Person:John English (6)

John English
Facts and Events
Name John English
Gender Male



John English settled on a parcel north of the Clinch River, near modern day St. Paul, sometime after 1772. The property was secured with a Commissioner's Certificate indicating that it had been settled in 1772. However, the certificate had been assigned from "Chippy Ally Puckett" (1) which would seem to indicate that the original settler was actually Puckett. In any case, English was in the area by 1774, as he appears on the William Russell's first militia roster at the opening of Dunmore's War. The site of English's home survived until 1978 when it was destroyed by a fire set by vandals (MySource:Horsch, 1998). Hamilton, in his article on St. Marie on Clinch, tells us that before it was destroyed gunports in the second story could still be seen. This suggests that this may have been a "fort house", similar to Kilgore's Fort House on Copper Creek.

John English's home was apparently attacked by Indians at least twice. Hamilton tell's us that the first attack came on Christmas Day in 1782, but that there was no loss of life at this time. [Primary documentation for this event is needed.] The home was again attacked on the eighth of March, 1787. Alexander Barnett, in a letter to Governor Randolph, tells us that:

The eight Day of the present month, the indians made an attempt on Cassles woods, on Clinch, and killed a woman and Two Childring (sic) and made their Escape in Such a manner that they Cou'd not be followed with any certainty. The Inhabitants along our Frontier is scrupilous of a Troublesome season after the woods Git green with Leaves, and have ap'ly'd to me to order out spies, or some other way for their safety. MySource:Barnett to Randolph, 1787

That this was an attack on John English's family is shown when Barnett later writes on the 19th of May, 1787, that

No invasion of the savages since that of the 8th of March last, an account of which has been given. The last information is that John Inglishe’s family, killed in Cassells Woods, on Clinch, in March last were scalped, and that their scalps were carried into one of the towns on Highwascy [Hiwassee].

Alexander Campbell in another letter to Governor Randolph, also mentions this event, though he places it a day later than Barnett:

On the 9th instant the Indians killed three (3) persons in a settlement called Cassell’s Woods, near Clinch River. The enemy appeared to be few in number and went off in great haste, without attempting to carry off horses or other kinds of booty.

Yet another mention of this is given in James Fraley's pension statement:

That he entered the service of the United States and served ... for nine months as an Indian spy in the County of Washington...the 3rd of March...1779.... [He] traversed and spied during that year on the frontiers of the state bordering on the Clinch River Settlements...during the months of April, May, and June, not far from the fort on the Clinch River known by Moore's fort...The Indians were not so troublesome in the immediate vicinity of Moore's fort, but they were more troublesome lower down on Clinch and Powell's Valley. In August the Wyandots from the north appeared in our vicinity. When out he saw Indian sign. Three persons only were killed in his neighborhood, to wit: John English's wife, Molly and two of her little boys. The Indians retreated down Sandy and they were pursued by the spies as well as the others who remained in the fort to guard it. We were unable to overtake the Indians. They had stole some horses.

Fraley is in apparent disagreement with Campbell as to whether any horses were stolen. That discrepancy is probably not significant, weighed against the loss of life attested to in all testimony. However, it would seem likely that Fraley's account would be the more accurate. Campbell, after all, knew of this only second hand, and did not live in the immediate area. Fraley, on the otherhand, was he a member of the unsuccessful pursuing party, and his brother Jessee eventually married Mary English, daughter of John and Molly. Jessee and Mary Fraley were the sole heirs to John English's estate at his death c. 1797, confirming that Mary Fraley was indeed Mary English, daughter of John and Molly, and that the latter couple had only the three children: Mary, plus the two young sons killed in the attack. Mary and Jessee would both die within a few years, leaving two young sons for whom James Fraley was designated guardian. (MySource:Woodworker, undated). From this, it would seem, greater credance should be placed on Fraley's understanding of the circumstances.


DOB: before 1750John English had three children at the time of the second attack on his home in 1787. Hamilton says that his only surviving child, daughter Mary, died in 1794, with at least two children. This suggests she married about 1790, which in turn suggests she was born about 1770, implying that her parents married c 1770, and were themselves born no later than 1750.
DOD:1797"At the death of John English in 1797, (Russell Order Book 2, page 290)" from Steve "Worker of Wood", at Ancestry
POD:St. Paul, VA
Spouse:Molly Identified in James Frayley's pension statement
DOM:c1770, see DOB analysis above


Hamilton makes a suggestion that John English is related William Ingles=Mary Draper. MySource:Fraley-Wise, 2005 discusses this possibility briefly. Of particular interest is the fact that William and Mary did have a son John Ingles, who would have been of approximately the right age to be John English. The "English" surname could easily be a corruption of "Ingles" (or vice versa), and in fact John English is sometimes identified as "John Inglesh", which can easily be seen as a possible derivitive of "Ingles". As Fraley-Wise points out, there's no direct evidence to establish this connection. Since John English and wife Molly had no surviving sons, YDNA analysis can not be used to establish a connection between William Ingles and John English.

Settlement on Sugar Hill

Note: John English's home site is commonly referred to by Hamilton and others as "Sugar Hill". This, however, appears to be an anachronism. According to MySource:Horsch, 1998 the location received this name at a later date when a sugar manufacturing operation was established in the area. [This operation could have conceivably been for maple sugar production, but given its late date someone was probably making Sorghum Molasses from Sugar Cane].

According to Hamilton,

John English settled on what is now known as "Sugar Hill" overlooking the town of St. Paul, VA, in the year 1772.

This is probably based on the surveyors land record See Source:Robertson, Undated

Page 86 John English 119 ac Commissioners Certificate in a bend of Clinch River on the north side of the same Beginning on the north side of a hollow near the bank of the river on a Rocky spur November 8, 1782 John English, assignee of Henry Hamblyn, assignee of Joseph Drake, assignee of William Pitman, assignee of Thomas Pitman, assignee of Chippy Ally Puckett 200 ac on the north side of Clinch River, includes improvements, actual settlement made in 1772 August 29, 1781
Note: This record clearly shows that a settlement was made on this parcel in 1772. However, John English was not the person to whom the Commissioner's Certificate was granted. Rather he received the certificate through a series of assignments begining with "Chippy Ally Puckett", who presumably made the actual settlement. From this we conclude that English did not settle on this property until sometime after 1772.

In this regard, Hamilton, in his article on the Long Hunters the following note is made:

In Washington Co., Va., Land Entry Book I, p. 86, dated Nov. 8, l782, I find where William Pittman once owned the land on sugar Hill, overlooking St. Paul. Va. This is the land upon which John English settled in l772, where his wife and children were killed by Indians in l787, and which he sold to the Bench Baron Pierre De Tubeuf in l79l, and the site where the Baron was murdered in l795. The land had changed hands many times by assignment of warrant before the Baron bought it. English obtained it from Henry Hamlin who had obtained it from Joseph Drake, another long hunter, and Drake had gotten it from William Pittman, who in turn had received it from Thomas Pittman and Joseph Drake. Just what relation Thomas was to the long hunter, William Pittman, is unknown.

Hamilton's article St. Marie on the Clinch] deals with the Sugar Hill settlement, and tells us something about its exact location. Hamilton writes that

I visited "Sugar Hill" overlooking the town of St. Paul, VA, to what is unquestionably the oldest house in Wise County. The place was reached by a two mile section of poorly kept and seldom traveled secondary road, and a mile of red clay. I would not risk the car all the way, but parked it on the roadside and we sloshed the rest of the way through red clay mud, sometimes leaving the road altogether and picking our way through thickets of undergrowth strange to other sections of Wise County, such as Osage Orange, Honey Locust and Box Elder [1].
The house located at the extreme of a high finger of land jutting out from Sandy Ridge, is set atop a bluff overlooking Clinch River, and is not perhaps greatly changed since the days of the Baron's occupancy [2], still retaining port-holes on the second floor as a defense against marauding Indians.
The topography of the country is such that viewed from St. Paul the house appears on the south of Clinch River and in Russell Co. The river, however, makes a sudden bend between the hills and so close the land hugged walls that one loses sight of the twisting course of the waters when viewed from the escarpment above. Actually the house is on the northwest side of the river and in Wise Co.


[1] "picking our way through thickets of undergrowth strange to other sections of Wise County, such as Osage Orange, Honey Locust and Box Elder". There's a good reason for this. This parcel sits on the eastern edge of modern Wise County, and lies on the St. Paul Fault. This marks the dividing line between the Valley and Ridge geological province to the east, and the Appalachian Province to the west. Hamilton's observations about the unusual vegetation is related to the change in underlying rock types. To the east, the Valley and Ridge is characterized by limestone, while the area to the west is characterized by coal bearing rock. These differences in rock type have far reaching impact on the regional vegetation, and it is not coincidental that the St. Paul Fault also marks the boundary between the Appalachian Mixed Mesophytic ecoregion to the west, and the Blue Ridge ecoregion to the east.

Random notes

variantly spelled English, Inglish, Inglis and Ingles. 

Possibly/Probably this John English or Ingles was the brother of Capt. Thomas Ingles whose family were taken out of Burke’s Garden in 1782, since this Thomas had a brother John.

John English, dead prior to August 22, 1797, the date of probation of his will in Russell Co., VA. Daughter, Mary married Jessee Fraley. Mary English Fraley dead c 1794, (4) and her husband, Jessee Fraley died in June, 1801 (5) They left at least two children, James and Jessee Fraley, Jr., who were "bound out" to their Uncle James Fraley, in October, 1802. (6)

From Steve "Woodworker" at Ancestry

"At the death of John English in 1797, (Russell Order Book 2, page 290), Jessee and Mary English Fraley became sole heirs to his Estate, which seems to prove that John English had only three children, Mary, the wife of Jessee Fraley, and two little boys killed by Indians, along with their mother in 1787."

Image:Construct2 e0.gif This page is a stub, being used to capture information about a particular subject, in preparation for development of a formal article. Please note that some of the data, perhaps much of, or even all of the data, presented here is derived from secondary and tertiary sources. The intent is to eventually tie everything to an "original" or primary source, or at least to something that can be accepted as a surrogate for such a source. See Category:Stub Warnings For Southwest Virginia Project for a list of articles with stub warnings.

Some useful sources

Hamilton's Source (1) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 262. (2) Ibid, page 288 (3) Ibid, page 257 (4) Will Book 2, page 15, Russell Co., VA (5) Court Order Book 3, page 148, Russell Co., VA (6) Court Order Book 3, page 230, Russell Co., VA