You can go to the courthouse in Jonesborough to look up who owned the house before you. You start at the present and go back. Each transaction will have the page number and date of the previous sell of the house. This will tell you who actualled owned the house and how much they paid for it. You can then go to the archives at ETSU. They have old phone directories. If you know the year the house was built start there. You can look it up by address and follow through the years as it changes hands. One thing I learned about my house is that it sat empty for a couple years and also that it had been rented several times - the reason I know it was rented was the names didn't match who owned the house.
Another thing about the phone directories they tell you who lived in the house- the names of husband, wife and children. It also lists the occupation of the husband. IF a house is owned by the same person for a long time you can see when the children left the house of when a spouse may have died. If a family has moved from your house you could then look up there name to see if they stayed in the neighborhood or Johnson City. Several people who lived in my house moved into other house in the neighborhood. A few after I moved into the house a relative of someone who used to live here gave me some pictures of the house taken in the 1920's.
You can also take the names you found in the directory and then do a internet search to see if you can locate anyone.