Patriots and Indians
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Patriots and Indians examines relationships between elite South Carolinians and Native Americans through the colonial, Revolutionary, and early national periods. Eighteenth-century South Carolinians interacted with Indians in business and diplomatic affairs—as enemies and allies during times of war and less frequently in matters of scientific, religious, or sexual interest. Jeff W. Dennis elaborates on these connections and their seminal effects on the American Revolution and the establishment of the state of South Carolina.

Dennis illuminates how southern Indians and South Carolinians contributed to and gained from the intercultural relationship, which subsequently influenced the careers, politics, and perspectives of leading South Carolina patriots and informed Indian policy during the Revolution and early republic. In eighteenth-century South Carolina, what it meant to be a person of European American, Native American, or African American heritage changed dramatically. People lived in transition; they were required to find solutions to an expanding array of sociocultural, economic, and political challenges. Ultimately their creative adaptations transformed how they viewed themselves and others.

While Native Americans were not the only "others" of the Revolutionary world, they were nonwhite, nonslave, and non-Christian allies of Britain who inhabited many millions of acres of highly arable land. For radical spokesmen such as William Henry Drayton, along with many white people on the frontier, Indians were viewed as a defining enemy during the American Revolution. Dennis contends that the stronger the attachment these men felt to the Whig cause and their aversion to the British, the harsher their attitudes toward Indians. In contrast the closer they were to Indians, socially and psychologically, the more lenient they appeared toward Native Americans. This difference of opinion carried over into national policies toward Native Americans. Following independence, some South Carolina patriots such as Andrew Pickens imagined an American identity broad and honorable enough to include Indians.



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Date de parution 15 mai 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611177572
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

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Patriots Indians
Patriots Indians
Jeff W. Dennis

2017 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at
ISBN 978-1-61117-756-5 (cloth)
ISBN 978-1-61117-757-2 (ebook)
Front cover illustration: Matt Maniscalco
For Tasha and Chloe, the two greatest blessings in my life
The objects of these murders massacres were on harmless, peaceable, and almost defenseless people, circumstances which give them a just claim to the compassion of every humane noble mind, it is unworthy of American Valor.
Andrew Pickens and fellow South Carolina justices denouncing actions taken against the Cherokees in eastern Tennessee, Justices of Abbeville County, July 1788
List of Illustrations
One Beyond the Mountains and Over the Sea: A Tour of Cultures with Thomas Sumter and Ostenaco
Two The Cherokee War of 1759-61 and the Philopatrios-Philolethes Debate
Three Alienation: Indians, Britons, and Carolinians, 1763-75
Four The British and Indian War: The American Revolution in South Carolina
Five A Backcountry George Washington: Andrew Pickens and Southern Indian Policy in the Early Republic
Indian Peoples of the Southeast
Green Corn Dance, Hidatsa
Choctaw Belle
Tul-lock-chish-ko, Drinks the Juice of the Stone, in Ball-player s Dress
A Draught of the Cherokee Country
Ostenaco s Farewell Address
View of St. James s Palace
Skyacust Ukah
Cunne Shote, Cherokee Chief
William Moultrie
Francis Marion at the 1761 Battle of Etchoe
Christopher Gadsden
Henry Laurens
His Most Sacred Majesty, George III
Cantonment of His Majesty s Forces in North America
A View of Charles-Town, the Capital of South Carolina
A General Map of the South British Colonies in America
The Cherokees Are Coming
The Militia under General Pickens Defeating the Indians
John Rutledge
William Henry Drayton
A Map Shewing the Marches of the Army of Col. Andrew Williamson
Thomas Sumter
General Andrew Pickens
Hopothle Mico, the Talasee King
The Cherokee Country
The Plan of Civilization
Each of us is an individual by committee. We look upon the contributions and ideas of many people whenever we view the work of any one person. That principle certainly holds true in any larger effort towards scholarship. This book could not have been completed without the expertise and kindness provided by others. It is with deep and sincere gratitude that I wish to acknowledge the following people.
To begin, this book originated during studies conducted at the University of Notre Dame under advisor Gregory Evans Dowd. Notre Dame provided generous fellowships for research, teaching, and travel. Professor Dowd is an exemplary professional, scholar, and mentor. He encouraged me greatly and helped me throughout the initial process of research and writing. Thank you, Greg. Thanks also to Professors Walter T. K. Nugent and Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C. of Notre Dame for their thoughtfulness and intellectual support.
For the book s final completion, I am most indebted to Charles Baxley, Director for the Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. This manuscript would not have been achieved without his inspiration and untiring efforts on my behalf. Charles is an amazing friend and facilitator, and the Southern Campaigns is a model of historical vigor and investigation. My special thanks also go to co-director David Reuwer, as well as Barbara Abernethy, John Allison, Bill Anderson, Greg Brooking, Will Graves, Nancy Lindroth, Jack Parker, Jim Piecuch, Tom Powers, Ben Rubin, John Robertson, Steve Rauch, Bobby Ross, Mike Scoggins, Christine Swaeger, Daniel Tortora, Bob Yankle, and other Campaigns contributors.
I am grateful to all of the curators and archivists who assisted at the research institutions consulted during the creation of this book, particularly those who serve at the Charleston Library Society, the South Carolina Historical Society, the Caroliniana and Thomas Cooper libraries at USC, and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Special thanks to Alex Moore of USC Press for his encouragement and sound judgment as well as to Linda Fogle and Bill Adams for their helpful assistance in processing the manuscript.
Andrew Goulston and my niece Barbara Dennis assisted in digitizing images while Matt Maniscalco created a variety of skillful artistic works for the book. Will Tomory of Southwestern Michigan College perused the whole of the text, lending his impressive skills as a wordsmith and editor. Thank you so much Will for your assistance. Thanks also to my brother Greg Dennis for his suggestions in proofreading.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge those individuals who hearten me to strive towards the better than the lesser self. In this regard, I recognize my parents, Janice and Robert; my brothers Randy, Terry, Greg, Don, Brian, and their families; my spiritual mentors and most trusted confidants, Dan Heintz, Dale and Betty Duvall, Lois Johnson, Albert and Joyce Fritz, Dan and Linda Ferguson, Paul, Lois and Ken Fox; and my family in Kentucky, the Roarks and Harry Sigler. I especially am thankful for my wife Tasha and daughter Chloe, who cheer and inspire every day.
The American founding was a collective enterprise with multiple players who harbored fundamentally different beliefs about what the American Revolution meant The American founding was, and still is, a group portrait.
Joseph Ellis, American Creation , 16-17
Writing in 1988, historian James Axtell stressed how it is taking us painfully long to realize that throughout most of American history the Indians were one of the principal determinants of human events. It is insufficient, Axtell cautioned, to tell parallel stories of American development and Native American decline. Scholars should seek instead to understand the mutual history of continuous interaction and influence shared by these peoples. 1
Axtell s admonition appears especially relevant concerning colonial America and the formative years of the United States. The founding of America, Joseph Ellis writes, was a collective enterprise with multiple players who harbored fundamentally different beliefs about what the American Revolution meant The American founding was, and still is, a group portrait. 2
The effort to comprehend America s birth as a pluralizing, integrative enterprise represents more than ingenious novelty. It is centerpiece to accurately knowing the story. In Three Peoples, One King , for example, Jim Piecuch offers helpful explication on the contributions of Loyalists, Indians, and slaves in the southern Revolution. Piecuch shows that the British effort failed not because these peoples lacked courage or virtue, but largely due to relentless, often brutal repression by the rebels. Nevertheless, following the Patriot perspective, generations of American historians have tended to overlook or malign the British-aligned solely because they pursued a different dream for America s future. 3
Thankfully, since the 1980s, a variety of thoughtful works have been published that explore the multiracial and multicultural identity of the founding era. 4 In particular, Richard White s Middle Ground brilliantly prepared colonial history, 5 while scholars such as Edward Countryman, Gregory Dowd, and Alfred Young worked to extend new syntheses to the Revolution and early republic. 6
Much work remains of course. Little has been undertaken, for instance, to explore the personal relationships between Indians and the American Revolutionary elite. Referencing the middle ground experiences of such luminaries as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, Richard White remarks, That so many names significant in the larger American history occur in this story without dominating it indicates that parameters of American history need readjusting. Colonial and early-American historians have made Indians marginal to the periods they describe. They have treated them as curiosities in a world that Indians also helped create. 7
The founding fathers were of prime importance in the struggle for independence, a truly remarkable group of leaders. 8 Understanding their interactions with others -and perhaps no people seemed more other than Indians-may reveal a great deal about the meaning and boundaries of the American Revolution. Whether as enemies or allies, James Axtell suggests, Native Americans did more to Americanize British subjects, than any other human factor : 9 Without the steady impress of Indian culture, the colonists would not have been ready for revolution in 1776, because they would not have been or felt sufficiently Americanized to stand before the world as an independent nation. The Indian presence precipitated the formation of an American identity. 10
On the eve of the American Revolution, at least 150,000 Eastern Woodland Indians still resided in North America in spite of the disease, war, and dislocation introduced through colonial expansion. Native Americans were present throughout the thirteen colonies. They were a visible and integral part of colonial life. 11 All of the founding fathers personally observed and met with Indians. In many instances, this intercultural experience was considerable and influential. Indeed, the full story of American Revolutionaries and Native Americans is too rich and multifarious to examine comprehensively in one text. This book offers only a beginning, with primary investigation given to the relationships between Indians and the founding fathers of the Lower South, particularly South Carolina.
South Carolina was the colony most proximate to the greatest numbers of Indians at the time of the American Revolution. Catawbas, Cherokees, and Creeks resided along its borders; Chickasaws and Choctaws often visited the province as well. Native peoples deeply affected colonial South Carolina s strategic, economic, and social development. 12 Each of the colony s leading Patriots had substantial interaction with Indians. Without that experience, Thomas Sumter, Francis Marion, and Andrew Pickens almost certainly would be unknown today; William Henry Drayton may well have remained a Loyalist; and Henry Laurens, Christopher Gadsden, and William Moultrie might not have achieved the status or skills they needed to help guide their state and nation through the Revolution.
