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PETITION OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE WESTERN COUNTRY
[State of Franklin, 1787]
From The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. XXII, pp. 705-714
The Honourable, The General Assembly of North Carolina now sitting--
The Inhabitants of the Western Country Humbly Sheweth:
That it is with sincere concern we lament the unhappy disputes that have long subsisted between us and our Brethren on the Eastern side of the Mountains, respecting the Erecting a new Government. We beg leave to represent to your Honourable body, that from Acts passed in June 1784, ceding to Congress your Western territory, with the reservations and Conditions therein contained. Also from a clause in your Wise and Mild Constitution, setting forth that there might be a State or States, erected in the West whenever your Legislature should give consent for same; and from our local situation, numberless advantages, bountifully given to us by nature to propagate & promote a Government with us. Being influenced by your Acts and Constitution, and at the same time considering that it is our undeniable right to obtain for ourselves and posterity a proportionable and adequate share of the blessings, rights, privileges, and immunities allotted with the rest of mankind, have thought that the erecting a new Government would greatly contribute to our welfare and convenience and that the same could not militate against your interest and future welfare as a Government. Hoping that mutual & reciprocal advantages would attend each party, & that cordiality and unanimity would permanently subsist between us ever after, We earnestly request that an impartial view of our remoteness be taken into consideration. The great inconveniency attending your seat of Government, and also the great difficulty in ruling well & giving protection to so remote a people. To say nothing of the almost impassable mountains, Nature has placed between us, which renders it impracticable for us to furnish ourselves with a bare load of the necessaries of life, except we in the first instance travel from one to two hundred & more miles through some other State 'ere we can reach your government. Every tax paid you from this county would render us that sum the poorer, as it is impossible from the nature of our situation, that any part could return into circulation, having nothing that could bear the carriage, or encourage purchasers to come so great a distance for which reasons were we to continue under your Government a few years, the people here must pay a greater sum than the whole of the medium now in circulation for the Exigencies and support of your Government which would be a sum impossible for us to procure, would we be willing to give you our all, & of course, must be beholden to other States for any part we could raise; and by these means our property would gradually diminish, and we at last reduced to mere poverty and want by not being able equally, to participate with the benefits and advantages of your Government. We hope that having settled West of the Appalachian Mountains ought not to deprive us of the natural advantages designed by the bountiful Providence for the conveniency & comfort of all those who have Spirit and sagacity enough to seek after them. When we reflect on our past and indefatigable Struggles, both with savages and our other Enemies during our late war, and the great difficulty we had to obtain and withhold this Country from those Enemies at the expense of the lives and fortunes of many of our dearest friends and relations, and the happy conclusion of peace have arrived, North Carolina has derived great advantages from our alertness in taking & securing a Country from which she has been able to draw into her Treasury immense sums of money, and thereby become enabled to pay off, if not wholly, yet a great part, and sink her national debt. We therefore humbly conceive you will liberally think that it will be nothing more than paying a debt in full to us for only to grant what God, Nature & our locality entitles us to receive. Trusting that your magnanimity and justice will not consider it a crime in any people to pray their rights and privileges, we call the world to testify our conduct and exertion in behalf of American Independency, and the same to judge whether we ask more than free people ought to claim, agreeable to Republican principles, the great foundation whereon our American fabric now stands. Impressed with the hope of your great goodness & benevolent disposition that you will utterly abhor and disclaim all ideas of Involving into innumerable, disagreeable and irksome Contentions a people who have so faithfully aided & supported in the time of imminent and perilous Dangers; that you will be graciously pleased to consent to a Separation; that from your paternal tenderness and greatness of mind, you will let your stipulations & conditions be consistent with honour, equity & Reason, all which will be cheerfully submitted to; and we, your Petitioners, shall always feel an interest in whatsoever may concern your honour and prosperity. Lastly, we hope to be enabled by the concurrence of your State to participate in the fruits of the Revolution; and enjoy the essential benefits of Civil Society under a form of Government which ourselves alone, can only calculate for such a purpose. It will be a subject of regret that so much blood and treasure have been lavished away for no purpose to us, that so many sufferings have been encountered without Compensation, and that so many sacrifices have been made in vain. Many other considerations might be here adduced, but we hope what hath been mentioned will be sufficient for our purpose, adding only that Congress hath from time to time explained their ideas so fully and with so much dignity & Energy that if their Arguments and Requisitions will not Produce conviction, we know of nothing that will have a greater influence, especially when we recollect that the system referred to is the result of the Collected wisdom of the United States and should it not be considered as perfect, must be esteemed as the least Objectionable.
