Kingston in Roane County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Fort Southwest Point
The first military post in this area dates to 1792 when a blockhouse was constructed about one-half mile upstream from the present fort sit eon the boundary of U.S. Territory and the Cherokee Nation as defined by a 1791 treaty. The blockhouse was located near the North Carolina Road or Avery Trace which ran westward to the “settlements” on the Cumberland River at present day Nashville.
In 1796 two events impacted military operations in Tennessee: Tennessee became a state and the U.S. Congress passed legislation intended to regulate trade with the Indian tribes and preserve peace on the frontier. The U.S. government began to increase the number of federal troops in Tennessee to protect Cherokee Indian rights and preserve the peace.
Fort Southwest Point was constructed in 1797 to accommodate the increasing numbers of troops assigned to eastern Tennessee. It was located in Kingston, Tennessee, overlooking the Clinch and Tennessee Rivers. At its peak there were 625 soldiers stationed there. It became the headquarters for federal troops in Tennessee under the command of Colonel David Henly.
• The first two commanding officers at Fort Southwest Point were Captains Wade and Sparks, stationed in Knoxville.
• Several treaties with the Cherokee were negotiated and signed at Fort Southwest Point, and Roane County’s first post office was located here.
• The first Indian school was located at the fort site to teach children to read and write.
• In 1802 the fort continued to serve as a base of military operations and as the Cherokee Indian Agency. Goods were distributed, not only to the Cherokees, but to passing groups from other Indian tribes.
• In 1803 four soldiers from Fort Southwest Point were chosen and detached for duty to serve as members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
• In 1804 Captain Howell Cobb became the last Commanding officer of Fort Southwest Point.
The Fort continued as a major army post until 1806 when a large reduction of troops occurred. A small number of troops were stationed here each year
Preserving Cherokee Indian Rights
This period in the Fort’s history began in 1801 with the arrival of Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs to serve as both Agent for the War Department in Tennessee and Indian Agent to the Cherokees. Meigs, an exceptionally fair-minded man, worked to honor the Cherokee land rights and preserve peace between Indians and settlers. Colonel Meigs eventually won the respect of the Cherokees who called the “The White Path” as a symbol of their respect.
Owned and operated by the City of Kingston, Fort Southwest Point is being restored on its original foundations. Restoration began in 1974 with an archaeological investigation that exposed portions of foundations of six fort buildings and amassed a sizeable collection of fort-period artifacts. Two later digs revealed the locations of thirteen buildings.
Erected by Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation from the Lewis and Clark Trail Stewardship Endowment.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Forts and Castles • Native Americans. In addition, it is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition series list.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1226 S Kentucky St, Kingston TN 37763, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Fort Southwest Point (here, next to this marker); Fort Privy 12 (a few steps from this marker); Blockhouse #12 (a few steps from this marker); Soldier’s Barracks #5 (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Federal Fort in Tennessee (within shouting distance of this marker); Carpenter and Tack Building #7 (within shouting distance of this marker); Blockhouse #10 (within shouting distance of this marker); Soldier’s Barracks w/ Cellar #4 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kingston.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 39 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 11, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.