Selected Papers From The 1989 And 1990 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences
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The Social World of Middle Tennessee, 1780-1840
David C. Hsiung
University of Michigan

Middle Tennessee, that section of the state Which lies between the Cumberland Plateau on the east and the Tennessee River on the west, was settled first by Europeans in 1780. Within 60 years, the region had become the most populous in Tennessee. What was the social world of the region and how did it develop? In this paper, the term "social world" will not refer to the cultural or performing arts, but instead to the basics of daily life. An example from 1832 shows how two groups evaluated everyday Middle Tennessee society. One group, the residents, held the views of insiders, while the second group, people who never had been to the region, judged the social world from the outside. Both sets of opinions emerged when one resident, "Tuckahoe," became incensed over an Englishman's unfounded criticism of the local university's curriculum. He fired off a letter to a Nashville newspaper. His correspondence attacked the Englishman's low opinion of Middle Tennessee.

It is our misfortune to live west of the mountains, where, it is taken for granted, ignorance and barbarism are destined to hold universal and perpetual sway. Pray, Mr. Editor, do tell the Philadelphians and Bostonians and Londoners, that we are not all "gander pullers," nor "gougers," nor "regulators," nor "half-horse and half-alligators." — That some of us geologize, and botanize, and read Greek, and talk French, and write poetry, and spout political economy. — That we receive, by every mail, loads of Scotch, English, French, and Eastern periodicals, of all sorts and upon all manners of subjects — scientific, literary, political, religious, miscellaneous.

Lest it be thought that all the benefits of a frontier existence had vanished under the weight of this accumulated erudition, "Tuckahoe" noted that "should the philosopher take the matter of this communication in dudgeon, and threaten to call me out, just give him a charitable hint that I am a capital rifle shot, and can snuff a candle at a hundred yards distance equal to any of the fancy in old Kentucky." [1] A similar disparity occurred between an outsider's expectations and with the local situation when a Kentucky businessman visited Nashville for the first time. "I need not attempt to describe to you," he wrote to a Nashville newspaper in 1832, "all the surprise which I felt at the first sight of your beautiful city, and the many interesting objects which meet the stranger's eye at every turn. We, in Kentucky, have been so long in the habit of regarding Tennessee as a kind of semi-barbarous, illiterate, outlandish region, that I could scarcely credit the testimony of my senses. ..." [2]

When a people who "read Greek, talk French, and write poetry" are characterized as "semi-barbarous" and "illiterate," a discrepancy exists that needs to be explained. Two approaches are possible. The first examines the opinions of the outsiders, looking at those "Philadelphians and Bostonians and Londoners" in depth. The second approach studies conditions in Middle Tennessee to see just how developed its social world had become. In pursuing the second approach, this paper will focus on one possible explanation for the social development of the area: economic growth which, when aided by an extensive transportation network, allowed Middle Tennessee (and Nashville in particular) to prosper rapidly. This network encompassed so large an area that a knowledge of and interaction with distant regions helped integrate Middle Tennessee into the broader American culture. What is surprising is how, given these connections, outsiders could be so misinformed about the region.

The evolution of Middle Tennessee, from a handful of rude fortified stations into the state's economic and demographic center, can be typified in the growth and life of Nashville. Founded in 1780 on the banks of the Cumberland River, Nashville in 1785 had but "two houses which, in true, merit the name; the rest are only huts that formerly served as a sort of fortification against Indian attacks." [3] A dozen years later, the town housed "about sixty or eighty families," their log and frame houses scattered throughout the entire townsite. [4] By 1802, seven or eight brick houses had risen among the 120 or so other houses surrounding Nashville. [5] The Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury paid his second visit to Nashville in 1808. He felt that "this town has greatly improved in eight years. There are several valuable houses built, an elegant court house, and a college." [6] Nashville's population, about 1,100 at this time, grew to 3,463 in 1823; to 5,566 in 1830; and to approximately 7,000 in 1834. The number of brick homes alone had swollen to 300, with 80 brick and 15 wood frame stores, 20 brick warehouses, 50 brick and 25 frame offices and 100 workshops. [7] "I have never seen a town of the same size," proclaimed Robert Baird, "which contains as few mean houses and as little that offends the eye. It is a remarkably beautiful place. It contains more elegant mansions and pleasant seats in and around it, than any other town of equal size in the United States." [8] George Featherstonhaugh, the subject of "Tuckahoe's" heated attack in 1832, visited Nashville in 1834 and proclaimed it "the centre of civilization of the western country." [9]

