Re: Wm COOLEY & Daniel BOONE

From: curt mason <>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 11:29:45 -0700

Below is a transcription of an article from the Tuckaseegee Valley
Historical Review. It's no longer online, I had to call & ask for a
copy. It concerns the circumstances surrounding Boones "explorations"
in the wilderness, who, when, where & why. Our Wm Cooley isn't
mentioned, so no help there but may provide clues for you. If you
find your article from IN I'd like to get a copy from you. People
mentioned include my MOORMAN and CANDLER relatives. The COOLEYs are
my wife's people.

On 9/22/11, Patrick Cooley <> wrote:
> Outstanding Michael!
> Any chance this is the same William Cooley documented in a Salem, Indiana
> library book as having explored the Cumberland gap with Daniel Boone? I have
> this copied in my files and will have to find it again.
> Patrick Cooley
> Indianapolis, IN

Curt, in Phoenix, Arizona
Transylania Real Estate: Speculation of Cherokee Lands
by Linda Hoxit Raster
On March 17, 1775, Richard Henderson and eight other private investors
purchased two large tracts of land from the Cherokee at a meeting at
Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River for 10,000 in merchandise. This
was named "The Colony of Transylvania in North America." Company
investors Col. Richard Henderson, Col. John Williams, Thomas Hart,
Col. David Hart, Capt. Nathaniel Hart, Col. John Luttrell, James Hogg,
William Johnson, and Leonard Henley Bullock would seem to have found
the formula for success. Aside from sheer force of capital, their
varied backgrounds included extensive experience in military, law and
business. They hired rugged frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and
Joseph Martin to help tame the wilderness for new settlers.1  And
while their purchase of Cherokee lands was made in violation of the
royal proclamation of 1763, this direct interference in Cherokee
relations marked the beginning of a new era in commercial land
acquisition. Land speculation would rarely again be bound by legal
   The Transylvania Purchase was certainly not the first white
settlement beyond the Indian Boundary. Hunters and traders had long
ventured into Indian Territory. Behind them came individuals and small
settlements staking out unofficial claims beyond the reach of British
law and taxes.2  Henderson forged a relationship with Daniel Boone as
early as 1863 when British law prohibited further settlement in Indian
Territory. The original company used Boone's hunting trips as an
excuse for Boone to examine the western territory and locate the best
lands for future settlement. On the eve of the Revolution, Henderson
and his now larger Transylvania Company stood
1 Lyman C. Draper, The Life of Daniel Boone, ed. Ted Franklin Belue
(Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998). 570-579.
2 Archibald Henderson, "The Creative Forces in Westward Expansion:
Henderson and Boone," The American Historical Review. 20, 1 (Oct. l9l4): 69-91.
Spring 2002 45
ready to take advantage of the pending chaos.3  Henderson's purchase
attracted international alarm even before it was completed. Colonel
William Preston wrote to Governor Earl of Dunmore about the situation
on January 23,1775 describing the negotiations and purchase plans.
Henderson planned to sell the property at extremely low prices.
Preston was concerned that people would settle on these lands and not
consider themselves as British subjects. "Henderson undertakes to make
deeds in his own and company's names to the purchasers as sole
proprietors of the land, and may easily persuade those ignorant people
to believe his title good; does not propose paying quitrents unless
His Majesty will recognize his title, and in that case will only give
up the sovereignty and pay the usual quitrents; but will reserve that
granting the land to the company."4  By March 14, 1775, the crisis
demanded intervention. Governor Earl of Dunmore wrote to the Earl of
Dartmouth about his concerns and described his efforts to stop
Henderson that included sending out surveyors into the area. He also
mentioned another plan, "I thought likewise it might have some effect
in defeating this design of Henderson if I could excite fears in the
Indians concerned, and I have sent a message to them..."5  However,
tensions continued to escalate. Settlers arrived near Boonesborough as
well as the Watauga and Holston Rivers, all within Cherokee Territory.
The British stocked the Cherokee with guns, ammunition, and supplies
to help defend their territory.6  In the end, British reaction to the
Transylvania Purchase proved irrelevant for the colony itself. Col.
John Luttrell died during his military service September 15, 1781.
Indians killed Nathaniel Hart near Boonesborough July 22, 1782. The
remaining seven original stockholders of the Transylvania Company
found their dream snatched away by the new nation.
   Virginia and North Carolina thought enough of the Crown's laws
3 Henderson, "The Creative Forces of Westward Expansion," 99-100.
4 William Preston to Governor Earl of Dunmore (25 Jan. 1775), K.G.
Davies, ed., Documents of the American Revolution I770 - I783
(Colonial Office Series), XI, Transcripts 1775 January to June
(Dublin: Irish University Press, 1975), 33-34.
5 Davies, Documents of the American Revolution 1770 - 1783, 81-82.
6 John Stuart to Lord George Germain (23 Aug 1776)' K.G. Davies, ed.,
Documents of the American Revolution 1770 - 1783 (Colonial Office
Series) XII, Transcipts 1776 (Dublin: lrish University Press, 1975),
46 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
to agree that all such purchases should be on behalf of the state and
thus claimed the Transylvania purchases for themselves. In 1783, North
Carolina was willing to grant Henderson and other interested
Transylvanians 200,000 acres as compensation. This land was far from
Boonesborough and would involve renewed efforts to settle. This solved
two problems for the state:  Compensation to Henderson and improved
control of Indian Lands.
   Despite its ultimate failure, the Transylvania Company did mark the
beginning of a new era in Cherokee relations in which diplomatic
relations would be largely controlled by commercial land speculation
interests, taking a dominant roll over the trade networks which had
brought the Cherokee into a dependent relationship with white
settlers. Transylvania was conceived as
the perfect business scheme. Ignoring laws, it focused on three
necessary ingredients: access to capital, gained through the
investors; access to land, gained through Cherokee negotiations;  and
access to a market, gained by advertising inexpensive land to
potential settlers hungry for land of their own and frightened by the
aspects on the coming war. But Transylvania failed because it lacked
the one vital factor that would dominate speculation activity in
Cherokee Territory: Government influence.
   Land speculators would learn their lessons quickly. Over the next
twenty-five years, speculation activity on all levels adapted to a
constantly changing political landscape. By the time of the Treaty of
Tellico in 1798 such business had become a well-oiled machine capable
of consuming hundreds of thousands of acres in a single transaction
with the promise of massive future profits. Speculators learned to
manipulate access to land, investment capital, markets, and government
power and policy to their advantage. And when it came to speculation
of Cherokee Territory, speculators learned from the Transylvania
Colony that direct involvement in negotiations and government activity
was the key to successful land speculation.
   Far from the evolving settlement of Boonesborough, relations with
the Cherokee were less than commercial. July 29, 1776 the North
Carolina Council of Safety sent General Griffith Rutherford and his
militia from the District of Salisbury against the Cherokee in
response to a plea for help from Virginia. Gen. Rutherford was to meet
with South Carolina troops under the command of Major Andrew
Williamson. They would march
Spring 2002                 47
together to meet troops from Virginia. The goal of the military attack
was to destroy the Cherokee villages. As the success of the campaign
continued, the Council of Safety sent a letter to Gen. Rutherford via
Waightstill Avery to make preparations to secure the area, build a
fort if possible, and prepare for coming bad weather. Avery would
deliver fresh supplies and return with information.7  Such careful
planning was necessary with growing concern that the various Indian
nations might unite against the Colonies.
   By 1777,the Cherokee threat had been virtually annihilated through
the military destruction of the Cherokee towns. Over the next few
years only minor military efforts would be needed to maintain control
over the Cherokee.8  May 20, 1777 the Cherokee relinquished great
amounts of their South Carolina lands at a treaty at DeWitt's Corner.
Soon after, on July 20, a similar treaty was completed between the
Cherokee and the states of North Carolina and Virginia. This treaty
was sometimes referred to as Avery's Treaty as Waightstill Avery
played a dominant role in negotiating on behalf of North Carolina.
This treaty included the stipulation that "no person shall enter or
survey anylands within the Indian hunting grounds, or without the
limits heretofore ceded by them." North Carolina ratified the treaty
the following year.9
   In the meantime, the thoughts of the soldiers changed from warfare
to business. North Carolina developed a system of granting land in
1777.Three men, including General Rutherford, presented the bill for
the establishment of a Land Office.10  Individuals were required to
locate unoccupied land and enter a claim for that land at the county
courthouse. If there were no challenges to the claim, a warrant was
issued. The claimant could sell this warrant, or use it to have the
property surveyed by the county surveyor. Once the warrant holder had
the survey, he could pay the proper fees and obtain a grant from that
7 Council of Safety to Genl. Rutherford (11 Sep 1776), Walter Clark,
ed., State Records of North Carolina, 24 vols. (Raleigh: State of
North carolina, 1895), XI:351-352.
8 Robert L. Ganyard, "Threat from the West: North Carolina and the
Cherokee 1776-1778," The North Carolina Historical Review XLV, 1
(Jan., 1968): 63-64.
9 Charles C. Royce, The Cherokee Nation of Indians (Chicago: Aldine
Publishing Company, 1975), 150.
l0 Clark. State Records of North Carolina, XXIV:43-48.
48 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
which specified the price,location and amount of land, orders to
register the grant at the local courthouse within a year and
instructions to pay taxes.11
   This was followed by the creation of Burke County.  Rutherford
County quickly followed, though the established lines were vague and
final boundaries would not be drawn until 1788. Despite the length of
time in determining boundary lines, attorney George Smathers would
later conclude that Burke County was never meant to include property
south of the Earl of Granville's southern boundary line and Rutherford
County was never meant to cover area west of the Blue Ridge Divide.12
Smathers also recognized that numerous grants were issued for land at
the head of the French Broad River despite these limitations, many of
which should have been void. Though at the time Smathers wrote,
sufficient time had passed to make this only an interesting bit of
   Charles McDowell, a participant in the Cherokee expedition was
appointed entry taker for the new Burke County. Among the first
entries were several McDowell family and Davidson family entries for
land on the French Broad River stretching from Swannanoa area where
Rutherford's army crossed the French Broad River South towards the
headwaters of the river.14  Both families had officers involved in
Rutherford's march against the Cherokee and many of these entries were
for land remaining in Cherokee Territory. Waightstill Avery, who led
the treaty negotiations, would also take out entries for land in this
area at the head of the French Broad River. While securing a
legitimate title for these lands would take years, the existence of
the treaty lines drawn by Avery himself would help protect these
claims from other entries. For these grants, early claims kept the
price low reducing the need for the scarce capital. Access to the land
came through the military service. The amount of land involved was
relatively small and sold primarily through family and business
networks. Legal status for these titles was secured through political
appointments in
11 Helen F.M. Leary, ed., North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local
History (Raleigh: North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1980), 207-21l.
12 George H. Smathers, The History of Land Titles in Western North
Carolina.(Asheville, NC: The Miller Printing Company, 1938), 22.
13 Smathers, The History of Land Titles in Western North Carolina. 22.
14 Edith Warren Huggins, ed., Burke County, NC Land Records. Vol. l
1778. (Raleigh: Carolina Copy Center, 1977).
