Discovering Dickson County
Over the past year or so I’ve written a number of articles concerning our local history. In the new year, I’d like to go a little further back to the beginning of Dickson County.
James Robertson and his group that settled at Fort Nashborough were not the first European settlers to come to the area we know today as Middle Tennessee. The first settlers of European descent were French fur traders. Jean du Charleville was a French fur trader who settled in what would become Nashville around 1710. He established a trading post near a natural salt lick and a spring that was located where the Bicentennial Mall and the Nashville Sounds baseball park stands today. It became known as the “French Lick.” After the British won the French and Indian War in 1763, most of the French people who resided in the area left, which opened up the area to settlement from British colonials.
TENNESSEE BECOMES A STATE
The American Patriots fought the American Revolution from 1775 to 1783. In 1783 a treaty was signed that officially ended the war. The founding fathers spent the next few years organizing the government. By 1787 the US Constitution was written and then sent to the states for ratification. Now that the Constitution was approved, it became the law of the land and it was time to elect the nation's first president. George Washington, who had led the Continental Army in the war, was elected the first President of the United States.
It’s impossible to calculate how many settlers had made their way to Dickson by the time the county was formed in 1803. We know there were settlements on the banks of most of the creeks and one room cabins were popping up all over the place. Most of those original settlers were farmers by necessity and they found out pretty quickly that cotton didn’t grow well here, but corn and tobacco did.
THE LONESOME CABIN
As someone who studies local history, I often get asked the question, “What is your favorite historical site in Dickson County?” A number of places come to mind, from the old courthouse in Charlotte, to the Ruskin Cave, to the Hotel Halbrook in Downtown Dickson. But personally, my favorite place is the “Lonesome Cabin.” If you are not familiar with where it is, it’s located in Burns right off of Highway 96 near the center of town. It’s an old log cabin set in a valley right next to Beaverdam Creek. It’s one of the few examples we have left of an old homestead from the 1800’s.
HISTORIC CHARLOTTE TENNESSEE
There are a lot of small towns in Tennessee that have historic downtown areas, but there are few that can trace their establishment all the way back to the early 1800’s. Charlotte is one of those towns. By 1804 the town of Charlotte had been established, and over the next few decades it began to develop into an enterprising frontier town.
HISTORIC CHARLOTTE SQUARE
Before Tennessee became a state, the area that today is West Tennessee was a hunting ground for the Chickasaw Indians. In 1818, Andrew Jackson negotiated a treaty with the Chickasaw to buy this land and open it up for settlement. This deal was known as the “Jackson Purchase.” Around this time, Alabama and Mississippi both became states and the southeast part of the United States was starting to look as it does today.