John Vann B: ca 1700 Nansemond, Virginia D: ca 1770 Bertie County, North Carolina
JOHN VANN appears to have been a controversial figure in colonial South Carolina. He was accused of various nefarious activities when trading with the Indians, of harboring criminals and runaway slaves, and of being generally untrustworthy. Some of the comments to this effect may have been politically motivated, however, and one must draw one's conclusion from the records as they stand. John VANN disappearance from Chowan County after April 1745. His first appearance in South Carolina was in 1746. He first appears in official records in June of 1746, when he presented a bill to the government of South Carolina for expenses incurred in dealing with the Cherokees. The Commons House of Assembly disputed the bill as "extraordinary," but finally agreed that it should be paid only by special order of the governor. (THE COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, The Journal of the Commons House Of Assembly September 10, 1745 - June 17, 1746 and September 10, 1746 - June 13, 1747.) John VANN was evidently in partnership with Thomas MAXWELL, Charles McNAIRE, and Arthur HAWEY in the Choctaw trade at the time of THE CHOCTAW CIVIL WAR 1746-1750. (LANSDOWN MSS 809 1753 HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE REVOLT OF THE CHOCTAW INDIAN BRITISH MUSEUM.) The memoir on the Choctaw revolt tells the story of the mass intrigue surrounding the activities of Red Shoes, a Choctaw war chief who led a large faction of his people into alliance with the British because of the French shortcomings in the fur and skin trades. A storm of native politics followed the diplomatic revolution of Red Shoes, with the result that the French governor of Louisiana, Pierra de Rigaud, Marquis DeVaudreuil, demanded no less than the head of Red Shoes as a propitiation from the Choctaw. Further complications came with the assassination of Red Shoes, brought about by the French governor, and a general civil war broke out among the unfortunate Choctaw, ending in the eventual defeat of the English faction. The Choctaw revolt was exploited by three South Carolinians, James ADAIR a fur trader, James McNAIRE, "a Stranger lately come to Carolina ...having met with Misfortune at Sea but... willing to try his Luck on Shore..." in the Indian trade, and James GLEN, Governor of South Carolina. All three receive a sound tongue-lashing for promoting the civil war and then leaving their Indians allies with nothing to fight with, except glass beads to be used as bullets! This memoir concerning the Choctaw further distinguished as containing clear reference to what historians have suspected, that some of the French forts received supplies and Indians goods from British traders. (Wilbur R. Jacob, INDIANS OF THE SOUTHERN COLONIAL FRONTIER.) James ADAIR and his two partners, John CAMPBELL (this could be the John CAMPBELL who could not be find in Chowan County N.C. in 1748) and William NEWBURY, asked the General Assembly of South Carolina for a monopoly of the Choctaw trade. ADAIR might have expected some countenance from Governor GLEN, for in his report to the Board of Trade the following February the governor gave the credit for the revolt to no one besides himself except CAMPBELL and ADAIR, and suggested that the Board recommend a reward of a hundred guineas each for the two traders. But while ADAIR vainly waited in Charleston for official favors the firm of Charles McNAIRE and Company sent up two hundred horse loads of goods to the Choctaws. This was the first appearance of McNAIRE in the South Carolina Indian trade records, but his partner was the former Cherokee trader, James MAXWELL, and in all probability MAXWELL's equipment was used. It appears that a loan from Governor GLEN financed or partly financed the expedition, for in November 1746 Matthew and Francis ROCHE and James MAXWELL made a bond to GLEN for one thousand pounds sterling to be paid a year later with ten percent interest. The obligation was assumed in 1750 by Jorden ROCHE, merchant and former Chickesaw trader, who had the provost marshal sell MAXWELL's property at auction the next year, part of MAXWELL's share of the horses belonging to McNAIR and Company. In 1752 Governor GLEN sued the widow of Jorden ROCHE for the principal and interest and was accordingly paid over seventeen hundred pounds. On his arrival in the nation McNAIR found himself in sorry plight. The French and their allies among the Choctaws made the English partisans, Red Shoes was slain, and the hard put English party instead of buying goods demanded presents of ammunition. McNAIR added to his troubles, the hostility of the traders, by pretending, with no apparent denial by GLEN, that the governor had given him a monopoly of the trade. GLEN seems to have kept most of these matters to himself, but the Assembly not being in session, he now consulted the Council. On the advice of that body , fifteen hundred pounds of powder and twice that weight of bullets, half of it for the Choctaws, the rest for the Creek and Chickesaw, was delivered to ROCHE and MAXWELL. For delivery they intrusted it to JOHN VANN, one of McNAIRE's company, then or later of the Ninety -Six community. Instead of three months or less, the usual trip to the Choctaws from Fort Moore, VANN took eight, excusing himself on the grounds of floods and lack of forage. (Robert L. Meriwether, THE EXPANSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, P196.) The Examination of JOHN VANN Taken before His Excellency the Governor and the Honorable Member of his Majesty's Council, December 1751. To the truth of which he offer'd to make Oath. John VANN Partner in the Choctaw trade with Thomas Maxwell, Charles McNAIRE, Arthur HARVEY and others being examined says, That the chief reason of his refusing to come to Town when sent for by the Governor to answer such questions as might be put to him concerning the Presents sent some time ago by this Government to the Choctaws was not from any fear that he was under of not being able to give a satisfactory account of his delivery of these Presents or of the delay in carrying them up, for that he was conscious that he faithfully did his Duty, but as he has the misfortune to be in debt to several Persons whose demands he is at present not able to satisfy, he was apprehensive that his Creditors might lay hold of that opportunity to imprison his Person and thereby deprive him of a Possibility of either providing for his family, or of paying them their Just demands, but His Excellency having afterward sent him a Letter of protection under the great Seal, he at length returned to Town, tho in his present Circumstances not well able to undergo the Expense of such a Journey or making any stay in Town, That he entered into that Trade and invested all his Substance in it, soon after his Excellency had concluded a Peace with them in May 1747, that he with other Partners carried up 200 horses laded with Goods, that after having stay'd sometime in that Nation, he returned from thence with letters for the Government That there came afterwards other letters expressing the great want that they were in need of Arms and Ammunition to defend themselves against the French, and their friends in that Nation who at that time were plentifully supply'd that upon these letters and other accounts this Government thought it advisable to make Presents to the Choctaws, and also to the Creeks and Chickasaws to induce them to Joyn the Choctaws against the French. That these Presents were delivered to Mathew Roach some time in November or December, but this Esq. heard nothing of them tell they were at Mr. Maxwells in December at which time he was sent for to take Charge of them and carry them up, Mr Roach having, as he heard, undertaken that they should be carried up for nothing, but all the horse belonging to him and his Partners being in the Indian Nation they were obliged to purchase 54 new horses, some time was also spent in purchasing saddles. Wantonness and other necessities for a Journey of 1000 or 1100 Miles, however they set off with the said Ammunition and Arms sometime in February, but by the time they got the length of Stephens Creek the horses grew lean and tir'd and could not proceed, he was therefore under the necessity of lying by with them until the spring, when by fresh food they might recover flesh, and strength, he then set forward with them, but was again retarded by the overflowing of many Rivers occasion by great Rains, they however arrived safe at the Wewoccaws, in the upper Creeks, and from thence sent Runners into the Choctaws for a guard to Escort them past the French Fort. Mr. McNAIRE then in the Nation sent him word to come forward, and that they might expect a guard in a Fortnight, however after they had proceeded some part of the way, and had waited past the time appointed, and being reduced to the greatest want and necessity, they lived several days on Cane tops, they were at length forced to return to the Wewoccaws and having rested themselves and their horses, some days they set off for the Choctaws by way of the Chickasaws Nation. That part of the Presents designed to encourage the Creeks to Joyn the Choctaws having been first delivered to the Wolf at the Wewoccaws in presence of the English Traders there. When they arrived at the Chickasaws they persuade John Campbell a good Interpreter to proceed to the Choctaws with them, and as numbers of Choctaws daily come to meet them upon the Road, the little King who was present ordered them Arms and Ammunition both to lighten the horses that they might proceed the faster and to give these People who were our friends an immediate opportunity to defend themselves against the French. It was the Month of August before they arrive with these Presents, and they were all delivered to the little King in the presence of Mr. Campbell, and by him distributed to his People. (COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY APRIL 1750-AUGUST 1751.) James ADAIR, the Chickasaw trader and later author of the HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, recently ruined in the attempt to win the Choctaws to the English alliance, graced the house of FRANCIS with his presence during 1750 and 1751. He went to the Cherokees in company with Henry FOSTER, the two carrying two kegs of rum and perhaps other Indian trades commodities. The principal Indian traders were almost uniformly men of such large business interest and important connections that they heartily disliked the trouble-making frontiersman, but the Scotch adventurer, who had not yet had his fill of danger nor suffered decline of own boisterous nature, found these "brave Wanton fellows" kindred spirits. "A brave cheerful companion" he declared Henry FOSTER to have been, when many years later he recalled their trip to the Cherokees, the song and droughts of punch with which they beguiled the dangerous journey. FRANCIS himself was not an uncongenial associate, to judge by hints in ADAIR's carefully written letters to the governor during 1751 alarm, in which he applied for permission to lead these frontiersman and the new windsor Chickasaws against the Indian enemies of Carolina. When in his book he lauded the virtues and hardihood of the American woodsman, he could have ranked no other in his mind above the traders and "Francis's people" with whom he had been most closely associated. About January 1751 the hunting camp on the Savannah of some Cherokee from the Lower Town of Tugaloo was rifled by white men of three hundred and thirty-one deerskins. The Indians applied to FRANCIS, who gave them written permission to search houses of men they suspected. Charles BANKS soon found them "looking and Peeping about his House, "Something more than Common," but Herman GEIGER, now in his short term of trading with the Cherokees, reported that he was sure one of the Fosters was guilty. Some color was given to this charge by FRANCIS' slowness in investigating the affair and the opinion of the Cherokees which he expressed in private. Unfortunately the affair was speedily followed by a crisis in Indian relations, and for a time the injured Tugaloo huntsman were forgotten. Later, after the scare had subsided, FRANCIS wrote to Governor GLEN describing the slow and inadequate process of frontier justice for Indians. Benjamin BURGESS, escaping from arrest for theft of the skins, took refuge with John VANN, a former Choctaw trader who now trades irregularly with the Cherokees. VANN maintained an establishment near Ninety-Six Creek of more unsavory characters than that of Francis, including three negroes, a mulatto and a half-breed Indian "all bearing an Equal Character with BURGESS & which I believe there is not three Families on Saludy wou,d Suffer any of them to Remain Four & Twenty Hours on their Plantation." Eventually VANN sent one of the negroes, possibly to seize Burgess in his hunting camp, but really to kill him thus prevent his telling tales. But BURGESS, attacked in his sleep, escaped with a jaw "very much" broken, and several knife wounds, leaving two score deer and beaver skins, a rifle, one of the first mentioned in the records of the back country and two horses. The provincial government finally