The Great Train Robbery of 1866, one of the most famous train robberies in American history, took place in Tennessee. A group of Confederate veterans stole $90,000 from a train traveling from Nashville to Chattanooga.
Union County, located in eastern Tennessee, has a rich and diverse history that spans several centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee and Creek peoples. European colonization began in the late 18th century, when settlers from North Carolina and Virginia moved into the region, attracted by its fertile land and abundant natural resources.

In the early 1800s, Union County saw a significant influx of settlers, leading to the establishment of several communities. The county, originally a part of Grainger and Anderson counties, was officially formed in 1850 and named after the idea of unity during a time of heightened tensions in the country. The county seat, Maynardville, was named after the Maynard family, influential early settlers in the region.

Union County played a significant role in the Civil War, with many residents supporting the Union cause. Despite being in a predominantly Confederate state, the county was strongly pro-Union, and many of its residents joined the Union Army. The county's strategic location along the Clinch River made it a vital transportation and supply route for Union troops.

In the post-war years, Union County experienced significant industrial growth, particularly in the logging and mining industries. Logging operations proliferated, taking advantage of the area's vast forests, while coal mining became a major economic driver. The advent of the railroad in the late 19th century further facilitated the transportation of goods and enhanced economic opportunities.

Today, Union County preserves its rich history through various landmarks and historical sites, including the historic Union County Courthouse, the Loy Family Park, and the Wilson-Cox House. The county continues to evolve and thrive, with a focus on maintaining its unique heritage while embracing new opportunities for growth and development.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Union County, Tennessee.

  • 1801 - Union County is established
  • 1804 - The county courthouse is built
  • 1830 - The Tennessee General Assembly designates Blairsville as the county seat
  • 1862 - Union County is divided during the Civil War, with a portion aligning with the Union and the other with the Confederacy
  • 1901 - The Knoxville, LaFollette and Jellico Railroad is completed in Union County
  • 1926 - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established, including part of Union County
  • 1927 - The Clinch River Valley Association is formed in response to flooding in Union County
  • 1942 - Construction begins on the Oak Ridge Reservation, a top-secret project during World War II
  • 1983 - The Tennessee Valley Authority completes the construction of the Norris Dam, which provides flood control and hydroelectric power to Union County
  • 2000 - The population of Union County reaches 17,808