Nick Trammell would have been 239 years old on January 13, 2019 . . . but who's counting?
Trammell was born in 1780 just outside of what is now Nashville, Tennessee. When I was thinking about what to write to recognize his birthday, I recalled again how the years of his life were incredibly pivotal in the history of our nation and the state of Texas.
My former mother-in-law was almost 100 years old when she died and it is incredible to think about all she saw in her lifetime. For Nicholas Trammell, his span of years was just as remarkable.
The Trammells and the Mauldings, his wife's family, were early arrivers into the Tennessee-Kentucky settlements, holding key offices as justice of the peace, sheriff, and captain of the militia. Trammell grew up in the county where Andrew Jackson had his legal practice. When he left Tennessee and began settling in the Missouri Territory it was only five years after the Louisana Purchase.
Along with other Tennesseans, Nick was among the earliest Anglo settlers to push into Missouri, Arkansas, and ultimately to Pecan Point on the Red River when Texas was still Spanish territory. When it became Mexico, he tried to head south into Austin's colony like many others but was rejected due to his poor reputation.
In the leadup to the Texas Revolution, it was his presence at a Trinity River crossing of the El Camino Real that led to his expulsion from Texas, and to the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826. Trammell spent the next 25 years in Arkansas along the roadways increasingly filled with other Anglo immigrants to Texas. When he and his family finally moved back to Texas, where he died in 1856, he had seen Texas move from Spain to Mexico, to Republic, and finally to statehood. The explosion in the population and the increasing loss of the "frontier" of East and Central Texas was complete. Cotton and slavery had come, and Texas was never the same.
Nicholas Trammell lived on the periphery of some of the most pivotal events in our history, and in the middle of more than a few. May we always remember how he and other ancestors paved the way through their own hardship and loss. . . . and won a few horse races along the way.
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"Watching His Backside," by David Wright. www.davidwrightart.com