Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"The Over Mountain People"

From The Road to Guilford Courthouse, by John Buchanan, ©1997, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 206-207:

    The Over Mountain People were largely Scotch Irish, but the mixing had already begun, for among them were sizable numbers of English and some Germans and Welsh. At the time of which we write they lived in the extreme northeastern corner of what is now Tennessee, along the Watauga, Nolichucky, and Holston Rivers, where Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina meet. They were squatters on Cherokee land, for it was the official policy of the British government to keep white settlers east of the mountains, so to that end the Proclamation Line of 1763 was established. The line followed the watershed of the Appalachian Mountains. The country west of the line was Indian territory under the charge of the commander in chief of the British Army in America. That did not prevent sixteen families from North Carolina, led by James Robertson and his deputy John Sevier, from crossing the mountains and stopping their wagons on the banks of the Watauga River, at a beautiful spot called Sycamore Shoals (modern Elizabethton, Tennessee). There they established the Watauga settlements and leased two large tracts of land from the Cherokee.