Though the mountains were not settled during colonial days except north of the ridge between the Toe and Watauga rivers, the people who ultimately crossed the Blue Ridge lived under colonial laws and customs, or descended from those pioneers who did. Therefore, colonial times in North Carolina, especially in the Piedmont country, should be of interest to those who would know how our more remote ancestors lived under English rule. This should be especially true of those venturesome spirits who first crossed the Blue Ridge and explored the mountain regions of our State, what-ever may have been the object of their quest. For "when the first Continental Congress began its sittings the only frontiersmen west of the mountains and beyond the limits of continuous settlement within the old thirteen colonies were the two or three hundred citizens of the Little Watauga commonwealth. For they were a commonwealth in the truest sense of the word, being beyond the jurisdiction of any government except that of their own consciences. In these circumstances they voluntarily formed the first republican government in America. "The building of the Watauga commonwealth by Robertson and Sevier gave a base of operations and furnished a model for similar commonwealths to follow.''
For the first written compact that, west of the mountains,
Was framed for the guidance of liberty's feet,
Was writ here by letterless men in whose bosoms,
Undaunted, the heart of a paladin beat.
EARL OF GRANVILLE. There were eight Lords Proprietors to whom Carolina was originally granted in 1663. Among them was Sir George Carteret, afterwards Earl of Granville. On the 3d of May, 1728, the king of England bought North Carolina and thus ended the government of the Lords Proprietors. But he did not buy the interest of the Earl of Granville, who refused to sell; though he had to give up his share in the government of the colony. Hence, grants from Earl of Granville are as valid as those from the crown; for in 1743 his share was given him in land. It included about one-half of-the State, and he collected rents from it till 1776, his dishonest agents giving the settlers on it great trouble.
MORAVIANS. The Moravians were a band of religious brethren who came to America to do mission work among the Indians and to gain a full measure of religious freedom. Their plan was to build a central town on a large estate and to sell the land around to the members of the brotherhood. The town was to contain shops, mills, stores, factories, churches and schools. After selecting several pieces of lowlands, Bishop Spangenberg bought from the Earl of Granville a large tract in the bounds of the present county of Forsyth, and called the tract Wachovia, meaning "meadow stream." On November 17, 1753, a company of twelve men arrived at Wachovia, and started what is now Salem. This Bishop Spangenberg is spoken of in Hill's "Young People's History of North Carolina" as Bishop Augustus G. Spangenberg; while the Spangenberg whose diary is quoted from extensively in the next few pages signs himself I. Spangenberg. He will be called the Bishop, nevertheless, because he "spake as one having authority."
FIRST TO CROSS THE BLUE RIDGE. Vol. V, Colonial Records (pp.1 to 14), contains the diary of I. Spangenberg; of the Moravian church. He is the first white man who crossed the Blue Ridge in North Carolina, so far as the records show, except those who had prolonged the Virginia State line in 1749. He, with his co-religionist, Brother I. H. Antes, left Edenton September 13, 1752, for the purpose of inspecting and selecting land for settling Moravian immigrants. The land was to have been granted by Earl Granville, and the surveyor, Mr. Churton, who accompanied the expedition, had instructions from that proprietor to survey the lands, and as he was to be paid three pounds sterling for each 5,000-acre tract, he was averse to surveying tracts of smaller acreage. His instructions limited him also to north and south and east and west lines, which frequently compelled the good Bishop to include mountains in his boundaries that he did not particularly desire. Having run three lines this surveyor declined to run the fourth, and the Bishop notes that fact in order to save his brethern the trouble of searching for lines that were never run or marked. The surveyor, however, did survey for the Bishop smaller tracts than those containing 5,000 acres, though reluctantly.
QUAKEH MEADOWS. In Judge Avery's "Historic Homes" (N.C. Booklet, Vol. IV, No. 3) he refers to the fact that these meadows were so called from the fact that a Quaker (Moravian) once camped there and traded for furs. This Quaker was Bishop Spangenberg. He reached on November 12, 1752, the "neighborhood of what may be called Indian Pass. The next settlement from here is that of Jonathan Weiss, more familiarly known as Jonathan Perrot. This man is a hunter and lives 20 miles from here. There are many hunters about here, who live like Indians: they kill many deer, selling their hides, and thus live without much work." On the 19th of November he reached Quaker Meadows, "fifty miles from all settlements and found all we thought was required for a settlement, very rich and fertile bottoms…. Our survey begins seven or eight miles from the mouth of the 3d river where it flows into the Catawba. What lies further down the river has already been taken up. The other [western] line of the survey runs close to the Blue Ridge…. This piece consists of 6,000 acres. We can have at least eight settlements in this tract, and each will have water, range, etc. …I calculate to every settlement eight couples of brethren and sisters."
