Capture of General Evan Shelby's Negro Girl
By Emory L. Hamilton
From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, page 17.
After killing John Duncan at Moore's Fort the next strike of Logan, the Mingo Chief, was at the fort of General Evan
Shelby, near the present Bristol. At this time General Shelby was away on the Lewis Expedition to Ohio.
On October 6, 1774, the Indians captured a slave girl belonging to Shelby. In a letter dated October 9,
1774, Major Arthur Campbell reports the raid on Shelby's settlement in this manner:
On last Thursday evening, ye 6th instant, the Indians took a Negro wench prisoner, belonging to Captain Evan
Shelby, within 300 yards of his home. After they took her some distance,
they examined her, asking how many guns were in the fort and other questions
relative to the strength of the place. They asked her if the store was
kept there now. After they had carried her off about a mile, they saw or
heard a boy coming from the mill; they immediately tied the wench and went off
to catch the boy. While they were gone the wench luckily got loose and
made her escape. She says they knocked her down twice when she refused to
tell in what situation the fort was; and she says one was a large man much
whiter than the rest, and talked good English. It was the same kind of
person Mr. Blackmore saw in pursuit of the Negro he relieved. (1)
Calender Virginia State Papers, Draper Mss 3 QQ.
Contact: Rhonda Robertson at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes from Mason's Journal - taken while
charting the Mason-Dixon Line
1765 Oct 25
Went to Captain Shelby's to desire him
to go with us on the North Mountain for to show us the course of the River
1765 Oct 26
Packed up our Instruments and left them
(not in the least damaged to our knowledge) at Captain Shelby's. Repaired with
Captain Shelby to the Summit of the Mountain in the direction of our Line, but
the air was so hazy prevented our seeing the course of the River.
1765 Oct 27
Captain Shelby again went with us to
the Summit of the Mountain (when it was very clear) and showed us the
northernmost bend of the River Potowmack at the Conoloways [...]"
Legal Proceedings against Evan Shelby in
the case of Fornication
The "Real" Tom & Catherine Wheate
From: Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 27th March 1766, provided by Keith
McMullen, who found the same at library at University of California at Santa
Barbara [emphasis added]
To His Excellency Horatio Sharpe Esqr
Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Province of Maryland.
The Petition of the Subscribing
Magistrates of Frederick County.
Most humbly sheweth That your
Petitioners, with great Sorrow and regret find themselves obliged to accuse two
of their own Members of a Scandalous Abuse of that Power which your Excellency
hath thought proper to intrust them with in joint Commission with your
That without insising upon other
irregularities, your Petitioners will Confine themselves at present to the
Information they have received of Capt Evan Shelby, and Mr Joseph Warford, in a
case of Fornication, as follows.
That a certain Catherine Wheate,
Daughter of Conrad Wheate, in the Month of September last, Charged Thomas
Hynes, on Oath, before Capt Thomas Price, one of his Lordship's Justices of this
County, with being the father of her Bastard Child. Whereupon Capt Price took
Recognizance for her appearance at November Court, and also for the Man's
appearance and made return thereof accordingly.
That the said Hynes appearing at the
said November Court, but the young Woman not appearing, the matter was respited
till March Court following.
That Hynes, in the Interim, apply'd to
Capt Evan Shelby for a Warrant to take the Child from the said Catherine its
Mother, which was granted in the form of a Search Warrant for Stolen Goods; and
in pursuance thereof, on the 2nd December Barnett Johnson Constable of Linton
hundred, with five more, went to the House of Conrad wheate, and after calling
for Whiskey, and making other pretences, at Length demanded of Conrad Wheate to
deliver up his daughter's Child, pretending they had an Order of Court for it:
Which Wheate demanding to see the order, and finding the same only to be an
Order of Capt Shelby's, refused to comply with, because his Daughter was under
Recognizance already. Upon which Refusal a Riot ensued, a Door being broke
open, and several of the People of the House severely beaten by the Constable
and his followers, who seized the Child, and carried it to the House of Ralph
Matson where Capt Shelby was, who received the Child from the Constable, and
delivered the same to William Hynes. (pp. 131-2)
That Joseph Flint and Thomas Brooks
being offered on the young Woman's part as her Security for keeping her Child
off the Parish, were refused by Capt Shelby, who also threatened that if ever
he catched Conrad Wheat in Maryland he would have him cropp'd for disobeying
his Orders in not giving up the Child, and declared that if he had gone there
in Person he would have burnt Wheate's House over his Head and at the same time
took Bond in his Lordship's behalf of William and Thomas Hynes in the penalty
of 100 pounds to keep the Child off the Parish.
That upon Complaint of Conrad Wheate
and the others who had been beaten Hynes and the other Rioters were brought before
Mr Joseph Warford, where finding the matter more serious than they had
imagined, and likely to become a Court Business, Thomas Hynes gets the Girl on
his Lap, and (as Mr Warford writes in his narrative) was very Sweet. Whereupon
Mr Warford advised the young Man, to a Marriage, which was at Length agreed
upon, the Girl's father promising to give the young Couple 30 pounds & a 5
That during these Transactions, Capt
Shelby demanded of Joseph Warford a Warrant for the young Woman's fine, which
Mr Warford refused to Grant he also refused to sign one drawn up by Capt
Shelby, and presented to him for that purpose. Whereupon the Capt Signed it
himself, had her immediately taken into Custody, and again discharged her upon
receiving a Promissary note from Thomas Hynes for the amount of her fine.
