Guide to the Sampson Williams' Letter to Colonel David Henley, about Land Speculation in Tennessee, January 27, 1800

Summary Information

Title: Sampson Williams' Letter to Colonel David Henley, about Land Speculation in Tennessee, January 27, 1800
Collection: AC.1069
Extent: 0.01 linear feet (1 folder)
Abstract:

This collection is a handwritten letter from Sampson Williams to Colonel David Henley of Knoxville, Tennessee, in which there is a discussion of land speculation opportunity, dated January 27, 1800.

Creator: Sampson Williams

Biographical/Historical Note

Located in present-day Jackson County, Tennessee, Fort Blount was established in 1794 and named for territorial governor William Blount.

Sampson Williams, a South Carolina native, played a vital role in the establishment of the post at the "Crossing of the Cumberland." In 1791 he obtained permission to keep a ferry there; one year later, Governor Blount authorized Williams to raise men to be stationed at the crossing. In 1794 Blount received authorization to establish a larger post and wrote to General James Robertson to report the dispatch of a militia commander to the post on the Cumberland River. The earliest known use of the name "Fort Blount" comes from a July 13, 1795, letter from Blount to Robertson in which Robertson was instructed to reduce the number of militia stationed at the fort.

Williams remained to be active in the area, running a ferry and a tavern at Fort Blount. By March 1796, his brother Oliver Williams was serving as militia captain in charge of the fort; in May Sampson succeeded him in that position.

David Henley (February 5/12, 1748/9 – January 1, 1823) was a Continental Army officer during the American Revolutionary War, who served as George Washington's intelligence officer and Prisoner of war commandant. He later served as the Agent for the United States Department of War for the Southwest Territory (later Tennessee) in the 1790s.

Henley was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Samuel and Elizabeth Cheever Henley. In 1793, Colonel Henley was appointed by President Washington to represent the Agent of the Department of War for the Southwest Territory, in Knoxville, Tennessee. In this capacity, he was Superintendent of Indian Affairs, as well as quartermaster and paymaster for locally-stationed troops and militia. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1823, while a clerk in the War Department.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a letter from Sampson Williams in Fort Blount, Tennessee to Colonel David Henley in Knoxville, Tennessee regarding land speculation in North Carolina and Tennessee, dated January 27, 1800. Henley was encouraged to quickly "send out your warranty, you will have the better chance to get good land...every vacant spot will be be hunted up." Williams also writes of a Major Bradford who "sold us his services as Brigade Major for the Nickajack Campaign". Colonel Henley was a Continental Army officer during the American Revolutionary War, who served as George Washington's intelligence officer and Prisoner of war commandant. He later served as the Agent for the United States Department of War for the Southwest Territory (later Tennessee) in the 1790s.

Arrangement

There is only the one letter and its envelope in this collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

This was purchased from L&T Respess in 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Elliott in July 2015.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.1069: Sampson Williams' Letter to Colonel David Henley, about Land Speculation in Tennessee, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina USA.

Container List

Letter to Col. David Henley, 1800