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Pioneers of the Old Southwest Territory (Tennessee), 1791-1796

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  • John McKee, US Congress (c.1771 - 1832)
    Indian Agent & Congressman; possibly married an Indian woman. John McKee, a Representative from Alabama; born in Augusta (now Rockbridge) County, Va., in 1771; attended Liberty Hall Academy (now Wa...
  • James White (1749 - 1809)
    ) James White (June 16, 1749 – October, 1809) was an American physician, lawyer, and politician. He was an early settler at Nashville, Tennessee and in Louisiana. He was a delegate for North C...
  • Col. Samuel Wear (c.1753 - 1817)
    Began military career in 1777 while still living in Rockbridge County, Virginia. By 1780, he had built and occupied Fort Wear in what is now Sevier County, TN. He was a Captain under Col.John Sevier ...
  • Thomas Thornburgh (c.1761 - 1832)
    Thomas Thornburg was the son of Benjamin Eli Thornburg and second wife Mary Brooks. He was born c.1761 in Berkeley County, Virginia and died in 1832 in Liberty Corners, Delaware County, Indiana. He mar...
  • Christina Demonbreun (1787 - 1850)

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The Territory South of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Southwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 26, 1790, until June 1, 1796, when it was admitted to the United States as the State of Tennessee.


George Washington

Philadelphia, November 8, l791.

Sir: I have now the honor to enclose you a report on the lands of the United States within the Northwestern and Southwestern Territories, unclaimed either by Indians or by citizens of these States.

 In order to make the estimate of their quantity and situation, as desired by the Legislature, it appeared necessary, first, to delineate the Indian boundaries which circumscribe those territories, and then to present a statement of all claims of citizens within the same; from whence results the residuary unclaimed mass, whereon any land law the Legislature may think proper to pass nay operate immediately, and without obstruction.

 I have not presumed to decide on the merits of the several claims, nor, consequently, to investigate them minutely; this will only be proper, when such of them as may be thought doubtful if there should be any such, shall be taken up for final decision.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect and attachment, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, Th. Jefferson