The 1774 Militia Roster of
Capt. Shelby's Company
Shelby's Fort, Squabble State
The following roster is for the militia company of Capt. Evan Shelby, which was probably headquartered at the Old Blockhouse, later known as Shelby's Fort, in what became known as Squabble State, due to being located at present-day Bristol, which now straddles the Tennessee-Virginia line, but was then disputed between Washington County, Virginia and Washington County, North Carolina. Although this list predates the Revolutionary War (the men were mustered due to Shawnee uprisings and fought in the in the Battle of Point Pleasant against the Shawnees), many of these men may have also fought at King's Mountain (See also 1779 Shelby Militia List).
Note: Bracketed words below are as transcribed in The Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800 by Lewis Preston Summers, Abington, Virginia, 1929, Vol. II, p. 1314.
Militia Roster of Capt. Evan ShelbyEvan Shelby, Captain
Point Pleasant 1774
Isaac Shelby, Lieutenant
James Robertson, Sergeant
Valentine Sevier, Sergeant
John Camack [Carmack]
Andrew Torrence [Terrence]
Peter Forney [Torney]
Samuel Handley [Hensley]
Robert Handley [Herrill]
Mack Williams [Mark]
Conrad Nave [omitted by Summers]
Richard Burk [Burck]
Elijah Robertson [Robison]
Julius Robertson [Robinson]
Benjamin Graham [Grayum]
Patk. St. Lawrence
Jas. Hughey [Joseph]
Basileel Maywell [Bazaleel Maxwell]
(Excerpted by C. Hamnet from The Annals of Tennessee to the End of the 18th Century by J.G. Ramsey, Walker and Jones, Charleston, SC, 1853, pp. 113-117)
The following excerpts from Ramsey describe the battle of Point Pleasant (located in present-day Mason County, West Virginia):
Point Pleasant 1774
"...the battle of Point Pleasant furnished the first occasion for the display, by the pioneers of Tennessee, of the adventure and prowess which have so signally characterized her volunteer soldiery in all periods of her history..."
"1774} A large number of surveyors and woodsmen had been sent under the authorities of Virginia to the wilderness of Kentucky, for the purpose of locating and selecting lands under royal grants and military warrants. This was viewed by the Indians as an encroachment upon their rights, as they still claimed these lands. Hostilities had, indeed, already been commenced by the Shawnees, who attacked the party of Boon the October previous. The murder of the whole family of the generous, but unfortunate Logan, who had been the friend of the whites, and an advocate for piece among his red brethren, aroused the vengeance of that bold warrior and influential chieftain. The Shawnees, in alliance with the warriors of other northern and western tribes, began the work of destruction and massacre, in detached parties, on the whole Virginia frontier. The emergency was met by Lord Dunmore with great vigour, and measures were immediately adopted to repress the hostilities, and punish the audacity of the enemy. General Andrew Lewis* was ordered to raise four regiments of militia and volunteers, from the south-western counties, to rendezvous at Camp Union, and to march down the Great Kenhawa [now New River] to the Ohio. Captain Evan Shelby raised a company of more than fifty men, in the section of country now included in the counties of Sullivan and Carter. With these he marched on the 17th of August, and joined the regiment of Colonel [William] Christian, on New River. From this place the regiment proceeded to the great levels of Green Brier, where they joined the army of General Lewis. On the 11th of September, the army set out for the designated point. The route lay through a trackless wilderness, down the rugged banks of the Kenhawa--through deep defiles and mountain gorges, where a pathway had never been opened. Twenty-five days were consumed in slow and toilsome marches. On the 6th of October, the army reached the Ohio and encamped upon its banks. The camp was upon the site of the present town of Point Pleasant. The troops being upon short allowance, select parties of hunters were kept constantly on duty to supply them with food. On the morning of the 10th, about daylight, two of the men belonging to Captain Shelby's volunteer company, James Robertson and Valentine Sevier, who had been out before day hunting, very unexpectedly met a large body of hostile Indians advancing toward the camp upon the provincials. They were on the extreme left of the enemy, and fired on them at the distance of ten steps. As it was yet too dark to see the assailants, or to know their number, the firing caused a general halt of the enemy, while Robertson and Sevier ran into camp and gave the alarm.
"Two detachments, under Colonel Charles Lewis and Colonel William Fleming, were immediately ordered forward to meet the Indians, and break the force of their assault upon the camp. These detachments had scarcely proceeded beyond the sentinels, when they encountered the enemy advancing upon them. A most violent and hard fought engagement ensued. Fleming and Lewis were wounded in the first assaultthe latter mortallybut refused to leave the field until the main line came to their relief. The contest lasted the whole day, with varied successeach line receding or advancing alternately, as the fate of war seemed to balance between the two armies. In the evening, General Lewis ordered the companies commanded by Captains Shelby, Matthews and Stewart, to advance up the Kenhawa River, under the shelter of the bank and the undergrowth, so as to gain the rear of the Indians, and pour in a destructive fire upon them. In the execution of this order, the men were exposed to a galling fire from some Indians, who had taken a position behind a rude breast-work of old logs and bushes and were from that point giving a deadly fire. One of Shelby's men, the late John Sawyers, of Knox county, wishing to shorten the conflict, obtained permission to take a few others and dislodge the Indians from the shelter which protected them. His bold conception was gallantly executed. A desperate charge was madethe dislodgement of the Indians was effected, and the three companies having gained the enemy's rear, poured in upon the savages a destructive fire. The Indians fled with great precipitation across the Ohio and retreated to their towns on the Scioto.
"The battle of the Kenhawa is, by general consent, admitted to have been one of the most sanguinary and well contested battles which have marked the annals of Indian warfare in the West. On the part of the provincials, twelve commissioned officers were killed or wounded, seventy-five non-commissioned officers and privates were killed, and one hundred and forty-one were wounded.*
"Of the company of volunteers from what is now East Tennessee, Evan Shelby was captain, and his son, Isaac Shelby, lieutenant. After the fall of his Colonel, Captain Shelby took command of the regiment. This was early in the action, and through the rest of the day Isaac Shelby commanded his father's company. "Two privates, Robertson and Sevier, had the good fortune on this occasion to make an unexpected discovery of the enemy, and by that means to prevent surprise and defeat, and possibly the destruction of the whole army. It was the design of the enemy to attack them at the dawn of day, and to force all whom they could not kill into the junction of the river." The heroic charge of the little detachment under Sawyers is admitted to have had a decided influence in shortening the obstinate conflict. Many of the officers and soldiers in the battle of Kenhawa, distinguished themselves at a later period in the public service. Thus early did the "Volunteer State" commence its novitiate in arms...
"1775} After the battle at Point Pleasant, and a further invasion of their country, the Indians made a treaty with Lord Dunmore, in which they relinquished all their claim to the lands south of the Ohio. To a large extent of this territory, the Cherokees, with other southern tribes, pretended also to hold title. Early in that century they had expelled the Shawnees, and had since occupied their country as hunting grounds. Daniel Boon still adhered to his darling project of planting a colony upon the Kentucky River, which he had sen, and desirous of obtaining the consent of the Cherokees, had stimulated Colonel Richard Henderson and others of North-Carolina, to effect a treaty with them for that purpose. Henderson, accordingly, associated with him other men of capital, viz: Thomas Hart, John Williams, James Hogg, Nathaniel Hart, David Hart, Leonard H. Bulloch, John Luttrell and William Johnston. Two of these, Colonel Henderson and Colonel Nathaniel Hart, accompanied by Daniel Boon, proceeded to the Cherokee towns, and proposed a general council, for the purpose of purchasing land [Henderson Purchase]..."
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