Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fierce Patriot of the American Revolutionary War: James Dougan

The North Carolina Militia probably dressed like these men, but they could load and shoot three times a minute.
There were five Dougan brothers living in North Carolina Colony when the American Revolution began. Four of them served with American forces.  Many of our ancestors came from southern England, but the Dougans were what we call Scots-Irish, although they called themselves Anglo-Irish, their ancestors having left the Scottish lowlands for northern Ireland probably in Elizabethan times or when Cromwell was in power in the 17th century.  It's possible the Dougans had originated in Ireland and became Protestant, but since the name is found in the Scottish lowlands, I'll assume this particular family was originally Scot. On their mother, Mary Kerr's side, these five brothers were descended from Border Scottish, who had always been a warlike people. Both sides of this family would have spoken English, not Gaelic, although when their families settled in Pennsylvania, the Quakers had difficulty understanding their lilting cadence. They came not as indentured servants, but paid their way in large groups, most Anglo-Irish arriving between 1717 and 1776.

When the Anglo-Irish began arriving in Philadelphia in 1717, a Philadelphia Quaker named Jonathan Dickinson complained that the streets of the his city were teeming with "a swarm of people . . . strangers to our Laws and Customs, and even to our language." The new immigrants dressed in outlandish ways. The men were tall and lean, with hard, weather-beaten faces. They wore felt hats, loose sackcloth shirts close-belted at the waist, baggy trousers, thick yarn stockings and wooden shoes "shod like horses feet with iron." The young women startled Quaker Philadelphians by the sensuous appearance of their full bodices, tight waists, bare legs and skirts as scandalously short as an English under-shift. The older women came ashore in long dresses of a curious cut. Some buried their faces in full-sided bonnets; others folded handkerchiefs over their heads in quaint and foreign patterns.  Quoted from Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer, p 605-6.

A further word about the Borderers and the Anglo-Irish who immigrated to America during the 18th century.  They were poor, but proud. And that fierce and stubborn pride became a cultural fact of high importance in the American region they came to dominate - the western backcountry of the colonies and the expanding frontier. Years later a Borderer descendant was heard to pray, "Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn." They were mostly Presbyterian and their variant golden rule was "Do unto others as they threaten to do unto you." They were clannish, carried knives and guns and didn't trust the government.

The Quakers found these new immigrants so disconcerting and prone to violence, they encouraged them to settle in the "back parts" of Pennsylvania Colony, hoping to make them a frontier buffer between themselves and the Indians. As stated in my previous blog, the immigrant Dougans settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, before emigrating south to Guilford County (later Randolph County),North Carolina. 
Randolph County, North Carolina ,where the Dougans lived, still part of Guilford County in 1776.

Now we'll turn to our 5th great-grandfather, James Dougan (1754-1837). Below is a summary of his application for a Revolutionary War pension, which was granted subsequent to his death in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee.

 James Dougan S3306, Franklin County, West Tennessee #26596, $201.66/year, issued 19 March 1834. James Dougan aged 80 years last January states: I was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on 6 January1754, according to a copy of the family record which is in my possession. In 1776 I was a resident of Guilford County, North Carolina, and volunteered for three months as an ensign under Capt. John Collier in an operation against the Cherokee Indians. The regiment was organized at Guilford court house and was commanded by Colonel Martin. We marched through Salisbury and met with other troops at the mulberry fields on the Catawba, commanded by Colonel Griffith Rutherford, and crossed the Blue Ridge, marching against Indian Towns on the headwaters of the Tennessee River. We remained several weeks, marching from town to town, destroying towns and their growing crops. The Indians having fled, we remained in Indian Country several weeks, marching from town to town, eating up and destroying the Indian crops. After performing this service, I returned home, having served a full term of three months, for which I got a discharge.
Catawba River, North Carolina

