Was Captain John Rains Nashville's Most Prolific Cusser?



I was doing some research on the Demonbreuns and I came across some stories about John Rains, who was the father-in-law of Jacques Timothy Demonbreun, not to be confused with his brother Timothy Felix Demonbreun, or their dad, Timothy Demonbreun (the one you think of when you think of Timothy Demonbreun). John Rains was one of the earliest settlers in this area. He built his own fort, Rains Station, which stood about where WNPT now stands on (wait for it) Rains Avenue. And he was often in court. Most often on the side of right—serving on juries or getting permission to build roads. But three times for his cussing.

He was fined for swearing "in the presence of the Court" in July of 1784.

In 1788, he was charged with swearing and beating up Elijah Routh (who was also charged with swearing; understandable, considering he was being beaten).

In 1791 he was fined four shillings for swearing.

How bad do you suppose your cussing had to be for you to have to go to court over it three times? He's a serial swearer!

Rains is quite a character, aside from his criminal cussing. Not only did he loathe Routh, he broke into another dude's house, John Boyd, and hit him with a chair and then bit his thumb. Over a debt Rains owed Boyd! Boyd was not charged with swearing, but I have a hard time imagining how you could be having an ordinary evening at home when all of a sudden a man bursts in and hits you with a chair and you not let out an "WTF?!" of some sort.

When he wasn't cussing or beating people up, he was off fighting Indians.

Sometimes, reading through these old records, it makes me feel like the one place the old pioneer attitude of Middle Tennessee was preserved is in the professional wrestling ring. Both places have these larger than life characters running around doing things that are only barely permissible in polite society and, in both realms, you can hit a dude with a chair if circumstances permit.

I know it sounds strange, but our early history makes a lot more sense if you just imagine it like a world run by WWE rules.

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