South Carolina served as a vital theater in the birth of American independence. The successful defense of Charles Town 13 in June 1776 helped preserve the Revolution at a critical time early in the war. Effective partisan campaigning in 1780-81 combined with key Patriot victories at King s Mountain and Cowpens to drive General Charles Cornwallis towards final surrender at Yorktown. In addition, elite South Carolinians numbered among America s leading statesmen. Christopher Gadsden starred at the Stamp Act Congress. Henry Laurens chaired the Continental Congress. John Rutledge and Charles Pinckney III contributed important ideas and leadership at the Constitutional Convention. 14
The relationships between leading South Carolina Revolutionaries and Native Americans represent a noteworthy chapter within the American creation story. Throughout the thirteen colonies and even across the Appalachians, each region and each American people played a meaningful role in the shaping of the Revolution. As Edward Countryman reminds us, none of these stories reveals its full sense unless we see it in reference to the others. 15 With this in mind, it would appear helpful to provide some comparative context by region as preface to discussion of experiences in the Lower South. Following is a brief account of relationships between prominent Revolutionaries and Indians in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Chesapeake.
Compared to other colonists, New England Revolutionaries generally were those least engaged with Indians. Yankee maritime emphasis, and perhaps Puritan disdain for wilderness, worked to limit opportunities for cultural exchange. Wars and the gradual extension of colonial settlement reduced the Native population of present-day Massachusetts to only a few hundred people by the time of the Revolution. Still, Indians remained in New England and they managed to preserve many aspects of Native culture. 16
John Adams ranked as the leading New England founding father. He supped and shared the calumet with headmen on several occasions. Following one such ceremonial dinner, he wrote: It was a Savage feast, carnivorous Animals devouring their Pray [ sic ]. Yet they were wondrous polite they made me many Bows, and a cordial Reception. The future Second President never became much of an ethnographer. Commenting on the meeting above, he further noted how Louis, their Principal, speaks English and french as well as Indian. 17
Other New England Patriots also knew Native Americans. Israel Putnam nearly was killed by them during the Seven Years War. Roger Sherman was a supporter of Eleazar Wheelock s Indian mission in New Hampshire. Benjamin Lincoln negotiated for land with the Penobscots of Maine. 18 Nevertheless, only two leading New England Patriots, Henry Knox and Timothy Pickering, engaged quite regularly with Indians, and their experiences came primarily as federal officials after the Revolution. Knox, who served as Washington s first Secretary of War, emerged as the prime architect for Federalist civilization policy. He urged that Native peoples be assimilated and not evacuated or eliminated. Integrity and fairness should mark American relations, Knox insisted, and Indian lands must be purchased honorably, not taken by swindle or conquest. 19 Pickering knew little of Indians before Washington appointed him as a special emissary to the Seneca in 1790. Thereupon, he became a trusted friend of the Iroquois. Pickering succeeded Knox as Secretary of War late in 1794. A most comprehensive and vigorous advocate for philanthropy, he continued to manage Indian affairs through the Adams administration. 20
New England was the region with the least Native contact, yet it also was the place where Patriots most frequently used Indians as icons for independence. An Indian weathervane topped the cupola of Boston s Province House. An Indian princess regularly appeared in the patriotic engravings of Paul Revere. Maine frontier settlers cloaked themselves in Indian garb while resisting proprietors. And, of course, at least some members of Sam Adams and John Hancock s Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians at the Boston Tea Party. Especially in Boston, where Natives had become something of a rarity, colonists could imagine and image Indians easier than actually knowing them. 21
Native peoples were more numerous and played a greater role in the economic and political life of the mid-Atlantic colonies. Several Revolutionaries here had extensive experiences with Native Americans. William Livingston spent a year at age fourteen working with a missionary to the Mohawk. Charles Lee married a Seneca woman, a very great beauty he met during the Seven Years War. Lee lived for a time among the Iroquois, who adopted and named him Ounewaterika, meaning boiling water. Charles Thomson also was adopted by Indians. The Delaware (Lenape) people called him Weghwulawmoeng, meaning Man who speaks the Truth. During the Seven Years War, Thomson served as a scribe for the headman Teedyuscung, and in 1759 he published a sympathetic Enquiry into the Causes of Alienation of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians. Following the Revolution, Thomson contributed heavily to Jefferson s intellectual defense of American aboriginals in Notes on the State of Virginia . 22
Benjamin Franklin, of course, ranked as the most prominent mid-Atlantic Patriot. Scientist, publisher, and skilled statesman, Franklin occasionally claimed some philosophic pleasure taken from Native Americans. More commonly he used them for political purposes. This especially was the case during the 1750s and 1760s when he worked to discredit and remove the Penn proprietorship. Franklin served as a commissioner to the Carlisle conference with northern and Ohio Indian nations in 1753. His 1754 Albany Plan of Union pointedly referenced Native alliance. Franklin once cited the Iroquois confederation in this context: It would be a very strange Thing, if Six Nations of ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such an Union and yet that a like Union should be impracticable for ten or a Dozen English Colonies. 23
During 1755, as war developed in the Ohio country, it was Franklin who arranged for many of the wagons and horses that General Edward Braddock needed for his campaign. Following Braddock s defeat, Franklin personally went west to help restore order; stockades were built and bounties offered on enemy warrior scalps. During 1763, the Ottawa headman Pontiac helped inspire new Indian warfare against the English. Angered by the success of his confederates, late that year a group of frontiersmen known as the Paxton Boys murdered twenty innocent Moravian Indians. They would have killed many more had Franklin not prepared defenses and persuaded them to quit their march upon Philadelphia. 24
In truth, Franklin was more interested in Indian lands than in Indian peoples. He was a leading partner in the Vandalia company which sought title to twenty million acres of trans-Appalachian territory. 25 Western lands were a favorite investment of many members of the mid-Atlantic elite. The land rush peaked after the Revolution when the United States gained title to the Northwest. James Wilson invested and lost most of his fortune in western acquisitions. George Clinton s post-war friendship with Iroquois spokesman Joseph Brant helped smooth over several dubious land deals. Pennsylvania s Robert Morris was the biggest land-grabber. Through his North American Land Company, he purchased an enormous tract of land south of Lake Ontario for $1/3 million. Morris personally parleyed with the Seneca leader Cornplanter as well as other Iroquois headmen. After the speculative bubble burst during the 1790s, however, the only acreage left for the famed Financier of the Revolution was a small plot in the Philadelphia debtor s prison. 26
Chesapeake Revolutionaries too were enamored with Indian lands-so much so, Woody Holton maintains, that imperial efforts to limit and regulate colonial expansion helped push many elite Virginians to declare for independence. George Washington, George Mason, Arthur and Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson all were principals in western land companies. Only a few hundred Indians yet resided in the Chesapeake at the time of the Revolution. Even so, Virginia founders were keenly interested in the transmontane west and occasionally travelled there, while Indians from many nations frequented Williamsburg. Virginia Patriots had considerable interaction with Native Americans. 27
No leading Revolutionary engaged in a more extensive array of western experiences than George Washington. Take away his services during the Seven Years War and his encounters with Native Americans, and in all likelihood, Washington never would have emerged as the Revolution s indispensable man. At Fort Necessity and before Fort Duquesne, Washington early and painfully learned to respect the skill of Indian warriors. Surviving Braddock s defeat, he was appointed command over the Virginia frontier. Washington knew his troops were no match for enemy Indians and he promptly advocated for hiring Native allies. As the young colonel assured Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, such auxiliaries would be worth more than twice their number of white men. 28
In 1770, Washington returned to the Ohio country in expectation of receiving a large land bounty in reward for his Seven Years War service. Keeping an eye out for the best lands, he revisited old battle sites and met again with warriors familiar from his days as a frontier officer. Among other holdings, Washington eventually acquired title to 30,000 acres along the Kanawha River upon which he planned to raise buffalo beef for sale to future settlers. In 1784, Washington made another trip west, in part to study the feasibility for creating an Ohio-Potomac waterway; he cut this journey short after noting a general dissatisfaction of the Indians with white intruders north of the Ohio. 29
Many Native Americans knew Washington as Conotocarious, meaning town-devourer or town-taker. The Continental commander-in-chief certainly merited this appellation during 1779 when he dispatched thousands of Continental troops to destroy Iroquois crops and villages. As president, Washington would authorize a similar town-razing tour of Ohio Indian towns. These episodes were war-time measures, nonetheless. Washington did not relish harming Indians. He insisted that the poor wretches be treated with honesty and benevolence. In harmony with his Secretary of War Henry Knox, Washington supported an ambitious agenda to civilize and gradually transform Native peoples into American citizens. 30
Thomas Jefferson eagerly expanded Washington s civilizing factory system -but he warped its original purpose. The Third President, in fact, became the prime strategist for Indian removal policy. Although stopping short of outright coercion, he instructed federal officials to deceive, bribe and threaten headmen into removing their peoples beyond the Mississippi. During Jefferson s administration, civilization primarily came to mean pacification in anticipation of removal. Indians who chose not to pacify would be shown little patience. Eventually their land rights-and even perhaps their nation-would be extinguished. 31
Jefferson, as Joseph Ellis characterizes him, was an American Sphinx. This especially appears true when considering his experiences with African and Native American peoples. In regard to the latter, no founding father was more intrigued with Native languages, histories and customs than Thomas Jefferson. He transcribed Indian dialects and excavated Indian burial mounds. He refuted the Comte de Buffon s claim that American aborigines were inferior to Old World peoples. He organized the Lewis and Clark Expedition and proudly displayed Indian artifacts within Monticello s entry hall. Regardless, Jefferson s philosophic reverence for the Indian failed to translate into policies beneficial for real Native peoples. Jefferson s first political priority seemed always to satisfy his land-hungry southern and western yeoman constituency. 32
Patrick Henry was another famous Virginia Patriot who had substantial dealings with Native Americans. An avid speculator, he completed an extensive trip down the Holston River in 1768 to spy out Indian lands. Henry helped engineer extensive Cherokee land cessions as Virginia s governor during the Revolution. He paid several Cherokee headmen due regard at Williamsburg, even while privately expressing relief that these Indians will not remain here but a short Time. During 1778, Henry secretly authorized George Rogers Clark s expedition into the Illinois country, hoping to claim that vast region as Virginia s own. He was governor again in 1786 when news arrived that his brother-in-law, Colonel William Christian, had been killed by Indians in Ohio. Henry responded promptly by authorizing a retaliatory town-burning strike. 33
The fiery Revolutionary had another side, though. During the 1780s and 1790s, Henry enthusiastically supported the civilization and christianizing of the Indians, an object so desireable, and so truly great, as deeply to interest the feelings of every good American and good man. Henry even proposed a bill to subsidize intermarriage between frontier whites and Native Americans with the children of these unions to receive full citizenship at birth. 34
Father of the Constitution James Madison engaged with Indians for personal profit as well as in public service. In 1784, he accompanied the Marquis de Lafayette to observe the treaty at Fort Stanwix. They met with the Oneida headman Grasshopper whom Madison had known during the Revolution. The Americans broke out five kegs of brandy and an all-night celebration ensued. These libations were intended to help smooth over negotiations for land. Sure enough, the following year Madison and his partner James Monroe arranged a purchase of nearly 1000 acres along the Mohawk Valley. Madison eventually netted more than $3000 from this speculative deal and used the profits to remodel his home at Montpelier. 35
As Jefferson s secretary of state and subsequently as president himself, Madison genuinely seemed to enjoy hosting the many headmen who visited Washington. He was more bipartisan than Jefferson, once supporting a Federalist plan for a national society of officials, professors, and ministers who would work to bring civilization to the Indians. Even so, the Fourth President consented to Andrew Jackson s brutal warfare against the Creeks as well as William Henry Harrison s destruction of Native villages during the War of 1812. 36
Within each of the three regions described above, Revolutionaries knew and interacted with Native Americans. In the case of New England, contact tended to be peripheral although Bostonians regularly used Indians as their symbol for independence. Leading mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Patriots pursued more extensive experiences with Indians, being particularly interested in their lands. From Maine to Virginia, Native Americans played a significant part in the formation of American identity. To follow Axtell s line of argument, without Indians there may have been no Sons of Liberty and no Boston Tea Party. Without Indians there would have been no Albany Plan for Union and no French and Indian War. Without Indians there would have been fewer forced founders and no George Washington as the Continental commander-in-chief. 37
An interesting trend appears upon review of the interaction between Native Americans and leading New England, mid-Atlantic, and Chesapeake Patriots. In general, more conservative Revolutionaries such as Washington, Adams, and Knox displayed greater tolerance towards Indians than radical Revolutionaries such as Jefferson, George Clinton, and Arthur Lee. 38 Centrist Revolutionaries, including Franklin and Madison, usually treated Indians better than the radicals but with less patience than the conservatives.
