On this day in WNC history: Entering the second year of conflict between British and French forces in North America, on this day in 1756, after four days of negotiations, delegates of the Cherokees, representatives of Virginia, and translators reached an alliance. They had already allied with the Catawba to the east on Feb 21. The negotiation demonstrated the agency Cherokees held in dealing with white inhabitants and governments at the time.

The parties met somewhere along the lower Broad River in western North Carolina, with both sides noting the difficulty of their journey along flooded rivers and impassible wagon roads. Attakullahkulla, the chief Cherokee Sachem, referred to as “The Little Carpenter,” spoke first imploring the white representatives to cross the river to meet them. The Virginians, commissioned by Governor Dinwiddie, repeatedly referred to the Cherokee as brothers and warned them of threats from French forts and hostile Native American tribes. They presented the Cherokee wampum beads and also promised them sufficient firearms and clothing for warriors that would join the British/Provincial forces fighting the French and their Shawnee allies.

Attakullahkulla noted that his people inhabiting the upper towns “are as much exposed to the Incursions of the French and Indians, as your Frontier Inhabitants” and requested the Virginians build a protective fort. After deliberation and negotiation, the Cherokee agreed to send at least 400 warriors when Virginians completed what became Fort Loudon in modern TN. The Cherokee sent men, but after an unsuccessful campaign that fall against the Shawnees, they returned, attacking Fort Dobbs on the NC frontier over their dissatisfaction with food and supplies. Further negotiations kept them from allying with the French.

                                                                       Isaac Basire, Attakullakulla (center) during visit to England, engraving, 1730