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Documents Concerning Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company

An Act to vest certain lands in fee simple in Richard Henderson and others

The State Records of North Carolina, Vol. 24,  Pg.530-531

I. Whereas, it has appeared to this Assembly, that Richard Henderson, Thomas Hart, John Williams, William Johnston, James Hogg, David Hart and Leonard Henly Bullock, Nathaniel Hart, and John Lutteril, John Carter and Robert Lucas, have been at great expence, trouble and risque, in making a purchase of lands from the Cherokee Indians; and, whereas, it is but just that they should have a compensation adequate to their expence, risque and trouble aforesaid;
II. Be it therefore Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, That two hundred thousand acres be, and are hereby granted to the said Richard Henderson, Thomas Hart, John Williams, William Johnston, James Hogg, David Hart and Leonard Henly Bullock, the heirs and assigns, or devisees of Nathaniel Hart, deceased, and the heirs and assigns or devisees of John Luttrel, deceased, to Landon Carter, heir of John Carter, deceased, his heirs and assigns for ever, and to the heirs and devisees of Robert Lucas; the said two hundred thousand acres to be laid out in one survey, and within the following boundaries, to-wit: Beginning at the old Indian town in Powell's valley, and running down Powell's river not less than four miles in width on one or both sides thereof to the junction of Powell's and Clinch river, then down Clinch river on one or both sides, not less than twelve miles in width, for the aforesaid complement of two hundred thousand acres.
III. Provided, That the aforesaid tract is laid out and surveyed by the grantees before mentioned, on or before the last day of next November, otherwise any person entering and surveying any part or parcel thereof, agreeable to the laws of the State, may and shall obtain a title to the same, anything herein contained notwithstanding; and the said two hundred thousand acres to be divided among the said grantees in the following manner, to wit: Ten thousand acres at the lower end thereof to Landon Carter, his heirs and assigns forever, and to the heirs or devisees of Robert Lucas; and the remainder thereof in the following manner, to wit; One-eighth part thereof to Richard Henderson, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one-eighth part thereof to Thomas Hart, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one-eighth part thereof to John Williams, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one-eighth I-art thereof to William Johnston, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one eighth part thereof to James Hogg, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one sixteenth part thereof to David Hart, his heirs and assigns or devisees; and one-sixteenth part thereof to Leonard Henly Bullock, his heirs and assigns or devisees; one-eighth part thereof to the heirs and assigns or devisees of Nathaniel Hart, deceased; and one-eighth part to the heirs and assigns or devisees of John Luttrel, deceased; to hold to them, their heirs, assigns, or devisees respectively, forever, according to the aforesaid proportion in severalty as tenants in common, and not as joint tenants; and this grant shall and is hereby declared to be in full compensation to the said persons for their charges, trouble and risque, and for all advantages accruing therefrom to this State.


Pg. 640

An Act to Amend An Act Passed in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-three, Intitled, An Act to Vest Certain Lands in Fee Simple in Richard Henderson and Others.

I. Whereas, for reasons made known to and admitted by the General Assembly, the survey of the said lands could not be compleated within the time prescribed by the said Act;
II. Be it therefore Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, That the said Richard Henderson and Company shall have full power, right and authority to compleat the said survey according to the said Act of Assembly; and if compleated within the space of twelve months from the ratification of this Act, shall be as full and effectual to all intents and purposes as if compleated within the time prescribed by the said Act.



Advertisement by Richard Henderson and the Transylvania Company concerning settlement of the Transylvania Colony
Richard Henderson, 1735-1785; Translyvania Company

December 25, 1774 - February 22, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1129-1131
[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. : No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Proposals for the Encouragement of settling the Lands purchased by Richd Henderson & Co. on the Branches of the Mississippi River from the Cherokee tribe of Indians.

First. That fifty men be raised as soldiers to be under the direction of proper officers for the protection of the Settlers of the Country aforesaid to continue in Service till the first day of November next and as a reward for the same to receive 500 acres of land and three pounds sterling or the value therein in other Currency.

