by W. Dale Carter, copyright 2000, Kingsport, TN
One of the very early settlers to locate in the present boundaries of Sullivan County, Tennessee was Alexander Cavett. He was born in Goochland County, Virginia and was in Sullivan County by 1777 as he signed the petition to form Washington County, Virginia in that year. At that time, all the land north of the South Fork of the Holston River was considered to be a part of the state of Virginia. Shortly after 1777, the line between Virginia and North Carolina was surveyed and the area Alexander settled was established as being a part of North Carolina. He obtained two land grants from the State of North Carolina, one located on the North side of the South Fork of the Holston River, issued 10 October 1784, and the other grant issued 3 October 1782, was directly across the river on the south side of the river. A part of Warriors Path State Park lies within the boundary of these grants as well as the east section of Colonial Heights that lies between the river and Tennessee State Route 36.
In the year 1789 Alexander Cavett began selling parts of his two land grants, and by 1790 he had disposed of all of his land holdings in Sullivan County.
He next showed up in Knox County, Tennessee as the court records show that he stated on 29 April 1792 that Susannah Cavett had departed this life.
Cavett acquired 640 acres in Knox County and built a fortification known as Cavett’s Station which most likely was a well-built log cabin with port holes and strong doors that
offered some defense against Indian attacks; however, the inhabitants of Cavett’s Station were ill-equipped to defend against a massive attack by the Cherokees lead by John Watts, Chief Doublehead and Robert Benge. The entire family of Alexander Cavett and a member of the Tennessee militia were killed in the attack against the fortification. The attack occurred on 25 September 1793 and the militiaman killed was Frances Bowery the 4th great-grandfather of my wife, Mary Bowery Carter.
It seems Frances Bowery was one of those unfortunate souls who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was a member of the Sullivan County militia under the command of Gilbert Christian, James Gregg’s company. Information was received that the Cherokee were becoming restless and were planning an attack on Knoxville. Gregg’s company of militia was dispatched to defend the fortification there. They made camp on the south side of the Tennessee River a few miles from Cavet Station. Apparently, Frances Bowery for some unknown reason did not spend the night with the militia but ended up at Cavet’s station; after all, Bowery & Cavet were neighbors in Sullivan County before Cavet moved to Knox County. The Indians attacked the Station on the morning of 25 September 1793 and all occupants of the station were murdered including Alexander Cavet and Francis Bowery.
*Research conducted by Mary Bowery Carter.