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William Blount Papers

Identifier: VAULT-Ayer-MS-74

Scope and Content of the Collection

Ten items, 1794-1796, pertaining to Blount’s administration as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southwest Territory.

Military topics include militia appointments and reenlistments at South West Point and Fort Grainger, the payment of troops, the removal of white settlers from lands guaranteed to the Indians by the Treaty of Holston, and the repossession of stolen Cherokee horses. There also is correspondence regarding Chickasaw and Choctaw annuity goods; an Oct. 10-21, 1795, peace conference with Cherokee and Choctaw chiefs at the Tellico Blockhouse; and the construction of public buildings at Tellico. Correspondents include David Henley, an agent of the War Department, John Pitchlynn, U.S. interpreter to the Choctaw, and militia and U.S. Army officers.


  • Creation: 1794-1796



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The William Blount Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The William Blount Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of William Blount

United States statesman.

William Blount, born in North Carolina, was paymaster for Continental troops in 1777, served in the North Carolina legislature, in the Continental Congress and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was named governor of the Territory south of the Ohio River by President Washington in 1790, and served as superintendent of Indian affairs in that region from 1790 until 1796.

After settling in Tennessee, Blount held several high political offices. This included being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1796, from which he was expelled in 1797 for concocting a plan to incite Creek and Cherokee Indians to aid the British in conquering the Spanish territory of West Florida. Nevertheless, Blount’s career in Tennessee was not hampered by the “high misdemeanor”, and in 1798 he was elected to the Tennessee State Senate where he was chosen president.

While governor of the Southwest Territory, William Blount built as mansion in Knoxville, which is now a National Historic Landmark. He died in Knoxville in 1800, aged 50.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Letters, orders and receipts written by William Blount, pertaining to his administration of Indian and military affairs in the Territory of the United States, South of the River Ohio, 1794-1796. Correspondence directed to David Henley (as agent of the War Department), John Pitchlynn (U.S. interpreter to the Choctaw), and several other military officers.


Material arranged chronologically and all signed by William Blount.

Collection Stack Location

Vault 25 1


Purchases, 1911, 1933, 1934.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2011.

Inventory of the William Blount Papers, 1794-1796
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States