BigFoot In Sumner County,Tennessee

Thomas Spencer Sharpe had many nicknames. One was Big Foot. Spencer known as the first white man in Middle Tennessee. He came to Tennessee around 1776 from Virginia and was a Long-Hunter. Spencer had a traveling partner that went by the name of Holiday. Together they built a station at Bledsoe’s Lick near today’s Bledsoe State Park). Holiday returned to Virginia in the fall of that year. Spencer spent the winter of 1776 in a hollow Sycamore tree near what is today Castalian Springs, TN. The present site of the Castalian Post Office. Spencer scouted land from Bledsoe Lick to the Red River (Clarksville, TN).

According to the early settlers, Spencer was large and strong man. t has been said that he weighed around 400 pounds. The tales of his brute strength is legendary, once when he and another hunter were hunting near the duck river and looking for a place to cook a deer they had killed, they were attacked by Indians. Spencer’s hunting partner was killed, and Spencer grabbed the rifles and the body of his friend and rushed into a cane thicket. The cane thicket was very thick, and the Indians were afraid to follow him. Another tale is that Spencer picked up a man and set threw him over an 8-foot-high fence, then the man asked if Spencer would set his horse over also.

Spencer loved to hunt, He often would supply the settlers moving into the area with fresh meat from hunting the abundant wild game in the area and would help them fight off Indians too. After several years Spencer returned to his home- land of Virginia to settle family business. On his way back to Middle Tennessee, he was riding out front of his group near the Caney Fork River when he was ambushed by Indians and Spencer was killed. His date of death was said to be around April of 1794. The town of Spencer, TN, in Van Buren County Tennessee is named after him.

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