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Title:[Letter] 1819 Aug.2, Cairo, Tennessee [to] John C. Calhoun / James Winchester : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Winchester, James

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: August 2, 1819
Extent: 4p
Summary:This is a letter dated August 2, 1819 from James Winchester to the secretary of war, John C. Calhoun. Winchester describes the marking of the Southern boundary of the state of Tennessee, as agreed in a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians.
Collection:James Winchester Papers

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State of Tennessee Cairo
2d augt [August] 1819Sir

I have just returned from running the line of the Southern boundary of the State of Tennessee as described in the 2nd article of the treaty concluded with the Chickasaw nation on the 19th of October 1818 Beginning on the west bank of Tennessee river at the 35th degree of north latitude, and running thence due West, crossing the prongs of white oaks Hatcher J Wolf rivers leaving to the north the mouth of the latter seven miles and fort Pickering four miles and a half finally intersecting the mississippi about 3/4 of a mile below the lower land of President Island , at the distance 110 miles from its beginning on Tennessee river, This line is plainly marked all the way the trees on each side of it are blazed the fore & aft [before and after] trees are markd [marked] with the letters US which is also marked on a Cypress post set up at the termination of it on the bank of the mississippi I have [added: the] satisfaction to add that this line passes over a valuable pasture of good land, well timbered and waterd [watered]. [added: From]

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From the chickasaw nation major James Colbert and Captain Samuel Sealy attended as chiefs to see the line run. In the afternoons when the sun descended near the horizon they appeared to be dissatisfied and some times said the compass was lost, because it did not run to the setting sun It was in vain that I told them the sun did not set in the west at midsummer, [gap] to satisfy them if possible. I halted one [gap] on one open ridge free from timber and the next morning being fair I sent for them to my tents and asked them if the sun rose in the East, they answered in the affirmative, I then set the sights of the compass to the rising sun and showed them how deep such a course would run into their land and if I run to the setting of the sun I should run as far into the land of the United States , therefore the middle course must be the true one this seemed to satisfy them for the present and we progressed accordingly with great harmony untill [until] we approached the mississippi then there [their] dissatisfaction returned with increased obstinacy, and they observed to me that it was unnecessary for them to go any farther that they knew where the line would strike the mississippi, we was then [gap] miles

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I pressed them to proceed to the end in order that they might represent fairly to their nation the whole length of their line &c [and et cetera] they persisted in their first determination but observed that they would meet me at the Bluff after I had finished the line, and talk with me They accordingly met me and substantiated that the line which I had ran and marked [unclear: could not be ] the true line, that [added: it] must be run [unclear: when day ] and night is equal &c. To this I told them I had no answer to make, that the line which I had just completed I believed to be the true one and that I expected it would never be run again officially.

There are several improvements at and in the vicinity of the Chickasaw Bluff for which the proprietors are entitled to compensation under the late treaty, they have requested me to make known their claim to the presidents

Major Inman Colbert performed the service of an interpreter when on the line if he had not I must have employd [employed] one at the expense of the United States , for this he expects compensation, I think 150 or 200 dollars would not be badly applied in this way, tho [though] I have given him no assurance on this head

The other chief who attended, Cap [Captain] [gap] says he is a very poor man that

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that he left home in a very busy season when he should have been raising corn for his family that and the Indians never pay their chiefs or headmen for their services, therefore he requested me to make known to the President his claim for compensation

By the next morning [gap] and estimate of the Expenses [gap] the time, for the supplies I [gap] the cash they could not be had [gap] If am permitted to draw on government for the [unclear: amount ] the bill will readily command the cash pure

I have the honor to be respectfully Sir Your most obedient person
J Winchester
[added: The honorable John C Calhoun secretary of war If apeal [appeal] of the line is required I can return it at any time]

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