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James Robertson, Father of Tennessee and Founder of Nashville

by Bill Bays



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/12/2013

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 366
ISBN : 9781490817156
Format : Hardcover
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 366
ISBN : 9781490817163
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : 5.5x8.5
Page Count : 366
ISBN : 9781490817149

About the Book

This is the story of America’s first western frontier, when brave men and women crossed the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains to find better lives for themselves and their families. 


James Robertson led the first group of settlers over the mountains and founded the first white settlement in what would later become East Tennessee. But they were not alone. Centuries earlier, the Cherokees came from the north, conquered the local tribes, and settled there.


In the year before the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, British Indian agents began inciting the Cherokees, Shawnees, and other western tribes. The frontiersmen mobilized their militias and eventually defeated the Cherokees. Afterward, James Robertson was appointed Indian Agent to keep the peace.


In 1779, Robertson entered into an agreement with Richard Henderson and John Donelson to settle the area around the French Lick, which would later become Nashville. After their arrival in 1780, Indian attacks soon commenced. Using large-scale attacks and small ambushes, the protracted war against the settlers lasted for fifteen years. Richard Henderson fled, and John Donelson was killed. James Robertson’s determination and steadfast leadership was the glue that kept the infant settlement together.


George Washington appreciated Robertson’s leadership and appointed him Brigadier General of the Western Militia.  Andrew Jackson’s military training began as a private serving in General Robertson’s militia.  Jackson learned well, and years later replaced Robertson after his retirement.  Boone, Clark, Sevier, Shelby, Blount and Bledsoe  were other western leaders who trusted James Robertson.


James Robertson’s long military and civic career began before the American Revolution and ended after the Battle of Talladega during the War of 1812. He was a brave, intelligent and patriotic leader who believed in Manifest Destiny and founded Nashville, the nation’s westernmost settlement of that era.

About the Author

Bill Bays is a native Californian with a lifelong passion for American History. After retiring from his counseling practice, he and his wife, Nancy, travelled extensively throughout the United States in their motorhome. They visited numerous American Indian sites and places of historical interest. He and Nancy wanted first-hand observations of the American experience. While traveling, they purchased history books for information and to provide context for the sites they visited. 


In Tennessee, Mr. Bays became acquainted with the stories of the over-mountain men, the first frontiersmen who settled west of the Appalachians. It was the first American frontier. He became captivated by the lore of daring exploits of the frontiersmen and the enormous contributions they made toward winning the American Revolution. While there were several extraordinary frontier leaders during that era, one man caught the author’s interest more than the others. That man was James Robertson, the founder of the first white settlement in what is now Tennessee who later went farther west to establish Nashville. 


The author earned a Bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a Master’s degree from California State University, Fresno. 


In addition to his counseling practice, Mr. Bays was an ancient art and artifact dealer. Since his retirement, he continues to visit museums and galleries and add to his personal artifact collection. 


The author remains active in his Church and Community. Mr. Bays is past-president of Articulators Toastmaster Club. And he is currently President of the George Patton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). He is a member in good standing of another patriotic lineage society, the General Society of the War of 1812. 


In his free time, Mr. Bays continues to enjoy travelling with his wife, Nancy. Another of his hobbies is classic car restoration. Over time, he has restored several classic cars. Hunting and fishing with family and friends are one of his favorite pastimes. He and his brother, Bernie, have continued to hunt and fish together ever since childhood. The author cherishes the time they spend together, whenever they can break away from their busy schedules. 


The author has four adult sons, Jason, Greg, Drake and Bret. His sons and five grandchildren are a source of great pride and he and Nancy enjoy family gatherings during the holidays.