Friday, February 17, 2017

On the murder of Henry McGee 1810

From my Facebook page

 Cherokee Nation March 17th 1810

after the Obedience Due to your Excelleancey [Excellency] I will inform you [added: of] the Moust [Most] [unclear: Barous] Murder Latly [Lately] Commited [Committed] in this Cuntry [Country] by Mr. William Reedon a Certen [Certain] Mr McGeeat the High Tower Townwithout any previous Quarral [Quarrel] Took his Gun the Said Reedand five more armed men and went to the house whare [where] the said McGeewas at his work in Comapnny [Company] with a Mr Wheaton[deleted: &] there & then put his gun through a Crack of the house & shot the Sd [Said] McGeether [there] is Nothing Don [Done] by the National Governmen[added: t] Concerning Busieness [Business] the Excelling Tyrent Bost [Tyrant Boast] of the Action & Insults The Destressed Widdow [Distressed Widow] and helpless Orphans I Think that justes [justice] Crys [Cries] aloud To the Government of GeorgiaI hope that your Excellance [Excellence] will Duily [Duly] Consider the Matter & Bring the offender to justes [justice] and your very Huml. Sevt [Humble Servant] is in Duty Bound Shall Ever

[Signed] David Welch
To His Excellancey [Excellency]
Governor Mitchal

Henry McGee was the father of 10 kids, including my own great great grandfather who was 10months old at the time of his father's death.

On the murder of Henry McGee 1810. William Reed's defense.
January 16th 1810 Hightower
Honorable Sir,
I am sorry to inform you of an accident that took place last night which is the killing of a certain Henry McGahee which I may say in my own defense. The greater part of the Pasages I shall refer to the Bearer Mr. Wm. Bright who happened to be present accidently and who I wish you to examine on oath as it will be clearer to you as also of my conduct from a child up of what he has heard and seen also the victims. Sorry I am that ever such an accident should ever fall out in my hands but so it has and I wish all good men was truly acquainted with the circumstances – the papers I have enclosed I wish you to examine the purport of great part of John Griffeys (Guffeys?) and Elezibeth his wifes. Affidavits can be confirmed by many persons of his threats etc of Carorton[?] wheelers[?] who was in company with said McGahee last night who has conducted himself in a disagreeable manner for some time past. His not being drove off is caused by his being in debt to some people who wishes to get pay and see no chance of getting it without he can make it . But should he not clearout from the cave, I expect the Indians will interfere hereafter. I will give you a hint of facts and what I write if requested will positively prove but the greater and more lengthy part you can have from Bairir (bearer) whose character from as far as I have ever heard is correct--- About ten days ago I went with my hands to furnace which is one mile from the cave with my hands in order to fill my hoppers with dirt when I found three of my large dirt hoppers all cleaned ready for filling and also the ash hoppers and great preparations at the mouth of the Cave where I had a windlass fixed which was altered and a pulley fixed in a disagreeable manner and McGhee[?] there. I made some alterations, took possession of my place and not a cross word between us—he seemed to give up which caused a hope in me that there would be no dispute.
I intended to apply to the first council to know his authority and what I be to do. Some nights after Wheeler and McGee passed my mills with two kettles and leaves word for me to come down in the morning, that’s Mcgee did. And bring a gun, pistols or any weapon, that he would be damned if he would not answer me with either—that they would tear down my furnace and take out the kettles. I waited said day to see what they would do when news came that it was done—I then applied to Dance [Danes or Dawes?] in Hightower to know what I should do when I received the lines signed by Bark in behalf of the Council John Beamen(r?) Lincaster. I then sent in the paper by a man, a hireling to them and followed them with a small party to see what they had done and know their conclusion.
The papers McGee read and said as the man said my kettles was there and he would be damned if I should have them till I paid him—which debt I had never heard of before and all that was present say that it was under the pretense of the claim of wheeler they was first took and on receiving the line I suppose changed.
when I went it was in order to make them take my kettles and troughs back. I found them in a small house of mine at four hundred yards distance from the furnace. I rode up when the door was shut on me and there was a large light in the house. Two men present in the house of my hirelings say on his reading the letter went out of doors and brought in an axe—I demanded the door opened. It was refused. McGee picked up a gun and tried to shoot me, then handed the gun to Wheeler and picked up the ax and swore killing the first man that came in. I told him I would shoot him if he would not surrender when his answer was shoot and be damned which was no sooner said than done—
as I considered it the worst kind of robbery thought myself clear—your advice I wish candid and it shall be candidly attended to. I wish as little expense and trouble as possible and with all attention shall remain your able servant.
W Reed.
To Col R.J. Meigs.

From a transcribed letter which tried to keep all spelling original. My transcription corrected many errors in the original but it is still a bit hard to follow. The published reference is: 74) with some helpful background on the cave and furnace and people mentioned.