Hancock County lies immediately east of Claiborne County, and is bounded on the north by Virginia. Clinch River traverses the county from northeast to southwest, and Powell River crosses the northeastern corner of the county. The surface is very rough and mountanous, but some excellent land is found along the streams. The valleys, however, are generally narrow. The extent of its mineral resources is not well known, but both coal and iron exist in considerable quantities.
The settlement of this county began about 1795, but for many years it remained very sparsely populated. As in other counties, the river valleys were the earliest occupied. No record has been left of the pioneers of the county, and but little can now be obtained from personal remembrance of them. Jonas Loughmiller located just southeast of Sneedville, and William McGee beyond him on the north side of the Clinch. Below the latter, and to the southwest of the town, was the settlement of John Ray, while on the opposite side of the river, at the mouth of Duck Creek, lived Enos Matthias. William McCully and Daniel Slavens located still further down the river. John Givens, an early Baptist preacher, lived on Beaver Creek. In the neighborhood three of four miles south of Sneedville was Alexander Treat, Solomon Mitchell, John and Lincoln Amis, the Bouldens, Andersons, Bryants and Collinses. A settlement was also made at an early date at Mulberry Gap, where a little village sprang up. Newmans' Ridge, which runs through the county to the north of Sneedville, and parallel with Clinch river, is said to have taken its name from one of the first settlers upon it. It has since been occupied mainly by a people presenting a peculiar admixture of white and Indian blood.
from Goodspeed's History of East Tennessee,
Goodspeed Publishing Co., Nashville, Tenneesee 1887.