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04.02.01 Haywood, John, The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennesse . . . up to 1796, published in 1823.

04.02.01 Haywood, John, The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennesse . . . up to 1796, published in 1823.

 Notes Concerning the Author:

 Born in North Carolina in 1762, John Haywood was a self-taught lawyer, admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1786, and soon thereafter considered, “one of the best legal minds in the State.”  But he later fell into disfavour in his native State and accepted an invitation from John Overton to migrate to Tennessee, where he set up a law office 8 miles south of Nashville, accepting appointment to the Tennessee State Supreme Court in 1816.

 Also a productive writer, Haywood compiled a history of Tennessee up to the year 1796, which became a basic reference source for all future historians of the State.  In his research, he “examined early colonial and State records and interviewed many of the pioneers or their descendants.”  Haywood died in 1826 at the age of 64.  He and his wife, the former Martha Edwards had ten children.  His history is also a valuable resource for genealogists.


 Haywood starts at the beginning, defining boundaries and trading activities with Native Americans, of whose history he goes into considerable detail.  There is much about the Cherokee and the Creeks.  He tells of the early pioneers in what would become East Tennessee and of those who later came into what would become Middle Tennessee, including Uriah Stone.  He recounts the dramatic migration from Watauga to the site of future Nashville, led by James Robertson.  We learn of Cherokee leader “Dragging Canoe” and Tennessee military leader Evan Shelby.  Next we encounter the Revolutionary War and contributions by militia from East Tennessee commanded by Shelby and Sevier, for a time attached to the command of Francis Marion.  In stages we learn of decisions by North Carolina to permit its western region, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River to grow into the sovereign State of Tennessee.  Yet, conflicts with Native Americans persisted and remain a major part of the content of Haywood’s history.

 Finally on page 484 we arrive at the climax of this history.  A census measured the population as 77,262 persons, which was sufficient to apply for Statehood.  Accordingly, a Constitutional Convention began deliberations in Knoxville on January 11, 1796, concluding its job on February 6.  Haywood’s words describe the application for Statehood:

 “In the name of the people of the Territory of the United States South-west of the River Ohio, having a right of admission into the general government as a member State thereof, consistently with the Constitution of the United States and the act of the cession of the State of North Carolina . . . did ordain and establish a Constitution or form of government, and did mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a free and independent State, by the name of the State of Tennessee.”

Availability of this Book

This book is available as a rare book ($100+), both as originally printed in 1823 and as reprinted by Haywood’s great-grandson in 1891.  It can also be obtained as a scanned Google e-book for free.  Hopefully, someone will digitize this important work and offer it as a Kindle e-book.  There are several reprints of this book available on Amazon.  Click below for the Amazon page for one of these reprints.