Watauga Association

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Watauga Association,

government (1772–75) formed by settlers along the Watauga River in present E Tennessee. Virginians made the first settlements in 1769, and after the collapse of the Regulator movementRegulator movement,
designation for two groups, one in South Carolina, the other in North Carolina, that tried to effect governmental changes in the 1760s. In South Carolina, the Regulator movement was an organized effort by backcountry settlers to restore law and order and
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 in North Carolina, citizens from that colony under James RobertsonRobertson, James,
1742–1814, American frontiersman, a founder of Tennessee, b. Brunswick co., Va. He was reared in North Carolina. After the failure of the Regulator movement, he led (1771) a group of settlers from Orange co., N.C.
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 established homes farther west on the river. For their mutual protection these settlements united in 1772 and drew up a written agreement, called the Watauga Association. A five-man court constituted the government. Other settlements along the Holston and Nolichucky rivers also adhered to the Watauga Association. In 1772 the Wataugans secured a 10-year lease from the Cherokee for the land along the river; in 1775 they organized as Washington district, but in 1776, at their own request, they came under the protection of North Carolina, which created (1777) Washington co. for the area. After the American Revolution the Wataugans belonged to another new, short-lived government (see Franklin, State ofFranklin, State of,
government (1784–88) formed by the inhabitants of Washington, Sullivan, and Greene counties in present-day E Tennessee after North Carolina ceded (June, 1784) its western lands to the United States. Following preliminary conventions at Jonesboro (Aug.
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) before Tennessee became a state in 1796.