Circuit Court Case Files

Circuit Court handles both civil and criminal cases. Until 1891, all cases were heard in Jonesborough. In 1891, a sub-division of the court was opened to hear civil cases in Johnson City, helping take some of the case load off the Jonesborough court. Known as the Johnson City Law Court, this court functioned until 2007, when, with the opening of the new Justice Center, all court activities were moved once again to Jonesborough. For Law Court case files, see Record Group Series 3.6.

Records in this series are particularly useful in helping provide a picture of a society/community at a given period of history. Non-trial records include citizenship papers for both those seeking to become American citizens, as well as for a convicted felon to have citizenship rights restored. Among the types of cases found are those involving assault and battery, damages, debt, divorce, embezzlement, forgery land disputes, larceny, lewdness and adultery, murder, rape, robbery, tippling, and transporting liquor, among many other civil disputes and criminal actions.Among the types of documents found in the case files are bonds, correspondence, petitions, notices, bills, injunctions, complaints, subpoenas, depositions, exhibits, and writs. There are over 15,000 cases already processed and available to researchers.

Case files are arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by the plaintiff’s surname. Case files are permanent records.


1820 – 1829

1830 – 1839                 

1840 – 1849            

1850 – 1859

1860 – 1869

1870 – 1879

1880 – 1889

1890 – 1899

1900 – 1909

1910 – 1919

1920 – 1929

1930 – 1939

1940 – 1949