Sunday, January 13, 2008

1799 Tennessee Boundary Survey (part 3)

From Western North Carolina: A History (1730-1913), by John Preston Arthur, published 1914, Edwards & Broughton Printing Co., North Carolina, pp. 41-43:

    WAS THIS EVER "NO MAN'S LAND"? When the surveying party came to the Yellow they found that the compass had been deflected when it had been sighted from the peak just north of Watauga Falls, caused doubtless by the proximity to the Cranberry Iron mountain, of whose existence apparently they then had no knowledge. Of late years some have supposed that the "territory between the Iron mountain and the Blue Ridge, after the act of cession, was left out of any county from 1792 or 1793 till 1818 or 1822, and was without any local government till it was annexed to Burke county." L. D. Lowe, Esq., in the Watauga Democrat of July 3d, 1913, gave the following explanation: "It is quite true that there was no local government, but it was not for the reason that this part of the territory was not claimed by Burke county; but it was because the lands had been granted to a few, and there were only a limited number of people within the territory to be governed, hence there was very little attention paid to it." In previous articles in the same paper he had shown that "the reason this territory had not been settled at an earlier date" was because "the State had been paid for more than three hundred thousand acres embraced within the boundaries of six grants," but had failed to refer to the fact that "these grants or some of them had especially cxcepted certain other grants within their boundaries—for example, certain grants to Waightstill Avery, Reuben White, John Dobson and others. Within the past twenty-five years it has been clearly demonstrated that some of the Cathcart grants run with the Tennessee line for 14 miles."

    HOME COMFORTS. "Mr. Hawkins and myself went down to Sugar creek to a Mr. Currey's, where we got a good supper and a bed to sleep in," continues the diary. Evidently the food in the camp had about given out, for we hear nothing more of meals "fit for a European Lord;" but, instead, of the comforts of good Mr. Currey's bed and board. Here too they "took breakfast with Mrs. Currey, got our clothes washed and went to camp, where Major Neely met us with a fresh supply of provisions. It rained all day [and] of course we are still at our camp at the head of Sugar creek."

    PLEASANT BEECH FLATS. The next day they crossed "high spur of the Roan mountain to a low gap therein where we encamped at a pleasant Beech flat and good spring." Any one who has never seen one of these "pleasant beech flats" would scarcely realize what they are like. As one ascends any of the higher mountains of North Carolina, the size of all the trees perceptibly diminish, especially near the six thousand feet line, to be succeeded, generally, on the less precipitous slopes, by miniature beech trees, perfect in shape, but resembling the so-called dwarf-trees of the Japanese. They really seem to be toy trees.

    JOHN STROTHER'S FLOWERS OF RHETORIC. It was here that they "spent the Sabbath day in taking observations from the high spur we crossed, in gathering the fir oil of the Balsam of Pine which is found on the mountain, in collecting a root said to be an excellent preventative against the bite of a rattlesnake, and in visioning the wonderful scene this conspicuous situation affords. There is no shrubbery grows on the tops of this mountain for several miles, say, and the wind has such a power on the top of this mountain that the ground is blowed in deep holes all over the northwest sides. The prospect from the Roan mountain is more conspicuous [extensive?] than from any other part of the Appelatchan mountains."

    CLOUDLAND. A modern prospectus of the large and comfortable hostelry, called the Cloudland hotel, which has crowned this magnificent mountain for more than thirty years, the result of the ardor and enterprise of Gen. John H. Wilder of Chattanooga, Tenn., could not state the charms of this most charming resort, now become the sure refuge of hundreds of sufferers from that scourge of late summer and early autumn and known'as hay fever, more invitingly.

    UNSURPASSED VIEW. Of the magnificence of this view a later chronicler has this to say: "That view from the Roan eclipses everything I have ever seen in the White, Green, Catskill and Virginia mountains." This is a statement put into the mouth of a Philadelphia lawyer in 1882 by the authors of "The Heart of the Alleghanies," p. 253.