assumed responsibility for the injured Cherokees by paying for the skins (Robert L. Meriwether, THE EXPANSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, P196.) James BEAMER On his Examination before His Excellency the Governor and the Honorable Member of his Majesty's Council, July 12,1751 Declared that in the Fall of the Year 1750, he fitted out seven Indians from his Town of Tougolo' for their winter Hunt, and they were to send in one of them for Horses to bring in their Skins for January, And their not coming nor sending, we expected that they was either taken or killed by the Enemy. Some Time after one Chickesaw TEHEE came in and gave an Account that their Skins was all stole by some white Men, and I asked them what Quantity they had lost, and he told me the Quantity that each Man lost which in the Whole amounted to 331 Skins. The person that stole them had disguised their Theft by several proceeding to make the Indians believe it was their Enemies had stole them by the [Tongues?] being scatted about, the small Skins cut and their Dried Meat thrown on the Fire, But on further Search they found out by their Names and Tract to be white People, on which following the Tract two Days, then they, the above said Chickesaw TEHEE, was sent in to this Examinant to acquaint him that their Skins was stole, and to desire he would meet them at 96 to see whether or no he could fine out the Skins for them. But then he could not go down but sent one of his Men, Edward BROADWAY, where they were with a Letter to Mr. FRANCIS to endeavor to get the Indians' Skins if they could be found. When the said BROADWAY came to them they found a Pipe that they had packed in their Skins, and they desired the said BROADWAY to go with them to Capt. FRANCIS to Get Information where that Pipe came from, for that they imagined where that came their Skins was. And when they came there they found that the pipe had been given to Mr. FRANCIS' Servants by James ADAIR. ADAIR being examined by Capt. FRANCIS declared that it was given him by Benj., BURGES, and he being inquired after could not be had for a proper Examination in the said affair. Mr. FRANCIS, as Edward BROADY informed this Examinant, treat the Indians with great Civility and offered them all the Assistance as a J.P. he could give them, and in Particular, a search Warrant, which they took but never gave it to say Constable, but returned back to Wm. TURNER's as the Indians informed this Examinant, where they resided still expecting this Examinant would come down to them. But when they found he did not come, some or all of them went to John VAN's where they saw 7, 8, or 11 of them Skins that they had lost, but would not take them, as they not get whole, as they told this Examinant, but went Home very much dissatisfied for the Loss of their Skins and continued so till this Examinant left the Nation. And then desired this Examinant to recommend the Affair to His Excellency, that they might be reimburse the Value of the Skins. This Examinant heard some Person say that James BURGESS should declare that he taken the Skins, and would do the same again had an Opportunity. Mr. BEAMER being asked whether he had heard any Other being concerned in the taking these Skins, to which he answered as above that 8 Skins had been found at Mr VAN's and that he had been informed that one AVERY carried them there. Note (Clement Vann, son of John Vann, had a son named AVERY, If the dates are right this could not be him. Clement was born cir 1746, he would be age 5 in 1751) On His Excellency inquiring what Mr. BEAMER had heard in relation to the Indians' Proceeding, Mr. BEAMER declared that the Indians came in from hunting, they immediately fitted out for War against the Creeks. Just after they went all out, there came a Gang from over the Hills, led by the LITTLE CARPENTA and TORSETTY of Seticko, and as they came along through other Towns, gathered their Number to 100 and odd Men. And when they came to Kewee, they said they was going to War likewise a [against] the Southward. And after staying there some Time, they gave over the Thoughts of going and turned all back Home. In little Time after the Gang that went out to War, from Keewee came in again and TEPTOA of Westaroney told this Examinant that the LITTLE CAPPENTA had said the Indians intended to kill the white People, but as all the Head Men was out from Home, that he could not do Anything till they came home. And that if they continued in the same Way he would send a Runner to acquaint them of it, and the said Fellow said further, that if the Messenger came with such a Talk that he would tell them it was a wrong Time for the white People was out of Goods and Ammunition. Therefore they had better refer it to the Summer, when they would come in with Goods and a fresh Cargo. And the he would tell the People that they need not come up any more, but the Messenger never coming it all dropped and your Examinant never heard any more about it. (R. Nicholas Olsberg ,THE JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, 23 APRIL 1750 - 31 AUGUST 1751, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History.) and (William L McDowell, Jr., (COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS, May 21, 1750 - August 7, 1754, Columbia S.C. Archives Dept.) The Deposition of Herman GEIGER Taken before his Excellency the Governor and His Majesty's Council, 11 May 1751 Herman GEIGER informs me that being some time ago at the House of James FRANCIS vizt. about six Weeks ago, when some Cherokee Indians were there, applying to him said FRANCIS as a Justice for some Leather that had been stolen from them, not far from FRANCIS' House, and the said Indians alleged that in the Camp where they left the said Leather they left also six or seven stone Tobacco Pipes, which they afterwards discovered some white People smoking out of, and said that those that stole these Pipes must also have stolen their Leathers; and therefore earnestly prayed Mr. FRANCIS to do them Justice, and make some Enquiry into it. But he absolutely refused it; saying that no Notice should be taken of such Fellows; for that they owed James BEAMER Leather, and probably had laid out their Leathers at Savanna Town, or somewhere else, and only said, for an excuse, that they had been robbed of their Leathers. All this Herman GEIGER heard from the Interpreter, but was not present when the Indians made the Complaint. But he heard FRANCIS himself say that no Notice should be taken for what these rascally lying sons of Bitches say. And being asked where Mr. FRANCIS lives now? Says he has left Saludee soon after the Scout was