Chronology of Tennessee
De Soto crosses the Mississippi at or near the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff, where Memphis
Needham and Arthur enter East Tennessee. Joliet and Marquette descend the Mississippi
from Wisconsin River to 34° N. latitude and stop at Chickasaw Bluffs.
La Salle builds Fort Prud'homme on First Chickasaw Bluff near mouth of Hatchie River.
Martin Chartier, one of La Salle's men, after some years' stay with Shawnee of Cumberland
Valley, travels from French Lick up Cumberland River and overland to Virginia.
Eleazer Wiggan, English trader, establishes trade with Overhill Cherokee.
Charleville, French trader, operates a trading post at Great French Lick where Nashville
Sir Alexander Cuming negotiates first treaty between English and Cherokee. Group of
chiefs go with him to England.
Christian Priber reaches Cherokee town of Great Tellico, plans to establish his "Kingdom
May 20. D'Artaguette defeated by Chickasaw and English traders.
May 26. Bienville's forces defeated by Chickasaw.
1748 Dr. Thomas Walker of Virginia explores vicinity of present Kingsport.
Dr. Thomas Walker and party explore upper East Tennessee and pass through Cumberland
Gap into Kentucky. Walker was the first explorer to record discovery of what he later named
Major Andrew Lewis builds Virginia fort near Chota, Cherokee capital.
Fort Loudoun, near Virginia fort, completed; first Anglo-American fort in Tennessee to be
Presbyterian Mission established at Fort Loudoun by Rev. John Martin.
War between English and Cherokee. Indians take Fort Loudoun. Daniel Boone commissioned
by Henderson and Co. to scout East Tennessee.
Peace is made between English and Cherokee.
Ensign Henry Timberlake and Sergeant Thomas Sumter travel through Overhill Cherokee country.
Elijah Walden, with party of Long Hunters, explores East Tennessee and Cumberland Valley.
Fort Robinson built by Col. Adam Stephen near Long Island of the Holston River, site of modern
Ensign Timberlake, Sergeant Sumter, Ostenaco, and two of his warriors visit England.
Henry Scaggs (Scoggins) explores Tennessee region as representative of Henderson & Co.
Col. James Smith leads exploring party which discovers Stone's River, named for Uriah Stone,
one of the party.
Treaty of Hard Labour between English and Cherokee signed.
William Bean, supposed to have been first permanent settler in Tennessee builds cabin
on Boone's Creek, near its junction with Watauga River.
The Watauga Association formed; first independent government established in America
by native white Americans.
Washington District supersedes Watauga Association.
March 17. Richard Henderson and Co. buys Cherokee land between Kentucky and
July 20. Battle of Island Plats between settlers and Cherokee.
July 31. Indians attack Fort Caswell.
Washington District becomes Washington County, with boundaries co-extensive with present
State of Tennessee.
Commissioners of Virginia and North Carolina negotiate Treaty of Long Island with Cherokee.
Jonesboro, first town in Tennessee, established.
Col. Evan Shelby defeats hostile Chickamauga near present site of Chattanooga.
James Robertson, "Father of Tennessee," reaches Cumberland Settlement.
John Donelson begins voyage on flatboat Adventure.
Commissioners of Virginia and North Carolina run separate boundary lines called, respectively,
"Walker's Line" and "Henderson's Line."
Rev. Samuel Doak, pioneer evangelist, preaches at Salem.
Martin Academy (Doak's school) established at Monette, first institution of higher learning
in Mississippi Valley (chartered in 1783 ).
April 24. John Donelson and party reach Nashborough (Nashville). Cherokee towns are
destroyed by Sevier.
May 1. The Cumberland Compact signed by Cumberland settlers.
October 7. Battle of King's Mountain. Tennessee troops participate.
January 15. Battle of Freeland Station between settlers and hostile Cherokee and
April 2. Battle of the Bluffs between Cumberland settlers and Chickamauga.
John Sevier defeats Chickamauga and burns their towns.
June 1. McGillivray, Creek chief, forms alliance with Spanish.
Indians raid Cumberland settlements. Davidson County organized.
June 2. North Carolina cedes its western lands to U. S., but repeals act in same year.
December 14. State of Franklin established; constitution adopted. Nashville incorporated to
Davidson Academy, forerunner of University of Nashville and George Peabody College for
March. First Franklin Legislature meets at Greeneville; John Sevier elected Governor. Four
new counties established.
