History of Newport Tennessee
The history of Newport can be traced back to the origin of Cocke County when frontiersmen began moving westward in 1783. Many of the early settlements were placed along the Nolichucky River, which was a primary mode of transportation at the time. Cocke County was incredibly fertile and full of water sources, and the word quickly spread drawing many settlers to this area.
The town of Newport was designated as the county seat and the first settler of the area was John Gilliland. Gilliland donated fifty acres of land in order to build the present day town of Newport. The first houses in the town were poorly constructed shanties, however, the town of Newport had a hotel, which was the largest building in the town at the time.
The main reason Newport became the first county seat was due to the ferry that operated across the river near the town. The ferry was run by Peter Fine, and helped grow the economy of the fledgling town.
The logging boom of the late 19th century and the railroad line played a huge role in developing the town of Newport. This drew many settlers to the area and many other industries developed throughout the century.