discharged, and gone further up, where he defends himself against any Writs that may come against him, and has seven or eight very desperate Fellows about him. That while Mr. GEIGER staid there he discovered, pretty clearly, who had stolen the Leathers, but said Nothing, because it was many of the People that were in that House. But John DAVIS, being there at the same time asked Herman GEIGER whether he had discovered who the Thieves were? He said he believed he had, but would say nothing till he heard him speak. And he said suspected the very People about that House, particularly Francis's Son in Law Johnny FOSTER. And Herman GEIGER replied that You and I have the same Thoughts. The Interpreter told GEIGER that the Indians were vastly dissatisfied at being refused Justice, and said since they could not get their Leathers they must take the People that had stolen it. Mr. GEIGER & DAVIS staid but one Night at Mr. FRANCIS's and set off next Morning, with some of the People who were in that House, particularly one of Francis's Son's in Law, [who] rode a part of the way with them to the House of John VANN, he, FOSTER, pretending to be going to Savanna Town. But when he came there he went another way, upon which DAVIS said to GEIGER that it was more likely he wanted to go to see where they had laid their Leathers. And by GEIGER and DAVIS discovered VAN was also concerned and some of those he had seen at FRANCIS's House, who came also to VANN's House. That at the same time they set out from Mr. FRANCIS's, his other Son, Harry FOSTER, set out for the Cherokee Nation, in Company with one James ADAIR who lives at FRANCIS's House. But ADAIR did not stay long in the Nation, for, on Wednesday Night last, GEIGER met again at Beaver Creek. But he believes William THOMPSON, who was just come from the Nation may know. And he (Thompson) being at the Door was called in, and being asked how long ago it was since ADAIR was in the Cherokee? Said he could not positively say; but it was about a Fortnight before Mr. MAXWELL came there. Being asked whether ADAIR went through the whole Nation into the Valley in the Over Hill Town; Answered, he went no further than Hyoree. Mr. GEIGER said that he had been informed, by several, that one William BROADWAY, whom Father and Brother are both in James BEAMER's employ, but he himself is one of FRANCIS's People, went up lately to the Cherokees, and his Brother then came down, that when he arrived in the Cherokee, the Indians asked him, as they generally do, what News below? He replied that the white Men were raising an Army to cut the Indians all to pieces. This Mr. GEIGER says it was said. And that the Captain of his Company (SHYDER) intended to have wrote down a full account of it; but time would not allow him. (R. Nicholas Olsberg THE JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY 23 APRIL 1750 - 31 AUGUST 1751, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History.)and (William L McDowell, Jr., (COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS May 21, 1750 - August 7,1754, Columbia S.C. Archives Dept.)
The chief episode in the 1751 Indian alarm occurred on a branch of the thinly settled Little Saluda. The head of the stream later called Cloud Creek was formed by several springs near the crossing of the natural routes from the Congress to Fort Moore and from Ninety Six to Orangeburge. For that reason, probably, the place appealed to the retired Indian trader Isaac CLOUD, and here he made his home. At midnight of May 7, 1751, Mary CLOUD arrived at the house of Martin FRIDIG, in Saxe Gotha, and there her narrative on oath before Daniel SHYDER, Captain of the militia company. That on the fourth Instant two Indians came to my House about Half way between the Congress and Savannah Town. The Indians were Savannas They came there about dark, and sate down very civilly: and my Husband being able to talk there Tongue they talked a great while together, And I gave them Supper. And they asked my Husband for Pipes and Tobacco, and he gave it them. And we sate up until Midnight, and then we all went to Sleep; and they lay down too and pulled off their Moccasins and Boots. One of them broke his Pipe, and he came to the Bed to my Husband, who handed unto him his Pipe, out of his mouth, and laid down again; and we all dropped into sleep; and when the Cocks began to Crow they came, as I suppose, came to the Bed, and Shot my Husband through the head. And a young man lying upon the Floor was Shot in the same Minute. And the Indians, I suppose, thinking the Bullet had gone throw' my Husband's Head and my own too, struck me with a Tomahawk under my right Arm; and afterwards they struck me two cuts upon the left Knee. I lying still they supposed I was dead, and one of them went and killed both my Children; & then they came and took the Blankets from us & plundered the House of all that was valuable and went off. And in that bad Condition I have lain amongst my Dead two Days. and by the help of Providence one of my Horses came to the House; and so I came to Martin FRIDIG's House. (R. Nicholas Olsberg, THE JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, 23 APRIL 1750 - 31 AUGUST 1751, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History.) and (William L McDowell, Jr., COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS, May 21, 1750 - August 7, 1754, Columbia S.C. Archives Dept.) Deposition of James MAXWELL Taken before Issac Motte Esqr. One of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace or Granville County. 4 May 1751 That on the eighteenth Day of April last I got into Kewohee, and went into Mr. Richards SMITH's and asked what was the News in the Nation; He told me there was very bad talk, and the Indians were very insolent, and talked of killing the Traders, and keeping the Leather, And that the Villains who killed the white Men at the Hoconeys made their Brags of it. A little after I was in Town the good Warrior of TOGOOLOO came to me and asked me if I had heard of their People's killing white Men, and what the Governor, said about it; and if I thought he would resent it on the whole Nation. I answered that I had nor seen the Governor. before I came away, but that it was not the way of the English to punish the Innocent for the Guilty. He told me that they told him it was by Mistake. To which I replied if that was the Case, it will be easy to make it up, but if otherwise, the Offenders would be called to Account; which the good Warrior said was right, and so we parted. The nineteenth I went on my way through several Towns till I came to Hyoree, and found there were bad Talks everywhere. The