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Gen. James Randolph Robertson
b.28 June 1742 Brunswick County, Virginia
d.1 September 1814
m. bef. 1742
Facts and Events
James Robertson (June 28, 1742 – September 1, 1814) was an explorer and pioneer active primarily in what is now the State of Tennessee during the second half of the 18th century. An early companion of explorer Daniel Boone, Robertson helped establish the Watauga Association in the early 1770s, and helped defend Fort Watauga from an attack by the Cherokee in 1776. In 1779, he cofounded what is now Nashville, and was instrumental in the settlement of Middle Tennessee. He served as a brigadier general in the Southwest Territory militia in the early 1790s.
Advisory on Parentage of James Robertson
There is apparently some disagreement over the identity of the father of James Robertson. The following is offered as assistance:
Information on James Robertson
Robertson, Col. James, "the founder of Nashville, and the Father of Tennessee,"233 was born 28 June 1742 in Brunswick County, Virginia. He married Charlotte Reeves and settled in East Tennessee in 1771.234 He was a member of the committee which drew up the 1776 Petition requesting North Carolina to annex the East Tennessee settlements.235 He led a party of explorers to the French Lick in 1779,236 and the party of emigrants from East Tennessee via the Wilderness Road to the French Lick later in the same year.237 He led a small party in 1781 to replenish the settlers' supply of ammunition.238 He was the President of the Committee of Notables, Justice of the County Court when Davidson County was organized in 1783 and the first representative of the County to the North Carolina Assembly.239 He procured acts to establish a land-office at Nashville; inspect tobacco; establish the Davidson Academy; establish the Superior Court for Law and Equity in the county; raising and sustaining a military force to protect emigrants to the settlements and for defense of the settlements.240 His name appears on the 1787 military payroll.241 After resigning his military commission in 1795, he became the agent to deal with Indian affairs in 1796 and negotiated the treaty which terminated the Indian wars. He died in 1814.242
FAMILY RECORDS IN BIBLE
Mrs. Felix Robertson Hill, Jr., ...writes that the family Bible of James and Charlotte (Reeves) Robertson is now [in 1937] owned by their great great grandson, Dr. David Spence Hill..., 1028 Connecticut Ave., Washington, D. C.
She has furnished photostats of pages upon which are manuscript family records which follow.
Records on page opposite beginning of New Testament (see facsimile)
"James Robertson was Born June 28 in the year 1742 "Charlotte Robertson was Born January 2nd in the year 1751 (The following were their children). "Jonathan Friar Robertson was born June the 13th 1769 "James Randolph Robertson was born December the 11th 1771 "Delilah Robertson was born November the 30th 1773 "Peaton Henderson Robertson was born November the 22nd 1775 "Charlotte Robertson was born July the 11th 1778 "Felix Robertson was born January the 11th 1781 "Charlotte Robertson was born March the 11th 1783 "William Blount Robertson was born June the 13th 1785 "Peaton Robertson was born December the 8th 1787 "Livinah Robertson was (born) Fe (b) 23rd 1790"
On the top of the next page is record of their eleventh child
"John McNairy Robertson was born April 26th 1792"
Opposite the title page of Vol. I is the signature:
On a page otherwise blank:
"James Robertson his book."
Assuming that the inscription, "James Robertson his book," was written by James Robertson, it is inferred from similarity of handwriting that he wrote the records of birth of himself, his wife, and his children.
Then follows a repetition of that inscription:
"James Robertson his Book"
Then follows in another handwriting:
"George Allanson Manasho was born the 14th of June 1810 "William Reeves was born the 9th of March 1794"
Opposite the title page of Vol. II, in a different handwriting:
"Charlotte Garland was born July the first day A. D. 1782 "Sary Garland was born September the twenty third day 1784"
Then follows in another handwriting:
"William Reeves Son of George Reeves was born Marth 9th 1794 "George Reeves the son of Burrel Reeves was born the 2nd day of January 1799 "William Reeves" (apparently a signature) "Hanah Reeves was born the November 1795"
Mrs. Hill writes that also the following records are in this Bible.
Back of title page of Vol. I:
[Children of...Felix Robertson].
"James Walter Robertson was born 18 February 1812 "Elizabeth Anderson Robertson was born 23 July 1813"
End of Vol. I. [These were probably nephews and nieces of Charlotte (Reeves) Robertson]
"John Reves was born January 17th 1786 "Thomas Reeves was born February 11th 1784 "Betsey Reeves was born August 18 1791 "William S. Reeves was born March 9 1794 "Dorinda Reeves was born November 1 1798 "George A. Manashco was born June 14th 1810 "William R. Manashco was born November the 8th 1812"
Reverse of title page Vol. II:
`'R. C. Napier was born Nov 1st 1774 "Charlotte Napier wife of R. C. Napier was born March 11th 1783"
[Children of R. C. and Charlotte (Robertson) Napier:]
"James Robertson Napier was born August 25th 1800 "Balinda Tennessee Napier was born June 16 1806 "Materson C. Napier was borned June 9 1808"
Source: William Curry Harlee, Kinfolks: A Genealogical and Biographical Record, 3 vols. (New Orleans: Searcy & Pfaff, 1937), 3: 2538-2541.
