Tennessee Geography and Famous Natives

Geography of Tennessee

Various ranges of the Appalachian mountain system cover the eastern third of Tennessee, including the Baldy, Smoky Big, Holston, Stone, Unaka, and Unicoi mountains.

Situated along its border with North Carolina, Clingmans Domes (at 6,643 ft.) is the state’s highest point. In fact, it is the third highest point in the Appalachian Sierra; only Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina (6,684 ft.), and Mt. Craig (6,647 ft.) at Mt. Mitchell National Park rises higher.

To the immediate west of those mountains (stretching from south to north) the Appalachian Valley is a series of lower ridges, hills and very fertile farmland.

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The Cumberland Plateau, a run of flat hills, valleys and round head mountains, stretches north from Chattanooga to the Kentucky border. Lookout Mountain (1,850 ft.), to the southwest of Chattanooga, provides views of seven states on a clear day.

West of the Cumberland Plateau, a somewhat flat highland stretches east, then dips into the Nashville Basin, an area of ​​productive farmland.

The Bay Coastal Plain continues the southern states, on into southern Illinois. In Tennessee, the plain begins as rolling land to the west of the Tennessee River, land it slowly levels as it approaches the western edge of the state. In the southwest corner (near Memphis) it becomes a swampy lowland floodplain ending along a steep bluff overlooking the Mississippi River Delta.

In this state, the main rivers include the Cumberland, Tennessee, and of course, the Mississippi. Clamp and Duck are additional rivers of note.

Significant lakes (some used as storage pools) are found across Tennessee. Lake Kentucky is the largest man-made lake in the eastern United States.

Tennessee Famous Natives

People listed are almost always native to the state. We do (on occasion) include those who have either lived within the state for most of their adult lives or have made significant contributions to the state in their personal endeavors.


  • King of ” country music musician Roy Acuff “
  • James Agha author, screenwriter, poet
  • Lamar Alexander politician
  • Deborah Allen singer
  • Robert Clay Allison gunfighter
  • Duane Allman musician, Allman Brothers
  • Gregg Allman singer, musician, Allman Brothers
  • William Anderson us naval officer, politician, author
  • Eddie Arnold singer
  • Chet Atkins musician, record producer


  • Deford Bailey musician
  • Howard Baker Jr. politician
  • Ava Barber singer
  • Edward E. Barnard astronomer
  • Actress Kathy Bates, director
  • Walter Herschel Beech aviator, beech aircraft founder
  • John Bell politician
  • Actress Polly Bergen
  • Pat Boone singer, actor
  • Actress Rachel Boston
  • Georges de Forest Brusch artist
  • James M. Buchanan economist, Nobel laureate
  • Carl Butler singer
  • Joseph “Joe” Byrnes Sr.politician


  • Comedian Archie Campbell
  • Hattie Caraway was the first woman to elect us as a senator.
  • Actress Dixie Carter
  • Kellay Cash former Miss America
  • David Catching musician
  • Benjamin Cheazam General Federal Army
  • Doc Cheatham musician, singer, bandleader
  • Kitty Cheazam singer, actress
  • Richard Boone Cheazham politician
  • Richard Cheazham politician
  • Singer Kenny Chesney
  • Henry Cho actor, comedian
  • Philander Claxton educator
  • David Cole songwriter, record producer
  • Lynette Cole former Miss USA
  • Mark Colley singer, songwriter
  • Rita Coolidge singer
  • Mary Costa actress, singer
  • Davey Crockett frontiersman, soldier, politician
  • Dixie Lee Crosby actress, dancer, singer
  • John Cullum actor, singer
  • Miley Cyrus actress, singer, songwriter


  • Jack Daniel founder raises daniel distillery
  • Sam Davis Ally Hero, Boy Scout
  • Inventor Mark Dean
  • James Denton actor
  • Dickey Valley actress
  • Luther Dickinson musician, singer
  • Shannen Doherty actress, television director
  • Andrew Jackson Donelson diplomat, politician
  • Common Civil War ally of Daniel Smith Donelson
  • Women’s Suffrage Movement leader Anne Dallas Dudley


  • David Farragut Officer American Navy American Civil War
  • Lester Flatt pioneer blue grass music, musician
  • Shelby Foote author, historian
  • Harold Ford Jr. politician
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford musician, television host
  • General army of ally Nathan Bedford Forrest
  • Lawyer Abe Fortas
  • Actress Megan Fox
  • Aretha Franklin singer, songwriter
  • Morgan Freeman actor, director, narrator
  • Bill Frist politician


  • Nikki Giovanni poet, activist, author
  • Ernest William Goodpasture physician, pathologist
  • Actress Ginnifer Goodwin
  • Al Gore, former US Vice President
  • Al Gore, Sr politician
  • Lou Graham golfer
  • Red multimedia artist Bridegrooms


  • Richard Halliburton explorer, author
  • Jim Hamill singer
  • Bobby Hamilton car racer
  • George Hamilton actor
  • Jack Hanna broadcaster, zoologist
  • Basketball player Anferni “Penny” Hardaway
  • Dennis Haskins actor
  • Isaac Hayes singer, songwriter, musician
  • Actress Christina Hendricks
  • Will Hodge singer, songwriter
  • Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks
  • Ed Hooper author
  • Miles Horton educator, socialist, leader of the civil rights movement
  • Cordell Corps politician
  • Kona Hongli singer, songwriter


  • Andrew Jackson former US President (born in NC)
  • Howell Edmunds Jackson lawyer, politician
  • Samuel L. Jackson actor (born in D.C.)
  • Claude Jarmain Jr actor
  • Michael Jeter actor
  • Andrew Johnson former US President (born in NC)
  • Cave Johnson politician
  • Booker T. Jones musician, songwriter, producer
  • Actress Cherry Jones
  • Edward “Too Tall”Jones football player
  • Jesse Holman Jones politician, entrepreneur

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