© Copyright 1998 by George Parris, All Rights Reserved
Part 20: The Pearis Family of Frederick County, Virginia (1730-1780)
20.1 History of Northern and Western Virginia (1649 - 1755)
The Northern Neck (1649 - 1719)
The British Crown took ownership of Virginia from the Virginia Company in 1624. The "Northern Neck" refers to the peninsula formed by the land north of the Rappahannock River and south of the Potomac River. This strip of land was to play a large role in the development of the Virginia colony, the United States and the Pearis Family.
King Charles I was beheaded on 30 January 1649 (1648 old calendar) and his son fled to France. To reward those who had stood by him aiding and abetting his escape, the son of Charles I awarded seven of them grants of land in Virginia "bounded by and within the heads" of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. The Northern Neck (which at the time was part of the counties of York and Northumberland, since 1645) was assigned to seven lords (in September 1649). Of course, these grants meant nothing unless Charles could regain the crown of England. These seven lords were both optimistic and patient, as they had to wait for the Restoration, which occurred with the crowning of Charles II in 1660. Meanwhile, York and Northumberland counties in the colony had been realigned as Westmoreland County (1653) along the Potomac and Lancaster County, which was south and west of the Potomac strip.
Naturally, the House of Burgesses of the colony of Virginia did not recognize the grants made by Charles II while he was in exile and they were generally not inclined to support Charles. Their roots were with the Protestants of Elizabethan England (Walter Raleigh et al.). In the meantime, Lancaster County was split into Middlesex (1669) to free it from the claim, leaving Rappahannock County (which existed from 1656 to 1692). Of course, at the time, nobody had a clue where the western boundary of these claims were.
In 1675, Charles II appointed Lord John Culpeper, one of the land grant holders, Governor of the colony of Virginia. John Culpeper passed these lands to his son, Lord Thomas Culpeper who became the colonial Governor of Virginia (1680 - 83). Lord Thomas Culpeper started to consolidate the grants. In the process, he acquired most of the "proprietorship" of old Rappahannock County in a land patent of 1688 granted by the Privy Council. In 1692, Richmond County (which became King George Co. in 1721) was cut from Rappahannock leaving Essex County.
When Lord Thomas Culpeper died without a male heir, his daughter Katherine Culpeper inherited 5/6th of the land and her mother retained 1/6th. Katherine Culpeper married Thomas, Fifth Lord Fairfax , and their son Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax, inherited all the Culpeper claims in 1719. But, there were many in the Virginia House of Burgesses who still disputed the Fairfax (Culpeper) claims.
The Blue Ridge Frontier
Traveling west from the Atlantic coast, the first major and continuous upland formation that is encountered is a ridge with a bluish cast. The color that gives the Blue Ridge its name comes from the fact that the ridge is at low altitude and pollen and other particulates derived from the forest scatter the longer wave length light so that the spectrum reaching the eye has a definite blue bias. The ridge is indeed a ridge, not a line of hills or a mountain range. Actually, it is a series of parallel ridges obviously folded from a sea bead and eroded over geologic time. There are several places along the western ridges in present-day West Virginia where the exposed sand stone strata can be seen to project almost vertically upward (e.g., at the Mouth of Senaca). The ancient rivers that flow to the east and west likely predate the folding and have gradually cut through the ridges at about the same rate that the ridges grew. There may have been periods where ponding behind the ridges occurred, but evidence of any pre-historic great inland lakes is generally lacking. What has happened instead is that within each valley between the ridges a watershed forms a stream that follows the valley to the ancient crosscutting rivers. Many valleys have watersheds with a minor divide such that streams have headwaters that are very close but flow in opposite directions in the valley to different major cross-cutting rivers.
The Potomac River is a typical ancient crosscutting river. It can be traced from the Atlantic Ocean up to Cumberland, Maryland. The major tributaries flowing into the Potomac include Evitts (N), the so-called South Branch of the Potomac (S), Licking (N), Back (S), Opequon (S) and Conococheague (N), Shenandoah (S) which has several parallel branches that join before reaching the Potomac, Monocacy (N), and many others.
Before Europeans came to the New World, Native Americans traversed the area between the North East (e.g., New York) and South East (e.g., Georgia) by following the valleys that parallel the Blue Ridge. The valleys provided the natives an easily followed path to navigate by. The first Europeans to reach the valleys west of the Blue Ridge likely came the same way from the north. Samuel de Champlain prepared a map dating from 1632 that shows the Blue Ridge valleys. Traders and trapper from the Virginia colony made it to the Blue Ridge and beyond by 1650. A Dr. John Lederer of Hamburg, Germany mentioned the Shenandoah Valley in his diary of 1670. Col. Cadwallader Jones was apparently the first official explorer of the Shenandoah Valley for the British in 1673 and Alexander Spotswood followed him in 1716. However, by 1707, Germans were drifting down into the Shenandoah Valley south of the Potomac from Pennsylvania.
Lord Fairfax (1736-1761)
Lord Fairfax, who spent a large amount of his time in England, delegated much of his day to day affairs in Virginia to Robert Carter, who the settlers took to derisively calling "King" Carter. Based upon the 1688 land patent, Carter claimed all the land east of the Blue Ridge and north of the Rapidan (south branch of the Rappahannock River) for Fairfax. This was about 1706 when settlers were just beginning to find their way into the Shenandoah Valley from Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, Carter did not necessarily stop his claims at the Blue Ridge (headwaters of the Rappahannock). He would gladly claim the Shenandoah Valley all along the western frontier. Robert "King" Carter's plan was to settle large tobacco plantations founded by nobles from England, but this went rather slowly and was not making the Virginia House of Burgesses happy.
The western part of Essex County was split off as Spotsylania County in 1720. To the south, settlers were starting to drift into the upper Shenandoah River valley. In 1727, Robert and William Lewis, William Lynn, Robert Brooke and Beverley Robinson petitioned the colonial Governor of Virginia to allow them to settle families on 1000-acre plots near present-day Staunton, Virginia on the head of the James River. In 1734, Spotsylvania County was partitioned to yield Orange County west of Fredericksburg and north of the southern branch of the Rappahannock (i.e., north of the Rapidan River). These were acts of the House of Burgesses, which were not under the control of Lord Fairfax or Carter.
After Carter's death, Fairfax came to Virginia in 1735 to defend his claim. Finally, in 1736 a comprehensive survey was begun supported on the one side by Governor Gooch of Virginia and on the other by Fairfax. While the surveyors worked, Fairfax returned to England to lobby with the Privy Council regardless of the outcome. Each side had their own survey teams that completed their work in 1738 and in the end they disagreed. It took eight years (until 1746) for the Lords in England to sort it out in favor of Fairfax. In the meantime, Old Frederick County (Orange County west of the Blue Ridge) was formed in 1743 and claimed by Fairfax in 1745. In 1746 a boundary was surveyed from the headwaters of the Rapidan to the headwaters of the Potomac, which encompassed over 5 million acres awarded to Lord Fairfax . This area was larger than many colonies to the north. Fairfax returned to his domain in Virginia in 1747. In the meantime, the House of Burgesses had created Fairfax County in 1742.
Much of what Fairfax had received in the 1746 survey was itself poorly defined (at the time he did not know that he had over 5 million acres). It lay between the Rapidan-Rappahannock and the Potomac Rivers bounded at the end by the survey line terminating at the Fairfax Stone. In other words it was the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and north western Virginia. So while residing in his cousin William's home called Belvoir (present-day Fort Belvoir), he commissioned surveyors including the young George Washington to survey his western lands. This project began in 1747 and was completed in 1748. The survey expedition gave Washington a substantial reputation. In 1749, Washington was commissioned by the College of William and Mary to survey the new Culpeper County.
Once his western lands had been surveyed, Fairfax built a hunting lodge called "Greenway Court" west of the Blue Ridge (present-day White Post about 10 miles south east of Winchester in Clarke Co. Virginia). The principal sport hunting was fox although a variety of other game were present. This site is on the Manor of Leeds (about 120,000 acres on the Blue Ridge between Chester Gap and Ashby Gap), which is still known for its horses and fox hunts. Greenway Court was expanded to a stone house where Lord Fairfax settled permanently in 1761. Lord Fairfax leased large tracks of this land on a perpetual-renewable basis requiring that the lessee survey the land and build a house at least 20 feet by 16 feet with a stone or brick chimney and plant an orchard of 100 apple trees 30 feet apart. [This sounds very much like the covenants of a modern homeowner association.]
Lord Fairfax never married and some say his heart was broken by a woman he had pursued in 1735. The colonies were becoming less and less hospitable towards English lords and after the Proclamation of 1763 and the Stamp Act (1765), he was fairly certain that Virginia would claim his lands in any hostility. So in 1767 he deeded his manors to Thomas Bryan Martin, his nephew and an established Virginia colonial, who re-deeded them to him so that Lord Fairfax would have a title that had passed though a Virginia deed office.
Interestingly, he maintained neutrality during the War of Independence. The colonists confiscated most of his land in 1776 and he died in 1781 shortly after Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. After the war, the new Commonwealth of Virginia sued to obtain lands granted to Fairfax and not conveyed to others. These suits went on for years and undermined the claims of many colonists who had settled Old Frederick Co. Virginia before Fairfax had title to the land (if he never owned it, he could not sell it to them). These cases ultimately established the supremacy of the U.S. Supreme Court over the State Supreme Courts.
The Monocacy, Shenandoah, Opequon, and Back Valleys
As European settler who had landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania moved west from the ferry crossing at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they were progressively turned to the southwest by the rise of the Blue Ridge. They could either push into the hills toward Carlisle (present-day route I-81) or take a safer (less hilly) route towards present-day Gettysburg (present-day route 15). In the early days, the settlers with wagons carrying everything they owned were likely to play it safe, although there is no real barrier if they followed the scouts to the west.
The next big river to be crossed would be the Potomac, which formed the boundary between Virginia (Lord Fairfax claims) and Maryland. The eastern track south from Harrisburg, on the front (east) of the Blue Ridge, brought the settlers onto the headwaters of the Monocacy River. Whichever headwater branch they found, they all converged on the point of present day Frederick, Maryland. The valley of the Monocacy was settled (sparsely) in the late 1600s mainly by Germans who went on to occupy present-day upper Montgomery Co. and lower Frederick Co. in Maryland (north of the Potomac). There were fewer than ten distinct families on the Monocacy in 1732. The town of Frederick sprang up in 1745 and grew in importance after a passage was found into Virginia. The Reform Congregation at Frederick baptized 26 children from 49 families in 1747. In 1767, it listed 89 heads of German families. In 1748, old Prince George County, Maryland was divided to create Frederick Co., Maryland.
The Monocacy leads due south from Frederick to the Potomac. This location is too far east to enter the Shenandoah Valley and it does not provide any convenient crossing point into Virginia. As a matter of fact, the Monocacy itself is difficult to cross below Frederick. Thus, between the Monocacy and the Blue Ridge the settlers were funneled to the southwest. Here they found the Catoctin River, which could be crossed to reach a point where the Potomac had eroded its way through a spur off the Blue Ridge. This point became known as "Sandy Hook." Here the Potomac was shallow and filled with projections of rock and sand. (It is about 15 miles from Frederick to Sandy Hook, and as you make the trip a notch in the hills ahead guides you.) Sandy Hook is less than two miles downstream from the mouth of the Shenandoah River and the Shenandoah Valley.
A sketch-map prepared by Louis Michel in 1707 shows this critical part of the journey graphically. The settlers were instructed to cross at the shallows on the ridge-line in spite of the fact that the hills on the far side look insurmountable. Once on the south side of the Potomac, the traveler was forced to go into the hills to the south as the river was actually in something of a canyon. [Modern technology has created a road along the Potomac from here to the Shenandoah today, but this path was not feasible in 1700.] Once behind (south of) the first line of hills, the settlers could follow around to the west where a gap led into the valley of the Shenandoah River and a ford was available. Continuing southward, the settlers had a choice of the east fork or the west fork of the Shenandoah River, which are separated by the Masanutten Mountains (ridge).
Louis Michel's 1707 map did not show two important tributaries of the Potomac. A few miles west of the Shenandoah, Opequon Creek joined the Potomac. Similarly, a few miles further west, Back Creek also joined the Potomac. Back Creek, in particular, was the drainage from the south end of a valley. The valley continues north of the Potomac and brought the Conococheague River down from the north. This valley continues on to Pennsylvania and curves up to Carlisle. There is a watershed divide in the valley (at about present-day Shippensburg) and Carlisle is actually on the Conodoguinet River, which runs into the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg. Thus, the Conococheague and Conodoguinet Rivers drain the same valley in opposite directions. Today, I- 81 follows this path without fear of French or Indian attacks. Eventually (after 1735), Hagerstown and Williamsport (a ferry) grew up much like Frederick and Sandy Hook. Of course, The Shenandoah Valley had much more potential for settlement than Back Creek and a ferry was soon built by the Harpers at the confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac, so future growth of Sandy Hook was nipped in the bud.
British Government in the Rural Counties of the Colonies
The organization of rural county governments during British colonial rule was as follows:
The King appointed a colonial governor (who might never see the colony in person). The governor chose a lieutenant governor to represent the Crown in person in the colony. It is common to call the "lieutenant governor", the "governor" when viewing history from the colonial perspective.
Once a county was formed by the colonial assembly (in Virginia, the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg), the Governor picked and appointed a crony to be the county governor and various local officials. Typically the county had a Sheriff, Justices of the Peace (the courts), Clerk of the Court, a County Lieutenant (military leader, equivalent to a modern general), and a county Surveyor who as particularly important because the counties were being settled from various land grants and patents from the colonial government (or in the case of northern Virginia Lord Fairfax who had received a grant directly from the King). From there on down, nepotism was the order of the day, especially for deputies in various positions and junior military officers.
Almost as soon as significant land grants were established in old Frederick Co., Virginia (sometime between 1734 and 1747), Robert Harper from Philadelphia settled at the mouth of the Shenandoah River. However, apparently he did not establish a ferry until 1761. There are references to an earlier ferry and it seems inconceivable that no ferry service was available during the French and Indian War. Harper ultimately built a grist mill on the Shenandoah.
After the War of Independence, George Washington had one of the two national arsenals established at Harpers Ferry. The site was conveniently located for the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal (1833) and Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad (1834). The Arsenal conducted Research and Development on munitions and the Hall Rifle Works was established there by John R. Hall to mass produce firearms using interchangeable parts. Obviously, Harpers Ferry was in its day a high-technology manufacturing center at the north-south and east-west cross roads of the new nation. In a civil war, it would be torn to pieces.
One aspect of Harpers Ferry that has survived is the spectacular view down the Potomac River from the heights over the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah. Thomas Jefferson described this view as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Johannes Van Meter, Jost Hite, Richard Morgan, Andrew Ross and Other Early Settlers
One of the first white men to spend much time in western Virginia beyond the Blue Ridge was Johannes Van Meter (Jon Vanmeter, VanMeter). Van Meter was obviously Dutch and likely lived in the Hudson Valley of New York. He befriended and traveled with a band of Delaware (Native Americans) who traveled south (for unknown reasons, it may have simply been a war party looking for trouble) about 1725. On this mission, they encountered a band of Catawba at the current location of Franklin (Pendleton Co.), West Virginia. A fight followed and the Delaware with Van Meter retreated. About this same time (1726-28), a disorganized (squatter settlement) of some of the northern (lower) Shenandoah was pursued by people drifting across the Potomac from the Monocacy Valley of Maryland and Pennsylvania. These were German immigrants from Pennsylvania. Their lasting contribution was Mecklenburg (now Shepherdstown, Jefferson Co., West Virginia) on the south bank of the Potomac.
During his travels, Van Meter had seen the Shenandoah Valley and recognized its desirable habitat and local for systematic European-style settlement. Thus, in 1730, he approached Governor Gooch of Virginia and obtained a land grant for 40,000 acres on the lower (northern) Shenandoah Valley. Van Meter soon sold this grant to a German from York, Pennsylvania named Joist Hite (also Yost Hitte, etc., perhaps even Height) in 1731. In 1732, Hite brought the families of his three daughters (married to Jacob Chrisman, George Bowman/Baumann, and Paul Froman/Frohmann) and about 12 other families with him. The Hite place was about five miles south of present-day Winchester on the Opequon River. Other settlers found themselves on Cedar Creek and Crooked Creek.
Two other men who received early land grants near Winchester were Richard Morgan (a Welshman) who obtained a grant in 1734 and Andrew Ross (a Quaker of Scottish heritage). Jacob Stauffer/Stoever (German) established a grant further south, where the Shenandoah forks to the east and west of the Massanutten ridge. Abraham Hollingsworth came about 1729 and Owen Thomas and Jeremiah Smith came to Back Creek in 1730. William Hoge (Hogg, Hogue) and Charles H. Hanna arrived about 1735 on Back Creek and Opequon Creek.
This started the pattern of settlement of the lower (northern) Shenandoah, Opequon and Back Creeks: Wealthy men secured grants from the Governor or from Lord Fairfax (depending upon who they felt had the better title) and then resold it in smaller tracts to ordinary settlers families. Sometime the land was bought outright (in cash), but more often the land was mortgaged by a fixed lease for its products in-kind (e.g., an ear of corn per acre each year). In extreme cases, the purchaser would indenture himself and his family to work off the mortgage .
Meanwhile, settlers were drifting into the southern (upper) Shenandoah Valley directly from the Atlantic coast. One of the earliest of these was Michael Woods (1734) with his son and sons-in- law. They settled around present-day Staunton, Virginia. They were joined in 1736 by William Beverley, John and Richard Randolph, and John Obinson.
The Establishment of Frederick County (1738-1743)
It was not until 21 December 1738, that the House of Burgesses met in Williamsburg to rename territories taken from Lord Fairfax west of the Blue Ridge. These lands were renamed Frederick County after the Prince of Wales. At that time, a new county seat was established and surveyed by James Wood (surveyor of Orange County). Wood selected the site for the county seat, laid it off in a town plat, and named it "Winchester" after his place of birth in England.
Winchester consisted of 26 half-acre lots and three streets (Loudoun, Boscawen and Cameron) on a parcel of 1,300 acres. The balance of the land was assigned to the colony of Virginia. The basis of the county government was an independent county court, which administered the law and recorded the important transactions of the landowners and residents. The first court officials were sworn in on 11 November 1743 and they met at the surveying office of James Wood who was the clerk of the court. Wood built his lands into an estate called Glen Burnie.
After Lord Fairfax gained the rights to the land in 1746, he sent his own survey party to Winchester including a 16-year-old from a wealthy tidewater family named George Washington. Apparently, this kicked off a round of law suites between the original settlers (pre-1738) and Lord Fairfax over who owned the land. In his book Pioneers of Old Frederick County, Virginia (Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1995, Marceline, Missouri), Cecil O'Dell cited the Hite/Fairfax Law Suite, British copy, pp. 162-163 concerning the lands originally settled by the Hite families. In O'Dell's words:
"Jost Hite had 175 acres 'on the east side of Opeckon' Creek surveyed by Robert Brook on 23 December 1734. Hite assigned this tract to Richard Morgan who then sold it to 'George Pearis the elder who devised by will (15 November 1749) to his grandson George Pearis who has assigned his interest in the same to Jacob Hite 10 October 1765 for the consideration of 80 pounds.'"
The original Pearis homestead was about 5 miles northwest of the historical section of Winchester in the Back Creek watershed. The Pearis farm was on Pearis Run (now called Parish Run) which is east of county road #608. The nearest little towns are Nain and Albin.
With the establishment of the courthouse and records system, the colonists of Frederick County began registering their deeds, wills and land transactions, which allow us to examine the business transactions of the common people of the county. The population of the county grew steadily after 1700: 4,300 settlers by 1745 and more than 11,000 by 1763.
George and Sarah Pearis from Ireland
In 1900, most of the Pearis/Paris/Parris family west of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Kentucky to Georgia can trace their roots to George (est. 1680 - 1752) and Sarah (est. 1695 - 1753) Pearis. George Pearis (the elder, as I call him to keep the identification clear) was born in Ireland about 1680. He married Sarah about 1715. At that time, she must have been about 20 and he would have been about 35. George and Sarah were blessed with a total of four children of historical significance: a daughter Christian (1715 - after 1749), followed by three sons; George, Jr. (1722 - 1797), Richard (1724 - 1794), and Robert (1726 - 1781). Obviously, all the children were born in Ireland, as the family did not come to the colonies until about 1730. In Ireland the family was moderately well-off with an overseas trading business, which may have extended to the American colonies and West Indies. These facts, which appear in several sources, are consistent with the throry advanced by Shay McNeal that George Pearis was a relative of the Parris family that had settled in Barbados in the early 1600s. Ms. McNeal (private communication) has proposed that George Pearis was a son of George Parris ("the pirate") whose father was also George Parris of Barbados (lived mid-1600s). In this theory, "the pirate" was born in Barbados and got into trouble with the British government for competing with them in the slave trade. "The pirate" was hiding from the British to avoid execution and settled in Ireland in his later years. (County Tyrone is mentioned in some sources, but is not confirmed.) This theory would account nicely for the introduction of the unique and unstable spelling "Pearis" as an alias used by an outlaw (George Parris the pirate) upon arrival in Ireland.
It is interesting that at the age of about 50, George Pearis (the elder) would have uprooted his family and set off for the colonies. It is likely that he would not have done so at that age unless he was relatively well-off and could afford to make the trip in some comfort. It is also likely that George Pearis (the elder) had traveled on business to the colonies prior to this date if he was indeed involved in trade. In this scenario, the Pearis family would not have been indentured for the trip and would have arrived in Philadelphia (or one the nearby ports) free to pursue a life in the New World. Again, Shay McNeal has discussed the possibility that the Parris family was affiliated with the Quakers/William Penn.
The Pearis family apparently spent some time near Philadelphia (1731-1734) where Richard Pearis in particular may have received some valuable education. By about 1734-35, the Pearis family had acquired land in Lanchaster County, Pennsylvania. Some sources give a date of 1737 as a land grant from William Penn, which Shay McNeal suggests were a series of waystations (sites for inns or taverns) on the road west from Philadelphia. By the time they were ready to move, the "wilderness road" had pushed west past Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and settlement had started in what was then Orange County, Virginia, west of the Blue Ridge mountains and east of the south fork of the Potomac River.
As noted above, the ownership of this area of Virginia was in some dispute. Lord Fairfax had originally been given an unlimited land grant to the west, but his model of settlement (implemented by his agent "King" Carter) was to install large plantations under rich owners using the tidewater (Tobacco Coast) model. This process was slow and not really appropriate for the upland territory to the west of the Blue Ridge. The government of Virginia was more interested in establishing a buffer against the Indians (Native Americans) and the French and were willing to draw the line of "eastern civilization" at the Blue Ridge. Thus, Fairfax found that the colonial government claimed the right to settle tracts of land west of the Blue Ridge on the extension of Fairfax's claim (i.e., Orange County) which ran on a line north of the Rappahannock River (a.k.a., the northern neck). Obviously, the "northern neck" ended at the headwater of the Rappahannock and this was the legal basis for limiting the northern neck grant made to Lord Fairfax. That is, the colonial government wanted to draw the limit of the Fairfax claim north along the Blue Ridge from the south fork of the Rappahannock until it intersected the Potomac. However, the Potomac River penetrates the Blue Ridge and Fairfax believed his claim was literally headwater to headwater.
Thus, the Virginia colony gave selected developers the authority to recruit colonists and sell them relatively small (up to 1000 acre) parcels of land west of the Blue Ridge provided that the property was settled with a house and an orchard within two years. The Native Americans were excluded from the area by treaty although this meant nothing without force-of-arms. Some of the earliest settlements included those by Abraham Hollingsworth ("Abram's Delight", 1729); Owen Thomas with Jeremiah Smith obtained 806 acres on Back Creek in 1730; Josh Hite assembled 16 families and moved them onto his 5,000-acre grant building Hite's Fort at present-day Bartonville, Virginia. It appears that George and Sarah Pearis and their family were among the families collected by Hite in Philadelphia and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania about 1735. They arrived in Orange County soon thereafter.
Judging from subsequent events, it appears that Richard and Robert were better educated than George, Jr. was, and they were more inclined to take risky adventures. In all likelihood, the job of supporting the family farm fell to George Jr. as his father was already in his fifties and George Jr. was in his early teens. The eldest child (daughter Christian) also undoubtedly worked the farm with the parents. These efforts left Richard and Robert time to get an education and freed them from the worry of ensuring the survival of the family. It is possible that Richard and Robert may have had some education in Philadelphia, which would have accounted for their abilities displayed in later life.
Business Transactions involving George Pearis "The Elder"
The image, which evolves from looking over land records, of Old Frederick County, Virginia 1743-1752, is that George Pearis "the elder" had assumed a roll of elder statesman. His sons (especially Richard and Robert) were active community leaders and he had a grandson named George and the name of his first son was also George. Thus, it is sometimes difficult to keep all the George Pearises straight (there were three alive at the same time in 1750). Nonetheless, the elder George Pearis was active in business almost to his death in 1752.
On 20 November 1749, William Neeley (who married Christian Pearis) hired John Baylis to survey 200 acres of land described as adjoining George Pearis his father-in-law. Also on 20 November 1749, George Pearis hired John Baylis to survey 200 acres of land near Magan Bryan where Peter Hilton lived. These actions may have indicated a land swap.
On 18 January 1750, Jacob Gibson hired John Baylis to survey 400 acres of land described as adjoining Isaac Hite (Hitte) and George Pearis on Cedar Creek.
On 12-13 November 1750, George Pearis arranged to lease the William Hoge (Hogue, Hogg) property, which consisted of about 200 acres on the main north-south road about 25 miles north of Winchester. Hoge was a Quaker and was apparently moving back to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The land had originally been part of a greater tract granted to Isaac Perkin on 12 November 1735 who had conveyed the sub-parcel to William Hoge. The lease from Hoge to Pearis was for five shillings. This lease on 12 November 1750 was signed by William Hoge and witnessed by John Sturman, Thomas Wood, John Maden, William Neely, Jacob Jenkins and Duncan Ogolin. The elder Pearis may have been using the lease as a means to obtain an option on the property while he considered purchasing it and/or raised the money to purchase it, because the next day 13 November 1750, he bought it outright for 217 pounds of Pennsylvania money. Hoge signed and the same group witnessed the deal; both transactions were recorded on 14 November 1750.
It is interesting that on the next day (15 November 1750) a deed was recorded for which George Washington was a witness in a land transaction between William Vestall and George Johnson & John Hardin Gent of Frederick County. George Washington maintained a survey office in Winchester from 1748 to 1765. Washington was elected to represent Frederick Co. in the House of Burgesses in 1758 and 1761.
While in town, George Pearis and Thomas Rutherford (junior) witnessed a deed recorded on 16 November 1750 between Abel Walker and John Shearer. For 35 pounds, Shearer bought about 120 acres of land, which had already been planted. Mr. Walker and Mr. Shearer were not finished in their business; however, on 22 May 1751, George Pearis, John Smith and Thomas Wood witnessed Walker pay Shearer 10 pounds, 10 shillings and 7 pence for a large chestnut mare (natural pacer) with a star on her forehead and one white hind foot and a brand on the shoulder.
George Pearis (the elder's) will reads as follows:
Will of George Pearis Virginia Dated: November 15, 1749 Proven: September 14, 1752
In the name of God, amen. I George Pearis Senior of the county & parish of Frederick in the colony of Virginia, being through the abundant mercy and goodness of God, though weak in the body, yet of a sound & perfect memory & understanding, do constitute this my last will and testament and desire it may be received by all as such revoking & disavowing all other will or wills, testimony or testaments heretofore by me made or declared either by word of mouth or by writing and this only to be taken for my last will & testament & no other.
Imprimis, I most humbly bequeath my soul to God my maker, expecting his most gracious acceptance of it through the all sufficient merits & meditations of my most compassionate Redeemer Jesus Christ who gave himself to be the atonement for my sins and is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him, seeing he ever livith to make intercession for them & who I trust will not reject his God-fearing penitent sinner when I come to him for mercy. In this hope & confidence I render up my soul in death, humbly beseeching the most blessed and glorious & only one God most holy, most merciful and gracious for the time of my dissolution and then to receive me to himself unto that peace and rest and in incomparable felicity, which he has reserved for all that love and fear him. Amen. Blessed be God.
Imprimis, I give my body to the earth from whence it was formed and order it to be buried at the Presbyterian meeting house in the country aforesaid in faith awaiting its resurrection from thence at the last day. As for my burial, I desire I may decrease without pomp or state at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named who I doubt not will attend with all requisite care and prudence as to my wishes. I will and positively order that all my lawful debts be paid and fully discharged. Then I give and bequeath to my Daughter Christian Neally [Neeley] one English Crown by reason I gave her a child's part already. Item. I give and bequeath to my eldest son George Pearis one English Crown.
Item. I give my second son Richard that tract of land I bought of Peter Nelson, whereon he now dwells, to him, his heirs and assigns forever together with my best riding horse and my wearing apparel.
Item. I give and bequeath to my third and youngest son Robert Pearis that tract of patent land, which I bought of William Hoge, whereupon I now dwell, for the use of him and his heirs forever.
Item. I give and bequeath to my dear and loving wife Sarah, one end of my dwelling house, ever which end she thinks best to choose during her lifetime or widowhood, and also I do order and allow her twenty bushels of wheat and twenty bushels of Indian corn to be paid to her year by year by my said son Robert Pearis during her life or widowhood together with one third part of all my movable estate not disposed of yet. All bonds and bill and book debts whatsoever accepted the remainder whereof shall fall to my son Robert after all my debts be discharged.
Item. I do leave that tract of land which I bought of Richard Morgan in the care of my son Robert for the space of seven years ensuing the date hereof; and at the expiration of seven years, I order it be sold and the price there of let out on interest and principal sum together with the interest shall be paid to my grandson George Pearis's oldest son called George [born 1746] at the age of twenty-one years . But if in the case said grandson should not live 'til the age of twenty-one years then I order said tract of land to my second son Richard Pearis and his heirs and assigns forever.
Item. I do give my grandson John Neally the sum of twenty-five pounds current money to be paid and discharged to him in horses and mares by my son Robert at the age of 21 years.
And lastly, I do nominate and appoint my dear and loving wife Sarah to be executrix and my son Robert to be executor of this my last will and testament together with the assistance of Col's James Wood and Lewis Neally to join with them in the administration and to see this my last will and testament in every article performed and perfected to the full intent and meaning thereof. In witness whereas I have herewith set my hand and seal this fifteenth day of November in the year of our Lord 1749.
Sealed, signed and published in the presence of us
John Sherer Hugh Lyle Richard Pearis
At a court held for Frederick County on Tuesday the 1st day of September 1752, the last will and testament of George Pearis dec'd was exhibited in court by Sarah Pearis and Robert Pearis the Executrix and Executor threrin named and being proved, the [judge] Hugh Lyle Ordered that the will lay for further proof.
This will tells us something about the Pearis family. Robert was obviously living on his father's property and to him fell most of the core business of George the elder. Robert shared the house with his mother Sarah. He administered his father's books (receipts and payments) and was given the task of looking after his mother and his nephew (George Pearis grandson of George Pearis the elder). It appears that George Pearis, Jr. (the oldest brother) was little more than a drifter and probably did not marry the mother of his son George. He was not hated by the family, but he had apparently rebelled from it and/or was not considered to be a responsible person. Through his will, George Pearis the elder was trying to provide his grandson the financial security that he knew his son (George Pearis, Jr.) could not/would not provide. There also seems to be friendship with the Neally's that may have gone back to Ireland and, which may have continued to South Carolina with Robert (see Robert's 1781 will, below).
George Washington (1732- 1799)
George Washington's paternal line had been in the Virginia colony for several generations when he was born on 22 February 1732 in Westmoreland County. His father Augustine Washington had already had two sons by his first wife and George was the eldest son of Mary Ball. George Washington's early life was spent on Pope's Creek that flowed to the Potomac. His older half- brother Lawrence had moved to a farm on a bluff overlooking the Potomac, which was called Mount Vernon. Lawrence and the other half-brother of George had been educated in England.
Augustine Washington died in 1743 when George was only 11 years old. George, thus, moved in with his older half-brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. Lawrence was much like a father to the young man. It turned out that Lawrence had married into the Fairfax family. Lawrence's wife Anne Fairfax was apparently a mixed race woman from the Bahamas. His brother was George William Fairfax who was also of mixed race . William Fairfax was located at Belvoir and was a cousin of Lord Thomas Fairfax who claimed the entire "northern neck."
The young George Washington had considered going to sea, but his interests had turned to surveying, which is a nice way of saying his family was interested in land speculation. He got his first job through his family ties in 1748 (at the age of 16) working for Lord Fairfax to survey his land claims in western Virginia. This led to other surveying jobs (e.g., Culpeper Co.). In 1752, George Washington accompanied Lawrence to Barbados presumably looking for a cure for Lawrence's tuberculosis. Unfortunately, Lawrence died in 1752 and George inherited the Mount Vernon estate, as Lawrence had no children.
George Washington was fairly well educated, very well connected, and with the death of his half- brother rich. Most of his formal military education came from discussions with his half-brothers.
20.2 The Cherokee Allies of the British and the British Colonies (1720 -1768)
A Brief History of the Cherokee
Although the French are generally associated as being aligned with the "Indians," in fact, the British and their colonies had a powerful war ally in the Cherokee Nation. The Catawba and several other tribes were also helpful and friendly, but the Cherokee were the only Native Americans who could field its own armies of hundreds of warriors. The Cherokee had first encountered the Europeans (Spanish) about 1540 and there had been a continuing low level contact until 1690. The Cherokee Nation was both inland and seated in the remote uplands of what became western North Carolina (these are the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi).
By the 1700s, the Cherokee could be sub-divided into three closely related groups:
The Overhill Cherokee were the most powerful. Their capitol was Chote on the lower reaches of the Little Tennessee River. The South Carolinians had little contact with the Overhill and it was actually the Virginians who opened trade with this region via the Holston River. Overhill Settlements: Chatuga, Chilhowee, Cotocanahut, Echota (Chote), Hiwassee, Natuhli, Nayuhi , Sitiku, Tahlasi, Tallulah, Tamahli, Tellico, Tennessee, Toquo, Tsiyahi, Ustanali
The Middle Cherokee were located primarily between the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains in the valleys of the upper Little Tennessee, Tuckasegee, and French Broad Rivers. These were the Cherokee who lived the longest in isolation surrounded by mountains and forest. The area did not have the game (deer) that the lower regions had. The Cherokee raised corn in the mountain valleys and trapped fish in the streams. Middle Settlements: Cowee, Coweeshee, Ellijay, Itseyi, Jore, Kituhwa, Nanyahala, Nucassee, Stikayi, Tawsee, Tekanitli, Tessuntee, Tikaleyasuni, Watauga, Yunsawi.
The Lower Cherokee were located from western South Carolina through northern Georgia (north of the Chattahoochee River). The principal towns were Keowee in South Carolina and New Echota on the Conasauga River in Georgia. The Cherokee regarded the lower area mainly as a hunting ground and were very flexible concerning trading this land for profit to the Europeans. Lower Settlements: (New) Echota, Estatoee, Keowee, Kulsetsiyi (or Sugartown), Oconee, Qualatchee, Tomassee, Toxaway, Tugaloo, Ustanali
First trade with the British started about 1630; and by 1673, Abraham Wood of Virginia sent his agents James Needham and Gabriel Arthur to the Cherokee Overhill capital at Chote. Trade with the (South) Carolinians soon followed and in 1684 a treaty was agreed for the Cherokee to provide deerskin, which became on of the chief exports of Charles Town (South Carolina), in exchange for tools and cloth. This created a new powerful class among the Cherokee, i.e., the professional hunter. The settlers of Charles Town expanded very slowly and did not threaten the Cherokee hunting grounds. As a matter of fact, the Cherokee hunted in the buffer zone of low plains of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee while maintaining their seat of government in the densely forested hills. Thus, they were very pleased with their relationship with the British.
Interestingly, the Cherokee were mainly in conflict with the surrounding tribes (coastal tribes) upon whose lands they encroached/hunted and with whom they were in competition for British trade. Introduction of fire arms in the late 1600s led to fortification of villages by most tribes. The Cherokee found themselves in ongoing violent confrontations with the Catawba (east), Creek and Choctaw (south), and Chickasaw (west). In general, all the southern tribes were in a phase of their relationship with the British which was mutually beneficial, i.e., the British expansion in the south did not yet threaten the take important lands from the Native Americans.
In the north, during the 1600s, a similar situation had led to what can be called the "Beaver wars" among the Native Americans who were each trying to control the fur trade with the Europeans (French, English, Dutch). During these wars, the Iroquois Nation had gradually spread its domain from the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley. This had pushed groups of Shawnee south through the valleys west of the Blue Ridge. There they collided with the Cherokee on the Cherokee's northern boarder starting about 1660.
