by Beulah D. Linn, County Historian
Sevier County was established by the Legislature of the Territory South of the River Ohio meeting in Knoxville in September and October, 1794. The first court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions met at the home of Isaac Thomas on November 8, 1794. The eight magistrates who composed the court had been appointed by Governor Blount. The Court met dour times a year. It was the legislative and chief executive body of the county.
After statehood in 1796 fifteen justices were appointed by the Tennessee Legislature until 1836, the year of the new constitution, after which they were elected by popular vote.
Due to the loss of courthouse records in the fire in 1856 it has been difficult for historians to compile a complete list of Sevier County officeholders.
I wish to express my appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the following people who have helped me prepare this article for publication:
From information abstracted by Steve Cotham, Head McClung Historical Collection, from early Knoxville newspapers and published from 1985 to 1989 in ANCESTORS (the East Tennessee Historical Society publication), a review of the Hamilton District Court Files by Brad Cannon of the Knox County Archives, and Pollyanna Creekmore’s Tennessee Newspaper Extracts and‑Abstracts Vol I, 1816-1830 and Vol 2, 1830-1839 published in 1996, the blank spaces in previously published ‘lists of Sheriffs, county court clerks and circuit court clerks have been filled
I am indebted to Inez E. Burns, Blount County Historian and author of HISTORY OF BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE 1795-1955 for the history of the various offices of county government according to the constitution.
Mr. John B. Waters Jr. compiled the list of chancery court clerks.
Mr. Sam Maner of the Sevier County Library Staff read the microfilm of the Sevier County Court Minutes to compile the list of County Court chairmen from 1856 to 1870 and the microfilm of Sevier County newspapers to find the names of Sevier County tax assessors from 1916 to 1960.
Mr. James Shular read the County Court Minutes 1894-96.
Mrs. Jettie Clabo, Mrs. Carolyn McMahan, Mrs. Sherry Robertson, Mrs. Elaine Burgess, Mr. Johnny King, Mr. Joe Keener and Glenda Bright of the present courthouse staff have been very kind to help me find information. . It is a joy to record that two of my high school science students, Johnny King and Jackie Parton, are Sevier County officeholders in the year 2000.
Sevier County Trustees
Although the office of Trustee is constitutional the office of Trustee is not mentioned in the record of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions on November 8, 1796.
A diligent search of the Tennessee State Archives did not reveal the name of a Trustee before 1821.
The Trustee was appointed by the County Quarterly Court until 1836. After 1836 the Trustee has been elected by popular vote.
The Trustee is the treasurer of the county. Since 1876 the Trustee has been the collector of property taxes.
|George McCown||1821||1827||A.G. Rambo||1884||1886|
|Benjamin Holland||1827||1836||A.J. Kyker||1886||1892|
|Eli Roberts||1836||1842||W.C. Large||1892||1896|
|William H. Trotter||1842||1852||W.C. Allen||1896||1908|
|John Bird||1852||1854||John T. Ingle||1908||1912|
|P. M. Atchley||1854||1856||R.H. Shields||1912||1916|
|M. A. Rawlings||1856||1858||G.F. Ownby||1916||1920|
|J. M. Wade||1858||1860||L.E. Sarten||1920||1924|
|William M. Burnett||1860||1863||John Fain||1924||1936|
|D. P. Gass||1863||1866||A.B. Shields||1936||1940|
|G. W. Caton||1866||1870||John Fain||1940||1944|
|P.M. Atchley||1870||1874||E.O. Burnett||1944||1946|
|W.M. Burnett||1874||1876||Joe W. Dockery||1946||1962|
|J.H. Walker||1876||1880||Blaine McMahan||1962||1986|
|J.S. Maples||1880||1884||Jettie Clabo||1986|
Sevier County Circuit Court Clerks
The Sevier County Circuit Court was organized in 1810.
Up to 1836 the Circuit Court Judge who had been appointed by the Tennessee General Assembly appointed the Circuit Court Clerk. From 1836 the circuit court clerk has been elected by popular vote for a term of four years.
|Isaac Thomas, Jr.||1810||1814||S.T. Proffit||1890||1894|
|John W. Porter||1814||1828||R.C. Fowler||1895||1901|
|P.M. Wear||1828||1836||R.N. Ownby||1902||1910|
|George McCown||1836||1844||J.B. Waters||1910||1914|
|M.C. Rogers||1844||1848||W.M. Maples||1915||1922|
|M.W. McCown||1848||1865||Henry Price||1923||1930|
|W.M. Burnett||1865||1866||John N. Watson||1931||1934|
|A.E. Murphy||1866||1870||H.T. Ogle||1934||1958|
|M.W. McCown||1870||1878||Pleas Newman||1958||1966|
|W.C. Chandler||1878||1886||Helen K. Loveday||1966||1994|
|P.A. Wear||1886||1889||Janette Layman Ballard||1994|
Sevier County Superintendents of Public Instruction
The office of County Superintendent of Public Instruction was created by an act of the Tennessee Legislature in 1867. The first superintendent, Nathaniel M. Baker of the Third District, was appointed to serve a term of three years.
