A DIGRESSION. The purpose of this history is to relate facts concerning that part of North Carolina which lies between the Blue Ridge and the Tennessee line; but as there has never been any connected account of the boundary lines between North Carolina and its adjoining sisters, a digression from the main purpose in order to tell that story should be pardoned.
UNFOUNDED TRADITIONS. It is said that the reason the Ducktown copper mines of Tennessee were lost to North Carolina was due to the fact that the commissioners of North Carolina and Tennessee ran out of spirituous liquors when they reached the high peak just north of the Hiwassee river, and instead of continuing the line in a general southwestwardly course, crossing the tops of the Big and Little Frog mountains, they struck due south to the Georgia line and a still-house. The same story is told as to the location of Asheville, the old Steam Saw Mill place on the Buncombe Turnpike about three miles south of Asheville, at Dr. Hardy's former residence, being its chief rival; but when it is recalled that two Indian trails crossed at Asheville, and the legislature had selected a man from Burke as an umpire of the dispute, it will be found that grave doubts may arise as to the truth of the whiskey tradition.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1
xxx"> It was the jagged boundary between North and South Carolina and the stories attributing the same to the influence of whiskey that called forth the following just and sober reflections:
ABSTEMIOUS OR CAPABLE IN STRONG DRINK? Hon. W. L. Saunders, who edited the Colonial Records, remarks in Vol. v, p. xxxviii, that "there is usually a substantial, sensible, sober reason for any marked variation from the general direction of an important boundary line, plain enough when the facts are known; but the habit of the country is to attribute such variations to a supposed superior capacity of the commissioners and surveyors on the other side for resisting the power of strong drink. Upon this theory, judging from practical results, North Carolina in her boundary surveys, and they have been many, seems to have been unusually fortunate in having men who were either abstemious or very capable in the matter of strong drink; for, so far as now appears, in no instance have we been overreached."<a href="#2" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 2
Col. Rec., Vol. V, p. xxxix">
A SANCTUARY FOR CRIMINALS. Prior to the settlement of these boundary disputes grants had been issued by each colony to lands in the territory in controversy; which, according to Governor Dobbs, "was the creation of a kind of sanctuary allowed to criminals and vagabonds by their pretending, as it served their purpose, that they belonged to either province."<a href="#3" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 3
Ibid"> "But," adds Mr. W. L. Saunders, "who can help a feeling of sympathy for those reckless free-lances to whom constraint from either province was irksome? After men breathe North Carolina air for a time, a very little government will go a long way with them. Certainly the men who publicly `damned the King and his peace' in 1762 were fast ripening for the 20th of May, 1775.<a href="#4" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 4
THE FIRST GRANT OF CAROLINA. Charles the Second's grant of Carolina in 1584 embraced only the land between the mouth of the St. Johns river in Florida to a line just north of Albemarle Sound; but he had intended to give all land south of the settlements in Virginia. This left a strip of land between the Province of Carolina and the Virginia settlements.<a href="#5" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 5
Hill, p. 31-32"> In 1665 the King added a narrow strip of land to those already granted. This strip lay just north of Albemarle Sound, and its northern boundary would of course be the boundary line between Carolina and Virginia. It was about fifteen miles wide, and had on it "hundreds of families," which neither colony wished to lose.<a href="#6" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 6
Ibid., p. 33">
THE FIRST SURVEY. In 1709, both colonies appointed commissioners to settle this boundary. North Carolina appointed Moseley and John Lawson; but Lawson left his deputy, Colonel Win. Maine, to act for him.<a href="#7" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 7
Ibid., p. 89"> In 1710 these commissioners met Philip Ludwell and Nathaniel Harrison, commissioners from Virginia, but our commissioners insisted that the surveying instruments used by the Virginians were not to be trusted, and the meeting broke up without having accomplished anything except the charge from the Virginians that Moseley did not want the line run because he was trading in disputed lands.<a href="#8" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 8
Ibid,. p. 88"> When the commissioners from these two colonies did meet in March 1728, it was found that our commissioners had been right in 1710 as to the inaccuracy of the Virginia instruments, and the Virginians frankly admitted it.<a href="#9" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 9
NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA BOUNDARY<a href="#10" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 10
Col. Rec. Vol. IlI, p. 23 et seq"> "On the 27th of February, 1728, William Byrd, Will Dandridge, and Richard Fitzwilliam, as commissioners from Virginia, met Edward Moseley, C. Gale, Will Little and J. Lovick, as commissioners from North Carolina, at Corotuck Inlet, and began the survey on the 27th day of March, and continued it till the weather got "warm enough to give life and vigor to the rattlesnakes" in the beginning of April, when they stopped till September 20, when the survey was renewed; and after going a certain distance beyond their own inhabitants the North Carolina commissioners refused to proceed further, and protested against the Virginia commissioners proceeding further with it.<a href="#11" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 11
Ibid., Vol. II, p. 790"> In this they were joined by Fitzwilliam of Virginia. This protest was in writing and was delivered October 6, when they had proceeded 170 miles to the southern branch of the Roanoke river "and near 50 miles without inhabitants," which they thought would be far enough for a long time. To this the two remaining Virginia commissioners, Byrd and Dandridge, sent a written answer, to the effect that their order was to run the line "as far towards the mountains as they could; they thought they should go as far as possible so that "His Majesty's subjects may as soon as possible extend themselves to that natural barrier, as they are certain to do in a few years;" and thought it strange that the North Carolina commissioners should stop "within two or three days after Mr. Mayo had entered with them near 2,000 acres within five miles of the place where they left off."
BYRD AND DANDRIDGE CONTINUE ALONE. The North Carolina commissioners, accompanied by Fitzwilliam of Virginia, left on October 8th; but Byrd and Dandridge continued alone, crossing Matrimony creek, "so called from being a little noisy," and saw a little mountain five miles to the northwest "which we named the Wart."<a href="#12" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 12
Ibid., p. 794">
On the 25th of October they came in plain sight of the mountains, and on the 26th, they reached a rivulet which "the traders say is a branch of the Cape Fear." Here they stopped. This was Peters creek in what is now Stokes County.<a href="#13" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 13
The line thus run was accepted by both Colonies and remains still the boundary between the two states. Hill 89.j "> was on this trip that Mr. Byrd discovered extraordinary virtues in bear meat. This point was<a href="#14" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 14
Byrd. 190"> on the northern boundary of that part of old Surry which is now Stokes county.
THE "BREAK" IN THE LINE ACCOUNTED FOR. A glance at the map will show a break in the line between Virginia and North Carolina where it crosses the Chowan river. This is thus accounted for:<a href="#15" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 15
Col. Rec., Vol. II, p. 223"> Governors Eden of North Carolina and Spottswood of Virginia met at Nansemond and agreed to set the compass on the north shore of Currituck river or inlet and run due west; and if it "cutt [sic] Chowan river between the mouths of Nottoway and Wiccons creeks, it shall Continue on the same course towards the mountains; but it it "cutts Chowan river to the southward of Wiccons creek, it shall continue up the middle of Chowan river to the mouth of Wiccons creek, and from thence run due west." It did this; and the survey of 1728 was not an attempt to ascertain and mark the parallel of 36° 30', but "an attempt to run a line between certain natural objects … regardless of that line and agreed upon as a compromise by the governors of the two States."<a href="#16" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 16
Ibid., Vol. I p. xxiv">
THE REAL MILK IN THE COCOANUT. Thus, so far as the Colonial Records show, ended the first survey of the dividing line between this State and Virginia, which one of the Virginia commissioners has immortalized by his matchless account, which, however, was not given to the world until 1901, when it was most attractively published by Doubleday, Page & Co., after careful editing by John Spencer Bassett. But Col. Byrd does not content himself in his "Writings" with the insinuation that the North Carolina commissioners and Mr. Mayo had lost interest immediately after having entered 2,000 acres of land within five miles of the end of their survey. He goes further and charges (p. 126) that, including Mr. Fitzwilliam, one of the Virginia commissioners, "they had stuck by us as long as our good liquor lasted, and were so kind to us as to drink our good Journey to the Mountains in the last Bottle we had left!" He also insinuates that Fitzwilliam left because he was also a judge of the Williamsburg, Virginia, court, and hoped to draw double pay while Byrd and Dandridge continued to run the line after his return. But in this he exultantly records the fact that Fitzwilliam utterly failed.
THE NINETY-MILE EXTENSION IN 1749. In October, 1749, the line between North Carolina and Virginia was extended from Peters creek, where it had ended in 1728-which point is now in Stokes county-ninety miles to the westward to Steep Rock creek, crossing "a large branch of the Mississippi [New River], which runs between the ledges of the mountains" as Governor Johnston remarked-"and nobody ever drempt of before." William Churton and Daniel Weldon were the commissioners on the part of North Carolina, and Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson on the part of Virginia. "It so happens, however, that no record of this survey has been preserved, and we are today without evidence, save from tradition, to ascertain the location of our boundary for ninety miles."<a href="#17" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 17
Col. Rec., Vol. IV p. xiii ">
This extension carried the line to within about two miles east of the Holston river; and we know from the statute of 1779 providing for its further extension from that point upon the latitude of 36° 30' that it had been run considerably south of that latitude from Peters creek to Pond mountain, from which point it had, apparently without rhyme or reason, been run in a northeastwardly direction to the top of White Top mountain,<a href="#18" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 18
The large green, treeless spot on the top of this mountain, covered with grass is surrounded by a forest of singular trees, locally known as "Lashorns." From a sketch of Wilborn Waters, "The Hermit Hunter of White Top," by JA Testerman, of Jefferson, Ashe, Co. N.C., the following description of these trees is taken: "They have a diameter of from 15 to 30 feet, and their branches will hold the weight of several persons at one time on their level tops. They resemble the Norway Spruce, but do not thrive when transplanted. The diameter given above refers to that of the branches not of the trunks."> about three miles north of its former course, and from there carried to Steep Rock creek, near the Holston river, in a due west course. The proverbial still-house, said to have been on White Top, is also said to have caused this aberration; but the probability is that the commissioners had a more substantial reason than that.
