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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Journal

John Sevier

published in Vols. V and VI
of the Tennessee Historical Magazine,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

John Sevier's Journal

Vol. VI
January, 1800.

January Wed. 1 day 1800 cold.

Thur. 2 clear & cold.

Fry. 3 ditto.

Sat. 4 ditto.

Sun. 5 ditto.

Mon. 6 ditto Federal court began.

Tues. 7 ditto.

Wed. 8 ditto.

Thur. 9 ditto.

Fry. 10 ditto paid Roddy 3 dollars.

Sat. 11 ditto a little moderate.

Sun. 12 warm & pleasant.

Mon. 13 ditto County court began in Knox.

Tues. 14 ditto pleasant for the season.

Wed. 15 warm & cloudy.

Memo. Recd. from Geo. Gordon some time ago 1 small stud, at 150 dolls. 1 sorrel mair 120 dollars 1 roan 2 yearling colts 60, the same being for land sold by Gordon on obias river.

Thur. 16 warm & cloudy — rained in night. Let James Craton have a Warrant on the treasurer for 37 & ⅓ dollars for which owed  p23 him for corn & bacon & had given orders on Colo. Weir & the sheriff of Sevier, which order Craton is to return, Wm. Madin a witness. — (Returned since).

Memo. let James Sevier have an order on the Treasurer for 64 dollars, which went to the Cr. of sheriff N. blairs of Washington acct. paid Thos. Cummins 4 1‑2 dollars. Due him yet 5 1‑2 dollars.

Fry. 17 rainy & stormy day & snowed 4 inches deep by evening. Settled up with Colo. Hanly in full of all amounts to this day. Mr. Kinnor (Bricklayer) DR. To 1 brick trowel 6/.

Sat. 18 cleared & pretty cold.

Sun. 19 moderate.

Mon. 20 clear & windy.

Tues. 21 clear cold & windy.

Wed. 22 ditto.

Thur. 23 ditto.

Fry. 24 ditto.

Sat. 25 ditto some little rain in evening.

Sun. 26 very cold.

Mon. 27 cloudy & cold. Nelson set out with Jim for P. Grove, give him 5 dollars to bare expenses in bringing down the hoggs & beef.

Tues. 28 cloudy morning & cold.

Wed. 29 cloudy. pd. Tho. Robbins 6/. Snowed in the night.

Thur. 30 snowed in the morning. Memo. swaped horses with Colo. Hanly who is to give 30 dollars boot, has pd. me ten by Washington & is to pay John Kain the other 20. James Anderson had 2 baggs of corn from plantation had here 1 bushel some time ago.

Fry. 31 warm & pleasant.

February, 1800.

Sat. 1 of February Snowed.

Sun. 2 snowed & very cold.

Mon. 3 cloudy & cold. Hawkins Windle Dr. To 1 gray horse 95 dollars.

To an order on Walter King for half a ton castings.

Tues. 4 cold day.

Wed. 5 snowed part of the day.

Thur. 6 Pleasant day.

Fry. 7 pleasant day.

Sat. 8 snowed & very cold.

Sun. 9 very cold, snowed, & some rain. Went to Mr. Bonners in Co. with R. King Tarried all night & returned on Monday — Nelson arrived this night with hoggs &c.

Mon. 10th Some snow & very cold.

Tues. 11 very cold & some snow.

 p24  Wed. 12 a fine day. Salted our beef & pork Snowed in the night.

Thurs. 13 snowed in the morning & most of the day (not very cold) Memo. I give a warrant on the Treasury for 60 dollars unto Mr. Gordon for the purpose of paying Joseph Rogers at Hawkins at C. house, a note of mine of 51 dollars some Cents. Also an account of 5 dollars & 8 cents for Liquor furnished my friends at the last election. Gordon give me in 2 dollars which the warrant over balanced the 2 debts.

Fry. 14 cold rain & some snow & hail. Went to the farm over the river. Tarried all night.

Sat. 15 cloudy & very cold snowed cleared up in the night.

Sun. 16 clear day & pleasant Killed a fine Turkey. (Came hom) Capt. Sparks came to town yesterday & returned to day.

Mon. 17 very fine day.

Tues. 18 very fine day.

