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Tazewell is a town in and the county seat of Claiborne County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,165 at the 2000 census and 2,218 at the 2010 census. The town is named for Henry Tazewell (1753–1799), a U.S. senator from Virginia.
In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker of Virginia publicized the location of Cumberland Gap, which brought a stream of long hunters down the Clinch and Powell valleys into what is now Claiborne County. The land at the time was part of Cherokee and Shawnee hunting grounds, and hostile attacks by members of these two tribes were not uncommon. To protect themselves, hunters, fur traders and early settlers erected a series of small forts and stations along the Powell and Clinch valleys. One such station, known as Fort Butler, was located just west of modern Tazewell.
Among the earliest settlers in the Tazewell area was John Hunt (1750–1822), a militia captain who would later be instrumental in the founding of Huntsville, Alabama. In 1804, three years after the creation of Claiborne County, Tazewell was chosen as the county seat due in part to Hunt's influence (although a local legend states that the residents of Tazewell's rival for the seat, Springdale, were too intoxicated to vote on the day of selection). Hunt was named the county's first sheriff, and the government met at his house until a courthouse was constructed. The original courthouse was a wooden structure which had hitching posts for horses in front.
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