Washington County, Tennessee,was established in 1777 as Washington County, North Carolina. From 1784 to 1788,it was part of the State of Franklin.
East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.
American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (orli) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
The Holston River in northeast Tennessee has given its name to Holston Mountain and the Holston Valley.
During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.
Piney Flats is in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The line between Washington and Sullivan Counties is near the village and some residents changed counties without moving. Prior to 1779. the portion of what is now Sullivan County north of the Holston was believed to be in Virginia, and the first grants were issued by that state.
The village which is between the forks of the Holston and Watauga Rivers was called The Forks, Shell's Crossing or Shell's Crossroads until the mid-1800's. According to Historic Sullivan, the area of Piney Flats was "infested with packs of vicious and destructive wolves."
According to Historic Sullivan in 1767 Joseph Womack built Fort Womack two miles east of Bluff City. It offered protection for the settlers who lived in the area from the Cherokees.
Daniel Boone blazed his trail through what is now Austin Springs Road in 1769. See Austin Springs Road on the map of the Piney Flats area.
Henry (Hal) Massengil, Sr. (1726-1781) came to the area in 1769 from Virginia and built a log cabin. The History of Sullivan County
said that when on one occasion [when] the people were forted [at Fort Womack] a marriage took place between Hal Massengill [Jr.] and Penelope Cobb.
The Malone family came before 1777 when John Sr., George, John Jr., and William signed the 1777 Washington County petition asking Virginia to relocate the county seat.
Between 1770 and 1772, William and Barsheba (Whitehead) Cobb settled in the area. They brought their family from North Carolina and settled at Rocky Mount (see map). Their children included Penelope Cobb who married Hal Massengil. The Massengils continued to live at Rocky Mount.
The Reverend Joseph Rhea came to the Holston settlements from Maryland. He accompanied the Christian expedition of 1776 as chaplain. Reverend Rhea returned to Maryland, but in 1776 he came again with his oldest son, John Rhea (1753), and bought land on Beaver Creek. Henry Massengil wrote that
We hailed his coming with great joy for our souls were hungering and thirsting for spiritual nourishment. He urged the settlers to build a house of worship which we decided to do.
The original log church was completed by July, 1777.
Reverend Rhea died before he could come back, but in 1778 a group of his followers including, Elizabeth McIlwaine Rhea, came to Piney Flats. Robert, John and Finley Allison and John Scott were members of the Maryland congregation. William and Mary McKinley from Maryland probably came at this time, but did not buy land until 1785.
The Reverend Francis Hodge and his wife, Martha (Sally) Sproat came from Ireland by way of Pennsylvania and Maryland and built a log cabin at the head of Sugar Hollow near Pickens Bridge (see map) in 1778.
Henry Massengill wrote that in
1779. While I was away Tories came, abused my family, destroyed my property, burnt the Massegill House of Worship to the ground.
George Emmert, Sr., and George Emmert, Jr., with Henry
Massingill, Henry King and John King worked to lay out a road
from Beans Ford on County Line to Coates Ford in 1788 in
In 1790 William Blount a land speculator and statesman, made Rocky Mount, the home of William Cobb, the first capital of the Southwest Territory (what is now Tennessee), but eventually moved it to Knoxville because of Indian problems.
September 14, 1795 Michael and Mary Waggoner purchased 200 acres south of the Holston River in Sullivan County from John Anglin, for 120£ Virginia Currency.
Elijah Cross received a land grand in Sullivan County in 1794 and in 1796 as did Moses Looney. (Tennessee Land Grants, Volume I by Barbara, Byron and Samuel Sistler 1998.) Joseph Cole was in Sullivan County by 1794 when he was mentioned Elijah Cross's deed for land on Beaver Creek
Lewis and Barbara Rinehard moved from Pennsylvania to Eastern Tennesseen after the American Revolution. They lived near Buffalo Ridge nearly on the bank of the Wataugua River. They had two sons, George and Lewis, and five daughters including Susannah Rinehart, Barbary Rinehart Gross and Sarah Rinehart.
The Seneca Trail or The Great Indian Warpath was a Native American trail from Pennsylvania through the
Shenandoah Valley. It was the route used by early settlers migrating to eastern Tennessee. In the 1760's it was widened to allow the army to defend the fort on the Holston and this encouraged increased migration to East Tennessee.
Sullivan County is in far northeast corner of Tennessee between North Carolina and Virginia and was originally part of those states. It was formed in 1779 when it was divided from Washington County.
Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was a frontiersman who became an American folk hero. The Boone family were members of the Gwynedd Monthly Meeting. He is best know from his exploration of Virginia and Kentucky.
A militia is a military unit composed of citizens who are called up in time of need.
Undated juries of men appointed to lay out roads from Historic Sullivan:
Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.
Settlers often built log cabins as their first homes.
Ordered by the court that the following persons be appointed to view and lay off a great road the nearest and best way from — Weavers line by Ryston's Ford on Holston River Indian Creek to Join the Washington line, viz:
Benjamin Ryston [Royston],
Samuel Miller, William Carr,
George , Jacob Boy,
Thomas Price, Joseph Cole, Jr., Elisha Cole, William Cross and Aquilla Cross
and make their reports to the next court.
The American folk hero, David "Davy" Crockett (1786 – 1836), grew up in East Tennessee.
from "Governor Blount's Journal" in American Historical Magazine, Volume 2
Monday October 25th 1790.
The Persons holding commissions in the County of Sullivan under the Authority of the State of North Carolina, having convened at the court house at the request of the Governor, he addressed them in the words he had addressed those at the Washington Court House on the 23d, and then appointed and commissioned—
John Scott, John Shelby, Abraham McLellan, William King,
Joseph Wallace, Robert Allison,
George, Vincent and David Loony Justices of the peace in and for the county of Sullivan.
1809 Petition of William Sitzler regarding Sullivan County land 18 grant.
In the mid-1800's the Reverend Andrew Shell (1797-1880) applied for a post office at "Piney Flats." Andrew was a pioneer Methodist preacher in eastern Tennessee, and founded a church on his land was called Shell's Chapel. It is known as the Piney Flats Methodist Church. . .The Shell cemetery is located at this church."
The Gross homeplace was built by Joseph (Jacob) Gross in 1852. Later, John Gross' store was a post station and country store, as well as, the mustering site for local military units during the Civil War. "Judge" Liburn Cartwright, operated the store for a long periods.
The railroad depot was built in 1858.
The Union Church of Piney Flats was established in 1873. It housed the worship of four different denominations; Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal Church South (until the 1930's), Baptist (until the 1950's), and Presbyterians.