From The Archives in Nashville from research by Robert Scarlett:
The surname Tomlinson originated from the Christian name Thomas. The Tomlinson family is said to be of Welch descent tracing from the same family origin as Thomas of Liwyn Madoc, County Brecknock and Thomas of Welfield, County Rednor, which is that source of Noble and Gentle Blood. Elystan Glodrydd, Prince of Eferllys is another of the blood line. We find Tomlinsons in England as early as 1379, when Henricus Thomlynson is mentioned in the York Poll Tax and records. Tomlinson is mentioned in the Howdenshire Poll Tax.
Variety of the surname is shown in the early spellings of the name “Tomlynson, Thomlinson, Thomlynson and Tom1inson are names mentioned as belonging to brothers in England. Reason for different spellings was probably lack of education.
A Commissioner for Ireland in 1655 was Matthew Tomlinson, one of the first recorded in government and mentioned many times. Over two centuries later, George Tomlinson was constituted, by letter patent, Bishop of Gibal and Malta. In England, well established and old branches of the family are found in counties Durham, Yorkshire, Chester and Stafford.
The first recording of Tomlinsons in American History came from Wales to America during colonial times. From the history written on them, they were of Lutheran origin. These three brothers, Samuel, Thomas and William landed in Charleston, South Carolina. Samuel Tomlinson married Annie English, daughter of Thomas and Margaret Flynn English in England before coming to this country. After landing in Charleston, they settled in Camden, South Carolina. A second brother, Thomas moved to Pennsylvania. There are no records on him after his move there.
Another brother, William settled in Randolph County, North Carolina at a place called Bush Hill. It is most likely that the Tomlinsons in Tennessee trace back to S.C. to these first two settlers of that area. There are no facts written indicating these men ever left S. C.; however, the dates and names of the Tomlinsons who settled this area of Tennessee trace back to these earliest settlers.