General James Robertson Chapter

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General James Robertson 1742-1814

Father of Tennessee - Founder of Nashville

 "We are the advance guard of civilization; our way is across the Continent."

                                                                        Robertson - 1779

James Robertson, American frontiersman and a founder of Tennessee, was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, on June 28, 1742. He was raised in North Carolina and remained there until leading a group of settlers from Orange County, N.C. to Tennessee in 1769.  In May 1772, when the Watauga Association was established, he became one of its magistrates and commander of the Watauga Fort.

In 1779, Robertson explored the Cumberland River country, including most of what constitutes present-day Middle Tennessee, for Richard Henderson's Transylvania Company, and in 1780, helped found the settlement of Fort Nashborough, which became Nashville. Under the Cumberland Compact he was the chief civil and military officer of the community, and his shrewd leadership was largely responsible for its survival.

In 1790, Congress created the Territory South of the Ohio River, and Robertson became lieutenant colonel commander of the Metro District. The following year, President George Washington appointed him Brigadier General of the U.S. Army of the same region.

When the state of Tennessee was organized in 1796, Robertson helped draft its first Constitution. In his later years he served in the state senate (1798) and as agent to the Chickasaw. James Robertson died at "the Chickasaw Agency", which was very close to what became Tupelo, Mississippi on September 1, 1814, and was reinterred in City Cemetery, Nashville, in 1825.