Nashville attained this remarkable growth and development in large part from its strong agricultural economy. Although the land was fertile, the earliest farms covered relatively few acres. The danger of Indian attack, the lack of time for extensive cultivation and the constant relocation of the settlers all limited farm size. During the 1780s, corn was the most important and often the only crop. These harvests expanded dramatically after 1795, when peace with the Indians was obtained. Farmers developed fewer acres of cotton, but with the introduction of the cotton gin in 1799 cotton became the main cash crop and, rather quickly, it also became big business. Lewis Cecil Gray estimated that one million pounds of cotton were produced on Middle Tennessee farms in 1801. Production jumped to three million pounds in 1811, 20 million in 1821 and finally reached 50 million pounds in 1833. [10] Middle Tennessee farmers also continued to diversify their crops, raising flax, hemp, tobacco, oats, wheat and a variety of fruit trees. [11] These Cumberland farms also were dotted with animals. Small herds of 50 to 100 cattle, providing milk, beef, butter and leather, were fairly common. With increased corn cultivation in the 1790s, hogs quickly became ubiquitous. The pages of stock mark registrations in the county court records attests to the widespread ownership of both species of animals. [12]

The rapid growth of the Cumberland region was made possible by the quick prosperity available to individual farmers. By supporting the cotton culture, the fertile land provided the settler with a key component for success. Francois Michaux in 1802 best described the process. "There is scarcely a single emigrant but what begins to plant his estate with [cotton] the third year after his settling in the country." Michaux calculated that a family of four or five may "cultivate four acres with the greatest ease, independent of the Indian wheat necessary for their subsistence." If 350 pounds of cotton were grown per acre, "which is very moderate according to the extreme fertility of the soil," the family would have 1,400 pounds of cotton at the end of the season. A price of $18 per hundred weight, "the lowest price to which it had fallen...when I was in the country," would have resulted in a gross of $250; after deducting $40 for expenses, the family would have had a net profit of $212. "This light sketch demonstrates with what facility a poor family may acquire speedily, in West Tennessea, a certain degree of independence, particularly after having been settled five or six years, as they procure the means of purchasing one or two negroes, and of annually increasing their number." [13] As long as land was plentiful, the economic future seemed bright.

Nor was this land expensive at the turn of the 19th century. "The price of the best land," according to Michaux, "does not yet exceed five dollars per acre in the environs of Nasheville, and thirty or forty miles from the town they are not even worth three dollars." At that price, a person could purchase "a plantation completely formed, composed of two to three hundred acres, of which fifteen to twenty are cleared, and a log-house." For those who could not afford to buy the land, renting was a far more viable option than it would be a century later. Tenants generally cleared and enclosed eight or nine acres, built a log house and paid a rent of about 10 bushels of Indian wheat per acre. With the speculators "very happy to get tenants for their land, as it induces others to come and settle in the environs," relations between owners and tenants seemed compatible and profitable. [14]

The combination of fertile land and population growth led to prodigious agricultural development, which was commented upon by travelers and residents alike. Anne Newport Royall passed through the Nashville region in 1817. "[I]t is an open plain of uninterrupted good land; and the farmers raise corn, tobacco and pumpkins in great abundance. They rear great numbers of hogs and horses, and have a great many distilleries in operation. In this way they convert their surplus produce into cash." [15] Emigrants to the area, even as late as 1829, were not disappointed with their situation. "I have every fine prospect of a crop," wrote Alex Colyar from Franklin County, south of Nashville, "and I do believe that there is a better incouragement here for a farmer to bee indoustrous than any place I ever saw[.] [P]roduce sels here for cash[;] there is great deal of cotton raised her... [W]e are verry well satisfied with our move." [16]

