Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A French Fort on the Tennessee and the search for the mysterious Fort Caroline

A couple of things to keep in mind: Before the French and Indian War, Tennessee was in the territory claimed by France. The French were interested in developing trade routes with the Indians and were not trying to establish settlements in all of their territory. (1700)

The result of the French and Indian War was the France ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain and also it ceded French Louisiana, west of the Mississippi River (including New Orleans), to its ally Spain.

French and English traders were found along the Indian trails after 1673. (Source: Tennesseans and Their History,Paul H. Bergeron, Stephen V. Ash, Jeanette Keith,Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1999, p. 9)

Early 1700's - The French begin to establish trading posts along the Tennessee river. Old French Store on Williams Island, this island was the site of an Indian village and probably of an 18th Century French trading post.

1701- The Tennessee River is found on a French map, described as a route by which French hunters and traders return to Carolina. The French were most likely the first white navigators of this river.

Some writer's claim that Fort Caroline was on Bussell Island. This 1715 map by John Beresford does show a fort on the Tennessee River. It does say that it is French fort, but it is not named. The section of the Tennessee River is somewhat misleading, but this this clearly a large island. Some possibilities would be Bussell, Williams Island (near Chattanooga) or an island near Muscle Shoals.

The best argument for the Bussell Island site would be that the later excavations of mounds on Bussell Island showed no evidence of these mounds being used for burial.

Williams Island would be a possibility because it was below The Suck, which was a place in the river ablove Chattanooga that was known to be difficult to navigate.

The islands near Muscle Shoals seem to be the most logical place because they are below The Suck and below the shoals. However, there is no indication that there was a fort in this area, although it is known that there were French explorers in this area.

Chacchumas (more commonly spelled Chicasa) may be Lawrenceburg. See DeSoto's Trail

More controversy: Darien, Georgia, Jacksonville or St May's Florida: Link or here

You can look at the map and see if you agree. John Beresford 1715 map: Link

Henry Timberlake 1762 map: Link

Clearly the 1715 map shows a French fort on an island in the Tennessee River, however there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this fort is the mysterious Fort Caroline.

1 comment:

  1. I know a woman who is 90 years old and grew up in Greenback. Her widowed father Mr. Bell married the Jackson Widow with four Jackson Heirs. Her dead husband was a full blooded cherokee and received Land grant beside the Tn river to farm. This woman I know named Alice grew up in the house belonging to the Jackson widow and recalled to me how big the house was, had an acdelco system, indoor plumbing, circa 1928, and the house had been built around a hugh slad stone walls of a fort. She told me they would go in there to cool off during the hot summer months,,the stone fort had stone wall, stone floor and stone ceiling and was quite alarge room. Tva flooded the house with the Tn river..I find no mention of a stone fort being listed in waht was drowned...maybe no one ever realized there was a stone fort in the center of large old farm house...I wonder if it is still under the water somewhere near Lotterdale cove..her bustop was at the end of bellview and hwy95,and she would walk two miles home unless her dad picked them up.