Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U. S. state of Tennessee. The city is located on the Cumberland River; the city's population ranks 24th in the U. S. According to 2017 estimates from the U. S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 691,243; the "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 667,560 in 2017. Located in northern Middle Tennessee, Nashville is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in Tennessee; the 2017 population of the entire 14-county Nashville metropolitan area was 1,903,045. The 2017 population of the Nashville—Davidson–Murfreesboro–Columbia combined statistical area, a larger trade area, was 2,027,489. Named for Francis Nash, a general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, the city was founded in 1779; the city grew due to its strategic location as a port and railroad center. Nashville seceded with Tennessee during the American Civil War and in 1862 became the first state capital to fall to Union troops.
After the war the city developed a manufacturing base. Since 1963, Nashville has had a consolidated city-county government, which includes six smaller municipalities in a two-tier system; the city is governed by a mayor, a vice-mayor, a 40-member metropolitan council. Reflecting the city's position in state government, Nashville is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for Middle Tennessee. Nashville is a center for the music, publishing, private prison and transportation industries, is home to numerous colleges and universities such as Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, Fisk University, Lipscomb University. Entities with headquarters in the city include Asurion, Bridgestone Americas, Captain D's, CoreCivic, Dollar General, Hospital Corporation of America, LifeWay Christian Resources, Logan's Roadhouse, Ryman Hospitality Properties; the town of Nashville was founded by James Robertson, John Donelson, a party of Overmountain Men in 1779, near the original Cumberland settlement of Fort Nashborough.
It was named for the American Revolutionary War hero. Nashville grew because of its strategic location, accessibility as a port on the Cumberland River, a tributary of the Ohio River. By 1800, the city had 345 residents, including 136 enslaved African Americans and 14 free African-American residents. In 1806, Nashville was incorporated as a city and became the county seat of Davidson County, Tennessee. In 1843, the city was named as the permanent capital of the state of Tennessee; the city government of Nashville owned 24 slaves by 1831, 60 prior to the war. They were "put to work to build the first successful water system and maintain the streets." The cholera outbreak that struck Nashville in 1849–1850 took the life of former U. S. President James K. Polk. There were 311 deaths from cholera in 1849 and an estimated 316 to about 500 in 1850. By 1860, when the first rumblings of secession began to be heard across the South, antebellum Nashville was a prosperous city; the city's significance as a shipping port made it a desirable prize as a means of controlling important river and railroad transportation routes.
In February 1862, Nashville became the first state capital to fall to Union troops. The state was occupied by Union troops for the duration of the war; the Battle of Nashville was a significant Union victory and the most decisive tactical victory gained by either side in the war. Afterward, the Confederates conducted a war of attrition, making guerrilla raids and engaging in small skirmishes, with the Confederate forces in the Deep South constantly in retreat. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, the Nashville chapter of the Ku Klux Klan was founded by Confederate veteran John W. Morton. Chapters of this secret insurgent group formed throughout the South. In 1873 Nashville suffered another cholera epidemic, as did towns throughout Sumner County along railroad routes and the Cumberland River. Meanwhile, the city had reclaimed its important shipping and trading position and developed a solid manufacturing base; the post–Civil War years of the late 19th century brought new prosperity to Nashville and Davidson County.
These healthy economic times left the city with a legacy of grand classical-style buildings, including the Parthenon in Centennial Park, near downtown. On April 30, 1892, Ephraim Grizzard, an African-American man, was lynched in a spectacle murder in front of a white mob of 10,000 in Nashville, his lynching was described by journalist Ida B. Wells as: "A naked, bloody example of the blood-thirstiness of the nineteenth century civilization of the Athens of the South." From 1877 to 1950, a total of six lynchings of blacks were conducted in Davidson County, most in the county seat of Nashville near the turn of the century. By the turn of the century, Nashville had become the cradle of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, as the first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was founded here and the Confederate Veteran magazine was published here. Most "guardians of the Lost Cause" lived near Centennial Park. At the same time, Jefferson Street became the historic center of the African-American community.
