Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from William Tryon to the Board of Trade of Great Britain
Tryon, William, 1729-1788
January 27, 1766
Volume 07, Pages 154-157

[From Tryon's Letter Book.]
Letter from Governor Tryon to the Board of Trade

Brunswick 27 Jany 1766

When I left England I received in part of my instructions from your Lordships Board directions to co-operate with the Governor of South Carolina to carry into execution his Majesty's order for running a temporary boundary line between their two provinces and also to give my opinion what I thought would be a proper final

-------------------- page 155 --------------------
boundary. On my arrival here in 1764, I was informed Commissioners, from the two Provinces were upon the survey of the said boundary, The inclosed plan, numbered 1. will point out to your Lordships their first station at Little River Inlet, course north west till they come to the 35o .. 0' of north latitude. This course measured nearly eighty six miles and a half.

The Plan number 2 takes its course due west from the 35o .. 0' of north latitude, and stops at the eastward boundary of the Catawba nation five miles and an half short of the Catawba river; as will be seen by the plan of the Catawba tract of land; The distance of this western line sixty one miles, Your Lordships will observe by the Catawba plan, if this western course had been run but a few miles further, it would have taken into this province the whole of the Catawba nation, and tract: excepting a small triangle, containing a few hundred acres of land uncultivated, and uninhabited, This western line continued, would in thirty six miles from the Catawba river, also have extended to Broad River, Since the temporary line has been run, the distance between the two rivers has been measured by some of the planters on the frontiers, who were willing to know in which province they should apply for warrants, to be taken up for the survey of lands. The said western line still further continued would strike Seludy river, distance seventy computed miles from Broad river, These two rivers have their confluence at the head of Congaree river, which last empties itself into the Santee.

The gentlemen and inhabitants of the southern part of this province are very desirous of having the boundary carried so far to the southward as Wynyaw, and running up the Great Peedee river till it strikes the present temporary line (as in Plan No. 2), then to fall into the (present) western line. One argument among others for this extension of the boundary is, that it will give their western or back settlers, the opportunity of transporting their commodities thro' the Yadkin, and Rocky rivers down Great Peedee river, into the sea. This benefit they are in a great measure deprived of by the south government laying duties on commodities brought down the Peedee from this colony. As I esteem it my duty to act from the best of my judgment for his Majesty's interest; and as I consider the two provinces equally the concern and property of one master; I should imagine the fixing the boundary from Wymyaw &ca would too much contract the sea board of the south government, and in a

-------------------- page 156 --------------------
future day, might be of more prejudice to that province, than of real advantage to this. The above mentioned waters are only navigable at certain seasons of the year, a circumstance attending all the rivers in these parts, high up the streams. On the contrary side, it has been urged, that the south province is equally desirous of establishing the boundary on the west banks of Cape Fear river and so up its north west branch to the 35o 0′ of north latitude. This division would be of infinite prejudice to this province, as it would shut out these four large counties, vidt.

Brunswick, Bladen, Cumberland and Anson, and greatly interrupt and injure the commerce now carried on here. The interest, trade, property, and jurisdiction on both sides the river being blended; their disunion would cause great confusion in the business, as well as greatly retard the successfull progress this river is making in her exports, particularly in the article of naval stores, most of which are shipped to Great Britain.

It is possible the Commissioners of his Majesty's customs may have experienced that where the divisional line of Colonies, has been ascertained by water courses, smugling has been carried on with more success, than when the said dividing lines run over a land tract.

Upon the whole of these considerations I am of opinion the present temporary partition line is the best calculated for the final boundary, between these two governments; however it might be very expedient that the present line should be continued as far as Broad river; to the banks of which, settlements are already extended. This river is distant upwards of forty one miles from the eastward boundary of the Catawbas: where the Commissioners left off their survey.

I had, my Lords, further instructions to report to your Lordships board what proceedings have been had, and measures taken for ascertaining the line of partition between the lands belonging to the crown, and those markt out for the Earl of Granville. On this head I have obtained the following informations

In the autumn of 1743, Commissioners appointed (in pursuance of his late Majestys instructions bearing date the 25th day of April of the said year) set off for the sea coast to take the latitude of 35o 34' north, lat. which they found to fall six miles and an half to the southward of Chinkinaconmack inlet, where they set up a cedar stake: From this station, they ran a west course across Cape Hatteras island; but on account of the sound of Pamplico, and a great Dismal or large Pocoson, which lies in Hyde county, they found it

-------------------- page 157 --------------------
impracticable to pursue their course. Accordingly they left off their survey on the west banks of Hatteras island; and agreed to go up to Bath Town, there to take the latitude. They found the town to lie nearly 35° 30′. The Commissioners then ran sixteen hundred and sixty poles a north course which brought them to the lat of 35° 34′ where they fixed two posts (now standing in the great road that leads from Bath to Edenton) from this station they ran a west course, eleven miles only, stopping at a plantation called Bonners Field. Here ended the survey in 1743. No further proceedings were had till the survey taken in April 1746: which was carried as far as Haw river, and in the October following continued it to Rocky river, which is the farthest this partition line has been carried. I had this intelligence from a gentleman who was on the survey

These two last surveys will be fully explained by the plans I enclose your Lordships (numbered 4 and 5;) the originals have the great seal of the province, affixed to them; and certified as authentic by Governor Johnston, Distances of these last three surveys, are

From Hatteras Island to Bonners Field,—90 complete miles
to Saxhapahaw or Haw River 104 measured miles
to Rocky River—87 measured miles

It appears that Lord Granville's land, as set off contains fifty six geographical miles: which was one full eighth of the Carolinas in the second grant made to the proprietors by King Charles the second, in the seventeenth year of his reign containing 7° 30′ that is from the 29° 0′ to 36° 30′ north latitude, Whereas before the time Lord Granville's grant and release, was confirmed; near 3° 0″ of latitude was taken from Carolina by Florida and Georgia, I mention this circumstance not as an advantage his Lordship took of the Crown, as I presume he claimed his eighth under King Charles' grant; but as the probable reasons, why some people concluded, his Lordships line extended too far to the southward.

The present Lord has had no agent, to receive any quit rents, since his Father's death. I have reason to believe from several conversations I have had with the principal inhabitants of that district, that no subject will receive any adequate advantages for so rich a body of land, who is not on the spot, and diligent to superintend his agent. These people much wish to be tenants to the Crown; one reason is from the experience they have had of the two frequent abuses and extorsions of most of the agents that have been employed.