James White Photo

James White

Death: Aug 14, 1821

Birthplace: Rowan County

Nationality: United States

James White

Date of Death : Aug 14, 1821
Birth Place : Rowan County

James White was an American pioneer and soldier who founded Knoxville, Tennessee, in the early 1790s. Born in Rowan County, North Carolina, White served as a captain in the county's militia during the American Revolutionary War. In 1783, he led an expedition into the upper Tennessee Valley, where he discovered the future site of Knoxville. White served in various official capacities with the failed State of Franklin before building White's Fort in 1786. The fort was chosen as the capital of the Southwest Territory in 1790, and White donated the land for a permanent city, Knoxville, in 1791. He represented Knox County at Tennessee's constitutional convention in 1796. During the Creek War, White served as a brigadier general in the Tennessee militia. White had a reputation for patience and tactfulness that was often lacking in his fellow Euro-American settlers on the Appalachian frontier. As lieutenant colonel commandant of the Knox County militia, White managed to defuse a number of potentially hostile situations between the settlers and the local Native Americans. He donated the land for many of Knoxville's early public buildings, and helped establish Blount College.


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