Following the Avery Treaty (also known as the Treaty of the Long Island of the Holston) in 1777 which followed a failed attempt to take this land from the Cherokee, Colonel Joseph Martin was chosen to be an Indian Agent on Long Island. Shortly after, he established a trading post which also functioned as his home for roughly a decade. It was at this trading post where one of the first ever July 4th celebrations west of the Appalachian Mountains took place that same year. Over time, Native control of the land was ceded to settlers as the balance of power shifted owing to increasing Native dependence on weapons and trade goods.
During the 19th century, the island was the location of the Richard Netherland family’s plantation which included several brick houses, mills, a shop, and a hemp factory. Other areas of the island were utilized as pastures, orchards, and cultivated fields. Aside from the restored Netherland Inn and Museum, which dates back to the early 19th century, none of the Netherland family buildings remain today.
In 1779, Colonel John Donelson and his men, in boats, journeyed along the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River, eventually finding what is known today as Cumberland County, one of the first permanent colonial settlements in middle Tennessee. Donelson’s expedition would come to serve as a model for following journeys westward by settlers. The model included traveling to Long Island to build flatboats and rafts, then continuing westward along the river. In 1802, a boatyard was established by men of William King of Virginia, and 20 years later the towns of Christianville and Rossville were combined to create today’s town of Kingsport.
The land is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark District. Across the South Fork of the Holston River from the north-western section of Long Island are historic sites of early settlers including Fort Robinson, the Netherland Inn Museum, and Boatyard Riverfront Park, each of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The island’s eastern area mostly consists of residential developments and facilities like a fuel supply yard and an acetate plant. The middle portion of the island is divided amongst corporations and various private owners and has also been used for industrial developments. The western-most land of the island is now home to a multi-purpose community park called Domtar Park.