The Chickasaw Treaty historical marker at the intersection of Morrow Road and Terry Drive in Nashville, Tennessee, commemorates a treaty with the Chickasaw Nation signed near here in 1783. The Chickasaw Nation played a key role in the early history of Nashville and the United States.
The Chickasaws lived primarily in Northern Mississippi. Western Tennessee and part of Middle Tennessee were important hunting areas for the tribe. Chickasaw territory occupied a strategic position on the Mississippi River and later became the southwestern border of the young United States. This, as well as the tribe's noted military power, made the Chickasaws an important participant in the power struggles between England, France, Spain, and the United States for control of the North American continent.
The early relationship between the Chickasaws and the colonial powers was based on the fur trade, with the Chickasaws exchanging furs for European trade items such as guns, knives, kettles, and cloth. The English did a better job at developing this trade relationship and the majority of the Chickasaws supported the English. The French tried to undermine the Chickasaw alliance with the English by inciting the neighboring Choctaw to carry out raids on the Chickasaws and traders doing business with them. During the mid-1700's France conducted a series of wars on the Chicksaws but came out on the losing end. Failure to defeat the Chickasaws was a primary reason France conceded control of the lower Mississippi Valley to England in 1763.
During the Revolutionary War, the Chickasaw Nation supported England. They controlled the Mississippi River and land routes to the western frontier of the United States. In 1780 a Chickasaw force laid siege to Fort Jefferson on the Mississippi, resulting in the retreat of the Americans from the fort a year later. 1780 was also the year that the Robertson/Donelson party founded Nashville, and the Chickasaws conducted some of the early Indian raids on the Nashville stations. When Spain declared war on England, the Chickasaws carried out attacks on the Spanish positions in West Florida. The Chickasaw-English relationship soured during the war, however. When the United States defeated the English, Piominko, the most influential Chickasaw leader, allied the tribe with the Americans.
The alliance between the United States and the Chickasaws was absolutely crucial to the survival of the settlements centered around Fort Nashborough. During the 1780's the Nashville settlements were under constant attack by the Chickamaugans (an alliance of Cherokee, Creek, Shawnee, and other Indians) and the Creeks. Spain supported these attacks with supplies and other encouragement. The Nashville settlements came very close to being wiped out. If the powerful Chickasaws had continued attacks on these settlements as well, the settlers would have had to abandon the area. If this had happened the security of the United States would have been threatened because of Spanish designs on this part of the frontier.
The importance of the relationship between the Chickasaws and the Nashville settlements is illustrated by a resolution passed by the governing committee of the settlements in 1783 that required all traders not to infringe on the rights of the Indians. In 1795, when the Chickasaws were attacked by the Creeks, who were allies of the Spanish, the Nashville settlements sent a volunteer force to help defend the Chickasaws. The Chickasaws successfully repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy losses on the Creeks. The Chickasaws later requested that the United States pay the expenses of the volunteer force. Andrew Jackson submitted the request to Congress on behalf of the tribe, and the volunteers were paid.
In 1795, Spain ceded control of the lower Mississippi Valley to the United States, and in 1796 Tennessee became the 16th state.
In May 1830 Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act was passed. Later that year, in Franklin, Tennessee, Chickasaw representatives signed a treaty providing for their removal to lands west of the Mississippi River.
From Interstate 40 West take Exit 204B - White Bridge Rd/Robertson Av., get in the right lane and turn right on White Bridge Road, then take an immediate right on Urbandale Avenue. Go .26 miles and turn left on Morrow Road. Go .85 miles and the marker will be on your left on front of the West Park Community Center. Turn left on Terry Road and there will be a parking area on your left.
From Interstate 40 East take Exit 204 - Briley Pkwy/White Bridge Rd/Robertson Av., turn left on Briley Pkwy/White Bridge Road, get in the right lane. Go .17 miles and turn right on Urbandale Avenue. Go .26 miles and turn left on Morrow Road. Go .85 miles and the marker will be on your left on front of the West Park Community Center. Turn left on Terry Road and there will be a parking area on your left.
The West Park Community Center address is 6105 Morrow Road, Nashville, TN, 37209 if you want to get internet driving directions.
West Park is a Metro Nashville park located in a quiet residential area. Restrooms are available when the Community Center is open. The Community Center hours are M-Th: 12:00 – 8:30pm, Fri. 11:00am – 7:30pm, Sat. and Sun. - Closed. In summer the hours are M-F 9am -7pm. For more information about the West Park Community Center call Jeremy Wilson at 862-8469.