 [Note: The Cherokee Nation followed Great Britain's order to attack settlers on the southern frontier, and struck first. Virginia and South Carolina raised militias, and North Carolina sent Rutherford with 2400 militia to scour the Oconaluftee and Tuckasegge river valleys, and the headwaters of the Little Tennessee and Hiwassee. Not long after leaving Fort McGahey on July 23, Rutherford's militia, accompanied by a large contingent of Catawba warriors, encountered an ambush by the Cherokee at the Battle of Cowee Gap in what is now western North Carolina. After defeating the attackers, he proceeded to a designated rendezvous with the South Carolina militia (which had also been sweeping through Cherokee towns). Rutherford's militia traversed Swannanoa Gap in the Blue Ridge on September 1, and reached the outskirts of the Out, Valley, and Middle Towns on September 14, where they started burning towns and crops. In all, Williamson, Pickens, and Rutherford destroyed more than 50 towns, burned the houses and food stores, destroyed the orchards, slaughtered livestock, and killed hundreds of Cherokee. They sold captives into slavery, and of these many were transported to the Caribbean.]
James Dougan's summary continues: In 1777 I again volunteered to serve another three months as an Ensign under Capt. Robert Bell. We rendezvoused at Salisbury, where the regiment was commanded by Francis Locke and marched to Camden, South Carolina, where we remained until our three-month term of service expired and I was discharged. All troops were commanded by General Rutherford. [Biography of General Griffith Rutherford, another immigrant from Northern Ireland HERE]

 In 1779 James Dougan volunteered for five months and served as Lieutenant, serving under Capt. Enoch Davis in Col. Locke's Regiment, General Rutherford's Brigade:We rendezvoused at Salisbury and marched to Purrysburg, South Carolina, then the headquarters of the American Army Commanded by General John Ashe.  
Purrysburg is in Jasper County, South Carolina

During our stay at this place, our detachment under command of Ebert was cut off from the army at the Savannah River. We engaged in battle at Brier Creek, in eastern Georgia, in which the Americans were defeated.  Afterward, I joined a detachment that engaged a group of the enemy marauding along the Savannah River, which we defeated in battle. Captain Wilson had command of troops at the battle and later of a picket guard at the White House [headquarters?] where we remained, performing camp and garrison duties. After my discharge I returned home with William Gray, a private. [Battle of Brier Creek HERE]
 
Battle of Briers Creek was in Screven County, Georgia
In 1780, now a Major in the militia of newly-created Randolph County (out of Guilford Co.), North Carolina, Dougan volunteered to serve for three months in Collier's Regiment: We rendezvoused at Salisbury and then marched into South Carolina. The [militia] brigade was under the command of General [Caswell] and General Horatio Gates was at Rugeley's Mills. The enemy's headquarters under General Cornwallis was at Camden.  The two armies met about equidistant between these two camps. [The Battle of Camden]  The American army being defeated, it dispersed and I returned home. 

The Battle of Camden was in Kershaw County, S.C.

 General [Caswell] having orders for the troops to reassemble, I rendezvoused at Hillsboro [North Carolina] under this officer. I served in the neighborhood and in Rowan County, watching the motions of the enemy and guarding the county until my term of service was over and I was regularly discharged.

The Battle of Camden on 18 August 1780 was the worst defeat for the Americans in the Revolution and we should be truly glad our 5th great-grandfather survived it, else we wouldn't be here. James Dougan was a major, but we don't know how many men he actually commanded in the battle. Holding its ground until after the Virginia militia fled, the North Carolina militia suffered 63 killed, and 82 wounded and captured by the British. Was our ancestor heroic? I expect he was. He also must have had a fast horse to escape Tarleton's cavalry that harried the escaping Americans. Read about the Battle of Camden HERE 

 In James's pension application, his brother, the Rev. Robert Dougan of Franklin County, aged 69 the following December, vouched for him. Micah Taul and James Keith vouched for both the Dougans' reputations and character. On 16 March 1834 John B. Forester, Congressman, certified that he was acquainted with James and Rev. Robert Dougan and vouched for them.
Our 5th great-grandfather's signature on his pension application, age 80
In 1780, either before or after the Battle of Camden, James Dougan married Hannah Sharp (b. 1760 Somerset County, Pennsylvania - d. 1831 Franklin Co., Tennessee). They married in Randolph County, North Carolina. He had purchased in 1779 an additional 100 acres "on the south side of Deep River adjoining his own deeded land."  In 1784 James Dougan was a county commissioner, assisting in deciding where to build a courthouse (its first court session held in 1786) in what became the town of Johnsonville, platted on 600 acres owned by his brother Thomas Dougan. In 1788 James was granted a war bounty of 3000 acres on the Obion River in western Tennessee (unsettled by whites).  By the 1790 census, he and Hannah already had five sons and two daughters. In 1791 they left North Carolina for what I think was Sumner County, Tennessee, where they lived three years. His brother Robert married there and they seemed to move about as a clan.
Sumner County, Tennessee

They removed to Logan County, Kentucky, where their house and goods burned, including James's military discharges. 
 
