“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

The Natchez Trace

Belle Meade Plantation

The Natchez Trace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
1. The Natchez Trace Marker
Inscription.  In 1742 a European settler recorded his travel and the conditions of the path which was known as the Natchez Trace. This is the earliest known recording of the trace, a portion of which was located on the site of Belle Meade Plantation. The trace, or trail, was a well-worn foot path created by bison as they travelled north to the Nashville area in search of the salt licks located there. Native Americans would follow this trail thus creating a trace roughly 440 miles from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. The Natchez Trace linked the Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi rivers and quickly became the main road settlers followed to travel south from Nashville to sell their goods. The trace was used by several Native American tribes such as the Choctaw, Cherokee, and the Chickasaw, who were known to follow the trace into Nashville to sell and trade their furs, pelts, and other goods. Today travelers can still use the “Old Trace” which is a 444 mile road known as the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway follows the approximate path of the old trace where original sections, listed on the National Register of Historic Places,
The Natchez Trace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
2. The Natchez Trace Marker
remain accessible.

(photo, lower left) The “Old Dunham’s Station” which had been part of a 640-acre preemption grant made by North Carolina to Daniel Dunham in 1786 would later become Belle Meade Plantation. In 1788, Indians scalped, killed, and “chopped” Mr. Dunham and later burned his cabin. His son rebuilt the cabin and the family remained in residence until they sold the farm to John Harding in 1807. The property was considered a well-watered tract of land with Richland creek flowing through the middle of the property. The creek bed made up a section of the Natchez trace and the constant flow of travelers along the Natchez Trace meant a steady flow of business for John Harding, at Belle Meade.

(photos, center) You are standing on the original site of the Blacksmith shop.---John Harding’s saw mill and blacksmith shop were valuable sources of income. Ben, the blacksmith, was an enslaved worker purchased by John Harding in Richmond in 1806 and the only documented run-away slave owned by the Harding family.

(photo,lower right) In 1814, troops under General John Coffee stopped at Harding’s blacksmith shop to have their horses shod, on the way to aid General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. John Harding’s son, William Giles said that his most memorable childhood recollection occurred in 1815 when he
Belle Meade Plantation Mansion image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
3. Belle Meade Plantation Mansion
was six years old and sat by his family’s cabin and watched General Andrew Jackson ride by leading his men back from the Battle of New Orleans. William said that he “got a good look at the General” leading his victorious soldiers.
Erected by Belle Meade Plantation.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Natchez Trace series list.
Location. 36° 6.412′ N, 86° 51.953′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker can be reached from Harding Pike (U.S. 70S) 0.2 miles north of Leake Avenue, on the right when traveling north. This marker is on the grounds of the Belle Meade Plantation. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville TN 37205, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. War on the Home Front (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Belle Meade Plantation (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Belle Meade Plantation (about 400 feet away); Belle Meade Farm Freedom (about 500 feet away); Belle Meade Golf Links Historic District (approx. 0.4 miles away); Parmer School
Belle Meade slave quarters image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
4. Belle Meade slave quarters
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Hillwood Estates (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Harpeth Hall School (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
Also see . . .  Belle Meade Plantation. (Submitted on October 3, 2013.)
Belle Meade Plantation Bicentennial Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
5. Belle Meade Plantation Bicentennial Plaque
Dedicated to those whom came to this farm as slaves and freed men, names known and others lost to history, whose toil and sweat turned a wilderness into Belle Meade. Their efforts remain today as testament to the artistry, craftsmanship and skill that created his nation’s premiere thoroughbred nursery. This monument is dedicated on the Bi-Centennial of Belle Meade Plantation by the family of employees that work here today in remembrance of those that came before us. Fall 2007
Distant photo of the dedication plaque image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
6. Distant photo of the dedication plaque
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 3, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 838 times since then and 17 times this year. Last updated on March 14, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 3, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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