Envisaging the West: Thomas Jefferson and the Roots of Lewis and Clark


Treaty with the Cherokee and North Carolina

Avery's Treaty/Treaty of Holston
Haywood, John. The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee from its Earliest Settlement up to the year 1796 Knoxville: Heiskell and Brown, 1823. 501-504.
This treaty between North Carolina and the Cherokee is referred to frequently in Daniel Smith's Journal as the Virginia and Carolina Commissioners work with the Cherokee to establish boundary lines.

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Jul. 20, 1777.


Made and concluded at Fort Henry Maps: , on Holston river Maps: near, the Long Island, July 20, 1777, between the Commissioners from the State of North Carolina in Behalf of the said State of the One Part and the Subscribing Chiefs of That Part of the Cherokee Nation, Called the Overhill Indians of the Other Part.


That hostilities shall forever cease between the said Overhill Indians and the people of North-Carolina from this time forward, and that peace, friendship and mutual confidence shall ensue.


That all white or negro prisoners among the said Overhill Indians (if any there be), belonging to said State shall be given up immediately to the person who shall be appointed to reside among the said Overhill Indians as agent for the said State, to whom also the said Cherokees are to deliver all the horses, cattle and other property belonging to the people of the said State, which they have taken away since the beginning of the late war, that can possibly be discovered and procured.


That no white man shall be suffered to reside in or pass through the said Overhill towns without a sufficient certificate signed by three justices of the peace of the same county of North Carolina, or Washington county in Virginia, or to higher authority of any of the United States, to be produced to and approved of by the said agent. Any person failing to comply herewith, shall be apprehended by the Cherokees, and delivered to the said agent, whom they are to assist in conducting such person to the nearest justice of the peace, to be punished for the violation of this article; and the said Overhill Indians may apply to their own use of the effects such person shall then and there be possessed of at the time he is taken, in said towns or country, thereunto belonging.

And should any runaways negroes get into the Overhill towns, the Cherokees are to secure such slaves until the agent can give notice to the owners, who on receiving them shall pay such reward as the agent may judge reasonable.


That all white men residing in or passing through the Overhill country, authorized or certified as aforesaid are to be protected in their persons and property, and to be at liberty to remove in safety. And the said State of North-Carolina shall have liberty to send one or more traders with goods into any part of the said Overhill country or towns for the purpose of furnishing the said Cherokees with necessaries. If any white man shall murder an Indian, he is to be delivered up to a justice of the peace, in the nearest county, to be tried and put to death according to the laws of the State. And if any Indian shall murder a white man, the said Indian shall be put to death by the Cherokees in the presence of the agent at Chota Maps: or two justices of the peace of the nearest county.


That the boundary line between the State of North-Carolina and the said Overhill Cherokees shall forever hereafter be and remain as follows, (to wit:) Beginning at a point in the dividing line which during this treaty hath been agreed upon between the said Overhill Cherokees and the State of Virginia, where the line between that that state and North Carolina (hereafter to be extended) shall cross or intersect the same, running thence a right line to the north bank of Holston River Maps: at the mouth of Cloud's Creek, being the second creek below the Warrior's ford at the mouth of Carter's Valley, thence a right line to the highest point of a mountain called the High Rock or chimney top, from thence a right line to the mouth of Camp Creek, otherwise called McNamas creek, on the south bank of Nolichucky River, about ten miles or thereabouts below the mouth of Great Limestone, be the same more or less and from the mouth of Camp creek aforesaid, a south east course into the mountains which divide the hunting grounds of the middle settlements from those of the Overhill Cherokees. And the said Overhill Cherokees in behalf of themselves, their heirs, and successors, do hereby freely, in open treaty, acknowledge and confess, that all the lands to the east, north east and south-east of the said line, and lying south of the said line of Virginia, at any time heretofore claimed by the said OOverhill Cherokees, do of right now belong to the State of North Carolina; and the said subscribing chiefs, in behalf of the said Overhill Cherokees, their heirs and successors, do hereby, in open treaty, now and forever, relinquish and give up to the said State; and forever quitclaim all right, title, claim and demand of , in and to the land comprehended in the State of North Carolina by the line aforesaid.


And to prevent as far as possible any cause or pretense on either side to break and infringe on the peace so happily established between North Carolina and the said Cherokees, it is agreed by the commissioners and Indian chiefs aforesaid, that no white man, on any pretense whatsoever, shall build, plant, improve, settle, hunt, or drive stock below the said boundary line, on pain of being driven off by the Indians, and further punished according to law; nor shall any man who may go over the line in search of any stray creatures be permitted on any pretense to carry a gun, on pain of forfeiting the same to the informer.

In testimony of all and singular the above articles and agreements, the parties aforesaid have hereunto set their hands and seals in open treaty the day and year above written.

Read, interpreted, and ratified in the Great Island opposite to the fort.

Memorandum before signing: That "The Tassel" yesterday objected against giving up the Great Island, opposite to Fort Henry Maps: , to any person or country whatsoever, except Col. Nathaniel Gist, for whom and themselves it was reserved by the Cherokees.

"The Raven" did the same this day in behalf of the Indians, and desired that Col. Gist might sit down upon it when he pleased, as it belonged to him and them to hold good talks on.

Waightstill Avery, [SEAL] William Sharpe, [SEAL] Robert Lanier, [SEAL] Joseph Winston, [SEAL] Oconostota, of Chota Maps: , his X mark, [SEAL] Rayetaeh or The Old Tassel, of Toquoe, his X mark, [SEAL] Savanukeh or The Raven, of Chota Maps: , his X mark, [SEAL] Willanawaw, of Toquoe, his X mark, [SEAL] Ootosseteh, of Hiwassee, his X mark, [SEAL] Attusah or The Northward Warrior, of the mouth of Tellico river, his X mark, [SEAL] Ooskuah or Abram, of Chilhowee, his X mark, [SEAL] Rollowch or The Raven, from the mouth of Tellies River, his X mark, [SEAL] Toostooh, from the mouth of Tellies River, his X mark, [SEAL] Amoyah or The Pigeon, of Natchey Creek, his X mark, [SEAL] Oostossetih or The Mankiller, of Hiwassee, his X mark, [SEAL] Tillehaweh or The Chestnut, of Tellies, his X mark, [SEAL] Quee Lee Kah, of Hiwassee, his X mark, [SEAL] Anna Ke Hu Jah or The Girl, of Tuskega, his X mark, [SEAL] Annecekah, of Tuskega, his X mark, [SEAL] Ske Ahtu Kah, of Citico, his X mark, [SEAL] Atta Kulla Kulla or the Little Carpenter of Nachey Creek, his X mark, [SEAL] Ookoo nekah or The White Owl, of Nachey Creek, his X mark, [SEAL] Ka Ta Quilla or Pot Clay, of Chilhowee, his X mark, [SEAL] Tus Ka Sah or The Terrapin, of Chilestooch, his X mark, [SEAL] Sunne Wauh, of Big Island town, his X mark, [SEAL]

WITNESS - Jacob Womack, James Robins, John Reed, Isaac Bledsoe, Brice Martin, John Reed, John Kearns.

Joseph Vann, Interpreter.