Saturday, December 21, 2019

Ruth Davidson (1765-1826) NSDAR

Ruth Davidson

"Ruth Davidson, a woman handsome in appearance, was remarkably bright and attractive. She and her entire family were ardent Whigs. It is said that after the defeat of the American Army at Camden, S.C., when the Brits were preparing to invade our State [North Carolina], General Green [Greene], who was in the hills of Virginia reorganizing his forces, was anxious to communicate with some detached American troops in South Carolina.

"It was almost impossible to do this on account of the activities of Tarleton and Ferguson. . . . It was necessary to send a message through the sparsely settled region along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ruth volunteered to be the messenger and without an escort or guide succeeded in delivering the message.

"Thus another brave woman was honored when a [DAR] chapter in Asheville was called the Ruth Davidson Chapter."

Source: Pendleton, Hazel E. "Patriotic Women of North Carolina for Whom DAR Chapters are Named." DAR Magazine, 1962.

Ruth Davidson Chapter NSDAR

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Walton War

After the Revolutionary War concluded the issue continued with respect to western lands claimed by the original states. These lands eventually were ceded to the United States to be used to pay soldiers and applied toward the national debt. This required, among other things, that the boundary line between North Carolina and South Carolina be completed:

"Commissioners Appointed in 1814. Pursuant to the above provisional articles of agreement North Carolina in 1814 appointed Gen. Thomas Love, Gen. Montfort Stokes and Col. John Patton commissioners to meet other commissioners from South Carolina to run and mark the boundary line between the two States in accordance with the recommendation of the commissioners who had met and agreed, "at McKinney's on Toxaway river on the 4th of Sept. 1813."

Other Early Explorers: In the case of Avery v. Walker, (8 N. C., p. 117) it appears . . . that Col. John Patton, the father of Lorenzo and Montreville Patton of Buncombe, and who owned the meadow land on the Swannanoa river which was sold to George W. Vanderbilt by Preston Patton, and the "haunted house" at the ford of that river, when the stage road left South Main street at what is now Victoria Road and crossed the Swannanoa, there, instead of at Biltmore, was then county surveyor of Buncombe, and refused to survey land on Ocona Lufty for Waightstill Avery because it was "on the frontier and the Indian boundary had not then actually been run out, and it might be dangerous to survey near the line."

Source: Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina: A History from 1730 to 1913. Published 1914 by the Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Asheville. Reprint Edition: Johnson City, Tennessee: The Overmountain Press, 1996 (pages 29-30 and 77-78).

Today it seems unlikely that a tract of land lying within the present bounds of Transylvania County would have been claimed as part of the State of Georgia. But that was the case when in 1803 Georgia laid claim to the territory and named a new county for George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. North Carolina led by Gov. James Turner actively defended their claim leading to confusion for the 800 or so residents of the region. The dispute was submitted to Congress, where a committee initially accepted Georgia's claim, arguing that a twelve-mile-wide strip had legitimately been ceded to that state by the federal government. Commissioners were authorized to survey a line along the 35th parallel, then accepted as the state boundary.

Meanwhile lawlessness prevailed in the area. It was difficult for Buncombe County to collect taxes from individuals viewing themselves as Georgia residents. Events came to a head late in 1804 when three citizens were assaulted by Waltonians. One of them, Constable John Havner, was struck over the left eye with the butt of a rifle and mortally wounded. Upon his death, on December 15, the colonel of the Buncombe County militia ordered out a detachment of seventy-two men and marched them into "Walton County." Ten Walton officials were taken prisoner, but escaped before they were brought to trial.

On June 15, 1807, officials of the two states met at the Buncombe County Courthouse and set out to fix the boundary. Joseph Caldwell of the University of North Carolina and Joseph Meigs of Georgia used scientific equipment to take astronomical readings and fix the 35th parallel. The first place they took a reading, they found, was twenty miles north of that line. All subsequent readings taken were also well north of the 35th parallel. The Georgia commissioners were "astonished and mortified." They relinquished claim to the territory the same year and amnesty was granted to those responsible for the violence, but confusion reigned for some time to come. The 1810 census listed residents of Walton County. In 1818 Georgia created a new county elsewhere and named it for George Walton. As recently as 1971 Georgia considered reopening a separate dispute about the boundary and the North Carolina legislature "in a jocular mood" mobilized the National Guard to protect the state from usurpers.


Martin Reidinger, "The Walton War and the Georgia-North Carolina Boundary Dispute," (unpublished manuscript, copy in the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1981).

Marvin L. Skaggs, North Carolina Boundary Disputes Involving Her Southern Line (1941).

John Preston Arthur, Western North Carolina: A History (1914).

Daniel R. Goodloe, “The North Carolina and Georgia Boundary,” North Carolina Booklet, III, no. 12 (April 1904): 5-22.

William S. Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries (1989).