Robertson County, Tennessee

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Robertson County, Tennessee
Robertson County Tennessee Courthouse.jpg
Robertson County courthouse in Springfield
Map of Tennessee highlighting Robertson County
Location in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 9 April 1796
Named for James Robertson[1]
Seat Springfield
Largest city Springfield
Area
 • Total 476 sq mi (1,233 km2)
 • Land 476 sq mi (1,233 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2), 0.04%
Population (est.)
 • (2016) 69,165
 • Density 145/sq mi (56/km2)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Central: UTC−6/−5
Website www.robertsoncountytn.org

Robertson County is a county located on the central northern border of Tennessee in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 66,283.[2] Its county seat is Springfield.[3] The county was named for James Robertson, an explorer, founder of Nashville, and a state senator, who was often called the "Father of Middle Tennessee".

Robertson County is a component of the Nashville-DavidsonMurfreesboroFranklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2002 current Mayor Howard Bradley became the mayor of Robertson County; he was elected to his fourth (four-year) term in November 2014.[4]

History[edit]

This was part of the Miro District (also spelled Mero), named after the Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró of what was then Louisiana on the west side of the Mississippi River. Miró had served with Spanish troops that assisted the Americans during their war for independence. James Robertson, the explorer for whom this county was named, was trying to create an alliance with Miró that would allow free movement on the Mississippi River (which Spain controlled) to settlers on the Cumberland frontier. This territory was first known as Tennessee County before statehood.

It was organized as Robertson County in 1796, at the same time as Montgomery County, which had also been part of that district. The county seat of Springfield, Tennessee was laid out in 1798. Although initially most settlers did not hold slaves, by the 1820s planters began to cultivate tobacco, a commodity crop that was labor intensive and depended on enslaved African Americans. The planters bought slaves to work their plantations, as well as to care for the livestock they bred - thoroughbred horses and cattle.

By the time of the Civil War, African-Americans comprised about one-quarter of the area's population, typical for Middle Tennessee, where tobacco and hemp were commodity crops. During the Civil War, Tennessee was occupied by the Union from 1862, which led to a breakdown in social organization in Middle Tennessee.[5]

During the Reconstruction era after the war, Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee started the Ku Klux Klan, a secret, insurgent paramilitary group. Chapters developed throughout the state and the South. They attacked freedmen and their sympathizers, working to suppress teachers of black students, the mobility of blacks and, after enfranchisement of African-American men, Republican voting by freedmen and whites. The KKK was largely suppressed in the early 1870s, but other insurgent groups arose in many areas of the South.

This county and much of the region continued to have an agricultural economy during the late 19th century and into the 20th century, with tobacco the chief crop. Although white conservative Democrats had political control over Robertson County, violence against freedmen continued after Reconstruction to enforce white supremacy.

According to Goodspeed's History of Tennessee (1886), whites arrested nine black men and lynched seven of them in retaliation for the murder on 30 August 1880 of L.S. La Prade, a white man living alone near Sadlersville (on the western edge of Robertson County).[6] Jack Bell and Arch Jamison were arrested quickly and taken to the Robertson County jail in Springfield, Tennessee. Without trial, the two African Americans were taken by a white mob on September 11, 1880 and hanged in a nearby grove.[6] The sheriff soon arrested seven more African-American men for La Prade's murder. They were scheduled for trial at the circuit court in February 1881. Two men, William Murphy and Andrew Duffy, turned state's evidence and were released.[6]

During the trial, on 14 February 1881, a mob of 25-30 white men threatened to take the five remaining defendants from jail but were dissuaded. Four days later, however, while the prisoners were being taken from the courtroom (and no verdict had yet been reached), a white mob overcame the guards, took the men and hanged them from the east side of the courthouse balcony. Jim Elder, Jim Higgins, Bob Thweat, Lum Small, and Sock Mallory were all murdered without benefit of trial.[6] There were four additional lynchings of blacks in the county, mostly around the start of the 20th century. Robertson County had the fourth highest number of lynchings in the state.[7]

