from:  From: [[Source:Martin, William. Colonel William Martin's narrative of frontier life]]
Colonel William Martin's Narrative Of Frontier Life.
Dixon's Springs, (Tenn.)
My young Friend and Brother: I have received and read and re-read with much pleasure your two letters of Sept. 24, and 18 of Oct. acknowledging the receipt of the communications I had made to you. I had thought strange of your long silence, not knowing you had gone to Buffalo, but you have explained all.
You begin your first letter with thanks, etc. All this is unclaimed, because I am equally obliged to you for the efforts you are making to bring the merits of my venerable father before the world; so that it is all rec1procal. The same with whatever may follow. I want you thus to consider it. I mean so far as respects my father. And whatever else I may have in my power to contribute to the work you have undertaken, I owe to the memory of the gallant dead and to posterity. Instead therefore of doing you a favor in this way I feel, as all should, under obligations to you for the great efforts you are making to rescue from oblivion the mighty deeds of a most extraordinary and meritorious race of men, "who suffered more and were rewarded less perhaps than any others, in any age, or in any country," as you have properly remarked.
You will have discovered that in my narratives, I go pretty much by round numbers. Indeed, at this late day this course is unavoidable. I merely mention it that due allowance may be made. And furthermore, you may know I am a whole number, matter of fact kind of man, dwell but little in fractions—with difficulty did I learn the rule at school and forgot it directly. In my writings, in my talk too, I just give the skeleton and let the others have the pleasure, if there be any, of putting on the dressings, in their own way and to suit their own taste.
You ask me a good many questions. I will answer them the best way I can.
You ask what was the Christian name of my great grandfather. I believe it was William. And so I have it in a sketch of my own life which I am writing out for the use of my family.
I know of no means by which the precise time in the year 1740 my father was born. My brother in Virginia can tell the particular time of his death as he was with him at the time. And also more than I know about the disease as well as a great many other things connected with his after life, how long he served in the Virginia Legislature, etc.
MY FINE OLD BROTHER TOBY.
And he can gather a good deal of Western matter from Toby, as he was long with his master there, was his body and confidential servant, was with him in the campaign of 1/88, and at the battle of the Lookout Mountain distinguished himself—as he did on another occasion where he and a younger brother of mine were attacked by Indians.
He, I expect, can tell more of that campaign than any man now living. But few men have as fine sense. My father owned him from the time he was about 25, and from that time he was with hitn almost continually. He rarely ever traveled without Toby. And a more faithful servant perhaps no man ever had. He is now over 80, stout, and lives with my brother. My father often said he should free Toby tho he died intestate. But the family approved his intention and Toby being a great favorite with the family was by mutual consent left out of the inventory and has ever since been free, and has made himself a good estate. My brother owned his wife, long since dead; they had no children. He has been a respectable Baptist preacher for many years.
He is a bright mulatto, a little under the middle stature, of great physical powers, as well as mental, of the finest appearance and finest address, accommodating manners, remarkably humble and unassuming, and always highly respected. Excuse this long story about my fine old brother Toby. You would be delighted with him if he is not too much worn down with age.
I hope when on your way to the South you will call at my brother's, and see him and Toby. My brother is a fine man 20 years younger than I (half brother). But the documents there are worth more than all. You could come on to Richmond thence, not 200 miles to his house, in the direction to this place and but little out of the way to Pontotoc.
HOW TO BANG ABOUT THEN.
You could come to my brother's by the common conveyances there, get a horse and travel at your leisure, and you would soon get over the Blue Ridge. There you would enter the f1eld I have endeavored to describe. A little from there, in your way, you will find old Fort Child about which I have said so much. Thence on to Abing- ton where you will see Gov. Campbell and may meet with a rich treat. Some twenty miles before you get there you will pass the seven mile ford of Holston, the very spot where Gen. William Campbell lived at the time of his mighty war deeds. As you are such an antiquarian as you say you are, you would like to see the locality of this distinguished war chieftain.
From Abington you could bang about through East Tennessee and pick up all you could find there which I apprehend may be a good deal. This will be the richest field you can enter anywhere except Kentucky.
Gov. Campbell can tell you how to zigzag to Knoxville. There you will see Dr. Ramsey and old Mr. Hillsman—he has a young son, a fine Baptist preacher.