Relationships between the South Carolina founders and Native Americans demonstrate a similar pattern. Here radical leaders such as Christopher Gadsden and William Henry Drayton called for the total destruction or exile of Indian communities, while conservative spokesmen such as Henry Laurens and John Rutledge acted with more forbearance and sought to limit bloodshed. 39
This correlation reflects the importance of Indians in the creation of American identity. The relationship might even serve as a type of gauge helping to indicate a particular founder s ideological orientation. In brief, Revolutionaries who sought a more complete, radical break from the imperial order more eagerly used Indians as an anvil against which they pounded out their new collective self. Native peoples certainly were not the only others of the Revolutionary world. They were, however, non-white, non-Christian, non-slave allies of Britain who inhabited many millions of acres of highly arable land. For radical leaders, as well as for most frontier whites, Indians served as a defining enemy in the American Revolution. 40
Experiences with Native Americans afforded South Carolinians essential practical as well as psychological training in self-sufficiency. Through enlistment in Indian warfare, engagement in Indian trade and diplomacy, and commitment to speculation in Indian lands, many South Carolinians came to think and to act independently of Great Britain. When the Revolution did come, it came with great violence in the Lower South, and much of this was directed against Native peoples. Following independence, some southern leaders such as Andrew Pickens imagined an American identity broad and honorable enough to include Indians. By the early nineteenth century, however, most policymakers had decided upon a more radical approach, that of excising the southeastern nations.
Beyond the Mountains and Over the Sea
God is the maker of white red People, and we are all his Children there is no difference between them and Us; we are both alike; the Blood flows in their Veins as in Ours; we have mutually the same passions and desires.
Ostenaco, Cherokee headman, address to British Indian superintendent John Stuart, October 20, 1765
In November 1761, Thomas Sumter, a young Virginia militia sergeant, joined Lieutenant Henry Timberlake on a mission to help restore peace with the Overhill Cherokees of eastern Tennessee. Sumter and Timberlake lodged that winter with the Indians. The following spring they accompanied a band of Cherokees to Williamsburg. There it was decided that the two Virginians would sail for England with the Second Warrior Ostenaco and two other headmen, Cunne Shote (Standing Turkey) and Woyi (the Pigeon). At London in the summer of 1762, the five men were wined and dined, beset by onlookers, and given an appearance at the Court of St. James s. That August, Sumter escorted the three Cherokees back across the Atlantic, as Timberlake remained behind in England. The party landed and stayed several weeks at Charles Town, South Carolina, before traveling back to the Overhill Cherokee villages. Wintering for a second time with the Cherokees, Sumter grasped the occasion to capture a French-Canadian agent, the Baron de Jonnes.
The Timberlake expedition gave Thomas Sumter a firsthand view of Native American life probably unsurpassed by any other leading Patriot of the Revolution. The exposure that he and Ostenaco were afforded to one another s culture, and especially to imperial London, was quite extraordinary. These two leaders gained a direct view of many of the peoples and institutions located at the center as well as near the periphery of the British Atlantic world. The adventure impacted upon how they understand their own and one another s peoples, and their relative place in the world. For Sumter, the experience brought the small measure of fame and fortune he needed to escape debt and obscurity in Virginia. Without his service in the Timberlake expedition, in all likelihood there would have been no Gamecock of Revolutionary War fame.
Thomas Sumter was born on July 14, 1734 at Preddy s Creek, about twelve miles northeast of Charlottesville. Located deep within the Virginia piedmont, the settlement at Preddy s appears to have embodied the rustic, rough-and-tumble type of social order found in much of the colonial Backcountry. Here adversaries often confronted one another violently through bold and decisive acts. Sumter adopted this warrior ethos early in life. He also developed a taste for blood sports such as cockfighting and foxhunting. His family owned land and he received some formal education. Nonetheless, Sumter always remained a man of martial pride and self-sufficiency. He had no patience with foolish or devious behavior. Even as an elderly person, Sumter gave a strong impression that he was a man not to be meddled with. 1
Thomas Sumter enlisted in the Virginia militia in 1756, the year after General Edward Braddock s defeat. Sumter was assigned to Colonel George Washington s command which had been tasked with halting the incursions of enemy warriors upon the frontier. This provincial deterrent proved insufficient, however, and during the next several years Washington requested and received hundreds of Cherokee and Catawba mercenaries. Sumter no doubt encountered Ostenaco at this time as well as Attakullakulla, the Cherokees leading diplomat. 2
During 1758 Sumter served under Colonel William Byrd III in the Forbes campaign which finally reduced Fort Duquesne and drove the French from the upper Ohio. Promoted to sergeant, in 1760 Sumter joined other militia stationed along the Holston River at the outbreak of the Cherokee War. Neither Byrd nor his replacement Colonel Adam Stephen had much inclination to march against the Cherokees. Virginia troops remained encamped during the conflict. In the fall of 1761, Stephen helped negotiate a treaty between Virginia and the Cherokees. Upon the Indians request, the Colonel dispatched Lieutenant Henry Timberlake, along with interpreter John McCormack and Sergeant Thomas Sumter, to carry a copy of the treaty to the Overhill villages. On November 28, 1761, the three men left Fort Robinson at the Long Island on the Holston with about ten days of provisions and 20 worth of trade goods. 3
Ostenaco was a good deal older and more experienced than Timberlake or Sumter. Most likely he was born in the first decade of the eighteenth century at the Appalachian village of Hiwassee. Early in life Ostenaco established himself as a warrior. For his skill in battle he was awarded the title of Outacite, meaning Man-killer. Eventually he rose to the rank of Second Warrior in the nation. The English also knew him as Judd s Friend on account of him having saved that person s life. Ostenaco was a sincere friend to the English and he appreciated their trade goods. Officials in Charles Town and Williamsburg understood this. They often depended upon Ostenaco to help ameliorate relations between the Cherokees and the southern colonies. During 1751, for example, the Second Warrior played a lead role in negotiating an end to a trade embargo and restoring good relations with South Carolina. As Governor James Glen remarked at the time, I think if he comes down as one of the head men that I now send for, it will facilitate all matters. 4
No Cherokee leader more actively supported the English during the Seven Years War than Ostenaco. During 1755, he led 130 Cherokee warriors to Virginia to help counter incursions by northern Indians. He suggested and led in the Sandy Creek expedition against the French-allied Shawnees in 1756. For the next several years, Ostenaco continued to lead Overhill warriors north against the enemies of Virginia. The Second Warrior always remained fiercely Cherokee, notwithstanding his friendship with the English. After Carolina militia killed twenty-two headmen held at Fort Prince George early in 1760, it was Ostenaco who helped to plan and execute the revenge slaying of two dozen soldiers that August. 5
Retribution complete, the Second Warrior then set about restoring good relations with the English. Ostenaco returned to Virginia in 1761 and was present for the conclusion of the treaty at Fort Robinson. He warned Timberlake s party not to go by canoe up the Holston. The water was low at this time of year and enemy northern Indians were about. A land crossing would be a much better way to cover the 140 miles to the Overhill villages. That was the route that he and a band of warriors were headed, and Ostenaco offered for Timberlake to join them. The Lieutenant declined because he wished to secretively scope out the Holston River. Besides, Timberlake recorded, he avoided Indian guidance because of the little pleasure I could expect in such company. Feeling rebuffed and perhaps somewhat amused, Ostenaco left the three Virginians to fend for themselves. 6
It did not take Timberlake long to realize that he should have heeded the Second Warrior. As December began, the weather in Appalachia turned inclement and icy while the Holston was remarkably low. Typically the three Virginians spent several hours each day in portage. All the while they anxiously kept watch against the appearance of northern Indians. 7
In his Memoirs , Timberlake no doubt embellishes some of the dangers the small expedition faced in reaching the Overhill villages. Even so, it seems that on several occasions the party nearly met with disaster. First, on December 6, with provisions nearly exhausted and one of two available guns badly damaged, Sumter lost the remaining, dependable gun in deep water while trying to down a bear. We were now in despair, Timberlake recalled: I even deliberated whether it was not better to throw ourselves overboard, as drowning at once seemed preferable to a lingering death. Only with great perseverance were they able to mend the remaining gun so that it would fire after ten or twelve times snapping. The very next day, they were scaling a 50-foot embankment when the group s canoe suddenly slipped into the Holston and began downriver. Without hesitation, Sumter leaped into the frigid water and swam a furious quarter-mile to retrieve it. When he returned, every thing on him was stiff frozen. 8
Thereafter the Virginians took greater care. On December 11, they heard gunfire which they interpreted as a sign of enemy warriors. Timberlake awoke that night to the sounds of something stumbling about in the brush. McCormack heard it too. He was quite frightened and thought about heading for the canoe. Only Sumter immediately recognized the noise to be an animal: no warrior would have trounced around so carelessly. He went right back to sleep to the astonishment of his companions. 9
Leaving very early the next morning, the men tried to navigate a rapids that they should have portaged. At one point Sumter broke his pole against a boulder and fell into the rushing water, narrowly missing being smashed himself. On December 13, the three men paddled into the Broad and then the Tennessee River, passing the site of present-day Knoxville. Not far from here an elderly warrior known by the English as the Slave Catcher found them. The Slave Catcher s wife went ahead by land to prepare food and a reception. Finally, on December 19, 1761, Timberlake, Sumter, and McCormick reached the first of the Overhill settlements, compleating a twenty-two days course of continual fatigues, hardships, and anxieties. 10
Our entertainment from these people was as good as the country could afford, Timberlake recalled gratefully. Included were roast, boiled, and fried meats of several kinds, and very good Indian bread [baked] to as great perfection as in any European oven. At the village of Tomotley the next day, the Virginians were received in a very kind manner by Ostenaco, and they were provided lodging in his and other hospitable Cherokee homes. The Second Warrior made sure to inform Timberlake that his party had arrived safely overland a full ten days earlier. After several days of rest, Timberlake and McCormack were taken by Ostenaco to the Overhill peace village of Chota for the reading of the Fort Robinson treaty. Sumter remained behind in Tomotley. 11
At Chota, Timberlake was impressed with the size of the wood-and-earthen village meeting house. A small mountain at a little distance, it could shelter five hundred people. The treaty was read, after which Ostenaco gave a talk on burying the bloody tommahawke deep in the ground, never to be raised again. Ostenaco concluded the meeting in accordance with proper Cherokee protocol, passing around the calumet, which Timberlake dared not even wipe the end of, despite their paint and dirtiness. 12
A feast followed. I cannot much commend their cookery, Timberlake complained, every thing being greatly overdone. Besides, what contributed greatly to render this feast disgusting, was eating without knives and forks, and being obliged to grope from dish to dish in the dark. Timberlake avoided the evening s ceremonial dance and instead retired to the hot house. The heat and smoke produced within that small structure drove him out, however, leaving not much calculated for repose to any but Indians. 13
The next day Ostenaco escorted the Lieutenant and McCormack to Settico. Long associated with anti-English sentiment, Settico had been the first Cherokee town to send out raiders during the recent hostilities and the first to be targeted by a South Carolina trade embargo. French sympathies were strong here. Thirty-eight English captives would have been killed at Settico had not Ostenaco intervened during the recent warfare. Timberlake and McCormack halted outside the village as preparations for their arrival were being completed. They were relieved to see two large white banners flying from the meetinghouse. These signified peace. Red colors would have announced war. 14
Entering the town, the two men were met by a dozen warriors, painted all over in a hideous manner. Six of them held eagle tails in their hands, a sacred symbol of peace. These warriors danced to the accompaniment of drums taken from the capture of Fort Loudoun. More rituals followed, little understood by the Virginians, before they were led into Settico s dimly lit central meetinghouse. Here four of the eagle-tail dancers gave an encore performance. Now they were painted milky-white and shook small gourds. Of course, the peace ceremonies would not be complete without the smoking of the calumet. Timberlake quickly became nauseated from puffing on the huge number of pipes presented me on every hand, which I dared not to decline. Such a plethora had not appeared at Tomotley or Chota. The former belligerence of Settico required many additional offerings to be made towards peace. 15
Dancing continued through the night. Finally, at about seven o clock the next morning Timberlake was taken to a headman s home for refreshment. The Lieutenant was served by a white woman, one of about thirty English captives living in the Overhill Towns. Another woman Timberlake met was said to have married the very warrior who killed her husband; she subsequently chose to stay with him rather than to return to white society. 16
After three days of nearly continuous activity, on January 2, 1762, Ostenaco ushered Timberlake and McCormack back to Tomotley and Thomas Sumter. The three Virginians remained at the Overhill villages for the next two months. Not departing for Fort Robinson until March 10, Sumter, Timberlake, and Mc-Cormick would have the opportunity to see and learn about the Cherokees in a way that few among their English brethren ever did. 17
Numbering near 10,000 people, the Cherokees were the most populous Indian nation on the borders of British America at the mid-eighteenth century. The nation lived in more than forty villages at this time, clustered into four groups by geography and organized by dialect and political relations. Nearest to South Carolina were the Lower Towns of the piedmont. Prior to the Cherokee War these villages were of considerable importance to the colonial economy. Perhaps ten percent of South Carolina s free men engaged in the Indian trade at its zenith early in the century. The western outpost of Ninety Six appears to have been so named because early settlers believed the station was ninety-six miles from the Lower Town of Keowee, gateway to the Cherokee markets. 18
The Valley Towns were located deeper within the Appalachians with the Middle Settlements positioned to their north. It was here in the difficult terrain before Etchoe that the Cherokees attacked two invading British armies in 1760 and 1761. Furthest from Carolina, but most accessible to Virginia as well as to French Louisiana, were the Overhill Towns of eastern Tennessee. The peace village of Chota held influence here and was home to the Cherokees leading headman of the 1750s, Connecorte ( Old Hop ). 19
Timberlake, Sumter, and McCormack met a number of English-speaking people and viewed various articles of British manufacture during their visit to the Overhill villages. Still the three men entered an essentially alien culture. The villagers appearance, language and behavior were unmistakably Native American, and the Virginians would have better grasped the forms than the meanings within Cherokee society. Timberlake s Memoirs do not comment directly on Thomas Sumter s behavior among the Indians in 1761-62. Nevertheless, the fact that the following year Sumter volunteered to spend another winter in the Overhill Towns, combined with surviving accounts from that visit, intimates that he must have felt reasonably at home among the Cherokees. 20
Timberlake s Memoirs first were published in 1765. The work constituted the most substantial report then available upon the Cherokees Country, Government, Genius, and Customs, and it was translated into French and German editions. 21 Complemented by Edmond Atkin s Report and Plan (1755), 22 David Taitt s Journal (1772), 23 James Adair s History (1775), 24 and William Bartram s Travels (1791), 25 Timberlake s Memoirs remain a helpful resource for research upon southeastern village life during the colonial era.
Buildings and other functional man-made objects were among the easiest features of Cherokee society for white visitors to comprehend. Timberlake found the villagers wattle and clay homes to be tolerably well built. Besides residences, most southeastern towns included a hot house, granaries, a council house and square ground. Cherokees were proficient in canoe construction, tanning, weaving, and metal work. Such products as well as Indian pottery, baskets, and clay pipes often were bartered and made their way into colonial households. The Cherokees are the most ingenious Indians, Edmund Atkin assessed. According to Adair the nation produced beautiful stone pipes and the handsomest clothes baskets, I ever saw. With proper cultivation, they would shine in higher spheres of life. 26
Southeastern peoples personal appearance further captivated English observers. Timberlake describes the Cherokees as being of a middle stature, of an olive colour, tho generally painted, and their skins stained with gun-powder, pricked into it in very pretty figures. He saw the villagers as a highly exotic people, who wore baubles in their hair and rings in their noses, and who slit and stretched their ears to enormous size to hold more jewelry. Many now wore an aggregate of Native and European fashions, although the old people still remember and praise the ancient days when they had but little dress. Cherokee men usually shaved most of the head while women s hair might reach all the way to the ground. Timberlake found these maidens remarkably well featured -and the presence of many villagers of mixed descent indicates that other white visitors did too. About nine months after the Virginians stay, in fact, Ostenaco s daughter bore a son who was christened Richard Timberlake. 27 It is not unlikely that fellow bachelor Thomas Sumter became intimate with one or more of the Cherokee women as well.
