Nickajack Lake and where it got its name

Early History of Middle Tennessee
By Edward Albright, 1908
Chapter 20
Events Of 1780 (Continued)
Clover Bottom Defeat (Continued)
Bear Hunters

Unreadable (first 3 words)…and his companions got their boat loaded firs, and, pushing it across to the northern shore, began gathering the cotton, of which there was only a small amount, heaping the bolls on the corn in the boat. It was expected that they would be joined directly by the party from the Bluff, and that thus working together, the task would soon be complete.

A little later, however, Captain DONELSON was much surprised to see the latter rowing on down the river toward home. He hailed them and asked if they were not coming over. Captain GOWER replied in the negative, saying that it was growing late and they must reach the Bluff before night, at the same time expressing the belief that there was no danger. DONELSON began a vigorous protest against their going, but while he yet spoke a horde of Indians, several hundred strong, opened a terrific fire upon the men in GOWER’S boat. The savages had been gradually gathering and were now ambushed in the cane along the south bank and near to the corn ladened craft, which by this time had drifted into a narrow channel on that side. At the first fire several of the men jumped from the boat and waded through the shallow water to the shore, where they were hotly pursued by the foe. Captain GOWER, his son, and ROBERTSON were killed and their bodies lost in the river. Others were slain and fell on the corn in the boat. Of the party that reached the shore only three, a white man and two negroes, escaped death.

The white man and one of the negroes wandered through the woods without food for nearly two days, finally reaching the Bluff. The other survivor, a free negro by the name of Jack CAVIL, was wounded, captured and carried a prisoner to one of the Chickamauga towns near Chattanooga. He afterwards became notorious as a member of a thieving band of Indian marauders who, making headquarters in that region, wrought great havoc on the settlements west of the mountains. The village of Nickajack, or “Nigger-jack’s Town,” which was afterwards founded, took its name from this captive.

Thanks to the Albright heirs for the use of this excerpt.