The Legislative Act of 1867 was repealed in 1870. The office of county superintendent was abolished and replaced with an examining board of three members appointed by the County Quarterly Court. The members were Dr. J. M. Hammer, Rev. N. Huffaker, and D. G. Emert. The members acted independently, the board never having a regular meeting.
In 1873 the act of 1870 was repealed. A County Superintendent of Public Instruction elected by the Quarterly Court replaced the three member examining board.
L. H. Tarwater was elected Superintendent by popular vote on August 2, 1928 for a term of four years. He was unopposed.
|D.G. Emert||1873||1876||Alton O. Delozier||1915||1921|
|J.M. Layman||1876||1879||Robert L. Ogle||1921||1923|
|J. R. Leake||1879||1882||Alton O. Delozier||1923||1928|
|L.A. Whaley||1882||1883||L.H. Tarwater||1928||1932|
|P.A. Wear||1883||1886||Ray Ownby||1932||1934|
|W.D. McElroy||1886||1887||Theron Hodges||1934||1948|
|J.F. Sharp||1887||1888||Mayford Seaton||1948||1952|
|W. S. 0gle||1889||1892||Roy Ledwell||1952||1960|
|J.L. Caton||1892||1895||Chan Huskey||1960||1968|
|John J. Massey||1895||1900||Paul Bogart||1968||1976|
|Addie Trotter||1900||1903||Eugene Huskey||1976||1984|
|Thomas Drinnen||1904||1912||T. Mack Sharpe||1984||1988|
|James R. Keeble||1912||1915||Jack Parton||1988|
Sevier County Court Clerks
The County Court Clerk is clerk of the Quarterly, Probate, and Juvenile Courts and is the licensing and revenue collection agency of the state. Prior to 1836 the clerk was elected by the County Quarterly Court. Since 1836 the clerk has been elected by popular vote.
|Samuel Wear||1794||1817||W.P. Mitchell||1878||1882|
|Simeon Perry||1817||1826||D.H. Emert||1882||1886|
|George McCown||1826||1836||J.J. Ellis||1886||1894|
|Isaac A. Miller||1836||1837||John Chandler||1894||1906|
|0.H.P. Hill||1837||1841||A.J. Marshall||1906||1918|
|P.H. Toomey||1841||1846||H.D. Bailey||1918||1930|
|W.S.J. Ford||1846||1850||James N. Rector||1930||1938|
|P.H. Toomey||1850||1854||E.T. King||1938||1946|
|J.P.H. Clark||1854||1855||W. Henry Ogle||1946||1950|
|B.M. Chandler||1855||1860||Ray Miller||1950||1958|
|C.A. Clementson||1860||1861||Paul Atchley||1958||1992|
|A. Lawson||1861||1863||Karen Cotter||3/30/92||8/31/92|
|M.A. Rawlings||1863||1866||Joe Keener||1992|
Sevier County Register of Deeds
The office of Register of Deeds dates from 1794.
The Register was elected by the Quarterly Court from 1796 until 1836. Since 1836 the Register has been elected by popular vote.
The Register is elected for the purpose of registering property deeds, liens, leases, charters, rights of way, church deeds, school deeds, etc.
|Jesse Byrd||1794||1796||Jerome D. Bowers||1882||1886|
|James McMahan||1796||1828||Miller Yett||1886||1890|
|Unknown||1829||1830||Jerome D. Bowers||1890||1894|
|Alexander Preston||1831||1844||J.C. Keeler||1894||1896|
|Thomas Hill||1844||1845||Samuel M. Williams||1896||1910|
|M.W. McCown||1845||1848||James L. Wayland||1910||1918|
|James McNelly||1848||1863||Arthur Allen||1918||1926|
|Edmund Hodges||Appt 7/9/1863||W.W. Montgomery||1826||1938|
|M.P. Thomas||Appt4/4/1864||Edgar White||1938||1946|
|Thomas Tipton||1865||1866||Xan C. Davenport||1946||1954|
|W.H. Pickle||1833||1870||Elsie Tarwater||1954||1974|
|James L. Randles||1870||1874||Veryl Henderson||1974||1990|
|Gideon Hurst||1874||1878||Sherry Robertson||1990|
|William C. Loveday||1878||1882|
Chairman of the County Court – County Judges – County Executives
Prior to 1950 the chairman of the County Court was elected by the justices composing the County Court. Although the county chair man was elected for one year at a time traditionally a justice elected as county chairman sometimes would be elected for a second term in the position. The chairman served as executive officer of the county.
