Thursday February 2nd, 2017
9:30am CST
Release #: 20170202a

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Putnam County officials declare county’s birth as 1842; several events scheduled

PUTNAM COUNTY, TENN – When researching the history of Putnam County, officials had to do a little digging to determine exactly when the county was first established.

“It took some time and a lot of matching up items on a timeline,” stated Putnam County Executive Randy Porter. “It wasn’t cut and dry when we started looking at it. There were a lot of variables.”

As it turns out, the county had a bit of a back-and-forth beginning, fueled by some dedicated citizens who would not give up.

“We found that the first documents dated back to 1842, but it wasn’t that simple,” explained Glenn Jones, Putnam County archivist.

Although Putnam County officials conducted business like all other Tennessee counties and issued marriage licenses, birth certificates, court proceedings, etc. in 1842, it would have to prove its standing in another local court. Jackson and Overton County disputed the Putnam County boundary, claiming it took too much of their county’s land. An Overton County court ruled in favor of its own county, leaving Putnam County dissolved… or so they thought.

As citizens pushed for Putnam County’s existence, they appealed their case to the Tennessee Supreme Court, who ruled the Overton County court did not have the authority to rule on the matter. This meant that Putnam County had been a county since its first recorded business.

As current officials learned the facts of Putnam County’s rocky start, they felt it was important to document and solidify the county’s records for those who fought for it in the past, and those who would benefit from it in the future.

“We take a lot of pride in Putnam County, in who we are as a community, and in those who came before us to shape who we are today,” Porter continued. “Our history isn’t about roads, buildings, or events… It’s about the people who created the roads, built the buildings, and had the vision to see that tomorrow should be better than yesterday.”

Now that the county’s birth date is official, several events are planned to celebrate from now through the July 4th holiday. As part of the celebration, a new 175th anniversary logo was revealed at an anniversary kickoff event to commemorate the milestone today.

Other events already planned:

March 31st – Veteran’s Appreciation lunch at Leslie Towne Center for veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

April 28th – honorary lunch for all present and past county elected officials.

July 4th – Ceremony at the Courthouse Square honoring the oldest Veteran in Putnam County

There are plans to add to the events list as well, with several smaller celebrations all leading up to the July 4th weekend, which will mark the close of official events.

“We cherish our history, and we want to preserve as much of it as we can,” stated Jones.

“We have so many pictures we have found, and citizens have submitted to us,” said Porter. “We are going to be posting those on our website, on social media, and in the halls of the courthouse at a special open house on July 4th. We want everyone to be involved, and to send us any pictures they have. This is going to be a whole community event.”

For more information on the anniversary celebration, visit the Putnam County website at, the special 175th anniversary website at or follow Putnam County, Tennessee on Facebook and Twitter. Citizens are also encouraged to submit historical photos related to Putnam County at

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