Wed. 19 ditto S.

Thur. 20 Set out for So. W. Point.146 Lodged at Major McClungs.

Fry. 21 set out for the point. Brakt at Maj. Campbles, arrived at the point in the evening Fine day. The cannon was fired at our arrival.

Sat. 22 early in the morning 16 rounds of cannon fired — at 12 the army & Citizens in great numbers moved in procession in condolence of the death of Genl. Washington.147 Gov. Sevier & Wm. Blount. 2 monuments (?) Genl. White Maj. McClung, Capt. Sparks, Maj. Roan Pall bearers guns fired all day &c. The day very fine.

Sun. 23 fine day. Set out for Knoxville Lodged at Major Campbles.

Mon. 24 Set out took brakt. at Maj. McClungs, arrived in the evening. very fine day.

Tues. 25 Sold unto Mr. Tho. Haines, Washingtons gray horse, price 110 dollars.

Wed. 26 put fire into the brickkill.

Thur. 27 A ball at Campbells. memo. Lodged 2 — 25 dollar warrant in the hands of Genl. (?)

March, 1800.

Sun. 2 Finished at night burning brickkiln.

[Mon. 3—.]

Tues. 4 Paid Thomas Robbins 2 dollars Bought 1 doz. chairs 30/. pd. cash 14/ & Give order to Humes for 16/ in favour of a Mr. Aueston (?). Let Valº Sevier have money for plow mould 9/.

[Wed. 5—.]

Thur. 6 Hauled plank and posts with the waggon for Mr. R. Campbell.

[Fri. 7—. Sat. 8—.]

 p25  Sun. 9 Mrs. Granger died about midnight. Memo. Trainer the waggoner Hauled 10 loads of wood 4/ pr. load. Recd. Cash 15/ & (?) while burning brick. Sent 1 dollar in cash.

[Mon. 10–––.]

Tues. 11 Mrs. Grainger buryed.

Wed. 12 Set off for a load Flour, had from me 3 1‑2 bushels of corn & 3 dollars in cash, order on John Kein for 3 bushels of corn. Brot a load of hay from Rhodes for R. Campbell.

Thur. 13 went to the plantation.

Fry. 14 stayed there.

Sat. 15 stayed there.

Sun. 16 returned home. Mr. Blount taken ill on yesterday.

Mon. 17 went to see Mr. Blount.

[Tues. 18–––. Wed. 19–––. Thur. 20—.]

Fry. 21 Went to Medlocks. William Blount died about 5 o'clock a.m.148

Sat. 22 Went with the family to the burial of Mr. Blount.

[Sun. 23—.]

Mon. 24 Supr. Court149 begun. Memo. Recd. of Fran (?) Maybury 50 dols. One note for 50. 1 for 70 and 1 for 100. and an order on Parks for 30, being in part pay of 250 acres of Land I sold Hudleson. Sold unto Mr. Willis (miller) a pan 9/. Mr. Reece near my farm a pan 9/. Mr. Morde— (?) near ditto one Dutch overº 12/. one 6 gallon pot 14/. Mrs. Tho. Stockdon of Stockdon Balley two Iron skillits. let Edward Teele have a pot in full for what I was in his debt.

Tues. 25 William Nelson to goods from Mr. Humes 2/ 7/ 2d.

[Wed. 26—.]

Thur. 27 a ball at Campbells.

[Fri. 28—.]

Sat. 29 March 1800 clear & warm.

Sun. 30 ditto.

Mon. 31 cooler.


Memo. On the 19th October '98 a Mr. Lacky (a tailor) told me that a Mr. Walker caught John Carson and a man named Bell of Maryville stealing grass and corn to feed Carsons horse out of a Mr. Berrys field near Maryville. Carson tarried all night at Bells.

. . . . . .

Memo Same day Mr. Richard King informed me that about 8 miles So. West Point towards Knoxville, he was in Co. with Dougherty Lawyer of Mero district, that L. Doherty attempted to ride (?) two year old colt that they met with in the road as they traveled up toward Knoxville, the colt was difficult and hard to ride and Doherty made  p26 great efforts to ride it — at length the colt and Doherty got out of sight under a bank when Doherty came back and appeared very bloody and said that he had mastered the colt at last — Mr. King wt then and looked at the colt and see that it was standing and bleeding very fast and observed that it was stabbed in the side and some other places with a knife.

