Dobbs Tabs Waddell as Indian Negotiator, 1755

A sketch of period Catwaba village. Image from the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office.On November 6, 1755, Captain Hugh Waddell was named North Carolina’s commissioner in treaty negotiations with the Catawba and Cherokees.

At the beginning of the French and Indian War, it was imperative that England’s colonies solidify their alliances with neighboring native tribes. North Carolina was particularly concerned with relations between the Cherokees and the Catawba. The two tribes had been enemies for generations, yet both were allies of England and both had grievances with colonial settlers.

Waddell. Image from Archive.org.Informed that Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia was sending commissioners to negotiate alliances, North Carolina Governor Arthur Dobbs decided to add a delegation from North Carolina. He appointed the senior military officer in the western part of the colony, Waddell.

Waddell was to, “Joyn with the Virginia Commissioners And Treat with the Cherokees and Catawbas” which he did for “above a month” in February and March 1756. Dobbs was certain that the efforts would ensure the continued support of the English cause by the Cherokee and Catawba.

The Cherokees ultimately remained loyal to the British and the Catawbas did not, though by the outbreak of the American Revolution most of Catawbas were in South Carolina. American troops clashed with Cherokee during the Rutherford expedition, with the Patriot troops destroying most of their towns and crops.

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