Kasper Mansker: long hunter, frontiersman, pioneer, Indian fighter, and soldier. In 1780 he built his first fort at present day location Goodlettsville, Tennessee, called Manskers Station , where a reproduction of his first fort stands today as a living history museum in its original location. Come to the fort and see how the early settlers lived.
Kasper Mansker was born to a young German couple on an immigrant ship "Christian" from Europe while crossing the Atlantic Ocean for America. They arrived in the port of Philadelphia on September 13 1749. His father was Ludwig Mäintzger but his mother is unknown.
His childhood residence in the year 1758, found due to assessed taxes, was on 50 acres of land in Brecknock Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He lived with his parents until adulthood. Kasper had a strong German accent which implies that he must have lived in a German community.
Ludwig Mansker had at least seven children mentioned in his will. Their names are John, George, Kasper, Ludwig Jr., Mary, and two unnamed daughters who were married. George would later join him in the Cumberland settlements sometime prior to 1783. John married Elizabeth Dugger. Ludwig Mansker Kasper's father died in service in the Revolutionary War near Coryell's Ferry, Pennsylvania, on November 24, 1776.
Miss Elizabeth White of Berkeley County, now West Virginia caught the eye of Kasper. Elizabeth's parents were opposed to them getting married so they eloped. They settled at the head of the Holston River and it was there that Kasper began his long hunts into the western wilderness.
He was first seen in middle Tennessee in 1769, at the age of 20 or 21. He was part of group of longhunters including Uriah Stone, and Isaac Bledsoe on a one year hunt. They were called longhunters because they would stay out on hunts for long periods of time. These were some of the first white men to come into the Cumberland area. It was typical in that time period for Mansker, Crockett, and others to name their rifle. Mansker called his "Nancy".
Mansker was an expert woodsman and knew the animal sounds so good he could tell the difference between and Indian and the real animal. Indian warriors would often imitate animal sounds to lure hunters out of their camps and kill them. During this time in history, the area around Nashville was a multi-nation Indian hunting ground, and they didn't like outsiders hunting on their grounds.
From Mansker's knowledge of longhunting and learning the sights and sounds of the forest, he became an effective Indian fighter and for this he became legendary. Because of his legendary status, there were many stories told about him.
Kasper Mansker came to the area to live in 1779 when he built his first fort called Manskers Station. He was a signer of the Cumberland Compact in 1780 which established the first government in the Cumberland Valley.
In 1783, Mansker came back and built an even bigger fort half a mile from the original one.
In 1812, Andrew Jackson wrote a letter to the Chickasaw seeking their aid. Jackson asked "Do you remember when the whole Creek Nation came to destroy your towns. A few hundred Chickasaws aided by a few whites chased them back to their nation, killing the best of their warriors, and covering the rest with shame?" The "few whites" Jackson referred to were led by Kasper Mansker.
In December 1814 Kasper was around 60 years old and was enlisted in the Second Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Gunmen. This gave him the privilege to fight in the Battle of New Orleans.
In his later life Kasper Mansker became a devout Methodist and he was often visited by Bishop Francis Asbury at Mansco's Lick. The Census of 1820 recorded Kasper and Elizabeth Mansker at home. On July 31, 1820, Kasper signed his last will and testament and by January of 1821, Kasper was dead. His body was buried in a private plot near his home.
Four years after Kasper's death, his widow Elizabeth was married to Isaac Walton. Isaac lived on the farm next door and was a widower also. They were married on July 26, 1825 and Elizabeth lived another sixteen years.
The city of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, considers him to be its First Citizen. In the 1800's, Goodlettsville would have been named after Kasper Mansker, but Postmaster Goodlett gave his name to the town instead.
In 1956 Kasper's remains were disinterred and moved to Peay Park in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.