(Excerpt from HISTORY OF JACKSON COUNTY, ALABAMA by John Robert Kennamer, Decatur, Al 1935:
Condensed by Josephine Lindsay Bass on July 26, 1996.
The earliest white trappers and hunters to visit this territory would often build a hut for shelter and after a short time return laden with his furs and skins to the markets on the eastern coast. His only neighbor was the Cherokee Indian with whom he exchanged knives, guns, and other articles for skins and furs.
Paint Rock Valley (Wikipedia)
None of these has left us a record who was first to visit this land. It is said David Crockett left his name on a tree in upper Paint Rock Valley, but he has left no record of his impression as he stood upon some lofty hill-top in the wilds that later became Jackson County.
Land was covered with dense cane-brakes
The valleys of the Tennessee, Paint Rock and the low-level lands lying along Crow, Mud and Sauta Creeks were covered with dense cane-brakes, brushwood and briers matted together with vines; and towering above all this were large oak, poplar, gum and other trees, with a lake or lagoon here and there. The ridges and coves which were bordered by the Cumberland, Sand and Gunter’s Mountain were fertile and had a luxuriant growth of cane and forest.
Mountain tops suited for homes
The mountain tops were better suited for the early settler to make his home, with no undergrowth except tall grass with trees far enough apart that one could drive a team and wagon for miles without a road. Deer were plentiful and turkeys as numerous as chickens are at the present time. Upon the waters, bevies of ducks, geese, and other wild fowls dived and circled in play. One has described these mountains as follows: “The mountain air sighed through the tree tops as pure and sweet as the breath of a maiden; squirrels gambled in the forest trees; turkeys gobbled and strutted on the mountains; eagles screamed from their lofty perch on towering cliffs; and doves cooed their story of love on every hill and in every dale.”
T. J. Campbell, in “The Upper Tennessee”, quoting Colonial Records, in which the statement of a British officer touring southern Indian tribes says, “that a white family emigrated in a flatboat from the Watauga settlements down the Tennessee, the Ohio, and the Mississippi to the Natches settlement in 1776.”
Early in 1779, Colonel Evan Shelby transported troops down the Tennessee River en route to join George Rogers Clark in Kentucky and Illinois. Shelby destroyed the towns and killed a number of the Chickamauga Indians, in the mountains west of the site of the present city of Chattanooga.
All on the rear boat killed by Indians
When on March 8, 1780, Colonel Donnelson’ss fleet of thirty boats, passed down the Tennessee River, led by the boat “Adventure”, the Indians retaliated killing all on the rear boat. This company of emigrants came from Virginia, NC, and E. Tennessee and were going to settle at Nashville, Natches, and in Illinois. This is the same trip wherein a diary was kept, and detailed the event of Rueben Harrison, a son of Mr. Harrison, who was left on the bank to search for him and was picked up later with the boy in tow.
- The Yazoo land fraud;
- Daily life as an Alabama pioneer;
- The capture and arrest of Vice-president AaronBurr;
- The early life of William Barrentt Travis in Alabama, hero of the Alamo;
- Description of Native Americans of early Alabama including the visit by Tecumseh;
- Treaties and building the first roads in Alabama.