Between Abington and Knoxville you may get all, I apprehend, which is comeatable respecting the state of Frankland: the battle of the Island Flats and that of King's Mountain together with the long series of Indian wars there. In passing down towards Knoxville you may by turning off a mile or two see the battleground at the Island Flats, and the sink hole where Ellick Moore killed the big Indian. But I will tell you more about that affair presently as I can't do but one thing at a time, and that not very well as you will readily see.
From Knoxville come on to Col. Christian's in Overton, thence here some 50 or 60 miles.
Then what a meeting! And now, my fine little brother,
I warn you in due time to take care how you approach me for you say you will run at me full tilt with both hands. I say take care how you suffer those puny delicate little hands of yours on an occasion of the kind to get within my great clamps lest like the lion in the fable, imperceptibly to myself, I mash them to a mummy out of pure love. For I do sometimes get into tin's kind of paroxysms. Well, this over, we will then go to work, I to talking and you to writing. Thus we will go on until we get tired and then the good book and the matters and things connected within the blessed Bible. Oh what a feast of love and joy I anticipate. Then come along before I die for you must know from my advanced age I cannot live much longer. Then I say hurry along. I can hardly have patience to wait until "sometime next year" as you say. >
Battle Of Point Pleasant.
In the campaign of 1774 against the Shawnees I think my father was lieutenant under Capt. Penn. He had moved to that part of the country only the fall previous. And they were employed on the frontier, on New river, far from Point Pleasant where the great battle was fought. The following winter he went to Powel's valley as I have before told you.
I expect you can get more information respecting the Shawnee battle than I can give.
I have heard several who had opportunity of knowing speak of it. But I rely more on Gen. Robertson than all. With him I was long and intimately acquainted. In 1808 we traveled together, ourselves alone, from here to Knox- ville and back, 150 miles; and as electors voted for Mr. Madison for President, as I myself had before done for Mr. Jefferson in 1804. On this trip we conversed much of what had passed in the West where we had both spent the prime of our lives, and both having been of the active, enterprising, romantic description must of course have known a great deal. This we interchanged.
On nothing did he so much delight to dwell as the battle of the Point. He gave me the whole history much of which I have now forgotten. But the substance of what I recollect I will here narrate. The encampment was on the Point near the confluence of the two rivers. One morning he and another man (I forget his name) obtained leave to go out to hunt. They set off a little before day in order to get into good hunting ground early. And here, I will digress a little and tell you something about hunting, as you seem to want to know everything connected with the West as it was in those times.
The time of year referred to, October, was what the hunters called buck running time: the time when the deer copulate. At night they separate! in the morning early the buck sets out in search of the doe and runs with impetuosity, bleating ever and anon. In this way they were more exposed to discovery. The hunter would avail himself of this advantage and if he could ever get within hearing he would stop the buck by imitating the bleating of the doe. This was the reason those men went out so early. Robertson said they had gone about 2 miles by day break. They were on a path going down a descent to a branch when they discovered the Indians in great force coming down on the other side, meeting them and within 50 or 60 yards. They wheeled to run, the Indians fired and killed his companion.
He ran with all his speed to camp and gave the alarm. A body of men was immediately ordered out under Col. Chas. Lewis, Robertson among them. They met the Indians about three or four hundred yards from the encampment. The parties engaged, the conflict for awhile was very severe and victory for sometime doubtful.
They finally extended their respective lines from river to river so that neither could turn the flank of the other. For I recollect distinctly that he said he and some others pretty early in the day concluded to turn the Indian flank by going under the river bank to prevent discovery. But in the attempt they found the Indians on the bank who poured down a heavy fire on them, killing some and driving the rest back. The lines tho thus extended were not compact but rather in squads, every man fighting for himself pretty much. Nor did either party give way except partially at times and then they regained by reinforcements. Thus the parties occupied pretty much the same ground at the close which they assumed at the beginning of the fight.
After a while the firing became rather slack and so continued except once in awhile it would be sharp in some particular parts and then another. This happened mostly when a squad of daring men would concert and make a dash as we used to call it. Thus did they zigzag all day until about dusk the Indians suddenly gave way..
It was noticed throughout the day that there was a stentorian voice heard along the Indian line as if encouraging sometimes in one part and then in another. And this same voice gave a more lengthened talk just at the time of the retreat, supposed for that purpose.
This voice turned out to be that of Cornstalk, their great leading chief.
