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Location of Forts

Within a few weeks after the completion of the Bluff Fort a number of other and smaller stations had been planted in the surrounding country. The first of these was that of John Rains, who went out to what is now Waverly Place, and selecting a site near a spring built a cabin for himself and family, and also constructed pens of brush and rails for the twenty-one cows and seventeen horses brought by him from New River. Rains is thus entitled to credit for having first introduced these animals into Middle Tennessee.

George, Jacob and James Freeland and others of the party selected a site in McGavock's addition to Nashville, and there beside a large spring which sent forth a lasting stream of water, built a fort which is known to history as Freeland's Station. This was connected with the Bluff Fort by a few buffalo paths running through the thick canebrake which at that time covered the Sulphur Spring bottom. Eaton's Station was located on the east side of the river, a mile and a half down the same from the Bluff. It was built by Amos Eaton, Isaac Lindsey, Louis Crane, Hayden Wells, Frederick Stump, Sr., Isaac Roundsever, William Loggins and a man named Winters. This station was composed of a number of cabins built around a circle with a stockade from one to another. There were portholes through both the stockade and the outer walls of the cabins for purposes of defense.

Kasper Mansker, as previously noted, was by no means a stranger to the Cumberland country. Now taking with him William Neely, James Franklin Daniel Frazier and others, he journeyed twelve miles north of the Bluff to the region of the twin licks he had discovered while hunting eight years before. Here on the west side of Mansker's Creek, and three or four hundred yards from what was later known as Walton's camp ground, they built a fort which was called Mansker's Station. It was located near Goodlettsville on the farm now owned by the heirs of Peyton Roscoe. In the spring of 1783 this fort was moved to a site a mile above this location on the east side of the creek. Mansker was of German descent, and in conversation with the settlers spoke broken English. Though without collegiate education he was a man of fine intelligence and superior 1 judgment, a great woodsman, a splendid marksman, a mighty hunter and a brave soldier. No man among the early pioneers understood better than did he the art of Indian warfare, and on this account he was able to render excellent service in routing the savages from the


Residence of Mrs. Hattie Utley near Goodlettsville Former Home of Kasper Mansker

 Cumberland Valley. In the early days he was the proud possessor of a flintlock rifle which he called "Nancy," after the manner of the old hunters who were given to the habit of denominating each his favorite weapon by some feminine nickname. In his later years the younger generation often listened with eager attention while he related his exploits and conflicts with the Indians. Soon after the founding of his station Mansker was made a colonel in the frontier militia. He engaged actively in nearly all of the bloody wars which followed, and though far advanced in years was present at the taking of the Indian village Nickajack, a campaign to be described later on. His wife, like himself, was of foreign birth, and lived to an advanced age. To them no children were born. Both, true to the instincts of their nationality, were thrifty, and in their old age owned and occupied a fine farm near the site of the second fort. Here they died some years after the cessation of Indian hostilities. Their remains are buried in the family cemetery on the old homestead, now owned by Mrs. Hattie Utley.

During the spring of 1780 Isaac Bledsoe built a fort in Sumner County at the lick he had previously discovered. The time of the location of this fort is positively determined by the fact that Bledsoe's Station is mentioned in the compact of government which was formulated at Nashborough on May 1, 1780. The site of this fort is near Castalian Springs and on land now owned by Henry Belote. In the walls of a barn belonging to the latter are some of the old logs used in the construction of the station cabins.

Another of the immigrants by the name of Asher, taking with him a party of companions from the Bluff, went twenty-eight miles northeast into Sumner County and built a fort two and a half miles southeast of Gallatin on the buffalo path leading from Mansker's Lick to Bledsoe's. This was called Asher's Station, and was located on what is now known as the Arch Overton farm near the dirt road leading from Gallatin to Cairo. .Some time during the month of January or February, another party consisting of Thomas Killgore, Moses and Ambrose Mauldon, Samuel Mason, Josiah Hankins and others went up into the Red River country and established Killgore's Station in Robertson County near Cross Plains. Fort Union was also built by Robt. Hays at a point five or six miles up the river from the bluff and on the site of the more modern Haysborough.

The settlers at the Bluff and surrounding stations lived during the first winter and spring chiefly on wild game, which was of sufficient quantity but very poor in quality. Large numbers of the deer and other animals of like nature were found to have died of hunger by reason of the heavy snows and long and intense cold. All food was of the plainest and simplest of preparation. The only obtainable substitute for butter and lard was bear's oil, of which, however, the hunters became very fond. The small crop of corn raised in the Sulphur Spring bottom the summer before furnished them a limited supply of bread.


Graves of Kasper Mansker and Wife

In the latter part of January some of the men in pursuit of game through the woods were surprised to find traces of a party of Indians. These they were able to identify by the moccasin prints and also because the toes of the tracks turned inward, a characteristic of the savage foot. Following on apace the hunters found them encamped on a branch of Mill Creek in Davidson County, a few miles south of the Bluff. The stream mentioned has since been called Indian Creek because of this incident. The whites returned at once to the Bluff, and a delegation was sent down from the settlement to seek an interview, and discover if possible whether the intruders were only friendly visitors or on mischief bent. The whites had no interpreter, but after ''heap much talk'' combined with a variety of sign making it was found that they were of the Delaware tribe. Probably ignorant of the advent of the settlers they had journeyed hundreds of miles from their home in New Jersey for a quiet hunt in the reservation. Having been already for some time in the Caney Fork country, which at that time abounded in game, they remained only a few days near the settlement, after which they quietly took their leave going south into Alabama. This was the first Indian fright experienced by the settlers. Many others followed, some of which proved more serious in consequences.

Soon after the erection of the stations James Robertson, who, with such marked success, had led the largest of the four bands through the wilderness, was chosen colonel of the local militia. This office was conferred by unanimous vote, and for the time being bestowed the highest authority in matters pertaining to the government and defense of the settlements. Though several months had now elapsed since the beginning of the journey from Watauga, no tidings had yet been received from the river party, and a feeling of uneasiness as to their safety began to pervade the colony. Let us return to the scene of their embankment and follow them through the events of their voyage.

Early History of Middle Tennessee

Early History of Middle Tennessee, BY Edward Albright, Copyright, 1908, Brandon Printing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1909

 

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