Indian Attacks in Southwest Virginia:Distribution through time



Welcome to the SWVP Tapestry!
……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Return to People

Hamilton's Atrocity Stories
The Data
Distribution in Time
Spatial Distribution


Attacks by Native Americans on the settlers in Southwest Virginia began in October of 1773, and continued, until the last raid of 1794. During that 21 year period attacks were recorded in every year but one (1775). The frequency of attacks, however, ebbed and flooded in response to changing circumstances. The following graphic describes this variation, based on an extraction of events presented in Hamilton's Atrocity stories.

Year Attacks Notble Events
1773 8 Attack on Boone's Party, 10 October 1773
1774 14 Dunmore's War; The Battle of Point Pleasant, 10 October 1774
1775 0 Quiet Year; Boone goes to Kentucky
1776 25 Christians Cherokee Expedition, Fall 1776
1777 15
1778 15 Blackfish's Siege of Boonesboro, September 1778
1779 17
1780 12 King's Mountain, Oct 7, 1780; Sevier's Cherokee Expedition 16 Dec 1780
1781 16 Cornwallis defeated at Yorktown, 19 October 1781
1782 57 Peak of attacks.
1783 23 Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, ending the Revolution
1784 9
1785 27
1786 16 Abb's Valley Masacre, July 1786
1787 16
1788 43
1789 29
1790 19
1791 16
1792 17
1793 5
1794 12 Last Indian Raid on Southwest Virginia, April 6 1794

Image:Indian Attacks in Southwest Virginia-Temporal Distribution.jpg


From this chart it is clear that that the indian attacks in southwest Virginia occurred in well defined pulses. Noteworthy features include

1. A temporary pause in the attacks in 1775. This corresponds to the end of Dunmore's War in October of the previous year. Attacks during 1773 and 1774 came from both the Cherokee and the Shawnee, but the attacks in 1775 were mostly carried out by the Shawnee. Attacks by Shawnee in southwest Virginia ended following Dunmore's War, but the Cherokee resumed attacks in 1776. This led to a four separate expeditions launched by the settlers against the Cherokee. One of these expeditions was commanded by Col William Christian, who attacked southward from southwest Virginia, striking as far south as Chota, [???] the capital of the Cherokee....[needs lots of work].

2. While the attacks on the Cherokee heartland stemed the level of attacks on southwest Virginia somewhat, attacks in southwest Virginia were only slightly abated, continueing at a moderate level through the early and middle phases of the Revolution. The single most active year for attacks came in 1782, ....[need explanation of how this fits into British campaign strategy], and relationship to there was a need to maintain militia in southwest Virginia during the King's Mountain campaign.

3. The end of the Revolution saw a drop off in attacks from the high that occurred in 1782. A secondary peak in activity is noted in 1789. This coincides with the influx of settlers into Cherokee territory beginning about 1786. [Need discussion of Indian attacks in Tennessee and their relationship to those in Southwest Virginia.

4. The last attack came in 1794.