Logan County, Kenucky, just above Sumner Co. Tennessee

About 1806 or 1807 they settled in what became Franklin County, Tennessee. 
Franklin County, Tennessee, established in 1808
 Because James Dougan had died 10 Feb. 1837, in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee, a 26 July 1838 Note in the pension file shows that payment was made to Mary Noe, a child of James Dougan, for $210.66.

I'll write about his brothers' services in the American Revolution in my next blog and how so many of the Dougans moved as a clan to that war bounty land in western Tennessee and then up to Indiana.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Nancy Jane Dougan (1847-c 1877): Her Family - Ireland to North Carolina Colony



Standard of Ireland 1542-1801

Our great-grandfather, James Samuel Raney (1868-1954), was named for each of his grandfathers. His mother Nancy Jane Dougan (1847-c1877), married Everett Rainey (1844-1899) when he returned from the Civil War, and later died in a house fire with her daughter Sarah about 1877HERE

The Dougans moved as an extended family group from western Tennessee to southern Indiana about 1831. Samuel Dougan (1820-1870), our 3rd great-grandfather, was among them. But I'm getting ahead of my story of this pioneering family with roots in County Donegal, Ireland, so I'll start at the beginning.

Thomas Dougan (1685-1776), our 7th great-grandfather, was born in County Donegal, Ireland.
County Donegal in dark green up in northwest Ireland
A couple of years back, before I knew we had this ancestor, Jay and I drove from Galway in western Ireland up to Derry, Northern Ireland, bypassing County Donegal because it had only a few winding roads on the map and looked really mountainous, and we had only that day to reach our destination.
County Donegal
Some claim Thomas was born in the town of Donegal in the south of the county, some say otherwise. The English gained full control over Ulster, including County Donegal, in 1607, and the region became a plantation (meaning a settlement), the Catholic Irish forced out to be resettled by Protestant Lowland Scots and English. His mother was Katherine Kerr (1658-1688), our 8th great-grandmother, allegedly born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, who married in 1684 Benjamin Dougan (1655-1750) our 8th great-grandfather, born in Donegal. They both died there. 

Our 7th great-grandparents, Thomas Dougan (1685-1776) and Eleanor O'Connor (1695-1784) married in Donegal about 1709 and had three sons and a daughter in Ireland, including Thomas Hill Dougan (1719-1769), our 6th great-grandfather.  This family immigrated to Pennsylvania Colony after 1723, possibly as late as the early 1740s.  

"The Scots – Irish who poured into America from Ulster were middle class farmers and craftsmen who came from poor rural counties of Northern Ireland where English rule had grown increasingly severe and where the 1740 famine in Ulster hastened their departure. They were nearly all Presbyterians. Arriving in Philadelphia, they made their way westward to Lancaster and Harrisburg." 

Present-day Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Thomas Hill Dougan (1719-1769) married Mary Kerr (1726-1824) in 1744. Mary's family had immigrated from lowland Scotland. All of their six children were born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, including James Dougan (1754-1837), our 5th great-grandfather. Most of the Dougans, including their aged immigrant parents Thomas and Eleanor O'Connell Dougan, moved with a group of Quakers overland down to North Carolina by 1763, where Thomas Hill Dougan bought 520 acres at Deep River, in what became Randolph County. A surveyor called North Carolina "delicious country" and so it was.

Years ago I visited the county museum in Greensboro and saw a large Conestoga wagon, manufactured in Pennsylvania. By 1765 they were being used heavily on the Great Wagon Road south.
Conestoga wagon dipping in center so the goods wouldn't shift.

I never imagined that my ancestors may have used one to move their households south on the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to North Carolina because I didn't know we had ancestors who settled there.
Great Wagon Road, originally called The Warriors Path because it had been in use by Native Americans for hundreds of years
Thomas Hill Dougan died in 1769 and his widow Mary was granted the administration of his estate in 1770.

These ever-so-great grandparents had a daughter and five sons in their prime of manhood. A few years later the American Revolution began. In my next blog, I'll tell you of the sons' participation in that war.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lord Dunmore's "Little" War and the Roberts Family

Where the tip of Virginia meets Tennessee on the Clinch River is where John Roberts and his family were killed by the Native American Logan.

