Clay County was named in honor of American statesman Henry Clay, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century. Clay County was formed in 1870 by combining pieces from surrounding Jackson County and Overton County. Cordell Hull's first law office— now a museum— was located in Clay County.
Clay County is nestled in Northern Middle Tennessee on the Kentucky border. Home of beautiful Dale Hollow Lake.
Clay county's early inhabitants farmed and worked the Cumberland River transportation center, which was the major way to get around the Cumberland area. There were many docks and ferry crossings throughout Clay county to get local crops and livestock to major markets. The timber industry was a large player throughout the 1800s and 1900s and still provides many jobs today. Tobacco farming became an important crop in the local area throughout the 1900s and many old tobacco barns are still standing. With the end of government subsidies and foreign competition, tobacco farming has decreased to minuscule participation. Cattle and corn are the major agricultural influences today.
During the Civil War, many skirmishes took place up and down the Cumberland River to control the movement of barges laden with supplies. Local communities were split in their loyalties, with many families at odds with each other. Some of these animosities remain today between family groups.
The city of Celina is at the junction of the Obey and Cumberland rivers, and was a major port during the steamboat years between Nashville and Burnside, Kentucky. Although the Celina ferry landing no longer exists, Celina still connects the north and south by highway. Butler's Landing was used as a storage depot with large warehouses owned and operated by the Butler family. The first Clay County Court meeting was held in a store near the river at Butler's Landing on March 6, 1871. Butler's Landing nearly became the county seat, but Celina won the vote by a thin margin.
Clay County's rural location and lack of major four-lane highway connections continues to hamper development and recruitment of businesses. This has resulted in the county having the highest unemployment rating in the State of Tennessee many months of the year and the loss of educated young people who have no opportunities locally.
Clay County Statistics:
Cost of living:
2011 cost of living in Clay County: 79.6 (low, U.S. average is 100)
Median price of homes:
Population of city/county and/or median age:
County Population (2011): 7,701
Median age: 39.9 years old
Average year-round temperature/weather:
Average July high: 89°F
Average January low: 23.6°F
Average annual rainfall: 51.3 inches
Average annual snowfall: 9.6 inches
Average (5) compared to U.S. average of 4 for violent crime.
Average (4) compared to U.S. average of 4 for property crime.
Recreational and Cultural:
Dale Hollow Dam Recreation Area
Donaldson Park Recreation Area
Willow Grove Recreation Area
Lillydale Recreation Area
Pleasant Grove Recreation Area
Boating, fishing, camping, swim and scuba
Boat rentals - Houseboats to jet skis
Camp at Standing Stone State Park
Visit the Fish Hatchery
Tennessee Walking Horse Competition
Hunt for artifacts
About two hours to Nashville
Standing Stone State Park
Hermitage Springs School K-12
Maple Grove Elementary School K-8
Clay County High School
Colleges and Universities
Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville
Cumberland School of Technology in Cookeville
Nashville State Tech Cookeville Center
Nashville Tech Cookeville Tech Training Center
Tennessee Bible College in Cookeville
Cumberland River Hospitals
Livingston Regional Hospital
Cookeville General Hospital
Celina Rural Health
First American Home Care
Violent crime, on a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, is 2. Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3.
Property crime, on a scale from 1 (low) to 10, is 2. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. The US average is 3.
- Celina (the only incorporated municipality in the county)
- Arcot Community
- Beech Bethany Community
- Brimstone Community
- Butler's Landing Community
- Denton Crossroads Community
- Free Hill
- Hamilton Branch Community
- Hermitage Springs Community
- Lily Dale Community
- Maple Grove Community
- Moss Community
- Neely Crossroads Community
- Oak Grove
- Pea Ridge community
- Pine Branch/ Kettle Creek Community
- Shanky Branch Community