Early in the author’s Preface remarks (concerning books he had read about this hero), we are told “the fact that the youthful period in Sevier’s life had been neglected led me to write this little volume.” He then begins this biography in the 16th Century in the town of Xavier in the French Pyrenees. Explaining that some of the family of St. Francis (Xavier) had embraced the Protestant religion, he makes note that one of them, fleeing the Huguenot persecution, had settled in London. There the family name of Xavier was gradually changed to Sevier. In the 18th Century a son ran away from this home in England and came to the New World, where he (Valentine Sevier) found a home in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He met and married Joanna Goade, and when their first child was born on September 23, 1745, they named him John.
Having quickly moved through two centuries — from France to England to America — in giving some heritage details attending the birth of John Sevier, the author proceeds to describes his early life. He attended school in Virginia, and in addition to helping on the farm, he worked in his father’s store. Reference is made to fights with the Indians in his youth, and according to a son, his first military service and experience was on the Virginia frontiers. In 1761, while still in his teens, he married Sarah Hawkins. It was a happy union, and though Sevier prospered as a farmer, innkeeper, and merchant, he began to yearn for a new field of activity. Beginning to travel and explore in 1770, he soon turned his attention toward the wilderness of the great Southwest and the region known today as East Tennessee. After visiting the area a number of times, Sevier moved not only his wife and children but his parents, his brothers and sister and their families, arriving on Christmas Day, 1773. He was fully involved thereafter, a respected leader through forty-three years of incredible history. Having served as governor of the ill-fated State of Franklin, he was elected the first governor of Tennessee, serving a total of six terms. He then served in Congress until his death in 1815.