Spring 2002 49
county offices, such as McDowell's appointment as Entry Taker as well
as network connections impacting local politics and Cherokee
   When North Carolina formed Buncombe County in 1792, the Davidson
family figured heavily in county politics with the first court being
held at Col. William Davidson's house. Thomas Davidson was appointed
as Entry Taker. Lambert Clayton, who had married into the Davidson
family, was appointed as Justice.  One of the first orders of business
was to complete a road from William Davidson's house on the Swannanoa
River to Davidson River where many of these early land claims were
still located within Cherokee Territory, including the home of Lambert
In 1802, Clayton used his influence to encourage running the new
Cherokee Boundary Line West of his property. In response to a letter
from Col. Meigs, Clayton wrote concerning the location of "Little
River" meant to be the southern end of the line. He claimed the Little
River must refer to a branch of the "Savandhia" as the Little River on
the French Broad River near his home had only recently been named
Little River.l6 Despite Clayton's claims, land records show that
Little River had held that name for several years.17  Political
appointees used their offices in many ways to facilitate speculation
corruption.  Surveyors took bribes to change boundaries. Entry Takers
took bribes to change entry dates so that previously claimed land
could still be acquired. Lambert Clayton created a deal with land
buyer John Brown, cautioning him to secrecy to protect Clayton's
political position.18  But all these efforts were minor issues
involving minor players in the race to seize Cherokee
Lands. And such secretive manipulation was necessary for smaller
businessmen to hope for even some measure of success.
15 April Session 1792, Buncombe County, NC Court Records, vol l.
16 Little River is located in present day Transylvania County, North
Carolina that was included in the original boundary of Buncombe
County. Lambert Clayton to Col. Meigs (15 Sep. 1802), Records of the
Cherokee Indian Agency in Tennessee l80l-1835, Roll l: Correspondence
& Misc. Records 1801-1802 (Washington: National Archives, 1952).
Microfilm # 208.
17 The 1792 Buncombe County Court records contain several references
to Little River. Additional references are found in the entries of
John Carson in the 1794 Buncombe County, NC Land Entry Book.
18 Newsome A.R., ed., "John Brown's Journal of Travel in Western North
Carolina in 1795," The North Carolina Historical Review XI (1934): 284-313.
50 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
   While the McDowell, Avery, and Davidson family networks expanded
their Western North Carolina land holdings, the Blount fimily was
building an empire. These three North Carolina brothers: John Gray,
Thomas, and William, worked together to maintain and expand their
massive planter class holdings and business interests. John Gray was
the center of the international business operations,living on the
family estate.  Thomas chose a military career. William used political
appointments to protect the family business interests. Their land
speculation ventures began by 1783 when William Blount, then a
delegate in the NC Congress, joined five other North Carolinians in
forming a company to form a colony at Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee
River. Other company members were Richard Caswell,leader of the NC
Senate; General Griffith Rutherford; Joseph Martin and John Donelson,
Indian Agents forVirginia and former associates of Richard Henderson;
and John Sevier, colonel of the militia of Washington County on the
   Like the Transylvania Colony, the Muscle Shoals
Company purchased titles for the Shoals region directly from the
Cherokee. Blount then set out to convince the State of Georgia to
secure a grant for the territory. In doing so, he advised Donelson to
lie if necessary to convince Georgia of a large number of people
preparing to settle in the Shoals region.19  Blount and the company
also looked out for their property interests through opposing
establishing the state of Franklin. Blount and Martin also served in
the negotiations at the Treaty of Hopewell in 1785, again looking out
for their own business interests along side of the interests of
diplomacy. Ultimately, the Muscle Shoals Company fell victim to
politics, but before ending, this simple land speculation scheme
touched the political affairs of North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, the United States' General Government, Spain and France. And
it would not be Blount's last attempt to gain land through
international politics.20
   In 1783, when William Blount began working with the Muscle Shoals
Company, a previously unknown name appears in the papers of his
brother, John Gray Blount. It is a short and somewhat obscure
reference in a letter from John Nelson to
19 A.P. Whitaker, "The Muscle Shoals Speculation, 1783-1789," The
Mississippi Valley Historical Review 13, 3 (Dec. 1926):368-369.
20 Whitaker, "The Muscle Shoals Speculation," 372-373.
Spring 2OO2         51
John Gray Blount on August 17, 1783, "...have enclosed you an Order
drawn by your Bro. William in favor of me on David Allison for
Sixty-Six Dollars. he refuses to settle it."21  David Allison
continued to gain greater influence in Blount family affairs,
eventually acting as their agent in Philadelphia, orchestrating
international business arrangements and land speculation schemes.
Allison entered politics in a log cabin courthouse in Jonesborough on
May 12,1788 when William Blount, newly appointed Governor of the
Territory South of the River Ohio, appointed him, along with Andrew
Jackson and Waightstill Avery, as attorneys. Jackson practiced law
with Allison, and later entered into merchant business with Allison.
This business relationship later nearly destroyed Jackson's finances
and political career.22  Blount used Allison in an official and
unofficial capacity to handle political and family business affairs.
Allison participated in matters as varied as Cherokee diplomacy and
questionable slave trade.23  Allison and Blount directly proposed war
with the Cherokee, a measure that would have favored the Blount land
claims.24  Allison continued to receive political appointments from
Blount including Judge of the Miro District, which he later left to
take the position of paymaster of the militia. He continued to hold
this position even after he relocated to Philadelphia to handle Blount
21 John Nelson to John Gray Blount (17 Aug. 1783), Alice Keith, The
John Gray Blount Papers, 4 vols. (Raleigh: State Department of
Archives, 1959) 2:85.
22 Lewis L. Laska, "The Dam'st Situation Ever Man Was Placed In":
Andrew Jackson, David Allison, and the Frontier Economy of 1795,"
Tennessee Historical Quarterly LIV, 4 (1995): 336-347.
