Thursday, December 29, 2022

29 December 2022 Quotations are still long and contain many peculiar spellings from the originals Copyright Hershel Parker¬¬ § I. "Jefferson, Cocke, Indian Treaties, and the Sims Settlers" In 2007 when I went looking for the site of the Sims Settlement (where my ancestor Parish Sims died) I received almost no little help from the authorities in Limestone County, Alabama, and Giles County, Tennessee. Now, happily, there is a two-sided marker for “Sims Settlement” dated 2012 and another for nearby Fort Hampton. The front side of the Sims marker reads: In the fall of 1806 a group of settlers led by William and James Sims, traveled from east Tennessee on flatboats down the Tennessee River and up the Elk River to this area. They landed near Buck Island and spread out into the surrounding countryside, seeking homesites in what they thought was ‘government’ land that would soon be for sale to settlers. The area they settled, covering several square miles, from Elk River to New Garden became known as ‘Sims Settlement.’ The Federal Government had settled the Cherokee claim to the area north of the Tennessee River in 1805, but the Chickasaw Nation maintained a claim to it until 1816. The settlement by the Sims party and others that continued to come to the area was illegal, and they became squatters of ‘intruders’ on Indian land. The growing number of white settlers entering the area alarmed the Chickasaws who threatened war if the U. S. Federal Government didn’t remove them. To avoid bloodshed and to placate the Chickasaws, the government sent troops into this area to remove the settlers. This first removal was in April and May of 1809. Most of the settlers returned as soon as the soldiers left, and so the problem continued. [The reverse of the Sims Marker reads:] In response, the government sent an ultimatum dated August 4, 1810 to the settlers that if they had not left all land west of the Chickasaw boundary by December 15, they would be removed by force. This boundary was surveyed in the fall of 1807, starting at Hobbs Island in Madison

Gas-Bag deflated, Wind-Bag drained, KARI LAKE exposed, sanctioned, flattened

Sunday, December 25, 2022

28 April 2020 --When the great ocular oncologists said I was going blind from an aggressive cancer like lymphoma

Scratchy eye patch from RiteAid. The soft ones I ordered from Amazon 2 day delivery took 5 days and by that time the anti-fungal drug had stopped the progress of the blindness and I did not use an eye patch again. Here it is, Christmas 2022, alive and seeing.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Report from a Costner-Bell Mississippi cousin this morning

I got up this morning and braved the frozen south. Long John’s, thermal socks, long sleeve t shirt, heavy hooded jacket, and Cabello hunting cap/hood, gloves, boots. My hands still froze, and nose and lips (especially nose)! Let the dogs out, they went ripping and running; they are now back on pallets, under the heat lamp.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Bike path from Morro Bay to Cayucos--Safe from traffic but not from massive feral mastiffs?

A quarter century ago I tried to find a beach to run on which was not ruled by smokers and their loose dogs. The one straight down was dangerous, so I tried parking at North Point before mini-mansions were built leading up to there. You could park and go down a very rough slope on the north side, but the little strip of not-county and not-city land was overrun by loose dogs, and then the further miles to Cayucos were a dog park, no leashes in use. I hate being bullied but after a few months I had to give up. For several years I ran in the Morro Bay dunes, but they were forbidden for just over half the year because of the plovers. Smokers very gradually died off, so that only on national holidays do great grandparent smokers lean on their young descendants as they struggle down to the edge of the dunes, where they can see the water. Morro Bay continues to encourage tourists with glossy pictures of healthy people and happy dogs running circles around them and others on the beach, no leashes. Come to Morro Bay, buy everything on the Embarcadero, and let your dogs run wild! Habits change, and relatively few tourists let their dogs run absolutely free. The really arrogant ones do not bring a leash, although it is stylish to loop one around one's neck--color-coded to match clothing. The dunes are not accessible, even for 5 months a year, because great storms a decade ago ate them up. The first dunes now are way back toward the houses they built on swampland. I marvel at the way I once ran there, almost always alone, a fox more often than a dog, and had a well-defined path. There is no path now. It's up and down and around and up. And I don't do that much up and down. And I certainly do not carry bags down when the dunes open for winter and load up with beer cans and bottles, male and female undergarments, condoms from brands that I did not recognize (Empress? Empire?), trash from take out food. Was it 10 years ago that I could still haul trash out? Anyway, there is finally a bike and walking path between Morro Bay and Cayucos. Not one word about dogs in the news about this wonderful safe new path. So you get over North Point and are a victim? Even the path will be seized by old folks who never wanted to get sand on their toes but still want to walk with their dogs. And they love Lion and Tiger and can't bear to hurt them with leashes. So bicycle riders, beware! It's such good exercise for Lion to bite your yellow sneakers! Rules are to be ignored. All dog-lovers are considerate of everyone else. The beach from North Point to 41 is supposed to be Dog Free. Well, you are grateful if a dog is on a leash. What I say is, "Oh what a handsome leash!" And often if you are really scared of a loose beast that's circling you and leaping toward you you can stop and wave and point and sometimes the happy lawless dog-lovers will call their animals and hold them by the collar until you make an arc around them. Now at least you don't have to park along the highway to get down to the path and the beach, the miles-long Dog Park.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

"Jefferson, Cocke, Indian Treaties, and the Sims Settlers"

17 December 2022 Quotations are still long and contain many peculiar spellings from the originals The formatting does not recognize an ampersand and does not respect spacing and indentation. Copyright Hershel Parker¬¬ § I. "Jefferson, Cocke, Indian Treaties, and the Sims Settlers" In 2007 when I went looking for the site of the Sims Settlement (where my ancestor Parish Sims died) I received almost no little help from the authorities in Limestone County, Alabama, and Giles County, Tennessee. Now, happily, there is a two-sided marker for “Sims Settlement” dated 2012 and another for nearby Fort Hampton. The front side of the Sims marker reads: In the fall of 1806 a group of settlers led by William and James Sims, traveled from east Tennessee on flatboats down the Tennessee River and up the Elk River to this area. They landed near Buck Island and spread out into the surrounding countryside, seeking homesites in what they thought was ‘government’ land that would soon be for sale to settlers. The area they settled, covering several square miles, from Elk River to New Garden became known as ‘Sims Settlement.’ The Federal Government had settled the Cherokee claim to the area north of the Tennessee River in 1805, but the Chickasaw Nation maintained a claim to it until 1816. The settlement by the Sims party and others that continued to come to the area was illegal, and they became squatters of ‘intruders’ on Indian land. The growing number of white settlers entering the area alarmed the Chickasaws who threatened war if the U. S. Federal Government didn’t remove them. To avoid bloodshed and to placate the Chickasaws, the government sent troops into this area to remove the settlers. This first removal was in April and May of 1809. Most of the settlers returned as soon as the soldiers left, and so the problem continued. [The reverse of the Sims Marker reads:] In response, the government sent an ultimatum dated August 4, 1810 to the settlers that if they had not left all land west of the Chickasaw boundary by December 15, they would be removed by force. This boundary was surveyed in the fall of 1807, starting at Hobbs Island in Madison County and running diagonally to a point near Maury County in Tennessee. This boundary was the source of all the settlers problems because they were on the wrong side of it. Faced with the grave threat issued by the military, the settlers took the only action within their means. On September 5th 1810, some 450 of them gathered at Sims Settlement and signed a lengthy letter or petition addressed to President James Madison and congress. In it they stated the honesty of their intentions, the strength of their character and made passionate pleas that they be allowed to stay. Even though they described the terrible condition they would be placed in, especially that of the widows and orphans among them, all their pleading fell on deaf ears however. The soldiers who were now stationed at the newly established Fort Hampton set about removing the settlers, burning the cabins and rail fences. This continued until 1817, and in 1818 land in Limestone County was finally offered for sale by the government. My GGGG Grandfather Parish Sims and his brothers James and William led the family party and a few hundred others down from Hawkins County to settle near the southern border of Tennessee. Among family members were sisters Mary married to Benjamin Murrell and Charlotte married to Simon Foy as well as the widowed dowager, Elizabeth Sims. They knew they were settling in what was still claimed as part of west-stretching Georgia, for when Parish fell ill and made his will in November 1807 he located himself “in the State of Georgia and west of the Indian boundary.” He died soon afterwards, in 1807 or early 1808. Widows, as heads of households, signed the letter to Madison described in the historical marker and probably some grown sons signed too, but not minor children such as my GGG Grandfather Absalom Sims, born in 1793, or his brothers (and sisters). Children were not counted, but there would have been many more settlers than there were signers. The settlers brought their young from Hawkins County and some babies were born in the Settlement. They group probably brought some slaves too, who did not sign. Another new marker describes Fort Hampton as having been built in 1810 “to keep settlers, or intruders, off Indian land, as this area was not ceded to the United States by the Chickasaw Indians until 1816. The fort was one of the few ever built to protect Indian land from white settlers.” The President who first expelled the Sims intruders was Thomas Jefferson, who ordered the torching of the houses of my Sims family (including in-laws) and the others and (temporarily) drove some of them away. One of his last messages to the incoming James Madison in early March 1809 was a brusque command (given as if to a new, small, underling lower-case president). Madison was to burn out the settlers, as Jefferson had. To understand what happened to the Sims Settlement we need to confront the contradictory behavior of Thomas Jefferson toward Indians and intruding settlers. First in this book focused on kinfolks I had to check my blood connections not just to the Sims family but to Jefferson. No matter what squalor your ancestors had descended to by the twentieth century, if any of those ancestors had come to Virginia in the 1600s you are apt to be blood kin and otherwise connected to one President after another, even Obama, through his mother. Jefferson is my 6th cousin 7x through the Sparks family. Jefferson’s grandfather Col. Isham Randolph is a cousin of mine through the Simses. Isham’s daughter Jane, kin the same way, is also a cousin through the Tuckers. Peter Jefferson is a cousin through Branches and different Tuckers. Jefferson’s intimate friend and brother-in-law Dabney Carr (1743-1773) is a cousin through Mary Agnes Mackgehee, the spelling later normalized to McGehee. (The name was devised to avoid James I’s determination to annihilate all McGreggors: DNA shows I am a fifth cousin of Rob Roy, a few times removed.) Jefferson is a cousin to me directly from the Sims family he burned out, though you have to look back a couple of generations to see his relation to the family in England, then to the colonial Simses. Geni says that Jefferson and Parish Sims are 6th cousins, once removed (1x), but connected another way as Jefferson’s first cousin Peter Field Jefferson’s wife’s brother’s wife’s first cousin. My multiple-cousin Lois Gore says that if you are Southern you are either kin or connected. I mention “connected” in the book not to boast of tenuous kinship but to show just how complex relationships could be. Jefferson and I are cousins in more than half a dozen ways. Besides, Cousin Thomas Jefferson belongs in a book on racial reckonings if anyone does--for the slave-owner who declared that all men were created equal and was either the father or uncle of slaves whom he left in bondage. (DNA proves a Jefferson, not which Jefferson, but that proof may come from historical documents showing that Thomas Jefferson was the only male of his family around at times children were conceived by his wife’s half-sister, the almost all white Sally Hemmings.) Imagine a son of hers serving while Jefferson dined with dignitaries. My GGGGG Grandfather, the father of the Sims Settlement sons and daughters, was alive in Hawkins County until 1793 or so--and I give his name as Bartlett Sims without the usual preliminary “James” which I don’t see documented. In drafting this chapter I had to clarify who my GGGG Grandparents were--Parish Sims and Grizell Sims, who became a widow in the Sims Settlement and some years later married William Cocke, the orator-advocate of the State of Franklin and the only man who served in legislatures of four states. The pitfall for genealogists was a kinsman Parrish (double r) Sims and his wife Kiziah Royster, especially the name Kiziah (however spelled), which well-meaning if lazy family historians seized on to supply Grizell’s missing maiden name and which a State of Mississippi hireling mistakenly put on my GGGG Grandmother’s tombstone, which was an addition at the foot of Cocke’s large stone. Don’t trust anything on the Internet or in a book that says Parish’s wife, my GGGG Grandmother, was named Kiziah or was a Royster. The Sims brothers and their families, including sisters and their husbands, among them the Revolutionary soldier Benjamin Murrell (and others of his family), Simon Foy, and John Maples, were living over the mountains already when the proponents such as William Cocke, the life-long Indian-fighter, came close to creating the State of Franklin out of Indian land. In 1795 (the year before statehood) the population of that Southwest Territory (southwest of Virginia and west of North Carolina) was over 77,000, with more than 10,600 slaves and almost 1,000 free Blacks. By 1787 Parish Sims and some of his brothers and brothers-in-law were living near Cocke, whose 640-acre Mulberry Grove, his home site, was on the Holston River. Like Cocke, they were Virginians and North Carolinians in the new Hawkins County, Tennessee. There Cocke, his hopes for the State of Franklin behind him, was a leading politician, called by Joshua W. Caldwell in Bench and Bar of Tennessee “the great orator of his time,” with “no equal” as a popular speaker. Decades later in Columbus, Mississippi, this man (a soldier even in the War of 1812) became the benign stepfather of Parish and Grizell’s grown children. The Hawkins County Sims family were Baptists who saw nothing in their religion forbidding their having slaves--slaves they may have sat side-by-side with during religious services. On 3 August 1787 the Big Creek Baptist Church was formed at the home of Thomas Murrell, apparently my Uncle Benjamin’s father. Present were Thomas Murrell, Benjamin Murrell and wife Mary Sims Murrell (a sister of Parish), Martha Murrell, the parents, Bartlett and Elizabeth Sims, with Negro Sal and others. The punctuation is ambiguous, but “Sal” seems to go with the older Sims couple. On 19 August 1787 the Big Creek Baptist Church met again in the house of Thomas Murrell and after divine service proceeded to receive my Aunt Mary Sims Murrell by a personal religious experience. Religious experience trumped race. Parish owned at least a share in one slave, for on 10 October 1826 his children and some in-laws (John B. Sims, my ancestor Absalom Sims, Bartlett Sims (named for his grandfather), Ovid P. Sims, Lucinda Sims Brown, Elizabeth Sims Daugherty, John Daugherty, James Sims, Martin Sims, George Sims, and Mary Sims) took care of very old business: they conveyed to a Limestone County dweller John Slaughter for $120 “their interest in negro Jane and her children.” These slaves were then in the possession of James Hogan