The first permanent European settlers in what’s now upper east Tennessee were William and Lydia Bean, who arrived in the lower Watauga River area in 1769. They were followed by other settlers, including John Carter, who established a trading post on the Holston River in present-day Hawkins County, in Carter’s Valley, which was named after him.
In 1772, Carter moved to the area of the Sycamore shoals, at the Watauga Settlement, where he built a fine mansion along the Watauga River. That house still stands today, and is the oldest frame house in Tennessee, as well as the first build in the area to have actual glass windows.
John Carter’s son, Landon, was a prominent citizen of the settlement, serving in the governments of North Carolina, Franklin, the Southwest Territory and Tennessee. Carter County is named after him, and the county seat of Elizabethton is named for his wife, Elizabeth Carter.