John Cosson Joseph Blair James English Thomas Williams William Hannah Henry Styers Peter McNamee his James Shanks Thomas X Tadlock David Robinson mark Robert Callison William McPick Isaac Davis Botholmu Odeneal James Mitchell his David Gemel Shadrack X Hale Jr. Thomas Bell mark Thomas Rodgers Daniel Dunny Jr. Anthony Kelly John Wear Thos. McMackin Asahel Rawlings George Davies Henry Earnest Nathaniel Davies James Patterson Samuel Davies Francis Hughes John Lowe Robert Hood Joseph Willson his David Brown Wm. X Francis William Brown mark Jas. Henney his Alexr Petter Patrick X Kirkpat-[rick] William Reynolds mark David Reynolds John Tadlock Aaron Been James Davis William Wilson Benn Brumbly Thos. Thompson Mary Webster (?) David Rankin George Kirkpatrick John Lee Thomas Jones Sam'l Vance William Jones Rd. Kerr Reuben Simmon Archibel Alexander Moses Kelsay Samuel McPherson Robert McCall Matthew Rue Joseph Alexander Joseph Lusk Wm. Cocke Andrew Jackson Archibald Roan Jos. Gest Elias Witt Jos. Newberry Thomas Witt Alex. Lowry Nathaniel Witt Jno. McClelland Rich'd Dunn Solomon Reed Wm. Dunn Uriah McClellennon Thomas Call James Stinson H. Call Alexander Street Joseph N. Newport James McPherson Wm. W. Newport John Prim John Greer Jacob Smelser Absolom Greer Joshua Kidwell Thomas Springer Samuel Jameson Levy Springer John Brumley Thomas Wolf William Davidson Conrad Wolf Wm. Boyd Phillip Gnibb Benja. Gist Henry Easter Thos. Bromley William Eats Hugh Beard Simeon Crains Samuel Beard Harmon Nowel James Millikin James Patton Robert Orr Robert Patton Searling Bowman John Fout Rich'd Woods Peter Fout Robert McCall Harman Kenedy John Galbreath Moses Long (illegible) (?) Coonnas Miller James Watson Thomas McKee (illegible) (?) Wm. Goings James Hays Henry Brumly David Carr And. Wray Joseph Garrison Wm. Wood William Gillehan Gordon Potter Stephen Strorge Wm. Peck Michael Rawlings Thomas Mosely Donnell Cremor Henry Mosely Nath. McMeno Phillip Rudolf William La*** (?) Wm. Stublefield (illegible) (?) Thomas Baits Wm. Morow John Keller Charles Ramsey Moses Keller (illegible) (?) William Fergoson John R. *** (?) Adam Fergoson Peter Nowels Ralph Hogan James Millikan William Hogan Thomas Millikan Richard Wabb Thomas Dicson Josiah Epperson Redman McDanel Humph'y Montgomery Samul MacDanel Carmach George Samul Gilberts Charles Wilson Joseph McMinty John Johnston Auborn Mon*** (?) Wm. Magill Anson Rit Oton Clack Nuness Pottor John Gibson John Noman (?) Reuben Gibson Peter Nuless William Adkins James W. Begses (?) Thos. Fryar Dalton Ridgs John Lyon James Jack William Brownin John Adkins Rich'd Wood Adword Adword James Pickens Robert Bettey Reuben Riggs Geo. Black George Hayes Simon Ridgs William Hill Joseph Donn Henry Richardson Allen Bellew Shiffell Goodlop Rows Potter John Sham John Norton Miller Doget Aaron Norton Christy Miers Aaron Rider John Mears John Jameson William Owins Dan'l Rawlings Thomas Owins William Jinkins John Jarrott Robert Smith Thomas Pinckny Wm. Howard James Stump Joshua Tadlock Leonard Hopkins Robert Hayes Martha Gahee Thomas Johnson Patrick Gahee Francis Johnson Jeremiah Smith his Robert Sample Js. X Hust Anthony Moore mark James McCammis his Thomas McCammis John X Huson William McCammis mark Adam McCammis Lanty Armstrong Henry Hohammer William Hennidge Franses Castel John Armstrong Jacob Meek Andrew English Thomas Miller Nathaniel Hayes Robert Pain Daniel Leming Joseph Hamilton John Williams Robert Kerr his John Sellars Robert X Miller Benj. Wray mark (Illegible) (?) his Moses Moore William X Hust Wm. Moore mark Joseph Ray his Joseph Lachlen, Sen. Thomas X Bailey Joseph Lachlen, Jur. mark Edward Crunt (?) James Crunt
From the back of the petition:
