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Williamson County, Tennessee

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Official Website


The Tennessee General Assembly created Williamson County on October 26, 1799. It is named after Hugh Williamson, a North Carolina politician who signed the U.S. This territory had long been inhabited by at least five Native American cultures, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Shawnee.

European-American settlers arrived in the area by 1798, after the Revolutionary War. Fur traders had preceded them. Scots traders had intermarried with Native American women and had families with them. Both sides thought these relationships could benefit them. Most of the settlers were migrants from Virginia and North Carolina, part of a western movement across the Appalachian Mountains after the American Revolutionary War. Others came after living for a generation in Kentucky. Many brought slaves with them to cultivate the labor-intensive tobacco crops, as well as to care for livestock.

Many of the county's early inhabitants were veterans who had been paid in land grants after the Revolutionary War. Many veterans chose not to settle in the area and sold large sections of their land grants to speculators. These in turn subdivided the land and sold off smaller lots. In the antebellum years, the county was the second-wealthiest in the state. As part of the Middle Tennessee region, it had resources of rich soil, which planters developed with slaves for a diversity of crops including rye, corn, oats, tobacco, hemp, potatoes, wheat, peas, barley, and hay. This diversity, plus timber resources, helped create a stable economy, as opposed to reliance on one cash crop.

Three battles were fought during the Civil War, in the county: the Battle of Brentwood, the Battle of Thompson's Station,[8] and the Battle of Franklin, which had some of the highest fatalities of the war. The large plantations that were part of the county's economic foundation were ravaged, and many of the county's youth were killed. Many Confederate casualties of the Battle of Franklin were buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery near the Carnton plantation house. Containing the bodies of 1,481 soldiers, it is the largest private Confederate cemetery in America.

One of the first major manufacturers to establish operations in the county was the Dortch Stove works, which opened a factory in Franklin. The factory was later developed as a Magic Chef factory, producing electric and gas ranges. (Magic Chef was prominent in the Midwest from 1929.) When the factory was closed due to extensive restructuring in the industry, the structure fell into disuse. The factory complex was restored in the late 1990s in an adaptation for offices, restaurants, retail and event spaces. It is considered a "model historic preservation adaptive reuse project."

The completion of the Interstate Highway System contributed to Nashville's rapid expansion in the mid-20th century, stimulating tremendous population growth in Williamson County. As residential suburban population has increased, the formerly rural county has invested in infrastructure and schools, and its character is rapidly changing. Between 1990 and 2000, the county's population increased 56.3 percent, mostly in the northern part, including Franklin and Brentwood. Its residents are affluent, with a high median income. The southern part of the county is still primarily rural and used for agriculture. Spring Hill is a growing city in this area. In addition, Williamson County's overall affluence is also due to an abundance of musicians and celebrities with part-time or full-time residences in it.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Allisona (part)
  • Arrington
  • Bethesda
  • Boston
  • Brentwood
  • Brush Creek
  • Burwood
  • College Grove
  • Cool Springs
  • Duplex
  • Fairview
  • Fernvale
  • Franklin (County Seat)
  • Kirkland
  • Leiper's Fork
  • Liberty Hill
  • Nolensville
  • Peytonsville
  • Rudderville
  • Spring Hill (part)
  • Thompson's Station
  • Triune



Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places