History of Campbell County, Tennessee
Declaration of Grievances Adopted 
at the Greeneville Convention
 

Time Line


Contributed by Darrell H. Jackson


The document below titled "Declaration of Grievances Adopted at the Greeneville Convention" is quoted from the book by Oliver Perry Temple titled "East Tennessee and the Civil War".  The author copyrighted this book in 1899.  The author copyrighted this book in 1899 and it was republished by the Overmountain Press of Johnson City, Tennessee in 1995.  This document is from pages 565 through 573 of the 588 page book.  This book was still available from Overmountain Press when I purchased my copy in 1998.  This was 99 years after it was originally published.

I believe that anyone who has roots in East Tennessee should have this book in their library.  Reading it will give you insight to the turmoil  our ancestors lived through whether they were Rebel or Yankee.

The purpose of this document and convention was to protest the State of Tennessee seceding from the union. and to try to prevent East Tennessee from having to join the rest of the state in this succession. There are 31 counties with a total of 287 delegates representing these counties listed in this document.  One county was not represented.

This is a very scholarly tome, written in his old age and 30 plus years after the civil war.  The author before the war was a slave owner, pro-union and represented his (Knox) County at this convention.  He wrote this in the American Language of his time as a first hand account of the social, political and emotional climate of East Tennessee before, during and after the war.

Some of the words and names shown here may have been misinterpreted from the original document but are transcribed as they appear in the book.  Word usage and spelling may have been different in those days.

The only change I made from the book was to number, high light and underline the counties for easier reference.  They are not in perfect, alphabetical order.

I hope that this will help some of you to document an ancestors life or some part of it.  Remember, this information  for is for research purposes only and not commercial use.

DARRELL H. JACKSON
Lakewood, Washington
 


DECLARATION OF GRIEVANCES ADOPTED AT THE 
GREENVILLE CONVENTION
(Convened on June 17th 1861)

     We, the people of East Tennessee, again assembled in a convention of our delegates, make the following declaration in addition to that heretofore promulgated by us at Knoxville, on the 30th and 31st days of May last (1861). 

     So far as we can learn the election held in this state on the 8th day of the present month was free, with but few exceptions, in no part of the state, other than East Tennessee.  In the larger parts of Middle and West Tennessee no speeches or discussions in favor of the Union were permitted - Union papers were not allowed to circulate.  Measures were taken in some parts of West Tennessee, in defiance of the constitution and laws, which allowed folded tickets, to have the ballots numbered in such manner as to mark and expose the Union votes.  A disunion paper, the "Nashville Gazette," in urging the people to vote an open ticket declared that a "thief takes a pocketbook, or effects an entrance into forbidden places by stealthy means - a Tory, in voting, usually adopts pretty much the same course of procedure."  Disunionists, in many places, had charge of the polls, and Union men, when voting, were denounced as Lincolnites and Abolitionists.  The unanimity of the votes in many large counties where , but a few weeks ago, the Union sentiment was so strong, proves beyond  doubt that Union men were overawed by the tyranny of the military power, and the still greater tyranny of a corrupt and subsidized press.  In the city of Memphis, where 5,613 votes were cast, but five free men had the courage to vote for the Union, and these were stigmatized in the public press as "ignorant traitors who opposed the popular edicts."  Our earnest appeal made at the Knoxville Convention, to our brethren in the other divisions of the state, was published there only to a small extent and the members and names of those who composed our convention, as well as the counties they represented, were suppressed, and the effort made to impress the minds of the people that East Tennessee was favorable to secession.  The "Memphis Appeal," a prominent disunion paper, published a false account of our proceedings, under the head - "the traitors in council" - and styled us who represented every county but two in East Tennessee "the little batch of disaffected traitors,  who hover around the noxious atmosphere of Andrew Johnson's home.".  Our meeting was telegraphed to the "New Orleans Delta," and it was falsely said that we had passed a resolution recommending submission, if 70,000 votes were not cast against secession.  The dispatch added that "the southern rights are determined to hold possession of the state, though they should be in a minority".  Volunteers were allowed to vote in and out of the state, in flagrant violation of the constitution.  From the moment the election was over, and before any detailed statement of the vote in the different counties had been published, and before it was possible to ascertain the result, it was exultantly proclaimed that separation had been carried by from 50,000 to 70,000 votes.  This was to prepare the public mind to enable "the secessionists to hold possession of the state though they should be in a minority."  The final result is to be announced by a disunion governor, whose existence depends upon the success of secession, and no provision is made by law for an examination of the vote by disinterested persons, or even for contesting the election.  For these and other causes we do not regard the result of the election as expressive of the will of a majority of the freemen of Tennessee.  Had the election everywhere been conducted as it was in East Tennessee, we would entertain a different opinion.  Here, no effort was made to suppress secession papers, or prevent secession speeches or votes, although an overwhelming majority of the people were against secession.  Here, no effort has been made to prevent the formation of military companies, or obstruct the transportation of armies, or to prosecute those who violated the laws of the United States and of Tennessee against treason.  The Union men of East Tennessee, anxious to be neutral in the contest, were content to enjoy their own opinions and to allow the utmost latitude of opinion and action to those who differed from them.  Had the same toleration prevailed in other parts of the state, we have no doubt that a majority of our people would have voted to remain in the Union.  But, if this view is erroneous, we have the same (and we think, a much better) right to remain in the Government of the United States than the other divisions of Tennessee have to secede from it.

    We prefer to remain attached to the government of our fathers.  The Constitution of the United States has done us no wrong.  The Congress of the United States has passed no law to oppress us.  The President of the United States has made no threat against the law-abiding people of Tennessee.  Under the Government of the United States, we have enjoyed as a nation more of civil and religious freedom than any other people under the whole heaven.  We believe there is no cause for rebellion or secession on the part of the people of Tennessee.  None was assigned by the legislature in their miscalled Declaration of Independence.  No adequate cause can be assigned.  The select committee of that body asserted a gross and inexcusable falsehood in their address to the people of East Tennessee, when they declared that the Government of the United States had made war upon them.  The secession cause has thus far been sustained by deception and falsehood : by falsehoods as to the action of congress, by false dispatches as to battles that were never fought and victories that were never won; by false accounts as to the purposes of the President; by false representations as to the views of Union men; and by false pretenses as to the facility with which the secession troops would take possession of the capitol and capture the highest officers of the government.

     The cause of secession or rebellion has no charm for us, and its progress has been marked by the most alarming and dangerous attacks upon the public liberty.  In other states, as well as our own, its whole course threatens to annihilate the last vestige of freedom.  While peace and prosperity have blessed us in the Government of the United States, the following may be enumerated as the fruits of secession:

     It was effected without consultation with all the states interested in the slavery question, and without exhausting peaceable remedies.

It has plunged the country into civil war, paralyzed our commerce, interfered with the whole trade and business of the country, lessened the value of property, destroyed many of the pursuits of life, and bids fair to involve the whole nation in irretrievable bankruptcy and ruin.

     It has changed the entire relations of states, and adopted constitutions without submitting them to a vote of the people, and where such a vote has been authorized, it has been upon the condition prescribed by Senator Mason, of Virginia, that those who voted the Union ticket "must leave the state."

     It has advocated a constitutional monarchy, a king and a dictator, and is through the Richmond press at this moment, recommending to the convention in Virginia a restriction of the right of suffrage, and "in severing connection with the Yankees, to abolish every vestige of resemblance to the institutions of that detested race."

     It has formed military leagues, passed military bills and opened the door for oppressive taxation without consulting the people, and then in mockery of a free election has required them by their votes to sanction their usurpation's under the penalties of moral proscription or at the point of the bayonet.

     It has offered a premium for crime in directing the discharge of volunteers from criminal prosecutions and in recommending the judges not to hold their courts.