23 Clarence Edwin Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the (United
States, vol. IV, The Territory South of the River Ohio (New York: AMS
Press, 1973).  Allison's participation in Indian negotiations
described in Secretary of War to the President (28 Jul. 1792),160;
Secretary of War to Govemor Blount (15 Aug. 1792), 162-163 described
an attempt by the Cherokee to attack Allison; Governor Blount and
General Pickens. Blount would later lobby for war against the
Cherokee, a measure that would likely have succeeded if the US was not
already involved in a war against the Northern Tribes. See Secretary
of War to Governor Blount (26 Nov. 1792),220-226; Governor Blount to
Acting Governor Smith (17 Jun. 1793), 274.  For reference to a
contoversial slave business Allison conducted for the Blount's see
Hugh Williamson to John Gray Blount (25 Nov. 1792),Keith 2:218.
24 Carter, The Territorial Papers of the United States. Secretary of
War to Governor Blount (26 Nov. 1792),4:220-226. Governor Blount to
Acting Governor Smith (17 Jun. 1793), 4:274. Attempts to promote war
with the Cherokee failed since the US was already at war with the
Northern tribes.
52 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
affairs from the nations political and business capitol until his death in 1798.
   The immense business and political network of the Blount brothers
meant only matters of international politics and economics could stop
their efforts. Having tremendous political pull and access to large
amounts of capital allowed virtual control of Tennessee and
significant portions of North Carolina.  During their relationship
with Allison, some of their greatest speculation activity occurred.
The Treaty of Hopewell, signed in 1785, set out instructions for a new
boundary line between the Cherokee and whites. The actual survey for
this line was not run until 1797. In addition to Muscle Shoals, the
short-lived proposed State of Franklin and settlements at the fork of
the French Broad and Holston Rivers continued to attract white
   These settlements continued to antagonize the Cherokee:  ln 1790,
the State of Tennessee was formed. And in 1791 the Muscle Shoals
speculation attracted many white settlers after Georgia authorized
this Tennessee Company to manage 3,500,000 acres of land. However,
this blatant violation of Cherokee Treaty was too much for the United
States to support.  The President at last declared that if the company
persisted in settling the region, it would be outside the protection
of the United States, and the Indians would be free to destroy it. The
Muscle Shoals settlements ended at the hands of angered Indians.25
The United States authorized a new Treaty with the Cherokee in 1791,
before the boundary lines from the previous treaty had been run, to
ease tensions in the region. This treaty raised the annual allotment
of money and called for the removal of white settlers west of the
divide between the waters of the Tennessee River and the waters of
Little River.26 Despite the new agreements, settlement continued and
hostilities continued to escalate, requiring Blount to call out his
militia to defend the white settlements.
   Other military matters were on the minds of the Blounts and their
operative, David Allison. In 1785, North Carolina still owed back pay
to its Revolutionary Soldiers. Most of these soldiers had not had
access to the speculation schemes of officers such as the McDowells
and Davidsons. These soldiers
25 Royce, The Cherokee Nation of Indians, 169.
26 Royce, The Cherokee Nation of Indians, 170.
Spring 2002               53
remained uncompensated for their service, and many were in desperate
need of income. Offering land as payment for military services was not
new, and had been used to support earlier Indian wars. For
Revolutionary War Soldiers, land was offered by the Federal Government
and several states. North Carolina, with extensive western lands in
what would become Tennessee, offered large tracts of land for past
military service. However, the military grant system made it difficult
for soldiers to claim their property. Once the warrant was obtained,
it was up to the veteran to locate the land and have it surveyed. This
process proved time consuming and cost prohibitive to most veterans.
Besides a complex bureaucracy that favored organized speculation
schemes, many veterans simply did not want to relocate due to age or
the far distance of the new unsettled region. Ready to take advantage
of the situation were speculators, land office personnel, and military
   In a series of legislation in 178o, 1782, 1783, and 1784, North
Carolina established a system for distributing the future Tennessee
lands set aside for veterans. One of the complications was that the
original tract reserved for these grants had already undergone
considerable settlement, forcing North Carolina to look further for an
unoccupied tract.28  The actual process was hampered by several
factors. A lack of records made verifying war service difficult. As a
result, officers were permitted to provide lists of their men as
evidence of service. Many of these contained erroneous and falsified
information. Once the warrant for land was issued, the recipient could
sell it.
   ln 1784,William Blount was already obtaining these warrants. John
Sevier saw the new legislation as a way to convert earlier land
entries obtained under the 1779 Confiscation Act into legitimate deed.
He bribed Secretary of State James Glasgow with a portion of the land
to change the date and the amount paid. Beyond this, the only evidence
pointing to the earlier date was the numerical sequence in the entry
books that soon became lost. Later, in 1798 as the details of fraud
surrounding the military grants were exposed, testimony pointed to a
plan by William Blount and William
27 Daniel Janson, "A Case of Fraud and Deception: The Revolutionary
War Military Land Bounty Policy in Tennessee," The Journal of East
Tennessee History 64 (1992): 52-59.
28 Janson, 35.
54 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
Terrell at Blount's home to destroy state records in Raleigh that held
evidence against them. What came to be known as the Glasgow Land Fraud
was too great to be handled in the existing court system, leading to
the creation of what would become the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Continued Blount family connections to the scandal came forth during
the investigations, including obtaining duplicate grants off of the
same land warrants. In the end, the affair ended Glasgow's career.
After his fines were paid, he moved to Tennessee. As for Tennessee,
the extent of fraud connected with military land grants eventually led
the state to refuse to acknowledge the legality of any military
   David Allison participated in the military land grant schemes of
the Blount brothers both in Tennessee and as the family's business
agent in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, Allison staged some of
his most daring land speculation schemes. ln 1794, the boundary lines
for the Treaty of Hopewell still had not been surveyed. Despite
this,land entries were regularly made in the effected territory.
