Where It All Started
Arriving in Tennessee from Virginia after England in 1779, our family has sought to be a pillar of society, make a difference, and leave an impact.
Tennessee was the original frontier when 18th-century settlers sought to breach the mighty Appalachian Mountains. Yet the state is also right on the edge of the South. This has created an interesting, engaging culture that embodies the best of Southern and Midwestern society. You can’t go anywhere in Tennessee without hearing live music, especially the key cities Nashville and Memphis. Music has dominated the state’s modern history and culture. Tennessee has been at the edge of American civilization since the first colonists arrived in the 17th century. By the end of the 18th century, English and Scottish settlers began moving into the eastern part of the state, creating communities on land leased to them by the Cherokee Native Americans. This was known as the Watauga Association.
The American Revolutionary War saw the state’s residents attacked by Cherokee fighters loyal to the British. After the war, three counties in the eastern corner of the state broke away from the newly-formed Union in 1784 and founded the State of Franklin (today’s Washington District). A a bit of Franklin pride still remains in this little corner of Tennessee today. In 1796, Tennessee was admitted as the 16th state of the Union. In the early 1800s, nearly 17,000 Cherokee Indians were forced to walk from eastern Tennessee along the Trail of Tears to their new reservation land in Oklahoma. When the Cumberland Gap route was opened, new settlers began pouring into the fertile valleys of Tennessee, prompting the government to evict the natives.
During the US Civil War, Tennessee was the site of many major battles. The state sided with the Confederate South and lost several key battles to the Union, such as the Battle of Franklin (1864) and the Battle of Murfreesboro (1863), which gave control of most of the state to Ulysses S. Grant’s troops. Most Civil War battlefields are preserved as national historic parks. Most recently, Memphis was the site of a racial battle when the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated outside his hotel in 1968. The site is now the impressive Civil Rights Museum.
In modern times, Tennessee has emerged as a hotbed of music. In Nashville and Memphis, the blues, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, and country music reached new heights. With Elvis and his Graceland mansion and Dolly Parton and Dollywood, this state is America’s premier destination for music lovers and aspiring talent. Tourism makes up a large part of the modern economy, and music it right at the core.
TENNESSEE FACTS AND FIGURES
•The Volunteer State
•16th state 6/1/1796
•Bordered by 8 states
•Major commerce: Mining (coal), electrical power, enriched uranium production, music, automobile manufacturing, farming (tobacco, cattle, soybeans, cotton), walking horses, tourism
•2 Senators and 9 Representatives – 11 electoral votes
•Central time zone
•15 state forests and 54 state parks
•Largest cities Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville
•42,1818 square miles
•8 area codes