Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 3)

The petition of 1776 continues from (part 2)...

"But your Petitioners have the greatest Reason to question the Validity of those mens purchase being well informed that the Cherokees never extended their claims north of the Cumberland River, nor would warrant any Lands on the other side.  Besides its well known, that the Indians of the Six Nations Claimed and ceded those very Lands to the Crown of Great Britain at a Treaty held at Fort Stanwix in November 1768.  We therefore are not willing to obey those men, or the Authority they have assumed or indeed to acknowledge any power or prerogative, which is not derived from the Convention of Virginia whose subjects we desire to be considered."

Greatest reason to question the validity of the Transylvania company's authority.  Under which treaty do they operate their land claims...Fort Stanwix (Six Nations) or Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga (Cherokess)?  [The Shawnees who had dealt mostly with folks from Pennsylvania were not included although many of these petitioners were from PA.] 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 2)

The petition from "Herrodsburg, June 7 - 15th. 1776" continues...

"And in the meantime a Company of men from North Carolina purchased or pretended to Purchase from the Cherokee Indians all that track of Land from the southernmost waters of the Cumberland River to the Banks of the Louisa or Kentucke River including also the Lands on the which inhabitants live in Powells Valley, By Virtue of which Purchase they stile themselves the true and absolute Proprietors of the new Independent Province, (as they call Transylvania) they are indeavoring to Erect and in consequence of their their Usurped authority officers both Civil and Military are appointed, Writs of Election issued Assemblys convened, a Land Office opened, Conveyances made, Lands sold at an Exorbitant Price and a System of Policy introduced which does not at all Harmonize with that Lately adopted by the United Colonies, But on the Contrary for ought yet appears this Fertile Country will afford a safe Asylum to those whose principles are Inimical to American Freedom."

Richard Henderson and company had independently negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee Indians. [ a great council at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, March 19, 1775 ]   As the Louisa Company, they had advertised in Virginia and North Carolina newspapers in December 1774 that land could be purchased. [So certain were these folks from North Carolina.]  In January 1775 they were reorganized as the Transylvania Company.  All this activity was occurring under the laws of England.  The petitioners above [from Harrodsburg] identify this activity "which does not all Harmonize with that Lately adopted by the United Colonies".  In 1776, how could you refuse such reasoning. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 1)

Folks residing in "Kentucke" during 1776 faced a great deal of uncertainty.  What was to happen to all the land claims that had been made just prior to this great period of confusion?  June 1776 found a bunch of fellows writing a "Humble Petition" to the Virginia council of government from the settlement recorded as "Herrodsburg".  It reads:

"To The Honorable The Convention of  Virginia"

"The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Kentucke (or Louisa) River on the Western parts of Fincastle County.  Humbly Sheweth that many of your Petitioners became Adventurers in this part of the Colony in the year 1774, in order to provide a subsistance for themselves and their Posterity; but were soon obliged by our Savage Enemy to abandon their Enterprise and in the year Following, after the Country had been discovered and explored, many more became Adventurers, some of whom claimed Land by Virtue of Warrant by Lord Dunmore agreeable to the Royal Proclamation in the year 1763 and other by Preoccupancy, agreeable to the Entry Laws of Virginia."

This sets the stage for the basic understanding of what was the underlying assumptions of these folks.  First, they believed that the year 1774 was the beginning of settlement.  Their primary goal was to provide "a subsistance for themselves and their Posterity".   [Of course, the ethic groups who already claimed and occupied the lands had something to say.]  Lord Dunmore's Proclamation was one acceptable way to seek land, along with the Entry Laws of Virginia. [see previous post]  Their view was that the "Country had been discovered and explored", and many more folks had become interested in the lands.

This and the other petitions from early Kentucky can be found in Petitions of The Early Inhabitants of Kentucky To The General Assembly of Virginia 1769 to 1792, by James Robertson, 1914.  It is published by John P. Morton & Company, Louisville, KY. [Printer to the Filson Club]

The next several posts will give this petition.