Monday, March 24, 2008

Excerpt of a letter from John Floyd to William Preston

Draper Manuscripts 17CC180-81


Kentucky Levels, 30 May, 1775


Dear Sir,


We have seen no Indians since our arrival here; no damage done by them except one Boston who has been killed or lost. My company are all settled near Green River on the southern waters of the Kentucky and have erected a little town which they call St. Asaph, where they are making a crop of corn. All the settlers have received Col. Henderson as proprietor of that side the river Kentucky which is called Transylvania Colony. He has called to Boonsborough (another little town) delegates from all the settlements, in order to form some regulations among the people. They are eighteen in number who have made laws for establishing courts of justice; rules for proceeding therein; also a militia law; an attachments law; a law for preserving the game, and for appointing civil and military officers, &c &c.


The number of inhabitants, I think, does not exceed three hundred in all that I can hear of, on these waters. They have about 230 acres of corn growing. I need not mention every particular, as you will have it from the bearer.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Letter from John Floyd to William Preston

Draper Manuscripts 17CC184-185


Harrodsburg, Oct. 30th, 1779


My Dear Friend,


We arrived here in six weeks, all safe and hearty, but fatigue, perplexity &c. has almost made a skeleton of me.


My wife brought out the little boy without any of my assistance, and neither of them were any trouble on the way. I lost neither horse nor cow, but my trouble in driving them here was too much. I am this morning gathering up my affairs to set out for Beargrass in high spirits.


The commissioners are here, and I procured my certificate yesterday for 1400 acres at Woodstock, and was immediately offered six fine young Virginia born Negroes for it. You never saw such keenness as is here about land. I am vexed that I am forced to send your warrants back to be renewed before I can get them surveyed. Do send them out again as soon as possible. My surveyor’s commissions are at Mr. Trigg’s and Col. Robinson informed me Mr. Madison could not procure me a commission for this county without the old one. I wish it could be sent down. I am now very anxious to have a place and I find all your observations about it very just.


The court moves to the Falls next week, and I am desirous to be there in order to get places for Capt. Madison and Mr. Johnson. I see many selling their claims here and I think they will do the same there. I hear nothing from Capt. Smith; I fear he has gave out coming, and if so his opportunity in getting land will be soon over. Col. Robinson left Capt. Rowland Madison about Cumberland, with a tired horse. He has not yet got out. Corn is 30 dollars per bushel. I wish I had my corn from Arcadia. I want to hear how my brother Charles goes on, I directed him to bring me 10 cows in the spring; if he can I shall be quite safe for that article, and I believe there is no doubt of Buffalo beef plenty. Smith and Carvin landed at the Falls a few days since, but I don’t hear where they are destined. I have no fear of not getting settlers at my station in abundance, as they are very sickly at the Falls.


            Your ever affectionate friend.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Letter from John Floyd about conditions in Kentucky

Draper 17CC172-175


Boonesborough, July 21, 1776


My Dear Sir,

Te situation of our country is much altered since I wrote you last. The Indians seem determined to break up our settlements, and I really doubt, unless it was possible to give us some assistance, that the greatest part of the people must fall a prey to them. They have, I am satisfied, killed several which, at this time, I know not how to mention. Many are missing who, sometime ago, went out about their business who we can hear nothing of. Fresh sign of Indians is seen almost every day.


I think I mentioned to you before of some damage they had done at Leesburg. The seventh of this month they killed one Cooper on Licking Creek, the fourteenth they killed a man whose name I do not know, at your Salt spring on Licking Creek. The same day they took out of a canoe, within sight of this place, Miss Betsy Calloway, her sister Frances, and a daughter of Daniel Boon’s; the two last are about 13 or 14 years old, and the other grown. The affair happened late in the afternoon, they left the canoe on the opposite side of the river from us, which prevented our getting over for some time to pursue them. We could not, that night, follow more than five miles before dark.


Next morning by daylight we were on the tracks, but found they had totally prevented our following them by walking some distance through the thickest cane they could find. We observed their course and on which side we had left their signs. and travelled upwards of thirty miles. We then imagined they would be less cautious in travelling, and made a turn in order to cross their trace, and had gone but a few miles till we found their tracks in a buffalo path, pursued and overtook them in going about two miles, just as they were kindling a fire to cook. Or study had been more to get the prisoners without giving the Indians time to murder them after they discovered us, than to kill them.