BUFFALO TRAILS. There were no roads save those made by buffaloes. The surveyor was stopped by six Cherokees on a hunt, but they soon became friendly. November 24th they were five miles from Table Rock, which with the Hawk's Bill is so conspicuous from Morganton, where they surveyed the fifth tract of land, of 700 or 800 acres.
MUSICAL WOLVES. "The wolves, which are not like those in Germany, Poland and Lapland (because tl,ey fear men and do not easily come near) give us such music of six different comets, the like of which I have never heari in my life. Several brethren, skilled in hunting, will be required to exterminate panthers, wolves, etc."
OLD INDIAN FIELDS. On November 28th they were camped in an old Indian field on the northeast branch of Middle Little river of the Catawba, where they arrived on the 25th, and resolved to take up 2,000 acres of land lying on two streams, both well adapted to mill purposes. That the Indians once lived there was very evident--possibly before the war which they waged with North Carolina--"from the remains of an Indian fort: as also the tame grass which was still growing about the old residences, and from the trees." On December 3d they camped on a river in another old Indian field at the head of a branch of New River, "after passing over frightful mountains and dangerous cliffs."
WHERE MEN HAD SELDOM TROD. On the 29th they were in camp on the second or middle fork of Little river, not far from Quaker Meadows "in a locality that has probably been but seldom trodden by the foot of man since the creation of the world. For 70 or 80 miles we have been traveling over terrible mountains and along very dangerous places where there was no way at all." One might call the place in which they were camped a basin or kettle, it being a cove in the mountains, rich of soil, and whewre their horses found abundant pasture among the buffalo haunts and tame grass among the springs. The wild pea-vines which formerly covered these mountains, growing even under the forest trees most luxuriantly for years after the whites came in, afforded fine pasturage for their stock. It also formed a tangled mat on the surface of the earth through which it was almost impossible for men to pass. Hence, the pioneers were confined generally to the Indian and buffalo trails already existing. These pea-vines return even now whenever a piece of forest land is fenced off a year or two.
ON THE GRANDFATHER? It would seem that they had been misled by a hunter whom they had taken along to show them the way to the Yadkin; but had missed tbe way and on December 3d came "into a region from which there was no outlet except by climbing up an indescribably steep mountain. Part of the way we had to crawl on our hands and feet, and sometimes we had to take the baggage and saddles from the horses, and drag them up, while they trembled and quivered hke leaves. The next day we journeyed on: got into laurel bushes and beaver dams and had to cut 'our way through the bushes. Arrived at the top at last, we saw hundreds of mountain peaks all around us, presenting a spectacle like ocean waves in a storm." The descent on the western side was "neither so steep, nor as deep as before, and then we came to a stream of water, but no pasture…. The next day we got into laurel hushes and beaver darns and had to cut our way through the bushes.
WANDERING BEWILDERED IN UNKNOWN WAYS. "Then we changed our course-left the river and went up the mountain, where the Lord brought us to a delicious spring, and good pasturage on a chestnut ridge…. The next day we came to a creek so full of rocks that we could not possible cross it; and on both sides were such precipitous banks that scarcely a man, certainly no horse could climb them… but our horses had nothing-absolutely nothing…. Directly came a hunter who had climbed a mountain and had seen a large meadow. Thereupon, we scrambled down … and came before night into a large plain.
CAUGHT IN A MOUNTAIN SNOWSTORM. "We pitched our tent, but scarcely had we finished when such a fierce wind-storm burst upon us that we could scarcely protect ourselves against it. I cannot remember that I have ever in winter anywhere encountered so hard or so cold a wind. The ground was soon covered with snow ankle deep, and the water froze for us aside the fire. Our people became thoroughly disheartened. Our horses would certainly perish and we with them."
