Affiliated Networks



Latest Activity

Mark de Castrique posted an event

Malaprop's Bookstore at Malaprop's

November 9, 2015 from 7pm to 8pm
Presenting new Sam Blackman mystery A SPECTER OF JUSTICESee More
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

A Chronology of Asheville and WNC Events in History

                                   IMPORTANT DATES IN ASHEVILLE HISTORY                                                                 by Rob Neufeld 1000: The Cherokee, who’d introduced maize agriculture to the region, began cultivating beans. 1540: Hernando De Soto led troops to East Tennessee through either the Hickory Nut or Swannanoa Gap, finding gold and copper and inspiring a succession of Spanish miners. 1663: Charles II bestows territory between the 31st and 36th parallels in America…See More
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Root-diggers of Appalachia

People in the Lost Provinces were herb-gatherersby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Three herbal products offered by S.B. Penick’s, once the world’s largest herb distributor, its largest warehouse located in Asheville.             “Last week, during a research trip to the ‘Lost Provinces,’” Luke Manget said about the landscape…See More
Mark de Castrique posted a video

A Specter of Justice Preview

A Preview of the new Sam Blackman mystery to be released November 3, 2015
Rob Neufeld's discussion was featured

"Us versus Them" does not help fight against racism; worsens sectionalism

“Us versus them” is not good historyby Rob Neufeld             Writing about history and the complex lives that play out within it does not sell as well as team spirit, especially in this age of clicks and likes.            I recently confronted this truth when I wrote my article last week about the minds of our leaders in 1851. The word “slavery” was added to the headline to alert people to its relevance.  Seeing that term connected people to a cause they felt strongly about, particularly in…See More
Sep 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Player of Games and the Millennial Mind

Player of Games reveals today’s game-changing mentalityby Rob Neufeld             There is something big happening in Millennial Generation literature, and I thought I’d try to get a handle on it.            To give an idea of one aspect of current thinking: I was at a gathering recently, plenty of youngsters, and I…See More
Sep 27
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event

Julia Nunnally Duncan Book Signing at MACA Building

October 10, 2015 from 9am to 1pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will sign her books at the McDowell Arts Council Association (MACA) Booth at the annual Mountain Glory Festival on Saturday, October 10 from 9-1.See More
Sep 22
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 22
Ann Miller Woodford shared their photo on Facebook
Sep 21
Ann Miller Woodford posted a photo

Deacon Chrisenberry -Berry- Howell (1855-1938) on horseback. From the collection of Purel Miller (2)

My maternal great grandfather, Chrisenberry Howell, who was called "Berry" Howell in Swain County. From the Purel Miller collection. Submitted by Ann Miller Woodford
Sep 21
James D. Loy posted a blog post

The skull merchant, the dead ape, and the narcoleptic mortician

Hello "The Read on WNC" readers:     I'm posting this note to announce the publication of vol. 3 in my "Loy's Loonies" series.  This one is called The Mortician's Road Trip and it's a bit more of a mystery than my earlier books. Here's a teaser for the story.     Upstate New Yorker Baz Rathbone makes ends meet by selling human skulls. By contract, he should cremate them, but he doesn’t. His little business comes to the attention of the FBI when a woman spots her late husband’s skull being used…See More
Sep 20
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Sep 19
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Sep 19
Ann Miller Woodford replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains
"That East Tennessee Christian Association of Friends comment, especially bothered me, but it clarifies the view some folks from outside the region have about us even to this day.   … average intelligence...below that of colored…"
Sep 8
Ann Miller Woodford updated their profile
Sep 8
Carol Anders posted an event

FREUD'S LAST SESSION by Mark St. Germain at All Souls Cathedral Parrish Hall / Biltmore Village

October 4, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
It is a "sharp, lively discourse, and audience members searching for engaging debate will be pleased, St. Germain's script is astute, and the humor is plentiful."-NY Times. Sigmund Freud invites C. S. Lewis to his home in London  ...they clash about sex, love, the existence of God and the meaning of life - just weeks before Freud took his own life. This play reveals the minds, hearts and souls of two brilliant men.  Afterwards a time to "talk back" with The Very Rev. Todd Donatelli and Dr. Mary…See More
Sep 8

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.



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)

Views: 441

Reply to This

© 2015   Created by Rob Neufeld.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service