It seemed that the General was not disposed to risk all on a single battle but kept the greater part of his men to fortify and guard the camp. For I believe but few went out after the first ordered under Col. Lewis (300) and these few against orders. Col. Lewis was killed early in the action. He was considered very brave. Gen. Lewis was much blamed, whether justly or not I never knew enough to form an opinion for myself. Perhaps situated as he was, far in the enemies' country and far removed from succor, the precaution he used was justifiable, yet it would seem reasonable to suppose that two or three hundred men more well directed would have decided the fate of the day directly. Nor should he have feared for the safety of the camp after finding that a few men had kept the enemy at bay so long. I do not remember to have heard of any officer over a captain being in the field after Lewis fell. Gen. Lewis I believe was acquitted of blame by authority.
I have been the more particular in this narrative because in a late conversation with Dr. Robertson he gave a version somewhat different, especially about the discovery of the Indians. I apprehend he never knew or cared much about it. His pursuits in life led his mind another way as I suppose.
Battle Of Long Island Flats.
All the accounts I have seen published about the battle of the Island Flats are a good deal imperfect. You may know that those flats lie on the North side of the Holston, immediately opposite the Long Island and about the whole length, four or five miles, width 2 or 3 miles. It is quite poor and marshy but little of it fit for cultivation. Fort Henry where the treaty of 1777 was held was on the North bank of the river and opposite the upper part of the Island or nearly so. From this old fort lead the main travelling ways to Heaton's station, six miles from the Island, on Heaton's ridge and not on Reedy Creek as you have enquired, but four miles from the creek and on the South side and thence on to Abington, etc.
This road passed through rather the upper part of the Flat, and on which (the road), the battle was fought and just where the Flat and upland joined, rather on the Flat side of the line two miles from the Island. My father once owned the land and had a plantation on the tract of which it was a part. I lived there awhile and knew the battle ground as well as I did any place, having passed through it hundreds of times, and Moore's sink hole was near the road. Before this war the Cherokees had been long at peace. The people on the frontier, the meridian of the Long Island or thereabouts, were quiet, apprehending no danger.
But the war with England having come on the British agent, Cameron, or Stewart, I am not certain which, excited them to war with us. And they were organizing a formidable campaign to fall on our unsuspecting frontier.
At this time there were two white men residing in the Nation. Bill Faulin, a large, bold, daring fellow, with much smartness, but he was a notorious horse thief—had fled from justice to the Cherokees. There he took a wife and had children by her. And there was also Isaac Thomas, a trader, I believe.
These men determined on giving notice of this movement. They were prompted by the notorious Nancy Ward. Accordingly they stole off and went with all possible speed 120 miles and gave the news. The alarm spread, the consternation was great. The people rushed together in their respective neighborhoods, and hurried up forts for defense. Expresses were sent into the interior in every direction. Men flew to arms everywhere: hence the five companies Haywood speaks of. Heaton's being on the great thoroughfare and a place of notoriety, the most formidable stand was made there. This gave rise to Heaton's Station so often mentioned in Western history. I have been at it as many times perhaps as there are lines on this sheet, tho not until three or four years after the mighty scenes referred to had passed by.
Here the reinforcements from the country rendezvoused. By this time the spies had discovered the Indians approaching in great force towards Heaton's. A council was held whether to go and meet them or await their arrival. There was difference of opinion. Cocke was in favor of going and it used to be said that it was pretty much through his influence they did go. They met the Indians four miles from Heaton's. The fighting was severe for awhile, without intermission. And Haywood is wrong in saying that after repulsing the Indian advance party, supposing all over, the men got into a crowd and were thus surprised by the appearance of the whole Indian force, etc.
He is much at fault in his description of this whole affair as he is in almost every thing else. Th° Indians soon gave way. And I might as well just here give the case of Ellick Moore and the big Indian.
When the Indians broke, our men pursued promiscuously. Moore in pursuing and about where the Indian line had been formed discovered a live Indian in a sink hole with one thigh broken. The whole was a round sunken place three or four feet deep, something like a bowl and from ten to twenty feet in diameter. He attacked him. They fought for some time. Moore finally got the Indian's knife and killed him with it: so that the Indian did not break from him as Haywood says. The Indian was remarkably large and was known by the name of big Jim as it was afterwards ascertained. I was intimately acquainted with Moore afterwards and used frequently to hear him tell the story. He was a large man, weighing about 200 pounds, industrious, rough, and good humored, and drank freely at times. In his cups he delighted to tell about the fight in the sink hole and would say of himself, "I am big Ellick Moore that killed the big Indian in the big sink hole in the big Island Flats of Big Holston."