From American Historical Magazine, April 1898—The Watauga Association, by A. V. Goodpasture:
"The first decade of Tennessee history centers in the little settlement on the Watauga River, of which  James Robertson (1742-1814) was the leading spirit.  Robertson was a native of Brunswick County, Virginia, but in his youth had removed with his parents, John and Mary (Gower) Robertson, to Orange County, North Carolina...on October 20, 1768 [The source of this date has not yet been determined. TR],  Robertson was married to Charlotte, daughter of George and Mary Reeves, who had come to Orange from Northampton County...in the spring of 1770, he crossed the mountain with the avowed intention of finding a home for himself and family, and with commissions to do alike service for many of his friends who wished desirable locations near his own..."
"On his return he found great excitement, not only in Orange, but in Rowan and Dobbs Counties as well. Goaded to desperation, the Regulators had defied and resisted civil officers, assaulted and beaten attorneys and broken up courts. The tyrannical and energetic governor took active steps, not only to suppress, but to crush them...by the fourteenth of May, 1771, Governor Tryon encamped on the banks of the Alamance, with a force of more than eleven hundred men. On the sixteenth the battle of the Alamance was fought, in which the Regulators were routed...the first fruits of this great exodus (following the Battle of Alamance) were James Robertson and his family and friends, who crossed over to their Watauga homes in the spring of 1771."
" Robertson has justly been called the 'Father of Tennessee.' It is true his name is more intimately linked with the history of the middle portion of the State, but his public services here antedate the settlement of the Cumberland valley by a period of nearly ten years, during which time he was the leading spirit of the Watauga settlements, where he proved himself in every way worthy of the affectionate title he has received. He had an elevation of soul that enabled him to take upon himself the burden of the whole community. He was wholly unconscious of self. He never sought popularity, nor honor, nor position. If there were a service too humble to attract the ambitious, a post so perilous as to make the brave quail, or a duty so diffi. cult as to fill every other heart with despair, that service or post or duty was accepted as a matter of course by  James Robertson. And his head was so cool and clear; he had such a brave, resolute and devoted spirit; and his vigilance was so alert and active, that success followed him like the blessings of a special providence."
Inscriptions on tombstones in "Old City" Cemetery, Nashville, Tenn.:
"GENL. JAMES ROBERTSON — THE FOUNDER OF NASHVILLE WAS BORN IN VIRGINIA — 28TH JUNE 1742 — DIED — 1ST SEPT. 1814."
"CHARLOTTE REEVES — WIFE OF — JAMES ROBERTSON WAS BORN IN NORTH CAROLINA — 2ND JANY 1751 — DIED 11TH JUNE 1843."
MONUMENT TO JAMES AND CHARLOTTE (REEVES) ROBERTSON
In Centennial Park, Nashville, Tenn., near the Parthenon is a granite shaft with base bearing the following inscriptions.
(West face) JAMES ROBERTSON / FOUNDER OF NASHVILLE "WE ARE THE ADVANCE GUARD OF CIVILIZATION / OUR WAY IS ACROSS THE CONTINENT" / ROBERTSON / 1779.
(North face) JAMES ROBERTSONBORN IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY VIRGINIA, JUNE 28, 1742. / MOVED TO NORTH CAROLINA IN 1750. / SETTLED NASHVILLE IN 1780. / DIED IN TENNESSEE SEPT. 1, 1814. / REINTERRED IN THE CITY CEMETERY AT NASHVILLE, 1825 / UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE.
(East face) CHARLOTTE REEVES / WIFE OF JAMES ROBERTSON BORN IN NORTH CAROLINA, JAN. 2, 1750. / MARRIED TO JAMES ROBERTSON, 1768. / DIED IN NASHVILLE, JUN. 11, 1843. / BURIED IN THE CITY CEMETERY. / MOTHER OF THE FIRST MALE CHILD BORN IN NASHVILLE / SHE PARTICIPATED IN THE DEEDS AND DANGERS OF HER ILLUSTRIOUS HUSBAND; / WON HONORS OF HER OWN AND ALONG HIS PATH OF DESTINY CAST A LEADING LIGHT OF LOYALTY, INTELLIGENCE AND DEVOTIO