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Sullivan County, Tennessee
Sullivan-county-courthouse-tn1.jpg
Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville
Map of Tennessee highlighting Sullivan County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1779
Named for General John Sullivan[1]
Seat Blountville
Largest city Kingsport
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

430 sq mi (1,114 km²)
413 sq mi (1,070 km²)
16 sq mi (41 km²), 3.8%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

158,163
379/sq mi (146/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.sullivancountytn.gov

Sullivan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee on its northeast border. As of the 2020 census, the population was 158,163.[2] Its county seat is Blountville.[3]

Sullivan County is part of the KingsportJohnson CityBristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the KingsportJohnson CityBristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area, commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.

Sullivan is Tennessee's second-oldest county;[4] it was established in 1779 when the area was still part of North Carolina. From 1784 to 1788, it was part of the extra-legal State of Franklin.[5]

History[]

Sullivan County was created in 1779 from a portion of Washington County, and named for John Sullivan, a Patriot general in the Revolutionary War.[6] Long Island of the Holston in Kingsport was long an important center for the Cherokee, who occupied much of this territory. Later in 1761 the British colonists built Fort Robinson on Long Island, following the fall of Fort Loudoun further to the south. This attracted other settlers, and the Sullivan area became one of the earliest areas of Tennessee to be settled by European Americans.[1]

As political tensions rose prior to the American Civil War, Sullivan County was one of the few East Tennessee counties to support secession. It became known as the Little Confederacy. In Tennessee's June 1861 referendum, the county voted 1,586 to 627 in favor of secession.[7]

Geography[]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 430 square miles (1,100 km2), of which 413 square miles (1,070 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (3.8%) is water.[8] The western portion of the county lies within the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, which are characterized by long, narrow ridges roughly oriented northeast-to-southwest. The northeastern end of Bays Mountain, part of the Ridge-and-Valley range, rises southwest of Kingsport. The eastern portion of the county lies within the Blue Ridge Mountains.[9] Holston Mountain, which at 4,284 feet (1,306 m) is the highest point in Sullivan, straddles the county's eastern boundary with Johnson County.

In Kingsport, the South Fork Holston River and the North Fork Holston River join to form the Holston River, one of the tributaries of the Tennessee River. The Watauga River, a tributary of the South Fork Holston, forms part of Sullivan's boundary with Washington County to the south. The North Fork Holston forms part of Sullivan's boundary with Hawkins County to the west. Fort Patrick Henry Dam and Boone Dam both create large artificial lakes along the South Fork Holston southeast of Kingsport.

Blountville, Sullivan's county seat, is Tennessee's only unincorporated county seat.

Morrell Cave[]

Morrell Cave (also known as Worleys Cave) is a Tennessee State Natural Area. The cave has a surveyed length of 4.4 miles (7.1 km), making it the second-longest cave in East Tennessee and the 177th longest cave in the United States.[10][11] Morrell Cave is located on the south side of the Holston River, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east of Bluff City.

During the Civil War, the cave was a major source of saltpeter, the main ingredient of gunpowder. Significant evidence of this mining activity remains in the cave, including evidence of large amounts of saltpeter-bearing dirt having been removed, pick marks in the dirt, and an elaborate system of trails used by the miners. Cave historian Marion O. Smith has determined that two companies of the Confederate Nitre and Mining Bureau, District No. 7, were active in Sullivan County.[12]

Adjacent counties and independent city[]

National protected areas[]

  • Appalachian Trail (part)
  • Cherokee National Forest (part)

State protected areas[]

  • Morrell's Cave State Natural Area
  • Rocky Mount State Historic Site
  • Warriors' Path State Park

Other protected areas[]

  • Bays Mountain Park (part)

Major highways[]

  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 I-26
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 I-81
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-11E
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-11W
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-19
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-19E
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-19W
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-23
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 US-421
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link TN|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev TN]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link TN|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev TN]]
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  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link Sec|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev Sec]]
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  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link TN|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev TN]]
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  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link Dual|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev Dual]]
  • Template:Jct/plate/TN/1 [[Template:Infobox road/TN/link Sec|Template:Infobox road/TN/abbrev Sec]]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 10,218
1810 6,847 −33.0%
1820 7,015 2.5%
1830 10,073 43.6%
1840 10,736 6.6%
1850 11,742 9.4%
1860 13,552 15.4%
1870 13,136 −3.1%
1880 18,321 39.5%
1890 20,879 14.0%
1900 24,935 19.4%
1910 28,120 12.8%
1920 36,259 28.9%
1930 51,087 40.9%
1940 69,085 35.2%
1950 95,063 37.6%
1960 114,139 20.1%
1970 127,329 11.6%
1980 143,968 13.1%
1990 143,596 −0.3%
2000 153,048 6.6%
2010 156,823 2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2020[2]

