An American Family History


James Robertson

  Also spelled as Robinson, Robison, Robeson, Roberson and Robertson.  

James Robertson was born on June 28, 1742 in Brunswick County, Virginia. He was the son of John and Mary Robertson.

He married Charlotte Reeves on January 17, 1768 in Wake County, North Carolina.

William Blount Robertson,
Jonathan Friar Robertson,
James Robertson, Jr.,
Delilah Robertson Bosley,
Peyton Robertson,
Felix Robertson,
Charlotte Robertson Napier and
Lavinia Robertson Craighead.

Godspeed's History of Carter County says James Robertson came to Watauga in 1770, and the next year settled beyond the bluff opposite the mouth of Doe River. He remained there until 1779, when he moved to the Cumberland. His brother, Charles Robertson, lived on Sinking Creek.

In 1774, James was a sergeant in the Fincastle County Militia during Lord Dunmore's War.

Rich Creek 15th September 1774 
Sir—we are Stop'd a day to Get what Beeves and Catties We Can Pick up.
Capt. woods and his Party is Joynd me Which makes our number of the Whole 55
the Soldiers I had at Mr. Woods Desird Discharges from me which I have given them, though they are willing to Inlist again, if you See Cause.

I have sent you an Acct. of their time Likewise finding their Provisions for the time

Mitchel Clay 51 days on Duty found his own Provisions
Zekil Clay 51 days found his Provisions
David Clay 51 days found Do
Richd. Blankenship 44 days Do

P. S. I must be for Ever Obliged to all my good friends for assisting me in Getting my Compy made up as I thought it was meerely Impossible to do it in the time and I am sure there is not Such an Other Compny for the Quaintyty of men belonging to the Whole Dr. Sir, I wish you Every thing that Would make you happy.
I am your Obedt. Servant
James Robertson
from Historic Sullivan by Oliver Taylor

In 1775, James Robinson was on the Fincastle County Committee of Safety.

In 1776 he signed the petition of Watauga settlers asking to become part of North Carolina.

In 1776, James Robertson was a captain in the Cherokee Expedition.

James Robertson signed the 1777 petition of men living on the north Holston River complaining about the division of Fincastle County. They felt the line was not equitable and the court house was too far away.

In 1778, Thomas Standfield bought 640 acres in what was then, Washington County, Tennessee. The land was on Roaring Fork of Lick Creek. One side of his land was on James Robinson/Robertson's line.

In 1780 he and his brother, Charles, were at Kings Mountain.

James died on September 1, 1814 in Tennessee.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.

In 1774 Governor Dunmore declared war against the indignious Americans. The war ended after Virginia's victory in the Battle of Point Pleasant on October 10, 1774.

Watauga Pioneer Neighbors



James Robinson,
assignee of William Edmondson.
300 ac.
on the south side of the Middle Fork
bounded by Major Edmonson, Thomas Edmonson, Patrick Watson, & Moses Edmonson
actual settlement made in 1776
August 17, 1781


James Robinson
assignee of William Edmondson
300 ac
on the south side of the Middle Fork
bounded by Major Edmondson, Thomas Edmondson, Patrick Watson, Moses Edmondson
includes improvements,
actual settlement made in 1776
August 17, 1781


James Robinson
180 ac
Commissioners Certificate
on the south side of the Middle Fork of Holston River
Beginning corner to Patrick Watsons land...crossing the branch at the mouth...on Col. William Edmonsons line on Moses Edmonsons line
March 14, 1783

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

James Robinson
215 ac
Commissioners Certificate
on the south side of the Middle Fork of Holstein River
Beginning corner to Patrick Watsons line
on Moses Edmondsons line
March 14, 1783




from The Family Chronicle and Kinship book of Maclin, Clack, Cocke, Carter by Octavia Zollicoffer Bond

General James Robertson, second son of John Randolph Robertson and his wife, Mrs. Mary (Gower) Robertson, was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, in 1742. He married in North Carolina Charlotte Reeves.

He died at the Chickasaw Indian Agency in West Tennessee, Sept. 1, 1814, and was buried there. In 1825 his revered body was exhumed and brought to Nashville, the city of which he was the founder, and buried in the City Cemetery. The title of "Father of Middle Tennessee," conferred on him by a grateful posterity, is too limited to express the indebtedness to him for its existence under which the entire State rests. It was he who founded the first colonies in both Middle and East Tennessee and it was through his wise dealings with the Chickasaws, as United States Indian Agent, that the foundation was laid for peaceable possession of West Tennessee by the white people. Indeed, the entire Southwest is indebted to him, jointly with Daniel Boone, for its earliest awakening to life under AngloSaxon rule. It has been truly said that the settlements at Nashville and Boonesboro saved the Southwest to the Union. In the first settlement on Watauga, in East Tennessee, James Robertson was the one to whom all looked for counsel in government andsafety in time of danger. He was one of the five judges of the community that organized itself into the first democratic government (independent of any higher authority) on the continent. Until their annexation to North Carolina as Washington County in 1777, the Wataugans had pledged no allegiance to any other power.

In the bitter cold winter of 1779-80, six months before the battle of King's Mountain, while Colonel John Donelson was conducting a company of women and children to "The Bluffs" of the lower Cumberland by water (erroneously thought to be the safer route), Captain James Robertson led a band of stouthearted men to the same destination by way of the Wilderness Road, thence westward across the "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky till turning southward, they reached Cumberland River, opposite the bluffs that were to become the site of Nashville. On the way they had been joined by Captain Rains (afterwards conspicuous as an Indian fighter) who had with him his wife and children. Finding the river frozen over solidly the children were drawn across on improvised sleds of bear skins. It was the 25th day of December when, on the other side, they built huge fires that were the first Christmas illuminations of the future Nashville. Its first Christmas trees were the snow-laden cedars that covered the bluffs and the frowning "knob" (now Capitol Hill) in the background. From that time to the day of his death James Robertson, as Captain, Colonel and General, was the "head man" of the settlement. With the exception of John Sevier, the unsurpassed, James Robertson was the most conspicuous figure in early Tennessee history, and without exception the most universally beloved. Under his auspices the first public work of his people was to build a church of the rough stone found in abundance on the east side of the river. It was he who traveled alone on horseback to North Carolina to lay before the General Assembly the petition, signed by the men, women and children of the Cumberland settlement for a charter for the founding of Davidson Academy in December, 1785, which in succession became Cumberland College, University of Nashville, Peabody College, and finally the magnificent Peabody Normal of today. It was James Robertson who organized the "Government of the Notables," which functioned satisfactorily until the time came for its extensive powers to be delegated to the justices of the Court of Davidson County. He was elected Colonel of the fighting militia of the seven distinct settlements that a little later were established in the Cumberland country. Eventually he was appointed by the President of the United States Brigadier General of Mero District. And at the last, when the country became too thickly populated to suit his taste, he was appointed U. S. Agent to the Chickasaw Indians west of the Tennessee River. Meantime he had served his people in the North Carolina Legislatures between the years 1784 and 1789, together with Elijah Robertson, Ephraim McLean, William Polk, Robert Ewing, Robert Hays, Thomas Hardeman, Joel Rice. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1796, which met in Knoxville, representing Davidson County, with his colleagues, John McNairy, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Hardeman and Joel Lewis. The list of General James Robertson's descendants is far from complete as here offered.

Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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