Claiborne County



The History

Cumberland Gap has been used as a crossing point in the Appalachian Mountains. And for centuries, animals have used it as a path to the green pastures of Kentucky. Native Americans used the Gap as the Warrior’s Path that led from the Potomac River down the south side of the Appalachians through the Gap and north to “The Dark and Bloody Ground” known as Kentucky and on to Ohio.

In 1750 Dr. Thomas Walker found the Gap and mapped its location, but the French and Indian Wars closed the new frontiers.

Daniel Boone and many other long-hunters used the Gap to the Kentucky hunting grounds. In 1775, after the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals ended the majority of Indian troubles, Boone and thirty men marked out the Wilderness Trail from what is now Kingsport, Tennessee through the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. Part of the Wilderness Road can be walked in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee along the Iron Furnace.

Before the Revolutionary War over 12,000 people crossed into the new frontier territory. By the time of Kentucky’s admission to the Union, over 100,000 people had passed through the Gap. By 1800 the Gap was being used for transportation and commerce, both east and west. In the 1830’s, other routes west caused the Gap to decline in importance.

During the Civil War the Gap was called the Keystone of the Confederacy and the Gibraltar of America. Both armies felt the invasion of the North or South would come through the Gap. Both armies held and fortified the Gap against the invasion that never came.

The Gap exchanged hands four times to be finally abandoned in 1866 by the Federal Army.

Today the Cumberland Gap is the main local route North and South, via Cumberland Gap Parkway (Highway 25E). In the mid 1990’s, a four lane tunnel under the Gap opened a new North-South, East-West route and the Cumberland Gap has been restored like the first pioneers saw it.

Claiborne County located on the Tennessee-Kentucky-Virginia borders in East Tennessee, one of the state’s three “Grand Divisions.” It was formed in 1801 from parts of Hawkins and Grainger Counties. The county seat is Tazewell.

The communities of Tazewell and New Tazewell are located in the beautiful mountains of the Cumberland Gap area.

Claiborne County is a rural county with a population of 32,172. The county covers 2400 square miles. Tazewell, the county seat, is located about 40 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Along with our beautiful mountains we have beautiful Norris Lake with 850 miles of shoreline. Norris Lake was the first TVA lake, and was built in the late 1930’s. The lake is fed by two large rivers, the Clinch and the Powell. The lake is enjoyed by fisherman and water lovers of all ages.

 Education

Claiborne County is home to Lincoln Memorial University (LMU). For more than 100 years, LMU has helped serve the higher education needs of our tristate area and beyond. We are excited by that heritage, and we invite you to share it! The University offers a talented, dedicated faculty and staff, a strong and varied curriculum, a well-rounded student life, a beautiful campus, and excellent facilities.

In keeping with its Lincoln legacy, LMU prides itself in providing well developed and relevant academic programs for today’s students destined to compete in tomorrow’s competitive workplace. Some of our nation’s most competent lawyers, doctors, nurses, artists, veterinarians, business persons, and writers have their academic roots at Lincoln Memorial University

The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum houses one of the most diverse Lincoln and Civil War collections in the country. Located on the beautiful campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. Exhibited are many rare items – the silver-topped cane that Lincoln carried the night of his assassination, a lock of his hair clipped as he lay on his death bed, two life masks made of Lincoln, the tea set he and Mary Todd owned in their home in Springfield, and numerous other belongings. Over 20,000 books, manuscripts, pamphlets, photographs, paintings, and sculptures tell the story of President Lincoln and the Civil War period in America.

Cumberland Gap is located where Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia join. The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a natural opening in the mountains made famous by Daniel Boone. The Indians used this path long before Boone arrived. Today, you can visit the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and enjoy the history and beauty of our area.

 Recreation

If you are interested in fishing, boating, or any water activity, then Norris Lake offers all that and more. There are several marinas and boat docks throughout the county.

Woodlake Golf is an 18 hole championship golf course and Norris Lake waterfront community in beautiful East Tennessee. Community offers clubhouse with fitness center, swimming pool, tennis courts, plus lake-side gazebo with boat launch and marina. Woodlake is just a short drive from Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina and it’s only 10 minutes from the town of Tazewell, 30 minutes from Morristown, and 45 minutes from Knoxville.For those who would rather fly in, the New Tazewell Airport is conveniently located alongside the Woodlake Lodge, Golf, and Country Club. Homes and land available.