IN GOSHEN'S LAND. "The next day we had fine sunshine, and then warmer days, though the nights were 'horribly' cold. Then we went to examine the land. A large part of it is already cleared, and there long grass abounds, and this is all bottom. Three creeks flow together here and make a considerable river, which flows into the Mississippi according to the best knowledge of our hunters." There were countless springs but no reeds, but "so much grass land that Brother Antes thinks a man could make several hundred loads of hay of the wild grass…. There is land here suitable for wheat, corn, oats, barley, hemp, etc. Some of the land will probably be flooded when there is high water. There is a magnificent chestnut and pine forest near here. Whetstones and millstones which Brother Antes regards the best he has seen in North Carolina are plenty. The soil is here mostly limestone and of a cold nature…. We surveyed this land and took up 5,400 acres…. We have a good many mountains, but they are very fertile and admit of cultivation. Some of them are already covered with wood, and are easily accessible. Many hundred--yes, thousand crab-apple trees grow here, which may be useful for vinegar. One of the creeks presents a number of admirable seats for milling purposes. This survey is about 15 miles from the Virginia line, as we saw the Meadow mountain, and I judged it to be about 20 miles distant. This mountain lies five miles from the line between Virginia and North Carolina. In all probability this tract would make an admirable settlement for Christian Indains, like Grandenhutten in Pennsylvania. There is wood, mast, wild game, fish and a free range for hunting, and admirable land for corn, potatoes, etc. For stock raising it is also incomparable. Meadow land and pasture in abundance." After "a bitter journey among the mountains where we were virtually lost and whichever way we turned we were literally walled in on all sides," they came on December 14, 1752, to the head of Yadkin river, after having abandonded all streams and paths, and followed a course east and south, and "scrambling across the mountains as well as we could." Here a hunter named Owen, "of Welsh stock, invited us into his house and treated us very kindly." He lived near the Mulberry Fields which had been taken up by Morgan Bryant, but were uninhabited. The nearest house was 60 miles distant.
THE FIRST HUNTERS. The hunters who assisted the Bishop in finding the different bodies of suitable land were Herry Day, who lived in Granville, John Perkins, who lived on the Catawba, "and is known as Andrew Lambert, a well-known Scotchman," and Jno. Rhode, who "lives about 20 miles from Capt. Sennit on the Yadkin road." John Perkins was especially commended to the Brethren as "a diligent and true worthy man, and a friend to the Brethren." The late Judge A. C. Avery said he was called "Gentleman John," and that Johns river in Burke was named for him.
SETTLERS FROM PENNSYLVANIA. "Many of the immigrants were sent to Pennsylvania, and they had traveled as far west as Pittsburg early in the 18th century. The Indians west of the Mleghanies were, however, fiercer than any the Quakers had met; but to the southwest for several hundred miles the Appalachians "run in parallel ranges . . through Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas and East Tennessee and through these "long, deep troughs between these ranges … Pennsylvanians freely wandered into the South and Southwest … "and "between the years 1732 and 1750, numerous groups of Pennsylvanians-Germans and Irish largely, with many Quakers among them-had been … gradually pushing forward the line of settlement, until now it had reached the upper waters of the Yadkin river, in the north-west corner of North Carolina." "Thus was the wilderness tamed by a steady stream of immigration from the older lands of the northern colonies, while not a few penetrated to this Arcadia through the passes of the Blue Ridge, from eastern Virginia and the Carolinas."
NICK-A-JACK's CAVE. Almost the first difficulties those who first crossed the mountains encountered was from the depredations of renegade Indians and desperate white men defiant of law and order. There was at this time (1777-78) a body of free-booters, composed of "adventurous and unruly members from almost all the western tribes--Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Indians from the Ohio, generally known as Chickamaugas. Many Tories and white refugees from border justice joined them and shared in their misdeeds. Their shifting villages stretched from Chickamauga creek to Running Water. Between these places the Tennessee twists down through the somber gorges by which the chalns of the Cumberland range are riven in sunder. Some miles below Chickamauga creek, near Chattanooga, Lookout mountain towers aloft into the clouds; at its base tbe river bends round Moccasin Point, and then rushes through a gap between Walden's Ridge and the Raccoon Hills. Then, for several miles, it foams through the winding Narrows between jutting cliffs and sheer rock walls, while in its boulder-strewn bed the swift torrent is churned into whirlpools, cataracts, and rapids. Near the Great Crossing, where the war parties and hunting parties were ferried over the river, lies Nick-a-jack's cave, a vast cavern in the mountain-side. Out of it flows a stream up which a canoe can paddle two or three miles into the heart of the mountain. In these high fastnesses, inaccessible ravines, and gloomy caverns the Chickamaugas built their towns, and to them they retired with their prisoners and booty after every raid on the settlements."
FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR LAND WARRANTS.. The Chickamaugas lived on Chickamauga creek and in the mountains about where Chattanooga now stands; they were kinsmen of the Cherokees. In 1748 Dr. Thomas Walker and a party of hunters came from Virginia into Powell's Valley, crossing the mountains at Curnberland gap, and named it - and the river in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, Prime Minister of England. In 1756-7 the English built Fort Loudon, 30 miles from Knoxville, as the French were trying to get the Cherokees to make war on the North Carolina settlers. After the treaty of peace between France and England in 1763 many hunters poured over the mountains into Tennessee; though George III had ordered his governors not to allow whites to trespass on Indian lands west of the mountains, and if any white man did buy Indian lands and the Indians moved away the land should belong to the king. He appointed Indian commissioners; but the whites persisted, some remaining a year or more to hunt and were called Long Hunters. Land warrants had been issued to officers and soldiers who had fought in the French and Indian wars and those issued by North Carolina wanted td settle in what is now Tennessee. The Iroquois complained that whites were killing their stock and taking their lands, and at a great Indian council at Fort Stanwix, at Rome, N. Y., the northern tribes gave England title to all their lands between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers in 1767. But the Indian commissioners for the southern tribes called a council at Hard Labor, S. C., and bought title to the same land from the Cherokees. These treaties were finished in 1768. William Bean in 1769 was living in a log cabin where Boone's creek joins the Watauga. In 1771 Parker and Carter set up a store at Rogersville, and people from Abingdon (called Wolf's Hill) followed, and -the settlement was called the Carter's Valley settlement. In 1772 Jacob Brown opened a store on the Nollechucky river, and pioneers settling around, it was called Nollechucky- settlement. Shortly before Bean had settled the Cherokees had attacked the Chickasaws and been defeated, and the settlers got a ten years' lease from Indians for lands they claimed. In May 1771, at Alamance, Tryon had defeated the Regulators and many of them had moved to Tennessee. Most settlers in Tennessee thought they were in Virginia, but either Richmond or Raleigh was too far off, so they formed the Watauga Association in 1772 and a committee of 13 elected five commissioners to settle disputes, etc., with judicial powers and some executive duties also. It was a free government by the consent of every individual. When the Revolutionary War began Watauga Association named their country Washington District and voted themselves indebted to the United Colonies for their share of the expenses of the war.
THE WATAUGA SETTLEMENT AND INDIAN WARS. This caused the British government to attempt the destruction of these settlements by inciting the Cherokees to make war upon them. Alexander Cameron was the Indian commissioner for the British and he furnished the Indians with guns and ammunition for that purpose; but in the spring of 1776, Nancy Ward, a friendly Indian woman, told the white settlers that 700 Cherokee warriors intended to attack the settlers. They did so, but were defeated at Heaton's Station and at Watauga Fort. In these battles the settlers were aided by Virginia. James Robertson and John Sevier were leaders in these times. It was after this that Virginia and North Carolina and South Carolina sent soldiers into the Cherokee country of North Carolina for the extermination of the savage Cherokees. In August 1776 the Watauga Settlement asked to be annexed by North Carolina, 113 men signing the petition, all of whom signed their names except two, who made their marks. There seems to be no record of any formal annexation; but in November, 1770, the Provisional Congress of North Carolina met at Halifax and among the delegates present were John Carter, John Sevier, Charles Robertson and John Haile from the Washington District. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that Watauga had been annexed, for these men helped to frame the first free constitution of the State of North Carolina. But this Watauga Association seems to have continued its independent government until February, 1778; for in 1777 (November) Washington District became Washington county with boundaries coterminous with those of the present State of Tennessee. Magistrates or justices of the peace took the oath of office in February, 1778, when the entire county began to be governed under the laws of North Carolina. Thus, the Watauga Association was the germ of the State of Tennessee, and although there is on a tree near Boone's creek an inscription indicating that Daniel Boone killed a bear there in 1760, William Bean appears to have been the first permanent settler of that section. Indeed, this author states that Col. Richard Henderson, of North Carolina, induced Boone to make his first visit to Kentucky in the spring of 1769, and that James Robertson, afterwards "The Father of Middle Tennessee," accompanied him; but stopped on the Watuaga with William Bean and raised a crop, removing his family from Wake county in 1770 or 1771.