By 1910 the county’s population was 25,466, including 6,492 black citizens, who continued to make up one-quarter of the total. Most of the residents were still involved in farm work, and tobacco was the primary commodity crop, but agricultural mechanization was reducing the need for laborers. White conservative Democrats had tried to restrict black voting; other southern states had totally excluded blacks from the political process. Many African Americans left rural Robertson County and other parts of Tennessee in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities for employment and social freedom. Combined with later in-migration of whites to the county, in the 21st century African Americans comprise less than 10 percent of the county population; they live chiefly in its larger towns.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 476 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 476 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.04%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties[edit]

State protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18004,280
18107,27069.9%
18209,93836.7%
183013,37234.6%
184013,8013.2%
185016,14517.0%
186015,265−5.5%
187016,1665.9%
188018,86116.7%
189020,0786.5%
190025,02924.7%
191025,4661.7%
192025,6210.6%
193028,19110.0%
194029,0463.0%
195027,024−7.0%
196027,3351.2%
197029,1026.5%
198037,02127.2%
199041,49412.1%
200054,43331.2%
201066,23821.7%
Est. 201669,165[9]4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid Robertson County[14]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 54,433 people, 19,906 households, and 15,447 families residing in the county. The population density was 114 people per square mile (44/km²). There were 20,995 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.13% White, 8.62% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 2.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2005 the racial makeup of the county was 85.4% non-Hispanic whites, 8.3% African Americans, and 5.3% Latinos.

There were 19,906 households out of which 37.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.40% were non-families. 18.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.80% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,174, and the median income for a family was $49,412. Males had a median income of $34,895 versus $24,086 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,054. About 6.40% of families and 9.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.90% of those under age 18 and 13.10% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Politics[edit]

Presidential Elections Results[16]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 71.6% 19,410 24.5% 6,637 3.9% 1,066
2012 67.1% 17,643 31.5% 8,290 1.4% 356
2008 64.8% 17,903 33.7% 9,318 1.4% 393
2004 60.5% 15,331 39.0% 9,865 0.5% 127
2000 48.0% 9,675 50.8% 10,249 1.2% 240
1996 41.2% 6,685 52.2% 8,465 6.7% 1,079
1992 33.4% 5,271 53.9% 8,498 12.7% 2,010
1988 49.0% 5,714 50.4% 5,884 0.6% 74
1984 48.3% 5,445 51.1% 5,756 0.6% 62
1980 32.0% 3,560 66.3% 7,381 1.7% 185
1976 24.8% 2,505 74.6% 7,547 0.6% 62
1972 56.4% 4,175 40.3% 2,985 3.2% 239
1968 22.5% 1,802 28.9% 2,315 48.7% 3,904
1964 23.7% 1,797 76.3% 5,784
1960 30.2% 1,776 68.8% 4,053 1.1% 62
1956 23.3% 1,517 76.0% 4,961 0.7% 48
1952 26.6% 1,834 73.4% 5,063
1948 9.5% 376 77.1% 3,044 13.3% 526
1944 16.8% 622 82.9% 3,074 0.3% 12
1940 13.0% 490 86.5% 3,258 0.5% 19
1936 12.7% 388 86.0% 2,629 1.3% 39
1932 8.3% 252 90.7% 2,752 1.0% 30
1928 35.3% 848 64.2% 1,543 0.5% 11
1924 11.9% 229 85.8% 1,645 2.3% 44
1920 28.0% 1,191 71.7% 3,046 0.3% 11
1916 25.1% 733 72.1% 2,106 2.9% 84
1912 16.7% 513 74.6% 2,287 8.7% 267

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yolanda Reid, "Robertson County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  4. ^ County Mayor, Robertson County
  5. ^ Durham, Walter T. Rebellion Revisited: A History of Sumner County, Tennessee from 1861 to 1870 (Franklin, Tennessee: Hillsboro Press, 1999, 2nd ed.)
  6. ^ a b c d "The History of Robertson County", from Goodspeed's History of Tennessee (1886), David L. Sanford, editor, pp. 29-30, reprinted selection on Tennessee GenWeb
  7. ^ Lynching in America, Third Edition: Supplement by County, p. 9, Equal Justice Initiative, Mobile AL (2017)
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (27 March 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2 April 2001. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 12 March 2018. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°32′N 86°52′W / 36.53°N 86.87°W / 36.53; -86.87