Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Working on Wednesday: James Harrod (About 1738 - About 1781) Early Settler in Tennessee

James Harrod* was born in the Colony of Virginia, possibly in Stafford County, around 1738 and married a young woman named Elizabeth "Betsey"** in neighboring Orange County in about 1759. By 1760 the couple had moved to North Carolina where their five known children were born, including their oldest son Barnabeth (or Barnett), one of my paternal fourth great grandfathers, in 1762.

[Carolina And Georgia. (to accompany) Atlas Minimus or a New Set of Pocket Maps of the Several Empires, Kingdoms and States of the Known World, with Historical Extracts relative to each. Drawn and Engraved by J. Gibson from the Best Authorities, Revis'd, Corrected and Improv'd by Eman: Bowen Geographer to His Majesty. 1758. Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

It appears that James and his family traveled west in the early 1770s to settle on land first leased then purchased from the Cherokee Indians along the Watauga River in what is now Tennessee*** and in 1779 he joined a group of 250 (mostly men and boys****) led by James Robertson moving farther west to French Lick on the Cumberland River.

On May 1, 1780, the new settlers signed a document known as the Cumberland Compact which set up "a simple constitutional government." James Harrod's name is found on the 20th line of the first column of the second page.


[Jas Harrod signature]

Their settlement, first called Bluff Station and later known as Fort Nashborough (now Nashville), covered about two acres enclosed by a stockade and protected the newcomers from attacks by the Cherokee who rightly viewed their arrival as threatening their traditional hunting grounds.

[Postcard showing first reconstruction (on a smaller scale) of the original fort funded by the Daughters of the American Revolution in the 1930s. Source: Boston Public Library-Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection]

I haven't been able to discover the date of James Hariod's death--but it's believed that he was killed by Indians during one of their attacks. By 1783 his widow Betsey had married Daniel Hogan, another signer of the Cumberland Compact.

*This is the spelling of his surname used in the Cumberland Compact; later variants include Herod and Herrod. My paternal grandmother Letta Estella Porter Warren Williams Turnbull is his great great great granddaughter.
**Her maiden name is unknown.
***The original English coastal colonies in North America claimed all the lands to the west as far as the Mississippi River.
****Most of their families traveled 1,000 miles by river to join their menfolks, arriving four months later. Presumably Betsey and the children were among them.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment