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The Settlement of the Appalachian Frontier: December 2004

The Settlement of the Appalachian Frontier

Sharing information, stories, and ideas for teaching students about the settlement of the Appalachian Frontier. Focusing on the little-known people and history of Southwestern Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and Eastern Kentucky.

Location: Nickelsville, Virginia, United States

Monday, December 27, 2004


(SOURCE: 1- Virginia GAZETTE, Feb.10, 1775)
(2- American Archives, Ser. IV,I,cols. 1165-66.)

Abstractor's Note: This is the World Famous--FINCASTLE RESOLUTION!
A precursor to the Declaration of Independence!

The FESTER started in 1738/9 when our people of the Western Waters saw they were treated as inferior and overlooked by George II. Then during the F&I War the young boys saw the ignorance and insolence of the Flatt Landed Englishman! They were seldom paid and had to scrounge for their own food, clothing and powder and flints.
The FESTER turned RED in 1763 when crazy George III , bent over backwards to the French and closed all Settlement on the Western Waters West of New River! All the Virginia Colonial Militia were denied their LAND BOUNTY PAY!
The Fester swelled when LORD DUNMORE and his 1000 men took the long way to POINT PLEASANT and got there two days after the Battle was over! (Thanks Dunnie for the thought! Hogwash!)
My William Kennedy Sr and JR. stood on the hill overlooking the Miami River (in Ohio) and saw the hated Shawnee who had been killing their blood since 1740! They were ready! Their leader , Col Andrew Lewis ( of Salem,VA) was ready----yes ready to charge into the red heatherns and get a little "pay back"!
Out rides the Shawnee Chiefs with a white flag and GOVERNOR DUNMORE takes their hand and gives them PEACE! He even took rations from his starving soldiers to give to the cutthroats. THE FESTER BURST! PUS poured all over DUNMORE and every mother's son knew what had to be done-----Return to their homes--form MINUTE COMPANIES (some times called Committee of Safety Companies) and range their frontiers to protect their own--drive all those loyal to the Crown out of public service and military command and GET READY!
Just look at the time frame---Battle at Point Pleasant in the first week of October and march to the Shawnee Villages and then the long return home--some men did not get home till last of November. Immediately they organized and waited for the Resolution from the new Continental Congress!
P.S. This original Resolution is in the handwriting of Reverend Charles Cummings of Abingdon, VA and founder of the Ebbing Springs Church which stands today. God Bless the Ulster Scot-God Bless the American Revolution and God Bless the Presbyterian Church. Amen. Cwkjr.
JANUARY 20, 1775
"In obedience to the resolves of the Continental Congress, a meeting of the freeholders of this county was held this day, who, after approving of the association framed by that augusto body in behalf of all the colonies, and subscribing thereto, proceeded to the election of a committee, to see the same carried punctually into execution, when the following Gentlemen were nominated: Reverend Charles Cummings, Colonel William Preston, Colonel William Christian, Captain Stephen Trigg, Major Arthur Campbell, Major William Inglis, Captain Walter Crockett, Captain John Montgomery, Captain James M'Gavock, Captain William Campbell, Captain Thomas Madison, Captain Daniel Smith, Captain William Russell, Captain Evan Shelby, and Lieutenant William Edmondson.
After the election, the committee made choice of Colonel William Christian for their chairman, and appointed Mr. David Campbell to be their clerk.
The following address was then unanimously agreed to by the people of the county, and is as follows:
To the Honourable Peyton Randolph, Esq.: Richard Henry Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edmund Pendleton, Esquires, the Delagates from this colony who attended the Continental Congress held at Philadelphia.
Had it not been for our remote situation, and the Indian war which we were lately engaged in, to chastise those cruel and savage people for the many murders and depredations they have committed amongst us (now happily terminated, under the auspices of our present worthy Governour, his Excellency the Right Honourable the Earl of Dunmore) we should before this time have made known to you our thankfulness for the very important services you have rendered to this country, in conjunction with the worthy Delegates from the other provinces. Your noble efforts for reconciling the Mother Country and the Colonies, on rational and constitutional principles, and your pacifick,steady, and
uniform conduct in that arduous work, entitle you to the esteem of all British America, and will immortalize you in the annals of your country. We heartily concur in your resolutions, and shall, in every instance, strictly and invariably adhere thereto.
We assure you, Gentlemen, and all our countrymen, that we are a people whose hearts overflow with love and duty to our lawful sovereign George III. whose illustrious house, for several successive reigns, have been the guardians of civil and religious rights and liberties of his subjects, as settled at the glorious Revolution; that we are willing to risk our lives in the service of his Majesty, for the support of the Protestant religion, and the rights and liberties of his subjects, as they have been established by compact, law, and ancient charters.
We are heartily grieved at the differences which now subsist between the parent state and the colonies, and most ardently wish to see harmony restored, on an equitable basis, and by the most lenient measures that can be devised by the heart of men.
Many of us, and our forefathers, left our native land, considering it as a kingdom subjected to inordinate power, amd greatly abridged of its liberties. We crossed the Atlantick, and explored this then uncultivated wilderness, bordering on many nations of savages, and surrounded by mountains almost inaccessible to any but those very savages, who have incessantly been committing barbarities and depredations on us since our first seating the country. These fatigues and dangers we patiently encountered, supported by the pleasing hope of enjoying those rights and liberties which have been granted to Virginians and were denied us in our native country, and of transmitting them inviolate to our posterity. But even to these remote regions the land of unlimited and unconstitutional power hath pursued us, to strip us of that liberty and property with which God, nature, and the rights of humanity, have vested us. We are ready and willing to contribute all in our power for the support of his Majesty's government, if applied to constitutionally, and when the grants are made by our own representatives; but cannot think of submitting our liberty or property to the power of a venal British parliment, or to the will of a corrupt ministry.
We by no means desire to shake off our duty or allegiance to our lawful sovereign, but on the contrary shall ever glory in being the loyal subjects of a Protestant prince, descended from such illustrious progenitors, so long as we can enjoy the free exercise of our religion, as Protestants, and our liberties and properties, as British subjects.
But if no pacifick measures shall be proposed or adopted by Great Britian, and our enemies will attempt to dragoon us out of those inestimable privileges which we are entitled to as subjects, and to reduce us to a state of slavery, we declare, that we are deliberately and resolutely determined never to surrender them to any power upon earth, but at the expense of our lives.
These are our real, though unpolished sentiments, of liberty and loyalty, and in them we are resolved to live and die.
We are, Gentlemen, with the utmost esteem and regard, your most obedient servant.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Cumberland Gap