Second. That every person willing to become an Inhabitant and to go out and settle the Country between the date hereof and the -- day of -- next and shall employ himself and those under him in cultivating and raising a crop of Corn and other employment for the good of the Community and to continue until the first day of September next always ready with their Lives and Fortunes to defend, protect and support each other in their mutual interests and advantages against the Savages, shall have the privilege of taking up Lands upon the following Terms to wit, 500 acres for himself and two hundred and fifty Acres for each tithable person whom he shall take with him and continue as aforesaid on payment of Twenty shillings sterling per hundred or the value thereof in other currency, and also an annual Quit Rent of Two shillings sterling per hundred clear of all incumberance.

Third. That any person that shall within six months after the date hereof begin to erect and compleat within three years a Furnace or other Iron works so as to supply the Inhabitants with a sufficient quantity of iron shall receive 5000 Acres of Land clear of all incumbrances except the Quit Rents aforesaid. Any person beginning and erecting and finishing a salt manufactory within twelve months from the date hereof and supply the Inhabitants with a sufficiency of salt shall have 1000 as aforesaid. Any person erecting and finishing a Great Mill within Twelve months from the date hereof shall have 500 acres of land as aforesaid. Any person erecting and finishing a Saw Mill within Twelve months from the date hereof shall have 500 acres of Land as aforesaid. Any person raising the greatest crop of corn in proportion to the hands he may have under him the ensuing season shall have 500 acres of Land as aforesaid. The person who shall carry out the greatest number of sheep between the date hereof and twelve months after shall have 500 acres of land as aforesaid.

Given under our Hands the 25th day of December 1774.
For himself and Co.

The foregoing proposals for settling the Lands to be purchased of Richard Henderson and Company of the Cherokee tribe of Indians are the same mentioned and alluded to in the Instrument of writing hereto annexed.

Given under our Hands this 22d day of Febry 1775.
For himself & Co.

Whereas the Subscribers are about and have the greatest reason to believe will shortly compleat the purchase of a large Tract of Country lying on the Kentucky, Cumberland and other waters of the Ohio and Tenisee Rivers with a view of setling that most desirable Territory with a large number of honest farmers, artificers, etc, and being credibly informed that a number of persons disposed to go and become adventurers therein, are some on their way, others preparing for their journey. In order to obtain titles for Lands and become Inhabitants thereof and as the safe and speedy setling of that Country very much depends on the prudence of the first adventurers in many respects but more especially in their compact situation for mutual defence and protection, being well persuaded and even full convinced that a promiscuous and diffused settlement would only endanger their lives and effects of such rash setlers, but might in its consequences deter many honest industrious persons now disposed to remove into those parts from proceeding on an enterprize which would not only become beneficial to themselves but extremely advantageous to the Setlers of the ensuing Spring.

Therefore in order as much as in us lies to prevent unthinking and inconsiderate persons from attempting to settle the said Lands in any diffused or scattered manner so dangerous to the general weal of the Country and the speedy and safe population thereof, do give this early and public notice to all persons that in case we should become purchasers thereof our most serious intentions are to settle the same with the greatest expedition and safety as well with respect to ourselves as those who may become adventurers in a case so replete with every prospect of gain and desirable in its consequences, and do therefore hope and most earnestly entreat all persons minded to go and settle that Country this ensuing Season to conform to the Rules laid down by ourselves as well for their benefit as ours, that is to say that all the Emigrants or Adventurers of this Spring would settle in a Town or Township for this year at least on some convenient part of the Land to be chosen for that purpose, that during the year every man may be looking out for such land as he may choose to settle on when safe to disperse. With respect to such persons as may hereafter be disposed to quit claim for their Lots and Improvements in Town, such Improvements to be valued and the valuation to be paid by the Proprietors or Purchasers of such Territory.

The foregoing General Rules for the benefit of the Setlers we hope will be adhered to by all and every reasonable and thinking person minded to become Adventurers or Setlers of this most valuable Country. And as it is obviously so much for the benefit and advantage of the whole that these Rules be strictly observed, we think it encumbent on us to declare that no person that shall wilfully and obstinately refuse to comply with these Terms so necessary to our well being must expect to come within any of the Indulgences heretofore published by ourselves in case we should become purchasers or owners of that Country. We wish that most entire peace, harmony and good understanding, but must insist on the foregoing Rules, and most earnestly desire they may be strictly adhered to and complied with, and all such as will conform to the Methods of setling hereby declared may depend on the strictest performance on our parts.

