Letter from Joseph Martin to Samuel Johnston
Martin, Joseph, 1740-1808
Volume 21, Pages 522-524
JOSEPH MARTIN TO GOVERNOR JOHNSTON.
[From Executive Letter Book.]
Long Island, 5 Feb’y, 1789.
I have just returned from Georgia where I had much trouble in bringing about a suspension of a Hostilities between the Citizens of this State and the Cherokee Indians until the meeting of the Commissioners by Order of Congress. Genl. Pickens has given me all the aid in his power. The Superintendent and Genl. Matthews, Commissioner
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from Georgia, also interposed and sent for some of their Chiefs to meet them at Hopewell in Kewee, who met accordingly. The Superintendent proceeded to enquire into the causes of this War. The Indians told them that the people of North Carolina were in fault by killing their beloved men. I then drew up a statement of the Murders & Robberies committed by them before any of their people were killed to-wit: the murder & Capture of William English and his family in Dec. 1787; the murder of Kirk’s Family, the Repeated Murders & Robberies on Cumberland River, all which they agreed to. The Superintendent with the Commissioners from South Carolina and Georgia then told the Indians that they, in behalf of those States, would put a final stop to all hostilities until the great meeting; that they had written to the General Assembly of North Carolina to send a Commissioner to join them; until then they would say nothing in behalf of that State; that I was present, an Agent from that State; that they must attend to what I would say to them on that subject.
I then told the Indians that the wish of North Carolina was to live in peace & friendship with them; that in behalf of that State I would undertake to assure them in a most solemn manner that all Hostilities would cease on the part of North Carolina until the Treaty, if they would on their part keep their warriors from doing any further mischief, and immediately give up the prisoners in their possession; but at the same time informed them that there were a set of men under the influence of Col. Sevier, who had been the author of the War; that if that set of men did them any mischief that the State was not to be Blamed. At the end of the Conference the Indians seemed well pleased and gave orders immediately for all their young men and Warriors to prepare for their Winter’s hunt; that war was not to be heard of any more in their Land.
Shortly after Col. Sevier with a party of men went into one of their Towns, the men all but one were out hunting, and brought off 29 of their women & children with them, with one of their Traders who had a license for that purpose & plundered the Town. This threw everything again into confusion and had not Genl. Pickens exerted himself as well as some others, I believe a General War would have been the Consequence shortly after we settled. Another attack was made on one of their principal Camps near Swannanoe, two of their men killed & their Camp plundered, &c. On my arrival here
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I found that a party of men from this quarter were actually out in the Indian hunting grounds in order to kill and plunder. They have since returned without doing any damage, saying the Indians had all left their hunting Ground; that had they been ten days sooner they could have made a great hand of it. Thus, Sir, while the State is laboring to keep good Order, a set of men are doing everything in their power to prevent it. A party of men have lately met on French Broad and called themselves a Convention of the people and have passed several Resolves, one of which is to raise a number of men by subscription and to be commanded by Col. Sevier, saying that North Carolina refused to aid the people over the Mountains & in consequence of the Assemblies not making any allowance to the people that went against Chickamawga. I was in doubt for some time that a General Revolt would take place. Any Commands your Excellency may honor me with will find me at the long Island of Holstein.
I have, &c., &c.,