of Hawkins County, Tennessee--and conceivably had been loaned or rented to him for two decades. Uncle Benjamin Murrell was a slave-owner who in the Revolution had moved into what became Tennessee. In the spring of 1782 (months after Yorktown) he understood that Indians “were in league with the British, and whenever an opportunity offered, would steal horses and other property from the whites, and massacre our men, women and children.” There in what became Hawkins County he volunteered “to go on a campaign against the settlement of Cherokee Indians, called the Chickamauga Towns.” The shortage of fighting men meant that they did not engage Cherokees in battle but merely ranged about, on the alert, for three months. Murrell knew the region better than his in-laws did, but all of them would have known the attempts by William Cocke and John Sevier to establish a state named Franklin. Cocke had fought Indians as early as 1774 in Lord Dunmore’s war when the John Roberts family was massacred. Later, to name one incident, he arranged the surrender of Thicketty Fort in South Carolina in July 1780 and may have been with Sevier when he led the Over-Mountain men who marched down North Carolina, even if he was somewhere else on the defeat of Patrick Ferguson at King’s Mountain on 7 October. Any new postwar arrivals from Virginia were surrounded by famous Revolutionary heroes, and Murrell as a youth had fought alongside some of them. The Sims family knew all the candidates when on 8 March 1790 William Cocke, John Sevier, and John Rhea stood to represent the Western District of North Carolina (as Hawkins County still was)--voters such as Bartlett Sims and his sons James, John, Matthew, and Parish, as well as his son-in-law Benjamin Murrell and other kinfolks. The Sims men had become Over-Mountain men in their attitudes. That meant that they despised and defied any treaty that limited white access to land occupied or claimed by Indians. After all, what had the Over-Mountain men and southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina men done for many months after the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge early in 1776? Why, they had taken advantage of the lull of Revolutionary duties to wage two seasons of war destroying Cherokee towns. In the summer of 1780 Over-Mountain men took Patrick Ferguson’s insults to their masculinity personally and organized long enough to ride down to crush him at King’s Mountain, but that was a big-scale version of their established practice of banding together to kill Indians and track down and hang Tories who had raided their houses. These were militia men, not Continental soldiers who had been herded and bossed around by officers. In 1792 after Cherokees murdered several whites, William Cocke and Alexander Outlaw led 200 State of Franklin whites to battle. They killed the two Indians who had done the most recent murders and forced “The Tassel” and “Hanging Maw” to accept the Treaty of Coyatee. Samuel Coles Williams in History of the Lost State of Franklin says that no act of the State of Franklin is less creditable than this Treaty, and continues: “The white settlements at the time had passed the line established by the treaty of Dumplin Creek [1785] and it was determined that all the Cherokee lands north of the Little Tennessee river should opened to settlement, the treaty of Hopewell to the contrary notwithstanding. Instead of submitting to be removed from that region, the settlers advanced to possess more of it.” The phrasing reveals all: “the treaty of Hopewell to the contrary notwithstanding.” From Mulberry Grove, on 8 September 1792 Cocke, who two or three decades later became my step GGGG grandfather, wrote a letter about treaties which was printed in the Knoxville Gazette, quoted here from the reprint in the Philadelphia Dunlap’s American Advertiser 2 November 1792: The idea of forming treaties and purchasing peace of the Cherokee Indians, is as absurd to me as the fabulous story of the goat treating with the wolf, for the security of her kids, and I blush to think that the policy of the Indians has so far exceeded that of the enlightened nation in which I live; but it may be, that the great wisdom of our councils have been employed on objects more interesting. I shall not pretend to say that the citizens of Philadelphia have no regard for the inhabitants west of the Appalachian mountains, but I know that things at a distance are often viewed as indifferent, and must think it would be difficult to make a citizen of the western country believe that if Philadelphia was attacked by an enemy that was known to be faithless as the Cherokee Indians, that the inhabitants of the city would think it any protection to them to give such an enemy guns, cloath[e]s, and ammunition. Cocke concluded: I do not scruple to say, that the best way to obtain a firm and lasting peace, is to make a sudden, indiscriminate, well directed attack on our enemies--I mean the Cherokee Indians. If we attack the upper towns, they will find that we are determined no longer to stand by as idle spectators, and see our dearest friends and nearest relations murdered, scalped, taken captives, burnt, and butchered by the barbarous hands of the provoked and unrelenting savages. Philadelphians, or New Yorkers, or even Virginians who had long been away from the newly claimed Indian lands, such as Thomas Jefferson (in Paris 1784-1789), seemed to have “little regard for the inhabitants west of the Appalachian mountains.” Easterners, including Virginians like Jefferson did not understand the reality of life on the frontier. Cocke talked all the tougher because of his behavior in July 1776 when Cherokees were threatening settlers in modern Kingsport. Cocke was "vehement" in arguing against remaining in the flimsy Fort to be attacked there. On 20 July he was in the front of battle—perhaps so far in front that when he looked back he saw none of his men, and found his way to the Fort alone. In 1842 George Christian, the son of a veteran, consulted with the last survivor he could find before writing this to the historian Lyman C. Draper: "But although Cock[e] used every argument in his power to excuse his unofficer like conduct on this occasion, he was ever after considered a coward, nor did he ever afterwards perform any act in the service of his country calculated to make a different impression." Christian did not know how heroic the old Cocke was in the War of 1812, in letters quoted below, but once called a coward made Cocke twice eager to be bellicose. The Cherokee Hanging Maw responded by offering Tennessee printers two pounds of beaver skins to put his own “Talk upon paper, like William Cocke’s.” He asked, “What have you to talk about treaties. You know nothing about them--I have heard your Talks before--they are all like nothing. . . . The Great Man above made us all of the same clay, both red and white people, and gave to some the hearts of men, and to others the hearts of squaws. Yours is of the latter sort, and you would not talk such hard Talks, and say all the Cherokees must be killed, because some of them are bad men, and go to war.” Cocke’s attitude toward Indian lands and treaties with Indians was the normal one for Over-Mountain men. It was not as subtle as Jefferson’s. On 18 January 1803 Cousin Thomas delivered a confidential message to Congress on Indian Policy in which he laid out the way to dispossess Indian Tribes of their territories. That of course had to be done “to provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase of our numbers will call for.” He would encourage Indians to give up hunting and raise stock and perform agriculture instead, as well as make little items that whites might buy. Once the Indians did not need the vast forests, whites could cut down the trees and cultivate the land. Jefferson’s notion of proper treaties with Indians was that any new treaty would secure great tracts of land (say, what became Kentucky) which could be opened ultimately (that is, almost immediately) to the multiplying sons and daughters of Virginians and Carolinians. Jefferson’s long time wishful if not wistful argument was that red men should become small farmers rather than hunters. They should give up their leagues and leagues of hunting grounds and instead cultivate small plots of land and perhaps engage in the pursuits “household manufacture,” not quite making blankets or arrowheads for nonexistent tourists but along that order, cunning little baskets, perhaps. The Indians, Jefferson foresaw, would not make enough money from their products to pay for what they bought. They would be in debt, and whites would “be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop th[em off] by a cession of lands.” Get the Indians to give up hunting grounds, let their incompetence at agriculture or household manufactures or economic fluctuations drive them into debt, which could be paid off only by leaving their little farms and going farther west. Always in Jefferson’s mind was his scheme of driving Indians into debt once they had followed his clever plan to try small-scale crafts as well as farming. Jefferson succeeded in convincing some that the "savages" had indeed embraced "the comforts of civilization," making "considerable progress in agriculture and domestic manufactures." As evidence, the National Intelligencer (as reprinted in the Richmond Argus of 29 January 1805) cited "several specimens of cloth of a good substantial texture made by Cherokee squaws, which were sent to Mr. Cocke, a Senator from Tennessee, as an evidence of the progress of their improvement, as well as of their regard for a friend and benefactor"--William Cocke. In the address to Congress late in 1805 Jefferson congratulated himself: “They,” the Indians, “are becoming sensible that the earth yields subsistence with less labour than the forest.” This was the stage before their going into debt. And again he had gained a great deal of land. The Philadelphia Aurora on 29 April 1806 looked back a little: “The several Indian treaties entered into during the last year, have been ratified; by which the United States, and the states, of Georgia and Tennessee, have obtained extensive relinquishments of Indian title. Bills making appropriations for carrying them into effect are now under consideration.” For his part, the hero of King’s Mountain, Tennessee Governor John Sevier in 1806 (printed 8 September in the Washington National Intelligencer) was not subtle or cunning the way the President was. While addressing the state senators and representatives Sever focused on “the situation and circumstances of the people” (including the Sims family) “settled on the south sides of French Broad and Holston, and west of Big Pigeon rivers.” These, he said, “are respectable and worthy inhabitants, who have suffered by Indian depredations in a manner too deplorable to relate--they are justly deserving the patronage and indulgence of a liberal and patriotic legislature; and I entertain every hope that the paternal care of the assembly will be tenderly exercised towards such a deserving and worthy class of citizens.” Sevier identified with these new, younger Over Mountain settlers who were to be treasured, not harassed by the United States or Tennessee. Sevier announced the acquisition of lands: “On the north side of the Tennessee large portions of the country claimed by the Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians have been obtained, insomuch that the same will afford considerable settlements, and encourage great emigration into the state.” Furthermore, the national government had ceded land to the state which “inevitably in the course of no distant period” will create a healthier economy. Besides the inhabitants near the rivers he had mentioned, he cited “other occupants and improvers of vacant lands” and suggested “the propriety of their being indulged with a preference of securing . . . their improvements, and thereby prevent persons actuated by avarice and speculation from depriving the poor of their labor.” This was the man who had championed immigration from Virginia and North Carolina from the years of the Revolution if not before. His stance contrasts to Jefferson’s later contemptuous treatment of the Sims settlers just over the Tennessee line in what became Alabama. In 1803, already, by purchasing the vast undefined western stretches of Louisiana from France, Jefferson had begun encouraging Cherokees and then other tribes to cross over into what became Arkansas, and beyond. The Indians who had taken his advice to farm their plots proved to be very annoying to white agents a few years later when whites wanted to expedite the full removal of Indians across the Mississippi. The “Meigs Family History and Genealogy” site tells how bewildered the Cherokees were: “By 1811 nearly two thousand members of the Cherokee tribe had been moved. It should be noted that the majority of the Indians were opposed to the removal. They desired to remain in the land of their birth and could not understand why a few years before the government had sent them plows and hoes saying that it was not good for them to hunt, but they should cultivate the earth. Now they were being told that there was good hunting on the new land and if they would go, they would receive rifles to hunt with.” Jefferson had been making the best deals he could, for the time, but he did not foresee stubborn Chickasaw or Cherokee small farmers as becoming a problem. On white settlers Jefferson was of two minds. He condoned the intrusion by William Wofford into a great hunk of Indian land in northern Georgia. Wofford (often Wafford) is a distant cousin of mine through the Hills and Clarkes; he is also a distant cousin of Jefferson’s through the Willoughby family and finally the Randolphs, and a much closer connection through the Bollings to the Randolphs, whether Jefferson knew of any such relation or connection to Wofford or not. Joseph Tattnall, Jr., wrote to a sympathetic Jefferson on 20 July 1802 from Louisville, Georgia: The peculiar and distressing situation of a number of valuable Citizens, who were by the running of the dividing line between the Indians and this State in 1798, left out of the ordinary jurisdictional limits, induces me to solicit that the benevolent attention of the Chief Magistrate of the Union may be directed to their relief. . . . Colo. Wafford and about five hundred other white Inhabitants were considered as having settled beyond the line and consequently on ground the property of the Cherokee nation of Indians, altho’ at the time of making their establishment it was the general belief they were within the limits—These persons therefore had not the least idea of either violating the Indian right or the law of the United States, but on the contrary were much astonished to find the line of demarkation such as was delineated. So, Tattnall argued, the dividing line was run making the Wafford group outside the bounds they thought they knew, the Indians were not complaining about them, and to prevent the suffering of the squatters by depriving them of the products of their labor there should be a new treaty giving them the “spot of Territory” they were on. Jefferson looked kindly on the Wafford petition and allowed them to remain on what might technically have been Cherokee land. In the matter of torching the Sims settlement, was Jefferson displaying rigorous principle toward honoring treaties with Indians or defending an erratic earlier decision? or displaying only partially explicable bad blood? “Pique”? Is pique ever displayed by a man of power? The stretch of territory occupied by the Wafford Settlement was vast enough and significant enough to attract national concern, for much depended on its fate. Yet “small” is what John Milledge, the Governor of Kentucky, strategically called it in his report to the state legislature on 7 November 1803 (as printed in the 9 December 1803 Washington National Intelligencer). Milledge considered Wafford’s example as of great interest to Kentuckians: It appears that the removal of the people, who were, by the line run in 1798, thrown on Indian land, and who from the settlement called Wafford’s, is required by the Indians, before they will consent to the opening of the road, so desirable, and so much wished for by this state. For a length of time, these Indians have discovered a stubborn unwillingness to sell, or leave, that small spot of country whereon those unfortunate people reside, every effort having in vain been made by the general government to obtain it. In order, therefore, to secure the important object of the road, to preserve the peace of the general government, and to prevent the military force of the nation being drawn out against them, it may be proper, and I recommend to appoint commissioners to visit the citizens alluded to, and use such measures as may be expedient, to induce them to remove within the temporary line. In conformity to the act of the legislature, pointing out a mode for adjusting the claims of the citizens of this state against the Creek Indians, the comptroller general