When one thinks of Tennessee, the first thing that may come to mind is Nashville, the state capital. With it’s country music heritage, the old Ryman Auditorium and of course, Music Row, Nashville holds a high rank among others with history and genealogy. Did you know that Nashville is one of Tennessee’s early settlements? Perhaps you have heard about the Overmountain Men traveling party of 1779. James Robertson and Colonel John Donelson were two of these men who created an agreement with the Cherokee and established Fort Nashborough. A lively little place with it’s port located on the Cumberland River, it allowed river transport which quickly aided in the village’s growth. Fort Nashborough was among the first settlements but it wasn’t the earliest one. During this article, you will read of the past by way of old Indian trails, hunting parties and the mountainous terrain that led to this wilderness frontier. Our destinations are set for western skies during the mid 18th century. As the words pour out upon the page, the images of former forts will begin to focus, the stories of the people will yearn to be heard and retold, the lands lying west of North Carolina’s mountains belong to the unknown west, the frontier called Tennessee.
Fort Loudon began as a British fort located in present day Monroe County. During the year of 1756, it’s construction was modest but as the months went by, the fort grew to a great barrier among the wild elements of the landscape. The relations between the occupants and the Cherokee were civil but grew to despair during the year of 1758. By August of 1760, the Cherokee attacked the fort and was able to force the surrender of Captain Raymond Demere and others. Records indicate as many as 24 individuals were killed in the raid. Those who were unable to escape were captured by the Cherokee and the fate of these souls remain unknown. Today, the fort has been preserved and rebuilt. The original plans and the placement of the buildings and their functions have been restored as a state park. Many artifacts have been discovered all through the years. As the fort stands today in remembrance of those long ago, let us remember the people who dreamed of a fort to establish trade and growth in the lands known today as Tennessee. Names associated with Loudon Fort are James Glenn, John William De Brahm, William Henry Littleton, John Elliott, John Stuart, William Richardson, Lt. James Adamson, William Richardson Davie, Henry Timberlake, Thomas Sumter and more whose names have been lost for now. The fort also housed at least sixty women and children during the years of 1756 to 1760.
Following the demise of Fort Loudon and the creation of the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763, a new settlement emerged along the banks of Boone Creek in 1769. Settlers were now able to travel to the area legally in accordance to Royal law. Captain William Bean and his wife settled the area and welcomed the birth of their son, Russell during that first year. Other families followed such as Samuel Masenngill, Henry Masengill, Julius Dugger and Andrew Greer. Many of these families arrived from both the Carolina area and the Virginia area. These lands were not purchased but leased as it was illegal to purchase lands from the Cherokee. James Robertson and John Sevier were known to lease lands from the Cherokee however, I’ve not been able to locate a written source for such documents which would prove this theory. Jonathon Tipton, John Carter, Charles Robertson and Zachariah Isbell all arrived in the area prior to the year ending in 1771. Jacob Brown, Robert Allison, Leonard Hart, Jacob Womack, Jesse Walton and Benjamin Gist were among these as well. It is known that the family of John Carr arrived from the South Carolina area and is believed that other South Carolina families made their way to this area during the years of the American Revolutionary War.
Early Land Grants 1778-1780
Land Grants from Tennessee dating from 1778 to 1780 are listed below consisting of several entries. Do you see your ancestor among those in the list? If so, please drop us line and let us know in the comment section or by contacting Piedmont Trails. The list contains name, grant number with book and page number for reference. Acreage, location by way of county and description is also given.