No area reveals the chasm between Old and New World ways more clearly than that of gender relations. White men lorded it over their families and societies: wealth, power, and status were male prerogatives in the Western early modern world. Cherokee society was very different. The matrilineal and matrilocal nature of their communities granted women an independence that confused, and as historian Tom Hatley explains, even threatened white males. Adair, for one, sneered at the nation as having a petticoat government. Cherokee women retained their property upon marriage and had the option of divorce. They were not ostracized for participating in premarital sex nor punished harshly in most instances of adultery. In council, matrons known as War Women and Beloved Women held considerable influence and often determined the fate of hostages. Women, moreover, participated in much of the Cherokee trade. During the siege of Fort Loudoun in 1760, women continued to barter foodstuffs with the English garrison, despite pleas and threats made by the lead warrior, Willinawaw. They reportedly laughed at him. 28
The clan was the most important sociopolitical linkage in Native society. Who s your daddy? would have appeared an irrelevant question to southeastern peoples. Clan membership followed the mother s lineage, and one of her brothers or uncles usually was entrusted with the training of a male child. Seven clans represented the Cherokee people. Forming the sinews of village government and justice, they were identified with the totems of the wolf, deer, bird, panther, wind, wild potato, and paint. Members of each clan generally could be found in any village. Visitors could expect to be provided lodging and hospitality at the home of kin-even those they had never met before. It was the clan that would exact retribution in the event of a killing or other assault. The women who laughed at Willinawaw knew he would not harm them, for their relations would make his death atone for theirs. 29
As did their mothers, Indian children enjoyed a degree of latitude that would have appeared scandalous to most white males. Serious misconduct could result in a dry-scratching, i.e., the creation of scrape marks on dry skin which might remain visible for several days. Such treatment was intended principally as a means to shame Cherokee boys into better behavior. Southeastern parents nonetheless refrained from whippings or beatings. The Cherokees First Warrior Oconostota flatly rejected offers of English schooling for village children: trying to control youth or break their will hardly was his idea of a progressive education. Timberlake mentions a number of young white prisoners held in the Overhill Towns. It is recorded that they did nothing but cry, and would not eat upon their return to the rigors of colonial society several years later. 30
Cherokee girls learned to tend crops, do craftwork, and to ritually celebrate the life-giving blood of menstruation and childbirth. Cherokee boys, in contrast, had to hone their life-taking skills as hunters and warriors. To prove their courage, young men trained themselves to endure pain and hardship without complaint. They adopted stoic personas, spoke solemnly, and rarely smiled in public. Even the frenetically-paced ball and chunky games, which had few rules and many injuries, might be played in silence. As one London observer would note of Ostenaco and his two fellow headmen, there seems to be a mixture of dignity and sternness in their countenances. 31
Thomas Sumter could have made for a Cherokee warrior. In his rearing and temperament he was well-suited to appreciate certain facets of Cherokee gender behavior. To begin, it was his mother and not his father that played the largest role in Sumter s upbringing. He always remembered her very affectionately, saying that it took a strong-minded mother to produce a strong-minded man. His father owned a small mill in which Sumter sometimes worked as a boy. He became restless of house confinement, however, and preferred to spend his time hunting, gaming, and engaged in military service. 32
Contemporaries describe Thomas Sumter as being of medium height, erect, broad shouldered and tapering to his feet. He was an eager and fierce competitor. Even into his seventies he played a strenuous ball game known as fives, often humbling opponents less than half his age. Sumter was in the prime of life during the two winters he spent with the Cherokees. He later spoke of competing with them and he may have joined in some of their dangerous ball games. As Sumter recalled, he was able to outrun all but one of his male village rivals. 33
The future Gamecock early displayed the kind of reserve and toughness prized by Cherokee warriors. He was not communicative, an acquaintance recalled, not haughty, just proud dignified. No one questioned his personal courage. When Sumter was wounded terribly at the Battle of Blackstock s in 1780, he gravely refused to abandon his post. Sumter remained bleeding on the battlefield until he could no longer ride, stand or even speak. Somehow the partisan warrior survived. 34
Generosity was another important feature of Cherokee society that Thomas Sumter would have appreciated. Timberlake praised the Indians particular method for relieving the poor, which I shall rank among the most laudable of their religious ceremonies. Bartram concurred: they are just, honest, liberal and hospitable. With those in need, even with strangers, many villagers always appeared ready to share whatever they had. Sumter also could be quite generous. The old Genl. had many poor people living and squatting on his lands to whom he was kind, remembered one associate. He was good in giving medicine c to them and was ready to do favours when approached in the right way. 35
Sumter might have found something to admire in village politics had he understood them. The Cherokees did not entertain any coercive centralized authority, but relied upon local councils as forums for debate and consensus. Tim-berlake doubted the efficacy of any such system which had neither laws or power to support it. Sumter though was a firm advocate for personal independence and local autonomy. As an officer during the Revolutionary War, he allowed his troops considerable latitude, just as he felt quite free himself to act independent of Continental command. Following the Revolution, Sumter fought against ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Thereafter, he opposed strong central authority during two decades of service in the U.S. House and Senate. Even at the age of ninety-six in 1830, Sumter would lobby on behalf of John C. Calhoun s nullification doctrine. 36
Native religion was a vital concern of village life that almost certainly outstripped the ken of Timberlake and his companions. Nearly all colonists, some Quakers excepted, labeled the Indians intricate rituals along a continuum that ran between nonsense (at best) to witchcraft (at worst). Timberlake enjoyed watching the dances, and he downed the caffeine-rich purgative Black Drink. Such festivities, nevertheless, were extremely superstitious, that and ignorance going always hand in hand. Writing a decade later, James Adair would offer more nuanced descriptions and more imaginative suppositions. Ostensibly, the forms employed in Native American religion revealed a hidden heritage: these people were descendants of the lost tribe of Israel. 37
Native American religion particularly informs believers of the need for humans to respect and acknowledge the sacred powers that sustain life. To maintain proper balance between the Upper, Middle, and Lower Worlds, Cherokees had to perform certain ceremonies. The Green Corn festival, for instance, served to facilitate women s spiritual power as growers and nurturers. Through careful supplication, the Sun and other heavenly bodies were asked to confer their life-giving spirit upon the Earth. As for Native men, their role as hunters and warriors required that they look in the opposite direction for help. Before they could set out to kill fellow creatures of the Earth, they would need to prepare medicine bundles containing snakeskins or other paraphernalia of the life-taking underworld. Men especially were to avoid intercourse prior to the hunt or battle for fear this would disable their deadly preparation with the animating essence of women. 38
Henry Timberlake did not feel very secure in the Overhill Towns in spite of the welcome and hospitality he received. During February 1762, rumors spread that some Cherokee people recently had been killed by northern Indians with English assistance. If this was true, Timberlake worried, he and his companions would be slaughtered in retribution. Fortunately, Ostenaco gave a soothing speech which was received with shouts of applause in council. Soon new intelligence arrived that Cherokee survivors of an Iroquois attack actually were receiving protection from the English. The Lieutenant was happy to bring this news to the villagers attention, and they seemed tolerably well satisfied. As additional insurance, Timberlake embellished his report and told the Overhill people that a Fort Robinson physician now was attending to a wounded Indian who must soon recover. But Timberlake remained concerned: I now began to be very desirous of returning, and acquainted Ostenaco of my anxiety. The weeks passed. Still Ostenaco did little to prepare for departure. Timberlake even threatened to leave without him. This however would have been my last resource, the Lieutenant admits in his Memoirs . The previous season s experience had taught him better. 39
The Second Warrior endured Timberlake s nagging, but he was not a man to be rushed. Ostenaco waited for warriors to return from the winter hunt. He waited for Attakullakulla to report on the recent negotiations with South Carolina. He waited to celebrate Willinawaw s successful raid against the Shawnees. Most importantly, Ostenaco waited because he had news of eight more Cherokees being killed or captured by northern Indians along the route to Fort Robinson-a piece of intelligence kept from Timberlake until the return march was well underway. 40
Accompanied by a large band of warriors, Ostenaco and the Timberlake party finally set out for Fort Robinson on March 10, 1762. Pausing at Chota, the Second Warrior s party was advised by headmen to behave well to the inhabitants and to remind the English of their promises of friendship and trade. A cannonade followed, performed by two pieces taken from Fort Loudoun, and Ostenaco bellowed out the war song loud enough to be heard at a mile s distance. Setting off again, the party now totaled about 165 Indians, including many women. Timberlake suspected the scent of presents was what brought many of these people along. 41
It took just nine days for the caravan to reach Fort Robinson. Along the way they met with some heavy rain, a mini-stampede of woods buffalo, and unmistakable signs of nearby enemy Indians. With so many warriors at his disposal, Ostenaco used a combination of spiritual power and bravado to dissuade any would-be attackers. First, the Second Warrior held an impromptu eagle-tail dance. Next, he and several companions turned to the place where the enemy tracks had been discovered, and let go the war-whoop several times extremely loud. 42
Ostenaco s party reached the fort on March 19. It was abandoned except for two civilians and a half-ton of flour, whereas most of the colony s militia recently had been dismissed. After several days rest the party resumed march. They soon passed an empty camp which Colonel Byrd had designated as Fort Attakullakulla. Later they crossed paths with Captain Israel Christian. Captain Christian was bound with a large cargo of goods for Cherokee country. To Timberlake s relief, more than half of the Indians happily joined Christian and returned to the Overhill villages. The remaining force continued on to Fort Lewis where they were joined by interpreter William Shorey. 43
Concluding a month of travels, the Second Warrior and seventy other Cherokees accompanied Timberlake, Sumter, and Shorey into Williamsburg early in April 1762. Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier was not prepared to welcome such a throng, and he appeared tight-fisted in his gift-giving. Timberlake noted with concern how the Cherokees seemed much displeased by the official show of parsimony. To avoid ill will, he advanced pretty considerably out of my own pocket to content them. Most of the Cherokee party then agreed to leave for home. 44
Ostenaco was no stranger to Williamsburg. The Second Warrior had visited often during the Seven Years War, pledging Cherokee warriors service in exchange for English goods. For his leadership against the Shawnees in the Big Sandy Expedition of 1756, Ostenaco was awarded with a special parade through Williamsburg in Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie s personal coach. In return, the Second Warrior and his band entertained the populace with a four-day exhibition of Cherokee dancing, ceremonies, and speeches. 45
It would be interesting to know exactly what Ostenaco thought of the Virginia capital as well as the tobacco and slaves culture that facilitated it. The architecture and elaborate furnishings of the Governor s Mansion and other public buildings intrigued him, no doubt. He appreciated the brandy and fine foods, as well as the colorful, elegant clothing. Probably too, he enjoyed watching the craftsmen and touring the marketplace. Nevertheless, as occurred when the Virginians had visited the Overhill Towns, the Second Warrior may have felt confused or dismayed by much of what was an essentially alien culture. Half of the people that Ostenaco might have seen would have been black slaves, and many of the whites were indentured or impoverished as well. Suffering was present here even amid plenty. Discipline was harsh, children rarely were indulged, and women were entirely absent from council. Ostenaco especially could have thought the white people s religion bizarre. 46
