EVERETTs in Middle Tennessee
submitted by Chuck Everett
Everett’s in Tennessee
This story is divided into 3 sections. The first will relate the tripthat John Everett, Sn and Thomas Hardeman took to Middle Tennessee. The Second will give some interesting details of their lives in Middle Tennessee. The Third Section will give some information on the children of John Everett, Sn and Esther Hardeman Everett.
Section I: Everett’s come to Middle Tennessee
The story of the Everett family in Tennessee is intimately connected with the Hardeman family. The primary source material for the following story has been handed down by the Hardeman family for generations and is found in the Hardeman MSS, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, and in the Hardeman MSS, State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia. It is found as secondary source material in ‘Wilderness Calling’ by Nicholas Perkins Hardeman, University of Tennessee Press, 1977. I cannot improve on Dr. Hardeman’s telling of the story and so I will quote him in full for this part of the story.
‘Early in 1785 or 1786, Thomas Hardeman and his family, a few slaves, one or more canoes, some tools and household possessions, and his ever-present Bible, drifted out to midstream in the clear currents of the Holston River (the Watauga Settlement) and began the 1,ooo-mile float to their new home near present day Nashville, Tennessee.’ (Thomas was originally from Pittsylvania County Virginia, though his father had settled in New Mexico, Guilford County North Carolina, by this time. As of this writing, it has not been determined with any certainty where the Everett’s were originally from).
‘Crowded on board the broadhorn flatboat with Tom and his immediate family were his sister and brother-in-law, Esther and John Everett, Sr. and their children.’ (Their children were James, Comfort, John, Jr., Dorothy, Susannah, Lydia, Betsey, and Thomas Hardeman Everett. More will be said about them later.) ‘A Major Hay, with a smaller flatboat, accompanied them on the
trip, as did a venturer named Williamson traveling in a canoe. Including slaves there were seven grown men in the party. This was scarcely a full count of able-bodied defenders, since frontier women such as Mary and Esther were adept with firearms. The story of the voyage, as Hardeman and his relatives told and retold it to their children and grandchildren, was written by a grandson, John Locke Hardeman.
That the voyage was begun in the dead of winter is less surprising than a first glance would indicate. Hostile Indians would have little concealment from foliage and would be unlikely to hazard an attack against boasts shielded by the icy current. The prospect of high enough water to pass the shoals was better in late winter than in any other season. And the streams to be followed were sufficiently far south that, with luck, sojourners could avoid a freeze-over, arriving at the Ohio after the worst of the winter was past. Finally, the voyagers would be reaching their destination in time to take advantage of a spring planting and growing season.
Down the Holston, past the mouth of the French Broad River, and into the channel of the Tennessee Thomas Hardeman and John Everett led the small fleet. The Tennessee River was known to be treacherous along parts of its meandering course. Piomingo, a prominent Chickasaw chief, for years known to the settlers as ‘Mountain Leader’, agreed to serve the party as guide until the inhospitable 37-mile-long Muscle Shoals of the north Georgia backland (later to be included within the state of Alabama) had been negotiated. This chief was one of the ‘decided friends of the American,’ although he usually preferred traders over permanent settlers…Although Piomingo pointed out the channel unerringly, the large, cumbersome boat was cast upon a rocky point. Agonizing hours and days dragged by as the party unloaded pried with levers, repaired the box-like craft, and finally reloaded.
After ten days on the shoals, Thomas and his group got their arks afloat again, and none too soon. A party of about 3oo Indians appeared on the bank. By various ruses they tried to take the boats.
They sent an Indian on board to ascertain the force of the boats, and to see if there were any great guns aboard: they were told that the large boat had two. This was the famous John Taylor: he feigned himself drunk, with a view to detain the boats till evening, the hour of attack: and refusing to go ashore was violently ejected. The Indians, foiled in their first plan of operations, hastened to a bend some distance below, where the river was narrow; they frequently showed themselves in parties of two or three and desired the boats to come ashore: they brought presents of meat, much needed by the whites: wanted to trade: said there were Frenchmen amongst them: wanted passports, or papers by which they might be known as friends among White men: finally said they: “We have a White-man bound, come and release him.” They last showed themselves at the mouth of the Duck River, a place well calculated for their purpose. When after calling as usual, three of them came off in a canoe, pretending confidence and friendship: They stole the hat off Mr. Everett and making off, showed it at a distance, hoping… to provoke pursuit.
Debarkations were required from time to time. Thomas Hardeman went ashore alone whenever the meat supply was low. Once while he was hunting, his family sighted a band of Indians, and when the hunter did not return, he was presumed dead or captured. The settlers, unable to go back upstream and deeming it folly to land, had no choice buy to stay with the craft and the current. Several days later, upon rounding a bend in the stream, they saw Thomas at the water’s edge, the carcass of a deer at his feet.
While on another hunt, he saw an Indian approaching. Concealing himself behind a tree until he was satisfied that the man was alone, he stepped into the open and slowly approached. The Indian, who appeared to be peaceful, was Panss Fallayah, or Chief Longhair of the Chickasaw, a relative of the guide Piomingo. He was taken to the boat and given a meal and some provisions. Later, Longhair and his son were both to die fighting on the side of the settlers against Creek Indians in the battle at Duck River.
