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Gary Neil Carden at A-B Tech

March 6, 2015 at 7pm to March 7, 2015 at 2pm
WNC Historical Association will sponsor a concert (staged) reading of Gary Carden's play, "The Raindrop Waltz" in the Ferguson Auditorium on March 6th at 7:00 and March 7th at 2:00pm. The playwright will attend the performances and will enter into a dialogue with the audience about the autobiographical content of the play. A-B Tech is on 340 Victoria Road in Asheville.See More
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Reading cancelled tonight at Black Mountain

February 19, 2015 from 6pm to 7pm
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Madden Reads from Latest Collection of Short Stories at Monte Vista Hotel

February 19, 2015 from 6pm to 7pm
The Black Mountain Authors Guild will present local author David Madden reading from his collection of short stories, The Last Bizarre Tale­, Thursday, February 19, 6pm, at the Monte Vista Hotel. With titles like “Who Killed Harpo Marx?” and “James Agee Never Lived in This House,” Maddens stories range wide over time, geography, and the human soul. In “The Last Bizarre Tale,” for example, a young man witnesses strange behavior involving a corpse that has hung on a hook in a funeral home garage…See More
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Earth Week Celebration in Andrews NC at Andrews NC, various location throughout the town

April 22, 2015 to April 26, 2015
A special celebration honoring the local and regional talents of Andrews NC and Cherokee County, featuring author readings and book signings by Gary Carden, Wayne Caldwell, Anna Berenyi and hopefully more authors of Appalachia. Drummings, Native American crafts, Nature walks, Backyard remedies, Native Bees, Animals of the Forest, Country and Blue Grass Music and so much more.See More
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Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award at Asheville Renaissance Hotel

February 7, 2015 from 5pm to 7pm
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An Evening with Barbara Woodall at Splendor Mountain at Splendor Mountain

January 27, 2015 from 6pm to 8pm
Barbara Taylor Woodall was born and raised in Rabun County Georgia. This county touches both North Carolina and South Carolina, so you can already guess it was a special place to grow a child. Barbara wrote about her life as a child and the wonderful people God joined her to as she grew and learned. It's Not My Mountain Anymore tells some of these stories. Barbara will share from her book and from her life, June 6, 2015 at Splendor Mountain.See More
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David Joy Presents His Debut Novel at City Lights Bookstore

March 6, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Webster author, David Joy will present his new novel on Friday, March 6th at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore.  Where All Light Tends to Go, a staff pick of both Chris and Eon, is set in Jackson County and tells the story of Jacob McNeely, a young man who is in a fight against his fate. “Expertly balancing beauty and brutality, David has written a novel that stays with the reader long after the final page has been read.  Where All Light Tends to Go, though very much an Appalachian tale, is…See More
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Alexander Cameron, the Cherokee, and the generation before the Revolution

Alexander Cameron, British agent, stuck by the Cherokee

by Rob Neufeld

 

            “I have been threatened hear by Severals of the Cracking Traders for taking a halfwitted pack horseman into Custody,” Alexander Cameron, British agent to the Cherokee, reported on Feb. 3, 1765.

            He was talking about the white settlers who crossed boundaries to con or steal goods and land from Indians around his headquarters in Toqua (the Cherokee town now under Tellico Lake in Tennessee).

            The term “cracker,” applied by the British and Cherokee to a criminal class of bandits in the colonies, had just become popular.  It referred to the hustlers’ “use of whips with a piece of buckskin at the end”; or, to their boasting; or to their way of eating corn, various early dictionaries ascribed.

            In any case, the British government feared that the outlaws would mess up their friendly relations with the Cherokee, whom they needed to maintain good trade and regional security. 

            After the French and Indian War, John Stuart, British Superintendent of the Southern District of the British Indian Department, tapped Cameron as his chief agent.  It was a residential job. 

            “This Gentleman,” Stuart wrote British Commander-in-Chief Gen. Thomas Gage about Cameron, “was some years upon Command at Fort Prince George where he acquired considerable influence among the Indians.”

            Cameron had quite a balancing act to perform on a daily basis.  One time, while he was in his cabin, sick with fever, yet providing lodging to white fur traders, a party of Cherokees forced their way in, demanding retribution for the killing of some of their people on a Virginia outing.

            “I was,” Cameron wrote George Price, commander at Fort Prince George, “very loath to get out of my bed, but the Dread of Their Tomahawks obliged me to rise” and prevent the executions.  “Some of the Traders had Blows & Knocks but were obliged to put up with them.”

            Cameron and Price were together at the fort in 1766 when Kittagusta, Cherokee chief, appealed to the need for peace and justice within his community during negotiations regarding a new boundary with the British.

            “We might claim the land a great way beyond where we propose to Run the Line,” Kittagusta said, “but chuse much Rather to part with it than have any disputes concerning it; & that we are a poor People dependant upon the Woods for our Support, & without the means of redressing ourselves but by Violence which we do not choose to exercise against our Brothers.” 

 

Cherokee wife

 

            When Cameron had first arrived in Cherokee country, he married a Cherokee woman, whom he called “Molly.”  The Cherokee called Cameron, “Scotchie.”

            Molly and Scotchie had three children, the first a son, George, in 1762.  When George was six, the Cherokee offered him a tract of land in western South Carolina about twelve square miles in size.

            “Our beloved brother, Mr. Cameron, has got a son by a Cherokee woman,” Oconostota, a Cherokee Beloved Man, explained.  “We are desirous that he may educate the boy like the white people…that he may resemble both white and red, and live among us when his father is dead.”

            It was part of a strategy.  In Kentucky, the Cherokee people had just agreed to a revised border to bargain for a more strictly enforced line, for the Virginians were overrunning boundaries with force and deception.  The Creek and Cherokee distinguished between the small farmers who had arrived in the mountains first and the developers and land-grabbers who came later.

            If treaties didn’t work, maybe large buffer zones owned by mixed blood British heirs would.

            In Georgia, the 1773 Treaty of Augusta ceded two million acres of Cherokee and Creek territory to the British to relieve a large debt incurred when a diminishing fur trade couldn’t pay for necessary weapons and ammunition.  With the British supplying competing Indian nations, each was dependent on the British to keep up in hunting and military superiority.

 

Tragic fates

 

            Tribes were torn.  One Creek warrior killed another, blamed a white settler, and then slaughtered that man’s household as payback. 

            Cherokee headmen went to Cameron to show him the white and red beads Creeks had brought them as signs of their desire for an alliance in war against white settlers.  The headmen discarded the red beads.

            As the Revolutionary War approached, Overmountain Men in the Watauga settlement forged a letter to show that John Stuart had written Cameron to instigate a Cherokee insurrection against colonists.  Cameron became a hunted man, and he joined with the Cherokee war chief, Dragging Canoe, in a unwavering campaign against American rebels.

            Cameron died in his Savannah home on Dec. 27, 1781, after resigning his British post, and after a long illness.  His son George had already returned to England, never to return.

 

SOURCES

The primary sources used for this article were:

 

A just-published book: Dark and Bloody Ground: The American Revolution along the Southern Frontier (Westholme Publishing hardcover and e-book, Nov. 15, 2012, 336 pages)

 

“Alexander Cameron, British Agent among the Cherokee, 1764-1781” by  John L. Nichols, The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Apr., 1996

 

The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South Carolinians through the Revolutionary Era by Tom Hatley (Oxford U. Pr., 1995)

 

Native American History archives in the Clements Library at the University of Michigan (online)

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