Cocke County, TN
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.
Modern Day Adjacent Counties
Cocke County is bordered by Hamblen
, and Jefferson