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Click here to learn more about Charlotte Robertson.

Charlotte Reeves Robertson - Nashville (1751-1843)
From “Tennessee Women, A Guide for Teachers”
by Carole Stanford Bucy

Charlotte Robertson followed her husband James Robertson into Middle Tennessee from the Watauga settlement in East Tennes­see, and was among the earliest settlers to live in the region.  She was able to survive Indian attacks as well as long separations from her husband, who was frequently called away on governmental business.  Two of her sons were killed by Indi­ans and she nursed another son back to good health after he had been scalped by the Indians and left for dead on the day of the Battle of the Bluffs.  She lived to the age of 92.
 
James Robertson had explored with Daniel Boone the "Western Waters" as the land beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains was called.   When Robertson went back to Wake County, North Carolina, he and his wife, Charlotte, made the decision to move across the mountains along with ten other fami­lies.
          
At Watauga, Charlotte Robertson and the other women who lived there worked shoulder to shoulder with men, planting crops, tending livestock, and defending themselves from the Indians.  These women on the Frontier raised their children under difficult circumstances.  At Watauga, Charlotte Robertson's husband was a leader.  Because of his knowledge of the Cherokee language, he devoted much of his life to negotiating with the Indians to try to provide a permanent peace.
 
Charlotte and James Robertson wanted to move further west to escape the British-controlled government.  When James Robertson, a surveyor, identified the spot of the Salt Lick on the Cumberland River, 40 families at Watauga decided to leave and move further westward into Middle Tennessee and establish a home there. It was known as Fort 
 
While James Robertson led a group of men by land to the site, Charlotte Robertson traveled with John Donelson and a group of men, women, and children by flatboats down the Tennessee River and up the Cumberland.  During their journey on the flatboats, the women were attacked by Indians.  At one point, Charlotte and her slave, Hagar, fought off the Indians with their oars.
 
When the Donelson group finally arrived, cabins had been built inside the fort for each family.  But life at the fort was still hard. Within two months, Charlotte's young daughter who had survived the winter on the flatboat, died.
          
Immediately there were conflicts with the Indians who resented the settlers moving into their hunting grounds.  Charlotte and the other women had to stay inside the fort all of the time for safety.  In April, 1781, while the men were away from the fort, Charlotte heard the dogs growl­ing. With her infant son in her arms, she climbed the fort's look-out to see if she could identify the cause of the dogs' alarm and realized that an Indian attack was about to occur.
 
She realized that the men were trapped and would not be able to get inside the walls of the fort since the Indians had positioned themselves between the men and the fort.  At this point, she unleashed the fort’s dogs. The dogs chased the Indians creat­ing so much confusion that the men were able to return to the safety of the fort.  Charlotte Robertson has been remembered as the heroine of the Battle of the Bluffs and is credited with saving Fort Nashboro in that battle.
 
Throughout the early years in Middle Tennessee, Charlotte cared for her growing family and gave birth to 12 children in 23 years.  She and her husband were leaders and pioneers in Middle Tennessee who worked together to create a lasting peace.  The city of Charlotte, Tennessee, and Charlotte Pike in Nashville are named for Charlotte Robertson, who lived in Middle Tennessee until her death in 1843 at the age of 92.
 



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