. . . . . .

Memo. That George Gillespie in presence of Mr. Casson and Henry Massingale, Jur. demanded of Gibsons negroes, sold by Talbott, 8th of March, 1798 at Washington Superior court.

. . . . . .

Memo. William applied to Colo. Avery to bring suit vs. me for the above negroes and told Avery he had purchased the right of them from Gibson — this is Colo. Averys own statement and will be proper witness in case Gillespie brings suit.

. . . . . .

Terms proposed by Walter King to the founder for blowing the Furnace.

All Hollow ware 20/ pr. ton.

Open sand layed castings 40/ pr. ton.

Open sand from running 20/ pr. ton.

Piggs and scraps 5/ pr. ton.150

The above payable one-half in cash the other in castings at 4d per lb.º


. . . . . .

Est‑il tems de diner? It is dinner time?

Il est pres de midi. it is near upon 12 o'clock.

Il est tems de aller diner. It is time to go to dinner.

Parlez Haut. — speak aloud. etc., etc.

. . . . . .

April 12 1800 Let Thomas Robbins father have an order on tras. Mabury for Six dollars, which is to be settle out of Thos. acct.

April, 1800.

Tues. 1 day of April fine day.

Wed. 2 ditto.

Thur. 3 ditto.

Fry. 4 ditto.

Sat. 5 some rain & frost at night.

Sun. 6 turned warmer (clear).

Mon. 7 pleasant day.

 p27  Tues. 8 ditto.

Wed. 9 ditto. Went to Nelsons.

Thurs. 10 returned fine day.

Fry. 11 cloudy & rained in the night.

Sat. 12 rained in the morning & thundered about 12 o'clock.

Sun. 13 cloudy & cool day.

I set out for the Iron works late in the eveng. lodged that night at Maburys mill.

Mon. 14 set out early fed and dined at Capt. Bunches. Lodged that night at Gordons on J. (?) creek.

Tues. 15th set out early fed and dined at Rogersville, and lodged all night at Mrs. Amos. paid Expenses 3/.

Wed. 16 Brakfirsted at Clines 4/6. dined at Venisons No. Fork on Till (?) and arrived at Mr. Kings the Iron Works in the evening.

Thur. 17 stayed at the works.151

Fry. 18 ditto — ditto. Bob horse run away.

Sat. 19 sent Tobe after the horse. The forge152 began to work.

Sun. 20 myself and Mrs. King went to meeting at Combs Ferry.

Mon. 21 the forge began to work. Memo. to inquire after Aaron Ryley his mother lives near this place.

Tues. 22 Tobe returned with the horse.

Sun. 27 Mrs. Cuningham and Mrs. Comb dined with Mrs. King.

Mon. 28 Reuben and James Payne came to the works. Cash on hand 34 & Eat fish for brakfast.


Boil one quart of N. Milch half away, with a half pound old bacon therein (good to cure the botts on a horse).

. . . . . .

Turn eggs with the small end down in good wood ashes. Change them onst a week and they will keep several months.

May, 1800.

[Thur. 1 —. Fri. 2—.]

Sat. 3 went with Mr. McCrain to Colo. Anderson Retd. in evng. to Iron works.

Sun. 4 set out from the works at Jonesboro, lodged that night at Ben Browns.

Mon. 5 Stayed at Mr. Browns.

Tues. 6 Went to Jonesboro Court — tarryed at Doctor Chesters.153

 p28  Wed. 7 Stayed at Jonesbro.

Sun. 11 the Jonesbro and went to my fathers. Pd. expenses to Chester 32/. Arrived in the eveng at my father and tarried with him all night.

Mon. 12 went to Chester Court Tarried all night with Genl. Carter.

Tues. 13 was at a ball at Carters.

Wed. 14 went from Carters to my fathers and lodged with him that night.

Thur. 15 Set out for John Keewoods and lodged there that night.

Fry. 16 stayed at Mr. Keywoods.

Sat. 17 set out and arrived at Mays in the eveng and stayed all night.