It remained so until the federal government s
Battle of Alamance
The Battle of Alamance was the final battle of the War of the Regulation, a rebellion in colonial North Carolina over issues of taxation and local control. Some historians in the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries considered the battle to be the opening salvo of the American Revolution, locals agreed with this assessment. Yet, this has been questioned by present-day historians arguing that the Regulators were not intending a complete overthrow of His Majesty's Government in North Carolina, they were only standing up against those certain local officials who had become corrupt and unworthy tools of the King, they only turned to riot and armed rebellion as a last resort when all other peaceful means through petitions, elections to the Assembly, etc. had failed to redress their grievances. Many surviving ex-Regulators became loyalists during the Revolution, several anti-Regulators became patriots during the Revolution. Named for nearby Great Alamance Creek, the battle took place in what was Orange County and has since become Alamance County in the central Piedmont about 6 miles south of present-day Burlington, North Carolina.
In the spring of 1771, Royal Governor William Tryon left New Bern and marching 1,000 militia troops west to address a rebellion, brewing in western counties for several years, but which had included only minor, scattered acts of violence, followed by refusals to pay fees, disruptions of court proceedings, continued harassment of government officials. About 2,000 so-called "regulators" had gathered, hoping to gain concessions from the Governor by intimidating him with a show of superior force. Funded by council member and wealthy merchant Samuel Cornell for £6,000, on May 11, Tryon left the county seat of Hillsborough with his militia to confront the Regulators, who had made camp south of Great Alamance Creek in western Orange County. On the evening of May 15, Tryon received word; the next morning, at about 8:00 am, Tryon's troops set out to a field about one-half mile from the camp of the Regulators. He formed two lines, divided his artillery between the wings and the center of the first line.
The Regulators remained disorganized, with no leadership – no officer ranked higher than captain – and no anticipation of an attack, expecting that their superior numbers would frighten Tryon's militia. Tryon sent one of his aides-de-camp, Captain Philemon Hawkins II, the Sheriff of Orange County with a proclamation: While the terms were being read, Tryon's troops began to move forward. Shortly after that, Tryon was informed. Herman Husband, left the area. By midday the hour had expired. Tryon sent one final warning: Some of the Regulators petitioned the Royal Governor to give up seven captured Regulators in exchange for two of his men that they had captured the previous day. Tryon agreed, he became suspicious that his positions were being flanked and ordered the militia to march within 30 yards of the Regulators. Shortly thereafter, a large crowd of Regulators appeared in front of the militia, waving their hats and daring the militia to open fire. At about this time, two men, attempting to negotiate a peace between the two sides left Tryon's camp: Reverend Caldwell and Robert Thompson.
Caldwell made it to the field between the two lines, but was warned by the Regulators, who saw that the Governor was about to open fire. Thompson was detained by Tryon as a prisoner. Tryon, in a moment of anger, shot Thompson dead. Realizing what he had done, he sent a flag bearer named Donald Malcolm with a white flag in hopes of calming things quickly; the flag bearer was himself fired upon by the Regulators, who called out, "Fire and be damned". The Regulators lacked the leadership and ammunition that Tryon had, but the early course of the battle went well for them, they employed what was referred to as "Indian style" fighting, hiding behind trees and avoiding structure and lines. This allowed two of the Regulators, brothers named McPherson, to capture one of Tryon's three cannons. For them, the Regulators had no ammunition and it could not be used. A man considered one of the principal military leaders of the Regulators, Captain Montgomery, was killed by a shell at about the same time a bullet hit Tryon's hat.
