The first settlers in what would eventually become Scott County, Tn. settled along the New River and its tributaries around 1785, where they established farms and worked the land. The earliest communities of the territory were established along the river and the streams that fed it. The mild climate, plentiful rainfall, fertile ground and abundant natural resources persuaded the settlers to stay.
In 1849, a new county was formed from parts of Campbell, Fentress and Morgan counties, and named for war hero Gen. Winfield Scott, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. A county seat was established in Huntsville, not far from the banks of the New River. By the end of the 19th Century, the railroad had come to Scott County, helping to spur economic growth in Oneida, which remains the county’s largest incorporated today.
These days, many of the original communities along the banks of the New River have disappeared, but the river remains an important part of Scott County. The river flows through the state-owned Sundquist and Royal Blue wildlife management areas, and merges with the Clear Fork River downstream to form the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, which flows through the 115,000-acre Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.