I have been considering having an ancestor, collateral though John Roberts was, being killed along with his family on September 24, 1774 by a man who has descended into history as a sympathetic historical figure. It's Shawnee/Mingo chief John Logan I mean. In my previous blog, HERE, I couldn't bring myself to discuss Logan, so only inserted a link to his Wikipedia page. Actions have consequences.  If some whites hadn't killed Logan's family, the John Roberts family would have lived longer.

It appears that John's brothers, William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather), Henry and David, volunteered shortly after John Roberts' family was slain to fight the Indians in what became known as Lord Dunmore's War. HERE  
 
John Murray, 4th Lord Dunmore, last Colonial Governor of Virginia Colony, by Joshua Reynolds

They served alongside Daniel Boone in Captain Looney's company for 49 days. The culmination of the Virginia militias and hundreds of frontiersmen from the back country banding together to attempt to put an end to Native American depredations on land the colonists wanted to settle was the Battle of Point Pleasant. HERE This battle  has been called the most extensive and bitterly contested Indian battle in American history, with far-reaching results. At the time it occurred, it aroused world-wide interest; English, French and German newspapers published extensive articles descriptive of the battle. Some call it the actual opening battle of the American Revolution.

The Roberts brothers didn't make it to the battle, but were assigned to patrol the frontier. Their listed names, William, David and Henry, grouped together, are on the Fincastle, Virginia, militia list under Captain David Looney (sometimes as "Robertson," sometimes corrected to "Roberts") indicating they were paid for serving 49 days in the autumn of 1774 (which would explain why William Roberts waited until the following spring to settle his brother's estate in Fincastle County). It appears these men remained in the Clinch River area (near their homes) to build forts. Their families had taken shelter at Looney's Fort, on the present site of the Blountsville, Tennessee, Central High School, a few miles beneath the western tip of the Virginia state line.  Originally seven additional militia forts were to be constructed in 1774.  

"Capt. William Russell was to command four of the forts on the Lower Clinch River and Capt. Daniel Smith was to command three forts on the Upper Clinch River. These forts were to be erected by the local militia men supervised by Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Col. William Preston who was commanding officer of the Fincastle County Militia. The forts were generally named for the landowners where they were located and/or the military commanders. Many of them had multiple names as landowners and commanders changed." Most of these forts were erected in what is now Russell County, Virginia, so they weren't so very close to those few settlers in what became northeast Tennessee.

Present-day Russell County, Virginia

Present Sullivan County, Tennessee (Hawkins County to the left), the Roberts families having settled on the county lines.

Now I must tell you that in doing this latest research, I discovered that another William Roberts served with the Fincastle County militia, and he had a brother Cornelius (c.1746-1788), who also served, and was later killed and scalped by the Cherokee while hunting ginseng in the Black Mountains of Russell County, Virginia. (Ginseng was used for medicine - still hunted, it's now an endangered plant due to over-harvesting). In looking up this other Roberts family on Ancestry.com, someone has listed a John Roberts, born in 1771, as this William's son (with no further information).  Is this our 4th great-grandfather and not the John Roberts a researcher claimed was born in 1784? The 1771 date is correct and the father's name is William (1740-1776), married Elizabeth Walling (1748-1847). But this family appears to have settled in what is now the Elk Creek section of Grayson County, Virginia, not Sullivan or Hawkins County (in what became Tennessee). Hawkins County was written in John Roberts' death information as the place he was born to William Roberts.  
Present-day Grayson County, Virginia

Those are the only hints, nothing about the young John Roberts' marriage or moving to Pulaski County, Kentucky, as our 4th great-grandfather did. Perhaps, though, they were all related to some degree. This goes to show how difficult it can be to separate out our ancestors with common names, especially when so many records have been destroyed in "burned" counties (by incidental fires and those set by the British during the American Revolution and by Federal troops during the American Civil War.

Monday, May 15, 2017

John Roberts (1771-1857) - His Doomed Hawkins County Family


Milla (Millie) Roberts Rainey was born c.1808 in Kentucky and died of complications from a stroke ("struck with thunder") not long after 1880 in Monroe Township, Pike County, Indiana. She married James Rainey (born 1814 - died before 1870 in Monroe Township, Pike County, Indiana) in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1832.  See their life story HERE  

Millie appears to have had brothers John, Isaac, James, and sisters Sarah and Lucinda. Her father was John Roberts, our 4th-great-grandfather, born c.1771 in what was then Fincastle County in south-western Virginia.  He died in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1857, age 86, his name appearing on the Pulaski County death lists for that year. Under the column "Name of Parents or Owner of Slave" is the name William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather). And in the column "Place of Birth" is "Hawkins Co. Tenn," an important clue in my research because the surname Roberts was common, even in colonial America. If being born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, and Fincastle County, Virginia, seems a contradiction, bear with me.

