Letter from Alexander Outlaw to Richard Caswell
Volume 18, Pages 756-759
COL. ALEX. OUTLAW TO GOV. CASWELL.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Bent of Churokey, October 8th, 1786.
I have enclosed you a copy of a late Treaty with the Cherokee Indians and a just account of their Conduct & present Situation. They came into our Settlement on the North of Holston, the 10th of July, and warned the settlement that the Creeks were to attack
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them the week following, and agreed with our People that they might know them from the Creeks, to ware a white Flag on their Head & on their Gun, and that whenever they saw any White people they would hollow Choto to them. And on the 20th of July, which was the time they said the Creeks were to Attack the settlement, two young men were going down from the Station to a Cornfield, some Indians hailed them and called Choto, and the young men went to them & they seemed friendly, offered to swap Guns with one of the White Men and got hold of the White Man's Gun and then shot him down with his own Gun; the other Man rode off and the two Indians fired at him and shot two Bullets through him but he rode to the Station and lived three days, and was well acquainted with the Indians that shot him. Col. Cook and myself got an account of the Murder the 23rd and the 31st we were in the Town where the Indians lived that did the Mischief, with 250 Men. We sent for the Heads of the Towns to meet us about six miles from the Town, at Chota Ford. As you will see in the Talk, they refused to give up the Murderers and said they were gone to the Shawneys, but we had certain Accounts that they were then in their Town, on which news we Marched to the Town and Luckily killed two of the Indians that did the murder and sent for all the Warriors from all the near Towns, which met accordingly and agreed to the Terms I have enclosed, and I was last week in the Town and had a talk with them and they seem very friendly and well satisfied we should settle the Country and say they will sell us the Country on the South of the Tennessee and let us settle round them if we will keep the Creeks from killing them, or they will leave the Country entirely if we will give them Goods for it, and I am convinced from the late Conduct and Accounts I have had from them the whole Country to the Georgia Line on this side of Cumberland Mountain may be had from them for a very trifling Sum of Goods paid down by any persons that will act prudently with them, and not have the Indians' Interest too much at heart. This Country seemed much alarmed at the conduct of the Congress Commissioners when they gave the Country to the Indians, and was led to believe by Reports from the Northern States that all our land rights from North Carolina would be broke and that Congress meant to purchase the Country from the Indians, but I never had the opinion myself that Congress had any right from the Confederation to
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concur with the right of the Soil in our bounds, and shall think so till further convinced, that the different requisitions and conduct of the Congress Commissioners has been only to lead us to give up that which is our just Right; but if they have such power they, by their Treaty, gave all the Country to Brown's line to the Cherokee Indians, which Indians have now given it all to us except what is on the South side of Tennessee, if we choose to accept it, and that may be easily had from them and sold out & settled in a very short time if things were set on a very fair footing, which would be the making of this Country and open a communication to the lower Country and put a total end to Indian Hostilities in the Southern Tribes of Indians. The Georgians are now carrying on a Campaign against the Creeks and have sent for our Assistance and the Cherokees have offered to go with us, and the Chickasaws have sent to us to let them know when we go, and they offer to Assist us. I expect the Men will March from here against the Creeks in three weeks, and if we have a successful campaign against the Creeks and your Assembly should take our local Situation under consideration and pass a separation Act on such conditions as will do justice to us all and make the purchase from the Indians, which they now offer to sell, and parcel out the Land by head Rights to them who will settle the Country, it will give great strength to the Country and give ease and happiness to the Settlers and bring a large sum of money into your Treasury and shut the eyes of Congress from lusting after the Country, which I think is our just Right, and prevent thousands of disputes; for I am convinced that the Country will settle in a very short time, whether it is purchased from the Indians or not; for the eyes of many persons coming to this Country is on that quarter and settling over the River fast; there is between 400 & 500 families settled over the River at this Time and I think, from the best Accounts I can get, there will be near double that this year on both sides of the River, below French Broad, as they are moving out daily to that Country.
Your Honor will please to excuse my freedom of writing my weak Sentiments to you so freely as its only from a candid desire to do something for the good of this Country, which in my opinion, were public Matters justly and spiritedly conducted, in a few years would become one of the first Countries to the Westward, & perhaps
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the information with the Indian Talk may be of some service to bring about the settling of the Country by some regular mode.
From your Affectionate Friend till Death,