The city of Memphis, Tennessee, was the site of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was staying, is now the National Civil Rights Museum.
Cocke County, Tennessee, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It was officially established in 1797 and named after William Cocke, a prominent politician and landowner. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, who were forcibly removed from their lands during the Trail of Tears in the 1830s.

During the Civil War, Cocke County was divided in its loyalties, with some residents supporting the Union and others the Confederacy. The county saw several skirmishes and battles, including the Battle of Newport in 1864. After the war, the county faced significant economic challenges as it transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more industrial one.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cocke County experienced a boom in the timber industry. The abundance of forests attracted logging companies, which in turn brought economic prosperity to the county. However, this period also witnessed social and labor tensions, with workers organizing for better conditions and wages.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Cocke County underwent various economic transformations. It embraced tourism as a significant industry, capitalizing on its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The county has also faced challenges, such as drug epidemics and economic decline. Nonetheless, Cocke County continues to be a vibrant community with a diverse history and a resilient spirit.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Cocke County, Tennessee.

  • 1797: Cocke County is established as an original county of the state of Tennessee.
  • 1807: The county seat is established in Newport.
  • 1830: The first courthouse is built in Newport.
  • 1861-1865: Cocke County residents support both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
  • 1870: The county's population reaches over 10,000.
  • 1876: The county's first high school, Cocke County High School, is established in Newport.
  • 1887: Tennessee Central Railroad connects Newport to other regions.
  • 1925: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established, and a portion of it lies within Cocke County.
  • 1931: The first Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent's Office is built in Cosby.
  • 1957: The Douglas Dam is completed, providing hydroelectric power and flood control.
  • 1984: The first Cocke County Tomato Festival is held in Newport, celebrating the county's agricultural heritage.
  • 1993: The opening of the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge-Sevierville tourism corridor brings increased tourism to Cocke County.
  • 2019: Cocke County celebrates its 222nd anniversary.