In the 1850 Pulaski County census, John Roberts was the correct age, but the census taker listed his place of birth as Georgia.  By age 79 John probably lacked most of his teeth and mumbled - or the census taker was sloppy. 1850 was the first time a wife's name was listed and John's wife's Christian name was Jane, age 73 (our 4th great-grandmother). She was listed as born in Georgia, too.  Did I have the wrong elderly Roberts couple? I didn't think so. They lived in Division 3, near the Norfleets, whose daughter Elizabeth had married son Isaac Roberts (both dead by the 1850 census.); just past the Norfleet farm lived Millie and James Rainey and their growing family, soon to journey north to Indiana.  I found John Roberts, his unnamed wife and children in Pulaski County from the 1810 census through the 1850 census. He must have already been in his thirties when he settled there.

The key to tracing the Roberts ancestors appeared to lie in Hawkins County, Tennessee.  But there was no Hawkins County when John Roberts was born in 1771 near the headwaters of the Holston River and a place called Salt Licks, that later became Kingsport. It was a staging ground for settlers coming through the Cumberland Gap and was claimed by Botetout County, Virginia, if claimed at all. 
 
Daniel Boone escorting settlers through the Cumberland Gap

The following year, 1772, the area came under the jurisdiction of newly-created Fincastle County, Virginia, stretching all the way to the Mississippi River. Fincastle County was abolished in 1776 and divided into three new counties, which included Washington County, named for General George Washington in an act of faith so early in our fight for independence. Where the Roberts families lived became contested territory between Virginia and North Carolina.

Present-day Washington County, so much smaller than its original
And then this part of Washington County became part of Sullivan County, North Carolina in 1779. From 1784 to 1788  Sullivan County was part of the extra-legal State of Franklin. Don't ask, further discussion will only confuse us all.

State of Franklin super-imposed over present-day Tennessee
Sullivan County in pink in the State of Franklin
Present-day Sullivan County, Tennessee, nearly, but not quite, the size of the original.
Hawkins County, established in 1787, when John Roberts was 16, appears to have been formed from the former Spencer County, State of Franklin, but it's possible the Reedy Creek area (we will soon read of)  was on the original Sullivan-Spencer County line. I believed John Roberts must have continued to live in Hawkins County after its formation in 1787 and during his early marriage until he moved his family to Kentucky, some thirteen to fifteen years later, else how could his widow have kept those name changes straight?

Present-day Hawkins County, Tennessee

I want to share two stories I discovered on Ancestry.com.  John Robert's father William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather) had three brothers, John, Henry and David Roberts. All four brothers were rearing young families in 1774 on or near Reedy Creek in the future Hawkins County.



The following is from Emory L. Hamilton's unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 11-15 [quoting John Anderson's account of the 1774 massacre that is in the Draper manuscript. Draper's oral history collection was the source for my blog on our ancestress Jane Stephenson's captivity and her father's killing in 1792 HERE .
The following events occurred earlier and farther south]:


                                         
                                        *    *    *    *
After leaving Ft. Blackmore, Logan [Read about the Cayuga tribal member Logan and his motivation for revenge HERE], and his followers traveled through Big Moccasin Gap to the neighborhood of King's Mill on Reedy Creek, in Sullivan Co., TN, near the present Kingsport. Here they attacked the home of John Roberts [our John Robert's uncle], on Saturday, September 24, 1774, the day after their attack on Blackmore's Fort.  John Roberts, his wife [Sarah Smithson Roberts], and [four] children were killed and scalped, except the eldest child, James [our John Robert's cousin], a boy of ten years of age, who was carried into captivity and later exchanged. 
 