However, recognizing these Shawnee to be refugees, the Cherokee simply conducted them to South Carolina and settled them as a buffer on land disputed with the Catawba; similarly Shawnee refugees were placed in the Cumberland basin of Tennessee, which was disputed with the Chickasaw.
Unfortunately, the northern tribes continued hostilities and feuds. Perhaps it was the Shawnee who periodically attempted to return north who provoked the Iroquois. Regardless, soon the Cherokee found themselves caught up in raids back and forth between the Shawnee and Iroquois. In 1692, the Shawnee even turned on the Cherokee destroying a Cherokee village looking for slaves while the Cherokee warriors were out on a hunt. This put an end to Cherokee sympathy for the Shawnee. Soon the Cherokee approached the British at Charles Town for more firearms to subdue the other Native Americans. Once armed, the Cherokee then prayed upon the surrounding tribes collecting slaves for the British. Many of these Native American slaves were sold into the Cape Fear Valley (southeastern North Carolina) where they ended up intermarrying with slaves from Africa. This situation was obviously going to create friction between the British and the non-Cherokee tribes. By 1705, North Carolina asked South Carolina to stop the trade in Native American slaves because the tribes preyed upon by the Cherokee were turning against the British.
The British were trading with the Cherokee in the south and the Iroquois in the north and both of these nations were supporting the British in their (world-wide) struggle against the French. Thus, in 1706, the British brokered a peace between the Cherokee and the Iroquois because war was hurting everybody's business and giving the French an opportunity to cause conflict. The Cherokee, Catawba and Alibamu then turned their energies against the Mobile tribe in southern Mississippi who was competing with them for trade with the French. In 1713, about 300 Cherokee also supported Colonel James Moore of South Carolina as the British subdued the Tuscarora.
In general, the relationship between the Cherokee and the British in the south grew as a partnership of equals with few direct conflicts. The Yamasee uprising against Charles Town in 1715 may have drawn in a few lowland Cherokee, but these may actually have been remnants of the Shawnee refugees now assimilated into the Cherokee. In fact, in 1721, the Cherokee made their first land concessions to the British by treaty giving away some of the land that they had recently taken from other tribes in the Carolinas.
The Iroquois had by now established a large empire called the Iroquois League and were interested in conquering the Cherokee. The northern Shawnee (who had not escaped to the south in the 1600s) were by now part of the Iroquois League and apparently were using the Shawnee groups that the Cherokee had installed in the Cumberland basin of Tennessee as a wedge to attack both the Cherokee and the Chickasaw. The Cherokee and the Chickasaw collaborated in a major defeat of the Shawnee of the Cumberland Basin in 1715. This probably did not help relations with the Iroquois, but it was not a direct threat to the Iroquois either. However, it gave the French a way to drive a wedge between the Cherokee and the Iroquois.
The French recognized that the Cherokee were a threat to their trade down the Ohio and into the Mississippi. Thus, they encouraged the Algonquin to send war parties down the valleys west of the Blue Ridge on what became known as the "warrior path" to attack the Cherokee and other southern tribes. It was one of these war parties (of Delaware) that Johannes Van Meter had accompanied when he first saw the Shenandoah Valley circa 1725. The Cherokee soon found themselves in conflict with the Algonquin (supported by the French) and the Iroquois supported by the northern British colonies. Nonetheless, the Chickasaw-Cherokee Alliance forced the remaining Shawnee north of the Ohio River in 1745 and defeated the pro-French Choctaw in 1750.
The French began making efforts to win the Cherokee from the British about 1745. This opened a door for trade by northern tribes into the Cherokee territory. The Shawnee began to raid the Creek tribes; and when some Cherokee participated with the Shawnee conflict arose between the Creek and the Cherokee.
In 1738 and 1753, small pox came to all the colonies and Native American nations. Perhaps 50% of the Native Americans died. The faith of the Cherokee in their own medicine men was replaced with faith in European techniques, which were found to be more effective. This was an important step in setting the stage for assimilating the Cherokee into European society.
The expansion of the British colonies in the Carolinas was not a particular problem for the Cherokee; but the establishment of the new Colony of Georgia began to be more of a menace to the low-land Cherokee. However, the Cherokee were far from switching their loyalties to the French. The Cherokee firmly believed that the British could be dealt with as partners for their mutual interests. There were many lands to the west and the British plantations (tobacco, rice and indigo) simply would never threaten the mountain homelands of the Cherokee. The bulk of the Cherokee power was far from any European settlement.
The French were still trying to work to the east from New Orleans. By 1717, they had obtained peace with the Alibamu and established a trading post at Fort Toulouse (near present-day Montgomery, Alabama). The French also reached what the British called the "Overhill" Cherokee by way of the Cumberland and French Broad Rivers. The French were blocked from the lower Tennessee Valley by the aggressive Chickasaw. However, anything the French could bring to the Cherokee by way of New Orleans or Quebec, the British could bring at one-tenth the price from Charles Town.
The Cherokee were becoming the best ally of the British in North America and even aligned themselves more closely with the parent country than with the colonies. That is, the Cherokee cut deals directly with London, not with the colonies. The British (significantly not a colonial government) sent Colonel George Chicken in 1725 to coordinate the trade with the Cherokee. He was succeeded by Sir Alexander Cuming who toured the major Cherokee towns and got the Cherokee to identify a single senior chief for negotiations. A Cherokee delegation (including Attacullaculla who at that time was known as White Owl and later known as Little Carpenter) traveled to England for an audience with King George II in 1730. From this mutual understanding, a treaty was signed between the British (not Carolina or Georgia) and the Cherokee in 1743 at Charles Town, South Carolina, which ended hostilities between the Cherokee and the Catawba and gave the British exclusive trading rights. Nonetheless, the British always doubted the Cherokee loyalty. Except for a trading post that the Cherokee allowed the French to establish in the west, there was never any wavering in their faith to the British. A much more serious problem was caused by the fact that the new colony of Georgia (which the British originally saw as nothing more than a buffer between Carolina and the Spanish) was putting pressure on the Creek Nation for land suitable for plantations.
Some Cherokee Genealogy (1660-1800)
It is very difficult to follow Cherokee politics through most books because the Native Americans are presented as an array of individuals with multiple spellings of their native names and often various English nicknames. The following family connections are outlined based on information found on the Internet (www.rootquest.com, December 1998) and other sources such as the book Strangers in High Places (by Michael Frome, 1966, Doubleday & Co.). The modern Cherokee power structure seems to be based on Moytoy born about 1650 and claimed to have lived to 1774. I don't believe that and since his important children were born between 1680 and 1700 and he was supreme chief from 1730 to 1760, I would expect a birth about 1660 and death about 1760, which is more reasonable. [Think of him as being in the generation before George Pearis "the Elder" (1680-1752).]
Moytoy is reported to have had about eleven children. The ones that are most important were Attacullaculla (born circa 1700, died 1777 according to Michael Frome), Willenawah and Tame Doe (born about 1700). A brother (or brother-in-law) of Moytoy named Kana-Gatoga (a.k.a., Standing Turkey or Old Hop) of Chote was the civil (white) chief.
Attacullaculla (pronounced Atta-Kulla-Kulla) was also known as Chuconnunta or Ukwaneequa and the British knew him as "Little Carpenter." He was one of the Cherokee who visited London in 1735 to see King George II. He was a participant in the successful campaign against the Creek tribes that secured north Georgia for the Cherokee at the battle of Taliwa (1755). Attacullaculla succeeded Moytoy as supreme chief of the Cherokee in 1760 and held this position until the American War of Independence in 1775. He was the "civil (white) chief" of the Cherokee and when war with the Europeans came, he was replaced with the "war (red) chief." From his capitol of Chota he presided over domestic an especially international affairs and trade of the Cherokee. During the war between the British and the French (1754-1762), he tried to keep the Cherokee on the side of the British and avoid fighting in Cherokee territory. Nonetheless, he allowed Cherokee expeditionary forces (led by Ostenaco and Richard Pearis) to assist the British on the Virginia frontier and in the Ohio Valley campaign. He discovered that he could manipulate the conflicting interest of the various colonies (principally Virginia and South Carolina) and the British government to maximize his trading position and national security (against the French, Creek and Shawnee). He cooperated in the establishment of British Fort Loudon on the Tennessee River near Chote in 1757 to ensure security of the Cherokee from the French. Other British forts in South and North Carolina were intended to regulate unwanted encroachments by the colonists. There were periodic killings of Europeans by Cherokee and Cherokee by Europeans during his tenure, but he recognized these as individual actions and kept the Cherokee nation from going to war against the British or their colonists.
Attacullaculla had at least four children who are known by their European names: Cui Canacina (a.k.a., Dragging Canoe), The Badger, Little Owl, and Turtle-at-Home. Dragging Canoe became notorious as the leader of the Chickamagua Cherokee who fought the Europeans into the 1800.
Willenawah (a.k.a., Great Eagle) was primarily known for the activities of his children who included: Kaiyah-tehee (a.k.a., Old Tassel); Wurteh (a.k.a., Worth) who married Nathaniel Gist and was the mother of Sequoyah; and Doublehead.
Tame Doe married Skayagustuegwo in 1728. She may have been the grand daughter rather than the daughter of Moytoy. She is noted for her children who include Long Fellow (circa 1726- 1826) and Nancy Ward (1728-1822). Nancy Ward married Kingfisher in 1753 and later married Bryan Ward in 1756. She won acclaim in the war with the Creek tribes in 1755 by replacing her husband when he fell in battle. Thus, she was a leader in Attacullaculla's administration circa 1775.
The War between the Cherokee and the Creek (1750 - 1755)
The Creek became territorial about hunting in north Georgia and this continued earlier conflicts. On 14 April 1750, 500 Creeks led by Malatchi attacked and destroyed the lower Cherokee towns of Echoi and Estatoe. There was a treaty between the tribes in 1751, but it did not stop hostilities. From early in 1752, the lower Cherokee abandoned all their towns (except Toxaway and Estatoe) from Great Tellico to Keowee to obtain protection among the middle Cherokee (on the Little Tennessee in North Carolina) and the Overhill Cherokee in Tennessee. This obviously cut off the trade between the Cherokee and Charles Town, South Carolina. Thus, in 1752, Young Emperor chief of Tellico traveled to Williamsburg (arriving 17 November 1752) seeking trade with the Virginia colony. Dinwiddie saw this as an opportunity to gain support of the Cherokee in hostilities against the French in the Ohio area.
In May 1753, Dinwiddie formally asked the Cherokee for help. Meanwhile, Governor Glen of South Carolina attempted to broker a treaty between the Cheek and the Cherokee in July 1753. To bring this to fruition, Glen traveled to Keowee (Keori) and began to build Fort Prince George, which was planned to defend the lower Cherokee against the Creeks, as part of the peace agreement. At this time, the Lower Cherokee were represented by Wawhatchee (who had succeeded Skiagunsta) with Raven of Hiwassee as his deputy. Raven greeted Glen upon his arrival at Keowee on 25 October 1753. Unfortunately for the Creek, they were defeated by the Cherokee in a battle at Taliwa (1755) and a firm boarder was established with the Cherokee holding the territory north of the Chattahoochee River, which runs on a line roughly from the north east corner of Georgia, through Atlanta to La Grange before turning due south between Georgia and Alabama. This victory ensured the Cherokee of adequate land in the immediate low- lands for hunting for the deer skin trade and more agriculture than they cared to pursue.
With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, the Cherokee and British re-affirmed their mutual friendship and the Cherokee allowed the British to build forts along the frontier to protect the colonies and the Cherokee. The principal fort was Fort Loudoun located just west of Chote on the lower Little Tennessee. The Cherokee remained loyal to the British throughout. Unfortunately, the British colonists were a heterogeneous bunch, who was suspicious of all Native Americans (a fundamental prejudice); and the colonists were not as loyal to Britain as the Cherokee were.
Strategy and Tactics of Native American Warfare
Until the 1800s, the population of Native North Americans was never so great that land for settlements or agriculture was an issue. Religion was also not an issue that Native Americans would fight over. As a matter of fact, there was little to motivate entire nations of Native Americans to fight one another. Individual combats might arise out of personal disputes over personal property, horses, or wives. But the philosophy of the Native Americans at least into the mid-1700s was "if there is conflict, we will move to a place (hundreds of miles away) where there is no conflict."
Thus, there was no over-riding strategy to their conflict and there was little of what we would call strategic warfare. There was seldom a stockpile of surplus food or materials that was worthy of systematic attack, but when it proved possible to capture "strategic war materials," I am sure combatants would take what they could use. Whether, they though to destroy strategic resources simply to deny them to the enemy is another story. Most likely they did, although under the circumstances this would be considered near-genocide because it consisted of burning personal homes, essential crops and scattering gathered stores.
Militarily the Native North Americans were never focused on occupying ground, but rather defeating the enemy in the field. Thus, they would not "advance" into their enemy; they "raided" even when they were numerically superior. The exception to this was, of course, the situation where the tribe was moving to settle a new spot.
The Europeans found the methods of native fighting to be terrifying because it was unpredictable and potentially brutal. This was especially shocking because combat in Europe had evolved into a war among kings where the kings controlled their armies and directed them against the armies (or strategic targets) of the other kings. In Europe, the common man had no rights thus he was not worth warring against; whoever controlled the kingdom controlled the common man: Not so among the Native Americans. Their leaders never had the power to impress armies in his support. There was a fundamentally democratic and voluntary nature to politics and war.
As far as brutality is concerned, it was very hard to predict. On the one hand, the Native Americans had little or no Christian concept of mercy or European concept of honor or dishonor. Most acts of combat or retribution were purely personal sometimes driven by small group dynamics (e.g., like fraternity or military hazing). Below you will read of situations where men like Daniel Boone were captured by Native Americans (in Boone's case Shawnee) who knew that he was their chief antagonist. Yet, Boone survived for months and escaped unharmed. You will also read that soldiers and junior officers were sometimes brutally tortured to death by Native Americans over periods of days. I believe that in the absence of influence from European allies (French, Spanish, British, or American), the reaction of the Native Americans to captives was very much determined by the demeanor of the captive. Cowardice and weakness encouraged derisive and humiliating treatment. Bravery and confidence brought respect. These are basic personal reactions not a systematic tribal policy of cultural philosophy (i.e., religion).
Richard Pearis Indian Trader (1751 - 1755)
The history of Richard Pearis as an "Indian trader" apparently started about 1751. In December of that year, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent Col. James Patton to pick up trade goods from Fredericksburg, Virginia to deliver to the Shawnee in the Ohio valley as part of the payment for the land cessions to the British under the Treaty of 1744. According to the Dinwiddie papers (Vol. 1, p. 10) the trade goods were to "be laid down at Mr. George Parish's near Frederick Town (present-day Winchester)." Richard may have joined this expedition to the Shawnee. In any event, while Governor Glen of South Carolina was trying to settle the conflict between the Cherokee and the Creek in 1753, Richard Pearis joined with Nathaniel Gist and Aaron Price to trade with the Overhill Cherokee at the Long Island of the Holston River (present-day Kingsport, TN). In the autumn of 1753, this party was asked by Governor Dinwiddie to carry a letter of alliance to the capitol of the Overhill Cherokee at Chote located on the lower part of the Little Tennessee River. Dinwiddie also sent Abraham Smith directly to Chote with a request for Cherokee warriors to fight the French in the Ohio in the spring of 1754.
Something of a competition developed between Governor Glen of South Carolina and Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia in wooing the Cherokee. Dinwiddie sent Richard Smith and John Hatton to Chote in 1754 to promote trade with Virginia. The news of this visit reached Governor Glen in Charles Town via Cherokee traders who described the Virginians as being annoying. Abraham Smith arrived in Chote 27 May 1754 with promises of trade goods from Dinwiddie to the Cherokee for support against the French. Naturally, the South Carolinians were not happy to see the Cherokee sending warriors off to the north while they were trying to negotiate the peace with the Creeks in the south. On 1 June 1754, Governor Glen wrote to Governor Dinwiddie accusing his agents to the Cherokee of being horse thieves and asking Dinwiddie to stop meddling with the Cherokee.
Meanwhile, Richard Pearis had made his way into the lower Cherokee towns at Keowee (northwest South Carolina) where he met Abraham Smith (Dinwiddie's representative) on yet another attempt to woo the Cherokee. However, since Smith had not brought any trade goods from Virginia he was not eager to return to the Overhill Cherokee with yet another letter asking for assistance. Thus, Richard Pearis was enlisted to go to Chote and deliver the message to Old Hopp, the Chief of the Overhill Cherokee. Old Hopp told Pearis that he was happy to receive letters from the Governor of Virginia, but he had been promised material support in his war against the Creeks. He wanted Pearis to write a letter to Dinwiddie to convey that message. Finally, Richard Pearis was able to assemble a party of 12 Native Americans to accompany him to Virginia. Nine of these were Shawnee and Seneca who were on their way home. Only three Cherokee were interested in meeting with the Virginia Governor.
The party traveled to the Old Virginia Trail of the Cherokee along the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. One of the milestones on this path had become Starneker's (the Dutchman's) house, which may have been in the Quaker community (near present-day Winston-Salem, NC). While spending the night in this house, 30 Catawba arrived on their return trip to North Carolina after raiding the northern tribes (e.g., Shawnee). Naturally, the Shawnee were not pleased and the lone Catawba who blundered into the house was captured by the Northern natives and made into a slave, who was later released in Setticoe.
Soon after this, there occurred an unrelated incident that serves to give a flavor of life on the frontier and insight into Richard Pearis. Pearis was traveling in Cherokee territory in the early summer of 1754 with his black slave "Pearis" (who at that time was a young man) and John Hatton's sister (apparently Hatton and his sister were the off-spring of a European father and Cherokee mother) . Pearis was apparently residing at Toque and took the party to the house of a trader named Docharty to purchase two cows with calves. The route was on the Great Terequa Path. The next day the party returned and passed a warrior from Tennessee going to Docharty's to pay a debt. The warrior, of course, moved fasted than Pearis's party driving the cattle. Thus, the warrior completed his business at Docharty's, and on his return, he overtook the Pearis party near Ludovic [Ludwig] Grant's house (near Stecoe on the Tewtewah River). It was late in the day and Pearis decided to stop to rest the cattle for the night. He and the woman tried to convince the warrior to spend the night with them for mutual protection, but the warrior was in a hurry. Shortly after the warrior left, the Pearis party heard a distant musket shot. The next day, two miles on the trail, they found the dead horse of the warrior, who apparently either escaped on foot or was taken captive.
Note that this story with a spin intended to gain favor with Governor Glen of South Carolina was was related in a letter dated 2 July 1754 by Ludovic Grant writing from Tomatly Town in the Cherokee territory (Colonial Records of South Carolina 1754-1757, pp. 15-20). Ludovic Grant was, in fact, the chief South Carolina trader with the Cherokee and and chief informant for the governors of South Carolina. He was married to a full-blooded Cherokee named "Eughioote" of the Long Hair Cland (a.k.a., Elizabeth Tassel Coody). The following is an excerpt from L. Grant's letter (22 July 1754):
Excerpt from L. Grant's letter (22 July 1754) to Governor Glen of S.C.
"This Summer one of the Virginia Traders, Paris by Name, whom I have before mentioned with a young Man Paris, his Hireling, a Nogroe Man, and John Hatton's Sister, half breed, had almost been killed in the Great Terequa Path from Canoste. The said Paris with his Company had come from Stecoe on Tewtewah River and passing my House went to Docharty's where he bought two Cows and Calves. The Day after took his Journey for Great Terequa which he was to pass in his Way to Toquo where he resided with a remarkable Indian and a Warriour of Tannassee who had some Days before come over the Hills to Docharty's in order to pay a Debt he owed him. When Paris was come within four or five Miles of the Terequa for Fear least his Cattle would tire encamped, the Indian who was a little Way behind coming up, said he would proceed to the Town it being but a little Way |20| off, and notwithstanding Paris and the Woman entreated him earnestly to stay and told him the Path was dangerous, however the Indian would not and not two Miles from where Paris stayed had his Horse shot under him, and was himself carried off where no News has been heard of him since, and I belive [ever] will, and Cattle though they have been the Death of some Virginia Men in Times past at that Time saved the Life of one with his Company...
Your Excellency's most humble, most obedient, and most obliged Servant, Lud. Grant"
Meanwhile, on 3 July 1754, George Washington was captured by the French at Fort Necessity; but he was soon released. On 5 August 1754, Dinwiddie responded to Governor Glen's letter of 1 June. He apologized for the behavior of Abraham Smith and told Glen that Smith would not be employed after this year.
In July 1754, Richard Pearis wrote to Dinwiddie asking for a claim to the Long Island at the forks of the Holston River (present-day Kingsport, TN). In August, he persuaded several Cherokee officials to travel with him from Chote to Williamsburg where he interpreted when they met with Dinwiddie. Then Pearis escorted the Cherokee back to Chote.
In July-August 1754, Pearis returned to Virginia to obtain more trade goods. Unfortunately, Christopher Gist (who had successfully escorted George Washington to his meeting with the French during the previous winter) would not extend Pearis's credit and seized the deerskins that Pearis had brought. Pearis had apparently advanced the Cherokee credit; and with the sudden dissolution of the business, he was now in debt to Christopher Grist for the difference. Nonetheless, Pearis gathered what goods he could (some clothing and blankets) and sent them off to Chote with a letter to Old Hop. The letter announced that Pearis would return with instructions from Dinwiddie. Pearis also sent a letter to Old Hop discrediting his former partner Nathaniel Gist and his interpreter (Oliver).
Unfortunately for Pearis, Nathaniel Gist intercepted the letter and trade goods. Gist went to Old Hop and ridiculed Pearis. Unaware of these events, when Pearis returned to Cherokee Territory, he went directly to his side-wife at Toquo. Old Hop heard of this and was offended that Pearis had not brought the message directly to him. Old Hop summoned Pearis to the council house and berated him for his poor etiquette and failure to produce the goods promised. Pearis attempted to explain and blame Gist; but Old Hop was not in the mood for excuses. Old Hop told Pearis to stick to trading and stay out of diplomacy.
Ludovic Grant related this incident to Governor Glen of South Carolina in a letter dated 27 March (1755) written from Tomatly Town. According to Grant, "while I was over the hills in Chote, [I, Grant] passed by Long Jack's brother and Paris [Pearis, who were] keeping the other side of the river [headed] for Toquo where his woman lived , which very much affronted Old Hop [when Grant told him] and all the warriors who were then convened ... ." Then Grant continues, "Old Hop asked him [Pearis] why he lost his way and passed the town [Chote] and whether the governor [of Virginia] had sent any message to his [Pearis's] woman, and said he could compare him to nothing but a young buck in rutting time, who run hither and tither, not minding where; after a doe 'til he found her." [As a descendent of Richard and his woman, I can only say, "thank God."] Grant got great pleasure recounting the foibles of the various Virginians who passed his way and of course did his best to disrupt the Virginians. The incident must have happened in the winter of 1754-1755. In fact, Pearis may have been attending the birth of his first son (by Pratchey Hatton), whom he eventually named George .
In the winter of 1754-55, the lower Cherokee began to return to their homes in north Georgia and South Carolina as they decisively defeated the Creeks.
20.3 The French and Indian War
The Start of The French and Indian War (1754)
While the British had been building a series of colonies along the Atlantic seaboard of America, the French had established trading post starting inland along the St. Lawrence River. Quebec was their first major port. The French explorations also took them to New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River. To connect these two distant claims, the French began exploring inland especially from the north. However, their traders soon found that the lower Great Lakes (Lake Ontario/ Lac de Frontenac and Lake Eire/ Lac de Conty) were controlled by aggressive nations of Native Americans (Algonquin and Iroquois). For a while, the French were content to detour to the west up the Ottawa River, where they established Montreal. The Ottawa River eventually led them into northern Michigan and Minnesota. Forts were establish around Lake Michigan (Lac Illinois). But this was a long an unappealing approach to the heartland of North America. Thus, they pressed down to Lake Champlain in New York but came up against the British colony that was firmly entrenched in the upper Hudson Valley. The Hudson River did not lead to the interior of America any way.
This is as good a time as any to remind the reader that the French government was firmly Roman Catholic (Papist). There was no need in the successful religious groups to immigrate to the New World and with the dispersal of so many Protestants from mainland Europe in the late 1600s and early 1700s, there was a need for labor in France, which meant that the middle and working classes were reasonably well off. Thus, the French settlements lacked a large influx of family- building settlers. The French families that made it to the New World, and there were many, were Protestants and actually settled with the British, especially in places like Charles Town, South Carolina. Thus, the French were not, as a rule, overrunning the lands of Native Americans. The French parties tended to be men who traded with the natives and intermarried with them over time. In the north (New England), the Native Americans had a clear choice between the economically beneficial and compatible French and the pushy, land-grabbing British who seemed to multiply like roaches along the shore, cutting down the forest and plowing the soil to mud. It was not hard for the French to obtain the support of the northern tribes of the Native Americans as the friction with Britain and her colonies emerged.
Eventually, in the 1740s, the French succeeded in obtaining agreements with the Native Americans on the lower Great Lakes and made their way to Niagara Falls and on into lake Eire (Lac de Conty) . They soon found the upper reaches of the Ohio River (the Allegheny River) and were busily establishing a river-based trade across the entire North American continent. Then the British Colonies pushed into the Ohio River basin. The French response was to establish a strong fort at the junction of the Ohio River with the Monongahela River, which were the natural path bringing colonists from the Virginia colony (headwaters of the Potomac River) to the Ohio Valley. The British viewed their claims rising from the original colony descriptions as running to the Mississippi River and subsequent treaties with Native Americans (the Iroquois in 1722 and 1744, the Delaware and Shawnee tribes in 1752). The French saw the expansion of the British colonies as a move that was certain to cut their dreams of empire in-two, literally.
This coincided with an ongoing conflict in Europe between the two powers, which became known as the Seven Years War. The conflicting British and French claims to the Ohio Valley were pushed forward by the Lt. Governor of Virginia Robert Dinwiddie (the Governor of Virginia was Lord Loudoun, who never actually saw the colony). His approach was reasonable enough; he would simply ask the French to steer clear of the area of British claims. To do this, he sent a party under the twenty-one year old surveyor George Washington to Fort Le Boeuf (present-day Waterford, Erie County, and Pennsylvania). Washington left Williamsburg on 31 October 1753. He traveled west to the limit of his previous surveying on the Potomac. At Wills Creek (present- day Cumberland, Maryland) he hired Christopher Gist as his guide. On 15 November 1753, Grist led Washington and four others northward into the winter weather. They reached the Ohio River forks about 23 November and recognized its strategic location for a fort.
The party next stopped at Log-town (a Native American village near present-day Ambridge, Pennsylvania). He spent five days recovering and attempting diplomacy with the natives. From this he obtained three native leaders (known to English-speakers as the Half King, Jeskakake, White Thunder) to accompany them northward on 30 November. A few days later (4 December), Washington located the famous French agent Joncaire at Venango (now Franklin, Pennsylvania) near the place where French Creek enters the Allegheny River (i.e., upper reaches of the Ohio from the French perspective). Although the meeting was cordial and Washington apparently concealed the true nature of his visit he succeeded in getting the French to talk freely of their intentions and expectations. It boiled down to the absolute claim of the French to the Ohio Valley (based on the discoveries of La Salle) and a determination to prevent British settlement there. The French knew that they would soon be out numbered, but they expected the British to move slowly. Apparently, hey did not expect the British colonies to take a lead in the action that would follow. Nor had it apparently occurred to the French to systematically polarize the Native Americans against the British.
Washington was stuck by bad weather with the French until 7 December and did not arrive at his final destination Fort Le Boeuf until 11 December 1753. There he met Legardeur de Saint Pierre who received the party from Virginia with courtesy. Washington delivered governor Dinwiddie's letter (written in English) and the French had to call to Fort Presque Isle for Legardeur de Repentigny to translate the letter that stated: The lands upon the River Ohio, in the western parts of the Colony of Virginia, are so notoriously known to be the property of the Crown of Great Britain that it is a matter of equal concern and surprise to me, to hear that a body of French forces are erecting fortresses and making settlements upon that river, within his Majesty's dominions.
...It becomes my duty to require your peaceable departure; and that you would forbear prosecuting a purpose so interruptive of the harmony and good understanding, which his Majesty is desirous to continue and cultivate with the most Christian King.
Naturally, the French protested and in the discussion Washington asked what basis they had for holding various British trappers captive. The French made it clear that the British were not allowed in the Ohio Valley and that this policy by the French Governor of Quebec, Marquis Duquesne, would be enforced. The French were polite but firm in their position. Saint Pierre wrote to Dinwiddie:
"As to the summons you send me to retire, I do not think myself obliged to obey it."
The British left Fort Le Boeuf on 16 December and arrived at Venango on 22 December. They parted ways with the natives and set out as they had come. But the going was so slow that Washington decided to leave the baggage with his interpreter (Van Braam) and set out in the most direct rout with only Christopher Gist on 26 December. It was a cold and dangerous trip, but Washington arrived in Williamsburg on 16 January 1754 to deliver the French reply. He also handed over his journal, which Governor Dinwiddie had published as a clear statement of the French attitude as seem by a patriotic British colonists (i.e., it was a good propaganda piece and the publication made Washington famous in the colonies and in England). Of course, he had succeeded in becoming Dinwiddie's principal expert on the west, the Ohio Valley, and the French.
Needless to say the British hastily built a crude fort at the confluence of the Ohio (Allegheny) and Monongahela Rivers. Washington returned to that fort in the Spring of 1754 with a small force of Virginians, but before they could reach the fort, it was captured by the French who set about establishing their own Fort Duquesne. Meanwhile, Washington's tardy reinforcements surprised a small French force led by Villiers de Jumonville who was killed on 28 May 1754 on present-day Laurel Hill (Fayette Co., Pennsylvania).
Washington pulled back to the Great Meadows (10 miles east of present-day Uniontown) and hastily built Fort Necessity. He had a few weeks to reinforce the fort before the French and Indians could mass against him on 3 July 1754. Washington was forced to surrender and the French apparently believed that they had won the war. They (foolishly) allowed Washington and his men to return to Virginia. Had they not allowed him his freedom (which he perhaps skillfully negotiated) or if he had not been wise enough to surrender rather than fight to the death history would have been changed considerably.
Shortly after Christopher Gist and George Washington delivered the British ultimatum to the French in 1754, Richard Pearis and Nathaniel Gist formed a joint venture to trade with and secure the military services of the Cherokee and Catawba natives in the Carolinas. Unfortunately, Pearis and Gist did not see eye-to-eye on how to deal with the natives. As a matter of fact, throughout the rest of his life, Richard Pearis had fiction with other Europeans because he consistently dealt fairly with the natives and developed a mutual respect with the Cherokee, especially. Indeed, he became the most trusted European that the Cherokee interacted with. This fact, led to conflict with the official British Indian Agent (Edmund Atkin) and others in the colonies who were officially designated by their governments to be the point of contact with the Cherokee.
The first major contract that Pearis and Gist received was to provide Cherokee and Catawba warriors to the newly forming British Army under General Braddock in the spring of 1755. [Washington was reduced to commanding Dinwiddie's militia in Virginia.] Unfortunately, this took longer than anticipated and Pearis received a letter dated 26 June 1755 from Lt. Governor Dinwiddie blaming the arguments between Pearis and Gist for the failure to obtain either Cherokee or Catawba in time to support General Braddock. Braddock was killed a few days later (9 July 1755) in his first encounter with the French and Indians on the Monongahela River.
The friction between Pearis and Gist, however, was mild compared to the friction between the (South) Carolina traders and the Virginia traders. The Carolina traders spread a rumor that Pearis was trying to collect a debt of 2,500 deerskin from the Cherokee rather than truly working to form an alliance between Virginia and the Cherokee. The situation was becoming life-threatening and Pearis dramatically burned his trading ledgers in a fire at Chote canceling all the Cherokee debts to the Virginians in general and to himself in particular. This may have won him the respect of the Cherokee, but it put him substantially in debt. Thus, he petitioned the Virginia House of Burgesses for compensation and was reimbursed 100 pounds on 23 April 1756. In September 1755, Richard Pearis was able to facilitate and interpret during meetings been Cherokee leaders and Governor Dinwiddie.
Letter from George Washington, October 16, 1755, General Orders
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Winchester, October 16, 1755.
Captain Lewis the Day, to-morrow. One Subaltern, one Sergeant, one Corporal, one Drummer, and twenty-five private men, the Guard to-morrow. The Troops now quartered here, to hold themselves in Readiness to march to morrow. The Wagon ordered down to Fredericksburg, to set out immediately; and the Commissary to see the rest of the Wagons (except three which are to carry Provisions &c.) loaded with Salt.
Major Lewis to Detach a Subaltern and twenty men, to morrow morning to Philip Bebbs, there to receive some public Cattle, which they are to Guard to Pearis's, and wait there until the whole Body joins them. All the Soldiers of the Lighthorse, &c. who do not belong either to Major Lewis or Captain Waggeners Commands, are to wait upon the Aid de Camp to morrow morning at 8 O'clock, to receive their Orders. Officers who want Haversacks for their Men, are to apply to Mr. John Dow, Merchant, for Linen, for which they are to give their Receipts. The Soldiers who brought down, or have any of the Country Horses, are to make a Return of them immediately, and to deliver them to the Aid de Camp.
[This is a military order written in an abbreviated format. At the time, Washington was operating out of present-day Cumberland, Maryland (Fort Cumberland). The order includes a direction to drive some cattle to the Pearis farm (which was on Back Creek near Winchester, VA). The distance from Cumberland, MD to Winchester, VA is about 45 miles straight-line distance.]
In the winter of 1755-56, Richard Pearis was the interpreter for Ostenaco and Yellow Bird and their party of about 130 Overhill Cherokee. They organized themselves around David Robertson's fort on the New River and spent the winter buffering the Cherokee from the Shawnee and the Virginians. This period was followed by one of the most difficult campaigns of the French and Indian War onto Sandy Creek.
The Sandy Creek Expedition (February-March 1756) and Its Aftermath (1756)
Richard Pearis wrote Lt. Governor Dinwiddie on 24 November 1755 that he had 130 Cherokee warriors ready to participate in an expedition against the Shawnee towns on Sandy Creek a tributary of the Monongahela River. This appears to have been the idea of Ostenaco who wanted to disperse the Shawnee from their town at Old Town Creek (about two miles above present-day Point Pleasant, West Virginia on the Ohio River). Lt. Governor Dinwiddie soon ordered George Washington to use the Cherokee as the focus of an expedition to be launched in early 1756:
Dinwiddie to Washington December 14, 1755
The Cherokees have taken up the Hatchet against the Shawnee and French, and have sent 130 of their warriors into New River, and propose to march immediately to attack and cut off the Shawnee in their towns. I design they shall be joined with three companies of rangers and Capt. Hogg's company, and I propose Colo. Stephens or Major Lewis to be commander of the party on this expedition.
Richard Pearis (a civilian) was obviously the liaison between the Cherokee and the Virginia militia. He had brought the Cherokee as promised to Augusta County (on the New River) and was prepared to lead them against the Shawnee in a typical Native American raid, but the Cherokee (and Pearis) were likely not looking for pitched battles with the French. Washington was cautious about the possibility of running into serious trouble. This was the first attempt of the Virginians to maneuver a moderately large force far from home and effectively behind enemy lines. There is no doubt that it would be difficult mission and Washington knew that better than Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie offered Pearis a lieutenant's commission, which Pearis turned down in a letter of 29 December 1755. Dinwiddie then deferred to Major Lewis and Pearis was given a captain's commissions.
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, January 14, 1756
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Alexandria, January 13, 1756.
Honorable. Sir: Maj. Lewis, being at Winchester when your Letter came to hand, was immediately dispatched to Augusta, to take upon him the command of the Troops destined against the Shawnee Town [later known as the Sandy Creek Expedition] with orders to follow such directions as he should receive from you. This scheme, though' I am apprehensive will prove abortive, as we are told that those [Shawnee] Indians are removed up the [Ohio] River, into the Neighborhood of Duquesne. I have given all necessary orders for training the Men to a proper use of their Arms, and the method of Indian Fighting, and hope in a little time to make them expert. And I should be glad to have your honor's express Commands, either to prepare for taking the Field, or for guarding our Frontiers in the spring, because the steps for these two are very different. I have already built two Forts on Patterson's Creek, (which have engaged the chief of the Inhabitants to return to the Plantations) and have now ordered Captain Waggener with 60 Men to build and Garrison two others, (on places I have pointed out high up) on the South branch, which will be a means of securing near an 100 Miles of our Frontiers, exclusive of the Command at Fort Dinwiddie, on Jackson's River. And, indeed, without a much greater number of Men than we have a visible prospect of getting, I don't see how it is possible to think of passing the Mountains, or acting more than defensively. This seems to be the full determination of the Pennsylvanians; so that there can be no hope of assistance from that quarter. If we only act defensively, I would most earnestly recommend the building of a strong Fort at some convenient place in Virginia, as that in Maryland, not to say any thing of the situation, which is extremely bad, will ever be an Eye Sore to this Colony, and attended with more Inconveniences than it is possible to enumerate. One Instance of this I have taken notice of, in a letter that accompanies this, and many more I could recite, were it necessary.
