Source:Pension Statement of James Fraley

Source Pension Statement of James Fraley

Pension Statement of James Fraley.

Pension application of James Fraley R3736
Transcribed by Will Graves
State of Kentucky, County of Floyd

On this __ day of June 1834 personally appeared before the undersigned one of the Commonwealth's Justice of the Peace for said County, James Frayley, resident of Lawrence County, Kentucky. Aged Seventy five years of age who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.

1st. That he entered the service of the United States and served under the following named officers—Col. William Camel, Captain Snody, for nine months as an Indian spy in the County of Washington, and the State of Virginia this was the 3rd of March, as he now recollects, 1779. His employment was as a scout & spy. He served with no Continental Officers or Militia Regiment during the period of his tour, and traversed and spied during that year on the frontiers of the state bordering on the Clinch River Settlements in the County aforesaid. The spies did not go all together, by two & by fours, chiefly in twos. He marched and spied during the months of April, May, and June, not far from the fort on the Clinch River known by Moore's fort situated about a mile from the Clinch River. In this fort there was constantly about 20 or 25 men besides the spies. 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. These are the particular circumstances that I now recollect of. The spies had particular sections allotted to them, where the war paths of the Indians passed, and some time we would not return unless Indian signs were seen for a month, but in August and September the Indians were always most troublesome in stealing, murdering, and burning. The spies below had a running fight with the Indians and they retreated. This was with the lower squads. He received his discharge sometime about the 10 th of December, 1779 for nine months served, he thinks it was a kind of recommendation & stating his service to get his pay. He has never seen it since. The man who spied with him this year as his companion was Lazrus Damron.

2nd : In April, the date has escaped him, 1780 he enlisted for one year in the County of Washington and State of Virginia as an Indian spy under Colonel Camel, Captain Snody again, and Lieutenant Cowan to spy in the same section. The spies were he recollected to feed themselves. They lived on venison & bear meat. Early in June the Indians made their appearance in his quarter of Washington County. They first stole many horses. In July, they killed one Dorten, and stole two girls, to wit, Ann and Mary Bush, and made off for Canida. They succeeded in getting down on the waters of Sandy with them as far as Jurney's Creek in Floyd County, about 12 miles from the court house. At that time there was not a single white person living in Floyd County. It was entirely Indian country then. Our Company came up to the Indians when they were in the act of skinning a buffalo they had just killed. Our men fired on the Indians and they retreated to the camp about 200 yards distant, and as they ran by they tomahawked Ann Bush. Mary jumped down the bank and escaped any violence. Ann Bush got over it, and afterwards married and was again tomahawked by the Indians after that time & still survived. Our Company lost in the running fight only one man, James Coyle. When the Indians retreated from the camp he followed and as he now recollects, shot only once. One Indian stopped behind a tree top, fired, & mortally wounded him. He was carried back to Clinch and died at Moore's fort. The father of this applicant was the surgeon that extracted the bullet.

He served with no Continental Officers or militia companies. He marched and spied in the same section of the county that he did the year previous. When the spies enlisted they enlisted under this kind of arrangement: that they could be retained for one year or discharged at 9 months. In January, at the end of 9 months, we were all discharged. The Shawnee Indians had killed several persons down the river. The lower settlements were in a bad situation in that fall as Col Camel had taken many of the frontier men with their rifles to King's Mountain. some of which had to break up their forts & come further up to the north fork of the Holstein. This he believes are chiefly the circumstances as he now remembers them that occurred during the year 1780. Col Camel as the Col of Washington County, but he was never in company with spies, but it was under his orders his Captain acted. Camel was killed and Col Henry Smith succeeded him, as he now remembers.

During this service Lazarus Dameron who enlisted the 2nd time when said Fraley did, again spied as his comrade. The spies were divided out in twos. The first day of March 1781 he again enlisted for nine months in Washington County, Virginia to spy that season under Col Smith, Capt Cowan. His range was changed. He and Samuel Auxier spied together that nine months on the headwaters of the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers. The Shawnee came up there the most frequent. A portion of the county he spied in is now Perry County, Kentucky & Harlan, Kentucky. It was all Virginia then. This year the Shawnees done [sic, did] more injury than any year since 1775 or 1776. When the Cherokee attacked the Clinch forts in his neighborhood they killed Col Kindrick. They ran him into Clinch River and shot and killed him in the river. The men from the fort sallied out then got Kendrick's body in the river, and took him & buried him in Beckley's Fort. They also killed the wife of John Cates and four of his children and set the house on fire and burnt them up in it. From August till the leaves were pretty near all fallen down Indian signs was fresh and they killed, burnt and scalped a great many persons that fall down Clinch and on Powell's river & valley. He thinks that there was another murder that year committed by the Indians. One Ally's daughter, but it might have been the year after.

He received his discharged for nine months service. He then in the month of May 1782 was again engaged for a spy for nine months in the same county & state aforesaid. He was to get 5 shillings per day & spying was a good business, as the state paid her spies in good money. Col Smith was still the Col and Capt Charles Beckley was the captain of the spies. Cowan was made Major. He was transferred from Moore's Fort to Beckley's Fort, but he served a portion of his time at Blackamore's fort. His range this year was from Elk Garden, down as far as Cove Creek. His comrade was Austin Bush. He spied as usual in that section of the country. The Indians came more than usually early and the circumstances of his service and the events that transpired during 1782 are about these: he spied altogether on the Clinch waters and consequently altogether in Virginia. Our settlements were attacked, and the Indians killed Thomas Osburn, and Minny his wife, which he helped bury in the same coffin and they took two girls prisoner, to wit, Lucretia Osburn, the niece of Thomas Osburn, and Betsey Wall. In spite of all that could be done they took off the girls to Canida and kept Lucretia Osburn four years. Betsey Wall the Indians killed by beating her on the head as he learnt. Lucretia Osburn was exchanged and brought to Detroit. She then married one Armstrong who brought her back to Virginia, and from whom he learned the fate of Betsey Wall. About the same time or a few weeks after, they killed Mary Hamlin, wife of Henry Hamlin, and one Isaac Newland. These are not half the murders, only those in his range during the revolution. He states he is the identical man that killed the celebrated plunderer and Indian Chief Bench not Benj.

He states that he fought the Indian in 1777 & 1778, but he is informed as it was under no organized corps, that the same need not be set forth. He is now very infirm, in body and is unable to attend our court. He never took any care of his papers, and therefore his discharges have been lost for a great while. He assigns as a reason for submitting his declaration in Floyd County is that he would not get an person there to do his business that knew him. That last fall was a year ago he employed a man to do it for me but he said never got any forms.

2nd It's more convenient to attend at the Justices in Floyd than in Lawrence. He can establish his three tours by many living witnesses. He has no documentary evidence in his favor. He has always lived in the backwoods and a hunter he never served with any Continental Officers, nor did he ever see one to his recollection. He moved to this county many years since. He was born in North Carolina in Rowan County. He hereby relinquishes every pension or annuity except the present & declares his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state. Sworn to and subscribed to me this 23 rd day of June, 1834.

James Fraley, X his mark
Daniel C. Hager, Esq.