     It has stained our statute book with the repudiation of Northern debts, and has greatly violated the constitution by attempting through its unlawful extension to destroy the right of suffrage.

     It has called upon the people in the State of Georgia, and may soon require the people of Tennessee, to contribute all their surplus cotton, corn, wheat, bacon, beef, etc, to the support of pretended governments alike destitute of money and credit.

     It has attempted to destroy the accountability of public servants to the people by secret legislation, and has set the obligation of an oath at defiance.

     It has passed laws declaring it treason to say or do anything in favor of the Government of the United States, or against the Confederate States, and such a law is now before, and we apprehend will soon be passed by, the legislature of Tennessee.

     It has attempted to destroy, and, we fear soon will, utterly prostate the freedom of speech and of the press.

     It has involved the Southern States in a war, whose success is hopeless, and which must ultimately lead to the ruin of the people.

     Its bigoted, overbearing and intolerant spirit has already subjected the people of East Tennessee to many petty grievances; our people have been insulted; our flags have been fired upon and torn down; our houses have been rudely entered; our families subjected to insult; our peaceable meetings interrupted; our women and children shot at by a merciless soldiery; our towns pillaged, our citizens robbed, and some of them assassinated and murdered.

     No effort has been spared to deter the Union men of East Tennessee from the expression of their free thoughts.  The penalties of treason have been threatened against them, and murder and assassination have been openly encouraged by leading secession journals.  As secession has thus been overbearing and intolerant while in the minority in East Tennessee, nothing better can be expected of the pretended majority, than wild, unconstitutional and oppressive legislation; an utter contempt and disregard of law; a determination to force every Union man in the state to swear to the support of a constitution he abhors, to yield his money and property to aid a cause he detests and to become the object of scorn and derision as well as the victim of intolerable and relentless oppression.

    In view of these considerations, and of the fact that the people of East Tennessee have declared their fidelity to the Union, by a majority of about 20,000 votes, therefore we do resolve and declare:

     FIRST.  That we do earnestly desire the restoration of peace to our whole country, and most especially that our own section of the State of Tennessee should not be involved in civil war.

     SECOND.  That the action of our state legislature in passing the so-called "Declaration of Independence," and in forming the "Military League" with the Confederate States, and in adopting other acts looking to a separation of the State of Tennessee from the Government of the United States, is unconstitutional and illegal, and, therefore, not binding upon us as loyal citizens.

     THIRD:  That in order to avert a conflict with our brethren in other parts  of the state, and desiring that every constitutional means shall be resorted to for the preservation of peace, we do, therefore, constitute and appoint O. P. Temple, of Knox, John Netherland, of Hawkins, and James P. McDowell, of Green, commissioners, whose duty it shall be to prepare a memorial and cause the same to be presented to the General Assembly of Tennessee, now in session, asking its consent that the counties composing East Tennessee, and such counties in Middle Tennessee as desire to cooperate with them, may form and erect a separate state.

     FOURTH:  Desiring, in good faith, that the general assembly will grant this our reasonable request, and still claiming the right to determine our own destiny, we do further resolve that an election be held in all the counties of East Tennessee, and in such other counties in Middle Tennessee, adjacent thereto, as may desire to co-operate with us, for the choice of delegates to represent them in a general convention to be held in the town of Kingston, at such time as the president of this convention, or in case of his absence or inability, any one of the vice-presidents, or, in like case with them, the secretary of this convention may designate; and the officer so designating the day for the assembling of said convention, shall also fix the time for holding the election herein provided for, and give reasonable notice thereof.

     FIFTH.  In order to carry out the foregoing resolution, the sheriffs of different counties are hereby requested to open and hold said election, or cause the same to be so held, in the usual manner and at the usual places of voting, as prescribed by law; and in the event the sheriff of any county should fail or refuse to open and hold said election, or cause the same to be done, the coroner of such county is requested to do so; and should such coroner fail or refuse, then any constable of such county is hereby authorized to open and hold said election, or cause the same to be done.  And if in any county none of the above-named officers will hold said election, then any justice of the peace or freeholder in such county is authorized to hold the same or cause it to be done.  The officer or other person holding said election shall certify the result to the president of this convention or to such officer as may have directed the same to be holden, at any early a day thereafter as practicable, and the officer to whom said returns may be made shall open and compare the polls and issue certificates to the delegates elected.

