Natural William Bartram began keeping notebooks on the natural history of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains in 1775. Because of strained relations with North Carolina Indian tribes, he did his work alone and without the help of a guide. Eventually he reached the Cherokee Middle Towns near present-day Franklin in Macon County, where he was welcomed. It is from this point that his journal details descriptions of the Cherokee. His journals, first published in 1791, describe the earliest days of North Carolina and also provide an ethnology of the Indians.