has been, for some time, engaged in making out a schedule of those claims, which will be ready to be laid before you previous to your adjournment. The Governor reminded his audience that the treaty of Colerain required a governor of Georgia to deliver up runaway negroes and other property to the legal owners. How much better if white claims to land itself could have the force of Kentucky authorities! The difficulty for the whites was always those Indians who manifested “a stubborn unwillingness to sell, or leave” any spot of country that whites had already settled on or wanted to settle on. As it was, boundaries were complex, defined on the ground by references surveying chain lengths between one tree and another. Here is Jefferson in 1804: Know ye, that the undersigned commissioners plenipotentiary of the United States of America . . . and the whole Choctaw nation . . . Do hereby establish in conformity to the convention of Fort Confederation, for the line of demarkation . . . the following metes and bounds, viz. beginning in the channel of the Hatchee Comersa or Wax River, at the point where the line of limits between the United States and Spain, crosseth the same, thence . . . to the confluence of the Chickasaw, Hay, and Buck-ha-tannes rivers . . . thence up the said creek to a pine tree, standing on the left bank of the same and blazed on two of its sides . . . . From this tree we find the following bearings and distances . . . . South fifty four degrees thirty minutes West, one chain one link a Black Gum; North thirty nine degrees East, one chain, seventy five links, a Water Oak. . . . And we the said commissioners Plenipotentiary . . . do recognize, and acknowledge, the same to be the boundary, which shall separate and, distinguish the land ceded to the United States between the Tumbigby, Mobile, and Pascagola rivers, from that which has not been ceded by the said Choctaw nation. That is from the 28 January 1804 Philadelphia Aurora. Here from 22 May 1807 is the Secretary of War Henry Dearborn on land the Cherokees are giving up: . . . to all that tract of country which lies to the northward of the river Tennessee and westward of a line to be run from the upper part of the Chickasaw Old Fields, at the upper point of an Island, called Chickasaw Island, on said river, to the most easterly head waters of that branch of said Tennessee river called Duck River, excepting the two following described tracts, viz. one tract bounds [ck] is southerly on the said Tennessee river, at a place called the Muscle Shoals, westerly by a creek called Te Kee, ta, no-eh, or Cyprus Creek, and easterly by Cu[check], Ice, or Elk river or creek, and northerly by a line to be drawn from a point on said Elk river ten miles on a direct line from its mouth or junction with the Tennessee river to a point on the said Cyprus Creek, ten miles on a direct line from its junction with the Tennessee river; The other tract is to be two miles in . . . . Here from 29 March 1808 is Jefferson reviewing how the Cherokees lost the Elk River: When the convention of the 7th of January, 1806, was entered into with the Cherokees, for the purchase of certain lands, it was believed by both parties that the eastern limit, when run in the direction therein prescribed, would have included all the waters of Elk river: on proceeding to run that line, however, it was found to omit a considerable extent of those waters, on which were already settled about two hundred families. The Cherokees readily consented, for a moderate compensation, that the line should be so run as to include all the waters of that river; our Commissioners accordingly entered into an explanatory convention for that purpose, which I now lay before the Senate for consideration, whether they will advise and consent to its ratification. A letter from one of the Commissioners, now also enclosed, will more fully explain the circumstances which led to it . . . . No wonder that the eager Simses and other Over-Mountain families in 1807 thought they had an opportunity to settle far to the southwest, in what was still western Georgia. II. Cousin Thomas in the White House then Monticello; the Widows Sims Frontier Cabins then Huts roofed by great sheets of bark from the old growth trees--Barksville In late 1801 it became “lawful for the military force of the United States to apprehend every person who shall or may be found in the Indian country over and beyond the said boundary line between the United States and the said Indian tribes” and to take them to one of the three “next adjoining states or districts.” Yet soldiers were to treat the settlers “with all the humanity which the circumstances will possibly permit,” and would be punished for “maltreating” a settler. This was still the law when John Smith wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 22 February 1809, just before he went home to Monticello: On a minute examination of the records in the War Office, it does not appear that any order for the removal of intruders, either from United States or Indian land, has been given by the Secretary of War since the 24th. Feby. 1808. On that day he ordered Capt. Boote, then commanding at Ocmulgee Old fields, to remove intruders from the Cherokee lands, on the frontiers of Georgia, as soon as Col. Meigs should attend and point out the line.—I have the honor of enclosing the press copy of the letter to Colonel Meigs requiring him to give notice to the intruders on the Cherokee and Chickasaw lands, dated on the 29th.Oct. last. There were complaints from Indians just below the Tennessee border, for on 22 February 1809 the Natchez Weekly Democrat reprinted this from a Nashville Paper: A gentleman of respectability, who arrived in town a few days since, from the Chickesaw [sic] Bluffs, says that when he passed Colbert’s Ferry on the Tennessee river, he saw a party of armed Chickesaws, in number 32, who were on their way to make war upon the settlement, at the lower end of the Muccel Shoals--Geo. Colbert appeared to be much exasperated against the government of the U. States, for not having removed those settlers long since, in consequence of the several remonstrances of his nation--with much difficulty the gentleman above alluded to, prevailed on Colbert to send his warriors home and wait the result of another application to the president of the U. States to redress the grievance of which the Chickesaws complain--They claim the lands which it is understood the U. States agreed to cede to Doublehead and some other Chickesaws, so soon as the Chickesaw claim could be extinguished. Should the U. States not do something in this business soon, it is much feared that the Chickesaws will undertake to redress their grievances themselves. Furious at leaving office with such business unsettled, Jefferson was enraged by whatever trouble the white settlement around the Elk was causing. Why couldn’t the Sims settlers and all the others around them have managed their intrusion more quietly? Was this Presidential petulance? I think again of the word “pique.” Or had frustration pushed Jefferson into something nearer malevolence? Jefferson in March 1809--presumably the days before James Madison became President on 4 March--wrote this urgent memo on the intruders in Tennessee and Mississippi territory. “Wafford’s settlement” was to be protected. His focus was on the western problem: Information having been received in October last that many intruders had settled on the lands of the Cherokees and Chickasaws, the letter from Genl Dearborne to Colo [Return J.] Meigs was written to have them ordered off, and to inform them they would be removed by military force in the spring if still on the lands, these orders still remain to be given, and they should go to the officer commanding at Highwassee. A very discreet officer should be selected. On the Cherokee lands, Wafford’s settlement should not be disturbed as the Indians themselves expect to arrange that with us, and the exchange for lands beyond the Misipii will furnish a good opportunity for the lands of the Chickasaws all should be removed except those settled on Doublehead’s reserve under titles from him; and they should be notified that those lands having been claimed by the Chickasaws as well as the Cherokees, purchased the Cherokee right with the exception of Doublehead’s reserve, which we did not guarantee to him, but left it as it stood under the claims of both nations; that consequently they are not under our protection that whenever we purchase the Chickasaw right, all their titles under Doublehead will become void; as our laws do not permit individuals to purchase lands from the Indians: that they should therefore look out for themselves in time. The Internet for Giles on “Intruders” gives a realistic view of what those Americans may have thought: “Some or all of these settlers may have failed to understand the complexities of the treaties (as was later claimed by many), confused by James Bright's poorly-executed survey in 1806-1807, which resulted in both a Congressional Reservation line that was too far to the east and a Tennessee-Alabama land boundary too far to the north.” The section on “A Brief Summary of Giles' Earliest Settlements and Historical Land Boundaries” takes sides: Irrespective of whether the settlers were truthful in their claims of ignorance as to their legal status, they also had no reason to believe that they would not ultimately be supported by the federal government. American settlers, from early Colonial times right into the 20th [19th? Check] century (remember the Sooners!), were often several steps ahead of the government treaty negotiators, with land cessions often being "after the fact." Both civil and military government had always tended to turn a blind eye toward illegal white settlements in the colonies -- particularly subsequent to the Indian support of the British during the Revolutionary War.” [19th? Check] century (remember the Sooners!) In his will on the Elk River on 26 November 1807 my GGGG Grandfather Parish Sims located himself, as I quoted earlier, “in the State of Georgia and west of the Indian boundary.” Georgia still claimed the Mississippi as her true western boundary, and neither Alabama nor Mississippi was yet a territory. In fact, for several more years the word “Alabama” applied only to the river of that name. Where were the roadside markers? Where were the interstate highways? Grandpa Sims was, he knew, somewhere “west of the Indian boundary.” As soon as he became President James Madison ordered Col. Return J. Meigs, Indian agent at Hiwawassee (says the Giles County, Tennessee article, Part II of II) to expel the “Chickasaw land squatters.” On 13 April Meigs promised to leave soon with his party (30 men and an officer or two). The Sims Settlement area was nearly 200 miles away, and lacked a good road. On 27 May he rounded up 93 squatters for a total of 166. Meigs was far from sanguine about his task, for on 25 June 1809 he wrote to James Robertson: You have already been informed that every effort in favor of the settlers on the Chickasaw lands proved abortive. I much regret to be obliged to compel them to remove because they are not of the general character of intruders. They were sensible that all that could be done was done and they cheerfully complyed with the requisition to remove. . . . I removed 201 families off the Chickasaw lands, and 83 families off the Cherokee lands--not less than 1,700, or 1800 souls. These people bear the appellation of intruders but they are Americans. Our riches and our strength are derived from our citizens; in our new country every man is an acquisition--we ought not to lose a single man for the want of land to work on. Meigs brushed past the pain he was inflicting. The settlers “cheerfully” left their homes and lands and treked joyfully north in benign weather to the perfectly identified 35th parallel and Tennessee soil. There followed a petition from the Sims Settlers. PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS BY BY INTRUDERS ON CHICKASAW LANDS Mississippi Territory, Elk River, Sims'es Settlement September 5th 1810-- To his Excellency James Maddison President of the United States of america and the honourable Congress assembled: We your petitioners humbly sheweth that a great many of your fellow citizens have unfortunately settled on what is now called chickasaw land- which has led us into difficultys that tongue cannot express if the orders from the ware department are executed in removeing us off of said land. However in a government like ours founded on the will of the people we have reason to hope and expect that we shall be treated with as much lenity as the duty you owe to Justice will permit. We therefore wish, Without the shade or colour of falsehood, to leve to your consideration the main object of our setling of this country In the first Place, we understood that all the land on the north side of tennessee river was purchased of the Indians which was certainly the Case, and further we understood that this was congress land as we call it and by paying of two Dollars per acre we should obtain An undoubted title to our lands and avoide the endless law suits that arise in our neighboring states in the landed property under these and many other impressions of minde that appeared inviteing to us to setle here a great many of us solde our possessions and Came and settled here in the winter and spring of 1807 without any knoledg or intention of violating the laws of government or Infringing on the right of another nation and we remained in this peacefull situation untill the fall of 1807 when General Robertson Came on runing the chickasaw boundary line and he informed us that, though the cherokees had sold this land, yet the chickasaws held a clame to it as their right. And now as booth nations set up a clame to this land and Government haveing extingushed the cherokee clame; and we who are well acquainted with the boundarys of this country do think in Justice that the cherokees had undoubtedly the best right to this land we could state our reasons for thinking so, in many cases, but we shall only refurr you to one particular, that is when Zacheriah Cocks made a purchase of parte of this country and came in order to settle it he landed on an island in the Mussell Shoals, and was making preparations to ingarrison himself but when the cherokees Understood his intentions they got themselves together and sent in messingers to him telling him if he did not desist and remove his men out of their country they would certainly imbody themselves and cut him off. And Cocks took the alarme And left the Island in the night. And if the cherokees had not defended this country at that time it may be persumed that it would have been taken from the chickasaws without asking of them anything about their right to it. For the cherokees do say that they have held an antiant clame to it which they never lost by sword or treaty untill extinguished by government. And should this be the case and appeare to your satisfaction that the cherokees had at least as good a right as the chickasaw and you haveing that right invested in you--and you are allso willing to pay the chickasaw for their clame and they refuse to sell it where then can there remain a single doubt In the publick Minde of doing the chickasaws any kind of unjuistice in makeing use of the cherokee clame and saying: if they will not take a reasonable price for their clame we will not remove our fellow citizens off which will bring many women and children to a state of starvation mearly to gratify a heathan nation Who have no better right to this land than we have ourselves. And they have by estemation nearly 100000 acres of land to each man Of their nation and of no more use to government or society than to saunter about upon like so many wolves or bares whilst they who would be a supporte to government and Improve the country must be forsed even to rent poore stony ridges to make a support to rase their famelies on whist there is fine fertile countrys lying uncultivated and we must be debared even from injoying a small Corner of this land but we look to you the boddy of government as a friendly father to us and believe it compleatley within your power Whilst you are administering Justice between us and the chickasaws to say with the greatest propriety that we have once purchased this land and we will not remove our fellow citizens off but let them remain as tennants at will untill the chickasaws may feell a disposition to sell us their clame therefore we your humble petitioners wish you to take our standing duely into consideration and not say they are a set of dishoneste people who have fled from the lawes of their country and it is no matter what is done with them, for we can support our carractors to be other ways and it is our wish and desire to protect and supporte our own native Government we must informe you that in the settling of this country men was obliged to expose themselves very much and the Climate not helthy a number of respectable men have deceased and left their widows with families Of alphan [orphan] children to rase in the best way they can. One of the respectable men who had died and left their widows and children behind in the settlement was of course the brother of James and William Sims, my Great Great Great Great Grandfather Parish Sims. And you might allmost as well send the sword amongst us as the fammin the time being short that our orders permits us to stay on we wish you to send us an answer to our petition as soon as posable and, for heavens Sake Pause to think what is to become of these poore alphan families who have more need of the help of some friendly parish than to have the strictest orders executed on them who has not a friend in this unfeeling world that is able to asist them Either in geting off of said land or supporting when they are off we are certain in our own minds that if you could have A true representation of our carractor the industry we have made. and the purity of our intentions in settling here together with the justice of our cause you would say in the name of God let them stay on and eat their well earned bread. Perhaps our number may be fare more than you are apprised of from the best calculation that we can make there is Exclusive of Doubleheads reserv 2250 souls on what is called chickasaw land and all of us could live tollerabie comfortable if we Could remain on our improvements but the distance is so great if we are removed off that we cannot take our produce with us and a great many not in a circumstance to purchase more will in consequence of this be brought to a deplorable situation We shall therefore conclude in hopes that on a due consideration we shall find favour in the sight of your most honourable Body which will in duty binde your petitioners to ever Pray &c. William and James were the first signers. Others in the family who signed were Benjamin Murrell, Simon Foy, Parish's widow Grizell Sims, and old Bartlett Sims's widow, Elizabeth Sims. [need to make clear where Smith’s letter starts] need to handle signatories Your friend and fellow citizen, ALEX. SMITH. Col. Rifle Regt. Oct. 28th,1810. residing on the tracts called Double-head’s, and Melton’s reserves,” addressing them as “fellow citizens”: You have been informed that the president of the United States has ordered that the Indian lands be cleared of all settlers. . . . You are therefore notified to remove from the Indian lands, (in which description is included the tracts called Double-head’s and Melton’s reserves,) before the expiration of the month of November. The allowance of time is deemed reasonable to enable you to remove with your effects, and crop of the present year. It is hoped. . . . In 1794 the President Washington issued a proclamation describing the Chickasaw boundary line to be “from the most eastern waters of Elk, thence to the Tennessee at an old field, where a part of the Chickasaws formerly lived: this line is to be run so as to include all the waters of Elk river,” and forbidding all persons to purchase, accept, agree, or treat for, with the Indians, directly or indirectly, the title or acceptance of any land held by them. . . . Nevertheless, have hope. If you have rights they will be respected. Your government distinguished for its fidelity, even to the weakest Indian tribe will not be unjust to those who prove themselves faithful citizens. On 6 November 1810 the American citizens on “Doublehead’s Reserve” responded the 28 October message of “Col. Smith commanding at Fort Hampton” with a long message of which this “extract” was printed on 1 December 1810 Wilson’s Knoxville Gazette. What is here foreseen happened to the Sims settlers: The greater part of our crops of every description are yet in the fields; our flocks wandering in the woods, our debts unliquidated and uncollected; your fellow citizens laboring under sickness. There is not one family out of twenty, we will venture to say, is exempt from this affliction,---- Few waggons in the reserve for the removal of citizens; few boats to be got, and none yet prepared, from the recentness of the order to affect the same. Our situation is truly distressing. If there is no mitigation of the orders, in addition to our calamities and sacrifices, we must inevitably lose the labors of the present year which are our principal dependance for support for our families. We shall be turned a drift into the wide world, to seek a scanty maintenance for ourselves, wives and little children. To what extremity, and where the storms of fate will drive us, the God of heaven knows. The foxes have holes, the fowls of the air have nests, but we have not where to lay our heads. To hear the child cry for bread and the parent not to have wherewithal to supply the calls of nature, must be the situation to many of your fellow citizens without an extention of the orders. . . . After receiving this plea Col. Smith gave orders at Fort Hampton on 24 December 1810, as published in Wilson’s Knoxville Gazette, 2 February 1811 (spellings as in Gazette): You will be pleased to select from each company at this post-noncommissioned officers and---Soldiers, & proceed on---next, to remove the intruders on the Indian lands west of Elk river. You have under you Lieut._____ _______ and _________ the contractors agent will attend you with the necessary supplies of provisions. The carriages and camp equipage will be in readiness. You will remove the intruders in a manner as favorable to their persons and property as is compatible with the execution of this order; and with all the lenity and humanity which may be consistant with a full execution of the instructions of the government. You will not take any of them into custody, even the refractory; but leave them at liberty to go forward and compel them to go. To widows, orphans, the sick and the destitute, you will extend all necessary aid in their removal; and be governed by considerations of clemancy [sic] and humanity as occasion may require. But you will make the removal effectual. With that intent you will burn all cabins and fences of the settlers. The farm made by Double head in his lifetime you will spare; removing the white settle[r]s you may find thereon, Indians are not to be removed: but their temporary possession cannot save improvements made by settlers. . . . You go under the orders of the President of the United States to fulfil his obligations to see that the laws are faithfully executed. You are to consider all those who would prevent you, as “enemies and opposers of the United States.” You will do your utmost to defeat them; nor will you yield until overpowered by force of arms. . . . Smith feared the settlers would overwhelm his troops: “We have received orders and are bound to execute them.” The men were not to surrender: “before troops can be made prisoners, their arms must be taken from them.” The elderly James McCallum in his A Brief Sketch of the Settlement and Early History of Giles County Tennessee (1876) says the soldiers from Fort Hampton were sent out in the month of June to drive all the settlers off the Indian land as it was called, although some of the settlers had grants for their land. They acted very rascally; cut down the corn with large butcher knives, threw down and burned fences and houses and forced the settlers back over the line. In some localities the settlers soon returned, and the villainous work of removal and destruction of improvements as repeated. This was a terrible calamity on the settlers who had struggled against so many difficulties to get places on which to live. In the prospect of r[a]ising corn for their bread, the most of those driven off went back over the line, and built huts and camps on the land of any one who would permit them to do so. They had to do this or anything to shelter their families until they could do better. . . . On the Alabama side the Reduses and Simmses and those who settled Simms’ Settlement, were driven off and they went back over the line and built camps and shanties which they covered with bark which they stripped from the trees like tan bark. A considerable number of these camps were together, and the place was called Barksville for a long time. I saw the camps with the bark covers on them when a boy. The Widows Sims, Elizabeth and Grizell, survived, thanks to Parish’s brothers, sons, and brothers-in-law, and no one has found where and how they lived in the next years. So far, I have failed to learn more about Grizell's remarriage, even from knowledgeable Cocke descendants. Every Virginian had known every other Virginian in Hawkins County, so it is not astonishing that the next we know of Grizell is that she is the second wife of the long-widowed William Cocke, the marriage occurring sometime in the 1810s. Did he come to Barksville and recognize her and her brothers-in-law? Jefferson ought to have foreseen that any new war with England would deprive the country of the services of the Sims settlers south of the Tennessee line. The War of 1812, in fact, brought new opportunity to William Cocke, the old Indian-fighter. In a letter from East Florida near Camp Pinkney on 24 February 1813 Cocke described himself to Thomas Jefferson (sixty three his next birthday) not so much an Indian fighter as an Indian slaughterer: SIR, In my last I promised to advise you of the result of the Volinteer Expedition from East Tennessee United with the troops of the United States that march against the Semenolia Indians[--] after a march of near Seven hundred miles with out being retarded by Ice Snow hammocks or Marshes which afforded the Enemy great Oppertunities for advantague we arrived at Paynes Town in the Lochway Settlements with Out Oppersetion on the 8th instant and on the ninth killd two Indians and took Seven Indians Prisonors and one negro on the tenth we proceeded towards Bow leggs Towns and on Our march was attacted near those towns by a large Party of Indians that had Secreted themselves in a thick Hammock, it is astonishing that we receaved no Injury by this fire but geting Major Stevengs wounded[--] his wound is a deep flesh wound but by no means dangerous we had four others Slightly wounded in the Combat and the brave Lieutenant John M Smith lost his life near the end of the action he faught Bravely and died gloriously the Volinteers behaved nobly I am in my Sixty third year but have born the fateagues of the Campaign with out inconveniance in short it has been a feast to me to See the young men of my Country Vie with each Other who Should excell in Noble deeds And to find my Self at least able to perform all the duties of a Soldiar with my children by my Side I think we have Killd about twenty of the Enemy wounded many and on the Second days fighting we drove them a considerable distance into the hammock march to thier town and on the thirteenth beeing the third day of Combat we drove them from the Swamp in every direction we burnt three hundred and Eighty Six houses took about five hundred head of Cattle and horses fifteen hundred bushels of corn and about two thousand deer Skins too much praise Cannot be Given to Colo Williams and the brave men that composed his Core Colo Smith and the regulars have done thier duty I need not now tell you, Mr Maddisson or any of my friends that my best wishes and faithfull indeavours to Serve my Country Cannot be diminished by time or Circumstances yours Sincearly WM COCKE Two decades earlier Cocke and Jackson had publicly quarreled in new Tennessee over whose turn it was to be United States Senator, but on 28 January 1814, Jackson wrote to Cocke: “The patriotism which brought you into the field at your advanced age, which prompted you on with me to face the enemy in the late excursion to the Tallapoose river; the example of order, and your admonition to strict subordination throughout the lines; and, lastly the bravery you displayed in the battle of Enotochopeo, by re-crossing the creek, entering the pursuit and exposing your person, and thereby saving the life of lieutenant Moss, and killing the Indian, entitle you to the thanks of your general and the approbation of your country.” (Philadelphia Aurora 5 May 1814) On 28 January 1814 from Fort Strother William Cocke wrote to Thomas Jefferson : In my last I promisd to advise you of the Occurences that might take place in the Southern expedition against the hostile Creeks on the 22nd Instant we had two engagements near the E Muckfaw and another on the 24th at the hilabies or Enochepoo The brave Genl Jackson has Added new laurels to his former victories; we have fought we have bled we have Conquereed Genl Coffee has covered him Self with Glory his fame is made Rich with his Blood he is wounded Severely but not dangerously. Colo Carrol the intripid the brave Carrol by his great Example gave Courage to all who were near him, none Could excell that valuable officer he is worthy of his Countrys first love and highest gratitude. The enemy have been Confounded and defeated; in all their attacks but not with out the loss of Some of the best Blood that ever annimated human nature, Our loss in feild is 22 and double that number wounded among the Slain we have to lament Magr Donnelson Aid to Genl Coffee and the Brave Capt Hill, The enemy Cannot have lost less than one hundred and eighty or perhaps two hundred killed they have not been able to Carry off a Single Scalp—The Cherokees have distinguished them Selves and Some of the friendly Creeks have done well, Colo Richard Brown, Capt John thompson fought Bravely and the Son of the old path Killer Known by the name of the Bear Meat with ten of his Companions fought by My Side—in the last engagement and it is nothing more than Justice due them for Me to Say that they Rendered essensial, among them that were near me I have to lament the death of Mr Thomas Smith Son of Capt Samuel Smith of Maury County a youth not more than Eighteen years of age he fought Bravely and died gloriously Capt William Hamilton of East Tennessee who joind the artillery Company is no more he fought like a heroe and expireed for his Country Capt Leml Childress assistant Quarter Master was wounded early in the action he Seemd to be in Spireed with fresh ardor from the Blood that trickled down his Cheeks, Joshua Harskel deserves the highest applause for his gallant Conduct on this trying occation Much praise is Said to be due to Magr Boid Capt Carr and Lieut Long Capt Geo. W Mar and my Nephew Mr James Cocke was wounded on the evening of the 22nd Capt Marr distinguished him Self and so did the brave men under his Command he set them an example worthy of him Self and they Retaliated tenfold for the blood that they lost the artillery Company Sustaind the heaviest Shock they had to Contend with the Strong force of the enemy Bird Evans of that Company was killed . . . . I feel my self incompetent to do Justice to many Brave and valuable men and officers but Merit has its best Reward in the pleasure that is felt in Concious rectitude I am you well know your old and Sure friend. On 27 March 1814 at Horseshoe Bend in what is now central Alabama, Jackson and cccc Coffin (a very distant cousin of mine) killed between 800 and a 1000 of the Red Stick Creeks, ending their aid to the British. They could have used more men, and Cocke had failed to reinforce him. After Horseshoe Bend Jackson forced the Creeks to relinquish to the United States great swaths of Mississippi and Alabama. In the light of these battles in the War of 1812 Jefferson’s determination to destroy the Sims Settlement looks more and more short-sighted. Cocke, the great post-Revolutionary orator, now a bloody old warrior, had been appointed by Madison in 1814 as agent to the Chickasaw Indians. Sometime late in this decade he had become the husband of Grizell Sims and ensconced himself with her in what he called “a great pile of logs” overlooking the Tumbigbee in the new town of Columbus, Mississippi. This was a two story dogtrot cross-hall house befitting the great orator and fighter. On the site now is the Tennessee Williams memorial building. Cocke’s own children were independent and living far away, but he treated Grizell’s grown children as his own, and saw them well placed in the new town. In 1821 Bartlett Sims (named for his grandfather) became the first sheriff of Monroe County, Mississippi. By 1830 he owned six slaves. Martin became an interpreter at the Mayhew Mission to the Choctaws. My GGG Grandfather Absalom went across the Tumbigbee River and helped found a Methodist Church at Piney Grove but by 1830 he was in Pope County, Arkansas, a farmer, still a Methodist. William built a handsome house in Columbus with planed lumber, not logs, and educated his sons at Emory and Henry College, Virginia, in the western corner close to North Carolina and Tennessee. One of William’s sons, Milton Walker Sims (the “Walker” for his mother Rachel Walker) lived a most extraordinary life, accused of Civil War atrocities (the viler of which he was innocent of) but a gallant man, the recipient of a glove from the Empress Carlota which she dropped and he picked up and kissed before handing it to her. The unsettled Sims family thrived, some for a long time, thanks largely to William Cocke.