Since 1875 the office of chairman was comparable to that of county judge.
In 1950 E. T. King was elected County Judge by popular vote. He became the general administrative, financial and executive officer of the county. The office of County Judge was changed to County Executive in 1987.
|Chairman of the County Court|
|Samuel Newell||1794||1796||J.W. Houk||1895||1896|
|(Record lost)||1797||1853||C.W. Fox||1897||1900|
|S.W. Randles||1854||1855||I.M. Lindsey||1901||1907|
|Morgan Davis||1856||P.J. Mount||1908|
|Samuel Pickens||1857||H.D. Bailey||1909||1915|
|Isaac Trotter||1858||1862||J.R. Wade||1916|
|S.W. Randles||1863||E.B. Clabo||1917||1920|
|Lemuel Bogart,||1864||L.R. Huskey||1921||1923|
|S.W. Randles||1865||1869||W.L. Trotter||1924||1928|
|T.D. Wynn||1870||1878||J.W. Bogart||1929||1935|
|S.A. Sims||1879||C.A. Temple||1936||1937|
|T.D. Wynn||1880||J.C. Allen||1938||1942|
|David Kelly||1881||S.P. Allen||1943||1944|
|S.A. Sims||1882||W.W. Fox||1945||1946|
|Levi Branson||1883||1885||Conley Huskey||1947||1948|
|John W. Houk||1886||1888||E.T. King||1949||1958|
|Ray L. Reagan||1958||1978||Harold Atchley||1978|
Sevier County Sheriffs
The sheriff is the county’s chief peace officer and the executive officer of the courts. The office dates from 1794. The first sheriff, Thomas Buckingham, was appointed by Governor Blount of the Territory South of the River Ohio Under the first constitution in 1796 the sheriff was appointed by the County Quarterly Court. Since 1836 the sheriff has been elected by popular vote.
|Thomas Buckingham||1794||1802||R. H. Shields||1900||1904|
|Robert Wear||1803||1805||R. A. McMahan||1904||1908|
|William Mitchell||1806||1821||J. W. Sauls||1908||1910|
|W.H. Rogers||1821||1827||Sam Cates||1910||1914|
|George Rogers||1827||1833||M. M. Newcomb||1914||1916|
|C. Cowan||1833||1841||J. W. Wynn||1916||1920|
|A. Lawson||1841||1842||M. L. Rolen||1920||1922|
|John Howard||1842||1848||S. H. Taylor||1922||1923|
|Asa Derick||1848||1850||J. R. Allen||1923||1924|
|B. J. Tipton||1850||1851||F. M. Robertson||1924||1928|
|M.V. Pickens||1851||1852||J. R. Allen||1928||1930|
|Lemuel Duggan||1852||1858||F. M. Robertson||1930||1932|
|Thomas Cate||1858||1860||Roy E. Fox||1932||1936|
|Lemuel Duggan||1860||1862||E. R. Conner||1936||1940|
|Micajah Butler||1862||J. Roy Whaley||1940||1946|
|N. N. Cate||1862||1863||Ray C. Noland||1946||1948|
|Lemuel Duggan||1863||1864||J. Roy Whaley||1948||1953|
|Carroll Shrader||1864||1866||Lewis Wayland||1953||1954|
|James McCroskey||1866||1868||Ray C. Noland||1954||1958|
|J. H. McNutt||1868||1870||Fred M. Pierce||1958||1960|
|R. R. Reagan||1870||1874||Ray C. Noland||1960||1966|
|G. C. Shrader||1874||1880||Millard Gibson||1966||1972|
|Sam Rolen||1880||1886||Carmen Townsend||1972||1990|
|E. M. Wynn||1886||1890||Don C. Ogle||1990||1994|
|George L. Delozier||1890||1894||Bruce Montgomery||1994||2007|
|M. F. Maples||1894||1898||Ron Seals||2007|
|T. H. Davis||1898||1900|