In 1766 John Stuart, superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern colonies, pressed Gov. William Tryon to enter into negotiations with the Cherokees regarding extension of the boundary line. The delineation of the boundary dividing the western frontiers of the province from the Cherokee hunting grounds was work left to Tryon by his predecessor, Arthur Dobbs. After some initial resistance, Tryon appointed commissioners to conduct the survey and mounted a personal military expedition to take part in the negotiations. The Cherokees were flattered to receive the governor’s visit and gave him the title “Great Wolf of North Carolina.”
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The commissioners began their work in June 1767 at the Reedy River in South Carolina. From there, with the assistance of the several Cherokees in their party, they surveyed a line fifty-three miles north to a Spanish oak atop the peak that the Indians called the “great Mountain” and that the commissioners renamed for the governor. It was agreed that the boundary would extend in a straight line to “Colonel Chiswell’s mines” in Virginia, but that that portion would by necessity remain unsurveyed.
By public proclamation on July 13, 1767, the boundary was stipulated with the stated requirement that white settlers west of the line should remove themselves by January 1, 1768. Furthermore, anyone wishing to trade with the Cherokees was required to obtain a license from the governor. The Cherokee boundary agreement was the high water mark of the attempt of the British home government to control North Carolina’s Indian affairs.
Louis DeVorsey Jr., The Indian Boundary in the Southern Colonies, 1763-1775 (1961)
Sadie S. Patton, Sketches of Polk County History (1950)
John R. Alden, John Stuart and the Southern Colonial Frontier (1944)
Jerry C. Cashion, “North Carolina and the Cherokee: The Quest for Land on the Eve of the Revolution, 1754-1776” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1979)
William S. Powell, ed., The Correspondence of William Tryon and Other Selected Papers (1980)
United States Geological Survey Quadrangle maps: Mill Spring and Landrum quads