Speculators like Lambert Clayton were content to wait until after the
more concrete Treaty of Tellico in 1798 to actually take out grants on
these entries. But Allison, as well as northern investors William
Cathcart and George Lattimer, realized that in the competition for
western North Carolina lands, waiting for treaties would not allow for
large-scale speculation activity. The race was on.  Allison's
speculation arrangements involved as much as 1,000,000 acres of
western North Carolina land at a time. The extensive Blount business
network allowed Allison in Philadelphia to arrange minute details for
entries, warrants, and even grants for land on both sides of the yet
to be surveyed Cherokee Boundary line, all carefully acquired with
land entries of 640 acres Little description for these land
claims were given other than that they were adjacent to each other,
though one claimed by John Gray Blount did mention that it included
29 Russell S. Koonts, "'An Angel Has Fallen!': The Glasgow Land Frauds
and the Emergence of the North Carolina Supreme Court," The North
Carolina Historical Review 73, 3 (1995), 301-328.
30 The North Carolina Land Act of 1794, in an attempt to curtail
speculation, prevented entries over 640 acres. However, speculators
circumvented these regulations by taking out numerous contiguous
entries and later executing one survey and grant to cover them all.
Smathers, The History of Land Titles in Western North Carolina. 74-75.
5pring 2002                                55
the house of competing speculator, Waightstill Avery.  Philadelphia
investors William Cathcart and George Lattimer were also included.31
While the Blount empire had secured the necessary network and
political influence to gain rapid access to soon to be available land,
the problem of access to capital left all land speculators grappling
for any available cash. Demands for cash proved problematic to Allison
as well as to John Brown, buyer for Cathcart and Lattimer. As for
finding a market for these lands, the Blounts planned to send Allison
to Europe to open a land office to sell the land to potential
   The 1794 and 1795 race for Buncombe County, NC land entries
resulted in seven massive speculation grants issued in 1796, with much
of the land remaining in Cherokee Territory.  William Cathcart and
partner George Lattimer obtained 183,780 acres. John Gray Blount and
his agent David Allison obtained 746,880 acre.32  The extent of the
1794 speculation activity was such that John Carson of Burke County,
North Carolina, a Blount operative who assisted in acquiring the
entries, petitioned the Secretary of State July 15, 1795 stating that
he believed that all vacant land in Buncombe County had been claimed.
Carson also complained against former entry taker Thomas Davidson,
referring to the original entrybook covering 1792 and 1793 which had
"accidentally consumed to ashes" suggesting that Davidson was back
dating warrants to 1793 claiming they were included in this burned
book. Carson also emphasized that Davidson owed the state at least
1,000 which he did not believe Davidson had any intention of
   Throughout Allison's association with the Blounts, his personal
financial problems plagued the family. Allison was constantly
requesting more funds to manage the family business. When Allison went
bankrupt, his financial ties almost landed the newly elected Tennessee
congressmen William Blount and Andrew Jackson in debtors prison in
connection with merchant activity in Tennessee. But William Blount had
larger legal problems. ln 1797, the Boundary line between the
31 Buncombe County Land Entry Book, 1794, Buncombe County, NC Central
Records Office.
32 E.M. Moffit Map prepared for George Smathers in 1937. The map
includes these significant grants which crossed the Meigs-Freeman Line
established in 1802 and does not include smaller speculation activity.
33 Petition of John Carson of Burke County (15 Jul. 1795), Keith, The
John Gray Blount Papers, 2:661-662.
56 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
Cherokee and whites still had not been run. Andrew Pickens from South
Carolina, Benjamin Hawkins from North Carolina, and James Winchester
from Tennessee were appointed to run the line to help stop white
settlement in Cherokee territory.  Hawkins was frustrated by three
events during this attempt to resolve Cherokee white relations. The
first was to learn of an "experiment line" run by Blount, far to the
west of where the boundary line would really be located to entice
settlers to the area.34  The second was the delay of General
Winchester in joining them causing Hawkins and Pickens to prepare to
complete the survey themselves. However, the most significant
discovery was a letter from William Blount to interpreter James Carey
concerning an international plot allegedly to help those living on the
western edge of the frontier but which would also promote Blount land
acquisition.35  The conspiracy involved the United States, Britain,
France, Spain, and Indian nations. Carey, feeling uneasy about the
affair, became intoxicated and finally turned the letter over. When
Hawkins brought the matter to the attention of Congress, the Senate
set out to impeach William Blount for treason in what became known as
the Blount Land Fraud. Blount retreated to Tennessee and resigned
before the impeachment could proceed.36
  By 1798, Allison experienced increasing financial problems. Blount
operatives and soon Thomas Blount himself reported misgivings about
Allison's trustworthiness to John Gray Blount. In addition, Thomas was
deeply upset by the effects of the Blount Land Fraud on family
honor.37 Allison's debt problems were increasing as were the debts of
the Blounts.  And his land schemes were becoming more daring. Back in
1796, Allison suggested to John Gray Blount, "I believe the Ex
Secretary has clearly proved that it is not only Justifiable and
34 Journal Entry (07 Apr. 1979), Benjamin Hawkins, Letters of Benjamin
Hawkins, Georgia Historical Society Collections IX (Savannah: Georgia
Historical Society, l9l6), ll5.
35 Benjamin Hawkins and Andrew Pickens to James McHenry (24 Apr.
1797), Hawkins, 130-131.
36 Thomas Blount to John Gray Blount (08 Feb. 1798), Keith, The John
Gray Blount Papers, 2:2O5-206.
37 George Ogg to John Gray Blount, (07 Sep. 1795), Keith, The John Gray
Blount Papers,2:589; Thomas Blount to John Gray Blount (29 Mar. 1798), William
H. Masterson, The John Gray Blount Papers, 4 vols., (Raleigh: State
Department of
History, 1965) 3:218-219.
