The Walton War
    You don't remember learning about the Walton War in school?  Don't feel bad, most people have never hear of it.  The Walton War involved a 12 mile wide "orphan strip" of land in the area where the North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia borders join.  Today, this area lies within parts of Jackson and Transylvania Counties in western North Carolina.  The area was originally Cherokee land until it was claimed by the State of South Carolina. This tract was the possession of South Carolina until 1787, when they ceded it to the United States, subject to the Indian right of occupancy.  In 1798 the Cherokee Indians in turn ceded this area back to the United States through a signed treaty.  On it's eastern extremity there was a settlement of about 50 white families who had lived in the area for several years, with the permission of the Cherokee people.  Upon ratification of the Cherokee treaty with the United States, these settlers became occupants of the public domain of the United States, outside of the territorial jurisdiction of any State.  Because they were not under  the protection of the laws of any State, on January 8, 1800 the settlers petitioned Congress to re-cede the tract of land to South Carolina.  The signers of this petition included:  Mattew Patterson, Joseph Beezley, William Allen, George Glazner, Robert Lee, Richard Williamson, James Owen, W. G. Oliver, Abraham Glazner, Samuel Beasley, James Allen, George Williamson, Jesse Douthit, James William, Benjamin Oliver, Samuel Allen, Reuben Allen, Stephen Williams, Simon Dunn, Jonathan Coward, John Pendergrasse, Bernard O'Neal, John Beasley, James Chastain, Abraham Chastain, John Adams and John Robinson.  Congress did not take any action and when the State boundaries were finally adjusted, the 12 mile tract was found to be within the limits of the North Carolina border.   Georgia disputed the boundary line and in 1803 created a county and called it Walton County.  North Carolina, of course, resisted all attempts by Georgia to exercise jurisdiction over Walton County.  South Carolina argued that that land was theirs before they ceded to the United States and therefore should be given back to them.  The dispute led to battles, riots, assaults, killings and imprisonments.  It was not until 1807 that the United States agreed to another survey of the state borders and the area in dispute was verified to lie within the state of North Carolina.  Georgia continued to appeal and dispute the survey findings and exhausted the patience of North Carolina, who, in 1810, dispatched the State Militia to put an end to the matter.  The result was a battle at McGaha Branch, about two miles south-east of the present town of Brevard.  North Carolina scored a sound victory, with reports of fatalities ranging from one to 14.  Approximately 25 prisoners were taken to Morganton, which was the town with the nearest jail.  In 1811, Georgia had it's own survey done by Andrew Ellicott, who confirmed the results of the 1808 survey.  Georgia's governor finally "accepted the verdict resignedly".  Believe it or not, the dispute was revived in 1971 by Georgia, when they named a legislative commission that claimed the accepted boundary was actually a mile or more south of the 35th parallel.  North Carolina then then countered with a joint resolution to authorize the governor to mobilize the State Militia to "protect, defend and hold inviolate the territorial border of North Carolina against the spurious claims by the State of Georgia."  Neither state acted on their proposals.
    For many years I was puzzled by the fact that so many of my ancestors seemed to move around so much, back and forth between North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.  Moving would have caused tremendous work, time and hardship back then due to the mountainous, inaccessible terrain.   There was also so much conflicting information on various census:  on one census a person would state that her mother was born in Georgia and on the next census state North Carolina or South Carolina.  Then I remembered the Walton War and what confusion it must have caused the inhabitants of this area.  For many several years they were claimed as citizens of three different states.  I wondered if perhaps they might never have moved at all but were unsure of which state they were being claimed by at the moment.  These people could have stayed where they were and yet have technically lived in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia during this time period.  This was verified by finding some of my ancestors listed on the census of Walton County, Georgia when I know for sure that they were living on land located near the Jackson-Transylvania County, North Carolina border.   So if you are working on your genealogy and have relatives in this area, remember the Walton War!
     

    ©2002
    Shawna Hall