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Virginia House of Delegates Walker's Line Resolution

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0792

The collection consists of a handwritten document and transcription of the agreement made in Virginia's House of Delegates to settle the differences concerning the boundaries for North Carolina and Virginia. It was agreed upon that the state of Tennessee should be the deciding factor and mediator to dissolve the issues concerning Walker's Line and the 36 and 30 latitudes. The people that lived in the controversial region were not paying taxes nor were they dedicated to one state or the other. Virginia’s House of Delegates decided to send three commissioners to meet with three commissioners of representatives of both North Carolina and Tennessee. This proposal to solve the boundary line issue was accepted by the senate and was transcribed by William M. Wirt, the keeper of the roles.

Dates

  • 1800 January 10

Language

The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet (One folder)

Abstract

The collection consists of a written agreement by the Virginia House of Delegates to settle differences for the boundaries of North Carolina and Virginia on January 10, 1800.

Biographical/Historical Note

Walker’s Line, named after the Virginia representative Dr. Thomas Walker (1714-1794), was a way to extend the boundaries of North Carolina, Virginia, and also extend the boundary into Tennessee and Kentucky at the 36 and 30 degree latitudes in the year 1779. Also representing Virginia in the debate was Daniel Smith; the North Carolina representatives were Col. Richard Henderson and William Bailey Smith. The line the surveyors followed was inaccurate and as a result the line ended a little short of the Tennessee River. Ever since the line’s creation, North Carolina and Virginia have had numerous debates over the “real” boundary of the states.

Dr. Thomas Walker was an early American explorer. Having the distinguished profession of doctor, he was a wealthy man who liked to travel to the unexplored regions of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Daniel Smith (1748-1818) was the surveyor and friend during the Walker’s Line creation and was the first man to make a map of Tennessee. Col. Richard Henderson (1735-1785) was an explorer and founder of Henderson, KY. William Bailey Smith (1737/38-1818) was a surveyor and an important figure for the early settlement of Kentucky.

William Wirt was born in Bladensburg, Maryland on November 8, 1772. He married Mildred Gilmer in 1795. Gilmer’s family was very close to Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson took a liking to Wirt and made him a lawyer for the Democratic Republican Party. In 1800, Wirt became a clerk for Virginia’s House of Delegates in which he transcribed all the proceeding therein. All of William’s experience in government paid off in 1807 when he was appointed to the position of prosecuting attorney under President Jefferson. In 1817, William Wirt received the position of Attorney General under President Monroe, which he is mostly well-known for. He also worked in John Quincy Adam’s cabinet and continued practicing law in Baltimore, MD. Wirt passed away on February 18, 1834.

Acquisition Note

This item was purchased by Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480