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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Nashville in Davidson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Founding of Nashville

 
 
Founding of Nashville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 24, 2009
1. Founding of Nashville Marker
Inscription. On Monday, April 24, 1780, two pioneers, James Robertson and John Donelson, shook hands upon the completion of a reunion at the site on which you now stand. Each man, one by land, the other by water, played out his part in a two-fold plan for a new settlement that grew into present-day Nashville. Robertson, at the head of his mounted band of 226 frontiersmen, traversed the long, circuitous overland route through Kentucky and Tennessee down to the Great Salt Lick. His group arrived on Christmas Day, 1779, about the time that Donelson’s flotilla left Fort Patrick Henry, and at once set about preparing a place for the boatmen, women, and children who were to join them later. Robertson, as one of the earliest and most resourceful frontiersmen of early Tennessee history, had long realized that the rolling country and rich bottom-land of middle Tennessee would be an ideal location for a settlement. Although much warfare and violence were inevitable, it was his ability to deal with the Indians and their mutual respect and admiration for him that made this venture possible. He said, “we are the advance guard; our way is westward across the continent.” But civilization could only begin with the river-borne families that were to come in the spring. In four months these families floated the entire extent of the Tennessee River, then
Founding of Nashville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 24, 2009
2. Founding of Nashville Marker
turned north to the Ohio and came up the Cumberland to the Great Salt Lick - a 1000-mile trip unequalled in the annals of American history. This flotilla was headed by the courageous Colonel John Donelson on his flagship Adventure. He triumphed over freezing weather, the treacheries of a river at the highest in its history, pestilence, and savage Indians to reach his April rendezvous. This achievement has immortalized his name, for he managed it so well that no man could have done it better. His responsibilities were great because he had in his charge a large percentage of non-combatants.

In this memorial group each man stands as a representative of the hardy souls he led to fulfill a magnificent destiny. In this historic handshake each brave pioneer finds his place in history. No city should be indifferent to its founding, no people to its history, especially when so full of heroic action and noble deeds as is the history of Nashville. If space were available the name of every signer of the Cumberland Compact should be here; these two men stand witness to their toil and devotion.

This statue, commissioned by Mayor Ben West in 1962, was erected here in the fort where they met the flowering spring day of long ago. This statue is intended to keep their memory green and our love for them tender and profound. These men are the trees; we are their fruit.
 
Erected
Founding of Nashville Sculpture image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 24, 2009
3. Founding of Nashville Sculpture
Handshake of James Robertson and John Donelson
1962 by Mayor Ben West and the Metro Historical Commission.
 
Location. 36° 9.885′ N, 86° 46.546′ W. Marker is in Nashville, Tennessee, in Davidson County. Marker is at the intersection of 1st Avenue North and Church Street, on the right when traveling north on 1st Avenue North. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Nashville TN 37201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Colonel Richard Henderson (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Nashborough (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fort Nashborough (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonel James Robertson (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonel John Donelson (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of First Store (about 400 feet away); Jacques Timothe Boucher de Montbrun (about 700 feet away); The Seeing Eye (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nashville.
 
More about this marker. Sculpture was formerly located inside Fort Nashborough.
 
Categories. Colonial EraForts, CastlesSettlements & Settlers
 
Signers of the Cumberland Compact Nashborough 13 May 1780 image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 24, 2009
4. Signers of the Cumberland Compact Nashborough 13 May 1780
Marker at the foot of the Founding of Nashville marker
Plaque next to marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, October 24, 2009
5. Plaque next to marker
Thomas Puryear Mims
Sculptor
1906 - 1975
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 11, 2009, by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,065 times since then and 52 times this year. Last updated on March 13, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 11, 2009, by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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