We discovered each other nearly at the same time. Four of us fired and all rushed on them, which prevented their carrying anything away except one shot gun without any ammunition. Mr. Boon and myself has each a pretty fair shoot just as they began to move off. I am well convinced I shot one through, and the one he shot dropt his gun, mine had none. The place was very thick with cane, and being so much elated on recovering the three poor little heart-broken girls, prevented our making any further search; we sent them off almost naked, some without their moccasins, and not one of them so much as a knife or tomahawk.


After the girls came to themselves enough to speak, they told us there were only five Indians, four Shawnee and one Cherokee, could all speak good English. They said they should take them to the Shawnee towns. And the war club we got was like those I have seen from that nation. Several words of their language which they retained, was known to be Shawnee. They also told them the Cherokees had killed and drove all the people from Watagua and thereabouts, and that fourteen Cherokees were then on the Kentucky waiting to do mischief. If the was becomes general, which there is now the greatest appearance of, our situation is truly alarming.


We are about finishing a large fort and intend to try to keep possession of this place as long as possible. They are, I understand, doing the same at Harrodsburg, also on Elkhorn at the Royal Spring. A settlement known by the name of Hinkston is broke up and nineteen of which are now here on their way in, himself among the rest, who all seem deaf to anything we can say to dissuade them. Ten at least of our own people, I understand, are going to join them which will leave is with less than 30 men at this fort. I think more than 300 men have left the country since I came out, and not one has arrived except a few cabbiners down the Ohio.


I want as much to return as any person can do, but if I leave the country now there is scarcely one single man hereabouts, but what that will follow the example. When I think of the deplorable condition a few helpless families are likely to be in, I conclude to sell my life as dear as I can, in their defense, rather than to make an ignominious escape.


I am afraid it is in vain to sue for any relief from Virginia, yet the convention encouraged the settlement of this country; and why should not the extreme parts of Fincastle be as justly entitled to protection as any other part of the colony. An expedition being carried on against those nations who are at open was with the people in general, might in a good measure relieve us by drawing them off to defend their towns. If anything under Heaven can be done for us, I know of no person who would more willingly engage in forwarding us assistance than yourself.


I cannot write, you can better guess at my ideas from what I have said than I can express them.


I am Sir, yours most affectionately,


John Floyd


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The letter of Daniel Boone to Col. Henderson

Draper Manuscripts 17CC166-67

April 1st, 1775

Dear Colonel,

After my compliments to you, I shall acquaint you of our misfortune. On the 25th of March, a party of Indians fired on my company, about half an hour before day, and killed Mr. Twitty and his negro, and wounded Mr. Walker very deeply; but I hope he will recover. On the 28th as we were hunting for provisions, we found Samuel Tate’s son, who you gave us an account that the Indians fired on their company on the 27th. My brother and I went down and found two men killed and scalped, Thomas McDowell and Jeremiah McFeeters. I have sent a man down to all the lower companies, in order to gather them all at the mouth of Otter Creek. My advice to you, sir, is to come or send to us as soon as possible. Your company is desired greatly for the people are very uneasy, but are willing to stay and venture their lives with you, and now is the time to frustrate their intentions, and keep the country while we are in it. If we give way to them now it will ever be the case.

This day we start from the battle ground, for the mouth of Otter Creek, where we shall immediately build a fort, which will be done before you can come or send to us. Then we can send ten men to meet you, if you send for them.

Daniel Boone.

N.B. We stood on the ground and guarded our baggage till day, and lost nothing. We have about fifteen miles to Kentucky at Otter Creek.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Petition from Settlers at Harrodsburg

To the Honourable the Convention of Virginia

The Humble Petition of the Committee of West Fincastle of the Colony of Virginia, Being on the North and South sides of the River Kentucke (or Louisa). Present John Gabriel Jones Esqr. Chairman, John Bowman, John Cowen, William Bennett, Joseph Bowman, John Crittendon, Isaac Hite, George Rodgers Clark, Silas Harland, Hugh McGary, Andrew McConnell, James Herrod, William McConnel, and John Maxwell, Gent’n.

