The Settlement of Tennessee:
Overcoming Geographic Barriers
|GRADES: 4 and 8
(Depending on age group TN4ME can be accessed differently, 4th grade can have a portion of the website or introduction read to them and 8th grade can access the website on their own. Pictures are accessible for both age groups.)
DURATION: 45 minutes
Transportation was a serious issue for settlers.
Indian Trails and Early Roads:
The Wilderness Road:
Early newcomers to Tennessee came by way of long-established Indian trails. A path over the Appalachian Mountains, called the Wilderness Road, had long been used by the Cherokee and Shawnee. Daniel Boone used the Wilderness Road to cross the Cumberland Gap from Tennessee into Kentucky.
Natchez Trace and Avery’s Trace:
The Natchez Trace became an important route for trade between Mississippi and Nashville. Boatmen would float down the Mississippi River to New Orleans with cargo. At New Orleans they would sell the goods and even the boat. They then returned to Tennessee via the Natchez Trace.
In 1787, a horse path called Avery's Trace was cleared from Knoxville to Nashville. By the time Tennessee became a state in 1796, it was a road carrying more than 300 wagons a day.
While roads and trails played a role in the development of frontier Tennessee, rivers were even more important. Travelers on the rivers first used dugout canoes, and then flatboats. Because Tennessee’s rivers traveled north and south, different areas of the state were somewhat isolated. Located on the Mississippi River, Memphis had more in common with New Orleans and St. Louis, while East Tennessee remained culturally connected with mountain communities in bordering states.
The dugout canoe got its name because the canoe is made from a large log which was dug out in the middle. Cherokees used the dugout on rivers in East Tennessee where they lived and in Middle Tennessee where they hunted.
The most common boats were flatboats. The flatboat was flat-bottomed, and floated downstream in the current. Most were made for a trip one way down the river, since traveling upstream was difficult.
Some river men used keelboats. A keelboat could go down or up stream. They were shallow and pointed at both ends. Boatmen used long poles to help steer the boats. Some had sails.
In 1811, Nicholas Roosevelt took his newly built steamboat up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, proving that the new invention could navigate these rivers. Before the steamboat, 90 percent of Mississippi River traffic was downstream only. Now boats could easily travel upstream with goods.
Objectives: Students will
Who Came/What They Brought and Roads and Rivers
Salt Dough Recipe:
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional, keeps dough from hardening)
§ Mix the flour, salt, and water together in a bowl.
§ Add a small amount of oil (if desired) to keep the dough from hardening.
§ Add small amounts of water or flour and knead the dough to the desired consistency.
National History Standards: Historical Thinking Grades 5-12
|STANDARD 2: The student comprehends a variety of historical sources:|