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Sevier County

"gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains"

Located on the eastern border of Tennessee, Sevier County has an area of 598 square miles and population of approximately 90,000. The county seat is located at Sevierville, which is also the largest city in the county. Other incorporated cities in the county include Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Pittman Center.

location of Sevier County


Sevier County was formed from part of neighboring Jefferson County on September 18, 1794, and has retained its original boundaries ever since. The county takes its name from John Sevier, Governor of the failed State of Franklin and first Governor of Tennessee, who played a prominent role during the early years of settlement in the region. Since its establishment the county seat has been situated at Sevierville, the eighth-oldest city in Tennessee.

When Tennessee held a vote on the state's Ordinance of Secession on June 8, 1861, Sevier Countians voted 1,528 to 60 in favor of remaining in the Union. The economy of central and western Tennessee relied heavily on the slave trade, however, and the combined populations of those regions swung the overall state vote heavily in favor of secession and Tennessee ultimately joined the Confederacy. Despite the overall state vote, Sevier County remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War, and many of its residents crossed Confederate-held territory to join the Union Army rather than take the chance of being drafted into the Confederate Army.


Once dominated by subsistence agriculture, Sevier County's economy has benefitted greatly from the tourist trade since establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which dominates the southern portion of the county, in 1936. In addition to the park, Sevier County tourists can also enjoy Dollywood, the theme park named for Sevierville-born Dolly Parton. The Smoky Mountains also boast a number of popular ski resorts.


The head of the Sevier County government, the County Mayor, is elected in county-wide elections. The Mayor serves along with a 25-member board of elected commissioners representing districts covering the many small communities spread across the county.

Sevier County courthouse
Sevier County Courthouse

John Sevier
Civil War
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Old Southwest >> Tennessee

This page was last updated on September 27, 2017.