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Jackson Purchase

The Jackson Purchase included the area of West Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. The Chickasaws had historically occupied this large tract, which they ceded in the Treaty of Tecumseh, negotiated by Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby in 1818.

After statehood Tennessee continued to be troubled by conflicting land claims by Native Americans and settlers. Governors John Sevier, Archibald Roane, Willie Blount, and Joseph McMinn looked to the federal government for help, and a series of treaties forged between 1798 and 1819 reduced the land occupied by Native Americans to a small Cherokee claim in the southeast corner of the state. In 1818 Andrew Jackson and former Kentucky governor Isaac Shelby were appointed to oversee negotiations for an agreement with the Chickasaws. In 1783 the tribe had established a boundary at the watershed between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, but in the intervening years they had dropped claims to territory in Middle Tennessee that conflicted with Cherokee cessions. Their claim to land west of the Tennessee River was unopposed, however, and the state government had a flood of North Carolina land warrants to honor. Jackson and Shelby argued that the land warrants prevented federal action to deter settlement, and the Chickasaws agreed to sell the tract for three hundred thousand dollars.

In 1819 the region opened for settlement, and the general assembly created Hardin County that same year. Speculators John Overton, James Winchester, and Jackson quickly established the town of Memphis. Within six years of its opening, the Jackson Purchase contained sixteen counties.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010