twenty third I staid at Hyoree. The twenty fourth I went over Hyoree Mountain, and down the Valley to Hyowossee, where I was told the RAVEN, Head Man of the Valley, would not suffer any bad Talks in his Town. And found Samuel BENN and ROBERT GOWDY there, who were come over the Hills, with their Horses and Leather, And that the Over Hills People had sent a strong guard with them. So I was glad to find that the whole Nation was not concerned in the bad Talks of killing the white Men. The twenty fifth I came to Tomahtly to Mr. GRANTS and staid there all Night. The twenty sixth I returned to Hyoree about five of the clock and was told, as soon as I came there, that there was a Runner sent from Kewohee and the lower Towns to kill me and all the white People, in those Parts, in four Nights. Which I only laughed at; as I really thought if they had such a design they would never make it public. The twenty seventh it rained very hard most of the Day, [and] I did not intend to come fro thence till Monday the twenty ninth. But, about five of the clock, I saw one James MAY and two of his Men coming to the House very fast on Foot, who told me that there was very bad News, that an Indian Women was come to their House, and said the Cherokees and the Northwards, on Tuckasgee River, had actually killed one Daniel MOROHY; and that they went to kill one Bernard HUGES and his Men, & to take away his Goods, but that an Indian Woman coming to the knowledge of it, she ran to tell him of it, but that he was very slow to run off and would not stir he saw them coming, and then he and his Men run off. And the Indians came and broke open his Store, and took all his Goods and Leather, and parted it among them; and sent Parties after HUGHES and his Men to kill them: which I am afraid they effected. On this I sent for the Head-Men of the Town, and asked them if they knew any Thing of it, they acknowledged they did that Morning, for it was done the day before. I asked if they were consenting to it or to destroy the Traders. They told me no; and that they would send over a Runner to the RAVEN of the Valley to know his Sentiments on it. I asked them if they would stand by me and the white People there, if these Towns and the Northwards would come to attempt to kill us. They said they would. But, at the same time, told me there were upwards of one hundred Northwards, and if they came they could not be able to stand them; which as a good Hint for me to be gone. By this time it was Night, and we had no Horses provided to be gone, and the Wenches who were kept by the white Men there, told them to tell me to be gone and they with me; which I was loath to do. But by their Importunities I was prevailed on to endeavor to escape; and ordered all the white Men about me to get their Arms, and try to get their Horses; which Providence put in our way: And about eleven of the clock at Night set out with sixteen white Men and two black Men, but not all armed. I was advised by some Indians to go out by Toogooloo and down to Augusta, where we arrived the third Instant safe. At a Place, called Little River, one James PORTERSHELL (TORTERSHELL) and William VEAL came to us and told us they had made their Escape from Kewohee; and that they believed all or the most part of the white Men in those Towns were killed the same Night. John VANN, who had fled, with his Wife and Family from the Ninety Six, told Us that one John WATT's and others were come that Way and said they narrowly escaped with Life. And that one Hugh MORPHY going to the Cherokees was shot at Cornacre through the Arm but had got clear of the Villains that shot him. And also that Neighborhood had fled and left their Habitations. (R. Nicholas Olsberg THE JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY 23 APRIL 1750 - 31 AUGUST 1751, S.C. Dept. of Archives and History.) and (William L McDowell, Jr., (COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS May 21, 1750 - August 7, 1754, Columbia S.C. Archives Dept.) John Gray to Governor Glen 22 May, 1751, Fort Moore Sir, Last Sunday Morning by 7 o'Clock the Party and I arrived at this Fort all in very good Health. We would complete our March sooner had our Horses held out. I was obliged to hire another Horse by the Way to help us along. I have not seen an Indian on the Road nor yet here, save one Creek Fellow that attempted to cut his Throat, by giving himself a Cut in the Neck with a Knife, this stired the People that seed it very much. Various was their Conjectures upon this Occasion, not worth your Excellency's Reading. The Indian is are covering; we find by him that his Reasons for so doing proceeded from Fear of loosing his Ears or some other Punishment if he returned to his Nation, or being killed by the Enemy Indians that haunts round this Place. I see Nothing at Present that appears like a War. All the People that took Shelter in both Forts are returned to their different Habitations. Capt. CADOGAN sends your Excellency by this Opportunity the Affidavit of one WILLIAMS, a Cherokee Trader, that offers from some sent before by other Traders of that Nation The enclosed is a Return of all the public Stores belonging to this Fort. This the last, is this two of the Curtain Lines in a falling Condition, which may be repaired with little Expense if taken Time of the four Flankers finished. The Barracks are in pretty good Order, but wants some little Repairs. The few great Guns have no Cartridges. No spared Arms for the Inhabitants, if they should be obliged to come in. I enquired for John VANN. I am told by his Wife that he is at Ninety Six and expected here daily. I would be glad to know from your Excellency whether I am to be at any Expense in entertaining Indian here as they reckon Nothing of Civility without the former. Also what Indians to shew that Civility to, and at what Rate. (COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS May 21, 1750 - August 7, 1754, Columbia S.C. Archives Dept.)