If we take the Field, there is not time to carry on a work of this kind, but we should immediately set about engaging Wagons, Horses, Forage, Pack Saddles, etc. And here I cannot help remarking, that I believe it will be impossible to get Wagons or horses sufficient, without the old Score is paid off; as the People are really ruined for want of their money, and complain justly of their grievances. ..
Regardless, the Sandy Creek expedition officially began under Major Lewis on 4 February 1756, but the movement did not get started until the middle of February. Richard Pearis was still the liaison to the Cherokee. On 11 February 1756, Captain Preston stopped by the place where Pearis and the Cherokee were camped. The two groups rallied with the Europeans firing their weapons in the air while the Cherokee did a war dance. This was apparently at or near the Reverend Mrs. Pepper's place on the New River. The party apparently moved to consolidate at a small fort called Fort Frederick. On 13 February, two of the leading Cherokee (Yellow Bird and Round O) were given the rank of captain. This was done on the advice of Richard Pearis.
The party consisting of five companies (Captains Smith, Woodson, Hogg, Preston and Pearis) with about 340 men under Major Lewis apparently planned to operate out of Fort Frederick on ranging missions. On 15 February, the party received word that two settlers had been killed and that four horses had been stolen by a small party of Shawnee that was estimated to be no more than about four men. The next day, two companies consisting of 60 Europeans and 40 Cherokee under Captains Smith and Woodson began a patrol up Reed Creek with a goal of Burkes Garden. Lewis planned to move the remaining companies on the 18th but on the 17th , 30 horses were discovered to be missing. Apparently, the horses were allowed to range in the woods and some had either wandered off, been stolen or (perhaps) never existed. The companies of Preston and Pearis were left behind to round up the horses while Lewis accompanied Hogg's company on a mission.
The companies of Preston and Pearis got started on 19 February 1756 from Fort Frederick. They traveled to William Syer's place and camped in his barn. On 20 February, they advanced to Alexander Syer's place where they met the detachment under Captains Smith and Woodson. Apparently Captain Hogg with Major Lewis also arrived. The pack horses were sent ahead to McCall's place. Meanwhile a crisis developed. The Cherokee were upset because they had seen but not been able to catch the Shawnee. For some reason they were very upset with the way the expedition was being run (perhaps they sensed the lack of leadership, planning and discipline by the Europeans that would lead to the party's downfall in the following weeks). In any event, all but 10 of the Cherokee under The Warrior left and spent the night of 20/21 February at Col. Buchanan's place. On the morning of 21 February, Lewis and Pearis went to the Cherokee at Col. Buchanan's place and persuaded them to rejoin the expedition. At the same time, four volunteers from each company were sent as a fast party to try to overtake the Shawnee that had been spotted.
On 22 February, the expedition reached J. McFarland's place. They thought they had seen the Shawnee tracks but these turned out to be tracks from the advance party of volunteers. On the 23rd, the main party caught up with the advance party at Robert McFarland's place. That night the camped at a place called Bear Garden. To this point the expedition had been generally traveling southwest from about the location of present-day Pearisburg, VA along the valley to the headwaters of the North Fork of the Holston River. Things were about to get much more difficult as they turned to the west and crossed the mountains to get onto the headwaters of Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River (which forms the present-day southern boundary of West Virginia).
On 24 February the Lewis expedition left Bear Garden on the North Fork of the Holston and crossed two ridges of mountains to an abandoned plantation called Burke's Garden. (Burke's Garden is a mountain cove located in Tazewell County, Virginia and it is still identified on good road maps.) Although it had begun raining and changed to snow overnight, the party was in generally good spirits after obtaining food from the abandoned farm. Some tracks were found and Lewis selected Richard Pearis to lead the next volunteer scouting party. Apparently, it was Lewis's practice to obtain volunteers from his various companies (about 4 per company) to lead fast pursuits. Thus, on 25 February Pearis led 20 Europeans and 20 Cherokee with orders to wait for the main party between the headwaters of the Clinch River and the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River (a.k.a., Sandy Creek). The remaining party stayed at Burke's Garden and hunted for food.
On the 26th Captain Preston led the main party to the headwaters of the Clinch River where they joined the Pearis advance party. Because of the continuing rain, the party rested on the 27th and succeeded in catching several bears for food. On the 28th, the Lewis expedition moved to the headwaters of Sandy Creek (near present-day Anawalt, WV). They began the expedient of following the creek bead crossing it back and forth as necessary from shoal to shoal. Hunters brought in three buffalo and some deer. Feeding a party of over 300 men was becoming a problem. On the 29th February, they continued down Sandy Creek crossing it 66 times in 15 miles.
On 1 March 1756, the weather got worse with a major thunderstorm with hail. The continued to find more sign of Shawnee. A major Shawnee campsite was found on 2 March. While Pearis and Preston led scouting parties in the area, Cherokee from the main camp observed smoke in the distance. Pearis was called and 25 volunteers were placed under Richard Pearis with his Cherokee to pursue the suspect Shawnee. The Pearis detachment went off after the Shawnee leaving the main party to look for food.
On 3 March, Preston led part of the party on down the Sandy Creek on short rations. Apparently, Major Lewis and most of the men were following Preston and Pearis. No word was heard from the Pearis detachment. The Preston contingent of Lewis expedition was beginning to lose its morale and discipline. On 4 March, the Pearis detachment returned to the Preston party on Sandy Creek. The Preston-Pearis party continued down stream on 5th March. Horses were beginning to die (Captain Preston's horse died). Sandy Creek was now 40 to 50 yards wide. On the 6th there was more rain and the first talk of mutiny was passed to Major Lewis by Captain Preston. The Cherokee suggested building birchbark canoes to follow the river down stream and Major Lewis agreed. On the 7th work on the canoes continued under the supervision of the Cherokee and hunting parties were sent out. Some of the men had fallen into poor health which was compounded by lack of food. Food was becoming an obsession. On 8 March, two elk were killed and some of the weaker men were spared temporarily. On 9 March, they stayed in camp and some hunters brought in more food. Preston's men are ready to turn back.
On 11 March, two Cherokee arrived (from Pearis's company) at Preston's location and told him that the main party would continue down the river the next day. They told him that a good buffalo hunting ground had been found with plenty of game. Preston's men were not impressed. As a matter of fact, they suspected that the story was an intentional hoax to lead them further into the wilderness. On 12 March, Preston's men began to mutiny. The news just got worse, as Captain Woodson arrived to say that his canoe had overturned and that Major Lewis's canoe had sunk. Major Lewis soon arrived at Captain Preston's location on foot.
13 March 1756 was the big showdown. Major Lewis called the men together and lectured them on their duty and threatened punishment for deserters. Lewis was less than impressive. When he stepped away and asked for the men to stand beside him to show their determination to go on, only about 30 of the privates followed although all the officers sided with Lewis. The Cherokee were very disappointed to see the Europeans give up so easily . Captain Pearis arrived at Preston's camp and reported that one man had been drowned while trying to cross the river for food. The source of the narrative appears to have turned back from the expedition on 13 March 1756. Altogether the expedition lasted until about the first of April. Washington wrote to Dinwiddie on 7 April 1756:
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, April 7, 1756
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Winchester, April 7, 1756.
Honble. Sir; I arrived here yesterday, and think it advisable to despatch an express [rider used as a courier; it took several days to ride from Winchester to Williamsburg] (notwithstanding I hear two or three are already sent down) to inform you of the unhappy situation of affairs on this quarter. The enemy [French and their Indian allies] have returned in greater numbers, committed several murders not far from Winchester, and even are so daring as to attack our forts in open day, as your Honor may see by the enclosed letters and papers. Many of the inhabitants are in a miserable situation by their losses, and so apprehensive of danger, that, I believe, unless a stop is put to the depredations of the Indians, the Blue Ridge will soon become our frontier.
I find it impossible to continue on to Fort Cumberland, until a body of men can be raised, in order to do which I have advised with Lord Fairfax, and other officers of the militia, who have ordered each captain to call a private muster, and to read the exhortation enclosed (for orders are no longer regarded in this county), in hopes that this expedient may meet with the wished-for success. If it should, I shall, with such men as are ordered from Fort Cumberland to join these, scour the woods and suspected places, in all the mountains, valleys, &c. on this part of our frontiers; and doubt not but I shall fall in with the Indians and their more cruel associates!
I hope the present emergency of affairs, assisted by such good news as the Assembly may by this time have received from England, and the Commissioners, will determine them to take vigorous measures for their own and country's safety, and no longer depend on an uncertain way of raising men for their own protection.
However absurd it may appear, it is nevertheless certain, that five hundred Indians have it more in their power to annoy the inhabitants, than ten times their number of regulars. For besides the advantageous way they have of fighting in the woods, their cunning and craft are not to be equaled, neither their activity and indefatigable sufferings. They prowl about like wolves, and, like them, do their mischief by stealth. They depend upon their dexterity in hunting and upon the cattle of the inhabitants for provisions. For which reason, I own, I do not think it unworthy the notice of the legislature to compel the inhabitants (if a general war is likely to ensue, and things to continue in this unhappy situation for any time), to live in townships, working at each other's farms by turns, and to drive their cattle into the thick settled parts of the country. Were this done, they could not be cut off by small parties, and large ones could not subsist without provisions.
It seemed to be the sentiment of the House of Burgesses when I was down, that a chain of forts should be erected upon our frontiers [from Harry Enochs, on Great-Cape-Capon, in Hampshire County to the South-Fork of Mayo River in Halifax County; these are colonial forts (as opposed to British Forts) to be built in what is now West Virginia], for the defence of the people. This expedient, in my opinion, without an inconceivable number of men, will never answer their expectations.
I doubt not but your Honor has had a particular account of Major Lewis's unsuccessful attempt to get to the Shawnees Town. It was an expedition, from the length of the march, I own, I always had little expectation of, and often expressed my uneasy apprehensions on that head. But since they are returned, with the Indians that accompanied them, I think it would be a very happy step to prevail upon the latter to proceed as far as Fort Cumberland. It is in their power to be of infinite use to us; and without Indians, we shall never be able to cope with those cruel foes to our country.
I would therefore beg leave to recommend in a very earnest manner, that your Honor would send an express to them immediately for this desirable end. I should have done it myself, but was uncertain whether it might prove agreeable or not. I also hope your Honour will order Major Lewis to secure his guides, as I understand he attributes all his misfortunes to their misconduct. Such offences as those should meet with adequate punishment, else we may ever be misled by designing villains. I am your Honor's, &c.
[Washington intended to end the letter hear but apparently while waiting for the next regular express rider he received exciting news.]
Since writing the above, Mr. Pearis, who commanded a party as per enclosed list, is returned, who relates, that, upon the North River, he fell in with a small body of Indians which he engaged, and, after a dispute of half an hour, put them to flight. Monsieur Douville, commander of the party, was killed and scalped, and his instructions found about him, which I enclose. We had one man killed, and two wounded. Mr. Pearis sends the scalp by Jenkins; and I hope, although it is not an Indian's, they will meet with an adequate reward at least, as the monsieur's is of much more consequence. The whole party jointly claim the reward, no person pretending solely to assume the merit.
[At this time, Richard Pearis had recently received a commission, from Major Lewis, but Washington apparently still considered him to be a civilian.
Various colonies provided bounties ranging from £5 to £100 for Indian scalps. Virginia had no fixed rate at this time.
It is relevant that after the Lewis expedition to Sandy Creek dissolved about 13 March, in a mere three weeks Pearis and his Cherokee had moved from southern West Virginia to "North River" which may be the North Fork of the Potomac and engaged the enemy.
Richard Pearis not only brought back scalps, he brought back letters captured from the French Monsieur Douville:
Fort Duquesne, March 23, 1756.
The Sieur Douville, at the head of a detachment of fifty savages, is ordered to go and observe the motions of the enemy in the neighborhood of Fort Cumberland. He will endeavor to harass their Convoys, and burn their magazines at Conococheague, should this be practicable. He must use Every effort to take prisoners, who may confirm what we already know of the enemy's designs. The Sieur Douville will employ all his talents, and all his credit, to prevent the savages from Committing any cruelties upon those, who may fall into their hands. Honor and humanity ought, in This respect, to serve as our guide.
Washington summarized the French letter and the debriefing of Pearis as follows:]
Your Honor may in some measure penetrate into the daring designs of the French by their instructions, where orders are given to burn , if possible, our magazine at Conococheague [Near Hagerstown, Maryland], a place that is in the midst of a thickly settled country.
I have ordered the party there to be made as strong as time and our present circumstances will afford, for fear they [the French] should attempt to execute the orders of Dumas [French commander of Fort Duquesne]. I have also ordered up an officer and twenty recruits to assist Joseph Edwards [south of the Potomac about 20 miles west of Winchester], and the people on those waters. The people of this town are under dreadful apprehensions of an attack, and all the roads between this and Fort Cumberland are much infested. As I apprehend you will be obliged to draft men, I hope care will be taken that none are chosen but active, resolute men,--men, who are practised to arms, and are marksmen.
I also hope that a good many more will be taken than what are requisite to complete our numbers to what the Assembly design to establish; as many of those we have got are really in a manner unfit for duty; and were received more through necessity than choice; and will very badly bear a re-examination. Another thing I would beg leave to recommend; and that is, that such men as are drafted, should be only taken for a time, by which means we shall get better men, and which will in all probability stay with us.
The situation around Winchester went from bad to worse in April 1756. Many inhabitants moved east of the Blue Ridge. This may have been when Richard Pearis first set his family just east of the Blue Ridge in a gap (now-called Ashby Gap on Rt. 50). [This property appears to have eventually become the homestead of Richard and Rhoda Pearis and today is called Paris, Virginia. Today, the Ashby Inn over-looks a beautiful valley that opens to the south from Paris.]
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, April 27, 1756
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Winchester, April 27, 1756.
Sir: I sent an express to Fort Cumberland on Tuesday last, who is just returned with the enclosed letters, which I send, to prevent the trouble of extracting a part.
In my letter to Colonel Stephen, I did among other things inform him of the accusations laid to his charge, and that he must expect to have the matter inquired into. Your Honor will see what he says upon the subject.
Desolation and murder still increase, and no prospects of relief. The Blue Ridge is now our frontier, no men being left in this county, except a few that keep close with a number of women and children in forts, which they have erected for that purpose. There are now no militia in this county; when there were, they could not be brought to action. If the inhabitants of the adjacent counties pursue the same system of disobedience, the whole must fall an inevitable sacrifice; and there is room to fear, they have caught the infection, since I have sent (besides divers letters to Lord Fairfax,) express after express to hurry them on, and yet have no tidings of their march. We have the greatest reason in life to believe, that the number of the enemy is very considerable, as they are spread all over this part of the country; and that their success, and the spoils with which they have enriched themselves, dished up with a good deal of French policy, will encourage the Indians of distant nations to fall upon our inhabitants in greater numbers, and, if possible, with greater rapidity. They enjoy the sweets of a profitable war, and will no doubt improve the success, which ever must attend their arms, without we have Indians to oppose theirs. I would therefore advise, as I often have done, that there should be neither trouble nor expense omitted to bring the few, who are still inclined, into our service, and that, too, with the greatest care and expedition. A small number, just to point out the wiles and tracks of the enemy, is better than none; for which reason I must earnestly recommend, that those, who accompanied Major Lewis, should be immediately sent up, and such of the Catawbas as can be engaged in our interest. If such another torrent as this has been, (or may be ere it is done,) should press upon our settlements, there will not be a living creature left in Frederick county; and how soon Fairfax and Prince William may share its fate is easily conceived, if we only consider a cruel and bloodthirsty enemy, conquerors already possessed of the finest part of Virginia, plenteously filled with all kinds of provision, pursuing a people filled with fear and consternation at the inhuman murders of these barbarous savages!
I have exerted every means that I could think of, to quiet the minds of these unhappy people: but, for a man to have inclination, and not power, he may as well be without either, for the assistance he can give.
The inhabitants of the county, who are now in forts, are greatly distressed for the want of ammunition and provision, and are incessantly importuning me for both; neither of which have I at this place to spare. And if I had, I should be much embarrassed how to act. I could not be safe in delivering either without your orders; and to hear the cries of the hungry, who have fled for refuge to these places, with nothing more than they carry on their backs, is exceedingly moving. Therefore I hope, your Honor will give directions concerning this matter.
[Washington continues with a recommendation to fortify Winchester as a place that women and children can be secured while the militia fight in the field.]
During this time, Robert Pearis (whose family apparently had moved into the old (George) Pearis homestead on Pearis Run (now on maps as Parish Run) joined the militia of Virginia and raised a company and received the rank of captain in the Virginia militia.
Because Richard was leading the Cherokee, his loyalties were less parochial that the typical captain in the Virginia militia. The Cherokee were not there to defend Virginia (no matter how much Dinwiddie and Washington would like it to have been so.) The Cherokee were in this fight (1) as mercenaries, (2) to settle scores with their old adversaries the Shawnee and other northern tribes, (3) support their trading partner (the British). In the process, the Cherokee were only indirectly were hostile toward the French. Indeed, the French were constantly trying to sway the Cherokee to their side.
Part of the deal for the Cherokee to support the British in the Ohio was for the British to establish a fort to protect the Cherokee homeland. This fort (to be called Fort Loudoun) was a British fort, not a Virginia fort. It was to be built just west of the Cherokee (Overhill) capital of Chote. In June of 1756, Richard Pearis led Major Andrew Lewis to Chote to build Fort Loudon. The fort was built on the lower part of the Little Tennessee a few miles from Chote.
Letter from George Washington to Adam Stephen, September 6, 1756
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
To LIEUTENANT COLONEL ADAM STEPHEN
Winchester, September 6, 1756.
Sir: Yours of the 17th & 23d August I received. Mr. Boyd is just returned from Williamsburg, settling his accepts and getting a supply of cash. He will be with you to pay you off.
I am in hopes our men for the future will be better satisfied, as the Committee have allowed them 8 d per day and their clothes without any stoppages or deductions. The Governor expects this encouragement will engage the Rangers to enlist.
I wrote him about Fort Cumberland being put down; but he says, as it is a King's fort he cannot venture to abandon it, without further orders from a higher power. He says, Lord Loudoun will be at Williamsburg about the 20th November, and then the affair may be properly represented to him. He has however sent me orders to draw from thence a sufficient quantity of stores for this and the other forts, and I have accordingly sent wagons to be loaded with ammunition, &c. for that purpose.
The Governor informs me too, that he just received an express from Major Lewis, acquainting him that he might expect 150 Cherokees to be at this place in a fortnight; that the Catawba King was gone to South Carolina, and had engaged to send 50 warriors to our assistance, on his return from thence. This will be a considerable help to us, as we shall be able to carry the war into their own country, and use them in the same manner they have us for 12 months past. He adds, that the Catawbas and Cherokees are very firmly attached to our interest, and will still furnish us with more assistance when the fort in that country [Fort Loudoun in present-day Tennessee near the junction of the French Broad River and the Little Tennessee River] is completed. 'T is already in great forwardness. I have wrote to Captain Waggener of this, and ordered him to keep up a correspondence with yours and the other forts, that you may hear from each other every week. I beg you will see to have every man at the fort supplied with a powder-horn and shot-bag.
The Governor has sued Hedgman for scandal and has ordered Lieutenant Hall to attend the General Court, the 14th of October, as an evidence. Acquaint Mr. Hall of this, and send him down. I have got orders from the Governor to enlist servants, the masters to be paid a reasonable price upon the first purchase, deducting for the time they have served. You will observe this, if any should fall in with you. Complaint has been made that the officers and soldiers upon party, take up the strays they find in the woods. Let these practices be discouraged. Ensign Roy had my promise to be appointed to my company, as it is the company he before belonged to, in case my brother did not accept, and he has declined it. I desire you will send Mr. Roy down immediately to this place. I have received no monthly returns, which I expected regularly, besides weekly ones.
Let all your leisure hours be employed in disciplining the men; for as Lord Loudoun is to be here, and will probably see them, I would willingly have them make the best appearance possible.
The wagons must be dispatched as soon as possible, loaded with powder chiefly, the rest with grenades, musket-ball and a quantity of flints, with some 12 lb. & 4 lb. grape-shot.
The powder is the must material, so let the greater proportion of that be sent. The men returned by the officers above-mentioned, at this place, are employed on the public works, but they must still continue them on their rolls and returns, and shall have them returned to their companies, as soon as they have done here, if they belong properly to them.
Waters and Burrass behaved extremely ill when they were sent down last. ..[Washington goes into a lengthy discussion of how and when stray horses can be taken.]
Later in 1756, the situation in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge seemed to stabilize and Washington's letters became less urgent, but the situation was still serious.
From Lord Thomas Fairfax to George Washington September 1, 1756
(From the Papers of George Washington, University Press of Virginia)
Yours I received last night with the melancholy account of the People on Potomack deserting their Plantations; I had ordered Captain [Robert] Paris to relieve Cap. Caton with thirty six men from several companies of these parts, as I had notice of the disagreement between him & Captain Sweringen, who has always done everything in his power to occasion confusion if his advice was not taken in everything. Cap. [Robert] Paris is to meet his detachment at Mr. John Hytes [Hite's] on Friday next to proceed to Potomak; if any farther assistance is wanting nothing shall be omitted in the power of Sr,
Your Humble Servant
There are several interesting things about this letter: (1) Fairfax was apparently in the British army (not the Virginia Militia) and was giving orders to a Virginia Militia captain. (2) This must have been Robert Pearis [Paris] because Richard was in the Cherokee nation at this time. (3) Richard Pearis had moved to a point near Lord Fairfax's home and apparently they got along well. (4) The Fairfax spelling of Pearis's name (i.e., Paris) was the one that stuck in the town of Paris, Virginia.
Late in the summer of 1756, Captain Richard Pearis accompanied Major Andrew Lewis to the lower Cherokee villages in South Carolina and North Carolina to build Fort Charlotte. They arrived at the South Carolina Fort Prince George near Keori on 11 September 1756. Lewis returned to Augusta, Virginia because he was ill. Pearis had brought his small party of Cherokee toward August and wrote Lewis the letter mentioned below on 21 October:
From Andrew Lewis to George Washington October 28, 1756
Sir Augusta Octr the 28th 1756
I received a letter from Capt. [Richard] Paris dated the 21st of this month, he tells me that he sent for guns and other necessities for the Indians [Cherokee] with him. The Indians are highly pleased with the arms and the large preparation made for them. The Warrior [one of the Cherokee] proposed sending a runner to the [Cherokee] Nation with one of the guns, and likewise to aquaint them [with] what is provided for them. He makes no doubt of a great numbers coming in. He [Pearis] would not do anything in the matter before he had my aprobation. I approved of his scheme and have wrote to Capt. Pearis to dress the runner as well as possible and send a white man with him as The Warrior's desire .
The Indian and white men who were appointed to go to Houlsons [Holston] River are on their march in order to make the discoverythe enemy are frequently seen near Vauss .
Pearis and Lewis apparently joined in Augusta, Virginia about November 1st and they soon received directions from Lt. Governor Dinwiddie (written 14-15 November 1756) to move their Cherokee to Winchester to meet George Washington. On instructions from Dinwiddie, Lewis sent John Allen with letters for the Cherokee to the Cherokee Nation in early November 1756.
Mr. Allen was next seen in South Carolina by Capt. Raymond Demere who wrote from the South Carolina frontier (east of the Blue Ridge) to Lt. Governor William Henry Lyttelton of South Carolina on 23 December 1756 saying:
"On the 18th [ December 1756] came an express from Virginia. One Mr. Allen, a young man that was [here] at the building of Chette [Charlotte] Fort This young man from Virginia came with one of the Indians that went last [f]all with Capt. Paris. There was but seven that went."
Allen carried letters from Capt. John McNeill, Major Lewis, and Lt. Governor Dinwiddie to the Cherokee. Specifically, he delivered them to Otacite (i.e., a title meaning senior leader) Ostenaco (a.k.a., Judge's Friend) who currently lived in Tomatly on the Little Tennessee River ("Overhill" Cherokee). Ostenaco was the leader who negotiated with Andrew Lewis to build Fort Loudon near the junction of the Little Tennessee and the French Broad Rivers. Ostenaco had also been a member of the company led by Richard Pearis during the campaign on the Sandy Creek. The letter from Andrew Lewis (dated 30 October 1756) to Ostenaco begged him to come to Virginia with as many young men as possible. He did not respond immediately, but Ostenaco brought a party to Virginia in the summer of 1757 (about 9 months later).
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, December 19, 1756
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Fort Loudoun, December 19, 1756.
Honble. Sir: Your letter of the 10th came to hand the 15th; in consequence whereof I dispatched orders immediately to all the garrisons on the Branch to evacuate their forts, and repair to Pearsall's, where they would meet the flour, &c. from this place, and to escort it to Fort Cumberland. I expect the provisions purchased for the support of these forts, and now lying in bulk, will be wasted and destroyed, notwithstanding I have given directions to the assistant commissary on the Branch, and to Waggener's company, to use their utmost diligence in collecting the whole, and securing it where his company is posted. An escort, with all the flour we have been able to procure (which amounts to an insufficient quantity for want of water), sets out from this on Tuesday next. I expect to depart sooner myself, after leaving directions with Captain Mercer, whom I have appointed to command here, and shall repair as expeditiously as possible to Fort Cumberland.
I am a little at loss to understand the meaning of your Honor's orders, and the opinion of the Council, when I am directed to evacuate all the stockade forts, and at the same time to march only one hundred men to Fort Cumberland, and to continue the like number here to garrison Fort Loudoun. If the stockade forts are all abandoned, there will be more men than are required for these two purposes, and the communication between them, of near eighty miles, will be left without a settler, unguarded and exposed. But I mean nothing more by asking this question, than to know your Honor's intentions, which I would willingly pay strict obedience to.
Mr. Walker has been here, settled his accounts, and gone home again, fully resolved no longer to continue commissary. I acquainted him with the contents of your Honor's letters of November, and he has wrote you (he tells me) his reasons for resigning. What Indian goods were left by Colo. Innes I know not; no return was ever given to me, nor to the commanding officer, when he went away, if I am rightly informed.
I shall when I arrive at Fort Cumberland get a return of them, and transmit to your Honor.
A return of the stores at this place is enclosed. I should have sent it before, but waited to add those at Fort Cumberland, of which there are none yet come down.
If Captain McNeill goes to the Cherokee nation, it would be well for him to conduct the Catawbas home. But when I recommended an officer's going with them, it was with a view of engaging a body of their men to come to our assistance in the spring, and to march in with their warriors, not choosing to trust altogether to their unmeaning promises and capricious humors. But your Honor will be pleased to direct as you see proper in this affair. If Captain McNeill goes to the Cherokee nation, it would be well for him to conduct the Catawbas home. But when I recommended an officer's going with them, it was with a view of engaging a body of their men to come to our assistance in the spring, and to march in with their warriors, not choosing to trust altogether to their unmeaning promises and capricious humors. But your Honor will be pleased to direct as you see proper in this affair. I have advanced very little money hitherto to the masters of servants, because I waited your directions on this head. I received forty-one last night from Captain McNeill, who desires leave to continue recruiting. I do not consent to it, until I know whether it is agreeable to your Honor, and whether I may send out as many other officers as can be spared for the same service. If this is approved of I should be glad that your Honor would send me general instructions, that I may know how to give mine, and to act consistently with the rules for recruiting servants for his Majesty's regiments. I should have been exceedingly glad, if your Honor and the Council had directed in what manner Fort Cumberland is to be strengthened; i.e., whether it is to be made cannon-proof or not; and that you would fix the sum beyond which we shall not go, for I must look to you for the expense, knowing that the country has already rejected some articles of this. Immediately upon receiving your Honor's letter to McCarty, I enclosed it to Colonel Fairfax (as directed), and desired him to do what is needful in regard to the commission, as it was not in my power to deal with him as he deserved: first, because he has left this service; and next, because if he was still in it, we have no martial law to punish him, the mutiny and desertion act having expired in October last. The same with respect to the soldiers, but their penitent behavior induced me to pass by their faults. I have read over that paragraph in Lord Loudoun's letter, (which your Honor was pleased to send me,) over and over again, but am unable to comprehend the meaning of it. What scheme it is, I was carrying into execution without awaiting advice, I am at a loss to know, unless it was building the chain of forts along our frontiers, which I not only undertook conformably to an act of Assembly, and by your own orders, but, with respect to the places, in pursuance of a council of war. If, under these circumstances, my "conduct is responsible for the fate of Fort Cumberland," it must be confessed, that I stand upon a tottering foundation indeed. I cannot charge my memory with either proposing, or intending, to draw the forts nearer to Winchester. The garrison of Fort Cumberland, it is true, I did wish to have removed to Cox's, which is nearer to Winchester by twenty-five miles; but not further from the enemy than where it now is, if a road from thence to the Little Meadows, which is about twenty miles distant, and the same from that place ( i.e., Fort Cumberland,) and more in the warriors' path, was opened. However, I see with much regret, that His Excellency Lord Loudoun seems to have prejudged my proceedings, without being thoroughly informed what were the springs and motives, that have actuated my conduct. How far I have mistaken the means to recommend my services, I know not, but I am certain of this, that no man ever intended better, or studied the interest of his country with more affectionate zeal, than I have done; and nothing gives me greater uneasiness and concern, than that his Lordship should have imbibed prejudices so unfavorable to my character, as to excite his belief that I was capable of doing any thing, "that will have a bad effect as to the Dominion, and no good appearance at home."
As I had your Honor's permission to be down when his Lordship shall favor us with a visit, I desired Colonel Carlyle to inform me when he should pass thro' Alexandria, and I will set out accordingly. I hope nothing has intervened to alter this indulgence. It is a favor I should not have thought of asking, had I believed the service would suffer in my absence; but I am convinced it will not. And I cannot help saying, I believe we are the only troops upon the continent, that are kept summer and winter to the severest duty, with the least respite or indulgence.
Captn. Pearis came to town the other day with six Cherokees and two squaws. He brought no orders from your Honor, and applies to me for direction of his services. I have desired him to carry the Indians to Fort Cumberland, as we can make nothing of them without an interpreter; and there wait the return of your Honor's instructions.
[One of the squaws may have been Richard Pearis's Cherokee sidewife. Washington may have mentioned that they were squaws to make that connection to Pearis.]
Lt. Baker has leave of absence upon very urgent business, relative to an estate left him. He applied to your Honor and, having received no answer, I made free to grant this indulgence in so material a point. Lt. Lowry has applied for permission to quit the service; I referred him to your Honor, and he now waits your answer in a state of much anxiety and sickness. His resignation I apprehend will occasion no void or any loss to the service. I have therefore allowed him to go down, in order to support his spirits and comply with your Honor's pleasure, whatever that be. While Lt. Baker is absent, I would offer it to your Honor as expedient, he should make interest among the Tusks and Nottoways. His intimacy with these nations may be of service in engaging some assistance from them, and I think him very capable of the undertaking. He might also recruit, if your Honor approves of the proposal I have already offered.
The delay of the soldiers' clothes occasions unaccountable murmurs and complaints, and I am very much afraid we shall have few men left, if they arrive not in a week or two. Your Honor would be astonished to see the naked condition of the poor wretches. And how they possibly can subsist, much less work, in such severe weather. Had we but blankets to give them, or any thing to defend them from the cold, they might perhaps be easy.
I have formerly hinted to your Honor our necessity for a speedy supply of cash, and have advised with the Speaker likewise, that he might not be unprepared. I purpose to send down by the 10th of next month or sooner if I could be served. The men are quite impatient, and the want of small bills is very prejudicial to their peace. I should be glad your Honor would advise per return of Jenkins how soon I may send down. I cannot supply your Honor with a return of our strength as yet, because our scattered disposition hinders a regular discharge of the adjutant's duty. I am, &c.
The British Regroup (1757)
The British colonies began to sort themselves out and seriously prepared for war in 1757. This year was the preparation for taking the offensive against Fort Duquesne in 1758.
In March 1757, Richard Pearis was the guide and interpreter for a party of lower Cherokee led by Wawhatchee during a patrol of the Virginia frontier. The Cherokee had still not been paid for services provided to Virginia during the winter. They were on their way from South Carolina to Winchester to collect their payment and ammunition. At the home of Clement Reed (Justice of the Peace of Lunenburg County in south central Virginia), they negotiated for food, but then (obviously famished) ate about 1,000 pounds of bread and pork over a period of about 30 hours. A Chickasaw who may have been traveling with them was attacked and murdered by some of the Cherokee in an argument concerning the food. When the party of lower Cherokee under Wawhatchee reached Winchester, they joined a group of Overhill Cherokee from Chilhowee and Telassie led by Youghtanno. The combined group then proceeded north of Fort Cumberland (Maryland) to track French and Shawnee raiders. It was apparently agreed at this time between Richard Pearis and the Indian Agent Atkins that Atkins would take over Pearis's duties with the Virginia militia at least temporarily. Washington was not informed and it was not an official resignation from the Virginia militia by Pearis.
Predictably, Captain Richard Pearis found himself running up against the bureaucracies of several colonies as he tried to bring the Cherokee into action against the Shawnee and the French. The view of Dinwiddie and Washington was that Richard Pearis should move the Cherokee (in large numbers) into Frederick County and wait until the Virginians were ready to assemble troops from various counties with their provisions and then march off and fight. This sort of planning was not realistic from the point of view of the Cherokee. Their homes were about 400 miles away (Washington had trouble getting Virginians to come from Culpeper to Winchester) and they certainly were not getting rich enough off the meager compensation provided by the Virginians to support their families at home while campaigning with the Virginians and British. Thus, the Cherokee wanted to come to Virginia when there was serious action, do their part, and return home in a period of a few months at most. The British and the Virginians (all the Europeans) were guilty of looking at the world only through their own eyes and interpreting the Cherokee's contribution and actions in that light. The Cherokee were not fair-weather-friends (actually, quite the opposite), but they were not inclined to sit around while Washington wrote letters.
During this time (spring 1757), Richard Pearis was apparently attempting to sort out his family responsibility. By his European wife (Rhoda), he had had two daughters named Sarah (obviously named after Richards mother) and Margaret. In 1754, he had had a son by his Cherokee wife (Pratchey). In the Augusta City, Virginia (county seat of Augusta County, southwest Virginia) deed book (#6, page 450) on 16 April 1757, Richard Pearis pledged to his daughters "land, slaves and other personal property and one Indian Wench named Pratchey" provided they married with their father's approval. The land was provided by Captain Peter Hogg in December 1770, which suggest that at least one of the daughters married then.
On 29 April 1757, Wawhatchee and Richard Pearis with about 60 Cherokee arrived at Fort Frederick, Maryland. There they wrote to Maryland governor Sharpe stating that they were willing to scout and fight in his service. From Fort Frederick, they accompanied Lt. Shelby of Maryland on an expedition to the forks of the Ohio River. By 5 May, they were on the trail of some Shawnee who had attacked British settlers at the mouth of the Conococheague Creek (Williamsport, Maryland). They spent a night in a house at Black's Mill, Pennsylvania and were seen by a settler who though they were Shawnee. The settler alerted the militia at Fort London who sent out a party of similar size to attack them. The next morning a friendly-fire battle was narrowly avoided. A message was sent to Fort Littleton to alert them that a party of Cherokee were patrolling the area.
The Cherokee patrol was soon well into the mountains and picked up a trail of the enemy which the followed for two days. On 13 May, near Raystown, Pennsylvania, they caught up with about 15 Shawnee and Delaware who were sitting around their breakfast fire. The Cherokee quietly surrounded the Shawnee-Delaware raiding party and, on signal, fired a volley and rushed in. Four of the enemy were killed in the initial volley and two were captured alive. The incident was reported in the Maryland Gazette (19 May 1757). The Cherokee and Pearis returned to Fort Frederick, Maryland where they received gifts from Pennsylvania on 18 May and from Maryland on 20 May. They discussed providing services to both colonies at that time. Governor Sharpe of Maryland was so pleased that he commissioned Richard Pearis a captain in one of the new Maryland regiments.
On 3 June, Pearis received approval from Indian Agent Atkins of Virginia to work with Maryland. Moreover, the Cherokee led by Wawhatchee went to Atkins in Winchester to receive payment from the Virginians. The gifts were considered by the Cherokee to be very meager and not worth dividing. They were also displeased to learn that Virginia would no longer recognize Pearis's commission. In the future, they would have to work through Atkins in Virginia. Thus, Wawhatchee left Winchester and Atkins could not communicate with the remaining Cherokee for several days until an interpreter (Richard Smith) arrived from Fort Cumberland.
While Wawhatchee was arguing with Atkins in Winchester, Richard Pearis accompanied Seroweh of Estatoe and his Lower Cherokee on an expedition to the Monongahela River during early June 1757. George Washington attempted to summarize the recent events involving Richard Pearis, the Cherokee and Mr. Atkins in a letter of 10 June 1757 to Governor Dinwiddie. Washington was obviously writing from the view point of the Virginians:
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, June 10, 1757
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
June 10, 1757.
