Correcting the Myths about historic Sullivan County
Documentation is "key"
In historical and genealogical research, it is imperative that we properly document our history based upon court records, early manuscripts, ledgers and other extant records that were created closest to the time of any given historical event. Sound historical research is seldom seen today, especially in today's world of advanced computer technology where many "collectors" of history turn for a quick fix.
Oral traditions and family traditions, especially without supporting documentation, often overshadow or eradicate the truths about our past. Over a period of 200 years, facts can become largely distorted as traditions are handed down, often changing generation by generation, resulting in nothing more than "stories" about the past. Even a 1940-1950 newspaper article may contain a hint of truth; however, one must safeguard against accepting such an article verbatim. A thorough check of the court records is mandatory in such cases.
Good researchers are few and far between, largely because of the amount of time it takes to conduct sound research using actual court records and early manuscripts. Further, good researchers learn early on that oral traditions and family traditions must be laid aside. While these oral traditions may lend for a good story, it is sad but true that many folks latch on to oral traditions or anything in print, without ever seeking to prove or disprove, and without building a good hypothesis based on solid documentation.
In conclusion, documentation is "key"... It is imperative that we correct the myths and traditions regarding some aspects of history in Sullivan County.
Corrections to Sullivan County History
Sullivan County, Tennessee is fortunate to have some excellent historical researchers in this area.
One of those is W. Dale Carter of Kingsport, Tennessee, who has researched early land records and manuscripts for many years to thoroughly document our history, and to kindly offer corrections that would clearly eliminate some of the myths.
Mr. Carter's well-documented articles include full documentation, illustrations and photos which offer such corrections.
See Manuscript Collection 0062 for corrections regarding the history of Moses Looney's Fort, Yancey's Tavern, the Edward Cox home, Daniel Boone's cabin at Netherland Inn, and more.
Please contact us if you have documentation that might disprove some of the myths about the history of Sullivan County.