     SIXTH.  That in said convention the several counties shall be represented as follows:  The county of Knox shall elect three delegates; the counties of Washington, Greene and Jefferson, two delegates each, and the remaining counties shall each elect one delegate....

THE MEMORIAL

PRESENTED TO THE LEGISLATURE BY THE 
COMMITTEE ON BE HALF OF THE CONVENTION.

To the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee:

The undersigned, memorialists, on behalf of the people of East Tennessee, beg leave respectfully to show, that at  a convention of delegates, holden at Greeneville on the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th days of June, instant, in which was represented every county of East Tennessee, except the county of Rhea, is was resolved:

     "FIRST.  That we do earnestly desire the restoration of peace to our whole country, and most especially that our own section of the State of Tennessee shall not be involved in civil war.

     "SECOND.  That the action of the state legislature in passing the so-called 'Declaration of Independence,' and in forming the 'Military League' with the Confederate States, and in adopting other acts looking to a separation of Tennessee from the Government of the United States, is unconstitutional and illegal, and therefore not binding upon us as loyal citizens.

     "Third.  And it was further resolved, 'that in order to avert a conflict with our brethren in other parts of the state, and desiring that every constitutional means shall be resorted to for the preservation of peace, we do, therefore, constitute and appoint O. P. Temple, of Knox, John Netherland, of Hawkins, and James P. McDowell, of Greene, commissioners, whose duty is shall be to prepare a memorial and cause the same to be presented to the General Assembly of Tennessee, now in session, asking its consent that the counties composing East Tennessee, and such other counties in Middle Tennessee as desire to co-operate with them, may form and erect a separate state.

     The idea of a separate political existence is not a recent one, but it is not deemed necessary here to restate the geographical, social, economical and industrial reasons which have often been urged in support of it.  The reasons which operated upon the convention and seemed to them conclusive was the action of the two sections, respectively, at the election held on the 8th instant to determine the future national relations of the state.  In that election the people of East Tennessee, by a Majority of nearly twenty thousand votes, decided to adhere to the Federal Union, established prior to the American Revolution, and to which Tennessee was admitted in the year 1796; while the rest of the state is reported to have decided, by a majority approaching even more nearly to unanimity, to leave the Federal Union and to join the body politic recently formed under the name of the Confederate States of America.  The Same diversity of sentiment was exhibited, but less distinctly, at the election of the 9th of February last, when the people of East Tennessee decided by a heavy majority against holding a convention to discuss and determine our Federal relations, overcoming by nearly fourteen thousand the majority in the rest of the state in favor of such a convention.

     This hopeless and irreconcilable difference of opinion and purpose leaves no alternative but the separation of the two sections of the state; for it is not to be presumed that either would for a moment think of subjugating the other or of coercing it into a political condition repugnant alike to its interest and to its honor.  Certainly the people of East Tennessee entertain no such purpose toward the rest of the state.  And the avowals of their Western brethren, in connection with their recent political action, have been too numerous and explicit to leave us in any doubt as to their views.

     It remains, therefore, that measures be adopted to effect a separation, amicably, honorably, and magnanimously, by a settlement of boundaries, so as to divide East Tennessee, and any contiguous counties or districts which may desire to adhere to her, from the rest of the state, and by a fair, just and equitable division of the public property and the common liabilities.  It has occurred to the undersigned as the best method of accomplishing this most desirable end, that your body should take immediate action in the premises, by giving a formal assent to the proposed separation, pursuant to the provisions of section 3, article 4, of the Constitution of the United States, and by convoking a convention representing the sovereign power of the people of the respective divisions of Tennessee, with plenary authority to so amend the constitution of the state as to carry into effect the change contemplated.