Shortly before the time came for the Cherokees to depart, Ostenaco was invited to dine at the College of William Mary. After the meal, a professor provided him and Timberlake with a tour of the facilities. Ostenaco viewed a portrait of the young George III. He remarked how he had long wished to see the king my father; this is his resemblance, but I am determined to see himself [ sic ]. The Governor tried to dissuade him, but Ostenaco was adamant. It had been more than thirty years since a young Attakullakulla and six other Cherokees had journeyed to England, and that was to meet a different King George. I am now near the sea, the Second Warrior insisted, and never will depart from it till I have obtained my desires. 47 Finally Fauquier caved in. Ostenaco could go, along with two other headmen known to the English as Standing Turkey (Cunne Shote) and the Pigeon (Woyi). Henry Timberlake, Thomas Sumter, and interpreter William Shorey would accompany them. 48
As arrangements were made for the three headmen s departure, the remaining Cherokees prepared to return home. To them, the Second Warrior delivered a farewell address. William Mary student Thomas Jefferson ventured down to the Cherokee camp to hear this speech. Jefferson already was familiar with the great Outassete (Outacite) as an occasional guest of my father. Under a full moon, Jefferson now listened to Ostenaco s sounding voice, distinct articulation, animated action. Years later he remembered how the experience filled me with awe and veneration, although I did not understand a word he uttered. 49
On May 15, 1762, the three Cherokees and three Virginians boarded Captain Peter Blake s sixteen-gun frigate, L Epreuve . The crossing took one month and the passengers generally were favored with excellent weather. Even so, Timberlake and the Cherokees were sea-sick all the way. William Shorey fared the worst, dying of consumption en route. Until they returned to America, the Indians would be able to use little more than sign language for communication. 50
Eighteenth-century London constituted a unique phenomenon. At the time of the Timberlake expedition nearly one million people resided in the early-modern metropolis-a population well more than half of that of the thirteen colonies combined. Signs of the city s burgeoning industrial-commercial growth were everywhere: shipyards, breweries, textile plants, glass-fronted retail shops, townhouses and public squares, professional societies, theatres, museums and exhibits. Here too was the imperial government in all of its splendor. There was nothing like London in America, and with the possible exception of Paris, there was nothing like it in Europe either. 51
The London elite conspicuously showcased great wealth. Skilled artisans, merchants, and professionals also were able to purchase many luxuries. Most of the city s population, however, could not afford the elegance and excitement. Unskilled and poor, these people lived on the edge of subsistence in conditions that would have made a modern slum seem like paradise. Their neighborhoods were overcrowded, filthy, and dangerous. Alcoholism, gambling, and crimes against people and property were everyday events in eighteenth-century London. And the pallor of coal-smoke hung thick over all. 52
British officials prepared carefully for the Cherokees arrival, for Ostenaco was a powerful monarch, the St. James s Chronicle insisted, capable of raising ten thousand men upon any Emergency. The L Epreuve dropped anchor at Plymouth on June 16, 1762. While being rowed to shore, the Americans viewed a mighty seventy-four gun man-of-war. Inspired, the Second Warrior launched into a ceremonial song with great gusto. Painted in a very frightful manner, his loud alien lyric drew such a crowd of spectators that the party had a difficult time landing and making their way to an inn. 53
Journeying on to London, the Cherokees and their escorts were introduced to the Earl of Egremont, Charles Wyndham, British Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Lord Egremont made sure his visitors were nicely attired and provided with comfortable accommodations. The group made its first public appearance at Kensington Gardens on June 23. All dressed in English fashion, Ostenaco and his fellow warriors became instant celebrities. Their escorts, Timberlake and Sumter, wore elegant red uniforms. 54
During the next several weeks, the small group visited such majestic sites as Westminster Abbey, the Tower, and St. Paul s Cathedral. They were wined and dined by aristocrats, met the poet Oliver Goldsmith, and the Indians had their portraits done by Joshua Reynolds. The Cherokees preference though was for less sophisticated pleasures. They were fascinated by the pantomime and stage sets at Sadler s Wells. The rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens reminded them of the large civic centers at home. Vauxhall Gardens was their favorite destination. Here they drank sweet wines and were greatly pleased with the entertainment, shaking hands with some hundreds of the gentlemen, who crowded to see them. 55
Crowds turned out everywhere the Cherokees and their escorts went. The Americans quickly learned to be shy of Company, not ever having experienced such sensory overload. London must have seemed incredibly noisy, crowded, and impersonal to them. The Virginians found it difficult to follow the thick accent, rapid-fire delivery, and urban slang indigenous to the metropolis. Remembered as a rather reclusive man with simple tastes, Thomas Sumter may well have felt more comfortable with life in the Overhill villages than here. 56
The strain soon began to show on the Americans. According to Lloyd s London Evening Post , not less than ten thousand persons turned out to see the Indians during a return visit to Vauxhall Gardens. Removing into the orchestra, the Cherokees entertained themselves and the gaping multitude, by sounding the strings of a violin, clapping their hands in return for the claps of applause bestowed upon them, and swallowing, by wholesale, bumpers of Frontiniac. 57
Inebriated, it was not until well past midnight that their Cherokeeships began to think of departing. Making his way to a waiting coach, Ostenaco collided with a gentleman who had pressed too close. A sort of scuffle mistakenly ensued and the man pulled out his sword to intimidate the Cherokee. The Second Warrior grabbed it and snapped it in two, cutting his own hands pretty badly in the process. Angry and weary, he then parked himself on the ground and refused to budge. Timberlake and Sumter finally lifted and placed Ostenaco on the floor of the coach. Thus ended this wretched scene of British curiosity and savage debauchery, opined the London press. 58
Thomas Sumter similarly took matters to hand when he accompanied a genteel acquaintance on a visit to the Cherokees residence. A domestic halted the two men and demanded that they pay an admission fee. The insulted Sumter took a warrior s satisfaction, and knocked him down. Upon hearing what happened, Timberlake defended his companion. A blunt Virginia soldier, he wrote, need not take an insult from so mean a quarter : The young man, who had faced all dangers for the service of his country in the war, who had been so highly instrumental in saving us from the dangers that threatened us in going to their country, and had accompanied us ever since, received that affront from an insolent servant. 59
The following day the servant s kinsman came before Timberlake, threatening to have Sumter arrested. This man s language was so scurrilous, reported Timberlake, that I was perfectly at a loss how to retort it adequately. He ended up giving the man a tongue-lashing and let him know that he would not hesitate to physically assault him as well. The man backed down, although he quietly got revenge through his control of the townhouse menu. For the remainder of their stay, the Americans received the worst available cuisine on Suffolk Street: ox-cheek, cow-heel, and such like dainties only the choicest parts of the beast. 60
On July 8, 1762, the Cherokees and their Virginian escorts were admitted to the Court of St. James s. Ostenaco was dressed in a blue mantle covered with lace, and his head richly ornamented, while upon his neck hung a silver gorget with his Majesty s arms engraved. Cunne Shote and Woyi comparably were clad, but in scarlet. 61
For an hour-and-a-half, the three Cherokees and the young English king tried to form a connection across their radically different worlds. The Virginians were so confused in their efforts to translate, however, that the King could ask but few questions. For his part, Ostenaco began to offer George III his salivated pipe and an arm-wrenching diplomatic handshake. The Virginians prevented this major faux pas just in time. 62
Despite the gap in language and etiquette, Ostenaco must have been pleased by his audience with the King. Just the fact he had met with George III would add substantially to the Second Warrior s reputation and authority in council. In the Overhill Towns he now could play a trump card that almost no other Cherokee could: I have been with the great King. 63 Furthermore, Ostenaco might attribute to the monarch virtually any detail of communication he wanted. Nobody would refute him. How many people in the Cherokee villages could have any idea what the King really said? Following is an example from a talk Ostenaco delivered in June 1771: He told me our Land was like his, the one was his the other was ours; he told me that white and Red people should live like Brothers, and all his Talks are good; he said the Land he lived upon was his own, he could do what he pleased with it, that there should be a Line drawn to separate our Land and we might do as we pleased with ours. 64
It appears uncertain whether George III s 1762 message to Ostenaco included discussion of boundary lines. Not until 1763 did Lord Egremont present plans for such a reserve. Perhaps it is more likely that in 1771, the Second Warrior was, with Southern Indian Superintendent John Stuart s encouragement, putting such words into His Majesty s mouth because, all his Talks are good . 65
Ostenaco long had competed with Oconostota and Attakullakulla for influence in the Cherokee nation. That was no secret. Timberlake knew it. Colonial and imperial officials knew it. Even the London press knew it. 66 For decades Ostenaco had proven himself a formidable leader in battle and a capable diplomat. Yet he had remained as only the Second Warrior. Previously he could not match the prestige surrounding Attakullakulla s celebrated visit to London in 1730. Now Ostenaco had replicated the feat. In fact, he had done one better. George II was dead, and it was Ostenaco, and not Attakullakulla, who was the Cherokees living link to George III. South Carolina Governor Thomas Boone would note upon the Second Warrior s return to America: The Headman apparently aims at Influence with his nation, this seems his Chief, and almost his only concern. 67
Preparing for departure, the Americans were informed that they would be sailing for Charles Town rather than Virginia. One reason the ministry insisted upon this destination was to assure South Carolina that it was not being overlooked in the reconciliation with the Cherokees. None of the Cherokee headmen were pleased with the announcement. Lord Egremont then instructed Timberlake to deceive the Cherokees to get them on board-only to find that the Lieutenant himself would not go to Carolina. Sumter hesitated as well. Timberlake knew, though, that the Cherokees would be disoriented and distressed without either of them, and so finally persuaded Sumter to undertake the escort alone back across the Atlantic. The young man was to receive 150 for this service. 68
Timberlake did not return to America until 1763. Thereupon, he accompanied another group of Cherokees to England. The novelty of such visitors having worn off, Timberlake s second party received little fanfare or ministerial support. Shortly before his death in 1765, Timberlake wrote: When I can satisfy my creditors, I must retire to the Cherokee or some other hospitable country, where unobserved I and my wife may breathe upon the little that yet remains. Perhaps he said this to try to shame the ministry into greater generosity. Perhaps he really meant it. In any event, Timberlake grieved, the departure of Sumter and the Cherokees left him without money or friends. 69
Thomas Sumter had been in the company of the Cherokees since the close of 1761. He had become friends with Ostenaco, Cunne Shote, and Woyi. The four men set forth from London for Portsmouth on August 20, 1762. Near the harbor of Southampton, they visited a brig for French prisoners which the Indians viewed with uncommon curiosity. Sumter and the Cherokees were treated to a two-hour parade and firing exhibition the following morning by the Wiltshire militia. Arriving at Portsmouth, they were provided with a tour of its fortifications, ships, and dock-yard. Evidently these efforts worked to drive home the military and commercial prowess of Britain upon the Cherokees. Noted the London press, Their general observation on being shown these great objects is, That their English brethren can do everything . 70
On August 24, Sumter s party boarded to begin the long voyage back to America. Once again it was Peter Blake s L Epreuve that carried them. Lord Egremont took pains to remind the Captain and Sumter to treat the Cherokees with their finest hospitality. Sumter was entrusted with a letter for South Carolina Governor Thomas Boone, whom Egremont further urged to remove all ill impression. 71
The seas proved rough during the westbound passage and the crossing took more than two months. Along the way, L Epreuve came upon a small New England schooner smuggling goods from the French Caribbean. Eager for any Appearance of Action, the Indians were led to believe she was a Frenchman. They gott [out] their musquets and Cartouch Boxes and seem d pleased. The Cherokees were allotted some coconuts, tobacco, and gunpowder from the vessel s confiscated cargo. 72
On October 28, 1762, Sumter and the Cherokee headmen disembarked at Charles Town where they remained for several weeks. 73 This was the Virginian s first visit, although Ostenaco had been to the city many times before. Perhaps he even helped show Sumter around town.
