Letter from Joseph Martin to Richard Caswell
Martin, Joseph, 1740-1808
Volume 18, Pages 604-606
JOS. MARTIN TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Smith's River, Henry County, May 11th, 1786.
The accounts from the Cherokee Country are somewhat alarming. I left Chota the fourteenth of last month when two or three parties had gone out towards Cumberland or Kentucky to take satisfaction for four other young men who were murdered by One McClure, and two others near a small Indian town on the Tennessee, one of which was a Brother to a principal Chief called the Bloody Warrior, who commanded one of the parties that was then Out. The other Indians did everything in their power to stop him and asked him to complain to the Whites, but his reply was, that had been often tried without effect, and Satisfaction he would have for his Brother;
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but as they had not returned before I left the town, I left a man in whom I can Confide to watch their Return and follow me with certain Intelligence which he has done and which is as follows: The 17th of last month the parties of Indians returned with fifteen Scalps. Sent several Letters to General Sevier which he read, as they were opened; they informed that General that they had now taken satisfaction for their friends, that were Murdered; that they did not wish for war but if the white people wanted war it was what they would get. He further says that he was informed that there was great preparations making by the Creeks to carry on an Expedition against Cumberland; that they were about to erect a post at or near the Mussle Shoals; that several pack Horses had already passed by Chickamawgah, they say the French and Spaniards that are settled there are to furnish them with arms and Ammunition. The Indians told me that I might depend that the Creeks would endeavor to break up Cumberland this Summer, they wanted the Cherokees to join them, saying they would let the White people know they could go to war in armies as well as they could. I have lately been through the different Cherokee Towns this Spring, from Tugolo to Hightown on Chattahoochee river. They all seemed very Friendly and I feared not the least danger from any unless Chickamawgah, they seem much divided. The Draggon Canoe which is one of the Chiefs, is much attached to the Spanish Interest and I believe will join the Creeks. He killed two traders the latter part of the winter on their way to the Chickasaws from Cumberland. Ellis Haslin, one of the principal Traders in the Cherokee Country, informed me he saw a party of Creeks & Chickamawgahs on their way to Cumberland and endeavored to turn them back but they told him they were at open war with the Virginians and they would not go back.
I spent some days at Holstein to find out as well as I could the disposition of the people respecting the new State, and by the best calculation I can make two thirds of them are for the Old State. I make doubt of their sending Delegates to the North Carolina Assembly next Session; they have held an Assembly lately and appointed Captain Cock a Member of Congress, and given Colonel Charles Robertson liberty to coin 30,000 dollars Specie of that Value. I am told they are to have a Coat of Arms of their own. Having a reference to the State of Franklin, one of the Members of
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the Assembly informed me that the Colonel was in such forwardness with his Mint that in the Course of three weeks he could furnish their Members to Congress with Cash of the new Coin.
Colonels Christen and Donaldson, with many others, have been killed this Spring on Kentucky and Cumberland. A great part of the Western Indians have declared War at my Station, in Powell's Valley. The Indians have shot several Hogs and Cattle and Stole a number of Horses but killed nobody. I was there the 23rd of last month and a Cow came up with an arrow stuck in her side. People seem generally alarmed on the frontiers.
If your Excellency will favor me with any Commands they will come to my hands by way of Alexander Martin, Esquire, any time between now and the twenty-fifth of July next, after that I shall set out for Sullivan to Attend the Election.
I have the honor to be,
With very great respect,
Most Humble Servant,