The Shelby Brothers And Others Characterized.
I remember not to^have heard of the number of captains in the fight who commanded nor the name of any but Cocke and James Shelby. Shelby was said to be the most daring of the family. He was slim, lean, with severe features and red hair. He was killed by Indians between Kentucky and Cumberland. His brother John, the oldest, I think, of the family, was much like James, red hair, etc., tho I don't think he ever figured. Moses had red hair too. He was low of stature tho muscular and was considered to be the next boldest to James.
The Governor and Evan were large and muscular, with black hair. The latter was said to be rather slack twisted —a term we used to have for want of courage.
He and Moses were both killed by Indians, I believe, on the Cumberland below Nashville. Of all these men I had some knowledge when I was young tho I was intimate with none but heard much about them.
I have been thus particular in describing them, from the presumption that you would like to know as they were a conspicuous family in their day. I know but little of their father more than history tells. I used when young to be at his house sometimes on business for my father. He was then old, low, and heavy built, and corpulent. In his old age he married a young woman, was unhappy, became intemperate, and I think so died.
Haywood says James Thompson commanded at the Island Flats battle. It might have been so. I knew a clever man of that name in the country but never heard of his having been in the fight. I think he married a Shelby.
Arthur Campbell, I think, could not have been there. He had not much character as a warrior.
Indian Respect For Woman.
The amount of our force in that battle was said to be 250. The Indian force was much greater, commanded by Dragging Alias Dragon Canoo. fclow a little about this mighty warrior. He was a bold, daring, popular, magnanimous chief, always (after the campaign of 1776 under Christian) at war with the whites. At the treaty of 1/77 he refused to come in and remonstrated. He finally moved off with a large party far down the Tennessee and settled at a plac£ called Chickamoga, I think he died not long after from whence they carried on their depredations. And that was the quarter from whence this country suffered mostly during these wars.
On one of his war trips they took a white woman prisoner. Their custom always has been for the man who took a prisoner to claim it as his own and when they get home to adopt the prisoner into his family.
On their return home one day this man and his prisoner had fallen behind. The rest waited for them sometime, but they did not come up. The Canoo went back to see what was the matter and found the man attempting rudeness with the woman. The Canoo shot him dead on the spot.
This I believe is the only instance I have ever heard of Indians treating female captives immodestly.
Cocke "always Forward To Turn Out."
In time of the battle Captain Cocke ran off and went back to the station, recruiting a few men, and set off again to the battle. On their way they met the others returning. He was arrested and tried by a court martial for cowardice. He pleaded that in attempting with some men to turn the flank of the Indians he was cut off by the enemy and pursued so that he could not get back. He was swift of foot and pretty much of a hand at fighting fisticuffs. The plea was not well sustained and I think he was cashiered. At any rate the seal of cowardice was stamped on him which he never overcame whether justly or not. Gen. Robertson told me they were a good deal together in the wars and that he thought he never knew any man more desirous to be brave than Cocke was, and that he always seemed to think he was so until the pinch came, and then he could not stand, was always forward to turn out. He was a light, vain, assuming, good humored, jocular kind of man, had but little character.
He tried to be a lawyer, made a poor hand of it, was appointed judge, was impeached and tried for malfeasance in office, found guilty and dismissed.
I am now done with this Island battle and its cognates.
Volunteers And Regulars Then.
You want to know about the campaign of 1781, commanded by Col. Arthur Campbell, who were the officers under my father, were his men mounted, were the reinforcements under Gen. (then Col.) William Campbell mounted, or were they footmen, how many men were under him, the officers, etc.?
The greater part of his command were footmen. I think there were a few horse. I remember this much that I was mounted and that Peyton and others sent with the express spoken of before, were mounted, so I think there was perhaps one company of horsemen.
I have but little guess of the whole number but think there were two regiments. And this I judge more from my recollection of the officers than from anything else. There were two Col. Crockets, Anthony and, I think, Joseph (brothers). The former, slim and light, and the latter heavy made, both in the prime of life, and lived in either Augusta or Botetourt Co., and I somehow or other have got into my head that they were both of the same regiment, Joseph, the elder, Col. Commandant, and Anthony Lieutenant Colonel. And this opinion is rather confirmed from a conversation last winter with a Colonel Crocket now of this state, grandson to Col. Anthony. There was also a Col. Jacob Stephens who commanded a regiment. I remember that he and Campbell had a considerable falling out, something about his men.
