This is the top read article on my website! It was originally posted in 2017. I have found additional information since then and have included it below.
Gower’s (or Gower) Island is a 40.5-acre island in the Cumberland River. You can see the island if you travel down River Trace, off of Ashland City Hwy/Hwy 12 near Nashville/Ashland City, Tennessee.
This island was settled about 1780 by the Gower family, who came with the Robertson/Donelson flotilla. They were a part of the first permanent settlement in Nashville.
Abel Gower Sr., my eighth great-grandfather, may have called this island home for a short while until he was killed by Native Americans at Clover Bottom on November 10, 1780. His family and descendants continued to live in the area of Gower Island, Bull Run, and on the south side of the river near River Road and Gower Road.
There have been books and stories written about the Gowers, but none are definitive and I don’t want to speculate here. I plan on researching the Gowers more, but I wanted to share some photos I took of Gower Island from River Trace. If you have a chance to see in person, it’s worth the trip. It captivates your imagination about what life would have been like in the late 1700s on the Cumberland River.
When viewing the Tennessean newspaper archives, it appears Gower’s Island was a popular fishing spot to camp at and enjoy circa 1870 – late 1890s.
In the early and mid-1900s, the land was farmland and grew crops of corn.
Now, all you can see from the river bank is trees.
Articles about the Island
Republican Banner, 2 Dec. 1870
Republican Banner, 5 Nov. 1871
The Nashville American, 16 Dec. 1901
Nashville Tennessean, 7 July 1938
The Nashville Tennessean, Magazine, 20 Nov. 1966
Nashville Tennessean, 21 July 1968
From “Six Cumberland Islands Offer Quiet Amid Bustle”, The Tennessean, 25 Mar 1974
Originally posted January 30, 2017
Last updated August 8, 2020