The Inhabitants of this Frontier part of Virginia who are equally desirous of contributing to the utmost of their power to the support of the present laudable cause of American Freedom, and willing to convince and prove to the world that tho they live so remote from the seat of Government that they feel in the most sensible manner for their suffering Brethren; and that they most ardently desire to be looked upon as a part of this Colony, notwithstanding the Base proceedings of a Detestible, Wicked and Corrupt Ministry to prevent any more counties to be laid off, without the Inhabitant would be so pusillanimous as to give up their right of appointing proper persons to represent them (in Assembly or) in Convention; And as we Further conceive that as the Proclamation of his Majesty for not settling on the Western parts of this Colony, is not founded upon Law, it cannot have any Force, and if we submit to that Proclamation and continue not to lay off new Counties on the Frontiers that they may send Representatives to the Convention, its leaving an opening to the wicked and Diabolical designs of the Ministry, as then this immense and Fertile Country would afford a safe Asylum to those whose Principles are inimical to American Liberty.

And if new Counties are not laid off, as Fincastle County now Reaches and already settled upwards of Three Hundred Miles from East to West it is impossible that two delegates can be sufficient to Represent any such a Respectable Body of People, or that such a number of Inhabitants should be bound to obey without being heard. Ans as those very people would most cheerfully cooperate in every measure tending to the Publick Peace, and American Freedom. They have delegated two Gentlemen who was chosen by the Free voice of the People, and which Election was held Eight days at Harrodsburg (on the Western waters of Fincastle on Kentucke) after the preparatory notice of Five Weeks given to the Inhabitants and on the poll being closed Captain John Gabriel Jones and Captain George Rodgers Clark, having the majority were chosen and not doubting the acceptance of them as our Representative by the Honorable the Convention, to serve in that capacity; as we conceive the precedent Established in West Augusta will justify our Proceeding; and we cannot but observe how impolitical it would be to suffer such a Respectable body of prime Rifle men, to remain (even in a state of Neutrality) When at this time a Certain set of men from North Carolina, stiling themselves, proprietors and claiming an absolute right to these very Lands taking upon themselves the Legislative authority, Commissioning officers, both Civil and military, having also opened a Land office, Surveyors General and Deputies appointed and act, Conveayances made and Land sold at an Exorbitant Price many other Unconstitutional practices, tending to disturb the minds of those, who are well disposed to the wholesome Government of Virginia, and creating Factions and Divisions amongst ourselves.

As we have not hitherto been Represented in Convention; And as at this time of General Danger we cannot take too much Precaution to prevent the Inroads of Savages, and prevent the Effusion of Innocent Blood. We the Committee after receiving a message from the Chiefs of the Delewares who are now settled near the mouth of the Waubash, informing us that a Treaty was to be held at Opost, by the English and Kiccapoos Indians, an that they would attend to know the purport of the same, and if their Brothers and the Long Knives would send a man they could rely on, they would, on their return, inform him of the same, as they were apprehensive the Kiccapoos would strike their Brothers the Long Knives, therefore we thought it most prudent, and shall send immediately a certain James Herrod and Garret Pendergrass to converse with them on the same. And as it’s the request of the Inhabitants that we should point out a number of men capable and most acquainted with the Laws of this Colony to act as Civil Magistrates, a list of the same we have enclosed. And for other matters relative to the country we conceive that Captain Jones and Captain Clark our Delegates will be able to inform the Honourable the Convention, not doubting but they will listen to our just petition and take us under their Jurisdiction. And your petitioners as in Duty Bounty &c.

Signed by order of the Committee, Herrodsburg, June 20th 1776.

J.G. Jones Chairman

Abraham Hite Jnr. Clerk

Signed by:

Joseph Bowman

George Rogers Clark

Silas Harlan

John Gabriel Jones

Andrew McConnell

William McConnell

Hugh McGary

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

George Edwards

Draper Manuscripts 18 S 116

George Edwards, son of Hayden and Penelope Edwards was born Dec. 24, 1761 and died 30 Aug 1835. He was a native of Edward’s Ferry region on the Potomac.