Sun. 18 Stayed at Mr. Mays in but lodged myself that night at Mr. Fagens.

Mon. 19 Went to Sullivan court, put up at Snaps.154 Lodged myself that night Delany.

Tues. 20 Lodged that night with Capt. John Tipton.

Wed. 21 Slept at Snaps.

Thur. 22 Set out from Sullivans and lodged at John Yances, Esq.

Fry. 23 Set out and came to the iron works at Pactolus.155 Lodged there all night.

Sat. 24 still stayed at the works.

Wed. 28 sent to Knoxville by Mr. Charles 1 crow bar and hammer weight 54 ls.º 94 ls.º Iron including two shovel moulds.

[Thur. 29, Fri. 30, Sat. 31. –––––]


Senaca snake root powdered very good for worms in children.

. . . . . .

Salt and pepper good for the Thumps in horses Dissolve it in water. The inside Barke of B. Gum good.

June, 1800.

[Sun. 1. –––––]

Mon. 2 set out for Jonesboro in Co. with A. Sherrill and wife from Pactolus.

Stayed all night at Jonesboro.

Tues. 3 went to Mr. Sherrills and stayed all night.

Wed. 4 Went to J. Seviers and stayed all night.

Thur. 5 Retd. to Mr. Sherrills Dined at Maj. Seviers.

Fry. 6 went to Jonesboro stayed that night.

 p29  Sun. 8. Returned in Co. with Dr. Chester to Mr. Sherrills. Memo. Bt. of Colo. Harrison 3 pr Moroco shoes 3 stuff ditto 1 hand 6/. One whip 26/3. 4 yds. Calico at 6/6. Stayed all night at Mr. Sherrills.

Mon. 9 went to Plum Grove.

Tues. 10 set out in Co. with Coll. Harrison for Knoxville — Mr. Sherrill continued very ill.


Reuben Paine let a position living on old Kennedys place have 6 bushels of wheat to sow last fall.

. . . . . .

I left enclosed in a letter with Wm. Sherrill a bond on Charles Robertson, deceased, directed to Maj. Sevier to bring suit for the recovery of the debt date 6 Sept. 1782. The sum 50 pounds payable 6 July, 1783 John Garny security and William Murphy deceased a witness. The bond taken in the name of John Sevier administrator of Robert Sevier.156 Colo. Harrison and myself dined at Waddle. lodged all night at Mr. Henry Ernests.

Wed. 11 Set out dined at Mr. Penys. Lodged all night at Col. Crows.

Thurs. 12 set out early from Crows Brakd. at Maj. Tines pad. 6/6. Lodged that night at Mr. Allens.

Fry. 13 set out early. Dined at Capt. Sehorn (?) and lodged that night in Dandridge pd. 2 1/6.

Sat. 14 set out early Fed our horses at Maj. Hugh Beards. Crossed Holison at Gillums Ferry pd. 2/. Arrived at Knoxville in the evening.

Wed. 18 went Self and Mrs. Sevier with Daughter Betsy to the farm Stayed all night at farm.

[Thurs. 19, Fri. 20, Sat. 21.]

Sun. 22 Sam Sherrill sr. departed this life in the night. Mrs. Sevier and Washington set out for plum Grove.

Tues. 24 the anniversary day of St. Johns Lodge F. M. Met and dined at R. Campbells.

Butcher Reed recd. a black steer which wey'd 380 lbs. at 20/ per (?)

Memo. Settle with Tho. Humes on Mon. 23 inst., and let him have a note on Joseph Anderson for the sum of 500 dollars which has over paid Mr. Humes all his demands including Edward Irons for 12 6/3 and one of John Bird for 4 pounds which I was security to Mr. Humes for and they are indebted to me for the same.

Mr. Humes now stands indebted to me as per receipt 112.63 Cents which the bond over pays him.

July, 1800.

Fry. 4 Public dinner at Mr. Mansfields and a ball in the evening at Mr. Campbells old house.

 p30  Sat. 12 Indian George was executed for murd. Johnson.

Wed. 30 a little hopa at R. Campbells. This day Hiram Miller hired my waggon.

Thur. 31 began to make bricks.

August, 1800.

Sat. 2 Bought of a Mr. Richards 10 bushels of corn and give him an order on John Hill for 24 shillings.

