The Moore County Archives preserves, houses, maintains, and protects the county documents for the historical, genealogical value and reference to our county.

Open Tuesdays & Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 


Moore County's history began with the Cherokee Tribe of Native Americans who held the land until the "Indian Treaties" of 1805 and 1806. The Native Americans did not have permanent settlements here, but used the area as hunting grounds, returning to their villages after the hunting season was over. The treaties opened the way for an influx of European settlers to this area.

Since Moore County itself did not exist until 1871, all its territory was included in neighboring Bedford, Franklin and Lincoln Counties. The first gristmill was erected near today's Lynchburg about 1812. A distillery was established at the Cave Spring about the same time, and cotton gins, cotton mills and tanneries supported the rural area. Lynchburg town lots were laid out about 1820, and the town was incorporated by the 1841-1842 Tennessee General Assembly. In spite of many stories, no one really knows how Lynchburg got its name.

On December 14, 1871, the General Assembly passed, "An act to establish a new county out of portions of the territory of Lincoln, Franklin, Coffee and Bedford Counties, to be called the county of Moore, in honor of the late Gen. William Moore, of Tullahoma, Tenn., one of the early settlers of Lincoln County, Tenn., a soldier of the War of 1812, and for many years a member of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee."

After the creation of Moore County, the county experienced a growth in business and population. The first federal census taken in 1880 showed a population of 6,188 - higher than any time since. (The 2000 census showed 5,740 citizens.) The principal industry of Moore County in the early days was agriculture - and whiskey manufacturing, which provided a home market for the farmers' wood and corn. The first distillery was established about 1812 at the Cave Spring in Lynchburg, followed by many others - by 1877, there were 23 distilleries in Moore County. They produced a sour mash whiskey called "Lincoln County Whiskey", considered to be one of the best in the United States.

Moore County has been "dry" - in one form or another - since 1908, when a local option election closed Lynchburg's saloons. The Jack Daniel Distillery shut down in 1910 and stayed closed (as a distillery) until October 1938.

World War II changed the lives of many Moore County citizens. Most residents of the county had been farmers, but with the construction of Camp Forrest at Tullahoma in 1940, many left their farms to take jobs and laborers and carpenters. During the war, the hills and hollows were filled with soldiers and military vehicles as maneuvers were held in this area. Long lines of army tanks and jeeps could be seen in Lynchburg and on the rural roads of the county. Troops camped on the Moore County High School grounds, and a USO Club was located at the corner of Main and Wall Street.

At the end of the war, Lynchburg offered furniture, appliance, clothing, grocery and feed stores, a drug store, banks and cafes. However, economic changes in the 1950's and 1960's took their toll, and by the late 1970's, Lynchburg was judged by the federal government to be "among the very lowest in the poverty level". Over the past 30 years, Lynchburg's citizens have taken advantage of its two great assets: a town square that offers a nostalgic return to the America of 50 years ago, and an international industry that attracts tourists to create and sustain a community that shares "old fashioned" values of family and faith. Currently, Moore County citizens continue to farm, work at the Jack Daniel's Distillery and in neighboring counties, but also maintain scientific and leadership positions at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center, the Army's Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in nearby Huntsville, AL.

A big historical change came about in Moore County on November 17, 1987. The voters of Moore County voted for Lynchburg and Moore County to become a Metropolitan Government, doing away with the separate government of Lynchburg and Moore County and establishing a consolidated form of government - Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County.

On the election date, Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County became the 22nd and smallest Metropolitan government. Today, we enjoy many benefits in Metropolitan Lynchburg/Moore County due to the consolidated form of government.

Much of the information in this article can be found in The Heritage of Moore County Tennessee, 1871 - 2004. Copies are available through the Moore County Archives