The South Carolina Lowcountry differed in appearance from any of the places that Sumter and the Cherokees had looked upon during the past ten months. The region s subtropical clime, dense slave population, and task-labor system better resembled the British Caribbean than the Chesapeake. Lowcountry whites averaged four times greater wealth than Chesapeake planters. Large-scale cultivation of rice and indigo brought great lucre into Charles Town. For the affluent, no American city was more lavish, entertaining, or genteel than the South Carolina capital. 74
Despite its opulence, Charles Town had not been on Ostenaco s list of choices for either departure from America or return from England. The Second Warrior went so far as to inform Governor Boone that had he been refused to sail from Virginia, he probably would have gone next to New York to ask permission. Ostenaco held little faith in the goodwill of South Carolina. He could not forget his friends and associates slain by militia at Fort Prince George three years earlier. Even at London, when the three Cherokees observed a roomful of grenadiers fix bayonets for drill, they had become very much agitated, having a suspicion of treachery. 75
Ostenaco, Cunne Shote, and Woyi met with the Governor on November 3, 1762. Finally able to communicate again through an interpreter, Ostenaco told Boone how they had met with a good deal of trouble, in going over the wide water. This, however, was more than recompensed, by the satisfaction I have had in seeing the King. The Second Warrior particularly commended Thomas Sumter: That Gentleman has treated us exceeding well, and has been very good to us. As Boone later reported to Lord Egremont, Ostenaco was extreamly urgent that his English Companion should attend him to his own Country Mr. Sumter consented with readiness and Otassite was Gratified. 76
One week later, Sumter and the three headmen began the 250-mile trek to Keowee and the borders of Cherokee settlement. Resting at Ninety Six, they were greeted by Kittegunsta (the Prince of Chota), who was eager to hear about the overseas adventure and meeting with the King. The party resumed its march on November 18, next stopping at Fort Prince George and Keowee. Here too, Ostenaco delivered his story. The men crossed the mountains around the opening of December and entered the Overhill settlements. From his home at Tomotley, Ostenaco now prepared his most triumphant presentation of all. Oconostota and other headmen being absent on the winter hunt, the Second Warrior sent word for them to return instantly for his talk. The First Warrior did not come, however, and after three days of waiting, Ostenaco and Sumter went to him instead. Oconostota and his retinue finally heard the full narrative of the Second Warrior s great odyssey. Ostenaco further promised that he would journey back shortly to Keowee and return to the Overhill Towns with many presents sent from England. 77
Before departing for the Lower Towns, Ostenaco requested that Oconostota detain four French visitors present in the nation. The Great Warrior agreed, and Ostenaco headed east while Sumter retired to Tomotley. Sumter soon learned, though, that Oconostota actually was planning to accompany the Frenchmen back to Alabama. The young Virginian sought to dissuade the Great Warrior and was rebuffed. Sumter then hid the party s horses and delivered Oconostota a second, more pointed lecture. That also accomplished nothing, as the Great Warrior and his French companions disappeared overnight. Ostenaco heard Sumter s story upon returning from Keowee. The Great Warrior was a Rogue, the Second Warrior commiserated, who maintained a perverse love for the French. 78
Oconostota visited Mobile as well as New Orleans during the winter of 1762-63. He never became as enamored with the British as Judd s Friend, and he certainly was not going to start taking orders from either him or a twenty-eight year-old militia sergeant. Even if French Canada had been crushed during the Seven Years War, the lower Mississippi Valley largely had been insulated from English attack. France recently had agreed to remove from the region in secret negotiations conducted at Fontainebleau. 79 But Oconostota did not know this, and neither did the Louisiana agents who continued to ply the Cherokees for support.
A French-Canadian officer, the Baron de Jonnes, appeared at the Overhill Towns in January 1763. He was a no-nonsense veteran of the Seven Years War as well as a gifted linguist who was said to have mastered seven Native dialects. De Jonnes told the Cherokees that the French had got the better of the English everywhere, and would soon be masters of all of America. Oconostota being absent, village headmen granted Sumter permission to seize the Frenchman, but only if he accomplished it on his own. Sumter found de Jonnes at the village of Toqua. He bluntly told the man that he must submit to surrender or risk death. The officer replied that he was not afraid to die and a struggle ensued. Cherokee villagers watched this bizarre microcosm of the imperial conflict with great interest. The brawl continued for some time before Sumter finally got the upper hand. With great difficulty and Hardship, he transported and eventually delivered de Jonnes to the commanding officer at Fort Prince George. 80
Thomas Sumter bid the Cherokees farewell early in March 1763 and returned to South Carolina. His single-handed capture of an enemy agent won acclaim in the South-Carolina Gazette . On March 21, he appeared before the Council and delivered a detailed account of his accomplishments at the Overhill villages. Governor Boone was highly pleased and sent a glowing report to London, asking Lord Egremont to compensate Sumter generously for his expenses, time, fatigue, and risk. Shortly thereafter, the young sergeant from Preddy s Creek departed for his home in Virginia. 81
Nothing they experienced before or since would surpass Ostenaco s and Thomas Sumter s extraordinary travels together during the Timberlake expedition. In little more than a year they had experienced the Overhill Towns and Cherokee homelands, Williamsburg and the Chesapeake, London and the Court of St. James s, Charles Town and the Lowcountry, and two trans-Atlantic crossings. All this they did together, and the two men s lives were changed.
Ostenaco would not supplant Oconostota as the Cherokees First Warrior or Attakullakulla as his nation s highest esteemed diplomat. Already in his fifties by the time of the expedition, he would remain as the Second Warrior in the Overhill Towns and as Judd s Friend to the English. Nonetheless, the journey overseas brought Ostenaco lasting fame on both sides of the Atlantic. He knew the English in a way that nearly no other Cherokee did, and for the remainder of his life he cherished his metal strong-box and its paraphernalia given to him by the King. 82
No headman more actively collaborated with the English during the final colonial years than Ostenaco. During 1764 he led an attack against Pontiac s confederates, for which the Cherokees were given a 900 reward. Subsequently, the Second Warrior and his good friend Kittegunsta served as the two leading Cherokees who helped Superintendent John Stuart run boundary lines. 83
Still, Ostenaco never became a sycophant to the English or anyone else. He consistently acted upon what he believed was in his people s best interest. To Stuart s dismay, during 1770-71 the Second Warrior backed the Treaty of Lochaber. This Cherokee cession cancelled the nation s trade debts in exchange for lands actually held by the Creeks. During 1775, Ostenaco rejected the long-term lease of real Cherokee territory by Attakullakulla and Oconostota at Sycamore Shoals. He later removed south and west from the Overhill villages to join with Chickamauga secessionists. Ostenaco certainly shared these militants hunter-warrior ethos. Yet his life experience prevented him from embracing the separate-races belief central to Nativist teachings. 84 As he preached to fellow headsmen and warriors in 1765, God is the Maker of white red People, and we are all his Children there is no difference between them and Us; we are both alike; the Blood flows in their Veins as in Ours; we have mutually the same passions and desires. 85
Ostenaco lived out the final years with his grandson Richard Timberlake. He died around 1780, sometime late in his eighth decade of life. 86 The old warrior s passing happened just about the time that his former travel partner Thomas Sumter won fame as the South Carolina Gamecock.
Not long after returning to Virginia, Sumter was sued by two men for debts he long had failed to repay. Arrested in November 1763 and placed in a Staunton jail, Sumter escaped with the help of friend Joseph Martin, a tomahawk, and ten guineas. His whereabouts over the next several months are unclear. Sumter was back in South Carolina by spring 1764. There he received a hefty 700 payment from the Earl of Egremont for his services with the Cherokees during the fall and winter of 1762-63. Sumter used that small fortune to build a store, tavern, and mill at Eutaw, about sixty miles equidistant from Charles Town, Camden, and the Congarees. His business performed well and likely included commerce with the Catawba Indians. Sumter s largest step to fortune came in 1767 when he married an older widow with assets totaling nearly 10,000. 87
Thomas Sumter s experiences with the Cherokee headmen and nation provided him with the measure of wealth and reputation essential for beginning anew in South Carolina. Had he not been a member of the Timberlake expedition, in all likelihood no one today would know who Sumter was. Sumter himself recognized the impact of the expedition upon the course of his life. As one acquaintance remembered, he always spoke of that trip to England in 1762, as gratifying to him. 88
As it did for Ostenaco, the time that Sumter spent with his companions beyond the mountains and over the sea provided him with an exceptional view of many of the peoples and places within the British Atlantic world. When the American Revolution came, many South Carolina Whigs seemed pleased to condemn Indians-but not Thomas Sumter. His experiences with Ostenaco and in the Overhill Towns helped buffer him from identifying his patriotism with such xenophobic zeal.
Did the two friends ever see each other again? There seems to be no evidence that they did. As commander of a rifle regiment, in 1776 Sumter was dispatched from Charles Town to accompany one of five Patriot armies sent that year against the Cherokees. Sumter s expedition, however, did not reach across the Appalachians into the Overhill Towns. Concluding that war, Ostenaco was one of the headmen who signed the 1777 Treaty of De Witt s Corner-at which Sumter was not present. 89
For many years after the Revolution, Sumter allowed Indians free residence upon his properties and welcomed Catawba veterans into his home. The ancient warrior lived to be nearly ninety-eight. Right up to the end his vigor was amazing. Sumter rode eleven miles on horseback the very day before he died in June 1832. His mind and memory also remained sound. 90 Perhaps, sometime shortly before his passing, Thomas Sumter thought once again about the long-departed Ostenaco, Henry Timberlake, and boy-faced King whom he had known some seventy years before.
The Cherokee War of 1759-61 and the Philopatrios-Philolethes Debate
I think it was being pritty free to drive them naked out of their beds to hide in the woods and mountains. But this among others I did without much concern, besides burning of houses destroying fine fields gardens orchards etc. till the tears of a squaw first melted me and made me sorry.
Major John Moultrie, letter to Eleanor Austin, July 10, 1761
In many respects, the Cherokee War of 1759-61 served as rehearsal for the American Revolution in the Lower South. Henry Laurens, William Moultrie, and Christopher Gadsden performed as high-ranking provincial officers in the conflict, while Andrew Pickens and Francis Marion commanded smaller units. Each of these future Patriots gained essential experience in campaign and combat during the war. They also received a firsthand view of the Cherokee villages and people who would be targeted again during the War for Independence. Peace negotiations in 1761 further helped set the tone for 1776, as the question of how to treat the Cherokees served to distinguish radical from conservative Patriots in South Carolina.