The Governor sent a second white flag, but the aide-de-camp was killed while regulator Patrick Muller called for his fellow insurgents to cease fire. Outraged at the disregard of a second white flag, the Governor rallied his troops against the insurgents, whose ammunition was running out. Many of the Regulators fled the field. Delays prevented the 300 reinforcements under Captain Benjamin Merrill from arriving in time; some of the Regulators remained behind to continue firing upon the militia. Tryon ordered the woods to be set on fire. Losses for both sides are disputed. Tryon reported nine dead and 61 wounded among the militia. Other historians indicate much greater numbers, between 27 killed. Both sides counted nine dead among the Regulators and from dozens to over one-hundred wounded. Tryon took 13 prisoners. One of them, James Few, was executed at the camp, six were executed in nearby Hillsborough. Many Regulators traveled on to frontier areas beyond North Carolina; the Royal Governor pardoned others and allowed them to stay on the condition that they pledge an oath of allegiance to the royal
Battle of Kings Mountain
The Battle of Kings Mountain was a military engagement between Patriot and Loyalist militias in South Carolina during the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary War, resulting in a decisive victory for the Patriots. The battle took place on October 7, 1780, 9 miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina in what is now rural Cherokee County, South Carolina, where the Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia commanded by British Major Patrick Ferguson of the 71st Foot; the battle has been described as "the war’s largest all-American fight". Ferguson had arrived in North Carolina in early September 1780 to recruit troops for the Loyalist militia and protect the flank of Lord Cornwallis' main force. Ferguson issued a challenge to the rebel militias to suffer the consequences. In response, the Patriot militias led by Benjamin Cleveland, James Johnston, William Campbell, John Sevier, Joseph McDowell and Isaac Shelby rallied for an attack on Ferguson. Receiving intelligence on the oncoming attack, Ferguson decided to retreat to the safety of Lord Cornwallis' army.
However, the Patriots caught up with the Loyalists at Kings Mountain near the border with South Carolina. Achieving a complete surprise, the Patriot militiamen attacked and surrounded the Loyalists, inflicting heavy casualties. After an hour of battle, Ferguson was fatally shot while trying to break the rebel line, after which his men surrendered; some Patriots gave no quarter until the rebel officers re-established control over their men. Although victorious, the Patriots had to retreat from the area for fear of Cornwallis' advance, they executed nine Loyalist prisoners after a short trial. The battle was a pivotal moment in the Southern campaign; the surprising victory of the American patriot militia over the Loyalists came after a string of rebel defeats at the hands of Lord Cornwallis, raised the Patriots' morale. With Ferguson dead and his Loyalist militia destroyed, Cornwallis was forced to abandon his plan to invade North Carolina and retreated into South Carolina. Major Patrick Ferguson was appointed Inspector of Militia on May 22, 1780.
His task was to march to the old Tryon County area and organize Loyalist units from the Tory population of the Carolina Backcountry, protect the left flank of Lord Cornwallis' main body at Charlotte, North Carolina. On the morning of August 18, 1780, two hundred mounted Patriot partisans under joint command of Colonels Isaac Shelby, James Williams, Elijah Clarke prepared to raid a Loyalist camp at Musgrove’s Mill, which controlled the local grain supply and guarded a ford of the Enoree River; the Battle of Musgrove Mill, August 19, 1780, occurred near a ford of the Enoree River, near the present-day border between Spartanburg and Union Counties in South Carolina. The Patriots anticipated surprising a garrison of about an equal number of Loyalists, but a local farmer informed them that the Tories had been reinforced by about a hundred Loyalist militia and two hundred provincial regulars on their way to join British Major Patrick Ferguson; the whole battle took an hour and within that period, sixty-three Tories were killed, an unknown number wounded, seventy were taken prisoner.
The Patriots lost only about twelve wounded. Some Whig leaders considered attacking the Tory stronghold at Ninety Six, South Carolina. Shelby’s forces covered sixty miles with Ferguson in hot pursuit before making their escape. In the wake of General Horatio Gates’ blundering defeat at Camden, the victory at Musgrove Mill heartened the Patriots and served as further evidence that the South Carolina backcountry could not be held by the Tories. Shelby and his Overmountain Men crossed back over the Appalachian Mountains and retreated back into the territory of the Watauga Association at Sycamore Shoals in present day Elizabethton, by the next month on September 25, 1780, Colonels Shelby, John Sevier, Charles McDowell and their 600 Overmountain Men had combined forces with Col. William Campbell and his 400 Virginia men at the Sycamore Shoals muster in advance of the October 7, 1780, Battle of Kings Mountain north of present day Blacksburg, South Carolina in North Carolina. On September 2, Ferguson and the militia he had recruited marched west in pursuit of Shelby toward the Appalachian Mountain hill country on what is now the Tennessee/North Carolina border.
