Williamson County, Tennessee

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Williamson County, Tennessee
Williamson county tennessee courthouse 2009.jpg
Williamson County Courthouse in Franklin
Seal of Williamson County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Williamson County
Location in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded October 26, 1799
Named for Hugh Williamson[1]
Seat Franklin
Largest city Franklin
 • Total 584 sq mi (1,513 km2)
 • Land 583 sq mi (1,510 km2)
 • Water 1.2 sq mi (3 km2), 0.2%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 208,010
 • Density 314/sq mi (121/km²)
Congressional district 7th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website williamsoncounty-tn.gov

Williamson County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the United States Census, the population was 205,226.[2] The county seat is Franklin.[3] The county is named after Hugh Williamson, a North Carolina politician who signed the U.S. Constitution.

Williamson County is part of the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Pre-Civil War

The Tennessee General Assembly created Williamson County on October 26, 1799, from a portion of Davidson County. The county had originally been inhabited by at least five Native American cultures, including tribes of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Shawnee. It is home to two Mississippian-period mound complexes, the Fewkes site and the Old Town site, built by a culture that preceded such tribes.

European-American settlers migrated into the area by 1798, preceded by traders. Most were from Virginia and North Carolina, part of a western movement after the Revolutionary War. In 1800, Abram Maury laid out Franklin, the county seat, which was carved out of part of a land grant he had purchased from Major Anthony Sharp.[1] "The county was named in honor of Dr. Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, a colonel in the North Carolina militia and served three terms in the Continental Congress."[4]

Many of the early inhabitants of the county were veterans who had been paid in land grants after the Revolutionary War. Those veterans who chose not to settle in the area often sold large sections of their land grants to speculators, who in turn subdivided the land and sold off smaller lots. Prior to the Civil War, the county was the second wealthiest in the state, and part of the Middle Tennessee region. This area's resources of timber and rich soil (farmed for a diversity of crops including rye, corn, oats, tobacco, hemp, potatoes, wheat, peas, barley, and hay) provided a stable economy, as opposed to reliance on one cash crop.[4]

Civil War

Williamson County was severely affected by the war. Three battles were fought within the county: the Battle of Brentwood,[5] the Battle of Thompson's Station,[6] and the Battle of Franklin, which had some of the highest fatalities of the war.[7] The large plantations that were part of the economic foundation of the county were ravaged, and many of the county's youth were killed during the war.[4] Many Confederate casualties of the Battle of Franklin were buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery near the Carnton plantation house. This cemetery, containing the bodies of 1,481 soldiers, is the largest private Confederate cemetery in America.[1]

Post-Civil War

The agricultural and rural nature of the county continued as the basis of its economy into the early 1900s. "Most residents were farmers who raised corn, wheat, cotton and livestock."[4] 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 later developed as the Magic Chef factory, producing electric and gas ranges. After falling into disuse, this factory complex was restored in the late 1990s. It is used for office space and considered a "model historic preservation adaptive reuse project."[1]

Since the completion of the Interstate Highway System and the rapid expansion of Nashville, Tennessee since the mid-20th century, Williamson County has undergone tremendous growth, requiring investment in infrastructure and schools, and rapidly changing its character. Between 1990 and 2000, the county's population increased 56.3 percent, mostly in the northern part of the county, including Franklin. As of Census estimates in 2012, Franklin has more than 66,000 residents (a fivefold increase since 1980) and ranks as the eighth-largest city in the state. The southern part of the county remains primarily rural pastoral usage. Spring Hill is a growing city in this area.[1]


Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 584 square miles (1,510 km2), of which 583 square miles (1,510 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water.[8] The Harpeth River and its tributary, the Little Harpeth River, are the county's primary streams.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

State protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 2,868
1810 13,153 358.6%
1820 20,640 56.9%
1830 26,638 29.1%
1840 27,006 1.4%
1850 27,201 0.7%
1860 23,827 −12.4%
1870 25,328 6.3%
1880 28,313 11.8%
1890 26,321 −7.0%
1900 26,429 0.4%
1910 24,213 −8.4%
1920 23,409 −3.3%
1930 22,845 −2.4%
1940 25,220 10.4%
1950 24,307 −3.6%
1960 25,267 3.9%
1970 34,330 35.9%
1980 58,108 69.3%
1990 81,021 39.4%
2000 126,638 56.3%
2010 183,182 44.7%
Est. 2014 205,226 [9] 12.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid Williamson County[14]

As of the census[15] of 2010, there were 183,182 people. In 2000 there were 44,725 households, and 35,780 families residing in the county. The population density was 217 per square mile (84/km2). There were 47,005 housing units at an average density of 81 per square mile (31/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.55% White, 5.18% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.97% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 2.52% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 44,725 households in 2000 out of which 43.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.80% were married couples living together, 7.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.00% were non-families. 16.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.18.

The age distribution was 29.50% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 24.90% from 45 to 64, and 7.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.70 males.

In 2008, the median income for a household in the county was $88,316, and the median income for a family was $101,444.[16] Also in 2008, the per capita income for the county was $42,786. About 3.50% of families and 4.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.40% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.

