If Boone is the leading man of Kentucky’s frontier story, then the hero of early Tennessee history is probably John Sevier, seen here in a portrait by Charles Wilson Peale. He commanded overmountain riflemen in an impressive series of victories against Indians and Tories during the Revolution (he was an architect of the King’s Mountain expedition), was the only governor of the short-lived Franklin movement and first governor of the Volunteer State, and represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives. He’s buried on the lawn of the Knox County Courthouse in downtown Knoxville. I’ve been to his grave countless times, and I’ve invariably had it to myself. Every Kentuckian and knows Boone, and so do most Americans, but if I had a nickel for every time I’ve met a Tennessean who’d never heard of Sevier, I could retire now...
The story goes on to contrast the popularity of Daniel Boone in Kentucky with the relative obscurity of John Sevier in Tennessee, and provides some insightful historiographical analysis. Click here to read more about this fascinating period in Tennessee history.
- Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture - John Sevier - An excellent and well-written summary of John Sevier's life authored by Robert E. Corlew for the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture.
- North Carolina History Project - John Sevier - Another excellent summary of the life of John Sevier written by Michael Toomey of the East Tennessee Historical Society. The North Carolina History Project is a special project of the John Locke Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank in Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Tennessee State Library & Archives - Governors' Papers - The Tennessee State Library and Archives holds papers of every Tennessee governor including papers from Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier. Most of these papers are available on microfilm.
- Archives of Appalachia - The Archives of Appalachia is a keeper of memories-the written words, images and sounds that document life in Appalachia. The collection spans from the 1700s to the present. There are several resouces in the collection on John Sevier.
- NPR - The State of Franklin - For four years there was an American state called Franklin. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Michael Toomey of the East Tennessee Historical Society about the strange history of Franklin. It was declared in 1784 by settlers living in what's now the northeastern region of Tennessee, and although it was never formally recognized by the rest of the country, it had a governor, a legislature, a constitution and a court.
- John Sevier Home - Provides biographical and genealogical profiles of John Sevier and his family, as well as links to additional Sevier-related resources.