George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Moultrie, 8 January 1793

From William Moultrie

Charleston [S.C.] 8th January 1793


Agreeably to a resolve of the Legislature of this State, I have the honor herewith to transmit to you, a copy of an Oath made by Benjamin Cleveland respecting the murder of some Cherokee Indians.1 I have the honor to be, with great respect, Your most Obt hume Servt

Willm Moultrie

ALS, owned (1992) by Mr. Gary Hendershott, Little Rock, Arkansas.

1Benjamin Cleveland (1738–1806) had risen to the rank of colonel in the North Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War and had played a prominent role in the American victory at Kings Mountain in October 1780. Cleveland later moved to South Carolina, where he was a justice of the peace for Pendleton County for many years. Cleveland’s deposition of 1 Dec. 1792, given in Pendleton County, reported that “on the 26th day of October last the Leach, old Will & his Son the Duke of Simbs with three other Cheroke fellows,” came to his house on the Tugaloo River, “under the protection of a Flag.” Leach told him “that they were delegated with powers from the well disposed Towns of their Nation to come to him . . . with a peace talk.” The Indians also provided Cleveland with “some very interesting & important intelligence concerning the measures which had been & were about to be adopted by the disaffected part of their Nation.” They left his house later that day and crossed the Tugaloo River into Georgia. There “in the night of the 28th, or the morning of the 29th of October last, before, or about day break on the said Morning,” a group of armed men fired on them, killing Leach and Old Will. Cleveland wrote that “this cruel act was done in Franklin County in the State of Georgia by a party of men said to be about thirty in number, said to be all Georgians and said to live at or near the Mulberry Grove on broad River. . . . soon after the said Indians were killed under the protection of a flag as aforesaid, a party embodied, said to consist of eighty or ninety men marched into a peaceable Town of the Cherokees, about 40 Miles distant from our frontier Settlements in a hostile manner, killed one or more Indians (the rest fled to the mountains) burned their houses destroyed the Corn, & carried off what plunder they found there, which would anywise answer their avaricious purposes, That he believes this Bandity were raised in the same Settlement, and had with them all, or most of the party who were engaged in the murder of the Flag as aforesaid and that he hath since heard, that a much stronger party from the same County in Georgia, is gone, or about to go to destroy another peaceable Town of the Cherokees—where they expect to get more plunder than they did in the last Town they destroyed” (filed under the date of 8 Jan. 1793 in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

On 2 Feb., Tobias Lear transmitted to Henry Knox by GW’s command “a lettr from Govr Moultrie, enclosing a deposition relative to the murder of certain Cherokee Inds by a party of Geo[r]gians in Oct. last” (DLC:GW).

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