Cherokees Seek Peace After Rutherford Expedition
On July 20, 1777, the Overhill Cherokee Indians signed a treaty of peace and ceded their lands east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The meeting between Indian representatives and commissioners from North Carolina and Virginia took place at Long Island in the Holston River in Tennessee, and has since come to be known as the Treaty of Long Island of the Holston.
White settlers had long been encroaching on Cherokee tribal lands, and after the Indian demand in 1776 for the withdrawal of settlers was met with no action, the Cherokees began to attack frontier settlements. Citizens of the backcountry were alarmed. Griffith Rutherford, brigadier general of the Salisbury District militia, called for volunteers to conduct an expedition against the Cherokee. The Indians, having gotten word of the expedition, abandoned many of their settlements. Rutherford’s men burned whatever was left behind.
Rutherford concluded his campaign in October, having effectively neutralized the threat of the Cherokee in North Carolina. As refugees, surviving over the winter on wild game, nuts and fruits, the remaining Cherokee agreed to discuss peace terms the following year.
Other related resources:
- American Indian History from the N.C. Museum of Histroy
- The Cherokee Indians on NCpedia
- Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina and North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, Vol. 16: Thomas’s Legion from North Carolina Historical Publications
- Resources on Native American Heritage from the State Library of North Carolina
- Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site in Mount Gilead, which interprets Native American history in North Carolina and has a variety of resources related to the Cherokee
For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.