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About Jefferson County

History of the Treaty

The TREATY OF DUMPLIN is the most important historical event in the annals of the middle section of East Tennessee.  It is the one lasting accomplishment of the State of Franklin.  But for it, and the immediate settlement which followed in these five counties, East Tennessee would probably today still be a part of North Carolina.

Soon after Franklin was organized, in January 1785, the Legislature appointed Gov. John Sevier, Gen. Daniel Kennedy, and Col. Alexander Outlaw, Commissioners to treat with the Cherokee for more lands for homesteads.  By pre-arrangement the Commission met with the King of the Cherokee, and Abraham, Ancoo, and some thirty warriors and lesser chiefs at the "Fort" or log-house of Maj. Henry on Dumplin Creek, about 1 mile north of the French Broad river.

The "fort" stood on the spot being marked today.  Immediately beside it runs the famous Indian "war-path" leading from Penna., N. Y., Va., through Long Island (Kingsport) and Jefferson County to the Cherokee towns and to Georgia.  This once famous road was the route traveled by both whites and Indians - armies and traders, and homesteaders for two hundred years before the better known Wilderness Road to Kentucky was started.  It was the only road from the Wautauga settlements, either East or West.  By this Treaty of Dumplin all of Jefferson, Hamblen, Sevier, Knox and Blount counties were opened to homestead.

And within three years more than 1,000 white families had moved in and established homesteads - among them Adam Meek, Isaac Newman, John Cate, Sr. and Adam Peck in Jefferson; James White, Cosby, Armstrong and Wm. Bales in Knox; Sam Houston, Geo. Huffaker, Brabson, and Wear in Sevier; and Samuel Henry, A. Weaver, John Trimble and David Craig in Blount county.

June 10th, 1785, is more than two years before the Constitution of the United States was adopted, and more than 4 years before George Washington was inaugurated First President of the United States.

Both the State of North Carolina and Old Tassell -- chief of the North Carolina Cherokees -- refused at first to recognize this treaty.  Finally on August 3rd, 1786, Old Tassell and Hanging Maw did affirm it at the treaty of Coytoy (Coiatee) with Wm. Cocke, Alex. Outlaw, and others of a new Commission sent out by State of Franklin.

North Carolina continued to refuse to recognize either this treaty or the State of Franklin.  Confusion became so great that North Carolina, in 1789, ceded all this territory to the United States just organized and William Blount was sent by Washington as Territorial Governor.

Note that the Treaty does not run to Franklin, to North Carolina, or even to the United States but "to the state or states that may legally hereafter possess and enjoy the country aforesaid."

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