Below you’ll find the names of some of the early settlers to our northeast Tennessee area. This list is by no means complete and more names will be added as time goes on.    These earliest travelers were hearty, adventurous men, women and children who set out on a path cobbled with hopes and dreams for a new start and perhaps a better life.

Did they find what they were looking for?    Read the stories submitted by our viewers who are related to a few of these courageous pioneers and see what happened to some of them.    

                                 Are you related to an early pioneer in northeast Tennessee?
If you would like to share your information with us   …….. submit your own stories at  and with your permission we’ll add your EARLY SETTLER to this page.   

Some Early Settlers

  • Bean, John
    Bean, Lydia
    Bean, William                       Bean Station
  • Blevins, William
  • Boone, Daniel
  • Brown, Jacob
  • Butler, Thomas
  • Calloway, Richard
  • Carter, John
  • Christian, Gilbert
  • Clark, William
  • Clawson, William
  • Cocke, William
  • Coulter, John
  • Crawford, Moses
    Crawford, Samuel
  • Dugger, Julius
  • Dunham, Jesse
  • Farrar, John
    Farrar, William
  • Fauling, William
  • Greer, Andrew
  • Hart, Thomas
  • Houghton, Thomas
  • Isbell, Zachariah
  • Jefferson, Peter
  • Johnston, William
  • Lattrell, John
  • Price, Thomas
  • Range, James
  • Range, Peter
  • Redd, John
  • Robertson, Charles
    Robertson, James
  • Sevier, John
    Sevier, Valentine
  • Shelby, Evan
    Shelby, Isaac
  • Smith James
    Smith, John
    Smith, William Bailey
  • Tatham, William
  • Varin, Joseph
  • Walker, Felix
    Walker, Susannah Graham
    Walker, William
  • Williams, John
  • Wilson, Samuel
  • In addition
  • Castleton Brooks, Richard Hogan, and Mathew Decker
  • Native American Traders – Ellis Harlin, Isaac Thomas, Edward Rogers, Thomas Benn, Richard Pearis and Nathaniel Gist.
  • Native Americans: Oconistota, Attakullakulla and Savanuka.

Some EARLY SETTLERS and the connection to living descendants:

Contact:  David F. 

My ancestor’s name was John Francis. The earliest mention of a John Francis in Washington County, Tennessee was in the minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions dated 24 August, 1780. He would have been a very young man in 1780, not more than fifteen. He is mentioned in connection with Mary Carr and Walter Carr. In 1796 tax list he is listed in J. Marrison’s Company; 1 white poll. In 1798 he is listed in J. Young’s Company; 1 white poll, 104 acres. The 104 acres would later be officially deeded to him 4 August, 1800 by Mordecai Price, deceased. The land was part of an original grant to Mordecai Price was from the state of North Carolina. John Francis, according to a deeds written 28 August, 1822 had wife Jane, and children: John Jr., Daniel, Ephraim, and “other children” though not mentioned by name. Family tradition says John was born in Wales and came to America in the mid eighteenth century settling in Maryland where he married Miss Jane Baity, who was born on the banks of the Potomac River near where “The Old White House stands.” They had children: John Jr., Agnes, Daniel, Ephraim, William, and Jane, and possibly James. John apparently died before 29 November, 1826, when his land was officially divided among his sons. His widow may not have died until after 1830. An older female is enumerated with Daniel France/Francis in the 1830 Washington County census. We conclude it was Jane, his mother. The family lived on the banks of Sinking Creek between Cherokee and Buffalo Mountains near present day Johnson City, in a village called Spice Hollow. Descendants of this family in in Spice Hollow to this day.

Contact: L.J. Dillow    
I am connected to Joseph Barnes,William Whitson, Ephraim McLaughlin, Thomas Williams ,Zachariah Campbell, Presley Carden,George Oliver, Margaret Norris,Griffin Pierce/Pearce and Veria Estep line. I would be interested in sharing information with anyone connected to these lines.

Contact : Melia Jackson McBride   Many many! Depending on sources doing trees : a Direct descendant of the William Russell family & intermarried William Bean family, who started the Watauga Settlement , through Lewis R. Russell. Also,some others I descend from are intermarried Turner, Howard, Scott, Chisum, Jackson, Pattillo and Jones.