THE LAST EXTENSION OF THIS LINE. In 1779 North Carolina passed an act<a href="#19" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 19
Ch. 144, Laws 1779, 377, Potter's Revisal; W.C. Kerr in Report of Geological Survey of N.C. Vol. I, (1875) p. 2, states that this survey carried the line beyond Bristol Tenn - Va."> reciting that as "the inhabitants of this State and of the Commonwealth of Virginia have settled themselves further westwardly than the boundary between the two States hath hitherto been extended, it becomes expedient in order to prevent disputes among such settlers that the same should be now further extended and marked." To that end Orandates-improperly spelled in the Revised Statutes of 1837, Vol. ii, p. 82, "Oroondates"-Davie, John Williams Caswell, James Kerr, William Bailey Smith and Richard Henderson should be the commissioners on the part of North Carolina to meet similar commissioners from Virginia to still further extend it. But it was expressly provided that they should begin where the commissioners of 1749 had left off, and first ascertain if it be in latitude 36° 30', "and if it be found to be truly in" that latitude, then they were "to run from thence due west to the Tennessee or the Ohio river; or if it be found not truly in that latitude, then to run from said place, due north or due south, into the said latitude, and thence due west to the said Tennessee or Ohio river, correcting the said course at due intervals by astronomical observations. "<a href="#20" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 20
A glance at any map of Tennessee reveals the fact that the line does not run "due west" all the way but that does not concern North Carolina now."> (Colonial Records. Vol. iv, p. 13.)
THE LINE RUN IN 1780. Richard Henderson was appointed on the part of North Carolina, and Dr. Thomas Walker on that of Virginia, to run this line, and they began their task in the spring of 1780; and on the last day of March of that year Col. Richard Henderson met the Donelson party on its way from the Watauga settlements to settle at the French Lick, in the bend of the Cumberland. (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 242.) But nine years before, in 1771, Anthony Bledsoe, one of the new-comers to the Watauga settlement, being a practical surveyor, and not being certain that that settlement was wholly within the borders of Virginia, extended the line of 1749 from its end near the Holston river far enough to the west to satisfy himself that the new settlement on the Watauga was in North Carolina.<a href="#21" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 21
Roosevelt, Vol. I, 217">
DISPUTED CAROLINA BOUNDARY LINES. From the Prefatory Notes to Volume V, Colonial Records, p. 35, etc., it appears that the dispute between the two Carolinas as to boundary lines began in 1720 "when the purpose to erect a third Province in Carolina,<a href="#22" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 22
Oglethorpe did not sail for Savannah till November 17, 1732"> with Savannah for its northern boundary," began to assume definite shape, but nothing was done till January 8, 1829-'30, when a line was agreed on "to begin 30 miles southwest of the Cape Fear river, and to be run at that parallel distance the whole course of said river;" and in the following June Governor Johnson of South Carolina recommended that it run from a point 30 miles southwest of the source of the Cape Fear, shall be continued "due west as far as the South Sea," unless the "Waccamaw river lyes [sic] within 30 miles of the Cape Fear river," in which case that river should be the boundary. This was accepted by North Carolina until it was discovered that the "Cape Fear rose very close to the Virginia border,"<a href="#23" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 23
Its head waters are in Rockingham and Guilford counties"> and would not have "permitted any extension on the part of North Carolina to the westward." Meanwhile, both provinces claimed land on the north side of the Waccamaw river."<a href="#24" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 24
The mouth of the Waccamaw river must be 90 miles southwest from that of the Cape Fear."> In 1732 Gov. Burrington [of North Carolina] published a proclamation in Timothy's Southern Gazette, declaring the lands lying on the north side of the Waccamaw river to be within the Province of North Carolina, to which Gov. Johnson [of South Carolina] replied by a similar proclamation claiming the same land to belong to South Carolina; and also claiming that when they [the two governors] had met before the Board of Trade in London to settle this matter in 1829-'30, Barrington had "insisted that the Waccamaw should be the boundary from its mouth to its head," while South Carolina had contended that "the line should run 30 miles distant from the mouth of the Cape Fear river on the southwest side thereof, as set forth in the instructions, and that the Board had agreed thereto, unless the mouth of the Waccamaw river was within 30 miles of the Cape Fear river; in which case both Governor Barrington and himself had agreed that the Waccamaw river should be the boundary." The omission of the word "mouth" in the last part of the instructions Governor Johnson thought "only a mistake in wording it."<a href="#25" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 25
Col. Rec., Vol. IV, 8.">
THE LINE PARTIALLY RUN IN 1735. In consequence of this dispute commissioners were appointed by both colonies, who were to meet on the 23d of April, 1735, and run a due west line from the Cape Fear along the sea coast for thirty miles, and from thence proceed northwest to the 35th degree north latitude, and if the line touched the Pee Dee river before reaching the 35th degree, then they were to make an offset at five miles distant from the Pee Dee and proceed up that river till they reached that latitude; and from thence they were to proceed due west until they came to Catawba town; but if the town should be to the northward of the line, "they were to make an offset around the town so as to leave it in the South government." They began to run the line in "May, 1735, and proceeded thirty miles west from Cape Fear … and then went northwest to the country road and set up stakes there for the mearing<a href="#26" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 26
Mear means a boundary, a limit"> or boundary of the two provinces, when they separated, agreeing to return on the 18th of the following September." In September the line was run northwest about 70 miles, the South Carolina commissioners not arriving till October. These followed the line run by the North Carolina commissioners about 40 miles, and finding it correct, refused to run it further because they had not been paid for their services. A deputy surveyor, however, took the latitude of the Pee Dee at the 35th parallel and set up a mark, which was from that date deemed to be the mearing or boundary at that place.
LINE EXTENDED IN 1737 AND IN 1764. In 1737 the line was extended in the same direction 22 miles to a stake in a meadow supposed to be at the point of intersection with the 35th parallel of north latitude.<a href="#27" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 27
Col. Rec., Vol. IV, p. vii, and W.C. Kerr's Report of the Geological Survey of N.C. (1875). "> In 1764 the line was extended from the stake due west 82 miles, intersecting the Charleston road from Salisbury, near Waxhaw creek<a href="#28" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 28
It was in the Waxhaw settlement that Andrew Jackson was born March 15, 1767"> at a distance of 61 miles.
THE "LINE OF 1772." In 1772, after making the required offsets so as to leave the Catawba Indians in South Carolina in pursuance of the agreement of 1735, the line was "extended in a due west course from the confluence of the north and south forks of the Catawba river to Tryon mountain. " But North Carolina refused to agree to this line, insisting that "the parallel of 35 of north latitude having been made the boundary by the agreement of 1735, it could not be changed without their consent …. The reasons that controlled the commissioners in recommending this course … were that the observations of their own astronomer, President Caldwell of the University, showed there was a palpable error in running the line from the Pee Dee to the Salisbury road, that line not being upon the 35th parallel, but some 12 miles to the South of it, and that "the line of 1772" was just about far enough north of the 35th parallel to rectify the error, by allowing South Carolina to gain on the west of the Catawba river substantially what she had lost through misapprehension on the east of it." North Carolina in 1813 "agreed that the line of 1772" should be recognized as a part of the boundary.<a href="#29" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 29
Potter's Revisal, p. 1280"> "The zigzag shape of the line as it runs from the southwest corner of Union county to the Catawba river is due to the offsets already referred to, and which were necessary to throw the reservation of Catawba Indians into the Province of South Carolina."
NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BOUNDARIES. The peace of 1783 with Great Britain did nothing more to secure our western limits than to confirm us in the control of the territory already in our possession; for while the Great Lakes were recognized as our northern boundary, Great Britain failed to formally admit that boundary till the ratification of the Jay treaty, on the ground that we had failed to fulfill certain promises; and while she had likewise consented to recognize the 31st parallel as our southern boundary, it had been secretly agreed between America and Great Britain that, if she recovered West Florida from Spain, the boundary should run a hundred miles further north than the 31st parallel. For this land, drained by the Gulf rivers, had not been England's to grant, as it had been conquered and was then held by Spain. Nor was it actually given up to us until it was acquired by Pinckney's masterly diplomacy. (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 283 et seq.)
FRANCE'S DUPLICITY. The reasons for these reservations were that while France had been our ally in the Revolutionary war, Spain was also the ally of France both before and after the close of that conflict; and our commissioners had been instructed by Congress to "take no steps without the knowledge and advice of France." It was now the interest of France to act in the interest of Spain more than in that of America for two reasons, the first of which was that she wished to keep Gibralter, and the second, that she wished to keep us dependent on her as long as she could. Spain, however, was quite as hostile to us as England had been, and predicted the future expansion of the United States at the expense of Florida, Louisiana and Mexico. Therefore, she tried to hem in our growth by giving us the Alleghanies as our western boundary. The French court, therefore, proposed that we should content ourselves with so much of the transAlleghany territory as lay around the head waters of the Tennessee and between the Cumberland and Ohio, all of which was already settled; "and the proposal showed how important the French court deemed the fact of actual settlement." But John Jay, supported by Adams, disregarded the instructions of Congress and negotiated a separate treaty as to boundaries, and gave us the Mississippi as our western boundary, but leaving to England the free navigation of the Mississippi. 2 (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 284.)
INCHOATE RIGHTS ONLY UNDER COLONIAL CHARTERS. "In settling the claims to the western territory, much stress was laid on the old colonial charters; but underneath all the verbiage it vas practically admitted that these charters conferred merely inchoate rights, which became complete only after conquest and settlement. The States themselves had already by their actions shown that they admitted this to be the case. Thus, North Carolina, when by the creation of Washington county-now the State of Tennessee,-she rounded out her boundaries, specified them as running to the Mississippi. As a matter of fact the royal grant, under which alone she could claim the land in question, extended to the Pacific; and the only difference between her rights to the regions east and west of the river was that her people were settling in one, and could not settle in the other." (Roosevelt, Vol. iii, p. 285.)
WESTERN LANDS AN OBSTACLE. One of the chief objections to the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, which Congress formulated and submitted to the States November 15, 1777, by some of the States was that each State had considered that upon the Declaration of Independence it was possessed of all the British lands which at any time had been included within its boundary; and Virginia, having in 1778, captured a few British forts northwest of the Ohio, created out of that territory the "County of Illinois," and treated it as her property. Other States, having small claims to western territory, insisted that, as the western territory had been secured by a war in which all the States had joined, all those lands should be reserved to reward the soldiers of the Continental army and to secure the debt of the United States. Maryland, whose boundaries could not be construed to include much of the western land, refused to ratify the articles unless the claim of Virginia should be disallowed. It was proposed by Virginia and Connecticut to close the union or confederacy without Maryland, and Virginia even opened a land office for the sale of her western lands; but without effect on Maryland. At this juncture, New York, which had less to gain from western territory than the other claimants, ceded her claims to the United States; and Virginia on January 2, 1781, agreed to do likewise. Thereupon Maryland ratified the articles, and on March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation were duly put into force. From that date Congress was acting under a written charter or constitution. (Hart, Sec. 45.)
CESSION of WESTERN TERRITORY. When, at the close of the Revolution, it became necessary that Congress take steps to carry out the pledge it had given (October 10, 1780) to see that such western lands should be disposed of for the common benefit, and formed into distinct republican States under the Union, it urged the States to cede their western territory to it to be devoted to the payment of the soldiers and the payment of the national debt. The northern tier of States soon afterwards ceded their territory, with certain reservations; but the process of cession went on more slowly and less satisfactorily in the southern States. Virginia retained both jurisdiction and land in Kentucky, while North Carolina, in 1790, granted "jurisdiction over what is now Tennessee," but every acre of land had already been granted by the State. (Hart, Sec. 52). This, however, is not strictly true, much Tennessee land not having been granted then.
THE CAROLINAS AGREE TO EXTEND "THE LINE OF 1772." In 1803 the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. II, p. 82) for the appointment of three commissioners to meet other commissioners from South Carolina, to fix and establish permanently the boundary line between these two States "as far as the eastern boundary of the territory ceded by the State of North Carolina to the United States. This act was amended in 1804, giving "the governor for the time being and his successor full power and authoriy to enter into any compact or agreement that he may deem most advisable" with the South Carolina and Georgia authorities for the settlement of the "boundary lines between these States and North Carolina." But this act seems only to have caused confusion and necessitated the passage of another act in 1806 declaring that the act of 1804 should "not be construed to extend or have any relation to the State of Georgia." (Rev. Stat. 1837, p. 84.)
COMMISSIONERS MEET IN COLUMBIA IN 1808.<a href="#30" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 30
Potter's Revisal, 1131"> "Commissioners of the States of North and South Carolina, however, met in Columbia, S. C., on the 11th of July, 1808, and among other things agreed to extend the line between the two States from the end of the line which had been run in 1772 "a direct course to that point in the ridge of mountains which divides the eastern from the western waters where the 35° of North latitude shall be found to strike it nearest the termination of said line of 1772, thence along the top of said ridge to the western extremity of the State of South Carolina. It being understood that the said State of South Carolina does not mean by this arrangement to interfere with claims which the United States, or those holding under the act of cession to the United States, may have to lands which may lie, if any there be, between the top of the said ridge and the said 35° of north latitude. "
AGREEMENT OF SEPTEMBER, 1813<a href="#31" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 31
Ibid., 1280"> But, although the commissioners from the two States met at the designated point on the 20th of July, 1813, they found that they could not agree as to the "practicability of fixing a boundary line according to the agreement of 1808," and entered into another agreement "at McKinney's, on Toxaway river, on the fourth day of September, 1813," by which they recommended that their respective States agree that the commissioners should start at the termination of the line of 1772 "and rim a line due west to the ridge dividing the waters of the north fork of the Pacolet river from the waters of the north fork of Saluda river; thence along the said ridge to the ridge that divides the Saluda waters from those of Green river; thence along the said ridge to where the same joins the main ridge which divides the eastern from the western waters, and thence along the said ridge to that part of it which is intersected by the Cherokee boundary line run in the year 1797; from the center of the said ridge at the point of intersection the line shall extend in a direct course to the eastern bank of Chatooga river, where the 35° of north latitude has been found to strike it, and where a rock has been marked by the aforesaid commissioners with the following inscription, viz.: lat. 35°, 1813. It being understood and agreed that the said lines shall be so run as to leave all the waters of Saluda river within the State of South Carolina; but shall in no part run north of a course due west from the termination of the line of 1772." The commissioners who made the foregoing agreement were, on the part of North Carolina, John Steele, Montfort Stokes, and Robert Burton, and on the part of South Carolina Joseph Blythe, Henry Middleton, and John Blasingame. Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 86).
COMMISSIONERS APPOINTED IN 1814. Pursuant to the above provisional articles of agreement North Carolina in 1814 appointed General Thomas Love, General Montfort Stokes and Col. John Patton commissioners to meet other commissioners from South Carolina to run and mark the boundary line between the two States in accordance with the recommendation of the commissioners who had met and agreed, "at McKinney's, on Toxaway river, on the 4th of September, 1813. " (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 87).
AROUND HEAD SPRINGS OF SALUDA RIVER.<a href="#32" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 32
Ibid., 1318"> But these commissioners met and found, "by observations and actual experiments that a course due west from the termination of the line of 1772 would not strike the point of the ridge dividing the waters of the north fork of Pacolet river from the waters of the north fork of Saluda river in the manner contemplated, … and finding also that running a line on top of the said ridge so as to leave all the waters of Saluda river within the State of South Carolina would (in one place) run a little north of a course due west from the termination of the said line of 1772," agreed to run and mark a line "on the ridge around the head springs of the north fork of Saluda river," and recommended that such line be accepted by the two States.
TERMINATION OF 1772 LINE STARTING POINT OF 1815 LINE. Therefore the Legislature of North Carolina passed an act (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol. ii, p. 89) fixing this line as "beginning on a stone set up at the termination of the line of 1772" and marked "N. C. and S. C. September fifteenth, eighteen hundred and fifteen, " running thence west four miles and ninety poles to a stone marked N. C. and S. C., thence south 25° west 118 poles to the top of the ridge dividing the waters 6f the north fork of the Pacolet river from the north fork of the Saluda river … thence to the ridge that divides the Saluda waters from those of Green river and thence along that ridge to its junction with the Blue Ridge, and thence along the Blue Ridge to the line surveyed in 1797, where a stone is set up marked N. C. and S. C. 1813; and from this stone "a direct line south 68y4° west 20 miles and 11 poles to the 35° of north latitude at the rock in the east bank of the Chatooga river, marked latitude 35 AD: 1813, in all a distance of 74 miles and 189 poles."
CONFIRMATION OF BOUNDARY LINES. In 1807 the North Carolina Legislature passed an act (Rev. Stat. 1837, V ol. ii, p. 90) which "fully ratified and confirmed" these two agreements, and another act (Rev. Stat. Vol. ii, p. 92) reciting that these two sets of commissioners "in conformity with these articles of agreement" had "run and marked in part the boundary line between the said States." This act further recites that the North Carolina commissioners "have reported the running and marking of said boundary line as follows:
"To commence at Ellicott's rock, a<a href="#33" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 33
Ellicott's Rock is on the west bank of Chatooga river. Rev. St. N.C. Vol. II, 145. Andrew Ellicott had been previously appointed to survey the line under the Creek treaty of 1790 according to Fifth Eth. Rep., p. 163."> and run due west on the 35° of north latitude, and marked as follows: The trees on each side of the line with three chops, the fore and aft trees with a blaze on the east and west side, the mile trees with the number of miles from Ellicott's rock, on the east side of the tree, and a cross on the east and west side; whereupon the line was commenced under the superintendance of the undersigned commissioners jointly: Timothy Tyrrell, Esquire, surveyor on the part of the commissioners of the State of Georgia, and Robert Love, surveyor on the part of the commissioners of the State of North Carolina-upon which latitude the undersigned caused the line to be extended just thirty miles due west, marking and measuring as above described, in a conspicuous manner throughout; in addition thereto they caused at the end of the first eleven miles after first crossing the Blue Ridge, a rock to be set up, descriptive of the line, engraved thereon upon the north side, September 25, 1819, N. C., and upon the south side 35 degree N. L. G.; then after crossing the river Cowee or Tennessee, at the end of sixteen miles, near the road running up and down the said river, a locust post marked thus, on the South side Ca. October 14, 1819; and on the north side, 35 degree N. L. N. C., and then at the end of twenty-one miles and three quarters, the second crossing of the Blue Ridge, a rock engraved on the North side 35 degree N. L. N. C., and on the south side Ga. 12th Oct., 1819; then on the rock at the end of the thirty miles, engraved thereon, upon the north side N. C. N. L. 35 degrees, which stands on the north side of a mountain, the waters of which fall into Shooting Creek, a branch of the Hiwassee, due north of the eastern point of the boundary line, between the States of Georgia and Tennessee, commonly called Montgomery's line, just six hundred and sixty-one yards."
The Legislature then enacted "That the said boundary line, as described in the said report, be, and the same is hereby fully established, ratified and confirmed forever, as the boundary line between the States of North Carolina and Georgia."
The last section of the act confirming the survey of the line from the Big Pigeon to the Georgia line, as run and marked by the commissioners of North Carolina and Tennessee in 1821, (Rev. Stat. 1837, Vol ii, p. 97) provides "that a line run and known by the name of Montgomery's line, beginning six hundred and sixty-one yards due south of the termination of the line run by the commissioners on the hart of this State and the State of Georgia, in the year one thousand eight hundred and nineteen ending on a creek near the waters of Shooting Creek, waters of Hiwassee, then along Montgomery's line till it strikes the line run by commissioners on the part of North Carolina and Tennessee in 1821, to a square post marked on the east side N. C. 1821, and on the west side Tenn. 1821, and on the south side G. should to be the dividing line between North Carolina and Georgia, so soon as the above line shall be ratified on the part of the State of Georgia."
