Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Second attempt to settle Tennessee Valley in Alabama ended in failure

by John Robert Kennamer, Decatur, Al 1935:

Condensed by Josephine Lindsay Bass on July 26, 1996.

A company was organized in 1783, by William Blount, his brothers, John and Thomas, Gen. Joseph Martin, Gen. Griffith Rutherford, Col. John Sevier, Gov. Richard Caswell, and Col. John Donelson, all of the NC., for the purpose of acquiring the title to all the lands lying in the present State of Alabama, north of the Tennessee River.

Tennessee River

In Oct 1785, a Commission of John Sevier, Wm Downes, Thomas Carr and John Donelson engaged about eighty men to join them and floated down the Tennessee River to a spot, probably Long Island Town, near the town of Bridgeport, AL, and opened a land office for the sale of the lands in the “Great Bend”.

Location of Bridgeport, Alabama

Formerly organized a county

Some of the men who came with the commissioners were: Zachariah Cox, George Dardin, Sr, George Dardin, Jr, George Thomas James Callahan, James Scott, William Nelson, Joseph McConnell, Charles Robertson, Alexander Kelly, John Woods, Alexander Cunningham, William Fisher, Abraham Utler, John Corvin, David Mitchell, and James M. Lewis.

They formerly organized a County, named it Houston, and elected Valentine Sevier, Jr. Representative in Georgia Legislature. They next proceeded to survey lands near the mouth of the Elk River.

Elk River

Col. Donelson was killed by Indians

A band of hostile Indians forced the Board to return home after two weeks stay. On his way home, Col. Donelson was killed by the Indians. On August 7, 1786, a bill, to legally establish and organize Houston County, was defeated by a vote of 26 to 23. The enterprise was ended.

Col. John Donelson (1718-1785) frontier man

New company formed

A new Company was organized in 1789, called the Tennessee Land Company, by Zachariah Cox, of South Carolina, and Mathias Maher and others. They purchased 3,500,000 acres from Georgia, paying less than two cents per acre. This tract embraced the northern counties of Alabama.

Cox, with forty others, proceeded to Muscle Shoals and built a blockhouse and other defense works, against the warning of the United States and the objections of the Indians. Soon the Cherokee, Chief Glass, appeared with a body of Indians and threatened them with death. Cox and his party were allowed to withdraw without injury. The Indians destroyed their works, and this ended the second attempt to settle the Tennessee Valley.


ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS- Pioneers – A Collection of Lost and Forgotten Stories

Stories include:

  • The Yazoo land fraud;
  • Daily life as an Alabama pioneer;
  • The capture and arrest of Vice-president AaronBurr;
  • The early life of William Barrett 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.

Buy Now
See larger image

Additional Images:Img - 1516945646
Img - 1516945646

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Pioneers: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 3) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

List Price: $14.97
New From: $14.97 In Stock
buy now

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.