Jonesborough, Tennessee

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Jonesborough is a town in and the county seat of Washington County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The population was 4,168 at the 2000 census. It is Tennessee's oldest town.

Jonesborough is part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–KingsportBristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.



Jonesborough was founded in 1779, seventeen years before Tennessee was granted statehood. It was named after North Carolina legislator, Willie Jones, who supported North Carolina's westward expansion over the Appalachian Mountains.[3]

The town was originally a part of North Carolina. In 1784, Jonesborough was one of the towns that attempted to create a new state called the State of Franklin, named after American founding father Benjamin Franklin. The State of Franklin, however, was never recognized by Congress, and was re-claimed by North Carolina by 1788.

Jonesborough is often considered to be the center of the abolitionist movement within the states that would join the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Elihu Embree printed his publication, The Emancipator, from the town of Jonesborough. Circulation began in 1820, making The Emancipator the first American periodical to be dedicated exclusively to the issue of the abolition of slavery. While Tennessee would later join the Confederacy, most East Tennesseans had Union leanings.

In the 1840s, Jonesborough was home to the Jonesborough Whig, a polemical newspaper published by William G. "Parson" Brownlow. Brownlow and rival editor Landon Carter Haynes brawled in the streets of Jonesborough in May 1840, and over the next several years bashed one another in their respective papers, each managing at times to thwart one another's political ambitions. Haynes left the newspaper business in 1845, and Brownlow (who later served as governor) moved the Whig to Knoxville in 1849.[4]

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