FORTS LOUDON AND DOBBS. Fort Loudon was on the Little Tennessee. It was attacked and besieged by the Indians, and surrendered August 9, 1760, after Indian women had kept the garrison in food a long time in defiance of their own tribesmen. In 1756 Fort Dobbs was constructed a short distance south of the South Fork of the Yadkin. For the first few years Fort Dobbs was not much used, the Catawbas being friendly; but in 1759 the Yadkin and Catawba valleys were raided by the Cherokees, with the usual results of ruined crops, burned farm buildings, and murdered households. The Catawbas, meanwhile, remained faithful to their white friends. Until this outbreak the Carolinas had greatly prospered; but after it most of the Yadkin families, with the English fur-traders, huddled within the walls of Fort Dobbs, but many others fled to settlements nearer the Atlantic. In the early winter of 1760 the governors of Virginia and North and South Carolina agreed upon a joint campaign against the hostiles, and attacked the Cherokee towns on the Little Tennessee in the summer of 1760, completely crushing the Indians and sent 5,000 men, women and children into the hills to starve. With the opening of 1762 the southwest border began to be reoccupied, and the abandoned log cabins again had fires lighted upon their hearths, the deserted clearing were again cultivated, and the pursuits of peace renewed.
REMAINS OF FORT LOUDON. In June, 1913, Col. J. Fain Anderson, a noted historian of Washington College, Tenn., visited Fort Loudon, and found the outline of the ditches and breastworks still visible. The old well was walled up, but the waIl has fallen in. He says there were twelve small iron cannon in this fort in 1756, all of which had been "packed over the mountains on horses," and that a Mr. Steele who lives at McGee's Station-the nearest railroad station to the old fort-has a piece of one of them which his father ploughed up over forty years ago. The land on Which the fort stood now belongs to James Anderson, a relative of J. F. Anderson, near the mouth of Tellico creek. But no tablet marks the site of this first outpost of our pioneer ancestors.
WESTWARD THE COURSE OF EMPIRE TAKES ITS WAY. From Judge A. C. Avery's "Historic Homes of North Carolina" (N. C. Booklet, Vol. iv, No.3) we get a glimpse of the slow approach of the whites of the Blue Ridge "According to tradition the Quaker Meadows farm near Morganton was so called long before the McDowells or any other whites established homes in Burke county, and derived its name from the fact that the Indians, after clearing parts of the broad and fertile bottoms, had suffered the wild grass to spring up and form a large meadow, near which a Quaker had camped before the French and Indian War, and traded for furs." This was none other than Bishop I. Spangenberg, the Moravian, who, on the 19th of November, 1752, (Vol. v, Colonial Records, p.6) records in his diary that he was encamped near Quaker Meadows "in the forest 50 miles from any settlement."
THE McDOWELL FAMILY. Judge Avery goes on to give some account of the McDowells: Ephraim McDowell, the first of the name in this country, having emigrated from the north of Ireland, when at the age of 02, accompanied by two sons, settled at the old McDowell home in Rockbridge county, Virginia. His grandson Joseph and his grandnephew "Hunting John" moved South about 1760, but owing to the French and Indian War went to the northern border of South Carolina, where their sturdy Scotch-Irish friends had already named three counties of the State, York, Chester and Lancaster. One reason for the late settlement of these Piedmont regions was because the English land agents dumped the Scotch-Irish and German immigrants in Pennsylvania, from which State some moved as soon as possible to the unclaimed lands of the South.
"HUNTING JOHN" AND HIS SPORTING FRIENDS. "But as soon as the French and Indian war permitted the McDowells removed to Burke. 'Hunting John' was so called because of his venturing into the wilderness in pursuit of game, and was probably the first to live at his beautiful home, Pleasant Gardens, in the Catawba Valley, in what is now McDowell county. About this time also his cousin Joseph settled at Quaker Meadows; though 'Hunting John' first entered Swan Ponds, about three miles above Quaker Meadows, but afterwards sold it, without having occupied it, to Waightstill Avery… The McDowells and Carsons of that day and later reared thorough-bred horses, and made race-paths in the broad lowlands of every large farm. They were superb horsemen, crack shots and trained hunters. John McDowell of Pleasant Gardens was a Nimrod when he lived in Virginia, and we learn from tradition that he acted as guide for his cousins over the hunting grounds when, at the risk of their lives, they, with their kinsmen, James Greenlee and Captain Bowman, [who fell at Ramseur's Mill in the Revolutionary War] traveled over and inspected the valley of the Catawba from Morganton to Old Fort, and selected the large domain allotted to each of them."
