Fentress County, Tennessee
|Fentress County, Tennessee|
Fentress County Courthouse in Jamestown, Tennessee
Location in the state of Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
|Named for||James Fentress, state legislator|
499 sq mi (1,292 km²)
499 sq mi (1,291 km²)
.4 sq mi (1 km²), .07%
33/sq mi (13/km²)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 499 square miles (1,292.4 km2), of which 499 square miles (1,292.4 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (0.07%) is water.
Adjacent counties 
- Pickett County (north)
- Scott County (east)
- Morgan County (southeast)
- Cumberland County (south)
- Overton County (west)
- Putnam County (southwest)
National protected area 
Fentress County was formed in 1823 from portions of Morgan, Overton and White counties. The county was named in honor of James Fentress (1763–1843), who served as speaker of the state house, chairman of Montgomery County Court, and commissioner to select seats for Haywood, Carroll, Gibson and Weakley counties in West Tennessee.
Fentress County was the site of several saltpeter mines. Saltpeter is the main ingredient of gunpowder and was obtained by leaching the earth from several local caves. The largest mine was in York Cave, which is located near the Wolf River Post Office. At one time, twenty-five large leaching vats were in operation in this cave. According to Barr (1961) this cave was mined during the Civil War. Buffalo Cave near Jamestown was also a major mine with twelve leaching vats. Manson Saltpeter Cave in Big Indian Creek Valley was a smaller operation with four leaching vats. It is possible that any or all of these caves were mined during the War of 1812, when saltpeter mining was widespread in both Kentucky and Tennessee.
Alvin York (1887–1964), a hero at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I, was born and lived in Fentress County. He also established the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute in Jamestown in 1924.
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,625 people, 6,693 households, and 4,818 families residing in the county. The population density was 33 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 7,598 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 99.24% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.03% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. 0.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,693 households out of which 31.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.30% were married couples living together, 11.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.00% were non-families. 25.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.20% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 26.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $23,238, and the median income for a family was $28,856. Males had a median income of $23,606 versus $18,729 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,999. About 19.50% of families and 23.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.80% of those under age 18 and 20.50% of those age 65 or over.
Unincorporated communities 
- Banner Springs
- Little Crab
- Mount Helen
- Pall Mall
See also 
Further reading 
- Duke, Jason. Tennessee Coal Mining, Railroading & Logging in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton & Putnam. Nashville: Turner Publishing (2004). ISBN 1-56311-932-3
- Hogue, Albert R. History of Fentress County, Tennessee. Santa Maria: Janaway Publishing (2010). ISBN 1-59641-220-8
- Hogue, Albert R. History of Fentress County, Tennessee; The Old Home of Mark Twain's Ancestors. Memphis: General Books (2010). ISBN 1-150-82647-9
- Fentress County, TNGenWeb - free genealogy resources for the county
- Fentress County at the Open Directory Project
- Fentress county landforms
||Putnam County||Pickett County|
|Overton County||Scott County|
|Cumberland County||Morgan County|