What a sight it must have been. Standing at the narrow, 2-mile-wide notch, or gap, on Cumberland Mountain, a visitor with lots of time—say, a couple of centuries—would have had the privilege of watching one of America's most unusual animal and human migrations. First it was woodland bison (Bison bison pennsylvania), elk (Cervus canadensis), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) that trampled a trail through this natural doorway to the salt licks and ample food of bluegrass Kentucky beyond the mountain barrier. Bands of Shawnee and Cherokee Indians followed the animals to the rich hunting grounds, and sometimes raiding parties followed one another. So many bleached bones of rival Indian tribes littered the trail from the Potomac River south through Cumberland Gap then north to the Ohio River that the route came to be called Warrior's Path.
Then in 1750, white explorers led by Dr. Thomas Walker found this narrow pass through the Appalachian Mountains, of which the Cumberland range is a part. With only primitive transportation, restless colonists along the eastern seaboard had been stymied all along the mountain wall. Also, French settlers and allied tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy made the western frontier beyond the mountains dangerous to explore. Shawnees, distressed at encroachment on their rich Kentucky hunting grounds by white trappers and settlers, became increasingly belligerent.
In 1774, at Point Pleasant, the Shawnees and a confederacy of Delaware, Wyandot, Cayuga, and other Indian tribes led by Cornstalk lost a bloody battle with Virginia settlers and militia. To save their families, the Shawnees gave up rights to their hunting grounds by signing the Treaty of Camp Charlotte. When the 1775 Treaty of Sycamore Shoals was signed, Daniel Boone and 30 men set out from the Long Island of the Holston (in present day Kingsport, Tenn.) and blazed the Wilderness Trail through Scott and Lee Counties in Va. and through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky.
Waves of land-hungry immigrants soon trudged along the crude trail . By the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, an impressive stream of 12,000 people had crossed into the new territory. The stream became a river, then a torrent. By 1792, the population west of the gap was more than 100,000, and Kentucky was invited to join the Union. As the century came to a close, traffic on the Wilderness Road continued day and night. The curses of oxen drivers and the bawl of cattle mingled with the jingle of horse harnesses and the groans of loaded wagons struggling across Cumberland Gap. By 1800, just 50 years after it was discovered by Walker, the famous gap had funneled more than a third of a million people from the East to the new lands of the West.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Daniel Boone - A Brief Timeline of His Life

