War Stalls Population Growth
Growth continued in Sparta, and in 1840 the U.S. Census Bureau listed White County's population at 10,747. Infrastructure was developing, commerce and industry were flourishing -- a trend that continued into the 1850s when population records listed 11,444 county residents.
The Civil War was a devastating time for Sparta and White County -- as it was for all of the country -- and took its toll on population growth. At the beginning of the war, the county had only 243 slave owners and three farms larger than 500 acres. However, the county was in the area separating the Confederate from the advancing Union armies, thus it experienced frequent guerrilla fighting. Tennessee had the second highest number of Civil War battles fought within its borders, and Sparta and White County residents felt the full effects of the war.
During the Civil War the city and county suffered tremendously. Many area homes and buildings were burned and crops were destroyed. County residents endured a difficult period of rebuilding after war's end.