Pioneer Settler, Revolutionary War Colonel
by Arian Finley
Sevier Station is Clarksville’s oldest building, built in 1792 on a 640-acre purchased with the Revolutionary War grant of Valentine Sevier II. Although the Native-Virginian is little known, he is a pioneer who experienced Clarksville before it was established as Clarksville.
Born in 1747, Valentine Sevier II was the second son of his namesake, Valentine “The Immigrant” Sevier, the latter of which came to Baltimore in America from London, 1740. “The Immigrant” married and quickly rose in prestige, eventually rising to the position of local tax and toll collector. He had seven children--the oldest, John Sevier, would eventually become the first governor of Tennessee in 1796. Valentine Sevier II took after his father and gained a reputation upon settling in Washington County, the oldest county in Tennessee. Their settling was a direct attempt to seize Indian territory by multiple pioneers, and soon further cemented its establishment by the placement of civic roles. Valentine served as Washington County’s first sheriff and later as a Justice of the court. Eventually, Valentine and John would attempt to establish the state of Franklin in what would later be East Tennessee. This attempt, however, was unsuccessful. While John focused on a political career, Valentine preferred expansion, eventually settling a few miles from the Cumberland in what is now Clarksville, Tennessee.
Like several of his family members, Valentine had been a part of the militia, even fighting in the Revolutionary War and earning the rank of colonel. Much of his life, however, was coated in various wars with the Native Americans. This was, in part, due to the ferocious determination of the pioneers of the age, leading to the refusal to respect the treaties put in place between the Americans and the Native Americans. Valentine took part in seizing these lands. One famous and grave account is described in 1794, after Valentine’s settlement in pre-Clarksville, in which Valentine’s station was attacked by approximately 40 Indians. This devastating attack resulted in the loss of his neighbor and the neighbor’s family, along with his own son, Joseph. His daughter, Rebecca, despite having been scalped in the attack, lived.
Valentine Sevier II died in 1800 from chronic rheumatism in Clarksville. He is buried at the Riverview Cemetery.