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Encyclopedia > Cumberland Compact

The Cumberland Compact are articles of agreement created in 1780 by settlers when they arrived on the Cumberland River and settled Fort Nashborough, which would become Nashville, Tennessee. The only surviving copy in Tennessee State archives is slightly damaged, the first page is gone, and the second page ripped. Other than these blemishes, the document is intact and legible. 1780 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... The Cumberland River is an important waterway in the southern United States. ... Fort Nashborough was the original stockade for the settlement that became Nashville, Tennessee. ... Nickname: Music City Location in Davidson County and the state of Tennessee Coordinates: Country United States State Tennessee Counties Davidson County Founded: 1779 Incorporated: 1806 Mayor Bill Purcell (D) Area    - City 526. ...


The Cumberland Compact was composed and signed by 256 colonists. Only one was illiterate and marked his name by an "X". This constitution (a forerunner of the Tennessee State Constitution) called for a governing council of twelve judges who would be elected by the vote of free men 21 years of age or older. Unique to the times, the Compact included a clause that these judges could be removed from office by the people. Government salaries were to be paid in goods. Governorship was worth 1,000 deerskins. Secretary was to be paid 450 otter skins, and county clerk was valued at 500 raccoon skins. The constable received one mink skin for every warrant served. All males sixteen or older were subject to militia duty. The Tennessee State Constitution defines the form, structure, activities, character, and fundamental rules (and means for changing them) of the U.S. State of Tennessee. ... A judge or justice is an official who presides over a court. ... An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ... Are you kidding?, this is solid truth here, nothing escapes the eyes of Gov!!!, not even. ... The term county clerk has been commonly applied, in several English-speaking countries, to an influential employee of a county administration. ... A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. ... Lexington Minuteman representing militia minuteman John Parker A militia is the activity of one or more citizens organized to provide defense or paramilitary service, or those engaged in such activity. ...


The compact did establish a contract and relationship between the settlers of the Cumberland region and limited the punishment that could be meted out by the judicial system. Serious capital crimes were to be settled by transporting the offending party to a location under the direct jurisdiction of the State of North Carolina for a proper trial. The compact remained in effect until Tennessee became a state.


Frontier law was brutal and effective. In 1788, at the first Court session in Nashville, a young red-headed lawyer, Andrew Jackson, was granted permission to practice law. He was immediately handed the job of prosecuting attorney. In 1793, Judge John McNairy sentenced Nashville's first horse thief, John McKain, Jr., to be fastened to a wooden stock one hour for 39 lashes, his ears cut off and cheeks branded with the letter "H" and "T". The first female convicted of stealing soap and thread was stripped to the waist and publicly whipped nine lashes. By 1800, the first divorce was granted between May and Nathaniel Parker. Henry Baker became the first capital punishment case in Davidson County with the first death sentence of "hanged by the neck until he is dead" for stealing a horse. These records survive in a heavy leather bound book in the care of the circuit court clerk. This article is 45 kilobytes or more in size. ...


The Cumberland Compact was signed by John Montgomery, James Robertson, John Donelson, Colonel Samuel Barton,Kasper Mansker and other early Nashvillians. John Montgomery (c. ... James Robertson was a North Carolina farmer and explorer of the 1700s. ... John Donelson, explorer and adventurer, was co-founder of the city of Nashville, Tennessee and the father of Rachel Jackson, the wife of seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. ... Colonel Samuel Barton (January 1749-May 1810) was a Patriot of the American Revolution but perhaps will be remembered more for his contributions in the founding of Nashville, Tennessee. ...


Reference:

  • The Mansker Chronicle
  • Tennessee Encyclopedia

 
 

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