Catherine 'Bonnie Kate' Sevier

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Catherine 'Bonnie Kate' Sevier's Geni Profile

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Catherine 'Bonnie Kate' Sevier (Sherrill)

Also Known As: "Bonny", "Kate", "Catherine", "Sevier", "Sherrill", "Bonnie Kate"
Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Yadkin River, Rowan County, North Carolina, Colonial America
Death: October 7, 1836 (82)
Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Samuel Sherrill, I and Mary Sherrill
Wife of John 'Nolichucky Jack' Sevier, 1st Gov. of Tennessee
Mother of Catherine Rhea; Col. George Washington Sevier, Sr; Ruth Sparks; Joanna Goad Windle; Dr. Samuel Sevier and 4 others
Sister of Samuel Doak Sherrill, Jr; Susan Taylor; Uriah Sherrill; William Sherrill; Adam Sherrill and 6 others

Occupation: First 1st Lady of Tennesse, wife of Gen. Sevier
Managed by: Dale Edward Smith
Last Updated:

About Catherine 'Bonnie Kate' Sevier

Catherine was Governor John Sevier's second wife, they had eight children during this marriage. DAR Ancestor # A102090


Also known as "Bonnie Kate," Katherine Sherrill Sevier was the wife of John Sevier (1745-1815), Revolutionary War hero, Indian fighter, governor of the State of Franklin, and first governor of Tennessee. Legend has it that their courtship began after she was surprised by an Indian attack while milking a cow outside the walls of Fort Watauga in northeast Tennessee. The defenders of the fort quickly closed the gates, locking her out. She ran to the palisades and, helped by Sevier, climbed to safety. She and Sevier married in 1780, when she was twenty-six, after the death of his first wife, Sarah Hawkins. At their home in Washington County, Bonnie Kate made soldiers' uniforms, cast lead balls for ammunition, and prepared food for her husband's victorious campaign against the British at the battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina. On the eve of the battle, she thwarted a Tory attempt to murder her husband. Bonnie Kate held the title "First Lady" three times, first from 1785 to 1788, when her husband was governor of the State of Franklin, and during his terms as the first and third governor of Tennessee, 1796 to 1801 and 1803 to 1809. She was originally buried in Russellville, Alabama, but was reinterred in 1922 next to her husband on the lawn of the old Knox County Courthouse in Knoxville. The inscription on her tombstone describes her as the "brightest star among pioneer women of this state."

Source: Fred W. Sauceman, East Tennessee State University

  Miss Sherrill was already somewhat distinguished for nerve, action, and fleetness.  It was said “she could outrun or outleap any woman; walk more erect, and ride more gracefully and skillfully than any other female in all the mountains round about, or on the continent at large.”  Although at other times she proved herself to know no fear, and could remain unmoved when danger threatened, yet on this occasion she admits that she did run, and “run her best.”  She was very tall and erect, and her whole appearance such as to attract the especial notice and pursuit of the Indians; and as they intercepted the direct path to the gate of the fort, she made a circuit to reach the enclosure on another side, resolved, as she said to scale the walls or palisades.  In this effort, some person within the defenses attempted to aid, but his foot slipped, or the object on which he was standing gave way, and both fell to the ground on opposite sides of the enclosure.  The savages were coming with all speed, and firing and shooting arrows repeatedly.  Indeed, she said, “the bullets and arrows came like hail.  It was now – leap the wall or die, for I would not live a captive!”  She recovered from the fall, and in a moment was over and within the defenses, and “by the side of one in uniform.”

This was none other than Capt. John Sevier, and the first time she ever saw him.  This was the beginning of an acquaintance destined in a few years to ripen into a happy union, to endure in this life for nearly forty years.  “The way she run and jumped on that occasion was often the subject of remark, commendation, and laughter.”  In after life she looked upon this introduction, and the manner of it, as a providential indication of their adaptation to each other – that they were destined to be of mutual help in future dangers, and to overcome obstacles in time to come.  And she always deemed herself safe when by his side.  Many a time did she say: “I could gladly undergo that peril and effort again to fall into his arms, and feel so out of danger.  But then,” she would add, “it was all of God’s good providence.”  Capt. Sevier was then a married man, his wife and younger children not having yet arrived from Virginia.  His wife’s name was Susan Hawkins, and she was a native of Virginia, where she died.

According to an application for Revolutionary War benefits made by the children of Col. John SEVIER (Certificate issued 31 May 1839), he had married Catharine SHERRILL, as his second wife, on 14 Aug 1780 in East Tennessee. He died on 24 Sep 1815, near Fort Decatur, Alabama, and she died 02 Oct 1836 at Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama at about age 80 (born ca 1756). They also declared that their father had served as a Col. in the North Carolina Line, was at both King's Mountain and several Indian Campaigns against the Cherokees and the first Militia General of the State of Tennessee and first Governor of the State. His children by his second wife were shown as George Washington SEVIER (of Davidson Co, TN in 1839), Samuel and Robert SEVIER, Elizabeth MCCLELLAND, Mary OVERSTREET and Joanna (died 31 Jul 1823 in Overton Co, TN), and a step-daughter, Mary GARLAND, who was still alive at the time Catherine died.

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Catherine 'Bonnie Kate' Sevier's Timeline

August 3, 1754
Yadkin River, Rowan County, North Carolina, Colonial America
Age 26
Tennessee, Washington County, Tenn
February 1, 1782
Age 27
Washington County, TN, USA
Age 28
Washington County, North Carolina, United States
November 11, 1784
Age 30
Washington County, TN, USA
June 16, 1785
Age 30
Washington County, North Carolina, United States
Age 30
June 11, 1786
Age 31
Washington County, TN, USA
November 15, 1790
Age 36
Washington County, Southwest Territory, United States