Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Westernmost county

Cherokee county is the westernmost county in NC. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee still live there and when we refer to the whole of NC from "Manteo to Murphy" we are discussing the county seats of the two counties the furthest apart.

The area of Murphy is the place where the Revolutionary Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford organized a campaign against the Cherokee who had sided with the British. Of Irish descent, he landed in America an orphan and was sent to live with a distant relative. Nevertheless, he was cared for and grew into an accomplished man. During the period of the Revolution be earned the title Brigadier General. He may be most known for the fact he marched over 2000 men into the "unknown" frontier and destroyed significant Native American villages which caused the first forced cessation of land that included major Cherokee towns instead of uninhabited hunting lands. He continued to be the major leader in battles leading up to battle at Camden where he served under General Horatio Gates . Gates ran a miserable campaign into Camden and suffered the biggest lost of continental soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Rutherford was severely injured and captured at Camden. He remained a British prisoner for about a year until he was exchanged on June 14,1781.

Things did not get better for the Cherokee people. By the 1830s, President Jackson, believing separation between the races to be the best policy forcibly removed the Cherokee and four other "civilized tribes" to Oklahoma. The infamous Trail of Tears starts in Murphy. Remnants of the people hid in high hills around Cherokee county to avoid the round-up. Others had already left the area of the Cherokee nation and settled on a land grant. This group of Cherokee became the Eastern Band and were protected by the adopted white son, William Holland Thomas , of a Cherokee chief who could legally purchase land.

Not all Americans supported the Indian Removal Act. Most famously, Davy Crockett of Tennessee renounced the act . He opposed President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act, and his opposition to Jackson caused his defeat when he ran for re-election (to Congress) in 1831; however, he won when he ran again in 1833. As he explained, "I bark at no man's bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House no matter who he is."[9] In 1834, his autobiography titled A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett. Written by Himself was published.[15] Crockett went east to promote the book and was narrowly defeated for re-election.

In 1835, he suffered yet another defeat. He said, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not ... you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas." Following his defeat, he did just that.

You have to watch out for extremists. They almost always cause more trouble than they are worth whether they are the majority or the energetic minority. Often, its hard to tell the difference between extremists and patriots. And then again, sometimes the majority is just not right. What to do, what to do....

Who said that: Moderation in all things, including moderation? Ah hah... Mark Twain.

But just because Davy Crockett retreated to Texas to get away from Washington, I'd prefer they not succeed from the US just yet and work it out.

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