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Sevier County, Tennessee

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In the mid-16th century, Spanish expeditions led by Hernando de Soto (1540) and Juan Pardo (1567) passed through what is now Sevier County, reporting that the region was part of the domain of Chiaha, a minor Muskogean chiefdom centered around a village located on a now-submerged island just upstream from modern Douglas Dam. By the late 17th-century, however, the Cherokee, whose ancestors were living in the mountains at the time of the Spaniards' visit, had become the dominant tribe in the region. Although they used the region primarily as hunting grounds, the Chicakamauga faction of the Cherokee vehemently fought white settlement in their territory, frequently leading raids on households, even through the signing of various peace treaties, alternating short periods of peace with violent hostility, until forcibly marched from their territory by the U.S. government on the "Trail of Tears".

Sevier County was formed on September 18, 1794 and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county takes its name from John Sevier, governor of the failed State of Franklin and first governor of Tennessee, who played a prominent role during the early years of settlement in the region. Since its establishment in 1795, the county seat has been situated at Sevierville (also named for Sevier), the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.

Sevier County was strongly pro-Union during the Civil War. When Tennessee held a vote on the state's Ordinance of Secession on June 8, 1861, Sevier Countians voted 1,528 to 60 in favor of remaining in the Union. In November 1861, William C. Pickens, Sheriff of Sevier County, led a failed attempt to destroy the railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains as part of the East Tennessee bridge-burning conspiracy.

Prior to the late 1930s, Sevier County's population, economy, and society, which relied primarily on subsistence agriculture, held little significance vis-à-vis any other county in the rural South. However, with the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the early 1930s, the future of Sevier County (within which lies thirty percent of the total area of the national park) changed drastically. Today, tourism supports the county's economy.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Alder Branch
  • Beech Spring
  • Boyds Creek
  • Catlettsburg
  • Caton
  • Cherokee Hills
  • DuPont
  • Fairgarden
  • Gatlinburg
  • Kodak
  • Locust Ridge
  • Oldham
  • Pigeon Forge
  • Pittman Center
  • Reagantown
  • Richardson Cove
  • Sevierville (County Seat)
  • Seymour (part)
  • Shady Grove
  • Strawberry Plains (part)
  • Wears Valley



Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (part)