Giles County Archives Publishes World War I and Spanish American War Soldier Affidavits

The Giles County Archives has published a four-volume set of documents online for free use by researchers. WWI Soldiers & Other Veterans. County Court Loose Records: Affidavits Filed for Free Business/Peddling License in Giles County, Tennessee is a collection of records discovered in file cabinets in the back of closets in the courthouse in 2020.

“This is a relatively small collection and the paper it is printed on is very brittle,” said archives director Barbara Nicolson. “Clara Parker and I felt it important to flatten, surface clean, sleeve in mylar and make available online, these documents, so that they may be viewed by the public at large.”

This project was made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission of the National Archives. It was expedited by Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee Secretary of State.

“This publication may be downloaded and printed for educational, genealogical or historical research,” Nicolson said, adding that the entire collection is available online on the county’s official website.

Nicolson explained that the 113 affidavits were scanned by archivists in the courthouse. The scanned documents were forwarded to Giles County native Claudia Johnson, who designed and built Giles County’s website through her company, CSllc Consulting, for creation of the published collection. Johnson designed the four-volume set and established an online library for these and other historic materials.

“This collection shows that more than 100 men who had served in World War I or the Spanish American War were able to take advantage of the chance to get a business or peddler’s license at no charge,” Nicolson said. “The affidavits sworn by the applicants declare that they did not possess more than $1,000 in taxable property and did not have more than $300 in capital at the time of the application.”

The program, which launched in Giles County in 1932 through the efforts of County Court Clerk W.F English, was intended to help these former soldiers make a living during a difficult time for all Americans – the Great Depression.

“Each volume has an index of applicants so that researchers can quickly determine whether their ancestor is included,” Nicolson said. “The entire publication or selected pages can be printed to .pdf or paper at no charge.”

To review the collection, visit at https://gilescountytn.gov/wwi-spanish-american-war-affidavits.

About the Giles County Archives.

After years of painstaking dedication by the employees and volunteers of what began as the Old Records Department 35 years ago, county records from 1810 to 2004, including deeds, wills, marriages and records from the Chancery, County and Circuit Courts were cleaned, indexed and archived for public research. The original employees and founders of the department were the late Elizabeth White and Clara Parker, who continues to work part time for the department. Archivist Barbara Nicolson has assumed the role of director.

Available records include: Marriage Records (1865-2000), Wills (1810-1940), Chancery Court Records (1810-2004), Deeds (1810-1896), County Court Records, Circuit Court Records, Obituary and Cemetery books (1810-1986), Genealogical Vertical Files.

In addition, researchers can search microfilm of  Giles County’s newspapers and other records. Many families have contributed copies of their detailed genealogical research to the Archives/Old Records Department to enhance the research experience.

The Archives has recently activated an online library at https://tinyurl.com/gilescountytnarchives from which publications may be downloaded.

The Archives is located on the second floor of the Giles County Courthouse on Pulaski’s historic square and is open from 8 am. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. A copier is available for visitors.

Visit gilescountytn.gov/archives for more information about the Archives’ collections. For genealogical inquiries or to contribute research materials, please contact the Giles County Archives at 931-363-8434.