Spring 2002                         57
legal but highly proper to overdraw, at certain seasons and for
special causes" in reference to what had become their habit of
borrowing from one fund to pay off the debts of another.38  At one
point, to circumvent the lack of ready cash, he actually sold property
prior to obtaining it. Obtaining the property proved more difficult
than expected.
   The international economy was suffering a depression that was
affecting the business climate of Philadelphia. Allison's personal
Philadelphia business failed, eventually landing Allison in debtor's
prison. Even here, he continued to manage Blount business affairs,
though he complained of the difficulty prison placed on these affairs.
At the center of his concern was a tract of land in Buncombe County
that contained over 250,240 acres that the Blounts had placed in
Allison's name to facilitate sales.
   Allison's debts made the tract vulnerable to seizure by his
creditors. In addition, there were back taxes due. Allison proposed a
desperate move to rid the tax problems as well as move the land out of
reach from his creditors. He instructed John Gray Blount to have
another Blount agent, John Strouther, purchase the land at the tax
sale. Strouther was chosen since he did not have family and would be
able to travel easily to Europe with Allison.39  But Allison would not
see Europe. He died in prison September 28, 1798. However, the
financial nightmare created by Allison would haunt all three Blount
brothers the rest of their lives as they attempted to salvage their
profits and lands from the Allison estate proceedings.  As for
Strouther, he quickly set about securing the Buncombe lands. In
Raleigh he identified conflicting land claims and proposed to John
Gray Blount that it might be necessary to sell off portions of the
land for taxes as well as to prove the legitimacy of the title.40
   While Allison and the Blounts struggled with economic and political
difficulties in 1797, a virtually unknown man was preparing to enter
into Buncombe County Land Speculation.  Before Pickens and Hawkins
could complete their boundary line
38 David Allison to John Gray Blount (21 Jan. 1796), Masterson, The
John Gray Blount Papers,3:9-ll. The reference is to Secretary of the
Treasury Alexander Hamilton's practice of using congressional funds
appropriated for one purpose for another.
39 David Allison to John Gray Blount (16 Jul. 1798), Masterson, The
John Gray Blount Papers, 3:250-251.
40 John Strouther to John Gray Blount (29 Dec. 1798), Masterson, The
John Gray Blount Papers, 3:268-269.
56 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
between the whites and Cherokee, the state line between North and
South Carolina needed to be extended. This was done under the
supervision of surveyor James Clark Kilpatrick. However the line ended
up being several miles too far to the North. A marker continued to
exist on this line into the 1980s. The front was marked "1797 P.L." On
the reverse were the initials "Z.C.," the survey mark used by
Zachariah Candler.41
   Whatever Candler's role in the survey was, it was a minor role. His
name does not appear in the accounts of Benjamin Hawkins. But it did
involve him in the region surrounding the headwaters of the French
Broad River.  ln 1799, Candler purchased 3130 acres of the Allison
Grant from fellow surveyor John Strouther.42  After the Treaty of
Tellico in 1798 and new Meigs-Freeman line in 1802, the headwaters
region, south of the line believed to be south of North Carolina, was
ceded to the state of Georgia. A census taken soon after shows
Zachariah Candler living in the Western District of this area.43
Residents here had been told they were in Georgia and were waiting for
the headright grants that would secure their homes with a legal land
title.  Candler did not wait. In 1802 he began obtaining North
Carolina land grants for the area for as little as 50 shillings per
100 acres. In addition to the land grants, many of Candler's land
acquisitions came from private individuals for amounts more
representative of actual land values. Some of these may have been land
offered in payment for survey services in a cash poor economy.44
41 The approximate original location of the marker, description of the
Kilpatrick Line, and a photograph of the front of the marker is
included in Martin Reidinger, The Walton War and the Georgia-North
Carolina Boundary Dispute (n.p., l98l). The marker was moved in a
property dispute and is currently located at the Transylvania County
Joint Historic Preservation Commission Archives, Brevard, North
42 Buncombe County, NC Deed Book 7 p. 89, registered in 1808 and Deed
Book F p. 122 registered in 1814. Duplicate or missing entries are not
uncommon in early Buncombe County land records.
43 "A Census of the people settled on that Tract of Country which is
extinguished of Indian claims, lying on the head of French Broad
River, within the Territory ceded by the United States to the State of
Georgia.".Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas
at Austin.
44 A description of an agreement to pay for locating services with a
portion of the land surveyed is found in John Catron to Thomas H.
Blount (10 Apr. 1833), David T. Morgan, ed., The John Gray Blount
Papers,4 vols.,(Raleigh: State Department of Archives, 1982), 4:621.
Spring 2002 59
  Candler's speculation activity placed a new approach to the old
standard formula for land acquisition, based on his close personal
knowledge of local terrain. Instead of manipulating Cherokee
boundaries, he took advantage of the confusion over the North Carolina
state boundary.  After his former home was erroneously placed in the
first Walton County, Georgia a small war exploded between those
waiting for Georgia headright grants and residents holding North
Carolina land grants.45  Candler carefully targeted prime land on the
south side of the line that he purchased on North Carolina titles.
Candler also quickly diveisified his business activities to include a
drover stand, a ferry, tenants, and mining. His acquisition of grants
seems tied to the drover traffic. Over his lifetime he acquired 53
North Carolina land grants totaling about 19,000 acres. All were
obtained between mid November and mid January, the period following
the drover season. In 1817 Candler mortgaged his land holdings which
now amounted to 74 tracts totaling over 32,245.5 acres.46  The tracts
demonstrate the advantages of first hand knowledge of the best tracts
of land. Candler specifically targeted the existing infrastructure,
including roads, Indian paths, and ferrylandings. Mills and fish traps
were also frequently mentioned. Several tracts mention residents or
former residents. Candler did provide his tenants the opportunity to
purchase their land and by 1817 three had:  ebraham Pickleseimer,
Benjamin Trammel, and William Gillespie.47
45 Reidinger, The Walton War and the Georgia-North Carolina Boundary
Dispute, 16-17.