1734- (11/2) Daniel Boone is born in Oley, Penn. (a Quaker)
1744 –The family moved 5 miles north to a 25 acre tract of land
1750 –When Daniel was 16, his father, Squire leads his family to the Yadkin
River Valley of North Carolina
1755 -He serves as a Teamster to Gen. Braddock’s ill-fated campaign
against the French and Indians. There he meets John Finley and first
hears of the Kentucky territory and Cumberland Gap
- Daniel marries Rebecca Bryan and they move to Eastern Va.
1759 - Daniel moves back to the Yadkin River Valley, in N.Carolina
1760 - Daniel, Nathaniel Gist, and others enter the South Holston R. Valley
on a hunting trip. During the 2nd night, while camped at present day
Abingdon, Va., the party is bothered all night by wolves - which
attack their dogs. Boone gave the area the name Wolfe Hills, which
stayed with it for years.
- “ D. Boon cilled a bar on this tree in the year 1760” (East Tenn.)
1765 – Boone explores the Florida country but it is not to his liking
1766 – Boone moves his family a little West, near present Wilkesboro, N.C.
1767 - Boone’s first recorded trip into S.W. Va.. From Yadkin River
Valley in N.Carolina to Haysi, following the Russell Fork
downstream to the Breaks, skirted the gorge through the site of the
park, then downstream to where the Russell Fork joins with the
Levisa R. to form the Big Sandy. Spent the winter &
returned home in the Spring of 1768.
1769 - Boone’s first trip through Moccasin Gap & Cumberland Gap. (led
by John Finley, also: James Holden, James Mooney, William
Cooley, and John Stewart)(Boone stays 2 years before returning home)
1773 - Daniel & Capt. William Russell meet in the Clinch Valley to
plan a settlement in Kentucky.
- (9/25/73) Boone, his family, and 5 other families depart for Ky.
- Boone’s son (James) and his party are attacked by Indians near Stickleyville in Lee County, and all but a slave and one guide are killed.
- Boone and family return to Castle’s Woods for the winter
1774 - Daniel Boone & Michael Stoner are sent from Castlewood to
Kentucky to warn surveyors of the Indian uprising. (C - Ft.Black -
Cum. Gap - Ky - Falls of Ohio at Louisville, and back again in only
61 days. (over 800 miles) )
1775 - Boone, and over 1200 Cherokees meet at Sycamore Shoals
to negotiate the purchase of a vast area of land in Kentucky (on behalf
of Col. Richard Henderson). (Dragging Canoe refuses to sign and vows a
bloody future)
- Daniel Boone and 30 axemen, blaze the Wilderness Road- through Scott Co. to Ky.
- He founds Boonesboro
1776 – Boone leads the rescue of his daughter Jemima and the Callaway
girls from the Shawnees
1777 - Daniel Boone's last known trip through the S.W. Va. area. Recorded
the killing of a bear in the bark of a beech tree in Big Stone Gap.(tree
still there in 1886)
1778 – In Feb.,Boone and his party are captured by the Shawnee while
making salt. He is held until June. Escapes to warn Boonesboro of an
1779 – Leads a large party of emigrants to Kentucky in Sept. Settles
Boone’s Station, North of Kentucky River
1780 - Daniel participates in an attack on Shawnee Villages in Ohio.
His brother, Edward is killed.
1781 - Boone is elected to the Va. General Assembly
1782 -Daniel and party are taken prisoner by the Shawnees at Blue
Licks. His son, Israel is killed.
1783 -Daniel relocates his family to Limestone, on the Ohio River.
Boone becomes a tavern keeper and surveyor.
1784 –John Filson publishes “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon”
1787 –Daniel helps negotiate a prisoner exchange with the Shawnee
-Daniel serves again in the Va. General Assembly
1789 -Daniel and Rebecca relocate to Pt. Pleasant, further up on the
Ohio River.
1791 – Boone wins a contract to supply Western Va. Militia with goods
1792 -A dispute over the supply contracts leads to his abandonment of
business and his return to full time hunting. He and Rebecca move to
present day Charleston, W.Va.
1795 – The family moves to Brush Fork in Kentucky
1797 – The Boone family is invited by Spanish Gov. to come to Missouri
1798 – Kentucky Assembly names a County for Boone and Mason County
issues a warrant for his arrest for debts.
- Family moves to a cabin at the mouth of the Little Sandy River on
the Ohio.
1799 – Boone leaves Kentucky for Missouri
1803 – Seriously injured in hunting accident; relocates with Rebecca to
cabin on the farm of his son Nathan.
- The Louisiana Purchase takes in his land grants from Spain
1806 – Boone appears before the Federal Land Comm. Seeking confirmation
of his Spanish Land Grant
1809 – His request is denied
1813 – Rebecca dies (3/18)
1814 – Congress grants Boone a tract of Missouri land
1820 – Daniel Boone dies near St. Louis on 9/26 and is buried near his
daughter Jemima’s farm
1845 – A delegation from Kentucky disinters the Boone Graves and reburies
the remains in Frankfort, Ky.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Our Amazing Ancestors

