the Cumberland River, which was the major method of transportation in the Cumberland area. There were many docks and ferry crossings throughout Clay County to transport local crops and livestock to major markets. The timber industry was a major employer throughout the 1800s and 1900s and provides many jobs today. Tobacco farming became important in the local area throughout the 1900s and many old tobacco barns are still standing. With the end of government subsidies and with foreign competition, tobacco farming is minimal. Cattle, poultry, and corn are the major agricultural influences today. Clay County is one of the top poultry-producing counties in Tennessee.

During the Civil War, many skirmishes took place up and down the Cumberland River to control the movement of barges laden with supplies. Local communities were split in their loyalties, with many families at odds with each other. Some of these animosities remain today between family groups.

The city of Celina is at the junction of the Obey and Cumberland rivers, and was a major port during the steamboat years between Nashville and Burnside, Kentucky. Although the Celina ferry landing no longer exists, Celina still connects the north and south by highway. Butler's Landing was used as a storage depot with large warehouses owned and operated by the Butler family. The first Clay County Court meeting was held in a store near the river at Butler's Landing on March 6, 1871. Butler's Landing nearly became the county seat, but Celina won the vote by a narrow margin.

Clay County's rural location has restricted development and attraction of business and industry. This has resulted in the county having one of the highest unemployment rates annually in the state of Tennessee. The lack of jobs often results in the loss of educated young people who have limited opportunities locally.

Adjacent Counties

City & Communities

  • Arcot
  • Beech Bethany
  • Brimstone
  • Butler's Landing
  • Celina (County Seat)
  • Denton Crossroads
  • Free Hill
  • Hamilton Branch
  • Hermitage Springs
  • Lily Dale
  • Maple Grove
  • Moss
  • Neely Crossroads
  • Oak Grove
  • Pea Ridge
  • Shanky Branch



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