Watauga Association, government (1772–75) formed by settlers along the Watauga River in present E Tennessee. Virginians made the first settlements in 1769, and after the collapse of the Regulator movement in North Carolina, citizens from that colony under James Robertson established homes farther west on the river. For their mutual protection these settlements united in 1772 and drew up a written agreement, called the Watauga Association. A five-man court constituted the government. Other settlements along the Holston and Nolichucky rivers also adhered to the Watauga Association. In 1772 the Wataugans secured a 10-year lease from the Cherokee for the land along the river; in 1775 they organized as Washington district, but in 1776, at their own request, they came under the protection of North Carolina, which created (1777) Washington co. for the area. After the American Revolution the Wataugans belonged to another new, short-lived government (see Franklin, State of) before Tennessee became a state in 1796.
Watauga (wŏtô´gə), river, 60 mi (97 km) long, rising in the Blue Ridge Mts., NW N.C., and flowing NW to the south fork of the Holston River near Kingsport, Tenn. Watauga Dam (completed 1949), a unit of the Tennessee Valley Authority, provides flood control and hydroelectric power. Settlement on the river began in 1768. Sycamore Shoals Monument, a national historic landmark, marks the site of early historic events on the river (see Elizabethton, Tenn.).