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Pioneers blazed the trail and settled in Tennessee

One dictionary definition of “Pioneer” is “one of the first to settle in a territory.” Another definition is “a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region,” thus opening it for occupation and development by others. Tennessee was settled by a courageous, independent type of people that could correctly be called Pioneers. Life was rough and dangerous, but the dream of a better life drove men and women to come to what is now Tennessee. They came mainly from Virginia and North Carolina with a few from Pennsylvania. A man named John Honeycutt was one of the earliest explorers and settlers in what is now Johnson County, Tennessee. Later Daniel Boone, who was a “Long Hunter,” led expeditions into Tennessee. Long hunters were so named due to their length of travel and extensive stay in the wilderness. While Boone was not a settler, he founded settlements in Kentucky and made it possible for others to do so. He was interested in encouraging settlement in the western frontier. Boone came through what is now Johnson County more than once as he blazed a trail to Kentucky. It has long been held that Boone came through what is now Zionville, North Carolina; Boone, North Carolina; Trade, Tennessee; Mountain City, Tennessee; Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee; and Damascus, Virginia on one or more of his treks.
James Millican also came to what is now Johnson County, bringing some tools and other needed items as he settled in the verdant land that would later become Johnson County and East Tennessee. Another visitor to the area was James Robertson. Robertson was not a permanent settler, but he stayed for one growing season. After that he continued on to what would become Middle Tennessee. Robertson was called the “Father of Tennessee” due to his work in settling Middle Tennessee. Other pioneers followed. Pioneers who settled in the area were attracted to the beauty and rich soil that was abundant in Johnson County, Tennessee. Of course, one of the first things they did was to clear an area of trees and build a log cabin. The rifle and the axe were tools that were indispensible to the pioneers and their way of life. There was no formal schooling but there was learning nevertheless. A knowledge and skill of hunting, tracking, growing seed, and hewing was needful to survive in the harsh wilderness. The skill of hunting, growing, and tracking provided the food and clothing. The knowledge of best use of the axe was used to build lean-tos and cabins and other wooden items. It was a difficult life but settlers chose it due to their independent nature and to their quest for more space, their need for new ground and some for their dissatisfaction with their political leaders from where they came.