Robertson County, Tennessee
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Robertson County, Tennessee
Robertson County
Robertson County courthouse in Springfield
Robertson County courthouse in Springfield
Official seal of Robertson County
Map of Tennessee highlighting Robertson County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 36°32?N 86°52?W / 36.53°N 86.87°W / 36.53; -86.87
State Tennessee
FoundedApril 9, 1796
Named forJames Robertson[1]
Largest citySpringfield
 o Total476 sq mi (1,230 km2)
 o Land476 sq mi (1,230 km2)
 o Water0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)  0.04%%
 o Estimate 
 o Density145/sq mi (56/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central)
 o Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Congressional district6th

Robertson County is a county located on the central northern border of Tennessee in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 66,283.[2] Its county seat is Springfield.[3] The county was named for James Robertson, an explorer, founder of Nashville, and a state senator, who was often called the "Father of Middle Tennessee".

Robertson County is a component of the Nashville-DavidsonMurfreesboroFranklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2002 Howard Bradley became the mayor of Robertson County. Bradley was re-elected and served as Mayor until 2018, when he was succeeded by Billy Vogle, the current incumbent.[4]


This was part of the Miro District (also spelled Mero), named after the Spanish Governor Esteban Rodríguez Miró of what was then Louisiana on the west side of the Mississippi River. Miró had served with Spanish troops that assisted the Americans during their war for independence. James Robertson, the explorer for whom this county was named, was trying to create an alliance with Miró that would allow free movement on the Mississippi River (which Spain controlled) to settlers on the Cumberland frontier. Before statehood, this territory was known as Tennessee County.

It was organized as Robertson County in 1796, at the same time as Montgomery County, which had also been part of the Miro district. The county seat, Springfield, Tennessee, was laid out in 1798. Although initially most settlers did not hold slaves, by the 1820s planters began to cultivate tobacco, a commodity crop that was labor intensive and depended on enslaved African Americans. The planters bought slaves to work their plantations, as well as to care for the livestock they bred - thoroughbred horses and cattle.

By the time of the Civil War, African Americans comprised about one-quarter of the area's population, typical for Middle Tennessee, where tobacco and hemp were commodity crops. During the Civil War, Tennessee was occupied by the Union from 1862, which led to a breakdown in social organization in Middle Tennessee.[5]

During the Reconstruction era after the war, Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee started the Ku Klux Klan, a secret, insurgent paramilitary group. Chapters developed throughout the state and the South. They attacked freedmen and their sympathizers, working to suppress teachers of black students, the mobility of blacks and, after enfranchisement of African-American men, Republican voting by both freedmen and whites. The KKK was largely suppressed in the early 1870s by Federal law and enforcement, but other insurgent groups arose in many areas of the South. These included the White League in Louisiana, and the Red Shirts in Mississippi and the Carolinas.

This county and much of the region continued to have an agricultural economy during the late 19th century and into the 20th century, with tobacco the chief crop. Although white conservative Democrats had political control over Robertson County, violence against freedmen continued after Reconstruction in order to enforce white supremacy across society.

According to Goodspeed's History of Tennessee (1886), whites arrested nine black men and lynched seven of them in retaliation for the murder on August 30, 1880 of L.S. La Prade, a white man living alone near Sadlersville (on the western edge of Robertson County).[6] Jack Bell and Arch Jamison were arrested quickly and taken to the Robertson County jail in Springfield. Without trial, the two African Americans were taken by a white mob on September 11, 1880 and hanged in a nearby grove.[6] The sheriff soon arrested seven more African-American men for La Prade's murder. They were scheduled for trial at the circuit court in February 1881. Two men, William Murphy and Andrew Duffy, turned state's evidence and were released.[6]

During the trial, on February 14, 1881, a mob of 25-30 white men threatened to take the five remaining defendants from jail but were dissuaded. Four days later, however, while the prisoners were being taken from the courtroom (and no verdict had yet been reached), a white mob overcame the guards, took the men and hanged them from the east side of the courthouse balcony. Jim Elder, Jim Higgins, Bob Thweat, Lum Small, and Sock Mallory were all murdered without benefit of trial.[6] There were four additional lynchings of blacks in the county, mostly around the start of the 20th century. Robertson County had the fourth-highest number of lynchings in the state.[7]

