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Special Collections Online at The University of Tennessee

James Robertson Report and Letters

Identifier: MS-0367

This collection consists of two letters and a report. The 1784 report certifies that in May 1783 Major John Reid brought a letter to the settlement from Colonel John Donaldson asking Robertson to get guides from the Chickasaws. The 1788 letter to General Joseph Martin is filled with news about the Creeks and Cherokees, mentions that Captain Martin is greatly esteemed in the area, and promises to have the road opened by the time advertised. The 1802 letter to Colonel Return J. Meggs verifies that Culsetehe, a Cherokee, had a horse stolen by a white man and should be reimbursed.


  • 1784 April 16-1802 November 12


The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.1 Linear Feet


This collection consists of two letters and a report that deal primarily with Native American relations near Nashville, Tennessee.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Robertson was born on June 28, 1742 in Brunswick County, Virginia to John and Mary (Gower) Robertson. He married Charlotte Reeves on January 21, 1768 and they had thirteen children together. After moving to the Holston Valley in 1769, he was instrumental in establishing the Watauga Association. He led a group of settlers to French Lick in 1779 where they established a settlement that later became Nashborough. He was very active in Native American affairs, and is credited with keeping the Chickasaws from allying with the Creeks and British against the young United States. George Washington commissioned him as a Brigadier General of the U.S. Army in 1791, and he became an agent to the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations in 1804. Robertson supervised cutting the Nashville-Charlotte Road, which was opened in 1804. For these and other reasons, he is called the Father of Middle Tennessee. He died on September 1, 1814 while with the Chickasaws.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this collection in November of 1966.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult: MS.2045, the Dr. Milton Klein Collection, which includes the James Robertson correspondence he used in writing The Twilight of British Rule in Revolutionary America: the New York letter book of General James Robertson, 1780-1783.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA