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Bill Thayer

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History of Tennessee

Histories and Source Documents

At some point I may have a general history of Tennessee onsite; for now, the following items:


[image ALT: A montage of five portraits of 18c men: Daniel Boone, Alexander McGillivray, John Sevier, Richard Henderson, James Robertson.]

Pioneers of the Old Southwest by Constance Lindsay Skinner is one of the 50 good little books in the early‑20c "Chronicles of America" series, laying out clearly and reliably various facets of American history: here, the establishment of Tennessee and Kentucky, starting with the 17c and 18c colonial migrations to the "Back Country" of North Carolina and taking us up to the time of Daniel Boone's death in Missouri in 1820. The early settlements, the Indian wars, the Revolutionary War battle of King's Mountain, the French and Spanish intrigue, and the State of Franklin are all well covered; chapters 8‑10 focus more particularly on Tennessee.

[ about 80 pages of print ]


[image ALT: A schematic map of eight irregularly-shaped political subdivisions, all, however of similar size. It is the short-lived American State of Franklin, and the image serves on this site as the icon for a transcription of the book by Samuel Cole Williams, 'History of The Lost State of Franklin'.]

Samuel Cole Williams' History of the Lost State of Franklin provides as well researched and detailed an account of the failed State as will be found anywhere, for which the author, a prominent judge and historical scholar of East Tennessee, was perfectly suited. Legal framework, political and military events, source documents, biographical sketches of all the main personalities involved, and the occasional anecdote; the only thing really lacking is a set of maps.

[ 362 pages of print, 1 illustration ]


[image ALT: A version of the seal of the state of Tennessee.]

From time to time, I expect to add to the site some of the more interesting items to be found in the Tennessee Historical Magazine — or at least only those in the public domain, of course. The centerpiece for now is a complete transcription of Gov. John Sevier's diary [a primary source]; other material onsite includes articles on early pioneers Richard Henderson and John Montgomery; a fair amount on border surveys and early geography; Bedford's river voyage from Nashville to New Orleans (1807) [primary source]; and more.

[ 7/22/13:
11 items, 271 pages of print, presented in 48 webpages ]

Onsite link

Similarly, but casting a wider net, among the journal articles collected in my American History Notes section, of interest here, listed as chronologically as possible:

The State of Franklin

Some Unpublished Sevieriana

Sketch of Henry Rutherford

[ 3 items, 26 printed pages ]



[image ALT: A disk containing three five-pointed stars, one point of each very close to meeting in the center of the disk, which is separated from the otherwise blank background field by a thin border. It is the central device of the flag of the State of Tennessee.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is the central device on the flag of the State of Tennessee.


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Site updated: 5 Aug 13