When the vessels reached the Ohio River and the mouth of the Cumberland, the physical hazards to navigation were magnified. Now it was necessary to go upstream, but flatboats were not designed for working against the current. Conditions worsened when the rains of late winter glutted the main channel of the Cumberland, swelling it out of its banks…. Mile after wearisome
mile the square-nosed craft was poled, paddled, and cordelled upstream into the teeth of the flood. The boatman pushed their vessels away from the main channel and through inundated woodlands where there was less current to fight against. Finally, at the mouth of Little River, the large flatboats had to be abandoned. The heavy items of freight were hidden in dense patches of timber; Tom would return for the supplies later.
According to John Locke Hardeman the long and laborious journey ended successfully on March 10, the year was either 1785 or 1786. As soon as their fields were planted, Hardeman and his brother-in-law Everett, and their families, aided by neighbors, built a stockade which appears on early maps of the region as “Hardeman’s or Everett’s station”’ (Hardeman, 13-18).
Section II: Interesting Stories of Everetts in the early years of Nashville, Tennessee
Everett Children Scalped by Indians
Thomas Hardeman Everett (1783-1854), youngest son of John Everett, Sn and Esther Hardeman Everett, and two of his sisters were scalped by Indians, as they gathered walnuts near their home in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1791.
A third sister hid from the attackers and alerted the family. The account says that ‘Thomas remembered that he had started to run when he saw a huge Indian who wore a ring in his nose. The Indian followed him for about 1oo yards when he was overtaken and knocked down by the redman, who scalped him and fled.”
Their oldest sister, Comfort, nursed them back to health, since their mother had died by that time. Thomas Hardeman Everett lived to be 7o years old, and with his wife, Elizabeth Buchanan, had 16 children. He died in Davidson County, Tennessee, on March 29, 1854. (This information was taken from the book, ‘Leaves From the Family Tree’, Mrs. Penelope Allen).
Section III: John Everett, Sn and Esther Hardeman
To date the marriage license of John Everett and Esther Hardeman has alluded the genealogist. Possible counties in which the marriage took place are: Pittsylvania County Virginia or Guilford County North Carolina. It just cannot be said with any degree of certainty if the license even still exist. The marriage most likely took place some time before 1772. Their oldest son James Everett was killed by Indians in 1792. James had been married around one month at the time of his death. He had married Lettie Ridley in Davidson County Tennessee on 5 May 1792 and was killed in June 1792. Thomas Hardeman Everett, the youngest child was born in 1783. This being approximately two years before his parents moved by flatboat to Middle Tennessee.
Through this union of Esther Hardeman and John Everett, Sn, their descendants became united to many prominent families in Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and California.
Esther Hardeman was the daughter of John Hardeman (1716-1790) and Dorothy Edwards. John and Dorothy Hardeman’s children were:
- Deborah H.
m. Strong (lived in Ga)
- Thomas H. [a Revolutionary Soldier] (1750-1833)
m. Mary Perkins (lived in Tenn., La., Mo.)
- Susannah H.
m. Owen (lived in Ga)
- Elizabeth H.
m. Stone (lived in Tn)
- Jane H.
m. Rafferty (lived in Va)
- Judith H.
m. Strong (lived in Va)
- John H. [a Revolutionary Soldier]
m. Nancy Collier (lived in Ga)
- Lydia H.
m. Wortham (lived in Tenn.)
- Esther H.
m. John Everett
The children of John Everett, Sn and Esther Hardeman were:
- James E. (killed by Indians one month after his marriage) (1772?-1792)
m. Lettie Ridley on 5 May 1792
- Comfort E. (1773-1860)
m. John Topp on 26 July 1794 [John S. Topp a son was active in the politics of Lebanon, Tennessee. Other sons were involved in the political scene in Memphis, Tennessee. Nancy Topp, a daughter, married Thomas Martin. Their children married in the Blewett family of Columbus, Mississippi, the Rose family of Columbus, Mississippi, and the Spofford of Louisiana.]
- John E., Jr
m. Sallie Davis 19 Jan 1799 [Sallie (Sarah) Davis was the daughter of Joel Evans Davis and Elizabeth Harvey. John, Jr. moved to Wilson County Tennessee by 1808.]
- Dorothy E.
- Susannah E.
- Lydia E.
- Betsey E.
- Thomas Hardeman Everett (1783-1854)
m. Elizabeth Buchanan on 30 Oct 1810
[Thomas H. Everett was a prominent citizen of Davidson County Tennessee. A member of Mill Creek Baptist Church where the Tennessee Baptist Convention began, he is buried in the old Church Cemetery. Thomas H. Everett and Elizabeth Buchanan had 16 children.]
Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deeds
Book C 1798-1806
Pages 561 and 562 (This document between John Everett, Jr and his uncle John Hardeman names the children of Esther and John Everett, Sn.)
Marriage Record Book I
Jan 2, 1789 – Dec 13, 1837
Davidson County, Tennessee
Other documents sited within the text.
This information has been compiled by Rev. Charles R. Everett of Lugoff, South Carolina. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chuck is a direct descendant of John Everett, Sn and Esther Hardeman through their son John Everett, Jr. If you need further information on the family of John Everett, Jr. please contact Chuck at the above email.
Copyright © 2001, by Chuck Everett
All Rights Reserved.