Re: Wm COOLEY & Daniel BOONE

From: Michael Cooley <>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 14:54:15 -0700

Hi Curt,

Is your wife descended from Wm M of Stewart county?


> 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
>> h=
> ave
>> this copied in my files and will have to find it again.
>> Patrick Cooley
>> Indianapolis, IN
> --=20
> 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 =A310,000 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
> restraints.
> 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),
> 188-191.
> 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
> state
> 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
> trivia.13
> 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
> relations.
> 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
> Clayton.15
> 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
> Holston.
> 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
> business
> 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
> settlers.
> 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
> officers.27
> 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
> claims.29
> 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
> immigrants.
> 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
> =A31,000 which he did not believe Davidson had any intention of
> paying.33
> 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),
> Will=
> iam
> 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
> Carolina.
> 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
> documentation.
> 47 Zachaiah Candler to Abraham Pickleseimer (27 Sep. l8l5), Buncombe
> County, NC Deed Book 13 p. 307; zachaiah candler to Benjamin Trammel
> (21
> 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
> policy.
> 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.5=
> 46.
> 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.
> Vanderbilt.62
> 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,
> speculation
> 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
> questionable.
> 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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