Yoakums Station 1797
|On highway 63 between LaFollette, Tennessee and Cumberland Gap stands a Fort Yoakum Historical Marker. It reads:||
The 1771 Holston Treaty prohibited settlers from entering the Cherokee lands in the Powell Valley, however, recipients of North Carolina land grants moved into the area. President Washington directed the pioneers to leave the valley. Captain Richard Sparks and Captain John Wade read the executive order to the settlers at Yoakum Station one mile southeast in February 1797. The Treaty of Tellico (1798) resolved the controversy.
[EDITORS NOTE - The circular letter addressed to the inhabitants of Powell's Valley, etc, by Captains Sparks and Wade, is so replete with mildness and moderation, that the most obstinate disposition, cannot but concur with in opinion, that it is better to meet the wishes of these gentlemen than by a perverse conduct, compel them to measures which may temper their minds, so as to fit them for dispassionate argument, and by throwing aside every idea of the interest they now hold, take into view future prospects, and the advantage which may accrue to them and to the state at large, by a due obedience to the laws of the land,]
George states "The letter written by Captains Sparks and Wade to the Powell valley residents may have seemed "replete with mildness and moderation" to the Editor of the Gazette who was not being asked to vacate his homestead; but the people of Powell Valley did not feel exactly the same emotions felt by the good editor. They answered the Army men, and the answer, though unsigned as it appears in the Gazette of February 27, 1797, is a masterpiece. "
The Answer to the Army Men from the Knoxville Gazette and Weekly Advertiser February 27, 1797:
"The descendants of the
frontiersmen who wrote this letter could well be proud of his ancestry. Here is
the answer which the people of Powell Valley made to Captains Sparks and Wade,
and one needs little reading between the lines to see that they were actually
were writing to higher authority. They were possessed of enough native
intelligence to know that Sparks and Wade were instruments."
Although we anticipate the pungent grief we shall feel, on being obliged to leave our little farms, and on hearing the cries of our children fore spread, which we shall not be able shortly to (illegible) for them, yet we mean to bear with all the fortitude we can, the wrongs of the general government, hoping they will ere long become more just and generous to her suffering citizens.
Oh! How we long for such wise, humane, and well-informed men as Jefferson and ???????. We know not who to place with him at the helm, to steer the ship of the Commonwealth. In discussing the scheme of the federal government in America, in which, by the most admirable contrivances, justice seems to be so impartially administered, property so well guarded, and liberty so effectually secured, that in theory it seems impossible that any people under such wise regulations, can possibly fail of being happy, virtuous, and free; but experiment convinces us, that they are inadequate to these salutary purposes; our errors have arose from reasoning on false premises, that is, from supposing that Congress and her ministers would act on principles incompatible with the vises, the follies, and passions of human nature.
Article shared by George L. Yoakum, Cadiz, KY 9-27-1999
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Rev 4b: 3 Mar 2000 : rdk
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