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About Elizabethton

Government

Business

Tennessee's First Frontier History

Historic People
 - Richard Henderson
 - John Carter

Historic Places
 - Covered Bridge
 - Carter Mansion

City History


Settled in the late 1760's, Carter County's historical notability is among the most fascinating in the state. Home of the first permanent settlement outside the original 13 colonies and the first majority-rule system of American democracy, the Watauga Settlement at Sycamore Shoals (in what is now Elizabethton) was home to prominent military officials, legislators, and members of the Constitutional Convention.

Sycamore Shoals, at the convergence of the Doe and Watauga Rivers, was also the site of the largest private land deal in American history. Resulting in the purchase of 20 million acres of land, the Transylvania Purchase marked the beginning of the westward expansion and gave all the lands of the Cumberland Watershed and extending to the Kentucky River to the settlers.

In 1780, 1100 men gathered at Sycamore Shoals before making a 14-day march to King's Mountain, South Carolina, where they confronted and defeated Major Patrick Ferguson's British militia.

Although Elizabethton was established in 1799 as the county seat of Carter County, the town did not have an organized form of government until the early twentieth century.

The Tennessee legislature appointed a commission of five members, Landon Carter, Reuben Thornton, Andrew Greer, Zachariah Campbell and David McNabb, to establish a county seat including a courthouse and prison.

The committee selected a 50-acre tract at the base of Lynn Mountain, east of the Doe River. Elizabethton was named in honor of Elizabeth MacLin Carter, wife of Landon, for whom the county had been named.

 
 

City of Elizabethton
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