Private remarks on the testimony given between the state of Georgia [and] the Cherokee Nation, 1829 Dec. 30

Collection:
Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842
Title:
Private remarks on the testimony given between the state of Georgia [and] the Cherokee Nation, 1829 Dec. 30
Creator:
Coffee, John, 1782-1836
Publisher:
Manuscript held by the The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN, State Library Cherokee Collection, box 3, folder 6, document ch073.
Date of Original:
1829-12-30
Subject:
Boundaries
Cherokee Indians--Land tenure
Location:
United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
Medium:
notes
Type:
Text
Format:
text/html
image/jpeg
Description:
Remarks compiled by John Coffee and dated December 30, 1829 upon the character and credibility of individuals who gave testimony in a land dispute between the Cherokee Nation and Georgia (claiming under the title of the Creek Nation.) Coffee relates his difficulty in receiving information from Colonels Wales and Montgomery about the collection of testimony related to the case and presents the names of those who made statements about the boundary line along with his own comments about their character. The original enclosures are no longer attached.
Digital image and encoded transcription of an original manuscript, scanned, transcribed and encoded by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries in 2000, as part of GALILEO, funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Local Identifier:
ch073
Metadata URL:
https://dlg.usg.edu/record/dlg_zlna_ch073
Digital Object URL:
https://dlg.usg.edu/record/dlg_zlna_ch073#item
IIIF manifest:
https://dlg.usg.edu/record/dlg_zlna_ch073/presentation/manifest.json
Language:
eng
Bibliographic Citation (Cite As):
Cite as: [title of item], State Library Cherokee Collection, The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia
Extent:
17 pages/leaves
Holding Institution:
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Rights:
Rights Statement information

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Private Remarks on the testimony given, between the state of Georgia & the Cherokee Nation --





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30th Dec. 1829
Remarks on the testimony taken of the disputed country between the State of Georgia claiming under the title of the Creek Nation, and the Cherokee Nation claiming under their own title,

The names of persons who gave evidence, and furnished by the Govr. of Georgia
James Gilbert
Robert Venable
Isham Williams
Elisha Winn
Jas. M.C. Montgomery
George M. Grisham
Jacob. R. Brooks

I have no information on the subject of the credibility of those Witnesses -- The Govr. is silent on the subject
William B Wofford, was a member of the Legislature of Georgia, & I understand he is the person who informed the Legislature that he could establish the [added text: claim ] if they would institute an enquiry for testimony, the Govr. refers Col. Wales to him, he is from a frontier


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country of the state, and is said to be clamourous [clamorous] against the Cherokees, his letter shows his feelings
Hezekiah Luckie -- no information of Character
Col. Samuel A. Wales. The commr. [commissioner] appointed by the Govr. of Georgia to collect evidence of the claim of the state to the land in dispute &c [et cetera]
When I arrived first at the Agency on the
25th Novr. [November] I called on Col. Montgomery for information on the Subject of my mission -- he informed me that there was a Gentleman there from Georgia Col. Wales who he supposed was sent there by the Govr. of Georgia on that business, but observed he was in an adjoining house, and he would send for him, he accordingly sent, and in a few minutes Col. Wales entered the office & was introduced to me by Col Montgomery. I asked Col. Wales if he was instructed by the Govr. of Georgia to attend to the business on his part & to communicate with me on the subject. he answered me that he had no instructions what ever from the Govr. of Georgia on the subject of the business. I then asked Col. Montgomery in his presence if he could procure some person who was acquainted


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in the country to hire a confidential person to go express to Millegeville with a letter to the Govr. he he [he] immediately directed his Interpreter Miller, who was present to go out and get some suitable person Miller went out and in a few minuits [minutes] returned into the office with a young man by the name of James Walker who the Agent said was a confidential man and one that would answer my purpose. I immediately & in the presence of Col. Montgomery & Col. Wales employed Mr. Walker to start next morning early. The distance was said to be upwards of two hundred miles, he agreed to go and return to me in ten days or sooner if possible, for which I was to pay him twenty five dollars as his full compensation for his services & expences [expenses] &c [et cetera] This was late in the evening -- I returned to my lodgings at Mr. Lewis Rosss. distant from the Agency office about two hundred yards, and addressed a letter to his Excellency Govr. Gilmore informing him of my arrival, and asking from him an answer &c. [et cetera] when I came down from my room, or about this time I recvd. [received] a note


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from Col. Wales in which he an [added text: n ] ounced himself Georgias Representative, asking me for certain information, and requesting me to detain my express -- you may readily imagine my surprise on the rect. [receipt] of such an avowal, and that too so soon after his express declaration to me that he had no instructions whatever on the subject from the Govr. of Georgia, I answered his note, and he replied by way of explanation & apology. all of which correspondence I here with send you that you may see the course pursued by the Agents of Georgia in collecting their evidence -- when I first recvd [received] his explanation for his singular conduct I thought it possible he felt timid among the Indians & which was the reason of his not avowing himself when I first spoke to him, but that opinion was entirely removed when I applied to several of the emigrants for statements, and they positively refused to give them, saying they also were afraid of making enemies by so doing; when I afterwards learned, that these same persons had actually given written statements to Col. Wales under


