kids encyclopedia robot

Meigs County, Tennessee facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Meigs County
Meigs County Courthouse in Decatur
Meigs County Courthouse in Decatur
Map of Tennessee highlighting Meigs County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded 1836
Named for Return J. Meigs
Seat Decatur
Largest town Decatur
 • Total 217 sq mi (560 km2)
 • Land 195 sq mi (510 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (60 km2)  10%%
 • Total 12,758 Increase
 • Density 60/sq mi (20/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Meigs County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,753. Its county seat is Decatur.


Before 1819, the area that is now Meigs County was part of the Cherokee nation. However, white settlers established ferries across the Tennessee River from Rhea County as early as 1807. Colonel Return J. Meigs, who was to become the county's name source, operated a federal Indian agency across the river in Rhea County until 1817, when the agency moved to what is now Meigs County. In 1819, the Calhoun Treaty opened the land to settlement. Meigs County was formed in 1836 from parts of Rhea County.

The Cherokee Removal, or "Trail of Tears," crossed the Tennessee River at Blythe Ferry, in the southwestern part of the county.

Meigs County was one of the few East Tennessee counties to vote in favor of Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession in June 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War. The county voted 481 to 267 in favor of the Ordinance, which severed the state's ties to the Union. The county would provide troops for both sides during the course of the war.

In 1985, the Meigs County Family and Community Education (“FCE”) Club began a large quilt to commemorate the early history of Meigs County as part of Tennessee's 1986 Homecoming celebrations. It includes images of fourteen sites representing the early history of Meigs County. The central quilt design, including a map to locate the sites represented, was made by the late Flossie Bennett, a longtime leader of the FCE. A committee of representatives from Ten Mile, Peakland, Concord, Goodfield, and Decatur, decided which sites would be included. Those chosen were the Elisha Sharp House (now the Sharp-Wasson-Worth House, c. 1825), the Stewart House (1830), R. H. Johnson's stable, Mount Zion church and Cemetery (1830), Zeigler's Mill (1850, previously called Gettys Mill), the Washington Ferry (1808), Pisah Church (1818), the old gymnasium (c. 1822), the old Meigs County Courthouse (1904), the old Volunteer Electric Cooperative BUilding (1935), the Ashley House (1885), and the Sam Eaves Store (c. 1861). The quilt also included Hereford cattle, since Meigs County is noted for its beef cattle. The quilt was awarded the “Best Original Design” at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum's Quilt Show. Initially displayed at the Meigs-Decatur Public Library, the quilt now hangs in the Meigs County Historical Museum in Decatur.

A new building on Smith Avenue in Decatur was built to house the collection of the Meigs County historical Museum. The new site was opened in July 2002. The Meigs County Historical Museum houses many court and family records. On permanent display is a mural depicting Main Street in Decatur in the 1930s. The mural was funded by grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the VEC Customershares program, and painted by Bill McDonald, a local artist.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 217 square miles (560 km2), of which 195 square miles (510 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (10%) is water.

The main geographic feature of Meigs County is the Tennessee River, which provides the county's western boundary. Watts Bar Dam is located along the river between Meigs and adjacent Rhea County, and forms Watts Bar Lake, which spans the river upstream to Fort Loudoun Dam just west of Knoxville. Watts Bar Dam's tailwaters are part of Chickamauga Lake, which stretches downstream to Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga. The mouth of the Hiwassee River is located in southwestern Meigs County, near the point where Meigs, Rhea, and Hamilton counties meet.

Adjacent counties

State protected areas

  • Chickamauga Wildlife Management Area (part)
  • Hiwassee Refuge (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 4,794
1850 4,879 1.8%
1860 4,667 −4.3%
1870 4,511 −3.3%
1880 7,117 57.8%
1890 6,930 −2.6%
1900 7,491 8.1%
1910 6,131 −18.2%
1920 6,077 −0.9%
1930 6,127 0.8%
1940 6,393 4.3%
1950 6,080 −4.9%
1960 5,160 −15.1%
1970 5,219 1.1%
1980 7,431 42.4%
1990 8,033 8.1%
2000 11,086 38.0%
2010 11,753 6.0%
2020 12,758 8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Meigs County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid of Meigs County

2020 census

Meigs County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 11,823 92.67%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 131 1.03%
Native American 58 0.45%
Asian 26 0.2%
Pacific Islander 1 0.01%
Other/Mixed 499 3.91%
Hispanic or Latino 220 1.72%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 12,758 people, 4,938 households, and 3,331 families residing in the county.


State Route 58 - The principal north–south highway, runs the entire length of the county dividing the county down the middle. The only link via the Hiwassee River Bridge to the southernmost part of the county.

State Route 30 - The principal east–west highway. This highway divides the county into north and south and intersects Highway 58 in Decatur. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is in the process of upgrading Highway 30 from a 2-lane highway to a 4-lane divided highway. allowing for more major east–west traffic and faster connection to Interstate 75. (The section from Decatur eastward was finished in 2008.)

State Route 68 - A north–south main highway for the county, that actually runs east/west through the northern county. This highway crosses the Tennessee River at Watts Bar Dam.

State Route 60 - A principal north–south highway forming the southern border of the county.

State Route 304 - An important local road, mainly for local residents that live off of the highway, and its northern portions allows access to Watts Bar Lake's many marinas, resorts, and campgrounds. Also connects the unincorporated community of Ten Mile with the county seat of Decatur.

State Route 305 - An important local road, connecting Interstate 75 with Tennessee State Route 68 and Tennessee State Route 58. This also connects the north-central part of the county with the neighboring city of Athens in McMinn County.

State Route 306 - A secondary state highway in the southeast portion of the county connecting Highway 58 to Charleston and Cleveland.


The 1930s-era Bradford Rymer Barn in Georgetown


Unincorporated communities

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Meigs (Tennessee) para niños

kids search engine
Meigs County, Tennessee Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.