Cherokees Seek Peace After Rutherford Expedition

Used by Indians and pioneers in crossing Blue Ridge. General Rutherford's expedition against Cherokee passed here. September, 1776.On July 20, 1777, the Overhill Cherokee Indians signed a treaty of peace and ceded their lands east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The meeting between Indian representatives and commissioners from North Carolina and Virginia took place at Long Island in the Holston River in Tennessee, and has since come to be known as the Treaty of Long Island of the Holston.

White settlers had long been encroaching on Cherokee tribal lands, and after the Indian demand in 1776 for the withdrawal of settlers was met with no action, the Cherokees began to attack frontier settlements. Citizens of the backcountry were alarmed. Griffith Rutherford, brigadier general of the Salisbury District militia, called for volunteers to conduct an expedition against the Cherokee. The Indians, having gotten word of the expedition, abandoned many of their settlements. Rutherford’s men burned whatever was left behind.

Rutherford concluded his campaign in October, having effectively neutralized the threat of the Cherokee in North Carolina. As refugees, surviving over the winter on wild game, nuts and fruits, the remaining Cherokee agreed to discuss peace terms the following year.

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