Alleged remains of the massacred Roberts' family cabin



An older and different view of the Roberts' cabin
The massacre of the Roberts family is best told in a manuscript (1) left by John Anderson, a relative [by marriage] of the Roberts, and a near neighbor. He states: The author of the underwritten remarks, John Anderson, (2) was born in Cecil County, state of Maryland, 19th of February, 1765. While he was young his parents emigrated to this part of the country where he now lives to this day in Sullivan County, Tennessee [John Anderson died in 1850]. Him [sic] and his parents arrived in this country in the fall of 1773, when there was but few settlers here, at that day, of what might be termed a wilderness. Valleys that now appear dry and unpleasant was then closed with verdue [sic] and beasts, both wild and tame, might be seen browsing on the berries and leaves in those wild extensive valleys. We lived in peace and happiness for some better than one year when the Shawnee Indians, that then lived on the north side of the Ohio paid us a very unpleasant visit.


It was on the 16th of October, 1774, (3) that my father and his family was awakened by a neighbor man in the night who informed us that John Roberts and his family, that did not live far distant, was murdered by the Indians, and it was thought there was a vast quantity of these near about us. The neighbors thought it best for all the families near to go to the top of a high ridge, not far distant from us, where they knew was a deep sink hole on said ridge. (4). Accordingly, there was about six families did repair to the aforesaid sink hole on [the] ridge, and the author of these remarks was one among the rest, and as soon as day made its appearance, a number of men went well armed to the house of the aforesaid John Roberts, (5) and to their extreme sorrow they found him, his wife, and four children killed and scalped; one of which was tomahawked and scalped and not yet dead, but died in a few days. 


The oldest son [James Roberts] of the said Roberts, the Indians took prisoner. He was about ten years old. That same year there was a treaty (6) held with the Indians and the prisoners they had taken. They gave him up and he got home to his friends. The author of these remarks often heard the said boy say, after he got back, that he would like to take an Indian scalp, as they had taken his father's and mother's, sister's and brother's, but am apt to think he never put his desires into execution.


The day after said Roberts and family were buried, all the neighbors near where the murder was committed, went to building forts. My father and all of us went to Looney's Fort, (7) and there continued for a considerable time. My father and his family and a Mr. William Neal that lived near us, agreed to move back home. The same night after we came home, we heard there was an Indian seen not far from where we lived. The next morning us and neighbor William started and went to a fort called King's Fort, very near where the said Roberts was killed. There we continued for some weeks. The fort was very strong and well stockaded and strong gates, but the Indians did us no other harm at that time, only kept us from our home. As we came here we heard of them committing depredations on the settlement of Clinch, that lay thirty or forty miles north of us. After being confined in forts for a number of weeks we returned home and there lived in peace for upwards of one year.


Major Arthur Campbell, in a letter to Col. William Preston, written on Thursday, October 3, 1774, (8) makes this statement:

The boy that was scalped is dead. He was an extraordinary example of patience and resolution to his last, frequently lamenting to his last, [that] he was not able to fight enough to save his mammy.

Major Campbell is here referring to the Roberts boy that John Anderson says was found the morning after the massacre, tomahawked and scalped, but still alive, and who soon died. A letter written by Colonel William Christian to Colonel William Preston, dated November 8, 1774, definitely ties the Mingo Chief John Logan, as the leader of the Roberts massacre. He says:

Last Friday was two weeks ago (October 21), Logan, a famous chief went home with a little boy, a son of Roberts on Holston, and two of Blackmore's Negroes. He said he had taken them on the frontier next (to) the Cherokee country, and had killed, I think, either five or seven people. The boy and the Negroes will soon be in. (9)


Captain William Russell writing on November 12, 1774, from Fort Blair, at Point Pleasant, (where his company had been left after the close of the Point Pleasant campaign), to Colonel William Preston, states: When I took water at Hochocking to come down, two white men and a captive Negro of Blackmore's, with a horse for each man, set out to come by land. They might have been here two days past, but at present there is not the least account of them. I much fear the Indians have killed them, or as the Governor (Dunmore) has a parcel of prisoners taken at Hill Town from the Mingoes, I fear they will try to get as many of our people, to redeem theirs, rather than give hostages, especially if they intend to be troublesome hereafter. (10)
 
