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Gary Carter posted a blog post

New Story Published by Deep South Magazine: "Nothing But A House"

It's always an honor to have a new story selected and published, this time by Deep South Magazine -- which I recommend for its coverage of all things Southern and, in particular, its attention to Southern literary voices.Read the story here: "Nothing But A House" by Gary CarterComments are always welcome. Deep South Magazine actually has a unique comment section following each story.See More
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City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Mar 18
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason

Asheville thriller writer Mason broods with the bestby Rob Neufeld             “Everything you need for measuring a person,” Dee Vess, the heroine and narrator of Jamie Mason’s novel, “Monday’s Lie,” reflects, “can be found in the nature of what he chooses to hide from everyone else.”            It’s a sign of how…See More
Mar 18
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West End Poetry and Prose Reading Series March Reading at West End Bakery

March 14, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
We are back for a new Spring session of our Poetry and Prose Reading Series! We hope you are able to join us again Saturday, March 14th, 7pm at the West End Bakery for a wonderful Free family-friendly evening of prose, poetry and storytelling from a group of fabulous local writers.This month we will be featuring: Tommy HaysCaroline Wilson Dalton Dayand Leah ShapiroHosted by Lockie Hunter and our friends at the West End Bakery Cathy Cleary and Krista Stearns.See More
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William Forstchen discussing his Pillar to the Sky at Bell Library at Montreat College

March 24, 2015 from 3pm to 6pm
Dr. William Forstchen will be the guest author at the Montreat Community Book Club on March 24, 2015 at Bell Library, Montreat College at 3:00.  He will be discussing his novel Pillar to Sky Public is invited.See More
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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Asheville Poetry Review 20th Anniversary Anthology--and event

Asheville Poetry Review produces 20-year anthologyby Rob Neufeld             The two most remarkable things about the Asheville Poetry Review have been its diversity and quality.  Yes, Asheville, you’ve got a poetry journal of special note here.            Now, 20 years after its locally born…See More
Mar 8
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Carolina McMullen Reading & Signing at City Lights Bookstore

March 14, 2015 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Carolina McMullen will read from her new novel Vicenta de Paul on Saturday, March 14th at 3:00 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. As the first novel of her Not Here to Stay series, Vicenta de Paul tells of a baby who is abandoned by her young mother at an orphanage in Rota, Spain in 1914.  She is later adopted by a wealthy couple and raised in the peaceful coastal area of Rota, away from the busy city. Everything seems fine until her mother begins to suffer from depression.  Vicenta pulls through…See More
Mar 7
Patti Jensen posted an event

Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers Book Discussion & Signing at The Market on Oak

March 21, 2015 from 11am to 12pm
The Market on Oak in Spruce Pine will host Allen Cook, author of Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers: The Wildest County in America on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 11A.M.Moonshine, Murder & Mountaineers recounts a time around the turn of the 19th century when moonshiners and desperadoes faced off against the law in epic battles that made national headlines. The book focuses on events from an area in western North Carolina that held the reputation as the wildest county in America (book has…See More
Mar 5
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AHS football team, first year of integration

Asheville High integration played out on the football teamby Rob NeufeldParts 1 through 3PHOTO CAPTION: South French Broad players in 1968 who, with the exception of Wilks, played for Asheville High the next year: from l. to r., James Fair, Al Wilks, John Gaines, and Fred Ryan.  Photo by Ewart Ball III…See More
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Feb 25

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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