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Clinton, Tennessee
City of Clinton
Main Street in Downtown Clinton
Main Street in Downtown Clinton
Official seal of Clinton, Tennessee
Official logo of Clinton, Tennessee
Location of Clinton in Anderson County, Tennessee.
Location of Clinton in Anderson County, Tennessee.
Coordinates: 36°6′17″N 84°7′43″W / 36.10472°N 84.12861°W / 36.10472; -84.12861
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Anderson
Incorporated 1801
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 12.24 sq mi (31.71 km2)
 • Land 11.62 sq mi (30.10 km2)
 • Water 0.62 sq mi (1.61 km2)
820 ft (250 m)
 • Total 10,056
 • Density 867.04/sq mi (334.76/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 865
FIPS code 47-15580
GNIS feature ID 1305981

Clinton is a city in and the county seat of Anderson County, Tennessee, United States. Clinton is included in the Knoxville metropolitan area. Its population was 10,056 at the 2020 census.


Prehistoric Native American habitation was not uncommon throughout the Clinch valley, especially during the Woodland period (1000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.) and the Mississippian period (1000–1550 A.D.). A number of such habitation sites were excavated in the 1930s and 1950s in anticipation of the construction of Norris Dam and Melton Hill Dam, respectively. The Melton Hill excavations uncovered two substantial Woodland period villages along the Clinch at Bull Bluff and Freels Bend, both approximately 20 miles (32 km) downstream from Clinton.

View of Clinton in 1938

By the time Euro-American explorers and long hunters arrived in the Clinch valley in the mid-18th century, what is now Anderson County was part of a vast stretch of land claimed by the Cherokee. Although the Treaty of Holston, signed in 1791, was intended as a negotiation with the Cherokee to prohibit Euro-American settlement of the area including what is today Anderson County, the treaty became ineffective as more settlers moved through the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia and North Carolina into Tennessee. The earliest settlers in Anderson County included the Wallace, Gibbs, Freels, Frost and Tunnell families. The flooding of white settlers into the Indian domain was cause for several skirmishes, which eased after the Treaty of Tellico in 1798 (including an origination point for the land to be relinquished from the Cherokee being the Tellico Blockhouse) allowed for greater ease in settling the area.

Founded in 1801, the town of Burrville was named in honor of Aaron Burr, first-term Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. Land was selected and partitioned for a courthouse, and Burrville was designated as the county seat for the newly formed Anderson County. The county was partitioned from portions of Grainger County and Knox County in 1801; neighboring Roane County was also formed from a portion of Knox County in 1801, making Anderson and Roane counties effectively "sister counties".

On November 8, 1809, by act of Tennessee State Legislature, the town of Burrville was renamed because of the disgrace felt when Burr was charged with treason for conspiring with the Governor of the Louisiana Purchase, to form another country from part of the Louisiana Purchase and part of Mexico. The selection of the name "Clinton" was most likely to honor George Clinton or his nephew, DeWitt Clinton. George Clinton was one of Burr's New York political rivals who, along with Alexander Hamilton, destroyed Burr's bid for the governorship of the state of New York after his single-term Vice Presidency. George Clinton succeeded Burr as the second-term Vice President for Thomas Jefferson in 1805 (and also served as James Madison's Vice President, making Clinton the first Vice President to serve under two presidents and the first Vice President to die in office). Because of the political position of George Clinton as Vice President at the time of Burrville's name change, compared to DeWitt Clinton's position as the mayor of New York City, most likely the residents of the town of Burrville would have been more readily identifiable and more honorable toward George Clinton than DeWitt; therefore, it is most likely Clinton was named after George Clinton, barring historical proof.


Downtown Clinton

Clinton is located at 36°6′17″N 84°7′43″W / 36.10472°N 84.12861°W / 36.10472; -84.12861 (36.104772, −84.128487), along the Clinch River, immediately downstream from a point where the southwestward-flowing river bends sharply to the northeast before wrapping around Lost Ridge and continuing again toward the southwest. This section of the river is technically part of Melton Hill Lake, a reservoir created by the impoundment of the Clinch at Melton Hill Dam some 35 miles (56 km) downstream from Clinton. Clinton is located approximately 59 miles (95 km) upstream from the mouth of the Clinch at the Tennessee River.

Clinton is surrounded by a series of long, narrow ridges that represent the western fringe of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Province. Northwest of Clinton is Walden Ridge, the eastern escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau.

Clinton is concentrated around the junction of Tennessee State Route 61 and U.S. Route 25W. State Route 61 connects the city to Norris and Andersonville to the northeast and the community of Marlow and the town of Oliver Springs to the southwest, following a natural series of pathways through the mountain terrain. U.S. Route 25W connects the city to Knoxville to the southeast and Rocky Top and Caryville to the north. Interstate 75 intersects TN-61 northeast of downtown Clinton.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Clinton has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31.1 km2), of which 11.4 square miles (29.6 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 4.91%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 325
1880 263 −19.1%
1890 1,198 355.5%
1900 1,111 −7.3%
1910 1,090 −1.9%
1920 1,409 29.3%
1930 1,927 36.8%
1940 2,761 43.3%
1950 3,712 34.4%
1960 4,943 33.2%
1970 4,794 −3.0%
1980 5,245 9.4%
1990 8,972 71.1%
2000 9,409 4.9%
2010 9,841 4.6%
2020 10,056 2.2%

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,409 people, 4,201 households, and 2,688 families residing in the city. The population density was 862.8 people per square mile (333.0/km2). There were 4,441 housing units at an average density of 407.2 per square mile (157.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.47% White, 2.72% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.28% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.

There were 4,201 households, out of which 27.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.6% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,481, and the median income for a family was $43,099. Males had a median income of $32,120 versus $23,550 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,730. About 11.8% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Clinton has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.

Climate data for Clinton, Tennessee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.2
Average low °C (°F) -3.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 130
Source: Weatherbase

Notable people

  • Trey Hollingsworth, congressman born in Clinton
  • John C. Houk, congressman born in Clinton
  • The McKameys, Southern Gospel group based in Clinton
  • Charles McRae, NFL 1st round draft choice, All-American football tackle (attended University of Tennessee)
  • John R. Neal, congressman born near here
  • Paul Turner (pastor), American Baptist pastor notable for his efforts in the integration of Clinton High School
  • Larry Seivers, two-time All-American wide receiver at the University of Tennessee; drafted into the NFL by the Seattle Seahawks but did not play
  • Barry A. Vann, Author, speaker, and professor of historical geography.

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