McMinn County, Tennessee

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McMinn County, Tennessee
McMinn County Courthouse in Athens
Map of Tennessee highlighting McMinn County
Location in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1819
Named for Joseph McMinn[1]
Seat Athens
Largest city Athens
 • Total 432 sq mi (1,119 km2)
 • Land 430 sq mi (1,114 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5 km2), 0.5%
 • (2010) 52,266
 • Density 122/sq mi (47/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

McMinn County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 52,266.[2] Its county seat is Athens.[3]

McMinn County comprises the Athens, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.


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.[4]

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.[5] The county provided twelve regiments for the Union Army and eight for the Confederate Army during the course of the war.[5]

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.[6]


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.[7] 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, 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

State protected area

  • Chickamauga Wildlife Management Area (part)


Historical population
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%
Est. 2014 52,626 [8] 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid McMinn County[13]

At the 2000 census,[14] there were 49,015 people, 19,721 households and 14,317 families residing 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.




Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

See also

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bill Akins, "McMinn County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 11, 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 6, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. John Thweatt, "Joseph McMinn," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 11, 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 C. Stephen Byrum, McMinn County (Memphis, Tenn: Memphis State University Press, 1984), pp. 23-32.
  6. Information obtained from Tennessee Historical Commission marker 2A 102 in Athens, Tennessee. Information accessed: 26 November 2007.
  7. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 9, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Based on 2000 census data
  14. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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