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Bill Thayer

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A Selection of Articles
the Tennessee Historical Magazine
(since renamed the Tennessee Historical Quarterly)

From time to time I'll be adding to this site; the list below will gradually get longer.

Vol. II No. 2

A History of the Life of General William Trousdale

A fairly thorough biographical sketch by a son of his.

Vol. II No. 4

Fort Prudhomme: Was it the first Settlement in Tennessee?

The author concludes it was merely a temporary stockade, and not a settlement. The real controversy is about the fort's location: he rules out the fourth of the Chickasaw Bluffs.

Vol. III No. 4

Old Fort Loudon

History of the British fort of the French and Indian War, founded in 1756 and disastrously evacuated in 1760.

Vol. V No. 1

Henderson and Company's Purchase within the Limits of Tennessee

The importance of the famous land purchase, plus some details: Richard Henderson was cheated by the States of Virginia and North Carolina, but he in turn seems to have cheated others.


A Tour in 1807 down the Cumberland, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Nashville to New Orleans

A previously unpublished diary by the traveler, Dr. John R. Bedford. Interesting because his boat is small, and the trip was made in the winter: this is what "navigation of the Mississippi", so often cited as a geopolitical factor at the time, was really like.

& V.2:
Vol. V No. 2

Management of Negroes upon Southern Estates — An Echo of Slave Days in the Southland

Two 19c plantation owners offer advice on how to manage slaves: their welfare insures greater profits to their owners.

Vol. V No. 3

Colonel John Montgomery

A biographical sketch of the American Revolutionary War leader, the man who was second in command to George Rogers Clark in the taking of Vincennes.


Journal of Governor John Sevier (1790‑1815)

Weather, financial dealings, his ambulations from place to place; common purchases, social events, remedies for diseases of horses and people: a pointillistic view of frontier life in Tennessee, by the first governor of the state.

& V.4:
& VI.1:
Vol. V No. 4

Why the First Settlers of Tennessee were from Virginia

Geographical and historical reasons: basically, Virginia is where they thought they still were.

Vol. VI No. 2

The North Carolina-Tennessee Boundary Line Survey (1799)

A complete transcription of Strother's Diary, the personal record kept by one of surveyors in the party; with several pages of background and introductory material.

Vol. VI No. 3

A Yankee School Master's Reminiscences of Tennessee

Vignettes of Nashville in the Reconstruction period, 1865‑1869, mostly its political life.

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Technical Details

Printed Source

I am transcribing my selection from original exemplars of the Magazine, and only of course those now in the public domain: details here on the copyright law involved. Unless otherwise indicated, any illustrations are those accompanying the original article in the journal.


As almost always, I retype texts by hand rather than scanning them — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with them, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

These transcriptions have been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the articles are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree; red backgrounds would indicate they had not been proofread. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The original articles in the Magazine, however, were not at all proofread with the same care, and in the course of my own reading I've therefore had the opportunity to make a number of corrections, marking the correction each time with a bullet like this:º as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Most of these typos were of a minor and obvious kind; but I've marked them nonetheless, as a reminder that there must surely be quite a few other errors that I could not catch: numbers, proper nouns.

Where an error is manifest, but for some reason I couldn't fix it, or where it is uncertain whether it is poor proofreading of the translated text or it might just have been made in the original documents (which, with the exception of any sample pages reproduced in the Magazine, I have not seen), or again where there might otherwise be some latitude, I marked it º. Inconsistencies in punctuation have been corrected to the text's usual style, in a slightly different color — barely noticeable on the page, but it shows up in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">. Finally, a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed journal in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

[image ALT: A circular seal: in the center, a large sketch of a portly balding man wearing glasses. The wording in the border around the seal is: 'Tennessee Historical Society Nashville'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a copy of the seal of the Tennessee Historical Society as it appears in (the cover of Vol. V of) the Magazine, which I then colorized to match Tennessee's state flag.

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Site updated: 22 Jul 13