Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Knoxville Courthouse, Knoxville, Knox County, TN

Burial place of First Governor of Tennessee, John Sevier.John Sevier and both wives, Sarah Hawkins and Katherine "Bonnie Kate" Sherrill, are buried on the grounds of the old Knoxville Courthouse in downtown Knoxville.
John Sevier was born in Virginia in 1745. He served as the Governor of the State of Franklin, the first attempt to turn the area of Tennessee into a state yet failed after four years, and was the first and third Governor of Tennessee, serving from 1796 to 1801 and then again from 1803 to 1809. He served as a Colonel in the Revolutionary War and was at the infamous Battle of Kings Mountain, NC. He was infamous in Tennessee for his Indian fighting and helped to settle much of the area in East Tennessee. After his second term as Governor, he spent time in the Tennessee State Senate and the US House of Representatives.
Sevier died in 1815 while out surveying land in Alabama near the Georgia border. He was buried in a modest plot in near Fort Decatur, Alabama until 1889 when the Daughters of the American Revolution and Tennessee residents had his remains moved to the grounds of the Knox County Courthouse.
"Sarah Hawkins, First Wife of Gov John Sevier, 1746-1780. She was the love of his youth, the inspiration of his manhood, a gallant, courageous colonial and revolutionary patriot. Her descendants number many notable leaders of men. Tennessee's First Five Star Mother."
The back of the markers reads:
"Sarah Hawkins Sevier, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Marlin Hawkins, born in Shenandoah County, Virginia. 1746. Died in Washington County, Tennessee, 1780. She had an unusual education and great strength of character. Married to John Sevier at fifteen, she was for the nineteen creative, formative years of his life the greatest single factor in his spectacular early rise to fame and fortune. A wise, capable, understanding wife and mother who commanded her husband's post in his absences. Made the hazardous journey down the Shenandoah Valley in December 1773, with seven children under eleven years of age. The mother of ten, giving five fighting sons to the protection and building of Tennessee. Finally giving her life during an Indian uprising."
She died just after giving birth to her tenth child, after having been moved to the fort along the Nolichuckey River. Because of the Indians in the area, she had to be buried in the woods secretely. Her grave has never been found. The monument here was placed June 3, 1946, the 200th anniversary of her birth.
Katherine Sherrill Sevier BONNY KATE
Died in Russellville, Ala. October 7, 1836.
Kate married Sevier in 1780, after the death of his first wife. She and Sevier had eight children. She was nearly as infamous as her husband for her bravery during the many Indian attacks of the time. She was by John's side to serve as First Lady in each of his terms as Governor and was much loved by the residents of the state. There are schools and other areas of east Tennessee that are named for her. She died while living in Alabama in 1836. In 1922, descendants authorized the moving of her remains to lay beside John at the Knox County Courthouse.
A few months after the re-interment of Bonny Kate, the original headstones of John and Kate were presented to Knox County and placed upon the wall of the courthouse, near where they are now buried.

Near the original headstones is a memorial marker to another heroic Tennessean. The marker reads:
Captain Charles T. McMillan II
United States Air Force
Husband of Janice Means McMillan
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Only Son of Charles T and Nora Long McMillan
Corryton, Tennessee Born Oct 5, 1951
A Tennessee Volunteer who gave his life
while attempting to rescue 53 American
hostages in Iran, April 25, 1980
A privilege of many to love our country,
but destiny decrees that some
make the supreme sacrifice

Charles McMillan is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

No comments:

Post a Comment