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John Cate

First Generation


1. John  CATE was born in 1753 in NC.. He died in 1827. He was buried in Dumplin Valley Baptist Church Cem., Dumplin, Jefferson Co.,TN..

John Cate Sr. came to Dumplin Valley in 1782 from North Carolina. He was one of the passengers on the ship Safety from England, settling first in Edenten, N.C. then moved to Orange Co., N.C. and then to Dumplin. He had 15 children and was said to be the "patriarchal" leader of the entire valley much in the manner of Abraham. He was one of the charter members of Dumplin Valley Baptist Church, which is still in 1999 an active church. He is buried in the church cemetery. The old John Cate home is a "historic Dumplin Valley home". The house was built in 1825 is a colonial style red brick home painted white. The bricks made by slaves. It is said Mary still makes appearances in the home. Dumplin Creek was said to have gotten it's name during the Revolutionary War. The local militia was camped at the creek and making dumplings for their supper, when the British attacked and scattered the locals, then dumped the dumplings into the creek.

Dean Arlie E. Cate, who served 23 years as Dean of Carson Newman College was born in Dumplin and was a direct descendant of John Cate, Sr.

Buried in Dumplin Valley Cemetery. On his tombstone says "N.C. Line Rev. War"
Revolutionary War Service--private, Infantry--Vol. 176, page 120, #36-11-1, Rec 11/29.1783. Dar Rooster Vol I A-C p. 400-401, member Ann Lucille Bryan Dabney
No. 444599

A posting of Roberta Pierson surmises that John came to Dumplin Valley from VA instead of NC. She states that a land grant in Washington Co. VA dated 1/13/1787 was his as a John and Mary Cate from Sevier Co. TN sold this land in July 1793.

John Cate, Sr. is the earliest ancestor on the Cate's side of my family. The Cate/Cates family has never been too particular about the spelling of the family name. Some spell it Cate while others spell it Cates but the name is said practically the same in any case. John seems to have spelled his name Cate and he was a remarkable man. One of the first settlers of Jefferson County and the first settler of the Dumplin community, John settled here in 1782. He was already a veteran of the Revolutionary war and land owner in Washington County, Virginia (across the state line from Kingsport, Tennessee}. John may have fought with John Sevier at the Battle of Boyd's Creek--the only Revolutionary War battle fought in what is now Tennessee.

Currently on the Internet, there is debate about whether he came to Tennessee from Orange Co., NC--the home of many other Cate(s) families or from Washington Co., VA where he owned land. This is an ongoing question we are researching. John Cate is not the common ancestor of all Dumplin Valley Cate families--the families of William & Charles Cate also settled there. In Dumplin, John Cate, Sr. and others organized the Dumplin Baptist Church--John was the first member. Later the church had disputes over the ordaining of ministers and broke into factions for a while. John and many other original members were excommunicated. Later readmitted, he was eventually excommunicated again for his views. (Approximately 25% of the original members were eventually excommunicated-see the charter). Despite this, John is buried in the hilltop cemetery of Dumplin Baptist where I have visited on three occasions. John and his wife Mary had many children. I am descended from Bonnie Cates Wilson, of John Herman Cates, of George Albert Cates, of Jessie Thomas Cate, of Baldwin Cate, of James Cate, of John Cate Sr. I hope that you enjoy the following information that I have compiled. Ed Wilson

Early Cate Settlement of East Tennessee

SOURCE: People and Places of Jefferson County by Estle P. Muncy.
Published by the Jefferson County Historical Society, 1994, p.165.

Mr. John Cate, Sr. settled near the present church and was the first settler of the Dumplin Community. He came in the year 1782, making him one of the first permanent settlers in Jefferson County. He along with his wife and 11 year old son John, Jr., left Orange County, North Carolina and came west 300 miles across mountains and rivers, through trackless forests, into a valley used by the Cherokee Indians as a hunting and fighting ground. John Cate, Sr. is the common ancestor of all Dumplin Valley Cate families. He had 15 children. His youngest son, Joshua, was born March 19, 1792, twenty years, four months and twenty-nine days after the birth of John Cate, Jr. John, Jr. married Mary Koontz, and they had eight sons and four daughters. John Cate ruled this lower Dumplin Valley much like the patriarchal manner of Abraham. During the next 15 years the community grew with the influx of Elders, Mounts, Lorances, and Witts and the prolific reproduction of Cates. They petitioned the French Broad Church (now First Baptist Church of Dandridge) to help them organize a church. There were 27 charter members, 4 men and 23 women. The men were John Cate, Sr., John Cate, Jr., John Cate and Peter Lorance.

Reference to John Cate, Sr.

SOURCE: Bent Twigs in Jefferson County by Jean Patterson Bible.
Published by East Tennessee Printing Co., Inc., 1991, p. 2.

The Cates were originally from Virginia but came to this county from Orange County, North Carolina, where they had moved earlier.

Treaty of Dumplin
SOURCE: The following is from History of Tennessee,The Goodspeed Publishing Company, dated 1887, pages B32-35

In 1785 a treaty was concluded with the Cherokees at Henry's Station, known as the treaty Dumplin [Treaty of Dumplin], by the terms of which the Indians relinquished their right and title to the land embraced within Sevier County. After this treaty the occupation of the county south of the French Broad when on rapidly. Prominent among the early settlers beside those already mentioned where Isaac Thomas, who lived on the west bank of the Pigeon opposite Sevierville, William Cannon located opposite Catlettsburg, where his grandson later lived. Jacob Huff lived on the site of Catlettsburg, where he built a mill. Samuel Blair also located in the same neighborhood and Josiah Rogers still further down the river. North of the French Broad were Peter and Allen Bryant, Joshua Gist, the Cates and Underwoods.

John's service in the Revolutionary War has been proven and several descendants belong to the DAR. Sep 1975--a marker to his memory was placed in the Cemetery of Dumplin Baptist by the Spencer Clack Chapter, DAR of Sevierville.

BURIAL: Dumplin Cemetery, Jefferson Co., TN
SOURCES: Ruth Cate, Knoxville, TN and Ann "Elderbrooks" Poe, Mailtand, FL Census records, deeds, wills, marriage records & tombstones.

John married Mary UNKNOWN

They had the following children:

  2 F i Rachael CATE
  3 M ii William CATE
  4 M iii Jessie CATE
  5 F iv Priscilla CATE died in 1850.
  6 F v Annie CATE
  7 M vi John CATE, Jr.  was born on 16 Sep 1771 in NC. He died on 9 Mar 1840 in Jefferson County, Tn. He was buried in Dumplin Valley Cemetery; Dumplin, Jefferson Co., TN.
  8 M vii Thomas CATE was born in 1776 in VA. He died on 14 Sep 1846 in McMinn County, Tn.
  9 M viii Samuel CATE was born in 1783. He died in 1848 in Knox Co., TN.
  10 M ix Joshua CATE was born on 10 Mar 1790 in VA. He died on 15 Dec 1876.
+ 11 M x James Thomas CATE (twin with Mary) was born about 1790. He died in 1855.
  12 F xi Mary CATE was born about 1790.
  13 M xii Elijah CATE was born in 1794.
  14 M xiii Isaac CATE was born in 1804.
  15 M xiv Aaron CATE was born in 1809.





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