George Washington Papers

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear, 28 June 1792

Henry Knox to Tobias Lear

[Philadelphia] 28 June 1792. Asks Lear to submit to GW “the enclosed letters from Governor Blount, Mr Allison and Judge McNairn, and others, by which the train of affairs with the Cherokees will be discovered.”1


1On 16 May, Southwest Territory governor William Blount wrote Knox that he agreed with the secretary of war that a post should not be established at the mouth of Duck Creek; that it was uncertain when the treaty goods would arrive at Nashville; that the Indians would not be at Nashville before mid-June; and that he had further frontier atrocities to relate. Two boys “of the name of Wells. one about eight the other ten years of age were picking strawberries near their fathers door in his view when the Indians six in number came up to them tomahawked & scalped them & went off without making further attempts on the family—Judging from the place where these boys were killed [Campbell’s Station] suspition falls on the Cherokees or Creeks. There is no instance of the no[r]thern tribes having killed so low down nor within less than Eighty Miles.” Blount closed his letter with an extract of a letter from Andrew Pickens of 28 April which reads in part: “While a part and that the ostensible ruling part of a Nation [the Cherokee] affect to be at & I beleive really are for peace & the more active young men are frequently killing People & stealing horses it is extreamly difficult how to act—The People even the most exposed would prefer an open War to such a situation, the reason is obvious a man would then know when he saw an Indian he saw an Enemy & be prepared & act accordingly” (Carter, Territorial Papers, description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends 4:150–52). The letters from David Allison, Judge John McNairy, and others have not been identified.

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