James Francis to Governor Glen April 14, 1752 Sir, I herewith make bold to enclose two Letters, the one to me from Richard SMITH of Keowee in the Cherokees as from the Headman of that Town to the Chickesaw, as also a true Copy of the Answers from the Chickesaws. It happened that an Opportunity offered the very Day I received the enclosed from Mr. SMITH of sending to Augusta which I made use of and according to the Purport thereof, dispatched a Letter to the Chickesaws, the Answer to which I received some few Days past, and have sent it to the Cherokees by two young Fellows of Mr. BEAMER's Town, who called at my House in their Way Home. It seems the Chickesaws got some Notice that some Cherokees were in Company with the Savannahs that killed the Chickesaw Fellow mentioned in Mr. SMITH's Letter, and at the same Time took two Women Prisoners which greatly irritated the Chickesaws who raised a small Party of their People who were not gone many Days, as I am informed, before they returned with ten Cherokee Scalps and three Prisoners, but hope the Breach will not last long. What may lie in my Way to be Assistant in mediating Matters shall not be wanting. I beg Leave to be further troublesome, Sir, and acquaint your Excellency of some assages lately happened concerning BURGESS whom Mr. VANN is now making Pretensions of taking, and it is the Opinion of most, and that not without Reasons, that it is only Pretence for it is well known to all that Mr. VAN hath had it in his Power to have taken BURGESS at any Time since his Escape from Curry, and that his House hath been his Place of Residence and Support almost ever since, off and on, until they got Notice that there were Schemes laid to take him there, and then he was sent away to Broad River. But even then no two Brothers could more intimate than John VANN and BURGESS, which is the Reason that most People are doubtful of Mr. VANN's being real when he talks of taking BURGESS. However, I shall be very glad they may be deceived in their Opinion, and that VANN may make good his Word, though it should be an Instrument as base as BURGESS himself. And indeed, if he can be taken by such a one, no Man hath greater Plenty of such at Command than Mr. VANN, for he hath no less than three Negroes, one Mulatto, and a half-bred Indian now living with him, all bearing an equal Character with BURGESS and which I believe there is not three Families on Saludy would suffer any one of them to remain four and twenty Hours on their Planation. The half-bred Fellow is noted for his Roguery. The Mulatto is one of SCOTT'S Sons who escaped out of Prison before Sessions, Note (Gen. Winfield Scott, his elder sister Mary Scott married Simon Sheridan Whitehurst b 1755. Mary Scott was said to be a descendant of Pocahontas)
and one of the Negroes has been burnt in the Cheek for his Practices and the other two of the same Stamp. One of these Negroes, Sir, Mr. VANN saith he employed some small Time past to take BURGESS, but by his Behavior most People doubt he was rather sent to knock him on the Head to prevent his telling of Tales in Case he should be taken. Be it as it will, it is most certain that Mr. VANN might have taken Burgess long before this without hurting a Hair of him. And this Negro aforesaid went to BURGESS Camp, and taking the Opportunity when he was asleep, made a Stoke at his Head with a Hatchet, but missed his Blow and struck him on the Side of his Face and broke his Jaw Bone very much. He still endeavored to follow his Blows, and at Length lost his Hatchet in the Fray but drawled a Knife and stuck it in his Body in two or three Places. But at Length fled and made his Escape, the Negro having beforehand hid the Gun while BURGESS was asleep, and it is supposed that he would not make Use of that, that he might have a Plea of his Side. However true these Conjectures are I don't pretend to judge, but have sufficient Reasons to know that they might contrive to take BURGESS without taking these Measures if they had any real Design for it long before this. And the many different Ways they have of telling this Matter from the Truth makes People judge the Worse of it. After BURGESS's escape the Negro Fellow instantly drove up two Horses that BURGESS then had (one of which was the Dutchman's that he had escaped from Curry on), and packed them with all his Effects than at the Camp, viz., twenty-odd Deer Skins, about as much Beaver, a Rifle Gun, and in short, all his Accouterments whatsoever and brought them to Mr. VANN's I happened at a House some few Days after this where was John VANN, his Brother, (this could have been his son Edward VANN) and this Negro aforesaid, and not knowing any Thing of the real Truth of the Affair otherways than that this Negro had got the Dutchman's Horse aforesaid from BURGESS, I therefore asked him concerning the Matter, and he acknowledged he had him on which I ordered him to bring him in that he might be delivered and surrendered up to the Owner. But Mr. VANN resented the Demand, and said he had the Horse, and when he saw his own Time he would surrender him and not before, and several such like Expressions, and in short made Use of some Expressions against Authority and even the highest in this Province that I thought myself in Duty bound to put a Stop to his ignorant and ridiculous Discourse with Threats, and in short ordered him on his Peril to surrender the Dutchman's Horse in three or four Days at farthest, or I should take other Measures with him, and notwithstanding his Bravados then I hear he has since sent him down to Mr. CREIL, so that I presume the Owner hath him before this. I hope your Excellency will excuse my relating at large this Affair which (as I have credibly heard) is the real Truth though it would not be unacceptable to your Excellency to be acquainted with. And I hope, Sir, it will not be long before Burgess is taken either by fair Means or foul, which shall be forwarded in all Shapes that be in my Power. There hath been several Indians amongst us since the Spring in two's and three's. Some hath been suspected to have been Norwards but mostly Cherokees, some of which have been at my House and behave very civil. There hath been two or three petty Thefts done by a straggling Rogue or two, but not of Consequence. The Particulars I have acquainted Major THOMPSON of according to his Orders. Humbly begging Pardon for this Intrusion, I remain as in Duty bound, Sir, your Excellency's most humble Servant to command. JAMES FRANCIS (William L. McDowell, Jr.,COLONIAL RECORDS OF SOUTH CAROLINA DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INDIAN AFFAIRS MAY 21, 1750 - AUGUST 7,1754, Columbia South Carolina Archives Department.)
