Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy
Source: History of Tennessee Its People and Its Institutions from the Earliest Time...
By William Robertson Garrett, Albert Virgil Goodpasture 1903
The beautiful State which we love under the name of Tennessee, has, at different periods of its history, been known by many other names. Some of these names have been applied to the entire State, and others to large portions of it.
NAMES GIVEN BY THE INDIANS
Natchez. - It is thought that many years before the discovery of America, Tennessee formed a part of the territory of the Natchez Indians, and was known by their name. The Natchez were expelled by the “red Indians of the North” before the country was settled by the whites, and very little is known about them.
The Chickasaw Country. - After the expulsion of the Natchez, the western portion of Tennessee was occupied by the Chickasaw’s, and was known by their name. The Chickasaws remained in West Tennessee long after its settlement by the whites.
The Cherokee Country. - About 1623 the Cherokees took possession of the eastern portion of the State, and gave their name to that romantic section. They retained their possessions long after the settlement by the whites.
The Hunting Grounds. - After the expulsion of the Natchez from Tennessee, the Iroquois, or Six Nations, claiming that their ancestors had conquered the country, held Middle Tennessee, with portions of Alabama and Kentucky, as their national park. They designated this park by an Indian word which means “Hunting Grounds.” The white settlers called it “The Hunting Grounds.” The Shawnee Country. - At a later period, the Shawnees occupied the Hunting Grounds of the Iroquois for a short time, and Middle Tennessee was known by their name, which is still retained by Sewanee Mountain.
Kentucky. - This name was applied by the Indians to the entire region included between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers and the Appalachian Mountains. This country is nearly in the form of a circle. Historians differ as to the origin of the name. It is generally believed that the Shawnees gave the name, Kentucky, which means “the dark and bloody ground,” to the country in which they waged such fierce warfare and sustained such fearful losses during their brief residence.
Florida. - In the contest between the European nations for the possession of America, Spain, France, and England each claimed Tennessee. Spain included it in her province of Florida.
New France. - France explored a portion of the State, established trading posts at Memphis, Nashville, and other points, and included Tennessee in her province of New France.
Louisiana. - When France reorganized the form of government for her American possessions, Tennessee was included in her province of Louisiana, so named in honor of Louis, Le Grand.
ENGLISH COLONIAL NAMES
Virginia. - From 1584, when Sir Walter Raleigh began the colonization of America, to 1663, Tennessee was a part of the colony of Virginia - a period of seventy-nine years.
Carolina. - When Virginia was divided in 1663, Tennessee became a part of Carolina, and so remained until 1693 - a period of thirty years.
North Carolina. - When Carolina was divided into two provinces, Tennessee became a part of North Carolina, and so remained until 1790. During this period its settlement by Europeans began. Previous to 1763, Tennessee had not been settled by the whites, and was almost unknown to them, although successively included within the charter limits of the English colonies above named, and also claimed by Spain and France. After the “First Treaty of Paris,” in 1763, the title of England was established by treaty, and a flood of immigrants began to pour in. These settlers established independent communities, and gave new names to different portions of the State.
Watauga. - Settlers in the eastern portion of the State from Virginia and North Carolina, in 1772 organized an independent government, and adopted the famous “Articles of the Watauga Association.” This was the first written constitution adopted west of the Appalachian Mountains, and the first constitution made by native Americans.
NAMES OF TENNESSEE AS A PART OF THE UNITED STATES.
Washington County. - The settlers of Watauga had emigrated west mainly to escape the rule of the British colonial governors. They were uncertain whether their new home was within the charter limits of Virginia or North Caroling. They availed themselves of this uncertainty and of their remoteness from the seats of government to hold aloof from either colony. When the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, in 1775, afforded the prospect for freedom from British rule, the hearts of the Watauga settlers turned to their old friends and neighbors who were fighting the battles of the Revolution on the Atlantic coast. They tendered their sympathy and aid. They organized themselves into a military district called Washington, which was the first geographical division named in honor of the Father of his Country. Having discovered that they were located within the charter limits of North Carolina, they applied for recognition from that State. In compliance with this petition, the Legislature of North Carolina, in 1777, erected the county of Washington, with the boundaries which now include the State of Tennessee.
Cumberland. - In 1780 the settlers on the banks of Cumberland River organized an independent government under articles of agreement, entitled the "Cumberland Compact.” Fortunately this Compact has been preserved, and is a model of government suited to pioneer life. The middle portion of the State was popularly called Cumberland for many years.
Frankland, or Franklin. - In 1784 the eastern portion of the State attempted to form an independent government. Historians differ as to the name. Judge Haywood, “the father of Tennessee history,” calls it Frankland (the land of the free). Later historians call it Franklin. It is certain that the convention which assembled at Greeneville, November 14, 1785, adopted the name Franklin. The "State of Franklin" came to an end in 1788.