ORIGIN OF THE WALTON WAR. "North Carolina claimed for her southern boundary the 35th degree of north latitude. The line of this parallel, however, was at that time supposed to run about twelve miles north of what was subsequently ascertained to be its true location. Between this supposed line of 35° north latitude and the northernmost boundary of Georgia, as settled upon by a convention between that State and South Carolina in 1787, there intervened a tract of country of about twelve miles in width, from north to south, and extending from east to west, from the top of the main ridge of mountains which divides the eastern from the western waters to the Mississippi river. This tract remained, as was supposed, within the chartered limits of South Carolina, and in the year 1787 was ceded by that State to the United States, subject to the Indian right of occupancy. When the Indian title to the country therein described was ceded to the United States by the treaty of 1798 with the Cherokees, the eastern portion of this 12-mile tract fell within the limits of such cession. On its eastern extremity near the head-waters of the French Broad river, immediately at the foot of the main Blue Ridge Mountains, had been located, for a number of years prior to the treaty, a settlement of about fifty families of whites, who, by its ratification became occupants of the public domain of the United States, but who were outside of the territorial jurisdiction of any State. These settlers petitioned Congress to retrocede the tract of country upon which they resided to South Carolina, in order that they might be brought within the protection of the laws of that State. A resolution was reported in the House of Representatives from the committee to whom the subject had been referred, favoring such a course, but Congress took no effective action on the subject, and when the State boundaries came finally to be adjusted in that region the tract in question was found to be within the limits of North Carolina."<a href="#34" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 34
Fifth Eth. Rep., p. 182">
THE WALTON WAR. That there should have been great confusion and uncertainty as to the exact boundary- lines between the States in their earlier history is but natural, especially in the case where the corners of three States come together, and still more especially when they come together in an inaccessible mountainous region, such as characterized the cornerstone between Georgia, South and North Carolina. And that renegades and other lawless adventurers should take advantage of such a condition is still more natural. It is, therefore, not surprising to read in "The Heart of the Alleghanies," (p. 224-5) that: "In early times, criminals and refugees from justice made the fastnesses of the wilderness hiding places. Their stay, in most cases, was short, seclusion furnishing their profession a barren field for operation. A few, however, remained, either adopting the wild, free life of the chase, or preying upon the property of the community."
WALTON COUNTY. Such a community existed at the commencement of the last century on the head waters of the French Broad river in what are now Jackson and Transylvania counties. Some even claimed that this territory belonged to South Carolina. But Georgia, about December, 1803, created a county within this territory and called it Walton county. Georgia naturally attempted to exercise jurisdiction over what it really believed was its own territory, and North Carolina as naturally resisted such attempts. Consequently, there were "great dissentions, … the said dissentions having produced many riots, affrays, assaults, batteries, woundings and imprisonments. "
THE NORTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA LINE. On January 13, 1806, Georgia presented a memorial to the House of Representatives of Congress, complaining that North Carolina was claiming lands lying within the State of Georgia, and asking that Congress interpose and cause the 35th degree of north latitude to be ascertained and the line between the two States plainly marked.
THE TWELVE MILES "ORPHAN" STRIP. This was referred to a committee which, on February 12th, reported that "between the latitude of 35° north, which is the southern boundary claimed by North Carolina, and the northern boundary of Georgia, as settled by a convention between that State and South Carolina, intervenes a tract of country supposed to be about twelve miles wide, from north to south, and extending in length from the western boundary of Georgia, at Nicajack, on the Tennessee, to his northeastern limits at Tugalo, and was consequently within the limits of South Carolina, and in the year 1887 it was ceded to the United States, who [sic] accepted the cession." This territory remained in the possession of the United States until 1802 when it was ceded to the State of Georgia, when the estimated number of settlers on it was 800. It was not known where these settlers came from; but the land had belonged to the Cherokees until 1798 when a part of it was purchased by the whites by treaty held at Tellico.<a href="#35" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 35
N.C. Booklet, Vol IlI, No. 12">
WALTON COUNTY, GEORGIA. At the earnest entreaty of these inhabitants Georgia in 1803 formed the inhabited part of this territory into Walton county and appointed commissioners to meet corresponding commissioners to be appointed by North Carolina to ascertain and mark the line. But Congress took no definite action on this report.
A SURVEY AGREED UPON. The two States, in 1807, came to an agreement as to the basis of a survey. In a letter dated at Louisville, Ga., December 10, 1806, Gov. Jared Irwin to Gov. Nathaniel Alexander of North Carolina, enclosed sundry resolutions adopted by the legislature of Georgia, and announced that that body had appointed Thomas P. Carnes, Thomas Flournoy and William Barnett as commissioners to ascertain the 35th' of north latitude "and plainly mark the dividing line between the States of North Carolina and Georgia." On January 1, 1807, Gov. Alexander enclosed to Gov. Irwin a copy of an act of the legislature passed at the preceding session assenting to the proposition of Georgia and appointing John Steele, John Moore and James Welbourne commissioners on the part of North Carolina. It was subsequently agreed that the commissioners from both States should meet at Asheville June 15, 1807; Rev. Joseph Caldwell, president of the North Carolina University, was the scientist for North Carolina, while Mr. J. Meigs represented Georgia in that capacity.
THE RECORD. In the minute docket of the county court of Buncombe, pp. 104 and 363, the proceedings of these commissioners are set forth in full, showing that Thomas Flournoy, one of the Georgia commissioners, did not attend but that on the 18th of June, 1807, the others met at Buncombe court house and agreed on a basis of procedure, the most important point being that the 35th parallel was to be first ascertained; after which it was to be marked and agreed on as the line. This they proceeded to do, with the result that on the 27th of June, at Douthard's gap on the summit of the Blue Ridge, they signed a supplemental agreement to the effect that they had discovered by repeated astronomical observations that the 35th degree of north latitude is not to be found on any part of said ridge east of the line established by the general government as the temporary boundary between the white people and the Indians, and having no authority to proceed over that boundary "in order to ascertain and mark that degree," they agreed that Georgia had no right to claim any part of the territory north or west of the Blue Ridge and east or south of the present temporary line between the whites and Indians; and would recommend to the Georgia Legislature that it repeal the act which had established the county of Walton on North Carolina soil. Both sets of commissioners then agreed to recommend amnesty for all who had been guilty of violating the laws of either State under the assumption that it had no jurisdiction over that territory.
Following is the story as to how they had reached this agreement:
THE "ASTONISHMENT" OF THE GEORGIANS.<a href="#36" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 36
Ibid"> These scientists made their first observations at the house of Mr. Amos Justice, which they supposed to be on or near the dividing line of 35° north latitude, but discovered that it was "22 miles within old Buncombe, " which astonished them; for Mr. Sturges, the Surveyor General of Georgia, had previously ascertained this meridian to be at the junction of Davidson's and Little rivers. But, said the Georgia commissioners in their report to their governor, they were "accompanied by an artist [sic] appointed by the government [of the United States] whose talents and integrity we have no reason to doubt, " whose observations accorded very nearly with their own; they "were under the necessity of suspending our astonishment and proceeding on the duty assigned us. "
SUPPLEMENTARY AGREEMENT AT CAESAR'S HEAD. When they got to the junction of Davidson and Little rivers and found that they were still 17 minutes north of the 35th meridian, they "proceeded to Caesar's Head, a place on the Blue Ridge about 12 horizontal miles directly south and in the vicinity of Douthet's Gap, which was from 2' 57" to 4' 54" north of the 35th parallel. They then signed the supplementary agreement of June 27.
GEORGIA'S SPORTING BLOOD. On December 28, 1808, Gov. Irwin of Georgia wrote to Governor Stone of North Carolina, asking for the appointment of a new commission on the part of North Carolina to meet one already appointed by the legislature of Georgia; but Gov. Stone declined in a communication of March 21, 1809, in which he states that it "does not readily occur to us on what basis the adjustment is to rest, if not upon that where it now stands-the plighted faith of two States to abide by the determination of commissioners mutually chosen for the purpose of making the adjustment those commissioners actually made". On December 7, 1807, North Carolina had adopted and ratified the joint report of the commissioners of the two States and on December 18 "passed an act of amnesty for offenders within the disputed territory."<a href="#37" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 37
GEORGIA IS SNUBBED. But Georgia sent still another petition to Congress by way of appeal, and its legislature on December 5, 1807, "put forth an earnest protest against the decision arrived at by their own commissioners." But although on April 26, 1810, Mr. Bibb of Georgia, asked the United States to appoint some person to run the dividing line, and it was referred to a select committee on the 27th of the following December, that committee never reported. Georgia must have become reconciled, however, for in 1819 its legislature refused relief to certain citizens who had claimed land in this disputed territory.
CONTOUR MAP AND 35TH PARALLEL. The late Captain W. A. Curtis, for a long time editor of the Franklin Press, said, in "A Brief History of Macon County," (1905) p. 23,<a href="#38" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 38
By the late C.D. Smith, 1905"> that "it has long been accepted as a fact that the southern boundary of Macon and Clay counties, constituting the State line between North Carolina and Georgia, is located on the 35th parallel of north latitude. This is either a mistake or else the latest topographical charts are incorrect. According to the charts a straight line starts from the top of Indian Camp mountain on the southern boundary of Translyvania county, 6 3/4 miles north of the 35th parallel, and dips somewhat south of west until it reaches the Endicott (Ellicut) Rock at the corner of South Carolina exactly on the 35th parallel, and, instead of turning due west at this place, it continues on a straight line for about twenty miles, or to 83 1/2 degrees west longitude, which is near the top of the Ridge Pole, close by the southwest corner of Macon county; then it turns due west, running parallel with the 35th, and about one mile south of it, on towards Alabama. One peculiarity of this survey is that Estatoa, or Mud Creek Falls, which has long been considered as being in Georgia, are, according to the map, in North Carolina. Mud creek crosses the State line a few yards above the falls into North Carolina, and at about half way between the falls and the Tennessee river passes back into Georgia. But, by examining some old records belonging to the State Library at Raleigh in 1881, I am convinced that the line between the States of Georgia and North Carolina has never been correctly surveyed. "
THE NORTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE BOUNDARY. By the Cessions Act, Revised Statutes, 1837, Vol. ii, p. 171, North Carolina authorized one or both United States Senators or any two members of Congress to execute a deed or deeds to the United States of America of the lands west of a line beginning on the extreme height of the Stone mountain, at the place where the Virginia line intersects it, running thence along the extreme height of the said mountain to the place where Watauga river breaks through it, thence a direct course to the top of the Yellow Mountain, where Bright's road crosses the same, thence along the ridge of said mountains between the waters of Doe river and the waters of Rock creek to the place where the road crosses the Iron mountain, from thence along the extreme height of said mountain, to where Nolechucky river runs through the same, thence to the top of the Bald mountain, thence along the extreme height of the said mountain to the Painted Rock, on French Broad river, thence along the highest ridge of the said mountain to the place where it is called the Great Iron or Smoky mountain, thence along the extreme height of said mountain to the place where it is called Unicoy or Unaka mountain, between the Indian towns of Cowee and Old Chota, thence along the main ridge of the said mountain to the southern boundary of this State."