John VANN appears to have moved across the Savannah River into Georgia by 1757. He lived on the Broad River, the mouth which lies immediately across the Savannah River from the site of Fort Charlotte. At this time he was given a commission as captain of a militia company and as a justice of the peace. He performed heroically in defending the colony from Cherokee attacks in 1760. On 18 September 1758, Edward VANN had two hundred acres surveyed for him next to the plantation of John VANN on the Savannah River, in Granvill County, South Carolina. The survey was based on a "precept" (i.e. a command given by a person in authority) from Egerton LEIGH, Esquire. This "precept" may be the key to why no land grants are recorded for John or Edward VANN. Egerton LEIGH was not the governor of South Carolina in this time period, it is not known of what authority in which he could grant land. This land was that mentioned in the laying out of Fort Charlotte on 5 March in 1765, (N. W. wards on land laid out to Edward VANN). The first permanent settler in the Abbeville District was Robert GOUEDY, an Indian trader who built a trading post on the Cherokee path at Ninety Six. By 1753, GOUEDY trading post was the bustling commercial hub of the up-country where shoppers could purchase items ranging from thread to rum. The trader also owned several plantations totaling about fifteen hundred acres which produced wheat, tobacco hemp, indigo, and peaches. GOUEDY's role as a frontier banker indicates his prosperity and stature in the province. After his death most of GOUEDY's property was divided between his daughter and his son James. (THE FEATHER BED ARISTOCRACY, ABBEVILLE DISTRICT IN THE 1790s, S. C. History. Mag., April 1979.) A lawsuit in 23 Oct., 1758 between Robert GOUEDY and John VANN for debt resulted in a verdict against John VANN for 820 pounds plus court costs. It is interesting to note that when Fort Charlotte was laid out in 1765 it was on land " formerly know by the name of VANNs or GOUEDY's." The 1758 lawsuit may have been the final blow to John's South Carolina dealings. It would appear that Robert GOUEDY obtained John VANN's land as a result of the judgement. The fact that the government was in possession of the land on the Savannah seven years later may reflect an imperfect title to the land. (JUDGEMENT ROLL 1758 SOUTH CAROLINA COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Box 47A, S.C. Department of Archives and History) The laying out of Fort Charlotte South Carolina Pursuant to an order to me directed by the Honbl William Bull Esq. Lieut Gov Sc. dated 5 March 1765 I have Measured & laid off for his Majesties use a plantation on tract of land formerly known by the name of VANNs or GOUEDY's tract then Estimate at 400 acres but now upon new surveying it contains four hundred & thirty acres butting and bounding S W wardly on Savannah River N W. wardly on Land laid out to Edward VANN, S. E. wardly on Land Laid out to Richards Johnston, N.E. wardly on vacant Land & hath such shape and marks as the above plot represents Certified the 10th day of April 1765 -- Pat Calhoun D.S. (PROVINCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA COLONIAL PLOTS Vol. 8 p7, S.C. Archives History.)
At a Council held in the Council Chamber on Thursday the fifteenth Day of December 1757 Present His Honour Henry ELLIS Esqr, James NABERSHAM , The Honble William CLIFTON Esqr, William KNOX A New Commission of the Peace . Ordered That a new Commission of the Peace be made out and that those Gentlemen who were named in last Commission and refused to Act be, on their Persisting in such Refusal, left out therof And Also that Christian THILO Esqr be named for the District of Ebenezer in the Room of Theobald KIEFFER Esqr who had resigned and that John FRANCIS, John CLARK, John VANN and Pugh Esqr be added to the Justices for the District of Hallifax and Augusta. Allen D. Candler, (PROCEEDINGS AND MINUTES OF THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL FROM OCTOBER 30, 1754 TO MARCH 6, 1759, THE COLONIAL RECORDS OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA Vol. VII,) Military Commissions issued by the State of Georgia, 1754-1774 Captain John VANN, comm. Dec. 9, 1757 Third Company, Second Regiment, Augusta Division. (Murtie June Clark, COLONIAL SOLDIERS OF THE SOUTH 1732 - 1774, GEORCIA MILITIA, p 949 Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1983.) B.P.R.O. So. Carolina B.T Vol 19 L 40 Charles Town September 1759 My Lord By my Dispatch of the 14th of April & 8th of May I had the Honour to acguaint your Lordship with the state of Indian Affairs at that time, and soon afterwards I received intelligence That Nineteen People had been scalped on the Yadkin & Catawha Rivers by a party of Cherokees from the Town of Settico; & the Inhabitants of those Parts, tho reputed to be within the Government of North Carolina, applying to me to interpose in their behalf I sent to Old Hop & the LITTLE CARPENTER the Talk a copy of which I inclose to Your Lordships & also of their Answer. I likewise transmit to you a copy of Captain Paul AEMERES letter to me of the 10th of July from Fort Loudoun & an Extract of one from that Gentleman of the 26th of the same Month. In the beginning of June I received some very friendly Talks accompanied with stings of WHITE WAMPUM in token of Peace & Friendship from all the Towns of the Middle and Lower Settlements which as those Towns had no share in the Slaughter of the People above mentioned, I answered in the same On the 15th of last Month WAWHATCHEE a Lower Cherokee delivered a Talk to John VANN, an inhabitant of broad river, addressed to Governor Ellis, in the name of the whole Nation, in which they acquaint him that a Letter which had been sent to me by Lieut. COYTMORE signifying that the Cherokees in conjunction with the Creek had agrees to carry on a War against the English, contained nothing but falshood & that they Concluded that nothing cou'd have occasioned such a Report but one thing which is that the People of South Carolina have made Encroachments upon their Lands & have Settled so near to their Nation That it of Course makes Deer scarce, so that they are not able to Support their wives & Children with meat & Cloaths, & this, they say, is the great Grievance they have to complain of, whereupon they entreat the Governor of Georgia to use his interest with me that I may cause the People of this Province to remove within certain Bounds vizt. to Long Canes, And they request that he will give them a Meeting to confer with them upon these Matters declaring that it is their earnest desire to preserve Peace with us and would send Deputies to me as the Mouth of their Nation. I promised them they shou'd come & return in safety, adding that the People of this Province were not inclined to spill any of their Blood unless they were forced; that we had not begun to make war upon them & if we did it would be their fault and not ours. I hope this will have a good Effect & if I cannot make up matters with them effectually I may hope to ammuse them untill the Detachment I have sent to Fort Loudoun arrives there, with all the Stores and Provisions They have lately scalped five People upon Broad River in this Province, & our Settlements in