Hawkins County, Tennessee

Hawkins County, Tennessee

Infobox U.S. County
county = Hawkins County
state = Tennessee

seallink =
founded = 1784 (Franklin, as Spencer County)
1786 (North Carolina)
1796 (Tennessee)
seat = Rogersville (settled 1775)
largest city = Kingsport (partially-contained)
Church Hill (wholly-contained)
government_footnotes =
government_type = County Commission
leader_title = County Mayor
leader_name = Crockett Lee (R)
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
area_total_sq_mi = 500
area_total_km2 = 1294
area_land_sq_mi = 487
area_land_km2 = 1260
area_water_sq_mi = 13
area_water_km2 = 34
area percentage = 2.60%
census yr = 2000
pop = 53563
density_sq_mi = 110
density_km2 = 42
time zone = Eastern
UTC offset = -5
DST offset= -4
footnotes =
web = http://www.hawkinscountytn.gov/

ex image c
Tennessee and is the seat of county government. It is in Rogersville.|

Hawkins County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of 2000, the population was 53,563. The 2005 Census Estimate placed the population at 56,196 [http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/tables/CO-EST2005-01-47.xls] . Its county seat is Rogersville, Tennessee's second-oldest town.GR|6


One of the oldest Tennessee counties, Hawkins County was first established as a separate North Carolina county on January 6, 1787, when the General Assembly divided Sullivan County, North Carolina.

The original county was quite large, extending from the North Fork of the Holston River southwestwardly to the "Big Suck" near present-day Chattanooga. Other counties, or parts of counties, later created from Hawkins include Hancock, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Roane, Meigs, and Hamilton.

Prior to its creation by North Carolina, the county was Spencer County, Franklin.

Early history

The act creating Hawkins County empowered seven commissioners to select a central place for the county seat, where a courthouse, prison, and stocks would be built and to levy a tax for the support of local government.

The first meeting of the commissioners took place at the home of Thomas Gibbons on Big Creek on June 4, 1787, at which time ' land on Crockett's Creek was selected as the location for the county seat.

During the summer of 1787 the courthouse, jail, and stocks were erected, and the little community took the name Hawkins Court House. The first elected county officials were John Hunt, sheriff; William Marshall, register; and Thomas Hutchins, clerk. Marshall and Nathaniel Henderson were elected the first representatives to the North Carolina House of Commons, and Thomas Amis was elected the first senator to represent the new county in the legislative assembly.

New town, new state

In 1789, Amis presented a petition from the community to the North Carolina General Assembly to establish a town at the Hawkins Court House site and to name the town Rogersville, for his son-in-law, Joseph Rogers. Approval of the petition, which was granted on November 7, 1789, empowered county commissioners to lay out a town in half-acre lots, with convenient streets and lots reserved for public buildings.

Rogersville's Main Street was defined by the route of the Great Wilderness Road, which attracted a steady stream of settlers through the town on their way to Bean Station, the Cumberland Gap, and Kentucky.

Tennessee's first newspaper, the Knoxville Gazette, was published in Rogersville by George Roulstone and Robert Ferguson in 1791 before they moved the paper to Knoxville.

Center for marble industry

From the 1840s through the 1870s, the marble industry developed in Hawkins County, and the area became famous for its pink and red variegated marble.

Local furniture manufacturers used much of the marble, which was cut from various quarries and hauled to Rogersville on wagons pulled by sixteen- or twenty-mule teams. From there, the marble was floated down the Holston River on rafts or later shipped by railroad.

Marble from Hawkins County was used in the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., as well as the balustrades and stairways of the United States Capitol. Huge columns of Hawkins County marble were also used in the South Carolina State Capitol and in the municipal buildings of Baltimore.

Pressmen's Home

For fifty-six years, from 1911 through 1967, the International Printing Pressmen and Assistants Union maintained the Pressmen's Home on convert|2700|acre|km2 of Hawkins County land. The Pressmen's Home included a farm, a sanitarium, a retirement home, and a technical school where more than three thousand union members received training before modern medicine and advancing technology rendered the operation obsolete.