- John Wallace-#1, Book 36, pg. 1-240 acres-Washington County-north fork of Doe River
- David Reese-#2, Book 36, pg. 2-90 acres-Washington County-both sides of Doe River
- William Sharpe-#3, Book 36, pg. 3-400 acres-Washington County-both sides of Indian Creek
- David Reese-#4, Book 36, pg. 4-320 acres-Washington County-waters of Lick Creek
- Samuel Harris-#5, Book 36, pg. 5-400 acres-Washington County-waters of Nobb Lick Branch and Lick Creek
- David Reese-#6, Book 36, pg. 6-400 acres-Washington County-above great falls on the waters of Lick Creek
- Charles Robinson-#7, Book 36, pg. 7-640acres-Washington County-on the south side of Holston on a sinking branch
- William Sharpe-#8, Book 36, pg. 8-400 acres-Washington County-Doe River
- John Wallace-#9, Book 33, pg. 9-400 acres-Washington County-on a branch near Great Nobb Licks
- Samuel Harris-#10, Book 36, pg. 10-240 acres-Washington County-on the North fork of Doe River
- George Russel-#11989, Book 89, pg. 141-300 acres-Washington County-fork of Big Limestone Creek
- Adam Orth-#217, Book 53, pg. 165-352 acres-Sullivan County-north side of Holston River and Sinking Creek
- George Brown-#1021, Book 80, pg. 182-300 acres-Washington County-Campbells Creek
- Henry Rice-#347, Book 69, pg. 194-643 acres-Sullivan County-north side of Holstein River
- James Blair-#829, Book 74, pg. 36-200 acres-Greene County-north side of Holstein River
- James Woods Lackey-#815, Book 90, pg. 326-345 acres-Hawkins County-south side of Holston River
- Ruebin Derring-#1053, Book 77, pg. 401-200 acres-Greene County- side of Nolachucky a Draght leading into Providence Creek
- Robert King-#633, Book 82, pg. 224-640 acres-Hawkins County-end of Powells Mountain
- John Holloway, Jr.-#627, Book 81, pg. 630-200 acres-Sullivan County-land lying on two entries made by Nathan Page
- John Tate-#916, Book 76, pg. 149-50 acres-Washington County-Elk Creek, branch of Watauga
- Thomas Murray-#883, Book 76, pg. 138-300 acres-Washington County-fork of Sinking Creek water of Holston River
- Westin Williams-#1371, Book 89, pg. 404-100 acres-Greene County-On waters of Nolachuckey
This will certainly not be the last article pertaining to Tennessee and it’s early history. This enriched landscape is filled with a vast amount of history dating to the earliest of explorers and the American Indians to the statehood of 1796 and further into the Civil War and present day. Over the next several months, Piedmont Trails will explore the early trails leading into Tennessee. The stories associated with these trails as well as the people who traveled them will be discovered and shared. History and Genealogy are all around us. You only have to look around to see their presence among artifacts, paper documents and so much more. Thank You so much for visiting Piedmont Trails and be sure to stay up to date by subscribing to the website. As always, it’s free to join. Thank You So Much for your support of Piedmont Trails. I greatly appreciate it. Our ancestors left an amazing trail to follow. Enjoy Your Journey To The Past !!
Enjoy Your Journey !!
- Beverly Bastian, Jenna Tedrick Kuttruff, and Stuart Strumpf, “Fort Loudoun in Tennessee: 1756-1760: History, Archaeology, Replication, Exhibits, and Interpretation-Waldenhouse Publishers, Inc., 2010.
- WELLS, ANN HARWELL. “Early Maps of Tennessee, 1794-1799.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 2, 1976, pp. 123–144. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42623570. Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.
- Irwin, Ned L. “Voice in The Wilderness: John Haywood And The Preservation of Early Tennessee History.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 58, no. 3, 1999, pp. 238–253. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42628484. Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.
- James C. Kelly, “Fort Loudoun: A British Stronghold in the Tennessee Country,” East Tennessee Historical Society ‘’Publications, Vol. 50 (1978)
- John Stanley Folmsbee, “Tennessee, A Short History” University of Tennessee Press 1969
- Luttrell, L., Creekmore, P., & Creekmore, P. (1943). WRITINGS ON TENNESSEE COUNTIES. Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 2(3), 257-279. Retrieved January 30, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42620801
- Mary A Fry, “Tennessee Centennial Poem” Nashville, Tennessee 1897
- North Carolina State Archives 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601