Gower’s Island

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

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Republican Banner, 5 Nov. 1871

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Daily American, 25 April 1890


The Nashville American, 16 Dec. 1901

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Nashville Tennessean, 7 July 1938


Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 7.05.11 PM - EditedScreenshot 2020-08-08 at 7.06.28 PM - Edited

The Nashville Tennessean, Magazine, 20 Nov. 1966


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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

Gower Island

12 thoughts on “Gower’s Island

  1. Pingback: DNA Mystery: Gowers of Nashville – Down Home Genealogy

  2. Nelson Tomlinson

    By boat we have noticed old farm equipment still on the island , could be a Haybailer an a hay rake not sure , would love any info on this island 👌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Philip Russell

    I too am a distant nephew of James RUSSELL who married into the Gower family & buried in Gower Cemetery… such a small world


    1. Stanley A

      I am also a defendant of the Gowers, Robertsons, and Russell. I have seen the historical marker before but I never knew I was kin until recently.


  4. Michael Routh

    Rebecca gower is my 7th removed grandmother. Her father and grandfather were killed on what is now called Gower’s Island by Indians. She married James Routh


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