Dickens of Hurricane Creek
Including: Maggart, Sullivans Bend, Elmwood, Chestnut Mound, Smith County, TN
Here's a look at the Southwest Territory in 1790, before TN became a state in 1796.
Follow the link to more information from tngenweb.org.

In 1987 as I searched for early Tennessee land transactions, the first Dickens deed for land that I located was for land in an area that would become part of East Tennessee. The transaction was in 1786 between William Dickens and James Eaton.  It is for property located by the Nolochucky River in Washington County and bordered on one side by land owned by Richard Dickens, in what was then the State of Franklin (see the map below). 

I didn't find any indication of a Dickens settlement in that area at that time. I think William and Richard were simply conducting business. I have a copy of the deed but it is illegible when copied again.

There could have been more Dickens land transactions in this era which may be archived in North Carolina and by now, perhaps copies made for the Tennessee State Archives.

"Franklin, State of,
government (1784–88) formed by the inhabitants of Washington, Sullivan,and Greene counties in present-day E Tennessee after North Carolina ceded (June, 1784) its western lands to the United States. Following preliminary conventions at Jonesboro (Aug. and Dec., 1784), the first assembly, meeting at Greeneville early in 1785, elected John Sevier governor for a three-year term, established courts, appointed magistrates, levied taxes, and enacted laws. ...  Sevier's government passed out of existence when the terms of its officers expired.
The region reverted temporarily to North Carolina.
See S. C. Williams, History of the Lost State of Franklin (rev. ed. 1933)."

My  purpose for including the information about the 1790 census, US population, and the information on this page, is to show that when you are trying to identify your Dickens ancestors, you don't have a lot of pioneer households to chose from. I visualize it like an inverted funnel. There were relatively few Dickens' back then leading to many Dickens' now.   
The link below will take you to a petition asking the United States to allow signors to form a new state called Franklin. There is a list of those who signed the petition at the bottom of the document. The nearest name to Dickens on the document is Thomas Dicson .
Thanks to Wikipedia Org.

Below is some information about the State of Franklin:

Thanks to Tngenweb Org.

The State of Franklin circa 1786

(Note: The earliest middle Tennessee deed for land by a Dickens that I located was that of  Jeremiah Dickens' purchase of 100 acres in 1798. That land is located on Station Camp Creek in Sumner County. This deed proves that Jeremiah Dickens is the first or one of the first of the Hurricane Creek Dickens settlers to arrive in middle Tennessee. Smith County, the location of Hurricane Creek, became a county in 1799. It was taken from Sumner County and Indian lands.) 
Page 38.