Early Times in Middle Tennessee

By John Carr, 1857

Retyped for the page by Diane Payne, 2001& 2002

Introduction and Chapter Selection

"TRUTH is stranger than fiction," and history is more marvelous than romance. And no history is more exciting to the reader than that which details the adventures, conflicts, sufferings, and hair-breadth escapes of the pioneers of a wilderness country, especially when its forests and the gorges of its mountains are infested by ravenous beasts and savage men. Could the thrilling scenes connected with the early settlements of the Valley of the Mississippi be collected, they would constitute a volume unsurpassed in interest by any work that has ever appeared before the American public. A few of these have been collected and are rendered immortal by the press, and will be read with emotion and wonder in generations to come.

All thanks are due to those who have rescued from oblivion many important facts and incidents connected with the early settlement of Tennessee and Kentucky. Among those who have contributed to this praiseworthy work, we mention with pleasure the author of the following sketches. Mr. Carr, himself a pioneer, and having been personally cognizant of the most important events related in this volume, has laid the public under a debt of gratitude for the facts and incidents herein recorded. He still lives, one of the few remaining hardy men of the past century who were an honor to their race. He is an active, vigorous man who has reached his eighty-fourth year. His health has always been good, and his life one of industry and labor. With a quiet mind and calm temperament, and strictly virtuous habits, he is a fine specimen, a noble example to the young men of the present generation. His temperate habits and well-regulated life have been the fruits of early, continued, and constant piety. Thousands who entered the journey of life with him, by dissipation and irregular habits, have long since gone to the grave; wrecked and ruined, they have passed away, and their memories have perished, while he still lives, a blessing to his country.

Knowing him to be a man of undoubted integrity, and possessing a memory unsurpassed for its tenacity, the writer urged him some years since to record his recollections of the early times of Tennessee. With this request, he has complied, and the result is the following deeply interesting work, which appeared in numbers in the Nashville Christian Advocate, and which have been read by thousands with much pleasure. At the suggestion of many friends, these sketches have been collected, and are now presented to the reading public in this permanent form. They will be valuable to the future historian, as they have been entertaining to thousands who have followed the pioneer in the wilderness.

J. B. M'Ferrin
Nashville, August 1857

Chapter Selection

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