2021 Lecture Series #6

Topic:

“Beginning at a white oak and runs E: 130 poles….”:
North Carolina’s Frontier during the French and Indian War.

Guest Speaker:

Jason Melius

Fort Dobbs State Historic Site

ABSTRACT


By 1750, increasing numbers of settlers were pushing the western frontier of North Carolina well
beyond the Yadkin River. Settlers were drawn from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to a
region in which even the poorest could easily acquire hundreds of acres of fertile land. Most
were farmers, whose profits from crop harvests allowed steady expansion of their holdings, ever
increasing their wealth. With the allied Cherokee and Catawba Nations to the west and south,
North Carolina’s frontier was considered relatively safe. The colony’s frontier was full of
promise.
Events in western Pennsylvania in 1754 quickly brought drastic change to the lives of the
people settling the frontier of North Carolina. The French and Indian War brought violence to the
region, in the form of attacks by French-allied Native Americans. As the war expanded,
settlement slowed dramatically, and eventually brought a small military force to North Carolina’s
Fourth Creek Settlement, centered in modern Statesville, NC. The “Frontier Company,” a 50-
man company of North Carolina Provincial Soldiers, constructed Fort Dobbs in 1756 to defend
the western settlements from French-allied Native attacks. 
This lecture will explore North Carolina’s frontier expansion, the effects of the French and Indian
War on settlers and Native Americans, and winter life on the edge of the British Empire.

BIOGRAPHY


Jason Melius is a native of New York but has spent much of his life in North Carolina. He is the
lead Historic Interpreter at Fort Dobbs State Historic Site in Statesville, NC, and previously
served as the Archivist for Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem. He has been involved in
public history for twenty-eight years. He has guest lectured for universities, historic sites, and
the National Park Service, published articles focusing on 18th century material culture, colonial
history, and Southeastern Native American topics such as tattooing practices.

Jason received his Master of Library and Information Studies through UNC Greensboro.

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