At a court held for Fincastle County, March 7, 1775, is entered this order: On the motion of William Roberts [William Roberts our 5th great-grandfather] who having made oath according to Certificate for obtaining Letters of Administration of the estate of John Roberts, deceased, he having with securitys entered into and acknowledged their bond according to law. (11)
(1) Mss in possession of Miss Grace Denny of Bristol, who is a descendant of John Anderson.
(2) John was the son of William Anderson, (born 1736, died Sullivan Co., TN, October 23, 1789, and Jane (nee Bion), (born March 12, 1744, died Sullivan Co., TN, August 22, 1819). His parents were married in April, 1762, in Cecil Co., MD, where their second son, John, was born as Mss states, February 19, 1765. He died in Sullivan Co., TN, November 17, 1850. John Anderson married Rachael Roberts (1175-1831)
[our John Robert's sister]. She was the daughter of William (1732-1816) and Isabella (Graham) Roberts, (1744-1833) [our 5th great-grandparents]. William was a brother of John, Henry, and David Roberts.
(3) Anderson is mistaken here. The Roberts massacre occurred on September 24, 1774. See Draper Mss, letter of Lt. William Cocke, 25 September 1774, Mss 3 QQ 103.
(4) This sinkhole is on what is designed Mill Ridge, TVA Map 197 - SW Indian Springs, TN-VA, will show the sinkhole very clearly. Mill Ridge is located immediately north of Holly Spring Church at the intersection of the Bloomingdale Road with U. S. 11-W near Kingsport, at Silvacola. (Courtesy of Gordon Aronhime, Bristol, VA).
(5) George Christian, Livingston, TN, 25 September 1853, says: "John Roberts who was murdered had two brothers Henry and William. (Draper Mss 15 DD 39).
(6) The treaty signed at the end of Dunmore's War.
(7) This was the residence of Moses Looney on the Island Road, about one and one half miles due south of the mouth of Boozy Creek (North Fork of Reedy Creek) and approximately where the source of Fall Creek touches the Island Road. See Fincastle Co. Court Order Book for 6th January 1773. Courtesy Gordon Aronhime, Bristol, VA.
(8) Draper Mss 3 QQ 111
(9) Thwaites and Kelloggs, Dunmore's War, page 305, and Calendar of Virginia State Papers.
(10) Thwaites and Kellogg, Dunmore's War, page 309
(11) Fincastle Co., VA Court Orders
                                                               *    *    *     *

Except for my ellipses and highlights, the above was Emory Hamilton's writing. He wasn't finished relating John Anderson's story.
                                       *    *    *    *

The Killing of David Roberts and wounding of Henry Roberts [our John Robert's other uncles] in 1778, from the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 57-59 [The other Roberts brothers allegedly lived just across the county line from Gate City, near where John Roberts was killed, in Sullivan County, Tennessee.]


John Anderson of Sullivan Co., TN, in his unpublished manuscript tells of this attack in this manner: 


In the year 1778, the Indians from the north side of the Ohio paid us another visit. Some of our very near neighbors in the summer of that year 1778, on a certain morning about daybreak, a Mr. Henry Roberts (1) and his family was attacked by a small number of Indians. They attempted to break in the house by force. He, being a brave, resolute man, and an old soldier of great experience, fought like a hero, and prevented them from getting into the house. During the contest, which was perhaps upwards of an hour, he had a small axe in his house and aimed to strike one of the Indians out of a window, the handle of the axe being short, he could not reach him. During the shuffle another Indian, from the corner of the house shot the said Roberts in the neck and he fell backwards in the floor, and he, having two daughters, young women, when they saw him fall broke out of the house and ran through the cornfield that was near the said house, and when they had run through the said field several times, one of the girls the Indians caught. The other ran back to the house and came in and by that time the old man had got up, but bled considerable. The shot he got did not appear to injure him much.


The said Roberts had a mill not far distant from his house. He concluded to take his wife and the balance of his family that he had left, and go get into the mill. He accordingly did. During the time he was in the mill with his family several people came to the mill. Among others there was an old man, Mr. McNeal came, and two girls with him. The said Roberts informed them to push off with all speed for there was Indians there. They went off as fast as they could. The Indians saw them and pursued them upwards of two miles and overtook them, and killed the old man McNeal, (2) but the girls got safe home. Among many others that went to the mill that morning (was) a certain old Mr. McMilian, (3) that lived within half a mile of the author of these remarks. The Indians took him prisoner, and the young woman above mentioned (Henry Roberts' daughter) and conveyed them home to the Shawnee Towns. The said Mr. McMilian continued to live with the Indians for a space of five years, during which time he experienced many hardships. The young woman taken never returned. She died in that savage country. She was to have been married a few days after she was taken prisoner, but was most grievously disappointed in all her expectations.


