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.
In 1542 Hernando DeSoto first entered what would become Tennessee. He specifically names, Conasauga village (in McMinn County) and other Cherokee towns located in the region. DeSoto left Spain in April 1538 with 10 ships and 700 men. He stopped at Cuba to later sail to Tampa Bay. Their inland journey took them thru Georgia and into southeast Tennessee....taking Indian captives all the way.
1671-- Thomas Batts, Thomas Woods & Robert Fallows had received a commission from Major General Wood for exploration of the waterways west of the Appalachians. Their journal is "The Expedition of Batts and Fallam: A Journey from Virginia to beyond the Appalachian Mountains, in September, 1671. The furtherest point they reached in their southwestern journey was Peter's Falls on the New River in Southwest Virginia. They specifically mention interaction with the Sapony & Mehatan Indians.
the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
(1643-1687) for France
|1714||Charles Charleville sets up a French trading post at French Lick|
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.
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|
1772 --Tennessee was first heavily settled by Whites in the early 1770's
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|
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
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|
July 10, 1778 - France declares war
against Britain and makes an alliance with the American revolutionary
3 counties in East Tennessee form the
short-lived State of Franklin, which secedes from North Carolina for 4
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
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