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In Their Own Words

March 08, 1797

Benjamin Hawkins Letter on White Encroachment on Indian Land

White encroachment on Indian lands was a continuing problem faced by U.S. Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins. On this day, he wrote to an assistant working with the Creek Indians on the U.S. attempts to draw boundaries that could be enforced:

“… We must try and stop this business; if we do not, the day of reckoning will come and we shall see another long roll which must be paid. The troops have arrived from the northward and are fixed and fixing down to keep peace on these frontiers. Col. Gaither will do everything in his power that will lead thereto, but the chiefs must help him, or all will be in vain. I have just had sent on to me the conferences had with the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees and the mad Spaniard in Philadelphia; the substance will be sent to you by Mr. Barnard. The President, with the advice of the Senate, has appointed me, with General Pickins and General Winchester, to ascertain and mark the lines between the Indian nations and the United States; this thing presses much, and we have determined to begin the Cherokee line first, and to finish that early the next month; we did intend to run your line first, but we find that delay would be injurious to the Cherokees, as intrusions are continually increasing on their lands… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. IX, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 (Savannah, Georgia Historical Society, 1916), pp. 98-99.