The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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opened fields, built forts and houses, "subdued the earth," and began rapidly to "replenish it,". for "they married, and were given in marriage;" and the State of North Carolina, some years afterward, deemed a good opportunity presented for her to gain the credit of an act of "supererogation," and passed laws to confirm marriages and other deeds and doings of these wayward "children in the woods."

        July 21, 1776, "Old Abraham," in command of a band of Cherokees from Chilhowee mountains, attacked the Watauga fort, commanded by Sevier and Robertson; and, as the best feat performed, he chased the "lovely Catharine to the captain's arms;" and we have heard her say she used to feel ready to have another such a race and leap over the pickets to enjoy another such an introduction.

        On this same day was fought the battle of the Flats. Other skirmishes occurred here and there at different times.

        Captain Sevier was actively engaged in the expedition of Colonel Christian, ordered out by Virginia, and joined the Virginia troops at "Double Springs," and he neglected no opportunity to pursue the Indians or chastise them for any of their insults or outrages. He promptly united with others, without envy, or jealousy, or reservation, and he as readily fitted out expeditions from his own neighborhood and with his own means, without boasting, without fear, and with never a failure. In 1777 he was made lieutenant-colonel.

        In 1778 it is probable that his first wife died, for on August 14, 1779, he was married to Miss Catharine Sherrill, of whom it is truly and handsomely said, "she could outrun, outjump, walk more erect, and ride more gracefully and skillfully than any other female in all the mountains round about or on the continent at large."

        In 1779 Captain Sevier raised troops, entered the Indian territory, burned their towns, made prisoners, and fought the successful battle of "Boyd's Creek."

        A few days after the battle of Boyd's Creek, Colonel Sevier was joined by Colonel Arthur Campbell with a Virginia regiment, and by Colonel Isaac Shelby with his troops from Sullivan County, North Carolina, and afterward these three colonels in harmony scoured the Cherokee country, scattered hostile bands, destroyed the homes of the Indians, and then returned to their own in better security and some more confidence of peace.

        The critical year of the American Revolution was 1780, certainly so as regarded the Southern States. Charleston surrendered, Gates defeated, reverses here and there; money exhausted, provisions, clothing and ammunition scarce, many hearts fainting, fearful and desponding--taking shelter under British protection-certificates.

        The tories were numerous, desperate and daring. The British in possession of South Carolina, Georgia and parts of North Carolina and Virginia, the hopes of the patriots were feeble, and the sun of independence well nigh obscured. But soon it beamed forth on the heights of King's Mountain, (October 7, 1780,) which achievement has been frequently referred to in these pages. Sevier had his full share of the dangers, and has received full credit for the same--a sword and a vote of thanks were extended to him by the Legislature of North Carolina. He rendered other important military services at Musgrove's Mill and other places against the British and tories, and afterward in defending the frontiers against the ravages of the Indians, and in 1781 he conducted several expeditions to the Chicamauga towns. Peace being made with England, yet no peace came to this section; for in 1784 "the State of Franklin" mingled in the seething cauldron of political excitement, and Sevier set up a government independent of the State of North Carolina. Our space and limits do not allow us to give the history of this very interesting epoch in the life of Sevier. In 1788 he was arrested and imprisoned in the jail at Morganton. The mild measures of the old mother State toward her young and wayward daughter, granting pardons to individuals, and yielding up a section already beyond her control, induced Sevier and his party to come into measures of compromise. The County was ceded to the United States, and organized as "the Territory south of the Ohio river." The probationary territorial stage was passed through.; Tennessee was created a State, and John Sevier (1796-1801) was chosen Governor, and afterward from 1803-9. In 1811 he was elected a member of Congress from Tennessee, with Felix Grundy and John Rhea as colleagues, and was re-elected in 1813. In 1815 he was persuaded by Mr. Madison to accept the appointment of commissioner to adjust the difficulties with the Creek Indians. This duty, considering his age and health, was too severe, and while engaged in its services he was taken sick at an encampment on the east side of the Tallapoosa river, near Decatur, Georgia, where on Septemtember 24, 1815, he died.

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