Hon'ble Sir: Your letters of the 23d. ultimo and 2d. instant are received.
Mr. Atkin will write your Honor by this opportunity; therefore my observations shall be principally confined to Indian Affairs. In the first place, I fear that, the different colonies struggling with each other for their assistance, will be productive of very great Evils; and, in the end, introduce insupportable expense to these Governments, or to the Crown.
Maryland hath already held treaties with, and given presents to them.
Pennsylvania hath sent Speeches to them, and offers presents (and to the latter a great part is now gone). The consequence is, those Savages look upon themselves in a more important light than ever, and have behaved very insolently thereupon; as Mr. Atkin can inform you.
Part of the Cherokees is returned to their nation. I have sent, agreeably to your Honors Order, a person with them, to procure provisions along the road; and a small Detachment (a large one we cou'd not afford, as we are greatly straightened for want of men every where, especially at this place, to carry on the Works) to escort them to Vauses Fort.
I have in late letters mentioned some of the inconveniences which arise for want of money: and must now add, that unless there is a good deal sent up in a very short time, I must inevitably Suffer, as well as the Service, in a very great degree: As all the country people who have any demands upon the Public, think I am liable, and look to me for payment. Mr. Atkin has received the Indian Goods which were at this place, brought from Fort Cumberland and elsewhere, the enclosed is a copy of the return of them: A return of our strength is also enclosed, as the Companys stood after the Draughts were taken for South-Carolina; and, at the reduction of the Captains, the reason why my Company appears so much larger than the others, is because all the Workmen that have been taken out of other Companies for this employment, have been returned in it.
That Capt. Paris has misbehaved, I verily believe: He has a commission in the Maryland Forces: which I think pretty extraordinary on every account. However, as your Honor empower'd Mr. Atkin to enquire into his behavior, I did not interfere, or concern myself in any shape with him.
[Governor Dinwiddie wrote to Washington (24 June 1757)
"Capt. Pearis having excepted a Como. From Govr. Sharpe, forfeits any expectations from this Colony, his conduct has been bad, so I think its a good riddance of him."
I am sure Richard Pearis did not lose much sleep over it.] Colo. Bouquets information after what I was told to the northward, after what I know was established under General Braddock (from whom, if I am rightly informed, proceeded the allowance of Bat-men, to the Virginia Officers;) and, after giving in, at His Excellency Lord Loudouns own request (and to his satisfaction, as far as I cou'd learn) the quantity of provision, number of Batmen, &c. allowed each Officer. And, that I did this, Capt. Stewart knows to be fact (for he himself made a fair copy of the return for me:) I say, after all this, Colo. Bouquets' information is matter of surprise to me.
However, if this is the practice of the Army by any late regulations, I dare say every Officer here will cheerfully acquiesce in it: and wou'd wish from their very heart, that every other regulation that is dispensed to the Regular Officers, was extended equally to them.
The Wampum which Capt. McNeill lost, is since found and delivered to Mr. Atkin. I shall order Capt. Woodward to march his Company to Vauses and relieve Capt. Hogg, whose Company will be given to Major Lewis, as it formerly belonged to him.
I am importuned by the country people inhabiting the small Forts, for Supplies of ammunition. I have refused them all, until I know your Sentiments. Ammunition is not to be purchased; and indeed some of them are too poor to buy, if it was. Therefore they apply to me. If your Honor thinks proper to order me to deliver it out to such people as I conceive will appropriate it to a good use, and in such quantities as we may be able to spare, I will do it; but not without.
I have found it expedient to relieve the Detachment at Maidstone, commanded by Captain Stewart, and bring them to this place. There were several material reasons which urged me to this Step; but the two following will, I hope, meet with your approbation. I have found by experience, that it is impossible to work Soldiers, and train them to the use of their arms at the same time: and that, if both are attempted, both will be more or less neglected. For which reason it appeared to me evidently for the Interest of the Service, that the men at this place (except the necessary tradesmen) shou'd be removed to some other post; where they might be regularly exercised, when they are not upon the Scout. Then there was no Company so proper to relieve them as Capt. Stewarts; who having had and improved the opportunity of discipling his men, was desirous of coming hither, as they have been a long time detached from the body of the Regiment. The other reason is, half the men at Maidstone being enlisted by Capt. Gist, in Maryland, and so contiguous to, and under the immediate influence and persuasion of their friends (who encourage them to desert: and not only do so, but protect them openly in it, under the eye and authority of their Magistrates, if we are rightly informed) that in a little time, not one wou'd have been left. Eleven are at this time under confinement for desertion from this Company.
I hope your Honor will direct me in what points and how far I am to pay regard to Colo. Stanwix's Orders: If I shou'd meet with any thing from him at any time, that may clash with your instructions to me, how I am to conduct myself in the affair. A case of this kind happened in Maryland, as I am told, and Colo. Stanwix sent orders to the Officer to disobey his (Stanwix's) orders at his peril.
Major Lewis cou'd not prevail with the Cherokee Indians to take out with them any more than 8 days provisions; the consequence of which is that he is come in with a part of them. There are yet out two parties, one of which consisting of 20 Indians and 10 Soldiers, under Capt. Spotswood, and are gone toward Fort DuQuesne: while the other amounts to 15 Indians and 5 Soldiers, under Lt. Baker, bent their course for Log's Town.
[Richard Pearis was apparently with one of these detachments.]
I wrote your Honor in my last, that Colo. Stephen did, whilst I was in Williamsburgh, give out many of the Regimental Stores for the use of the Indians, among which were 122 Blankets. There are at this place, come up for the Indians, several pieces of dutch blanketing. I shou'd be glad to know whether we may not take out of them (if there is a sufficiency to replace our loss) as the Indians have all been supplied?
I doubt not that your Honor has been informed of the fate of our Beef at Fort Cumberland: I was all along apprehensive that this wou'd be the consequence of Mr. Walkers absence. And as soon as I heard the account, I desired Mr. Rutherford to go up and overhale the casks and see what cou'd be saved. His answer was, that he was employed by Mr. Walker to trans. act the business at this place, and did not care to undertake it without his instructions. I thereupon desired he wou'd communicate the affair to Mr. Walker, and receive his directions, as I apprehended the Country wou'd look to him for the damage. What notice Mr. Walker has taken of it I know not. But since I have heard they have destroyed the provisions in an unwarrantable manner. Indeed I shou'd be glad if your Honor wou'd direct what is to be done in this affair.
Capt. Bell waits upon your Honor in hopes he may be able to obtain one of the additional compys. Which we hear are to be raised. I have been greatly importuned by his friends to Speak in his favor, or say what I know of him. All that I can say is that, so far as I have had an opportunity of judging, he appears to be a good-natur'd honest man; and willing to do his duty. He has had no opportunity of proving his Bravery, that I know of, nor do I remember ever to have heard it called in question.
As to his abilities in other respects, and his bodily activity, your Honor can judge of them better than I, being more acquainted with him.
I must once more presume to ask your Honor leave to attend the Settlement of my (deceased) Brothers Estate (when the Executors and Colo. Lee will fix upon a time) You were so indulgent on a former occasion as to consent to my being absent for this purpose. But the Assembly called off my Brother, and several others who were principally concerned, and prevented the completion of this affair since. Altho' it is matter of great moment to have this business finished, it yet lies open. I am &c.
Letter from George Washington to William Fairfax, June 25, 1757
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
June 25, 1757.
Dr. Sir: Your favors of the 17th. and 19th. instant I have received. Captains [Bryan] Fairfax and [Nicholas] Minor arrived here with their companies on tuesday last. The latter I have sent to Pattersons and Mendenhalls; small forts lying under the North-mountain and much exposed to the incursions of the Enemy.
The storm which threatened us with such formidable appearances is, in a manner, blown over. It arose in a great measure from a misunderstanding (in Captn. Dagworthy) of the Indians, for want of a proper interpreter. The Indians are, nevertheless unanimous in asserting that a large Body of French and Indians have marched from Fort DuQuesne; but without artillery; and that they pursued the Ray's-town road which leads very conveniently, to the three Colonies of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
I have for this reason, and because the enemy have already committed several depredations in this, as well as the neighbouring Colonies, since Sunday last, thought it expedient to detain what Militia have already arrived, a few days longer.
I do not think we have any occasion for more: and judge it necessary to apprize you thereof, knowing the Governor has ordered one-third of the Militia to repair to this place, that you may act as you shall see meet on this occasion, or 'till you may hear further from the Governor, to whom I wrote (on Tuesday last) an account of our subsequent intelligence. Our Soldiers labour on the public works with great spirit and constancy, from Monday morning 'till Sunday night, notwithstanding there is a month's pay due to them. We have no other assistance.
I have been exceedingly hurried of late, and still am so; which prevents my being explicit on the occurrences that have happened on this Quarter.
Poor [Capt. Robert] Spottswood, and a party that went towards duquesne, with some Cherokee indians are, I fear, lost! Lt. Baker from the said place, has brought 5 scalps, and a French Officer, prisoner, after killing two others.
[Richard Pearis was likely with Lt. Baker.] Kieruptica, a Cherokee Chief, is just come in with two scalps, which, according to his own account, he took within musket-shot of fort duquesne. He is now permitted, by Mr. Atkin, to go to Pennsylvania with Captn. Croghan.
Outossita [a.k.a., Outasitta, Outacite, Wootasitie, Otassity, or Mankiller; a king in the Cherokee Nation] came to town last night with 27 Cherokee indians from his nation. And by him we learn, that a large party may soon be expected.
These, I think, are the most material occurrences.
I have been obliged to furnish your Militia with provisions and ammunition, but with a good deal of reluctance; as I was blamed for the like proceeding last year.
I offer my Compliments in the most affectionate manner, to the family at Belvoir. Yours,
The 23 June 1757 Maryland Gazette carried an announcement regarding a soldier who deserted from Lt. Duncan McRea and indicated that the soldier, if found, should be returned to Lt. McRea or Capt. Richard Pearis. There was a similar announcement on 21 July 1757.
Letter from George Washington to William Lightfoot (Culpeper, Va., militia), June 26, 1757
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Fort Loudoun, June 26, 1757.
You are with the Militia under your command, to march from hence to Back-Creek, and carefully range it quite down to its mouth. From thence you are to march to New-kirks fort where, and in its neighbourhood, you are to remain 'till further Orders.
You are to maintain strict discipline among your men; and when you are in Garrison, to place Sentries at proper places by day and by night. In your marches and countermarches, you are to be very circumspect, to keep a few alert woods' men always advanced before, and on your flanks; and use every precaution to prevent surprises: as you have to deal with a cunning dexterous enemy.
You are not to indulge your men in idleness, but keep them constantly on the Scout, as the most effectual means of answering the desirable end expected from you, that of protecting the distressed Inhabitants.
Shou'd you discover certain signs of any large Body of the Enemy being near to you; you are instantly to inform Mr. Pearis, and Captn. Minor of it. You are likewise to inform me of all material occurrences.
[Apparently, Richard Pearis was back to being "Mr. Pearis" instead of "Capt. Pearis" as far as Washington was concerned. Or, he was referring to one of the other Pearis (George) brothers living on Back Creek.]
By August 1757, most of the Lower Cherokee had returned to their homes in South Carolina and Georgia. Richard Pearis accompanied them and functioned as an interpreter on an expedition against the French Fort Toulouse at the Fork of the Alabama River (Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, present-day Montgomery, Alabama) in September. Note that Richard Pearis and the Cherokee were fighting the French on a front from Pennsylvania to Alabama, while George Washington was focused only on Virginia. Richard Pearis then returned to Fort Cumberland where he took up his responsibilities with the Maryland militia. George Washington was left in Virginia trying to seek favors from the Cherokee who came and went to the service of Maryland and Pennsylvania (under Pearis) via Winchester. It was very frustrating to Washington and he was concerned that he had lost control of the Cherokee and would lose control of the Shenandoah Valley without their help as he described to Dinwiddie on 5 October 1757:
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, October 5, 1757
(Based on transcription by John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor)
Fort Loudoun, October 5, 1757.
Honble. Sir: Both your Honor's letters of the 24th ultimo I received by Jenkins. As I cannot now send a proper monthly return of the regiment, for want of the remarks of the officers at the out-posts, I enclose your Honor an exact return, however, of our effective strength, and how disposed of, which will at present answer the end proposed equally well. I likewise send you enclosed the return of provisions, specifying the time they will serve.
I am informed "the contractor is to lay in the provisions for the troops in Hampshire [county] , at this place; that he is to have 6 d a man per diem for the whole he supplies, and that he is not to pay those who must inevitably be employed in issuing out the provisions at the different garrisons."
This information, I flatter myself, is without foundation; as it is beyond doubt that provisions could be purchased in Hampshire, where the troops are quartered for half of what the contractor has for laying them in here, and that the amount of the waggonage and other charges of transporting these provisions from hence to Hampshire will exceed the whole cost of the provisions, if purchased there; not to mention the great risque, trouble of escorts, &c., &c.
The assistant commissaries must still be continued, or some persons in their room, who, under the direction of a principal, would have purchased the provisions upon as good terms as any contractor. Besides, the commissary used to act as wagonmaster, supply the different garrisons with candle, made from the tallow of the country's beeves, and do many things for the good of the service, not to be expected from a contractor.
I shall take the earliest opportunity of communicating your Honor's intentions, respecting the ranging company, to Captain Hogg, who, I am informed, is lying ill, in consequence of the bite of a snake at Dickinson's Fort, and will, I fear, be unable to raise the men I am afraid the recruiting one hundred men will be found a very difficult task. I am quite at a loss how to act, as you did not inform me upon what terms they are to be levied and supported, what bounty money to allow, what pay to engage the officers and men, how clothed and supported, what the officers' pay and what kind of commissions they are to have.
Mr. Robert Rutherford, late deputy-commissary here, says that he could raise the men in a shorter time than any other, and from his universal acquaintance on the frontiers, and the esteem the people in general have for him, I am apt to believe he could raise them as soon as any person whatever.
If they should have the same bounty, allowed by the Assembly for recruits, I shall want money for that purpose. The £68 13 s 8 d I received from Colo. Fairfax of the country's money I accounted with the committee for in April last. Enclosed is a copy of the last letter I received from Colonel Stanwix.
The enemy continues their horrid devastations in this settlement. Enclosed is a copy of a letter from Capt. Josha. Lewis. Immediately on receipt of Capt. Lewis', Capt. McNeill, 3 subalterns, 4 sergeants, and 70 rank and file, marched up to act in conjunction with Captn. Lewis. The day before Captain Lewis was attacked, twenty Cherokees, headed by one of the principal warriors of that nation, marched from hence to the South Branch, which with the troops under Captains Waggener and McKenzie, will, I hope, secure that quarter.
So soon as Captn. McNeill returns, I will order him up to his company to which I have by your orders appointed him; as I have Mr. Chew in room of Mr. Fell.
When Mr. Atkin [the Indian Agent] went from here he carried Mr. Gist and the Indian interpreter with him. Since several parties of Cherokees have been here, by which I and my officers were involved in inconceivable trouble, as we had neither an interpreter, nor a right to hold conferences with them; nothing to satisfy their demands of things of which they were in the greatest need; nor liberty to procure them. These warlike, formidable people, altho they seem to have a natural strong attachment to our interest, will, I am afraid, be induced by such treatment to hearken to the pressing solicitations of the French, who (by the latest and best accounts, copies of which I enclose) are making them vastly advantageous offers. The Chief of the Cherokee party, who went last to the Branch, (and is said to be a man of great weight among that nation), was so incensed against what he imagined neglect and contempt, that, had we not supplied him with a few necessaries, without which he could not go to war, he threatened to return, fired with resentment, to his nation. In short, I dread that, by the present management of Indian affairs [by Atkins], we are losing our interest of that people, the preservation of whose friendship is of the last importance to the colonies in general, and this in particular.
[I think Washington was trying to convince Dinwiddie to reinstate Pearis over Atkins.]
I am sorry to acquaint your Honor that Hamilton, the quartermaster hath misbehaved egregiously, embezzling and disposing, (in a clandestine manner) of some of the regimental stores, and afterwards running away and carrying a man of the regiment with him. He had leave to go to Alexandria, to order up some of the stores left there, and managed his affairs with such cunning that he was gone too long to be pursued, before he was suspected.
Enclosed is a copy of the proceedings of the court of enquiry. Several things were found at many different houses, and the magistrates did not behave consistently with their duty.
I do not know, that I ever gave your Honor cause to suspect me of ingratitude, a crime I detest, and would most carefully avoid. If an open, disinterested behavior carries offence, I may have offended; because I have all along laid it down as a maxim, to represent facts freely and impartially, but no more to others, than I have to you, Sir. If instances of my ungrateful behavior had been particularized, I would have answered to them. But I have long been convinced, that my actions and their motives have been maliciously aggravated.
As your Honor proposes to leave the colony in November, I should be glad of liberty to go down to Williamsburg towards the last of this month, or first of the next, if nothing should intervene, to settle some accounts with your Honor and the Committee, which may not be done in so satisfactory a manner after you are gone,
[Apparently, Dinwiddie saw Washington's request to come to Williamsburg as shirking because he answered (19 October 1757) "I cannot agree to allow you leave to come down here at this time. You have been frequently indulged with leave of absence. You know the fort is to be finished, and I fear when you are away little will be done; and surely the commanding officer should not be absent when daily alarmed with the enemy's intentions to invade our frontiers, and I think you are in the wrong to ask it. You have no accounts that I know of to settle with me; and what accounts you have to settle with the country may be done at a more proper time."]
The last alarm occasioned a great many of the inhabitants in this county to go off, whereupon vast numbers are still moving. I fear that, in a short time, this very valuable valley will be in a great measure depopulated; and what farther steps to take, and how to obviate so great a misfortune, I am quite at a loss. As I have hitherto neglected nothing in the compass of my power, it is very evident, that nothing but vigorous offensive measures, (next campaign,) can save the country, at least all west of the Blue Ridge, from inevitable desolation.
We are in great want of a Quartermaster to take care of the stores, and I really do not know of a fit person, unless your Honor will please to bestow the office upon Mr. Kennedy. He acted sometimes as Quartermaster-sergeant, then as Commissary, and I believe is better acquainted with the duty than any one we can get. He bears a good character and is acquainted with figures.
The Dunkard doctor gave me notice of his intentions to wait upon your Honor again for his release, I in a late letter transmitted an information of the French deserters (who came from Fort Cumberland) against them, and think it my duty further to add, that I firmly believe they are employed as spies, and are useful to the French. Of this, all the frontier inhabitants seem convinced, and are so apprehensive of the consequences that it has caused numbers to remove, and will cause a general terror among them, if this person is suffered to return and the others to remain out there. For which reason I should really be glad to receive orders to bring the others in. 'Tis better, provided they do not assist the enemy, to bring them in, than to keep a whole country in perpetual uneasiness on their account.
Mr. Rutherford set about making his return, the moment your Honor's letter came to hand, and but this instant has finished it, having everything to measure and weigh, in order to be exact.
Since writing the foregoing, the express, which I sent to Major Lewis, is come in, and brings returns of those companies; so that your Honor will now receive proper monthly returns of our strength for July and August; by which you will see, that our total strength amounts to thirty-two commissioned officers, forty-eight noncommissioned, and seven hundred and three rank and file; whereof twenty officers, thirty non-commissioned, and four hundred and sixty-four rank and file, are employed in this county and Hampshire. But there are always six women allowed to a company, who draw provisions; and the officers receive more or less according to their respective rank, as your Honor would see by the estimate I received from Colonel Stanwix, and enclosed you some time ago; which must be allowed for in the calculation.
I have this instant received letters from Captains Waggener and McKenzie, by express. The first writes that two men were killed, [or] captured about 2 miles from his fort. The other says that a Cherokee party just as they were setting out to go to Captn. Waggener's heard that Pearis was at Fort Cumberland and marched to him.
[Richard Pearis had become the Maryland commander of Fort Cumberland. Without Pearis, Washington had no control over the Cherokee.]
However, I see with much regret, that His Excellency Lord Loudoun seems to have prejudged my proceedings, without being thoroughly informed what were the springs and motives, that have actuated my conduct. How far I have mistaken the means to recommend my services, I know not, but I am certain of this, that no man ever intended better, or studied the interest of his country with more affectionate zeal, than I have done; and nothing gives me greater uneasiness and concern, than that his Lordship should have imbibed prejudices so unfavorable to my character, as to excite his belief that I was capable of doing any thing, "that will have a bad effect as to the Dominion, and no good appearance at home."
Captn. Pearis [this may have been Robert Pearis who was still in the Virginia militia] came to town the other day with six Cherokees and two squaws. He brought no orders from your Honor, and applies to me for direction of his services. I have desired him to carry the Indians to Fort Cumberland, as we can make nothing of them without an interpreter; and there wait the return of your Honor's instructions. Lt. Baker has leave of absence upon very urgent business, relative to an estate left him. He applied to your Honor and, having received no answer, I made free to grant this indulgence in so material a point. Lt. Lowry has applied for permission to quit the service; I referred him to your Honor, and he now waits your answer in a state of much anxiety and sickness. His resignation I apprehend will occasion no void or any loss to the service. I have therefore allowed him to go down, in order to support his spirits and comply with your Honor's pleasure, whatever that be. While Lt. Baker is absent, I would offer it to your Honor as expedient, he should make interest among the Tusks [Tuscarora] and Nottoways. His intimacy with these nations may be of service in engaging some assistance from them, and I think him very capable of the undertaking. He might also recruit, if your Honor approves of the proposal I have already offered.
The delay of the soldiers' clothes occasions unaccountable murmurs and complaints, and I am very much afraid we shall have few men left, if they arrive not in a week or two. Your Honor would be astonished to see the naked condition of the poor wretches. And how they possibly can subsist, much less work, in such severe weather. Had we but blankets to give them, or any thing to defend them from the cold, they might perhaps be easy.
I have formerly hinted to your Honor our necessity for a speedy supply of cash, and have advised with the Speaker likewise, that he might not be unprepared. I purpose to send down by the 10th of next month or sooner if I could be served. The men are quite impatient, and the want of small bills is very prejudicial to their peace. I should be glad your Honor would advise per return of Jenkins how soon I may send down. I cannot supply your Honor with a return of our strength as yet, because our scattered disposition hinders a regular discharge of the adjutant's duty. I am, &c.
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, November 5, 1757
Fort Loudoun, November 5, 1757.
Sir: Duty to my Country, and his Majesty's interest, indispensably requires, that I again trouble your Honor on the subject of Indian affairs here; which have been impeded and embarrassed by such a train of mismanagement [by Edmund Atkin], as a continuance of which must inevitably produce the most melancholy consequences.
The sincere disposition the Cherokees have betrayed to espouse our cause heartily has been demonstrated beyond the most distant doubt; and, if rewarded in the manner in which that laudable and meritorious disposition entitles them to, wou'd, in all human probability, soon effect a favorable change in the present (apparently) desperate situation of this poor, unhappy part of his Majesty's dominions.
But, in the stead of meeting with that great encouragement, which the essential services of that brave people undoubtedly merit, several of them, after having undergone the rudest toils and fatigues of an excessively long march, destitute of all the conveniences and almost necessaries of life, and, (to give us still more convincing proofs of their strong attachment to our interest) in that very situation went to war, and in the way behaved nobly (from which we reaped a signal advantage,) and when they returned here, with an enemy's scalp, baggage and other trophies of honor, they must have gone home without any kind of reward or thanks, or even provisions to support them on their march, justly fired with the highest resentment for their real-treatment, had not I and my officers strained a point, procured them some things, of which they were in absolute want, and made it the object of our care, in various respects, to please them.
Another party of those Indians since very opportunely arrived to our assistance, at the very juncture the enemy made an irruption into this settlement, pursued their tracks, came up with three of them, two of whom they scalped, and wounded the third. They are now returned from this pursuit, and are nearly in the same situation with those abovementioned. I applied to Captain Gist in their behalf, and told him I must represent the matter to your Honor. But he assures me that he has neither goods to reward them, money to procure them, or even an interpreter, which totally incapacitates him for doing any kind of service. If so (which I have no reason to doubt) it is surprising, that any man shou'd be entrusted with the negotiating of such important affairs, and not be possessed of the means to accomplish the undertaking. By which he, and several others, who received high pay from Virginia, are not only rendered useless, but our interests with those Indians is at the brink of destruction. Whenever a party of them arrive here, they immediately apply to me; but I have neither any thing to give them, nor any right to do it. Nor is there anybody to inform them to what these and their other disappointments is owing; which reduces me to such a dilemma, as I wou'd most gladly be extricated from.
I must likewise beg leave to mention to your Honor once more the vast hardships, many of the people groan under here, having been so long kept out of the money, which the country owes them on account of the Indians. When I proposed going down to Williamsburgh, many of them brought their accounts to me, which I intended (had you given me liberty,) to have laid before your Honor. I mention this circumstance, not with any view of being employed in examining and paying off those accounts, (which for many reasons I can by no means undertake,) but in hope that your Honor will be pleased to give directions to and denominate some person for that purpose, for the neglect of which so many poor people greatly suffer. I am, &c.
Lt. Governor Dinwiddie returned to England in January 1758. Washington was coming down with dysentery and would soon take a leave of absence of about four months at Mount Vernon. While he was gone the situation with the Cherokee turned from mere unthankful abuse by the Virginians to serious mischief.
Meanwhile, in the spring of 1758, Richard Pearis brought Round O's party of Cherokee from Stecoe to Fort Frederick and Fort Cumberland, Maryland. From there, he scouted for General Forbes in planning for the campaign against Fort Duquesne. When Washington returned to duty, he was soon assigned to build a road into the wilderness of western Pennsylvania from Raystown to allow the army to haul cannon to attack Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio. Washington objected to this task arguing that the existing road (followed by Braddock) was better. The French also expected the British to approach by the Braddock road. Thus, during late summer and fall of 1758 Washington headed up construction battalions of militia while the British regular army made plans to attack Fort Duquesne.
The Ohio Campaign of Fall 1758
By 1758 the senior British commander in America was Jeffrey Amherst. On the Ohio front, the British were commanded by Brigadier John Forbes with Henry Bouquet second in command. Forbes was a very sick, indeed dying, man who was carried around in a litter. Colonel George Washington commanded the 1st Virginia Regiment and was stationed at Fort Cumberland on the Potomac in western Maryland. The Fort's commander was Captain Richard Pearis of the Maryland militia. According to the Maryland Gazette for 16 February 1758, "Capt. Pearis and his company went from Fort Cumberland at the end of January  headed for Fort du Quesne." Col. William Byrd III commanded the 2nd Virginia Regiment.
On the political scene Francis Fauquier (French Huguenot background) had followed Dinwiddie as the Lt. Governor of Virginia; Arthur Dobbs was the Lt. Governor of North Carolina; William Lyttelton was the Lt. Governor of South Carolina; Horatio Sharpe was the Lt. Governor of Maryland; and William Denny was the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania. These colonies provided troops for the Ohio campaign of 1758. Among them, Dobbs arranged for a large contingent of Cherokee coordinated by Captain Abraham Bosomworth (the Indian Agent in the south at this time was John Stuart). From Charles Town, S.C., Colonel Archibald Montgomery brought a regiment of Highland Scots with Major James Grant commanding a contingent.
The British decided, against Washington's pleadings, to build a new road from Raystown to Fort Duquesne to support the attack and anticipated siege. This road would be nearly 100 miles long and go up and down hills as it cut across the ridges rather than following the valley. At roughly the mid-point of the road the British planned to build Fort Ligonier on the Loyal Hannon Creek. Washington saw nothing wrong with the approach via Fort Necessity (previously used by Braddock) and doubted the feasibility of completing the new road in time. This long delay was particularly burdensome on the Cherokee who were not accustomed to sitting around waiting for an army to assemble. They occupied their time patrolling between Raystown and Duquesne.
In July 1758, negotiations between the British and the Cherokee became critical. The Cherokee had not been paid for many services and Richard Pearis apparently had to fund the Cherokee out of his pocket an then hope to be repaid by the British. There is a record that he received compensation from Lt. Ourry for several items given to the Cherokee on 8 July 1758. On 11 July, the Cherokee with Richard Pearis arrived at Fort Frederick on their way to negotiate with Col. Bouquet who was at Raystown. On 13 July, Bouquet wrote to Forbes that Pearis was going to bring the 16 Cherokee to Raystown and return to Fort Frederick to receive their pay. Then Pearis was to go to Fort Cumberland and await orders. The question that occurs is how were the Cherokee to receive their pay if Pearis took it to Cumberland while they were in Raystown? Apparently, the Cherokee also saw the flaw in Col. Bouquet's plan because they left Bouquet on 14 July to follow Pearis. In Bouquet's view, Pearis was suppose to obtain money for future services, not past services and he was displeased that Pearis would not backup his position.
Nonetheless, by 17 August 1758, Pearis and the Cherokee were in the field scouting near Fort Duquesne. On 28 August, Captain Pearis reported to Col. Bird's camp (Pennsylvania militia) at Quemahoni to inform Bird [Burd] that he had come within sight of Fort Duquesne but had not been able to capture a prisoner. Pearis saw about 60 tents and estimated the French forces accordingly. However, he reported the sounds of felling of trees on the north side of the Ohio River and thought the French might be building another fort.
Finally, on 3 September 1758, the British sent a force consisting of Major James Grant leading Highland Scot regulars; Pennsylvania militia under Col. Burd; and Virginia militia under Col. Stephens to the end of the unfinished road then at Loyal Hannon Creek about 50 miles from Fort Duquesne. The mission of this force was to sweep the area between the British and Fort Duquesne to keep the Indians off balance and prevent them from interfering with construction of the last segment of the road. The British did not expect the French to be strong enough to engage the British outside the fort. The total contingent under Major Grant was about 800 men.
In two days of march beyond the end of the road at Loyal Hannon Creek (Fort Ligonier under construction), the British and colonial force arrived near Fort Duquesne without being detected. Finding himself unopposed within easy striking distance of Fort Duquesne, Grant considered his options until 13 September. No doubt during this time his situation was communicated to the rear and guidance was received from Bouquet. In the end, Grant planned to slip down near the fort and burn some out buildings and have sketches made of the fort from close range. This was part of his intelligence gathering and raiding role. He also decided to see if he could provoke the French and Indians to flee simply by a show of force in the form of using his pipers and drummers to call reveille near the fort. Unfortunately, on the evening of 12 September, his forced simply milled around on the trails and were delayed in approaching the fort. Grant was exasperated with the confusion. Around dawn, he managed to send about 100 of his engineers forward to make the sketches of the fort. He sent a small party to raid the out-buildings, while the colonials were sent back up the trails to be held in reserve and set ambushes for any French or Indians that might follow the raiders when they pulled out. It was a fair plan, but it assumed that the French and Indians would not respond in force against the exposed small forces of the engineers and raiders.
In all likelihood the English had been identified and their numbers estimated by the French during the 10 days they had encamped near the fort. Thus, it was not totally unexpected by the French and Indians in the fort when an out-building was set on fire; and the drumming and piping or the Highlanders did not fool them into believing that they were about to be overrun. Instead, they took the challenge to come from the fort and quickly overwhelm the force of about 150 men that were in the immediate vicinity.
The colonists heard the firing and were torn between maintaining their ambush positions (as ordered) or attempting to rescue the British. They belatedly chose the latter and managed only to advance in a disorganized fashion part way to the original British positions before they ran into the French and Indian forces who now had the initiative and effectively ambushed the would-be rescuers. George Washington summarized the situation as it was recounted to him by survivors who reached the road a few days later:
Letter from George Washington to Francis Fauquier, September 25, 1758
Camp at Raystown, September 25, 1758.
Honble. Sir: I think it incumbent upon me to give you the following account; altho' it is with very great concern I am furnished with the occasion.
The 12th instant Major Grant, of the Highland-battalion, with a chosen detachment of 800 men marched from our advanced post, at Loyal Hannan, for Fort Duquesne; what to do there (unless to meet the fate he did) I can not certainly inform you. However, to get intelligence and annoy the Enemy, was the ostensible plan.
On the 13th, in the night, they arrived near that place, formed upon the hill in two columns, and sent a party to the fort to make discoveries, which they accomplished accordingly, and burned a log-house not far from the walls without interruption. Stimulated by this success, the major kept his post and disposition until day, then detached Major Lewis and part of his command 2 miles back to their baggage guard and sent an Engineer with a covering party in full view of the fort, to take a plan of the works, at the same time causing the revilé to beat in several different places.
The enemy hereupon sallied out, and an obstinate Engagement began, for the particulars of which I beg leave to refer your Honor to the enclosed letters and return of the Regiment. Major Lewis it is said met his fate in bravely advancing to sustain Major Grant. Our officers and men have acquired very great applause for their gallant behavior during the action. I had the honor to be publickly complimented yesterday by the General on the occasion. The havock that was made of them is a demonstrable proof of their obstinate defense, having 6 officers killed, and a 7th wounded out of 8. Major Lewis who cheerfully went upon this Enterprise (when he found there was no dissuading Colonel Bouquet from the attempt) frequently there and afterwards upon the march, desired his friends to remember that he had opposed the undertaking to the utmost. He is a great loss to the Regiment, and is universally lamented. Captn. Bullet's behavior is matter of great admiration and Capt. Waiter Stewart, the other surviving officer, distinguished himself greatly while he was able to act. He was left in the field, but made his escape afterwards.
What may be the consequence of this affair, I will not take upon me to decide, but this I may venture to declare, that our affairs in general appear with a greater gloom than ever ; and I see no probability of opening the road this Campaign: How then can we expect a favorable issue to the Expedition? I have used my best endeavors to supply my men with the necessaries they want. 70 blankets I got from the General upon the promise to return them again. I therefore hope your Honor will direct that number to be sent to Winchester for his use. I must also beg the favor of having blank-commissions sent to me, it will take near a dozen for the promotions and vacancies. I must fill up the vacancies with the volunteers I have, and some of the best Sergeants. I marched to this Camp the 21st instant, by order of the General.
Having little else of moment to relate; I beg leave to assure your Honor that I am, &c.
Altogether the British and colonials lost 300 men killed or captured. The British regulars under Major Grant blamed the Virginians under Major Lewis for the failure of the mission. Both Grant and Lewis were captured and were protected by the French. But, many of the lower ranks were tortured by the northern Indians.
On 12 October, the French counter-attacked at Fort Ligonier on Loyal Hannon Creek. This raid led by Charles Phillipe d'Aubry from Louisiana involved 440 French Canadians and 150 northern Indians. Its purpose was to delay the British until spring in part by stealing their pack horses. Captain Richard Pearis was in the fort at the time and his Maryland militia lost 8 men killed and 11 men missing.
On 2 November General Forbes came to Fort Ligonier himself and he held a war council on 11 November. It was decided that that the army could not stay at Fort Ligonier for the winter. They would either have to capture Fort Duquesne or retreat to Raystown until the spring. The decision was made to retreat. However, at just that time, a British patrol brought in a French prisoner who revealed that the French were in even worse shape than the British. [This may have been Richard Pearis's patrol and it would account for some of the subsequent credit given to Pearis by General Forbes.] This prompted the British to reverse their decision on 14 November. The French also captured British prisoners apparently shortly after the reversal was made but before the details of the British intentions filtered into the ranks:
M. de Vandreuil to M. de Massiac November 28, 1758.
M. de Ligneris has written me from Fort Duquesne on the 30th of last month; he continues to Have parties out, who brought him two prisoners on the 30th, from whom he learned that General Forbes was immediately expected at Royal Amnon [Loyal Hannon]; where there were more than 2,000 men, under the command of Colonel Bouquet, with 8 pieces of cannon on field carriages and several mortars; that a fort had been built there of piece upon piece, and one saw mill; as for the rest, they are ignorant whether Fort Duquesne is to be attacked this fall; that the Provincials had orders to go into winter quarters; that they had been since countermanded, but that people still spoke of dismissing them; that there are no more horned cattle at Royal Amnon, but plenty of provisions of flour and salt meats; that the English suppose us to be very numerous at Fort Duquesne. I am not sure, my Lord, whether the enemy will organize any expedition this fall, or wait until spring; the advanced season and the two advantages we have gained in succession over them, would lead me to hope that they will adopt the latter course. 'Tis much to be desired, for 'twould not be possible for M. de Ligneris to resist the superiority of the enemy's forces. Meanwhile, he will use all means in his power to annoy them; embarrass their communications and intercept their convoys. It is a great pity that he has been absolutely obliged, by the scarcity of provisions, to reduce his garrison to 200 men; fortunately, the messages he has delivered in my name, to the Delawares and Chawenons of the Beautiful river, have confirmed these nations in their attachment to the French. The Delawares of the mountains have also favorably received the messages sent to them, and are beginning to remove their villages to our territory. I have renewed my orders to all the posts to procure for M. de Ligneris, early in spring, all the assistance in their vicinity. I beg you, my lord, to be pleased fully to assure his Majesty that I will neglect nothing to procure for him the possession of the Beautiful river, and of this colony in general; that it will not be my fault, should our enemies make, eventually, any progress, but in fact and strict truth, the salvation of this colony will depend on the prompt arrival of the succors of every description, which I have had the honor to demand of you.
