The so-called "saddle" of the Cumberland Gap -- a place through which generations of pioneers passed
County Seat: Tazewell
At the northern edge of Claiborne County -- where Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia all intersect -- is a low point in the mountains known as the Cumberland Gap. You might not even notice it today, but it is one of the most important places in American history. Click here
to take our virtual tour of it.
A statue of Lincoln at the museum at Lincoln Memorial University
Also in Claiborne County: You wouldn’t expect to find a university and museum honoring Abraham Lincoln in Tennessee
, but there is one in here. Here's
the story behind it: During the Civil War, Lincoln
was conferring with a Union General named Oliver Otis Howard about the people of this part of East Tennessee (who were loyal to the Union but had endured many hardships during the war). The president reportedly said: “General, if you come out of this horror and misery alive, and I pray to God that you may, I want you to do something for those mountain people who have been shut out of the world for years. I know them.” Keep in mind that Lincoln
was born in Kentucky
and that his grandfather was from Jackson County, Tennessee.
In the 1890s, the Reverend A. A. Myers, a missionary doing work in the Cumberland Gap
area, approached General Howard about starting a college in the Cumberland Gap
area on the site of a bankrupt resort. Remembering his conversation with Lincoln
, Howard raised most of the money to start the school. Today there is a museum of Lincoln
artifacts at Lincoln Memorial University
for you to come see.
We visited (and photographed) the Claiborne County Courthouse.