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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Archibald D. Murphey to Joseph Graham [Extracts]
Graham, Joseph, 1759-1836
July 20, 1821
Volume 19, Pages 975-978


Haw River,
July 20th, 1821.

Dear General:—On yesterday I received your letter of the 14th Inst. I must beg your pardon for not before acknowledging the

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receipt of the packet directed to me at Salisbury. A continued series of affliction in my family, added to a great pressure of business, had withdrawn my mind until lately from the subject of your communications. They now engage my attention almost exclusively, and will continue to do so, for eight or ten days. I entreat you to continue your narrative, and give it all the detail your memory will enable you to give, and notwithstanding you have filled 20 sheets, fill 20 more. I am in correspondence with several gentlemen on these subjects, as well as other parts of the history of North Carolina, but from none have I received so circumstantial, connected, and interesting as from you. I wish you to progress through the Revolutionary war, and I will submit to you heads for a further narrative, embracing the prominent points of our history since 1783.

Your letter to Col. Conner first suggested to me the plan of a work, which I will execute if I live. It is a work on the history, soil, climate, legislation, civil institutions, literature, &c., of this State. Soon after reading your letter I turned my attention to the subject, in the few hours I could snatch from business to find what abundant materials could, with care and diligence, be collected; materials which, if well disposed, could furnish matter for one of the most interesting works that has been published in this country. We want such a work. We neither know ourselves, nor are we known to others. Such a work well executed would add very much to our standing in the union, and make our State respectable in our own eyes. Amidst the cares and anxieties which surround me, I cannot cherish a hope that I would do more than merely guide the labors of some man who could take up the work after me, and prosecute it to perfection. I love North Carolina, and love her the more because so much injustice has been done to her. We want pride. We want independence. We want magnanimity. Knowing nothing of ourselves, we have nothing in our history to which we can turn with feelings of conscious pride. We know nothing of our State, and care nothing about it.

It adds to one’s mortification on this subject, that the printers of this State are so little minded that one will not copy from another any article of public interest, which is communicated. If papers were sent for publication to New York, they would be published from the New York papers in all the papers of this State; yet. if

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sent to Raleigh, Hillsboro’, Salisbury, &c., they will be found only in that paper to which they are sent. The editors at Fayetteville form an honorable exception. They will search out and give place to everything they can find respecting North Carolina—a man can’t write for every paper, and no one paper has a general circulation—much more would be written if all the papers would give it publicity, because more information would be thereby distributed through the community. We want some great stimulus to put us all in the motion and induce us to waive little jealousies and combine in one general march to our great purpose.

The events of the years 1780 and 1781, will fill a large octavo volume, and I will exert myself to complete it during the ensuing winter. You have entered upon the subject with more zeal than any other man, and I beg a continuance of your labors. Extracts from the work as first written, without corrections, will be published in the Recorder. I directed this paper to be sent to you, and I am sorry the account of the battle at Ramsour’s has not reached you. I will get a paper and send it to you. Have you received the papers containing the remarks “on the history of North Carolina?” This was the first published in January last. Have you received the account “of the first Revolutionary movements?” The printer made a mistake and said, “in the United States,” instead of “in this State.” This was in March.

I will publish another paper shortly. ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ It would give him great pleasure to see you, and I hope you will come to Salisbury. In the meantime prevail on your brother to lend his aid to the work and draw up an account of the expeditions in which he took a part, and from which you were absent. I hope providence will spare your life “till something can be done for the honor and glory of North Carolina.”

Yours truly,
Gen. Jos. Graham.

Request your brother to give a minute detail of Rutherford’s campaign against the Cherokees, in 1776. The number of troops. The place of rendezvous, the causes of the war with the Cherokees, the march of Rutherford, the preparations of the Cherokees, their

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chief’s names, and characters, their places of abode, operations of the army, force of the Cherokees, route of the army over the mountains, Cherokee towns taken and burnt, anecdotes of the campaign, the treaty, the commissioners, both on the part of the Indians and the whites for making the treaty, miscellaneous particulars; return of the troops, their being disbanded, where and when, how paid, and how much, &c.; also similar account of the campaign under Caswell in 1776-’77; request him to go into every detail.

A. D. M.