He was from New River and a great part of his men were Dutch, for that section of the country was mostly settled with Dutch. Stephens was a large, bold, vigorous man. My opinion is that those men were drafted (and that Campbell had been appointed to the command by Government) because they were regularly supplied with provisions and because they were footmen.
Not so with the volunteer campaigns. These were always mounted, themselves supplying and carrying their own provision and feed for their horses that would generally hold out until they could get to quarter on the enemy. And furthermore because Col Stephens' men were Dutch who were not patriotic. I think Stephens himself was half Dutch, lived in the Dutch settlement, and on the way from the Long Island to where my father lived in Virginia and it was stopping place for him. They were great friends. I used in travelling to stay there of nights.
My father's men were mounted. I know not how many he had, say two or three hundred. Nor do I know who were the officers under him, if any above subalterns. I rather think that altho he had the rank of major, yet on that campaign he acted as captain and that his command constituted one company only, but in this I may perhaps be mistaken. I have told you before that he was auxiliary to Campbell, reserving an independent command.
While in the nation and while marching down the river laying waste the Indian villages, he with his men wheeled off tq, scour the country. Returning they fell considerably in the rear. In pursuing on they came to a smoking village just left. A parcel of Indians had come in from their hiding places and were looking on. They killed several of them.
Nancy Ward And Military Etiquette.
Again Nancy Ward, of the most powerful clan, having great influence and always friendly to the whites, came in. The army was straitened for provisions. She was rich in stock and agreed to furnish beef and had a parcel of cattle driven in. Col. Clark of Sevier's party met them and pretended to have captured them and slaughtered them for the use of his own party. My father was then out. He returned, heard what had happened, drew his sword, and ordered his men to follow him. They went out and took the whole of the beef then hanging about in quarters, and carried it to his own camp without resistance. He and Clark had a fight about it after they returned.
From this and many other things of like insubordination you can form some idea of the military etiquette of those days. I mean in those Indian wars.
A little more about Nancy Ward, her influence, etc. It may be remarked that altho the Indian females are much degraded yet circumstances would sometimes combine to elevate someone to great power. Such was the case with this distinguished woman. In addition to other advantages she had a son and a brother who were distinguished warriors. The son called "The little fellow," being small, the other "the long fellow" being tall. I have seen them both often. These were brother and uncle in law to my father.
Now an anecdote about him and this "little fellow." During the time which elapsed between Christian's campaign in 1776 and the treaty at the Island in June, I//7, my father commanded a company on Clinch, at a place called the Rye Cove. A party of men at a little distance from the fort were attacked by this "Little Fellow" and his party. My father and others ran out. They had a little fight, a few were killed. After my father was appointed agent and had married into the family, they became acquainted and talked the matter over, and from their accounts of the affair they were individually opposed to each other yet both escaped without injury.
He was a great friend to my father, so was the "Long Fellow" and Watts.
I have told you before that he would sometimes go to the nation at great hazard of life. But let times be as they might, if he could get to Nancy Ward and these men he was safe.
Campbell And Shelby Controversy.
I will here say a little more about the Campbells. Arthur was considered the smarter, had the best education, but not chivalrous or honorable. He was a business man, mercenary, cunning, swindling, person tall and rather slender, Roman nose, nothing prepossessing about him. I never heard of his being in the wars except the campaign spoken of, and in that heard no complaint against him.
William was quite a different kind of man: patriotic, chivalrous, bold, uncompromising, rather rash, highly honorable, magnanimous, and ambitious for fame; person tall, say 6 feet, erect, lean, bigboned, weight perhaps 175 pounds, long faced, high cheekbones, yellow, or rather light reddish hair, and I think, blue eyes, countenance severe.
I think I had better give a narrative of an affair which happened about 20 years ago about Gen. Campbell and Gov. Shelby. To wit: After the battle of King's Mountain the legislature of Virginia voted Gen. Campbell for his gallantry in that affair a horse, sword and a brace of pistols. But he died soon after and they were never furnished. And the legislature of North Carolina voted a sword to Shelby and Sevier each. But it happened that they were not furnished.