Fry. 8 Give a warrant on the treasurer in favour of Ralston and Wilson for printing the laws and journals of last assembly and Land law of No. Carolina for 735 dollars 43½ cents.

Wed. 21 give an order on John Newman sheriff of Green, in favour of Mr. Thornton collector for 8⅓ dollars being the amt. of mtº taxes due in the district of Washington.

Thur. 28 Sent an order to John Newman Sheriff to pay John Gass esqr. about 70 dollars.

September, 1800.

Fry. 26 Indorsed a note of hand on John McDonald for 65 dollars and one of 15 on John Fulton to John Sherrill in payment of a debt dues from Wm. Sherrill of 100 dolls dues for a negro boy. Elisha Walling vs. James Berry a verdict by a Jury in the Superior court in Hamilton district in favour of the plaintiff for lands in Powels vally. both parties had entered in Carters office in the year 1779 late — Berry had his land run off by Walter Evans the surveyor and the patent issued signed by Gov. Davie all in the year 1799. This observation is to show, that all the different governors and secretaries have paid the same respect to the Carter warrant as they have to other wheresoever they were made.


Sat. 11 Memo. Put into the hands of Felix Walker sundry certificate of members of the assembly as pr receipt, to the amount of 190pds. to be laid out in entering and securing in the County of Buncomb in No. Carolina on a branch of Tennessee. If not the money to be returned if obtained from the No. Carolina assembly, otherwise the certificate to be returned.

November, 1800.

Tues. 4 Self, Crougtonº and others set out to survey land for Croughtonº on Mill creek, lodged that night near a Cabin built by N. Evans as a mill seat Good land on the west side of the creek.

Wed. 5 sit early in the morning travelled most of the day in search of my line and found it in the evening. Followed the same about three miles and lodged that night at a fine spring, where some trees were girdled and marked with E. and A. Said to be done by one Anderson — This place is about one mile south of the place where we crossed the wt. fork of Mill creek, where theº is the letters J. S. on a beach and a hand pointing easterdly with other letters on same tree. Tolerable good land here and at spring rich.

Thurs 6 We followed the line to the southwest Corner where we began & run on the east line — 1 mile, thence No. 1 mile & half & cornered on a red oak. The supposed by running wt. it wd. include  p31 the spring laid at last night, making a survey of nine hundred and sixty acres. We discovered an Excellent spring lying east of this survey, near the No. Corner and a large body of good land. With fine springs and branches on the headwaters of mile creek. We then retd. towards Iron proceeded to the path leading from Mayfields to J (?) by way of Lancaster cabbin, before we came to which by four miles the land is tolerably good timbered with black oak and hicory & is level — at the bottom of a glade at our left as we traveled a good spring — from the cabbin to Irons Creek good high land & water on our right hand. arrived at Irons at dark, & stayed all night. Still findº dry weather.

Fry. 7 G. Gordon,º Craighton, Strotherb & Medlock, went surveying the Holly bottom on the east side of obias river.

Sat. 8 Gordon returned at night. Craighton & Medlock returned to finish the survey — all retd to Irons at night.

Mon. 10 Executed deeds to Charles Croughton and Patrick Home for 6 tracts of land, two on obias one for 840 and one for 461 acres; one on the west End of my large survey, on the head of Mill creek for 2488 acres to Courghton,º and the other two to Home — one for 200 acres and one for 171 acres on Obias river and one on the wt in the original survey for 878 acres making 1250 in the wholeº (these tracts are included in one deed — and Croughtons in one.).

Made deeds to Cornelius Doherty and Robert Hill deeds for 100 acres each.

Memo. Charles Croughton agreed in behalf of himself & Co. in presence of Wm. Medlock, Stephen T. Conn near Abingdon, Virginia, Geo. Strother, Geo. Gordon, and Philip Love, that he would pay the balance of the money remaining due from him & the Company in six months from the date of his deeds this day by me to him and Patrick Home & that the articles entered into this day should not be any barr in the way of the ballance due which is 347£ W. Va. money.

Tues. 11 Croughton and Conn left this place Irons, Sprewles, and Phil Love sit out to survey and view the land on So. wt corner of the original survey, and have since determined that I shall give a farther quantity of sixty acres of land including the mill seat at Evans cabbin on Mill creek, in order to make up all deficiencies agreeably to my original contract with Croughton Encver & Co.

Wed. 12 Myself & Cap. Strother to Separate Cases — stayed all night.

. . . . . .

Sat. 15 Irons, Sproules and Love made their report on the land they had went to view & survey on which I made the deed for the 60 acres which compleates my engagement to Encver, Croughton, Home, Dummond & Co. respecting the five thousand acres I sold them.

Memo. Some fine springs on head Irons creek. . . .

Sunday 16 . . . A fine spring or two near the path leading from Irons to John Sprowles on Irons creek near to where Strother is clearing ground. . . .

(Note — There is a break in the diary at this point.)

The Editor's Notes:

146 Kingston.

[decorative delimiter]

147 George Washington had died in December, 1799.

[decorative delimiter]

148 The last illness of William Blount was thus very brief. His grave is in the church yard of First Presbyterian Church, in the City of Knoxville.

[decorative delimiter]

149 The District, or Superior, Court. The judges at this time were Archibald Roane, Andrew Jackson and David Campbell.

[decorative delimiter]

150 It is interesting to compare these prices of iron with the high prices prevailing at the present day. The first iron-works in Tennessee was erected at the mouth of Steele's Creek, in Sullivan County, and was operated by Col. James King, about 1784, who later associated with him Gov. William Blount. Iron from this furnace was shipped in twenty-five‑ton boats down to the lower settlements, and even to New Orleans. At one time there were twenty-nine furnaces in that section of East Tennessee. So important was iron that it became a medium of exchange. Of course, each furnace was small, producing not over three or four tons a day. The fuel used was charcoal. See "Historic Sullivan" (Oliver Taylor), pages 152‑155.

The first furnace in Middle Tennessee was Cumberland Furnace, in Dickson County, established by Gen'l. James Robertson in 1794.

[decorative delimiter]

151 John Sevier junior and senior formed a partnership with Walter King for the purpose of manufacturing iron. County records, "Historic Sullivan," page 153.

[decorative delimiter]

152 The prevailing type of furnace was the bloomary. The Forge was like the ordinary blacksmith forge. Many of these forges were operated with water power.

[decorative delimiter]

153 At Jonesboro there was a Chester tavern from early days down to 1897. As late as 1850 it was kept by a Dr. Chester.

[decorative delimiter]

154 Snapps and Delaneys were Sullivan County people, 1850 to 1860. Dr. Delaney was surgeon in C. S. A. service and Capt. Snapp commanded a company. D.

Also in Greene County. Some of them still live in both counties. A.

[decorative delimiter]

155 Pactolus is a village in the western part of Sullivan County.

[decorative delimiter]

156 Capt. Robert Sevier, brother of John Sevier, was killed at King's Mountain. He married Kezia Robertson, daughter of Major Charles Robertson, of the Watauga settlement. He left two sons, Charles and Valentine. Charles was a major under Jackson at New Orleans. Valentine was clerk of the court at Greenville for fifty-two years. Many of their descendants are living. Heiskell, p208.

Thayer's Notes:

a See the editor's note under Jul. 23, 1799.

[decorative delimiter]

b With my added comma, this is four people: George Gordon, Craighton (or Croughton), Strother and Medlock, who are all mentioned together again a little later, under Nov. 10; and although there Strother is called George, I suspect that to be an error of proximity to the George listed immediately before him, due either to Sevier himself or more likely to the editor (who has frequently shown himself quite careless) — and that he is in fact the John Strother who the year before surveyed the Tennessee-North Carolina line; his diary of that survey is onsite.

On the other hand, I find traces online of a George Strother (born in 1776 to a man named John Strother) — but who seems to have been a Methodist preacher rather than a surveyor, and living in Kentucky not Tennessee: still, he just may be our man; it wouldn't be the first time a 24‑year‑old man tried the career of his father to find out it didn't suit him. Alternately the George Strother who witnesses the agreement on Nov. 10 may not be the surveyor of Nov. 7: a busy father might well send his son to deal with the pro forma paperwork.

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Page updated: 11 Jul 13