Obliviousness at Trap Hill, Wilkes County ---Ch. 6 of One Okie's Racial Reckonings

I am having trouble pasting an image. And AN ampersand shows as red and then disappears. Why would a Google blog not like &? This chapter is about everyone's different blind spots. 17 December 2022 copyright 2022 Hershel Parker Chapter 6 of ONE OKIE’S RACIAL RECKONINGS: Obliviousness at Trap Hill, Wilkes County: The Siamese Twins, the Roaring River Baptists, the Unionists, & the Rebel Gestapo William Sparks (1797-1880) and Colby Sparks (1801-1869) were first cousins, grandsons of the Solomon Sparks who lived on the shifting border of Wilkes and Surry counties (truly on it, for a border reassignment left his property straddling the line). Solomon was a “celebrated” (meaning notorious) Tory for his opposition to the rebellion against the British. Why should he be a rebel? Lord Granville in 1756 or so had sold him a land grant and he had flourished on the banks of the Yadkin River ever since. He was not an effete tea drinker and did not need to sign his name on documents that required him to pay a stamp tax. As the Revolution came to northwestern North Carolina, he stayed home and kept his door barred. They might burn him out but he would not surrender. In 1781 or so young George Parks tricked him into going out the door. Parks was a sexually aggressive fellow with a daughter he was ordered to provide for but did not take with him when, postwar, he went to Indiana and fathered legitimate children by a Moore cousin of mine. He never got over his pride in his cleverness in capturing Solomon Sparks. In 1832 he bragged: “They employed a Whig from a distant neighborhood and a stranger to said Old Tory to decoy him out of his house without his gun under the pretense of being a traveler & enquiring the Road. They succeeded admirably.” Solomon Sparks (my always helpful 6th Great Grandfather) fought bravely without weapons and “considerably injured” his assailant Parks (thirty-four years his junior) by kicking him. This grandfather of mine “was sent down the Yadkin in a Canoe. While tied hand and foot on his back he repeatedly hollowed ‘Hurra for King George.’” Solomon may have been beaten after being lifted from the canoe at Salisbury or elsewhere, but he was not killed, for a couple of records indicate that he survived the Revolution and lived on some of his land. The story delights me because I am first cousin to these first cousins William and Colby, although a few generations removed. I hesitate to claim to have inherited the specific gene of Solomon’s stubbornness (or integrity), but I think he would approve of my unorthodox academic career in which I have been blackballed from the Center for Editions of American Authors for telling the truth, lied about in the New York Times by the Dean of Yale College, and told by a Kentuckian that I would go to Hell for not believing in the perfection of a text, starting with the Bible. Solomon’s sons were patriots. It was generational, that war, as well as a civil war, and a particularly familial civil war at that. William R. and Colby knew about the “celebrated Tory” and surely took pride in the obstinacy of the old man, as descendants do, particularly as they themselves went against popular opinion. From their early years you would never have thought that William and Colby would attain anything like their grandfather’s status, but Colby briefly became genuinely “celebrated,” also in the sense of notorious, whether he deserved notoriety or not, and William during the Civil War behaved with such astonishing bravery that might have been slaughtered, right then, and was lucky enough to leave Wilkes County after the war and die isolated in a Republican enclave in Virginia, away from the Sparks clan. We know something about the cousins over a period of years because of the records of the Roaring River Baptist Church in Trap Hill, Wilkes County, North Carolina. A farmer and a Baptist minister, Cousin Colby (whose wife Sarah was a Pruitt cousin of mine, making their children doubly kin to me) attained his brief national and international fame in 1843 when he united in marriage two local sisters with two brothers. The brothers, not native-born Americans, in 1839 had settled as property owners in the county and had become known as great hunters, sportsmen, a little rough-and-ready in their brawling when angered, and slave owners. A woman writing in the Richmond Southerner, her article dated Trap Hill 5 January 1848, asked the brothers why they had settled there. The reply: “Mighty purty place, high mountains, big rocks, ’nough deer, squirrels, foxes, and all kind of game.” She questioned: “You love to hunt?” “Mighty well, love shoot mark, too.” She explained: they “shoot at a mark or game with their four hands resting on the gun.” They and their families ate most of what they killed, as their neighbors did, but they could afford to practice their marksmanship as much as they wanted. They were richer but just as neighborly as anyone could expect, and they shot four-handed for a good reason. They were not just foreign born, they were Chinese, although always known by the location from which they were brought to the United States, Siam. They were Chang and Eng, the conjoined Siamese Twins, who took the American name Bunker. The Twins (1811-1874) lived in Wilkes and Surry Counties until Chang died, his death causing Eng’s a few hours later. The locals adapted pretty rapidly to their outlandish appearance because as outdoorsmen they assimilated themselves into rural life. Colby as minister (and father of many children) plainly thought that the brothers deserved to have respectable sexually active lives as married men. Farmers are practical about breeding. There was apparently no great local shock at their marrying sisters. Colby knew that one brother could not have sex without the other knowing it and actually feeling it, as he was being jostled. He must have been assured that the Twins would manage, as in fact they did. Practicalities were foremost. Rather than straddling the border as Solomon Sparks did, eventually they built one house in Wilkes County and another over in Surry. Would Cousin Colby have seen anything problematical if he had been asked to unite two unconjoined Asian brothers to two white North Carolina sisters? You would think so. By law he could not have married a black man to a white woman, but Colby did not see a racial obstacle to uniting the celebrity "Siamese" twins with white sisters. Familiarity and celebrity trumped race. A writer who signed himself “D.” in the Greensboro Patriot (16 October 1852) commented on the progeny of the Twins: “Mr. Eng has 6, and Mr. Chang 5 children, all of whom are apt scholars and remarkably well-behaved--manifesting the strongest possible desire to learn their lessons and to secure the good will of their teacher. They all partake strongly of the most refined Siamese cast of countenance, form[,] and manner of deporting themselves--in truth they are a credit to their parents, and the community in which they live.” The children did not inherit all their features from their mothers, but their Asiatic inheritance was refined, and they were (to some outsiders’ surprise) as educable as any fully white children. The editor of the Tuskegee, Alabama South Western Baptist (as reprinted in the 26 August 1857 Edgefield, SC Advertiser) spent two hours with the Twins on a visit to Surry County, during which he claimed to avoid “questions of prying curiosity.” Their neighbors, he found, declared them “much of gentlemen.” He observed that the Twins were “small men with Eastern complexion”--Eastern as in Asiatic. However, one observer noted that while the children were “very healthy and forward” the fathers’ features were “clearly stamped” upon their faces. Yet the children were not singled out for bullying by the local white children, as far as we know. For most commentators, the celebrity status of the Twins trumped their being Asian, and the half Asian children seem to have encountered little racial prejudices when in due course they married into neighboring families. Descendants flourish today. It was outsiders who were fiercely prejudiced--less because of the Twins being Asian than because of their being conjoined. On April 26 William Cullen Bryant’s New York Evening Post had the news and denounced Cousin Colby: “The wonder is that a Baptist Church Elder could have been found to aid in perpetrating this enormity.” The Louisville Kentuckian on 3 May quoted secondhand the New York Aurora’s opinion: “We entirely agree with the Courier in the opinion that this is a most beastly and unnatural outrage upon the decencies of life, and that the father, daughters, husbands and priest, ought to be tarred and feathered.” On 11 May the Port Gibson, Mississippi Herald quoted from the New Orleans Bee a rant about Cousin Colby. For consenting “to perpetrate this piece of Beastiality” (not “bestiality”) he “should have been ducked in the nearest horse-pond and then drummed out of the country. If our Lynch-law could be defended, it would have been in this case, if the infamous women and equally infamous Elder Sparks, had been hung up to the sign posts of the town in which this outrage upon the decencies of life was permitted to be perpetrated under the cloak of the marriage vows.” Frederick Douglass in his Liberator on 12 May blamed a slave culture on Colby’s behavior: “None but a priest whose mind had become besotted by the impurities of slavery, could ‘solemnize’ so bestial a union as this; and none but a community sunk below the very Sodomites in lasciviousness, from the same cause, would tolerate it.” On 17 May the sexually informed editor in the Elyria, Ohio Lorain Republican had fun. Bemused by a phrase he knew for threesomes before “threesome” was a word, he exclaimed--“Thicker than ‘three in a bed,’ by Gosh! Whew! ‘Git out!’” On 27 May the Bowling Green, Missouri, Radical called the marriage “about the most disgraceful affair that ever took place in any country.” There was a local rival, James L. Davis, for the honor of solemnizing the rites of matrimony between Eng Bunker and Sarah Yates. It’s possible Cousin Colby united only Chang and Adelaide, but he got all the national opprobrium. Probably the people in Trap Hill saw few of the many dozens of such articles, and if they did their response was different from that of the remote editors. The neighbors in Surry and Wilkes Counties well before 1843 had become acquainted with the Twins and had learned to distinguished between them. Because they locals knew Chang and Eng as different men, they were less inclined than outsiders to think only lurid thoughts. The Hillsboro, North Carolina Recorder quoted the editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer as being “wonderfully thrown from his propriety by this very natural occurrence, and talks raving of infamy and horse-ponds and hanging; but if the ladies are satisfied we do not see why any one else should complain. Why should these twins, because they are inseparably connected, be denied a privilege enjoyed by every one else? Certainly there is no law, either human or divine, to interpose.” This commonsensical view was shared by the neighbors of Wilkes County, most of them farmers who saw animal procreation regularly and most of them with families consisting of multiple children. Birth control? Well, sometimes lactation worked. To be sure, the locals were intrigued and wondered and gossiped a while, as they visualized the mechanics of the marriage, but they understood reproduction, and the questions they had were practical rather than moral or morbid, and certainly not salacious, at least not after the first normal titillation dissipated. No one in Wilkes or Surry County had much personal privacy--did any farm family have a private master bedroom?--so that any married couple regularly slept in close proximity to their children, of whom there might be several at a given time, staying home at least till they married. Parents often slept in the same bed with some of their children, and children slept together. Chamber pots were used at night in bad (and good) weather, and any toilet structure was outdoors. My Uncle Andrew Costner (not a Sparks) lived to be almost 90 and was teased from the time he was three by his cry of panic, “Mama, Papa! Ony Lee forgot to bring the chamber in!” Part of the humor was Andrew’s saying “Ony Lee,” not pausing to separate the older sisters’ names: it was his panic that was funny to others. People could always be titillated, but they learned to ignore others’ normal functions, most of the time. Any new visitor was curious about the Twins' and their wives' sleeping arrangements and few were so delicate that they avoided questions. The female investigator in the Southerner gave a long paragraph to the subject: “We were, on arriving, shown into the bed-room of Mrs. Eng, (there being no fire in the parlor, and the weather exceedingly cold,) where we saw herself and the three children, all comfortably seated around the fire. The first important object which arrested my attention was the ‘big bedstead’ and the ‘big feather bed.’ They were to me objects of great curiosity, and I could not keep my eyes from them. Finally my curiosity, (for I belong to the family of old Eve) rose so high, that I was compelled to ask Mrs. Eng what use they made of that ‘big bedstead and bed?’ She replied as follows: ‘Our family is quite big when the Twins and my sister and her children all come to see me, and the Twins made the ‘big bedstead,’ for nothing shorter would do for all on us.’ I blushed a little, and then resumed; you are quite a loving family, I added. ‘Yes,” said she, ‘it’s obliged to be so, for each on us has to sleep on the off-side of the Twins, and then six children; all put together, it takes a mighty ‘big fixin’ for all on us, you know.’ I told her I did not know it; but if she said so, it must be correct. Here my attention was arrested by the sight of the ‘big cradle,’ and I remarked, you have also a cradle to correspond with the ‘big bedstead.’ ‘Yes,’ said Mrs. Eng, ‘we must have all big fixins here.’” She added: “The ‘big bedstead’ and ‘big cradle’ were made by ‘Chang and Eng,’ and the ‘big bed’ by Mrs. Eng.” (A misprint in some papers may have baffled readers, “big candle” instead of “big cradle.”) For most outsiders, sexual titillation trumped racial prejudice, but not always. A writer in 1850 (in the Fall River Monitor, 7 September) used a friend’s two year old notes in an unpleasant passage on a visit to Mrs. Eng in Wilkes County: “He found her with three children--two girls and a boy; the latter of whom is called Decatur. Their flat, swarthy features, black coarse hair, and low, retreating forehead, indicated clearly their Siamese paternity. In the large room where the guest was received, stood an enormous bed, some ten feet in width, which Mrs. Eng. Bunker explained, with all the innocence and naiveté imaginable, was brought into requisition whenever her husband, his brother and her sister visited Trap Hill. ‘Nothin’ shorter,’ she said, ‘would do for them all.’ The woman herself was good looking, though rather corpulent; with rich, auburn hair, fine teeth, and hazel eyes.