Settled in the late 1760s, Carter County’s historical notability is among the most fascinating in the state. Home of the first permanent settlement outside the original 13 colonies and the first majority-rule system of American democracy, the Watauga Settlement at Sycamore Shoals (in what is now Elizabethton) was home to prominent military officials, legislators, and members of the Constitutional Convention.
Sycamore Shoals, at the convergence of the Doe and Watauga Rivers, was also the site of the largest private land deal in American history. Resulting in the purchase of 20 million acres of land, the Transylvania Purchase marked the beginning of the westward expansion and gave “all the lands of the Cumberland Watershed and extending to the Kentucky River” to the settlers.
In 1780, 1100 men gathered at Sycamore Shoals before making a 14-day march to King’s Mountain, South Carolina, where they confronted and defeated Major Patrick Ferguson’s British militia.
European settlers first inhabited the Carter County region in the late 1760s. Among these early settlers was William Bean, who owned a farm approximately eight miles west of what is now Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River, James Robertson, and Valentine Sevier Sr., the father of John Sevier. In the early 1770s, John Carter, a notable Revolutionary War patriot and father of Landon Carter, established a plantation just north of present-day Elizabethton.
The men and women of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office are committed to serving the citizens of our county in a fair, honest and professional manner. Our goal is to provide the best law enforcement possible to all citizens of Carter County.