By 1910 the county's population was 25,466, including 6,492 black citizens, who continued to make up one-quarter of the total. Most of the residents were still involved in farm work, and tobacco was the primary commodity crop, but agricultural mechanization was reducing the need for laborers. White conservative Democrats had tried to restrict black voting; other southern states had totally excluded blacks from the political process. Many African Americans left rural Robertson County and other parts of Tennessee in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities for employment and social freedom. Combined with later in-migration of whites to the county, by the early 21st century, African Americans comprised less than 10 percent of the county population. They live chiefly in its larger towns.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 476 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 476 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.04%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties

State protected areas


Age pyramid Robertson County[14]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 54,433 people, 19,906 households, and 15,447 families residing in the county. The population density was 114 people per square mile (44/km2). There were 20,995 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.13% White, 8.62% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 2.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2005 the racial makeup of the county was 85.4% non-Hispanic whites, 8.3% African Americans, and 5.3% Latinos.

There were 19,906 households, out of which 37.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.90% were married couples living together, 11.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.40% were non-families. 18.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.80% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,174, and the median income for a family was $49,412. Males had a median income of $34,895 versus $24,086 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,054. About 6.40% of families and 9.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.90% of those under age 18 and 13.10% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities


Interstate 65 runs along the eastern border of the county for about 20 miles (32 km), and Interstate 24 runs along the southwestern border of the county for about 10 miles (16 km). U.S. Routes 41 and 431 run through the county, intersecting and briefly forming a concurrency in Springfield. Major state routes include 25, 49, 52, 76, and 109. Secondary state routes in Robertson County include 161, 256, and 257.[16]


Presidential election results
Presidential Elections Results[17]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 71.6% 19,410 24.5% 6,637 3.9% 1,066
2012 67.1% 17,643 31.5% 8,290 1.4% 356
2008 64.8% 17,903 33.7% 9,318 1.4% 393
2004 60.5% 15,331 39.0% 9,865 0.5% 127
2000 48.0% 9,675 50.8% 10,249 1.2% 240
1996 41.2% 6,685 52.2% 8,465 6.7% 1,079
1992 33.4% 5,271 53.9% 8,498 12.7% 2,010
1988 49.0% 5,714 50.4% 5,884 0.6% 74
1984 48.3% 5,445 51.1% 5,756 0.6% 62
1980 32.0% 3,560 66.3% 7,381 1.7% 185
1976 24.8% 2,505 74.6% 7,547 0.6% 62
1972 56.4% 4,175 40.3% 2,985 3.2% 239
1968 22.5% 1,802 28.9% 2,315 48.7% 3,904
1964 23.7% 1,797 76.3% 5,784
1960 30.2% 1,776 68.8% 4,053 1.1% 62
1956 23.3% 1,517 76.0% 4,961 0.7% 48
1952 26.6% 1,834 73.4% 5,063
1948 9.5% 376 77.1% 3,044 13.3% 526
1944 16.8% 622 82.9% 3,074 0.3% 12
1940 13.0% 490 86.5% 3,258 0.5% 19
1936 12.7% 388 86.0% 2,629 1.3% 39
1932 8.3% 252 90.7% 2,752 1.0% 30
1928 35.3% 848 64.2% 1,543 0.5% 11
1924 11.9% 229 85.8% 1,645 2.3% 44
1920 28.0% 1,191 71.7% 3,046 0.3% 11
1916 25.1% 733 72.1% 2,106 2.9% 84
1912 16.7% 513 74.6% 2,287 8.7% 267

See also


  1. ^ Yolanda Reid, "Robertson County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ County Mayor, Robertson County
  5. ^ Durham, Walter T. Rebellion Revisited: A History of Sumner County, Tennessee from 1861 to 1870(Franklin, Tennessee: Hillsboro Press, 1999, 2nd ed.)
  6. ^ a b c d "The History of Robertson County", from Goodspeed's History of Tennessee (1886), David L. Sanford, editor, pp. 29-30, reprinted selection on Tennessee GenWeb
  7. ^ Lynching in America, Third Edition: Supplement by County, p. 9, Equal Justice Initiative, Mobile AL (2017)
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ Tennessee Department of Transportation Long Range Planning Division Office of Data Visualization (2018). Robertson County (PDF) (Map). Tennessee Department of Transportation.
  17. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2018.

External links

Coordinates: 36°32?N 86°52?W / 36.53°N 86.87°W / 36.53; -86.87

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