Hawkins County today

Today Hawkins County has a population of over fifty thousand. Church Hill is the largest city, followed by Rogersville, Mount Carmel, Surgoinsville, and Bulls Gap. The principal sources of farm income are beef cattle and burley tobacco. In 1997, the 4,545 farms with tobacco quotas produced an average yield of 2,369 pounds of tobacco per acre, making Hawkins County the second largest producer of burley tobacco in the state.

There are over twelve thousand industrial jobs in the county, with AFG Industries, a producer of flat glass, employing nine hundred at its Church Hill plant, and TRW, a motor vehicle parts manufacturer, employing eight hundred in Rogersville.

The Hawkins County school system supports twelve elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools, one adult education program, an alternative school, and an enrichment center; the Town of Rogersville operates its own independent school system for grades K-8. Twelve colleges and universities lie within a seventy-five-mile radius of the county.

The county supports four public libraries, including the H. B. Stamps Memorial Library, in Rogersville, that offers a special collection of genealogy and local history. Local parks and golf courses provide activities from picnicking and baseball to championship PGA golf.

Rogersville hosts an annual three-day festival in October called Heritage Days, and Bulls Gap celebrates Archie Campbell Homecoming Day each Labor Day.


Hawkins County is governed by a twenty-one member County Commission. The chief executive officer of the county is the County Mayor.

County Mayor

The Tennessee Constitution provides for the election of an executive officer - referred to as the County Mayor - in each county. The County Mayor is elected by popular vote at the regular August election every four years, coinciding with the Governor's election, and may serve an unlimited number of terms. The County Mayor (formerly County Executive) is Chief Executive Officer of the county. The County Mayor exercises a role of leadership in county government and is responsible for the County's fiscal management and other executive functions.

The County Mayor is the general agent of the county and thus may draw warrants upon the General Fund. The County Mayor has custody of county property not placed with other officers, and may also examine the accounts of county officers. The County Mayor is a nonvoting ex-officio member of the County Commission and of all its committees, and may be elected chairman of the county legislative body (a post that the County Mayor is not required to seek or accept). The County Mayor may call special meetings of the County Commission. Unless an optional general law or private act provides otherwise, the County Mayor compiles a budget for all county departments, offices, and agencies, which is presented to the County Commission.

The current Mayor of Hawkins County is Crockett Lee (R-Rogersville).

County Commission


The Hawkins County Board of Commissioners, also called the County Commission, is the legislative body of the County government and as such it is the primary policy-making body in the County. It consists of 21 elected members, three from each of the 7 civil districts of Hawkins County. Each member serves a four-year term of office.

The County Commission operates with a committee structure - most Commission business is first considered by a committee of its members before coming to the full Commission. The County Clerk serves as the Secretary to the Board of Commissioners and is responsible for maintaining all official records of the meetings.

Powers and responsibilities

The most important function of the county legislative body is the annual adoption of a budget to allocate expenditures within the three major funds of county government - general, school, and highway - and any other funds (such as debt service) that may be in existence in that particular county. The county legislative body has considerable discretion in dealing with the budget for all funds except the school budget, which in most counties must be accepted or rejected as a whole. If rejected, the school board must continue to propose alternatives until a budget is adopted by both the county school board and the county legislative body.

The county legislative body sets a property tax rate which, along with revenues from other county taxes and fees as well as state and federal monies allocated to the county, are used to fund the budget. The county legislative body is subject to various restrictions in imposing most taxes (such as referendum approval or rate limits, for example), although these do not apply to the property tax. The University of Tennessee's County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) publishes the County Revenue Manual to assist county officials in identifying sources of county revenue.

