Claiborne County was erected on October 29, 1801, and was named for Wm. C. C. Claiborne. It was formed from Grainger and Hawkins counties. The Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions was organized at the house of John Owens, on December 7, 1801, at which time the following named justices of the peace, appointed by Governor Roane, were qualified: Isaac Lane, Joseph Webster, William Trent, James Chisum, Abraham Lenham, John Wallen, Matthew Sims, John Vanbibber, William Rogers, George Read, C. Newport, Jno. Casey, Joseph Nations and James Renfro. The courts were held at the houses of magistrates until 1804 when a small courthouse was erected. Cumberland Gap, famous in history, is in this county. Through this gateway in the mountains, the pioneers of the early days passed from Virginia, North Carolina and East Tennessee into Kentucky. The first officers of this court were: Walter [p.810] Evans, clerk of the court; John Hunt, sheriff; Ezekiel Craft, register; Luke or Lew Boyer, or Bowyer, solicitor; Nathaniel Austin, ranger; John Sumpter, constable.
On October 14, 1802, Bishop Asbury preached “at Hunt's at Claiborne Courthouse.” The Circuit Court was organized in April, 1810, by William Cocke. The first settlements in the county were made at Big Spring, near Sycamore Creek, in 1794-1795; in Powell's Valley and along Clinch River.
Tazewell, the county seat, was laid out probably in 1802 or 1803, when the first house in this place was erected. The first merchant was William Graham, who erected the first church.
Statistics of Claiborne County: Population, 1920, 23,286. Assessed valuation of taxable property, 1921, $8,549,141. Area, 472 sq. mi. Number of farms, 3,022. Railway mileage, 37. Drained by the Powell and Clinch rivers. Surface generally mountainous and covered with timber. Soil in valleys very fertile. Wheat, corn, oats and grass are staple products, and the live stock industry is flourishing. Iron, zinc and lead ores are found in the county, and coal is also mined. Tazewell, the county seat, has a population of 424. Other towns in the county are New Tazewell, Lone Mountain, Hoop, and Hartranft. Tazewell has a bank, schools, churches, and a weekly newspaper. Scholastic population, 8,994; high schools, 2; elementary schools, 100. He and William Blount were the first United States senators from Tennessee.
Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 1 -- transcribed by, Amanda Jowers