In the late 1700’s Hamblen County was the midway point on the main road between New Orleans and Baltimore. Today, the famous “Buffalo Trail” is a scenic highway connecting historic Cumberland Gap with downtown Morristown. Davy Crockett grew up here. His father owned and operated a tavern, during the Civil War; several strategic battles were fought in and around Morristown. The house that served as the headquarters for Confederate General James Longstreet still stands.
In 1769 a rapid westward movement occurred after the first settlement in Tennessee. Hamblen County lay directly in the path of that expansion. By 1782 Hamblen County had its first settlers. The area began to grow when Charles McClung surveyed a road from White’s Fort (Knoxville) eastward, mostly over the Indian trail. This road became known as the Big Road which now is the basic path of Highway 11-E. The road allowed a rapid development, upon the arrival in 1856, of the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad. Only when the Civil War was fought did the area stop growing.
By 1860, the people of the area were focusing on the creation of a new county. Colonels I.P. Haun and Mark M Murrell, with an unknown gentleman, were discussing the problems that they, along with others, faced when it came to the transportation, government, and communication of the county seats being so far apart. It led to the idea that became the nucleus for the creation of a new county.
Many petitions began to circulate among the citizens asking for the area to be recognized as a new county. The petitions were to be presented at the General Assembly. The new county was to include the land of Grainger County lying south of the Holston River, and Jefferson County land that was over eleven miles northeast of Dandridge. On April 15, 1870, a plot of the proposed new county was submitted. The county was formed on May 31, 1870.
Situated in the Lakeway Region, surrounded by mountains and lakes, Morristown is the county seat of Hamblen County incorporated in 1903. Located in East Tennessee in the Holston Valley, the area comprises a population of 50,480. It is about 35 miles east of Knoxville on Interstate 81. Morristown has an excellent, well-educated workforce, two industrial parks, and an IFR equipped airport with a 5700 foot runway to handle the several corporate jets based there.
The school system in the Morristown, Hamblen County area is a county operated system. The school systems consist of two high schools, 4 middle schools, 12 elementary schools, adult education, preschool and an alternative school.
Walters State Community College is a public two-year higher education institution that is a component of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee. The college offers programs of study, which lead to the Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, and Associate of Applied Science degrees. A certificate of credit may be provided for programs of study of one year or less; a certificate of recognition may be awarded for non-credit programs and services. All degree programs are built upon a foundation of general education courses.
Carson-Newman is a church-related, liberal arts college committed to preparing capable men and women, through its Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs, for meaningful service in vocation and study.
If you enjoy the outdoors, Morristown is for you! The surrounding area offers great boating and fishing on both Cherokee and Douglas Lakes. Cherokee Lake forms one of the boundaries for Hamblen County and is well known for its quality year-round fishing. With a grand overlook, Panther Creek State Park tops a steep drive where woods abound and woodland wildlife often wander. The beautiful 2,000 acre park contains playground equipment, picnic tables and grills, hiking and bike trails, a swimming pool, soccer fields, a boat-launch ramp, fishing, camping and more activities that draw nearly a million visitors annually to Panther Creek.