Nashville’s Canadian connection

I was privileged to be invited along on yet another great ICR sales adventure, with the company treating us to a trip to Nashville this past month!

Nashville, Tennessee is known best by its nickname of Music City as the home of country music.

According to a study completed through Belmont University, the City is home to over 80 record labels, 130 music publishers, 180 recording studios, 27 entertainment publications and estimated 5,000 working union musicians.

Belmont estimated in 2006 that the music industry, through tourism as well as direct and indirect industry spending contributed $6.38 billion to the local economy.

Quite the economy indeed, when you consider the first citizen to inhabit Nashville had a wildly different background from music.

A Frenchman in America

Timothy Demonbreun is known as the first citizen of Nashville but his roots trace back to Canada, born in Montreal in 1731.

He served in the Battle of the Plains in Abraham in 1759 and soon after moved to the British colonies, which would become the United States, to practice in the fur trade.

Demonbreun settled upon the Cumberland River that runs through Nashville in 1766, first living in a cave and eventually constructing a cabin for himself.

He frequently traded with Native Americans before James Robertson and the Watauga settlers established Fort Nashborough in 1778.

Imagine their surprise to find another white man already carrying on a living there.

Demonbreun’s legacy

Demonbreun certainly made his mark on Nashville by becoming a thriving mercantile and fur trade business owner in the area.

He is reported to have employed up to 17 people in his shop, eventually expanding his business ventures into opening a tavern.

His less than savoury past includes managing two families; one set of children in Illinois where he briefly served as lieutenant governor and another set with his mistress in Nashville.

Upon his death in 1826, Demonbreun divided his substantial fortune between his legitimate and illegitimate children.

Though there is no grave marker for him, Demonbreun’s name lives on in a street named after him near Nashville’s Music Row and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Posted by Kelly Macsymic

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