Despite this agricultural abundance, however, the settlers were not self-sufficient. Items such as lead and salt needed to be imported. Abraham Steiner and Frederick C. DeSchweinitz once lodged with Michael Schneider, "who is a blacksmith, has a good business, but he is obliged to pay 1 shilling the pound for iron which is brought in from Kentucky on the river." [17] The wheat crop also could not meet local demand. Daniel and William Constable noted in 1807 that, "considerable quantities of flour are brought here [Nashville] from the countries on the Ohio and sells here now for ten dollars the barrel, being three dollars more than the price at New Orleans when we were there." [18] Other services, such as the milling of grain, also were scarce sometimes and had to be sought out by the residents. "There are but few springs that flow the year round," reported Steiner and Schweinitz, "and still fewer water-mills that can grind throughout the year. Nearly everywhere they are idle half the year; consequently, the people use horse-mills that are to be found everywhere in the country." [19] The court records show only a handful of water gristmills being established during the first decade of settlement. [20] Perhaps horse mill operators, who do not appear in the records, were not required to register with the court.

By not being self-sufficient, Middle Tennessee depended on trade with other regions. The marriage of agriculture and commerce, as the editor of a Nashville newspaper claimed in 1801, would lead to the attainment of "ease, happiness, and independence.... [W]e possess peculiar advantage in the fertility of a soil, which requires nothing more than the hand of industry, to reward the toil of the husbandman." From hard work would come agricultural surpluses and "this superabundant produce will teach the necessity of exportation, and from this source alone can we reasonably expect a deminution of the public grievances." [21] From the beginning, trade played an important role in the local economy. Lewis Brantz noted in 1785 the export of furs from Middle Tennessee. "Furs are the sole production of this region, with which the people supply their wants. The traders who supply them with merchandise are mostly Frenchmen, either from Illinois, or the Post Vincennes." Those from Illinois obtained goods from Michilimackinac and liquor from New Orleans, "while the St. Vincennes people purchase their articles of traffic (which are generally of a substantial character) from Detroit...." [22] By the end of the 1780s, farmers in Middle Tennessee finally had generated a sufficient agricultural surplus to ship goods by flatboat down the Mississippi to New Orleans. The first trip, led by William Martin and others in the winter of 1789-90, was the start of many such commercial ventures that tied Middle Tennessee's economy into a vast transportation network. [23]

By the turn of the century Nashville enjoyed land and water trade routes which extended in two general directions. The first route linked Middle Tennessee with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other cities to the northeast. Michaux counted in Nashville "fifteen to twenty shops, which are supplied from Philadelphia and Baltimore, but they did not seem so well stocked as those at Lexington and the articles, though dearer, are of an inferior quality. The cause of their being so dear may be in some measure attributed to the expense of carriage, which is much greater on account of the amazing distance the boats destined for Tennessea have to go up the Ohio." Philadelphia lay more than 1,500 miles away. About 80 percent of that distance could be traveled by water. [24] Yet Steiner and Schweinitz thought this type of trade route enabled prices to be kept lower. "The merchants receive their goods from Pittsburg, whence they are taken down the Ohio and trans-shipped up the Cumberland River. The easy freightage by water is cause for the fact that European goods, the long distance from the seaports notwithstanding, are to be had here at cheap rates." [25] What was expensive to one person may have seemed affordable to another. But all agreed that products from as far away as the East Coast were available in Nashville.