Mary Draper Ingles was a young mother of three. Her third baby was actually due to be born any day. On July 8, 1755, Shawnee Indians raided her settlement on the New River of Virginia (near Blacksburg), killed many of her neighbors, and even her mother. Then they abducted her, her two little boys, her sister in law Bettie, and a neighbor named Lenard. They were taken into W. Virginia through the New River Gorge, on to the mighty Ohio River, and into Southern Ohio (present site of Portsmouth). Mrs. Ingles' life was scattered, devastated and all but destroyed. Eventually, after a few weeks as a captive, she lost the rest of her family. Her sons were adopted and taken to still another faraway Shawnee settlement. Bettie was given as a wife to a Shawnee man, and Mary herself was sold to French traders, along with a new friend, Ghetel, an elderly Dutch widow. Her life further ruined and disrupted, she made a fateful decision; either try to return home to Virginia and to her husband William, or life was not worth living. Will was all she has left to remind her of who she truly was. She felt she must return home to him. Her story is told in the book and movie, “Follow the River”, and the long running drama, “The Long Way Home.”

And she was only one of many women who faced a similarly tragic situation:
Jenny Wiley, Polly Alley, Elizabeth Livingston, Mary Jemison, and countless others were carried off by Shawnee or Cherokee Raiding Parties and forced to make similar choices. Many did not live to tell their stories. Those that did, leave us amazed by the hardships they overcame and the fortitude they somehow found within themselves.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

1716 South Carolina Board of Trade - Trade Schedule

Goods ------------------------------------Buckskins

A Gun. -----------------------------------------30
A Yard Strouds --------------------------------- 7
A Duffield Blanket ------------------------------14
A Yard Half Thicks ------------------------------3
A Hatchet ---------------------------------------2
A narrow Hoe -----------------------------------2
A broad Hoe ------------------------------------4
Fifty Bullets ------------------------------------1
A Butcher’s Knife -------------------------------1
A pair Cizars ------------------------------------1
Three Strings Beads ----------------------------1
Eighteen Flints ---------------------------------1
An Ax ------------------------------------------4
A Pistol ----------------------------------------20
A Cutlash ---------------------------------------8
A Shirt -----------------------------------------4
A Steel -----------------------------------------1
A Calico Petticoat ------------------------------12
A red Girdle ------------------------------------2
A laced Hatt ------------------------------------8
A Clasp Knife -----------------------------------1
A Yard Cadis -----------------------------------1
Rum, with1/3 Water per bottle -----------------1

Salt, Gunpowder, Kettles,
Looking Glasses ---------------------------As you can

A First-Hand Account of the Battle of King's Mountain by Benjamin Sharp, a Militiaman from Washington Co. Virginia.

"As well as I can remember, some time in August, in the year 1780, Col. McDowel of N. Carolina, with three or four hundred men, fled over the mountains to the settlements of Holstein and Watauga, to evade the pursuit of a British officer by the name of Ferguson, who had the command of a large detachment of British and Tories. Our militia speedily embodied, all mounted on horses, the Virginians under the command of Colonel William Campbell, and the two western counties of North Carolina (now Tennessee) under the Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier, and as soon as they joined McDowel, he recrossed the mountains and formed a junction with Colonel Cleveland, with a fine regiment of North Carolina militia.

We were now fifteen or eighteen hundred strong , and considered ourselves equal in number, or at least a match for the enemy, and eager to bring them to battle; but Colonel McDowel, who had the command, appeared to think otherwise, for although Ferguson had retreated on our crossing of the mountains, he kept us marching and counter-marching for eight days without advancing a step towards our object. At length a council of the field-officers was convened, and it was said in camp, how true I will not pretend to say, that he refused in council to proceed without a general officer to command the army, and to get rid of him, the council deputed him to General Green, at headquarters, to procure a general. Be this as it may, as soon as the council rose Colonel McDowel left the camp and we saw no more of him during the expedition.