those parts are much Allarm'd. I have two Troops of Rangers who scour the Country on Horseback to protect the Inhabitants, but I have given them Orders to Act only upon the Defensive. By the latest Accounts from the Creek Nation everything was quiet there, and Mr ATKIN the Kings Agent has concluded a Peace with the Chactaws & sent sixty horse loads of Goods into their Nation guarded by three hundred and Eighty of them. I expect soon to learn the particulars of this event from Mr. ATKIN. I inclose to Your Lordships the Journal of a Chickasaw Trader address'd to one Jerome COURTONNE by which you will perceive the state of things in that nation & what good Service those people have performed against the Savanahs. (DOCUMENTS RELATING TO SOUTH CAROLINA, VOL 28, pp 208-212, Public Record Office Great Britain.) As Charlestown rejoiced in disaster averted and victory won, the Cherokee seethed with anger. They refused to understand the holding as hostages of persons unrelated to the guilty and residents in town guiltless of aggression, but they did understand treachery. Headmen who had gone to Charlestown had been tricked into confinement. Relatives of the hostages, once friends of the English, nourished deep resentment, and the augmented anti- English faction moved for vengeance. While Charlestown feted LYTTELTON, Cherokees wrecked the treaty he had made. HIWASSEES and NOTTELIES killed trader John KELLY, quartered his body, and set his head and hands on stakes near Hiwassee town house. ELLIOTT, bearing dispatches to Fort Loudoun, on hearing of Kell's death entrusted his mission to one MCCORMACK, a renegade, and fled back to Fort Prince George. On the way he heard that the Middle Settlements, roused by the imprisonment of guiltless men, marched in force to effect a Delivery. On January 15, 1760 TELLICOES advanced on a similar errand, and blood-hungry SETTICOES poured through the Twenty-Four Mountains. On the seventieth Cornelius DOUGHERTY, James BALDRIDGE, and Henry LUCAS, whom Indians friends had spirited from their trading posts, galloped into Fort Prince George. COYTMORE learned that SEROWEH of Estatoe planned to gain access to the Fort and rescue the hostages. On January 19, 1760 as heavy rains slanted, SEROWEH and a crowd of blanketed warriors demanded admission to the fort ostensibly to exchange killers for hostages. COYTMORE, his garrison under arms and his hostages locked up, agreed to admit three or four of the Indians. As soldiers held the gates ajar, Cherokees surged forward. Before the guards could shove the gates together, a dozen warriors had squeezed in. Each of them had under his blanket a tomahawk, a pistol, or a knife. Imperturbable, SEROWEH parleyed with COYMORE but finally asserted that in the press he had left his prisoners outside and must go after them. He and his companions were let out. Then it developed that the killers had " escaped," and SEROWEH and his gang left for Estatoe. A few miles away Cherokees had already commenced the war. Before SEROWEH had reached the fort, thirty Indians had attacked ELLIOTT's trading house at New Keowee. Of the dozen whites about the place when the ESTATOES Stuck, several fell in the first fire. Two or three were seized. Others, running, were shot down. The hated ELLIOTT, tomahawked, raced a mile before his pursuers felled him. Ten others, including James MAY, the Joree traders, died. SEROWEH's men, returning, joined the looting and rum-drinking at ELLIOTT's. SEROWEH sent runners through the nation to proclaim the war. In the Middle Settlement, TUCKASEIGEE Cherokees killed traders James RUSSELL and James CRAWFORD. The NEQUASSE MANKILLER, however, ntervened to save trader John DOWNING's life. From CHEOAH in the Snowbirds, James MILLER escaped to Fort Loudoun. But Overhill OCONOSTOTA, supporting the LITTLE CARPENTER, refused SEROWEH's bloody hatchet and trader's scalp and with the Second Man visited Fort Loudoun and professed loyalty. Nevertheless, hostiles blocked the mountain paths between Fort Loudoun and Fort Prince George. Vengeance-seeking Setticoes headed for Virginia, and in the last week of January hundreds of warriors blockaded Fort Prince George or advanced upon Carolina and Georgia. Warning reached the Georgia frontier on the twenty-ninth when John DOWNING, Bernard HUGHES, and others fleeing Middle Settlements traders, bypassing the Lower Towns, arrived at John VANN's on Georgia's Broad River. On the thirtieth Aaron PRICE, who had stolen from Fort Prince George, warned Ninety-Six. But warning failed to avert disaster at the hated Long Canes settlements. On Sunday, February 1, 1760 a host of Cherokees struck 150 settlers fleeing towards Fort More. Caught with their wagons in a stream, the men ran in terror. The Cherokees raged unckecked among the women and children, shooting, scalping, and taking prisoners. Many fled into the woods, and for days after search parties brought in stunned survivors to Fort Moore and Augusta. The Cherokees took 23 scalps and as many prisoners. Later on Stevens Creek the John DAVIS party of 23 women and children was massacred. On the Georgia frontier the Cherokee assault failed when John VANN escaped the attack upon his home and roused the militia. Creek Indians interfered. Their hunting parties filled the Forests, and though not hostile to the Cherokees, they refused to be allies. Unwilling to have their trade spoiled by indiscriminating whites, they warned the Cherokees to be careful. Though six Georgians were killed, Georgia was spared the long war which followed. On their left wing the Cherokees also failed. On February 3, 1760 Ninety-Six beat off forty warriors who took prisoners a boy, a woman and a slave, and BURNED GOUDY'S HOUSE. Thirty miles south William MILLER's Fort repulsed a four-hour assault. Though the main body of Cherokee drew back to celebrate their prisoners and scalps, sporadic raids continued. Near Fort Moore eighteen warriors with private grudges to settle seeked revenge. (David H. Corkran, THE CHEROKEE FRONTIER CONFLICT AND SURVIVAL, 1740-62, Chapter Fourteen The Cherokee Rebellion University of Oklahoma.) Wrightsborough Georgia, December 7th 1773 William BEAL and his wife of South Carolina was granted 200 acres on north side Broad river adj. lower line of John VANN. Thomas Wooten and his wife of North Carolina was granted 200 acres on north side of Broad river opposite the mouth of Long Creek, and 300 acres on south side said river, adj. VANN's old field. (Grace Gillam Davidson, RECORDS OF THE COURT OF LAND COMMISSIONERS, THE CEDED LANDS, Early Records of Georgia Vol.I Wilkes County, p15.) John Vann died some time after 1770.