An American Family History


The Sevier Family


The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

Valentine Sevier married Joanna Goade and settled in what was then Augusta County Virginia, but is now Rockingham County, Virginia.

Valentine and Joanna's children included:

John Sevier (1745),
Valentine Sevier (1747),
Robert Sevier (1747, married Kesiah Robertson/Robinson),
Mary (Polly) Sevier (1753),
Catherine Sevier (1757),
Charles Sevier (1757),
Bethenia Sevier Hawkins (1759, married James Hawkins)
Abraham Sevier (1760, married Mary Little)
Elizabeth Sevier (1762, married William Matlock)
Joseph Sevier (1764), and
Sophia Sevier Peters (1764, married William Peters).

In 1774, Valentine was a sergeant in the Fincastle County Militia during Lord Dunmore's War.

Valentine Sevier was at a court begun and held for the County of Washington on the 23rd February, 1778. He was chosen sheriff.

At the same court, the case of Elijah Robertson vs. Robert Sevier for an assualt was heard. The court ordered that Robert Sevier

be bound to his good behavior and enter Recognizance with two securities in the sum of ten pounds himself (and five pounds each of his security) for his good behavior for the Time and Term of Twelve Months. William Parker and William McNabb entered themselves Robert Sevier's security for his good behavior. Ord. that Robert Sevier be admitted to keep an ordinary in this county at the court house.

In 1780

Valentine Sevier vs. George Dayley.
A jury to-wit: David Job, Jas Wray, William McAdoo, Martin Maney, Julius Roberts., Jacob Brown, Jonathan Tipton, Samuel Tate, Robt. Lusk, John Jones, William Cox, Hosea Rose, Sworn.
The Jury assess two hundred pounds damages and six pence costs.

In 1780, John, Robert and Valentine, Jr. were at Kings Mountain. Robert was killed.

Rockingham County, Virginia was established in 1778 from Augusta County. European settlement began in the 1740s.

Fincastle County, Virginia was created in 1772 from Botetourt County and abolished in 1776. It was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties.


from The Annals of Tennessee by James Gettys McGready Ramsey

On Monday, the 19th of January, 1792, the Indians killed Robert Sevier and William Sevier, sons of Valentine Sevier, who lived at the mouth of Red River, near the present site of Clarkesville; they had gone to the relief of the distressed families on the Cumberland River, who had sent an express for assistance; the officers of Tennessee county could give none.

A part of the crew was on shore getting provisions to be carried in boats to the sufferers; the boats were ahead of them when these young men discovered the enemy, whom they mistook for their own party, the Indians having been seen late in the evening at a considerable distance from that place. Robert Sevier hailed them, who answered they were friends, with which answer being satisfied, he sailed on, and the Indians carelessly began to chop with their hatchets, till the young men in the boats got very near them.

Robert said to the man who was with him in the boats,' these are not our friends, steer off.' The Indians then fired upon them; the man leaped out of the boat, and left them in it about three rods distant from the shore.

Before the 25th, William was found and buried, but Robert met a party of twelve white men, pursued, but did not overtake the Indians. Ou the 16th of the same month, Valentine, a third son of this unfortunate parent, also fell by the hands of the savages; he was in a boat ascending the river, and was fired upon and killed dead in it; two others were wounded, one of them, John Rice, died, and both he and Valentine were buried about sixty miles below the mouth of Red River.

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.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.

John Sevier

Colonel John Sevier was born in 1745. He was Valentine Sevier's son.

He married Sarah Hawkins in 1761.

Sarah and John's children included:
Joseph Sevier (1763, married Charity Cawood, Mary Finley and Elizabeth Lowrey),
James Sevier (1764, married Nancy Conway),
John Sevier, Jr. (1766, married Elizabeth Conway, Sarah Richards, and Sophia Garoutte),
Elizabeth Sevier (1768, married William H. Clark),
Sarah Sevier (1770, married Benjamin Brown),
Mary Ann Sevier (1772, married Samuel May and Joshua Carland),
Valentine Sevier (1773, married Mary Arnett, Patience Matlock and Sarah Cooper),
Richard Sevier (1775),
Rebecca Sevier (1778, married John Waddell, Jr.), and
Nancy Sevier (1780, married Benjamin Brown and Walter King).

In 1772 he was elected as a commisioner of the Watauga Association.

In 1776 he signed the petition of Watauga settlers asking to become part of North Carolina.

In 1776 John Sevier was a captain in the Cherokee Expedition.

On February 23 , 1778, John was chosen clerk of the Washington County Court

In 1780, John was at Kings Mountain.

He married Catharine Sherrill on August 14, 1780 in East Tennessee.

