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Conference Between the Cherokee Nation and the United States Transcript of Minutes

Identifier: MS-1252

  • Staff Only

A 17-page typescript transcription of a May 1795 conference between the Cherokee Nation and the United States. This conference at Tellico Block House (in what is now Vonore, Tennessee) is recognized as a significant moment in the United States' relationship with the "Five Civilized Tribes." Despite the compromises reached in the Treaty of Holston in 1791, a series of raids originating from both sides occurred from 1792 to 1794, leading to a peace treaty conference in November 1794. John McKee served as the mediator, and Charles Hicks served as the interpretor for the conference. The event was seen as necessary by the United States government for at least two immediate reasons: First, money set aside by President Washington and Congress needed to be used to prevent the Cherokee from allying with the Spanish; also, the matter of the twenty kidnapped slaves, who Governor Blount demanded back the previous December, needed to be reviewed. The idea of slavery among the Cherokee people brought up substantial discussion, but overall, the Cherokee seemed quite determined to be at peace. Major points discussed during the negotiations included a particular trading post, the kidnapped slaves, and those matters discussed at the Holston Conference. The conference lasted from May 20 to May 21, 1795. A letter to Governor Blount written May 27, 1795 from John McKee summarizes the results of the conference.


  • 1795

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0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


A 17-page typescript transcription of a May 1795 conference between the Cherokee Nation and the United States.

Biographical/Historical Note

John McKee was born in 1771 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He attended Liberty Hall Academy in Lexington. McKee was appointed by territorial Governor William Blount to survey the Cherokee Nation boundary in 1792. After being sent on a peacekeeping mission to the Cherokee in 1793, he was temporarily appointed territorial agent for the Cherokee in 1794. In 1795, McKee became a lawyer, served as a lieutenant colonel in the militia, and worked as a Blount County (Southwest Territory) clerk. In 1797 the federal government sent him to meet with representatives of Panton, Leslie and Company in Pensacola, Florida, to discuss debts owed by the Choctaw to that company. McKee served as United States agent to the Choctaw Nation from 1799 to 1802.

McKee served as a representative to the Choctaw for Panton, Leslie and Company's successor John Forbes and Company even after dismissal as an agent. He also continued to do business with the company even as a federal employee.

McKee accompanied George Matthews in January 1811 to Spanish West Florida to help Matthews negotiate its surrender with Governor Juan Vicente Folch y Juan. Folch had rescinded his offer to surrender the territory so that it could be annexed by the United States, and shortly after Matthews gave McKee instructions to incite rebellion in Mobile and Pensacola in West Florida, but these plans were cancelled early in 1812.

In 1813 McKee was appointed by Andrew Jackson to recruit the Choctaw in the United States' fight against the Creek during the Creek War. He was recruited again as agent to the Choctaw in 1814 and served until 1821. He later served as the registrar of the United States Land Office in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from 1821 to 1823, and then as the first Representative of Alabama's 2nd District from 1823 to 1829. After leaving the House of Representatives, he was among the agents who negotiated the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek with the Choctaw Nation in 1830.

John McKee built a house in Boligee, Alabama, in 1816, and may have married a Chickasaw woman, with whom he had two children. He died at this home in 1832.


This material is in one folder.

Repository Details

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

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA