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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
George McCown18211827 A.G. Rambo18841886
Benjamin Holland18271836 A.J. Kyker       18861892
Eli Roberts18361842 W.C. Large   18921896
William H. Trotter18421852 W.C. Allen 18961908
John Bird 18521854 John T. Ingle 19081912
P. M.  Atchley18541856 R.H. Shields  19121916
M. A. Rawlings18561858 G.F. Ownby19161920
J. M. Wade18581860 L.E. Sarten  19201924
William M. Burnett18601863 John Fain 19241936
D. P. Gass18631866 A.B. Shields19361940
G. W. Caton 18661870 John Fain19401944
P.M. Atchley18701874 E.O. Burnett19441946
W.M. Burnett  18741876 Joe W. Dockery19461962
J.H. Walker18761880 Blaine McMahan19621986
J.S. Maples18801884 Jettie Clabo1986 

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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
Isaac Thomas, Jr.18101814 S.T. Proffit 18901894
John W. Porter18141828 R.C. Fowler 18951901
P.M. Wear 18281836 R.N. Ownby19021910
George McCown  18361844 J.B. Waters19101914
M.C. Rogers18441848 W.M. Maples 19151922
M.W. McCown18481865 Henry Price19231930
W.M. Burnett18651866 John N. Watson  19311934
A.E. Murphy 18661870 H.T. Ogle19341958
M.W. McCown 18701878 Pleas Newman19581966
W.C. Chandler18781886 Helen K. Loveday19661994
P.A. Wear 18861889 Janette Layman Ballard1994 

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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
D.G. Emert18731876 Alton O. Delozier19151921
J.M. Layman18761879 Robert L. Ogle19211923
J. R. Leake18791882 Alton O. Delozier19231928
L.A. Whaley18821883 L.H. Tarwater19281932
P.A. Wear18831886 Ray Ownby19321934
W.D. McElroy18861887 Theron Hodges19341948
J.F. Sharp18871888 Mayford Seaton19481952
W. S. 0gle18891892 Roy Ledwell19521960
J.L. Caton18921895 Chan Huskey19601968
John J. Massey18951900 Paul Bogart19681976
Addie Trotter19001903 Eugene Huskey19761984
Thomas Drinnen19041912 T. Mack Sharpe19841988
James R. Keeble19121915 Jack Parton1988 

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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
Samuel Wear17941817 W.P. Mitchell18781882
Simeon Perry 18171826 D.H. Emert18821886
George McCown18261836 J.J. Ellis18861894
Isaac A. Miller18361837 John Chandler18941906
0.H.P. Hill18371841 A.J. Marshall19061918
P.H. Toomey18411846 H.D. Bailey19181930
W.S.J. Ford18461850 James N. Rector19301938
P.H. Toomey18501854 E.T. King19381946
J.P.H. Clark18541855 W. Henry Ogle19461950
B.M. Chandler18551860 Ray Miller19501958
C.A. Clementson18601861 Paul Atchley19581992
A. Lawson 18611863 Karen Cotter3/30/928/31/92
M.A. Rawlings18631866 Joe Keener1992 
W.H.H. Duggan18661873    
William Fowler18731878    

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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
Jesse Byrd17941796 Jerome D. Bowers18821886
James McMahan17961828 Miller Yett18861890
Unknown18291830 Jerome D. Bowers18901894
Alexander Preston18311844 J.C. Keeler18941896
Thomas Hill18441845 Samuel M. Williams18961910
M.W. McCown18451848 James L. Wayland19101918
James McNelly18481863 Arthur Allen19181926
Edmund HodgesAppt 7/9/1863  W.W. Montgomery18261938
M.P. ThomasAppt4/4/1864  Edgar White19381946
Thomas Tipton18651866 Xan C. Davenport19461954
W.H. Pickle18331870 Elsie Tarwater19541974
James L. Randles18701874 Veryl Henderson19741990
Gideon Hurst18741878 Sherry Robertson1990 
William C. Loveday18781882    

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  
NameFromTo NameFromTo
Samuel Newell17941796 J.W. Houk18951896
(Record lost)17971853 C.W. Fox18971900
S.W. Randles18541855 I.M. Lindsey19011907
Morgan Davis1856  P.J. Mount1908 
Samuel Pickens1857  H.D. Bailey19091915
Isaac Trotter18581862 J.R. Wade1916 
S.W. Randles1863  E.B. Clabo19171920
Lemuel Bogart,1864  L.R. Huskey19211923
S.W. Randles18651869 W.L. Trotter19241928
T.D. Wynn18701878 J.W. Bogart19291935
S.A. Sims1879  C.A. Temple19361937
T.D. Wynn1880  J.C. Allen19381942
David Kelly1881  S.P. Allen19431944
S.A. Sims1882  W.W. Fox19451946
Levi Branson18831885 Conley Huskey19471948
John W. Houk18861888 E.T. King19491958
W.G. Caton18891894    
  County Judges  
Ray L. Reagan19581978 Harold Atchley 1978 
  County Executive/Mayor  
Larry Waters1987     

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.

NameFromTo NameFromTo
Thomas Buckingham17941802 R. H. Shields19001904
Robert Wear18031805 R. A. McMahan19041908
William Mitchell18061821 J. W. Sauls19081910
W.H. Rogers18211827 Sam Cates19101914
George Rogers18271833 M. M. Newcomb19141916
C. Cowan18331841 J. W. Wynn19161920
A. Lawson18411842 M. L. Rolen19201922
John Howard18421848 S. H. Taylor19221923
Asa Derick18481850 J. R. Allen19231924
B. J. Tipton18501851 F. M. Robertson19241928
M.V. Pickens18511852 J. R. Allen19281930
Lemuel Duggan18521858 F. M. Robertson19301932
Thomas Cate18581860 Roy E. Fox19321936
Lemuel Duggan18601862 E. R. Conner19361940
Micajah Butler1862  J. Roy Whaley19401946
N. N. Cate18621863 Ray C. Noland19461948
Lemuel Duggan18631864 J. Roy Whaley19481953
Carroll Shrader18641866 Lewis Wayland19531954
James McCroskey18661868 Ray C. Noland19541958
J. H. McNutt18681870 Fred M. Pierce19581960
R. R. Reagan18701874 Ray C. Noland19601966
G. C. Shrader18741880 Millard Gibson19661972
Sam Rolen18801886 Carmen Townsend19721990
E. M. Wynn18861890 Don C. Ogle19901994
George L. Delozier18901894 Bruce Montgomery19942007
M. F. Maples18941898 Ron Seals2007 
T. H. Davis18981900    
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