On February 27, 1819, chiefs of the Cherokee Nation signed a treaty ceding a portion of their remaining eastern lands. The new North Carolina territory stretched from the former treaty line (the old Meigs-Freeman line) to the ridge of the Nantahala Mountains, and from the Georgia & South Carolina borders on the south to the Tennessee line on the north.
The State of North Carolina appointed James Meabin and Jesse Franklin as Commissioners in charge of organizing the large territory. They hired Captain Robert Love of Waynesville to head the survey party.
Chief of the Surveyors
Captain Robert Love of Waynesville is said to have been a hero of the War of 1812. His father, Gen. Thomas Love, was a vigorous frontiersman who served 20 years in the North Carolina legislature.
The Love family played a colorful and controversial role in the settling of the frontier. They also figured prominently in the first N.C. novel, Eoneguski, or the Cherokee Chief, set partly in Macon County.
Work of the Love Survey Party
The work began with the division of the huge area into 18 districts. Each was assigned to one of five or six survey crews for mapping. The districts were further divided into tracts or sections, which were offered to the public through land grants.
Each section offered for sale contained 50 to 300 acres. Each included some good farm land and timber land.
The survey party produced a huge map, one copy of which was posted in the Haywood County courthouse prior to the first land sale. The sale began Sept. 20, 1820 and continued for several weeks. Other sales were held in Franklin in 1822 and 1823.
The survey party chose the site of Franklin, which was destined to become the county seat. The town site occupied 400 acres in sections 24 and 32 of district 16. It was named for Commissioner Jesse Franklin, a prominent statesman who became governor of North Carolina in 1820.
Because of high demand for land, prices were set to bring in a good profit. No land could be sold for less than 50 cents per acre. Grade 1, the best, sold for $4 per acre; grade 2 for $2 and grade 3 for $1. Buyers could pay one-eighth down and the rest in four annual payments, with a discount offered for early payment. Grants were to be issued after the state received the full purchase price.
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