By September 10, Ferguson had established a base camp at Gilbert Town, North Carolina and, according to Shelby issued a challenge to the Patriot leaders to lay down their arms or he would "lay waste to their country with fire and sword."North Carolina Patriot militia leaders Isaac Shelby and John Sevier, from the Washington District and agreed to lead their militiamen against him. Patriot leaders sent word to a Virginia militia leader, William Campbell, asking him to join them at Sycamore Shoals. Campbell called on Benjamin Cleveland to bring his Wilkes County, North Carolina militia to the rendezvous; the detachments of Shelby and Campbell were met by 160 North Carolina militiamen led by Charles McDowell and his brother Joseph. Campbell's cousin, Arthur Campbell, brought 200 more Virginians. About 1,100 volunteers from southwest Virginia and today's northeast Tennessee, known as the "Overmountain Men" because they had settled into the wilderness west of the Appalachian Mountains ridgeline, mustered at the rendezvous on September 25, 1780, at Sycamore Shoals ne
The Cherokee–American wars known as the Chickamauga Wars, were a series of back-and-forth raids, ambushes, minor skirmishes, several full-scale frontier battles in the Old Southwest from 1776 to 1795 between the Cherokee and American settlers on the frontier. Most of the events took place in the Upper South. While the fighting stretched across the entire period, there were times of little or no action, at times spanning several months; the Cherokee leader Dragging Canoe, whom some historians call "the Savage Napoleon", his warriors and other Cherokee fought alongside and in conjunction with Indians from a number of other tribes, most Muscogee in the Old Southwest and the Shawnee in the Old Northwest. During the Revolutionary War, they fought alongside British troops, Loyalist militia, the King's Carolina Rangers. Open warfare broke out in the summer of 1776 along the frontier of the Watauga, Holston and Doe rivers in East Tennessee, as well as the colonies of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.
It spread to those along the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee and in Kentucky. The wars can be divided into two phases; the first phase one place from 1776 to 1783, in which the Cherokee fought as allies of the Kingdom of Great Britain against the American colonies. The Cherokee War of 1776 encompassed the entirety of the Cherokee nation. At the end of 1776, the only militant Cherokee were those who migrated with Dragging Canoe to the Chickamauga towns and were known as the "Chickamauga Cherokee"; the second phase lasted from 1783 to 1794, in which the Cherokee served as proxies of the Viceroyalty of New Spain against the formed United States of America. Because of their relocation westward to new homes known as the "Five Lower Towns", they became known as the Lower Cherokee, a moniker which persisted well into the 19th century. In 1786, the Lower Cherokee became founding members of the Native Americans' Western Confederacy, organized by Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, took an active part in the Northwest Indian War.
The conflict ended in November 1794 with the Treaty of Tellico Blockhouse. The Northwest Indian War, in which the Cherokee were involved, ended with the Treaty of Greenville in 1795; the French and Indian War and the related European theater conflict known as the Seven Years' War laid many of the foundations for the conflict between the Cherokee and the American settlers on the frontier. These tensions on the frontier broke out into open hostilities with the advent of the American Revolution; the action of the French and Indian War in North America included the Anglo-Cherokee War, lasting 1758–1761. British forces under general James Grant destroyed a number of major Cherokee towns, which were never reoccupied. Kituwa was abandoned, its former residents migrated west. At the end of this conflict, the Cherokee signed the Treaty of Long-Island-on-the-Holston with the Colony of Virginia and the Treaty of Charlestown with the Province of South Carolina. Conocotocko, the First Beloved Man during the conflict, was replaced by Attakullakulla, pro-British.
