When Nashville Became “Nashville”

Fort Nashborough, Fort Nashboro, Nashville TN history

Francis Nash was one of ten Patriot generals who died during the American Revolutionary War. He was killed on October 7, 1777. Nash was commanding a fighting retreat, slowly moving his unit backwards to stall the British advance, when he was mortally wounded by a cannonball that struck him in the hip and killed his horse.

Nash was treated by Washington’s personal physician, James Craik, who could not stem his bleeding, which was reported to have fully soaked through two mattresses. Nash succumbed to his wounds on October 7 at a private residence near Kulpsville, Pennsylvania. His final words are alleged to have been “From the first dawn of the Revolution I have been ever on the side of liberty and my country”

After his death, on April 29, 1784, Congress awarded his heirs a land grant representing 84 months of Continental Army service, which exceeded Nash’s actual service time.

Fort Nashborough was the stockade established on the land grant in early 1779 in the French Lick area of the Cumberland River valley. James Robertson and John Donelson are considered the founders, and colloquially, the “founders of Tennessee”.

The log stockade was square in shape and covered 2 acres. It contained 20 log cabins for the protection of the settlers. In 1784 the community’s name was changed from Nashborough to Nashville.

The fort was abandoned in 1794, and the growing settlement became the capital of the new 16th
State of the Union, Tennessee, in 1796.

Nashville also has a James Robertson Parkway and Donelson Pike and you can tour the historic Fort Nashborough site, now spelled Nashboro, at 170 1st Ave N in downtown Nashville.