46 Zachariah Candler to Thomas Moore, et al (05 Nov. l8l7), Buncombe
County, NC Deed Book 12 p. 103. An exact figure of land transactions
for speculators is impossible to obtain. The Registar of Deeds office
contains handwritten transcription of most transactions, though as
with all transcriptions, there are human errors as well as the
deliberate misrepresentations associated with speculation activity.
Some deeds containing multiple tracts, including the Candler Mortgage
are missing legal descriptions of some of those tacts. In addition'
many tracts of land were based on estimates and not actual surveys. A
few deeds do not include the number of acres. And some deeds were
never recorded in the deeds books, even though they were proved in
court and ordered to be registered. In addition, some deeds that cover
multiple tracts of land include a total amount of land that does not
match the actual total of the various tracts listed. All acreage
amounts should be considered low due to the various problems in
47 Zachaiah Candler to Abraham Pickleseimer (27 Sep. l8l5), Buncombe
County, NC Deed Book 13 p. 307; zachaiah candler to Benjamin Trammel
60 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
   Candler effectively purchased the infrastructure of an entire
community at the head of the French Broad River. This property had
advantages for the final step of the speculation process - finding a
market. Some residents stayed on as tenants, some did eventually buy
their land. But even those who abandoned their homes left improvements
in place to entice settlement. This steady beginning in land
speculation activity allowed Candler to make his first large land
purchase in 1814 when he acquired 10,000 acres from John Strouther
that had been part of the Allison Grant. This tract was relatively
inexpensive, only $500, since it was based on a questionable title.
The deed clearly stated that Candler understood the land was in
Cherokee Territory. Candler's shrewd business sense allowed him to
enter into larger land schemes. September 13, 1817 Candler purchased
nearly 13,000 acres from Burdit Sams.  This land was originally
granted to William Cathcart. And in 1819 Candler acquired almost
62,000 acres of land formerly belonging to Thomas Dillon and George
Lattimer at a sheriffs sale for $188.75.48
   As Candler's speculation activity grew, the Blounts continued to
experience problems. The death of William Blount left his estate still
in shambles after Allison's deals. John Gray and Thomas resorted to
complex schemes of creating false debts and therefore suing the estate
to try to provide for William's children. But despite past problems,
they continued to pursue land speculation. In 1809 Willie Blount, the
half brother of William, Thomas, and John Gray Blount, wrote a letter
to then Major General Andrew Jackson promoting a plan Willie Blount
had introduced to the legislature calling for the removal of the
Cherokee and Chickasaw to land west of the Mississippi. The plan was
promoted as beneficial for the Indians and Tennessee as well as being
a cost efficient method of handling the Indian problems and justified
as promoting further civilization of the Indians.49  After Andrew
Jackson claimed victory against the Creeks in 1814, Blount operative
John Strouther was hired to
[cont. from p.60]
Dec. 1816), Deed Book 13 p. 307; Zachariah Candler to William
Gillespie (23 Dec. l8l6), Deed Book l2 p. 515.
48 Sheriff et al to Zachariah Candler (20 Mar. l8l9), Buncombe County,
NC Deed Book l7 p.224.  It is unknown if this was an independent
purchase or made on behalf of the former owners.
49 Morgan, The John Gray Blount Papers,4:112 - 114. It is unknown to
what extent this letter influenced Jackson's later Indian removal
5pring 2002       61
mark the boundary line between the Creek Nation and United States
Territory. During this project, the Blounts also hired Strouther to
map out the best lands for the Blounts to acquire, though he died
August 19, 1815 before he could complete the project.50  Candler was
also involved in the new lands opened up by the Creek War. His survey
notebook includes a diary, description, and map of the region.51
   Following Strouther's death, Robert Love reported that immediately
following news of the death; a number of entries were made for the
Blount property listed in Strouther's name.  However, Strouther's will
left all of his speculation lands to John Gray Blount, thus returning
Allison's grant to its original investor.52  Robert Love quickly
became the Blounts' principle business agent in western North Carolina
to protect their land claims. The lands were becoming ever more
difficult to maintain. Costs involved from taxes, surveys, and
litigation were consuming significant profits.53  Sales became
increasingly difficult, as new, cheaper lands were available in the
west. Love recommended selling the land as soon as possible at what
ever terms could be arranged. Love also mentioned that Candler was
seeking to work for the Blounts in culling out the best parcels of
land for sale. While Love did say that Candler would be well suited to
the job, he could not recommend hiring him at the time as Candler was
involved in litigation surround a bank script-counterfeiting scheme.54
   In 1830, Candler, Love, and the surviving Blount brother, John Gray
were old men. Robert Love found it difficult to perform his duties as
a result of age and later an injury from a horse kick. John Gray
Blount died January 8, 1833, still in possession of large tracts of
Western North Carolina lands. Soon after in 1838 came the final stage
in the removal of the
50 Robert Love to John Gray Blount (04 Oct. l8l5), Morgan, The John
Gray Blount Papers, 4:260-261.
51 Zachariah Candler's Survey Field Notes Vol. 5, Transylvania County
Joint Historic Preservation Commission Archives. Half of the first
page of the description of this journey is missing, which includes the
details of why the journey was made.
52 Will of John Strouther (copy) (22 Nov. 1806), Morgan, The John Gray
B lount Papers, 4:78-80.
