Van Buren County, Tennessee

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Van Buren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of 2000, the population was 5,508. Its county seat is Spencer[1].



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 275 square miles (711 km²), of which 273 square miles (708 km²) is land and 1 square miles (3 km²) (0.42%) is water.


Big Bone Cave was a major saltpeter mine during the War of 1812. Mining began in 1806 and continued at least through the end of the War of 1812, which ended in 1815. The discovery of the large bones of an extinct Giant Ground Sloth by workmen in 1811 gave the cave it's name. According to Tom Barr (Caves of Tennessee, 1961), as many as 300 men worked in the cave removing the nitrous earth to the leaching vats located near the entrance. Big Bone Cave was again a major source of saltpeter during the Civil War. Extensive remains of the mining operations from both the War of 1812 and the Civil War remain in the cave in an excellent state of preservation.

Adjacent counties



As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 5,508 people, 2,180 households, and 1,619 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 2,453 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 99.02% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.09% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. 0.33% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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