Contact: Paul D
 I have Bean in Claiborne County,TN and Jones from North Carolina to Whitley County, KY.

Milo N.  Contact Milo   Direct descendant of Wm and Lydia Russell Bean via Edmund Bean and Margaret Ellis, daughter of Wm Ellis;  Also Joseph Crouch & Margaret Sanford  

Janelle W.   Contact Janelle         Contact Janelle
My roots run deep in East Tennessee ; William and Susannah Graham Walker came to Washington Co (NC) 1793 from Montgomery Co., VA and bought land from William Carson ; my gg grandfather John Walker was born 1796 when Tennessee became a state. My 5th great grandfather Thomas Murray got land 1791 from NC and this same land was passed along to Barron and Bacon and Walker, West Sinking Creek.  The land I grew up on and played in Sinking Creek.

All my families made the trip along the Great Wagon Road to Tennessee, stopping off along the way and later generations scattering South and West.

Pat K.     Contact Pat
My ancestors ~~~~~~~~
Nodding     and other relations to them  ~~~~
Pat will be submitting more information soon.

Kay C.        Contact Kay
I have many direct ancestors who were early settlers in Washington County, TN area: Jacob Franklin Broyles 1804-1895 (I have his obit and a family picture with 4 generations of Broyles taken before 1895)
Rosannah Broyles 1769-1837
Cyrus Broyles 1732-1826
Mary Wilhoit Broyles 1743-1795
Elizabeth Speck Broyles 1750-1784
Adam Broyles 1781-1863
Lucinda Elizabeth Broyles 1804-1891
Thomas Hunt 1762-1826
Henson Hunt 1780-1853
Mary Magdalene Pope Hunt 1783-1876
Warrington Cary Hunt 1809-1876
Thomas Hyder Hunt 1816-1863
Andrew Coffee Broyles 1831-1927
Louisa Ann Eliza Hunt Broyles 1838-1906
Jacob Theobold DeVault 1782-1862 (son of Revolutionary War soldier Henry DeVault)
Maria Catherina DeVault 1810-1895
Rachel Dorothy Kitzmiller 1785-1829
I think I might have pictures of some homes, land records…    We love pictures! 
I am also distantly related to PeterRange    ……..    and I have never been to Tennessee!

Jim W.       Contact Jim
Benjamin Blackburn was by g-g-g-g-g-grandfather. He was in Washington County by 1784 when he bought 200 acres of land from John Lowry and William Cunningham for 150 pounds. The land was situated on both sides of Onion Branch, a branch of Little Limestone Creek, located in south Washington County near Salem Church and Washington Academy. The deed was dated the 5th day of February, 1784, and was signed by John Lowry, Sarah Lowry, William Cunningham and Martha Cunningham and witnessed by Jeremiah Robenson [sic] and William Baird. (Washington County Deed Book 3, p. 198).

At a County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions on the second Monday of May 1789, it was ordered that Benjamin Blackburn “be released from payment of pubick [sic] taxes being over age and that he be released from the payment of a poll tax for the year of 1787”. (Washington County Minute Book 1778-1809, p. 381).

Benjamin Blackburn’s will was dated August 10, 1786, and begins “I Benjamin Blackburn of the state of Franklin and county of Washington farmer being very weak and frail in body but in perfect mind and memory…”  (Washington County Will book 1, p. 22).

Benjamin Blackburn started his journey to Tennessee from Frederick County, Virginia where he got a land grant in 1753. They migrated down the Great Wagon Road and settled for a while in the Abingdon, Virginia area. His son Robert, my g-g-g-g-grandfather was an Over Mountain Man soldier in Col. Campbell’s regiment. He was in Washington County as early as 1780 when his case against George Hamilton was dismissed for lack of prosecution. (Washington County Minute Book 1778-1809, p. 127). Robert Blackburn received several land grants in Washington County.    He was the father of the Rev. Gideon Blackburn a well-known Presbyterian minister and educator in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois.    A reference for Benjamin Blackburn is my article Benjamin Blackburn: Father of Patriots, WAGS Bulletin Vol 38, #2, 2009, p. 153.

