After the American Revolution Georgia met with the Cherokee Nation to negotiate a treaty to get more land from the tribe. Georgia signed a treaty with the Cherokee on May 31, 1783, netting the state 1650 square miles of land, mostly in Franklin County but short of the Chattahoochee River, the border demanded by some settlers. The northwestern boundary of this Cherokee cession would become known as the "Hawkins line" because it was surveyed by Benjamin Hawkins in 1798.
By 1793 two forts had been built in the area ceded by the Cherokee to protect the settlers, Fort Wofford and Fort Hollingsworth. Fort Wofford was located near the end of the Middle Fork of the Broad River (near Currahee Mountain). A portion of Fort Hollingsworth still stands near the city of the same name. In 1794 Wofford signed the Treaty of the Holsten.
Woffords Tract or The Four-Mile Purchase Woffords Station is indicated by a circle
In a letter to Secretary of War James McHenry dated February 1, 1798 Hawkins informed McHenry that the survey had been completed to the satisfaction of everyone in the party, meaning the Americans and Creek chiefs. The Cherokee were not part of the group that surveyed the line indicating the border of the Cherokee Nation and the United States. Apparently the existing Wofford settlement was ignored by everyone in the survey party.
The Wofford Settlement was entirely contained in a four-mile wide strip running along Hawkins line just over 23 miles long. William Wofford, his son Nathanial, and other family members and friends totaling around 50 people had received an errant headright land grant from the state of Georgia - the land in the grant was west of the Hawkins Line. The Wofford family discovered the mistake when Benjamin Hawkins' crew cut the 20-foot wide swath through the forest south of the Wofford Settlement indicating the border between the Cherokee Nation and the United States. Wofford's Settlement eventually protested to both the state of Georgia and the United States. The elder Wofford served in the Continental Army as a colonel and this headright grant was part of his payment from the United States for his service.
With James Vann negotiating the treaty for the Cherokee and James Blair, a Franklin County resident, negotiating for the United States, a concession of land was reached in return for $5,000 in goods and a $1,000 annuity payment in October, 1804. Today the land rests in Hall County and Banks County and was near the Augusta to Nashville Road later known as the Old Federal Road.
The aftermath of this treaty is almost as interesting as the treaty itself. The land was later extended six miles to the south with the agreement of the Cherokee Nation to cover intruders without any formal treaty or payment. In 1812 Georgia decided to extend the border further by simply taking additional land from the Wofford Tract border to the ridge between the Chattahoochee River and the Oconee River, a range of mountains just south of present-day Cornelia, Georgia. Chenocetah Mountain is the tallest mountain in this range.
The original treaty in October, 1804 was never sent to Washington D. C. for ratification, a fact lost on American politicians but not on the Cherokee. While in Washington in 1824 the Cherokee pointed out the lack of ratification to their American hosts and arrangements were quickly made for Senate ratification.
Colonel William Wofford is sometimes listed as General Wofford. Wofford, who founded Wofford's Settlement only reached the rank of colonel in the Continental Army. His grandson, also named William Wofford, was a noted Civil War general who served under John Bell Hood, commanded troops at Antietam and Gettysburg, and was one of the last generals east of the Mississippi River to surrender his troops.
Another grandson was the mixed-blood James D. Wofford. He translated a Sunday School reader phonetically into Cherokee in 1820, before the creation of the Cherokee alphabet by Sequoyah, to whom his wife was related. During the Cherokee census of 1824 he served as enumerator for Hiawasee District and Toccoa District. In 1834 he led a large Cherokee party west before the Trail of Tears.
For some reason this date for the completion of the survey of the Hawkins Line is different depending on what article you read, but Hawkins himself recorded the line being started in late 1797 and completed on February 1, 1798. This is not the only "Hawkins Line." He was an active surveyor and many of the borders he surveyed were known simply as the Hawdins Line.
The name Wofford is sometimes misspelled as Wafford.
Some sources note the initial payment by the United States to the Cherokee Nation as 4,000 dollars.