Blount County History
by Dee Lansford and Denise Waterworth
On 11 July 1795, Blount County (prounounced “Blunt”) was created from portions of Knox and Jefferson Counties with the city of Maryville as the county seat. This was almost 1 year before Tennessee was accepted into the Union on 1 June 1796. The county was named after the governor of Tennessee, William Blount, who served from 7 Aug 1790 to 1796. Governor Blount later became a U.S. Senator from the State of Tennessee.
In 1798 about 300 people were moved from their homes in the dead of winter while a dispute with the Cherokees over the line between whites and Indians was settled. In 1819 Calhoun’s treaty finally established the boundaries of Blount County as the Lit tle Tennessee River to the Junction with the Holston (now called Tennessee), the North Carolina line, and Sevier and Knox County lines. (The Cherokees moved to Georgia.)
The boundaries of Blount County have been altered substantially by various important events. Early on certain lands in the south were cut off for Monroe County. In 1870 an entire Western District was taken to form Loudon County (with parts of other counties) and in 1928 the entire 16th District and parts of the 15th, 17th, and 18th Districts were taken into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
In 1800 the population of Blount County was 5587 people and 345 of those were slaves. By 1810 the population grew to 12,098 people of which 1011 were slaves. By 1850 Blount County had 12,424 people, including 127 “free colored persons” and 1084 slaves. Blount County also had 1 University, 19 public schools, and 2 public libraries. Today, the population of Blount County is about 86,000 people (1990 census).
Note: 12/15/10 — Thanks to Gordon Smith for pointing out that William Blount was not governor of Tennessee since the state was not created until 1796. Blount was the governor of the Southwest Territory.