Charlotte Pike Unsubstantiated Theory

There are two main explanations for how Charlotte Pike got its name: 1. It ran by Charlotte Robertson’s house; 2. It ran to Charlotte, TN (which was named after Charlotte Robertson).

Both these explanations have the same problem: they’re not true. Charlotte Pike did, yes, kind of run near her old house, but not even close enough to be seen from the house. It didn’t run to her house.

And while it’s easy now to look at a map and assume Charlotte Pike ran vaguely out along what is now 70 and then up 47, the Old Charlotte Pike rambles around in the hills east of Pegram and then hooks up with McCoury Lane. Also, if you look at the names of other pikes spoking out from Nashville and where their namesake villages are, you can see that the villages were fairly far away from Nashville on the east side, the side settlers came from–Gallatin Pike and Lebanon Pike and Murfreesboro Pike, for example–but look how close in Goodlettsville and Whites Creek and Nolensville, Franklin, Ashland City, and Leiper’s Fork (the old Hillsboro) are.

I think you can see a ring of towns around Nashville about a day’s cart ride from town. That’d be like Brentwood, Belle Meade, Antioch, Whites Creek.

And then another ring of towns the next day out. That Franklin, Pasquo, Leiper’s Fork ring. The distance Pegram is from town. So, if you were going to name that pike for where it went, Pegram Pike would seem to  be the most natural name.

But the old Charlotte Pike didn’t go to Pegram. The Old Charlotte Pike, when you’re two easy days or one long day from Nashville, is in the middle of nowhere. Up in the hills east of Pegram.

The Robertsons owned furnaces. One of their earliest ones was the Charlotte Furnace, named for the matriarch of the family. And I think if you followed the Old Charlotte Pike a hard day’s journey from Nashville, and knew how to look, you’d find that old Charlotte Furnace.

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One thought on “Charlotte Pike Unsubstantiated Theory

  1. In my experience of rural names of things, one way a road/track/path could get named Charlotte Something would be if part of it were the first leg on someone’s journey to something with Charlotte in it’s name.

    Or, it could get named Charlotte Something if part of it were the first *turning* on someone’s journey to something with Charlotte in it’s name.

    Maybe if Charlotte Pike doesn’t go all the way to Charlotte Furnace, it goes enough of the way that it was still The Way To Charlotte Furnace other than those lasts little bits at the end.

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