History of the Missouri River at
Nashville and Providence Bend
Historical Information: Cooper's Landing is located on part of the spanish land grant which was owned by Ira P. Nash. In 1820 lots began to sell and the river town of Nashville was founded. Nashville prospered until 1844 when the river flooded and the river bank began to erode away. It continued to erode till it reached the present location of Cooper's Landing. We encourage anyone with information about Nashville or it's inhabitants to share their knowledge with us:
History of Nashville and Ira P Nash We will be glad to add new information to this web site. Following are texts from historical documents about Nashville.
History of Boone County, Missouri:
1882 One among the first towns projected within the present limits of Boone County was laid out in 1819, just below the present site of Providence, on a tract of land owned by Ira P. Nash, an eccentric genius, who lived in that vicinity for many years, from whom, it was named "Nashville".
In 1820 Nashville contained a tobacco warehouse kept by James Harris and Abraham J. Williams, a post office and several other buildings. It at that time promised to be one of the largest shipping points on the Missouri and grew to be a place of some enterprise, when the treacherous river swept it away......
No event perhaps in the history of Boone County is more marked than the June freshet of the Missouri River in 1844. At no time before or since was the river ever so full. The town of Nashville, (Providence was then unknown) was completely inundated and also the adjacent immense bottom lands. Every inhabitant of Nashville had to desert it. The water was eight feet deep in the streets. Rice G. Woods & Co. and John Parker & Sons, merchants, in order to save their good, shipped them on steamboats, the latter to St. Louis, the former to Teter's landing, up the river. Lamme's warehouse was swept away, and Camplin's tobacco factory, which stood on the riverbank, caved into the river.
The town of Nashville, having been completely submerged and swept away by the freshet, it was at once resolved to establish a new town as a place of business for the country round about and as a shipping and receiving point for Columbia. Therefore, before the flood had fairly subsided, the commissioners of Providence, William Shields, John H. Field and Robert S. Barr, advertised a sale of lots at a point immediately above the Nashville bottom, on a permanent rock bluff, and a sale of lots was made on July 13.
A to Z:
The Dictionary of Missouri Place Names Providence- this old river site was named by a band of settlers from Tennessee who saw their original town, Nashville swept away by the Missouri River flood of 1844. They moved further up the bluff taking the name Providence to symbolize both their acceptance of the loss and hope for the future. Nashville was named for resident Ira Nash known as either:
(1) the most quarrelsome man in Missouri or
(2) an eccentric genius.
From a newspaper article by John C. Crighton Providence in the 1850's was an attractive, bustling and prosperous village,...Providence has been described as a charming southern community; picturesque walls and gardens, formal dances, fair women and a large slave population. In addition to John Parker's buildings, the largest of which were the hotel and a port house, Providence also contained four or five stores, and another hotel, a blacksmith shop, a cooperage, two or three drug stores, and a saloon.
Ira P. Nash
William Nash Jr. of England came to America and settled in Virginia where he married a widow lady named Bradford whose maiden name was Mary Morgan. Mr. Nash subsequently removed to Tennessee. His children were Ira, Elizabeth and William. Ira married and settled in St. Charles County, Missouri. (1)
Ira P. Nash, one of the first white men who settled in Boone County, was a medical doctor, an accomplished surveyor and an eccentric. Born in Virginia, he was a graduate of the University of Virginia and came to Missouri from Tennessee. He first came to Boone County in 1804 as surveyor the the Spanish Government, and located his own grant, the only Spanish grant in Boone County, on the banks of the Missouri River where the Bonne Femme Creek empties into it. "The most beautiful spot in all creation" he claimed. He returned to live here some twelve years later. He planted the first apple orchard in Boone County, was a farmer, a livestock dealer, owner of a fine stallion and had an interest in a steamboat. The town of Nashville named for him was laid out on his lands and was an important shipping center until the great overflow of 1844 washed it away.......Dr. Nash was married three times. Before he died in 1844, he requested that he be buried in a standing position on the highest bluff on the Missouri River on his land so he could look down on his farmer neighbors whom he disliked intensely. (2)
I often heard of a man who knew Nash in St. Louis laugh and talk about his being in jail there...... He said that any prisoner could break out of it if he chose. He said that Nash was put in it for not paying a debt, but that he had no difficulty coming out of it whenever he wished to do so. In fact, he said, his being in jail did not interfere with his getting his arrangements perfected to break jail, as he called it whenever he got ready to start up to the Bonne Femme bottom. It was generally known that he intended to go and no one seemed to care. And so when he had all his plans arranged and everything that he wanted to take with him on the keel boat and the time came for the boat to start, he left the jail and took passage upon the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and that was the last they ever saw of him in St. Louis He took care to take along with him a large lot of apple trees, which, I suppose, were the first trees set out in now what is Boone County. He built his house near the bluff. I suppose it was not far from Rutland. His farm reached back into the river bottom, but I understand that the river since washed away all of that bottom, so that now the channel of the river is just where his farm was. If my recollection serves me right it was more than a mile from his farm to the river. It was covered with big cottonwood trees.
I do not know how often he was married. It seems that it was his misfortune in every case when he took a wife to find out in some time the want of congeniality which he considered unbearable and he would apply to the courts or to the legislature to get unmarried, so that he could try it again. I believe there was an exception to this. One of his wives committed suicide by hanging herself with a hank of thread in the loom house, presumably before he had come to the conclusion that she was unfit to remain as his wife. (3)
Old Ira P. Nash was indeed an eccentric genius. He was quite wealthy and it was said did many a generous deed. He was pugnacious and would fight on small provocations. At an early day he was tried in Boone County Circuit Court for fighting a duel. He was fined $100. He was among the first slave owners in Boone County to manumit certain of his slaves. (4)
(1) Pioneer Families of Missouri, pg 362
(2) A Boone County Album, 1820 to 1971
(4) The History of Boone County, Page 639