The conflict that developed between the English and the Cherokees was quite unnecessary, largely the result of avarice, carelessness, and misunderstanding. For somehow South Carolinians forgot. First they forgot their alliance and obligations to the Cherokees formed during the Yamasee War. In 1715, the fledgling colony had been nearly shoved into the sea by a powerful coalition of coastal Indians until the Cherokees came to Carolina s rescue. Two years later, South Carolinians negotiated a peace for themselves, leaving the Cherokees to fight on alone against Creek enemies. Such inter-tribal conflict was considered good news by many colonists who believed that effective Indian policy meant to assist them in cutting one another s throats without offending either. 1
Next, South Carolinians forgot to prevent abuses against Cherokee villagers and their lands. Mindful to avoid another disastrous war, in 1716 the colony chartered a public trade monopoly to ensure a fair and steady exchange of English goods for hides and other Native products. The arrangement failed to develop, however, as private dealers beyond the easy reach of Charles Town continued to control the trade. Initially, many of these individuals respected the villagers they lived among. They spoke Native dialects and followed Native customs, and they took Native wives and fathered m tis children. Conditions worsened during the decades that followed. By the 1750s, the majority of dealers were itinerants who trafficked primarily in liquor and who sometimes physically or sexually abused their customers. The Indian trade was important to the South Carolina economy, and it afforded at least a marginal living for the landless. As late as 1748, deerskins accounted for 22% of all South Carolina exports, ranking second only to rice. 2
Aggressive white settlers further troubled the Cherokees. Encouraged by Governor Robert Johnson s township plan, a variety of ethnic and sectarian groups began migrating to the Backcountry during the second quarter of the century. Most numerous among these peoples were the Scots-Irish who traveled south from Pennsylvania and Virginia along the Great Wagon Road, retracing ancient Native routes. Whereas in 1730, virtually no colonists resided in the South Carolina piedmont, by 1776 four out of five white Carolinians lived there. Most of the newcomers viewed askance their pagan and barbaric Cherokee neighbors. They killed and frightened off warriors game, brought Old World pathogens into point-blank proximity to Native villages, and pressed unrelentingly upon Indian lands. 3
Itinerants and emigrants were not the only South Carolinians who forgot to respect Native autonomy. So did the colony s official leadership. During 1730, Sir Alexander Cuming escorted seven Cherokees to England where the Board of Trade proclaimed a formal alliance and trade between the Crown and the Indians. Officials anchored the American end of their chain of friendship specifically to Moytoy of Great Tellico, who was designated emperor of all Cherokees. In reality Native politics were too localized and non-coercive to link with such a concentration of power. Nevertheless, by anointing amenable medal chiefs, British policy-makers aimed to reframe tribal relations to imperial advantage. 4
The 1730 treaty sought to discourage refuge for escaped slaves by stipulating that the Cherokees would be rewarded with a gun and match-coat for each runaway they helped to return. White Carolinians practiced hyper-vigilance against any hint of insurrection, for they were outnumbered by slaves more than ten-to-one in some Lowcountry districts. The colony became especially alarmed in 1736, when the German missionary Christian Priber appeared unexpectedly among the Cherokees. Priber preached a utopian gospel and he openly welcomed runaway slaves as well as escaped indentured servants into his kingdom of paradise. Southern officials subsequently accused Priber of being a French agent. He was extracted forcefully by a party of English traders and Creek warriors in clear violation of Cherokee prerogative. Georgia s Governor James Oglethorpe sentenced Priber to prison where he soon died. 5
The deterioration of relations with the Cherokees left even sophisticated negotiators such as long-time South Carolina Governor James Glen hard-pressed to find ways to align the nation to the colony s interest. Glen usually exhibited care in his Indian policy although he was not above using coercion. On several occasions Glen closed down the frontier trade so as to compel more amenable behavior from the Indians. This tactic was employed in the Panic of 1751, a particularly serious disruption of English-Cherokee relations during which war seemed imminent. Leaders on both sides soothingly dismissed the crisis as the result of mere rumor and failed to acknowledge its warning of mounting frustration. South Carolina subsequently made little effort to improve actual regulations and relations upon the frontier. 6
It was during the 1751 embargo that the Cherokees began to make serious overtures towards Virginia for an alternative access to English goods. During the summer of 1753, the nation assured Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie that 1000 warriors would be available in the event of French movement into the Ohio country. That offer flabbergasted James Glen. He long had considered the Cherokees to be the key to Carolina. Beyond their partnership in trade, the Appalachian villagers provided a stout barrier against enemies such as the Iroquois and Shawnees. To block the Cherokee bid with Virginia, Glen determined to personally confer with Attakullakulla, the Overhill Towns leading diplomat. 7 Several agreements soon were negotiated to Cherokee advantage. First, South Carolina would help mediate an end to the chronic and mutually harmful Creek-Cherokee conflict. Second, a fort (eventually named Prince George) was to be constructed opposite Keowee. This outpost, Glen promised the Cherokees, would facilitate a more ample trade and help secure their Lower Towns against attack. 8
The Cherokees diplomatic strategy worked, at least during the opening period of the Seven Years War, as Glen and Dinwiddie continued to compete and bicker with one another over which colony had priority with the Indians. Indeed, in his correspondence with the Virginia Lieutenant Governor, Glen always seemed more concerned with a largely imagined French threat to the Tennessee Valley than with the real dangers which developed in the Ohio Valley. Glen regarded the Cherokees as South Carolina s private domain, and he remained reluctant to share them despite pressure from London. 9 As he lectured Dinwiddie in one August 1754 communique, The Government of Virginia knows little of our Indians, and can have no great knowledge in any Indian affairs How dangerous it may be when matters of so great delicacy are handled by Gentlemen that can have no great experience in them. 10
During 1755, James Glen neglected to encourage southern warriors north in support of General Edward Braddock s campaign to take Fort Duquesne. Instead, the South Carolina governor organized a huge conference with the Cherokees at Saluda. He repeated his promise for better trade and pledged to build a second English fort near the Overhill Towns of eastern Tennessee. To be fair, Braddock hardly seemed to care whether or not his army included Cherokee auxiliaries. The British commandant made little effort to recruit any Indians and he dismissively treated those few who did show up. Braddock s army included but eight Indians when it finally did cross the Monongahela where, lacking sufficient reconnaissance, it stumbled into epic defeat. In the aftermath, the Virginia piedmont was left vulnerable to enemy attack. George Washington, fortunate to have survived Braddock s debacle, was assigned command over the Virginia frontier. Without Indian allies to counter Indian enemies, the young colonel soon found that he could scarce protect even his own militia. 11
Glen was stung by criticism in the months following the ignominy at the Monongahela. Grudgingly he dispatched a smattering of southern warriors to Virginia, yet continued to try to hoard most of his Cherokee allies. Thoroughly peeved, Dinwiddie then determined to simply ignore Glen and to contract directly with the Cherokees. Virginia now pledged to provide the nation with ample trade and to build the Overhills fort in exchange for hundreds of warriors who would serve in support of Colonel Washington s piedmont patrol. 12
More than 250 Cherokees went to Virginia during 1757. That colony, though, proved no better an ally to the nation than South Carolina. Promised goods never materialized and Virginia s Chota fort was abandoned almost as soon as it was haphazardly completed. Uncompensated and angry, some warriors ransacked the properties of the same settlers they had been hired to protect. Even so, Virginia made more promises, and during the spring of 1758 six hundred warriors accompanied by Attakullakulla went north to support a second attempt against Fort Duquesne. They joined with British and American troops led by General John Forbes. Forbes forces advanced only with great caution as he did not wish to share in Braddock s fate. 13
While the advance sluggishly dragged on, the Cherokees became impatient and eventually decided to leave. The British command viewed their departure as an act of treason. Forbes put out orders to have the Indians stopped and stripped of their English presents. Worse, Attakullakulla was to be arrested for desertion-a crime punishable by death. Luckily the Cherokees eluded capture and Forbes was persuaded to rescind his orders. As occurred in the previous year, the warriors then sought to live off the land as they made their way home. This time, however, angry settlers were prepared to defend their property, and they killed upwards of thirty Indians. 14
The tragedy outraged clan relations of the slain warriors located throughout the Cherokee towns. As if this was not offense enough, during the winter of 1758-59 frontier whites trespassed deep into Cherokee lands to kill deer during the Indians prime hunting season. More egregious, early in 1759 officers at Fort Prince George raped several women from Keowee. The call for revenge would be stemmed no longer. Overhill warriors from Settico retaliated that April, striking against the Carolina frontier and killing two dozen settlers. 15
The Cherokees did not want war with the English and sensible action by the colonists could have prevented the chaos to come. The French cause was in obvious disarray by 1759. That year, even Louisiana s staunchest ally, the Choctaws, caved in and signed a British trade agreement. Some Cherokee villages entertained the French, and several Overhill Towns had sent delegates to a pan-tribal conference convened at Fort Toulouse in 1756. Yet the French never could supply the nation as well as the English, and Connecorte, Attakullakulla, Oconostota, and other leaders knew better than to rely upon them as much more than a foil. 16
Almost half a century had passed since the Yamasee War. Over the years, South Carolinians somehow had repressed that humbling memory, forgetting its painful lessons. Led now by an imperious governor, William Henry Lyttleton, 17 the colony would ignore some of the most basic principles of diplomatic regard and honor. South Carolina seemed determined to twist the chain of friendship into painful cords of economic and political bondage. A proud Cherokee people would bear the insult no more.
Lyttleton was incensed upon hearing news of the spring 1759 Cherokee raids and resolved that the nation must be punished. Trade was withdrawn and a bulky military force prepared. Either the Cherokees would submit to the Governor s demands or they would meet with privation and war. No matter that Oconostota had halted hostilities, that he and Attakullakulla were members in a fifty-five man delegation now arrived at Charles Town to apologize and conciliate. In parley, Lyttleton accepted the Great Warrior s unblemished deerskin offering, but he ignored its symbolic message of peace. The Governor insisted that normal relations would not be restored with the nation until the Cherokees surrendered up all revenge killers for execution. Lyttleton was an amateur in Indian diplomacy and pride compounded his inexperience. The South Carolina Commons House hoped to avoid war. Council members encouraged caution as well. Albeit, when Lyttleton found he could not intimidate the Cherokee negotiators into complicity, he abruptly took them hostage. 18
The Assembly dragged its feet, delaying public funds for more than three months. It was October before the Governor was able to assemble a force of 1300 regulars, provincials, and rangers for an advance against the Lower Cherokee Towns. The martial enterprise was cheered by many Carolinians and celebrated in the local press, despite its tardiness and uncertainty. One conspicuous fan was Captain Christopher Gadsden, organizer of Charles Town s colorful volunteer artillery company. Proud and ambitious, a future spark plug for Revolutionary radicalism, Gadsden enjoyed basking in the glory surrounding his governor-commander. 19
The march to the Lower Towns took Lyttleton s army forty-five days to complete. Hundreds of ill-armed and undisciplined militia deserted or fell ill along the way. Not until December 9, 1759, did the main corps finally reach Fort Prince George.

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