UNION COUNTY lies immediately north of Knox County, and is divided into two very nearly equal parts by the Clinch River. Powell River forms a part of its northern boundary. These streams, with their tributaries, afford an abundance of water and water power. The area of the county is about 220 square miles. The surface is generally broken, but there is a very large number of valleys, furnishing excellent soil. The county contains much valuable timber, but its greatest wealth lies in its mineral resource which are varied and abundant. It contains rich deposits of iron ore, which as yet have been worked to a very limited extent; vast beds of the finest marble; silver-bearing lead ore and zinc. The last named is abundant, and is worked quite extensively by the Edes Mixter & Heald Zinc Company. The first act providing for the erection of the county was passed on January 3, 1850, but not meeting with the requirements of the constitution it became necessary to amend it. This was done November 21, 1853. It provided for the formation of the new county from fractions of Knox, Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne an Grainger Counties, and appointed James W. Turner, William Needham, C. B. Howard and Allen Hurst, commissioners to hold the elections and organize the county. The elections were accordingly held and resulted in a vote of 368 to 100 in favor of organization. The county court was organized on February 6. 1854, at Liberty Meeting-house, in what is now Maynardville.