Said Roberts had a brother that was coming to his house that morning and the Indians killed him near the house.


In the above paragraph John Anderson does not so state, but the brother was David Roberts, and an uncle of John Anderson [by marriage], the author of the manuscript relating the attack on the Roberts family.


The will of David Roberts is recorded in Washington Co., VA, Will Book 1, page 17, and was probated February 16, 1779. In this will he leaves his estate to his daughter Sarah Roberts. His executors were his brothers, William [our 5th great-grandfather] and Henry Roberts. On March 16, 1779, Susanna Roberts, widow of David Roberts, deceased, renounces the will and claims her right of dower.

(1) Henry Roberts was a brother of the John Roberts, who, along with all his family was killed nearby in 1774, as were [meaning they were brothers, not killed] William and David Roberts, and Rachael, a sister, who was the mother of John Anderson, the writer of the manuscript. [And here Emory Hamilton is wrong, because John Anderson stated above that he himself married Rachael Roberts.]

Draper Mss 15 DD 39, and Washington Co., VA Will Book 1, page 17.
(2) The "old man McNeal" who was killed was Archibald McNeal. The Court of Washington Co., VA, on 19 November, 1778, ordered Joseph Kingead (Kincaid), James Brigham, and Benjamin and John Looney to appraise the estate of Archibald McNeal, deceased. Inventory and appraisal of the estate recorded June 16, 1779.
(3) Probably William McMillian who owned 400 acres of land on Beaver Creek, where he settled in 1773, and who had a wife named Mary.
NOTE: John Anderson does not give the name of Henry Roberts' daughter who was carried away and never returned, nor the names of the two girls who accompanied McNeal to the mill who were chased, but escaped from the Indians.

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Thus ends the account of David Roberts' and his niece's deaths. But then I ran into a crimp in my genealogy research, making me doubt these pioneers were our relatives. Someone on Ancestry.com gave the names and dates of William Roberts' children, listing John Roberts (our 4th great-grandfather) as born in October, 1784, when in fact he was born in 1771 (based on his death information and all of those Pulaski County censuses.)  Did I have the wrong John Roberts and as a consequence the wrong William Roberts, so that tragic family history wasn't ours? Unable to discover the source of this birth information, I decided to discount it because his birth date of 1771 could have fit into the list of children. Besides, I had another hint that this was our family.

After the 1774 massacre, the boy James Roberts (1764 - 1829), who was captured by Indians, must have been reared by his uncle William because it was he who administered the boy's inheritance, filing papers at the county seat in Fincastle County, Virginia, a few days' journey away.  I discovered that James later settled in Pulaski County, Kentucky. It's likely he moved his young family up from Tennessee with other Roberts' family members, although not accompanied by his uncle William Roberts and aunt Isabella Graham Roberts (our 5th great-grandparents), whose graves are in Knox County, Tennessee. 
Knox County, Tennessee
William Roberts, born 1745 -  died 1816 in Knox County, Tennessee

Isabella Graham Roberts, born 1744 in Monmouth Co., New Jersey - died1833 in Knox County, Tennessee
James and our 4th great-grandfather John Roberts were on the Hawkins County tax rolls for 1799, and listed in the Pulaski County's 1810 censuses, James aged 45, John age 39, both with growing families.  They did not, however, settle close to each other. James was granted 200 acres on Wolf Creek in 1807. John lived on the other side of Somerset, the county seat, on  Buck Creek, the amount of his acreage unknown.  A William Roberts received a land grant of 200 acres on Buck Creek in 1800, and I believe he is John Roberts' brother, born 1782 in Sullivan County, Tennessee, died after 1837 in Texas, his wife Elizabeth Anderson outliving him. 

As for John Roberts' wife Jane Roberts, our 4th great-grandmother. What was her surname? John Anderson, the storyteller, married Rachael Roberts, our John Roberts' sister.  William Roberts, John Roberts' brother, married Elizabeth Anderson (born 1785), John Anderson's sister.  I thought perhaps our 4th great-grandmother was Jane Anderson, born about 1775, another sister, but I could find no proof of their marriage; and then discovered Jane Anderson was born in 1784 and died in Texas after a long life.  The only John Roberts, whose marriage was recorded in Tennessee at what would be an appropriate time was to a Jennie Patton in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1797.  Jennie . . . Jane . . . I just don't know.