Robertson, James,1742–1814, American frontiersman, a founder of Tennessee, b. Brunswick co., Va. He was reared in North Carolina. After the failure of the Regulator movementRegulator movement,
designation for two groups, one in South Carolina, the other in North Carolina, that tried to effect governmental changes in the 1760s. In South Carolina, the Regulator movement was an organized effort by backcountry settlers to restore law and order and
..... Click the link for more information. , he led (1771) a group of settlers from Orange co., N.C., to Tennessee, where he became a leader of the Watauga AssociationWatauga Association,
government (1772–75) formed by settlers along the Watauga River in present E Tennessee. Virginians made the first settlements in 1769, and after the collapse of the Regulator movement in North Carolina, citizens from that colony under James Robertson
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1779, Robertson explored the Cumberland River country for Richard HendersonHenderson, Richard,
1735–85, American colonizer in Kentucky, b. Hanover co., Va. An associate justice of the North Carolina superior court (1769–73), Henderson was long interested in Western lands and was the chief promoter of the Transylvania Company.
..... Click the link for more information. and his Transylvania CompanyTransylvania Company,
association formed to exploit and colonize the area now comprising much of Kentucky and Tennessee. Organized first (Aug., 1774) as the Louisa Company, it was reorganized (Jan., 1775) as the Transylvania Company.
..... Click the link for more information. and in 1780 began the settlement of Nashborough, later renamed Nashville. Under the Cumberland Compact he became the chief civil and military officer of the community, and his wise leadership was largely responsible for its survival. When the state of Tennessee was organized in 1796, Robertson was prominent in drafting its first constitution. In his later years he served in the state senate (1798) and as agent to the Chickasaw.
See biography by A. W. Putnam (1859, repr. 1971).