     With a view to such action, or to action leading to the same result, the undersigned ask permission to confer with your body, either in general session or through a committee appointed for this purpose, so as to consider and determine the details more satisfactorily than could otherwise be done.

     Awaiting a response to this memorial, the undersigned beg to add assurances of every endeavor on their part not only to preserve the peaceful relations heretofore subsisting between the people in the two sections of the state, but to remove, as far as possible, all causes of disturbance in the future, so that each may be left free to follow its chosen path of prosperity and honor, unembarrassed by any collision with the other.

                                                                                              O. P. Temple,
                                                                                              John Netherland,
                                                                                            Jas, P. McDowell."

LIST OF DELEGATES TO THE GREENVILLE CONVENTION.

1.  Anderson County.  L. C. Houk.
2.  Bledsoe.  J. G. Spears.
3.  Blount.  W. T. Dowdell, H. J. Henry, J. R. Frow, Solomon Farmer, Lavater Wear, A. Kirkpatrick, F. M. Cruze.
4.  Bradley.  J. G. Brown, R. M. Edwards.
5.  Campbell.  J. A. Cooper.
6.  Carter.  A. Tipton, Wm. Marsh, L. Slagel, S. P. Hilton, L. Carter, W. B. Carter, H. Slagel, J. Emmet, D. Stover, J. Hendrickson, J. G. Lewis, W. J. Crutcher, J. Perry, S. P Angel, V. Singletary, J. L. Bradley, B. M. G. O'Brien, C. P. Toncray, Robert Williams, John M. Smith, C. Wilcox, H. C. Smith.
7.  Cocke.  J. W. Clarke, P. Easterly, G. L. Porter, W. Nicely, J. Bible, Wm. Wood, W. Graham, W. Hornett, S. H. Inman, W. A. Campbell.
8.  Claiborne.  E. E. Jones, V. Myers, J. J. Bunch, J. J. Sewell, H. Sewell, F. Jones.
9.  Cumberland.  R. K. Byrd (alternate).
10.  Grainger.  H. G. Lea, D. C. Senter, E. L. Tate, James James, John Brooks.
11.  Greene.  J. P. McDowell, W. H. Crawford, T. D. Arnold, Charles Gass, Peter Harmon, J. P. Holtsinger, J. B. Dodson, R. A. Crawford, James Jones, S. H. Baxter, David Rush, Israel Woolsey, W. W. Walker, J. Easterly, B. Earnest, N. Earnest, B. B. Sherfie, John Love, J. Myers, Geo. Kinney, Wm. Jones, Anthony Moore, J. Brannon, J. Kerbaugh, C. Harden, Jacob Bible, B. McDaniel, A. W. Howard, C. M. Vestal,, J. G. Reeves, Wm. Cavender, D. G. Vance, Thos. Davis, E. Davis, J. W. Harold, John Jones, Solomon Good, Sam. McGaughey, Hon. D. T. Patterson, John Maloney, Charles Johnson, Alexander A. Lane, Abe Hammond, W. D. Culver, Major J. Britton, J. Britton, jr., Geo. F. Gillespie, Robt. Johnson, H. B. Boker, G. Glick, Dr Wm. West, James A. Galbreath, W. R. Brown, W. D. McCleland.
12.  Hawkins. John Netherland, John Blevins, W. C. Kyle, A. A. Kyle, C. W. Hall, James White, C. J. McKinney, H. Mitchell, A. P. Caldwell, A. B. Keel, Thos. Benny.
