Putnam County is named in honor of Israel Putnam, who was a hero in the French and Indian War and a general in the American Revolutionary War.
Putnam County was first established on 2 February 1842 when the Twenty-fourth Tennessee General Assembly enacted a measure creating Putnam County from portions of Jackson, Overton, Fentress, and White Counties. Isaac Buck, Burton Marchbanks, Henry L. McDaniel, Lawson Clark, Carr Terry, Richard F. Cooke, H. D. Marchbanks, Craven Maddox, and Elijah Con, all of Jackson County, were named by the Act to superintend the surveying of the new county.
Surveying was done by Mounce Gore, also of Jackson County, and the Assembly instructed them to locate the county seat, to be called "Monticello," near the center of the county. However contending that the formation of Putnam was illegal because it reduced their areas below constitutional limits, Overton and Jackson counties secured an injunction against its continued operation. Putnam officials failed to reply to the complaint, and in the March, 1845 term of the Chancery Court at Livingston, Chancellor Bromfield L. Ridley declared Putnam unconstitutionally established and therefore dissolved. The 1854 act reestablishing Putnam was passed after Representative Henderson M. Clements of Jackson County assured his colleagues that a new survey showed that there was sufficient area to form the county. White Plains, near modern Algood, acted as a temporary county seat.
The act specified the "county town" be named "Cookeville" in honor of Richard F. Cooke, who served in the Tennessee Senate from 1851–1854, representing at various times Jackson, Fentress, Macon, Overton and White Counties. The act authorized Joshua R. Stone and Green Baker from White County, William Davis and Isaiah Warton from Overton County, John Brown and Austin Morgan from Jackson County, William B. Stokes and Bird S. Rhea from DeKalb County, and Benjamin A. Vaden and Nathan Ward from Smith County to study the Conner survey and select a spot, not more than two and one-half miles from the center of the county, for the courthouse. The first County Court chose a hilly tract of land then owned by Charles Crook for the site. - (Wikipedia.com)