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Cocke County, Tennessee facts for kids

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Cocke County
County of Cocke
Cocke County Courthouse in Newport
Cocke County Courthouse in Newport
Map of Tennessee highlighting Cocke County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
Founded October 9, 1797
Named for William Cocke
Seat Newport
Largest city Newport
 • Total 443 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 435 sq mi (1,130 km2)
 • Water 8.6 sq mi (22 km2)  1.9%%
 • Total 35,999 Increase
 • Density 82/sq mi (32/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Cocke County is a county on the eastern border of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,662. Its county seat is Newport. Cocke County comprises the Newport, TN Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, Tennessee Combined Statistical Area.


Before the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now Cocke County probably was inhabited by Cherokees. The first recorded European settlement in the county was in 1783 when land near the fork of the French Broad and the Pigeon Rivers was cleared and cultivated. The earliest European settlers were primarily Scots-Irish, Dutch, and Germans who came to the area over the mountains from the Carolinas or through Virginia from Pennsylvania and other northern states.

The county was established by an Act of the Tennessee General Assembly on October 9, 1797, from a part of Jefferson County, Tennessee. It was named for William Cocke, one of the state's first United States Senators.

Like many East Tennessee counties, Cocke County was largely pro-Union on the eve of the Civil War. In Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession referendum on June 8, 1861, the county's residents voted 1,185 to 518 against secession.


View from the slopes of Old Black

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 443 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 435 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 8.6 square miles (22 km2) (1.9%) is water. The southern part of the county is located within the Great Smoky Mountains, and is protected by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The northern part of the county is situated within the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians. The county's highest point is Old Black, which rises to 6,370 feet (1,940 m) in the Smokies along the county's border with North Carolina. English Mountain, a large ridge that peaks at 3,629 feet (1,106 m), dominates the northwestern part of the county.

Cocke County is drained by the French Broad River, which traverses the northern part of the county and forms much of its boundary with Jefferson County. A portion of this river is part of Douglas Lake, an artificial reservoir created by Douglas Dam further downstream. The Pigeon River flows northward across the county and empties into the French Broad north of Newport at Irish Bottoms.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

State protected areas

  • Rankin Wildlife Management Area (part)
  • Martha Sundquist State Forest

Major Highways

  • I-40
  • US 25
  • US 25E
  • US 25W
  • US 321
  • US 411
  • SR 32
  • Tennessee 73.svgSecondary Tennessee 73.svg SR 73


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 5,154
1820 4,892 −5.1%
1830 6,017 23.0%
1840 6,992 16.2%
1850 8,300 18.7%
1860 10,408 25.4%
1870 12,458 19.7%
1880 14,808 18.9%
1890 16,523 11.6%
1900 19,153 15.9%
1910 19,399 1.3%
1920 20,782 7.1%
1930 21,775 4.8%
1940 24,083 10.6%
1950 22,991 −4.5%
1960 23,390 1.7%
1970 25,283 8.1%
1980 28,792 13.9%
1990 29,141 1.2%
2000 33,565 15.2%
2010 35,662 6.2%
2020 35,999 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2014
USA Cocke County, Tennessee.csv age pyramid
Age distribution of Cocke County

2020 census

Cocke County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 32,733 90.93%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 582 1.62%
Native American 126 0.35%
Asian 150 0.42%
Pacific Islander 9 0.03%
Other/Mixed 1,445 4.01%
Hispanic or Latino 954 2.65%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 35,999 people, 14,060 households, and 9,196 families residing in the county.


Cocke County Memorial Building Newport Tennessee
Cocke County Memorial Building in Newport



Unincorporated communities

Former communities

In popular culture

The novel Christy and the television series of the same name are based on historical events, actual people, and localities of Cocke County. The fictional small town of El Pano, where the novel begins, is based on the existing village of Del Rio, Tennessee. The fictional Cutter Gap, where most of the plot unfolds, represents the locale now known as Chapel Hollow. Several area landmarks associated with the story are marked for visitors, including the site of the Ebenezer Mission in Chapel Hollow, which is located off the Old Fifteenth Rd., about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Del Rio.

The e-novel Mountain Treachery, a Christian fiction novel written by Matt Reid, is set in Cocke County.

Notable residents

  • Ben W. Hooper, governor of Tennessee from 1911 to 1915
  • Popcorn Sutton, moonshiner
  • Marshall Teague, actor
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