About 11,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians settled in what we now know as Tennessee. While the names of the groups that first resided the region between the time of the European and the first settlement was not recorded, some significant cultural groups were named by archeologists. Some of them include the Mississippian and Woodland. They were the ancestors of the Muscogee group that lived in the Tennessee River Valley.
When the time Hernando de Soto explored Tennessee, the area was densely settled by Yuchi and Muscogee people. The Cherokees relocated to the south because of diseases that annihilated the native tribes. The natives were displaced following the arrival of many European colonists in the region. The Trail of Tears happened from 1838 to 1839 when almost 17,000 Cherokees were forced to vacate the area and march to Eastern Tennessee. Nearly 4,000 Cherokees didn’t make it to their destination and died along the way.
In 1768, Thomas Hutchins first explored the area around Clarksville. He saw the Red Paint Hill as a navigational landmark.
John Montgomery set foot in the area between 1771 and 1775 while on a hunting expedition. James Robertson headed a group of families in the Regulator movement in 1771. Only after a year, Robertson and other pioneer settlers in Tennessee founded an independent regional government called the Watauga Association. In that same year, the land became part of the Cherokee’s domain who demanded a lease with the settlers. While the charter was being celebrated, a Cherokee warrior was killed by a white man. Robertson tried to settle things with the Cherokee. Robertson and his men were threatened to be expelled by force by the Cherokees.
James Robertson led a group of settlers to Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road in 1779. He established an iron plantation in Cumberland Furnace years later. Soon after, John Donelson and other men traveled through the Cumberland River to the French Lick. When they landed in Red Paint Hill, families of Joseph Renfroe and Solomon Turpin went to another direction onto the Red River. They later on settled near Port Royal. Unfortunately, they were forced to leave the place after an attack by Indians.
The city of Clarksville became a settlement of soldiers from the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. The federal government didn’t have enough funds to pay the soldiers that led to the Legislature of North Carolina to use the lands to the west of the region as grants. Clarksville was one of the cities regarded to be ready for settlement since it has already been surveyed and sectioned. The land became the repayment to the families of soldiers who fought in the war.
There has always been interdependence between the residents of Clarksville and the military when it comes to its culture and growth as a city. The city was founded after the American Revolutionary War ended. The male population of the town was virtually depleted in the Civil War. They also lost several native men in World War I.