TENNESSEE: A GUIDE TO THE STATE

Contents

Chronology

1541

De Soto crosses the Mississippi at or near the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff, where Memphis now stands.

1673

Needham and Arthur enter East Tennessee. Joliet and Marquette descend the Mississippi from Wisconsin River to 34° N. latitude and stop at Chickasaw Bluffs.

1682

La Salle builds Fort Prud'homme on First Chickasaw Bluff near mouth of Hatchie River.

1692

Martin Chartier, one of La Salle's men, after some years' stay with Shawnee of Cumberland Valley, travels from French Lick up Cumberland River and overland to Virginia.

1711

Eleazer Wiggan, English trader, establishes trade with Overhill Cherokee.

1714

Charleville, French trader, operates a trading post at Great French Lick where Nashville now stands.

1730

Sir Alexander Cuming negotiates first treaty between English and Cherokee. Group of chiefs go with him to England.

1736

Christian Priber reaches Cherokee town of Great Tellico, plans to establish his "Kingdom of Paradise."
May 20. D'Artaguette defeated by Chickasaw and English traders.
May 26. Bienville's forces defeated by Chickasaw.

1748

Dr. Thomas Walker of Virginia explores vicinity of present Kingsport.

1750

Dr. Thomas Walker and party explore upper East Tennessee and pass through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Walker was the first explorer to record discovery of what he later named Cumberland Gap.

1756

Major Andrew Lewis builds Virginia fort near Chota, Cherokee capital.

1757

Fort Loudoun, near Virginia fort, completed; first Anglo-American fort in Tennessee to be garrisoned.

1758

Presbyterian Mission established at Fort Loudoun by Rev. John Martin.

1760

War between English and Cherokee. Indians take Fort Loudoun. Daniel Boone commissioned by Henderson and Co. to scout East Tennessee.

1761

Peace is made between English and Cherokee.
Ensign Henry Timberlake and Sergeant Thomas Sumter travel through Overhill Cherokee country.
Elijah Walden, with party of Long Hunters, explores East Tennessee and Cumberland Valley.
Fort Robinson built by Col. Adam Stephen near Long Island of the Holston River, site of modern Kingsport.

1763

Ensign Timberlake, Sergeant Sumter, Ostenaco, and two of his warriors visit England.

1764

Henry Scaggs (Scoggins) explores Tennessee region as representative of Henderson & Co.

1766

Col. James Smith leads exploring party which discovers Stone's River, named for Uriah Stone, one of the party.

1768

Treaty of Hard Labour between English and Cherokee signed.

1769

William Bean, supposed to have been first permanent settler in Tennessee builds cabin on Boone's Creek, near its junction with Watauga River.

1772

The Watauga Association formed; first independent government established in America by native white Americans.

1775

Washington District supersedes Watauga Association.
March 17. Richard Henderson and Co. buys Cherokee land between Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers.

1776

July 20. Battle of Island Plats between settlers and Cherokee.
July 31. Indians attack Fort Caswell.

1777

Washington District becomes Washington County, with boundaries co-extensive with present State of Tennessee.

July 20. Commissioners of Virginia and North Carolina negotiate Treaty of Long Island with Cherokee.

1779

Jonesboro, first town in Tennessee, established.
Col. Evan Shelby defeats hostile Chickamauga near present site of Chattanooga.
James Robertson, "Father of Tennessee," reaches Cumberland Settlement.
John Donelson begins voyage on flatboat Adventure.
Commissioners of Virginia and North Carolina run separate boundary lines called, respectively, "Walker's Line" and "Henderson's Line."

1780

Rev. Samuel Doak, pioneer evangelist, preaches at Salem.
Martin Academy (Doak's school) established at Monette, first institution of higher learning in Mississippi Valley (chartered in 1783 ).
April 24. John Donelson and party reach Nashborough (Nashville). Cherokee towns are destroyed by Sevier.
May 1. The Cumberland Compact signed by Cumberland settlers.
October 7. Battle of King's Mountain. Tennessee troops participate.

1781

January 15. Battle of Freeland Station between settlers and hostile Cherokee and Creek.
April 2. Battle of the Bluffs between Cumberland settlers and Chickamauga.

1782

John Sevier defeats Chickamauga and burns their towns.

1783

June 1. McGillivray, Creek chief, forms alliance with Spanish.
Indians raid Cumberland settlements. Davidson County organized.

1784

June 2. North Carolina cedes its western lands to U. S., but repeals act in same year.
December 14. State of Franklin established; constitution adopted. Nashville incorporated to succeed Nashborough.