Given under our Hands this 22d day of February 1775.
For himself & Co.


Letter from Richard Henderson to John Williams, 1778

Letter from Richard Henderson to John Williams
Richard Henderson (1735-1785)
October 29, 1778 - November 06, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 490 - 494


Williamsburg, Oct. 29th, 1778.
Dear Sir:
Your friends are all well—The day before I left home I waited on Mrs. Williams for her commands, as I intended writing you from this place, and am happy in informing you that she, and your nearest connections were very well, and would be happy if you were among them. Before you receive this, Mr. Springer (who is gone to the Northward) will inform you this, and no doubt, deliver a letter from your family, by which you will be informed of the Death of your Nephew, Jackey Williams. This melancholy part of the tale I wish to have omited, but it is needful you should know the truth. On this Lamentable Occasion, I advised Mrs. Williams to keep close possession of the books, and every paper belonging to or in keeping of the unfortunate lad.
In this I am sure of your approbation, as you must know how Essential it may be, to settling the Estate of your lately Deceased Brother.
In this letter you are not to expect the least regularity but must take matters as they Occur. At present my spirits are very low, owing to the Situation of my affairs. You know that is two years and a half, that I have waited on the Assembly of Virginia on the subject of our Transylvania purchase, and ought at least to have a hearing. Notwithstanding the Assembly began on the first Monday in the month, and our cause was by rules to come on the second, it is now the 29th without obtaining that end. Tomorrow is the day prefixed, and so it has been for many days, and it is uncertain whether we have a hearing or not, as many of the members seem roused from their Lethargy, and find that the house are not by Law or the Constitution Competent to the question. To avoid every kind of dispute of this kind, we today, presented a memorial, in which we signifyed our willingness to be concluded by “the Assembly. It lies on the Table, and we hope to have a hearing tomorrow on the Subject. Doctor Burke is here our Attorney, and I have no doubt will do us ample Justice. In my last which I wrote from Halifax, some mention was made of a destructive Storm, but am sorry to inform you, that the rains continued forty days and forty nights at least, and that the Damage has Occasioned a Scarcity, which renders Corn near 5 £ a Barrel and pork at least £10. How this will effect you as an individual I don't know, but make no doubt but Mr. Burton will do for the best. Thus much with respect to our Country and its calamities. You want to hear a little more about Transylvania. Of this I will inform you to-morrow evening, but believe the Virginians do not mean to be very liberal or generous.
30th October—This day, for the first time in two years and a half, the Assembly has deigned to hear Doctor Burke our Council in behalf of our Claim. The matter is deferred till to-morrow, and this may be a means of further delay. It is universally given up on all hands, that Mr. Burke did Justice to the Cause, and for my own part think we could not have been better served on or off the Continent. You must be informed, that in order to prepare the minds of our Judges, we found ourselves under a necessity of offering a surrender of the greater part of our claim to the Commonwealth in return for protection &c. In this affair, I hope you will think us right and be assured that in our negotiations proper regard will be paid to our Entry's. I cannot help observing that we may be much mistaken with respect to the opinion of the majority of the House, but believe they are much in our favour. This may be otherwise; to-morrow I hope will determine that question. No more of that. You in your last which I received, asked what our Assembly were called for in August last. If I am not mistaken these reasons were given in a letter of mine from Halifax, and if not, no doubt you have received official notice of that matter before now, but if otherwise, the true reason Assigned by the Governor and approved by the House, was, that Congress had not sent us the 500,000 dollars requested and that it was impossible without money to march the new raised troops from the Militia without money. I wish your fears in Congress, may not be the Occasion of another Assembly before the first of January, to which it stands adjourned. I don't know what information you may have had about the enemy, but do not believe a Syllable of their design of carrying on a campaign in South Carolina.