Valuing the support of Native Americans, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This prohibited colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, in an effort to preserve territory for the native tribes. Many colonials resented the interference with their drive to the vast western lands; the proclamation was a major irritant to the colonists, contributing to their support for the American Revolution and ending interference by the Crown. To resolve the problem of settlers living beyond the line established in the previous treaty, John Stuart, as Superintendent for Southern Indian Affairs, negotiated a treaty signed on October 17, 1768, with the Cherokee surrendering their claims to the Colony of Virginia to the land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River, it covered what is now West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, with a bit of the southwest corner of Pennsylvania. After Pontiac's War, the Iroquois Confederacy ceded to the British government its claims to the hunting grounds between the Ohio and Cumberland rivers, known to them and other Indians as Kain-tuck-ee, in the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix.
In 1769, developers and land speculators planned to start a new colony called Vandalia in the territory ceded by the Cherokee. Plans for that fell through and Virginia annexed it as the District of West Augusta in 1774. On June 1, 1773, the Cherokee and the Muskogee ceded their claims to 2 million acres in the northern sector of the Georgia colony, in return for the cancellation of their debts. Most of the Muscogee refused to recognize the treaty, the British government rejected it; the next year, Daniel Boone led a group to establish a temporary settlement inside the hunting grounds of modern day Kansas. In retaliation the Shawnee, Lenape and some Cherokee attacked a scouting and forage party, which included Boone's son James. James Boone and Henry Russell were captured by the Native Americans and ritually tortured to death; the colonists responded with the beginning of Dunmore's War. The Cherokee and the Muscogee were active mainly confining themselves to small raids on the backcountry settlements of the Carolinas and Georgia.
The earliest colonial settlement in the vicinity of what became Upper East Tennessee was Sapling Grove. The first of the North-of-Holston settlements, it was founded by Evan Shelby, who "purchased" the land in 1768 from John Buchanan. Jacob Brown began another settlement on the
Fort Watauga, more properly Fort Caswell, was an American Revolutionary War fort that once stood at the Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River in what is now Elizabethton, Tennessee. The fort was built in 1775–1776 by the area's frontier government, the Watauga Association, to help defend Watauga settlers from Native American attacks, which were in part instigated by the British. Fort Watauga was named Fort Caswell after North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell. In the 1970s, as part of the nation's bicentennial celebrations, the state of Tennessee authorized a reconstruction of Fort Watauga. Archaeologists conducted excavations in the Sycamore Shoals area and uncovered several trenches believed to have been part of the fort's walls; the fort was rebuilt based on information gained about the fort's design from the excavation, descriptions of the fort in historical sources, the general design of typical Appalachian frontier forts. The reconstructed fort is now part of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.
In the late 1760s, Euro-American settlers began arriving in the Holston and Nolichucky river valleys in Southwest Virginia and what is now Northeast Tennessee. Along the Watauga, settlers were drawn to a place known as the Watauga Old Fields, an ancient Native American gathering place that pre-dated the Cherokee; the Old Fields consisted of flat, cleared land located along the Watauga's Sycamore Shoals, a low stretch of the river where pioneers and travelers could cross with ease. These early settlers came into conflict with the Cherokee and other Native American tribes in the region who claimed these lands as hunting grounds; the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and several subsequent treaties placed the boundary of British-controlled lands at the South Fork of the Holston River, in the early 1770s settlers outside this boundary were ordered to leave. The Watauga settlers leased their lands from the Cherokee in 1772 and purchased the lands in 1775, but these agreements still violated the 1763 Proclamation.