Even before the above letter was written, The British had advanced to Fort Duquesne in force and prepared to attack. However, this move was noted by the local French commander who realized the impossibility of his situation.
M. Malartie to M. de Cremille Writing April 9, 1759
We obtain[ed] some new advantages on the Beautiful river, at the close of the month of October. The English repaired in force, on the 23d of November, to within three leagues of Fort Duquesne, which was abandoned after having marched out of, and burned it; the artillery has Been sent to the Illinois, by descending the Beautiful river which empties into that of the Onias, the latter flowing into the Mississippi, which is ascended thirty leagues to reach the fort of the Illinois; and the garrison retreated to Fort Machault, where it still remained on the 8th of March, according to intelligence received on the day before yesterday ... Scarcity of provisions and the bad position of Fort Duquesne have compelled its abandonment. The consequences may become unfortunate, if the Indians pronounce in favor of the English. Although they hesitate, they appear still attached to us; 'tis to be hoped that they will remain at least neutral. M. de Ligneris, who commands at Fort Machault, writes that the English are constructing forts at Attiqué and Loyal Hannon; that the Indians are become very familiar with them; he flatters himself, however, that he will induce them to strike, if he receives reinforcements capable of controlling them; the greatest part of them are on the way.
George Washington provided a contemporary summary from the British side:
Letter from George Washington to Francis Fauquier, November 28, 1758
Camp, at Fort Duquesne, November 28, 1758.
Honble. Sir: I have the pleasure to inform you, that Fort Duquesne, or the ground rather on which it stood, was possessed by his Majesty's troops on the 25th instant. The enemy, after letting us get within a day's march of the place, burned the fort, and ran away (by the light of it,) at night, going down the Ohio by water, to the number of about five hundred men, from our best information. The possession of this fort has been matter of great surprise to the whole army, and we cannot attribute it to more probable causes, than those of weakness, want of provisions, and desertion of their Indians. Of these circumstances we were luckily informed by three prisoners, who providentially fell into our hands at Loyal Hannan, at a time when we despaired of proceeding, and a council of war had determined, that it was not advisable to advance beyond the place above mentioned this season, but the information above caused us to march on without tents or baggage, and with a light train of artillery only, with which we have happily succeeded. It would be tedious, and I think unnecessary, to relate every trivial circumstance, that has happened since my last. To do this, if needful, shall be the employment of a leisure hour, when I have the pleasure to pay my respects to your Honor.
The General purposes to wait here a few days to settle matters with the Indians, and then all the troops, (except a sufficient garrison which will I suppose be left here, to secure the possession,) will march to their respective governments. I therefore give your Honor this early notice of it, that your directions relative to those of Virginia may meet me timely on the road. I cannot help premising, in this place, the hardships the troops have undergone, and the naked condition they now are in, in order that you may judge if it is not necessary that they should have some little recess from fatigue, and time to provide themselves with necessaries, for at present they are destitute of every comfort of life. If I do not get your orders to the contrary, I shall march the troops under my command directly to Winchester; from whence they may then be disposed of, as you shall afterwards direct.
General Forbes desires me to inform you, that he is prevented, by a multiplicity of different affairs, from writing to you so fully now, as he would otherwise have done, and from enclosing you a copy of a letter which he has written to the commanding officer stationed on the communication from hence to Winchester, &c. relative to the Little Carpenter's conduct, (a chief of the Cherokees). But that, the purport of that letter was to desire, they would deprive him of the use of arms and ammunition, and escort him from one place to another, to prevent his doing any mischief to the inhabitants, allowing him provisions only. His behavior, the General thought, rendered this measure necessary.
This fortunate, and, indeed, unexpected success of our arms will be attended with happy effects. The Delawares are suing for peace, and I doubt not that other tribes on the Ohio will follow their example. A trade, free, open, and upon equitable terms, is what they seem much to stickle for, and I do not know so effectual a way of riveting them to our interest, as sending out goods immediately to this place for that purpose. It will, at the same time, be a means of supplying the garrison with such necessaries as may be wanted; and, I think, those colonies, which are as greatly interested in the support of this place as Virginia is, should neglect no means in their power to establish and support a strong garrison here. Our business, (wanting this) will be but half finished; while, on the other hand, we obtain a firm and lasting peace, if this end is once accomplished.
General Forbes is very assiduous in getting these matters settled upon a solid basis, and has great merit (which I hope will be rewarded) for the happy issue which he has brought our affairs to, infirm and worn down as he is. [Forbes was very ill and died soon after.] At present I have nothing further to add, but the strongest assurances of my being your Honor's most obedient and most humble servant.
The first British forces into Fort Duquesne on the morning of 25 November 1758 were a patrol of scouts who arrived on the morning after the fire. Richard Pearis was the leader of this group. It is unlikely that General Forbes would have given much credit to a lowly militia captain who did nothing more than enter the fort after it had been abandoned. But, in fact, Forbes made quite a point to publicly congratulate Richard Pearis. This would have been consistent with Pearis playing a key role in the last-minute decision by the British to advance to Fort Duquesne rather than to retreat. In any event, Richard Pearis was justifiably proud of these accomplishments and the attention shown by senior British officers. It paid off for the British for years to come.
The British soon built Fort Pitt on the ashes of Fort Duquesne. The French and Indian War was then essentially ended in the south and its focus shifted to the north. Richard Pearis convinced Forbes to refit Fort Cumberland and on 20 December 1758, the quartermaster of the British forces (Lt. Ourry) informed Col. Bouquet that he had sent a wagon of materials and tools needed to repair Fort Cumberland. But, Maryland's interest in supporting the war quickly waned. On 9 January 1759, Pearis wrote to Forbes that he was down to 90 men who would soon desert because Maryland had not paid them. Predictably, his men were turning to theft of supplies to make up for their lack of pay. In late January, Pearis brought charges against a William Darling for selling two government horses and pocketing the money. A few days later (23 January), Pearis reported that 15 men had deserted. On 31 January, Pearis informed Ourry that the promises of Col. Dagworthy for compensation are not convincing to the men and that he (Pearis) is tired of the way things are going. February was no better. Pearis had to break up a plot to steal horses and mutiny led by a Jason Ragon. And on 17 February, he was given the duty of assisting civilians returning from the Fort Duquesne area. By March 1st , his garrison was reduced to 25 men. Pay-day was set for 15 March. On the 17th Pearis had to confine 13 of his men and borrowed 40 pounds to pay them himself.
The Pennsylvania Militia (1759)
Obviously, by April 1759, Richard Pearis was fed up with the policies of the Maryland militia; and Col. Dagworthy and his empty promises. Thus, on May 5, 1759, he was commissioned as a captain in the Pennsylvania militia (3rd Battalion, Pennsylvania regiment). The Pennsylvanians seemed to be better financed than the Marylanders. Apparently, the Pennsylvanians continued to use Fort Cumberland, which the Marylanders had abandoned.
Desertion continued to be a problem. The Maryland Gazette carried the following announcement on 14 June 1759, "Capt. Richard Pearis, of the Pennsylvania Provincials, now recruiting in Annapolis, reports a deserter named Thomas Fowler, born in Wilyshire in England, aged 22 years, by trade a weaver." James Burd ordered Pearis to scout for deserters down the Potomac in September of 1759. Pearis wrote to Col. Bouquet telling him that chasing deserters was a waste of time. It is more important to provide provisions to the fort so the men will not have a reason to desert. On the productive side, the militiamen were being used to cut roads (e.g., to Ashby's Fort and Crissop's Meadow). Also in September 1759, Pearis's men escorted 100 pack horses from Winchester to Redstone Creek where Col. Burd was building Fort Burd. After some typical delays, the supplies arrived in October 1759.
Fort Burd on the Monogahela river was completed and Pearis was detached to command the fort. His tasks included building a bridge on the Youghyogeny at Little Crossing (Grantsvill, MD). This task was complete by 10 December 1759. Richard Pearis was discharged from the Pennsylvania militia at Carlisle, PA in December 1759. Trouble was developing between the British and the Cherokee and Pearis wanted to help stop it.
The French and Indian War ended with the major battles at Quebec, which the British captured September 1759, and Montreal, which the British captured in September 1760. The war was officially ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763 giving Britain clear claim to all the lands east of the Mississippi .save the Indian Nations.
How An Incident Between the Cherokee and the Virginians (1758) Became War with the South Carolineans (1759- 1761)
The first serious trouble between the Cherokee and any colony developed in the latter part of the French and Indian War. In one incident in 1758, about 100 Cherokee warriors who were part of an expedition with Virginian militia against Shawnee in Ohio lost their food and gear during a river crossing. The Virginians basically said, you are on your own. Whereupon, the Cherokee took some of the horses and were attacked by the Virginians. Not only were about 15 Cherokee killed, the Virginians realizing that any "injun" scalps were worth up to 100 pounds each east of the Blue Ridge proceeded to scalp the dead.
Letter from George Washington to John Forbes June 19,1758
Fort Loudoun, June 19, 1758.
Sir: Pardon the liberty I am going to take; a liberty, that nothing but the most disinterested regard for the safety and welfare of these Colonies wou'd cause me to take. How far my notions on what I am going to observe is compatable with Reason, and how far they may corrispond with your Sentiments on the matter, I shall candidly submit to your [Excellency's determination].
The unfortunate arrival of the Cherokees into these Goverments so early in the Spring, and the unavoidable Accidents that have hitherto prevented a junction of the Troops, intended for the Western Expedition, has caus'd the Indians (who naturally are of a discontented Tempers) to be tired of waiting, and all, except those who came with Colo. Byrd, and a few others that have promised to join him, to return home; how long these can be prevail'd upon to remain with us, I won't absolutely affirm; but this I can venture to say not 6 Weeks, if it requires that time to form our Magazines and prepare for our March, as Colo. Bouquet seem'd to think it will.
Now, in this event, we are left to perform a March of more than 100 Miles from our most advanc'd Post, before we shall arrive at Fort Duquesne; a great part of which over Mountains and Rocks, and thro' some such defiles as will enable the Enemy, with assistance of their Indian's and Irregulars; and their Superior knowledge of the Country, to render our March extremely arduous, perhaps impracticable; and at best very tedious; unless assisted by a considerable Body of Indians, who I conceive to be the only Troops fit to cope with Indians in such Grounds; for, I must beg leave further to add, that I can not look upon strength and Success in the Woods to be the Consequence of Numbers; on the contrary, I conceive the designs of an unwieldy Body of Troops, marching as Convoys, may be frustrated by a few; this I am certain off, they may be greatly harrass'd; and their March much incommoded by the Sculking Enemy we shall have to deal with.
From what has, and might be said on this [occasion it would] appear that Indians [Cherokee] , to Us, are of the utmost Importance; and as I understand your Excellency proposes to keep open the Communication with the Inhabitants [settlers of South Carolina] , and secure a retreat by the construction of Posts at advantageous situations, and proper distances, as the Army advances; (a work truly of the greatest Importance, especially as we will too probably begin our March with a handfull of Indians) I think it wou'd be practacable by the prosecution of this plan, to get a Number of the Indians, (by sending a person of abilities and adress immediately for them) before we cou'd approach Fort Duquesne; and I think it is not likely we shall meet with any formidable attack till we get pretty near that place.
Another great advantage that might be deriv'd from sending such a such a Person instantly to the Cherokee Nation, wou'd be making up ('tis to be hop'd) those differences that lately happen'd between them, and some of the natives of the Southern Frontiers of this Colony [Augusta County]; which unhappy broils, if not properly, and timously attended to, may be productive of the most destructive consequences to the British Affairs in America, and terminate in the ruin of our Southern Settlements. The Southern Indians, of late, seem to be in a very wavering situation, and have, on several occasions, discover'd an Inclination to break with Us; I think it can admit of no doubt, that, if we shou'd be unsuccessful in this Quarter, which Heaven avert! that the united Force of several powerful Nations of these Indians might be employ'd against Us; and, that such acquisition to the Enemy [French] wou'd enable them to exterpate our Southern Colonies, and make themselves Masters of this part of the Continent at least. Wherefore, that nothing shou'd be omitted that might contribute to prevent so dreadful a Calamity; if a proper Person as I before said was immediately sent to the Cherokee Nation, he might not only accomplish this great work, but get a Body of them to join the Army on their March; and no Person, surely, who has the Interest of our Important Cause at Heart, wou'd hesitate a moment to depart in such a Service, on the event of which, our all in a manner depends.
There is now a large Cargoe of proper Goods for Trading with them just arriv'd from England, in this Colony, necessary supplies might be drawn from thence and laid at proper places for them, which wou'd prevent those delays and disappointments which they have had too much reason to complain off.
It wou'd, I confess, require a considerable time before the Indians that are (yet to be sent for) cou'd join Us; but, as the inevitable obstructions to be met with in forming Magazines, erecting the Posts, and marching on, must require much time, it may be effected, and the farther the Summer is advanced, the Operations of the Campaign for many obvious Reasons, cou'd be executed with the greater security, unless there shou'd, e'er then, happen a decisive action to the No. ward and the Enemy prove successful; in that case they wou'd pour in their Troops upon Us to the Southward. At all events they cou'd easily prevail upon many of their Northward Indians, by promises and the views of Plunder, to join their Troops upon the Ohio. Another Misfortune that wou'd arise by a late Campaign is that the limited time for the service of the 2d Virginia
Regiment wou'd be near or perhaps quite elapsed before the Campaign cou'd be over.
What time the French may require to Assemble a formidable Body of Indians at Fort Duquesne; how they are provided for victualling such a body there, and how far they are able to prevail upon these Indians to wait the uncertain March of our Army which they have Assembled them; are matters I profess myself ignorant in. But if we may draw any inferences from our own difficulties in these cases, we may in the first place conclude I think, that our Preperations &ca. Have sufficiently alarm'd them, and that they have got together what Indians they can; next, that those Indians will require the same Provisions and humoring that ours do; and lastly, that they may also get dissatisfied at waiting, and return home like ours have done; thinking our Preparations a feint only to draw of their Attention and from the Northward.
My Sollicitude on account of Indians [Cherokee] sufficiently appears throughout all I have said. Your Excellency is the best judge of the Plan you have to execute and the time it will require to bring your operations to bear; you are also a proper judge of the time it will take to accomplish the Scheme I have propos'd of getting Indians to our Assistance, and how far it may corrispond (in point of time) with other measures; and therefore it wou'd be impertenent after I have endeavored, tho' a little incoherently, to show the necessity of Indians, and the advantages and disadvantages of a late Campaign, to say any thing more unless it be to apologize once more for the freedom I have taken of mentioning matters which I suppose you are equally, if not better acquainted with than I am; and to assure your Excellency that I am, with greatest respect, etc.
[In all likelihood, George Washington was thinking that Richard Pearis would be the proper "Person" to mend relationships with the Cherokee. But, Dinwiddie apparently considered Pearis to be a traitor and Washington was not brave enough to mention Pearis by name. Instead, Washington hoped that Dinwiddie would reach the appropriate conclusion. Nathaniel Gist was about the only other person who Washington might have had in mind.]
The Cherokee soon heard of the incident and demanded restitution and justice from the British. However, passions were easily fanned and the colonists in South Carolina were justifiably worried. A series of raids on settlements in the south during 1758 and 1759 unfortunately placed the Cherokee in the same class with the Indians supporting the French in the minds of the colonists .
In the fall of 1759, about 32 Cherokee chiefs including Oconostota went to Charles Town to meet with Governor Littleton to explain the situation and restore peace . Littleton arrogantly pointed out his grievances but refused to listen to their apology or to hear their side of the story. The Cherokee chiefs were escorted under guard from Charles Town to Fort Prince George (South Carolina) where they were basically incarcerated. Littleton called for the Cherokee chief Attakullakulla to meet with him at Fort Prince George on 17 December 1759 and demanded that he hand over 24 Cherokee to be punished for murders of British settlers (the number was essentially determined as a one-for-one basis with the Cherokee to pick the ones to be handed over). Attakullakulla asked that Littleton release the chiefs and Littleton released Oconostota, Fiftoe, the headman of Keowee town and the headman of Estatoe town.
The next day, the Cherokee turned over 2 men who the said were responsible for the violence against the South Carolinians, but this was far short of the 24 demanded by Littleton and the Cherokee expected the colonists to attack. However, a treaty was drawn up in which the remaining chiefs were held as hostages as the criminals were handed over. One more Cherokee was exchanged for a chief. The three parties determined to be guilty by the Cherokee were sent to Charles Town where they died in prison. Littleton returned to Charleston about 8 January 1760 as small pox broke out in the vicinity of Fort Prince George (commanded by Cpt. Coytmore).
The Cherokee decided that their chiefs were being unjustly held hostage and soon surrounded Fort Prince George. According to Ramsey (1808), in February 1760, Oconostota used a woman to lure Capt. Coytmore, and Lt. Bell and Lt. Foster from the fort and into an ambush, where Coytmore was killed and Bell and Foster were wounded. Inside the fort, the garrison then attempted to put the hostages into irons whereupon a general riot broke out and the hostages were killed.
Since the headmen were not only political leader of the various towns they were generally patriarchs of large extended families, their murders were a very serious insult to the Cherokee who soon erupted into a general war against the South Carolinans that was even more bitter than the original conflict with the Virginians. In 1760 - 1762, a period known in English-speaking history as "the (first) Cherokee War" broke out.
Casualties among the Europeans mounted at Long Canes and on the Broad River. There was a brief attack at Fort Ninety-Six. A wagon train was attacked on its way to Augusta, Georgia with scalpings and mutilations. From Ninety-Six, James Francis wrote Governor Lyttleton: "We now have the pleasure, Sir, to fatten our dogs with Indian carcasses and to display their scalps, neatly ornamented, on the top of our bastions." Soon Littleton was calling to the British for help. The bounty on Cherokee scalps was established at 25 pounds and raised to 35 pounds by the assembly in Charles Town, SC.
Littleton called to North Carolina and Virginia for help; they sent several ranger companies. Littleton also asked General Lord Jeffrey Amherst (commander of British forces in the colonies) for help and he sent a bout 12 companies of regular infantry under the command of Col. Montgomery who arrived in April 1760. Perhaps the British realized that Littleton was not managing well in South Carolina. In any event he was transferred to be Governor of Jamaica and was replaced by William Bull.
Col. Montgomery encamped his forces at Monk's Corner north of Charles Town. They soon were joined by various militia companies at the Congarees on their way to attack the Cherokee. He soon arrived at Twelve-Mile River (12 miles from Keowee) and from there he launched an attack on Estatoe (about 20 miles from Twelve-Mile Creek). Estatoe was a prosperous town with about 200 hundred houses. At Keowee he ordered his men to surround the town and kill all able- bodied Cherokee men. By the time he arrived at Estatoe, the Cherokee had abandoned it and Montgomery burned it to the ground. Montgomery then marched to Sugartown, which he also destroyed as he did every town of the Lower Cherokee. Cherokee dead were about 40 while British losses were about 4. Montgomery then relieved Fort Prince George. From there, he directed Edmund Atkin to sent surrender terms to the Middle Towns. The Middle Towns refused.
Montgomery thus marched towards the Middle Town of Etchoe. About 5 miles from Etchoe, Montgomery's scouts under Capt. Morrison were ambushed and Morrison was killed. A general action followed in which the British lost 20 dead and 76 wounded. Montgomery claimed victory by holding the ground and then retreated with his wounded over 60 miles of difficult ground . Montgomery then returned to his duties in the north leaving the military forces reporting to William Bull.
While Montgomery was attacking in the east, the Overhill Cherokee surrounded and seiged Fort Loudon (on the Tennessee River) with its garrison of 200 men. After facing starvation, the garrison under Capt. Stuart (who was a good friend of the Cherokee and sired the "Bushyhead" family) negotiated terms with Oconostota at Chote. The terms were very lenient and basically allowed the British to abandon the fort and march with their personal arms to Fort Prince George (South Carolina) leaving behind the larger guns and excess ammunition. The Cherokee even agreed to take in the British wounded and to provide some horses and hunt for the British. The fort was abandoned as agreed and the march began. The first day the party went 15 miles and camped 2 miles from Taliquo. However, the next day they were attacked and Capt. Paul Demere three other officers and about 26 enlisted men were killed. The rest including Capt. Stuart were taken prisoner and returned to Fort Loudon.
Attacullaculla soon ransomed Stuart and kept him in Capt. Demere's house. The other soldiers were apparently not punished, but were held as captives. Oconostota began a plan to capture Fort Prince George in South Carolina. This plan received a boost when ten bags of powder and corresponding musket balls were unearth at Fort Loundon. These materials (contrary to the surrender agreement) had been buried to keep them out of the Cherokee hands. Stuart might have been killed for this treachery except that he could claim ignorance since he was away at Chote during the negotiations. In the war council held at Chote, Captain Stuart was apprized that the Cherokee planned to move the heavy guns from fort Loudon to Fort Prince George (apparently using the prisoners for labor) then to threaten to burn the prisoners one-by-one in front of the fort unless it surrendered. Stuart rebelled at the thought and confided this in his benefactor Attacullaculla. Attacullaculla thus abetted Stuart's escape by telling the other Cherokee that they were going hunting to the north. After ten days, the party led by Attacullaculla and Stuart arrived on the banks of the Holston River (southwest Virginia) where they met a party of 300 militia under Colonel Bird.
Richard Pearis seems to have dropped out of European history after his discharge from the Pennsylvania militia. Clearly, he was settling some personal business and he was likely trying to mitigate and moderate the conflict between the Cherokee and the colonials in South Carolina. One of the few references during this time is to an August 1760 court case Pearis v. Crow pursued in Augusta City (Virginia) court.
Although the British were well on their way to defeating the French, the French agents such as Lewis Lantinac continued to foment anti-British hostility. In one episode at a large Cherokee gathering, he stuck a war-hatchet into a log and asked for warriors to pull it out and join him against the British. He received the support of Salone (a.k.a., Saluy, the Young Warrior of Estatoe [Estatoy]) and others.
William Bull made another plea to Amherst for help and was sent Lt. Col. James Grant (who had shown poorly at Fort Duquesne) with a regiment from England and light infantry from New York. He arrived in South Carolina in early 1761. The South Carolineans raised a militia under Col. Middleton (with a host of officers that were to become famous including Henry Laurens, John and William Moultrie, Francis Marion, Isaac Huger, Andrew Pickens et al.) and planned to join in the spring campaign to end the Cherokee threat once and for all time. The total British and colonial force brought together on 27 May 1761 totaled about 2,600 men. They first established themselves at Fort Prince George and then on 7 June 1761 marched into Cherokee territory with provisions for 30 days. Capt. Quintine Kennedy led the British Indian scouts (90 Catawba Indians and 30 militia) to the site of Montgomery's previous ambush and observed Cherokee on the hills. Again the Cherokee attacked and again a general battle broke out. In a battle that continued from 8 AM until 11 AM, Grant suffered between 50 and 60 killed and wounded with unknown losses on the side of the Cherokee. However, he was able to advance to Ectchoe, which the Cherokee had abandoned, where he spent the night before burning the town the next morning. Over the next few days, he attacked and burned about 15 Middle Cherokee towns. The Cherokee moved into the mountains and when Grant ran out of supplies, he retreated to Fort Prince George (as usual claiming victory).
Once more, Attacullaculla came to offer peace. A treaty was negotiated, but for reasons that are unclear, Grant wanted four Cherokee delivered for execution or he wanted the Cherokee to bring him their scalps in 12 days. Attakullakulla would not agree to these terms and went to see the lieutenant-governor (Bull) in Charles Town to see if they could be removed from the treaty. Attakullakulla and his delegation met with Bull at Ashley Ferry where a peace was agreed. To reassure the settlers, the Cherokee were willing to cede to them most of the low-lands in the eastern Carolinas. A second treaty was signed in November with the Virginians. Overall it was to the Cherokee Nation's benefit to have the British army interposed between the paranoid settlers and the Cherokee lands.
The British were hoping to return to business as usual with the Cherokee (and the Iroquois too for that matter). Thus, they issued the Proclamation of 1763, which had the effect of bringing the Cherokee back on the side of the British and alienating the British from their colonies. Capt. John Stuart was appointed to be the British Agent for the southern district of America.
Part 21: The Americans
21.1 After the War in the South Was Won (1758- 1763)
Richard (1725 - 1794) and Rhoda Pearis
The first mention of Richard Pearis in business transactions occurs on 5 April 1748 when he witnessed a sale of land by Emanuel Grub (of Brandywine Hundred and County of New Castle on Delaware & Province [Rivers] of Pennsylvania) to Benjamin Grub of Frederick Co. Virginia colony. The 250 acres of land on the north side of the Shenandoah Rivers in Frederick Co. was part of the original Jost Hite grant.
Richard Pearis was in Winchester on 15 February 1749 and along with William Neilly and John Forwood witnessed several transactions by Richard (T) Lean. Richard Lean (formerly of New Brunswick, New Jersey) apparently was a fairly old man living in Frederick County, VA. In the transactions, Mr. Lean sold his land and household goods in New Jersey to his son John Lean (also living in Frederick Co.) and gave John Lean his power of attorney. During the French and Indian War in the South and Ohio Valley (1754 - 1758), Richard Pearis was constantly involved with the Cherokee and was effectively a leader of the Cherokee forces operating on behalf of Virginia and Maryland.
On 29 November - 1 December 1761, Richard Pearis and Lewis Pearis (apparently Richard's nephew Lewis Peirce, son of Richard's brother George who spelled his name Peirce) leased and bought from Edward and his wife Elioner/Eeaner Stroud(e) one acre of land on Opechon Creek on which they planned to built a saw mill.
Between 16 and 27 January 1762, Richard Pearis bought up several parcels of land. First he bought the 150 acre tract previously bought by Lewis Pearis/Peirce/Pearce/Peairs from John Perkins (see below under George Pearis/Peirce). Then Richard bought the single acre mill site that he and Lewis had bought together from the Stroudes. Apparently, Lewis's wife was named Mary because she signed (made her mark) the documents with Lewis. Lewis also was identifying himself as "senior" implying that he had a son named Lewis "junior." Then Richard bought 573 acres of land from John (James) White Jr. near the Potomac River. The land shared a corner with land owned by Jeremiah Jacks and had previously been in the White family owned by John White Sr. Who willed it to his sons John/James and Leonard. All these deeds were recorded at the court session on 2 March 1762.
On 1 June 1762 Richard Pearis attended a Protestant-only Eucharist and swore as follows:
"I do declare that I do believe there is not any transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and in the Elements of Bread and Wine, at or after the Consecration thereof by any Person Whatsoever."
In this oath, he joined what has been called by Wilmer L. Kearns (Frederick County, Virginia: Settlement and Some First families of Back Creek Valley 1730-1830, Gateway Press, Baltimore, MD 1995, p.16) the list of about 20 men representing "the power structure of Frederick County in 1761-1763." The other signers included John Hite, Peter Hoge, Jacob Morgan and other Scot-Irish and German settlers.
Richard Pearis and his wife Rhoda leased and then sold 224 acres to Strother Jones an infant son of Gabriel Jones of Augusta County, Virginia (later West Virginia) for the sum of 20 pounds on 7-8 September 1762. This seems like an unusually low price. Gabriel Jones was apparently the attorney for the Pearises and this transaction may have been a gift to a family friend or a payment for services.
During the same days (7-8 September 1762), Richard leased then bought 180 acres from Richard Stephenson. The land is described as being on the Opechon drainage at the lower end of the swan pond and had been obtained by Stephenson from the Proprietor of the North Neck (Lord Fairfax) on 5 February 1762.
On 16 November 1762, Richard and Rhoda sold one-half of a tract of land in Augusta County (VA) known as Dunger Bottom to Alexander Boyd for 50 pounds. Richard and a John Smith had recently (August 1762) purchased this land from a John Miller. Presumably, Smith retained the othe half of the tract. The August Co. Deed Book #11 for 1762 includes the notation "Delivered: Alex. Love November, 1763," which may indicate that the deal was conducted in Winchester and a deed was delivered to Augusta Co. later.
Shortly after Robert and Elizabeth Pearis sold all the land that they owned around Winchester to a Philadelphia merchant (in March 1763), Richard and Rhoda Pearis sold all of their land to Stephen West of Upper Marlborough, Maryland on 3-4 May 1763. These lands included all tracts recently surveyed for Richard Pearis by Thomas Rutherford:
(1 and 2) 400 acres granted from his Lordships (Fairfax) office and another tract of 810 acres adjoining the Lord's (Fairfax's) Manor and Vanmeter's Marsh. [This property appears to have been at the current location of Paris, Virginia in present-day Clarke Co. Virginia. Paris is directly on top of the Blue Ridge at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and U.S. Route 50 about 9 miles east of White Post. It may have been the home of Richard and Rhoda.]
(3) 180 acres bought from Richard Stevenson.
(4) The tract of land (390 acres) on Swan Pond granted by Lord Fairfax by deed 12 February 1763.
(5) The saw mill on one acre of land obtained by Richard Pearis (and Lewis Pearis) 29 November 1761.
For all this, which must have been prize land adjacent to Lord Fairfax's personal holdings Richard received considerably less than Robert and Elizabeth Pearis received for much less land a couple of months before; only 879 pounds, 17 shillings and five pence. The transaction was witnessed by G. Ross, William Neelly, and Lewis Moore.
On 4 May 1763, Richard Pearis also took time to witness a lease and sale of land from John Lofton (of Berkley County, South Carolina) to Robert Rutherford of Winchester, VA. The Pearis family apparently initially spent some time in old Montgomery County, Virginia.
George Pearis, Jr. (1722 - 1797)
George Pearis, Jr. the first son of George Pearis (the elder) and Sarah appears to have been poorly educated and something of an outcast of the family. Either he owned no land or he was unable to write his name. In the deed books for Frederick Co., there are references to George Pierce and George Fallis/Follis that may actually be George Pearis, Jr. George Pierce is associated with a Lewis Pierce and an Isaac Pierce. These Pierces had business dealings with identifiable Pearis family members and might be related.
However, Amy Paris (Sturgis, Kentucky) in her 1984 book "The Paris Family" gives a more conventional picture of George Pearis, Jr. According to Amy Paris, he fathered three children:
George (Washington) Pearis (16 February 1746 - 4 November 1810) who was destined to become a Patriot hero in the American War of Independence and found Pearisburg, VA. I believe that Robert Pearis (George Pearis, Jr. younger brother) may have contributed considerable to the rearing of this child. He married Elizabeth Howe.
Robert Alexander Pearis (3 October 1750 - 1838) who was also to be a Patriot soldier with ties to Daniel Boone and was part of the Overhill party that destroyed Patrick Ferguson at King's Mountain. He was born in Botetourt Co. Virginia and married Ann Howe. He received a land grant in Greene County, Tennessee in 1789 and eventually moved to Madison and Shelby Counties in Kentucky. [Amy Paris (1984) states that Robert A. Pearis moved to modern Montgomery County, North Carolina (east of Charlotte). This I believe is a confusion with the old Montgomery County, Virginia, which extended into territory eventually assigned to North Carolina. This survey was run between 1760 and 1790. Robert "Paris's" pension application for the War of Independence filed in Shelby Co. Kentucky 1 December 1833, says that he was a resident of (old) Montgomery Co. Virginia in 1774.]
Malinda Pearis who married Samuel James Pepper (Pepper's ferry on the New River).
My opinion is that George Pearis, Jr. left two recognized sons (George and Robert Alexander) raised primarily by their Uncle Robert Pearis and perhaps others in the Winchester area (e.g., Lewis and Isaac) from several transient relationships. His sons George (W.) and Robert A. benefited from guidance from his brothers and moved to southwestern Virginia (Augusta and Montgomery Counties) in their teens or early twenties (probably concurrent with the movement of the sons of George Pearis the elder from old Frederick County, Virginia (1763 -1765). There is evidence that Richard Pearis owned land in the area for a while and may have resided in the area for a year or two (e.g., 1764-65) as he transitioned into western South Carolina.
One thing is certain, this branch of the Pearis family, which eventually changed its name to "Paris," had a final break with the branches headed by Richard and Robert at the time of the War of Independence. While Richard and Robert were Tory/Loyalists, George Pearis and his descendents were Patriots. I believe that the grandsons of George Pearis the Elder (George and Robert) stayed in the Montgomery Co. Virginia area when their uncles (Richard and Robert) and father (George) moved to South Carolina.
The Pearis brothers appear to have acquired lands in and around Salisbury, North Carolina circa 1764. For example, on 14 March 1764, Robert Pearis (listed as "merchant") purchased lot #5N Square Salisbury and lots 27 and 29 for 29 pounds each. George Pearis, Jr. (son of the the Elder) made his home in the North Carolina part of old Tryon County (later Rutherford Co., North Carolina) and Rowan Co. North Carolina. There are at least two deed transactions recorded for George Pearis in Rowan Co. North Carolina (i.e., Salisbury) in 1768 (Deed book 7, page 110 [13 September 1768] and 111 [14 September 1768]). In each case, George Pearis (described as a "planter") deeded land to Alexander martin, Esq.:
"Witnesseth that for & in consideration of the sum of Five pounds proclamation money to the said George Pearis in hand paid by the said Alexander Martin, Esq. at & before the sealing & delivery of these presents the receipt & payment whereof is hereby acknowledged, hath granted, ... unto the said Alexander Martin, Esq. ... two lotts of land in the Township of Salisbury in the County aforesaid, containing one hundred & forty four square poles each, known & distinguished in the plan of the sd. Town by the Names of Number (21 & 22) twenty one & twenty two in the South Square ..., "
"Witnesseth that for & in consideration of the sum of Twenty pounds proclamation money to the sd. George Pearis in hand paid by the sd. Alexander Martin, Esq. at & before the sealing & Delivery of these presents ...unto the sd. Alexander Martin, Esqr. ... The South West side or half of one Lott of Land in the Township of Salisbury in the County of Rowan & province afsd. Containing seventy two square poles, known & distinguished in the plan of the sd. Town by the Name of Number Seven in the South Square, reference thereto being had in the plan of the sd. Town and the sd. Half Lott is to run 6 poles along the Main Street and Twelve poles back with the appurtenances situate lying & being as afsd. "
George Pearis, Jr., son of the Elder, appears to have remained loosely affiliated with Richard Pearis up until about 1775. Amy Paris (1984) said that he was a member of the Tryon Co. Committee of Safety in the early days of the revolt. Based upon his record, I doubt he was a leader though he may have joined the Committee of Safety. While his sons (Capt. George and Pvt. Robert A.) served ably in the Patriot cause on the frontier and in crucial battles at Kings Mountain and Shallow Ford; George Pearis, Jr. apparently was passive. Of course, George born in 1722 (like Richard born in 1725) was actually far past his prime in the 1775 -1783 period and may have been in poor health.
Robert and Elizabeth Pearis
Upon death of George Pearis (the elder) in 1752, Robert Pearis received 200 acres of land that George Pearis had bought from William Hoge (who had apparently moved back to Bucks County, PA) on 13 November 1750 for 217 pounds.
On 2 March 1757, James Magill and his wife Christian (the former Christian Nealey daughter of William Nealey of Frederick Co.; I do not believe this was Chrisitan Pearis Nealey who married William Nealey, it was her daughter) along with Richard Morgan, Denis Springer and Francis Lilburn apparently indentured themselves to Robert Pearis and Henry Heath for 1000 pounds.
Robert Pearis married Elizabeth Lemen, but apparently this relationship did not always go smoothly. Cecil O'Dell (1995, p. 251) summarizes part of the will of James Lemen (father of Elizabeth Lemen Pearis) as follows:
"He [James Lemen in his will written 1 June 1757; he died 2 August 1757] left 100 pounds to his eldest daughter Elizabeth Pearis with the stipulation that if Elizabeth returned to her husband Robert Pearis, the 100 pounds would be paid to his youngest daughter Mary Lemen. He appointed his wife Lucy and son Thomas as executors."
On 20 February 1759, a document entitled A list and Amounts of Damages done to the Inhabitants of Frederick County by the Indians during the French and Indian War was submitted by the County Commissioners James Wood and Robert Rutherford to the Virginia General Assembly for compensation. The list contained 32 farms and included Robert Pearis, who suffered only mildly. By far, the largest damages were claimed by John Funk, Jackson Allen, William Carroll, and Phillip Lawrence.
The General Assembly acted to allow Winchester to take in another 160 acres that belonged to Mary Wood who inherited the land from James Wood. The land was part of the original grant given to James Wood by the Proprietors. Mary sold off lots and Robert Pearis bought lot #7 on 1 March 1761 for 41 pounds . On the next day, James Craik bought lot #2 for 20 pounds.
On 8 April 1761 Elizabeth Pearis witnessed the recording of a lease between John Leamem/Lemon to Alexander Leamon/Lemon.
