The First Frontier – An Exploitive Frontier
Following typical migration patterns, hunters and surveyors are noted to have been the first Americans to come into the Eleven Point River Valley in the late 1790s and early 1800s. They found the buffalo that had nearly disappeared form their eastern homelands. Deer, turkey, and fish were more than abundant. In addition to this paradise of wildlife they found beautiful and fertile river valleys. Knowing beforehand that they would find land where they could later establish homesteads, they used the hunt to scout out the choicest sites with springs and natural resources. They were well rewarded on all accounts in the Eleven Point River Valley.
A teenaged William Looney is considered by tradition to have come into the Eleven Point River Valley in 1803. It is likely that he followed the typical migration practices by first coming to hunt and scout out the land. He did return to his native Tennessee where he married and came back to establish a permanent settlement. He would not have traveled alone on such a venture. Hunters came in groups and established base camps like the one depicted above in H. David Wright’s Station Camp.
Historian, author, and living history re-enactor Gerry Barker of Frontier Resources tells about the First Frontier in the video below.