Much has been written about Nashville, the earliest settlement in Milam County, and one of the most interesting accounts is found in the Texas State Archives. It is a typed manuscript and was prepared about 1900 by Mr. Frank Brown of Austin, Texas, entitled, Nashville, the Ancient Capitol of Robertson’s Colony and Milam County. The following information was abstracted from Mr. Brown’s manuscript.
The town of Nashville was located on the southwest bank of the Brazos River about 2 miles below the Mouth of Little River, 5 miles northwest of the present town of Hearne, and 5 miles northeast of the town of Gause. It was laid out in the fall of 1835 by General Thomas J. Chambers who previously located an 11 league grant crossing the site.
Sterling Clack Robertson, founder of Robertson’s Colony in what became Milam County, was no doubt in the area in the mid-1820’s, but the first to settle in the colony was Alexander Thompson (Thomson) who brought his family in 1830.
A list of the early settlers mentioned in the manuscript:1830 – Alexander Thompson and family (sons William D. & Thomas C.)
In 1836 a ferry boat was put into service for the few settlers on both sides of the Brazos River. In the period from 1836 to the winter of 1839-1840 not more than 15-20 families lived in the area. They included:On the river:
At Nashville, more or less at different times in the middle and late 1830’s:Thomas Thomson
Deaths mentioned in the manuscript:
John McLennan, Sr. (brother of Neill, Sr.) – killed in late 1830’s by Indians at Sugar Loaf, 7 miles from Nashville.
Thomas A. Graves (Surveyor) & 2 men – killed by Indians in September & October, 1835 on the San Gabriel.
_____ Riley & _____ Riley (brothers) – killed by Indians soon after 1835 while crossing the San Gabriel River.
Parker Family – many members were killed by Kiowa & Comanche Indians on May 18, 1837 in Parker’s Fort near head of Navasota River, not far from crossing of Comanche trail.
McLennan Family – husband, wife and 2 small boys (one of the original McLennan families) – killed by Indians 1835.
Laughlin McLennan, his wife and mother – killed by Indians April, 1836 at his cabin. Three children captured, 2 died in captivity.
Frank Childers & David Clark – killed by Indians January 7, 1837 in Elm Creek Fight.
George Morgan, Mrs. George Morgan, grandson, Jackson Jones, Mrs. Jackson Morgan & Adline Marlin – killed by Indians January 1, 1839 at Morgan’s Point, 6 miles above present Marlin (Falls Co.).
Following the Morgan massacre in January, 1839, Capt. Benjamin Bryant and 48 men followed the Indians. The following were killed in the ensuing fight:A. J. Powers
Killed by Comanche Indians on May 27, 1839 in Bird’s Creek fight a few miles from Three Forks :Capt. John Bird (buried Fort Griffin)
Other participants in the fight with Capt. Benjamin Bryant (see above):Wounded:
Nashville ceased to be the seat of Milam County in 1846, and the families gradually moved away. Among them were:Davidson family to Austin in 1846
Cameron was located in Spring of 1846 as the new county seat, and the first sale of lots took place on June 10, 1846. The first district court was held by Judge R. E. B. Baylor at Cameron on November 16, 1846.
Sketches of some of the early settlers:
Sterling Clack Robertson – came to settle in 1833; his assistant was Alexander Thompson. He was a delegate to the Convention at Washington on the Brazos in March 1836 and commanded a company at San Jacinto. He died on March 4, 1842. His only child, Elijah Sterling C. Robertson, moved to Bell Co. in 1854 and died there in 1879.
Alexander Thomson – came in 1830; died in Burleson Co. on June 1, 1863, aged 78 years. He was a Methodist. His son, W. D. Thomson, lived at Nashville from the beginning and was the first County Clerk of Milam County in 1837. He moved to Austin in 1855. Another son, Thomas C. Thomson, came to Nashville in 1831 at age 10 and died in Austin on October 10, 1901 at 79 years. Buried at Yellow Prairie.
Capt. James G. Swisher – born in Knoxville, Tenn. on Nov. 6, 1794. Fought in the Battle of New Orleans December 23, 1814 – January 8, 1815, a member of Capt. John Donelson’s Co. Came to Texas in 1833 settling at Tenoxtitlan. Moved to Washington Co. in 1835, to Austin in 1845 and died there in 1864. Was in Siege of San Antonio in 1835, delegate to the Convention at Washington in March 1836. He commanded a company at San Jacinto. His widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Swisher, died in Austin, Texas in 1875. His son, James M. Swisher, lives in Travis Co. (1900), age 80.
