XII. THE SOUTHWEST TERRITORY AND THE MCCORDS

George Washington's 1000-mile Second Front in the American Revolution in the West included Southwest Virginia and present-day Tennessee where the British were inflaming the Indians against the settlers. Constant warfare occurred with considerable loss of life. Scotch-Irish on these frontiers bore the brunt of it and prevented the British from success in their major Second Front strategy in the West. The major battle of Kings Mountain SC success came by patriots from this SW VA and Tennessee area who made a forced march over the mountains to SC, joined there by SC's Scotch-Irish General Andrew Pickens. That victory and the one at the Battle of Cowpens SC were vital morale-building turning points in the war in the South.

After independence, North Carolina and Virginia surrendered their claims to the lands now making up the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, which then became the federal Southwest Territory in 1790 under George Washington, America's first President. It was the counterpart of The Northwest Territory. Both were established in 1790 under George Washington.

After serving in the American Revolution, James McCord, earlier a prisoner of war in the French and Indian War, and who served in the American Revolution, was to become one of George Washington's first federal law enforcement officers in the Southwest Territory, one of the two Federal Territories created in 1790 when Washington became the nation's first President.

The Southwest Territory ran all the way to the Mississippi River from the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. It covered what is now Tennessee and Kentucky. James McCord as Constable McCord in The Southwest Territory had duties similar to that of a U.S. Marshal in the old West.

James McCord was appointed to that position by Southwest Territorial Governor William Blount, signer of the U.S. Constitution. Governor Blount was sworn into office by one of the original U.S. Supreme Court Justices, James Iredell of North Carolina.

WILLIAM BLOUNT (Standing upright on platform with Washington), SIGNER OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION

In 1790, there were only 13 states and the two Federal Territories in the entire United States, the Northwest Territory and the Southwest Territory. The two federal territories were larger than the entire 13 states at that time.

In the scene below a traveler enters a trail on the extreme eastern edge of the Allegheny mountains northwest of Philadelphia and then travels on a long route in a southwesterly direction along the lines of the Allegheny mountain ridges to Tennessee finally breaking through into Kentucky at the Cumberland Gap.

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THE SOUTHWEST AND NORTHWEST TERRITORIES OF 1790

THE LAND SOUTH OF THE OHIO RIVER, WEST TO THE MISSISSIPPI FROM VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH TO GEORGIA CLAIMS WAS THE SOUTHWEST TERRITORY.

THE LAND NORTH OF THE OHIO RIVER WAS THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY

Daughters of this James McCord in Tennessee's first county, Washington County, married sons of David Carson, one of the Scotch-Irish frontier fighters at The Battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina in the American Revolution, and he was a cousin of the famous Kit Carson of western fame. James McCord's wife is believed to have been a Carson.

Sketch of the famous Western Scout Kit Carson

Mountain man and fur trapper Kit Carson "distinguished himself as a trail guide for the explorations (1842-46) of John C. Fremont and by leading American troops into California during the Mexican War. He was an important figure in the Westward expansion of the United States." (Grolier Encyclopedia)

"Following a chance meeting in the West with explorer John Fremont, Kit Carson signed on as a guide and in 1842 led Fremont's first western expedition into Wyoming.

"Carson played the same role in Fremont's historic second and third expeditions (1843-46) along the OREGON TRAIL and into CALIFORNIA.

"By the time these explorations were completed, both men's names had become synonymous with the opening of THE AMERICAN WEST.

"Kentucky-born in 1809, Carson grew up in Missouri, leaving home at the age of 17 to work as a horse handler with a SANTE FE TRAIL wagon train.

"Thereafter he made his livelihood chiefly as a beaver trapper until his fateful meeting with Fremont.

"After distinguishing himself as a U.S. scout in the Mexican War, he tried his hand at ranching and farming and then served as Indian Agent at Taos, New Mexico (1853-60).

"During the Civil War, he fought in the Southwest on the Union side, and was breveted a Brigadier General for gallantry in action.

