|Founded:||October 9, 1797|
|Area Total Sq Mi:||443|
|Area Total Km2:||1148|
|Area Land Sq Mi:||434|
|Area Land Km2:||1125|
|Area Water Sq Mi:||9|
|Area Water Km2:||23|
|Density Sq Mi:||36|
|Ex Image Cap:||Cocke County Courthouse in Newport, Tennessee|
Cocke County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. The county forms the Newport, Tennessee, Micropolitan Statistical Area which is, as of December 2005, considered a component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette, TN Combined Statistical Area.http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/bulletins/fy2006/b06-01_rev_2.pdf As of 2000, the population was 33,565. The 2005 Census Estimate placed the population at 34,929 http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/tables/CO-EST2005-01-47.xls. Its county seat is Newport.Web site: Find a County. 2008-01-31. National Association of Counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 443 square miles (1,148 km²), of which, 434 square miles (1,125 km²) of it is land and 9 square miles (23 km²) of it (1.97%) is water. Part of the county is within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The county's highest point is Old Black at 1,942 meters (6,370 ft).http://www.cs.utk.edu/~dunigan/cohp/
As of the censusWeb site: States Census Bureau] American FactFinder]. 2008-01-31. of 2000, there were 33,565 people, 13,762 households, and 9,715 families residing in the county. The population density was 77 people per square mile (30/km²). There were 15,844 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.16% White, 1.99% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 1.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 13,762 households out of which 29.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.10% were married couples living together, 13.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.80% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 26.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $25,553, and the median income for a family was $30,418. Males had a median income of $26,062 versus $18,826 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,881. About 18.70% of families and 22.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.80% of those under age 18 and 18.70% of those age 65 or over.
Before the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now Cocke County probably was inhabited by Cherokees. The first recorded European settlement in the county was in 1783 when land near the fork of the French Broad and Big Pigeon rivers was cleared and cultivated. The earliest European settlers were primarily Scots-Irish, Dutch, and Germans who came to the area over the mountains from the Carolinas or through Virginia from Pennsylvania and other northern states.
The county was established by an Act of the Tennessee General Assembly on October 9, 1797, from a part of Jefferson County, Tennessee. It was named for William Cocke, one of the state's first United States Senators.
Cocke County has a long-standing reputation in the surrounding area as a center of illegal activity, particularly the production of and trafficking in moonshine, both during Prohibition and in subsequent years, when most of East Tennessee, including Cocke County, remained officially "dry". The county also developed a reputation for prostitution in the years during and after World War II. 
A series of raids beginning in 1969 targeted both illegal liquor sales and alleged brothels. Many of the businesses were allegedly tied to organized crime groups in Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri and there were allegations of involvement by local law enforcement officials.
In the early 1980s, marijuana production and smuggling of illegal drugs became prevalent in the area. For example, in 1982 more than 40,000 marijuana plants with an estimated value of $15 million were found growing at one site. In 1983 a massive state and federal probe led to the discovery of an interstate prostitution ring and the FBI's arresting the county sheriff and 43 other people on cocaine conspiracy charges. Agents also recovered more than $2 million in drugs and stolen vehicles and heavy equipment. 
On the afternoon of June 11, 2005, more than 100 federal and state agents, led by the FBI and supported by snipers and helicopters, raided and closed a large illegal cock fighting ring in Cocke County. The Del Rio Cockfighting Pit was described by officials as the United States' largest and oldest illegal cockfighting pit. The agents seized more than $40,000 in cash and issued criminal citations to 143 people. More than 300 fighting roosters were euthanized during the raid. The complex that was shut down included a 5000square feet metal building with bleacher seating for up to 500 people, a restaurant, gift shop, nearly 100 outbuildings, and a guard shack. 
The raid occurred as a result of "Operation Rose Thorn," a four-year investigation of criminal activity in the area, including drug trafficking, chop shops, the hijacking of interstate shipments, organized gambling (including cockfighting and video poker), prostitution, fraud, attempted money laundering, racketeering and public corruption. By the end of July, the investigation had resulted in closure of the cockfighting pit and two brothels, criminal charges against a total of more than 170 people, and searches of taverns, homes, garages, a video amusement company, and a flower shop.
The novel Christy and the television series of the same name are based on historical events, actual people, and localities of Cocke County. The fictional small town of El Pano, where the novel begins, is based on the existing village of Del Rio, Tennessee. The fictional Cutter Gap, where most of the plot unfolds, represents the locale now known as Chapel Hollow. Several area landmarks associated with the story are marked for visitors, including the site of the Ebenezer Mission in Chapel Hollow, which is located off the Old Fifteenth Rd., about 5miles from Del Rio.