1785

Davidson Academy, forerunner of University of Nashville and George Peabody College for Teachers, chartered.
March. First Franklin Legislature meets at Greeneville; John Sevier elected Governor. Four new counties established.
November. Hopewell Treaty signed by U. S. Commissioners and Cherokee chiefs. Cherokee title to Tennessee lands recognized by U. S.

1786

Treaty of Hopewell between U. S. and Chickasaw. Chickasaw title to West Tennessee recognized by U. S.
Franklin and North Carolina both claim jurisdiction in East Tennessee.
Capt. James White and James Connor settle on site of Knoxville.

1787

Franklin Legislature meets at Greeneville for last time.
Robertson conducts Coldwater Expedition against Creek Indians near Muscle Shoals.

1788

Peter Avery blazes Avery's Trace from East Tennessee across Cumberland Plateau to Nashville.
March. Government of Franklin collapses. Spanish agents intrigue against colonists.
April. Bishop Francis Asbury holds first Methodist Conference west of Allegehenies at Half-Acres in East Tennessee.

1789

John Sevier elected first Representative to U.S. Congress from Washington.
District of Mero established in Middle Tennessee.
December 22. North Carolina cedes its western lands to U. S.

1790

Population, Territorial U. S. Census, 35,691.
May 26. Congress passes act for government of "Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio," including Tennessee.
William Blount, appointed Territorial Governor, takes oath on September 20 and organizes Washington County on October 22.

1791

William Blount, Governor of the Territory South of the River Ohio, establishes headquarters at White's Fort (Knoxville); Knoxville platted.
July 2. Treaty of the Holston between U. S. and Cherokee signed. Indian land cession secured, new boundaries agreed upon, and Cherokee come under protection of Government.
November 5. Knoxville Gazette, weekly newspaper, established at Rogersville.

1792

September 10. Andrew Jackson receives his first military appointment, "Judge Advocate for Davidson Regiment."
September 30. Buchanan's Station attacked by Indians.

1793

September 25. Cavett's Station destroyed by Indians.

1794

September 10. Blount College, forerunner of University of Tennessee, chartered (opened 1795).
September 13. James Ore destroys Chickamauga towns, Nickajack and Running Water.

1795

The Walton Road completed from Knoxville to Nashville across Cumberland Plateau.

1796

February 6. First State constitution adopted.
March 29. First General Assembly meets at Knoxville.
March 30. First State Governor, John Sevier, inaugurated; serves until 1801 and again from 1803 to 1809.
March 31. William Blount and William Cocke elected first United States Senators, reelected four months later.
June 1. Tennessee admitted into Union as sixteenth state.
November 12. Jackson first Representative in Congress from Tennessee, takes seat December 5.

1797

Jackson succeeds William Cocke as U. S. Senator.
January 23. Thomas Embree, in Knoxville Gazette, urges organization of an abolition society.
July 8. William Blount expelled from U. S. Senate.

1798

Jackson resigns as U. S. Senator and is appointed judge of State Superior Court.

1800

Population 105,602. Great religious revival sweeps State.

1802

Jackson elected major general of militia in contest with John Sevier and James Winchester.

1803

General Wilkinson builds Fort Pickering at Memphis.

1805

Aaron Burr visits Nashville on his way to Mississippi territory.

1806

May 30. Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel in Logan, Ky.
April 18. Congress grants 1,000 acres to be sold for support of county academies; 1,000 acres more for two colleges, Blount in east and Cumberland in west.

1807

Nashville Bank, first in Tennessee, chartered.

1810

Population 261,727.
February 4. Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized in Dickson County.

1811

Bank of the State of Tennessee established.

1812

September 12. Legislature convenes in Nashville for first time.

1813

September 4. Jackson is seriously wounded by Bentons at Talbot (afterward City) Hotel, Nashville.
September 7. Jackson mobilizes troops at Fayetteville for Creek War.

1814

March 27. Jackson defeats Creeks at Battle of Tohopeka, ending Creek War.
April 20. Treaty of Fort Jackson made with Creeks.

1815

Manumission Society of Tennessee organized at Lost Creek, Jefferson County.
January 8. Jackson defeats British forces at New Orleans.
September. John Sevier dies near Fort Decatur, Ala.

1818

January-May. Jackson ordered to direct campaign against Seminoles; drives Spanish garrison from Pensacola.
October 19. Jackson and Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, as U. S. Commissioners, make a treaty with Chickasaw, who cede to U. S. all territory claimed by them east of Mississippi River and north of 35° latitude.

1819

First steamboat arrives at Nashville.
W. L. Brown and Felix Grundy appointed commissioners for Tennessee to determine with Kentucky commissioners the line between Tennessee and Kentucky.
John Overton, with collaboration of Jackson and James Winchester, lays out city of Memphis.
Manumission Intelligencer, later Emancipator, first anti-slavery paper in United States, published at Jonesboro.

