14 August 1796: Today in Restoration History

Says Barton Warren Stone:

I journeyed solitarily [from Holstein in far East Tennessee, MI] along to Knoxville, and went to the house of rendezvous for travelers through the wilderness to Nashville.  Traveling through the wilderness was yet considered dangerous because of the Indians.  But two travelers were at the house waiting for company.  I was overpersuaded by them to venture through.  Having laid up our provisions for ourselves and horses, we left Knoxville August 14, 1796.

My two companions were of very different temperaments.  One was a West Tennessean [now known as Middle Tennessee], a large, coarse back-woodsman, and Indian-fighter of great courage; the other was a South Carolinian, the greatest coward I [21] ever saw.  We chose the Tennessean for our captain and leader.  Nothing of any note happened until we had crossed Clinch River.  About sunset we discovered fifteen or twenty Indians about a hundred yards distant from us, n the edge of a canebreak.  They sprang up.   Our leader said to us, follow me–and rode on with a quick pace.  We followed with equal speed for several miles, then slacked our gait for a council.  It was concluded that the Indians would pursue us, but they had no dogs, we could evade them.  The Cumberland mountain was but a few miles ahead; we knew we could not ascend it at night without danger to ourselves and horses, therefore concluded to turn off the road a short distance at the foot of the mountain, and lie concealed till morning.  According to this arrangement, we cautiously rose to the mountain, turned aside into a thick brushwood,  tied our horses, and laid down on our blankets to rest.  Being much fatigued, I spelt so soundly that I did not perceive a shower of rain, which had awaked the other two, and driven them off to seek shelter.  At length I awoke, and missed my company.  Every thing was profoundly silent, except the wolves and foxes in the mountain.  My feelings were unpleasant.  I almost concluded that the Indians had surprised them, and that they had fled.  I remembered that the same God who had always protected me, was present, and could protect me still.  To him I humbly commended myself, laid down again, and securely slept till day, when I saw my companions about a hundred yards off, sheltered by a large tree.  I blamed them for leaving me thus exposed to the ravening beasts around.

excerpted from John Rogers, The Biography of Eld. Barton Warren Stone, Written by Himself: With Additions and Reflections. 5th ed. Cincinnati: J. A. and U. P. James, 1847, 20-21.  Full text of this edition available here from Google Books and the 1853 printing here from Archive.org.

…to be continued…

The thin black line on the map below, Avery’s trace, leads into “west Tennessee” north of the Cumberland River once west of the mountain, then drops south at Mansker’s Station for the final dozen or so miles to the river at Nashville. Barton Stone walked this road, beginning from Knoxville on this day 1796, and so begins the story of what becomes the Restoration Movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Davidsoun County then encmpasses all of the larger metro Nashville region.  Sumner County is the triangular county through which Stone passed en route to Nashville.


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