Their children included:
George Washington Sevier (1782, married Catherine Heatherly Chambers),
Ruth Sevier (1783, married Daniel Vertner )
Samuel Sevier (1785, married Jane Rhea)
Joanna Sevier (1784, married Joseph Windel),
Elizabeth Sevier (1790, married William McClellan).

and a step-daughter, Mary Garland,

John died on September 24, 1815, near Fort Decatur, Alabama.

Catherine died on October 2, 1836 at Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama.
Watauga Pioneer Neighbors

Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

Washington County, Tennessee Marriages

Sevier, Nancy — King, Walter – 19 Feb 1795 [Pension]
Sevier, Rebecca — Waddell, John – 26 Feb 1795 [John Sevier’s Diary]
Sevier, Ruth — Sparks, Richard – 29 Jun 1797 [John Sevier’s Diary]
Sevier, Sarah — Brown, Benjamin – 06 May 1789



European and indiginous American fought fierce battles as the Europeans expanded their territory.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

The Nolichucky River flows through Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is a tributary of the French Broad River. During the 1770s, European Americans established the "Nolichucky settlements" in what is now Greene County, Tennessee.

The Village Messenger 
Fayetteville, Tennessee
06 Oct 1824, Wed  •  Page 2

from King's Mountain and Its Heroes by Lyman C. Draper

[Colonel John Sevier]. . .was born, September twenty-third, 1745. . . .before he had turned of seventeen, he married Miss Sarah Hawkins, cleared up a farm, and engaged in excursions against the Indians--on one occasion, he and his party narrowly escaping a fatal ambuscade by a timely discovery of the trap their enemies had set for them. He laid out the village of New Market, and there for some time he kept a store and inn, and carried on a farm; and then engaged in merchandizing in the neighboring village of Middletown. . . Late in 1773, John Sevier removed his family to the Holston country, and first located in the Keywood settlement, on the north shore of Holston, half a dozen miles from the Shelby's. Before his removal from Virginia, he had been commissioned a Captain by Governor Dunmore.

[During the Indian attack on the Watauga Fort]. . .was Catharine Sherrill, who when she reached the gate, found it shut; but equal to the emergency, she threw her bonnet over the pickets, and then clambered over herself, and, as she jumped within, was caught in the arms of John Sevier— her future husband.

. . .John Sevier was among the foremost in the defence of the Watauga and Nolachucky [Nolichucky] settlements. He had been elected Clerk of the first self-constituted court in 1775; and, in 1776, he was chosen one of the representatives of the united settlements to the North Carolina Convention at Halifax, and took his seat, securing the establishment of the district of Washington. Hastening back home, he reached there in season to serve on Christians's expedition against the Cherokees at the head of a fine company of riflemen; and also, at Colonel Christian's request, he acted as a spy during the campaign. He continued his services, till the conclusion of the treaty at Long Island of Holston in July, 1777. In the fall of that year, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel for Washington County. During the period 1777-79, the Indians, Tories and horse-thieves required Colonel Sevier's constant vigilance. In the summer of 1780, he was left in defence of the settlements, while Major Charles Robertson led the Watauga troops on the campaign in South Carolina. During their absence, August fourteenth, having some time previously lost his wife, he was married to Miss Catharine Sherrill.

His gallant services at King's Mountain cannot be too highly extolled. December sixteenth following, he defeated the Cherokees at Boyd's creek, killing thirteen, and taking all their baggage, and then joined Colonel Arthur Campbell on an expedition against the hostile Indian towns. On the third of February, 1781, he was made a full Colonel; and in March, he led a successful foray against the Middle Cherokee Settlements, killing about thirty of their warriors, capturing nine prisoners, burning six towns, and bringing off about two hundred horses. . .

Having, in February, been appointed by General Green one of the Commissioners to hold a treaty with the Indians, a conference took place with the Cherokees at the Long Island of Holston in July, Colonel Sevier and Major Martin attending, but without any permanent results. In the autumn of this year, Colonel Sevier served under Generals Greene and Marion in South Carolina; and, in 1782, he carried on a campaign against the Cherokees.

In November, 1784, he was appointed Brigadier-General, which he declined because of his leadership in the effort to establish the republic of Franklin. During the period of 1784 to 1788, he was made its Governor and defender. He was apprehended by the North Carolina authorities, on a charge of rebellion against the State, and conveyed to Morganton, where he was rescued by a party of his friends; and returning home, "Chucky Jack" led a campaign against the Indians. As the East Tennesseans were divided in sentiment, the Franklin Republic, after a turbulent career of some four years, ceased to exist. In 1789, General Sevier was chosen a member of the Legislature of North Carolina, when an act of oblivion was passed, and he was re-instated as Brigadier-General. In 1790-91, he was elected to represent the East Tennessee district of North Carolina in Congress. When Tennessee was organized into a Territory, he was appointed by President Washington a Brigadier-General in the militia; and he continued to protect the frontier settlements, carrying on the Hightower campaign against the Cherokees in 1793. In 1798, he was made a General in the Provisional army.