The 10th section provided that."this. act shall not prevent the people now residing south of French Broad, between the rivers Tennessee and Pigeon, from entering their pre-emptions on that tract should an office be opened for that purpose under an act of the present general assembly. "
TO PAY DEBTS AND ESTABLISH HARMONY. The reasons for making this cession are set out in the act itself and are to the effect that Congress has "repeatedly and earnestly recommended to the respective States … claiming or owning vacant western territory," to make cession to part of the same, as a further means "of paying the debts and establishing the harmony of the United States;" "and the inhabitants of the said western territory being also desirious that such cession should be made, in order to obtain a more ample protection than they have heretofore received." The act also provides that neither the land nor the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be estimated in ascertaining North Carolina's proportion of the common expense occasioned by the war for independence. Also that in case the lands laid off by North Carolina for the "officers and soldiers of the Continental line" shall not "contain a sufficient quantity of lands fit for cultivation to make good the quota intended by law for each such make up the deficiency out of lands of the ceded territory." Having been admonished by the claim of the citizens of Watauga that until Congress should accept the ceded territory they would be in a state "of political orphanage," the legislature, later in the session of 1784, had been careful to pass another act. by which North Carolina retained jurisdiction and sovereignty over the land west of the mountains, and continued in force all existing North Carolina laws, "until the same shall be repealed or otherwise altered by the legislative authority of said territory." The act ordering the survey is ch. 461, Potter's Revisal, p. 816, Laws 1796.
THE FIRST TENNESSEE BOUNDARY SURVEY. From the narratives of David Vance and Robert Henry of the battles of Kings Mountain<a href="#39" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 39
Draper. 259"> and Cowan's Ford, as well as from the dairy of John Strother, can be gathered a fine account of the survey from Virginia to the Painted Rock on the French Broad and the Stone on the Cataloochee Turnpike. The survey began on the 20th of May and ended Friday the 28th of June, 1799. The original of Strother's diary is filed in the suit of the Virginia, Tennessee & Carolina Steel and Iron Company vs. Newman, in the United States court at Asheville, N. C. The actual survey began May 22d, "at a sugar-tree and beech on Pond mountain, so called from two small ponds on it."
Both trees are now gone, and a stone four feet by two feet by sixteen inches in thickness, is buried in the ground where they stood, with a simple cross, east and west, chiseled upon it. Its upper surface is level with the ground, and it was placed there in 1899 or 1900 by a Mr. Buchanan of the United States coast survey. Marion Miller and John and Alfred Bivins assisted him. Mr. Miller still lives within a mile and a half of the corner rock. Strother's party set out from Asheville May 12, and reached Capt. Robert Walls on New River, where Strother arrived on the 17th, and met with Major Mussendine Mathews, of whom Judge David Schenck says'<a href="#40" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 40
In the Narrative of Vance and Henry of the Battle of Kings Mountain, published in 1892 by T.F. Davidson."> that he "represented Iredell county in the House of Commons from 1789 to 1802 continuously. He was either a Tory or a Cynic, it seems. " They were awaiting the arrival of Col. David Vance and Gen. Joseph McDowell, but as they did not come, Strother went to the house of a Mr. Elsburg on the 18th.
THE PARTY GATHERS. Col. Vance and Major B. Collins arrived on the 19th, and they all went to Captain Isaac Weaver's. They were General Joseph McDowell, Col. David Vance, Major Mussendine Mathews commissioners; John Strother and Robert Henry, surveyors; Messers. B. Collins, James Hawkins, George Penland, Robert Logan, cc Davidson, and J. Matthews, chain-bearers and markers; Major James Neely, commissary; two pack-horse men and a pilot. They camped that night on Stag creek. On the night of the 23d of May they camped "at a very bad place" in a low gap at the head of Laurel Fork of New river and Laurel Fork of Holston at the head of a branch, "after having passed through extreme rough ground and some bad laurel thickets." Through that laurel thicket, built since the runs from Hemlock postoffice, where there is now a narrow gauge lumber railroad and an extract plant, to Laurel Bloornery, in Tennessee. A small hotel now stands half on the North Carolina and half on the Tennessee side of the line those men then ran, and the gap is called "Cut Laurel" gap because it is literally cut through the laurel for a mile or more.<a href="#41" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 41
Ambrose gap is a few miles southwest and is so called because a free negro of that built a house across the State line in this gap, and when he died his grave was dug half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina according to local tradition. "> Thousands of gallons of blockade whiskey used to be carried through that gap when there was nothing but a trail there. It is called by Mr. Strother a low gap, but it is one of the highest in the mountains. On the 28th they went to a Mr. Miller's and got a young man to act as a pilot. Strother went from Miller's A road now runs "to Cove creek, where I got a Mr. Curtis and met the company in a low gap between the waters of Cove creek and Roan's creek where the road crosses the same," on Wednesday night, the 29th.
CROSSED BOONE'S TRAIL. This, in all probability, is the gap through which Daniel Boone and his party had passed in 1769 on their way to Kentucky. It is between Zionville, N. C. and Trade, Tenn., and the gap is so low that one is not conscious of passing over the top of a high mountain. Tradition says that an Indian trail went through the same gap, and traces of it are still visible to the north of the present turnpike. The young man who had been employed as a pilot at Mr. Miller's house on the 28th was found on the 29th not to be a "woodsman and of course he was discharged." On June 1st they came to the "Wattogo" river, where they killed a bear, "very poor," upon which and "some bacon stewed together, with some good tea and Johnny cake we made a Sabbath morning breakfast fit for a European Lord. " There is a tradition among the people living near the falls of the Watauga at the State line, that the line between the peak to the north of the falls and the Yellow mountain was not actually run and marked; but the field notes of both Strother and Henry show that the line was both run and marked all the way. The reason the line was run from the peak north of the Watauga to the bald of the Yellow `vas because the act required it to be run in precisely that way; the language being "to the place where Watauga river breaks through it [the mountain], thence a direct course to the top of the Yellow Mountain where Bright's road crosses the same." As it is impossible to see the Yellow from the river at the falls where the river breaks through, it was necessary to get the course from the top of the peak north of the river.
RATTLEBUGS. On Saturday, June 1st, they came upon "a very large rattlebug," which they "attempted to kill, but it was too souple in the heels for us." On the night of May 31st they had had "severe lightning and some hard slaps [sic] of thunder."
LAUREL AID IVY. There are some who, nowadays, contend that ivy and laurel did not grow in these mountains while the Indians occupied them, and cite as proof that it is almost impossible to find a laurel log with rings indicating more than a hundred years of growth. But Bishop Spangenburg mentions having encountered laurel on what is supposed to have been the Grandfather mountain in 1752, and John Strother, in his diary of the survey between Virginia and North Carolina in 1799, repeatedly mentions it, both before and after crossing the ridge which divides the waters of Nollechucky from those of the French Broad. What are now known as the "ivory Slicks," is a tunnel cut through the otherwise impenetrable ivy on the slope between the Hang Over and Dave Orr's cabins on Slick Rock, south of the Little Tennessee.
TWO WAGON ROADS ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS. Even at that early date there seem to have been two roads crossing the mountains into Tennessee, for the very next call of the statute is "thence along the ridge of said mountain between the waters of Doe river and the waters of Rock creek to the place where the road crosses the Iron mountain. " Bright used to live at the Crab Orchard, long known as Avery's Quarters, about a mile above Plum Tree, and where W. W. Avery now lives.'<a href="#42" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 42
Draper, 176"> On the 5th of June Major Neely "turned off the line today and went to Doe river settlements for a fresh supply of provisions," and was to meet them at the Yellow mountain, where on that day the trees were "just creeping out of their winter garb," and where "the lightning and thunder were so severe that they were truly alarming." From "the yellow spot" on the Yellow, whither they had gone to take observations, but were prevented by the storm, "we went back and continued the line on to a low gap at the head of Roaring or Sugar creek of ToweX [sic] river and a creek of Doe river at the road leading from Morganton to Jonesborough, where we encamped as wet as we could be. " This fixes the main road between North Carolina and the Watauga settlement, which had been finished in 1772, and over which Andrew Jackson was to pass in the spring of 1788.<a href="#43" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 43
Allison, p. 4"> Robert Henry mentions a Gideon Lewis as one of the guides from White Top mountain, and it is remarkable that a direct descendant of his and having his name is now living at Taylor's Valley, near Konarok, Va., and that several others now live near Solitude or Ashland, N. C.
WAS THIS EVER "NO MAN'S LAND"? When the surveying party came to the Yellow they found that the compass had been deflected when it had been sighted from the peak just north of Watauga Falls, caused doubtless by the proximity to the Cranberry Iron mountain, of whose existence apparently they then had no knowledge. Of late years some have supposed that the "territory between the Iron mountain and the Blue Ridge, after the act of cession, was left out of any county from 1792 or 1793 till 1818 or 1822, and was without any local government till it was annexed to Burke county." L. D. Lowe, Esq., in the Watauga Democrat of July 3rd, 1913, gave the following explanation: "It is quite true that there was no local government, but it was not for the reason that this part of the territory was not claimed by Burke county; but it was because the lands had been granted to a few, and there were only a limited number of people within the territory to be governed, Hence there was very little attention paid to it." In previous articles in the same paper he had shown that "the reason this territory had not been settled at an earlier date" was because "the State had been paid for more than three hundred thousand acres embraced within the boundaries of six grants," but had failed to refer to the fact that "these grants or some of them had especially excepted certain other grants within their boundaries-for example, certain grants to Waightstill Avery, Reuben White, John Dobson and others. Within the past twenty-five years it has been clearly demonstrated that some of the Cathcart grants run with the Tennessee line for 14 miles."
HOME COMFORTS. "Mr. Hawkins and myself went down to Sugar creek to a Mr. Currey's, where we got a good supper and a bed to sleep in," continues the diary. Evidently the food in the camp had about given out, for we hear nothing more of meals "fit for a European Lord;" but, instead, of the comforts of good Mr. Currey's bed and board. Here too they "took breakfast with Mrs. Currey, got our clothes washed and went to camp, where Major Neely met us with a fresh supply of provisions. It rained all day- [and] of course we are still at our camp at the head of Sugar creek."
PLEASANT BEECH FLATS. The next day they crossed "high spur of the Roan mountain to a low gap therein where we encamped at a pleasant Beech flat and good spring."
Any one who has never seen one of these "pleasant beech flats" would scarcely realize what they are like. As one ascends any of the higher mountains of North Carolina, the size of all the trees perceptibly diminish, especially near the six thousand feet line, to be succeeded, generally, on the less precipitous slopes, by miniature beech trees, perfect in shape, but resembling the so-called dwarf trees of the Japanese. They really seem to be toy trees.
