From Beulah Linn’s Sevier County News & Record column, “Historical Sites, People, and Places.”
By guest editor and columnist Estalena Rogers Brabson
This article appeared in the March 16, 1978 edition.
Buckingham House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971.
Many of the families living at Boyd’s Creek today are descendants of the pioneers who settled south of the French Broad in the years following the Revolutionary War. Some of the early settlers left the area during the great westward movement.
Thomas Buckingham lived on the Big Island of the French Broad River which now bears the name of Buckingham Island. The 300 acres of the island lie between the French Broad River and what is known as a sluice. This is the same island on which John Sevier and his troops camped in 1780. Later Sevier and Caswell received a land grant for the island from the state of North Carolina. In later years Nathaniel Buckingham, a son of Thomas, obtained a Tennessee land grant for the island perhaps to insure his legal ownership.
The first historical reference to Thomas Buckingham is found in Reynold’s Greene County Tax List of 1783.
Buckingham House, a National Register site, was built in 1794 by Thomas Buckingham and his brother, Ephriam, Buckingham. Joseph A. Sharp, the late Sevier County historian, recorded that Thomas Buckingham built the mill for Peter Huff at the mouth of the little Pigeon.
In 1794, Thomas Buckingham was the sheriff of Jefferson County which at the time included the present Sevier County. In the same year when the Territorial Legislature decided to divide Jefferson County, Thomas Buckingham was one of five commissioners who were appointed to locate the courthouse in the county of Sevier. He served as sheriff and as collector of taxes until 1796.
When the Constitutional Convention met at Knoxville in 1796, Thomas Buckingham was one of the five Sevier County delegates. When the first court for Sevier County under the constitution of the State of Tennessee met on July 4, 1796, the record shows that Thomas Buckingham was sheriff. From 1803‐1805, Thomas Buckingham served in the House of Representatives at the 5th General Assembly representing Sevier County.
The date and place of his birth, the names of his parents, and the name of his wife are unknown A son Nathaniel Buckingham, served as Assistant Clerk of the Senate on March 28, 1796, when the first legislature of Tennessee met in Knoxville and again at the second session on Dec. 3, 1798. He also served as a deputy sheriff of Sevier County.
Thomas Buckingham Jr. was a collector of county and public taxes. Mrs. Cornelia K. Bragg of Tulsa Okla. was told by her mother that her great, grandfather, Thomas Buckingham of Aberdeen, Miss., was a descendant of Thomas Buckingham of Buckingham Island in Sevier County.
In Massengill family history, it is recorded that Rebecca Buckingham, daughter of Thomas Buckingham Sr., married Richard Caswell Cobb, the son of Pharaoh Cobb. Their children were Louisa Buckingham Cobb (Mrs. Michael Massengill), Barsheba Whitehead Cobb (Mrs. David Stuart) and Sarah Caswell Cobb who married (1) Gen. George Rutledge, (2) John Crockett.
The death date and place of burial of Thomas Buckingham are unknown to this writer. He may have been buried at or near the site of the Trundle Private Cemetery. Nathaniel Buckingham sold the island farm to William Burns after which the Buckingham brothers are said to have left Sevier County.