Robert Davidson – with his wife and four children moved from Illinois to Texas in 1833. First settled on Davidson Creek near present Caldwell in Burleson Co. In 1834 moved to Nashville & that fall moved to Little River where he farmed in the summer and fall of 1835. Moved back to Nashville but returned to Little River in the spring of 1836 leaving his family at Nashville. He was killed on a trip back to Nashville. Hon. W. T. Davidson of Belton is the only surviving member of the family (1900).
Neill McLennan – the McLennan family came from Scotland in 1801. Lived in Florida in 1816, and in 1834 purchased a small schooner at Pensacola which they navigated to the mouth of the Brazos River. Early in 1835 they went to Fort Bend Co.; procured teams and settled near Pond Creek in Robertson’s Colony. After an Indian attack the family returned to Nashville in the spring of 1836. His son, John McLennan, was Sheriff of McLennan Co. in 1858.
George B. Erath – born in Vienna, Austria in 1813, came to America in 1832 and to Texas in 1833. In the fall he moved to Washington Co., and that winter moved on to Robertson’s Colony. In the fall of 1834 he was chain carrier for Alexander Thomson. Enlisted July 1834 and served as Private until Spring 1836 against the Indians. Joined Capt. Billingsley’s Co. in the Spring of 1836 and fought at San Jacinto. Returned to Robertson’s Colony and farmed. In 1843 was a member of the Mier expedition. Member of Congress 1843, 1844, 1845 and of the legislature 1846 and 1852.
Francis T. Duffau – of French descent, from Mississippi to Texas in 1836. Member of John A. Quitman’s company in the Texas Revolution. Clerk in the General Land Office for part of the time 1839-1840; County Clerk of Milam County 1840’s, returned to Austin 1850 and married Miss Davidson. He was in the drug business. Died in Bell County in 1872 and was buried in Austin, Texas.
Capt. Goldsby Childers – citizen of old Nashville, was a native of Kentucky. He was a Capt. in the Black Hawk War. Moved to Quincy, Ill., and on to Texas in 1833 with the Davidsons, Fergusons, Parkers, Chapmans and many others. Resided at Nashville 1836, 1839, 1840. The widow of Judge O. T. Tyler, late of Belton – formerly Caroline Childers – is the only survivor of the original Childers family, age 77 (1900). Other children were: Robert, Prior, Frank, William, Mrs. E. Lawrence Stickney, Mrs. John R. Craddock.
Judge Orville T. Tyler – from Massachusetts to Texas in 1834. Lived at various places in lower part of the country, engaged in mercantile business in Houston in 1837 and for some time after, in partnership with S. S. Bitts. His headright league was located adjoining survey upon which the town of Belton now stands.
Capt. Jacob M. Harrell – moved with family from Tennessee to Texas in 1833, and lived at Nashville to 1836. He then followed the old San Antonio road settling at Waterloo (now Austin), building the first dwelling and living there till the late 1840’s. At that time he settled a headright league in Robertson’s Colony at old Round Rock where he built the first cabins. He died there in 1853. His wife, Mary, was from Kentucky and died in Austin on July 9, 1865, aged 78. Their children: John Harrell of Travis Co., age 80, a married daughter in Williamson Co., and the oldest son, Anderson J. Harrell, Clerk of Travis Co. in 1845, Chief Justice in 1846, and Clerk of General Land Office for several years. He drowned in the Colorado River near Austin in he 1870’s.
John Duff Brown - born in N. C. near the Virginia line on January 6, 1806. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee with his father’s family in 1821 and to Texas with his wife and children in the fall of 1835. They stayed about 2 months at Wheelock and moved to Nashville in January 1836. Remained there 4 years, then moved to Washington and died November 18, 1840 in his 35th year. His widow, Sarah H. Brown, died at Austin on August 26, 1876 in her 69th year. He was a non-commissioned officer in Capt. Daniel Monroe’s battalion in service of Texas Jan. 15 – July 15, 1837. Frank Brown of Austin (compiler) is his only survivor.
John Coryell – came to Texas in 1822. In 1832 he was one of 11 under Col. James Bowie who successfully stood of 164 savages for 3 days at a place 7 miles from the old San Saba Silver Mines. An Indian fighter—in 1836-1837. He was under Barron and Robertson, stationed at 3 Forks of Little River April & May of 1837; killed September 27, 1837 by Indians from ambush. 
 Tyler, The History of Bell County, p. 72, lists casualties as: Capt. John Bird, Sgt. William H. Weaver, Jesse E. Nash & Thomas Gay (or Gray). The account implies that Bird and the others were buried where they died.
 Tyler, The History of Bell County, p. 42 says he was killed fall of 1836.
We must say a special thank you to Vickie Pounders Everhart of Red Oak, Texas, for re-typing this book for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 5 May 2004 and last revised on _________ 2004