The Robertson Genealogy Exchange

Draper Manuscript 6XX48
Dr. Lyman C. Draper to [12216] Dr. Felix Robertson

Madison, Wisconsin,
June 20th 1853.

My Dear Friend —

I duly received your obliging favor of March 1852 — with the enclosed notes relative to your father, & also the sketch of your old pioneer friend Capt. DeMunebruen. For all I felt, & still feel, deeply grateful.

Col. Putnam has made you acquainted with my late change of residence. Just about the time your letter reached, came the intelligence of the death of my old Kinsman at Mobile (Where he was engaged in business, though his family always resided north) — in whose family I had resided since boyhood & who had for many years been my steady patron and friend. In consequence of this new change in affairs, I spent the balance of last year chiefly in settling up matters pertaining to his estate — & in the autumn removing here — Since December last, I have again been steadily employed in my old historical pursuits but more particularly in trying to complete the life of Daniel Boone — which I hope to do in a few months at most — & which I am pushing forward with very good success: That once off my hands, I shall as I have engaged, take up General Sevier and complete it as quickly as possible, then your father. I now think six months will be sufficient to complete the Sevier volume — I am trying to so arrange matters so as to visit you and Col. Putnam at Nashville immediately after completing the Boone volume.

Lest, however something might prevent this, I have this morning spent some little time in examining a number of points, mostly pertaining to your father — shall now state them:

1st. Was your grandfather a native of Scotland or Ireland.? What is the date of his death.? and what became of your grandmother Robertson.?

2d. When was your father born.? When and where was your mother born.? — When were they married.?

3d. Any particulars of your fathers early life, & school advantages, recollected — before his marriage? His age when his father moved to North Carolina.? Was it near Raleigh on the Neuse your father lived.?

4th. In the year 1816, some person whose name is not known to me residing in Hilham, Overton,County, Tenn.& who personally [knew] your parents, wrote a sketch of early Tennessee history, in which it stated your father settled on Watauga Watauga in the spring of 1768. This is about two years earlier than your notes mention, or Haywood. Let me know about this discrepancy. To take the various authorities just as they are, I should think it most probable that your statement is most reliable. Let me know under what circumstances you wrote those notes — whether from your own memory alone or dictated in whole or in part by your mother.?

And was it in the spring of 1770 that your father first visited Watauga? Did any one accompany him there? What led him to that region — had he heard anything concerning it,? Do you know anything of the Honeycutt he found there — & what became of him. Do you know the names of any of the families or persons who emigrated to Watauga with your father & his' family in the fall of 1770.? Had your father and mother any children then — if so their ages. l make this latter inquiry by way of more definitely settling at & determining the date of your fathers emigration to Watauga. And whereabouts on Watauga did your father first settle — was [it] at the point where the fort was erected, which he commanded in 1776.?

Have you any idea as [to] the person residing at Hilham, Tenn. who wrote the little sketch I have alluded to.?

5th. Haywood speaks of one John Boone going with your father from Watauga to obtain a lease of lands. Do you recollect of ever hearing either your father or mother mention such a person? rather think it should be John Bean, but am not certain.

6th. Have you any knowledge about Daniel Boone residing or being on Watauga when your father went there — if so what can you tell me about it.?

7th If you retain any traditions concerning the attack on Watuaga fort in 1776, please inform me fully of them.

8th. There was on Watauga a Col. Charles Robertson — sometimes called Black Charles Robertson — was he in any way related to your father; and do you know when and where he died — or anything of his descendants.?

9th. Was the Robert Lucas killed in Jan. 1781 by the Indians formerly from E. Tennessee.?

10th. You gave me an imperfect copy of a pamphlet sketch of West Tennessee — the writers name does not appear, as the title page is mostly gone, but published about 1810. Do you know who wrote it.? In that sketch it is said that your father first went to the French Lick in December 1778, but your notes say early in 1779, & so say Haywood and the other Hilham sketch. What led your father to lllinois? Haywood says that on the first visit to Cumberland that your father was accompanied by George Freeland, William Neely, Edward Swanson, James Hanly, Mark Robertson, Zachariah White, William Overall. If you can, tell me what became of when and where died Freeland, Swanson, Hanly, M Robertson, & Overall.?

11th. Haywood and the pamphlet of about 1810, speak of the battle at Nashville when your father and a number of others went out of the forest and fought the Indians, was April 2 1781: In your notes you say August 1781, your father went to North Carolina for aid and did not get back to the French Lick till April 1782. & the 4 th of the following month of May, the battle above alluded to took place. There is an error somewhere — & I should rather incline to think that perhaps you made a mistake in saying the battle took place after his return from North Carolina — When it was (perhaps) before he went. Can you straighten this matter.

12th. Do you know when and where Col. Jas. Ford died — or can you refer me to any of his descendants.?

13th. What loss did the Whites and Indians sustain in the attack on Buchanan Station — what were the names of the wounded.?

14th.Do you know where there any copies of Bradford's old Museum Magazine that you could get for me? Mr. Faunchill may have them.

15th.What brothers and sisters have you living — their names ages, & residence.

16th. Are Mrs. Donelson, Gen. William Hall, Col. William Pillow Thomas Baton & wife, William Matlock, & Samuel Blair yet living? When did Col. Jas. Brown die.? And was a daguerreotype of Thomas Hickman taken in his life time for me.

I hope you will at once set about answering these inquiries fully — that I may have the replies to study over before I see you, & see what more if any explanations are needed. And when you send your reply, also be kind enough to send these inquiries back, that I may the better understand the subjects under review. Let me hope to hear from you quite soon — With my kind regards to your son & his lady whom I saw at your house.

I remain
Yours Most Sincerely,



P.S.: I have got a
copy of Dr. Ramsey's new History.

Source: Draper, Lyman Copeland, Transcriptions from the Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts Relating to the History of Tennessee from 1769-1850. Made by James Leonard Highsaw... for The Daughters of the American Revolution of Tennessee and Cossitt Library (Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1914).

Last updated: Monday, September 8, 2003

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