In 1540, some 47 years after Columbus discovered the New World, Hernando DeSoto had arrived in the mountain country where he found the Cherokee Tribe already in an advanced state of civilization. He also found the Indians living in log houses. Though accomplished hunters, they subsisted chiefly by their knowledge of agriculture. They raised corn, pumpkins, and beans.
In the earliest periods of settlement, the British and Cherokee enjoyed peaceful relations. A treaty signed in 1730 resulted in a greater influx of white traders and settlers. An early home, Seven Hearths was built in 1740 and is reputedly the oldest clapboard house in the county, which was moved to its present location in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1934.
The area was a fine place in which to live, as the settlers quickly learned. Several decades before the Revolution a sprinkling of families had set down their roots in the mountain coves in the midst of the Cherokee hunting lands. By 1768 traders were already traveling up the old Blackstock Road from Charleston to bargain for furs and hides.
The proximity of the two civilizations resulted in many clashes and much bloodshed. The North Carolina General Assembly in 1767 advised the English Colonial Governor William Tryon to meet Cherokee chiefs in the hope of setting a boundary line between the frontier of the Province of North Carolina and the Cherokee hunting grounds thus preventing disputes. The survey, resulting from the meeting, was undertaken on June 4, 1767. The treaty line extended from Reedy River to Tryon Mountain.
Determination of the boundary, however, failed to ensure safety for the pioneers to the east or for Indians to the west. Many vicious raids continued despite the establishment of forts. The French and Indian War forever ended the peace that existed between the Cherokee and the English settlers, bringing to an end a relatively peaceful period. The French, who were allied with the Creeks, attempted to ally themselves with the Cherokee (who had been loyal to the British) and encouraged the Shawnees to raid settlements of the English.
It was here that the citizens of Tryon in North Carolina in the early days of the American Revolution signed the Tryon Resolves. In the Resolves, the entire county vowed resistance to coercive actions by the government of Great Britain against its North American colonies. The document was signed on August 14, 1775. In the Resolves it was stated that:
The residents refer to “the painful necessity of having recourse to arms in defense of our National freedom and constitutional rights, against all invasions.” ’They vowed to take up arms and risk our lives and our fortunes in maintaining the freedom of our country. They also declared that they will continue to follow the Continental Congress or Provincial Conventions in defiance of British declarations that these were illegal. Finally, the signers warned that force will be met with force until such time as a “reconciliation” can be made between the colonies and Britain.
Jane Gibson, my 4th great-grandmother, was born in Tryon in 1742, She was the daughter of Walter and Margaret (Jordan) Gibson. Jane married Joseph Hardin in 1761, and they had 15 children, 9 sons, and 6 daughters. Joseph Hardin and his father Benjamin were 2 of the signers of the Tryon Resolves. Jane died on March 25, 1817, in Hardin Valley, Knox County, Tennessee at the age of 75.
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