24 September 2013

The River's Name

The American Historical Magazine published a commentary about how the Harpeth river got its name.

"As to the origin of the name Harpeth given to several streams which flow through Williamson and Davidson counties Tennessee [it has been reported that] the "name of Harpeth originated from two celebrated highwaymen named from their size Big Harp and Little Harp" They had their headquarters on Big Harpeth, and from thence ravaged the settlements far and near and the name was synonymous for all that was terrible and murderous."  "...the name was spelled Harpath in a Topographical Description (1792 and later), " which predates the notoriety of Big and Little Harp. "The Big and Little Harp theory is without foundation."

The names Harpath and Harpeth were found in an English classic often read by persons who may have named the river in 1784 or earlier.  The author posits that work may be the origin of the name Harpeth.

Lieutenant John Clendennin was granted land on the south side of Big Harpeth.  Clendennin was the first husband of Mary, who married, 2nd, Alexander Trousdale (I'm a descendant of Alexander and Mary Trousdale).

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