When the distinguished William C. Preston, now of South Carolina, eldest grandson of Gen. Campbell, grew up to manhood (for I hardly need tell you that Gen. Campbell married a sister of Patrick Henry—that she had a beard and shaved—that they had only two children, daughters, that Frank Preston, of Abingdon, Virginia, married one, I think the eldest, and this William C. is the offspring of that marriage) I say, when he came to manhood the legislature passed a resolution giving to him the articles which had been voted his grandfather. Voted them but withheld; and for him, Sevier, as he lived nearest to apply for them, etc., reminding him also of some of the leading transactions of the King's Mountain campaign; that it was themselves in concert with Gen. McDowel that set the enterprise on foot; that they were entitled to more credit for the result than Captain Campbell was; the difficulty they had to get him into it at all; that they agreed for him to have the command because he brought more men into the field than either of them; and that in the battle he acted cowardly, saying that when Ferguson with his veterans charged our lines the men broke and he feared a general rout, and while he was exerting himself to rally the men he saw Campbell sitting on his black, bald faced horse 200 yards in the rear; and that after the fight was over and the prisoners surrounded by the guards, Campbell just then came up with his sword under his arm and said to him, Shelby, that he could not account for his own conduct. The foregoing is the substance of those letters, to the best of my recollection, but it is probable that Preston has the whole as all was published.
Now the way these letters came to light was this: when Haywood was about his Tennessee history he applied to Col. G. M. Sevier having possession of his father's papers, the Governor being dead, for documents. And Sevier foolishly to say the least of it, published the letters. And of course they went the rounds. This I think was about 1820. Great excitement was produced in the country by these publications as might be expected from the celebrity of these two men, Campbell and Shelby. The first altho dead left a brilliant character for his deeds in the old war. The latter was no less distinguished for the part he acted in the same war, with the additional laurels now in the last war, all still living in the recollection of a grateful people. The public mind was astounded. For such a character as Campbell's, which had so long been unimpeached,
and not only that, but that he had soon after that battle been promoted to a high rank in the regular army, after such a lapse of years to be thus assailed and that, too, by such a man as Governor Shelby, astonished everybody. And all seemed afraid to open their mouths touching an opinion. Young Preston, however, soon broke the charm. He procured and published certificates of a great many men then living who had been in the battle, proving, as far as a negative could be proved, that Gov. Shelby's statements were untrue. Among other things that Campbell had two horses along, one a bay and the other a black with a bald face; that his servant was a mulatto about the height and size of his master, named Billy, and that on the day of the battle Campbell rode the bay and Billy the black bald; and furthermore he procured and published the official report of the battle, made out, agreed upon, and signed by all those great chiefs before they left the ground, giving Campbell due credit for the part he acted, all this seemed to throw the burden on Shelby. So he went to work and procured and published a good many countervailing certificates and I believe there was a rejoinder or two. After a while all died away, everybody being tired of talking about it, leaving Campbell's character as pure as it found it. Upon the whole, it seemed to react on Shelby.
My reason for referring to this affair is by way of precaution to you, presuming that from your inquiries into the character of those men some might refer to this matter in a garbled, one-sided way and do harm. I think I stand in as fair position to do justice to the subject as any one-can, for they were both great favorites, and stood equal to me.
And, furthermore, my situation at the time gave me the best opportunity to know all about it. And add to all the lively interest I felt for the character of both, perhaps beyond that of most men on accounttof my long acquaintance, leads me to rely a good deal on the correctness of the statement thus given. My intention is that you make no use of this unless it should become necessary to repel such as may be offered for mischief. Nor should it under any circumstances be carried into your publication.
Origin Of American- Clevelands.
Why Col. Cleveland, equally entitled, was not also thus honored with such compliments I never knew. Nor do I remember ever to have heard him speak of it during our long and intimate acquaintance on Tugalo, South Carolina, as you have rightly supposed. Though he talked much of that affair. I will sometime when I have more leisure give you a long and interesting chapter about him. For I know his history well, having received it mostly from himself, and a good deal of the early part was connected with that of my father. It was the most reckless, daring and romantic.
He was a- descendant of Oliver Cromwell through an illegitimate son by a Miss Cleveland, a lady of some distinction. Cromwell, you know, had great pretentions to piety and to prevent discovery the child was sent off to be destroyed. But the undertaker had compassion on the innocent babe and put him with a foster father in a remote quarter where he was raised and by some singular circumstances, like Douglass of Scots, he came to light and became distinguished. The Colonel had a history of his life, large. I have read it. He prided himself much on his descent and it is supposed that all the Clevelands in America are from that root.