Trade along this route also moved in the reverse direction from the interior to the East Coast. When Michaux was visiting Nashville in 1802, "they made the first attempt to send cottons by the Ohio to Pittsburgh, in order to be thence conveyed to the remote parts of Pennsylvania." [26] Five years later, Fortescue Cuming noted the success of this venture. "[W]e met two large keel boats loaded with cotton in bales, from Nashville in Tennessee bound to Pittsburgh, out twenty-six days. They had nine men each - one steering, six poling, and two resting." [27] As a result, proclaimed Michaux, "the remotest parts of the western states [are] united by commercial interests of which cotton is the basis, and the Ohio the tie of communication, the results of which must give a high degree of prosperity to this part of Tennessea. . ." [28]

Nashville also traded heavily on the second major route with New Orleans to the south. Farms in surrounding counties sent their goods to Nashville, where they were loaded onto flatboats. Cotton quickly superseded corn as the principal export crop. This primarily was due to cotton's ability to be stored in bales and to be shipped undamaged during the 1,200-mile trip to New Orleans. At that port, the cotton then was placed aboard ships bound for New York, Philadelphia and Europe. When the Louisiana Purchase insured the New Orleans would remain an open port, Middle Tennessee sent even larger amounts of material downstream. At the same time, merchants from New Orleans began to arrive in Nashville with increasing frequency. Although many returned to Nashville on foot via the Natchez Trace, those bringing goods came in keelboats. In the first decade of the 19th century, a round-trip journey lasted six months, although the fastest keelboats cut that time in half. [29] Even with faster boats, though, the distance between Nashville and New Orleans did cause problems for the farmers.

Some cotton growers were lured to the Natchez region in Mississippi because it was 500 miles closer to New Orleans. Nashville boosters, attempting to keep farmers in Middle Tennessee, vigorously countered by arguing that "it is with pleasure we state Capt. Caffery, with a public spirit peculiar to himself proposes carrying any species of produce to New Orleans for the moderate price of one dollar per hundred which is the price (I understand) from the Natches." [30] But even offers such as these did not solve all the problems caused by distance. Since none but the largest planters could ship their own products downriver, farmers who hired the likes of Captain Caffery ran the risk of the boats sinking, of being swindled by the shippers, or of being cheated by commission merchants in New Orleans. Even as late as 1819, a visitor saw conditions where "produce is surrendered to enterprizing men, as they are called, on the rivers, but who frequently prove to be thieves; for if the boat is stove in, or markets are bad or dull, there are no returns, you hear no more of either produce or the boatmen....To go yourself to market is impossible, for while selling one crop, you would lose the time for raising another." [31] As a result, farmers had to sell their crops at a heavy discount to middlemen in Nashville. Cotton, which brought 14 or 15 cents per pound in New Orleans in 1810, garnered only eight cents in Nasvhille. [32] But technological advances during the 1820s helped Middle Tennessee farmers. Steamboats first appeared in Nashville in the spring of 1818 and soon round-trip excursions, which lasted five months for the biggest barges in 1815, were shortened to 30 days. Steamship traffic became so regular that schedules of arrivals and departures were printed routinely in Nashville newspapers. By the 1830s, steamboat technology had advanced to the point that the fastest New Orleans-to-Nashville trip took only five days and 18 hours. [33]

No such technology was yet available to compress distances over land. With the railroad still decades away, a traveler on horseback might cover 30 miles a day, as Francis Asbury often did. This arduous method of travel, however, generally was the only way to reach many places in Middle Tennessee. The first roads connected the fortified stations. Nashville was joined to Mansco's (or Mansker's) Station, which in turn was linked to Maulding's Station and to Heatonsburg. During the next eight years, nearly 50 more roads were cleared in Davidson County alone. The roads pointed in every direction, for the destinations (usually settlements, rivers, mills and ferries) were scattered throughout the county. Fourteen ferries, almost all of which crossed the Cumberland at a juncture with another river, were established during this period. The court seemed to approve quite readily the various requests to operate ferries. These ready approvals hint at the importance placed upon ferries. [34] Inadequate and insufficient ferries would have crippled the county road system.

