The desire for land whether for hunting, farming, or selling for profit is the constant theme in Tennessee’s early history. Cologne/Bonn Map The Proclamation of 1763, declaring Tennessee officially off limits to British-Country colonists, did little to stop the flow of British settlers over the mountains for hunting or settlement. Long hunters like Daniel Boone so called because of the lengthy hunting trips over the mountains into the Tennessee and Kentucky territories came back armed with more than just animal pelts.
They also returned with tales of bountiful lands to encourage settlement and with information for their land-speculating partners, who planned to profit from such expansion. The first permanent Anglo settlers arrived in the late 1760s. One of the biggest speculators, Richard Henderson of North Carolina, formed the Transylvania Company, and, in the 1775 Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, purchased 20 million acres of present-day Tennessee and Kentucky from Cherokee factions aligned with Attakullakulla (the Little Carpenter).
Eager to exploit his new purchases, Henderson financed the land and river voyages of James Robertson and John Donelson’s group of 300 settlers into middle Tennessee, where they founded Nashborough (later Nashville) in 17791780. Speculators, surveyors, and lawyers would become prominent political and social leaders in early Tennessee.
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