George Edwards came to Kentucky when eighteen years of age, cut down a tree where Cincinnati now is, fastened a buffalo skin around the stump thus forming a mortar with the smoothed top of the stump for the bottom. With a pestle or pounder, he pounded his pint of corn for sustenance.

He guarded Mrs. John Edwards on Cooper’s Run at an early day with his loaded gun, while she picked the greens for dinner. George Edwards came seven times to Kentucky. His parents remaining for a long while in Virginia. Aug. 27. 1863

Friday, February 29, 2008

Yelverton Peyton

Draper Manuscripts 18 S 238-242

Yelverton Peyton was the son of Henry Peyton and was a native of Albemarle Co., VA on the James River. Henry was killed by Indians in going from his house to his barn of the Virginia frontier.

Yelverton, John, Ephraim, and Thomas Peyton (all brothers and all grown men) and a stranger named Bonham followed the Indians. At night while the whites camped, the Indians crept in and shot at them wounding John’s right arm, Thomas’s thigh was broken and Ephraim broke his ankle jumping a steep bank. Bonham was mortally wounded. Ephraim, hearing the Indians cocking their guns, kicked the blankets covering them over the fire which darkened the place or else all might have been killed. Bonham was found at the camp scalped. Evidently he had crept off and when the Indians departed he was so cold he crept back to the camp and died there.

Yelverton escaped unhurt and John and Thomas Peyton got in. Ephraim always had a turned foot in consequence of his broken ankle. He settled and died in Warren Co., KY and died since the War of 1812 about 8 miles below Springfield. John got in and the shattered bone was taken out and gristle grew in, so he could write and survey lands. He lived and died in Tennessee.

A party went back with Yelverton Peyton and buried Bonham and brought in Thomas and Ephraim who were considerable distance and had some trouble in finding them. Thomas finally settled in Missouri.

Yelverton Peyton came with a guard to Boonesboro in 1775, through Boone’s Gap, In Madison County, between head waters of Roundstone and Silver Creeks, a range of mountains through which Boone’s Trace passed. In passing through Powell’s Valley, they were fired on and several killed.

Once Yelverton and Charles English were together near English Station, returning from hunting a horse stolen by a white man. English had heard one night that a rattlesnake bit him in the side and next day as they were riding along, Indians fired on them from the came and shot English, who fell from his horse. Peyton slid from his horse and darted into the cane hearing as he fled the tomahawk cleave English’s skull. Horses ran to English Station and a party went back with Peyton and buried English.

Yelverton was selected to act as a spy and guard from Boonesboro to Boone’s Gap. Sometimes out as many as nine days at a time, to watch and reconnoiter for Indian sign and kill his game to live on and had to be exceedingly cautious when he would shoot a deer or turkey, lest an Indian might hear the report of the gun and steal up and shoot him while securing his game. If signs were discovered he would report at Boonesboro.

Near Boone’s Gap, two miles north of the gap, is the Slate Lick. There he came one day and discovered a drop of fresh blood spreading upon the water in the Lick and at once knew an Indian had shortly before killed a deer there. He instantly made his way into the cane. While on this service, he one day shot a deer and watched his game and soon discovered an Indian watching him and raised his gun to shoot the Indian when the latter commenced zig-zagging, jumping one way and then another, by aid of his hand seizing a bush and then another, so Peyton could not get a shot. The Indian got out of sight and cleared himself

The above information was given by Guffey Peyton, son of Yelverton, who was born in Madison County, Ky August 29, 1796.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ruddell’s Station

Draper Manuscripts 18 S 113-115

Ruddell’s or Hinkston’s Station was located about three miles below where Ruddell’s Mills now are and about half a mile in a straight course below the mouth of Townsend, on the north bank of Licking, which here runs nearly east and west course on something of a bluff, but a higher bluff, on same side of the river, above or east of the fort, about 150 yards, covered with thick tinder, in which the Indians took position and commenced firing into the fort, and the whites returning the fire, made it too hot for the Indians.

One Indian managed to get under the puncheon floor, perhaps in the night, and Mrs. McFall poured hot water between the cracks and the Indian rolled out in a lively manner, and jumping up, he ran in a zig-zag manner, when several shots were ineffectively discharged at him. The Indians retired. and went off vowing vengeance. Got cannon and the British to aid them. There was some fighting, but Capt. Ruddell soon surrendered and all blamed him for not maintaining his position longer.

