Index PAGE

The Rockwood Times, Rockwood, TN, Thursday, 26 May 1904, Vol. XXIV, No. 11.

About Roane County People. by W.E. McELWEE.--- As heretofore stated T.N. CLARK established a ferry across Clinch river at the mouth of the branch that empties into the river a short distance above the "CLARK" spring. This ferry was a principal factor in arousing the Indians and precipitating many conflicts between them and the whites. In the year 1787 the State of North Carolina provided for a lottery to be held at Hillsboro, the proceeds of which were to be used in cutting a "way" from the south end of Clinch mountain to the Cumberland settlements. The Indians denied the right of the State to lay our roads through their territory. After the road was cut through the "wilderness," soldiers escorted emigrants, the first body of whom crossed Sept. 25, 1788. The Indians demanded toll. It being refused the Indians attacked numerous parties with varying success. Because of these numerous encounters Gov. BLOUNT called a council of Chiefs and endeavored to procure a right to the road by treaty. The council was held where the City of Knoxville now stands. Some of the chiefs signed the agreement. Those who refused sent a delegation to lay the matter before Gen. WASHINGTON. Chief "Nenetooyah" or "Bloody Fellow" was the speaker and made an exhaustive talk on the illegality of one people making roads through the country of another people without their consent. Gen. WASHINGTON agreed to the correctness of their position and promised to recommend that Congress pay them the sum of fifteen hundred dollars. This amount was not paid them.


A territorial legislature was convened at Knoxville in September 1794, and among other acts, passed an act on the 7th of the month for "cutting and clearing a wagon road from Southwest Point (now Kingston) to the settlements on Cumberland. The same act licensed Norris (T.N.) CLARK to open a public ferry at the point designated. It also appointed Col. Jas. WHITE, Col. James WINCHESTER, Col. Stockly DONALDSON; Col. Wm. COCKE, Col. Robert HAYS and Capt. David CAMPBELL, commissioners to lay out the road. The work was completed but the Indians standing at the west bank of the river forbad CLARK'S boat to land without payment of toll. This being refused, the Chiefs who had refused to sign the treaty with Governor BLOUNT called a council to meet at Willis Town. At the council John WATTS and his uncle, Talotiskee, (who lived where the town of Rockwood now stands the "White Owl," the "Glass" and the "Standing Turkey", made speeches for war. While speaking, the "Glass" took some scalps of white men and tore them with his teeth in a most savage manner. Nenetooyah made two speeches for peace but war was declared. The numerous conflicts on this road makes its history intensely interesting. Although the expedition sent to destroy CLARK'S ferry and the garrison at that point failed of their object, it necessitated the General Assembly of the State to recognize the correctness of the Indians' position and on the 26th of October 1799 there was passed "An Act" respecting the road as stipulated in the treaty of the Holston, admitting that the terms of that treaty had not been complied with but arranging therefor.

The State having arranged to comply with the treaty hostilities ceased. Capt. Wm. WALTON and Wm. MARTIN, of Smith county, and Robert KOYLE, of Hawkins county, were appointed commissioners and at once proceeded to lay out the road. It "began at the old fort at the spring where Norris CLARK established a ferry and passed throughout the valley of Post Oak springs and ascended the mountain at a low gap at about fourteen miles, etc.