Letter from William Sharpe and Waightstill Avery to Richard Caswell
Sharpe, William, 1742-1818; Avery, Waightstill, 1741-1821
Volume 11, Pages 566-567
WM. SHARPE AND WAIGHTSTILL A VERY TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Salisbury, 7th August, 1777.
Having concluded a peace with the Overhill Cherokees, we now by express transmit to your Excellency a full Journal of our proceedings and all the transactions during the Treaty; by which your Excellency will discover the great complaints the Indians make of the encroachments on their lands; their desire for peace; & see with what reluctance they at last consented to give up some of their lands to this State.
By the little sketch of a map inclosed you will also discover the bounds of the pretended purchases under which the Watauga and Nolachucky people claim the whole district of Washington; and that the Indians have now given up about thirty miles down the River of Holston further than these pretended purchases extend. We have extended our Boundary line with the Overhills by several courses about thirty miles south of the Virginia line, and into a Ridge of the Mountains called the Unacoy or great Iron Mountain, which circumscribes the claims of those Indians on the South and East.
Your Excellency will also discover from this map, that there is, a piece of land of considerable extent lying between the Ridge aforesaid, & the Blue Ridge of the Apalachian Mountains which divides the eastern from the western waters, and which was the boundary between us and the Indians.
This piece of land lying between the two Ridges, and extending from the north east corner of the map to the Towns in the middle
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Settlements, is claimed by the Indians inhabiting those Towns. And as it is of great importance for us to gain possession of so much of this land as to open roads and gain an easy and quick communication from our Frontier Counties to the District of Washington, on our own land; join our Settlements heretofore detached, and lay open a passage to the Overhill country; for these reasons, and in order that the remaining part of the Boundary Line may be established by consent of the Chiefs from every Town claiming a right: so as to leave no occasion of disputes hereafter; we have proposed a Treaty with the Middle Settlements, as in the Talk sent to those Indians and recorded in the Journal, and have left the time and place to Your Excellency and the General Assembly. Completing the Line will put it in the power of the latter to make laws for the effectual prevention of encroachments on the Indian lands: and it is become more necessary to extend and finish the Indian Line because that some Inhabitants have already settled down on the very head waters of the Nolachucky, Watauga, and New Rivers. The Treaty already held with the Overhills has cost this State very little: but we think it necessary to inform your Excellency that the Treaty proposed will be somewhat expensive, as a great number of Indians will probably attend, and they must be fed. It will also be necessary to rally a few Militia into service on the occasion, & provide some salt; some whiskey and Tobacco to smoke the beloved pipe around the Council fire, will be very necessary: and also belts and beads to confirm the transaction.
We are Excellency's most obed't. H'ble Serv'ts