The City of Kingsport received its name from a simplification of the name "King's Port" which was the old name given to the area along the Holston River by early pioneers. The Long Island of the Holston River in Kingsport was the home of the sacred council of local Cherokee and was a meeting place for treaties and other dealings with other Native American tribes, early pioneers, and settlers. In 1822, the Holston River was first chartered by boat. Early pioneers and settlers used the river to transport products and people to Knoxville, where the Holston meets up with the Tennessee River. From there pioneers quickly discovered that the conjoining river systems could lead to the Ohio River and eventually to the Mississippi River and Gulf of New Orleans.The development of the use of the Holston River for transportation and commerce brought many jobs and settlers to the area.
The City of Kingsport has had a myriad of monikers in history. The early Native American inhabitants of the area referred to it as Peace Island or Big Island. Early colonial settlers referred to the area as the Long Island and Island Flats. During the 1700's, the area was referred to as Fort Robinson and Fort Patrick Henry, due to the existing forts at the time. The city has also been named Christiansville and Rossville, after prominent land owners in the area. None of these names, however, have been official names of recognized settlements/towns. The name Kingsport was accepted in the late 18th century. It does not stem from King George or any other crown, but from Col. James King, who owned the King's Mill Station at the mouth of Reedy Creek and used the Holston River to ship commodities.The success of his business, gave the city its name, because the area was being referred to as King's Port, which eventually evolved into Kingsport. Col. James King is also known for serving in the Revolutionary War and bringing in the first iron furnace into Tennessee.
Kingsport was first in the territory of Virginia and later in the colony of North Carolina. It was also a part of the short lived State of Franklin, but in 1802 Tennessee drew up new borders with Virginia and Kingsport has been a part of Tennessee ever since.
Kingsport has a rich and full history and is home to many sites and attractions that promote the history of Kingsport and eastern Tennessee. To find out more information about the historic sites and attractions in and around Kingsport please refer to list below.