Furthermore, a faction of the Cherokee led by the young chief Dragging Canoe vehemently opposed the sale of tribal lands, threatened bloodshed against the settlers. In 1774 and 1775, both British Superintendent of Indian Affairs John Stuart and North Carolina governor Josiah Martin issued repeated calls for settlers south of the Holston to leave Cherokee lands; the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 further agitated the tense situation on the Appalachian frontier. The Watauga and Nolichucky settlers supported separation from Britain, formed a Committee of Safety, founded the "Washington District." In January 1776, Dragging Canoe and the British forged an alliance, in April of that year the British supplied the Cherokee with a large cache of weapons in hopes they would wreak havoc on the colonial frontier. Now well-armed, the Cherokee sent a message to the Watauga settlers, giving them 20 days to leave Cherokee lands or face attack; the Watauga settlers, had been anticipating a Cherokee invasion.
Arms and ammunition were purchased through the Fincastle County, Virginia Committee of Safety and medicine were gathered, various forts were constructed or strengthened, among them Fort Caswell. In early July, Cherokee Beloved Woman Nancy Ward tipped off the Cherokee invasion plans to trader Isaac Thomas, Thomas proceeded to deliver the news to John Sevier, at the Nolichucky settlement overseeing the construction of Fort Lee; the news alarmed the settlers, most of them fled to Fort Caswell, forcing Sevier to flee and abandon Fort Lee's completion. The Cherokee invasion began in mid-July, 1776; when the invaders reached the Nolichucky, a contingent led by a chief known as "The Raven" split off toward Carter's Valley, where he chased away the settlers and burned their cabins and farms. Two contingents led by Dragging Canoe and Old Abraham of Chilhowee proceeded up the Nolichucky where they burned the abandoned Fort Lee; this force split up, with Dragging Canoe marching north to attack the Holston settlements and Old Abraham marching east to attack Fort Watauga.
As Dragging Canoe approached Eaton's Station, the fort's garrison, led by Captain John Thompson, feared the Cherokees would bypass the fort and destroy their farms, thus marched out to engage them at Island Flats. 13 Cherokee were killed and dozens were wounded, the Cherokee force retreated. With the Cherokee approaching, some 150 to 200 settlers crowded into Fort Caswell; the fort's garrison consisted of 75 men under the command of John Carter, with James Robertson and John Sevier as subordinates. Old Abraham of Chilhowee's contingent of Cherokee warriors arrived at Fort Caswell in the early morning hours of July 21; the sudden appearance of the invaders surprised several women out milking cows, forcing them to rush to get back inside the fort. One of them, Catherine "Bonnie Kate" Sherrill, the future wife of John Sevier, was unable to get back inside before the gate was locked and had to be pulled over the palisades by Sevier; the initial Cherokee attack lasted about three hours, with both sides exchanging gunfire.
During the attack, several Cherokees managed to get close enough to the fort to attempt to set it on fire, but were forced back after Ann Robertson Johnson threw scalding hot water at them. Unable to take the fort, the Cherokee settled in for a lengthy siege. In the ensuing days, a teenager named Tom Moore was captured outside the fort and
The Overmountain Men were American frontiersmen from west of the Appalachian Mountains who took part in the American Revolutionary War. While they were present at multiple engagements in the war's southern campaign, they are best known for their role in the American victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780; the term "overmountain" arose because their settlements were west of, or "over", the Appalachians, the primary geographical boundary dividing the 13 American colonies from the western frontier. The Overmountain Men hailed from parts of Virginia, North Carolina, what is now Tennessee and Kentucky; the efforts of the Overmountain Men helped to solidify the existence of the fragile settlements in the Watauga and Holston river valleys, the legitimacy of, questioned by the British Crown for several years. Many Overmountain Men, including John Sevier, John Rhea, Isaac Shelby, went on to play prominent roles in the establishment of the states of Tennessee and Kentucky; the foothold they gained on the frontier helped open the door to mass westward migration in ensuing decades.
