The Indian Agency
After 1800, under the Jefferson administration, there was an effort to reduce the federal military budget. This led to a reduction in the number of troops stationed at Fort Southwest Point. However Fort Southwest Point’s importance was increased in 1801 when as part of the cost-saving effort, the roles of Agent of the War Department in Tennessee and Cherokee Indian Agent were combined and Fort Southwest Point was chosen as headquarters for this combined function.
Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs, at the age of 60, was chosen to assume this important role. He was a Revolutionary War leader from Connecticut who later led a group of Connecticut settlers into Ohio. By all accounts he was an exceptionally fair-minded man, who took his responsibilities seriously. In response to the Cherokee’s complaint that their annuity for the lands they seceded had been paid in relatively useless luxury goods, Colonel Meigs ensured the payments took the form of tools, livestock and goods to help their economic productivity. Additionally he ensured they were provided with food when necessary, such as in the drought of 1804.
Return Jonathan Meigs
In 1807 the Cherokee Indian Agency and the garrison were moved to the Hiwassee Garrison in order to be closer to the Cherokee People. Colonel Meigs and the majority of the troops left Fort Southwest Point at the time. Fort Southwest Point continued to serve as a storage facility and a small security post until 1811.