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Col. Anthony Bledsoe Chapter - Tennessee Society

Bledsoe's Station (also called Bledsoe's Fort) was an 18th-century frontier fort located in what is now Castalian Springs, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The fort was built by long hunter and Sumner County pioneer Isaac Bledsoe (c. 1735–1793) in the early 1780s to protect Upper Cumberland settlers and migrants from hostile Native American attacks. While the fort is no longer standing, its location has been verified by archaeological excavations. The site is now part of Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park, a public park established in 1989 by Sumner County residents and Bledsoe's descendants.

Bledsoe's Station was one of a series of outposts built in the Upper Cumberland during the first major migration of Euro-American settlers into the Middle Tennessee area following the American Revolution. The fort was a convenient stopover along Avery's Trace— the main road connecting East and Middle Tennessee at the time. The flood of settlers into the region brought inevitable conflict with the region's Native American inhabitants, and dozens of settlers were killed in the late 1780s and early 1790s. Isaac Bledsoe's brother Anthony (1733–1788) was killed in an ambush at the fort in 1788 and Isaac himself was killed while tending a field just outside the fort in 1793.

Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park consists of approximately 80 acres, and includes the Bledsoe's Station site and several other features important to the early history of the Upper Cumberland region. The park is owned by Sumner County and maintained by the Bledsoe's Lick Historical Association. A short loop trail— part of which follows a section of Avery's Trace— provides access to the fort site and other features.

Historical features at Bledsoe's Fort Historical Park

  • Bledsoe's Station site — the site of Bledsoe's Station was excavated by Middle Tennessee State University in the late 1990s. Excavators discovered several root cellars (indicating the presence of log cabins) and the fort's stockade. The excavation trench lines remain, and a small platform overlooks the site.
  • Hugh Rogan Cottage — Hugh Rogan's stone cottage was built a few miles north of Bledsoe's Lick around 1800. The cottage's architecture was heavily influenced by folk traditions of Rogan's native Ireland, namely the low gabled roof and corresponding doors and windows. The cottage was dismantled and moved to the park in 1998.
  • Nathaniel Parker Cabin — Nathaniel Parker's cabin is a typical pioneer log cabin, built in the 1780s. The cabin was originally located a few miles north of Bledsoe's Lick and later dismantled and moved to the park. Parker married Mary Ramsey Bledsoe— the widow of Anthony Bledsoe— in the 1790s and commanded the fort at Greenfield.
  • Belote Cemetery — the Belote Cemetery (also called the "Pioneer Cemetery") is located along a section of Avery's Trace a few hundred yards southeast of the fort site and contains the graves of various early settlers in the Bledsoe's Lick area. The cemetery's most prominent feature is a 15-foot (4.6 m) obelisk erected by the Bledsoe family in 1908 as a monument to Isaac and Anthony Bledsoe.
  • Long Hunter Camp — the long hunter camp is a demonstration area located along a spring near the ancient salt lick. MTSU has constructed a "lean-to" structure believed to be typical of shelters used at 18th-century long hunter base camps.
  • Belote Springhouse — the ruins of a springhouse used by the Belote family in the 19th century are located along a spring in the Bledsoe's Lick area, near the Long hunter camp.
  • The Cavern of the Skullsthe Cavern of the Skulls is a cave located a few hundred feet east of the fort site. The cave's entrance, which is approximately 5 feet (1.5 m) x 10 feet (3.0 m), is closed to the public. 19th-century cave explorers reported the presence of human skulls in the cave, suggesting that the inhabitants of the Cheskiki Mound village may have used the cave to store "trophy" skulls.

Hugh Rogan Cottage
Bledsoe Monument
Cavern of the Skulls

Any Interested parties wishing to Join or Information about the Bledsoe Lick Historical Association click here or on image below to be directed to their Website.

Nathaniel Paker Cabin
Bledsoe Monument
Belote Cemetery

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Col. Anthony Bledsoe Chapter - Tennessee Society - Sumner County

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