Early Tennessee Tax Lists Now Online

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15 can be a taxing day for all of us living in modern times, but our ancestors didn’t have it much easier. Although federal income tax only dates back to the Civil War era, Tennesseans have been paying state and local taxes since long before then.

Now Tennessee tax records dating back to 1783 are available free online to Tennesseans, thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee State Library and Archives and Ancestry.com. The online database contains records from 71 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Famous notables like Andrew Jackson (who paid $66 in taxes to Davidson County in 1829) appear side by side with ordinary farmers, millers and laborers.

Tennessee law did not require tax lists to be kept permanently, so many of the early records have been destroyed. However, those that survived are excellent tools for historical and genealogical research. The database contains many tax lists for some counties, but just one or two for others.

The tax records include other information about people that researchers may find helpful. The tax lists in the database have the names of white males over age 21 for each of the counties, along with additional information about each listed person’s land, slaves, and other property.

The records also show the different types of taxes levied through the years. In some years, the state assessed a tax on each carriage. In others, owners of stud horses had to pay an additional levy. The lists show which taxpayers had these “luxuries” along with the number of acres and town lots owned. This information can be useful for locating ancestors and learning about their financial circumstances.

“I’m pleased that we were able to partner with Ancestry to provide this information free to Tennesseans,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Learning about the past enriches the present, and students of all ages will enjoy digging into these historical documents.”

The database contains 262,784 records and 7,720 images.  The link for the tax list database is: http://search.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=2883.



Chattanooga History Books By John Wilson Available At Zarzour's Restaurant, By Mail

John Wilson, former Hamilton County Historian and publisher of Chattanoogan.com, has written two volumes on the early families of Hamilton County and also books on Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain, as well as editing books on Chattanooga's railroads and the Stokes and Hiener photo collections. Railroads In And Around Chattanooga , featuring Chattanooga's intriguing railroad ... (click for more)

Bells Were Among Founders Of Hill City

David Newton Bell helped develop Harrison into the county seat, but failed to lure the all-important railroad to the river community. His son, James Smith Bell, was one of the Hill City(North Chattanooga) promoters and Bell Avenue bears his name. The Bell family was living at Wythe County,Va., when David N. Bell was born in 1797. But when he was a young boy, his father, Samuel ... (click for more)

Girlfriend Says Wright Was Driving Her PT Cruiser When He Left With Pair Whose Bodies Were Found At Cemetery

The girlfriend of William Howard Wright testified Tuesday that Wright and "Little Tony" were with two youths whose bodies were afterward found in a cemetery at Shepherd. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound two counts of criminal homicide and especially aggravated robbery to the Grand Jury against Wright. A 17-year-old is facing similar charges. The girlfriend ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Pay Increases Announced

Chattanooga Police officers will be earning more under a $1.4 million pay improvement plan announced Tuesday. New officers would get increases in each of their first six years with the department, which has been dealing with a number of newly trained officers going to other cities. City officers now make $35,913 upon joining the force. Under the plan, they will receive about ... (click for more)

The Soul Of Chattanooga Is In Trouble

As a child growing up in the Chattanooga area, at an early age I became fascinated with the history that cloaks the city. In those days there was enough pollution to cover the town and its history but that didn't stop tourists from coming to visit Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and the Chickamauga battlefield.     Chattanooga's leadership was not very far sighted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ordinary To Extraordinary

A handsome black guy, from the looks of it still in high school, appeared in a video during A Celebration of Valor luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center Tuesday afternoon and described a Medal of Honor winner. Easily over 500 were there, including our famed Charles Coolidge, and all heard this young achiever say, “A Medal winner if an ordinary person who performs in an extraordinary ... (click for more)