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Few places in America have a richer history than Sumner County, Tennessee.

Here trod the earliest pioneers, opening the way for westward expansion to New Orleans, the Rio Grande, and California. Wars have washed over her, from twenty savage years of Indian warfare, through the cataclysm of Civil War, to the training of Patton’s army for the invasion of Europe in World War II.

Here young Andrew Jackson opened his law practice, later returning as a General to recruit the Militia that saved New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley from British domination. Texas began here, with Sam Houston’s bitter flight from a failed local marriage, to the Alamo, where another Sumner Countian, Jim Bowie, commanded the outnumbered Tenensseans.

Sumner furnished the largest number of early Governors, Senators, and leaders of an infant Tennessee. The earliest immigrant roads crossed her, and river and rails supported her bountiful commerce. As racehorses, cotton, slavery and tobacco gave way to cattle and commerce, Old Sumner, due to her marvelous central location today draws thousands of tourists, travelers and new settlers. Her history is not past; the parade is still passing.


Hidden in deep woods north of Saundersville there is a curious feature, which may hold the key to a mystery which has long puzzled historians. Why was such a rich, well watered land devoid of people when the first settlers came into it from the east?

Here, near a 400 year old white oak is a shallow bowl, overgrown, about 6 feet deep on the uphill side, three feet on the downhill side, and about 120 feet across.

That the area had once been heavily populated was evident from the large number of graves, artifacts, and ceremonial mounds found by the earliest settlers along the Cumberland. Yet these people had long since vanished. Even more mysterious was the total absence of any of the modern Indians. It was the custom of all Tribes of Eastern America to settle in permanent villages situated in fertile land along streams. Yet there were none here in 1760 - Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee or Chickasaw. At most a few isolated travelers hunted at certain times of the year.

There is a persistent local legend, published by at least one historian, of an interview with an old Chief in which he told of a blinding flash from the heavens which buried itself in the earth. The crater burned and smoked for weeks and the tribes gathered in their lodges to ponder the meaning of such a thing as this. After weeks of deliberation with their shamans they concluded it was a sign that they should evacuate the area and move to their villages along the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers. And they did.

Whatever the reason, when the first longhunters and earliest settlers came, there were no Indian towns along the Cumberland – not even one. The Indian towns were all clustered along the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers to the South and in Alabama.

Middle Tennessee was an empty quarter.


We begin with the entry of our ancestors into the vast and unpopulated wilderness along the Cumberland River.

Fairvue, Part One – The Franklin Era

Fairvue, Part Two – The Reed Era

Fairvue, Part Three – Grasslands 

Fairvue, Part Four – The Wemyss Era, Chapter 1

Fairvue, Part Four – The Wemyss Era, Chapter 2 

Fairvue, Part Four – The Wemyss Era, Chapter 3

Bledsoe’s Creek, Part One

Bledsoe's Creek, Part Two

Bledsoe's Creek, Part Three 

Bledsoe's Creek, Part Four - Bledsoe Under Siege 

Bledsoe's Creek, Part Five - Attack & Counterattack, Chapter 1  

Bledsoe's Creek, Part Six - Attack & Counterattack, Chapter 2 

 

 

Bill Puryear, Artist
1512 Cherokee Road, Gallatin, TN 37066, Email: pury@comcast.net

© Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.  Bill Puryear.