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Source: Sevier County News & Record, 1 June 1950, Page 1

No copyright infringement is intended by posting this article here.

The United States once abandoned Sevier County. So did the state of North Carolina, in whose bounds it then lay.

This was the only area in the whole country that the white men ever actually gave back to the Indians don't get excited the Indians didn't get to keep it very long.

The Sevier County I'm talking about was the first Sevier County, set up by the state of Franklin. If the dates don't bore you too much, it was established in March of 1785, four years after George Washington had taken Lord Cornwallis to the cleaners at Yorktown, Virginia, and made these United States a free and independent nation.

This first Sevier County was a very large county. It included all the area south of the French Broad. between the Big Pigeon on the east and the Little Tennessee on the West. South, it extended as far toward Georgia as any white man wanted to take the chance on going. It included most of what is now Cocke, Sevier, Blount and some of other counties.

There is a story that John Sevier sold the whole county for a barrel of corn whiskey and a rifle gun. Maybe that's true, but most likely not. At any rate the county was named for John Sevier.

But I am getting ahead of story. I hope to begin at the very beginning and tell in a series of brief articles, what I have been able to learn of the early history of Sevier County.

All the territory whose waters flow into the Mississippi River was a possession of France until the year of 1763, when it was ceded to England as the result of the French and Indian War. So far as is known, no Frenchmen ever set foot in what is know Sevier County while the area was a French possession.

The French Broad River got its name during this period. It was called the French Broad to distinguish it from the Broad River in North Carolina.

During the French period, however, there seems to have been sort of trail from over the mountains to some point on the river.

It is certain that one of the first, If not the first man, to know much about the lands and valleys of Sevier County was an amazing character named Isaac Thomas. In his later years he settled in Sevier County, and was owner of the land on which the town of Sevierville was laid out.

Isaac Thomas acted as guide for the Christian Expedition which passed through the county (excuse another date) in 1776. The stories of the beautiful and fertile lands through which they had passed, that the soldiers of the Christian Expedition took back home with them was the immediate cause of a rush of settlers to what is now Sevier County.

It is said that many of the soldiers in this campaign against the Cherokees choose for themselves exact inaction to which they subsequently returned.

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