Fort Nashborough was built in 1780 close to the site of a salt lick called French Lick, on the Cumberland River. Two groups of settlers built the fort. One group was led by John Donelson and the other was lead by James Robertson.
February 1779, Colonel James Robertson, accompanied by George Freeland, William Neely, Edward Swanson, James Hanly, Mark Robertson, Zachariah Wells, and William Overhall went overland to the French Lick on the Cumberland River. They were to clear land, plant a corn crop, and build a fence around it for their families later in the fall.
Kasper Mansker showed up a few days later. They worked together to clear the land and plant the crop. Edward Swanson, Zachariah White, and William Overall stayed to protect the crop from buffalo while waiting for the next group with their families.
The Robertson Group started out overland in late October, 1779 and arrived at the French Lick in late December without incident. The Donelson group took off by river late because of delays from the weather. Finally, December 1779 they sailed. Indian attacks and cold weather made it hard for the voyagers. Thirty-three had died on the trip, and nine were wounded.
The Donelson group landed at Eaton's Station on the Cumberland River April 23, 1780. They were one and one-half miles from their destination. The next day April 24, 1780, they ended their voyage at French Lick. This was where Fort Nashborough was to be built.
They worked together and built the fort enclosing two acres on the banks of the Cumberland River and named it in honor of General Francis Nash an American Revolution Hero. The fort was built on the river because it was close to a salt lick which attracted animals. Also, it was the fastest way to transport goods to market. The Cumberland River flowed into the Ohio River which flowed into the Mississippi River. There were outposts along the Mississippi river that could be traded with.
Shortly after Fort Nashborough was built other forts were built around the area. They need more protection from the hostile Indians in the area and they named them after settlers who built them on their homesite.
The Cumberland Compact was drawn up as the law of the land. There were several stations built around the area. From them eight forts or stations that would act as courts for judges. They were Fort Nashborough as the main fort. The other seven were Mansker's Station , Eaton's Station, Bledsoe's Station, Asher's Station, Stone's River Station, Fort Union, and Freeland's Station.
The forts was built on important Indian tribal hunting grounds shared by many tribes, and they were outraged with this intrusion of their lands. The Indian attacks didn't start until after 1780 when all the satellite forts around Fort Nashborough were built and the Indians saw they had lost control of their land.
The Chickasaws, Creeks, Chickamaugans, and maybe the Delawares and Shawnees would take small raiding parties and attack the outlying cabins and travelers between the stations. The Chickamungans and the Creeks went on the attack for the next 14 years.
The Battle of the Bluff was the main battle at the fort which was fought against the Indians. The Indian Wars ended on August 20, 1794.
The Fort was reconstructed in 1930, and rebuilt on a smaller scale in 1962 as you see it today. The fort displays the construction techniques and plain look of the early settlement.
The two story houses were built in the corners of the fort and were used for shooting out of from the second level. There were notches cut in the walls on the back side to shoot out of.
There were fireplaces in all the buildings which was used for heat and cooking.
All the single level cabins were for the settlers families and had some furniture but not much. This picture shows a table, bed, and baby cradle.
The table was used for multiple purpose tasks. It would be the only
place to lounge around inside the cabin, eat at, reading a book by
candle or lantern, and work on things. The plates and spoons were made
out of wood.
The loom was used to make material and everyone knew how to use it. It wasn't just something the women knew how to do.