Williamson County

Welcome Williamson County Williamson County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 183,182. The county seat is Franklin. The county is named after Hugh Williamson, a North Carolina politician who signed the U.S. Constitution.

Williamson County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2020 United States census, the population was 247,726. The county seat is Franklin, and the county is located in Middle Tennessee. The county is named after Hugh Williamson, a North Carolina politician who signed the U.S. Constitution. Adjusted for relative cost of living, Williamson County is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. Williamson County is part of the Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area. In the 19th century, tobacco and hemp were cultivated here, and planters also raised blooded livestock, including horses and cattle.


The Tennessee General Assembly created Williamson County on October 26, 1799, from a portion of Davidson County. This territory had long been inhabited by at least five Native American cultures, including the 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 people of a culture dated to about 1000 CE, which preceded such historic tribes.

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

In 1800, Abram Maury laid out Franklin, the county seat, which was carved out of a land grant he had purchased from Major Anthony Sharp. “The county was named in honor of Dr. Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, who had been a colonel in the North Carolina militia and had served three terms in the Continental Congress.”

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.  Slavery was an integral part of the local economy. By 1850, planters and smaller slaveholders in the county held 13,000 enslaved African Americans, who made up nearly half the population of more than 27,000 (see table below).


Civil War

Williamson County was severely affected by the war. Three battles were fought in the county: the Battle of Brentwood,  the Battle of Thompson’s Station,  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.


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