by Debie Cox
John Donelson arrived in April of 1780 with a large group, aboard a flotilla of flatboats. The families of many of the men who had come earlier with Robertson, traveled with Donelson.
The main fort was most often referred to as French Lick Station or the Bluff Station by early pioneers. In addition the Cumberland Settlements was comprised of a number of other forts, some established before the arrival of the Robertson/Donelson group. Freeland's, a short distance north of Nashville was where James Robertson lived. Eaton's was across the river to the northeast. John Donelson's station was at Clover Bottom on Stones River. There were several stations in what is now Sumner County and a fort was located at Red River where the Renfroe's had settled.
In May of 1780, the Cumberland Compact was endorsed as the governing document of the Cumberland Settlers. The Compact listed the names of 255 men who were living in the area. Many of the names are in groups, written in the same hand, perhaps signed by representatives from the stations scattered across the settlement.
Davidson County created 1783
Davidson County was officially established in April of 1783 by an act of the North Carolina legislature. It was named for General William Lee Davidson, an officer of North Carolina in the Revolutionary war.
"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, that all that part of this State lying west of the Cumberland Mountain where the Virginia line crosses, extending westward along the said line to Tennessee River, thence up said river to the mouth of Duck River, thence up Duck River to where the line of marked trees run by the commissioners for laying off land granted the Continental Line of this State intersects said river (which said line is supposed to be in thirty-five degrees fifty minutes north latitude) thence east along said line to the top of Cumberland Mountain, thence northwardly along said mountain to the beginning, shall after the passing of this Act be and is hereby declared to be a distinct county by the name of Davidson."
Town of Nashville established 1784
In 1780, the Cumberland Compact referred to the settlement on the bluff above the Cumberland River as Nashborough. Nashborough was also the name used in the minutes of the Davidson County court which commenced in the fall of 1783. The fort however was not called Nashborough by the settlers who lived there. The village that soon grew up around the Bluff Station was referred to as Nashborough until it was renamed, Nashville.
In November of 1801 an act provided for the election of seven commissioners of the town. An election was to be held on the first Saturday in April. The commissioners would appoint a clerk, a treasurer and a person to be in lead commission meetings, to be known as the Intendant. Among the duties of the commissioners were to appoint an overseer of the streets and a surveyor for the town. They were to see to the building of a Market House on the public square. An annual tax was imposed upon the citizens of the town to fund the duties and requirements of the commissioners, not to exceed 50 cents on each $100 worth of property, $1 on each white poll and $5 on each billiard table.
In August of 1804 the necessity of a well on the public square led to the enactment of a new tax. The fees were not to exceed 12 and half cents on each $100 worth of property, 12 and half cents on each white poll and 25 cents on each black poll, $1 on each stud horse and $3 on each wholesale and retail store.
On September 11, 1806
Originally published 1/25/2006
Copyright © 2006, Debie Cox