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the greatest injunctions of secrecy -- I then went to Col. Montgomery and informed him what I had heard, and asked him if he knew any thing about it. he replied he did that I had been truly informd [informed] that the persons alluded to and Col. Wales come to him with the statement, already made out & signed and he Witnessed them as Agent, but said [added text: that ] he did not know their contents -- thus by accident I learnd [learned] what I ought to have been informed of both by Col. Wales & Col. Montgomery, by the former, that I might have been present at the taking down the evidence and see that nothing was unfair, and by the latter as the Agent of the U. States, who had been instructed to give me all the aid in his power to obtain correct information of the true line, presuming he would [added text: be ] disposed to do equal justice to the one party, as to the other -- thus finding I had no hopes of getting information at the agency from either source, and the Chiefs not meeting me as early as they ought to have done, I at once determined to leave there and travel through


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the nation, and get what information I could find amongst the people. I accordingly addressed a letter to Col. Montgomery, informing him of my determination and my intended route &c. [et cetera] a copy of which letter is here with enclosed. Col. Wales in his last letter informed me that himself and Charles Gates Esqui. [Esquire] had been sent by the Govt. of Georgia to procure information &c. [et cetera] that he had testimony in his possession of much importance and that more would be procured on the frontier of Georgia that if my express went on to Milledgeville he should feel it his duty to furnish me with the testimony then in his possession &c. [et cetera] my express did go on, but I did not receive the testimony promised and Col. Wales wrote a letter by him to Govr. Gilmore, and the Govr. answered his letter by my express Mr. Walker, the express shewd. [showed] me the letter and proposed for me to take it. thinking I might possibly see Col. Wales before he would receive the letter, but I declined taking charge of it, notwithstanding the probability that Col. Wales informed the Govr. of what had taken


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place between him, and myself, in their correspondence by my express. yet the Govr. has never intimated to me that he had an Agent out in search of testimony nor that he had any further evidence to offer than that which he sent me. Col. Wales left the Agency before I did, and I heard of his arrival at Milledgeville and report said he had collected much testimony in favour [favor] of Georgias Claim, but I was not so fortunate as to [deleted text: receive ] [added text: see ] it, or hear from him again after he left the Agency, but on seeing a man who was going direct to the residence of Charles Gates. I addressed him a line and invited him to furnish me with any information in his possession a copy of which letter is also annexed hereto --
Hugh W. Ector -- I have no information of --
D.B. Mitchell -- agent for I,A, [Indian Affairs] I understand is the person of Govr. Mitchell late U States agent in the Creek Nation
The foregoing includes all the testimony furnished by the state of Georgia with an account of the conduct of her representative on that business


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The following persons gave evidence to my self in the absence of both parties interested -- to wit --
1 George Sanders, a half breed Cherokee -- this man has a good character for honesty & truth, but the interest of his nation may have biased his mind & recollection, but it is not believed he would state willfully wrong
2 James Daniel a half breed Cherokee, late one of the Judges of the Cherokee Courts, a man of good character in [added text: the ] nation
3 James H. Kidd, a white man, citizen of Georgia found traveling in the nation & having been informed he had been a trader with the Indians I called on him for a statement -- he is poor & seems to have no interest to serve, by serving his statement his Character is not very fair as I was told
4 John Rogers -- a white man married to a Cherokee wife, he is a man of excellent character for truth, honesty & piety, and I have great confidence in his statement
5 Daniel Clower -- an old citizen of Georgia, and a pious good old man, such is his character
6 William Mathews -- a white man with a white family but living in the Nation as a Millwright, is said to be an honest man of good character --


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7 George G. Weatherspoon -- a methodist preacher lives in Georgia -- called a pious good man
8 John Wright -- this is the man that the Govr. of Georgia refered [referred] me to, by the name of Jack Right -- he is a white man married to a Cherokee wife, and I think the oldest resident on the disputed land [deleted text: he is an ] who can give any account of the Country, he is an illiterate man, but has a good name for truth and honesty, several of his children have emigrated for Arkansas. I have much confidence in his statements, and I think they go further in support of the Cherokee Claim than any one Witness I examined --
9 George Still a half breed Cherokee of honest name. I think his statement may be relied on, he seems to have a good memory which is not uncommon with Indians who have no other record than memory -- [added text: [illegible text] ]


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10 The Rising Fawn -- a full blood Cherokee, very old, and very simple, no doubt he spoke what he thought right --
11 Tarcheche -- a full blood Indian
12 Charley Moore a half breed Cherokee
13 John Garvick a half breed Cherokee
All Indians of no particular character
14 Wallen Eata -- a full blood Cherokee, a very inteligent [intelligent] Indian, but he seemed to be governed too much from feelings & interest he overrated the Cherokee claims more than any one I examined.
15 James Buchanon -- a citizen of Georgia. I found him traveling in the nation & seeing he was a very old man. I enquired if he knew any thing of the old line between the two nations, when he made the statement, I dont know his character, but he has the appearance of a decent old man --
16 James Petite a half breed Cherokee an inteligent [intelligent] man of good character, seemed to be candid in his statement, & I think endeavoured [endeavored] to make it fairly & agreeable to his information & recollection but all hear say evidence is liable to differ an err --


