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County History

Knox County was created on June 11, 1792, by Governor William Blount from parts of Greene and Hawkins counties, one of the few counties created when the state was still known as the Southwest Territory.  It is named for American Revolutionary War general and first United States Secretary of War, Henry Knox.  The county is at the geographical center of the Great Valley of East Tennessee.  Near the heart of the county is the origin of the Tennessee River at the union of the Holston and French Broad Rivers.  Knoxville is the county seat.  The county includes the following towns and communities: Ballcamp, Bluegrass, Byington, Carter, Concord, Corryton, Farragut, Gibbs, Halls Crossroads, Hardin Valley, Heiskell, Karns, Kimberlin Heights, Mt. Olive, Pedigo, Powell, Ramsey, Ritta, Riverdale, Skaggston, Solway, Strawberry Plains, and Thorn Grove.  Source:  Wikipedia Contributors, "History," Knox County, Tennessee ( : accessed 24 June 2017).

Early Settlers

The progress of settlement naturally followed the river valleys, and among the first areas settled were the headwaters of Beaver Creek and Bull Run Creek in the northwestern corner of the present county, and Flat Creek in the northeastern.  By 1785 settlements began to appear along the banks of the Holston and French Broad above Knoxville.  Among the earliest was the first cabin of James White, on the north bank of the French Broad.  Across the river settled families by the name of Greene and Cozby.  Near by were Gibson, Beard and Bowman, and Capt. Thomas Gillespie settled "three miles below, on the north side of the river."  A little later Jeremiah Jack established the "second plantation above the mouth of the French Broad."  In 1787 Robert Armstrong raised a crop of corn on the farm on which he settled the next year along the Holston a short distance above the mouth of Swan Pond Creek.  About the same time, Devereaux Gilliam located at the junction of the French Broad and Holston rivers.  Source: Mary U. Rothrock, editor, The French Broad-Holston Country: A History of Knox County, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee: East Tennessee Historical Society, 1946), 26.


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