2 thoughts on “Elizabeth Durard

  1. Post-revolutionary US women’s history in da house! If keeping Tim’s kids alive and fed in pretty challenging conditions wasn’t statue-worthy work, I don’t know what was.

    Hey, tangent thought. Dr. Felix Robertson was supposedly the first “white” child born in Nashville (according to the Nashville Academy of Medicine historical marker on 23rd Street). He’s still living in 1906, when the Medical Society is founded. Demonbreun junkies know that Tim and Elizabeth’s kids were born in Nashville in the 1780s and 1790s. Hell, she’s charged with bastardry in the late 1780s. Clearly, there were kids that we’d now consider “white” being born in Nashville much earlier than Dr. R. Or not?

    What I mean is — how “white” did people think the French were? Right after the American Revolution, in my own research, the Americans who come to the Old Northwest are all “yay! civilized white people!” until around the French Revolution (and living with the Francophone traders a while) when they get all “these guys are squalid savages and they intermarry with Indian women and such. They are like Indians.” and begin to treat them like racial inferiors.

    The Medical Society marker was put up in 1977. I could understand if it had been erected during a period in southern history when “white” was used as a synonym for “of Anglo-Saxon heritage,” but that’s not the case.

    Was there a period when Tim wasn’t considered as white as the other white guys? Or were you only a “white” child if you were born to two parents who were married — and if so, I’m guessing that Elizabeth’s second batch of kids might be better candidates? (Or any of a dozen other families…) Or is this suggesting something about Elizabeth’s racial heritage? Or is it just flat-ass wrong and a mistake, like these “first white child” things often are, a bragging point supported only by the enlargements of family lore and then inserted into civic history by some determined genealogist with influence on the Historical Marker Commission.

  2. Ooops, my bad. On rereading the marker, it looks like Felix Robertson attended the first meeting in 1821 — much more doable than 1906, when the Society got its charter. After brief research, looks like he was born in 1781 to General James Robertson (a town founder) and wife….

    So often interesting speculations are shot down by just a little bit of research. However, I note that in the early writings there’s a careful distinction made between “the French” (including Demonbreun) and “the first white settlement.” The French might have lived here earlier, but whites came and took Possession.

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