SEVIER, John

1745–1815

Biography

SEVIER, John, a Representative from North Carolina and Tennessee; born near Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Va., September 23, 1745; attended the common schools and the academy at Fredericksburg, Va.; moved with his brothers to Watauga County, N.C., in 1773 and settled on the Holston River, N.C. (now Tennessee); county clerk and district judge 1777-1780; elected governor of "the proclaimed" State of Franklin in March 1785 and served for three years; elected as a Pro-Administration candidate from North Carolina to the First Congress and served from June 16, 1790, until March 3, 1791; appointed in 1791 as brigadier general of militia for the Washington district of the territory south of the Ohio; upon the admission of Tennessee as a state into the Union, was chosen governor and served from 1796 to 1801, and again from 1803 to 1809; appointed in 1798 as brigadier general of the Provisional Army; served one term in the state senate 1810-1811; elected as a Republican from Tennessee to the Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Congresses and served from March 4, 1811, until his death; appointed in 1815 as one of the commissioners to determine the boundary between Georgia and the Creek territory in Alabama and served until his death, near Fort Decatur, Ala., September 24, 1815; interment at Fort Decatur, Ala.; reinterred in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1889.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Nashville, TN
Papers: 1752-1839. ca. 100 items. In part transcripts and photocopies. Correspondence, orders issued, biographical sketch, genealogical material, and legal documents. Unpublished register in repository.
Papers: In the David Campbell Papers, 1790-1794, 6 items. The papers contain an excerpt from the journal of Governor John Sevier on judges in the territory, which includes some of their names and dates of terms.
Papers: In the Governor's Papers, 1796-1801, 3 linear feet. The papers of Governor John Sevier.
Papers: In the Governor's Papers [second administration], 1803-1809, 1 linear foot. The papers of Governor John Sevier.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 1 letter.

Cornell University Library
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections

Ithaca, NY
Papers: In Washington Irving's Life of George Washington, Volume 14, Miscellany, 1784-1860, 68 items. Correspondents include John Sevier.

Duke University Library
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections

Durham, NC
Papers: 1778-1812, 7 items. The papers of John Sevier include a letter, 1787, from Richard Caswell, governor of North Carolina, concerning land speculation in Tennessee, trials for fraud in the purchase of army supplies, opposition of the North Carolina assembly to recent Indian treaties, and road construction in the mountains; directive, 1800, granting permission to William Lindsy and Zaduch Bowshairs to transport slaves from Tennessee to Natchez in the Mississippi Territory; a copy of a memorial sent in 1812 to the North Carolina legislature by Sevier and Isaac Shelby, first governor of Kentucky, requesting that the Assembly honor its commitment to grant the two men the sword and pistols that it had voted them for their service in the battle of King's Mountain; and the reply from John Steele; and routine papers concerning legal matters.

Knox County Public Library
C.M. McClung Historical Collection

Knoxville, TN
Papers: 1786-1875. 2 1/2 inches. Personal, business, and congressional papers and correspondence. Finding aid in repository.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1797-1812, 2 items. The papers include Clerk’s copy of a letter (1797 January 12) from John Sevier, governor of Tennessee, to Silas Dinsmore, Indian agent, relating to Tennessee boundaries and to the Cherokee Indians; and ALS (1812 May 31) from John Sevier to his son, George Washington Sevier, concerning the impending war with Great Britain and British alliances with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek Indians.
Papers: In the William Blount Papers, 1783-1823, 80 items. Correspondents include John Sevier.
Papers: In the Nathanael Greene Papers, 1775-1785, 1 linear foot. Correspondents include John Sevier.
Papers: In the Andrew Jackson Papers, 1775-1874, 47.4 linear feet. Correspondents include John Sevier.
Papers: At least 1 item (1791) in the George Washington papers.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 4 items of official correspondence (1797-1799) and 1 document (April 11, 1808). Finding aid in repository.

University of Chicago
Special Collections Research Center

Chicago, IL
Papers: 1797, 1 item. A letter from William Blount to John Sevier written on June 1, 1797. In the letter, Blount writes that money is being sent to pay the militia of General Sevier's Brigade for services performed in 1793. He also writes that the President has nominated Charles [Cotesworth] Pinckney, John Marshall, and Francis Dana as envoys extraodinary to France.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Commission book of Governor John Sevier, 1796-1801. Nashville: Tennessee Historical Commission, 1957.

Daughters of the American Revolution. Tennessee. Two famous Tennesseans: John Sevier, Andrew Jackson. [N.p., 1923?]

Driver, Carl S. John Sevier: A Pioneer of the Old Southwest. [Nashville]: N.p., 1929.

------. "John Sevier, A Pioneer of the Old Southwest." Ph.D. diss., Vanderbilt University, 1929.

------. John Sevier, Pioneer of the Old Southwest. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1932.

Gilmore, James Robert. John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder: A Sequel to the Rearguard of the Revolution. New York: D. Appleton, 1887. Reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1974

Henderson, William A. "Nolachucky Jack." Knoxville, Tenn.: Printed at the Press and Herald Steam Book and Job Office, 1873.

[Temple, Oliver Perry]. John Sevier, Citizen, Soldier, Legislator, Governor, Statesman, 1744-1815. Knoxville, Tenn.: The Zi-po Press, printers, 1910.

Turner, Francis Marion. Life of General John Sevier. New York and Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1910.

United States. Congress. House. Committee on Private Land Claims. Estate of John Sevier. [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1910].

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