In March 1 775 Richard Henderson and some North Carolina land speculators met about 1200 Cherokee Indians in council on the Watauga river and concluded a treaty with them for the purchase of all the territory south of the Ohio river and between the Kentucky and Cumberland rivers.
This latter route began at Inglis's Ferry, on the New river, in what is now West Virginia, and proceeded west by south to the Cumberland Gap. The " Wilderness Road," as marked by Daniel Boone in 1775, was a mere trail, running from the Watauga settlement in east Tennessee to the Cumberland Gap, and thence by way of what are now Crab Orchard, Danville and Bardstown, to the Falls of the Ohio, and was passable only for men and horses until 1795, when the state made it a wagon road.
In 1768 the Iroquois ceded whatever claim they had to the English, and in 1769 several cabins were built along the Watauga and Holston rivers upon what was thought to be Virginian soil.
Therefore in 1772 the residents of the first two settlements met in general convention to establish a form of government since known as the Watauga Association.
The Watauga settlers, indignant at this transfer without their consent, and fearing to be left without any form of government whatever, called a convention which met at Jonesborough on the 23rd of August 1784, and by which delegates to another convention to form a new state were appointed.
In 1778, James Robertson (1742-1814), a native of Virginia, who had been prominent in the Watauga settlement, set out with a small party to prepare the way for permanent occupation.
A form of government similar to the Watauga Association was devised, and block-houses were built for defence against the Indians.