The county legislative body serves an important role in exercising local approval authority for private acts when the private act does not call for referendum approval. Private acts, which often give additional authority to counties, must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the members of the county legislative body or be approved by a referendum in order to become effective. The form of local approval required is specified in the private act. The county legislative body annually elects a chairman and a chairman pro tempore. The county legislative body may elect the county executive or a member of the body to be the chairman, although the county executive may refuse to serve. If the county executive is chairman, he or she may vote only to break a tie vote. If a member is chairman, the member votes as a member, but cannot vote again to break a tie. If the county executive is not chairman, he or she may veto most resolutions of the county legislative body, but this veto may be overridden by a majority vote. The majority vote that is required for this and the passage of resolutions or other measures is a majority of the entire actual membership of the county legislative body, and not a majority of the quorum, nor a majority of the authorized membership.

Another important function of the county legislative body is its role in electing county officers when there is a vacancy in an elected county office. The person elected by the county legislative body serves in the office for the remainder of the term or until a successor is elected, depending upon when the vacancy occurred. When filling a vacancy in a county office, the county legislative body must publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least one week prior to the meeting in which the vote will be taken. This notice must state the time, place and date of the meeting and the office to be filled. Also, members of the county legislative body must have at least ten days notice. The legislative body holds an open election to fill the vacancy and allows all citizens the privilege of offering as candidates.

Current members

* District 1: Allandale & Mt. Carmel
** Dwight Carter (Mt. Carmel)
** Larry Frost (Mt. Carmel)
** Christopher Jones (Mt. Carmel)

* District 2: Church Hill & McPheeter's Bend
** Barlow Long (Church Hill)
** Fred Montgomery (Church Hill)
** Tim Simpson (Church Hill)

* District 3: Carter's Valley, Wallace, & Watterson
** Danny Alvis (Surgoinsville)
** Kathy Derrick (Church Hill)
** Charles Thacker (Surgoinsville)

* District 4: Dykes, Keplar, North Rogersville, Surgoinsville, & Upper Beech
** Hanes Cooper (Surgoinsville)
** John Eidson (Surgoinsville)
** Virgil Mallett (Rogersville)

* District 5: Rogersville
** Boyd Goodson (Rogersville)
** Billy Henderson (Rogersville)
** Gorman Lipe (Rogersville)

* District 6: Alumwell, Choptack, Clinch, & Mooresburg
** Shane Bailey (Rogersville)
** Gary Hicks, Jr. (Rogersville)
** Claude Parrott (Rogersville)

* District 7: Bulls Gap, Cherokee, & St. Clair
** J. Carmel Maddox (Rogersville)
** Charlie Newton (Rogersville)
** Robert Palmer (Rogersville)


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 500 square miles (1,294 km²), of which, 487 square miles (1,260 km²) of it is land and 13 square miles (34 km²) of it (2.60%) is water.

Adjacent counties

*Lee County, Virginia (north)
*Sullivan County (east)
*Greene County (south)
*Hamblen County and Grainger County (southwest)
*Hancock County (west)
*Scott County, Virginia (northeast)

Major highways

*, Lee Highway
* "Primary State Highways"
**State Route 70, Trail of the Lonesome Pine
**State Route 66
**State Route 31
* "Secondary State Highways"
**State Route 94
**State Route 113
**State Route 344
**State Route 346
**State Route 347
**State Route 714


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 53,563 people, 21,936 households, and 15,925 families residing in the county. The population density was 110 people per square mile (42/km²). There were 24,416 housing units at an average density of 50 per square mile (19/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.24% White, 1.55% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. 0.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Age distribution

There were 21,936 households out of which 31.30% had children under the living with them, 59.30% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.40% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.30% under the , 7.50% from 18 to 24, 30.00% from 25 to 44, 25.90% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.


The median income for a household in the county was $31,300, and the median income for a family was $37,557. Males had a median income of $30,959 versus $22,082 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,073. About 12.70% of families and 15.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.40% of those under age 18 and 17.70% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

*Bulls Gap
*Church Hill
*Mount Carmel

Unincorporated communities


External links

* Hawkins County, Tennessee [http://www.hawkinscountytn.gov official county website]
* Town of Rogersville, Tennessee [http://www.rogersville-tn.com official town website]
* Rogersville/Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce [http://www.rogersville.us official website]


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