Monday 2nd November—No answer has yet been given to the reasoning of Doctor Burke in our favour, but we are promised by some, a farther hearing to-morrow, or rather that the House will take up the Consideration of the affair. Mr. Willie Jones, one of our agents (and who has been of great service) sett off home yesterday to the fair at Halifax. Mr. Johnston and myself only remain. God only knows what we shall be able to do. I shall not close this letter till something certain shall be done. News yesterday at 4 o'clock P. M. A vessel with a Flag arrived at Hampton, informing that fourteen passengers were on board from N. York, most of them refugees from this place, praying the priviledge of becoming again Citizens of this Commonwealth. A Committee was immediately appointed to Examine into their former Conduct & character, and report their opinion to the House. They went on the business and am now informed, that they will be ready to-morrow, to report in favour of four of them among which a Lady is included. The rest will be ordered away immediately. I am fully persuaded this will be done. We here think this occupation a very favourable Omen.
I have not yet mentioned the aftair of the Manifesto. Inclosed are the Virginia papers containing a full account of that Transaction, to which I beg leave to refer.
I begin now to entertain great hopes of seeing you by Christmas or the first of January, as Dr. Burke, on receiving a letter lately from Mr. Harnett, has taken a resolution of being at Congress by the first of December. He cannot well perform that, but hopes he will be there soon after.
Some pages past I informed you that I expected corn would be £5 a barrel and pork not less than £10. There has none of these commodities been sold in our Country, but, since I came here, pork has sold for £10 Va. Money (a small parcel for family use) and I verily believe it will not be bought in our Country, even for less than £10 and I verily believe corn will not be bought long at £5. Our fodder is almost entirely destroyed and in short, we shall have but a bad time of it. Mr. Burton was at Petersburg as we came down, was advised of the high offers then lately made there for pork and I make no doubt conducted himself according with respect to your family as well as his own, immediately on his return.
My father seemed very thankful for the kind manner you mentioned him in your last, but has little hopes of ever seeing you again. He has had two years severe returns of his disorder since you went away, and I fear his dissolution must be near at hand. When I left home it was a very small Share of my hope that I should ever see him in life; Mr. Burke, who came by afterwards informs that he had recovered that paroxysm, and I hope to find him on foot. In the fore part of this letter I informed you that Mrs. Williams was well. This was true, but you must not think from that expression that she was or has for some time been so well as I could wish. You know her, & I am sure, don't expect from her anxiety, that her spirits and health are not impaired. Truth is, that from our observation she is much so. You ought not to desert your duty to the public, but should come home as soon as you can, and determine between yourselves, whether so long a separation shall take place. You don't wait to be told that we all rejoiced much, on your easy recovery from the Small pox, but believe me, I am alarmed on your account. The pox was much too slight, & I am afraid that an ulcer or abcess will form in your Lungs, for want of a Sufficient discharge the other way of the disturbed matter—pray have you not an habitual cough? or do you feel no oppression in your breast? If either of these should be the case, consult some Physician, and do for the best.
On Thursday last you know the race between Sterne and Jason was to be run. Sterne did not before he went away give great proofs of his speed, but am in hopes he did the business. Mr. Willie Jones sent his man Austin, to keep Sterne, who was with him about a month before the day, who mended him greatly, but the rains was much against us. How this matter turned out, I shall in all probability know before you. I hope it will be well.
Friday 6th November.
You will not be astonished at any thing done by a Large assembly, when under the Circumstances which attend our Claim. Day before yesterday, the House of Delegates resolved that our claim to Transylvania was Void. We had several advocates in the house, I mean Gentlemen, who took some pains to prevent such a resolve and gave strong reasons in our favour, but upon putting the Question, there appeared by the Loud Voices in the affirmative against the feeble Negative that a Division on the Question was not required, so that I don't know how large the Majority were, in favour of this Act of power. The Senate has not yet concurred with the Delegates in this resolve, but am well persuaded they will, and therefore we are left to the Generosity of the Assembly as to what reward we shall have, for Expence & Trouble. Here we have some small hope as the Delegates also resolved that as Henderson & Co., had been at very great Expense and trouble in carrying out many Families to that Country and rendered considerable service to the Commonwealth of Virg. &c., they should be reimbursed &c., but as you will best judge of the Temper of those Gentlemen By
[the rest is lost.—Ed.]

Both documents are from the "Colonial and State Records of North Carolina" online Collections.
See Also: Richard Henderson of Granville County

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