United States and American History: 1772

About the United States in 1772, our first civil government, more problems with the British in Rhode Island with the Gaspee, and our first regulation of doctors.


May Settlers in the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains organized the 1st civil government set up by a community of American-born free men. By terms of a treaty made at Fort Stanwix in 1768, the Indian confederation called the 6 Nations had agreed to cede all land between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Living outside of Colony boundaries, the settlers in this area were allowed by the British to band together for mutual protection. They drew up a written agreement called the "Articles of the Watauga Association." An elected assembly of 13 chose a ruling committee of 5.

June 9-10 The British revenue cutter Gaspee was lured into shallow water in Narragansett Bay, R.I., while in pursuit of a suspected smuggler. This ship was highly unpopular with the local citizenry, nearly all of whom dabbled in smuggling. It was boarded and captured by prominent citizens from Providence, including John Brown, founder of the university that bears his name. The Gaspee was then burned.

The incident placed Governor Wanton in an untenable position. Since Rhode Island elected its own governor, Wanton had to enforce the King's Regulations without offending the people who had put him in office. He solved his dilemma by offering pound 200 reward for identification of the guilty parties, who were subject to immediate removal to England for trial. As expected, no one came forward with the names. They were kept secret from the British until after the outbreak of hostilities in 1775.

Sept. 26 New Jersey legislators passed a bill to forbid the practice of medicine without a license. Effective for a trial 5-year period, the new law excepted those who pulled teeth, drew blood, or gave free medical advice.

Dec. 22 Moravian missionaries began construction of the 1st schoolhouse west of the Allegheny Mountains, at Schoenbrunn, Pa.

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