P.O. BOX 160

1-888-538-1791 (toll free)
1-423-538-7396 (voice)
1-423-538-1086 (fax)




Adults $8.00
Seniors (55+) $7.00
Children (Ages 5-17) $5.00
AAA and AARP discounts available.

Special Events and Programs
may have different prices.

Regular Hours: 2018

(March 6 - December 15) 
Tue. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Last tour starts by 4 p.m. 

Other days/times available
through group reservation

The Cobb-Massengill House

  • 1769-1772: William Cobb settled on the Watuaga river, built a large log home, Rocky Mount
  • 1790-1792: Rocky Mount hosts the capitol of the Southwest Territory with Gov. William Blount as the Cobb's guest
  • 1795: William and Barsheba Cobb move west, transferring Rocky Mount to their daughter Penelope Massengill.
  • 1795-1958 Rocky Mount is passed down through the Massengill family (descendants of William Cobb)
  • 1958-1962 John Michael Masengill transfers Rocky Mount to State of Tennessee.  His cousin Pauline DeFriece arranges the transfer, oversees renovation, and forms the Rocky Mount Historical Association
  • 1962 Rocky Mount State Historic Site, including historic Rocky Mount, reconstructed outbuildings and visitor center opens for public visitation.

William Cobb brought his family from North Carolina and built his two-story log structure 1770-1772.  During the Revolution, Cobb helped to supply the Overmountain men with gunpowder, horses, blankets and food on their way to the Battle of King's Mountain.  He and two of his sons joined the march to North Carolina where the American Forces won a great victory.

In 1790 the land that Cobb had settled became known as the Southwest Territory.  The Territory was formed from land that was originally a westward extension of North Carolina.  In 1783 there was a push by many settlers to split away from NC.  They attempted to form their own state, called it the State of Franklin, for Benjamin Franklin, and elected John Sevier as governor.  The Lost State of Franklin was never recognized by the Federal government and was dissolved (reverting to North Carolina). By 1790 North Carolina permanently ceded their western lands to be formed into the Territory South of the River Ohio.

William Cobb mostly kept himself above local politics, which seemed to make his home an ideal spot to house the Governor of the Southwest Territory William Blount.  Blount was appointed governor by George Washington and lived with the Cobb family from 1790 until 1792, making Rocky Mount the first Territorial Capitol of the Southwest Territory, which became the State of Tennessee in 1796.

William Cobb and his wife, Barsheba, moved west to Bean's Station in 1795.  They left Rocky Mount to their daughter, Penelope, who had married Hal Massengill.  Rocky Mount stayed in the family, passed down through the generations until 1958.

The log house has been modernized at several times.  The logs were covered with clapboard siding, and the roof was tinned over the original shingles.  However, there was still no indoor plumbing and the original structure was mostly intact beneath the exterior changes.

Pauline DeFriece, cousin of the owner of Rocky Mount, John Masengill, believed that the building should be preserved by the state and be opened to the public as a shrine to the memory of the early settlers of the region.  She set in motion the chain of events that lead to the purchase of Rocky Mount by the state of Tennessee.  She also established the Rocky Mount Historical Association, the organization that maintains and operates the site to this day.

Rocky Mount opened to the public with few visitor services on April 1, 1962.  A small Visitor Center was built with space for a receptionist, 5000 square feet of gallery space and a caretakers apartment was added in the mid 1960s.  A separate home for a caretaker was built in 1975 and the visitor center expanded to include a museum store in 1979.  In 1990 a 175 seat auditorium with video output, library, and 5 classrooms were added.

The historic site was also expanded to include a kitchen, springhouse and slave cabin, barn, orchard and gardens in an effort to enhance the living history atmosphere of the Cobb farm.

Genealogy & Library

Visitors with connections to the Cobb or the Massengill/Masengale families might wish to browse in our museum library.  Staff will also be happy to provide leads on genealogical research and publications that pertain to these families.  Our museum library is open to the public during regular business hours for anyone interested in the history of our region.

Contact Rocky Mount to make an appointment if you wish to use the archives/library for research.