Age pyramid Sullivan County[17]

2020 census[]

Sullivan County racial composition[18]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 143,354 90.64%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 3,197 2.02%
Native American 350 0.22%
Asian 1,270 0.8%
Pacific Islander 36 0.02%
Other/Mixed 6,408 4.05%
Hispanic or Latino 3,548 2.24%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 158,163 people, 68,560 households, and 44,284 families residing in the county.

2010 census[]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 156,281 people living in the county. 95.5% were White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 2.2% of some other race and 1.0% of two or more races. 4.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

2000 census[]

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 153,048 people, 63,556 households, and 44,806 families living in the county. The population density was 371 people per square mile (143/km2). There were 69,052 housing units at an average density of 167 per square mile (65/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.55% White, 1.89% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 63,556 households, out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.10% were married couples living together, 10.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.50% were non-families according to the United States Census Bureau. Of 63,556 households, 1,915 are unmarried partner households: 1,702 heterosexual, 97 same-sex male, 116 same-sex female. 26.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.80% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 26.50% from 45 to 64, and 15.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,529, and the median income for a family was $41,025. Males had a median income of $31,204 versus $21,653 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,202. About 9.70% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.10% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.


Government[]

Sullivan County, like most of rural Tennessee, is heavily Republican, but, unlike most of East Tennessee, has not voted consistently Republican since the Civil War. Being one of only six counties in East Tennessee and the only county in Northeast Tennessee to support the Confederacy, Sullivan County voted mostly consistently Democratic between the end of the Civil War and the mid-20th century, the only county in East Tennessee to do so. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Sullivan County was southerner Jimmy Carter in 1976.

United States presidential election results for Sullivan County, Tennessee[20]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 55,860 75.12% 17,272 23.23% 1,225 1.65%
2016 46,979 75.43% 12,578 20.20% 2,721 4.37%
2012 43,562 72.74% 15,321 25.58% 1,004 1.68%
2008 44,808 70.02% 18,354 28.68% 835 1.30%
2004 42,555 67.94% 19,637 31.35% 447 0.71%
2000 33,482 60.08% 21,354 38.32% 891 1.60%
1996 29,296 54.42% 20,571 38.21% 3,970 7.37%
1992 28,801 50.55% 20,935 36.74% 7,244 12.71%
1988 32,996 64.73% 17,396 34.13% 585 1.15%
1984 36,516 67.83% 16,925 31.44% 394 0.73%
1980 25,963 51.44% 22,341 44.27% 2,166 4.29%
1976 22,087 47.23% 23,353 49.94% 1,322 2.83%
1972 27,593 71.64% 10,007 25.98% 917 2.38%
1968 20,251 50.60% 9,783 24.44% 9,991 24.96%
1964 17,703 47.59% 19,496 52.41% 0 0.00%
1960 22,354 59.46% 14,731 39.18% 513 1.36%
1956 18,903 56.42% 14,106 42.10% 497 1.48%
1952 15,596 56.58% 11,849 42.99% 118 0.43%
1948 6,984 46.19% 7,626 50.44% 510 3.37%
1944 5,223 45.24% 6,290 54.49% 31 0.27%
1940 4,153 36.36% 7,234 63.34% 34 0.30%
1936 3,492 35.65% 6,269 64.00% 34 0.35%
1932 2,999 35.52% 5,322 63.04% 121 1.43%
1928 4,149 56.33% 3,216 43.67% 0 0.00%
1924 2,247 39.95% 3,313 58.90% 65 1.16%
1920 3,593 45.37% 4,327 54.63% 0 0.00%
1916 1,776 40.51% 2,601 59.33% 7 0.16%
1912 538 12.72% 2,413 57.07% 1,277 30.20%
1908 1,836 43.09% 2,393 56.16% 32 0.75%
1904 1,506 41.06% 2,116 57.69% 46 1.25%
1900 1,739 41.25% 2,421 57.42% 56 1.33%
1896 1,914 42.70% 2,512 56.05% 56 1.25%
1892 1,304 33.26% 2,281 58.17% 336 8.57%
1888 1,513 39.36% 2,255 58.66% 76 1.98%
1884 1,298 36.98% 2,176 61.99% 36 1.03%
1880 1,207 34.77% 2,264 65.23% 0 0.00%