November. Hopewell Treaty signed by U. S. Commissioners and Cherokee chiefs.
Cherokee title to Tennessee lands recognized by U. S.
Treaty of Hopewell between U. S. and Chickasaw. Chickasaw title to West Tennessee
recognized by U. S.
Franklin and North Carolina both claim jurisdiction in East Tennessee.
Capt. James White and James Connor settle on site of Knoxville.
Franklin Legislature meets at Greeneville for last time.
Robertson conducts Coldwater Expedition against Creek Indians near Muscle Shoals.
Peter Avery blazes Avery's Trace from East Tennessee across Cumberland Plateau to Nashville.
March. Government of Franklin collapses. Spanish agents intrigue against colonists.
April. Bishop Francis Asbury holds first Methodist Conference west of Allegehenies at Half-Acres
in East Tennessee.
John Sevier elected first Representative to U.S. Congress from Washington.
District of Mero established in Middle Tennessee.
December 22. North Carolina cedes its western lands to U. S.
Population, Territorial U. S. Census, 35,691.
May 26. Congress passes act for government of "Territory of the United States South of the River
Ohio," including Tennessee.
William Blount, appointed Territorial Governor, takes oath on September 20 and organizes
Washington County on October 22.
William Blount, Governor of the Territory South of the River Ohio, establishes headquarters
at White's Fort (Knoxville); Knoxville platted.
July 2. Treaty of the Holston between U. S. and Cherokee signed. Indian land cession
secured, new boundaries agreed upon, and Cherokee come under protection of Government.
November 5. Knoxville Gazette, weekly newspaper, established at Rogersville.
September 10. Andrew Jackson receives his first military appointment, "Judge Advocate
for Davidson Regiment."
September 30. Buchanan's Station attacked by Indians.
September 25. Cavett's Station destroyed by Indians.
September 10. Blount College, forerunner of University of Tennessee, chartered (opened 1795).
September 13. James Ore destroys Chickamauga towns, Nickajack and Running Water.
The Walton Road completed from Knoxville to Nashville across Cumberland Plateau.
February 6. First State constitution adopted.
March 29. First General Assembly meets at Knoxville.
March 30. First State Governor, John Sevier, inaugurated; serves until 1801 and again from
1803 to 1809.
March 31. William Blount and William Cocke elected first United States Senators, reelected
four months later.
June 1. Tennessee admitted into Union as sixteenth state.
November 12. Jackson first Representative in Congress from Tennessee, takes seat December 5.
Jackson succeeds William Cocke as U. S. Senator.
January 23. Thomas Embree, in Knoxville Gazette, urges organization of an abolition society.
July 8. William Blount expelled from U. S. Senate.
Jackson resigns as U. S. Senator and is appointed judge of State Superior Court.
Population 105,602. Great religious revival sweeps State.
Jackson elected major general of militia in contest with John Sevier and
General Wilkinson builds Fort Pickering at Memphis.
Aaron Burr visits Nashville on his way to Mississippi territory.
May 30. Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel in Logan, Ky.
April 18. Congress grants 1,000 acres to be sold for support of county academies;
1,000 acres more for two colleges, Blount in east and Cumberland in west.
Nashville Bank, first in Tennessee, chartered.
February 4. Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized in Dickson County.
Bank of the State of Tennessee established.
September 12. Legislature convenes in Nashville for first time.
September 4. Jackson is seriously wounded by Bentons at Talbot (afterward
City) Hotel, Nashville.
September 7. Jackson mobilizes troops at Fayetteville for Creek War.
March 27. Jackson defeats Creeks at Battle of Tohopeka, ending Creek War.
April 20. Treaty of Fort Jackson made with Creeks.
Manumission Society of Tennessee organized at Lost Creek, Jefferson County.
January 8. Jackson defeats British forces at New Orleans.
September. John Sevier dies near Fort Decatur, Ala.
January-May. Jackson ordered to direct campaign against Seminoles; drives Spanish
garrison from Pensacola.
October 19. Jackson and Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, as U. S. Commissioners,
make a treaty with Chickasaw, who cede to U. S. all territory claimed by them east of
Mississippi River and north of 35° latitude.
First steamboat arrives at Nashville.
W. L. Brown and Felix Grundy appointed commissioners for Tennessee to determine
with Kentucky commissioners the line between Tennessee and Kentucky.
