The institution of apprenticeship was a common means for providing for the maintenance and future self-reliance of orphaned children, as well as any child whose father had abandoned him or otherwise refused to support him. This publication contains the records of apprenticeships scattered among the minutes of the county courts for Eastern Tennessee. The records, some 11,000 of them, span the period from 1778 to 1911 and bear reference to apprenticeships created in the following Tennessee counties: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Sullivan, Union, and Washington. Where noted in the records, these apprentices were groomed to work in the following trades: hatter, blacksmith, saddler, tanner, farmer, tinsmith, weaver, shoemaker, seamstress, mill wright, and carpenter.
The information in the book was compiled from county court minutes on microfilm obtained, in almost every case, from the Tennessee State Archives. Mr. Miller has arranged the records by county and thereunder chronologically. For each record we are given the name of the apprentice, a date (either the date of the original bond or indenture, or a subsequent date), the age at apprenticeship, the name of the master, and miscellaneous information ranging from the name of the mother or a sibling, race, cause of apprenticeship (e.g., orphan), his/her trade, etc. When the researcher finds a name he is looking for, he is encouraged to consult the microfilm records for further clues as to the apprentice’s parentage and other circumstances.