--The house was neatly kept; the supper spread for the visitor excellent; and although uneducated, Mrs. Eng displayed much good sense and shrewdness in her conversation.” Later he found the Twins in the Surry plantation where he remarked, “As to personal appearance, the children were all much alike”--naturally enough, since they were doubly cousins--children of sisters and identical [surely?] male twins. After the Twins’ first children, and then after two children each were born, the lickerish curiosity subsided until raised by modern biographers. Yunte Huang called the twins’ early visits to the sisters “rutting trips,” then speculated for pages on sexual positions and raised the intriguing possibility that the Twins swapped wives. Such salacious, or downright vile, questions from modern biographers were like those which occurred to Northern newspaper editors but they apparently never occurred to the neighbors and they certainly never occurred to the children, who spoke with perfect naturalness about their father and their uncle. They were not confused as to who their father was. They were an absolutely normal family in this regard. Visitors, outsiders, none of them as vile as Yunte Huang, were naturally inquisitive about sexual arrangements, but as abolitionism became more commonly talked about some wanted to know how many slaves the Twins owned and how they treated those slaves. Soon after arriving in Wilkes County the Twins had become slave owners, unlike most of their neighbors, where the terrain did not lend itself to large-scale farming. Slave owning by itself in the 1830s and early 1840s was not necessarily an issue for neighbors, although there were Quakers in the neighborhood who had their opinions. It was less the fact of their owning slaves that caused comment than it was their treatment of the slaves. In 1848 the widely reprinted article (and widely plundered) in the Richmond Southerner the writer asked how many slaves and was told, “We got tirteen, big and little.” (“Tirteen” was her attempt at accuracy.) She reported, “Mrs. Eng says her husband is very kind to the negroes, and that Chang is very severe with them.” The 16 October 1852 Greensboro Patriot gave another frequently reprinted account from a visitor to the area who signed himself “D”: “When they chop [wood] or fight, they do so double handed, and in driving a horse or chastising their negroes, both of them use the lash without mercy. A gentleman who purchased a black man a short time ago from them, informed the writer that he was ‘the worst whipped negro he ever saw.’” Such notoriety was not good for their reputations. Chang and Eng replied on 30 October 1852 (in a letter written for them): “That portion of said piece relating to the inhuman manner in which he had chastized a negro man which we afterwards sold, is a sheer fabrication and infamous falsehood. We have never sold to any man a negro as described, except to Mr. Thos. F. Prather, who denies the truth of said accusation, or of ever having told any person that which the author of said communication says he heard. We are well aware that to some who have not seen us, we are to some extent an object of curiosity, but that we were to be the objects of such vile and infamous misrepresentation, we could not before believe.” Comment on the Twins’ slaves died down. Much later, the Lancaster PA Express (16 March 1865) took from the Philadelphia Ledger a piece on “Present Condition of the Siamese Twins.” A North Carolina “medical gentleman” had reportedly made his way North and recounted “minute and full particulars,” which included a dubious account of warring sisters--dubious and largely fabricated. The Twins, he said, were not in any army: “Of course no one ever thought of drafting them, and their negroes prospered, except that when out of temper from any cause, it was apt to work itself off in striking the first one that came to hand, from which the best escape was to keep out of the way.” The putative medical gentleman marveled at his own original observations: “Each one can hold conversation with a different person at the same time.” What a revelation that would have been to the neighbors in Wilkes and Surry! His final comments are “interesting if true,” as editors said at that time: “Since the breaking out of the rebellion, they have both dressed in the Confederate gray, and they are both members of the same church, having united with a small Baptist church in their neighborhood, of which they have been considered very worthy members, though born Siamese.” This could have been Colby Sparks’s Roaring River Baptist Church, but if the Twins were actually members each of them would first have had to describe his experience with salvation. The writer in the Southerner, a fervent Christian, was appalled at the Asian theology she elicited from them. Northern editors still were intrigued by any new report and were tempted to embellish it in a “Whew! ‘Git out!’ fashion about sex or race. A shameless rehash of the Philadelphia Ledger article on 1 April 1865 (Portage, Wisconsin State Register) declared that the Twins “own, or did own before the henceforward-and-forever-free proclamation was issued, a considerable number of slaves of about the same color as themselves.” That merely gave the Wisconsin plagiarist a chance for racial slurs. The Chicago Tribune on 4 August 1865 quoted the Twins’ letter to the New York Times advertising their availability to be exhibited in Northern cities, accompanied by some of their children. They were now needy, for the “ravages of civil war” had swept away their fortunes.” On 8 August 1865 the Charlotte Western Democrat took from the Raleigh Standard the news that the Siamese Twins had passed through Raleigh, having entered into an agreement with “a Mr. Zimmerman” to exhibit themselves. This was “owing to the war. The most of their property was in negroes, consequently it is lost. Each of them was accompanied by a little son.” Earlier reports had emphasized their secure investments in the north. Now they would not have left home if they did not need the money. Taking sons (it would have been sons) with them who spoke perfect Southern mountain English was sensible on many levels. Huang in Inseparable gives “vile and infamous misrepresentation” (as the Twins said in the Greensboro Patriot in 1852) from a sexual and triply racist point of view. For him, the Twins were “two Asian freaks consorting with two white women and lording over a squad of black slaves.” He refers to one of the men instructing a “colored boy” to “bring in some fresh cider”; the one who gave The instruction was “simultaneously, Asian and freakish.” Aside from some 1843 reviewers, Huang was alone in his extreme obscenity. The typical view was that in the letter from a visitor written 2 September 1844 and reprinted on 19 October in the Salisbury Carolina Watchman. The visitor's acquaintances in Wilkes County had assured him that Mrs. Chang and Mrs. Eng are “very amiable and industrious. Each of the Ladies have presented their particular ‘lord’ with an heir, in the person of a fine, fat, bouncing daughter!” He said not a word about race. No visitor reproached the Twins for being Siamese owners of negro slaves. Celebrity trumped race for most observers. And once the neighbors got over the oddity of seeing one man doubled together but really two distinct men, with different characters, they stopped seeing Chang and Eng merely as freakish. The biographer Huang salaciously sees sex and race where the neighbors did not. He sees sex with one or more witnesses, always, but all the more lurid for being inter-racial. Biographers, including Irving and Amy Wallace and Yunte Huang, have ignored some of the best evidence about race. Surviving Roaring River Baptist Church records do not show any controversy over Colby’s performing the wedding of Chinese men and white women. This was not a religious issue for Colby the Baptist minister. Was the Queen of Sheba white? God did not care. Here are some records of the cousins, William and Colby, mentioned in various ways in this period. On 4 June 1842 the church appointed “for delegates to the association Colby Sparks, Samuel J. Gambill, and William R. Sparks.” (Everyone had Revolutionary stories: outdoing Paul Revere was Martin Gambill's ride of a hundred miles rousing patriots to join the Overmountain men to fight Patrick Ferguson.) On 4 October 1842 the Roaring River church granted the Double Creek church its request “for a part of the ministerial labours of Bro Colby Sparks.” He was not being discharged--he was spreading himself thinner. It was not easy to get five or ten miles to a church, and Colby was needed in more than one church. In January 1843 when Benjamin Spicer acknowledged being drunk “Daniel Brown and Wm. R. Sparks” were appointed as “a select committee for the purpose of drafting rules of decorum for the Roaring River Church.” On 4 September 1843 Colby Sparks was granted “a letter of dismission.” On 4 January 1844 he was granted his request to have an “arm” of the church convene at Grassy Fork Meeting House.” On 4 September 1845 the Church agreed “to send for Brother Colby Sparks to cum back again and preach for us.” On 4 March 1847 “Brother Colby Sparks come forward, acknowledged that he had felt himself to be wrong in taking his letter from the Church, and authorized the Church to enter his name again on the Church book,” which they did at their first meeting in April. Colby was merely juggling congregations, wanted by more than one little church, it seems. Nothing in the records shows that the Baptists were concerned about his marrying the Twins to local sisters. On 4 August 1845 the Roaring River Baptist Church heard that “London, Sister Mary Johnson’s black man, was guilty of a base-begotten child by a white woman. It was further stated that he did not deny the charge. Therefore, he was excluded from the fellowship of the Church.” The slave London may have been guilty because he crossed racial lines and impregnated a white woman—but he may just have been guilty simply of fathering a base-begotten child. On 4 February 1848 the church “received by experience” (that is, after a profession of personal salvation) “Charles, Mr. Owen Hall’s black man.” Admitting a black slave to fellowship did not require debate since he said he had experienced salvation. Personal experience with Jesus trumped race. The Roaring River Baptist Church was admitting black slaves into full membership and in the minutes there is no hint of any perplexity or anxiety about their enslavement. It was none of their business that Mary Johnson owned London. On 4 October 1848 (ignore spellings here) “William R. Sparks reported that James Burchet and Agness Wood had been tattling and puting forth scandolous and slanderous tales to the ingry of his wife’s credit.” A committee found both Burchet and Wood “guilty of falsehood and slander” and excluded them from the fellowship of the Church. Lying and slandering was wrong, but the Roaring River Baptists in its records did not concern themselves with the morality of enslavement and may have hardly been aware of abolitionism, but they saw blacks as equal in the sight of God. They were oblivious to any discrepancy between not questioning Sister Mary Johnson’s slave and Mr. Owen Hall’s right to hold slaves yet still respecting their black congregants as equally children of God. (The Murrell and Sims Baptists in Hawkins County, Tennessee, acted the same way half a century later: see Chapter 5.) As I noted earlier, because of the mountainous terrain fewer whites in Wilkes and Surry owned slaves than elsewhere in the state. No one had figured out how bands of slaves could pay their way. In a 2007 thesis “Confederate Disaffection and Disloyalty in North Carolina’s Northwestern Foothills, 1861-1865,” Douglas Robert Porter, Jr., points out how opposed this region was to secession from the Union and later to being governed from Richmond, Virginia. He says, “the foothills’ disaffected population viewed the Confederate national government and North Carolina’s original secessionists who encouraged the war as their primary enemies.” North Carolina’s owners of many slaves (who were the major office-holders) had forced the state into secession and war. Counties including Wilkes and Surry (thanks to the grand conscriptor to battle Peter Mallett) lost their share of young men at war but in numbers made up for those deaths by deserters who returned home and by refugees from other counties. Month by month, the Richmond government was more and more threatened by open unionism in the northwestern counties. The Confederacy resorted to troops of cavalry to round up deserters. Once caught they were put in cattle cars for shipment far away where they (many of them old and infirm) could be cannon fodder. The worst thing the government at Raleigh did was create the Home Guard to punish disloyalty. People now talk far too casually about Hitler-like behavior but the fact is that the Home Guard created on 7 July 1863 became a Confederate Gestapo, sadistically routing out conscripts, deserters, and Union sympathizers and plundering houses and brutalizing women and children. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was to take effect on 1 January 1863 but had no immediate impact in northwestern North Carolina, where (I keep noting) there were few slaves and many of those (such as those owned by the Siamese Twins, it seems) did not assert their freedom during wartime. In February 1863, months before the creation of the Home Guards, Union men gathered in the schoolhouse by the Quaker church near Yadkinville, some of them planning to go hundreds of miles to Union lines despite its being winter. Some were Quakers, others were men who had been conscripted into the rebel army, a deserter or two from that army, and local Unionists. They were raided by local Confederate militia men. There was a brief shootout, leaving dead on both sides. Some of the men in the school made it to Union lines, through Tennessee and Kentucky. This was a local skirmish, ignored by surviving newspapers, but known in the surrounding counties, Wilkes to the west, Surry to the north, Ashe and Alleghany and Yadkin. And it was known to Governor Zebulon Vance, who had owned six slaves in 1860. On 11 May 1863 “Vance’s Proclamation” was printed with topics all terrifyingly capitalized, sometimes italicized, so that several inches of intimidation prefaced the document. Here I reproduce the introductory topics: ++ I use the legible 20 May printing in the Standard. The Proclamation went on, and on, far longer than this long sample, addressing primarily deserters, who were pushing toward Wilkes, Ashe, and other northwestern counties, near northern Tennessee: “Certainly no crime could be greater, no cowardice more abject, no treason more base, than for a citizen of the State, enjoying its privileges and protection without sharing its dangers, to persuade those who have had the courage to go forth in defence of their country, vilely to desert the colors which they have sworn to uphold, when a miserable death or a vile and ignominious existence must be the inevitable consequences. No plea can excuse it. The father or the brother who does it should be shot instead of his deluded victim, for he deliberately destroys the soul and manhood of his own flesh and blood. And the same is done by him who harbors and conceals the deserter. For who can respect either the one or the other? What honest man will ever wish or permit his own brave sons or patriotic daughters, who bore their parts with credit in this great struggle for independence, to associate even to the third and fourth generations, with the vile wretch who skulked in the woods, or the still viler coward who aided him, while his bleeding country was calling in fain for his help? Both are enemies--dangerous enemies to their country before whom our open foes will be infinitely preferred. Both are foes to their own kindred and noble countrymen who are electrifying the world by their gallant deeds, and pouring out their blood upon the field of battle to protect those very men who are sapping the vitals of our strength. And woe unto you, deserters, and your aiders and abettors, when peace being made and independence secured, these brave comrades whom ye have deserted in he hour of their trial shall return honored and triumphant to their homes! Ye that hide our guilty faces by day, and prowl like outlaws about by night, robbing the wives and mothers of your noble defenders of their little means, while they are far away facing the enemy, do you think ye can escape a just and damning vengeance when the day of reckoning comes? And yet that shelter, conceal, and feed these miserable depredators and stimulate them to their deeds, think you, that ye will be spared? ay! rest assured, observing and never failing eyes have marked you, every one. . . . Instead of a few scattered militia, the land will be full of veteran soldiers, before whose honest faces you will not have courage to raise your eyes from the earth. If permitted to live in the State at all, you will be infamous. You will be hustled from the polls, insulted in the streets, a jury of your countrymen will not believe you on oath, and honest men everywhere will shun you as a pestilence; for he who lacks courage and patriotism can have no other good quality or redeeming virtue. . . . I am assured that no man will be shot who shall voluntarily return to duty. This is the only chance to redeem yourselves from the disgrace and ignominy which you are incurring.” Vance stormed on, oblivious to the fact that a minority of slave owners, like him, controlling the high offices in the state, had pushed secession through and joined the Confederacy. From this point on Vance was reckless in the use of the militias at his command, few and scattered no longer. The northwestern counties suffered. A sardonic man who signed himself Yadkin could pretend to be relieved when Hodges’s lost cavalry appeared--located at last! Hodges, Ellis, Price, one after another ravaged the northwestern counties. Not knowing about Vance's 11 May Proclamation, not knowing of the Bond schoolhouse shootout, on 21 June 1863 the Springfield, Illinois State Register picked up from a Baltimore paper exaggerated evidence that “the permanent secession of North Carolina and Virginia cannot be expected.” Already, the “malcontents in east Tennessee and western North Carolina have organized powerful forces, and are joined by thousands of deserters and conscripts from the rebel arm, to whom