An American Family History


1776 Petition to North Carolina

John Carter Chm
Zach Isbell  
Jacob Brown  
George Russell  
Charles Robertson (son of John)
John Sevier  
William Bean  
Jacob Womack  
James Robertson  
James Smith  
John Jones  
Robert Lucas  
Jacob Womack  
James Easley  
John I. Cox  
Joud. Boston, Sr.  
Joseph Dunham  
John Haile  
John Cox, Jr  
Henry Bates, Jr.  
Rice Dunham  
Elijah Robertson (son of John)
Abraham Cox  
William Dod  
Edward Hopson  
William Clark  
Emanuel Shote  
Groves Morris  
Lew. Bowyer  
John Dunham  
Thomas Houghton  
William Bates  
Joseph Buller  
William Overall  
Joseph Luske  
Robert Mosley  
Andrew Greer  
Matthew Hawkin  
William Reeve  
George Hartt  
Jacob Mitchell  
John Brown  
David Hughes  
Isaac Wilson  

The Nolichucky River flows through Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is a tributary of the French Broad River. During the 1770s, European Americans established the "Nolichucky settlements" in what is now Greene County, Tennessee.

The Village Messenger 
Fayetteville, Tennessee
06 Oct 1824, Wed  •  Page 2


July 5, 1776

To the Hon. Provincial Council of North Carolina:

The humble petition of the inhabitants of the Washington District, concluding the River Watauga and Nonachuckie, in committee assembled, Humbly Showeth,

that about six years ago, Colonel Donelson, (in behalf of the Colony of Virginia), held a Treaty with the Cherokee Indians, in order to purchase the lands of the Western Frontiers, in consequence of which Treaty, many of your petitioners settled on the lands of the Watauga expecting to be within the Virginia line, and consequently hold their lands by their improvements as first settlers, but to their great disappointment, when the line was run they were (contrary to their expectation) left out;

finding themselves thus disappointed, and being to inconveniently situated to move back, and feeling an unwillingness to loose the labour bestowed on their plantations, they applied to the Cherokee Indians, and leased the land for a term of ten years,

before the expiration of which term, it appeared that many persons of distinction were actually making purchases forever, thus yielding a precedent, (supposing many of them, who were gentlemen of the law, to be better judges of the constitution than we were,) and considering the bad consequences it must be attended with, should the reversion be purchased out of our hands,

we next preceded to make a purchase of the lands ,reserving those in our possession in sufficient tracts for our own uses, and lands acknowledged to us and our heirs for ever, in an open treaty, in Watauga Old Fields, a deed being obtained from the Chiefs of the said Cherokee nation, for themselves and their who lenation, conveying a fee simple right to the lands, to us and our heirs forever,which deed was for and in consideration of the sum of two thousand pounds sterling (paid to them in goods,) for which consideration they acknowledged themselves fully satisfied, contented and paid; and agreed for themselves and their whole nation, their Heirs, forever to resign, warrant and defend the said lands to us, and our heirs, against themselves, their heirs.

This purchase was no sooner made, than we were alarmed by the reports of the present unhappy situation between Great Britain and America, on which report, (taking the new united colonies for our guide,) we proceeded to choose a committee, which was done unanimously by the consent of the people.

This committee (willing to become party in the present unhappy contest) resolved (which is now in our records) to adhere strictly to the rules and orders of the Continental Congress, and in open committee acknowledged themselves indebted to the united colonies their full portion of the Continental expense.

Finding ourselves on the Frontiers, and being apprehensive that, for the want of a proper legislature, we might become shelter for such as endeavored to defraud their creditors; considering also the necessity of recording Deeds, Wills, and doing other public business, we, by consent of the people, formed a court for the purposes above mentioned, taking (by desire of our constituents) the Virginia laws for our guide, so near as the situation of affairs would admit;

this was intended for ourselves, and was done by the consent of every individual, but wherever we had to deal with people out of our district, we have ruled them to bail, to abide your determinations, (which was, in fact, leaving the matter of reference,) other-ways we dismissed their suit, lest we should in any way intrude on the legislature of the colonies. In short, we have endeavored so strictly to do justice, that we have admitted common proof against ourselves, on accounts from the colonies. without pretending a right to require the Colony Seal.

We therefore trust that we shall be considered as we deserve, and not,as we have (no doubt) been many times, represented, as a lawless mob. It is for this very reason we can assure you that we petition, we now a gain repeat it, that it is for want of proper authority to try and punish felons, we can only mention to you murderers, horse thieves and robbers and are sorry to say that some of them have escaped us for want of proper authority. We trust, however, that this will not long be the case, and we again and again repeat it, that it is for this reason we petition to this Honorable Assembly.

Above we have given you and extract of our proceedings, since our settling on Watauga, Nonachuckie, in regard to our civil affairs. We have shown you the causes of our first settling and the disappointments we have met with, the reason of our lease and of our purchase, the manner in which we purchased, and how we hold of the Indians in fee simple; the causes four forming a committee, and legality of its election; and same of our court and proceedings, and our reasons for petitioning in regard to our Legislature.

We will now proceed to give you some account or our military establishments, which were chosen agreeable to the rules established by convention, and officers appointed by the committee. This being done we thought it proper to raise a company on the District service, as our proportion, to act in the common cause on the sea shore. A Company of fine riflemen were accordingly enlisted, and put under Captain James Robertson, and were actually embodied, when we received sundry letters and depositions, (copies of which we now enclose to you,) you will readily judge that there was occasion for them in another place, where we daily expected attack. We therefore thought proper to station them on our Frontiers, in defence of the common cause, at the expense and risque of our own private fortunes, till further public orders, which we flatter ourselves will give no offence. We have enclosed you sundry proceedings at the station where our men now remain.

We shall now submit the whole to your candid and impartial judgement. We pray your mature and deliberate consideration in our behalf, that you may annex us to your Province, (whether as County, district, or other division,) in such manner as my enable us to share in the glorious cause of Liberty, enforce our laws under authority, and in every respect become the best members of society; and for ourselves and constituents we hope,we many venture to assure you, that we shall adhere strictly to your determinations, and that nothing will be lacking or any thing neglected,that may add weight (in the civil or military establishments) to the glorious cause in which we are now struggling, or contribute to the welfare of our own or ages yet to come.

That you may strictly examine every part of this our Petition, and delay no time in annexing us to your Province, in such a manner as you wisdom shall direct, is the hearty prayer of those who, for themselves and constituents, as in duty bound, shall every pray.

The Cherokeewere indigenous people who lived in the southern Appalachian mountains. European Americans called their towns in eastern Tennessee, the Overhill Towns. The towns included Chota, Tellico and Tanasi.

In 1776, the Cherokee planned to drive settlers out of the Washington District. The settlers were warned and stopped the first attack at Heaton's Station. The second attack was stopped at Fort Watauga. In response to these attacks, the militia burned Tuskegee and Citico.

In 1780, while the militia was away at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Cherokee raided the setttlements. When the militia returned, Colonel John Sevier's men defeated the Cherokee at Boyd's Creek and destroyed most of the remaining towns.











Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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