Nicholas Hayes William Wilson Sam'l Hayes Moses Kennedy Jno. Mitchel Hermon King James Ranner Joseph Screat Henry Hokimer Lewis Tadlock Geo. Martin Thomas Tadlock David Moore Joshuaway Tadlock Henry Winterberger William Padfield Jos. Winterberger his Sam'l Winterberger Thomas X Benet Joseph Lusk mark Thos. Wood Moses Kelsay Joseph Geest John Anderson William Gest James Richardson Joshua Kidwell David Taylor Thomas Davie Benja. Gist John Kidwell Joseph Huson Charles Kidwell Mikill Borders Whaley Newby Alx. Pethrow Henry W. Newby Oystan Hewtower Craven Dunear Wm. Daves Alexr. Lowrey John Noris James Stitson Robert Hays Adam Guthery James Hays Wm. Craige Wm. Sippard Benjamin Henslee Allexander Cavitt Abel Morgan Moses Cavitt Thomas Vincent Jacob Jobe Jno. Chester Nathan Jobe Patrick Morrison Joseph Birdwell Stephen Easley Geo. Birdwell Jackel Light Jas. Smith Robert Easley Moses Russel Henry Sullavan Conrad Shelply John Light John Comin Moses Robinson Walker Barren William Light John Bell William Light, Sr. William Carson Thomas Easley Robert Christian William Goad Abraham Titsworth Jesey Holland Benjamin Walb *** (?) James Walb *** (?) Green Chote John Goard, Jr. Shadrach Haile Geoge Vincent Forrester Mercer Henry Heckey Bryce Russell, Sr. Owen Atkin Bryce Russell, Jr. Nicholas Mercer James Pickens Richard Mercer, Sr. Phl. Grafford Pearce Arch'd McHaughan William Gewil Edward Mercer Charles Parker John Black Antony Agee John Hunt, Jr. John Sawyer Baset Hunt JosephMoor Reuben Hunt John Yancey Thomas Tinton Richard Shipley Jonathan Hunt W. Cage James Cooper Timothy Heuff Isaiah Waldrew George Christian Lewis Hunt Deness Murfee James Smart Isaac Thomas James Smith William Nasengill Gabriel Gode John Tulley Joseph Smith Thos. Easterlin John Duncan William Copeland Wm. Berry Ric'd Garnon Isaac White John Spurgin Samuel Cox Thos. King James Wheeler Roger Gibson John Cottrell James Adam Hugh Gentry Geo. Gabriel (black) Vallentine Rose John Yokley Eli Shipley John Woolsey Thomis Shipley James Arbutton (?) William Childress Martin Roller, Jr. Joshway Hameton Joseph Blair Christurpher Croff David Arwin Benjamen Aze William *** (?) Reuben Hunt Thos. Taylor Ellecander More Adam Stoaks Martin Roller Joseph Waldrap John A. Caft Mattw. Carithers D. Wright Gilbert Christian Adam Stake John Prior Wm. Shewmaker Moses Looney Gabriel Goad Macajah Adams Peter Easley James McLern Jacob Cox Alexander Carith William Bucknell Benj. Burdwell Haley Bucknell John Dean Preley Bucknell Charles Bacon William Holland John French William Morroson John Bilensy John Morroson William Combs James Morroson William Combs, Jr. Samuel Bofman Henery Combs David Merryon William Stacey Richard Morell Addam Coumb Dudly Betherford Daniel Agee John Braford John Comay Peter Fin James Peterson John Hunt Jeremiah Taylor William Baily Joseph Taylor George Smith Stephen Taylor Jacob Joab Isaac Taylor William Cooper John Chisolm Wm. Jaction Edward Tule Ephraim Joab Nathaniel Tule William Mehallm
Petition of the inhabitants of the Western Country, December 1787
In Senate, December 1787. Read and referred to Court on Public Bills ____________ From the joint balloting for a commissioner to present the resolves of the Assembly of this State to the Assembly of the State of North Carolina, Mr. Thomas Stuart, was duly elected for that purpose. James White, S.S. Test: R. Mitchel, C.S. Test: Stockley Donelson, S.C. T.A. Ramsey, C.C.
Ed. Note: Because so many of the above names are abbreviated, spelled "old style" or mistranscribed, the following incomplete list of "search words" has been added to this page:
Corson, Allison, Stivers, Styvers, Bartholmew, Shadrach, Denny, Potter, Kirkpatrick, Benjamin, Eads, Starling, Strong, Moseley, Stubblefield, Rudolph, Ferguson, Hagan, Dickson, Dixon, McDaniel, Humphrey, Carmack, Johnson, Ridge, Norman, Clark, Biggs, Atwood, Shane, Owen, Pinkney, Huston, Payne, Bennett, Austin, Hightower, Petherow, Norris, Hensley, Vachel, Hale, Massingale, Massengill, Murphy, Spurgeon, Arbuthnot, Stokes, Waldrop, McLaren, Billingsley, Marion, Bozeman, Finn, Burwell, Murrell
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