That Capt Shelby at Length Proceeded to
the Marriage Ceremony, which he performed by asking the young Man whether he
would take that Woman to his lawful Wedded Wife? and put the same question,
mutatis mutandis to the young Woman; after which he pronounced them to be
lawful Man & Wife, saying Jump Dog, Leap Bitch, and I'll be damned if all
the Men on Earth can unmarry you.
That the new Couple were put to bed in
Mr Warford's own Bed, with the usual Ceremonies of throwing the Stocking
&c. Mrs Warford having previously received five Shillings for the use of
said Bed. And the whole Proceedings on the Riot quashed at once.
That some time after the young Couple
had been left to themselves, the young Man wanted to leave his Consort: and
opening the Door would have come out. But was prevented by Capt Shelby, who
opposed him with a fork in his hand, which he threatened to Jobb into his Gutts
if he attempted to leave his Wife. Whereupon the young fellow retired peaceably,
and was found by the Company early in the Morning fast asleep in Bed with his
That a review of the above cited
Transaction may be sufficient to show how incapable either of the above
mentioned persons are to sustain the dignified Character wherewith they are
invested; and how unworthy of that high trust which their ignorance of the
Laws, whereby the Community is to be regulated, their assuming to themselves
Powers with which they are not invested, and their turning of the Execution of their
Office by indirect Means to their own private Emolument and the scandal of
Public Justice, have so grossly abused.
Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray
that the aforesaid Capt Evan Shelby, and Mr Joseph Warford may be left out of
the Commission for the Peace in Frederick County, that the whole Body
(otherwise, We hope, respectable) may not be wounded through their Sides or
laughed at as their Associates. And, as in Duty bound they will ever pray
27th March 1766 (p. 133)
EVAN SHELBY, JR.
1719 to 1794
Evan Shelby, Jr., soldier and frontiersman, was baptized
in October 23, 1720 at Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales. He came to America with his parents, Evan
and Catherine Morgan Shelby, about 1734, the family first settling in
what is now Antrim Township Franklin County, PA. In 1739, they moved into
Prince George's (later Frederick) County, MD where his father died in July
1751. Evan Jr. continued to reside in Maryland, near the North Mountain, Frederick County,
in which locality, now a part of Washington County, he acquired, by deed or patent, nearly 24,000 acres of land.
He also became interested in the Indian fur trade and
was concerned in trading posts at Michilimackinac and Green Bay. He was
in Braddock's campaign in 1755, and laid out part of the road from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland. Having
served as first lieutenant tn Capt. Alexander
Beall's company in 1757-68, he was commissioned by Governor Sharpe of Maryland captain of a company of rangers,
and also held a commission as captain under the
government of Pennsylvania. He was in the advance party of the force
under Gen. John. Forbes, which took possession of Fort Duquesne in 1758, and
crossed the Ohio River with more than half his company of scouts, making a
daring reconnaissance of the fort. On November 12, 1758, near Loyalhanna,
in a personal encounter, Shelby is said to have slain with his own hand one of
the principal Indian chiefs. In the same war, he served later as major of a
detachment of the Virginia regiment.
For several years he was a justice of the peace.
In May 1762, he was chosen one of the managers for Maryland of the Potomac
Company. He sustained heavy losses in the Indian trade from the ravages
growing out of Pontiac's Conspiracy of 1763, and most of his property in Maryland was
subjected to the satisfaction of his debts.
Hoping to better his fortune he moved, probably in 1773,
to Fincastle County, in Southwest Virginia, which he had previously visited
where he engaged in farming, merchandising, and cattle-raising. He again
became a prosperous land-owner and a conspicuous and influential frontier
leader. In 1774, he commanded the Fincastle Company in Dunmore's War, and
in the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, he succeeded near the close
of the action to the chief command in consequence of the death or disability of
his superior officers. In 1776, he was appointed by Governor Henry of
Virginia a major in the troops commanded by Col. William Christian against the
Cherokees, and on December 21, he became colonel of the militia of the
newly-created county of Washington, of which he was also a magistrate. In
1777, he was entrusted with the command of sundry garrisons posted on the
frontier of Virginia, and in association with Preston and Christian, negotiated
a treaty with the Cherokees near the Long Island of Holston River. In
1779, he lead a successful expedition of two thousand men against the
Chickamauga Indian towns on the lower Tennessee River, for which service he was thanked by the Continental Congress.
By the extension of the boundary
line between Virginia and North Carolina, it was ascertained that his residence
lay in the latter state, and in 1781, he was elected a member of its
Senate. Five years later, the Carolina Assembly made him brigadier
general of militia of the Washington District of North Carolina, the first
officer of that grade on the "Western Waters". In March 1787,
as commissioner for North Carolina, he negotiated a temporary truce with Col.
John Sevier, governor of the insurgent and short-lived "State of
Franklin". In August 1787, he was elected governor of the
"State of Franklin", to succeed Sevier but declined the honor.
Having resigned his post as brigadier-general on October 29,1787, he withdrew
from public life.
He married first in 1744, Letitia
Cox, a daughter of David Cox of Frederick County, MD. She died in
1777. His second wife, whom he married early in 1787, was Isabella
Elliott, who survived him. He is buried in East Hill Cemetery, Bristol on the Tennessee-Virginia line.
Shelby was of a rugged, stocky build, somewhat low in stature and
stern of countenance. He possessed great muscular strength and unbounded
energy and powers of endurance. He was straightforward and at times,
rather blunt in speech, absolutely fearless, and always prompt to take the
aggressive in any action or enterprise, civil or military, in which he
engaged. For a man of his day, he was well educated and noted for his
probity and patriotism. He left many descendants, of whom the most
celebrated was his son, Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky.