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Chapter 9

This webpage reproduces a chapter of History of the
Lost State of Franklin

Samuel Cole Williams

published by the
Press of the Pioneers,
New York, 1933

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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Chapter 11

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p67  Chapter X

Manifesto and Counter Manifesto — 1785

While Henderson was making his investigations west of the mountains, news, coming in some way from the Cumberland Settlement, reached Newbern, the temporary seat of the Carolina government, that indicated his might prove to be a fool's errand: "The reports prevailing of the dismemberment of this State to the westward, are entirely groundless." "The political fool (Sevier) was restrained from the exertion of his own will," says the Newbern correspondent of the South Carolina Gazette, under date of March 24th.1

On the return of the special representative from Jonesborough disillusionment soon passed into pique, and Governor Martin issued a call (April 7th) for a meeting of the council of state to advise on the measures necessary in view of the declaration of independence and formation of a state government in the West. As a result of the council's session, Martin, under date of April 25th, published and sent to the Western Country, a manifesto:

State of North-Carolina:

By His Excellency Alexander Martin, Esquire, Governor, Captain-General and Commander-in‑Chief of the State aforesaid —

To the Inhabitants of the Counties of Washington, Sullivan and Greene:

A Manifesto

Whereas, I have received letters from Brigadier-General Sevier, under the style and character of Governor, and from Messrs. Landon Carter and William Cage, as Speakers of the Senate and House of Commons of the State of Franklin, informing me that they, with you, the inhabitants of part of the territory lately ceded to Congress, had declared themselves independent of the State of North-Carolina, and no longer consider themselves under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the same, stating their reason for their separation and revolt — among which it alledged, that the western country was ceded to Congress without their consent, by an act of the legislature, and the same was repealed in the like manner.

 p68  It is evident, from the journals of that Assembly, how far that assertion is supported, which held up to public view the names of those who voted on the different sides of that important question, where is found a considerable number, if not a majority, of the members — some of whom are leaders in the present revolt — then representing the above counties, in support of that act they now deem impolitic and pretend to reprobate — which, in all probability, would not have passed but through their influence and assiduity — whose passage at length was effected but by a small majority, and by which a cession of the vacant territory was only made and obtained with a power to the delegates to complete the same by grants, but that government should still be supported, and that anarchy prevented — which is now suggested — the western people were ready to fall into. The sovereignty and jurisdiction of the state were, by another act passed by the same assembly, reserved and asserted over the ceded territory, with all the powers and authorities as full and ample as before, until Congress should accept the same.

The last Assembly having learned what uneasiness and discontent the Cession act had occasioned throughout the state, whose inhabitants had not previously been consulted on that measure, in whom, by the constitution, the soil and territorial rights of the state are particularly vested, judging the said act impolitic at this time, more especially as it would, for a small consideration, dismember the state of one half of her territory, and in the end tear from her a respectable body of her citizens, when no one state in the Union had parted with any of their citizens, or given anything like an equivalent to Congress but vacant lands of an equivocal and disputed title and distant situation; and also considering that the said act, by its tenor and purport, was revocable at any time before the cession should have been completed by the delegates, who repealed it by a great majority; at the same time, the Assembly, to convince the people of the western country of their affection and attention to their interest, attempted to render government as easy as possible to them, by removing the only general inconvenience and grievance they might labour under, for the want of a regular administration of criminal justice, and a proper and immediate command of the militia; a new district was erected, an assistant judge and a brigadier-general were appointed.

Another reason for the revolt is assigned, that the Assembly on the Cession act stopped a quantity of goods intended for the Cherokee Indians, as a compensation for their claim to the western lands; and that the Indians had committed hostilities, in consequence thereof. The journals of the Assembly evince the contrary; that the said goods were still to be given to the Indians, but under the regulations of Congress, should the cession take place; which occasioned the delay of not immediately sending them forward; of which the Indians were immediately notified, and I am well informed  p69 that no hostilities or mischiefs have been committed on this account; but, on the other hand, that provocations have been, and are daily given, their lands trespassed upon, and even one of their chiefs has been lately murdered, with impunity.

On the repeal of the Cession act, a treaty was ordered to be held with the Indians, and the goods distributed as soon as the season would permit; which, before this, would have been carried into effect, had not the face of affairs been changed.

Under what character, but truly disgraceful, could the State of North-Carolina suffer treaties to be held with the Indians, and other business transacted in a country, where her authority and government were rejected and set at naught, her officers liable to insult, void of assistance or protection.

The particular attention the legislature have paid to the interest of the western citizens, though calculated to conciliate their affection and esteem, has not been satisfactory, it seems; but the same has been attributed to interest and lucrative designs. Whatever designs the legislature entertained in the repeal of the said act, they have made it appear that their wisdom considered that the situation of our public accounts was somewhat changed since that Assembly, and that the interest of the state should immediately be consulted and attended to, that every citizen should reap the advantage of the vacant territory, that the same should be reserved for the payment of the public debts of the state, under such regulations hereafter to be adopted; judging it ill‑timed generosity at this crisis, to be too liberal of the means that would so greatly contribute to her honesty and justice.

But designs of a more dangerous nature and deeper die seem to glare in the western revolt. The power usurped over the vacant territory, the Union deriving no emolument from the same, not even the proportional part intended the old states by the cession being reserved, her jurisdiction and sovereignty over that country (which, by the consent of its representatives, were still to remain and be exercised) rejected and deposed; her public revenue in that part of her government seized by the new authority, and not suffered to be paid to the lawful Treasurer, but appropriated to different purposes, as intended by the Legislature, — are all facts, evincing that a restless ambition and a lawless thirst of power, have inspired this enterprise, by which the persons concerned, therein, may be precipitated into measures that may, at last, bring down ruin, not only on themselves, but our country at large.

In order, therefore, to reclaim such citizens, who, by specious pretences and the acts of designing men, have been seduced from their allegiance, to restrain others from following their example who are wavering, and to confirm the attachment and affection of those who adhere to the old government, and whose fidelity hath not yet been shaken, I have thought proper to issue this Manifesto, hereby warning all persons concerned in the said revolt, that they  p70 return to their duty and allegiance, and forbear paying any obedience to any self-created power and authority unknown to the constitution of the state, and not sanctified by the Legislature. That they and you consider the consequences that may attend such a dangerous and unwarrantable procedure; that far less causes have deluged states and kingdoms with blood, which, at length, have terminated their existence, either by subjecting them a prey to foreign conquerors, or erecting in their room a despotism that has bidden defiance to time to shake off; — the lowest state of misery, human nature, under such a government, can be reduced to. That they reflect there is a national pride in all kingdoms and states, that inspires every subject and citizen with a degree of importance — the grand cement and support of every government — which must not be insulted. That the honour of this State has been particularly wounded by seizing that by violence which, in time, no doubt, would have been obtained by consent, when the terms of separation would have been explained and stipulated, to the mutual satisfaction of the mother and new state. That Congress, by the confederation, cannot countenance such a separation, wherein the State of North-Carolina hath not given her full consent; and if an implied or conditional one hath been given, the same hath been rescinded by a full Legislature. Of her reasons for so doing they consider themselves the only competent judges.

That by such rash and irregular conduct a precedent is formed for every district, and even every county of the state, to claim the right of separation and independency for any supposed grievance of the inhabitants, as caprice, pride and ambition shall dictate, at pleasure, thereby exhibiting to the world a melancholy instance of a feeble or pusillanimous government, that is either unable or dares not restrain the lawless designs of its citizens, which will give ample cause of exultation to our late enemies, and raise their hopes that they may hereafter gain, by the division among ourselves, that dominion their tyranny and arms have lost, and could not maintain.

That you tarnish not the laurels you have so gloriously won at King's Mountain and elsewhere, in supporting the freedom and independence of the United States, and this state in particular, to be whose citizens was then your boast, in being concerned in a black and traitorous revolt from that government in whose defence you have so copiously bled, and which, by solemn oath, you are still bound to support. Let not Vermont be held up as an example on this occasion. Vermont, we are informed, had her claims for a separate government at the first existence of the American war, and, as such, with the other states, although not in the Union, hath exerted her powers against the late common enemy.

That you not be insulted or led away with the pageantry of a mock government without the essentials — the shadow without the substance — which always dazzles weak minds, and which will, in its present form and manner of existence, not only subject you to  p71 the ridicule and contempt of the world, but rouse the indignation of the other states in the Union at your obtruding yourselves as a power among them without their consent. Consider what a number of men of different abilities will be wanting to fill the civil list of the State of Franklin, and the expense necessary to support them suitable to their various degrees of dignity, when the District of Washington, with its present officers, might answer all the purposes of a happy government until the period arrive when a separation might take place to mutual advantage and satisfaction on an honourable footing. The Legislature will shortly meet, before whom the transactions of your leaders will be laid. Let your representatives come forward and present every grievance in a constitutional manner, that they may be redressed; and let your terms of separation be proposed with decency, your proportion of the public debts ascertained, the vacant territory appropriated to the mutual benefit of both parties, in such manner and proportion as may be just and reasonable; let your proposals be consistent with the honour of the state to accede to, which, by your allegiance as good citizens you cannot violate, and I make no doubt but her generosity, in time, will meet your wishes.

But, on the contrary, should you be hurried on by blind ambition to pursue your present unjustifiable measures, which may open afresh the wounds of this late bleeding country, and plunge it again into all the miseries of a civil war, which God avert, let the fatal consequences be charged upon the authors. It is only time which can reveal the event. I know with reluctance the state will be driven to arms; it will be the last alternative to imbrue her hand in the blood of her citizens; but if no other ways and means are found to save her honour, and reclaim her head-strong, refractory citizens, but this last sad expedient, her resources are not yet so exhausted or her spirits damped, but she may take satisfaction for this great injury received, regain her government over the revolted territory or render it not worth possessing. But all these effects may be prevented, at this time, by removing the causes, by those who have revolted returning to their duty, and those who have stood firm, still continue to support the government of this state, until the consent of the legislature be fully and constitutionally had for a separate sovereignty and jurisdiction. All which, by virtue of the powers and authorities which your representatives and others of the state at large have invested me with in General Assembly, I hereby will command and require, as you will be liable to answer all the pains and penalties that may ensue on the contrary.

Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State, which I have caused to be hereunto affixed, at Hillsborough, the twenty-fifth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1785, and ninth year of the Independence of the said State.

Alexander Martin

By His Excellency's command.
James Glasgow, Secretary.

 p72  On April 25th, also, Governor Martin issued a call for a special session of the General Assembly in which he referred to "the revolt of the inhabitants of the counties of Washington, Sullivan and Greene" as one of the matters to be considered.

Henderson while in Franklin had felt out the situation to ascertain what individuals would be likeliest to coöperate with the authorities of the old State. John Tipton, of Washington county, was without doubt reported by him to be one of these, for a copy of the manifesto was hurried to Tipton, along with a letter of the Governor, by a special messenger. Tipton replied on May 13th, saying that he thought himself duty bound to obey the governor's commands, "both from the zeal I bear to the old State and towards your Excellency . . . I shall continue to discountenance the lawless proceedings of my neighbors."​2 It is difficult to make this square with Tipton's subsequent action in accepting election to and taking part in the constitutional convention of Franklin in November following, unless his appearance there was of purpose to subvert the cause of Franklin. Tipton sent copies of the manifesto to Evan Shelby, of Sullivan, and to Joseph Hardin, of Greene. The latter was, however, warmly attached to Sevier and the cause of independence, and it is probable that the first news of the document reached the governor of Franklin through him. Promptly — within two days — after the manifesto reached Tipton, the governor of Franklin countered in a concise but spirited proclamation:

State of Franklin
A Proclamation

Whereas, a manifesto is sent in and circulating through this State, in order to create sedition and stir up insurrection among the good citizens of this State, thinking thereby to destroy that peace and tranquility that so greatly abounds among the peaceful citizens of the new happy country.

And, notwithstanding that their own acts declare to the world that they first invited us to the separation, if in their power, would now bring down ruin and destruction on that part of their late citizens, that the world well knows saved the State out of the hands of the enemy, and saved her from impending ruin.

Notwithstanding we have the fullest confidence in the true attachment and fidelity of the good citizens of this State, I have thought it proper to issue this my Proclamation, strictly enjoining and requiring all and every the good citizens of this State, as they  p73 will answer the same at peril, to be obedient and conformable to the laws thereof.

Witness, John Sevier, Esq., Governor, and Captain-General in and over the said State, under his hand and seal of arms, in Washington, this fifteenth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, and in the first year of our Independency.

John Sevier

God save the State!​3

The issue was now joined; and, had Martin succeeded himself as governor, it seems certain that the decision would have been favorable to the State of Franklin. Martin's policy would have taken color from his personal views which were derogatory of the western folk and of any rights or equities they supposed themselves to have had; and he would have had to combat an opposition solidified thereby. He was succeeded in the executive office by General and former Governor Richard Caswell, in the spring of 1785. As has been observed, Caswell knew the West and its people better than did Martin; he had their confidence, above any other Eastern Carolinian, unless William Blount be excepted. To Caswell, soon to come into power, Governor Sevier wrote even before he issued the above proclamation:

State of Franklin,
Washington County, 14th May, 1785.

Sir: Governor Martin has lately sent up into our country a Manifesto, together with letters to private persons, in order to stir up sedition and insurrection, thinking, thereby, to destroy that peace and tranquility, which have so great subsisted among the peaceful citizens of this country.

First in the Manifesto, he charges us with a revolt from North-Carolina, by declaring ourselves independent of that state. Secondly, that designs of a more dangerous nature and deeper die seem to glare in the western revolt, the power being usurped over the western vacant territory, the Union deriving no emolument from the same, not even the part intended for North-Carolina by the cession, and that part of her revenue is seized by the new authority and appropriated to different purposes than those intended by your legislature.

His Excellency is pleased to mention that one reason we have assigned for the revolt, as he terms it, is that the goods were stopped from the Indians, that were to compensate them for the western lands, and that the Indians had committed murders in consequence  p74 thereof. He is also pleased to say that he is well informed to the contrary, and that no hostilities have been committed on that account; but on the other hand, provocations are daily given the Indians, and one of their chiefs murdered with impunity. In answer to the charge relative to what His Excellency is pleased to call the revolt, I must beg leave to differ with him in sentiment on that occasion; for your own acts declare to the world that this country was ceded off to Congress, and one part of the express condition was, that the same should be erected into one or more states; and we believe that body was candid, and that they fully believe a new state would tend to the mutual advantage of all parties; that they were as well acquainted with our circumstances at that time, as Governor Martin can be since, and that they did not think a new government here would be led away by the pageantry of a mock government without the essentials, and leave nothing among us but a shadow, as represented by him.

But if Governor Martin is right in his suggestion, we can only say that the Assembly of North-Carolina deceived us, and were urging us on into total ruin, and laying a plan to destroy that part of her citizens she so often frankly confessed saved the parent state from ruin. But the people here, neither at that time nor the present, having the most distant idea of any such intended deception, and at the same time well knowing how pressingly Congress had requested a cession to be made of the western territory ever since the 6th of September and 10th of October, in the year 1780 — these several circumstances, together with a real necessity to prevent anarchy, promote our happiness, and provide against the common enemy, that always infest this part of the world, induced and compelled the people here to act as they have done innocently: thinking, at the same time, your acts tolerated them in the separation. Therefore, we can by no means think it can be called a revolt or known by such a name. As to the second charge, it is entirely groundless. We have by no act, whatever, laid hold of one foot of the vacant land, neither have we appropriated any of the same to any of our use or uses, but intend everything of that nature for further deliberation, and to be mutually settled according to the right and claim of each party.

As to that part of seizing the public money, it is groundless as the former. For no authority among us, whatever, has laid hold of or appropriated one farthing of the same to our uses in any shape whatever, but the same is still in the hands of the sheriff and collectors. And on the other hand, we have passed such laws as will both compel and justify them in settling and paying up to the respective claimants of the same; all which will appear in our acts, which will be laid before you and fully evince to the reverse of Governor Martin's charge in the Manifesto.

Very true, we suggest that the Indians have committed murders in consequence of the delay of the goods. Nearly forty people have  p75 been murdered since the Cession Bill, some of which lived in our own counties, and the remainder on the Kentucky Path; and it is evidently known to the Cherokees, and their frequent talks prove, they are exasperated at getting nothing for their lands, and in all probability had their goods been furnished, no hostilities would have been committed.

The murder committed with impunity, alluding to Major Hubbard's killing a half-breed, which Governor Martin calls a chief (but who was never any such thing among the Indians). We can't pretend to say what information His Excellency has received on this subject, more than the others, or where from. This we know, that all the proof was had against Hubbard that ever can be had, which is, the Indian first struck, and then discharged his gun at Hubbard, before the Indian was killed by Hubbard. As Governor Martin reprobates the measure in so great a degree, I can't pretend to say what he might have done, but must believe, that had any other person met with the same insult from one of those bloody savages, who have so frequently murdered the wives and children of the people of this country for many years past, I say had they been possessed of that manly and soldierly spirit that becomes an American, they must have acted like Hubbard.

I have now noticed to your Excellency the principal complaints in the Manifesto, and such as I think is worth observation, and have called forth such proofs as must evince fully the reverse of this charge and complaints set forth.

The menaces made use of in the Manifesto will by no means intimidate us. We mean to pursue our necessary measures, and with the fullest confidence believe that your Legislature, when truly informed of our civil proceedings, will find no cause for resenting anything we have done.

Most certain it is, that nothing has been transacted here out of any disregard for the parent state, but we still entertain the same high opinion and have the same regard and affection for her that ever we had, and would be as ready to step forth in her defence as ever we did, should need require it.

Also our acts and resolutions will evince to the world, that we have paid all due respect to your state. First, in taking up and adopting her constitution and then her laws, together with naming several new counties and also an academy after some of the first men in your state.

The repeal of the Cession act we cannot take notice of, as we had declared our separation before the repeal. Therefore, we are bound to support it with that manly firmness that becomes freemen.

Our Assembly sits again in August, at which time it is expected commissioners will be appointed to adjust and consider on such matters of moment as will be consistent with the honour and interest of each party.

The disagreeable and sickly time of the year, together with the  p76 great distance from Newbern, as also short notice, puts it out of the power of any person to attend from this quarter at this time.

Our agent is at Congress, and we daily expect information from that quarter, respecting our present measures, and hope to be advised thereon.

We are informed that Congress have communicated to your state respecting the repeal of the Cession act. Be that as it may, I am authorized to say nothing will be lacking in us, to forward everything that will tend to the mutual benefit of each party and conciliate all matters whatever.

Governor Caswell replied on June 17, 1785, in a tone less peremptory than Governor Martin's:

Kingston, N. C., 17th June, 1785.

Sir: — Your favor of the 14th of last month, I had the honour to receive by Colonel Avery.

In this, sir, you have stated the different charges mentioned in Governor Martin's Manifesto, and answered them by giving what I understand to be the sense of the people, and your own sentiments, with respect to each charge, as well as the reasons which governed in the measures he complained of.

I have not seen Governor Martin's Manifesto, nor have I derived so full and explicit from any quarter as this you have been pleased to give me. As there was not an Assembly, owing to the members not attending at Governor Martin's request, the sense of the Legislature on this business, of course, could not be had, and as you give me assurances of the peaceable dispositions of the people, and their wish to conduct themselves in the manner you mention, and also to send persons to adjust, consider and conciliate matters, I suppose, to the next Assembly, for the present, things must rest as they are with respect to the subject matter of your letter, which shall be laid before the next Assembly. In the meantime, let me entreat you not, by any means, to consider this as giving countenance, by the executive of the state, to any measures lately pursued by the people to the westward of the mountains.

With regard to the goods intended, by the state, for the Indians as a compensation for the lands, they, I believe, have been ready for many months, at Washington, and if I can procure wagons to convey them to the place destined, (the Long Island,) I mean to send them there to be disposed of according to the original intention of the Assembly, and will either attend myself or appoint commissioners to treat with the Indians; but in this, you know, it is necessary that whoever attends should be protected by the militia, and under the present situation of affairs, it is possible my orders may not be attended to in that particular; and however a man may submit to these things in a private character, he may be answerable to the people, at least they may judge it so, in a public situation.  p77 Therefore, without your assurances of the officers and men under your command being subject to my orders in this case, as matters stand, I think it would be imprudent in me to come over or send commissioners to treat with the Indians. Of this you will be pleased to write me the first favourable opportunity. It is my wish to come over myself, and if matters turn so that I can with convenience, it is probable I may.

Governor Caswell in effect waived further action until the sense of the Assembly might be obtained; and any opponents in Franklin of the new government had little to encourage them to active obstruction in the meanwhile. In all counties the authority of Franklin was recognized and enforced, judicially and in respect to administrative functions. Deeds and wills were probated and recorded by Franklin officials,​4 and all writs ran in the name of the State of Franklin, shortly after the adjournment of the first session of the General Assembly.

John Sevier, as commissioner of the Assembly of Franklin, proceeded to exercise another attribute of sovereignty, as one inhering the new State. He, accompanied by Outlaw, Hardin, Luke Bowyer and others met a number of the chiefs of the Cherokees at the home of Major Samuel Henry (May 31, 1785) and entered into a treaty for the purpose of quieting the title to the tract of country lying south of the French Broad river and north of the watershed which divided the waters of Little river and Little Tennessee river (then called the Tennessee). The treaty, so far as preserved, is as follows:5

At a treaty of amity and friendship begun and held with the Cherokees at the mouth of Dumplin Creek on the French Broad river, and continued by adjournment the 31st day of May, Anno Domini, 1785, present, John Sevier, Commissioner; the King of the Cherokees; Ancoo, chief of Chota; Abraham, Chief of Chilhowe; the Bard, head-warrior of the Valley Towns; the Sturgeon, of Tallassee; the Leach, from Settico; the Big Man Killer, from Tallassee; and nearly thirty more warriors, &c., of the Cherokee Nation; together with Cherokee Murphy, the half-breed Indian and linguister of the treaty.

 p78  Ancoo, chief of Chota, chosen speaker on the part of the Cherokees, began and spoke as follows:

It is agreed by us, the warriors, chiefs and representatives of the Cherokee Nation, that all the lands lying and being on the south side of Holston and French Broad rivers, as far south as the ridge that divides the waters of Little river from the waters of Tennessee, may be peaceably inhabited and cultivated, resided on, enjoyed and inhabitedº by our elder brothers, the white people, from this time forward and always. And we do agree on our part and in behalf of our Nation, that the white people shall never be by us or any of our Nation, molested or interrupted, either in their persons or property, in no wise, or in any manner or form whatever, in consequence of their settling or inhabiting the said territory, tract of land and country aforesaid, or any part of the same whatever.

John Sevier, for and in behalf of the white people, and for and in behalf of the State or government, or the United States, as the case may hereafter be settled and concluded on with respect to the jurisdiction and sovereignty over the said tract or territory of land, agrees that there shall be a reasonable and liberal compensation made the Cherokees for the lands they have herein ceded and granted to the white people, and to the State or States that may hereafter legally possess and enjoy the country aforesaid, in good faith. That this bargain and engagement now made and entered into between us, the white people and the Cherokees, may never be broken, disannulled, or dissolved, in consequence of any claim, right or sovereignty over the soil hereby mentioned and described, as aforesaid.

Done in open treaty, the 10th of June, 1785.
John Sevier,
The King,
Ancoo, chief of Chota,
And chiefs of the different towns.

Lew Boyer,
Alex Outlaw,
Joshua Gist,
Ebenezer Alexander,
Jos. Hardin,
Charles Murphy, Ling't.

The engagements of the Indian chiefs are very definite as compared with those of the representatives of the white people. The Cherokees' hold on the particular territory was weak; many white families had already settled on it, and this may account in part for the vagueness of the covenanting on Sevier's part.6

 p79  "The governor, in a speech well calculated to produce the end he had in view, deplored the sufferings of the white people; the blood which the Indians spilt on the road leading to Kentucky; lamented the uncivilized state of the Indians, and to prevent all future animosities he suggested the propriety of fixing the bounds beyond which those settlements should not be extended which had been imprudently made on the south side of French Broad and Holston, under the connivance of North Carolina, and could not be broken up; and he pledged the faith of the State of Franklin, if those bounds should be agreed upon and made known, the citizens of his State should be effectually restrained from encroaching beyond it."7

The treaty was in fact negotiated with only one faction of the Overhill Cherokees, who entered into it the more readily in reliance upon its repudiation by the chiefs and warriors of the towns not represented.

In a "talk" sent to the governor of North Carolina after this treaty, Tassel, the beloved man of Chota, complained of the treaty. He insisted that the Franklin authorities only sought of the Cherokees "liberty for those that were then living on the lands to remain there, till the head men of their nation were consulted on it, which our young men​8 agreed to. Since then we are told that they claim all the lands on the waters of Little river, and call it their ground."​9 The Tassel repeated the complaint of his people made at the treaty of Hopewell in November, 1785, but expressed the Cherokees' willingness to allow those who had settled in the fork of Holston and French Broad rivers to remain there until Congress could pass on the Cherokees' claim to the land.

As a result of the treaty of Dumplin Creek, settlers in great numbers crossed the French Broad and occupied lands. Many came from the Valley of Virginia, among them the Houston family, relations of Rev. Samuel Houston and of General Sam Houston; Samuel Wear, and Samuel Newell. The station of the last named became  p80 the first seat of justice for Sevier county and he along with Wear became a leader in the Franklin movement. Here, Ramsey says, was "the nucleus of an excellent neighborhood of intelligent, worthy and patriotic citizens . . . who diffused around them republicanism, religion, intelligence and thrift."​10 The settlements gradually worked southward leading to the formation of the county of Blount under Franklin authority.

The holding of the treaty was made the occasion of rumors that the Franklin leaders contemplated an incorporation of the Cherokees into the new State, getting an accession of territory, and increasing the number of inhabitants in the borders of that State to the number that was by the Ordinance of 1784 made a requisite to her admission into the Union.

Alden says: "What was at the bottom of the report we cannot say. We have it from at least three different sources, letters dated May and June, 1785. Arthur Campbell wrote to Governor Henry that Governor Sevier was then 'treating with the Cherokees with a view to an incorporation.'​11 A 'gentleman in Washington' wrote that 'the executive of the State of Franklin has lately concluded a treaty of amity and perpetual friendship with the Cherokee Indians, and a negotiation is on foot to give that nation a representation in the new legislature'."​12 The Maryland Gazette (October 11, 1785) published an "Extract of a letter from Caswell county, in the State of Franklin," whose author said: "A negotiation is on foot with the Cherokees, and the aim will be to incorporate them and make them useful citizens. I dare say the project will startle your rigid sectaries, — but, we expect, will be more liberal, when it manifestly appears that the interest of humanity and of our new society will be promoted." No evidence appears to show whether the Indians declined to be made useful citizens in this way, or the Franklin leaders changed their minds about it.13

The suggestion was probably advanced by one of the young Presbyterian ministers, Balch or Houston, who were at the time in Franklin and ambitious to try their hands at statecraft. It is unlikely that Sevier, with his intimate knowledge of the Cherokees,  p81 gave approval to the plan, if such it may be called, or took any step in its furtherance. Houston wrote frequently for the newspapers of the day, and the idea was almost certainly his, and born of missionary zeal.

The Author's Notes:

1 The South Carolina Gazette of April 25th, 1785.

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2 North Carolina Records, XXII, 648.

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3 Pennsylvania Packet of August 9, 1785; South Carolina Gazette, of August 8, 1785.

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4 The first deed so registered in Washington county, was one from Jesse Walton, of the State of Georgia, to James Taylor, of the State of South Carolina conveying 200 acres "lying in Washington county in the State of Franklin," May 2, 1785. Valentine Sevier and Nicholas Hall were witnesses. In Greene county the first record was of date June 25, 1785, a marriage license, Anderson Walker to Letia Wilson.

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5 North Carolina State Records XII, 649, et seq.

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6 In a memorial to Congress from the inhabitants south of the French Broad river (September, 1794) it was stated that as a result of this treaty "The Indians received a compensation in clothing and other articles for said lands" and, it is set forth, numbers of the petitioners had settled on lands for which North Carolina had issued warrants or grants. Ramsey, 631.

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7 Ramsey, 299, quoting Haywood.

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8 Old Abram's participation in the treaty evidences that this was not the whole truth.

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9 Ramsey, 319.

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10 Ramsey, 369.

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11 Cal. Va. St. Papers, IV, 32 (June 7, 1785). Campbell wrote that the negotiation of the treaty of Dumplin Creek "was of a neighborly and friendly kind." Ib., 37.

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12 Pennsylvania Packet, August 6, 1785.

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13 Alden, "The State of Franklin," American Historical Review, VIII, 283.

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Page updated: 23 Jul 13