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Governors of Tennessee

Ref: The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Vol 26, Pg 625, Published 1910-1911

State of Franklin

John Sevier 1785-1788

Territory South of the Ohio

William Blount 1790-1796

State of Tennessee

John Sevier Democratic-Republican 1796-1801

Archibald Roane Democratic-Republican 1801-1803

John Sevier Democratic-Republican 1803-1809

Willie Blount Democratic-Republican 1809-1815

Joseph McMinn Democratic-Republican 1815-1821

William Carroll Democratic-Republican 1821-1827

Sam Houston Democratic-Republican 1827-1829

William Hall (acting) 1829

William Carroll Democrat 1829-1835

Newton Cannon Anti-Jackson Democrat 1835-1839

James K. Polk Democrat 1839-1841

James C. Jones Whig 1841-1845

Aaron V. Brown Democrat 1845-1847

Neil S. Brown Whig 1847-1849

William Trousdale Democrat 1849-1851

William B. Campbell Whig 1851-1853

Andrew Johnson Democrat 1853-1857

Isham G. Harris Democrat 1857-1862

Andrew Johnson Military 1862-1865

Interregnum, 4th March - 5th April 1865

William G. Brownlow Republican 1865-1869

De Witt C. Senter Conservative Republican 1869-1871

John C. Brown Democrat 1871-1875

James D. Porter Democrat 1875-1879

Albert S. Marks Democrat 1879-1881

Alvin Hawkins Republican 1881-1883

William B. Bate Democrat 1883-1887

Robert L. Taylor Democrat 1887-1891

John P. Buchanan Democrat 1891-1893

Peter Turney Democrat 1893-1897

Robert L. Taylor Democrat 1897-1899

Benton McMillin Democrat 1899-1903

James B. Frazier Democrat 1903-1905

John I. Cox Democrat 1905-1907

Malcolm R. Patterson Democrat 1907-1911

B. W. Hooper Republican 1911-


Studies in the Constitutional History of Tennessee (Cincinnati) 1895; new ed 1907

There is no satisfactory complete history of the state. The best is

James Phelan's History of Tennessee (Boston, 1888)

For the early period see

John Haywood, Civil and Political History (Knoxville 1823, reprinted Nashville, 1891

J.G.M. Ramsey, Annals (Charleston, 1853)

A.W. Putnam, History of Middle Tennessee or Life of Times of General James Robertson (Nashville, 1859)

Theodore Roosevelt, Winning of the West (New York, 1889-1896)

John Carr, Early Times of Middle Tennessee (Nashville, 1857)

For the more recent period see

O.P. Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War (Cincinnati, 1899)

James W. Fertig, Secession and Reconstruction of Tennessee (Chicago, 1898)

Report of Joint-Committee on Reconstruction (U.S. Pub Docs., Wash., 1866)

John Sevier (1745-1815)

The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Vol 24, Pg 727, Published 1910-1911

American frontiersman, first governor of Tennessee, was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, on the 23rd of September 1745, of Huguenot ancestry, the family name being XAVIER.

He settled on the Watauga on the western slope of the Alleghanies in 1772, and served as a captain in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774.

Early in 1776 the Watauga settlements were annexed to North Carolina, and Sevier, who from the beginning had been a member of the Watauga government, now represented the district in the provincial congress, which met at Halifax in November-December 1776 and adopted the first state constitution, and in 1777 he was a member of the state House of Commons.

He took part in the campaign of 1780 against the British, especially distinguishing himself in the battle of King's Mountain, where he led the right wing.

In December 1780 he defeated the Cherokees at Boyd's Creek (in the present Sevier county, Tennessee), laying waste their country during the following spring. Later in the same year (1781), under General Francis Marion, he fought the British in the Carolinas and Georgia.

In 1784, when North Carolina first ceded its western lands to the Federal government, he took part in the revolt of the western settlements; he was president of the first convention which met in Jonesboro on the 23rd of August, and opposed the erection of a new state, but when the state of Frankland (afterwards Franklin, in honour of Benjamin Franklin) was organized in March 1785, he became its first and only governor (1785-1788), and as such led his riflemen against the Indians; in May 1788, after the end of his term, men in his command massacred several Indians from a friendly village, and thus provoked a war in which Sevier again showed his ability as an Indian fighter.

He was arrested by the North Carolina authorities, partly as a leader of the independent government and partly for the Indian massacre, but escaped. About this time he attempted to make an alliance with Spain on behalf of the state of Franklin.

In 1789 he was a member of the North Carolina Senate, and in 1790-1791 of the National House of Representatives. After the final cession of its western territory by North Carolina to the United States in 1790 he was appointed brigadier-general of militia for the eastern district of the "Territory South of the Ohio'; and conducted the Etowah campaign against the Creeks and Cherokees in 1793.

When Tennessee was admitted into the Union as a state, Sevier became its first governor (1796-1801) and was governor again in 1803-1809. He was again a member of the National House of Representatives in 1811-1815, and then was commissioner to determine the boundary of Creek lands in Georgia.

He died near Fort Decatur, Georgia, on the 24th of September 1815.

See: J.R. Gilmore, The Rear-Guard of the Revolution (New York, 1886)

John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder (New York, 1887)

Errors in Gilmore's books are pointed out in Theodore Roosvelt's The Winning of the West (New York, 1894-1896)

County Administrator Carolyn Whitaker

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Last update 16 April 2002