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town, seat (1783) of Greene county, northeastern Tennessee, U.S., near the Nolichucky River, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, about 70 miles (115 km) northeast of Knoxville. Originally part of North Carolina, Greeneville was established in 1783 by Robert Kerr, a Scotch-Irish settler, and named for Nathanael Greene, the American Revolutionary War general. It served as the capital (1785-88) of the short-lived state of Franklin, which seceded from North Carolina. It was incorporated under the laws of Tennessee in 1817. Eastern Tennessee opposed secession from the Union in 1861, and a convention was held in Greeneville to plan an unsuccessful secession bid from the state