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to set up in their valley a little republic of their own. It was called Wautaga,' from a small stream that empties into the Holston River, and it had a formal written constitution, which was the first instrument of the sort drawn up by Americans west of the mountains. The affairs of the state were administered by a legislature of thirteen men. Five of these were appointed to carry on the executive and judicial business of the republic. Courts were organized with stated sittings, and an instance of their authority and methods lies in the case of a horse thief who was arrested on a Monday, tried on Wednesday and hanged on Friday.
Wautaga negotiated formal treaties with surrounding nations of Indians, and for six years its machinery of government successfully administered all its affairs, while the people themselves built their cabins and blockhouses, felled the forest, raised crops and fought against the Indians whenever war with the natives occurred.
On one occasion hostilities between the red men and Wautaga broke out with such suddenness that the settlers had to run pell-mell to a fort without thought of saving any
of their possessions. When finally behind shelter with whole skins they began to consider what they had left in the cabins, and somebody cried out that they had forgotten the Bibles in the church. Forthwith a sally-party was organized and left the stockade to secure the volumes, while the rest of the population awaited in suspense the result of the attempt. Shots were heard at intervals, and at last the men were seen to be on their way back with every appearance of triumph. A jubilation attended their return and the demonstration of joy was soon discovered to be justified. For the party had not only rescued the Bibles, but had stopped on the way back and scalped eleven Indians. This was in 1776. Two years afterward North Carolina took charge of things and the sovereignty of the little backwoods republic disappeared for all time.
1 Also spelled Watauga and Wataga.
3 The principal Indians of the South were the five Appalachian confederacies called the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks and Seminoles. They lived principally in permanent settlements, and were not nomadic in the sense that many other tribes were. Their number is believed to have reached about 70,000. The tribe with which the early white invaders of the South has the most trouble was the Cherokees, who lived in the mountains of Tennessee, the Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia. In all its essential features and underlying causes the border warfare in the South between the two races resembled the troubles in the North that have been described.
Shortly before the incident of Wautaga there had entered into this history one of its two commanding human figures. His name was Daniel Boone, and in his personality and exploits were centered the beginning of the events with which we have now to deal.
POPULAR IGNORANCE OF THE COUNTRY BEYOND THE ALLE
GHANIES DANIEL BOONE COMES ON THE SCENE
THERE were three principal reasons that impelled
backs on established homes within the space of a few years and "wander through the wilderness of America in quest of the country of Kentucke.'
One cause was the comparative congestion of the population immediately to the eastward of the unseen land; a second was strong popular protest against illegal taxes and the display of luxury based on oppression;- the third was an interest suddenly born of tales that described the character of the West. A few other minor elements contributed toward the impulse, but these three factors in the life of the cabin dwellers, all coming simultaneously into operation, started the travel through the forests.
It is hard to realize that an almost complete ignorance of the region west of the Alleghany Mountains continued among the English speaking population until such a little
1 Boone's quaint description of the movement.
2 For an extended understandirg of the domestic troubles of the North Carolina people see "Historical Sketches of North Carolina,” by John H. Wheeler.
i falan Hill Bloch House sebou Fort Anne Meek the property of ten
Mitive Sen BunratedAruna udi ancama, mums nertei usly che, rimmi 32.—External appearance of an early blockhouse such as was built on the border as a place of refuge for the cabin dwellers during Indian troubles. It was usually erected on an elevation
and the trees were cleared from the immediate vicinity.
while ago as 1767.1 For nearly a hundred and fifty years the colonists had bustled up and down the coast of the continent; the wilderness had given way to cities, towns and farms; Indian trails had grown into busy roads that served as arteries for a rapidly growing travel and commerce. On the west of the narrow little strip so occupied stood a few parallel ranges of low mountains and beyond them - mystery. Speaking of that strange condition a few years after it had ceased to exist, the state of affairs which prevailed in 1767 was described by Chief Justice John Marshall in the following words:
"The country beyond the Cumberland Mountain, still appeared to the dusky view of the generality of the people of Virginia, almost as obscure and doubtful, as America itself to the people of Europe, before the voyage of Columbus. A country there was — of this none could doubt, who thought at all; but whether land or water, mountain or plain, fertility or barrenness, preponderated — whether inhabited by men or beasts, or both, or neither, they knew not. If inhabited by men, they were sufposed to be Indians - for such had always infested the frontiers. And this had been a powerful reason for not exploring the region west of the great Mountain, which concealed Kentucky from their sight."
If the cabin people of the South seem to have been unwittingly trained for the task they were now to accomplish, so was Daniel Boone in like manner fitted by inheritance and personal experience for his own individual work of leading the march of a population through a wilderness.”
1 In 1750 Doctor Thomas Walker, of Virginia, made a trip to the headwaters of the Kentucky River and discovered Cumberland Gap. Christopher Gist visited the Scioto River as early as 1751. In 1765 George Croghan descended the Ohio, and in 1766 James Smith explored parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. But the general public knew little of these expeditions.
* His grandfather before him-parent of nine sons and ten daughters-had left England because that country seemed to be getting too crowded for him. He wanted more room, so he came to America in 1717 with nine sons and two daughters, and bought a tract of land in Pennsylvania near a frontier post in Bucks County. There Daniel's father was married and lived, also with a wife and eleven children, until about the year 1752 or 1753, when he in turn felt the need of wider spaces and became one of those who joined the previously mentioned migrations toward the South. Daniel the date of whose birth is uncertain, but which was possibly in 1732 or 1735 -- was some eighteen or twenty years old when this pilgrimage took place. His youth had been spent in the necessary manner of the time, and he had already shown somewhat of those qualities of leadership in the affairs of frontier life that were later to be so much more strikingly displayed. The march of the Boone family was through the forests of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina to the locality of its future home in the western part of the Old North State near the South Yadkin, a branch of the larger river bearing the same name. There Daniel was married and became the father of nine children.