Kasper Mansker

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Kasper Mansker
Bornc. 1750
On the European immigrant ship, Christian, during an Atlantic Ocean voyage, in transit, to the British American colonies
Died1820 (aged 70)
Resting placeMansker Family Cemetery, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, later, reburial at Peay Park, Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Other namesKasper Mäintzger, Kasper Minsker, Gaspar Mansker
Occupationfrontiersman, fur trader, hunter, politician, soldier, explorer
Spouse(s)Elizabeth White
Parent(s)Ludwig Mäintzger and Maria Esch
RelativesJohn Minsker (brother); George Mansker, Sr. (brother), Catherine Albright (sister), Ludwig Minsker (brother)

Kasper Mansker or Gaspar Mansker also, spelled Mäintzger and Minsker (1750–1820) was a longhunter and one of Middle Tennessee's first European explorers and settlers.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kasper Mansker was born on the European immigrant ship, Christian, bound for the New World, in 1750. The Mansker family, possibly, came from Merchingen, Merzig-Wadern, Kreis District, Saarland, Germany, where the name is common. His parents, Ludwig Mäintzger and Maria Esch, were German immigrants, who settled in the British American colonies, but due to poor recordkeeping there are vague and conflicting reports, about exactly where they lived. Mansker had four brothers, John, George, Sr., and Ludwig and one sister, Catherine. Kasper Mansker probably lived in the mid-Atlantic region, of the American thirteen colonies. Various reports mentioned the whereabouts of Manker, as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and in what is now West Virginia. However, Mansker was a true frontiersman and soon left Virginia to explore the vast lands to the west. It is also. known that Mansker married Elizabeth White of Berkeley County, West Virginia, but there is no known record of the marriage, so details of the actual date and location are sketchy.[2] In his will Mansker's brother, George is mentioned, as well as his brother's sons.

First hunting trip to Middle Tennessee and Kentucky[edit]

In 1769, Kasper Mansker departed on his first hunting trip into the vast western territory. He explored and hunted extensively along the Cumberland River in middle Tennessee and Kentucky. He spent most of his adult life exploring, hunting and living in the areas of what are now Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. His first trip was filled with adventures of the hunt, survival, and his party was robbed of some of its supplies by a small band of Indians. In contrast, the French fur traders they met were friendly and his hunting party was able to trade for fresh food and alcohol.

Second hunting trip to Middle Tennessee and Kentucky[edit]

In 1771, Kasper Mansker made a second trip into the areas of Kentucky and Tennessee with Col. John Montgomery. This trip was marred by the disappearance of two members of their party who had remained at the camp in Kentucky while additional supplies were being acquired. He eventually set up camp along the Cumberland River in Sumner County, Tennessee. There was an ample supply of game and fertile valleys. Once again Indians attacked their camp and plundered supplies and took about 500 deer skins. These were eventually replaced, but in 1772, an ideal hunting area was identified by Mansker containing two salt licks located close to each other. Hunting was excellent, and Mansker eventually built a fort for himself and his neighbors at this site, near what is now Goodlettsville, Tennessee, in 1780. The fort was an important stopping place for settlers who arrived in middle Tennessee during the late 18th century until the early 19th century.

Exploration of the Cumberland River of Middle Tennessee[edit]

In 1773, Kasper Mansker returned to his home to Virginia, and his name appeared in court documents, as serving on jury duty and appearing, as a witness, in a separate case. His stay in Virginia was brief, because, in 1775, he returned to Middle Tennessee, in the vicinity of Mansker's Lick. It was during this trip, that Mansker explored the section of the Cumberland River, near the Red River, with John Montgomery, on the site of present-day Clarksville, Tennessee.

Robertson-Donelson party and Fort Nashborough settlement[edit]

The years of the American Revolutionary War are quiet concerning Mansker, but in 1779, he joined Captain James Robertson and John Donelson's party, who were looking for suitable territory to establish a settlement. The site they chose was known, as French Lick, now Nashville, Tennessee.

An early map of late-18th century frontier forts, known as "stations", in which Mansker's Station was shown, in the Upper Cumberland River valley of Middle Tennessee.

Mansker's Station[edit]

In early 1780, Kasper Mansker moved further north and established his own fort, at Goodlettsville, which he named Mansker's Station. A station was the term used for a fortified frontier settlement. Mansker was also, a signer the Cumberland Compact, an agreement providing guidelines for the forming of government in the developing Cumberland region. The compact established the Cumberland Association, a governing body for the region made up of representatives from the various forts, about seven, in the vicinity of Nashville. Mansker's fort is one of the forts that was designated for representation.

Eventually, the Indians soon realized that the constant push of white, European settlers was unending. The primary concern was the squatting, by frontier settlers, on Native lands, that were recognized, among the various tribes, as shared hunting grounds. With the arrival of intrusive settlers, who claimed Indian territory, as their rightful property, was considered unacceptable by Native Americans. The result was a series of frequent attacks by the native Indians against settlers in the region. Due to his skill and experience in this area, Mansker's fort was considered to be one of the safest areas in the region. He set up accommodations at the fort and is regarded as one of the earliest innkeepers in the Cumberland settlements. In the spring of 1781, Mansker became a victim of an Indian attack, and was listed as wounded in the skirmish. This is the only record of him being injured due to conflict with the local Indian tribes. One of the many people that stayed in the fort was Andrew Jackson.


  1. ^ West, Carroll Van. "Kasper Mansker". Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.
  2. ^ Durham, Walter (Summer 1971). "Kasper Mansker: Cumberland Frontiersman". Tennessee Historical Quarterly. 30 (2): 154–77. Retrieved 13 August 2012.