We Should Soon Become Respectable
Nashville's Own Timothy Demonbreun
Author(s): Elizabeth Elkins
Jacques-Timothe Boucher Sieur de Montbrun (anglicized to Demonbreun soon thereafter), born 1747 in Quebec, set the bar for country music's stories of cheating, gambling, drinking, and being the boss more than two centuries before anybody thought of supporting the storyline with a 1-4-5-4 chord progression and a fiddle.
Lightly called a "fur trader," he came to the city to make his fortune and fame, much like songwriters today. Looking back, it would be easy to call Demonbreun, the son of French Canadian near-royalty and brother to two nuns, a spoiled child who did what he wanted, a classic-case misogynist and polygamist, a conceited adventurer. He was a man who conned the Spanish governor out of a war, carried on graceful correspondence with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, owned several slaves, may have served as a spy, and was a decorated veteran. He fought in the Revolutionary War, extraordinarily so it seems, given the number of land grants he received across Kentucky and Tennessee.
He's also known around Nashville as the guy who lived in a cave.
Author Elizabeth Elkins sorts through the legends and nails down the facts in order to present the true story of "Nashville's First Citizen."