The Putnam County Courthouse burned during the Civil War and then again in 1899. There was a substantial loss of marriage records due to these fires.

The Jackson County Courthouse burned in 1872 with a complete loss of records.

Below are links to various databases and transcriptions.

  • Putnam County, TN Reconstructed Marriage Database: Marriage dates extracted from difference resources including pension applications, newspaper accounts, Bible records, etc.
  • Putnam, Jackson, & Clay Counties: Marriages From TN Confederate Pension: Marriage dates extracted from TN Confederate Widow's Pensions
  • Putnam County, TN Divorces: Divorces extracted from Circuit Court Records
  • Jackson County, TN: Marriages extracted from Jackson County, TN Marriage records
  • Various Anniversary Announcements

“The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts”
Gerald O'Hara
Gone With The Wind.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Benjamin Franklin
The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1817

Early newspapers for Putnam County have been microfilmed by the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Two of these papers are The Cookeville Press and the Putnam County Herald .

Interspersed throughout these papers were the details of the passing of some of the citizens. Although some of the obituaries were elaborate articles providing many details of the deceased, most obituaries were only one or two sentences simply announcing the passing of a loved one. Due to the erosion of tombstone inscriptions over time and the failure to record many deaths during the early part of the century, the newspaper obituary was the only record of an individual's passing.

One such individual is my g-g-g-grandfather, Willis Davis, who lived south of Cookeville. He is buried in the Davis Cemetery, but over the years, the inscription on his tombstone has been lost. Census records indicate that he died between 1900 and 1910. A deed recorded in Putnam County Deed Book H on the 29th day of August 1903 indicated that he had recently passed away. His children, Johnnie C. Davis, Martha Chote, Malissa Chote, and Harriett Price sold their inheritance in the land to his youngest child Lonnie Bussell. Beginning with that date and surveying the published papers before that, I found the following announcement on the page 1 of the Putnam County Heralddated August 12, 1903:

Willis Davis died at his home 3 miles south of Cookeville on the night of 10th, inst.

This was the only surviving record of his death.

Knowing that others may have ancestors whose death dates have been lost, I began reading and transcribing the obituaries from the Putnam County Heraldand The Cookeville Press. Since the obituaries are not located in a standard spot in the paper, finding them required scanning each column of the paper. It is possible that some may have missed although I made every attempt to record them all. Some obituaries were quite lengthy often describing his/her character and/or describing the his/her relationship with God. The genealogical information was abstracted from each obituary. The notation ". . ." indicates that there was additional information, but it did not contain any genealogical information. In many cases, the paper extracted "County Happenings" from newspapers in the surrounding counties. In parentheses at the end of the obituary is recorded which county the obituary was from.

The format of the obituary is as follows:

LAST NAME, FIRST NAME: Obituary (County, if available) [Date, Volume of the Paper, Number of the Paper, Page Number]

This abstract is dedicated to Willis Davis and ALL citizens for which there is no other record of his/her death except for the brief mention in the newspaper.

Beginning in the summer of 2006, I began photographing various cemeteries in Putnam County, TN. My hobby quickly became an addiction. The resulting photos are posted in an online photo gallery called Virtual Cemetery . Currently, there are over 150 cemeteries photographed, and at least 10,000 individual tombstone photos. More photos and cemeteries are being added monthly, as weather permits.

Each Virtual Cemetery Page contains the following information:

  1. Directions to the Cemetery:Text directions to the cemetery from a well-known starting location
  2. Cemetery Condition:Some cemeteries are well-kept and cared for. Others are overgrown and potential snake pits.The condition of the cemetery is noted here.
  3. Date Photographed:The date that the photos were taken.
  4. Status of the Photographic Census:This tells whether all of the tombstones have been photographed or not. In most cases, the photos are complete. Some cemeteries have to be visited again in the winter when the foliage is down.
  5. Surnames: Complete list of surnames taken from the tombstone photos.
  6. Location of Gallery:The photos are displayed in a SmugMug Photo Gallery. The link to the cemetery photos is given here.
  7. Google Map Directions:A google map is displayed to show the location of the cemetery. Using the directions form, google map directions can be obtained from anywhere to that cemetery.
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION:While the tombstones themselves are not copyrightable, my photos are of them are. You are free to download and use the photos in your research of your ancestors. You are not free to upload them to third party sites, such as find-a-grave, etc. While I feel that these sites are wonderful sites for sharing and displaying research, I have chosen my own database and gallery to display my work. Please respect my copyright. You are free to view the photos and make a textual transcription of the tombstones and cemeteries.

Dear Ancestor

"Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn

You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
I wonder how you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you."
-Walter Butler Palmer

This Death Records database contains over 13,000 transcribed death records from the following Tennessee Counties:

  • Putnam County: 1914 - 1947 with 6988 different records
  • Jackson County: 1914 - 1947 with 3901 different records
  • White County: 1926 - 1947 with 3891 different records

The information abstracted from the records include: death certificate number, full name of deceased, date of birth, place of birth (age, if no birth date was recorded), date of death, father's name, father's place of birth, mother's name, mother's place of birth, burial location, and spouse (on records later than 1929).

The records for the years 1914-1929 have an online available image associated with the record. For an images of records after 1929, has online all Tennessee Death Records for the years 1914-1955.

Click Here to view the search form.

Many thanks to Bettie Goolsby for contributing the 1922-1925 death records.

The Battle of Dug Hill was fought on the afternoon of 22 February 1864 in the northeast corner of White County. A group of Confederate soldiers, led by Colonel John M. Hughes, ambushed a group of Federal soldiers, led by Captain James T. Exum and Captain Ezekiel W. Bass. At least 21 Federal soldiers were killed in the ambush.