Thursday, January 22, 2009


Contributed by Deloris Williams

From “Colonial Records of North Carolina”, North Carolina State Archives, Miscellaneous Records in the Office of Secretary of State- transcribed from 2 different copies of the same document, by Deloris Williams).

Through the years of early Colonialism in North Carolina, a number of laws were passed in regards to the taxation of Free People of Color, whether they were Black, Negro, Mulatto, Mustee or even Native American Indian who lived in the State. Granville County was the home of many of these early settlers who are recorded in the very early records as being part of the community, and indeed did intermarry within the local population of frontiersmen and settlers. With these new laws came new burdens on the families who not only had to pay taxes for the males in their households, but also for all of the females of color in their home over the age of twelve, a very heavy burden indeed when one realizes that these were very large families. One of the petitions filed in protest of this was in 1771 by a group of Granville County residents who, at first glance may seem to have been just interested citizens in support of their neighbors, but for those who have researched the names or surnames on this petition, it becomes clearer that while some of the names themselves were indeed white settlers, many of these were probably some of the earliest ancestors of those who later became known as being Free People of Color. Of special note, by the way, while there is only one name on the petition which was clearly indicated to have been “Negro”, extant tax & Court records of the time identify quite a few others on the list also as being Negro, Mulatto or People of Color.

To the Honble. The Speaker and Gentn. Of the house of Assembly

The Petition of the Inhabitants of Granville County Humbly Showeth that by the Act of Assembly Concerning Tythables it is among other things enacted that all free Negroes & Mulato Women and all wives of free Negroes & mulatoes are Declared Tythables & Chargeable for Defraying the Public County & Parish Leveys of this Province which Your Petitioners Humbly Conceive is highly Derogatory of the Rights of Freeborn Subjects Your Petitioners therefore Pray that An Act may pass Exempting Such free negroes & mulatoe women and all wives other than Slaves of free negroes & mulatoes from being listed as Tythables & from paying any Public County or Parish Levys and Your Petitioners shall ever pray &c.

----see the list of names here----

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Old petition names 249 Powell Valley settlers

Old petition names 249 Powell Valley settlers

Hat Tip: Tari

Time Line

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Miller McDonald's book Campbell County Tennessee USA: A History of Places, Faces, Happenings, Traditions, and Things

Transcribed by Mildred Collins Wasser

In 1813, just seven years after Campbell County was established, a petition was filed with the house of Representatives of the Tennessee State Legislature to change the location of the county seat at Jacksborough.

The petition contained 249 names and was filed to locate the county seat closer to the Claiborne County line. The petitioners complained that, "They said seat having been unjustly settled within four miles.of Anderson County, where as the distance to.Claiborne County is seventeen miles."

No doubt the petitioners were mostly, if not all, located in Powell's Valley. The petition was referred to committee and went nowhere. It is significant, however, by revealing that in 1813 there were 249 residents of Powell Valley wanting to bring the county seat closer to them. Most importantly to us it shows the names of some of the early settlers in the area. The reader may want to look at the names listed on the petition to identify ancestors who were among the county's earliest residents.

Jacob Smith
Thomas Kincaid
John Cliburn
James Miller
James Miller, Senior
Jubellee Cliborn
Peter McCulley
Thomas Miller
Broadwater Mattenbee
John Miller
John Willoughbie
William Croley
William Littrel
William Basham
Jonathan Basham
Johnson Basham
William Showmake

Cont. here:

Monday, January 5, 2009

John G. Burnett’s Story of the Removal of the Cherokees


Bunch family picture used from Russ Klicker's website.

Birthday Story of Private John G. Burnett, Captain Abraham McClellan’s Company, 2nd Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry, Cherokee Indian Removal, 1838-39.

This is my birthday, December 11, 1890, I am eighty years old today. I was born at Kings Iron Works in Sulllivan County, Tennessee, December the 11th, 1810. I grew into manhood fishing in Beaver Creek and roaming through the forest hunting the deer and the wild boar and the timber wolf. Often spending weeks at a time in the solitary wilderness with no companions but my rifle, hunting knife, and a small hatchet that I carried in my belt in all of my wilderness wanderings.
On these long hunting trips I met and became acquainted with many of the Cherokee Indians, hunting with them by day and sleeping around their camp fires by night. I learned to speak their language, and they taught me the arts of trailing and building traps and snares. On one of my long hunts in the fall of 1829, I found a young Cherokee who had been shot by a roving band of hunters and who had eluded his pursuers and concealed himself under a shelving rock. Weak from loss of blood, the poor creature was unable to walk and almost famished for water. I carried him to a spring, bathed and bandaged the bullet wound, and built a shelter out of bark peeled from a dead chestnut tree. I nursed and protected him feeding him on chestnuts and toasted deer meat. When he was able to travel I accompanied him to the home of his people and remained so long that I was given up for lost. By this time I had become an expert rifleman and fairly good archer and a good trapper and spent most of my time in the forest in quest of game.
The removal of Cherokee Indians from their life long homes in the year of 1838 found me a young man in the prime of life and a Private soldier in the American Army. Being acquainted with many of the Indians and able to fluently speak their language, I was sent as interpreter into the Smoky Mountain Country in May, 1838, and witnessed the execution of the most brutal order in the History of American Warfare. I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west.