National Register Listings in
Clay County, Tennessee

The first known protest against British taxation in America occurred in Tennessee in 1768, more than a decade before the famous Boston Tea Party. A group of settlers in the Watauga Association signed a petition protesting the British government's attempt to impose taxes on them without their consent.
Clay County, TN, located in the Upper Cumberland region, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1870. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Shawnee, who utilized the abundant natural resources for hunting, fishing, and agriculture. European settlers began to arrive in the late 18th century, attracted by the fertile soil and opportunities for farming.

The county's establishment was spurred by the need for local governance and justice systems. In 1870, the Tennessee General Assembly officially created Clay County, named after famous statesman Henry Clay. The county seat was initially established in Celina, a small town that has since evolved into a lively community. Throughout its early years, Clay County experienced slow but steady growth, with residents engaged in a variety of vocations, including farming, mining, and logging.

During the 20th century, Clay County witnessed significant economic and infrastructure developments. The arrival of the railroad in the early 1900s brought new opportunities for trade and commerce, boosting the county's economy. Agriculture, primarily focused on tobacco and corn, continued to be a major industry, but manufacturing also emerged as an important sector. However, like many rural communities across the country, Clay County faced challenges such as the Great Depression and the decline of the agricultural industry.

In recent years, Clay County has strived to diversify its economy and improve the quality of life for its residents. The county has focused on promoting tourism, emphasizing its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and cultural heritage. Today, Clay County remains a close-knit community that cherishes its past while embracing new opportunities for growth and prosperity.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Clay County, Tennessee.

  • 1807: Clay County is established by the Tennessee General Assembly.
  • Early 1800s: The area is predominantly inhabited by Cherokee and Creek Native American tribes.
  • 1836: The Tennessee State Legislature officially recognizes the county's formation.
  • Mid-1800s: Clay County experiences significant population growth due to the discovery of coal and iron ore.
  • 1870s: Railroads are introduced to Clay County, stimulating economic development.
  • 1920s: The construction of Dale Hollow Dam brings hydroelectric power and recreational opportunities to the county.
  • 1930s: Clay County is severely affected by the Great Depression and experiences economic hardship.
  • 1940s-1950s: Educational opportunities improve with the construction of new school buildings.
  • 1960s: Modernization efforts include the implementation of a central water system and the construction of new roads.
  • 1990s: The county sees gradual development in industries such as healthcare and tourism.
  • 2002: Clay County celebrates its bicentennial anniversary with various events and festivities.
  • Present: Clay County continues to be known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and strong sense of community.