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Rural Beginnings 1730-1772

1759 - A Child Called Peter

A contagious and deadly disease called smallpox leaves Peter Harris an orphan. The Catawba Indian boy is welcomed into Thomas Spratt's home in Charlotte. Harris will remain close with his adoptive white family throughout his life. He will fight for the Americans during the Revolutionary War, and be buried in Spratt's family graveyard when he dies.

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1763 - Chief of the Catawbans

Since beginning his rule in 1750, Catawba Chief Hagler has been a respected leader. He is known for working to keep alive the tribe's traditions while striving to live peacefully with the white settlers. Returning from a meeting where he had spoken on behalf of his people, Chief Hagler is killed by a Shawnee war party.

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1760 - Catawba Nation Declines

Of the many thousands of Indians who lived in the Piedmont just 50 years ago, only 1,000 remain. The diseases brought by settlers, and the battles with neighboring tribes and whites, have claimed many lives. Some Indians unite with other nearby tribes, such as the Wateree and Cheraw. By joining together, they become the Catawba Nation, with 500 warriors and 2,500 people.

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1763 - Native Land Deals

Representatives of Great Britain meet the Catawba Indians at the Great Congress of Augusta. An Indian interpreter named Hexayours, sometimes called Ayers, helps the tribe negotiate with the British for 144,000 acres along the banks of the Catawba River. This land will be set aside for the Indians. Since there is no American government yet, the British claim control of the land in the colonies.

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1750 - Establishing Roots

The self-sufficient, hard-working settlers believe that adults and children alike should learn to read so they can study the Bible. They begin to build churches so they can worship as a community.

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1764 - Slave Trade

The first sale of a slave in Mecklenburg County is officially recorded. Prices are set in units of British currency, called pounds. The price paid for the African man is 75 pounds. Slaves are given new names by their masters. Some names, such as Joseph and Jacob, come from the Bible. Other names come from literature and history -- Romulus, Titus and Daphne. The slaves are not allowed to use their African names.

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1766 - The First Mecklenburg County Courthouse

The First Courthouse was a log cabin, built on ten-foot tall brick pillars. This tradition of raising the courthouse or main town market building was borrowed from England, and provided an open space at the center of town that could be used for the selling of animals, produce and other goods. Additionally, in the center of the open space, a post was driven into the ground to mark the middle of town, from which distances to other towns, river fords, and other destinations could be measured. 

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1766 - Colonial Physicians

Dr. Joseph Kennedy becomes the first physician to practice medicine in Mecklenburg County. Second is Dr. Ephraim Brevard. In just a few years, both men will become important leaders as the colonists fight for their freedom from British tyranny.

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1767 - Land Grants

Jan. 15, 1767 - Lord Augustus Selwyn agrees to sell 360 acres of land to Abraham Alexander, Thomas Polk and John Frohock. Since there is no American currency yet, the price is determined in British units of money, called pounds. The price for the land is 90 pounds. The land lies where the future downtown Charlotte will flourish.

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1767 - A President Born

March 15, 1767 - Andrew Jackson is born at Waxhaw, on the border between North and South Carolina. Though his father died before Jackson's birth, this working-class descendant of Scots-Irish immigrants will be elected to the highest office in the U.S. He will become its seventh president in 1828.

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