protection is guaranteed, for the purpose of holding the mountain regions against the rebel government. Rebel citizens have petitioned Gov. Vance for protection against this organization. Vance replied that he has no troops to send; that they must protect themselves. Twenty thousand insurgents have openly offered to join the Union as soon as a military post is established at Raleigh.” This was exaggerated, but not wholly false. In North Carolina itself, everyone knew of Vance’s Proclamation. There life was going on as best it could so as not to attract the attention of the militia. On the Fourth of July 1863, before news had reached Wilkes County from Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the Roaring River Baptists appointed William R. Sparks as a delegate to the Association. Then on 31 July 1863 (after the creation of the Home Guard) Sparks took a public political stand: he chaired a Union meeting in Trap Hill. My Cousin William R. Sparks, elderly at 66, was a Union man who simply was not much concerned with the morality or immorality of enslaving blacks. What he chaired was a Union meeting, not an Abolition meeting. He might have been signing his death warrant, for all he knew. Young Sparks and Pruitt cousins, very likely in his audience, were slaughtered a few months later. PUBLIC MEETING IN WILKES COUNTY. “Public meeting held at Traphill, Wilkes county, N. C., on Friday, the 31st July, 1863, by the Conservative party.” [Here, the Conservatives were the Unionists, wanting to conserve the Union.] The committee being appointed, William R. Sparks was called to the chair, and R. B. Bryan appointed Secretary; and the following resolutions were passed and adopted by upwards of 200 of the citizens of that vicinity: Resolved, That we believe the time has fully come when the people of North-Carolina should take a decided stand and look to the interest, safety, and welfare of themselves without the fear of Kings abroad or Monarchs at home. Resolved, That the course of the Confederate government towards North-Carolina from the beginning of the war, has been any thing but fair and honorable; and that let her blood flow ever so freely, not a word is said or charitable act done, to honor the valor or patriotism of her sons. [In fact, injuries and deaths among all North Carolina soldiers was disproportionately high.] Resolved, That we are opposed to paying Mr. Bradford any other man one-tenth of our products, for we do not have it to spare, and also we are opposed to the law. [This resolution is a protest against Major Edward Bradford, a Virginian, who had been imposed as Tithesman upon North Carolina by the monarchial Jefferson Davis, acting as if the rest of the South were a conquered country. Sparks is reminding the Confederacy that the Northwest counties had been reluctant to secede, unlike the counties where planters grew prosperous or downright rich on the labor of slaves. Lincoln's determination to free the slaves is not at issue here: Sparks does not mention slavery, but he sees economic unfairness for people like him.] Resolved, That owing to the scarcity of men to labor, as we have but few slaves in this poor mountain country, and the vast quantity of rain which has seriously injured our crops, we have nothing above what will supply the poor widows and orphans of our community. [Again, the morality of slavery is not at issue: it was hard to find sufficient food and good help.] Resolved, That we are opposed to sending any more troops, except such as are in favor of prosecuting the war. Resolved, That we have a peace Convention forthwith for the peace and safety of the people. Resolved, That we fully endorse the course pursued by W. W. Holden in defending the rights and liberties of North-Carolina. [Holden despite raids on his press was keeping alive a pro-Union newspaper in Raleigh, the Standard.] Resolved, that these proceedings be published in the Standard. WM. R. SPARKS, Chm’n. R. B. Bryan, Sec’y. My cousin’s chairing of the meeting was an act of great courage which determined the direction of the rest of his life. Speaking out could be fatal. Young George Brown, imprisoned by Vance in Castle Thunder in Richmond (see the Hill chapter for this notoriously vile prison for deserters, Unionists, and others) “learned that his offence was that he had made a speech at a Peace Meeting, and said that he would rather make his way to the North and enlist in the Union armies than consent to fight against his old flag in Virginia.” (Raleigh Constitution 23 August 1876). The Secretary of the meeting Sparks chaired, Robert B. Bryan, lived out his life at Trap Hill, dying there at almost 70 early in 1890. He left land to each of his sons as well as 73 acres in Surry County, some more in Wilkes County, and some land “in the mountains.” Any unpleasant consequences for the public meeting did not destroy his life in Trap Hill. He was lucky. Soon after Sparks chaired the Union meeting, hell broke out in Wilkes County. In the April 1961 North Carolina Historical Review vol. 38 Ina W. Van Noppen published “The Significance of Stoneman’s last raid,” Part II. There she quoted James Gwyn, a Wilkes County diarist: “Union sympathizers had been very active in Wilkes County,” for at least two years before 1865. On 1 September 1863 “Gwyn had written of a Union meeting in Wilkesboro gotten up by deserters and citizens in Trap Hill, Mulberry, and Roaring River areas,." They "Marched into Town and rode together (some of the company being mounted) sent out pickets upon all the roads leading to Town--and then raised the Union flag.” Then they made “Union or peace speeches.” They “will rue the day I guess before long,” Gwyn concluded. The Stars and Stripes waved momentarily in Trap Hill a month after Cousin William chaired that a Union Meeting. The Raleigh Progress (7 September 1863) headlined a piece “Organized for Resistance.” A gentleman described “a sad state of things in Wilkes county”: “He has been informed and believes that there is an organized band of deserters and tories [here, men loyal to the Union] at or near Trap Hill, composed of deserters from that section, from several of the States South of us, and some citizens who have never been in the army. They are said to number about 600, have regularly elected officers and have all taken the oath to support the Lincoln government. They are armed and express a determination to resist all State and Confederate authority.” The Progress on 13 September told just where deserters in Iredell County were headed: “About one hundred and sixty deserters were on their way to the rendezvous, but would not advance nearer than Warren’s bridge, (three miles distant from the place of meeting,) on learning of the presence of the Guard. The supposition was that they were waiting for reinforcements from Trap Hill, in Wilkes county, and intended attacking the next day; but the Guard were disappointed on reaching the place of an anticipated battle the following morning, the deservers having skedaddled to the mountains in Wilkes.” (The “Guard” is the new Home Guard, many of them sadistic fanatics who brutalized families and destroyed their food as they hunted down deserters and Unionists, learning fast to act very like (this is not an exaggeration) a Confederate Gestapo.) On 28 September 1863 the Fayetteville Observer printed a letter from a man in the 56th Regiment, “dated at Trap Hill, (foot of the Blue Ridge,) Wilkes county, Sept. 22d.” He had made two expeditions into the mountains: “During the first (which kept us out two or three days) the deserters ambushed us in the mountain gorges and fired at us, but no one was hit. During the second we were unmolested. We have caught some 80 or more deserters and conscripts; but the mountains are full of them, and it is almost impossible to catch them, as they can move from mountain to mountain as we approach.” The piece concludes: “I had a grand view yesterday of the Pilot Mountain, which is 40 miles distant.” No one could be wholly oblivious to natural beauty however much brutality was raging all around and how much pain you were inflicting. A writer in the Raleigh Progress (17 April 1864), reviewing the summer of 1863, understood that deserters from the Confederacy, not just from North Carolina but also those from states to the south, might have banded together to fight the Home Guard: Their object, it is believed by a very large majority of the good and loyal citizens, was nothing more or less than to keep out of service and avoid fighting a war in which they believed they had little or no interest at stake. This is, I think, a true history of the Trap Hill Rebellion, ‘a mole hill magnified into a mountain;’ but it served the purpose of certain men in the country for certain purposes and enabled them to play upon the credulity of the governments, both Confederate and State, and to unduly alarm them by greatly exaggerated pictures of public opinion and actual danger. These men are well known and understood by the people here. A majority of them were furious secessionists and [CHECK] war man, ear marks that Gov. Vance told the people distinguished that hybrid race of animals generally; and I will add who shout loudest and do less that is useful or good than any similar number of the human race. . . . But silent contempt was all that good and loyal men would have visited upon them had they not invited other and greater evils upon their country--namely military tyranny and a reckless soldiery to insult and trample upon the rights and feelings of a whole community--affixing a hideous mark upon them, pointing the Parthian arrow of the malicious with envenomed poison against the innocent in future history. What is now the condition of Wilkes county? Since the advent of an army into her borders last summer, with the failure in a great degree of last year’s crop, with impressing officers from Tennessee and almost every part of the compass, artillerymen, cavalry and roving bands, whether of actual soldiers or freebooters, God only knows, I am told, and truly I doubt not, that this county and others adjacent to the Blue Ridge have been skinned, gutted, quartered, and generally bereft of nearly all that is necessary to the sustenance of the human or brute creation--and this in direct violation of the positive law of Congress governing the impressment of provisions. The writer had examples of misery inflicted by officers, as taking “the only work oxen of a widow woman--of women whose husbands and sons are in the army,” as taking “oxen out of the plow” and driving off milk cattle. The army had invaded Wilkes County in the summer of 1863, the summer William R. Sparks chaired a Union meeting in Trap Hill. That must have been part of the “Trap Hill Rebellion.” On 17 October 1863 the New Orleans Times-Picayune, a month late, quoted from North Carolina papers (its “Northern exchanges”): “a severe battle was fought by Lieut. Roberts, with forty Confederate soldiers . . . resulting in the capture of four and the killing of two or three of the traitors, who have sent to Trap Hill for reinforcements. The Charlotte Bulletin was quoted there as proposing “to Hang Tories”--the word more and more regularly used for Unionists. On 22 December Holden’s Standard reported “Outrages by the Military”: “We continue to receive complaints as to the bad conduct of some of the Confederate troops in the Western part of this State. The ladies of Wilkes County complain that a detachment of troops in the neighborhood of Trap Hill, instead of arresting deserters in a proper way, are plundering houses, taking grain, stock, and provisions from women and Children, getting drunk, fiddling, dancing, &c. And a friend writes us from the same County that some of the soldiers have recently driven from thirty to forty head of cattle to Jefferson, Ashe County, sold them to the highest bidder, and pocketed the money. Can this be possible?” “Can this be possible?” is a question to be asked in the Raleigh Constitution (on 26 October 1876) about a detailed account of “The Laurel Spring Massacre. Old Men and Young Boys Hanged.” The news was dated from Mulberry Township, Wilkes County, 21 October 1876. The immediate occasion was Zebulon Vance’s run for re-election. The writer says he has just visited the neighborhood, in 1876, and talked to everyone, Democrat and Republican, and that they all agreed (year not specified, but 1863 or 1864) that Vance’s “subordinate, Price” had “hanged seventeen Union men at Laurel Springs” because Price falsely claimed that they had raped his sister. The writer says that Vance admits in 1876 speeches that this rape, at least, happened. The writer admitted uncertainty: “Seventeen or eighteen men and boys were hanged by Price and his company at Laurel Springs. It is in Ashe county, near the Wilkes and Alleghany lines--three miles beyond the Blue Ridge on the road from Wilkesboro to the ‘Mouth of Wilson,’ in Virginia. It was the headquarters of Price after he organized a company of mounted men to carry out Vance’s policy of ‘fire and sword.’” (Isaiah 66:16 KJV.) Here, he continues, “this miscreant brought men and boys from the three counties and hanged them for no other offence except ‘lying out’--that is to say, keeping out of the way of the conscript officers.” I have not verified the details, but that is not surprising, records are so few. Among the victims named I found a real John (old Jack) Holloway and his son David of the right age, but that David lived on far past 1865. Could someone else identify most of the names, so you can put discrepancies down to simple mistakes with names? So many outrages occurred that they blurred together and many went unrecorded or mentioned and quickly forgotten. Take the headline “The Laurel Spring Massacre” to Google and what you get is the notorious Shelton Laurel massacre in Madison County. Settle, the rival candidate to Vance for Governor, in the Weekly Constitution (Raleigh, North Carolina, 17 August, 1876), quoted Vance's “fire and sword” as to what would happen to deserters or their friends. Then Settle said, “When you go [to] the county of Wilkes and learn how seventeen Union men were hanged on one pole, and house after house was burned, and man after man was shot down, you will learn how the spirit of this letter was carried out there.” I assume there was indeed a Laurel Spring Massacre, at a time when such horrors were often under-reported or simply unreported. Did any of the bummers rape their way across Georgia? What a thought! [NAME ANY COUSINS at Laurel Springs] Vance was murdering by proxy all along northwest North Carolina. The Washington National Republican for 15 September 1876 listed some of Vance’s atrocities against men with Union principles: “Thomas Ray was shot because he cut himself loose and attempted to escape from the soldiers, who were forcing him into the rebel service. Vance’s troops murdered W. H. Brown, of Wilkes county, a Quaker and a peace man, for the sin of refusing to fight for the rebels. He treated all the Quakers in the most cruel manner: threatened them with fire and sword: asked Lee for troops to quarter on them. Brown was 70 years old, very fleshy and unable to walk with comfort. They drove him ten miles on the double-quick, prompted by bayonets, compelled him to wade the river, threw him into jail, from all which he died. In Wilkes county alone he arrested, or caused to be arrested and punished, over one hundred Union men, or men who were conscientiously opposed to war, and especially a war to perpetuate slavery. Fire and sword were his instruments. A record of his atrocities would shock the moral sense of the civilized world." The National Republican on 25 September 1876 cited many of the atrocities committed by Vance’s men: “No savages ever turned with more cruel hatred against their foes than did these people against their neighbors, solely because they were Union men or non-combatants. Quakers, whose scruples all civilized nations respect, come in for their share of the cruelties inflicted.” He added: “The same spirit is now manifested towards the colored men. If in power to-day, in their present mood, we could hope for nothing like justice. Men who will not tolerate an honest difference, will murder and burn for that difference, will not be mollified by race and color added. And, therefore, it is not best to trust them with too much power until well tried.” Vance had, already, been well tried. In Wilkes County Sketches J. Jay Anderson calls Trap Hill “a haven for Union sympathizers led by John Quincy Adams Bryan,” who conveyed almost a thousand men from Wilkes County into Tennessee where they could join the Union Army. On 21 November 1863 Bryan was leading fifty-some men to Union lines when they paused to eat at Limestone Cove, in Tennessee, some eighty miles from home. All the indications are that they were Union men wanting to join the Union army. They did not have any special