Weakley County History and Genealogy

In schools, they teach World Civilizations History, American History, and even State History… but never touch upon County History. This can be the most pertinent, valuable, and useful history that we can learn. How much do you know about Weakley County’s history? Answering truthfully, I must confess not much. But in only one afternoon with the Internet, it’s amazing how much I have learned!

Did you know that Weakley County is associated with the ill-fated Donner Party?
Who knew?! I discovered that at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnweakle/, along with much more.


Weakley County was established October 21, 1823 from lands ceded by the Chickasaw Indians. Weakley County was named for Colonel Robert Weakley who was at the time Speaker of the Tennessee State Senate. Weakley County is located on the Plateau Slope of West Tennessee, one of the three “Grand Divisions”. Weakley County is bordered on the north by the State of Kentucky, on the east by Henry County, on the South by Carroll and Gibson Counties, and on the west by Obion County. Dresden is the County Seat of Weakley County.

Retrieved from http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnweakle/, the following are United States statistics from the year 1902 – it is hard to believe it has only been a bit over 100 years.

  • The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven (47).
  • Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
  • With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
  • The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.
  • The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist earned $2,500 per year, a veterinarian earned between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer earned about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as “substandard.”
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
  • Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
  • The five leading causes of death in the US were:
    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Heart disease
  • The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn’t been admitted to the Union yet.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented.
  • There were no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
  • One in ten US adults couldn’t read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
  • There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.

Unbelievable, isn’t it?
It is a wonderful thing that there is so much work done to create and maintain ties to the history of this county as well as state. With the Internet, this sifting process has become much easier.
For more information about Weakley County history and/or genealogy, try these links:

Enjoy learning all that you can about this phenomenal county!
Happy Trails from your friends at the
Weakley County Department of Finance


One thought on “Weakley County History and Genealogy

  1. Jane Ring says:

    Very nice website on Weakley, TN; didn’t really find much on the relative I was looking for, but it does have a lot of info. You all worked very hard on it. Thank you!!

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