"At the war's close the fabled Western hero was given a command in Colorado but fell ill, dying at Ft. Lyon, Colorado in 1868 at the age of 59."

JOHN FREMONT, WESTERN EXPLORER AND ONE -TIME GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA

A NATION EXPANDING AND WESTERN EXPLORERS AND SETTLERS NEEDED


The first governor of Tennessee when it became a state in 1794 was Colonel John Sevier, colorful hero of The Battle of Kings Mountain South Carolina in the American Revolution.

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COLONEL JOHN SEVIER OF TENNESSEE

The brothers David and James McCord had served in militia companies under Colonel John Sevier during the American Revolution from 1777-1783 from Washington County, Tennessee (then in North Carolina), where Colonel Sevier was Commander of those companies. He was a brave and courageous man. Sevier was later Tennessee's first Governor. It is believed that James and David McCord likely served as scouts for Sevier since both had been captives of the Indians earlier in the French and Indian War. The British were encouraging Indian depredations against the frontier settlers all during the American Revolution. It was especially severe in Washington County.

Washington County was the furthermost West county of North Carolina at that time, located west of the Allegheny Mountains and just below Virginia. In 1777 Washington County extended from the mountains of North Carolina all the way to the Mississippi River. It had only some 5000 people in that vast area.

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100 year-old Corbin Cabin in Southeast Tennessee similar to cabins of the early 1800's where Scotch-Irish lived in Blount and Franklin Counties, Tennessee

Washington County has had a most colorful and adventuresome history.

Washington County was originally known as the Watauga Settlement from 1769-1777 when it became a county of North Carolina (later in Tennessee).

Later, in 1784-88, after the Revolutionary War (it was a part of North Carolina during the War) this area became part of what became known as "The Lost State of Franklin." It split off from North Carolina and desired to become an independent state, however the U.S. did not recognize it and it became a part of The Southwest Territory in 1790. Sevier was the head of the state of Franklin during its short existence.

The "State of Franklin" area is shown in green and covered from the Virginia line to below Knoxville, in present-day Tennessee. Sevier later became Tennessee's first Governor when it became a state in 1796, formed out of The Southwest Territory.

Theodore Roosevelt in the late 1800's wrote a multi-volume history of the Scotch-Irish fighters on the Western frontier of North Carolina, now Washington County, Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia and Western North Carolina during the American Revolution.

Roosevelt called those frontier fighters very exceptional men and likened them to the men of Oliver Cromwell's army who carried a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other. Roosevelt referred to Cromwell's men as "roundheads" since they cut off their hair, similar apparently to the crewcuts given men in Army basic training today.

Roosevelt referred to Cromwell's opponents as those who wore curls and wigs, ridiculing them as Cromwell's men did.

Roosevelt said the frontier Scotch-Irish frontiersmen of Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and western North Carolina were rugged fighters like Cromwell's and referred to them as the "roundheads of the South" in the American Revolution, they were such tough and courageous fighters. It is said of Colonel John Sevier that he fought many battles and lost none with his frontier Scotch-Irish militiamen.

Later during the War of 1812, this James McCord was appointed by then Tennessee Governor John Sevier to be Justice of Peace in Franklin County, Tennessee. At that time Justices were a senior position in a frontier county and were appointees of the state Governors. In 1815, James McCord Sr. signed attesting to the War of 1812 service of one of the McCords. We have his signature on those official papers.

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1815 signature of James McCord, Sr., Justice of Peace in Franklin County, Tennessee for War of 1812 service of Harvey McCord

In the early 1940's, Governor James McCord (Democrat), one of David McCord's descendants, was elected Governor of Tennessee after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. This David McCord he descended from was the son of David of Derry, Pennsylvania, one of the first McCord settlers in America, coming in 1720. Many of this David's descendants live in Tennessee today.

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Homeplace of David McCord Jr, son of David McCord of Derry (now Hershey) PA. This home is located at Triune, Williamson County, TN and is called 'The Patton Place'