interest in Blacks, perhaps not knowing any. Always, there would have been some resentment at being punished, victims in a war that was about freeing Blacks. In Bryant's group were young Pruitt and Sparks cousins of mine from Trap Hill (there may have been other connections, but Colby’s wife was a Pruitt). John and William Sparks were grandsons or great grandsons of Solomon Sparks the “celebrated Tory” and their father or grandfather Reuben (1799-1878) was a first cousin of Colby and William R Sparks. Over in Tennessee, Bryan’s band was eating breakfast, not on the watch, when they were surprised by Confederate cavalry. Most escaped. My cousin Matthew Pruitt of Trap Hill was shot in the stomach but survived. When Jacob Pruitt applied for a pension after the war he got a doctor’s explanation that the ball truck him “on the left side of spinal column, passing out through the stomach about one half of an inch above the navel.” The raiders used their gun butts on my twenty-year-old cousin Preston Pruitt after shooting him, so that his brains were spilled out from the skull. Word was that he implored the fiends to send word to his mother that he was dead. My cousin John Sparks, also 20, was shot in the head. The bullet “completely tore the top of his head off, leaving his brains perfectly exposed,” says Hardy. His brother, a young William Sparks, being ill already, was indoors when the raid started, and was hidden under a loose floorboard until he could escape, in women’s clothing. This was a massacre, although the details are suppressed or disputed. Would you believe how Parson Brownlow, the fanatic of my Chapter 10, minimized the massacre in the Knoxville Whig on April 16, 1864? Would you believe the refutation by Madison T. Peoples in the Bristol TN Gazette for a month later, 6 May? Even the name of the murdering squad is disputed. The names of the injured and dead are not disputed, but the grisliest details are often denied. Without always taking credit for authorship, my Schlemp cousin Frederick Slimp (on my mother’s side, not kin to the Sparkses and Pruitts) wrote much of the 1903 History of the Thirteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. In “The Massacre at Limestone Cove” he tells the story but refuses to tell all he knows: “We have omitted some details of cruelties in the foregoing account, it being bad enough in the mildest form we are able to relate it.” (Like me, the actor Campbell Scott is a Schlemp, and politicians named Schlemp still are active in Virginia, where the family first settled.) Being Union men was a life or death affair. Did the Pruitt and Sparks boys attend when their old cousin chaired the Union Meeting in July? Did anyone in the family blame Cousin William for chairing the meeting? While never (I think) carrying news of the Limestone Cove Massacre, the Standard re-used the title “Outrages by the Military” on 17 February 1864: “We continue to receive letters from citizens and the wives of soldiers, complaining in the most earnest terms of depredations committed by roving bands of soldiers in the Western part of this State. A reliable correspondent had reported on “the depredations and injuries inflicted by Gen. Hodges’ cavalry brigade,” a portion of which “visited Wilkes County, and scourged the people terribly, especially in the Trap Hill neighborhood,” where the people are “comparatively unarmed and defenceless,” at “the mercy of those roving bands.” General Hodges’ cavalry raid has all but disappeared from history but he rampaged in Wilkes County about January and February 1864. The Raleigh Constitution (28 September 1876) wrote “in addition to these horrors in Wilkes county in 1874 [an error for 1864], Capt. Price, with a band of Home Guards from Ashe and Alleghany counties, made a raid on the Union people of Wilkes, entering the county about the head of Mulberry creek, ‘with fire and sword,’ in accordance with Gov. Vance’s letter to Dr. Calloway. They burned Johnson Candle’s dwelling and outhouses, and hunted him like a wild deer; and they show Lewis Sebastian, Esq., one of the worthiest men of the county, a member of the Special Court. They also shot several of his neighbors, and captured a number of persons, and returned to Alleghany county with them as prisoners. Two of these they hung on the way, and left them hanging, denying them burial . . . .” On 23 August 1864 the Charlotte Western Democrat reprinted “Trouble in Wilkes” from the Statesville Express: We learn that a report was brought by an officer from Wilkes county, one day last week, that the troops sent to arrest deserters in the neighborhood of Trap Hill, had quite a severe skirmish with a large number of these miscreants in that section on Tuesday and Wednesday last. Some four or five of Capt. McMillan’s company are reported to have been killed, likewise two or three of the Home Guard. If such is the case, and we have no reason to doubt, this is truly a sad state of affairs in our neighboring county. We hope that every possible means will be used to drive these worse than Yankees from the State and render it too hot for them to return. We have heard no particulars more than that a fight actually did take place and that the troops were compelled to retreat with the loss stated.” In 1876 Judge Settle reviewed this when he ran against Vance for Governor, as the Constitution reported (17 ck ?19 October 1876): “During the war he [Vance] sent his militia and home guards throughout every nook and corner in North Carolina, and conscripted men in many instances, unfit for duty, and were carried to the capital, right under his eyes, and taken to the camp of Peter Mallett, where cattle cars stood ready to receive them.” [DATE this] Col. Peter Mallett, “Commanding Conscripts, N. C.” was charged with notifying owners of captured runaway slaves (e.g., “MARGARET, aged about 14 years, black complexion, 5 feet 1 ½ inches high, property of Samuel Woodley, Washington county, N. C.”). His grander wartime duty was to collect all men between eighteen and thirty-five years of age under the conscription act and sent them to war. A resourceful man, he thought of using cattle cars for his conscripts: “They were rushed into these cattle cars, rushed across the line into Virginia, and into the forefront of battle . . . . He rushed through these men with such indecent haste as practicably to deny them all benefit from the laws of their country.” Dating Vance’s policy of fire and sword is difficult. For what it is worth, the Raleigh Constitution on 17 August 1876 as a boxed-in six- line reminder saying the proclamation was 1863, but 1864 is safer. In a letter dated 15 September 1864 Vance wrote: "I think it time the loyal citizens of Wilkes should know their own minds, and should put down desertion by all means and at all hazards. If the deserters in Wilkes, that are daily reinforcing Kirk, were at their post, regular troops could be spared for your defence.” Vance is fantasizing here. George Kirk, a Union man from Tennessee, was raiding Confederates in northwestern North Carolina in competition with Confederates raiding Union sympathizers in northwestern North Carolina. Did the twain meet? Vance continued: “No countenance of favor must be shown to a deserter or his friends. It is my fixed purpose to visit them with fire and sword, if they refuse to surrender by the 25th of this month, and their friends will fare little better.” After those italics he added: “With the 68th regiment, and the Home Guards, it seems to me that Kirk ought to be kept back” (that is, driven out of western Tennessee). “It is all the chance any how.” On 23 June 1866 Holden printed in the Standard three letters from northwest counties. From Surry a friend wrote that “secession still rules in a dead Confederacy with whip and spur.” The rebels “have no respect for the rights of Union men, but hate and persecute them. . . . The militia has been organized, and the rebels are again armed with the sword and musket to murder Union men.” Last May, he remembered, “these same rebels begged for their property and lives, but now they are as bitter and overbearing as ever.” In the second letter, a friend wrote Holden from Ashe County at the request of other Union men. He had bad news from “this mountain country.” Men boasted “that they were stronger rebels than before.” It was “not safe for a Union man to acknowledge his principles. Murders who boast of their deeds in slaying Union men during the rebellion, walk about unmolested.” Worse, he knew something darkly malicious was at work but had no name for it: “I have been told by one who knows, that the rebels have secret meetings, for what purpose I know not.” He did not have a name for what became the KKK. A friend from Wilkes County wrote: We are passing through a terrible bread crisis up here in the mountains. Many poor families have neither meat nor bread, but live scantily on vegetables salted, but not otherwise seasoned. Our famers were panic-stricken at the appearance of ruse [rust? check] in the wheat a couple of weeks ago, but in spite of appearances wheat and rye will be pretty good. Oats never looked better, and corn is promising. Harvest will give some relief, but there are many too poor to share in it. The government ought to extend help, as it has done in Georgia and elsewhere. There has never been a government ration issued to any one in the loyal and oppressed County of Wilkes--not as much as a peck of meal or pound of bacon to a single one of her sons and daughters. How have disloyal Counties fared? Will not the authorities send us some grain to Statesville, exclusively for the very poor and helpless?” [left here]He continued: “If the rebellion had never been set on foot all these sufferings, with thousands of horrors, would have been averted from our people; and if the leaders in this State, with Gov. Vance at their head, had united with us in 1863 to arrest the war and make peace, our condition would have been a paradise compared with what it is now. And yet these men of blood, who have beggared, starved, and ruined our people, are still to be our rulers and masters!” On 11 September 1866 the Standard published “Public Meeting in Wilkesboro” on 1 September, a “large and respectable portion” of the Union citizens of Wilkes County to nominate candidates for the next Legislature. The 4th and 5th resolutions demonstrate the citizens’ attempt to grapple with a problem that had hardly caught their attention, day to day, before the war, except for the Quakers and surely some others. They resolved that “secession was abolition, unsuspected by its votaries, but nevertheless abolition; and that for the evils growing out of emancipation we are not in any way responsible; and having had but few slaves, are comparatively exempt from the evils affecting the other sections, yet our judgments are awakened to a conviction that the peace and prosperity of the Southern country requires that the white and black races be separated.” The Union voters of Wilkes County at Wilkesboto showed themselves (we would say) as dense, ignorant, and naïve. Resolution #5 is worse: They resolved that “we earnestly advise that, by bounties, the colored people be induced to emigrate to their father land, Africa, and that the United States government tender to the American Colonization Society idle war vessels to be used in their transportation to Liberia; and that the Secretary of this meeting communicate a copy of this resolution to the Secretary of the Colonization Society, with a request that it be laid before Congress.” The Sparks and Pruitt boys who were slaughtered just over in Tennessee in November 1863 were staunch Unionists who knew that rich (slave-owning) citizens elsewhere in North Carolina were in power and therefore able to push through the vote on secession. Some of the Confederates, most conspicuously Zebulon Vance, punished them--for years injured and killed them at will and had destroyed crops and burned their houses. The survivors just could not realize that they could not escape facing up to financial and political and moral issues involving blacks whom they had never seen, day to day (except when some white Baptists sat new a black man or woman or two in church). They could not imagine the problems, and certainly not possible solutions. They were oblivious to the Abolition movement before the war and after the war were confused about the need to pay some attention to the new freedom of Blacks in other counties. Perhaps William R. Sparks was at the Wilkesboro meeting. If he did, what did think when John Q. A. Bryan was nominated for the House of Commons? Did the Sparks and Pruitt families and their connections blame Bryan for not keeping pickets at Limestone Cove? Did William R. Sparks’ chairing the public Union meeting inspire the boys to make their way to Union lines? Given all we know about Vance’s raids on Trap Hill, it seems that Sparks must have been a marked man since his chairing the public meeting on 31 July 1863. After the war, the Roaring River Baptists punished some of the Confederates (while outside the church Unionists were being punished). On 4 October 1865, the Church sent out two men to “invite Marshel Brown to attend our next Church meeting and render his excuse for being with a ban[d] of rob[b]ers and other bad conduct, and for being rebil and a great manny other things.” [Ignore spellings] That is, he is accused of being with a Confederate group of raiders. In November they met, being able to prove the charges against Brown. He refused to admit his acts, and “was then excluded by the Church for a disorderly member.” He was not wrong merely for being a rebel but for being one of a group of raiders. This had repercussions. On 4 January 1866 “Brother Alford Johnson . . . withdrew from the Roaring River Church on the account of being disatisfide with the dission of the Church against Marshel Brown.” As late as March 1866 Samuel Johnson came forward and made acknowledgment for "voliertiern in the rebellion.” The church was united against rebels who had volunteered--though anyone who had been drafted might have been forgiven? Was the Church torn apart by the war? Not just yet by opinions about slavery, though after the war even Northwest North Carolina was beginning to think about what freedom for blacks meant. In November 1865 William R. Sparks and his wife asked for letters of dismission from the Roaring River Baptist Church. He was in his late 60s, but he left his lifelong home and made his way to Floyd County, Virginia, the second county north, with his wife and at least two of his grown children. (Martha, 21, and Whitfield, 20, were there in 1870; others may have come, at first.) Why go there? Wikipedia has the answer just waiting for us: “Floyd County is an anomaly in Virginia politics, being a solidly Republican county even during the height of the Democratic ‘Solid South.’" The "county's inhabitants largely deserted the Confederate army during the Civil War, so that it was one of very few white areas in antebellum slave states to endorse Radical Reconstruction.” Rand Dotson rigorously covers the topic in “‘The Grave and Scandalous Evil Infected to Your People’: The Erosion of Confederate Loyalty in Floyd County, Virginia” (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 108, No. 4 (2000), 393-434). Desertion from Confederate armies were high, especially in 1863 and 1864. Then later, says Dotson, “In 1867, when Virginia called for local delegates to a constitutional convention, the county’s former Unionist sheriff, Ferdinand Winston, decided to run for the position as a Radical Republican. . . . Even though the Republican Party floundered elsewhere in southwestern Virginia, on election day Floyd County’s voters delivered a coup de grâce to their antebellum leaders by sending Winston to Richmond.” Having worshipped in church with black slaves, Sparks now in all likelihood dealt for the first time with black local officials. In August 1869 William R. Sparks wrote to his daughter, Fanny Vannoy, in Wilkes County. He could not help Fanny just then, “being purty hard run about money” himself. He regretted “the confused state of the churches” in Wilkes County: “I am sorry to hear it. I am sorry to hear that the Old Roaring River Church which has been a mother church about one hundred years and now has no parson.” In what must have seemed like exile for his Union principles during the war, he died in 1880 far away from his troop of kinfolks in Wilkes County. Words, he knew, could get you killed, or get young kinsmen killed. He was braver to speak out than we can easily realize, and those nephews were braver to try to get to the Union lines than we can easily realize. Judging Colby and William, judging Chang and Eng--well, leave that to purer souls than ours. All of them had managed to care intensely about some moral issues and remain oblivious to aspects of those issues. Just like us?