JOHN STROTHER'S FLOWERS OF RHETORIC. It was here that they "spent the Sabbath day in taking observations from the high spur we crossed, in gathering the fir oil of the Balsam of Pine which is found on the mountain, in collecting a root said to be an excellent preventative against the bite of a rattlesnake, and in visioning the wonderful scene this conspicuous situation affords. There is no shrubbery grows on the tops of this mountain for several miles, say, and the wind has such a power on the top of this mountain that the ground is blowed in deep holes all over the northwest sides. The prospect from the Roan mountain is more conspicuous [extensive?] than from any other part of the Appelatchan mountains."
CLOUDLAND. A modern prospectus of the large and comfortable hostelry, called the Cloudland hotel, which has crowned this magnificent mountain for more than thirty years, the result of the ardor and enterprise of Gen. John H. Wilder of Chattanooga, Tenn., could not state the charms of this most charming resort, now become the sure refuge of hundreds of sufferers from that scourge of late summer and early autumn and known as hay fever, more invitingly.
UNSURPASSED VIEW. Of the magnificence of this view a later chronicler has this to say: "That view from the Roan eclipses everything I have ever seen in the White, Green, Catskill and Virginia mountains. " This is a statement put into the mouth of a Philadelphia lawyer in 1882 by the authors of "The Heart of the Alleghanies," p. 253.
MOUNTAIN MOONSHINE. On Monday they "proceeded on between the head of Rock creek and Doe river, and encamped in a low gap between these two streams. The next day they went five or six miles to the foot of the Iron mountain to a place they called Strother's Camp, where they had some good songs, "then raped [wrapped] ourselves up in our blankets and slep sound till this morning." Here "Cols. Vance and Neely went to the Limestone settlements for a pilot, returned to us on the line at two o'clock with a Mr. Collier as pilot and two gallons whiskey, we stop, drank our own health and proceeded on the line. Ascended a steep spur of the Unaker mountain, got into a bad laurel thicket, cut our way some distance. Night came on, we turned off and camped at a very bad place, it being a steep laurelly hollow," but the whiskey had such miraculous powers that it made the place "tolerably comfortable."
BAD LUCK ON THE THIRTEENTH. On Thursday the 13th, if they were superstitious, the expected bad luck happened; for here they were informed that for the next two or three days' march the pack-horses could not proceed on the linethat is, could not follow the extreme height of the mountain crest. This was a calamity indeed; but what was the result? How did these men meet it? We read how:
BETWEEN HOLLOW POPLAR AND GREASY COVE. " Myself [John Strother] together with the chain-bearers and markers packed our provisions on our backs and proceeded on with the line, the horses and rest of the company was conducted round by the pilot a different route. We continued the line through a bad laurel thicket to the top of the Unaker mountain and along the same about three miles and camped at a bad laurelly branch." On Friday, however, they came "to the path crossing [the Unaker mountain] from Hollow Poplar to the Greasy Cove and met our company. It rained hard. We encamped on the top of the mountain half a mile from water and had an uncomfortable evening."
DEVIL'S CREEK AND LOST COVE. It seems that the information Mr. Collier had given "respecting the Unaker mountain was false," and Mr. Strother prevailed upon the commissioners to discharge him on Saturday the 15th of June. They then crossed the Nolechucky "where it breaks through the Unaker or Iron mountain. " Here it is that that matchless piece of modern railroad engineering, the C. C. &. O. R. R., disputes with the "Chucky" its dominion of the canon and transports from its exhaustless coal mines in Virginia hundreds of tons of the finest coal to its terminus on the Atlantic coast.
ROBERT HENRY MEETS HIS FATE. Here, too, it being again found "impracticable to take horses from this place on the line to the Bald mountain, Mr. Henry, the chain-bearers and markers, took provisions on their backs [and] proceeded on the line and the horses went round by the Greasy Cove and met the rest of the company on Sunday on the top of the Bald mountain, where we tarried till Tuesday morning."
"TARRYING" IN THE GREASY COVE. One cannot help wondering why they "tarried" here so long; but no one who has ever visited that "Greasy Cove" and shared the hospitality of its denizens need long remain without venturing a guess; for it is a pleasant place to be, with the "red banks of Chucky" still crumbling in the bend of the river and the ravens croaking from their cliffs among the fastnesses of the Devil's Looking Glass looming near.<a href="#44" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 44
Robert Henry had gone to get Robert Love as a pilot; and a few years later he married Love's daughter Dorcas."> The C. C. & O. have their immense shops here now, covering almost a hundred acres of land.
VANCE'S CAMP. From the Bald mountain, now in Yancey county, it seems that Col. Love became their pilot; and five or six miles further on in "a low gap between the head of Indian creek and the waters of the south fork of Laurel, we encamped and called it Vance's Camp." The richness of the mountains is noted.
THE GRIER BALD. This Bald is sometimes called the Grier Bald from the fact that David Grier, a hermit, lived upon it for thirty-two years.<a href="#45" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 45
Zeigler & Grosscup, pp. 271-2-3"> Grier was a native of South Carolina who, because one of the daughters of Col. David Vance refused to marry him, built himself a log house here in 1802, just three years after Colonel Vance had passed the spot, and it is probable Grier first heard of it through this gentleman. In a quarrel over his land he killed a man named Holland Higgins and was acquitted on the ground of insanity "and returned home to meet his death at the hands of one of Holland's friends."
BOONE'S COVE. On Wednesday the 19th of June, after having suffered severely the previous night from gnats, they went to "Boone's Cove, between the waters of Laurel and Indian creeks," while on the 20th they had to pass over steep and rocky and brushy knobs, with water scarce and a considerable distance from the line. All day Friday their horses suffered from want of water and food, part of the way being impassable for horses; while on Saturday it took them "four hours and 23 minutes" to cut their way one and one-fourth miles to the top of the mountain, where, after getting through the laurel, they "came into an open flat on top of Beech mountain where we camped till Monday at a good spring and excellent range for our horses."
A RECRUIT OF BACON. On Monday, the 24th of June, their provisions began to fail them again, but they proceeded on the line six miles and "crossed the road leading from Barnett's Station to the Brushy Cove and encamped in a low gap between the `eaters of Paint creek and Laurel river."<a href="#46" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 46
Bishop Asbury's diary shows that he was at Barnett's Station November 4 1802"> They had a wet evening here; but as they "suped on venison stewed with a recruit of bacon Major Neely brought in this day from the Brushy Cove settlement," we may hope their lot was not altogether desolate; for it is possible that this enterprising commissary, Major Neely, might have brought them something besides that "recruit of bacon"; for it will be recalled that on a former occasion he went for a pilot and returned not only with a pilot but with two gallons of a liquid that "had such marvelous powers" that it made a very "bad place" "tolerably comfortable."
BARNETT'S STATION. At any rate, they knew they were nearing the end of their long and arduous journey, for they had now reached the waters of Paint creek, which they must have known was in the neighborhood of the "Painted Rock," their destination. The Barnett Station referred to above was probably Barnard's old stock stand on the French Broad river, five or six miles below Marshall.
OFF THE TRACK FOR AWHILE. After losing their way on the 25th and "having a very uncomfortable time of it" on Paint creek, they got on the "right ridge from the place we got off of it and proceeded on the line five miles and encamped between the waters of F. B. R. [French Broad river] and Paint creek. "
"HASEY" AND "ANCTOOUS." Thursday 27. This morning is cloudy and hasey. The Commissioners being anctoous to get on to the Painted Rock started us early"; but they took a wrong ridge again and had to return and spend an uncomfortable evening.
DROPPING THE PLUMMET FROM PAINT ROCK. However, on Friday; the 28th day of June, 1 7 99, they reached the Painted Rock at last and measured its height, finding it to be " 107 feet three inches high from the top to the base," that "it rather projects out," and that "the face of the rock bears but few traces of its having formerly been painted, owing to its being smoked by pine knots and other wood from a place at its base where travellers have frequently camped. In the year 1790 it was not much smoked, the pictures of some humans, wild beasts, fish and fowls were to be seen plainly made with red paint, some of them 20 and 30 feet from its base. "
ANIMAL PICTURES HAVE DISAPPEARED. How much more satisfactory this last sentence would have been if he had only added: "I saw them." For, as the rock appears today, the red paint seems to be nothing more or less than the oxidation of the iron in the exposed surfaces, while all trace of "some humans, wild beasts," etc., mentioned by him have entirely disappeared.
THE REAL "PAINTED ROCK." However, he leaves u, in no doubt that they had reached the real Painted Rock called for by the Act of Cession, ceding "certain lands therein described"; for he goes on to say that, while "some gentlemen of Tennessee wish to construe as the painted rock referred to" another rock in the French Broad river "about seven miles higher up on the opposite or S. W. side in a very obscure place," that "it is to be observed that there is no rock on French Broad river that ever was known as the painted rock but the one first described, which has, ever since the River F. Broad was explored by white men, been a place of Publick Notoriety."
SURPASSES A "BEST SELLER" OF TO-DAY. This is the next to the concluding sentence in this quaint and charming narrative-a narrative that one hundred and fifteen years after it was penned can still be read with more interest than many of the so-called "best sellers" of the present day.
"We then went up to the Warm Springs where we spent the evening in conviviality and friendship. "
THE LONELINESS OF BACHELORHOOD. But it is in the very last sentence that one begins to suspect that John Strother was at that time a bachelor, for we read:
"Saturday, 29th. The Company set out for home to which place I wish them a safe arrival and happy reception, as for myself I stay at the springs to get clear of the fatigue of the Tour."
One wonders whose bright eyes made his "fatigue" so much greater than that of the others and kept him so long at the springs.
To THE "BIG PIGEON." The line from the Painted Rock to the Big pigeon was run a few weeks later on by the same commissioners and surveyors; but we have no narrative Of the trip, which, doubtless, was without incident, though the way, probably, was rough and rugged.
