Historic Sites and Buildings
William Bean initiated permanent settlement in eastern Tennessee when he arrived from Virginia in 1769 and built a rude cabin on Boone's Creek near its junction with the Watauga River. He was joined soon by others from Virginia to form a tiny community, the nucleus of the Watauga settlements. Bean's son, Russell, the first child born to permanent white settlers in Tennessee, was born in the cabin. The site has been inundated by Boone's Lake but a monument stands on the lake shore above the site.
Fort Loudoun existed for only 4 critical years of the French and Indian War, 1756-60. The southwestern outpost was built for the benefit and at the request of the Overhill Cherokee, but they forced the surrender of the garrison in August 1760. The Indians' later massacre of many of the departing whites created new strains for the future. The earthwork fort was diamond-shaped with log palisades inside a honeylocust hedge, including a blacksmith shop, guardhouse, barracks, magazine, officers' quarters, and storehouses. A partial reconstruction has been accomplished, based on archeological work, sponsored by the Fort Loudoun Association which was formed in 1933 when private owners donated about 6 acres of the site to the State of Tennessee.
NHL Designation: 06/23/64
Sycamore Shoals was chosen as the administrative center of the Watauga settlements under the leadership of James Robertson. The valley was first leased and then (1775) purchased from the Cherokee, and Fort Watauga erected. The Indians attacked the fort unsuccessfully in 1776. The frontiersmen gathered at Sycamore Shoals in 1780 and marched into South Carolina where they dealt the Tory leader, Patrick Ferguson, a crushing defeat at Kings Mountain. The traditional site of Fort Watauga is on a low ridge beside Tenn. 67, about one-half mile southwest of the lower end of Sycamore Shoals. A concrete and stone marker has been placed nearby, by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The site is in a developed residential area.
NHL Designation: 07/19/64
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005