1820

Population 422,823.
Madison County organized and Jackson settled.

1821

Jackson appointed Territorial Governor of Florida.

1823

Pioneer, first newspaper in West Tennessee established at Jackson.
Jackson elected U. S. Senator to succeed Col. John Williams.

1825

Nashoba, Fanny Wright's colony for freed slaves, established.
May 4. Lafayette visits Nashville.

1826

Memphis Advocateestablished - first newspaper in Memphis.
Duel between Sam Houston and Gen. William White.
Davy Crockett elected to U. S. Congress.

1827

Davidson Academy becomes University of Nashville.
August. Sam Houston elected Governor.

1828

Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams for presidency of the United States.
First steamboat reaches Knoxville.

1829

April. Governor Houston resigns governorship; goes into voluntary exile among Cherokee in Arkansas.
March 9. John H. Eaton appointed Secretary of War by President Jackson.

1830

Population 681,904.

1831

Railroad Advocate, one of the first newspapers devoted to railroad promotion published at Rogersville.

1833

Epidemic of Asiatic cholera sweeps over Tennessee. Large cities paralyzed and many small towns almost depopulated.

1834

New State constitution adopted.

1835

James K. Polk becomes Speaker of the national House of Representatives.
March 5 and 6. New constitution ratified by people.

1836

Sam Houston and other Tennesseans lead Texans in their war for independence from Mexico.
First superintendent of public instruction appointed.

1837

Uniform system of public schools in state established by law.

1838

Great Removal of Cherokee from Tennessee.
James K. Polk, Governor 1839-41.

1840

Population 829,210.

1842

First train in Tennessee makes exhibition run over LaGrange and Memphis.
Cumberland University at Lebanon chartered and opened.

1843

Nashville becomes State capital.

1844

November. James K. Polk becomes President-elect.

1845

January 1. Work begun on State capitol.
July 4. Great "Western and Southwestern Convention" held in Memphis to promote railroad connection between Tennessee and other southern States.
June 8. Andrew Jackson dies at the Hermitage, aged 78 years.

1847

New Orleans and Ohio Telegraph Company chartered - first company of kind in Tennessee.
May 26. Governor Brown calls volunteers for Mexican War.
Tennessee's quota is 2,800, but 30,000 respond and Tennessee becomes "Volunteer State."


1849

Tennessee Historical Society founded.
June 5. James K. Polk dies at Nashville, aged 54 years. December. Memphis given city charter.

1850

Population, 1,002,717.
June 3. Southern convention opens 9-day session at Nashville to discuss slavery question.

1851

Col. John Pope wins first prize in cotton exhibit at World's Fair in London.
Mark Cockrill receives same rating for sheep.
April 13. Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, first railroad successfully operated in Tennessee, begins service.

1853

Andrew Johnson, Governor 1853-57.
State Library founded.

1854

February 28. Gov. Andrew Johnson's recommendation for tax to provide public schools becomes law.
State agricultural bureau established and county agricultural societies organized.

1855

State capitol completed.
First Biennial State Fair, forerunner of present annual State Fair, held in Nashville.
Nashville Academy of Music and Fine Arts incorporated.

1860

Population 1,109,801.

1861

May 6. Tennessee, by legislative act, secedes from the Union.
June 24. Governor Harris proclaims Tennessee's secession.
September. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston prepares State military defense.

1862

February 6. Confederate Fort Henry surrenders.
February 16. Confederate Fort Donelson surrenders.
February 20. Seat of State government removed to Memphis.
March 3. Andrew Johnson appointed military governor of Tennessee.
April 6-7. Battle of Shiloh.
July-September. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest raids Federal troops in Middle Tennessee.
August 16. General Bragg begins Tennessee campaign at Chattanooga. General Forrest
raids Federal troops in West Tennessee.

1863

December 31 (1862), January 1, and 2. Battle of Stone's River.
June 20-July 7. Confederate army under Bragg retires to Tullahoma, blocking way to Chattanooga.
September 19-20. Battle of Chickamauga.
November 24-25. Battle of Chattanooga (Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain); Bragg, outnumbered, retreats to Georgia.

1864

September 4. Gen. John H. Morgan killed at Greeneville, East Tennessee.
November 4. Gov. Andrew Johnson becomes Vice-President elect.
November 30. Battle of Franklin.
December 15-16. Battle of Nashville.

1865

Beginning of Reconstruction.
March 4. William G. (Parson) Brownlow elected Governor.
April 5. Legislature ratifies 13th amendment.
April 15. Andrew Johnson becomes President of the United States.

1866

July 19. Tennessee ratifies Fourteenth amendment to U. S. Constitution.
July 24. Tennessee restored to Union. Fisk University (Negro) opened at Nashville (chartered 1867).