53 Robert Love to John Gray Blount (02 Apr. 1816), Morgan, The John
Gray Blount Papers, 4:264-267 .
tn Robert Love to John Gray Blount (16 Mar. 1824), Morgan, The John
Gray Blount Papers, 4:404-405.
62 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
Cherokee, a process which had been dominated by Blount land
speculation interests since the beginning of the new nation. Also in
1838 Robert Love, Thomas Love, and James R. Love sold
l50,000 acres of former Blount and Allison land to Zachariah
Candler.55  The relationship between Love and Candler is complex. Love
acquired several tracts of Candler land at a sheriff
sale.56  However, Candler continued to sell these lands, purchasing a
Quit Claim deed from Love as they were sold.57  July 4, 1844, Candler
sold Robert and James R Love 50,000 acres of the land to settle $3ooo
worth of debts and judgments.58  However, since sheriff sales and
lawsuits could either be friendly business maneuvers, or hostile
takeovers, the legal action itself does not shed light on the nature
of their relationship.
   By July 1844, Candler's speculation was drawing to a close as he
prepared his will. Robert Love's son, James R. Love was named among
the executors.59  Candler died by the end of 1845. The will provided
an estate of 1000 acres for his wife.  Candler's children,
grandchildren, and a bound girl were provided for. Oddly, there is no
mention of slaves. The only Buncombe County document that mentioned
Candler's ownership of slaves is one deed in which he sold his
interest in his uncle's slaves in Bedford County, Virginia to William
Dickinson.60  In the stormy world of land speculation, Candler had
perfected his methods to make land a more profitable investment and
tenants a more profitable labor system. His children and grandchildren
inherited interest land in present day Buncombe, Henderson,
Transylvania, Haywood, Yancey,
55 Sheriff et al to Robert Love (1838) Buncombe County, NC Deed Book 21,p.546.
56 ZacbariahCandler, et al to Robert Love (08 Jan. 1822),Buncombe
County, N_C Deed Book l3 p.219.
57 Robert Love and Thomas Love to Zachariah Candler (22 Oct 1838),
Buncombe County, NC Deed Book 21 p.298.
58 Zachariah Candler to Robert Love et al (04 Jul. 1844) Buncombe
County, NC Deed Book 23 p. 68.
59 Buncombe County, NC Will Book A p.116-117 (23 Jul.1844) proved
December Term 1845.
60 Zachariah Candler to William Dickinson of Bedford County, VA, (25
Jan. 1835), Buncombe County, NC Deed Book 19 p. 414. Candler sold his
interest in the slaves mentioned in the will of Zachaiah Moorman.
Spring 2002         63
and Madison Counties.61  In 1894 Candler's grandson, Thomas J. Candler
sold what was referred to as the "Candler Speculation Land" described
as "all of the land granted to Allison" to a member of a new
generation of investors hungry for former Cherokee lands, George W.
   Land speculation of former and soon to be former Cherokee lands
involved far more than simple ownership. It impacted local, state,
national and international politics and economics. It led to the
removal of entire Indian nations. It controlled settlement patterns,
business and trade networks, and local labor systems. The complex
networks required for large speculation activity raises questions of
control. At the height of Blount speculation activity it could well be
argued that it was David Allison, with his secret personal business
dealings, who was speculating and simply using the Blount resources
for his own purposes. Later when John Strouther owned much of this
land in his own name, it was really the Blounts who controlled the
property. Robert Love carefully negotiated his relationship with the
Blounts to ensure personal profit.
   Successful speculation activity required the basic elements of
access to land, access to capital, access to market and sufficient
government influence to defend any transactions.  Allison and the
Blounts, having to manipulate an international arena, largelyfound it
impossible to maintain the perfect balance of the necessary elements.
But in the distant mountains of Appalachia, smaller planter class
families such as the McDowells, Davidsons, and Averys could
successfully manage speculation activity. But perhaps more important,
allowed relatively minor agents such as Allison, Strouther, Love, and
Candler tremendous opportunities for upward mobility. By aligning
themselves with the powerful Blount economic
61 George W. Candler purchased many of the interests in the estate
from his siblings and nephews. Henderson County, NC Deed Book 19 p.393
- 4ll.
62 T.J. Candler and Hester E. Candler to George W. Vanderbilt (21 May
1894), Henderson County, NC Deed Book 3l p.439. The deed excepted four
tracts from the Allison Grant. However, in the nearly 100 years since
the original grant, Strouther, Blount, Love, and three generations of
Candlers had sold portions of the land, the Avery's had sued with an
overlapping claim to acquire the Pink Beds, and G.W. Candler had made
an agreement with the University of North Carolina to split the
remaining portion of the land with the University. An additional
lawsuit by the Cherokee voided all of the grants west of the
Meigs-Freeman Line making the legitimacy of this transaction
64 Tuckasegee Valley Historical Review
machine, these men were perhaps more successful than the family which
supported them.
   Richard Henderson's speculation activity launched a race to acquire
Cherokee Lands that would directly impact the governments, economic
structures, and individuals of several states and entire nations and
lead to the near destruction of the Cherokee. It is important to
remember that this speculation activity was the standard of the day,
right down to any secretive dealings. For these men, speculation
activity was simply an investment, just as people today might invest
in the stock market. The individuals who used speculation at all
levels to gain economic status can only be seen as the brilliant
businessmen and community leaders of their day. The massive territory
affected by speculation conceals a small irony of history. At its
height, speculation of Cherokee Lands converged around the lands and
politics surrounding the 1798 Treaty of Tellico to reshape a small
corner of Appalachia at the head of the French Broad River. Local
tradition says that in 1861 Joseph P. Jordan named the area
Transylvania County, North Carolina, after the land speculation
venture of Richard Henderson and his Transylvania Company.
5pring 2002 65
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