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17 Walter Adair -- about one fourth Cherokee -- one of the Judges of the Cherokee Courts has an education an inteligent [intelligent] man of good name in his country
18 Thomas Cawdray -- a white man married to a Cherokee wife. he has not been a steady man, rather dissipated but I did not hear of any other charge against him but that of drinking too freely, I believe his statement was fairly made. agreeable to his information and recollection -- [added text (appears to be different ink and hand): [deleted text: [illegible text] Shoals ] Shallow Ford [illegible text] ]
19 Dick Rowe -- about one fourth Cherokee who made me a verbal statement, has heretofore been a man of good Character, but of late he has been embarrassed in his circumstances and may have been induced to deviate from the truth, but I find his statement and Cawdrays agree -- [added text (appears to be different ink and hand): L. Ford [illegible text] ]
20 The Statement of Nat Casey made to me in the year
1816 of information he recvd. [received] from Dick Rowe in
1809 corresponds with Rowes statement to me at this day, there being 20 years between the dates, and the first statement was made under circumstances different from the present, when there was no inducement to err. [added text (appears to be different ink and hand): Do [Ditto] ]


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21 The statement of 29 Creeks made to me in
1816 in the absence of the Cherokees. I think old Chinuby told the truth as far as he knew, but I have thought the line he made for them to Wills Creek, was intended by the Creek nation as the true line --
This ends all the testimony taken by myself in the absence of both parties in interest --
The following names are persons presented to me by the Chiefs, as old men of inteligence [intelligence] possessing some knowledge of their ancient lines and examined by me in the presence of each other and of the Chiefs, their statements written down by myself --
22 Daniel Ross -- a white man, this is the old Mr. Ross who lived many years at the upper end of the lookout mountain married a Cherokee wife, an inteligent [intelligent] man come early to the country, and traded many years with the Indians, he is well known to travelers --
23 David McNair -- a white man married to a Cherokee wife (the daughter of James Vann) he is the best farmer I saw in the country, and a very decent man, has a good character, he went to the Nation about the year
1800 as a carpenter --


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24 Clem Vann -- a white man married to a Cherokee wife, his character has not been very good he was under the influence of James Vann, and I have no doubt but Vann did propose the line he mentions & possibly the Creeks may not have opposed it, but there is great doubts if it was agreed on in Council, the line he speaks of crosses the line they finally made --
25 Chuliowah -- a full blood Cherokee, an old chief of good standing in his nation, an inteligent [intelligent] Indian, he is the principal Cherokee Chief who attended the Creek treaty in Georgia at Fort Wilkinson in
1802 at the time the Commrs. [Commissioners] wrote to the Secty. [Secretary] of War about the Creek Chiefs refusing to accompany the surveyors further than the Currahee Mountain &c. [et cetera] his statement now does not correspond with the report that himself & his other companions made to his people on their return to the nation at the time, see the statement of Thomas Petite, Dick Rowe, & others who heard that subject spoken of at that day -- Scotts store is 20 miles below the high shoals of Apalachy


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26 Major Ridge a full blood Cherokee, one of the present principal chiefs of the nation is well known at Washington City, his statement goes to show the foresight of the Cherokees at the close of the late Creek war that the Cherokees met & appointed himself & Dick Brown (perhaps two of the most inteligent [intelligent] men of their nation at that day) to say how far they should set up their claim, they done so, and from his statement we see that they claimed a large portion of the country which has always been known to be Creek lands & inhabited by them but by claiming thus far and afterwards (conceding as they say) yielding a part they then got all they were entitled to and perhaps more 27 Flute or Old Turkey -- one of the Cherokee delegation who went to the Creek treaty in Georgia in
1802 he differs from Chuliowah, in the point on Chattahoohy. Turkey says the line was to cross the river at the mouth of sweetwater creek which is two miles below Sandtown, where the other said it was to cross -- I fear these old men have been influenced by popular opinion of the present day in the nation, for all the information I could get the impression was


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made at the time, that the high shoals of Appalachy was to be the point of Begining [Beginning], and to run from there with the old Hightowa path by the stone mountain to Chattahoochy -- 28 Chickasawtue -- a full blood Cherokee, the oldest looking man I saw & examined in the nation he seems to have retained his mind & intellect very well, and on cross examining him I found him to understand his story correctly but seeing that all the old men who were brought forward at the same time by the Chiefs and examined in presence of all tell the same story about their beginning at the lower big falls of Appalachy, 20 miles or more below the high Shoals induced a belief that their minds had become warped by hearing the story told over, often in their presence 29 Thomas Woodard 30 Walking Stick 31 Going Snake & others Those men are all Cherokees of good standing in the nation most of them are Chiefs but I did not learn any


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particular circumstances, or character -- their statements are generally reports and impressions without any particular stress to be placed on them &c [et cetera]
The foregoing remarks contain the best information I could get, of the character of the individuals who gave evidence of the boundary line &c [et cetera]
[Signed] Jno. [John] Coffee

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