Military Men on the Tennessee Frontier

As settlement on the Tennessee frontier began to increase, the Indians considered white settlers intruders and a threat–and fought back.  These new additions to my Master List of Tennessee Records Sources identify men from diverse backgrounds who created a shield of protection for the early settlers:

  1. P. M. Hamer, Fort Loudoun on the Little Tennessee.  Raleigh NC: Edwards and Houghton Printing Company, 1930.  A reprint of  “Anglo-French Rivalry in the Cherokee Country, 1754-1757,” North Carolina Historical Review (July 1925) and “Fort Loudoun in the Cherokee War, 1758-1761,” Ibid. (Oct 1925).  List of 99 soldiers by name in companies.  The soldiers who manned this early Fort were from South Carolina and served under the British.  There is evidence that they also served at Fort Prince George, with orders to march into the Overhill Country to help in the building of  Fort Loudoun. 
  2. Emory L. Hamilton.  “The Clinch Scouts,” The Mountain Empire Quarterly (Summer 1984): 75-76.  Clinch Scouts, also called “Indian Spys,” patrolled a 150-mile stretch along the Clinch and Powell Rivers in what was Southwestern Virginia–a rugged, mountainous wilderness. The Tennessee settlers built a chain of forts, 1774-1794,  to protect themselves–they were manned by volunteer militia.  These Clinch Scouts were volunteers too, to help maintain the safety of the settlers from Shawnee and Cherokee warriors and renegades.
  3. “Davidson County and the Cumberland Battalion,” North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal (Nov 1992) and continued into the issues for 1993.  A combination of North Carolina and Virginia men aided the settlers against raids by Indians.  

 Those militia who served under the British, were paid by the British Army.  This was their day job!  In off hours, they were free to take up lands, build cabins, move their families to the frontier,  and farm the lands.  When the Revolutionary War broke out, they already had a stake in Tennessee.  And the men resented the fact that their former officers and British employers now sicked their enemies on them.  They were loyal volunteers and turned out in large numbers to defend their own.

The spies carried their supplies on their backs, foraged for food, and slept on the ground. The responsible to outfit themselves.  James Fraley reported in his Revolutionary Pension claim, “The spys had particular sections allotted to them, where the war-paths crossed, and sometimes we would not return, unless Indian signs were seen, for a month. The spys, be it remembered, were to fund themselves.  We lived on venison and bear meat.” (Hamilton article, p. 75)

These articles and your genealogy:

References to these frontier protectors are found in scattered lists and buried in Revolutionary Pensions claim affidavits.  The publication of name lists in genealogical and historical periodicals alerts you to their service head of time-and often  supplies their origins! 

Your favorite Tennessee genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Much more to come–stay tuned in.

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