Carter County is extremely significant in Tennessee's settlement history. Permanent settlers arrived along the Watauga River in the late 1760s; William Bean was one of the earliest, and his farm was eight miles west of the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River. James Robertson established a river valley farm in 1770 and stayed there until moving to the Cumberland River in 1779. Valentine Sevier Sr., the father of John Sevier, lived near Sycamore Shoals. Also in the early 1770s John Carter established his plantation just north of present-day Elizabethton. This notable Revolutionary War patriot was the father of Landon Carter, for whom the county is named. In 1772 the settlers along the Watauga River established the Watauga Association, and three years later, in 1775, land speculator Richard Henderson and Cherokee leaders met at Sycamore Shoals to negotiate the Transylvania Purchase. During the American Revolution Fort Watauga provided refuge from attacks by Old Abram and other Cherokee warriors. In 1780 approximately eleven hundred Overmountain Men gathered at Sycamore Shoals before marching to Kings Mountain. The Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area preserves key historical places, including the Overmountain Men muster ground, the Shoals, the reconstructed Fort Watauga, and the John and Landon Carter Mansion.
Sullivan, Johnson, Avery (NC), Mitchell (NC), Unicoi, and Washington Counties.