How to Research your
Tennessee
Foster Family

Tennessee:

As European colonists spread into the area, the native populations were forcibly displaced to the south and west, including all Muscogee and Yuchi peoples, the Chickasaw, and Choctaw.

Early during the American Revolutionary War, Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals (in present day Elizabethton) was attacked in 1776 by Dragging Canoe and his warring faction of Cherokee (also referred to by settlers as the Chickamauga) opposed to the Transylvania Purchase and aligned with the British Loyalists. The lives of many settlers were spared through the warnings of Dragging Canoe's cousin Nancy Ward. The frontier fort on the banks of the Watauga River later served as a 1780 staging area for the Overmountain Men in preparation to trek over the Appalachian Mountains, to engage, and to later defeat the British Army at the Battle of Kings Mountain in North Carolina.

Eight counties of western North Carolina (and now part of Tennessee) broke off from that state in the late 1780s and formed the abortive State of Franklin. Efforts to obtain admission to the Union failed, and the counties had re-joined North Carolina by 1790. North Carolina ceded the area to the federal government in 1790, after which it was organized into the Southwest Territory. In an effort to encourage settlers to move west into the new territory of Tennessee, in 1787 the mother state of North Carolina ordered a road to be cut to take settlers into the Cumberland Settlements—from the south end of Clinch Mountain (in East Tennessee) to French Lick (Nashville). The Trace was called the “North Carolina Road” or “Avery’s Trace,” and sometimes “The Wilderness Road”. It should not be confused with Daniel Boone's road through Cumberland Gap.

Tennessee was admitted to the Union in 1796 as the 16th state. The state boundaries, according to the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, Article I, Section 31, stated that the beginning point for identifying the boundary was the extreme height of the Stone Mountain, at the place where the line of Virginia intersects it, and basically ran the extreme heights of mountain chains through the Appalachian Mountains separating North Carolina from Tennessee past the Indian towns of Cowee and Old Chota, thence along the main ridge of the said mountain (Unicoi Mountain) to the southern boundary of the state; all the territory, lands and waters lying west of said line are included in the boundaries and limits of the newly formed state of Tennessee. Part of the provision also stated that the limits and jurisdiction of the state would include future land acquisition, referencing possible land trade with other states, or the acquisition of territory from west of the Mississippi River.

During the administration of U.S. President Martin Van Buren, nearly 17,000 Cherokees were uprooted from their homes between 1838 and 1839 and were forced by the U.S. military to march from "emigration depots" in Eastern Tennessee (such as Fort Cass) toward the more distant Indian Territory west of Arkansas. During this relocation an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died along the way west.  In the Cherokee language, the event is called Nunna daul Isunyi—"the Trail Where We Cried." The Cherokees were not the only Native Americans forced to emigrate as a result of the Indian removal efforts of the United States, and so the phrase "Trail of Tears" is sometimes used to refer to similar events endured by other Native American peoples, especially among the "Five Civilized Tribes." The phrase originated as a description of the earlier emigration of the Choctaw nation.

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Research coordinator
Ben Foster,
e-mail
Foster
DNA Group 7

Participant #166

St. Louis, Missouri

Ben is a descendant of Robert Foster

Photos from the Tennessee Portrait Project
of Robert Coleman Foster
and Ephraim Hubbard Foster

Nashville Fosters
Newspaper article 1909

Join our Foster DNA Group to see if you are a genetic cousin sharing a common ancestor.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 35,691  
1810 261,727  
1820 422,823 61.6%
1830 681,904 61.3%
1840 829,210 21.6%
1870 1,258,520  
1880 1,542,359 22.6%
1900 2,020,616  
1910 2,184,789 8.1%
1920 2,337,885 7%
1930 2,616,556 11.9%
1940 2,915,841 11.4%
1950 3,291,718 12.9%
1960 3,567,089 8.4%
1970 3,923,687 10%
1980 4,591,120 17%
1990 4,877,185 6.2%
2000 5,689,283 16.7%

 

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