Richard Venable is the county mayor. The county commission has 24 members.[21] Before 2010, commissioners were elected on a nonpartisan basis, but Sullivan County's commission election became a partisan election in 2010 after the county Republican Party decided to conduct a primary election for commission seats.[22]


Current composition of the Sullivan County Commission[]

District Member Location
District 1 Randy C. Morrell Bristol, TN
District 2 David Akard Bristol, TN
Mark Hutton Bristol, TN
Mark Vance Bristol, TN
District 3 Andrew Cross Bristol, TN
District 4 Michael Cole Blountville, TN
Joyce Crosswhite Blountville, TN
Tony Leonard Bristol, TN
District 5 Hershel Glover Bluff City, TN
Dwight Kings Piney Flats, TN
District 6 Judy Blalock Kingsport, TN
Todd Broughton Kingsport, TN
Terry Harkleroad Kingsport, TN
District 7 Sam Jones Kingsport, TN
Angie Stanley Kingsport, TN
District 8 Darlene Calton Kingsport, TN
Alicia Starnes Kingsport, TN
District 9 Collette George Kingsport, TN
Doug Woods Kingsport, TN
District 10 Larry Crawford Kingsport, TN
Gary Stidham Kingsport, TN
District 11 John Gardner Kingsport, TN
Hunter Locke Kingsport, TN
Archie Pierce Kingsport, TN

Communities[]

Cities[]

Census-designated places[]

  • Bloomingdale
  • Blountville (county seat)
  • Colonial Heights
  • Orebank
  • Spurgeon (partial)
  • Sullivan Gardens
  • Walnut Hill

Unincorporated communities[]

  • Arcadia
  • Boring
  • Buffalo
  • Cedar Grove (east)
  • Cedar Grove (west)
  • Fordtown
  • Holston Valley
  • Lynn Garden
  • Morrison City
  • Piney Flats

Notable people[]

  • Besse Cooper, (1896-2012), age 116, the world's oldest living person from June 21, 2011, until her death on December 4, 2012.
  • Austin Augustus King (1802–1870), American lawyer, politician, and military officer. Tenth governor of Missouri and a one-term United States congressman.

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Sullivan County, Tennessee

Further reading[]

  • Sullivan County, Tennessee Veterans History. Nashville: Turner Publishing Company (2001). ISBN 1-56311-774-6

References[]

  1. ^ a b Blythe Semmer, "Sullivan County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 7 April 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/47/47163.html. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  4. ^ Sullivan County official website. Retrieved: 6 November 2013.
  5. ^ J.D. Lewis, "North Carolina Counties from 1664 to Present," 2004. Retrieved: 7 April 2013.
  6. ^ Tennessee's Counties, Tennessee Blue Book, 2006.
  7. ^ Oliver Perry Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War (R. Clarke Company, 1899), p. 199.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. http://www2.census.gov/geo/docs/maps-data/data/gazetteer/counties_list_47.txt. 
  9. ^ Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, et al., "Ambient Air Monitoring Plan," Environmental Protection Agency website, 1 July 2010. Accessed: 18 March 2015.
  10. ^ Bob Gulden, USA Long Cave List, April 16, 2007
  11. ^ Larry E. Matthews, Caves of Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains (National Speleological Society, June 2008), pp. 253-276. ISBN 978-1-879961-30-2
  12. ^ Laurie Adams, "History of Morrell Cave, Part I" (Flittermouse Grotto of the National Speleological Society, August 1984).
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  15. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/tn190090.txt. 
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  17. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  18. ^ "Explore Census Data". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?g=0500000US47163&tid=DECENNIALPL2020.P2. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  20. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 
  21. ^ Sullivan County Commissioner Information, official county website. Retrieved: 7 April 2013.
  22. ^ John Osbourne, Partisan elections on tap for Sullivan County Commission, Kingsport Times News, November 20, 2009

External links[]

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Coordinates: 36°31′N 82°18′W / 36.51, -82.30


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Sullivan County, Tennessee. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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