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Tennessee statehood was declared on 1 June 1796.  So just what factors played roles in the earliest history of what became the State of Tennessee.


Our next accounting is the 'Journal of Doctor Thomas Walker, 1749-1750, also taken from the Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800, Abingdon, VA.

The first paragraph of his journal reads as follows:  Having, on the 12th of December last, been employed for a certain consideration to go to the westward in order to discover a proper place for a settlement, I left my house on the sixth day of March, at ten o'clock, 1749-50, in the Company with Ambrose Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and John Hughs.  Each man had a horse and we had two to carry the baggage.  I lodged this night at Col. Joshua Fry's in Albemarle, which County includes the Chief of the head branches of James River on the East side of the Blue Ridge.

The first accounting we have of this expedition entering 'Tennessee'  is on 11 April, 1750.  "Having travelled 5 miles to and over an High Mountain, Cumberland Gap, we came to Turkey Creek, which we kept down 4 miles.  It lied between two ridges of mountains, that to the eastward being the highest. 

Abstracted they had crossed the Clinch Mountain, likely at Looney's Gap and had reached the Clinch River in north east Tennessee likely in Hancock, County near Sneedville.  Some say that he went up Greasy Creek, northwestward, and entered the valley between Newman's Ridge and Powell Mtn.

Between April 11, May, June, July & August the group explored southeastern Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee describing in detail the weather conditions and environment they found themselves in.

1756 1756 - 1763: The Seven Years War (French and Indian War) due to disputes over land is won by Great Britain. France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba. 
1769 Daniel Boone ( 1735 - 1818 ) explores the region
1769 William Bean ( 1721 - 1782 ) establishes first white settlement in Tennessee


The vital part these early settlers played in the settlement of the "second frontier" in this country was an extremely vital one.  The
Revolutionary War battles in which these Overmountain Men had a part in what was, according to many, the turning point in the War. Some stated that
these southern men had done more for the advancement of the cause of the Revolutionary War than George Washington had done in three years. Two
books will help researchers learn much more. "The Overmountain Men" by Pat Alderman and "Kings Mountain and It's Hero's" by Lyman Draper.

The earliest attempts at settlement from the Carolinas began with the British and their attempts to 'talk' with the Native American's all over the
region. The fort in Old Ninety Six district, also called Fort 96 was the westernmost hub until 1756 when South Carolina first built a western
fort called Fort Loudon in what is now Monroe County, Tennessee. For four long years this fort stood as a bastion against French encroachment, as
a supply hub for trade goods and created a great portion of the earliest recorded history in southeast Tennessee.



1772--1780  The Watauga Association or the Republic of Watauga

By 1772 about seventy homesteads or farms had been established along the Watauga River in northeastern Tennessee (now Carter County). The area lay outside the boundaries of British colonial government and within the recognized boundaries of Cherokee territory. Disregarding the British mandate, the settlers negotiated a ten-year lease with the Indians for "all the country on the waters of the Watauga."In 1772 the settlers established the Watauga Association to organize the region. The "constitution" of the association incorporated the Virginia code of laws and outlined the organization of government. Five elected magistrates formed a court and conducted the business of government, including executive, legislative, and judicial matters. A clerk recorded deliberations of the court, and a sheriff executed judgments. The first five commissioners of the court are unknown, but a plausible list can be reconstructed. John Carter likely served as the first chairman. James Robertson was probably a member, and he may have suggested the name "Watauga Association." Charles Robertson and Zachariah Isbell may have been members, and the fifth member was probably either John Sevier or Jacob Brown.  Read more at-


1775 The Transylvania Company buys land from the Cherokees
1775 Daniel Boone, working for the Transylvania Company, blazes a trail called the Wilderness Road from Virginia across the mountain at Cumberland Gap to open the land to settlement
1775 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution creates the United States of America. The Revolution was due to the British burden of taxes and total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies. George Washington led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (American War of Independence)
1776 July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence
1778 July 10, 1778 - France declares war against Britain and makes an alliance with the American revolutionary forces

1780- The State of Franklin--A short-lived attempt to create a new state in the trans-Appalachian settlement of present-day East Tennessee, the State of

 Franklin arose from the general unsettled state of national, regional, and local politics at the end of the Revolutionary War. Under the severely limited

 congressional revenue powers imposed by the Articles of Confederation, the best solution for funding the new national government in the 1780s was

 the cession of western lands by the individual states. Congress actively encouraged this process, anticipating substantial returns. North Carolina,
however, had not agreed to such a step and instead reopened its western land office in 1783.  Acting on the presumption that the Cherokees had

forfeited their land claims due to their alliance with the British during the Revolution, the entire trans-Appalachian West, with only a few exceptions,

was made available for purchase.  Read more:

1784 3 counties in East Tennessee form the short-lived State of Franklin, which secedes from North Carolina for 4 years 

The Southwest Territory or Territory South of the Ohio

The Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, often called the Southwest Territory, was created by an act of Congress on May 26, 1790. The State of

 North Carolina had ceded the lands and waterways encompassed by the act to the national government on December 22, 1789, and the cession represented the total

 area of the territory, although its name suggested the possible inclusion of other lands south of the Ohio not yet in federal hands. Congress specified that the territory

 would be governed under the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787, the statute establishing the vast Northwest Territory. The lawmakers made one important

 exception, however. They permitted slavery in the new territory, although they had prohibited the practice in the Northwest Territory.  Read more at:


1796 Statehood - The Date that Tennessee was admitted to the Union - June 1, 1796. Constitution - Tennessee was the 16th State to be admitted to the Union. State Motto - " Agriculture and Commerce ".