County Seat: Newport
Year Organized: 1797
Square Miles: 434
360 E. Main Street
Named in honor of William Cocke (1748-1828), Revolutionary and War of 1812 soldier, member of legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, State of Franklin, Territory South of the River Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi; Chickasaw Indian Agent.
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Created 1797 from Jefferson County; named in honor of William Cocke (1748-1828), Revolutionary and War of 1812 soldier, member of legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, State of Franklin, Territory South of the River Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi; Chickasaw Indian Agent. Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: COCKE COUNTY
Cocke County was formed in 1810 from Jefferson County
(Acts of Tennessee 1797, Chapter 8).
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 443 square miles (1,148 km2), of which, 434 square miles (1,125 km2) of it is land and 9 square miles (23 km2) of it (1.97%) is water. Part of the county is within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The county's highest point is Old Black at 1,942 meters (6,370 ft).
In 1797 the Tennessee General Assembly created Cocke County from Jefferson County, naming the new county in honor
of William Cocke, a Revolutionary War soldier who supported the establishment of the State of Franklin, helped write
Tennessee's first state constitution, and served as one of the state's initial U.S. senators. Cocke County, in upper
East Tennessee, rests against the Great Smoky Mountains and is traversed by the French Broad and Big Pigeon Rivers.
The first white settler was John Gilliland, who planted a corn crop at the mouth of the Pigeon River in 1783 to
establish his claim to the land. Although Cocke County settlers had few violent encounters with Native Americans,
most early settlers located near one of several forts in the area: William Whitson's fort, Abraham McKay's fort,
Wood's fort, or John Huff's fort.
The creation of Cocke County gave local citizens better access to courts, and made it easier to attend general musters and elections. The first county court was held in the home of Daniel Adams. After some controversy, the county seat was located on fifty acres of land on the French Broad River donated by John Gilliland, the son of the original settler. The town was named New Port, and construction began immediately on a log courthouse. In 1828 a new brick courthouse was built.
Find more from the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: COCKE COUNTY
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