A list of all Tennessee counties and their dates of formation is available free of charge from the TN State Library and Archives (in Nashville). If your search takes you back beyond the formation date of the county you are searching, this list is a fundamental tool that you need.
Here is a for instance: if a settler was known to live at a certain location in Davidson County in 1783, he could have changed to Sumner County in 1786, changed to Smith County in 1799, and his grandson might live in Trousdale County in 1870 on the same land that grandpa purchased in 1783. That illustration is a little drastic but you get the idea. County lines changed with the formation of new counties which were taken from existing county lands.
Public records are stored in Libraries, Courthouses, and State Archives. (Note: out in the counties, I found many boxes of very old original public records, packed away in dusty boxes. Most of these are not indexed. It can take many hours to look through them but the search can give you insight that isn’t available anyplace else.)
It is possible to extend your search for thousands of miles and over a period of all recorded history without leaving local repositories. That is not to say that you will find the answers you seek and it doesn’t mean that those answers do not exist elsewhere. It is to say that if you don’t find your answers, you may find certain clues to point you in the right direction.
Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN
I think mamma Dickens characterization of poppa Dickens was correct when she said "He was as stubborn and contrary as a mule and if he didn’t get his way, he would pout for hours." I also think that trait is the very reason I haven’t found an abundance of public records mentioning my early Dickens family. They seem to have been proud, private, and independent. They bore their children, conducted their business, settled their differences, and buried their dead without fanfare and with as little public notice as possible.
From 1806 – 1853, the eastern section of the Hurricane Creek valley was part of Jackson County.