John Overton, with collaboration of Jackson and James Winchester, lays out city of
Manumission Intelligencer, later Emancipator, first anti-slavery paper in United States,
published at Jonesboro.
Madison County organized and Jackson settled.
Jackson appointed Territorial Governor of Florida.
Pioneer, first newspaper in West Tennessee established at Jackson.
Jackson elected U. S. Senator to succeed Col. John Williams.
Nashoba, Fanny Wright's colony for freed slaves, established.
May 4. Lafayette visits Nashville.
Memphis Advocateestablished - first newspaper in Memphis.
Duel between Sam Houston and Gen. William White.
Davy Crockett elected to U. S. Congress.
Davidson Academy becomes University of Nashville.
August. Sam Houston elected Governor.
Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams for presidency of the United States.
First steamboat reaches Knoxville.
April. Governor Houston resigns governorship; goes into voluntary exile among
Cherokee in Arkansas.
March 9. John H. Eaton appointed Secretary of War by President Jackson.
Railroad Advocate, one of the first newspapers devoted to railroad promotion
published at Rogersville.
Epidemic of Asiatic cholera sweeps over Tennessee. Large cities paralyzed and
many small towns almost depopulated.
New State constitution adopted.
James K. Polk becomes Speaker of the national House of Representatives.
March 5 and 6. New constitution ratified by people.
Sam Houston and other Tennesseans lead Texans in their war for independence
First superintendent of public instruction appointed.
Uniform system of public schools in state established by law.
Great Removal of Cherokee from Tennessee.
James K. Polk, Governor 1839-41.
First train in Tennessee makes exhibition run over LaGrange and Memphis.
Cumberland University at Lebanon chartered and opened.
Nashville becomes State capital.
November. James K. Polk becomes President-elect.
January 1. Work begun on State capitol.
July 4. Great "Western and Southwestern Convention" held in Memphis to promote railroad
connection between Tennessee and other southern States.
June 8. Andrew Jackson dies at the Hermitage, aged 78 years.
New Orleans and Ohio Telegraph Company chartered - first company of kind in Tennessee.
May 26. Governor Brown calls volunteers for Mexican War.
Tennessee's quota is 2,800, but 30,000 respond and Tennessee becomes "Volunteer State."
Tennessee Historical Society founded.
June 5. James K. Polk dies at Nashville, aged 54 years. December. Memphis given
June 3. Southern convention opens 9-day session at Nashville to discuss slavery
Col. John Pope wins first prize in cotton exhibit at World's Fair in London.
Mark Cockrill receives same rating for sheep.
April 13. Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, first railroad successfully operated in
Tennessee, begins service.
Andrew Johnson, Governor 1853-57.
State Library founded.
February 28. Gov. Andrew Johnson's recommendation for tax to provide public
schools becomes law.
State agricultural bureau established and county agricultural societies organized.
State capitol completed.
First Biennial State Fair, forerunner of present annual State Fair, held in
Nashville Academy of Music and Fine Arts incorporated.
May 6. Tennessee, by legislative act, secedes from the Union.
June 24. Governor Harris proclaims Tennessee's secession.
September. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston prepares State military defense.
February 6. Confederate Fort Henry surrenders.
February 16. Confederate Fort Donelson surrenders.
February 20. Seat of State government removed to Memphis.
March 3. Andrew Johnson appointed military governor of Tennessee.
April 6-7. Battle of Shiloh.
July-September. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest raids Federal troops in Middle Tennessee.
August 16. General Bragg begins Tennessee campaign at Chattanooga. General Forrest
raids Federal troops in West Tennessee.
December 31 (1862), January 1, and 2. Battle of Stone's River.
June 20-July 7. Confederate army under Bragg retires to Tullahoma, blocking way to
September 19-20. Battle of Chickamauga.
November 24-25. Battle of Chattanooga (Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain); Bragg,
outnumbered, retreats to Georgia.
September 4. Gen. John H. Morgan killed at Greeneville, East Tennessee.
November 4. Gov. Andrew Johnson becomes Vice-President elect.
November 30. Battle of Franklin.
December 15-16. Battle of Nashville.
Beginning of Reconstruction.
March 4. William G. (Parson) Brownlow elected Governor.
April 5. Legislature ratifies 13th amendment.
April 15. Andrew Johnson becomes President of the United States.