1867

Gen. John H. Eaton, Jr., former Union officer, elected State superintendent of public instruction.
Legislature passes law providing separate schools for Negroes at State's expense.

1868

Ku Klux Klan organized at Pulaski.

1869

March. Ku Klux Klan disbanded by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, "Grand Cyclops."
Gen. John Eaton publishes Report of School Conditions in Tennessee.
DeWitt C. Senter appointed Governor.

1870

Population, 1,258,521.
Third constitution adopted.

1873

Educational law passed, establishing uniform system of free public schools.

1875

First State board of education created.
A bill abolishing the office of county superintendent of public schools is pushed through legislature but vetoed.
July 31. Andrew Johnson, former President, dies near Jonesboro.

1877

State board of health created.

1878

Worst yellow fever epidemic in history of U. S. strikes Memphis. Of the 6,000 white population 4,204 died; of the 14,000 Negroes, 946.

1880

Population, 1,542,359.
Centennial celebration of Nashville settlement.

1882

Julia Doak appointed State superintendent of education, first woman in U. S. to hold such office.

1886

"The War of the Roses." Robert L. Taylor, Democratic candidate for Governor, defeats his brother, Alfred A. Taylor, Republican candidate.

1890

Population, 1,767,518.

1891

July 21. First major strike in Tennessee history called by miners at Coal Creek.

1892

Steel cantilever bridge over Mississippi at Memphis opened.

1895

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park dedicated.

1897

May 1-November 1. Tennessee Centennial Exposition held at Nashville.

1898

Tennessee furnishes four regiments for War with Spain.

1899

County courts given power to establish county high schools and provide for their support and supervision.

1900

Population 2,020,616.

1907

Local option law extended to include all cities and towns.

1908

State militia stops activities of night riders at Reelfoot Lake.

1909

The general education bill enacted.
January. State-wide prohibition law passed; becomes effective July 1.
Francis Joseph Campbell, blind educator, knighted by King Edward VII for his services to the blind.

1910

Population, 2,184,789. Independents elect candidates for the judiciary.

1913

One-third of the gross revenues of the State appropriated for education. Highway improvement begun. Workmen's compensation law passed.

1917

April 6. U. S. declares war against Germany. Many Tennesseans volunteer. First Liberty Loan oversubscribed in Tennessee.

1918

Sergeant Alvin C. York, with small squad and armed only with pistol and rifle, takes Hill 223 in Argonne Forest.
December. Col. Luke Lea, of Nashville, leads a party of commissioned and non-commissioned officers on daring unofficial raid into Holland to capture the Kaiser. The attempt fails.

1919

State agrees to furnish $1,000,000, City of Nashville $600,000 and Davidson County $400,000 for memorial building in honor of soldiers of World War.
January 13. Eighteenth amendment (prohibition) to Federal Constitution ratified.

1920

Population, 2,337,885.
August 18. Nineteenth amendment (woman's suffrage) ratified.

1923

Gov. Austin Peay (1923-1927) puts all activities of State under eight major departments, abolishing about fifty bureaus and departments.

1925

Scopes evolution trial held at Dayton; William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow are opposing counsel.

1929

By agreement with North Carolina, land for Great Smoky Mountains National Park offered to Federal government and accepted.
March. Heavy rains cause floods with loss of life and property.

1930

Population, 2,616,556.
State has $6,000,000 in closed banks.

1931

Legislature investigating committee votes against impeachment of Governor Horton.
July 21. Tennesee votes for repeal of 18th amendment to Constitution.

1932

Coal miners strike at Wilder.

1933

August 31. Tennessee Valley Authority created by an Act of Congress to develop natural resources of territory within Tennessee River watershed.
November. Construction of Norris Dam begun.

1934

Barnard Astronomical Association founded as a memorial to Dr. Edward Emerson Barnard, Nashville astronomer.

1935

Rural Electrification Act passed by legislature regulating operation of TVA in State.

1936

January. Convict lease law repealed. January. Construction of Chickamauga Dam begun.
March 4. Norris Dam, first Unit of TVA, completed.
December. Coal miners strike at Jamestown. State militia called out.
December. Unemployment compensation law enacted at special session of legislature.

1937

January. Floods cause much property damage.
May 18. Strike closes fabricating plant of Aluminum Company of America at Alcoa.
November 5. Governor Gordon Browning's unit bill for proportional suffrage among counties passed at special session of Legislature.

1938

County unit bill invalidated by Tennessee Supreme Court.

1939

State legislature overrides Governors veto of act to permit, or forbid at county's option, package sales of alcoholic liquor.

Contents

TENNESSEE: A GUIDE TO THE STATE