Thomas And Paulin Who Brought The News.
I forgot to mention in the proper place to say that I never heard anything of the Irishman's looking glass before you mentioned it. I suspect it is all a hoax. The story does not tell we'll at all.
I forgot, too, to say a little more about Thomas and Faulin, the men who brought the news of the Indian invasion in 1776.
Thomas settled on Holston, raised a family, and was respectable. Gen. Thomas, now of Alexandria, La., is his son.
Faulin, altho long a refugee from justice, for this great act of kindness to the settlers on the frontier, was forgiven and received into companionship. He married and settled on Watauga, but soon took to his old trade of horse stealing.
One of these companies commanded by a Captain Loo- ney, a fine fellow, went to take him. He defended himself from his house. At length they came to a parley and proposed terms on which he surrendered and came out with his rifle in his hand.
While he and Looney were conversing about the matter, men all around, a certain red-mouthed Irishman, named, Ingram, slipped around and shot Faulin behind. But before he fell he raised his gun and shot Looney, who was standing just before him, and they both fell dead together. Ingram himself was afterwards killed for some of his villainy. I used to know him. Faulin I never saw.
The Father Of Lynch Law.
In those times there were a great many bad men settled along the frontiers who by their thefts annoyed the country greatly. Insomuch that the people entered into combinations to suppress them and formed companies called regulators. They formed in military style, with officers, etc.
They also organized a court and appointed some three or four of their aged, discreet men judges to try criminal causes, award punishment, etc. The company would bring up suspected fellows and the court would try them. But they seldom extended punishment beyond whipping and driving from the country, sometimes making them pay for property stolen, when they had the means.
This method of breaking up combinations of rogues was first set on foot by Col. Charles Lynch, of Bedford county, Va., where I was raised. He and my father were acquainted. (The same man for whom Lynchburg was named.) This plan was started some seventy or eighty years ago.
The measure seemed to be called for from the situation of the country at the time. And it has been practiced more or less in the settling of new countries from that time until within a few years past, since the laws operate with more efficiency. The authorities generally connived at it from the necessity of the case. And perhaps nowhere has it been more common than in Tennessee. Lynch at first punished with thirty-nine stripes, taking as I suppose Moses for his model. And this was for a great while called Lynch's law, meaning all unlawful whipping. Any of the old men now in the South and West can tell the meaning of Lynch's law.
Lynch, however, has been improved upon and more sever punishments sometimes inflicted. I have given this feature of Western history from the presumption that you may not have known it.
First Battle Of Lookout Mountain.
You ask if I was in the campaign of 1788, commanded by my father. I was then in this country in command and on my back sick. I was extremely anxious to be along on that occasion and have often thought had I been there the affair at the Lookout Mountain might have terminated differently for, with a few of the right sort of men, I should have had with me, my superior knowledge of the arts of Indian warfare, and with a peculiar aptitude I always had to take advantage of circumstances and to make the best of a crisis, a wonder might have been performed, though perhaps I might have been killed.
I know not the number of men on that campaign, but I think not less than 1,000. Hay wood says 450. After laying waste the country for a great distance down the river they arrived at the Lookout Mountain late in the evening, too late to cross the army, as crossing was difficult, being a narrow defile; something of a Thermopylae of a place. A detachment was sent to take possession of the pass until morning. But the Indians had anticipated them, fired on the party and drove them back. Night coming on they had to desist. In the meantime the Indians reinforced and prepared for a formidable defense. Early next morning a large division was sent to force their way. The commander was along. From the situation of the mountain, for I will not say ground, because it was mostly rocks, they had to march pretty much in Indian file and zigzag among the rocks, as they could (and as I have told you before in those wars the officers had always in time of danger to go in the lead, so it was here, hence the distinction among the officers). The Indians being posted to great advantage and concealed behind the rocks, trees, etc., they poured down on the men a sudden and destructive fire. Many were killed and among others Captain John Hardin (not Joseph, as you suppose. The latter I afterwards knew. They were twin brothers), and Capt. Bullard, and Capt. Vincent was wounded through the body, though he finally recovered. I knew him afterwards.