SECOND TENNESSEE BOUNDARY SURVEY. North Carolina having acquired by the treaty of February 27, 1819, all lands from the mouth of the Hiwassee "to the first hill which closes in on said river, about two miles above Hiwassee Old Town; thence along the ridge which divides the waters of the Hiwassee and Little Tellico to the Tennessee river at Talassee; thence along the main channel to the junction of the Cowee and Nanteyalee; thence along the ridge in the fork of said river to the top of the Blue Ridge; thence along the Blue Ridge to the Unicoy Turnpike road; thence by straight line to the nearest main source of the Chastatee; thence along its main channel to the Chattahoochee, etc.,"<a href="#47" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 47
Fifth Eth. 219, 220"> it became necessary to complete its boundary line from the Big Pigeon at the Cataloochee turnpike southwest to the Georgia line. To that end it passed, in 1819 (2 R. S. N. C., 1832), an act under which James Mebane, Montford Stokes and Robert Love were appointed commissioners for North Carolina for the purpose of running and marking said line. These commissioners met Alexander Smith, Isaac Allen and Simeon Perry, commissioners representing Tennessee, at Newport, Tenn., at the mouth of the Big Pidgeon, July 16, 1821; and, starting from the stone in the Cataloochee turnpike road which had been set up by the commissioners of 1799, they ran in a southwestwardly course to the Bald Rock on the summit of the Great iron or Smoky mountain, and continued along the main top thereof to the Little Tennessee river. The notes of W. Davenport's field book give as detailed an account of the progress of these commissioners and surveyors as did John Strother's in 1799; but as they met no one between these two points there was little to relate. The same or another party might follow the same route to-day and they would meet no one. But Mr. Davenport does not call the starting point a "turnpike." He calls it a "track," which was quite as much as it could lay claim to, the present turnpike having been built from Jonathan's creek up Cove creek, across the Hannah gap, passing the Carr place and up the Little Cataloochee, through Mount Sterling gap, as late as the fifties.<a href="#48" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 48
Laws 1850-51, ch. 157. But there was a road of some kind for Bishop Asbury mentions crossing Cataloochee on a log in December 1810. "But O the mountain height after height and five miles over!""> At twenty miles from the starting point they were on "the top of an extreme high pinnacle in view of Sevierville. " At 22 miles they were at the Porter gap, from which, in 1853, Eli Arrington of Waynesville carried on his shoulders W. W. Rhinehart, dying of milk-sick, three miles down the Bradley fork of Ocona Luftee to a big poplar, where Rhinehart died. Near here, although they did not know it then, an alum cave was one clay to be discovered, out of which, in the lean years of the Southern Confederacy, Col. William H. Thomas and his Indians were to dig for alum, copperas, saltpeter and a little magnesia to be used in the hospitals of this beleaguered land, in default of standard medicines which had been made contraband of war.
ARNOLD GUYOT AND S. B. BUCKLEY. Here, too, Arnold Guyot, the distinguished professor of geology and physical geography of Princeton college, came in 1859, following Prof. S. B. Buckley, and made a series of barometric measurements, not alone of the Great Smoky mountain chain, but also of that little known and rugged group of peaks wholly in Tennessee, known as the Bull Head mountains.
DOUBTFUL OF A ROAD EVER CROSSING THE SMOKIES. Surveyor Davenport noted a low gap through which "if there ever is a wagon road through the Big Smoky mountain, it must go through this gap." Well, during the Civil War, Col. Thomas, with his "sappers and miners," composed of Cherokee Indians and Union men of East Tennessee, did make a so-called wagon road through this gap, now called Collins gap; and through it, in January, 1864, General Robert B. Vance carried a section of artillery, dragging the dismounted cannon, not on skids, but over the bare stones, only to be captured himself with a large part of his command at Causbey creek two days later. But no other vehicle has ever passed that frightful road, save only the front wheels of a wagon, as it is dangerous even to walk over its precipitous and rockribbed course. No other road has ever been attempted, and this one has been abandoned, except by horsemen and footmen, for years. Not even a wagon track is visible. On the 7th of August they came at the 31st mile to Meigs' Post. At the 34th mile they came in view of Brasstown; and next day, at the 45th mile, they reached the head of Little river, and must have been in plain view of Tuckaleechee Cove and near Thunderhead mountain both immortalized by hiss Mary N Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock) in her stories of the Tennessee mountains. On the 11th they were at the head of Abram's creek, which flows through Cade's Cove into the Little Tennessee at that gem of all mountain coves, the Harden farm at Talassee ford. On the 13th they came to a "red oak … at Equeneetly path to Cade's cove." This is only a trail, and is at the head of one of the prongs of Eagle creek and not far from where Jake and Quil Rose, two famous mountaineers, lived in the days of blockade stills. Of course they did not still any! On this same unlucky 13th, they came to the top of a bald spot in sight of Talassee Old Town, at the 57th mile. This is the Harden farm spoken of above, and is a tract of about 500 acres of level and fertile land. On the 16th they passed over Parsons and Gregory Balds. On this day also they crossed the Little Tennessee river "to a large white pine on the south side of the river at the mouth of a large creek, 65th mile." From there on to the Hiwassee turnpike the boundary line is in dispute, the case being now before the Supreme Court of the United States. One of the marks still visible is that made on the 19th, at the 86th mile, "a holly tree … near the head of middle fork of Tellico river." They were then close to what has since been known as State Ridge, on which in July, 1892, William Hall, standing on the North Carolina side of the line, was to shoot and kill Andrew Bryson; and if these surveyors had not done their work `yell, Hall might have suffered severely; for, all unconsciously, this man was to invoke the same law Carson and Vance and other noted duellists had relied on, when they "fought across the State line. "<a href="#49" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 49
114 N.C. Rep., 909, and 115 N.C., 811. Also Laws 1895, ch. 169"> Zim. Roberts, who lives under the Devil's Looking Glass, says that a healthy white oak tree, under which Hall was standing when he fired at Bryson, began to die immediately and is now quite dead. On the 20th of August they were at "the 89th mile, at the head of Beaver Dam" creek of Cherokee county, N. C., and not far from the Devil's Looking Glass," an ugly cliff of rock, where the ridge comes to an abrupt and almost perpendicular end. On that day, at the 93d mile, they came to "the trading path leading from the Valley Towns to the Overhill settlements," reaching the 95th mile on that path before they paused.
THAT SAHARA-LIKE THIRST. On the 24th, at the 96th mile, they were on the top of the Unicoy mountain, and on the same day they reached "the hickory and rock at the wagon road, the 101st mile, at the end of the Unicoy mountain." It was here that tradition says that the Sahara-like thirst overtook the party; as from the 101st mile post their course was "due south 15 miles and 220 poles to a post oak post on the Georgia line, at 23 poles west of the 72d mile from the Nick-a-jack Old Town on the Tennessee river."
TRYON'S BOUNDARY LINE. "In the spring and early summer of 1767 there were fresh outbreaks on the part of the Indians. Governor Tryon had run a boundary-line between the back settlements of the Carolinas and the Cherokee huntting-grounds. But hunters and traders would persist in wandering to the west of this line and sometimes they were killed. "<a href="#50" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 50
INDIAN BOUNDARY LINES. Almost as important as the State lines were the Indian boundary lines; but most of them were natural boundaries and have given but little trouble. There was one notable exception, however, and that is the MEIGS AND FREEMAN LINE. According to the map of the "Former Territorial Limits of the Cherokee Indians," accompanying the Fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1883-84, there were three lines run to establish the boundary between the Cherokees and the ceded territory under the treaty of October 2, 1798; the first of which was run by Captain Butler in 1798, and extending from "Meigs' post on the Great Stone mountain to a fork of the Keowee river in South Carolina known as Little river. But, according to the text<a href="#51" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 51
Fifth Eth., 181"> the line was not run till the summer of 1799, and is described as "extending from Great Iron mountain in a southeasterly direction to the point where the most southerly branch of Little river crossed the divisional line to Tugaloo river." However, "owing to the unfortunate destruction of official records by fire, in the year 1800, it is impossible to ascertain all the details concerning this survey, but it was executed on the theory that the "Little River" named in the treaty was one of the northermost branches of Keowee river."<a href="#52" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 52
RETURN J. MEIGS AND THOMAS FREEMAN. But, "this survey seems not to have been accepted by the War Department, for on the 3d of June, 1802, instructions were issued by the Secretary of War to Return J. Meigs, as commissioner, to superintend the execution of the survey of this same portion of the boundary. Mr. Thomas Freeman was appointed surveyor."<a href="#53" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 53
Ibid."> "There were three streams of that name in that vicinity. Two of these were branches of the French Broad and the other of the Keowee."
EXPEDIENCY GOVERNED. "If the line should be run to the lower of these two branches of the French Broad, it would leave more than one hundred white families of white settlers within the Indian territory. If it were run to the branch of the Keowee river, it would leave ten or twelve Indian villages within the State of North Carolina." It was, therefore, determined by Commissioner Meigs to accept the upper branch of the French Broad as the true intent and meaning of the treaty, and the line was run accordingly; whereby "not a single white settlement was cut off or intersected, and but five Indian families were left on the Carolina side of the line."
