Lincoln County

Joseph Greer’s grave


Lincoln County has some Revolutionary War history.

Many historians believe the Battle of Kings Mountain was the turning point of the American Revolution. This battle took place in present-day South Carolina, and 500 of the American soldiers who fought there were from Tennessee.

After the battle, Colonel John Sevier chose a soldier named Joseph Greer to deliver the message about the battle to the American Congress in Philadelphia. Greer, who was six foot six inches tall, made the journey by himself, avoiding hostile Native Americans and British soldiers the whole way.

When Greer got to Congress, the doorkeeper tried to bar his entrance. But the huge veteran of Kings Mountain pushed him aside and delivered the message to the representatives there, who were thrilled with the news.

“With soldiers like that,” George Washington said, “no wonder the frontiersmen won.”

Greer later moved to a part of the frontier now known as Lincoln County, Tennessee. He is buried near the community of Petersburg.

The Bearden’s Mill bridge in Lincoln County,
about 1905

Lincoln County isn’t named for President Abraham Lincoln (after all, most people from this part of Tennessee fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War). But it is named for a northerner — a Revolutionary War General from Massachusetts named Benjamin Lincoln.

The Bearden’s Mill Bridge in 2009

They take pride in their heritage in Lincoln County, and there’s even a small local history museum there (you can visit it on the web here). The museum is located in an old milk bottling plant that opened in 1927 and closed in 1967.

Admiral Frank Kelso

Another tidbit about Lincoln County: Tennessee has a great heritage of naval heroes, such as Admiral David Farragut (from Knoxville), Admiral William Lawrence (Nashville), and Captain Robert Anderson (Bakerville).

Also included in this esteemed group is Vice Admiral Frank Kelso, chief of naval operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. As you will see if you visit the Fayetteville/Lincoln County Museum, Kelso was from Fayetteville.

By the way, the nearby town of Kelso, Tennessee, was named for his great great uncle Henry Kelso.