On the organization of a State Government in 1796, General Sevier was chosen the first Governor, and by successive re-elections was continued in that office till 1801. In 1802, he served as a Commissioner in running the boundary line between Tennessee and Virginia. He again served as Governor from 1803 till 1809, and then a term in the State Senate. He was chosen to a seat in Congress in 1811, serving, during the war, on the important committee on military affairs, till 1815; when President Madison appointed him one of the Commissioners, to ascertain the boundary of the Creek territory, and died while on that service, in camp, on the east side of the Tallapoosa, near Fort Decatur, Alabama, September twenty-fourth, 1815, closing a busy, useful life at the age of seventy years. As a proof of the love and veneration of his neighbors and friends, while absent in the Creek country, they had again elected him to Congress without opposition. . .

The Battle of Kings Mountain was a decisive battle of the American Revoluton. It took place on October 7, 1780, nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson.

North Carolina was one of the thirteen original Colonies. It was first settled by small farmers and grew quickly in the mid 18th century.

During the American Revolution a Tory or Loyalist was used in for those who remained loyal to the British Crown.


The Battle of Point Pleasant (Battle of Kanawha) was on October 10, 1774. It was between the Virginia militia and the Shawnee and Mingo. The Shawnee unsuccesfully  attempted to halt the militia's advance into the Ohio Valley.

from King's Mountain and Its Heroes by Lyman C. Draper

Valentine Sevier was born in what is now Rockingham County, Virginia, about 1747, and settled at an early period in East Tennessee. He was a Sergeant, and one of the spies, at the battle of Point Pleasant, where, says Isaac Shelby, "he was distinguished for vigilance, activity, and bravery."

He subsequently served in the Indian wars in East Tennessee, and commanded a company at Thicketty Fort, Cedar Springs, Musgrove's Mill, and King's Mountain.

He was the first Sheriff of Washington County, a Justice of the court, and rose in the militia to the rank of a Colonel.

He removed to the mouth of Red river on Cumberland, now Clarksville, where he was attacked by Indians, November eleventh, 1794, killing and wounding several of his family.

After long suffering from chronic rheumatism, he died at Clarksville [Montgomery Co, TN], February twenty-third, 1800, in his fifty-third year; his widow surviving till 1844 in her one hundred and first year.


    from Tennessee Heroes of the Revolution

    James Sevier applied for revolutionary pension while living in Washington County, Tenn., Dec. 11, 1832. He was born in Virginia in 1764. He enlisted in North Carolina troops while living in that part of North Carolina which became Tennessee in 1780 in his uncle Capt. Robert Sevier's company and was in the battle of King's Mountain where Capt. Robert Sevier was mortally wounded. Other officers were Col. John Sevier, Maj. Jesse Walton and Maj. Jonathan Tipton. He enlisted again in Capt. Landon Carter's company and was in the battle of Boyd's Creek. He enlisted for the South Carolina campaign and his officers were Col. John Sevier, Lieut. Col. Charles Robertson, Maj. Valentine Sevier and Maj. Jonathan Tipton. They joined Gen. Greene and were sent on to join Gen. Francis Marion. He was with a party that captured 100 British soldiers near Monk's Corner. He enlisted again in 1782 in Col. John Sevier's Cherokee Indian Campaign, serving in Capt. Alexander Moore's Company. Other Captains in this campaign were Capt. Samuel Wear and Capt. Robert Bean.

    Note: James Sevier was the second son of Gov. John Sevier and his first wife, Sarah Hawkins Sevier. He married Nancy Conway, daughter of Col. Henry Conway. See Notable Southern Families, Vol. IV., The Sevier Family.

    Col. John Sevier's children applied for revolutionary pension and the certificate was issued May 31, 1839. He served as Commissiary and Colonel during the Revolution and was one of the Colonels in command in the battle of King's Mountain. He conducted two campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He was the first Militia General of the State of Tennessee and the first Governor of the State. He died near Fort Decatur, Ala., Sept. 24, 1815. He married his second wife, Catherine Sherrill, in Tennessee in 1780 and she died in Russellville, Ala., Oct. 2, 1836, aged 80 years, therefore born 1756. James Sevier testifies to his father's services.

    Note: The Sevier family was large and a full sketch of Gov. John Sevier would require much space. For detail of the family history see Notable Southern Families, Volume IV, The Sevier Family, Lookout Publishing Company.

    Valentine Sevier's widow, Naomi Douglass Sevier, applied for and drew a pension until her death, July 17, 1845. Her daughter, Rebecca Sevier, applied for increase of her mother's pension while living in Greene County, Tenn. on July 17, 1851. Valentine Sevier served as a Major in the Army of the Revolution. She states that at the time of her mother's death (1845) she had only two living children, James Sevier and Rebecca Sevier Rector and that Valentine Sevier died some fifty years ago.

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
An American Family History is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.