On 2 February 1763, Robert Pearis was bound as a tax collector to King George III via Lt. Governor Francis Fauquier. A few days later, on 11 February 1763, Major Andrew Campbell (House of Burgesses 1745) forfeited a tract of 536 acres (described in a 4 May 1752 survey as being "on the Main Road to Watkins Ferry" and which included a county-licensed "ordinary" in 1744) to Robert Pearis as payment of a bond. The land was about 25 miles north of Winchester. Robert Pearis had the land registered in the name of his older brother Richard Pearis. Apparently, Richard got the property by paying the taxes on it. We can only assume that this transaction brought down the scorn of many patriots (anti-British) leaders of the county against the Pearis family in general and Robert and Richard in particular. Although Richard may have been an innocent bystander in the acquisition of Andrew Campbell's property, he was clearly a Loyalists and one of the wealthy land holders of the time.
On 4-5 March 1763, Robert and Elizabeth Pearis sold most (if not all) of their lands in old Frederick Co., Virginia to Daniel Clark a merchant from Philadelphia for 1048 pounds and 15 shillings in Pennsylvania money. The lands included:
(1) The tract where Robert and Elizabeth lived; 200 acres; about 5 miles north of the town of Winchester, VA. This land had been willed to Robert Pearis by George Pearis "the elder" who had obtained it from William Hoge/Hogg (12-13 November 1750). Hogg had previously obtained it from Isaac Perkin who obtained it from the King's patent in 1735.
(2) A tract of 324 acres located at corners with Isaac Perkin, James Wood, and William Hogg, obtained in November 1752.
(3) a tract of 441 acres obtained 12 April 1753 sharing a line with Thomas Bryan Martin.
This sale was signed by Robert and Elizabeth Pearis with Gabriel Jones and John Neavill acting as witnesses on 5 March 1763. Robert Pearis was in Winchester on 7 June 1763 and witnessed a lease and sale of land from Harrison Taylor and John Greenfield. The first document uses the name Robert Phillips and the second uses the name Robert Pearis.
The Pearis brothers appear to have acquired lands in and around Salisbury, North Carolina circa 1764. For example, on 14 March 1764, Robert Pearis (listed as "merchant") purchased lot #5N Square Salisbury and lots 27 and 29 for 29 pounds each from Francis Quin (a "tailor").
Robert and Elizabeth moved to Charles Town, South Carolina about 1764. He was a Tory/Loyalist but apparently never took up arms during the War of Independence. His will reads as follows:
Will of Robert Pearis South Carolina Date: August 29, 1781 Proven: December 7, 1781
In the name of God Amen. I Robert Pearis of the province of South Carolina aforesaid being at present sick and weak in body but of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding, (blessed be God for the same) do make, publish and declare this to be and contain my last will and testament in manner and form following:
First and principally when it shall please God to call me hence, I resign my soul into his Almighty Protection humbly hoping for the remission of my sins through the merits of my blessed Savior Jesus Christ and my body I commit to the earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my executors, hereinafter named. And as touching what worldly estate it hath pleased God of his Bounty and favor to bestow upon me (after all and singular just debts and funeral expenses are fully and Ultimately paid and satisfied); I do hereby give, devise and bequeath the same in manner and form following, that is to say,
First, as the behavior of my wife Elizabeth Pearis for some considerable time past, during which I have not cohabited with her, has been such as she must on serious retrospect of her past conduct and appeal to her conscience be convinced that she is not equitably entitled to any share or interest in my estate; I do therefore, leaving her to that conviction, only give and bequeath her the sum of twenty pounds sterling, which sum I give in full of any demand or other claim whatever, which she can or may have set up or pretend to make on my estate either in law or otherwise
Item as to all and singular the rest and residue of my estate real and personal whatsoever and wherever the same may be or which I may in any manner of wise be interested or entitled unto at the time of my decease, I do hereby give, devise and bequeath the same unto and among my two daughters Elizabeth and Sarah Pearis their heirs and assigns forever, share and share alike. First allowing & deducting out of my said estate a sufficient sum for the maintenance and liberally educating of my daughter Sarah until she arrive at or attain her age of eighteen years
Lastly I do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my friends Mr. John Cunningham and Mr. Christopher Nealey Exors of this last will and testament hereby revoking and making null and void all former & other wills by me at anytime heretofore made and declaring this only to be & contain my last will and testament wrote on this & preceding page of one sheet of post paper in the witness whereof I the said Robert Pearis have hereunto set my hand & seal this twenty-ninety day of August in the year of our Lord one-thousand-seven-hundred-eighty-one.
Signed sealed, published & declared by the above named Rob. Pearis as & for his last will and testament in presence of us, who in his sight & of each other have at his request subscribed our names as witnesses here to. The word twenty in the sixth line from the bottom of the first page on the other side of the bequest to the testators wife being first erased and altered to the word two.
Wm. Mason Jas. Cunningham Davd. Cunningham John Neely
Proved before the Honorable William Bull, Esquire, Lieut. Governor, Intendant General of the Police and Ordinary of His Majesty's said provincethis 7th December 1781 at the time qualified John Cunningham
Apparently, no one had much use for Elizabeth Lemon Pearis. Nonetheless, Robert attempted to support his daughters equally with his estate. However, as an afterthought, he realized that Sarah was a minor and thus withdrew from the estate the necessary resources to carry her through a full education to her eighteenth birthday as he likely had provided for his daughter Elizabeth.
Christian Pearis (1715- after 1749)
George and Sarah's first child was a girl named Christian. She was born in 1715; and undoubtedly, this was in County Tyrone, Ireland. She is mentioned in the will of George Pearis (the Elder) and she married William Neeley (Nealey) before 1749. On 20 November 1749, William Neeley hired John Baylis to survey 200 acres of land described as adjoining George Pearis his father-in-law. Also on 20 November 1749, George Pearis hired John Baylis to survey 200 acres of land near Magan Bryan where Peter Hilton lived. These actions may have indicated a land swap. On 2 March 1757, James Magill and his wife Christian (the former Christian Neeley daughter of William Neeley of Frederick Co.) along with Richard Morgan, Denis Springer and Francis Lilburn apparently indentured themselves to Robert Pearis and Henry Heath for 1000 pounds. I have not conducted any research on the Neeley family.
So What Happened to the Pearises of Old Frederick County, Virginia?
It is fairly obvious that the Pearises (Richard, Robert, George and their families) dropped their lives and hastily sold all their lands in Old Frederick Co. Virginia in the spring (March-May) of 1763. The a bit of information that may be important is that this all followed Robert becoming a Royal tax collector and apparently foreclosing on a property that was conveyed to Richard. Suddenly, a image of a British tax collector "tarred-and-feathered" and "run out of town on a rail" comes to mind. Whether that is what happened or not (probably less drastic) is open to conjecture. But, the Pearises were wealthy Tory Loyalists.
Records are very sparse for the period 1763-1768, and it is frequently stated that Richard Pearis did not arrive in South Carolina until 1768. It is my opinion that the Pearises went directly to South Carolina in 1763, but that it took them five hard years to establish their farm and return to the pages of history. There is some evidence that Richard Pearis owned property in south central Virginia during this time frame. In particular he was found on the list of "Tithibles" for the tax records of a county in southern Virginia. However, this looks to me more like a farm run by an overseer with a few salves, than a homestead; and I doubt that the Pearises were in residence there. I believe that the plan was to go to South Carolina all along, although I believe that Robert may have precipitated the mass migration of Pearises by his tax collecting episode. The Pearis brothers also apparently acquired lands in Salisbury, NC (the northern part of old Tryon County). Although I have only seen records of George Jr. selling the land in 1768 to Alexander Martin, it is likely that the land was originally acquired circa 1763 by the brothers and that George was (by 1768) either the remaining resident or was acting as an agent for Richard in the transaction .
Richard (and Rhoda) followed Robert (and Elizabeth) to South Carolina. However, Robert's talents and interests were clearly best served in the big city so he went directly to Charleston. Richard and George (Pearis/Peirce/Follis/Parris) went into the frontier area known as Tryon County (North Carolina). George Peirce/Follis appears to have never amounted to much and his children were (Isaac and Lewis) must have just blended in with the illiterate locals of Frederick Co. (Unless, Isaac became the Captain Isaac Paris that fought with General Herkimer in the Mohawk Valley in 1777.) George apparently was taken under the wing of Richard who seems to have looked out for George and his children. George, thus accompanied or followed Richard south into old Tryon County, North Carolina (formed 1769 from the western part of old Mecklenburg Co., North Carolina). Tryon Co. gave rise to a number of counties soon after the boarder survey between North and South Carolina (1772) showed that old Tryon County was in both states. When Tryon County was abolished (1779), it gave rise to Lincoln and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina. Tyron also yielded York, Chester, Union, Spartanburg, Laurens, Greenville and Newberry Counties in South Carolina. George Pearis (Peirce/Follis) ultimately died in Rutherford County, North Carolina. Robert ultimately died in Charleston, South Carolina. And Richard was about to start a new chapter in Pearis/Parris history.
Robert, however, was apparently the father of George Pearis (b. circa 1748) who had received a parcel of land (175 acres) from George Pearis the elder via the elder's will (of 1749) which became effective upon his death in 1752. George Pearis (son of Robert (?)) sold the land to Jacob Hite on 10 October 1765 for 80 pounds. Although this George Pearis was destined to fight for the Patriots in the War of Independence, he moved from Frederick County south to Montgomery County or Augusta County, Virginia apparently to escape the stigma of the family name in his home town. This George Pearis ended up a hero of the Battle of Shallow Ford, North Carolina and founded Pearisburg in Giles County, Virginia.
By the 1770s, no Pearises of note were living in Old Frederick Co., Virginia.
The Proclamation of 1763
With the end of the French and Indian War, King George III and the Privy Council sought to consolidate the lands that had fallen under British control (basically every thing east of the Mississippi). One element of this was the establishment of four new colonies (East Florida, West Florida, Quebec and Grenada which included several Caribbean islands). In addition Nova Scotia was assigned responsibilities for some fishing rights. But, the largest parcel of the lands encompassing all other territories in the Mississippi watershed east of the Mississippi River were assigned as Indian Territories. The British fully intended to limit colonial expansion into this area and deal with the Native Americans in a legal and fair manner.
This concept flew in the face of the aspirations of the colonists and likely would have caused reversals for land speculators up and down the frontier. In the north, Pontiac's Rebellion of Native Americans began in August 1763.
The following text is excerpted from the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763.
Whereas We have taken into Our Royal Consideration the extensive and valuable Acquisitions in America, secured to our Crown by the late Definitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris the 10th Day of February last  .;
we have, with the Advice of our Said Privy Council, granted our Letters Patent, under our Great Seal of Great Britain, to erect, within the Countries and Islands ceded and confirmed to Us by the said Treaty, Four distinct and separate Governments, styled and called by the names of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida and Grenada
We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council aforesaid, annexed to our Province of Georgia all the Lands lying between the Rivers Alatamaha and St. Mary's .
we do hereby command and empower our Governors of our said Three new Colonies, and all other our Governors of our several Provinces on the Continent of North America, to grant without Fee or Reward, to [British soldiers] the following Quantities of Lands:
To every Person having the Rank of a Field Officer--5,000 Acres.
To every Captain--3,000 Acres.
To every Subaltern or Staff Officer,--2,000 Acres.
To every Non-Commission Officer,--200 Acres.
To every Private Man--50 Acres.
It was the next part of the Proclamation that caused the trouble:
And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds -- We do therefore, with the Advice of our Privy Council, declare it to be our Royal Will and Pleasure, that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our Colonies of Quebec, East Florida. or West Florida, do presume, upon any Pretence whatever, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass any Patents for Lands beyond the Bounds of their respective Governments. as described in their Commissions: as also that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our other Colonies or Plantations in America do presume for the present, and until our further Pleasure be known, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass Patents for any Lands beyond the Heads or Sources of any of the Rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the West and North West, or upon any Lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them.
And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid.
And We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved, without our especial leave and License for that Purpose first obtained.
And We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either willfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described. or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements.
And whereas great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in purchasing Lands of the Indians, to the great Prejudice of our Interests. and to the great Dissatisfaction of the said Indians: In order, therefore, to prevent such Irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our Justice and determined Resolution to remove all reasonable Cause of Discontent, We do, with the Advice of our Privy Council strictly enjoin and require, that no private Person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any Lands reserved to the said Indians, within those parts of our Colonies where We have thought proper to allow Settlement: but that, if at any Time any of the Said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, the same shall be Purchased only for Us, in our Name, at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of our Colony respectively within which they shall lie: and in case they shall lie within the limits of any Proprietary Government, they shall be purchased only for the Use and in the name of such Proprietors, conformable to such Directions and Instructions as We or they shall think proper to give for that Purpose: And we do, by the Advice of our Privy Council, declare and enjoin, that the Trade with the said Indians shall be free and open to all our Subjects whatever, provided that every Person who may incline to Trade with the said Indians do take out a License for carrying on such Trade from the Governor or Commander in Chief of any of our Colonies respectively where such Person shall reside, and also give Security to observe such Regulations as We shall at any Time think fit, by ourselves or by our Commissaries to be appointed for this Purpose, to direct and appoint for the Benefit of the said Trade:
And we do hereby authorize, enjoin, and require the Governors and Commanders in Chief of all our Colonies respectively, as well those under Our immediate Government as those under the Government and Direction of Proprietors, to grant Such Licenses without Fee or Reward, taking especial Care to insert therein a Condition, that such License shall be void, and the Security forfeited in case the Person to whom the same is granted shall refuse or neglect to observe such Regulations as We shall think proper to prescribe as aforesaid.
And we do further expressly conjoin and require all Officers whatever, as well Military as those Employed in the Management and Direction of Indian Affairs, within the Territories reserved as aforesaid for the use of the said Indians, to seize and apprehend all Persons whatever, who standing charged with Treason, Misprisions of Treason, Murders, or other Felonies or Misdemeanors, shall fly from Justice and take Refuge in the said Territory, and to send them under a proper guard to the Colony where the Crime was committed, of which they stand accused, in order to take their Trial for the same.
Given at our Court at St. James's the 7th Day of October 1763, in the Third Year of our Reign.
GOD SAVE THE KING
21.2 The Colonist Penetrate into West Virginia and Kentucky (1763 - 1776)
Pontiac's Rebellion (1763)
While French could stop fighting the British and return to Europe, the Native Americans had little choice but to resist the expansion of the British colonies. The departure of the British government policy and the western colonists interests with respect to the lands of the Native Americans after 1763 was the primary reason that the western colonists eventually supported the American War of Independence (1775-1783). History books (written by easterners) tend to put more emphasis on taxation than land.
The Native Americans on the frontier used the end of the French and Indian War to resolve some tribal conflicts and attempt to present a unified front to American colonial expansion. Unfortunately, the first expression of this was a militant effort led by Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa who led the Delaware and Shawnee in war in the summer of 1763. The Cherokee realized that this was poor judgement and stayed out of the war (known as Pontiac's Rebellion). The conflict amounted to nothing more than a series of raids in which small forts west of the Allegheny mounts were captured, which simply confirmed in the minds of European settlers that the Native Americans were war-like and untrustworthy.
The key battle was on 6 August 1763 at Bushy Run in Pennsylvania. British forces under Colonel Henry Bouquet destroyed the Shawnee and the Delaware removing future resistance to settlement of eastern Ohio. However, the Native Americans did not give up title to the lands until 1768. In that year at Fort Stanwix, New York, the Iroquois gave up their claim to not only Ohio, but also gave away lands claimed by the Shawnee (Kentucky and West Virginia) and the Cherokee (Tennessee). The British realized the potential conflict with the Cherokee and negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee that conformed to the cessions by the Iroquois. This was the treaty of Hard Labor of 1768. As usual, nobody negotiated for the hapless Shawnee. They would soon be dispossessed from West Virginia and part of Kentucky by force.
South of the Ohio River
Daniel Boone is perhaps the best known figure associated with the expansion of the British colonies into the area south of the Ohio River immediately following the French and Indian War. This fact can be attributed to his story being popularized by a contemporary book that glorified his adventures. In fact, Daniel Boone was not much different from many of the early settlers of the area on the upper New River, Clinch River, Holston-Watauga River, and Yadkin River (where present-day Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia meet). This was the home of what became known as the "Over Mountain Men." In the period 1763 - 1776, they took advantage of the weakness of the Shawnee to push the frontier to the west.
Old Augusta Co., Virginia (1738 - 1776)
The western part of the Colony of Virginia was known as Spotsylvania County from 1721 through 1734 when it was re-designated as Orange County. Then in 1743, old Frederick County was sufficiently settled to warrant establishment of a separate government centered in Winchester. The remaining part of old Orange County was designated as Augusta County (present-day southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia). In 1770, part of old Augusta County became Botetourt County and this was subdivided into Fincastle County (1772 - 1777) Virginia, which was again subdivided in 1777-1778 to yield old Montgomery and Washington Counties Virginia; old Greenbriar County, West Virginia (all of southern present-day West Virginia), and old Kentucky County (which became the state of Kentucky).
The first white settlers in what became Augusta County, Virginia are believed to have been Germans who settled around present-day Rockingham Co., Virginia between 1728 and 1732. They were soon followed by Scotch-Irish John Lewis who is said to have killed his landlord in Ireland and sought refuge on the American frontier. He arrived from Pennsylvania in 1731 and penetrated much farther south to the area of present-day Staunton. Before he died in 1762 (age 84) Col. Lewis, as he became known had three sons Thomas (county surveyor, member of House of Burgesses), Andrew, and Charles (who died at battle of Point Pleasant). In 1736, Benjamin Borden/Burdon (an agent of Lord Fairfax) visited John Lewis and located sites for new settlements. He then obtained a grant from Governor Gooch for a grant of 500,000 acres of land on the condition that he must get 100 families before he could receive title. The land was on the upper reaches of the James and the New Rivers. He was successful by 1739. Some of the first settlers on this grant were the family of Ephraim McDowell and his son John.
The part of old Orange County, Virginia left after marking off Frederick Co. in 1738 was called Augusta County. It included what is now southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia. However, because of the sparse population (especially in Augusta Co.), the Orange Co. government continued to function administratively. The new Augusta Co. government was not functional until 1745.
Augusta county was settled from two directions, many German settlers came south from Frederick Co. especially because they feared the conflicts in British land grants and did not feel that their interest would be defended by either Lord Fairfax or the colonial government in Williamsburg. In Augusta Co. the authority of the colonial government to make land grants was not disputed. Directly from the east (through the Panther Gap), settlers arrived in Augusta Co. from the head waters of the James and Roanoke Rivers. The area of Penelton Co., West Virginia (just south of Fairfax's claims) was mainly German and the area that became Bath Co., Virginia was mainly Scotch-Irish.
Whereas all the lands in old Frederick Co. Virginia (e.g., the Fairfax claims) were clearly part of Virginia because the Potomac drains to the Atlantic, things were more complicated in southwestern Virginia. The New River, the Holston River and the Clinch River each drain ultimately to the Mississippi. Thus, French claims were stronger.
The white settlement of present-day West Virginia probably began with the first German settlers at Mecklenburg (present-day Shepherdstown) in 1727, despite earlier claims that Morgan Morgan had been the first. By the end of the 1700s, the present-day Eastern Panhandle counties of Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan had well-established towns, while the western part of the state was first being settled. The development of the western regions was delayed due to conflict with Native Americans and land companies disputing property rights. Evidence of this pattern of development can be traced by looking at the oldest homes in various regions. For instance, the oldest surviving houses in Jefferson and Berkeley County date to the 1760s and 1770s while the oldest in western locations such as Charleston, WV date only to the early 1800s.
As the situation with Britain deteriorated in the mid-1770s, the role of the militia became more important. Two of the militia leaders for the upper New River, Virginia area who became important during the War of American Independence were Captain James Cox and Captain Enoch Osborne. Osborne's company was split from Cox's company in April 1774. The Cox Company was stationed near the mouth of Peach Bottom Creek on the New River, while Osborne's Company was several miles west on Bridle Creek. When the war came (1775), Tories and Whigs in this isolated area were not immediately forced to take up arms against one another. In North Carolina, Benjamin Cleveland (who would soon become notorious for his brutal treatment of Tories and Loyalist prisoners) became the Chairman of the Surry County Committee of Safety; while on 8 November 1775, William Preston was appointed to be the Chairman of the Committee of safety for Fincastle County. Soon, the lines were drawn and the oath of allegiance to the patriot cause was administered to the companies of Cox and Osborne in October 1777. Some of the men swearing into Osborne's company were actually from the area of North Carolina (below 36o 30') because it was easier to get to Osborne's Fort than to get to Fort Defiance in Wilkes County, NC.
Daniel Boone (1734 - 1820)
Daniel Boon's father (Squire) came from England and arrived in Philadelphia in 1713. In 1720, Squire married Sarah Morgan in a Quaker meeting house in Gwynedd, PA. From there they moved to the upper Schuylkill River valley near Reading by 1731, where Daniel Boone was born on 22 October 1734. The Squire Boone family followed the wagon road via Winchester, Virginia to present-day Rowan Co., North Carolina in 1750 and established a home on the Yadkin (Adkin) River. (Apparently, the river was named after the British Indian Agent.)
Daniel Boone joined General Braddock's forces at the start of the French and Indian War (1755) and was present during the defeat at Pittsburgh. He returned home and married Rebecca Bryan on 14 August 1756 and they set up housekeeping in Rowan Co. In 1759, fighting broke out with the Cherokee and the Boones fled north into Culpeper Co., VA.
It was not until 1760 that Daniel Boone traveled far into present-day West Virginia and Kentucky on a hunting and scouting expedition that lasted until 1762. When he returned, he took his family back to present-day Rowan Co., North Carolina. From there, Boone conducted an excursion into Georgia and Florida in 1765. In 1766, he moved his family to a place near present-day Wilkesboro, NC. From there, he set out on the expeditions that made him famous across the mountains through the Cumberland Gap (extreme southwestern tip of Virginia) into what is now Tennessee and Kentucky along the Big Sandy River (now the boarder between West Virginia and Kentucky) in 1767. [This had been the site of the Sandy Creek expedition of 1756 in which Richard Pearis participated.] After diversion with what was known as the Regulator Rebellion in North Carolina in 1768, Boone and five other men left again for Kentucky on 1 May 1769. He was captured by the Shawnee on 22 December 1769, but managed to return to North Carolina in 1771. By now, he has determined that Kentucky was ready for settlement. Thus, he recruited a group of family and friends to follow him to Kentucky in 1773. This expedition did not go as expected. Indian attacks near the Cumberland Gap forced them to turn back after his eldest son James was killed on 9 October 1773.
Relationships with the Shawnee were turning worse. Boone was asked by Virginia officials to go to Kentucky to warn surveyors of expected war with the Shawnee. Boone progressed to the Clinch River settlements where he lead the local defense during what was called Dunmore's War of 1774. Although the hostilities were far from settled, he was hired by the Transylvania Company to cut the Wilderness Road connecting Kentucky to the Great Wagon Road. In spite of continuing conflict with the Shawnee, he founded Boonesborough in 1775 and brought his family to Kentucky. The next year, his daughter Jemima and the Callaway daughters were kidnapped by the Shawnee, but Boone rescued them.
The start of the American War of Independence brought new hostilities in 1775. Boone himself was again captured by the Shawnee in 1778. He was held captive from February to June. His family returned to North Carolina, but he led the defense of Boonesborough (September 7-18) before returning to North Carolina. The next year, he returned with a large contingent of settlers and founded Boone's Station on the Kentucky River.
Boone now went on the offensive against the Shawnee. (If you happen to be Shawnee, you might call it genocide.) Whereas the Shawnee were obviously trying to prevent encroachment into their territory by the European settlers (and they were obviously fairly lenient with captives), Boone set out to subdue and displace the Shawnee from their traditional homeland in Ohio. In these attacks, his brother Edward was killed in October 1780. As the leading man in a new Virginia territory, he was elected to the Virginia assembly in 1781 and took his seat just in time to be captured by the British, but he was released as soon as Lord Cornwallis was defeated. Meanwhile, his son Israel was killed in a battle with the Shawnee at the Battle of Blue Licks on 19 August 1782. The Treaty of Paris officially ending the War of American Independence was signed 14 October 1783. With this agreement, the Americans acquired all the British possessions south of the Great Lakes and west to the Mississippi River. The Spanish still held Florida and had acquired some of the French claims west of the Mississippi.
Boone then moved his family to the town of Limestone on the Ohio River where he set up a tavern from which he provided surveying and land speculating services. In 1784, he was immortalized by publication of The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone by John Filson. It was filled with the glorification of westward expansion and success from humble origins that the newly independent Americans wanted to hear. Virginia was the first colony to begin major concessions of its colonial claims to the central U.S. government when the passed the Trans-Ohio lands to Congress in March 1784. Under the guidance of Thomas Jefferson, the Congress of Confederation passed the Land Ordinance of 20 May 1785. The basic unit of land became the "township;" a square six miles on each side. Each of the 36 square-miles in a township was called a "section." Of course, each section contained 640 one-acre plots. With this plan in mind the Congress was eager to convert the land into cash by selling off sections to the newly independent Americans. To do this the land had to be surveyed.
Thomas Hutchins was appointed to be the "Geographer of the United States," and he was assigned the task of surveying the townships and sections starting on the Ohio River in September 1785. Within days of beginning, Shawnee came to him and told him to stop immediately. They were smart enough to know that surveyors were the leading elements in the organized taking of land by the Europeans. In 1785 and 1786, the work progressed slowly from the base in Pittsburgh as the surveyors were concerned about being attacked by the Shawnee who assembled on 18 September. Boone resumed his attacks on the Shawnee in October 1786 and returned the Virginia General Assembly in 1787.
Over the next few years he moved his family first to Point Pleasant (1789), then east to Charleston, West Virginia (1792), then to Brushy Fork, Kentucky (1795). By this time (1797), his son Daniel Morgan Boone was exploring land in Spanish Missouri. The Spanish Governor who was also looking for protection against the Native Americans invited the Indian-fighting Boone family to immigrate, which they did in 1799. The Spanish put him in charge of Femme Osage County.
Boone was seriously injured in a hunting accident in 1803 and moved to the home of his son Nathan in the Louisiana Purchase. Over the next decade he fought with the U.S. government to have his land grants issued by the Spanish recognized by the United States, but this was rejected in 1809. His wife Rebecca died 18 March 1813, too soon to know that, on appeal, Congress had approved a tract of land for Boone in Missouri. Boone died in 1820 and was buried with his wife near their daughter Jemima's farm. In 1845, the bodies were moved back to Frankfort, Kentucky. Boones efforts were instrumental in opening up the east central U.S. to settlement from the former English colonies. But, it was done with pretty much reckless disregard for the Native Americans (principally the Shawnee). The Native Americans were portrayed (as they had been before) as obstacles to be overcome and pushed further west, not integrated into the United States. These attitudes would work against the Cherokee who were on their way in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee to becoming as civilized as their white neighbors.
Lord Dunmore's War (August - October 1774)
The pressure from the American colonists (led by Daniel Boone et al.) on the Shawnee in West Virginia and Kentucky was progressively increased in the 1770s. The newly arriving European settlers on the Holston and Clinch Rivers were inspired by Boone and others to view the Natives Americans as savages and to make no distinctions based upon tribe. The newcomers (post-1763) had little appreciation for the support provided by the Cherokee during the 1750s against the French. The action was focused around Fort Fincastle (later Fort Henry, present-day Wheeling, West Virginia) where one of the land developers Michael Cresap led a raid on Shawnee at Captina Creek in 1773. The next year (30 April 1774), European colonists murdered the family of a Christian native named Logan (a.k.a., Chief Tah-gah-jute of the Mingo tribe) who had a long history of peace with the Europeans. In revenge he killed 13 settlers.
Colonel William Preston (apparently the former Captain Preston of the aborted Sandy Creek expedition of February-March 1756) recommended to Lord Dunmore , the Lt. Governor of Virginia in Williamsburg that an expedition could and should be carried out against the Shawnee to force them out of West Virginia, and thus, ensure the safety of the western counties of Virginia. By this time, Preston was the Sheriff and surveyor of Fincastle Co., Virginia, as well as being the head of the county's militia.
Dunmore agreed to the idea as a way to appease the western inhabitants during a time when the British were trying to maintain order. Dunmore's grand strategy was to send two armies one by way of the Ohio River and one by way of the New River to converge on the Shawnee settlements near Point Pleasant, Kentucky. There was also a plan to build a fort at the mouth of the New (Kanawha) River. Dunmore personally led the northern force of 1,700 men while the southern force of 800 militia was assembled under Colonel Andrew Lewis who had led the abortive Sand Creek expedition in 1756.
The plan for the expedition down the New-Kanawha River against the Shawnee was based upon the concept attempted in the Sandy Creek expedition and had some of the same characters. The expedition included reinforcing stockades on the Holston and Clinch Rivers and a trek across southern West Virginia to Point Pleasant on the Ohio to attack the Shawnee town (as had been proposed in 1756). This plan was developed in June and July 1774 and only got under way in August. By September 3, 1774, the Colonial Command had reached the head of Rich Creek. Part of the force spent several weeks in September at Union Camp from which they left to Point Pleasant on 23 September.
Shawnee Chief Cornstalk (Keigh-tugh-qua) attacked Loews's southern force with 1,200 before they joined the northern force on 10 October 1774. With a numerical superiority, the Shawnee were able to inflict a fair number of casualties on the militia from the upper New River. Nonetheless, the battle at Point Pleasant ended in a rout of the Shawnee who retreated into the Scioto Valley. Part of the force was left at Point Pleasant until late in October while the Shawnee were pursued into Kentucky by Captain Shelby's company. The hostilities were ended by negotiations between Lord Dunmore, the Shawnee, the Delaware and the Mingo. In the Treaty of Camp Charlotte, these tribes gave up both property and hunting claims on lands south of the Ohio River. One of the principal features of Lord Dunmore's War was that it served to organize and test the leaders and soldiers who would become known as the "Over Mountain Men" during the American War of Independence. The experience in operations during Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 would pay off for the American Patriots in 1780.
21.3 The Pearis Families 1763 - 1775
Tryon County, Carolina
Carolina was originally a single colony. However, it became apparent that certain areas (i.e., Charles Town, the Cape Fear Valley, and Albemarle Sound) were developing independently. Thus, In 1734? When the British created Georgia, they also realigned Carolina to form South Carolina (which was considered to be a rich colony of slave-based plantations radiating out from Charles Town) and North Carolina (which was a poorer colony where small farms and industries would dominate). However, the boarder between the two new Carolina colonies was not surveyed immediately.
At the time, that Lord William Tryon became the governor of North Carolina (17-) the Blue Ridge settlers who migrated from Virginia into Carolina were quite distinct from all the tidewater settlements of the original Carolina Colony. But because Charles Town was such a self-centered community with aspirations of European grandeur, the Blue Ridge settlers and the government of North Carolina were inclined to assume that the up-country population naturally aligned with North Carolina. Lord Tryon cut the western section from Mecklenburg County in 1768 to form Tryon County. At this time, the boarder with South Carolina was not known and Tryon County administered all the lands in present day Rutherford and Lincoln counties of North Carolina and York, Chester, Union, Spartanburg and Cherokee counties of South Carolina. The survey finally came in 1772 and Tryon County was partition between the two states and subsequently subdivided into the small counties noted above circa 1779. Governor Tryon was considered to be ineffective and arrogant by the people of North Carolina. He built a lavish plantation now known as Tryon Palace in New Bern, which might not have raised eyebrow in Charles town, but it was and is still considered one of the most elegant points of interest in North Carolina. Thus, while the Regulator organized to bring justice along the southern frontier turned to demands or courts in South Carolina, the Regulators in North Carolina demanded lower taxes and more responsive government. The Regulator movement in North Carolina sprang up about 1768 and was crushed by Governor Tryon in 1771 at the Battle of Alamance Court House. This story will be presented below. Eventually, the British replaced Lord Tryon with Josiah Martin who became the last British governor of North Carolina. Tryon County, North Carolina was abolished in 1799 to form Rutherford and Lincoln counties (named after local heroes of the War of Independence).
One of the important and relevant things that Lord Tryon did while in office was to establish a boundary line separating the Cherokee from the Carolina colonists. Although this had in principle been set in the Proclamation of 1763 at the Blue Ridge, in practice there needed to be a buffer east of the Blue Ridge. In 1767, William Tryon personally met with the Cherokee in Tryon County and agreed on a new line that ran from a point near present-day Greenville, SC to a peak on White Oak Mountain. This line was generally east of the 1763 line and was, thus, not in conflict with the royal proclamation.
An idea of the situation on the South Carolina frontier can be obtained from the following article in the Belfast News of Northern Ireland (20 February 1767):
Letters from Fort Prince George, Keowee, say that on the 9th of last month seven traders from Virginia who were carrying goods into the Cherokee country, were found murdered near Cowee. Those traders had sent notice of their approach and a party . . . [which had been] immediately sent to escort them in, found their dead bodies. The goods were not touched. only some paint is said to be missing. The murder is thought to have been committed by some Cherokees in revenge for the people they lost in Virginia about two years ago.
It is interesting that details of life on the American frontier would be followed with interest in Ulster where late waves of Scotch-Irish immigrants were still forming and relatives were concerned about the kin that had already gone to America.
Part 22. The War of Independence
22.1 Independence versus Revolution
Motives for Fighting
In this text, I am trying to be rather precise in the use of certain terms. In particular, I am dismayed by the fact that most histories lump the period 1775-1782 under the title "the American Revolution," and let it go at that. There was fighting by many people in the North American continent during this period and their motives were extremely varied. Indeed, men and women of conscience changed sides during the conflict as the standard bearers of their position changed. Although, my presentation is still to simple, please consider the following concepts and terms:
The notion that a colony would be sovereign and separate from Britain.
A change in philosophy that is sudden and not tied to threat that went before.
The idea that independent colonies should be joined together. A Federal system hold the corporation higher than the independent states; a Confederacy holds the states superior to the central government.
A war among commingled groups based upon differences in philosophy: each group attempting to expel the other from the territory they both share; convert the opposition to their point of view by force of arms; or destroy the opposing individuals.
The position held here is that among the British colonies in North America people of European descent could be generally classified in the following matrix:
Change Social Order
Form a Permanent Union
As a purely practical matter, no single colony was strong enough to contemplate forcing either Independence or Revolution from Britain by itself. Thus, it was essential the during the course of hostilities, the colonies must form a union of some sort. It is interesting that a consensus was gained on the idea that something must be done (an anti-British position) long before the colonies could decide what the outcome should be. These are the matters that kept the Continental Congress in session at Philadelphia for many months after war had broken out. The colonists were literally fighting only knowing what they were fighting against; not necessarily what they were fighting for (beyond the safety of their immediate families). In this environment, the political process is likely to slip into the most radical hands. Moreover, those who had taken a minority position on the first point (as pro-British) found themselves disenfranchised on the other points.
This method of piecemeal decision-making, allowed a small minority to ultimately determine the shape and fate of the population. First the pro-British fraction was disenfranchised; then the anti- revolution faction was disenfranchised; then the anti-British and pro-revolution group decided what form of government there would be. Fortunately, this winnowing process led to Thomas Jefferson, an enlightened and astute man.
However, timing of events necessarily meant that the disenfranchised populations were commingled with those with whom they progressively disagreed. This led to a civil war concurrent with the war of Independence.
By the way, you might ask yourself "who writes the history books?" History is always written by those who survive using personal and first hand knowledge and what ever documents survive. Archeology may be later woven into the story, but it will be interpreted in the light of the written records.
The Tidewater versus the Frontier
The primary split among Americans between 1763 and 1775 was between the tidewater planters and merchants who filled population centers from Boston to Savannah along the seaboard and the frontier from Maine to Georgia defined by the Proclamation Line of 1763 and running east to the plantations and industrial cities:
The Tidewater was dominated by generally well educated and rich families. They were the American aristocracy and envisioned themselves as part of the British aristocracy. This self-image, however, was often destroyed with bitter disappointment when the Americans traveled to Britain or dealt with the British colonial governors. The Americans discovered that in the eyes of the British they were merely colonials and no matter how rich or well-educated or innovative, the Americans were never going to be part of the British elite. Thus, the wealthy Americans in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charles Town wanted to throw off the external British rule and replace it with an independent American aristocratic system. For the most part, these tidewater societies whose privileges included slave-ownership and control of all the courts, governments and lands wanted independence, but definitely not revolution. They also had little interest in federal union of the colonies.
On the frontier, the small farmers wanted a revolution which would bring them self-rule, government, courts, trade, security and land. They had few illusions that the governments of the colonies would either be dominated by the British or the tidewater Americans, but they needed to change the system to secure security, freedom and prosperity for themselves regardless of who was in charge in the state house. The only thing that the British had specifically done to annoy the frontier population was to draw the Proclamation Line of 1763 which prevented western expansion into new lands. But, this was not all bad because it provided a measure of safety relative to the Native Americans and if the Native Americans could be induced to assimilate with the Europeans (or voluntarily move west, which they did when they felt crowded) every one would prosper. The good news was that there were enough lands east of the Mississippi to make the all frontier families with European roots and the Native Americans wealthy. And, this almost happened. In fact, it did happen to a certain extent.
