With this tome, physician James G.M. Ramsey assembled the most comprehensive account of Tennessee’s history as a territory and fledgling state that we know of. Covering the years 1769 to 1800, these 743 pages address each of the major political and governmental episodes, with their principal participants, in the formative period of the Volunteer State. To produce this achievement, the author worked assiduously in the archives of Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. He was also an indefatigable collector of original documents relating to the founding of Tennessee, a number of which appear here in transcription or facsimile. Additionally, since the author was born in 1797, he was able to embellish the narrative with information collected from conversations with such founding fathers as James White, Charles McClung, and his maternal grandfather, John McKnitt Alexander, secretary of the Mecklenburg Convention of 1775. The researcher will discover genealogical sketches of Tennessee pioneers like John Pillow and his sons, Gideon and William, sprinkled throughout the volume. Although the author covers life on the frontier, education, and other aspects of social history, the focus of Ramsey’s Annuals is narrative political history. This is borne out by the titles he gives to the sections of the volume: the Watauga Association (1769-1777), Part of North Carolina (1777-1784), the State of Franklin (1784-1788), Part of North Carolina Again (1788-1790), Territory of the U.S. South of the Ohio (1790-1796), and Statehood (1796-1800).
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