For a sketch of the road system beyond the boundaries of Davidson County, a study must be made of the intricate network of Indian trails. Many of the first routes taken by the settlers, and subsequently made into roads, originally were Indian trails. [35] One such path ran eastward from Nashville to Knoxville (and then northeast through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia). The first settlers avoided this dangerous trail, but with the spread of forts and settlements, Indian attacks became less frequent. After the first party passed through in late 1787, the route was improved so rapidly that 15 years later, Francois Michaux found the road "as broad and commodious as those in the environs of Philadelphia, in consequence of the amazing number of emigrants that travel through it to go and settle in the western country." Even though the road was "very rugged" in places, seldom was anyone lost: "Little boards painted black and nailed upon the trees every three miles, indicate to travellers the distance they have to go." [36]

Whereas the road to Knoxville was Nashville's main connection to the east, the Natchez Trace served as the principal land route to New Orleans. Francis Baily rode from Natchez in 1797 and his experiences of physical hardship and personal danger were typical of those early days. On the night of July 29, 1797, Baily wrote that "we lay ourselves down in a dry ditch, without making any fire, fearful lest we might be discovered by any Indians near the place. I never was so fatigued as with this day's journey. We had traveled from sunrise till near three hours after sunset, with very little food, and over a rough country: so that when we came to lay down we were so overcome with fatigue as to be indifferent whether we reposed in safety or not." They were so exhausted that even hearing "the howling of wolves, bears, and other wild animals around us; and several times the noise of their feet among the dry leaves on the ground, prowling about in search of prey, and fast approaching near the spot where we lay" could not rouse them off their blankets. [37] In addition to these dangers, travelers frequently were involved in accidents. George Featherstonhaugh related one particular incident from 1834. [38]

[We] met a stage-coach from the west with a passenger severely cut in the face. He informed us that in the morning the driver had fallen asleep on his seat, and dropping from it upon the ground, the wheels had gone over his head and killed him on the spot, upon which the horses galloped off, and at a turn of the road ran the vehicle against a stump, and broke the stage to pieces: he was thrown against some trees, and narrowly escaped with his life. These accidents frequently happen, for, with few exceptions, the drivers are a reckless, unmanageable race of fellows, that drink hard, and care nothing even what happens to themselves.

The roads, at least, had a better chance of improvement. Michaux noted that on the Natchez Trace, the federal government had "just opened a road, which is on the point of being finished, and will be one of the finest in the United States, both on account of its breadth and the solidity of the bridges constructed over the small rivers that cut through it." Upon completion, if Michaux's prediction was right, Middle Tennessee would be tied into a transportation network of astonishing scope. "Thus we may henceforth, on crossing the western country, go in a carriage from Boston to New Orleans, a distance of more than two thousand miles." [39]

The postal service in particular spun many strands in this web of roads that connected Middle Tennessee to the rest of the country. Twelve post offices that lasted at least two years were established in Davidson County by 1836. First and clearly foremost was the office at Nashville. As the county's only post office for 20 years, it undoubtedly handled more mail than all the other Davidson County post offices combined. By 1820, the Nashville post office had generated $2,000 in receipts, which placed it among the 20 largest offices in the nation. Three years later, Nashville was designated as one of 48 "distributing offices" in the country where postmasters were "required to open all mails which are directed to the State in which their offices are situated, and give the proper direction to each letter." The closest distributing offices to Nashville were Cumberland Gap, Abingdon in Virginia and Asheville in North Carolina. All three were at least several hundred miles away. Nashville, then, served not only Davidson County, but also an area of more than 100,000 square miles. [40]

By the 1830s, the postmaster general could cite many improvements in Nashville's long distance routes. In each case, Middle Tennessee was integrated ever more firmly into the complex net of national communications. In 1832, Frankfort and Lexington in Kentucky were connected to Nashville in thrice-weekly-four-horse coaches, which completed the run half a day faster than before. Louisville sent daily four-horse post coaches and the mail arrived in less than two days. Mail also left daily from Washington, D.C., and reached Nashville one week later, a savings of four days compared to the previous arrangement. The western route to Memphis was improved to thrice-weekly service in four-horse coaches. Finally, thrice-weekly post coaches between Columbia, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama, unified the region south of Nashville, completing the "intercourse in coaches from the seat of Government in Alabama, to Nashville, Tennessee, and to the States north of Tennessee." [41] Even a decade earlier, the route from Nashville through Natchez to New Orleans was seen as vital for more than just postal service. [42]

This route must be continued, whatever other route is established, as it is the main route of communication between Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, and continues upon it from thence to New Orleans. Between the towns and inhabitants on those lands and the States above mentioned, there is a great trade carried on; and it is deserving of the frequent and rapid establishment of posts which is now in operation. It is also the great route of communication from all places to the northward of Richmond, in Virginia, to Natchez, New Orleans, & c.

