During the Colonial Era (1492 – 1776), powerful European nations were transfixed on the pursuit of colonies. Admittedly, the primary motive was economic gain, along with a lust for imperial prowess. However, a sub-motive or perhaps secondary interest was scientific curiosity. At that time, science was referred to as “Natural Philosophy” and consisted of modern fields such as botany, geology, and astronomy. While scientists themselves were interested in pushing the bounds of knowledge, the monarchs and joint stock companies wanted to use the scientist’s interest to increase the output of their colonies. Geologists could provide soil and rock information leading to the discovery of precious metals. Astronomers were able to improve navigation. Botanists could improve agricultural production and discover plants that could be useful to the mother country.
The early pioneers moved to what is now Northeast Tennessee during the mid to late 1700s. Most of these people came from North Carolina and Virginia. The residents that lived in Northeast Tennessee lived in Washington County, Sullivan County, and Greene County. These were the first permanent settlers in this area besides the Cherokee Indians. If the move itself wasn’t hard enough, once they arrived to the property a house needed to be built and a farm needed to be started. The early pioneers lived simply but worked extremely hard. There was no electricity or running water, so cleanliness wasn’t a necessity like it is today. Their homes were heated by wood fires and there was no insulation, making the winters unbearably cold. The food was cooked over the open hearth and could take hours, sometimes all day, to make a meal. Everything is much easier for us now thanks to indoor plumbing, vacuums, and light switches. During the time of the early pioneers, people used what they could make by hand and families worked hard together.
The haversack was a vital piece of equipment carried by both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The haversack was used to carry all sorts of belongings that soldiers needed to stay alive while in camp or on the march. Daily lives of soldiers would be found within the haversack. Such things included foodstuffs, personal hygiene utensils, communication, recreational activities, and keepsakes that reminded them of home. Without a haversack such belongings of soldiers would have been impossible to carry. Therefore, their haversack, their musket, and their canteen were the most important belongings that a soldier carried with them to keep them alive.
Long before the Native Americans lived in East Tennessee their ancestors, the Paleo-Indians, lived in this region. Based on our archaeological record we know that these prehistoric people were here from 10,000BC – 1,000AD. Around 1,000AD agricultural advancements resulted in the formation of the Native American tribes we know today.
The formation and the demise of the State of Franklin is a complicated and unique part of the history of Northeast Tennessee. Immediately following the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), North Carolina claimed what is present-day Tennessee. In an attempt to help the new nation with its growing debt, North Carolina ceded its western lands (present-day Tennessee) to the national government in order to create new states and new tax revenue. During this period, local leaders meet and declared their independence in August of 1784 and created the State of Franklin.
The use of wind and water as a source of power has been used for thousands of years. Ancient sailors first harnessed the energy of wind by attaching sails to their boats. Since then, the energy of wind, along with water, has been utilized by nearly every generation and culture. With the advancement of more complex windmills, Medieval Europe thrived economically and agriculturally. Mills powered by water allowed Europe and early America to become the world’s leader in manufacturing, wealth, agriculture, and much more. During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, wind and water power has and is continuously evolving to provide us today with useful resources and energy.