Library receives painting as gift
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:00 pm
The Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Colonists recently gifted a piece of historic art to the Obion County Public Library for inclusion in its Tennessee Room.
Mrs. James F. Harmon, state regent, presented a framed copy of “The Crossing,” a commissioned painting by Nashville artist Bill Duke to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Capital City of Tennessee in 1979, to Obion County Public Library director Michele Barnes and Tennessee Room genealogist Sandra Bagwell.
This painting was the artist’s depiction of some 300 early settlers as they precautiously follow their leader, Col. James Robertson and his brothers, across the cracking ice of the frozen Cumberland River in single file with their animals on Christmas Eve in 1779, to a new home they would first call French Lick, then Robertson’s Station, later Nashborough and finally, Nashville, named for Revolutionary War Gen. Francis Nash of North Carolina.
Since Nov. 1, 1779, this band of courageous people had braved the terrors of Indian trails, the misery of thickets and killing cold weather on their journey from Fort Patrick Henry on the Holston River to find the lush land that Col. Robertson had located the previous spring near a great salt lick. They had reached their journey’s end under the capable supervision of Col. Robertson, including the terrifying crossing of the Cumberland River without losing a single member of their party. That Christmas Day was indeed one of thanksgiving and celebration.
Preceeding them there and living nearby were hunters and trappers named Amos Eaton, Casper Mansker and Timothy Demonbreum. Col. John Donelson would join them in April, bringing 200 men and women also from Fort Patrick Henry. From these stalwart, brave, God-fearing men and women came the beginnings of the State of Tennessee and its capital city, which are now moving into the third century.
The library staff expressed appreciation to Mrs. Harmon, of Medina, for the gracious and thoughtful gift of “The Crossing,” which affords the citizens of Obion County a visual reminder of those pioneers in Tennessee’s history to whom a great debt of gratitude is owed, and it makes an appropriate companion to the picture of notable Tennesseans given by Gov. Ned McWherter, which hangs over the fireplace in the Tennessee room.
Mrs. Harmon gave “The Crossing” in honor of Mrs. Charles W. Miles of Union City, in recognition of her work with the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists on the chapter, state and national levels.
Mrs. Miles is now a national honorary vice president for life, having served in many offices and capacities since becoming a member.
Published in The Messenger 12.4.12