Anthony Bledsoe (1733-1788)

By Walter T. Durham , Gallatin

Anthony Bledsoe, pioneer, surveyor, and early settler of the Cumberland region, was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, and became a product of the rolling frontier of his day. He was a justice of the peace for Augusta County in 1769, Botetourt in 1770 and 1771, and Fincastle in 1773 and 1774. He served on the Fincastle Committee of Safety in 1775-76, and in 1777 Bledsoe was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and reelected in 1778.

In 1779 Bledsoe became a surveyor with the commissioners of Virginia and North Carolina to establish the line between the western lands of those states. In 1780 he served as justice of the peace for the new county of Sullivan, North Carolina, and in 1781 and 1782 was its state senator. In 1783 he was one of the commissioners selected to survey the North Carolina military land grant reservation. He became a justice of the peace for new Davidson County in 1783, and in 1785-86 he represented the county in the state Senate. When Sumner County was created in 1786, Bledsoe assumed the same duties there, becoming chairman of the county court in 1787.

He shouldered military responsibilities wherever he was. He volunteered for Lord Dunmore's colonial army in 1764 in the French and Indian War and was captain of militia in Botetourt in 1770. After taking up the cause of independence, he commanded the patriots at Fort Patrick Henry on the Long Island of the Holston in 1776. He served as lieutenant colonel commandant of Sullivan County in 1781, Davidson County in 1783, and Sumner County in 1787.

A recognized leader of the Cumberland settlements, Bledsoe brought his wife, Mary Ramsey Bledsoe, and their ten children to settle near Bledsoe's Lick in 1785. He and his family paid dearly for their relocation, however. Anthony Bledsoe died at the hands of Indians in 1788, as did his brother Isaac five years later. The same fate befell Bledsoe's sons, Anthony Jr. and Thomas, his nephew Anthony, and his brothers-in-law, Henry and William Ramsey.

Published December 25, 2009 | Last Updated January 01, 2010.

Courtesy of the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. For more information visit

Anthony Bledsoe

Will of Anthony Bledsoe
Signed Jul-20-1788
Recorded Oct-18-1788

In the name of God Amen: Being near to death I make my will -_. I devise my lands at Kentucky to be sold, likewise my land on Holston, at the direction of my Exceutors-my children educated in the best manner my estate will provided -----, my estate to be equally divided amoungest my children my Daughters a small tract of land-my wife to keep_of the_oldest Negroes for the maintenance of_BLEDSOE and Col. Daniel SMITH Executors, with my wife Mary BLEDSOE_excurtrix-at the decease of my wife the four older Negroes be equally divided amoungest my children-signed and delivered in presence of us; this 20th of July 1788.

Recorded and examined October 18th, 1788.
Transcribed by Jan Evans and Diane Payne, © 1999
Source: Will Book I, page 2 (TSLA microfilm)