13.  Hancock.  Chas. L. Barton.
14.  Johnson.  S. E. Northington, J. H. Morris, H. C. Northington, J. W. M. Grayson, L. Venable, J. H. Vaught, Alex. Baker, A. D. Smith, John Murphy, A. G. Shown, H. P. Murphy, Kemp Murphy, R. R. Butler, Samuel Howard, J. F. Norris.
15.  Jefferson.  J. L. Coile, Rev. J. R. Birchfield, N. B. Swann, M. Thornburgh, John Thornhill, R. D. Rankin, N. Newman, E. A. Sawyers, Ed. West, Wm. Harris, John Alderson, L. McDaniel, W. Kirkpatrick, C. K. Scruggs, J. P. Swann, Dr Samuel Anderson, Wm. Jones, Wm. Dick, Dr. Cawood, J. Monroe Meek, Wiley Foust, Dr. A. A. Caldwell, L. F. Leeper, John Tate.
16.  Knox.  Henry Roberts, H. R. Clapp, A. Thompson, Dr. R. Snead, T. A. Smith, A. C. Callen, D. W. Parker, A. Davis, P. A. Ruble, J. D. Frence, Sam. McCammon, J. F. Bunker, Andrew Knott, John Williams, Horace Manyard, John Baxter, C. F. Trigg, John Smith, Jas. Maxwell, John M. Fleming, A. G. Jackson, Dr. W. A. Rodgers, W. G. Brownlow, John Devers, Louis Letsinger, O. P. Temple, A. P. Rambo.
17.  Monroe.  Dr. B. Franklin, Wm Heiskell.
18.  Morgan.  E. Langley, T. H. Davis, J. M. Melton, J. Stonecipher, Rev. W. R. Jackson, S. C. Honeycutt.
19.  Hamilton.  D. C. Trewhitt, S. McCaleb, Wm. Clift.
20.  Marion.  W. G. Brownlow (alternate).
21.  McMinn.  John McGaughey, A. C. Derrick, G. W. Bridges, M. D. Anderson.
22.  Meigs.  T. J. Matthews.
23.  Polk.  W. M. Giggs, W. J. Copeland
24.  Rhea.  (Not Represented.)
25.  Roane.  J. T. Shelley, R. K. Byrd, W. B. Staley, T. J. Tipton, F. M. Wylie, M. Rose, J. W. Bowman, W. M. Alexander, D. F. Harrison, J. J. West, George Littleton, J. H. Johnston, W. H. Hornsby, F. Young, J. Atkisson, T. J. Mason, Jo. Anderson, J. Wyatt, J. S. Hagler, L. M. Wester.
26.  Scott.  S. C. Honeycutt (alternate).
27.  Sevier.  John Caldwell, J. Cate, H. Mount, J. H. Caldwell, Jno. Douglas, J. K. Franklin, L. D. Alexander, E. Hodges, D. McCrosky, Sam. Pickens, J. T. Havis, R. H. Hodsden, D. M. Ray, J. C. Murphy, Wilson Duggan, C. Inman, Rev. James Cummings, F. L. Emmert.
28.  Sullivan.  J. Shewalter, J. Lynn, G. R. Netherland, J. Hughes, Dr. R. L. Stanford.
29.  Washington.  C. A. Eames, J. F. Mahoney, J. Slack, S. K. N. Patton, C. Bashor, A. Kibbler, E. H. West, W. H. Maxwell, A. J. Brown, S. T. Logan, Dr. W. Smith, J. A. Estes, Dr. R. H. Palmer, E. Keezel, Dr. R. B. McCall, G. W. Nelson, E. S. Harvey, A. Hoss, Dr. J. W. Hartmann, J. Yerger, W. Slemmons, W. M. Reese, A. B. Tadlock, J. W. Deaderick, G. W. Wilson, J. Biddle, H. Pressnel, R. L. Gillespie, T. S. Gillespie, John Pennybaker, R. M. McKee, D. M. McFall, E. W. Oughbrough, J. W. Ellis, W. Glaze, S. West, M. H. Clark, E. S. Matthews, D. Onk, T. A. R. Nelson, :. H. Grisham.
30.  Union.  J. W. Thornburgh, Isaac Bayless, M. V. Nash.
31.  Fentress.  E. B. Langley (alternate.)

Time Line

 

 


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