Sevier, John (1745–1815), a United States frontiersman, soldier, and political leader. He played an important role in the history of Tennessee prior to statehood and served as the first governor of the state of Tennessee.
Sevier was born near New Market, Virginia. In 1773 he moved to the far western frontier of North Carolina (later included within the borders of Tennessee). There he helped direct the Wautauga Association, the local governing body in the region. During the Revolutionary War, he led frontiersmen across the Great Smoky Mountains to defeat the British at Kings Mountain, South Carolina (1780), and he later led raids against the Cherokees. After the war, Sevier became involved in various land-speculation ventures.
In 1784 North Carolina turned its western frontier over to the central government. The settlers in the region rejected this move, however, and formed the separate state of Franklin, with Sevier as governor. Denied recognition and beset by rivalries, Franklin collapsed. Sevier was pardoned for his separatist activities and in 1789 was elected to the first U.S. Congress from North Carolina's western district. When the state of Tennessee was organized, he was chosen governor, serving 1796–1801 and 1803–09. He represented Tennessee in Congress, 1811–15.