Nashville was joined first, to the entire lower Mississippi Valley; second, to "the whole valley of Shenandoah with all the towns in the interior of Pennsylvania and the western regions of New York;" and third to the East Coast. Thus the Post Office Department linked Middle Tennessee to every part of antebellum America. [43]

How big, then, was the social world of Middle Tennessee? For the first settlers, besieged in their forts by constant Indian attacks, the world probably was stiflingly close. But even within the first decade of settlement, land and water transportation opened the Old Southwest. After the first 50 years of settlement, the residents were in touch, both by commerce and by communication, to the entire country. Many factors undoubtedly influenced Middle Tennessee's development during this period, but surely transportation, of both economic goods and of the mails, played an important role in encouraging a growing culture. And just like "Tuckahoe" in 1832, this prospering culture also received "by every mail, loads of Scotch, English, French, and Eastern periodicals, of all sorts and upon all manners of subjects."


1. Nashville Republican and State Gazette, 20 January 1832, p. 1.

2. Nashville Republican and State Gazette, 13 January 1832, p. 3.

3. Lewis Brantz, "Memoranda of a Journey (1785)" in Samuel Cole Williams, ed., Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, 1540-1800, (Johnson City, Tennessee: Watauga Press, 1928), p. 2065 Hereafter cited as Brantz, "Memoranda of a Journey."

4. Francis Baily, "Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America (1797)," in Williams, Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, p. 412. Hereafter cited as Baily, "Journal of a Tour."

5. Francois Andre Michaux, "Travels to the West of the Alleghany Mountains..." (London, 1805, reprinted in Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, New York: AMS Press, 1966), vol. 3, p. 250. Hereafter cited as Michaux, "Travels to the West."

6. Francis Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, 3 vols., Elmer T. Clark, J. Manning Potts and Jacob S. Payton, eds. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1958), vol. 2, p. 579, note 50.

7. Eastin Morris, comp. The Tennessee Gazetteer. (Nashville: W. Hunt, 1834, reprinted Nashville: The Gazetteer Press, 1971), Robert M. McBride and Owen Meredith, eds., p. 211.

8. Mentioned, but not cited specifically, in Harriet Simpson Arnow, Flowering on the Cumberland, (New York: MacMillan), p. 385.

9. George Featherstonhaugh, Excursions Through the Slave States, (London, J. Murray, 1844), vol. 1, p. 191.

10. Lewis Cecil Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1933), vol. 2, pp. 687, 892. These statistics are based in part on Levi Woodbury's ...Tables and Notes on the Cultivation, Manufacture, and Foreign Trade of Cotton, 4 March 1836 (House Ex. Doc., 24 Cong., 1 sess., IV, no. 146). These statistics challenge Arnow's claim (pp. 246-48) that cotton declined in importance as a cash crop for Middle Tennessee.

11. Arnow, Flowering on the Cumberland, pp. 248-249; Abraham Steiner and Frederick C. De Schweinitz, "Report of the the Cherokees and the Cumberland Settlements (1799)": in Williams, Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, p. 516. Steiner and Schweinitz saw little wheat grown, "partly because good mills are rare; partly because so much of it is consumed by worms." On page 512 they discuss how the first peach pits and apple seeds entered the region. Hereafter cited as Steiner and Schweinitz, "Report of the Journey."

12. Arnow, Flowering on the Cumberland, p. 222; Davidson County, County Court Minutes, Book A, 1783-1791, microfilmed by the Tennessee State Library and present-day Middle Tennessee.

14. Michaux, "Travels to the West," p. 279. When possible, the original spelling will be retained and the patronizing "sic" will be omitted.

15. Anne Newport Royall, Letters From Alabama, 1817-1822 (reprinted, University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1969), p. 93.