As soon as he was fairly gone the council reassembled and appointed Colonel William Campbell our commander, and within one hour we were on our horses and in full pursuit of the enemy. The British still continued to retreat, and after hard marching for some time, we found progress much retarded by our footmen and weak horses that were not able to sustain the heavy duty. It was then resolved to leave the foot and weak horses under the command of captain William Neil, of Virginia, with instructions to follow as fast as his detachment could bear. Thus disencumbered we gained fast upon the enemy.

I think on the seventh day of October, in the afternoon, we halted at a place called the Cow Pens, in South Carolina, fed our horses and ate a hearty meal of such provisions as we had procured, and by dark mounted our horses, marched all night and crossed the Broad River by the dawn of the day, and although it rained considerably in the morning, we never halted to refresh ourselves or our horses.

About twelve o'clock it cleared off with a fine cool breeze. We were joined that day by Colonel Williams, of South Carolina, with several hundred men who informed us that they were just from the British camp, that they were posted on the top of King's Mountain, and that there was a picket-guard on the road not far ahead of us. These men were detained least they should find means to tell the enemy of our approach, and Colonel Shelby, with a select party undertook to surprise and take the picket; this he accomplished without firing a gun or giving the least alarm, and it was hailed by the army as a good omen.

We then moved on and as we approached the mountain the roll of the British drum informed us that we had something to do. No doubt the British commander thought his position was a strong one, but the plan of our attack was such as to make it the worst for him he could have chosen. The end of the mountain to our left descended gradually to a branch; in front of us the ascent was rather abrupt and to the right was a low gap through which the low road passed. The different regiments were directed by guides to the ground they were to occupy, so as to surround the eminence on which the British were encamped; Campbell's to the right, along the road; Shelby's next to the left of him; Sevier's next, and so on till last the left of Cleveland's to join the right of Campbell's, on the other side of the mountain at the road. Thus the British major found himself attacked on all sides at once, and so situated as to receive a galling fire from all parts of our lines without doing any injury to ourselves. From this difficulty he attempted to relieve himself at the point of the bayonet, but failed in three successive charges. Cleveland, who had the farthest to go, being bothered in some swampy ground, did not occupy his position in the line until late in the engagement. A few men, drawn from the right of Campbell's regiment, occupied this vacancy; this the British commander discovered, and here he made his last powerful effort to force his way through and make his escape; but at that instant Cleveland's regiment came up in gallant style; the colonel, himself, came up by the very spot I occupied, at which time his horse had received two wounds, and he was obliged to dismount. Although fat and unwieldy, be advanced on foot with signal bravery, but was soon remounted by one of his officers, who brought him another horse. This threw the British and Tories into complete disorder, and Ferguson seeing that all was lost, determined not to survive the disgrace; he broke his sword, and spurred his horse into the thickest of our ranks, and fell covered with wounds, and shortly after his whole army surrendered with discretion.

The action lasted about one hour, and for most of the time was thick and bloody. I cannot clearly recollect the statement of our loss, given at the time, but my impression now is that it was two hundred twenty five killed, and about as many, or a few more, wounded; the loss of the enemy must have been much greater. The return of the prisoners taken was eleven hundred and thirty three, about fifteen hundred stand of arms, several baggage wagons, and all their camp equipage fell into our hands. The battle closed not far from sundown, so that we had to encamp on the ground with the dead and wounded, and pass the night among groans and lamentations."

18th Century Ages, Rights, and Responsibilities

Always remember also, that ages and allowable actions were often within the discretion of the VA County judges and Colonial Council in order to cope with unusual conditions/situations. In addition, any legal incapacities, such as felony and poor farm convictions, determinations that one was a lunatic or imbecile, and women who were restricted by marriage often were considered differently.

At age 14 for males (age 12 for females) people could:
Select their own guardian
Be an apprentice to learn trades
Be tried and punished for crimes
Show property lines to processioners, if known
Sign contracts (though seldom done, because later renunciation was allowable)
Witness documents as to who/what was seen, said & heard
Give testimony in a court proceeding (after qualification)
Act as executor (but usually with an "of age" co-exec)
Bequeath personal property by will

At age 16 males:
Were tithable
Served as militiamen voluntarily or otherwise act as a processioner if church appointed
Assume possession of their real estate

At age 18 males:
Could be licensed to practice a trade/calling
At age 21 for men (18 for women), they could be married without consent of parent/guardian
Release a guardian from duties (automatic at marriage)
At age 21 for men (and usually women), they could:
Be eligible for public offices (usually)
Serve as jurors on grand, petit, or coroner's juries
Vote (unless there was a property requirement)
File and defend actions in court
Hold title to real estateDevise (transfer) real estate by will