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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles McDowell to Samuel Johnston
McDowell, Charles, 1743-1815
April 17, 1789
Volume 21, Pages 546-547

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Quaker Meadows, April 17, 1789.


After my best respects to you, I take the liberty of informing your Excellency of the peaceable disposition of the Cherokees, since your Talks were delivered by Mr. Dromgoole; they seem to wish for peace and pay great attention to your Talks, altho’ they are much threatened and insulted by a disorderly set of people who have settled on the Frontiers of this and adjacent States. Genl. Pickens agreed with the Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation on an Exchange of the Prisoners in behalf of this State, and fixed on the Water Ford on French Broad river as the place, and the 23rd of March last as the time for that purpose, but some abandoned Villians a few days before murdered two Indians on French Broad, about fifteen miles from the place where the Exchange was to take place. The Indians put off the Exchange until the 10th Instant and fully agreed to have the White prisoners at the War Ford on that day, but we are informed that a certain John Cleveland, of Tugalo, had made a small attack on some of the Indians near their Towns, in consequence of Cleveland’s conduct, a skirmish ensued. Cleveland was shot through the

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thigh, and a Capt. Hamilton through the shoulder. They instantly retreated. This piece of conduct I expect was the reason the Prisoners were not brought agreeable to appointment. Sevier’s party seem obstinate, and say they will not give up the Indian Prisoners unless the Indians will treat and exchange with them, and the Indians seem determined not to treat or exchange with them, as they say they cannot trust themselves amongst such people for they believe they want to deceive them as they did before.

The Indians now say they will bring in the White people at the Treaty. I think it might answer a good purpose if your Excellency would give Mr. Steele pointed instructions to call on those people for the Indian Prisoners, as I have some reason to believe that they will pay attention to your orders or Instructions.

I am informed the Indians have nearly twenty-eight White Prisoners, and I believe the White people have the same number of Indian Prisoners. Sevier has embraced the Act of pardon and renewed his allegiance to the State of North Carolina.