Southwest Territory. - In December, 1789, the Legislature of North Carolina passed the act ceding Tennessee to the United States. February 25, 1790, the deed of cession was presented to Congress and was accepted April 2, 1790. An act for the government of the territory was passed by Congress May 26, 1790. The territory was styled in legislation “The Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio” ; but was popularly called the Southwest Territory. William Blount was appointed governor, and Knoxville was the Territorial capital. For a period of six years Tennessee remained in territorial apprenticeship.
Tennessee. - In 1796 the Southwest Territory became a State, being the first State erected out of United States territory. The beautiful name, Tennessee, is said to have been proposed by Andrew Jackson. Let us hope that it will be the last of our many names, and let us echo the memorable prayer of Blackstone and Father Paul, Esto berbttua.
History of Tennessee
Tennessee was first of all a settlement where lived several tribes of Indians. The Chickamaugas lived near where Chattanooga now stands; the Creeks lower down on the Tennessee river partly in Alabama; the Cherokees, who were the most warlike of all inhabited the mountains of the east with Kentucky on one side and Georgia on the other. The Chickasaws lived near Memphis. The Uchen lived near Nashville. These Indians lived in this vast wilderness filled with wild animals and dense forests.
When the white hunters of Virginia and North Carolina heard of this vast wilderness filled with deer and buffalo, some of them ventured into the dangerous and disputed territory.
William Bean, of Virginia, made the first settlement on the Watauga River, building his log cabin at the mouth of Hoone's Creek. His family moved into it in 1769. Here his son Russel Bean was born, who was the first known white child to be born in Tennessee.
This was the beginning of Tennessee History. The Indians used a road called "The Great Trace" in their expeditions. This road ran through East Tennessee and connected the Southwest and the North. The title to the land which is now Tennessee was in dispute for a long time. King Charles II, of Great Britain claimed all territory on the North American Continent which was settled by his subjects. He gave away large tracts of land, sometimes to individuals and sometimes to corporations and companies. He maintained no one could get land from the Indians except himself.
North Carolina was granted to a company of distinguished Englishmen, and this land included Tennessee. The English adopted the policy of building forts. The first fort built in East Tennessee was Fort Loudon in 1756.
Hostilities between the white men and the Indians began when upon returning home from Virginia, the Cherokees saw Some horses running at large and thinking they were wild, caught them. The owners thought they were horse thieves and killed some of the Indians. In revenge the Indians killed all the whites they could find. They besieged Fort Loudon, killing all except one officer and twenty men who lived to tell of the butchery.
By the year 1768 many pioneers began emigrating from older settlements to the Tennessee country where they could get plenty of land cheap. The real hardship and danger they had to undergo to hold their lands was the greatest price they paid.
Pioneers from Virginia and North Carolina began to rear their cabins along the Holston and Watauga rivers and by 1770 a substantial settlement was in progress.
Although nominally within the province of North Carolina, the settlers south of the Holston and along the Wataugs were practically without any form of government. Responding to that dominant trait of t.he Anglo-Saxon race for self government, these sturdy pioneers in 1772 met in convention on the Watauga, where the city of Elizabethton is today and formed the "Watauga Association". This was the first seat of government in Tennessee and continued until August of 1776, when upon petition by the people of Watauga, the territory was annexed to the state of North Carolina and known as "Washington District" into a county of the same name, assigning to it the boundaries of the whole present State oI Tennessee.
Two years later in 1778, Jonesborough (now Jonesboro), the first town in Tennessee, was established as the first seat of government of washington County.
By an act of the Legislature of North Carolina in June. 1784, the territory embraced in Washington District was ceded to the United States subject to acceptance within two years. The Wataugans were indignant at being cast off with out being consulted and were apprehensive of their state of affairs during that time. Representatives of three of the four counties in "Washington District" assembled at Jonesboro on August 23, 1784.
These forty representatives elected John Sevier as their president and formed an association for laying out a new state and provide for another convention to form a constitution and start a new government. The new state was called Franklin in honor of Benjamin Franklin, and John Sevier was elected Governor.
This was the first legislative Assembly in what is now Tennessee, and Greenville became its capital. In November of 1784, North Carolina General Assembly repealed the act of cession and assumed jurisdiction over the Western Territory, which caused a conflict of the governtal authority. The people began to fall away from the Franklin Government and depend on the state of North Carolina. In March 1778, Sevier's term had expired and tlhe State of Franklin was dead. In 1789, John Sevier was the Congressman elected from the Mississippi Valley. Two years tater in 1790, it became the Territory of the United States South of the Ohio River, continuing as such until June 1, 1796 when Tennessee was admitted as the Sixteenth state in the Union.
[Transcribed by GT Hosts]
BACK -- HOME
© Genealogy Trails