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Castalian Springs in Sumner County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

A Frontiersman Settles in the Wilderness

Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park

— Site of Bledsoe's Fort, 1783-1806 —

 
 
A Frontiersman Settles in the Wilderness Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 10, 2020
1. A Frontiersman Settles in the Wilderness Marker
Inscription.  
Isaac Bledsoe discovered the salt lick that bears his name in 1772. His and other explorers' reports of the rich land and game brought settlers to this area despite the dangers.

Discovering the Salt Lick
Isaac Bledsoe looked on a great herd of bison. An accomplished hunter, explorer and woodsman, he realized that the animals were here for the salt in the water that oozed from the mineral spring. Animals need salt to survive, and salt licks like Bledsoe's Lick, as it was known from then on, attracted the game Bledsoe was seeking.

Isaac Bledsoe discovered the lick one-half mile east of here in 1772. He was one of a small party of men who came here to hunt - salting the meat and curing the hides of deer and bison for markets back east. Called long hunters because they spent months far from home, they were often the first non-native people to explore an area. Though occasional conflicts did occur, Native Americans generally tolerated the long hunters because they traveled alone or in small groups and did not stay.

Reports of Rich Land Spur Settlement
Isaac and Anthony Bledsoe, Kasper
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Mansker, Hugh Rogan and others returned home with tales of the riches of the Cumberland Valley. Those reports - and land free for the claiming - enticed the adventurous to come here in spite of the dangers. Thomas Spencer came in 1776 to stay. He was first to clear land, plant corn and build a permanent dwelling in Sumner County. It was not long before others followed.

Making a Home in the Wilderness
Isaac Bledsoe returned to Bledsoe's Lick with his family in 1780. He was one of several long hunters who eventually decided to settle near here. His first attempt to establish a settlement failed. Native Americans, alarmed by the threat the settlers posed, mounted military expeditions against every new settlement, including Bledsoe's. It was 1783 before the Bledsoe family permanently occupied the fort. The settlement persevered, though not without considerable loss of life, including Isaac Bledsoe's. He was killed 100 yards west of the fort in 1793.

"... when he got to the bank of the creek at the Lick, the whole flat surrounding the Lick of about one hundred acres was principally covered with buffaloes in every direction, he said not only hundreds but thousands."
General William Hall relating Isaac Bledsoe's account of finding the Lick

[Caption:]
Long hunters' camps were rough affairs where game was skinned
A Frontiersman Settles in the Wilderness Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 10, 2020
2. A Frontiersman Settles in the Wilderness Marker
and the meat and hides prepared for transport.
 
Erected by Our Tennessee Wars Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ExplorationNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian. A significant historical year for this entry is 1772.
 
Location. 36° 23.896′ N, 86° 19.269′ W. Marker is in Castalian Springs, Tennessee, in Sumner County. Marker can be reached from Hartsville Pike (State Highway 25) 0.1 miles west of Rock Springs Road, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located in Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park, at the end of the entrance road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2901 Hartsville Pike, Castalian Springs TN 37031, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park (here, next to this marker); Fighting for a Way of Life (here, next to this marker); Abraham “Abram” Bledsoe (a few steps from this marker); Bill "Hoss" Allen (a few steps from this marker); Rogana (a few steps from this marker); Hugh Rogan (within shouting distance of this marker); Capt. Horace Lawson Hunley (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bledsoe's Lick (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Castalian Springs.
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on May 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 13, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 504 times since then and 85 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 13, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 19, 2024