Macon County Archives
Lafayette, TN 37083
Monday - Friday 8:00-4:00
Macon County Archivist and Historian
THE ARCHIVE OF
MACON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
The Macon County Archive is a great research facility that can be often overlooked. Archived here are most of the older surviving county records. There are facts included through out these varied holdings that are not accessible anywhere else. I encourage gleaming of these and of the privately donated material that can be a researchers Mecca.
Located in what was the Courtroom #2 in the Macon County Courthouse is the County Archive. You may wonder just what an archive is and why we have one. According to the dictionary an archives is a place designed for the keeping of historic records relating to any particular place. Our county needed an Achieve to help preserve it’s records relating to our history and heritage. Macon County courthouses have been victim to three fires that destroyed all records prior to 1901 with the exception of Chancery Court. This office’s records begin in 1844 when Chancery Court first started. They are not complete but do provide a vast amount of information.
The archive’s history began in what was called the record room. The room was grossly too small, nothing more than a glorified closet, and the books were not in any order. Some could be found there while others were found in various nooks and crannies thru out the Courthouse with no office quite knowing just what records they did have. All the stray books were collected and placed in the Record Room and put in order thus beginning the Archives. To achieve this, a lot of clutter had to be disposed of from this room, clutter so dense that the permanent books and records were being harmed by it.
The Macon County Records Commission was established using guidelines created by the State Library and Archives in Nashville. Those serving on this commission are James Ralph Howser, Chairman, Malinda Ferguson, Secretary, Judge John Douglas Wootten, County Commissioners Helen Hesson and Dewayne Whittemore, and County Historian Randy East. Their purpose is to insure the proper destruction of any Courthouse offices records deemed of a non-essential status using guidelines supplied by the State Archive. This process is necessary or there would not be any room for vital permanent records due to the enormous amount of the temporary ones.
The State Achieve wanted a county Archive that was sanctioned and supported by the County Government. This was presented to the County Commissioners and it was voted to do so. At their regular session 22 February 1999, Randy East was appointed Archivist and also named County Historian, filling the void left by the death of long time County Historian Harold G Blankenship.
In the spring of 2002, the Archive was moved to the present location. There is now ample room for locating records related to each office. It is organized and grouped according to each particular office. There are work areas for researchers to use. Though the Archive is the place for all of the official County historical records, it is also the repository for any record, book, photo, or document that is historically significant to our County. This would include items such as old Bibles, diaries, photos, ledgers, newspapers, and or old books that perhaps once were in the Courthouse but fell into private hands. There have been school census records donated by the School Board, an old marriage book kept by early Esquire Sampson St. John Davis, and the Harold G Blankenship collection given by his family. There are several privately donated genealogical collections available for research. If there are such collections that need a protected environment in private hands, then the Archive is recommended for these and other records. Please consider the donation or loan of any item that would merit its’ placement here you know the items you may have but didn't know what do with but wanted it shared and protected. Don’t let it wind up in the burn or trash pile some day because the importance of it was not realized by your heirs.
If you have been entrusted with any such item and wish it to be of use to others but aren’t quite sure what to do with it, then donating or loaning it to the Archives is the answer for you. Here it will be placed in the Archive Annex, a separate room designated for just these type articles, where it will be protected and available for research purposes, though the original may be locked away and a copy provided for handling. This insures that it will last throughout the ages, providing a use for it as it was intended.
Make plans to visit the Archive and learn firsthand of our County’s early existence and of events through the ages. Support our Archive and help make it successful to guarantee its’ existence for future generations.
Archive hours are Monday - Friday 8 am – 4 pm. Joyce King and Janice Lamb are the Archive Assistants and will provide help for you in any way needed and will ensure your Archive experience will be a most rewarding one.
MaconCounty Archivist and Historian