It is important to understand these differences in motivation and outlook among the Europeans when reading American history between 1750 and 1800. Most of our conventional history books are written from a distinctive tidewater (an usually northern) point of view which attempts to romanticize the great "American Revolution." The popular image attempts to draw a simple line between the freedom-loving Patriots and the British and their misled Tory/Loyalist sympathizers. It was not that clear cut by any means. Particularly in the rural (frontier South) what is usually called the "American Revolution" and which I prefer to call the "American War of Independence" was a civil war fought with many conflicting motives and allegiances. Moreover, one of the features which is generally ignored but which I believe is important is that some of the most violent actions in the civil war which raged mainly in the Carolinas were perpetrated by northern Tories in service of the British. I am thinking particularly about Banastre Tarleton's Legion. Although Tarleton himself was a brave and resourceful British officer, his troops brought with them a mercenary ruthlessness that was not nearly as common among southern Tories and Patriots or even the British regulars. Thus, I perceive an element of inter-regional American conflict in the actions of 1775-1783 that reappeared in 1860-1865.
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)
Thomas Jefferson's ancestors came from north Wales near the mountain of Snowden. Jefferson's grandfather arrived in Virginia about 1700 and had three sons (Thomas, Field and Peter). Peter (1708 - 1757) settled in old Albermarle County, Virginia where he called his estate Shadwell. Peter Jefferson along with Joshua Fry surveyed the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia. Peter married Jane Randolph (of Goochland Co.) in 1739 and she delivered Thomas Jefferson 13 April 1743. Thomas Jefferson was one of two sons and six daughters of Peter and Jane and both sons received large estates. Thomas received the Shadwell lands, which included Monticello.
After receiving a good education he studied law in Williamsburg under George Wythe. Wythe (1727 - 1806) is credited with being Thomas Jefferson's intellectual father. Jefferson was a bright legal scholar but suffered from difficulty in making public speeches. It seems likely that he compensated by focusing on writing which has become renown. Because of his family prestige and his legal skills Jefferson was elected to represent his county in the House of Burgesses (i.e., colonial legislature) in 1769. He shocked his peers and elders with his proposal of a bill "for the permission of the Emancipation of Slaves." Of course, he was a slave holder, however, he served notice early that he was a revolutionary.
In May 1769, a resolution from the British Parliament arrived directed at the colony of Massachusetts. The Virginians were considerably concerned that they might be censured along the same line. Thus, they responded to the British as though they themselves had been the target of the resolution. In this was born the principle of colonial unity or union. A few years later (March 1773) Jefferson, Patrick Henry, R.H. Lee, F.L. Lee and Dabney Carr met at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia and proposed the "Committees of Correspondence" among the legislatures of the various colonies. Soon there was a call for a General Congress of all the colonies. By 1775, royal governments through out the colonies were seeking protection on British ships while trying to conduct the colonial affairs of state.
The Continental Congress formed in Philadelphia on 5 September 1774, and chose Peyton Randolph of Virginia, President, and Charles Thompson of Pennsylvania, Secretary. The meeting adjourned on 26 October and was scheduled to resume on 10 May 1775. Jefferson joined the proceedings on 21 June 1775. A few days later (24 June) Declaration of the Causes of Taking Up Arms was presented by its authors and was rejected. Jefferson was added to the committee and asked to prepare a more subtle draft. By 2 July 1775, Lord North had presented the colonies with a conciliatory proposal, which was more or less a final attempt at peace. About this time, Jefferson wrote to a friend in England (John Randolph) as follows:
Monticello, August 25, 1775
I am sorry the situation of our country should render it not eligible to you to remain longer in it. I hope the returning wisdom of Great Britain [North's proposal] will, ere long, put an end to this unnatural contest. There may be people to whose tempers and dispositions contention is pleasing and who, therefore, wish a continuance of confusion; but to me it is of all states but one the most horrid. My first wish is a restoration of our just rights; my second, a return of the happy period when, consistently with duty, I may withdraw myself totally from the public stage and pass the rest of my days in domestic ease and tranquility, banishing ever desire of ever hearing what passes in the world. Perhaps (for the latter adds considerably to the warmth of the former wish) looking with fondness towards a reconciliation with Great Britain, I cannot help hoping you may be able to contribute towards expediting this good work. I think it must be evident to yourself that the Ministry have been deceived by their officers on this side of the water, who (for what purpose I cannot tell) have constantly represented the American oppositio as that of a small faction in which the body of the people took little part. This, you can inform them, of your own knowledge is untrue. They have taken it into their heads, too, that we are cowards, and shall surrender at discretion to an armed force. The past and future operations of the war must confirm or undeceive them on that head. I wish they were thoroughly and minutely acquainted with every circumstance relative to America as it exists in truth. I am persuaded this would go far towards disposing them to reconciliation. I observe they pronounced in the last Parliament that the Congress of 1774 did not mean to insist rigorously on the terms they held out, but kept something in reserve to give up; and, in fact, that they would give up everything but the article of taxation. Now, the truth is far from this, as I can affirm, and put my honor to the assertion. Their continuance in this error may, perhaps, produce very ill consequences. The Congress stated the lowest terms they thought possible to be accepted in order to convince the world they were not unreasonable. They gave up the monopoly and regulation of trade and all acts of Parliament prior to 1764 [this would have included the proclamation of 1763], leaving to British generosity to render these at some future time as easy to America as the interest of Britain would admit. But this was before blood was spilt. I cannot affirm, but have reason to think, these terms would not now be accepted. I wish no false sense of honor, no ignorance of our real intentions, no vain hope that partial concessions of right will be accepted, may induce the Ministry to trifle with accommodation 'til it shall be out of their power ever to accommodate. If, indeed, Great Britain disjointed from her colonies be a match for the most potent nations of Europe, with the colonies thrown into their scale they may go on securely. But if they are not assured of this, it would be certainly unwise, by trying the event of another campaign, to risk our accepting a foreign aid [e.g., from France] which, perhaps, may not be attainable but on condition of everlasting avulsion from Great Britain. This would be thought a hard condition to those who still wish for re-union with their parent country. I am sincerely one of those, and would rather be in dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any other nation on earth, or than on no nation. But I am one of those, too, who, rather than submit to the rights of legislating for us assumed by the British Parliament, and which late experience has shown they will so cruelly exercise, would lend my hand to sink the whole Island in the ocean.
If undeceiving the Minister as to matters of fact may change his disposition, it will, perhaps, be in your power by assisting to do this, to render service to the whole empire at the most critical time, certainly, that it has ever seen. Whether Britain shall continue the head of the greatest empire on earth or shall return to her original station in the political scale of Europe depends, perhaps, on the resolutions of the succeeding winter. God send they may be wise and salutary for us all. I shall be glad to hear from you as often as you may be disposed to think of things here. You may be at liberty, I expect, to communicate somethings consistently with your honor and the duties you will owe to a protecting nation. Such a communication among individuals may be mutually beneficial to the contending parties. On this or any future occasion, if I affirm to you any facts, your knowledge of me will enable you to decide on their credibility; if I hazard opinions on the dispositions of men or other speculative points, you can only know they are my opinions. My best wishes for your felicity attend you wherever you go; and believe me to be, assuredly, your friend and servant.
Unfortunately, in spite of Jefferson's (and many other colonists') desires for reconciliation, King George III was not responsive to their offers. Thus, Jefferson soon wrote the following to John Randolph in England from Philadelphia:
Philadelphia, November 29, 1775
It is an immense misfortune to the whole empire to have a King of such a disposition at such a time. We are told, and everything proves it true, that he is the bitterest enemy we have. His Minister is able; and that satisfies me that ignorance or wickedness somewhere controls him. In an earlier part of this contest, our petitions told him that from our King there was but one appeal. The admonition was despised, and that appeal forced on us. To undo his empire, he has but one truth more to learn: that after colonies have drawn the sword, there is but one step more they can take. That step is now pressed upon us by the measures adopted, as if they were afraid we would not take it. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America. We want neither inducement nor power to declare and assert a separation. It is will alone which is wanting; and that is growing apace under the fostering hand of our King. One bloody campaign will probably decide everlastingly our future course; and I am sorry to find a bloody campaign is decided on. If our winds and waters should not combine to rescue their shores from slavery and General Howe's reinforcement should arrive in safety, we have hopes he will be inspirited to come out of Boston and take another drubbing; and we must drub him soundly before the septered tyrant will know we are not mere brutes, to crouch under his hand and kiss the rod with which he deigns to scourge us. Yours, etc.
Jefferson continued in the Congress until September 1776 and as the unavoidable separation (independence) became clear, he sought to take the opportunity to use the effort to create a social and political revolution. It was a golden opportunity for the colonies to shed all the vices of Britain and start with a fresh slate. In particular, Jefferson saw the opportunity to assert that slavery was an institution forced on the colonies by the British and pass it off a complaint against King George III which supported the separation. Thus, he was given the opportunity to draft the Declaration of Independence in the summer of 1776 and used it to advance his social and political agenda. Of course, there were other voices which struck out the most extreme of his suggestions and arguments. Ultimately, there were two issues to vote on, one was whether or not the colonies wished independence and the other was the text of the Declaration of Independence itself. Jefferson in his Autobiography (published 1821) is quoted as follows:
The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms with still haunted the minds of many. For this reason, those passages which conveyed censures of the people of England were struck out lest they should give them offense. The clause, too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those censures; for though the people had very few slaves themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.
The text of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence showing the markups by the Jefferson's peers is presented below. The text removed is in brackets [ ] and the text added is underlined:
A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress Assembled
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with [inherent and] certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations [begun at a distinguished period and] pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to [expunge] alter their former systems of government. The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of [unremitting] repeated injuries and usurpations, [among which appears no solitary fact to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, but all have] all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world [for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.]
I have a particular point to make about this text. During the 1960s (and probably at other times) when there was a serious complaint about the U.S. governments repression of people opposed to the War in Vietnam, self-styled revolutionaries would take that portion of the preamble down to but not including the section that begins with "Prudents dictates " and walk around towns trying to get bystanders to sign it. As a rule, few people would sign the abbreviated text as presented. The self-styled revolutionaries would then ascert that the American public was not willing to agree to the same principles that the "Founding Fathers" had agreed to and more over the exercise was used to imply ignorance of American history by those that supported the government. The point that I want to make here is that, the "Founding Fathers" did not sign a mere piece of the Declaration of Independence" they signed the entire document which contains the conciliatory language and which is followed by a lengthy list of specific abuses of King George III.
For the most part, we see from the original editing that Jefferson was prone to use excessively flowery phrases and his peers constructively toned much of it down. They also rejected the line item in which Jefferson attributed slavery to the British and proposed to abolish it as described above. In Jefferson's version the issue is addressed as follows:
He [King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.
Jefferson appears to have tried to tie the rejection of slavery (which he and a few favored) to the complaint against the British promoting slave insurrections (which every one was against) to obtain more votes. In the end, his clever efforts did not work. The revolution would not be complete for another 100 years.
Unfortunately, Jefferson and his peers agreed upon the following text:
He has excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
Which does not distinguish among tribes or offer conciliation concerning abuses done to the Native Americans by the Europeans. Basically, Jefferson agreed that all the Native Americans are savages.
The Regulators (1768 - 1771)
The frontier of North and South Carolina was a generally lawless place in the period before the War of American Independence. In 1753, South Carolina Governor James Glen compared the affection for a Carolina up-country man for his family as being on the same order as his affection for his pigs: "[the up-country families] take so much care in raising a litter of pigs that their children are equally naked and full as nasty It is not to be wondered at that the offspring of such loose embraces would be little looked after." This appears to be more a criticism of the absence of any formal marriage arrangements than a praise of up-country pig raising. The fighting during the "(first) Cherokee War" 1760-1761 brought another element of brutality to the area. By 1765, bandits of all races (including Thomas Sumter), hid in the canebrakes of the Carolinas.
One of the best sources for obtaining a flavor of the situation is the account provided by Charles Woodmason. Mr. Woodmason first arrived in Charles Town in 1752, bought a plantation and became fairly well-off. However, he seems to have been a poor manager and lost the plantation to his creditors. In 1765, he became a Stamp Act tax collector and soon discovered that this made him even more unpopular than being a debtor. He soon returned to England and was trained to be an Anglican minister. He returned to Charles Town in September 1766 as Reverend Woodmason with the mission of carrying the Anglican faith to the up-country of the Carolinas. In doing so, he was in direct competition with all the Protestant religions that had been brought from Europe.
The Reverend Woodmason established a base at Camden to cover St. Mark's Parish, which was between the Lynches and Congaree rivers north to North Carolina. There were about thirty settlements in the area and his job was to go to each and to find soles (and contributions) for the Anglicans. His first circuit was begun in January 1767. The people of the up-country had no law, no courts and no churches. Thus, it is not surprising that Woodmason found the most honest men living without benefit of wedlock. The semi-organized gangs of thieves just raped and plundered their way across the countryside. Between the Presbyterians who systematically tried to disrupt his mission by paying hecklers and giving away free alcohol when he was in town, and the local thugs found in every tavern, he had a difficult time. His room in Camden was broken into and his books were stolen while he was away as well. This was most likely the work of other religious groups since most of the people could not read. His first circuit ended in February. In spite of the difficulties, he continued through the year of 1767.
The lawlessness had to stop. With men like Richard Pearis moving into the upcountry (circa 1764), it is understandable that there was a force to organize the honest settlers in spite of the indifference of the Charles Town Rice Kings. Thus, an organization formed that called themselves the "Regulators." Basically, they were vigilantes; they created and enforced their own common law (with minimal recourse to "due process"). Gradually, the Regulator movement spread and the outlaws were forced out of the settled territory of the Carolinas. The Cherokee likely did their part to patrol their side of the boarder. At this point, the colonial Governors and assemblies began to take notice. The regulators represented an organized threat to both the British and the colonial power structure.
As the Regulator activity shifted from whipping and hanging thieves, rapists, and murderers to demanding that courts be provided in the up-country, the British and the colonial planters started looking for a way to stop the growing revolution. Woodmason was drafted to prepare and submit a petition of their demands to the assembly in Charles Town. Things began to come to a boil when on 7 November 1767, four Regulator leaders (who also had seats in the Charles Town colonial Assembly) threatened to march on Charles Town if the could not get courts and law enforcement in the up-country. By April 1768, Governor Charles Montagu (in England) signed an act to provide a circuit court in the up-country and he formed two companies of rangers to hunt the outlaws. One or both of these ranger companies was under the command of Col. Schofield. Richard Pearis joined the Schofield Rangers in the fall of 1768. The Rangers were moderately successful. Unfortunately, the circuit court proposal was dismissed (primarily for economic reasons). Then, Governor Montegue tried to disband the Regulators by force, which brought conflict between the Regulators and the Rangers including a battle fought below Saluda Old Town .
In 1768, Lt. Governor Bull planned a new South Carolina Assembly election. Requirements for voting were to own 500 acres of land and ten slaves. The requirement to own slaves in order to vote, essentially forced relatively well-off up-country men like Richard Pearis to own slaves if they wanted to have any voice in the government. The voting was done by parish, and in many cases, the parish lines had to be surveyed before the vote. Bull was aware of the situation in the up-country and pointed out to Lord Hillsborough the British Colonial Secretary in London that the Regulators were responsible land-holders who should be viewed as having a legitimate complaint not just dabbling in violence and insurrection. Governor Montagu realized that the political groundwork was now in place and suggested that the South Carolina Assembly send him another circuit-court bill. They did and he approved it. Then he was able to get the British government to approve and fund it in December 1769 .
Governor Tryon of North Carolina was not as constructive in his response to the Regulators in his colony. In North Carolina, the Regulators soon were focused primarily on resolving disputed concerning excessive taxation and abuses of power. These disputes clearly were with the colonial governor; not outlaws.
One important group was founded at Maddock's Mill near Hillsborough (old Orange Co.) on 4 April 1767. In general, Governor Tryon was much more inclined to repress the Regulators that to comply with their demands, and the North Carolina Regulators seemed to focus on demands that could be interpreted as contrary to the interest of the governor. (In South Carolina, for example, it is hard to see subversion in a request for more royal courts. Although the governor might not like the way he was being asked to provide them. In North Carolina, the demands were to end practices of the governor.) Tensions elevated. The Regulators scheduled a mass meeting at Alamance Court House in May 1771. Governor Tryon sent 300 soldiers with 6 cannon from New Bern to breakup the Regulator meeting. The force picked up Royal militia units along the way (most likely from the Loyal Highland Scots on the Cape Fear) so that when they arrived at Alamance on 14 May 1771 the British fielded about 1,100 men. Although they were out numbered by the Regulators (about 2,000 men), the Regulators had not come prepared to fight; it was more of a political rally and most of them were not armed (certainly not prepared for war). More importantly, the Regulators had no war leader or military organization.
On 15 May 1771, the North Carolina Regulators sent a message to Governor Tryon outlining their complaints. In response, on 16 May, his army formed into battle formation and ordered the Regulators to disperse. When the Royal forces advanced, so did the Regulators. It was an unplanned spontaneous move. A two-hour battle with many characteristics of a riot broke out. In the process, the Royalists captured about a dozen of the Regulator leaders (including Captain Benjamin Merill, born about 1730, of Rowan Co. who had not arrived when the battle began and dispersed his men when he heard the result) and took them to Hillsborough where they were tried for high treason.
According to North Carolina colonial records (Vol. 8, pp. 642-643, 656):
The Supreme Court of Oyer & Terminer [to hear and execute], for the Tryal of the Regulators in the Back Country, began at Hillsborough 30 May, and continued to the 20th inst [June 1771]; during which, 12 were tryed and condemned for High Treason. The Gov. was pleased to suspend the execution of 6, till His Majesty's pleasure be known; the other 6 were executed on Wed 19 Jun at Hillsborough. Among the last, the most distinguished was Benjamin Merrill, who had been a Capt of Militia in Rowan Co. When the Chief Justice passed sentence he concluded in the following manner:
"I must now close my afflicting duty, by pronouncing upon you the awful sentence of the law; which is, that you, Benjamin Merrill, be carried to the place from whence you came, that you be drawn from thence to the place of execution, where you are to be hanged by the neck; that you be cut down while still alive, that your bowels be taken out and burnt before your face, that your head be cut off, your body divided into four quarters, and this be at His Majesty's disposal; and the Lord have Mercy upon your Soul." [And the Native Americans were suppose to be inhumane in their tortures! The Natives just did not dress it up with a lot of praying.]
In this crucial situation he [Merrill] gave his friends satisfactory evidence that he was prepared to die, for he not only professed faith in Christ, his hope of Heaven, and his willingness to go, but sang a Psalm very devoutly, and died like a Christian soldier. On being permitted to speak just before the execution, he said that fifteen years previously he had been converted , but had back-slidden, yet now felt that he was freely forgiven and that he would not change places with anyone on the grounds, in concluding he referred to his wife and 8 children. It is said that one of Tryon's soldiers was heard to declare that if all men went to the gallows with a character such as Capt Merrill's, `hanging would be an honorable death.' Capt. Merrill was a man held in general esteem for his honesty, integrity and piety. Just a few minutes before Benjamin was executed, he is quoted as saying, `In a few minutes I shall leave a widow and ten children. I entreat that no reflection be cast on them on my account, and, if possible, I shall deem it a bounty, should you gentlemen petition the Governor and Council that some part of my estate may be spared to the widow and fatherless."
[The execution was carried out on 19 June 1771. The estate was given back to the family.]
Had the battle gone the other way, Alamance Court House (16 May 1771) rather than Concord Green (1775) might have been taken as the beginning of the American War of Independence.
22.2 Two Virginians that played a Role in South Carolina
Thomas Sumter (1734 - 1832)
Thomas Sumter was born into a working class tidewater Virginia family on Preddy's Creek in present Hanover County (north of Richmond) on 14 August 1734. During the French and Indian War, he was called into the militia and was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sumter was an ambitious man who was fortunate enough to be in the right place and the right time to achieve a level of official recognition, and as we will see below, when he finally worked his way into a position from which he could advance into the social elite, he was not too proud to prostitute himself to do so.
Sumter's life was unexceptional until the conclusion of the dispute with the Cherokee in 1760- 1761. Sergeant Sumter was then sent as an aid to Captain Henry Timberlake who carried the treaty terms into Cherokee territory. A John McCormack went along as the interpreter. Sumter borrowed 60 pounds from a Mr. Alexander McDonald to provision the trip, which was planned for 10 days. Instead of taking five days to reach the Cherokee villages as expected, the party from eastern Virginia took 19 days to arrive at their destination. They were accompanied back to Williamsburg by 100 Cherokee.
The Cherokee were tired of dealing with British underlings and asked to speak directly to King George III. They hoped to resolve their disputes with the Europeans peaceably and permanently. The British Governor of Virginia, thus, facilitated sending a part of three Cherokee leaders (Ostenaco, Cumnacatogue [a.k.a., Cunne Shote, which translates to Standing/Stalking Turkey] and Pouting Pigeon) accompanied by Captain Timberlake, Sergeant Sumter and a translator named William Shorey. Keep in mind that Sumter's entire experience with the Cherokee consisted of his previous month's misadventures. The designation of the Timberlake party to escort the Cherokee was likely tied to Captain Timberlake's clout with the government in Williamsburg. In a letter of 4 August 1756 from George Washington to Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Washington states:
"I have just received your Honor's letter of the 12th ultimo. If Mr. Timberlake will enter as a volunteer in the regiment, and wait, as others have done, his turn, I shall be glad to serve him. But I cannot pretend to put him over young gentlemen who have served some months at their own expense, waiting preferment, without orders from your Honor; as such things have caused the greatest discontent and confusion in the regiment already."
It is not certain that these are the same Timberlakes, but it could indicate a patronage of Timberlake that would explain the assignments he received in 1761-62.
In any event, the Timberlake-Cherokee party sailed for England on the ship Epreuve and Mr. Shorey soon died. Nonetheless, the rest of the party arrived at Plymouth harbor on 16 June 1762. The arrival of the exotic Cherokee made Timberlake's party the talk of England. Timberlake and Sumter were soon sporting British army uniforms and soaking up the attention and publicity. By now Sumter, who had little knowledge of the Cherokee culture or language, had assumed the role of interpreter and expert on Native Americans. Thus, Sumter directly presented (what he though/assumed) the views of the Cherokee were to King George III and likely spouted gibberish on behalf of King George III to the Cherokee.
Soon the visit had run its course; and for 150 pounds (50 in advance), Sumter agreed to escort the Cherokee to their homes by way of Charles Town. Upon arriving in Charles Town on 28 October 1762, Sumter used the Cherokee as a device to see the Governor Thomas Boone. History records that the Cherokee were pleased with Sumter's work and asked him to accompany them to their town of Tomotley (It is not clear exactly where this was, the current town of Tomotley is in Beauford Co. on the coast. It is possible that the name was either Tamassee, Toxaway, or Tokeena all of which are on the upper Savannah River). In any event, the party left Charleston on 10 November 1762 and passed by Eutaw Springs (60 miles north west of Charles Town).
While Sumter was in the Cherokee towns, a French Canadian Lt. Baron des Jonnes appeared trying to win the Cherokee for the French . Apparently, neither Sumter nor des Jonnes were armed because Sumter captured the Canadian (after receiving approval from the Cherokee) by wrestling him down and tying him to a horse. Sumter then took the unfortunate Canadian to Fort Prince George (near present-day Clemson, SC) and turned him into the British who sent him to Britain by way of Charles Town. When Sumter followed to Charles Town (again stopping at Eutaw Springs), he given the welcome of a hero and the story was written up in the South Carolina Gazette. From there, he returned to his home in Virginia overland.
In Virginia, Sumter discovered that Mr. Alexander McDonald was extremely displeased with the fact that Sergeant Sumter had never repaid him the loan for the original trip. Sumter was placed in jail as a debtor! Friends helped him make his bond money and he was released in November 1763. However, he soon was jailed again for debts he owed to Samuel Cowden & Company in Staunton, Virginia. Without hope of bond, he escaped from jail and appeared a few weeks later on Long Canes Creek on the boarder of Cherokee territory and South Carolina just north of the Savannah River.
Henry Timberlake had not disappeared from the scene. He apparently returned to the Cherokee territory in 1763-64 and may have been the person who got Sumter out of jail in Virginia. Timberlake's important contribution from that era is a map of a 15-mile-long section of the Little Tennessee River from Fort Loudon to the east (i.e., Over Hill Cherokee). He listed each Cherokee settlement and the headman of the settlement and the number of men that the settlement sent to war.
In July 1764, from Ninety-Six, Sumter returned to Charles Town and attempted to collect for his services to the Colony of South Carolina. The South Carolinians referred him to the British and Lord Egremont had him paid 700 pounds. This was a generous sum , and with it, he bought the lands he had been admiring in Eutaw Springs in 1763.
From 1764 through 1767, Sumter became a prosperous merchant, but he was not the cream of the plantation society. With his history, one would have expected him to be solidly Tory/Loyalist in his view of the British. The British had given him everything, the Americans had given him nothing. Moreover, it is obvious that trade from Charles Town to the Cherokee via Ninety-Six and Richard Pearis's mills and stores on Reedy Creek passed by if not through Sumter's store in Eutaw Springs.
But Sumter was a social climber and found a way to gain access to the South Carolina power structure in the plantation belt. Across the Santee River from his store, the family founded by Tiege Cantey owned a plantation at Great Savannah (Clarendon County). This plantation fell into the hands of Mary Cantey Jameson (a wealth widow) who was said to be about 11 years older than Thomas Sumter. The odd couple married in the summer of 1767. In 1767, Sumter would have been 33 and this would have made Ms. Cantey Jameson 44 yrears old. Quite old by the standards of the day. Moreover, she was paralyzed in her left arm and leg from infantile paralyses. Obviously, a wealthy woman of the upper tidewater class would never have looked at Thomas Sumter; but an aging cripple apparently succumbed to his charms. Needless-to-say, the egotistical Mr. Sumter likely would have not given her a second look if she had not been attached to a wealthy plantation.
Not only did Sumter move into her plantation, he acquired powerful relatives. Another Virginian Col. Richard Richardson had already married one of Ms. Cantey Jameson's sisters and had used the social ties to gain access to political power in the tidewater. At an appropriate time (August 1767), the world was told that the 45-year-old Mrs. Sumter delivered an heir (Thomas Junior) . Sumter expanded his wealth through land speculation.
However, the good times were about to become more complex. When the Provincial Congress met in Charles Town (11 January 1775) Sumter was presented to represent his county elbow-to- elbow with men named Lauren, Rutledge, Richardson, Moultrie, Marion, Gadsden, Pinckney and Drayton . The tidewater Whigs (soon to become Patriots).
One of Sumter's social difficulties was his friendship with Moses Kirkland who was a Captain in the colonial militia. Sumter had always wanted an officer's rank and when Kirkland resigned from the Whig (Council of Safety)-controlled militia, he (as an act of friendship) suggested that the post be given to Sumter. Sumter was never really accepted by the Whigs and he had all the credentials of a Tory (including the friendship with Kirkland). Thus, the Committee of Safety refused to act on the appointment and soon dismissed Sumter's application even though Col. Richardson vouched for him.
By now, Sumter was concerned about being ostracized by his tidewater Whig friends if he did not prove himself to be as patriotic as they were, so he took the route of raising his own company of militia and, of course, got himself elected their captain. In November 1775, when Col. (soon General) Richardson led the "Snow Campaign" against the Tories (see below). Sumter went along and received a promotion to adjutant-general by his brother-in-law who also wrote letter praising him. Soon, (February 1776), Sumter was given the 2nd Regiment of Riflemen. The only combat they saw for the next few years was participation in burning of Cherokee towns in the "Cherokee War" of 1776 (see below).
Along with most of the back country people of the Carolinas, Sumter sat out the war until 1780 when the British successfully invaded Georgia and South Carolina. In the wake of the Patriot defeat at Camden, Sumter's son (Tom now 13 years old) was out riding when Buford's retreating men on their way to the Waxhaws (28 May 1780) passed by. Sumter was warned before the British Legion of dragoons under Banastre Tarleton rode by in pursuit of the fleeing Rebels. Sumter, with his servant "Soldier Tom," made it to Salisbury, North Carolina where his only option was to raise a force to fight a guerrilla war against the British . On 15 June 1780, Thomas Sumter became the General in charge of the South Carolina militia. His total lack of knowledge of conventional military strategy or tactics would become obvious over the next few years as he led men into frontal assaults on prepared positions. But like most heroes, he was lucky and arrogant. The Sumter story will be picked up in the general discussion of combat 1780- 1783.
Daniel Morgan (1735 - 1802)
Daniel Morgan was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey about 1735 by his estimate. In winter of 1752-53, he left home with basically the clothes on his back after some sort of argument with his family. The break was complete and final. He walked west and Carlisle, Pennsylvania and from there traveled to Williamsport on the Potomac. By the spring of 1753 he was in Charles Town (then Virginia, now West Virginia). His only asset was his ability to work and from jobs as a farm laborer he soon became the foreman of a sawmill. Wagon drivers were better paid and he took a job as a teamster. By 1754, he had saved enough to own his own wagon and team.
He was just in time to be contracted to haul supplies for General Braddock in his attempt to capture Fort Duquesne from the French; but after the rout, Morgan hauled wounded back to Winchester. Sometime during this process, Daniel Morgan who was a typical semi-literate, profane and brawling teamster got into an argument with a British officer. In the end, the officer struck Morgan with the flat of his sword and Morgan punched the officer with his fist. Apparently, Morgan fell under military law and was sentenced to 500 lashes. This was a serious penalty; basically an execution. But, Morgan survived and even joked later that the drummer had mis-counted and that he only received 499 lashes (with King George owing him a lash!). Regardless, Morgan was forever alienated from the British by the incident.
Upon his recovery, Daniel Morgan joined a company of rangers working out of Winchester. He soon saw action in April 1756. The road from Winchester to Fort Cumberland on the Potomac (Maryland) ran through Hampshire County (now West Virginia) crossing several streams including the Cacapon where a Virginia militia fort (Fort Edwards or Edward's Fort) had been built to protect the local farmers. George Washington was trying to keep this rode open and Morgan was apparently sent to Fort Edwards to assist. George Washington discussed the situation in a letter to Governor Dinwiddie:
Letter from George Washington to Robert Dinwiddie, April 7, 1756 Winchester, April 7, 1756.
Honble. Sir; I arrived here yesterday, and think it advisable to dispatch an express (notwithstanding I hear two or three are already sent down) to inform you of the unhappy situation of affairs on this quarter. The enemy have returned in greater numbers, committed several murders not far from Winchester, and even are so daring as to attack our forts in open day, as your Honor may see by the enclosed letters and papers. Many of the inhabitants are in a miserable situation by their losses, and so apprehensive of danger, that, I believe, unless a stop is put to the depredations of the Indians, the Blue Ridge will soon become our frontier.
I find it impossible to continue on to Fort Cumberland, until a body of men can be raised, in order to do which I have advised with Lord Fairfax, and other officers of the militia, who have ordered each captain to call a private muster, and to read the exhortation enclosed (for orders are no longer regarded in this county), in hopes that this expedient may meet with the wished-for success. If it should, I shall, with such men as are ordered from Fort Cumberland to join these, scour the woods and suspected places, in all the mountains, valleys, &c. on this part of our frontiers; and doubt not but I shall fall in with the Indians and their more cruel associates! I hope the present emergency of affairs, assisted by such good news as the Assembly may by this time have received from England, and the Commissioners, will determine them to take vigorous measures for their own and country's safety, and no longer depend on an uncertain way of raising men for their own protection. However absurd it may appear, it is nevertheless certain, that five hundred Indians have it more in their power to annoy the inhabitants, than ten times their number of regulars. For besides the advantageous way they have of fighting in the woods, their cunning and craft are not to be equaled, neither their activity and indefatigable sufferings. They prowl about like wolves, and, like them, do their mischief by stealth. They depend upon their dexterity in hunting and upon the cattle of the inhabitants for provisions. For which reason, I own, I do not think it unworthy the notice of the legislature to compel the inhabitants (if a general war is likely to ensue, and things to continue in this unhappy situation for any time), to live in townships, working at each other's farms by turns, and to drive their cattle into the thick settled parts of the country. Were this done, they could not be cut off by small parties, and large ones could not subsist without provisions.
It seemed to be the sentiment of the House of Burgesses when I was down, that a chain of forts should be erected upon our frontiers, for the defense of the people. This expedient, in my opinion, without an inconceivable number of men, will never answer their expectations. I doubt not but your Honor has had a particular account of Major Lewis's unsuccessful attempt to get to the Shawnees Town. It was an expedition, from the length of the march, I own, I always had little expectation of, and often expressed my uneasy apprehensions on that head. But since they are returned, with the Indians that accompanied them, I think it would be a very happy step to prevail upon the latter to proceed as far as Fort Cumberland. It is in their power to be of infinite use to us; and without Indians, we shall never be able to cope with those cruel foes to our country.
I would therefore beg leave to recommend in a very earnest manner, that your Honor would send an express to them immediately for this desirable end. I should have done it myself, but was uncertain whether it might prove agreeable or not. I also hope your Honor will order Major Lewis to secure his guides, as I understand he attributes all his misfortunes to their misconduct. Such offences as those should meet with adequate punishment, else we may ever be misled by designing villains. I am your Honor's, &c.
Since writing the above, Mr. [Richard] Pearis, who commanded a party as per enclosed list, is returned, who relates, that, upon the North River, he fell in with a small body of Indians which he engaged, and, after a dispute of half an hour, put them to flight. Monsieur Douville, commander of the party, was killed and scalped, and his instructions found about him, which I enclose. We had one man killed, and two wounded. Mr. Pearis sends the scalp by Jenkins; and I hope, although it is not an Indian's, they will meet with an adequate reward at least, as the monsieur's is of much more consequence. The whole party jointly claim the reward, no person pretending solely to assume the merit.
Your Honor may in some measure penetrate into the daring designs of the French by their instructions, where orders are given to burn , if possible, our magazine at Conococheague, a place that is in the midst of a thickly settled country.
I have ordered the party there to be made as strong as time and our present circumstances will afford, for fear they should attempt to execute the orders of Dumas. I have also ordered up an officer and twenty recruits to assist Joseph Edwards [Edward's Fort on Great Cacapon between Winchester and Romney], and the people on those waters. The people of this town are under dreadful apprehensions of an attack, and all the roads between this and Fort Cumberland are much infested. As I apprehend you will be obliged to draft men, I hope care will be taken that none are chosen but active, resolute men,--men, who are practiced to arms, and are marksmen.
I also hope that a good many more will be taken than what are requisite to complete our numbers to what the Assembly design to establish; as many of those we have got are really in a manner unfit for duty; and were received more through necessity than choice; and will very badly bear a re-examination. Another thing I would beg leave to recommend; and that is, that such men as are drafted, should be only taken for a time, by which means we shall get better men, and which will in all probability stay with us.
This letter is also presented with focus on other details in the discussion on the role of Richard Pearis in the French and Indian War. Here it is used to point out that Daniel Morgan may have been one of the wounded in Pearis's party or he may have been among the recruits Washington sent to help Joseph Edwards. In any event, from Morgan's biography, we learn that he and was riding back from Fort Edwards to Winchester with dispatches accompanied by another ranger when the were ambushed. The other man fell from his horse and was attacked by a half-dozen Shawnee who were on foot. Daniel Morgan received a musket ball, which apparently entered from the right rear under his jawbone and exited through his mouth taking the teeth on the left side of his jaw with it. He stayed on his horse and that saved his life as he was able to escape the Shawnee who chased him. Apparently, this wound kept him out of action until the British victory over the French at Fort Duquesne in 1758 brought peace to Virginia.
By 1758, Morgan had settled in a local wagoner hauling supplies in the Winchester area. He was a local ruffian in Battletown about nine miles from Winchester. There he engaged in brawls and fights with a man named Bill Davis who another local hero. Daniel Morgan was a few drinks and fights away from becoming an easily forgotten frontier character. However, he had acquired a little money hauling produce from Winchester through Ashby Gap to the east and returning with trade goods. Some how he connected with Abigail Curry a local farm girl in her late teens. They moved in together (with out being married) in 1763 (the same year that the Pearises moved to South Carolina). Over the next ten years, Ms. Curry brought some order and two daughters (Nancy and Betsy) to Daniel Morgan's life. The family prospered and bought a home and 255 acres of land and ten slaves. He also became a captain of the local militia.
The Virginia militia was called up in 1774 to fight Lord Dunmore's War against the Shawnee. Morgan had about six months in the field gaining experience in leading his company. When in the spring of 1775, the War of Independence broke out, Daniel Morgan had no trouble deciding whose side he should be on. The scars on his back from the whipping 20 years earlier were constant reminder of British arrogance. His remarkable military career that likely give him claim to the "Father of the American Light Infantry" began when the Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Two of these came from Virginia and one of the Virginia companies was to be raised in old Frederick County. Captain Daniel Morgan was selected to raise the Frederick County company for the Congress. The point that came up later was that this was an appointment from the central government (not a colonial militia).