July 19. Tennessee ratifies Fourteenth amendment to U. S. Constitution.
July 24. Tennessee restored to Union. Fisk University (Negro) opened at Nashville
Gen. John H. Eaton, Jr., former Union officer, elected State superintendent of public
Legislature passes law providing separate schools for Negroes at State's expense.
Ku Klux Klan organized at Pulaski.
March. Ku Klux Klan disbanded by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, "Grand Cyclops."
Gen. John Eaton publishes Report of School Conditions in Tennessee.
DeWitt C. Senter appointed Governor.
Third constitution adopted.
Educational law passed, establishing uniform system of free public schools.
First State board of education created.
A bill abolishing the office of county superintendent of public schools is pushed through legislature but vetoed.
July 31. Andrew Johnson, former President, dies near Jonesboro.
State board of health created.
Worst yellow fever epidemic in history of U. S. strikes Memphis. Of the 6,000
white population 4,204 died; of the 14,000 Negroes, 946.
Centennial celebration of Nashville settlement.
Julia Doak appointed State superintendent of education, first woman in U. S. to
hold such office.
"The War of the Roses." Robert L. Taylor, Democratic candidate for Governor,
defeats his brother, Alfred A. Taylor, Republican candidate.
July 21. First major strike in Tennessee history called by miners at Coal Creek.
Steel cantilever bridge over Mississippi at Memphis opened.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park dedicated.
May 1-November 1. Tennessee Centennial Exposition held at Nashville.
Tennessee furnishes four regiments for War with Spain.
County courts given power to establish county high schools and provide for their
support and supervision.
Local option law extended to include all cities and towns.
State militia stops activities of night riders at Reelfoot Lake.
The general education bill enacted.
January. State-wide prohibition law passed; becomes effective July 1.
Francis Joseph Campbell, blind educator, knighted by King Edward VII for his services
to the blind.
Population, 2,184,789. Independents elect candidates for the judiciary.
One-third of the gross revenues of the State appropriated for education. Highway
improvement begun. Workmen's compensation law passed.
April 6. U. S. declares war against Germany. Many Tennesseans volunteer. First Liberty
Loan oversubscribed in Tennessee.
Sergeant Alvin C. York, with small squad and armed only with pistol and rifle, takes Hill
223 in Argonne Forest.
December. Col. Luke Lea, of Nashville, leads a party of commissioned and
non-commissioned officers on daring unofficial raid into Holland to capture the Kaiser.
The attempt fails.
State agrees to furnish $1,000,000, City of Nashville $600,000 and Davidson County
$400,000 for memorial building in honor of soldiers of World War.
January 13. Eighteenth amendment (prohibition) to Federal Constitution ratified.
August 18. Nineteenth amendment (woman's suffrage) ratified.
Gov. Austin Peay (1923-1927) puts all activities of State under eight major
departments, abolishing about fifty bureaus and departments.
Scopes evolution trial held at Dayton; William Jennings Bryan and Clarence
Darrow are opposing counsel.
By agreement with North Carolina, land for Great Smoky Mountains National Park
offered to Federal government and accepted.
March. Heavy rains cause floods with loss of life and property.
State has $6,000,000 in closed banks.
Legislature investigating committee votes against impeachment of Governor Horton.
July 21. Tennesee votes for repeal of 18th amendment to Constitution.
Coal miners strike at Wilder.
August 31. Tennessee Valley Authority created by an Act of Congress to develop
natural resources of territory within Tennessee River watershed.
November. Construction of Norris Dam begun.
Barnard Astronomical Association founded as a memorial to Dr. Edward Emerson
Barnard, Nashville astronomer.
Rural Electrification Act passed by legislature regulating operation of TVA in State.
January. Convict lease law repealed. January. Construction of Chickamauga Dam begun.
March 4. Norris Dam, first Unit of TVA, completed.
December. Coal miners strike at Jamestown. State militia called out.
December. Unemployment compensation law enacted at special session of legislature.
January. Floods cause much property damage.
May 18. Strike closes fabricating plant of Aluminum Company of America at Alcoa.
November 5. Governor Gordon Browning's unit bill for proportional suffrage among counties
passed at special session of Legislature.
County unit bill invalidated by Tennessee Supreme Court.
State legislature overrides Governors veto of act to permit, or forbid at county's option,
package sales of alcoholic liquor.
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