In the late 1760s and early 1770s, Euro-American settlers began pouring into what is now northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, causing considerable agitation among the Overhill Cherokees and other tribes who controlled the area. The Treaty of Lochaber, signed in 1770 between the British and the Cherokee, moved the boundary of British territory south to Long Island of the Holston. While this brought settlements north of the Holston under British protection, the settlers south of the river were ordered to leave. Rather than comply with the Crown's order, the illegal settlers —mostly concentrated at the Watauga settlement at Sycamore Shoals, the Nolichucky settlement, Carter's Valley —decided to lease their land from the Cherokee, in 1772 established the Watauga Association, the first independent American constitutional government west of the Appalachians. In 1775, the Watauga and Nolichucky settlers purchased their leased lands outright and formed the independent Washington District.
They immediately petitioned Virginia for annexation, denied. The Crown and the colonial governments considered the land purchases illegal, ordered the settlers to leave what they considered to be Cherokee lands; some factions of the Cherokee became agitated when these settlements began expanding and tribal chiefs amiable to the settlers fell out of favor. A young Cherokee chief, Dragging Canoe, opposed to the sale of tribal lands, called for the violent removal of all European settlers west of the mountains, he led an estimated one thousand followers away from the American settlements and carried on an armed struggle against the new country for twenty more years after the failed Cherokee attacks against the Overmountain settlements in the summer of 1776. At the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1776, the Overmountain settlers began preparing for invasion; the signing of the Watauga Petition and its acceptance by North Carolina —annexing the Washington District to that colony —added further impetus to the Cherokee, who were being encouraged by the British, to push the American frontiersmen out of the Overmountain settlements.
The invasion came in July of that year. While settlers were chased out of Carter's Valley and the Nolichucky settlements, the Cherokee were defeated at Eaton's Station on July 20 and at Fort Watauga on July 21, retreated from the area; the settlers' struggles gained them the sympathies of North Carolina's revolutionary leaders, who in 1777, allowed the settlements of the Washington District to join with the colony, designating the Overmountain area as Washington County, North Carolina. The Overmountain Men took part in numerous operations against British Loyalists and the British-aligned Cherokee and Shawnee all along the Appalachian frontier. Twenty Wataugans helped defend the Boonesborough and Harrodsburg settlements from Shawnee attacks in 1778. During the summer of 1780, a group of Overmountain Men led by Isaac Shelby joined up with Colonel Charles McDowell to raid Loyalist outposts in the Piedmont mountain region of northwestern South Carolina; the Overmountain Men captured Fort Thickety on the Pacolet River and aided in the Patriot victory at the Battle of Musgrove Mill.
With the approach of 1780 harvesting season, most of the Overmountain Men returned to their farms on the frontier. McDowell stayed behind with a small contingent to continue harassing loyalists. After winning a decisive victory at the Battle of Camden in August 1780, British General Charles Cornwallis invaded North Carolina, sent Major Patrick Ferguson into the mountains to root out the Patriot irregulars and protect the region's loyalists. Ferguson routed McDowell's badly-outnumbered force, McDowell retreated across the mountains to the Washington District. Ferguson pardoned a captured frontiersmen named Samuel Phillips so that Phillips could carry a message to the Overmountain settlements. In the message, Ferguson warned the Overmountain Men that if they didn't lay down their arms, he would "march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, lay waste the country with fire and sword."Upon receiving the message, Shelby rode 40 miles to Watauga to consult with John Sevier, the two agreed to raise armies and cross the mountains to engage Ferguson.
On September 25, 1780, several hundred f
J. G. M. Ramsey
James Gettys McGready Ramsey was an American historian, planter, slave owner, businessman, active in East Tennessee during the nineteenth century. Ramsey is best known for his book, The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century, a seminal work documenting the state's frontier and early statehood periods. Ramsey was a major advocate for development in East Tennessee, leading efforts to bring railroad access to the region, helping to organize the region's first medical society; as the son of a prominent Tennessee statesman, Ramsey encountered as a child many of the state's important early political figures, giving him a unique historical perspective on the state's early years. After his father's death, Ramsey began compiling a vast collection of historical documents related to the state's Watauga and Southwest Territory periods. After years of exchanging advice and notes with fellow historian Lyman Draper, Ramsey published the 700-plus page Annals in 1853. While the book has been praised for its attention to accuracy and factual detail, modern historians have criticized it for its lack of historical inquiry and its overemphasis on biography and warfare.
