Hamblen County founder honored in ceremony

(MORRISTOWN) During a small ceremony June 4 at the Hamblen County Courthouse, Colonel Billy Greene was the focus of an event honoring him for his role in the founding of Hamblen County as the county’s birthday approaches.

In 1870, Colonel Greene was serving his first term as State Senator representing the area and was instrumental in building support for a plan that would sever portions of Jefferson, Grainger, and Hawkins Counties in order to form the new county of Hamblen, with the city of Morristown as the county seat.

June 8, 1870, Governor Dewitt Senter signed Hamblen County into existence.

For his role in the creation of the new county, Senator Greene was given the privilege of naming the new county. Greene chose to honor his maternal grandfather, Hezekiah Hamblen, as the namesake of Tennessee’s newest county.

A painting, which had been previously displayed in former State Representative Tilman Goins’ Nashville office, was donated to the county by Morristown artist, Mike Everidge, and graciously accepted by Mayor Bill Brittain.

Mayor Brittain praised the talents of Everidge, and stated, “The preservation, understanding, and retelling of our history is important for the people of Hamblen County and our culture.” Brittain added, “With this painting on public display, it will serve as a reminder to all citizens of our history, and how our County came into existence.”

Everidge stated that it was a real honor as an artist to see his work chosen as a vehicle to help tell the greater story of the history of his home county.

Also in attendance were two of Senator Greene’s direct descendants. Rick Hartman of Morristown, and Randy Pyne of Knoxville, are both Fourth-Great grandsons of Greene.

2020 was the official 150th Anniversary of the creation of Hamblen County, but due to pandemic restrictions, many of the events had to be postponed. The opening of a time capsule from the courthouse lawn has been reschedule to September of this year.