Thinks there were at least 18 or 20 families there, with blockhouses and pickets. The Ruddells, Kyles, McFall, Robert C. McDaniel and others. Christian Spears was there a young man, taken to Detroit, there married a fellow prisoner and after peace he removed to and settled in Ky.

John McFall was a prisoner with the Indians, got away by Clark’s army invading the Indian country. His wife was retained by the Indians some years and finally got back. They settled on Mill Creek in now Harrison County.

Capt. Isaac Ruddell died at Ruddell’s Mills some years before the War of 1812.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Andrew Calvert Interview about Bryan's Station

Draper Manuscripts S 18 123-4

From Andrew Calvert, born March 1797, eldest child of John and Sarah Calvert and grandson of Andrew Johnson.

He thinks Andrew Johnson was a native of Culpepper Co., Va. and married Jane Faulkner about 1770. Their children were Lewis, born about 1771, died about 90 years old; Sarah, born about 1773, married John Calvert and died in 1859 aged 86; Isephene, married Presley Calvert (brother of John); Catherine; John (died young); Elizabeth, Andrew, Melinda and Berrywise.

Mrs. Sarah Calvert (daughter of Andrew and Jane Faulkner Johnson) related that her father was in Bryan’s Station during the siege and family lived there. That he mother went out to milk the cows and a small negro boy went along and helf the calf by the ears while the milking was being done and while milking the Indians began to fire on the fort. When Mrs. Johnson ran for the fort and casting a look behind while on the way, discovered the faithful Negro lad still holding the calf fast by the ears when she called him away.

Mrs. Johnson was busy making bullets during the siege.

An Indian crept up to and got ensconsed in a cluster of vines running up one of the corners of a house or cabin when several shots were fired at him and he tumbled out dead.

Nothing recollected about Andrew Johnson’s captivity, nor particularly about his participating in Blue Licks battle. Thinks he used to relate about Aaron Reynolds helping Capt. Patterson on a horse and about Reynolds pulling off his wet buckskin breeches to facilitate his escape. Reynolds early moved to Duck River (whole my informant was a small boy) in Tennessee and his Mr. Ben Reynolds served in war of 1812. Aaron Reynolds was rather a small man, lived on Elkhorn about Great Crossings, Scott Co., Ky.

Thinks Andrew Johnson died about 1820 and about 75 years of age. When young was light frame, perhaps 5 feet 8 or 10 inches, became heavy in advancing years, perhaps 200 pounds weight. He was many years a Baptist–a member of Stamping Ground Church. Was not in a habit of speaking of his services. Had a vein of humor about him.

Near the Great Crossings settled Col. Robert Johnson, Judge Twyman, Andrew Johnson, John Gatewood (who died probably soon after 1843 or ‘44), Aaron Reynolds & Thos. Flicklin - all old Bryan’s Station defenders.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Indian Raids in Kentucky, 1790s

These are just three raids that were mentioned in the Draper volume I was working in.

Draper Manuscripts, 16 S 221
Considerable damage was done by a party of Indians at and around the town of Frankfort, Kentucky, about the middle of May. They were pursued over the Ohio by a party of volunteers, who found the savages too strong to be attacked, and returned without doing anything. National (Phila) Gaz. July 4, 1792.

Draper Manuscripts, 16 S 223
Papers state that about 1st July ‘92 Indians did mischief by stealing a large number of horses and Negroes near Frankfort, Ky, when Colo. McDowell raised 300 men and pursued to the Ohio; left 100 men to guard the horses at thr river, and went on 15 miles, overtook the Indians, and were overpowered in a severe engagement and obliged to retreat and sent for those left behind. The next day resuming the fight defeated the Indians; took several prisoners, six Indians and several English and French from Detroit, and retook all the Negroes and horses.

Draper Manuscripts, 16 S 227
Lexington Ky March 8th 1794. A party of Indians lately stole a number of horses on Limestone, in Hardin county, they were pursued by a party of men under Capt. William Hardin and overtaken and all the horses recovered. Captain Hardin received a wound through the body.