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They hired Isaac to travel with the goods, through all those uncivilized places — the woods, the river, Indian territory.Franklin passed vast fertile lands on his trips, lands with easy access to the port of New Orleans.Log cabins are finally giving way to wood-framed buildings and, for the rich, brick.For the past seven years, it has been the state capitol, but it still has the feel of a frontier village.The only bridge into town is the old stone-pillared toll bridge.In five years, when the Cherokee are forced across this bridge, sick, starving, afraid, Nashvillians will claim they were so moved by the suffering that they tried to help the refugees, but were rebuked by the soldiers escorting them. Almost everyone in Nashville has known Isaac Franklin since he was born.Though it’s among the oldest in the county, there’s no historical marker.

The rhythmic thud of 400 trudging feet carries quite a way.Their home still stands at the corner of Saundersville Road and Lower Station Camp Road, about halfway between Gallatin and Hendersonville — now suburbs linked to Nashville by sprawl and interstates, then villages quite a way from town.Isaac, his four brothers, and five sisters were born in that house.Then comes the sound of men singing, “Cut him down, cut him down, catch him if you can.” There’s a river and a field and a few scattered houses between Nashville and Franklin’s coffle coming down Gallatin Pike, but once it crests the hill at what will one day be known as Eastland Avenue, everyone up on the bluff can see it.A great centipede of 200 men chained together at the waist, their hands locked behind their backs, marching toward Nashville.

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