Hometown Tuesday ~ Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina

hometown tuesdayIn 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 enjoyedhearths-orange-county 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.

nc_1740The 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 earlytryon resolves 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 Hardin HSJane 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.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ Colonel Joseph Hardin Sr ~ Revolutionary War

Plaque for joseph hardinColonel Joseph Hardin Sr, my 4x Great Grandfather was born April 18, 1734, in Richmond Co, Virginia Colony the son of Benjamin Hardin Jr and Elizabeth Hooper. Not much is known about his early years but we do know that he grew up on a sprawling farm that grew tobacco. He married Jane Gibson on July 8, 1762, and they soon moved to the newly formed Tryon Co., NC Colony where he was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1772. Between 1762 and 1789 Joseph and Jane had 13 children, 9 boys, and 4 girls. 3 of their sons John, Benjamin, and Robert were killed by Indians during the Indian War.

tryon resolves

Joseph served several times as Justice of the peace, first in Tryon Co. from 1772 to 1778, then in Washington Co. in 1783 and finally in Greene Co. in 1796. When the Revolutionary War began he was appointed as Major to the 2nd North Carolina Minute Men in 1775. That same year, he appears in the rolls as a Captain in the North Carolina Colonial Light Horse Rangers, taking part in the Cherokee Expedition into the Washington District (Tennessee) the next year. Joseph was a signatory to the Tryon Resolves on August 14, 1775. The Resolves was a response to the Battles of Lexington and Concord showing solidarity against the British. It declares independence from British tyranny. Beginning in 1777, Hardin carried a Captain’s commission in Locke’s Battalion seeing much action against Britain and its allies. He fought in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill on June 20, 1780, and later that year at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7th rising to the rank of Colonel.

Joseph Hardin map

In 1786 after the war, he was awarded land grants that totaled 8400 acres of land in North Carolina and what is now Tennessee for his service. Here Joseph once again entered politics, serving as an Assemblyman for the First Territorial Assembly of the Southwest Territory held at Knoxville, Knox Co., TN in the summer of 1794. Later that same year he made Knoxville his home and became a trustee of the newly chartered Greeneville College (later Tusculum).

Although he never set foot in the region, on March 11, 1786, the land along the far western reaches of the Tennessee River was surveyed by Isaac Taylor and warrants were drawn on behalf of Joseph for 3,000 acres in what was to become Hardin Co. Unfortunately, due to legal trouble with squatters and the wildness of this part of Tennessee, it would be another thirty years before the family could settle there.

Joseph died July 4, 1801, at his home-site near Knoxville. He is buried, along with his wife, at the Hickory Creek Cemetery, Hardin Valley, Knox Co., Tennessee.

Joseph Hardin HS

This is the large monument dedicated to Hardin at his burial site. The inscription reads:


Born April 18, 1734, in Virginia of English Ancestry.
Died July 4, 1801, in Hardin Valley, Tennessee.
A strict Presbyterian, stern and fearless in the discharge of duty.
Loved and trusted by his friends, feared by his enemies.


Major 2nd N.C. Minute Men, Salisbury District, 1775.
Captain Tryon Co., N.C. Light Horse, Cherokee Expedition, 1776.
In the battle of Ramsour’s Mill and at Kings Mountain, 1780.
Colonel for Western Counties (Tenn.), 1788.
Lost three sons in Tennessee Indian Wars.

Member Committee of Safety, Tryon Co., N.C., 1775.
Member Provincial Congress at Hillsborough 1775 and at Halifax 1776.
Member General Assembly of N.C., 1778-79 and (from Tenn.) 1782-88.
Organizer State of Franklin, Jonesboro, 1784-1785.
Member General Assembly, Territory South of the Ohio, Knoxville, 1794.

For his military services during the Revolutionary War and Indian Wars, he received in 1785 from North Carolina,
3000 acres of land in the middle district, now Hardin County, Tenn. named for him.

As a side note, Joseph Hardin is the great-grandfather of legendary Texas outlaw and gunslinger, John Wesley Hardin.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.