LOG-CABIN LADIES' WHIMS. "They built and occupied strings of cabins, because the few plank or boards used by them were sawed by hand and the nails driven into them were shaped in a blacksmith's shop. I have seen many old buildings, such as the old houses at Fort Defiance, the Lenoir house and Swan Ponds, where every plank was fastened by a wrought nail with a large round head sometimes half an inch in diameter. From these houses the lordly old proprietors could in half an hour go to the water or the woods and provide fish, deer or turkeys to meet the whim of the lady of the house. They combined the pleasure of sport with the profit of providing their tables…. 'Hunting John' probably died in 1775."
LIVING WITHOUT LAW OR GOSPEL? William Byrd, the Virginia commissioner who helped to run the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia in 1728, wrote to Governor Barrington, July 20, 1731, that it "must be owned that North Carolina is a very happy country where people may live with the least labor that they can in any part of the world," and are accustomed to live without law or gospel, and will with great reluctance submit to either." This is still true of North Carolina, except the statement-which was never true-that we were accustomed to live without law or gospel in 1731; for when this identical gentleman was seeking to get paid for his services as a commissioner to run the boundary line in 1728, he wrote the Board of Trade that the Reverend Peter Fountain, the chaplain of that survey "christened over 100 children among the settlers along the line in North Carolina."
A "BIRD" WHO SPELT HIS NAME IMPROPERLY. In spite of his animadversions upon the pioneer settlers of the eastern part of our State, we must always incline to forgive Col. William Byrd of Westover after reading his piquant and learned disquisitions upon many matters in the "Dividing Line." He must truly have been what we of more modern times call a "Bird," although he spelt his name with a y.
WHERE EVERY DAY WAS SUNDAY. Following are Col. Byrd's Pictures of Colonial Days: "Our Chaplain, for his Part, did his Office, and rubb'd us up with a Seasonable Sermon. This was quite a new Thing to our Brethren of North Carolina, who live in a climate where no clergyman can Breathe any more than Spiders in Ireland. For want of men in Holy Orders, both the Members of the Council and Justices of the Peace are empowered by the Laws of that Country to marry all those who will not take One another's Word; but for the ceremony of Christening their children, they trust that to chance. If a parson come in their way, they will crave a Cast of his office, as they call it, else they are content their offspring should remain Arrant Pagans as themselves. They account it among their greatest advantages that they are not Priest-ridden, not remembering that the Clergy is rarely guilty of Bestriding such as have the misfortune to be poor…. One thing may be said for the Inhabitants. of that Province, that they are not troubled with any Religious Fumes, and have the least Superstition of any People living. They do not know Sunday from any other day, any more than Robinson Crusoe did, which would. give them a great Advantage were they given to be industrious. But they keep so many Sabbaths every week, that their disregard of the Seventh Day has no manner of cruelty in it, either to servants or cattle."
NYMPH ECHO IN THE DISMAL SWAMP. Once, when separated from their companions, Col. Byrd "ordered Guns to be fired and a drum to be beaten, but received no Answer, unless it was from that prating Nymph Echo, who, like a loquacious Wife, will always have the last word, and Sometimes return three for one."
THEY BROUGHT NO CAPONS FOR THE PARSON. Some of the people were apprehensive that the survey would throw their homes into Virginia. "In that case they must have submitted to some Sort of Order and Government; whereas, in North Carolina, every One does what seems best in his own Eyes. There were some good Women that brought their children to be Baptiz'd, but brought no Capons along with them to make the solemnity cheerful. In the meantime it was Strange that none came to be marry'd in such a Multitude, if it had only been for the Novelty of having their Hands Joyn'd by one in Holy Orders. Yet so it was, that tho' our chaplain Christen'd above an Hundred, he did not marry so much as one Couple during the whole Expedition. But marriage is reckon'd a Lay contract, as I said before, and a Contry Justice can tie the fatal Knot there, as fast as an Archbishop."
GENTLEMEN SMELL LIQUOR THIRTY MILES. "We had several Visitors from Edenton [who] … having good Noses, had smelt out, at 30 Miles Distance, the Precious Liquor, with which the Liberality of our good Friend Mr. Mead had just before supply'd us. That generous Person had judg'd yery right, that we were now got out of the Latitude of Drink proper for men in Affliction, and therefore was so good as to send his Cart loaden with all sorts of refreshments, for which the Commissioners return'd Him their Thanks, and the Chaplain His Blessing."
GETTING UP AN APPETITE FOR DOG. "The Surveyors and their Attendants began now in good earnest to be alarmed with Apprehensions of Famine, nor could they forbear looking with Some Sort of Appetite upon a dog that had been the faithful Companion of their Travels."
