Mahala "Big Haley" Mullins was the notorious matron of a clan of moonshiners that lived on Newman's Ridge. Her scandalous girth, gumption, and tenacity at moonshining both scandalized and amused many in her day. Kyles Ford WMAThe year of the first settlement of the area is uncertain. Some historians set the date at 1795 while others cite evidence of settlers receiving grants to the land much earlier. Predating all of these, however, were the people known as Melungeons who were encountered by French traders in the mountains of east Tennessee in the late 1600's. All evidence points to the fact that these unique people were long ensconced on Newman's Ridge when the first settlers made their way to the land now known as Hancock County. Hancock's relative isolation has preserved the beauty of the area, a rural quality, and many traditions of Appalachian culture. Kyles Ford Mussel Shoals Today, Hancock County's magnificent setting offers its visitors a new experience at every turn of the winding roads leading into this most isolated and tranquil county in the State of Tennessee. Explore the rich history and biodiversity of Hancock County as it stretches from Clinch Mountain on its southern border to Newman's Ridge and the Powell Mountains to the north where it lies against the southwestern border of Virginia. Start with a picnic at Elrod Falls, or enjoy the drive along the Clinch and Powell rivers, bearing witness to one of the world's most renowned and ecologically diverse bodies of water.