These were bold, gallant men marching at the time at the head of their respective companies. Great confusion ensued in the ranks. The situation of the place was such that it was impossible to rally the men until they got to the foot of the mountain. Indeed some ran off to the encampment. Orders were sent to bring up the balance of the troop, they refused to come; the commander went, found them in confusion, and with all his influence and authority could not command them. They began to break off in squads until nearly all went off, leaving but few with their commander. Consequently he was obliged to recall the advance and retreat. They returned unmolested and were not attacked at night, as Haywood says. Although they broke up in disorder they after a while got together and marched home in order. I never heard the commander blamed for want of courage or skill in this affair. But the discomfiture proceeded from a combination of untoward circumstances, the like of which have frequently disappointed the best concerted and vigorously prosecuted plans. He was elected the next year to the Legislature and also to the convention that ratified the Federal Constitution. This was the last service he performed in the West, as he then resigned his Indian agency and returned to Virginia, as I have told you before. This was in the year 1789.
I have thought that if there was blame at all in this campaign it was in venturing too far with so few men. But I never heard of their being annoyed on their return march, and the marvel is that they were thus allowed to return.
You ask about Joseph Winston and the McDowels. I had a slight acquaintance with them all when I was young. The first, a relative, a clever man, was major under Col. Cleveland at King's Mountain, and afterwards member of Congress. The others, Charles, the general, Joseph, his brother, and Joseph, a cousin, were all clever and somewhat conspicuous, but claiming nothing from you except the General, and he only as connected with the King's Mountain affair. He was quite a light man, the others were substantial. Col. Tipton figured in nothing except in the Frankland affair. I am pretty sure he was not at King's Mountain nor in any of the Indian wars. He was a rough, respectable man. Generals White and Doherty I knew well. Both of them were the best sort of men, but every way moderate, though you may learn more about them in East Tennessee, where they lived.
I knew nothing of Capt. Christian and Maj. Sharp, of whom you are speaking as having done something in 1793. Nor do I know of any person now living who was at either of the battles of Island Flats, the Point, or even King's Mountain.
The Bledsoes I knew well. They were both respectable and were both killed by Indians. Anthony was smart, a good deal of a business man, and not a gun man. He had had some public employment, but attended mostly to his own business.
Isaac was ordinary. He had in early life been one of the long hunters, so called. When I knew him he was rather old for the woods.
I have now answered as well as I can the most of your inquiries, reserving, however, Pickens and Cleveland and King's Mountain for another chapter, to which I may perhaps add Gen. Clark, of Georgia, and Gen. Winchester, of Tennessee. I could say a good deal about Generals Smith and Robertson, but they left intelligent sons now living who can speak for them. So has Gen. Winchester. His eldest son, M. B. Winchester, is an intelligent gentleman living at Memphis, Tenn., and in the district now represented by the Hon. C. H. Williams. Gen. Winchester was quite a distinguished man, an officer of the Revolution. He came here at an early time, was brigadier in the regular army during the last war. He was a man of great personal worth. The son referred to arrived to manhood many years before his father's death and must have known much about him. The General was not a man of the woods, but efficient in everything else, very methodical. I should expect there is a good deal of documentary evidence of the times in which he lived.
Gen. Clark, of Georgia, was quite a distinguished pioneer. During the Revolution, at the time when the army had overrun the Southern States, and called on the people to take protection and swear allegiance to his majesty, Clark's patriotic soul recoiled at the idea of submission, rallied around him a band of similar spirits and was for a long time there on a small scale what Sumter was in South Carolina. He was with Morgan at the Cowpens. After the Revolution he was the great leader in the wars against the Creek Indians. I think his Christian name was Elijah. He had a son, Gen. John Clark", who was distinguished. I know not to whom you may apply for information about Gen. Clark. The Hon. Mark A. Cooper, member of Congress from Georgia, now represents the district in which Clark formerly lived, as I believe, and which was then a frontier.
Cherokees Friendly to Some Whites, Fierce To Others.
And here I will remark a thing about the Cherokee Indians which you may not have known, to wit: that from the conclusion of the Revolution until the termination of all the Indian wars in 1795 they never interrupted the frontier of South Carolina or Georgia; that while they were during that time carrying on war with its greatest fierceness against the people of the present Tennessee, there was peace and continued intercourse there. All the war we had there was with the Creeks. Gov. Shelby hearing of this wrote to Gov. Sevier two letters, I think, reminding him of the swords that had been