John Sevier (23 September 1745 – 25 September 1815) was the governor of the State of Franklin (1785–1789), the first Governor of the State of Tennessee (1796–1801 and 1803–1809), and a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee from 1811 until his death in 1815. In the American Revolutionary War he was the commander of the Washington County, Tennessee, contingent of the Overmountain Men in the Battle of Kings Mountain.
Sevier was born in New Market, Virginia. Along with his first wife, Sarah Hawkins, and their children, he settled in the Holston River valley in what is now East Tennessee. That area was then claimed by Virginia. Sevier served briefly in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774. In this war John Sevier began to win the reputation as an Indian fighter that would make him a hero in his own day, though making some modern historians uncomfortable with his legacy.
Soon after settling in Northeast Tennessee, Sevier became involved in local politics, helping to organize a petition to North Carolina to become part of that state, and commanding Washington County militia in the Cherokee siege of Fort Caswell (or Fort Watauga) near Sycamore Shoals (present-day Elizabethton, Tennessee). After this battle he was promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel, and in this capacity led 240 of over 1,000 militiamen over the Appalachian Mountains to fight against Major Patrick Ferguson and a similar number of British Regulars and Carolina Loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. (Read more...)