POVERTY WITH CONTENTMENT. The following is Col. Byrd's idea of some of our people who lived near Edenton in 1728:
"Surely there is no place in the world where the Inhabitants live with less labor than in North Carolina? It approaches nearer to the description of Lubberland than any other, by the great felicity of the Climate, the easiness of raising provisions, and the Slothfulness of the People….
The Men, for their Parts, just like the Indians, impose all the Work upon the poor Women. They make their Wives rise out of their Beds early in the morning, at the same time that they lye and Snore, till the sun has run one third his course, and disperst all the unwholesome damps. Then, after Stretching and Yawning for half an Hour, they light their Pipes, and, under the Protection of a cloud of Smoak, venture out into the open Air; tho', if it happens to he never so little cold they quickly return Shivering into the Chimney corner. When the weather is mild, they stand leaning with both their arms upon the corn-field fence, and gravely consider whether they had best go and take a Small Heat at the Hough; but generally find reasons to put it off till another time. Thus they loiter away their lives, like Solomon's Sluggard, with their arms across, and at the Winding up of the Year Scarcely have Bread to Eat. To speak the truth, 'tis aversion to Labor that makes People file off to N. Carolina, where Plenty and a warm Sun confirm them in their disposition to Laziness for their whole Lives."
OUR COMMISSIONER TREATS THE PARSON TO A FRICASSEE OF RUM. The chaplain went once to Edenton, accompanied by Mr. Little, one of the North Carolina commissioners, who to shew his regard for the Church, offer'd to treat Him on the Road with a fricassee of Rum. They fry'd half a Dozen Rashers of very fat Bacon in a Pint of Rum, both of which being disht up together, served the Company at once for meat and Drink."
THE DEMOCRACY OF THE COLONISTS. "They are rarely guilty of Flattering or making any Court to their governors, but treat them with all the Excesses of Freedom and Familiarity. They are of opinlon their rulers wou'd be apt to grow insolent, if they grew rich; and for that reason take care to keep them poorer, and more dependent, if possible than the Saints in New England used to do their Governors."
THE MEN OF ALAMANCE. Meantime the exactions of the British tax collectors had brought on the Regulators War, and the battle of Alamance in May, 1771, resulted in the departure of a "company of fourteen families" from "the present county of Wake to make new homes across the mountains. The men led the way and often had to clear a road with their axes. Behind the axmen went a mixed procession of women, children, dogs, cows and pack-horses loaded with kettles and beds." These settled in Tennessee on the Watauga river. James Robertson, "a cool, brave, sweet-natured man was the leader of the company." Then came John Sevier and many others. In the language of the Hon. George Bancroft, historian and at that time minister to England, "it is a mistake if anyone have supposed that the Regulators were cowed down by their defeat at Alamance. Like the mammoth, they took the bolt from their brow and crossed the mountains." Of them and those who followed them, Hon. John Allison in his "Dropped Stitches of Tennessee History" (p.37) says:
"The people who made it possible for Tennessee to have a centennial were a wonderful people. Within a period of about fifteen years they were engaged in three revolutions; participated in organizingand lived under five different governnments; established and administered the first free and independent government in America, founded the first church and the first college in the Southwest; put in operation the second newspaper in the 'New World West of the Alleghanies'; met and fought the British in half a dozen battles, from Kings Mountain to the gates of Charleston, gulning a victory in every battle; held in check, beat back and finally expelled from the country four of the most powerful tribes of Indian warriors in America; and left Tennesseans their fameas a heritage, and a commonwealth of which it is their privilege to be proud."
THE FREEST OF THE FREE. The historian, George Bancroft, exclaims: ''Are there any who doubt man's capacity for self-government? Let them study the history of North Carolina. Its inhabitants were restless and turbulent in their imperfect submission to a government imposed from abroad; the administration of the colony was firm, humane and tranquil when they were left to take care of themselves. Any government but one of their own institution was oppressive. North Carolina was settled by the freest of the free."
THE FIRST PUBLIC DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. This was made at Halifax, N. C., by the Provisional Congress, April 12, 1776, when its delegates to the Continental Congress were authorized to concur with other delegates in "declaring independence and forming foreign alliances," reserving the right of forming a constitution and laws for North Carolina.
THE SCOTCH-IRISH; THEIR ORIGIN AND RELIGION. "Men will not be fully able to understand Carolina till they have opened the treasures of history and drawn forth some few particulars respecting the origin and religious habits of the Scotch-Irish and become familiar with their doings previous to the Revolution-during that painful struggle-and the succeeding years of prosperity; and Carolina will be respected as she is known."