16. Alex Colyar to James Sevier, 30 June 1829, in Washington County Court Records, Box 75:2 "Circuit Court 1820 Civil/Criminal," Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.

17. Steiner and Schweinitz, "Report of the Journey," p. 514.

18. "Daniel and William Constable Journal," in Samuel Cole Williams, "Nashville As Seen By Travellers, 1801-1821," Tennessee Historical Magazine, ser. 2, 1(1930-31), p. 193.

19. Steiner and Schweinitz, "Report of the Journey," p. 516.

20. Davidson County Court Minutes, Book A, pp. 3, 107, 203, 404, and 413.

21. Tennessee Gazette, 18 February 1801, p. 2.

22. Lewis Brantz, "Memoranda of a Journey," pp. 285-86.

23. Arnow, Flowering on the Cumberland, p. 234.

24. Michaux, "Travels to the West," pp. 251-52.

25. Steiner and Schweinitz, "Report of the Journey," p. 508.

26. Michaux, "Travels to the West," p. 184.

27. Fortescue Cuming, "Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country..." in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. 4, p. 97.

28. Michaux, "Travels to the West," pp. 252-53. The residents of Middle Tennessee also benefited because the products of Ohio and Kentucky, which "not of a nature to meet with a great sale in the country of the adjoining parts," could not compete and had to be sent down to New Orleans (p. 253).

29. H. Phillip Bacon, "Nashville's Trade at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 15 (1956), pp. 31-36; Michaux,: "Travels to the West," p. 252.

30. Tennessee Gazette, 18 February 1801, p. 3.

31. William Faux, "Memorable Days in America," in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, vol. II, p. 151.

32. Gray, Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860, II p. 870. Gray quotes articles in the Nashville Review from 1810.

33. History of Nashville, (Nashville: published for H. W. Crew by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1890): pp. 302-311.

34. "Records of the Cumberland Association," American Historical Magazine, 7 (1902) pp. 125-26; Davidson County Court Minutes, Books A and B, 1783-1797.

35. Compare the maps in William Edward Myer, "Indian Trails of the Southeast," 42d Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D. C.: GPO, 1928), plates 14 and 15, to those in Lester J. Cappon, ed., Atlas of Early American History: The Revolutionary Era, 1760-1790 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 60, and to Abraham Bradley, Jr., "Map of the United States Exhibiting the Post Roads, the Situations, Connections, and Distances of the Post Offices," (1804) in the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

36. Arnow, Flowering on the Cumberland, pp. 376-77; Michaux, "Travels to the West," pp. 261-62.

37. Baily, "Journal of a Tour," p. 407. Even the quality of "improved" roads, such as turnpikes, was suspect. About 25 miles east of Nashville, Bishop Francis Asbury in 1815 "came upon the turnpike - a disgrace to the State and to the undertakers, supposing they had any character to lose. It is a swindling of the public out of their money to demand toll on such roads as these." Asbury, Journal and Letters, vol. 2, p. 795.

38. George Featherstonhaugh, Excursions Through the Slave States, vol. 1, p. 176.

39. Michaux, "Travels to the West," p. 255.

40. D. R. Frazier, comp. Tennessee Postoffices and Postmaster Appointments, 1789-1984 (n.p., 1984), pp. 260-68; "A List of Postmasters Whose Receipts Amount in Gross to $2000 and upwards..., 1819-1829," in American State Papers, "Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States..." Class VII - Post Office Department, (Washington, D. C.: Gales and Seaton, 1834), pp. 92-93; John McLeanto House of Representatives, 24 December 1823, p. 113. Hereafter cited as ASP, Post Office.

41. W. T. Barry to Felix Grundy, 17 May 1832 and 4 December 1832, ASP, Post Office, pp. 348-352, quote on p. 352.

42. R. J. Meigs to Montfort Stokes, 27 January 1834, ASP, Post Office, p. 112.

43. Barry to Grundy, 17 May 1832, ASP, Post Office pp. 349-350.

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Last Updated: 23-Mar-2011