The “Walton War” Between Georgia and North Carolina Begins

Walton War Historical MarkerOn December 15, 1804, Buncombe County constable John Havner was killed, beginning what became known as the “Walton War.” Today it seems unlikely that a tract of land in Transylvania County would have been claimed as part of the State of Georgia, but that was the case in 1803 when Georgia laid claim to the territory and named it Walton County. North Carolina governor James Turner actively defended the state’s claim, leading to confusion for the 800 or so residents of the region.

The dispute was submitted to Congress, where a committee initially accepted Georgia’s claim. Meanwhile lawlessness prevailed in the area. It was difficult for Buncombe County to assert authority over Georgians. Events came to a head late in 1804 when Waltonians killed the constable.  The Buncombe County militia marched into Walton County, taking ten Walton officials prisoner.

On June 15, 1807, officials of the two states met at the Buncombe County Courthouse and set out to fix the boundary. They discovered that North Carolina’s claim was accurate. The Georgia commissioners were “astonished and mortified.” They relinquished claim to the territory the same year and amnesty was granted to those responsible for the violence, but confusion reigned for some time.

A highway marker in Transylvania County commemorates the conflict.

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