The Sevier Family Association is holding its 2016 reunion in Knoxville July 14-17, with descendants from several states attending.


They will honor their family patriarch and the state’s first governor with a wreath laying ceremony at 11:30 a.m., Sunday, July 17. The ceremony will also remember Sevier’s two wives, Sarah Hawkins and “Bonny Kate” Sherrill.  Sarah actually died in upper East Tennessee while the settlers were huddled together in a fort seeking safety from an Indian attack. Sarah had given birth only a short time before and became very ill and died in the fort.  It was unsafe to leave to leave the fort during the day, and the settlers had to wait until dark to venture out and dig a grave in the dark woods. John Sevier insisted that all of his children be present for the funeral. By the time the grave was ready, it was nearly midnight, and just as they gathered around the grave, a huge thunder and lightning storm blew through.  The location of Sarah’s grave is unknown, and a cenotaph on the Knox County Courthouse lawn marks her memory.


John Sevier died while running a treaty line in Alabama and was buried there until half a century later interested citizens obtained permission to disinter the body and return it to Knoxville for reburial on the courthouse lawn. One of the largest crowds in the city’s history gathered to witness the frontier hero’s reburial.


Bonny Kate Sevier later moved to Alabama with some of her children and died there.  Her body, also, was returned to Knoxville for reburial.