William Blount, a Founding Father of Tennessee

William BlountOn March 26, 1749, signer of the Constitution and early political leader William Blount was born in Bertie County.

Blount served in the Continental Army as paymaster before being elected to six terms as a state representative and senator. He went on to accept a position with the Continental Congress, and later served both state conventions called to consider adopting the U.S. Constitution.

A supporter of handing the state’s western lands over to the federal government, Blount became territorial governor of what’s now Tennessee. After leaving North Carolina, Blount worked as the federal Superintendent of Indian Affairs and helped found the state of Tennessee, chairing the convention that drafted the Volunteer State’s first constitution in 1796.

When Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796, Blount was elected to the U.S. Senate, but the following year he was expelled from that body for having been involved in a scheme to incite the Creek and Cherokees to aid the British in conquering Spanish-held West Florida.

After leaving Congress, Blount was elected to the Tennessee state senate and chosen as president at its first session in December 1797. He died in Knoxville in 1800.