Posted by
ARNEY / ARNY Family in Overton County, Tennessee
Stan Arney
- Close
My Arney family, in Tennessee, begins with the family Patriarch, Peter Arney.

Peter Arney, arrived in the Cumberland area between Kentucky and Tennessee, around 1799.

History Lesson

1799 - Smith County formed from Sumner County, Tennessee

1801 - Jackson County formed from Smith County, Tennessee

1806 - Overton County formed from Jackson County, Tennessee 

Peter Arney's name, can be found on an 1801 Tennessee Petition, to halt the annexation of Smith & Wilson Counties to create a new county.  This petition failed, due to the fact that, Jackson County was created from Smith County anyway.

Peter Arney's name, can next be found, on the 1802 Jackson County, Tennessee Tax List.

September 1814, Peter Arney purchases 300 acres of land (on which he is already residing), in Overton County, from John Sevier.

1820, Peter Arney's name, appears on the 1820 US Federal Census, State of Tennessee, Overton County.

(the 1st Official US Census, conducted for Tennessee)

Peter Arney died in August, 1845, in Overton County, Tennessee.

In 1865, at the end of the American Civil War, the Overton County Courthouse was burned down, destroying hundreds of documents, including birth/baptism records, marriage records, tax lists, etc.

Therefore, crucial records of this family, prior to 1865, were lost.

In 1942-43, the Corps of Engineers, were charged with the grim task of digging up and moving graves, in preparation for the creation of Dale Hollow Lake.

Much of the area, where Dale Hollow Lake would be created, was once where the Arney family originally lived.  Many of their ancestors were buried on those grounds, that were to be covered by water.  Their lands, the towns in which they lived in or near, etc. were to be lost forever (Lillydale, Willow Grove, etc.).

When it came to digging up graves, to move them to higher grounds (i.e. cemeteries elsewhere), families were given a choice, either they could leave their loved ones graves where they were (undisturbed), or allow them to be dug up (free of charge) by the Corps of Engineers.  When the Corps of Engineers went onto land (not actually designated a true cemetery), if there was more than one grave, they (Corps of Engineers) labeled it themselves, as a "cemetery". They found 3 such areas, when it came to my Arney family, therefore there were officially 3 separate "Arney Cemeteries".  The majority of these graves, were marked simply with metal crosses pained white, with no identifiable features to know the name of the person buried beneath it.  Therefore, the majority of Arney graves that were moved were titled/labeled, "unknown graves".


I seek to find, what I term, "DTP" (Definitive Tangible Proof), of my Arney families existence, in Tennessee.

Obviously, not being able to identify grave markers, is a great hinderance, and huge setback.

Then with the loss of records, from the Overton County Courthouse fire, an even greater setback.

How anyone, has been able to tie individual to individual, prior to the 1850 US Federal Census, is beyond me.

Any help you can provide, will be greatly appreciated.


Thank you, for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I truly appreciate it. 

Stan Arney
- Reply