Morgan led his company of 96 backwoods riflemen from Winchester on 15 July 1775 bound for Cambridge, Massachusetts where they arrived on 6 August after a trip of 600 miles. Soon George Washington ordered young Benedict Arnold to lead an expedition against the British into Canada. Three of the rifle companies were chosen to accompany Arnold and Morgan was chosen to command the three rifle companies (his own plus two from Pennsylvania). Soon after leaving Boston for Maine the issue of who was in charge of whom came up when Arnold tried to attach one of the rifle companies under a colonial militia commander from Rhode Island. Morgan protested and George Washington had to sort things out in a letter to Morgan on 4 October 1775:
Camp at Cambridge, October 4, 1775.
Sir: I write you in Consequence of Information I have received that you and the Captains of the Rifle Companies on the Detachment against Quebec, claim an Exemption from the Command of all the Field Officers except Colonel Arnold. I understand this Claim is founded upon some Expressions of mine; but if you understood me in this Way, you are much mistaken in my Meaning. My Intention is and ever was that every Officer should command according to his Rank. To do otherwise, would subvert all military Order and authority, which, I am sure, you could not wish or expect. Now the Mistake is rectified, I trust you will exert yourself to support my Intentions, ever remembering that by the same Rule that you claim an independent Command and break in upon military Authority, others will do the same by you; and of Consequence the Expedition must terminate in Shame and Disgrace to yourselves and the Reproach and Detriment of your Country. To a man of true Spirit and military Character farther Argument is unnecessary. I shall, therefore, recommend you to preserve the utmost Harmony among yourselves, to which a due subordination will much contribute and wishing you all Health and Success, I remain etc.
Regardless of Washington's letter, Arnold found it expedient to put Morgan in charge of the three rifle companies and send them off to lead the army almost due north from Western Fort (near present-day Augusta, Maine) on 25 September 1775 for Quebec. A winter campaign in Canada was an enormous undertaking. Nonetheless, by 10 November the party of about 675 men reached Point Levis on the St. Lawrence River. Approximately, 400 men had been lost in the 350 mile expedition. Morgan's leadership style was typically "follow me!" which earned the admiration of all of his men.
They crossed the river adjacent to Quebec on the evening of 13 November 1775 and patrols revealed that they had achieved surprise. However, before they could launch an attack, they were discovered. They decided to wait and plan a deliberate attack. During this period, tempers ran short as did food; but they were soon joined by General Richard Montgomery who had marched north from New York and captured Montreal. Montgomery brought 300 men and took over command of the expedition against Quebec. Montgomery and Arnold devised a plan to attack the city (defended by about 1,800 men) under cover of darkness and a snow storm. Arnold would attack from the north and Montgomery would attack from the south. The two forces were suppose to meet in the outer city and attack the inner fortifications jointly. Even with modern communications such a plan would be difficult to coordinate and splitting the force to attach a numerically superior enemy on his own ground does not sound like sound generalship.
Nonetheless, on the evening of 30 December, Montgomery and Arnold attempted to execute their plan. Arnold and Morgan made good progress when they attacked, but Arnold was wounded and Morgan took command. Morgan continued his daring and aggressive attack against odds to the planned meeting point but did not find Montgomery who was killed in his initial attack. The other officers advised that they halt and wait for Montgomery. While they wasted time, the British reformed and surrounded them. Morgan wanted to attempt to break out of the city, but the officers with him insisted that they surrender. Morgan was ultimately cornered at bayonet point and only then did he hand over his sword to a Catholic priest and weep bitter tears. The British kept him in the city and paroled him in September 1776. He was then exchanged for British held by the Americans in January 1777. By then, Washington and the colonies had heard of his exploits.
But, Morgan was just getting started. He was assigned a rifle corps which took part in an important battle against Sir William Howe's forces in New Jersey. Nonetheless, The British under General Burgoyne and General Barry St. Leger invaded New York. The British political plan was to split the New England colonies from the southern colonies. This might isolate the rebellion in New England and allow the British to reach a separate peace with the South. The military plan to achieve the political goal was to have the major force under General Burgoyne attack south from Montreal to Albany, New York via Lake Champlain. At the same time, a smaller force (300 regulars) under General Barry St. Leger reinforced with Mohawk Valley Tories (250) under Sir John Johnson; Iroquois (1,000) led by Thayendanegea, a.k.a., Joseph Brant a white-educated Mohawk; and Canadian militia (500) was to swing around from the west. Specifically, the St. Leger force was to travel down the St. Lawrence across Lake Ontario to Oswego and capture the Oswego River Valley with Lake Oneida. Then they were to capture Fort Stanwix (now Rome, NY), which controlled the portages from the Oswego Valley to the Mohawk Valley proceed down the valley and join Burgoyne at Albany. This action began in June 1777.
In self-defense, the Patriot militia of the lower Mohawk assembled under Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer at Fort Dayton (present-day Herkimer, NY) with the intention of marching to re-enforce Fort Stanwix. The militia included about 800 Europeans joined on the march by about 60 Oneida warriors. The militia left Fort Dayton on 4 August 1777. Accounts vary , but Herkimer was apparently supported by five officers: Ebenezer Cox was second in command and rode at the head of the column with Herkimer; followed in order by units under Jacob Klock, Peter Bellinger, and Richard Visscher. Visscher was the rear guard and followed some pack wagons. One account mentions Isaac Paris as an officer. Paris apparently ran a trading post in Fort Dayton. Isaac Paris may have been an off-shoot of one of the New England Parris families (e.g., Samuel Parris was in the center of the Salem witch trials of 1692 ).
Isaac Paris may have led an independent group of scouts used as flank guards or he may have been in charge of the wagons (either of these two positions would account for why he was not one of the line officers mentioned in some accounts). In any event, Paris and Cox were very vocal about the importance of reaching Fort Stanwix quickly. This makes sense, because that was the entire point of the mission and in theory the area between Fort Dayton and Fort Stanwix was still secure. Nonetheless, Herkimer seemed to waste time and the wagons slowed the party down. The march of 30 miles began to look like it would take a week. The force moved in a column-of- twos in the ruts of the wagon road. I believe that Paris was in charge of the flank guards/scouts. Unfortunately, the slow march and the steep hills beside the river forced the flankers/scouts to march only a few yards out from the main column where they were of little real use at detecting or preventing ambushes.
Predictably, St. Leger besieged the Fort with his regulars and used the Native Americans and Tories to set an ambush for Herkimer's column near Oriskany Creek. Although Herkimer came out of this battle as a Patriot hero; it is easy to see why his officers were less than pleased and had more of them survived, Herkimer might have been the one blamed for the disaster that resulted when the ambush was sprung on 6 August 1777. Suffice it to say that in the opening volley, around a hundred Patriot militiamen were wounded or killed. Cox was killed out right. Herkimer was wounded in the lower leg and continued to direct the battle, but he later bled to death after a botched amputation back at Fort Dayton (the inexperienced surgeon did not know that the arteries had to be tied off or cauterized). Isaac Paris was wounded in the initial volley as a ball shattered his lower arm. He was quickly captured, which would have been consistent with his being in a flank guard position nearest the enemy. According to one version (Eckert), several other officers were also captured. Eckert states in a footnote "Colonel Isaac Paris was reportedly tortured to death by the [Iroquois] on August 24, eighteen days after the battle. Eight other officers who had been captured were allegedly killed running the gauntlet."
After the Battle of Oriskany, the New Yorkers called for Daniel Morgan's corps by name for protection and Washington dispatched Morgan and his riflemen on 16 August 1777 to a New York town called Saratoga. On the way, he joined the army of General Haratio Gates where the Mohawk meets the Hudson.
Morgan's forces swept the British scouts and light infantry from the forest giving Gates and Benedict Arnold the advantage of knowledge of where the enemy was without giving the British the same information. It was in the preliminary engagements of this fighting that Daniel Morgan learned how to operate his riflemen against regular infantry units. In the later engagements he took his light infantry on wide flanking maneuvers that contributed to the total defeat of Burgoyne's British regulars.
In spite of more successes in 1778, Morgan did not receive a general's rank. He finally returned home in 1779. His final moments would come when he was called into action in the South Carolina campaign in 1780.
The Infantry Combat Arms and Tactics 1750-1800
The riflemen had an effective range of about 300 yards but could only get off about 1 shot per minute. The bayonet-armed line infantry could fire volleys at a rate of three per minute but they were only accurate to about 80 yards. When faced with riflemen, the line infantry would attempt to close to within volley distance (80 yards) and then charge with their bayonets while the riflemen tried to reload. Interestingly, this was similar to the technique used by the Highland Scots who often carried only a magnificent and powerful blade called a claymore, which could be used mercilessly against line infantry armed with mere bayonets and empty muskets. The riflemen usually carried a war-hatchet (tomahawk) that was good for hand-to-hand fighting, but was not attractive against a bayonet charge (and certainly not against a claymore).
22.3 The Western Carolinas (1763 - 1776)
The Cherokee Nation 1763 - 1776
The victory over the French was considered to be somewhat hollow by many British colonists because of the limitations imposed by the Proclamation of 1763. The Europeans coveted the lands of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. Daniel Boone became something of a folk-hero because of his exploits in the region (see below). To the extent that the Shawnee had supported the French in the war and the Cherokee had little interest in the Ohio except pride, it might have been prudent for the British to open the Ohio for settlement and put the Shawnee under the oversight of the Cherokee in West Virginia. Although the Shawnee and the Cherokee were certain to not get along well, the Shawnee might have at least buffered the Cherokee from the Europeans who in the final analysis were much more aggressive.
Nonetheless, the Cherokee looked to the west and spent eleven years (1758-1769) periodically warring with the Chickasaw accomplishing nothing more than a stalemate. The Cherokee (as well as the Creek) kept their eyes open to developments in the north and attended the tribal meetings at Scotia in 1770 and 1771 with the Ohio tribes. Predictably, when Lord Dunmore's War broke out (1773- 1774) the Cherokee were content to watch the Shawnee fight the Europeans for their land.
To head off some of the frustration from the colonists, the British alternately bribed and extorted the Cherokee and the Iroquois to cede lands to the colonies. In the Lochaber Treaty (1770) and the Augusta Treaty (1773) the Cherokee transferred two-million acres to Georgia presumably to settle any debts owed to European traders. The Iroquois cessions (1768) opened the door to the Ohio. In both cases, the Native Americans tried to strengthen their claim on their homelands by giving the Europeans clear title to lands which were not under the Nation's control. The same can be said for the Watauga Treaty (1774) and the Sycamore Shoals Treaty (March 1775) with the Overhill Cherokee in which eastern and central Kentucky where the Shawnee had taken refuge were transferred to the Transylvania Land Company (i.e., the Henderson Purchase). Richard Pearis was present at Sycamore Shoals (Watauga River) for the signing of the treaty.
The Cherokee, of course, did not care that this was contrary to the Proclamation of 1763. Moreover, the land was occupied and claimed by the Shawnee. The Transylvania Company was well aware that the Cherokee were selling something that they did not own (although they could claim the territory as part of the spoils of war); but they were happy to take advantage of the fact that the governments (British or American) failed to distinguish among different tribes. The Transylvania Company realized that the Shawnee would not go quietly; that is why they hired Daniel Boone . Nonetheless, the Shawnee (who were literally sold out by the Cherokee and the Iroquois) stood and fought for 40 years. They had no other choice; neither they nor the Europeans considered assimilation as an option.
These concessions created a split within the Cherokee. It was clear that the majority favored cooperation and ultimately assimilation with the Europeans. But a significant minority faction formed around Cui Canacina (Dragging Canoe) leader of the Chickamauga-Cherokee in northwest Georgia. This faction was particularly susceptible to the arguments of the British Indian agents (e.g., John Stuart) living among them. The British assured the Cherokee that they would hold the line of the Proclamation of 1763, but by the concessions that the Cherokee had made especially in the north, they showed that they were willing to negotiate with the colonies to achieve mutual goals. The majority of the tribes on the Frontier sided solidly with the British against the colonists. Oddly the British had now found their position to be similar to that of the French in 1754, i.e., without the colonies, the British were just traders. The Mohawk, Shawnee and Ottawa tribes took up the British cause. The majority of the Cherokee wanted to solve the problem presented by the American War of Independence by simply staying neutral.
The neutrality of the majority of the Cherokee was, however, to be eclipsed by the actions of the Chickamauga who joined with the southern Shawnee and followed the guidance of the British Indian Agents into the opening battles of the American War of Independence.
Michael Frome in his book Strangers in High Places (1966, Doubleday) relates an event that occurred on the eve of the war. William Bartram a naturalist who visited the mountains of the Cherokee in 1775 was travelling from Cowee to Chote alone when he met a party of Cherokee headed for Charles Town. The party was led by Attacullaculla (Little Carpenter) who was on his way to meet with John Stuart. When he arrived in Charles Town, he found that Stuart had been forced to Florida.
Attacullaculla was soon replaced as supreme chief of the Cherokee by Oconostota (translation Groundhog-sausage, but known to most Europeans as Great Warrior). Great Warrior was the war (red) chief. And, the Cherokee were being drawn into the war between Britain and her colonies.
Richard Pearis's South Carolina Land Deal (1769 - 1774)
Between 1763 and 1768, the Richard Pearis family established themselves in a trading post on the Reedy River (South Carolina) just beyond the claims of Tryon County (North Carolina). His relationship with the Cherokee had continued and expanded. He basically had dual families Rhoda and his European children (Sarah and Margaret and then Richard, Jr.) and Pratchey with his Cherokee children (now George and Nelly). He realized that the only power to grant land was the Cherokee Nation. Thus, he set about trying to find a way around the Proclamation of 1763.
As discussed above, the Cherokee were willing to trade and make land concessions to their friends. British Indian Agents John Stuart and Alexander Cameron were trying to further their own personal interest in South Carolina and Georgia. In particular, Stuart (who was variously stationed at Charles Town, Pensacola, and Mobile) sent a series of letters to the Earls of Hillsborough and Dartmouth during the period November 1770 through February 1772 discussing the settlement of the boundary line between the Cherokee and Virginia. Alexander Cameron was apparently the surveyor. Stuart and Cameron were not pleased that Richard Pearis who was seen as an outsider (a Virginian) was now trying to get into the business of Cherokee lands. Stuart who was clearly an upper-class bureaucrat generally denigrated the lawless and unruly "Virginians." By this time, Richard had an ally in the person of Jacob Hite (a descendent of old Yost Hite) who had moved nearby the Pearises in South Carolina.
Pearis's first move was to get the headman of Estatoy (Estatoe) and Toogalo (Saluy [Salone] , a.k.a., Young Warrior of Estatoy) and two other headmen of the Lower Cherokee to deed 12 square-miles in the valley of the Upper Saluda to his son George Pearis. This was done in late 1769 or early 1770, and it was reported to Stuart by John Watts (an interpreter) from the Cherokee town of Keowee by letter on 17 May 1770. The following was provided by Stuart to Hillsborough (the English is modernized here, documents are from the British Public Records Office obtained through the University of Virginia):
Abstract of a Letter from John Watts Indian Interpreter in the Cherokee Nation to John Stuart Esq. Dated Keowee 17 May 1770
There have been great talks here about Richard Paris coming with a great cargo, three wagons loaded one with rifle guns & the other two with goods. He hath since come in but none of the Overhill Warriors saw him, they being gone to meet you three days before, which I am sorry for the Great warrior does not approve of his [Paris's] coming there at all & would have been apt to have him away if he [Great Warrior] had seen him [Paris]. When Paris came he sent for the Indians for to come & see him & for to let them have two tracts of land more. The Indians expecting great things from Paris went in a body to receive presents, but was disappointed for he only brought nine rifle guns, one dozen shirts, some pipe tomahawks and a little scarlet booling, which he distributed amongst the warriors so the young fellows and women did not get one farthings worth, for my part I think it would be necessary for to order him [Paris] out of the Nation & off the Indians' lands altogether. For I take him to be a very dangerous settler and will breed great disturbances if he is let alone for he will tell the Indians anything to please them.
I am informed by Jajustuskee [spelling?] that the warriors have signed another grant of land to Paris for the rifle guns that he brought now whither it is a contrivance amongst them all or how they intend to manage it I cannot tell. For the Great Warrior [i.e., Occonnashotah] was very angry about his [Paris's] settling there at all. He came to me & said "Who is Paris, he must certainly be some great man, greater than the governor of Virginia? For when the Governor wants land we were obliged to ask the King's liberty first but when Paris wants to ask nobody, he being a great man thinks and do as he pleases."
The land transaction was technically between the Cherokee and Richard Pearis's son George Parris. As a transaction among Cherokee, the British (in the person of Stuart and Cameron) had little basis for objection. The situation, however, became murky when Jacob Hite (allegedly) forged a letter (dated 14 June 1770) to a Virginia official (Botecourt) from Oconostota (a.k.a., Occonnastotah, Great Warrior) requesting that 12 square-miles be jointly conveyed to George Pearis, Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite . On 27 June 1770, Cameron wrote to Stuart concerning the attempts by Richard Pearis to get written titles to grant made by the Cherokee and described his efforts to stop Pearis. The following was provided by Stuart to Hillsborough (the English is modernized here):
Abstract of a Letter from Alexander Cameron Esq. Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs to John Stuart Esq. Dated Ninety-Six 27 June 1770
On the ^ instant, I received a letter from Mr. Wilkinson informing me that Mr. Richard Pearis with another gentleman from Virginia called Height [Jacob Hite] were then in the Lower towns soliciting the headmen of that settlement to make titles to the lands which some of them had agreed last August  to let Paris have.
I set off next morning in hopes to see him but as the letter was wrote sometime before I received it, I found upon my arrival at Keowee the 6th following that Paris & his friend the Young Warrior were gone over the mountains to get the chiefs there to confirm & signing then his titles. I could not proceed after them the waters being so high every where, which continued for some time. The 10th I sent off an Indian who assured me that he would swim where he could not ford with a talk to the Great Warrior, Carpenter, Willinawaw etc. telling them the bad consequences of their signing any paper that should be offered to them by Paris or any person in a private charter and that they could not have forgot what you said to them about Paris's land particularly at the Congarees
I am pretty well assured that if the messenger should get over before Paris can assemble the headmen together that he will have no hearing, but on the contrary, the Young Warrior may influence them unless they are cautious as being much of an orator & greatly concerned in this affair himself.
Paris promises him that if he should obtain a grant of the lands for him. That he will supply him with whatever necessary he should want during his life and as soon as the land was secure, that he would set out for England & carry the Young Warrior with him . Paris has brought in a number of rifle guns, which he has given as presents to the Cherokee. I staid at Keowee until the 20th in hopes that Paris would return that way as I intend to apprehend him and send him to Charles Town, but I was informed that he was to have gone into Virginia by Chriswell Mines.
The bogus letter written by Hite was presented (unwittingly) to Lord Botecourt in Williamsburg, VA by Saluy on 17 August 1770. Whether or not the Great Warrior was correctly represented, Saluy (the Young Warrior) made it clear to the Virginians that the Lower Cherokee wanted to build trade with Virginia (the war with the Creeks had limited their ability to trade with the South Carolinians) and that he believed that the best way to ensure this trade was to give land to favored traders such as Richard Pearis and his son. Saluy also complained that the southern Indian Agents (Stuart and Cameron) were interfering with the Cherokee managing their lands as they saw fit. Nonetheless, Botecourt sided with Stuart and Cameron stating that he could not endorse the grant to Pearis and Hite because it would violate the Proclamation of 1763.
A few weeks later (5 October 1770), the Virginians held the Lochaber Conference with the Cherokee to settle the Virginia-Cherokee line. It is clear that hostility was growing between Pearis and Hite and Stuart and Cameron. Stuart wrote to General Gage on 12 December 1770 complaining that the Virginians (Pearis and Hite) forged documents and otherwise put words into the mouths of Cherokee headmen (e.g., Saluy) during the Lochaber conference. The following letter was written by Stuart to Hillsborough (British Public Records Office obtained through the University of Virginia):
Charles Town 28th November 1770
I have the honor of submitting to your Lordship a journal of my proceedings with the chiefs of the Cherokee Nation at congress held at Lochaber, on the Frontiers of this province 260 miles distant from hence the 18th of October last.
Every step that could be thought of was taken by a set of self-interested men in the province of Virginia to embarrass me in the settlement of a boundary line. Emissaries were sent into the Nation to practice upon the Indians and prevail upon them to refuse treating with me. The Young Warrior, Saluy, was decoyed into Virginia and a talk put into his mouth; as will appear by the Minutes of Council, of which my Lord Botetount was pleased to send me a copy. Forged letters were sent to Lord Botetoun and the Indians were brought to sign them, under pretence that they were directed to the governor of Virginia and the superintendent, requesting A trade from that province. The persons employed to translate this business were not unattentative to their own interests. In the same fraudulent manner, they obtained for themselves title to great tracts of land beyond the established boundary. These were Jacob Hite and Richard Pearis formerly an Indian trader; the former [Hite] wrote the letters, conveyances of land of and carrier of the Young Warrior Saluy who died on his return home; the latter [Pearis] speaking their language remained to manage matters with those Indians. I had information of their practices, which they knew; for which reason Mr. Pearis did not choose to appear at the congress, without my permission which he applied for, as he said, in order to justify his conduct. After the treaty was signed, I sent for him and he came. I confronted him with the Indians in presence of Col, Donelson, and they declared with great indignation their utter ignorance of the letters & talk referr4ed to in the minutes of the Council of Virginia, as well as of the titles of land obtained from them; persisting that they understood them to be letters soliciting a talk as above mentioned. I cannot here suppress an incident that gave me great pleasure as it showed the temper of the Nation more than anything the Chiefs could have said. I appeared a little cross at the second day's conference. After signing the treaty, the principal chiefs with all the headmen came to me attended by all the young people, and told that the young men thought I had taken great offence at what they had said; and would not be convinced without hearing me declare to the contrary, which I very quickly did. [more]
The efforts of Stuart and Cameron to prevent land deals between the Cherokee and individual traders (specifically Pearis and Hite) continued into 1771. On 3 March 1771, Cameron brought together Overhill headmen at Toqueh. Apparently, Cameron was trying to reaffirm the principle that the Cherokee could not dispose of land directly to traders. Ustenneka (a.k.a., Judd's Friend) objected and restated the Cherokee position that the land was theirs to dispose as they wished. This feud apparently festered for over two more years. In a letter of 9 February 1772 to the Earl of Hillsborough, Stuart discussed the desire of the Cherokee to make a land grant to the half- breed son of Alexander Cameron. On 4 January 1773, Stuart wrote Hillsborough that the Virginians were disrupting relations with the Cherokee. Soon on 8 January 1773, Stuart wrote Hillsborough reaffirming the earlier issue of Cherokee land grants to the son of Cameron; but also complaining that Jacob Hite and Richard Pearis were fraudulently obtaining land cessions from the Cherokee. John Stuart wrote a similar letter on this same day to the Earl of Darmouth.
Finally, on 21 December 1773, Uconnastotoh (a.k.a., Oconostota, Great Warrior who became the supreme war chief of the Cherokee in 1775), Willinawauh (a.k.a., Willenawah son of Attacullaculla known as Great Eagle) and Ewe deeded 150,000 acres (a plot roughly 20 miles wide from the headwaters of the Saluda to the headwaters of the Enoree by 12 miles deep including present-day Greenville, South Carolina) to George Pearis (Parris). John Stuart used this transaction as the basis for bringing legal action against Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite in the newly established court in Ninety-Six. Pearis and Hite were not charged under the Proclamation of 1763, but rather they were charged with violating a 1739 South Carolina statute that forbade private citizens from entering into treaties with Natives Americans. Pearis and Hite lost the case. Hence, they were forced to renounce title to land they claimed and they were fined; but they never actually moved off the lands. This trial was in late 1773. John Stuart wrote a letter to the Earl of Dartmouth in Charles Town on 21 December 1773 reporting the trial of Hite and Pearis (and enclosing accusations made by Cameron to Stuart on 11 October 1773 that Richard Pearis was buying stolen horses and selling them in Virginia). Stuart also wrote to Hillsborough from Charles Town describing the judgment on 21 December 1773. Around the first of the year 1774, Richard Pearis put his son George on a ship to England. George Pearis (Parris) stayed in England just long enough to be naturalized as a British citizen and returned to South Carolina by about April 1774. While George was away, Richard had the plot surveyed and a deed made out to George signed by the Cherokee headmen. On 27 April 1774, George Pearis (now a British citizen) deeded the land to his father Richard. However, in the deed, one third of the land was reserved to George Pearis as follows:
"This Indenture made [27 April 1774] between George Pearis and Richard Pearis
"WITNESSETH that said George Pearis for and in consideration of [500 pounds and love for Richard] do grant bargain and sell .unto said Richard Pearis Esq. All that tract or grant of land given and ceded to the said George Pearis by a deed whereof made under the hands and seals of Uconnasoth, Willinawaugh and Ewe three principal chiefs in behalf of themselves and the rest of the Cherokee Nation ..[on 21 December 1773]
"BEGINNING [description of the property, about 150,000 acres of land]
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises under the exceptions as following to the said Richard Pearis Esq. And his heirs and assigns forever nevertheless the said George Pearis for himself and his heirs do hereby keep and reserve for himself and his heirs one third part of the said tract or grant of land and said George Pearis his heirs etc. shall have a good right and as just a property claim and demand in and to said one third part of the above granted land and premises and shall as full and ample possess and enjoy the same to all intents and purposes as if the deed had never been made nevertheless the said George Pearis hereby agrees..[to recognize the deal made between Richard Pearis and Jacob Hite in 1770 giving Hite twelve square-miles (about 30,000 acres) of land which is in the larger tract now under consideration.]
By my calculation then George Pearis was reserved about 50,000 un-specified acres within the 150,000 grand while Hite received about 30,000 acres. Richard Pearis subsequently claimed the following lands:
10,000 acres on Reedy River (Greenville, SC) called the "Great Plains"
This was his home and eventually included a trading post, houses for about 15 salves, saw and grist mills, about 100 acres cleared for corn, barns and pens for animals including about 40 riding horses, and orchards.
5,000 acres on the upper Saluda River
5,200 acres on the upper Enoree River.
Beyond the Hite grant (30,000 acres) and the lands specifically claimed by Richard (22,000 acres) there was about 100,000 acres, which apparently were never developed or subdivided (by their rightful and lawful owners) but in which Richard and George had roughly equal shares.
The conflict between Pearis and Hite and the British Indian Agents (Stuart and Cameron) explains why Pearis actually spoke to the Cherokee on behalf of the Patriots in 1775. As it worked out, Pearis and Hite were soon to find themselves in an uncomfortable position between the British and the South Carolinians.
The Arcadians (1713 -1780)
The end of Queen Anne's War in 1713, presented the British with their first major land cession from the French in the New World. One piece was what the British called Nova Scotia but what the French (Catholic) inhabitants called Arcadia. The Arcadians were descents of the original French colonists going back to 1603. From 1713 through 1755, the French-speaking Arcadians lived under British rule and evolved a new cultural identity (neither French nor British). When the French and Indian War came the British were naturally somewhat nervous about these French- speaking colonists under their domain. The Arcadian population in 1755 was about 15,000. The British issued an oath of loyalty and those who would not pledge to them were deported. Thus, in 1755, about 7,000 Arcadians were deported to the lower British colonies and to England.
During the war, the Arcadians were viewed with distrust in the British colonies and upon closure of hostilities in 1763, many attempted to return home. Between 1765 and 1785, about 1,500 Arcadians moved to Louisiana. These attracted immigration of Arcadians from Canada and England over the next 20 years. These immigrants grew in number and became identified as Cajuns reestablishing an entirely new culture and identity in the swamps of Louisiana. They would get a measure of revenge against the British in 1815.
The Culpepers (Catholic) and Fairfaxes (Protestant) had been on opposite sides of the English Civil War. The southern part of Orange County (between the Ripidan and the Rappahannock and east of the Blue Ridge) became Culpeper County in 1748 (effective 17 May 1749). The Old Culpeper Co. included present-day Culpeper, Madison (1792) and Rappahannock (1831) Counties.
The end of the survey line was marked with the "Fairfax Stone" which is now a small park near Blackwater Falls State Park. To find it on a map, look for the southern tip of the western boundary of the state of Maryland. The survey line can be identified by the section of the boarder between Virginia and West Virginia that points toward this spot. This dispute about who owned the land resulted in legal disputed that went on for years.
Although an indenture might seem burdensome today, it is likely that few settlers would consider a thirty-year mortgage with interest as fair either. Before 1741, Smith returned to the east with his wife. Their log cabin became incorporated in a house that still stands west of Back Creek and south of Route 50. The grandson lived until 1810 and founded the town of Pearisburg, Virginia in 1806. Sarah Walker who was obviously of African descent was the mother of Anne and George William Fairfax. Her father, William Fairfax, had been the Chief Justice of the Bahamas. This is exactly parallel to the migrating Celtic and Teutonic tribes of pre-Roman Europe, and I believe that much could be learned by applying the known principles of Native American history to Bronze Age Europe. Pearis, the slave, apparently accompanied Richard Pearis most of his life and is mentioned in Richard Pearis's will (circa 1790).
This may be Richard Pearis's Cherokee wife "Pratchy." If Richard Pearis was following the "path from Virginia" indicated on the Timberlake map of 1761, he would have had the option of going directly to Chote on the south side of the Little Tenessee River or turning west (without crossing the river) until he came to a series of islands that would have provided a ford to Toqua (about 5 miles west of Chote and also south of the river). Tommotley is slightly west of Toqua and if Grant had been going to Chote, he would have been headed east on the south side of the river while Pearis pasted headed west on the north side of the river. And there are a lot of people named "Parris" in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. who are damn happy she did. Robert Cavelier, the Sieur de La Salle and Celeron de Bienville were some of the early French explorers. This information is referenced to the Virginia Burgesses Journals, 1752 - 1758, pp. 379 - 381. The main source of information seems to either be Captain Preston or some one who was with Captain Preston. The progress of the party is told from that point of view. Lewis seemed to be frequently behind or at some distance from the informant, but it appears that Lewis was close enough to be contacted within a few hours by messenger. To this point, no one had died and they were actually being fed meat almost every day. The enemy had not even been encountered. They had only been on the move about 3 weeks and had covered barely 50 miles. I sense that the expedition was being held back by some very inexperienced officers and a core of malcontent men. This move into Pennsylvania and likely into New York, may have been the mechanism through which Isaac Pearis (Paris) ended up at Fort Dayton on the Mohawk River. There was a Captain Isaac Paris with General Herkimer at the Battle of Oriskany in 1777. From the viewpoint of the average settler, it was just another phase of the French and Indian War. It was not. This incident was closer to "friendly fire" based upon misidentification of the enemy. The Cherokee chiefs soon got the situation under control and asked for a cease-fire.
This version is from Ramsay's History of South Carolina from its First Settlement in 1670 to the Year 1808, Volume I, preface dated "Charleston, December 31st, 1808" published in 1858 by W.J. Duffie, Newberry, South Carolina and reprinted in 1959 by the Reprint Company, Spartanburg, SC. See Ted Morgan, Wilderness at Dawn, The settling of the North American Continent. 1993, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. pp. 352-361. As is customary, Ramsey makes the entire affair sound like a glorious military victory for the Europeans. Apparently, no Cherokee dead were discovered on the field and in 1808, Ramsey stated that they were dragged off by their comrades. This is a familiar rationalization that appears in most guerilla wars, most recently Vietnam. Judging from the spellings presented by Lewis, he must have had little education and his wife Mary seems to have been illiterate. Gabriel Jones was an attorney. See letter of 6 October 1757 from Gabriel Jones to George Washington.
In the 1790s, Richard Pearis claimed compensation from the British government for lose of the lands on Swan Pond during the American War of Independence. The claims were denied. Pearis may have forgotten he sold them or may have just been trying to inflate his claims to the British. The lot #7 purchased from Mary Wood many years before finally ended in the hands of Margaret Aldred who sold it to Henry Aldred on 23 March 1782. Margaret Aldred had received it in the will of her father Christopher who had bought the lot from Robert Pearis through Robert's attorney. The young George Washington had slept at the ordinary on Thursday 17 March 1748 while scouting for Lord Fairfax. He described it as "a tolerable good bed to lay on," in his journal Journey Over the Mountains. You may notice that I have consistently belittled George Pearis, Jr. (brother or Richard and Robert). It would be possible to take the sparce facts and make him sound like a rather upstanding citizen, but in my eyes, the absence of recorded marriages, property ownership or notice in offical correspondence back in Winchester (1740-1763) and the appearance of two independent sons living at the family (George Pearis, Sr.) homestead gives me an immage of an irresponsible (uneducated, possibly alcoholic) older brother acting a an agent for his more organized younger brother(s). I have seen examples of this in other families. Virginia Governor John Murray, Earl of Dunmore. In most American histories the Rangers who opposed the vigilante Regulators are derisively called "Schophilites," implying that they were merely a counter-revolutionary force. In fact, they were the legitimate law enforcers in the backcountry who were attempting to bring organized justice to the area. Richard Pearis certainly had every reason to want bandits and outlaws eliminated and courts provided.
This account is based upon Ted Morgan. Wilderness at Dawn the settling of the North American Continent. 1993. Simon & Shuster. pp. 360-361. Benjamin Merriel was a deacon of the Jersey Baptist Church of Rowan, NC founded in 1754. was a deacon of the Jersey Baptist Church in Rowan Co, NC, organized in 1754. This request (1762) was a little late in the French and Indian War to be taken seriously.
It was comparable to what Richard Pearis had received for the sale of all his lands in Virginia in 1763.
Let's see a show of hands for the people who believe it was her child. She is reported to have had yet another child.
Drayton Hall built in 1742 still stands on the Ashley River. It is the oldest surviving example of Georgian Paladin architecture in the southern U. S. It apparently escaped burning in the War Between the States in the 1860s by claiming to be a small pox hospital. When the British arrived at Sumter's home they found his pathetic wife sitting in her chair with his 12-year-old son. They moved her outside, plundered the house (and smokehouse) and burned it while she watched from the yard. I am relying on accounts by W. J. Wood in Battles of the Revolutionary War 1775-1781 (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1990, pp. 115-121) and Allan W. Eckert The Wilderness War (Little, Brown and Company, Boston, pp. 129 - 137 and 452). For a fictional dramatization see the movie Drums Along the Mohawk in which Henry Fonda plays a young farmer in the militia (note that Isaac Paris is mentioned in this movie).
Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem was a devout Protestant. In January of 1692, his daughter Elizabeth (age 9) and niece (Abigail Williams, age 11) became ill and he called in a doctor William Griggs. Doctor Griggs diagnosed the girls' illness as being bewitchment. A number of older girls (12 to 20 years of age) picked up this idea and were the ones who accused many people of witchcraft. Samuel Parris was a moderate and attempted to end the violence against persons accused of being witches.
This Parris family apparently gave rise to Alexander Parris (born in Hebron District of Massachusetts 24 November 1780 - died in Pembroke, Massachusetts 16 June 1852). This Alexander Parris became a famous architect, a principal who popularized the Greek Revival style in early 19th-century Massachusetts. He worked at the Charleston (Boston) Navy Yard from 1825 through 1840 where he designed the Rope Walk, which manufactured Navy cordage from 1837 in to World War II. He is also known for the 1826 Quincy Market building, which is still considered one of Boston's best buildings.
If the Japanese think they invented the "Bansai!" charge, they should have been at Culloden (1745). It is said that after the transaction one of the Cherokee negotiators took Daniel Boone aside and said "We have sold you much fine land, but I am afraid you will have trouble if you try to live there." According to Michael Frome (1966, page 44), Oconostota was a member of the St. Andrews Society in Charles Town and was known to colonial and British leaders in Williamsburg, VA and Charles Town, SC. He likely knew Richard Pearis from the French and Indian War expeditions. He may also have been the father or brother of the Cherokee woman with whom Richard Pearis fathered George Parris in 1754. Since the Cherokee, did not write English and had no written language of their own, any written document would have been dictated through an interpreter. Hite was trying to circumvent the South Carolina-Georgia- Florida Indian administration. I believe that Cameron and Stuart managed to get the Young Warrior confused with Richard Pearis's son George Parris. In all likelihood George Parris (now about 16 years old) would have been part of the Pearis delegation to the Overhill chiefs. It is not clear to me what specific benefit that Young Warrior was to get from the land deal beyond what Pearis promised. That is, Young Warrior was not a partner in the deal. However George Parris was a "partner" in the deal as he would end up owning most of the land. The spellings used here are those on the deed. Most authors indicate that George received two-thirds, but that is not the way the copy of the deed summarized by Richard D. Sawyer in his "Claims and Losses Sustained by Richard Pearis" reads. George may have continued to hold in common with Richard about 50,000 acres. The residuals of these lands appear to have been accumulated into the Paris Mountain State Park near Greenville, South Carolina.
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