A lifelong states' rights Democrat, Ramsey supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, as a Confederate treasury agent, he was forced to flee Knoxville under an armed guard ahead of the city's Federal occupation in 1863. While the war left his family and finances in ruins, Ramsey returned to Knoxville in the early 1870s, rebuilt his fortune, his funeral procession in 1884 was the largest witnessed in Knoxville until that time. Ramsey was born in a temporary cabin at what is now the Ramsey House in 1797, the fourth son of Francis Alexander Ramsey and Peggy Alexander, both of Scots-Irish descent. Francis Alexander had left Pennsylvania possessing only his horse, both a surveying compass and chain during 1783 at age 19 after having been invited by his material uncle John Alexander to live with him on Big Limestone Creek at what was Washington County, North Carolina and within one mile of the Martin Academy founded by the Rev. Samuel Doak. During 1783, Ramsey's father helped James White explore what is now the Knoxville area, served in various capacities in the State of Franklin and Southwest Territory governments.
Guests who frequented the Ramsey House during Ramsey's formative years included John Sevier and Willie Blount, Knoxville founders James White and Charles McClung. Francis Alexander married Margaret "Peggy" Alexander from Mecklenburg, North Carolina on April 7, 1789 and moved his 23 year old bride to his Limestone residence where they lived until 1792 or 1793, when they moved away to Swan Pond. Swan Pond is located within the Lebanon In The Fork area east of Knoxville where the Holston River meets at a confluence with the French Broad River, these rivers together forming the beginning of the Tennessee River. J. G. M. Ramsey studied with private tutors as a child before attending the Ebenezer Academy, located in what is now West Knoxville, he graduated from Washington College during March 1816, studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He married Margaret Crozier in 1821, began practicing medicine in Knoxville. After his father's death in 1820, Ramsey succeeded him as president of the Knoxville Branch of the Bank of Tennessee.
During the same period, he began building a large plantation at the confluence of the French Broad and Holston rivers, named "Mecklenburg" after his mother's native Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Along with a large mansion, Mecklenburg included a 4,000-volume library that contained many important documents pertaining to Tennessee's early history, as well as a ferry at the head of the Tennessee River. According to an account of a visit to Mecklenberg by "Ora," a correspondent of the Mobile Advertiser, the Ramsey's Mecklenburg residence was located about 100 yards from "...the ruins of the old Presbyterian Church of Lebanon". As early as 1825, Ramsey had proposed connecting Knoxville with the Atlantic Coast via railroad, which would have given the region's farmers better access to markets in Charleston. Over the years, Ramsey negotiated several hundred thousand dollars worth of bonds, which funded the first railroads built in the region. Ramsey championed improvements to the Tennessee River that would give Knoxville's river merchants year-round access to the Mississippi River.
In 1828, the first steamboat to reach Knoxville, the Atlas, docked at Mecklenburg, prompting Ramsey to give a speech on the meaning of patriotism. During the 1850s, Ramsey served as a director of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, which brought railroad access to Knoxville in 1855. In 1858, the Bank of East Tennessee, of which Ramsey was a director, collapsed due to overspeculation; the bank chose to pay off its largest depositers instead of its smaller depositers, causing outrage throughout the region. Knoxville Whig newspaper editor and Methodist minister William "Parson" Brownlow, at odds with Ramsey since the 1840s, sued on behalf of these depositers and won a civil judgement against Ramsey. Ramsey began accumulating historical documents pertaining to the state's history during the 1830s, he began writing The Annals of Tennessee in 1840, but the project stalled as Ramsey struggled with a lack of information regarding certain periods, attempted to address certain contradictions in his source documents.
A major catalyst for Ramsey during this period was his friendship with histori