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.
Sullivan county Records show that in February, 1780, the county court met at the house of Moses Looney.
A commission was presented, appointing as Justices of the Peace Isaac Shelby, David Looney, William Christie, (Christian?) John Dunham, William Wallace, and Samuel Smith; John Rhea was appointed Clerk; Nathaniel Clark, Sheriff till court in course. (from The Annals of Tennessee by James Gettys McGready Ramsey)
from Boyle Genealogy: John Boyle of Virginia and Kentucky by John Boyle
In 1779, upon re-survey, a part of what had been included in Washington county, Virginia, was found to lie in North Carolina, and the House of Commons of that colony formed it into Sullivan county, afterwards included in Tennessee.
In February, 1780, that county was formally organized at the house of Captain Moses Looney, on the Holston. He was captured that year by the Indians, who spared his life, and in August, made him a messenger of peace.