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Smith County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Smith County
Smith County Courthouse in Carthage
Smith County Courthouse in Carthage
Map of Tennessee highlighting Smith 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 1799
Named for Daniel Smith
Seat Carthage
Largest town Carthage
 • Total 325 sq mi (840 km2)
 • Land 314 sq mi (810 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  3.4%%
 • Total 19,904 Increase
 • Density 61/sq mi (24/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 6th
Galena-fluorite specimen from the Elmwood mine, south of Carthage

Smith County is a county in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,166. Smith County is located in the region of the state known as Middle Tennessee. Its county seat is Carthage. The county was organized in 1799 and is named for Daniel Smith, a Revolutionary War veteran who made the first map of Tennessee and served as a United States senator .

Smith County is part of the Nashville-DavidsonMurfreesboroFranklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Smith County was established in 1799 from a portion of Sumner County, and was named for Daniel Smith, a U.S. Senator and former Secretary of the Southwest Territory. The location of the county seat was hotly contested between Bledsoesborough (near modern Dixon Springs) and William Walton's ferry and tavern at the confluence of the Caney Fork and the Cumberland River. In 1804, voters chose Walton's site, and a town, named "Carthage," was platted the following year.

Smith County was the site of a large saltpeter mine. Piper Cave, located near Monoville, contains the poorly preserved remnants of dozens of saltpeter leaching vats. Most saltpeter mining in Middle Tennessee occurred during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, but the exact date of this operation is unclear.


Houses and buildings near Gordonsville

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 325 square miles (840 km2), of which 314 square miles (810 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (3.4%) is water. The county is located in a transition area between the rugged Highland Rim to the east and the flatter Nashville Basin to the west. The Caney Fork has its confluence with the Cumberland River in Carthage; these are the primary waterways flowing through the county. Cordell Hull Dam on the Cumberland is located near Carthage.

Adjacent counties

State protected areas

  • Cordell Hull Wildlife Management Area (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 4,294
1810 11,649 171.3%
1820 17,580 50.9%
1830 19,906 13.2%
1840 21,179 6.4%
1850 18,412 −13.1%
1860 16,357 −11.2%
1870 15,994 −2.2%
1880 17,799 11.3%
1890 18,404 3.4%
1900 19,026 3.4%
1910 18,548 −2.5%
1920 17,134 −7.6%
1930 15,473 −9.7%
1940 16,148 4.4%
1950 14,098 −12.7%
1960 12,059 −14.5%
1970 12,059 0.0%
1980 14,935 23.8%
1990 14,143 −5.3%
2000 17,712 25.2%
2010 19,166 8.2%
2020 19,904 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Smith County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age pyramid Smith County

2020 census

Smith County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 18,054 90.71%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 356 1.79%
Native American 61 0.31%
Asian 84 0.42%
Other/Mixed 831 4.18%
Hispanic or Latino 518 2.6%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,904 people, 7,603 households, and 5,409 families residing in the county.



Unincorporated communities


The Smith County School System operates nine schools:

  • Carthage Elementary School, Carthage (PreK–4)
  • Defeated Elementary School, Defeated (PreK–8)
  • Forks River Elementary School, Elmwood (PreK–8)
  • Gordonsville Elementary School, Gordonsville (3–6)
  • Gordonsville High School, Gordonsville (7–12)
  • New Middleton Elementary School, New Middleton (PreK–2)
  • Union Heights Elementary School, Rome (PreK–8)
  • Smith County Middle School, South Carthage (5–8)
  • Smith County High School, Carthage (9–12)

The county formerly operated Pleasant Shade Elementary School, which closed in 2007. New Middleton Elementary was formerly PreK–8, while Gordonsville Elementary was formerly PreK–6. A realignment beginning with the 2017–2018 school year resulted in the current grade alignment of those schools.

See also

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