Hawkins County Pioneer Women

“Dedication” from Hawkins County, TN: A Pictorial History
by Henry Price, Hawkins County Historian


This book is respectfully dedicated to the pioneer women who first made their way to the waters of the upper Holston. They are the unsung heroines of this saga; the settling of the wilderness that would become known as Hawkins County, Tennessee.

They came with husbands or fathers across the Alleghenies and down the buffalo trails of Virginia or through the mountain gaps of North Carolina. Side by side they came and step for step. A few came on horseback, even fewer by wagon[;] some came down the river on a log raft. But[,] most of them came on foot. They, too, climbed the mountains and forded the rivers to reach a new land — a land fraught with danger and death, but a land that held the promise of a new life.

They endured hostile Indians, harsh weather, wild animals, accidents, disease, childbirth, and death. They married young; and they bore and nursed the babies; doctored them and husbands as best they could in a time and place when there were no doctors and no medicines. Privation and death were their constant companions. Often times, they buried a child or a husband or a parent along the trail and kept going, bearing their grief silently and alone.

The pioneer woman helped clear new grounds for crops and pastures for the cow and, with the most meager list of furniture and utensils, turned a rough lean-to or log cabin into a home. During Indian raids[,] she fought side by side with her husband[,] either keeping his rifle loaded or using one of her own. When he was away hunting or at war[,] she kept the rifle primed and cocked and, through necessity, knew how to use it. If there were no rifle[,] she used whatever implement was at hand and often fought to the death to defend herself and her children.

It was the pioneer women who insisted upon churches being built and schools started. They kept body and soul together for the family and for the community. And they grew old before their time. And they died young. And we owe them our very existence.

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The text on this page is copyright ¬©Henry Price. No infringement is intended by its use. Rather, it is presented here in appreciation for Mr. Price’s work to preserve Hawkins County’s history.

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