Fort Watauga, Sycamore Shoals State Park, Elizabethton, TN  Photo by B.J, Hylton

Sandi M.   Contact Sandi
It seems most of my ancestors have been here since at least the late 1700s – early 1800s and mostly in Sullivan County (Bluff City, Piney Flats area) and Carter County.

My 4th great grandfather is Henry Johnson namesake of Johnson City and Jacob Hoss one of the earliest settlers in Johnson City is my 6th great grandfather and was a Revolutionary War Patriot. (I would love to get a “family reunion” together of descendants from Henry Johnson but have no idea where to start)
Edmund Williams settled in the Milligan area and is also my 6th great grandfather.
(Edmund Williams, one of the early settlers of the Watauga region, was a native of Wales. He emigrated first to Massachusetts where he married Lucretia Adams, and later moved with his family to North Carolina, where he was living in WashingtonCounty in 1778.

In 1782, he was a member of the court of Washington County, and during this year was appointed one of the district auditors of Washington and Sullivan counties by the General Assembly of the state of North Carolina.

During the struggle between the organizers of the State of Franklin and the mother State of North Carolina, Edmund Williams was one of the magistrates at a court held by the North Carolina faction, at the home of William Davis, in February 1787. The next year (1788), he served as sheriff of WashingtonCounty, State of Franklin.

Later in 1790, at the first term of the Washington County Court, held in the territory southwest of the Ohio River, Edmund Williams was present as a magistrate.

Edmund Williams was a large land owner, and entered several tracts of fine farm land on Buffalo Creek, in WashingtonCounty. He was a devout Baptist and was an active member of the OldSinkingSpringsBaptistChurch. This sturdy pioneer died in the autumn of 1795, and is buried on the site of his old homestead, on the banks of Buffalo Creek, opposite BuffaloMountain. He was the father of eight children.

Source: “Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution”, Penelope Johnson Allen, pg 12 )

Mary Bohne (no relation to Daniel Boone) is my 6th great grandmother and was married to Jacob Hoss. William Bunton my 5th great grandfather was in Johnson City as early as 1800. Thomas Foster was in Washington county as early as 1830 maybe earlier and is also my 5th great grandfather

Also, John Oliver settled in Lincoln, TN but his daughter Nancy Agnes Oliver married my 4th great grandfather, Robert Smalling in 1815 in CarterCounty she is the sister to John Oliver of Cades Cove. Other CarterCounty ancestors include Julius Ceasar Dugger who got land in CarterCounty through the Revolutionary War land grants. He is my 6th great grandfather.

My 4th great grandfather Edmond Hiett was here as early as 1830 maybe earlier and lived in SullivanCounty. Other early SullivanCounty settlers included Jonathan Carrier who could have been here as early as 1830 also, he is my 5th great grandfather. Isaac Miller father of John Durm Miller is my 5th great grandfather and as far as I can tell was here when Tennessee became a state in 1796 I’m having trouble getting much information on him but know Durm was born in SullivanCounty in 1844. Jackson Smith was born in SullivanCountyTN in 1827. I can’t find his father but know he probably died in Sullivan County before 1830 his mother was Ora Sams daughter of Littlebury Sams who was married in Washington County in 1796 and was living in Sullivan County in 1812. Abel Edwards my 6th great grandfather was here in 1796

Other surnames of ancestors that were here before 1850 Lilly, Carr, Tallman, Coleman, Wilder and Smalling (mostly SullivanCounty).
Almost all of my lines are here before 1850 and most of my current family members can be found here in the same area. We apparently love Northeast Tennessee. Very few left the area.

The last Carr that I have is David Carr he was born abt 1816 I think in TN he is in  in 1850 but after that he disappears.  He was married to Lavina  and had about 6 children that I know of one being Pauline (Perliney).  Hopefully your project will help connect people together 

Henry Johnson is a huge mystery.  I found an article on him that his granddaughter had given an interview about him. She was telling about the time when they changed Johnson City’s name to Haynesville. She said Henry said he “didn’t give a hank what they call the town they could call it Sally Ann for all he cares” I found a Henry Johnson of the same age working on a schooner in the early 1800s that was taking slaves to the Bahamas to free them and the ship’s name was “Sally Ann” The ship sailed from Beaufort NC but had many slaves from Guilford County