IN PIONEER DAYS. The men and boys wore moccasins, short pantaloons and leather leggings, hunting shirts, which were usually of dressed deerskin, cut like the modern shirt, open the entire length in front and fastened by a belt. In this belt were carried a small hatchet and a long, sharp hunting knife. They wore caps of mink or coon skin, with the tail hanging behind for a tassel. The rifles were long, muzzle-loading, flint-locks, and in a pouch hung over one shoulder were carried gun-wipers, tow, patching, bullets, and flints, while fastened to the strap was a horn for powder. The women and girls wore sun bonnets, as a rule, and had little time to spend on tucks and ruffles. There was no place at which to buy things except the stores of Indian traders, and they had very few things white people wanted… The pioneer moved into a new country on foot or on horse back and brought his household goods on pack horses. They were about as follows The family clothing, some blankets and a few other bed clothes, with bed ticks to be filled with grass or hair, a large pot, a pair of pothooks, an oven with lid, a skillet, and a frying pan, a hand mill to grind grain, a wooden trencher in which to make bread, a few pewter plates, spoons, and other dishes, some axes and hoes, the iron parts of plows, a broadax, a froe, a saw and an auger. Added to these were supplies of seed for field and vegetable crops, and a few fruit trees. When their destination was reached the men and boys cut trees and built a log house, split boards with the froe and made a roof which was held on by weight poles, no nails being available. Puncheons were made by splitting logs and hewing the fiat sides smooth for floors and door shutters. Some chimneys were made of split sticks covered on the inside with a heavy coating of clay; but usually stones were used for this purpose, as they were plentiful. The spaces between the log walls were filled in by mortar, called chinks and dobbin. Rough bedsteads were fixed in the corners of the rooms farthest from the fire place, and rude tables and benches were constructed, with three-legged stools as seats. Pegs were driven into the walls, and on the horns of bucks the rifle was usually suspended above the door. Windows were few and unglazed. Then followed the spinning wheel, the reel, and the hand loom. Cards for wool had to be bought. The horses and cattle were turned into the woods to eat grass in summer and cane in winter, being enticed home at night by a small bait of salt or grain. The small trees and bushes were cut and their roots grubbed up, while the larger trees were girdled and left to die and become leafless. Rails were made and the clearing fenced in, the brush was piled and burnt, and the land was plowed and planted. After the first crop the settler usually had plenty, for his land was new and rich. Indeed, the older farmers of this region were so accustomed to clearing a "new patch" when the first was worn out, instead of restoring the old land by modern methods, that even at this time they know little or nothing of reclaiming exhausted land. Cooking was done on the open hearths by the women who dressed the skins of wild animals and brought water from the spring in rude pails, milked the cows, cut firewood, spun, wove, knit, washed the clothing, and tended the bees, chickens and gardens. When the men and boys were not at work in the fields they were hunting for game. After the first settlement time was found for cutting down the larger trees for fields, and the logs were rolled together by the help of neighbors and burned. The first rude cabin home was turned into a stable or barn and a larger and better log house constructed. When the logs had been hewed and notched neighbors were invited to help in raising the walls. The log-rollings and house--raisings were occasions for large dinners, some drinking of brandy and whiskey, games and sports of various kinds. There were no schools and no churches at first, and no wagon roads; but all these things followed slowly.
OTHER EARLY EXPLORERS. In the case of Avery V. Walker, (8 N. C., p.117) it appears that Col. James Hubbard and Captain John Hill had "been members of Col. George Dohorty's party" and explored "the section of country around Bryson City, Swain county, shortly before April 22, 1795"; that Col. John Patton, the father of Lorenzo and Montreville Patton of Buncombe, and who owned the meadow land on the Swannanoa river which was sold to George W. Vanderbilt by Preston Patton, and the "haunted house" at the ford of that river, when the stage road left South Main street at what is now Victoria Road and crossed the Swannanoa, there, instead of at Biltmore, was then county surveyor of Buncombe, and refused to survey land on Ocona Lufty for Waightstill Avery because it was "on the frontier and the Indian boundary had not then actually been run out, and it might be dangerous to survey near the line." Also that Dohorty's party had a battle with the Indians at the mouth of Soco creek, and that what is now Bryson city was then called Big Bear's village. In Eu-Che-Lah V. Welch (10 N. C., p.158) will be found an exhaustive study of the laws of Great Britain in colonial days regarding the granting of Indian lands and of the various treaties made by the State with the Cherokee Indians since July 4, 1776.