LOCATION OF THE MEIGS POST." In a footnote (p. 181-2) Commissioner Meigs refers to the plat and field-notes of Surveyor Freeman, but the author declares that they cannot be found among the Indian office records.<a href="#54" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 54
Ibid. 168"> Also that there is "much difficulty in ascertaining the exact point of departure of the `Meigs Line' from the great Iron Mountains. In the report of the Tennessee and North Carolina boundary commissioners in 1821 it is stated to be "31 1/2 miles by the source of the mountain ridge in a general southwesterly course from the crossing of Cataloochee turnpike; 9 1/2 miles in a similar direction from Porter's gap; 21 1/2 miles in a northeasterly direction from the crossing of Equovetley Path, and 33 1/2 miles in a like course from the crossing of Tennessee river." … It was stated to the author by Gen. R. N. Hood, of Knoxville, Tenn., that there is a tradition that "Meigs Post" was found some years since about 1 V2 miles southwest of Indian gap. A map of the survey of Qualla Boundary, by M. S. Temple, in 1876, shows a portion of the continuation of "Meigs Line as passing about 1 1/2 miles east of Quallatown n." Surveyor Temple mentions it as running "south 50° east (formerly south 52 1/2° east)." Aleigs' Post should have stood at the eastern end of the Hawkins Line which had been run by Col. Benj. Hawkins and Gen. Andrew Pickens in August, 1797, pursuant to the treaty of July 2, 1791, commencing 1000 yards above South `'Vest Point (now Kingston) and running south 76° east to the Great Iron Mountain.<a href="#55" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 55
Ibid. 168"> "From this point the line continued in the same course until it reached the Hopewell treaty line of 1785, and was called the "Pickens line."<a href="#56" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 56
Ibid"> The Hopewell treaty line ran from a point west of the Blue Ridge and about 12 miles east of Hendersonville, crossed the Swannanoa river just east of Asheville, and went on to McNamee's camp on the Nollechucky river, three miles southeast of Greenville, Tenn. "The supposition is that as the commissioners were provided with two surveyors, they separated, Col. Hawkins , with Mr. Whitner as surveyor, running the line from Clinch river to the Great Iron Mountains, and Gen. Pickens, with Col. Kilpatrick as surveyor, locating the remainder of it. This statement is verified so far as Gen. Pickens is concerned by his own written statement."<a href="#57" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 57
COL. STRINGFIELD FOLLOWS THE LINE. George H. Smathers, Esq., an attorney of Waynesville, says there is a tradition that the Meigs and Freeman posts were really posts set up along this line, and not marks made on living trees; but Col. W. W. Stringfield of the same place writes that he measured nine and one half miles southwestwardly of Porter's gap "and found Meigs' post, a torn down stone pile on the top of a smooth mountain …. Meigs' and Freeman's line was as well marked as any line I ever saw; I traced this line south 52° east, from Scott's creek to the top of Tennessee mountain, between Haywood and Transylvania counties, a few miles south of and in full view of the Blue Ridge or South Carolina line … I found a great many old marks, evidently made when the line was first run in 1802. 1 became quite familiar with this line in later years, and ran numerous lines in and around the same in the sale of the Love "Speculation" lands …. Many of these old marked trees can still be found all through Jackson county, on the waters of Scott's creek, Cane or Wurry-hut, Caney Fork, Cold or Tennessee creek, and others."<a href="#58" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 58
154 NC Rep 79"> When he was running the line he was told by Chief Smith of the Cherokees, Wesley Enloe, then over 80 years old, Dr. Mingus, then 92 years old, Eph. Connor and others, that he was on the Meigs line.
RETURN JONATHAN MEIGS. "He was the firstborn son of his parents, who gave him the somewhat peculiar name Return Jonathan to commemorate a romantic incident in their own courtship, when his mother, a young Quakeress called back her lover as he was mounting his horse to leave the house forever after what he had supposed was a final refusal. The name has been handed down through five generations. "<a href="#59" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 59
Nineteenth Eth., 214">
TREATY OF 1761.<a href="#60" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 60
Fifth Eth., 146"> The French having secured the active sympathy of the Cherokees in their war with Great Britain, Governor Littleton of South Carolina, marched against the Indians and defeated them, and in 1760, concluded a treaty with them, under which the Cherokees agreed to kill or imprison every Frenchman who should come into their country during the war. But as the Cherokees still continued hostile South Carolina sent Col. Grant, who conquered them in 1761, and concluded a treaty by which "the boundaries between the Indians and the settlements were declared to be the sources of the great rivers flowing into the Atlantic ocean." As the Blue Ridge is an unbroken watershed south of the Potomac river, this made that mountain range the true eastern boundary of the Indians. This treaty remained in force till the treaty of 1772 and the purchase of 1775 to the northern part of that boundary, or the land lying west of the Blue Ridge and north of the Nollechucky river. It remained in force as to all land west and south of that territory till 1785 (November 28), called the treaty of Hopewell.
TREATY OF 1772 AND PURCHASE OF 1775. The Virginia authorities in the early part of 1772 concluded a treaty with the Cherokees whereby a boundary line was fixed between them, which was to run west from White Top mountain, which left those settlers on the Watauga river within the Indian limits, whereupon, as a measure of temporary relief, they leased for a period of eight years all the country on the waters of the Watauga river. "Subsequently in 1775 (March 19) they secured a deed in fee simple therefor," … and it embraced all the land on "the waters of the Watauga, Holston, and Great Canaway (sic] or New river." This tract began "on the south or southwest of the Holston river six miles above Long Island in that river; thence a direct line in nearly a south course to the ridge dividing the waters of Watauga from the `eaters of Nonachuckeh (Nollechucky or Toe) and along the ridge in a southeasterly direction to the Blue Ridge or line dividing North Carolina from the Cherokee lands; thence along the Blue Ridge to the Virginia line and west along such line to the Holston river; thence down the Holston to the beginning, including all waters of the Watauga, part of the waters of Holston, and the head branches of the New river or Great Canaway, agreeable to the aforesaid boundaries."<a href="#61" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 61
TREATY OF HOPEWELL 1785. Hopewell is on the Keowee river, fifteen miles above its junction with the Tugaloo. It was here that the treaty that was to move the boundary line west of the Blue Ridge was made. This line began six miles southeast of Greenville, Tenn., where Camp or McNamee's creek empties into the Nollechucky river; and ran thence a southeast course "to Rutherford's War Trace, " ten or twelve miles west of the Swannanoa settlement. This "War Trace" was the route followed by Gen. Griffith Rutherford, when, in the summer of 1776, he marched 2,400 men through the Swannanoa gap, passed over the French Broad at a place still known as the "War Ford"; continued up the valley of Hominy creek, leaving Pisgah mountain to the left, and crossing Pigeon river a little below the mouth of East Fork; thence through the mountains to Richland creek, above the present town of Waynesville, etc. From the point where the line struck the War Trace it was to go "to the South Carolina Indian boundary." Thus, the line probably ran just east of Marshall,. Asheville and Hendersonville to the South Carolina line, though its exact location was rendered "unnecessary by reason of the ratification in February, 1792, of the Cherokee treaty concluded July 2, 1791, wherein the Indian boundary line was withdrawn a considerable distance to the west."<a href="#62" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 62
NORTH CAROLINA'S INDIAN RESERVATION. Meantime, however, North Carolina being a sovereign State, bound to the Confederation of the Union only by the loose articles of confederation, in 1883, set apart an Indian reservation of its own; which ran from the mouth of the Big Pigeon to its source and thence along the ridge between it and the waters of the Tuckaseigee (Code N. C., Vol. ii, sec. 2346) to the South Carolina line. This, however, does not seem to have been supported by any treaty. The State had simply moved the Indian boundary line twenty miles westward to the Pigeon river at Canton.
TREATIES OF 1791 AND 1792. The treaty of 1791 was not satisfactory to the Indians and another treaty supplemental thereto was made February 17, 1792, which in its turn was followed by one of January 21, 1795, and another of October 2, 1798. They all call for what was afterwards run and called the Meigs and Freeman line, treated fully under that head.<a href="#63" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 63
Ibid 158-159, 169"> TREATY OF FEBRUARY 27, 1819. This treaty cedes all land from the point where the Hiwassee river empties into the Tennessee, thence along the first ridge which closes in on said river, two miles above Hiwassee Old Town; thence along the ridge which divides the waters of Hiwassee and Little Tellico to the Tennessee river at Talassee; thence along the main channel to the junction of the Nanteyalee; thence along the ridge in the fork of said river to the top of the Blue Ridge; thence along the Blue Ridge to the Unicoy Turnpike, etc. This moved the line twenty miles west of what is now Franklin.<a href="#64" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 64
TREATY OF NEW ECHOTA, DECEMBER 29, 1835. By this treaty the Cherokees gave up all their lands east of the Mississippi river, and all claims for spoliation for $5,000,000, and the 7,000,000 acres of land west of the Mississippi river, guaranteed them by the treaties of 1828 and 1833. This was the treaty for their removal, treated in the chapter on the Eastern Band.<a href="#65" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 65
Ibid 253"> THE RAINBOW COUNTRY. During the year 1898 while Judge H. G. Ewart was acting as District Judge of the U. S. Court at Asheville, some citizens of New Jersey obtained a judgment against the heirs of the late Messer Fain of Cherokee county for certain land in the disputed territory, known as the Rainbow Country because of its shape. The sheriff of Monroe county, Tennessee, armed with a writ of possession from the Tennessee court, entered the house occupied by one of Fain's sons and took possession. Fain had him arrested for assault and trespass, and he sued out a writ of habeas corpus before Judge Ewart, who decided the case in favor of Fain; but the sheriff appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th circuit, and .Judge Ewart was reversed. Thereupon Fain sued out a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States; but after the writ had been granted Fain decided not to pay for the printing of the large record, and the case was dismissed for want of prosecution. This was one of the forerunners to litigation with Tennessee.
RECENT BOUNDARY DISPUTES. There is now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States a controversy between the State of Tennessee and the State of North Carolina over what is known as the "Rainbow" country at the head of Tellico creek, Cherokee county. Tennessee claims that the line should have followed the main top of the Unaka mountains instead of leaving the main ridge and crossing one prong of Tellico creek which rises west of the range. This is probably what should have been done if the commissioners who ran the line in 1821 had followed the text of the statute literally; but they left the main top and crossed this prong of Tellico creek, and their report and fieldnotes, showing that this had been done were returned to their respective States and the line as run and marked was adopted by Tennessee as well as by North Carolina.<a href="#66" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 66
Rev St N C Vol IlI 96-97">
LOST COVE BOUNDARY LINE. In 1887, Gov. Scales, under the law providing for the appointment of a commission to meet another from Tennessee to determine at what point on the Nollechucky river the State line crosses, appointed Captain James M. Gudger for North Carolina, J. R. Neal being his surveyor; but there was a disagreement from the outset between the North Carolina and the Tennessee commissioners. The latter insisted on going south from the high peak north of the Nollechucky river, which brought them to the deep hole at the mouth of lost Cove creek, at least three quarters of a mile east of the point at which the line run for the North Carolina commissioner reached the same stream, which was a few hundred yards below the mouth of Devil's creek. The North Carolina commissioner claimed to have the original field-notes of the surveyors, and followed them strictly. Neither side would yield to the other, and the line remains as it was originally run in 17 99. The notes followed by Captain Gudger were deposited by him with his report With the Secretary of State at Raleigh. See Pub. Doc. 1887, and Dagger v. McKesson, 100 N. C., p. 1.
MACON COUNTY LINE. The legislature of North Carolina provided for a survey between Macon County, N. C., and Rabun county, Ga., in 1879, from Elliquet's Rock, the corner of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to the "Locust Stake", and as much further as the line was in dispute L Howard of Macon county was the Commissioner for North Carolina. (Ch. 387, Laws 1883.)
TENNESSEE LINE BETWEEN CHEROKEE AND GRAHAM. The line between these two counties and Tennessee was ordered located by the county surveyors of the counties named according to the calls of the act of 1821. See Ch. 202, Pub. L. 1897., p. 343.