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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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History of the early settlement of Tennessee
Haywood, John, 1762-1826
Volume 08, Pages 652-654

[Reprinted From Judge John Haywood's Civil and Political History of Tennessee, A. D. 1823.]

Thus East Tennessee began to be permanently settled in the winter of 1768-9. Ten families of these settlers came from the neighborhood of the place where Raleigh now stands, in North Carolina, and settled in Watauga. This was the first settlement in East Tennessee. Soon afterwards it was augmented by settlers from the hollows in North Carolina, and from Virginia. About the years 1768, 1769, 1770, such was the reigning fashion of the times as eminently promoted the emigration of its people from North Carolina. The trade of the country was in the hands of Scotch merchants, who came in shoals to get rich, and to get consequence. The people of the country were clothed in goods they imported, and to be dressed

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otherwise was scouted as a sign of barbarity and poverty. The poor man was treated with disdain, because unable to contribute to emoluments. He was excluded from their society, unless when he was to be reminded of his insignificance, and to be told with brutal freedom, of the low rank which he held. The rich were led into extravagant modes of living, far beyond what their incomes could support, Labour was proscribed as fit only for the degraded vulgar; and every man in the country of any standing vied with his neighbor in the splendor of his appearance, in the expenditures of his family, and in the frivolous amusements with which he passed his time. The traders were taken for a superior class of beings, their dress was imitated, their manners, their amusements, even their hobling gait, and broad accent. The very women of the country believed that there was no dignity but in a connexion with them. The Governors of the province were alternately Scotch, or English, who favored their pretentions. The members of Council were chiefly Scotch, and the members of Assembly also. To supply the means of the expensive living which was then fashionable, clerks of courts and lawyers demanded exorbitant fees for their services. The great excellency of a clerk, consisted in making out the highest bill of costs, and yet keeping within the pale of the law. All sums over forty shillings were sued for, and recovered in courts of record. The business was immense, and the extortions of clerks, lawyers, and tax-gatherers, fell with intolerable weight upon the people. Sheriffs in the collection of taxes exacted more than was due, and appropriated the surplus to their own use. The offenders were the men in power, who were appointed by the law to redress the wrongs of the people. Those who were injured met and petitioned the legislature for relief, and made representation of the mal-practices, which they had suffered, their petitions were rejected and treated with disdain. Driven by oppression to desperation and madness the people rose in bodies under the title of Regulators. The Royal forces under the command of Governor Tryon, met the Regulators near the Great Alamance, on the 16th of May 1771, and defeated them, killing above two hundred of them on the field of battle; some of them were taken by the victors and hanged; others took the oath of allegiance and returned home; others fled to Holston, where the dread of British power, at a subsequent period, made them Tories. In these afflicting circumstances, it became necessary for men of property to come to the westward in quest of
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the means to repair the dilapidations of the broken fortunes, and for the poor to go somewhere in search of independence, and a share of respectability absolutely unattainable in the country of their nativity. In the wilderness, beyond the mountains, they were promised at least exemption, from the supercilious annoyance of those who claimed a pre-eminence above them. Under the incentives, full streams of emigration began to flow in various directions from the misgoverned Province of North Carolina. The day of retribution was not far behind, and when it came in the dawn of the revolution, the enraged populace, ever prone to extremes, exhibited many of those models of excellence, in match coats of tar and feathers, which frequently they were hardly restrained form decorating with the illumination of liquid flame. Is it meant to applaud such violence? No, but to hold it in abhorrence. Yet candor is obliged to confess, that as in every other misfortune, there is some speck of consolation, so, also, there was one in this, that if the rude fury of the people must fall somewhere, it did not upon this occasion miss the most deserving candidates for popular distinction. When the oath of allegiance to the new state government was offered to the people of North Carolina as a test of distinction between the friends of the new state who would take it and its enemies who would not, this whole body of men, with very few exceptions, who had so lately been the tyrants of the country, refused to take the oath and left the United States. Amongst others who had withdrawn from the oppression which they had made fashionable, was Daniel Boon from Yadkin, who removed in 1769, or 1770, and James Robertson from Wake County, North Carolina, early in 1770—He is the same person who will appear hereafter by his actions, to have merited all the eulogium esteem and affection, which the most ardent of his countrymen have ever bestowed upon him.”