Contributed by Darrell
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
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
DARRELL H. JACKSON
OF GRIEVANCES ADOPTED AT THE
(Convened on June 17th 1861)
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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."
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.
offered a premium for crime in directing the discharge of volunteers
from criminal prosecutions and in recommending the judges not to
hold their courts.
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.
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.
attempted to destroy the accountability of public servants to the
people by secret legislation, and has set the obligation of an oath
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.
attempted to destroy, and, we fear soon will, utterly prostate the
freedom of speech and of the press.
involved the Southern States in a war, whose success is hopeless,
and which must ultimately lead to the ruin of the people.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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....
PRESENTED TO THE LEGISLATURE
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
O. P. Temple,
Jas, P. McDowell."
LIST OF DELEGATES TO THE GREENVILLE
County. L. C. Houk.
J. G. Spears.
W. T. Dowdell, H. J. Henry, J. R. Frow, Solomon Farmer, Lavater
Wear, A. Kirkpatrick, F. M. Cruze.
J. G. Brown, R. M. Edwards.
J. A. Cooper.
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.
J. W. Clarke, P. Easterly, G. L. Porter, W. Nicely, J. Bible, Wm.
Wood, W. Graham, W. Hornett, S. H. Inman, W. A. Campbell.
E. E. Jones, V. Myers, J. J. Bunch, J. J. Sewell, H. Sewell, F.
R. K. Byrd (alternate).
H. G. Lea, D. C. Senter, E. L. Tate, James James, John Brooks.
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.
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.
Chas. L. Barton.
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.
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
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.
Dr. B. Franklin, Wm Heiskell.
E. Langley, T. H. Davis, J. M. Melton, J. Stonecipher, Rev. W. R.
Jackson, S. C. Honeycutt.
D. C. Trewhitt, S. McCaleb, Wm. Clift.
W. G. Brownlow (alternate).
John McGaughey, A. C. Derrick, G. W. Bridges, M. D. Anderson.
T. J. Matthews.
W. M. Giggs, W. J. Copeland
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.
S. C. Honeycutt (alternate).
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.
J. Shewalter, J. Lynn, G. R. Netherland, J. Hughes, Dr. R. L. Stanford.
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.
J. W. Thornburgh, Isaac Bayless, M. V. Nash.
E. B. Langley (alternate.)