Williamson County is ranked among the wealthiest counties in the country. In 2006 it was the 17th wealthiest county in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the Council for Community and Economic Research ranked Williamson County as America's wealthiest county (1st) when the local cost of living was factored into the equation with median household income.[17] In 2010, Williamson County is listed 17th on the Forbes list of the 25 wealthiest counties in America.[18]

By 2006 Williamson County had a population of 160,781 representing 27.0% population growth since 2000. The census bureau lists Williamson as one of the 100 fastest-growing counties in the United States for the period 2000–2005.[19]

Most Williamson county residents are registered Republicans. In the 2004 presidential election, Williamson County voted 72 percent in favor of George W. Bush, 27 percent in favor of Senator John Kerry, and 1 percent in favor of Ralph Nader. In 2008, John McCain took the county with 69% to Barack Obama's 30%.[20]


The chief executive officer of Williamson County's government is the County Mayor, who is popularly elected for a four-year term, and is responsible for the County's fiscal management and its day-to-day business. Rogers C. Anderson has served in this capacity since 2002.

The County Mayor is assisted by directors of the Agricultural Exposition Park, Animal Control, Budget & Purchasing, Community Development, County Archives, Employee Benefits, Human Resources, Information Technology, Parks & Recreation, Emergency Management, Public Safety, Property Management, Risk Management, Solid Waste Management and WC-TV.[21]

The Mayor works closely with the 24 member Board of County Commissioners, two representing each of the 12 voting districts, and who are popularly elected by each district for a four-year term. A Chairman conducts the meetings of the Board, who is elected by the membership, annually. In addition for approval and oversight of the fiscal budget, the Board of Commissioners appoints the members of the Planning Commission, Highway Commission, Beer Board, Board of Zoning Appeals, Building Board of Adjustments, County Records Committee, Library Board and others.

Dist. Commissioner Dist. Commissioner Dist. Commissioner
1 Dwight Jones 5 Lewis W. Green Jr. 9 Sherri Clark
1 Ricky D. Jones 5 Thomas W. "Tommy" Little 9 Todd Kaestner
2 Elizabeth C. "Betsy" Hester 6 Paul Webb 10 Matt Williams
2 John Hancock 6 Jeff Ford 10 Travis Hawkins
3 Judy Herbert 7 Bert Chalfant 11 Brandon Ryan
3 Judy Hayes 7 Tom Bain 11 Brian Bethard
4 Kathy Danner 8 Barb Sturgeon 12 Dana Ausbrooks
4 Gregg Lawrence 8 Jack Walton 12 Steve Smith
Office Office Holder Office Office Holder
County Mayor Rogers C. Anderson County Clerk Elaine Anderson
Property Assessor Brad Coleman Register of Deeds Sadie Wade
Trustee Karen Paris Sheriff Jeff Long
Circuit Court Clerk Debbie Barrett Chancery Court Clerk Elaine Beeler
Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Guffee Juvenile Court Clerk Brenda Hyden
General Sessions Judge Denise Andre General Sessions Judge Tom Taylor
Highway Superintendent Eddie Hood Election Administrator Chad Gray

The County's Assessor of Property, County Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, Juvenile Court Clerk, Register of Deeds, Sheriff, Trustee and two judges of the General Sessions Court are popularly elected for four-year terms. Other officials including the Chancery Court Clerk, Election Administrator, and Highway Superintendent are appointed for four-year terms. The latter two are appointed respectively by the Election Commission and Highway Commission, and the Chancery Court Clerk is appointed by the elected judges of Tennessee's 21st Judicial District.


K-12 public education in the county is under the jurisdiction of Williamson County Schools, which operates 41 schools.





Unincorporated communities

See also

Notable people

  • John A. Murrell (1806?-1844), bandit, known for the Mystic Clan or Mystic Confederacy and Murrell Insurrection Conspiracy

Further reading

  • Holladay, Robert, “‘Dangerous Doctrines’: The Rise and Fall of Jacksonian Support in Williamson County, Tennessee,” Southern Studies, 16 (Spring–Summer 2009), 90–121.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 John E. Acuff, "Williamson County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 24 April 2013. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "tehc" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Thomason Associates and Tennessee Historical Commission (February 1988). "Historic Resources of Williamson County (Partial Inventory of Historic and Architectural Properties), National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination" (PDF). National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Battle Summary: Brentwood, TN". Nps.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Battle Summary: Thompson's Station, TN". Nps.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Battle Summary: Franklin, TN". Nps.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "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>
  10. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Based on 2000 census data
  15. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Williamson County, Tennessee - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Cost of Living Can Significantly Affect “Real” Median Household Income, Council for Community and Economic Research website . Retrieved December 9, 2007.
  18. "Forbes: Williamson 17th richest county - Nashville Business Journal". Nashville.bizjournals.com. 2010-03-10. Retrieved 2010-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Estimates for the 100 Fastest Growing U.S. Counties in 2004: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004
  20. CNN Election Center: America Votes 2004
  21. Williamson County Organizational Plan, Williamson County official website. Retrieved: 20 November 2013.

External links

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