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George D. Barnes Collection on Rhea County

Identifier: MS-0019

  • Staff Only

This collection contains marriage bonds, land deeds, and other legal documents of Rhea County, Tennessee dating from 1785 to 1893.The marriage bonds and licenses are arranged alphabetically. Court papers and ledgers in the collection are arranged chronologically. The court papers contain the signatures of many prominent Tennesseans and North Carolinians, including governors.


  • 1785-1893

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.


23 Linear Feet


This collection contains marriage bonds, land deeds, and other legal documents of Rhea County, Tennessee, dating from 1785 to 1893.

Biographical/Historical Note

George D. Barnes, the collector of this material, was born March 12th, 1879 in Pennsylvania. His father collected Native American artifacts, and Barnes began accompanying him on his expeditions at a young age. Through these adventures, Barnes discovered his own love of collecting. He quickly became a notable collector in his own right, and sold a number of highly regarded collections to private collectors and to such prestigious institutions as the Smithsonian. He also maintained a private collection in Dayton, Tennessee, where he lived for many years. Barnes died on July 7th, 1949 and is buried in Hamilton County, Tennessee.


This collection consists of twenty seven boxes divided into four series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Rhea County Early Marriage Bonds and Licenses, 1808-1893, undated
  2. Series II: Rhea County Court Papers, 1785-1891, undated
  3. Series III: Rhea County Ledgers and Signatures, 1796-1862
  4. Series IV: Oversize Documents, 1787-1850, undated

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this collection from George Barnes in 1937.

Existence and Location of Copies note

These records are also available on microfilm through the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA