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Joseph Martin :: Kingsport

Joseph Martin :: Kingsport

There is a good article about Joseph Martin and Martinsville Virginia in The Goingsnake Messenger, Vol. IX, No. 3, Aug. 92, p. 61. Following it is an article about the indian branch of the Martin family, entitled "The Cherokee Descendants of Joseph Martin." I have never inquired into the parentage of John Martin in an intentional way, but I feel confident that if John Martin was the husband of Susannah Emory Stuart Fields, then this must have been earlier than the McDaniels sisters unions, or a marriage between one of Martin's sons and Fields. I have not read the article appearing in the Goingsnake Messenger, Volume V #4, November 1988 entitled, "The Frontier Life of Brigadier General Joseph Martin, Jr. Including his Cherokee Families." The Martinsville article recites Martin history, sketchily, back to the crusades! Joseph Martin rode the Brice from Bristol England to Virginia in 1773 where he married Susanna Childes in Albemarle County, rearing 5 sons and six daughters, one of whom was General Joseph Martin (B. 1740) settling Martinsville, Henry County, Virginia in 1778. Jr. married Sarah Lucas in 1762 having 7 children, and 2/24/1784 to Susannah Graves, a widow, and they had 11 more children (altogether 10 boys and 8 girls). He was involved with the Wautauga battle at King's Mountain, turning the Revolutionary War. He was Indian Agent at Holston Long Island, also attorney and legislator, and appointed to run the boundary between Kentucky and Virginia and Virginia and Tennessee.


Joseph Martin, Revolutionary War hero and Indian agent on the Virginia-Tennessee frontier, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1740. As early as 1763 he attempted to settle in Powell's Valley at a place known as Martin's Station. He was a resident there by 1769 and lived in the western frontier from 1777 to 1800, but, according to the Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, he never brought his Virginia family to his frontier home. His reluctance is perhaps explained by the fact that Martin took a Cherokee wife, Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward, daughter of the famous Cherokee Beloved Woman Nancy Ward and South Carolina trader Bryant Ward. Martin and Betsy Ward had children, but there is no known record of how many.

A member of the North Carolina constitutional convention of 1777, Martin served in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1782, then in the North Carolina Senate in 1783, 1786, 1787, and 1789, representing Sullivan County. But his true significance in the early settlement era is as a military leader. He was a lieutenant in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 and captain of Virginia militia in 1775. He commanded troops at the Treaty of Long Island in 1777 and served with distinction in various conflicts between the colonists and Cherokees along the western frontier from 1777 to 1780.

Due to his own family connections with the Cherokees, Martin was often involved in treaty negotiations. In 1777 Governor Patrick Henry appointed him as an Indian agent; six years later he was one of three Virginia commissioners empowered to negotiate with the southern tribes. Considering his responsibilities as Indian agent, his marriage to Betsy Ward was a politically astute decision, as it aligned him with influential Cherokee families. In 1787 the North Carolina assembly chose Martin as brigadier general of the Washington District.

General Martin was an important surveyor, having surveyed the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee in 1795 and 1800-1802. Married twice to white women and the father of at least eighteen children, Martin died at his "Belmont" farm in Henry County, Virginia, in 1808.

Carroll Van West, Middle Tennessee State University

The year 1769 would prove to be a momentous year for the story of the road. That year two woodsmen made a friendship and association that would prove fortuitous. Joseph Martin, who was a friend of Dr. Thomas Walker, accepted a challenge from the good Doctor to attempt to settle in present day Powell Valley, Virginia. If Martin succeeded, he would be awarded 21,000 acres for his efforts. He and a party of stout, young companions wanting to make their way in the world, reach Powell Valley in the spring, where they break ground and commence to build a few cabins. Another party of Longhunters happens by in May, bound for Kentucky hoping to find the gap in the mountains. They are led by Daniel Boone. The meeting of these two men, with their combined ambition to begin a new life, carved out of their "hunter's paradise", would change early American history. Their association will last throughout the critical days of the first wave of settlement. Martin and Boone, both experience hard days and even tragedy in these earliest attempts yet they both return in 1775 on the eve of the revolution to take up their cause again with others and valiant efforts.

Judge Richard Henderson and a board of trustees comprised of wealthy businessmen and civil servants from North Carolina form a new land company in 1775. They call themselves the Transylvania Company, which is Latin for "Land beyond the woods." The audacious ambitions of these land speculators has been both condemned and admired. One thing is certain; historians agree that their efforts played a milestone in the settlement of Kentucky and the American West. Henderson, a shrewd man, surrounded himself with others who knew what they were about. He hired both Boone and Martin in the employ of the proposed Transylvania Colony. Martin would serve as entry taker & civil leader in Powell Valley. Boone would serve as chief guide & scout and civil leader on the Kentucky side of Cumberland Mountains.

In March of 1775, Henderson and Co. struck a bargain with the Cherokee nation at the Sycamore Shoals of Watauga River. At a huge gathering of Cherokee and backcountry settlers, Henderson's associates and Cherokee Chiefs haggled over the price for 20-million of what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Before the ink upon the purchase treaty was dry, Daniel Boone was sent forth by the Company to carve out a path to the purchased lands. Boone, with 30 road cutters began their guest from Long Island of Holston River (modern-day Kingsport, TN) they cut their way over Holston, through Moccasin Gap, Walker Ridge and into Powell Valley past Joseph Martin's Station. After resting at Martin's they continue on through the Gap and into Kanta-Ke. By April they arrive at a meadow on the south side of Kentucky River in modern day Madison County. They began labor on the capital of the new Transylvania Colony, which the inhabitants began to call Boonesboro. With these developments, as the War for Independence begins, the race for settlement takes flight.

Virginia and North Carolina protest Henderson's schemes and declare his purchase null and void. In late 1776 Transylvania becomes Kentucky County, Virginia. The war throws hard, violent times upon the settlers as the Cherokee and Shawnee become allies of the British. A war many of them wanted to avoid now comes to their doorsteps. The flow of travelers upon the Wilderness Road waxes and wans during the war years, yet heroic efforts continue; efforts that will prove to be invaluable to the development of the infant United States. It is estimated that approximately 2 to 300,000 hopeful settlers used the Wilderness Road the years 1775 to 1810. The old path more than proved itself to be the lifeline to a budding new nation.

These brief words can only be used to hopefully instill a hunger in the reader to learn more, much more about the rich and stirring story of America's Road West. Besides visiting a new museum and Visitor's Center, as well as Martin's Station at Wilderness Road State Park, the staff hopes that visitors to their website and out park will read some of the sources listed below to learn more of the history and heritage that we represent.

To read more about the Wilderness Road:
Joseph Martin and the War of Revolution in the West by Stephen Weeler
http://www.martinsstation.com/road.html ~ http://www.martinsstation.com/

  • 1760 - First settlement in Lee Co. (Martinís Station) near Rose Hill by Joseph Martin.
  • 1769 - Joseph Martin builds a fort at Martinís Station. (enclosing 1/2 acre)
  • 1777 - Capt. Joseph Martin appointed Indian Agent for Cherokees. (stationed to Long Island)
  • 1781 - Capt. Joseph Martin, at Long Island, takes 65 men on a 19 day expedition against the Cherokee settlements below Cumberland Gap to the mouth of Powell River. to disperse a body of Indians who were molesting travelers along the Rd.

    Second Generation


    4. Elizabeth (Betsy) WARD5 was born about 1759 in ,,Cherokee Nation East (now ,,TN).5 She died about 1803 in Moss, Clay, TN.5 Elizabeth was 1/2 Cherokee Indian blood of the Wolf Clan.

    Elizabeth (Betsy) WARD and Brig. Gen. Joseph L. MARTIN were married about 1778.5 Brig. Gen. Joseph L. MARTIN5 (son of Joseph MARTIN Sr. and Susannah CHILES) was born on 18 SEP 1740 in Charlottesville, Albemarle, VA.5 He died on 18 DEC 1808 in Martinsville, Henry, VA.5 He was buried after 18 DEC 1808 in Belle Mont, Henry, VA.5

    William Martin's Biography of His Father, General Joseph Martin
    Edited by David Hampton

    The following article appeared in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, volume 8, number 4 (April, 1901). It transcribes a letter from William Martin to Lyman Draper detailing the life of General Joseph Martin. There is also a later letter from William Martin of which I have a copy of the original from microfilm; and it is somewhat difficult to read. If someone would be willing to transcribe it for publication in the newsletter, let me know at dkhampton@cox.net.

    Lyman Copeland Draper (1815-1891) has become famous due to his massive collection of early historical narratives, mainly from the Southeast, of which this letter must have been one of the earliest. His collection is now deposited in the Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, and is available on microfilm. This letter is taken from the printed magazine, and I have not referred to the original. I have made no edits in spelling or punctuation from what appeared in the magazine.

    William Martin (26 November 1765 Orange County, Virginia - 4 November 1846 Smith County, Tennessee) was the second child of General Joseph Martin by his first wife, Sarah Lucas.

    A Biographical Sketch of General Joseph Martin

    Though Mr. Stephen B. Weeks has published a very thorough study of the life of the distinguished pioneer, General Joseph Martin, and has made use of the narrative given here, yet it seems not inadvisable to publish the story of General Martin's life, by his son, in its original form. It was a cause of some surprise to find that Mr. Weeks' book was not more generally known among the people who should feel an especial interest in General Martin's career, and it is hoped that the publication of this biographical sketch will not only interest the readers of the Magazine, but attract additional attention to Mr. Weeks' admirable work.

    We are indebted to Colonel C. B. Bryant, Martinsville, Va., for a copy of the sketch.) [NOTE 1].

    GENERAL JOSEPH MARTIN, of Henry county, Va., born 1740, in Albemarle county, Va., died 1808, in Henry County, Va., and buried at "Belmont," his estate on Leatherwood, of 1210 acres, purchased in 1796 of Benjamin Harrison, Jr., of Berkley [NOTE 2].

    Among his descendants who are dead, are remembered Brice Martin, a Presbyterian minister, John R. Martin, a Primitive Baptist preacher, Joseph B. and Lafayette Martin, of the North Carolina Methodist Episcopal Conference, Colonel William Martin, a distinguished lawyer of the Henry county bar. Among the living are: Judges Samuel W. and Martin N. Williams, of southwest Virginia, and Judge Nicholas H. Hairston, of Martinsville, Va., besides a score or more, dead or living, who are or were prominently connected with the history of this and several other States, and of some of whom mention may perhaps be made in a future contribution.

    1st June, 1842.

    Lyman C. Draper, Esq.,

    Dear Sir,--On my return lately from a long journey to the south, I found a letter from my brother, John C. Martin, of Cannon County, this State, enclosing one from you to him, of the 20th of March, informing him that you were engaged in collecting material for the purpose of publishing "Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Pioneers of the West," and having understood that his father, General Joseph Martin, was one of that description, requested him to furnish you with the particulars of his life. That is to say: When and where he was born; his ancestry, early education, and employment. When he settled on the Long Island of Holston River, and under what circumstances; his civil and military life; the leading traits of character, and when and where he died, and whatever else might be interesting; and my brother, knowing me to be much older than himself, presuming that I could give the information desired much more fully than he could, has imposed the duty on me. This I am about to undertake; though I have nothing but memory to assist me, this, however, is what may be called retentive.

    I will here remark, however, that I am now in my seventy-seventh year, am my father's oldest child but one, so that I was in active life many years before his death--was with him a good deal in his western enterprises. He was particularly communicative to me, and gave me a history of his early Life and that of his ancestry as far as he knew.

    I now regret, and have long regretted, that neither he nor myself did not write this out at the time. But the education of both was limited, and our employment such as inclined the mind to almost anything rather than writing--meaning the frontier wars, &c. for I, myself, was long in those wars.

    Know then that my father was born in the year 1740, in Albemarle County, Virginia, near Charlottesville. His father was an Englishman, born and raised in the city of Bristol, named Joseph Martin, the youngest of three children (two sons and one daughter) of a wealthy merchant of that city, engaged in the American trade. He fitted off his said son Joseph when young as supercargo to Virginia, in a vessel called the Brice. He, my grandfather, afterwards named one of his sons Brice in memory of this ship; and the name has been perpetuated in the family from then until now, and it has spread considerably among our friends. There in Virginia he married Susannah Chiles, daughter of _____ Chiles [NOTE 3], a respectable and wealthy farmer of that State. With this his father's English pride became so offended (as they, the English, considered the Colonists an inferior degraded set) that he determined to disinherit him; which he finally did. My grandfather never returned to England, but settled in Albemarle County, where he raised eleven children--five sons and six daughters, all of unusually large stature--in other respects about mediocrity; except my father and two sisters who were superiors. They were all respectable and occupied about the middle rank in society, as did their father. He, my grandfather, was a perfect Englishman--large and athletic; bold, daring, self-willed and supercilious, with the highest sense of honor. And in him was depicted, as my father has told me, the most complete form of the aristocracy of the British government. He lived to a good old age and died about 1760, leaving a pretty good estate. My grandmother was one of the best of womankind--her parents of English descent. They raised a large family of children, mostly daughters, all highly respectable, and from whom has descended an immense offspring, as the Wallers, Carrs, Lewises, Marks, Overtons, Minors, Terrys, Chiles, &c. now spread mostly through the South and West.

    My father was the third son of the family, large of stature, six feet high weighing two hundred pounds and one of the finest figures of a man I ever saw, with prepossessing, commanding appearance. No man could approach him with indifference, though easy of access, manners bland and courteous, an intellect of the highest order and a spirit which knew not fear. And in him was combined what rarely happens in anyone individual, viz: physical and mental powers of superior order, and a spirit of the most energetic, romantic, intrepid, daring enterprise, which fitted him well for the theatre on which circumstances called him to act, viz: the western frontier of the English settlements, then bounded by a cordon of powerful tribes of hostile ferocious Indians.

    This was well suited to his peculiar genius; nor did it fail to develope his whole powers. It was singular that, notwithstanding his great commanding powers, he could neither write nor speak. And although many years of his after life associated him with men of fashion and refinement, and although he was fond of fine clothes and dressed neatly, yet he never changed the fashion of his dress, but tenaciously adhered to the small clothes, pants short and knee buckles, wide-backed, straight-breasted coat, skirted vest and neck stock with the buckle. I have often thought it strange that notwithstanding the many scenes he had gone through, and his association with all descriptions of men, during a long and active life, that he still clung with such indomitable pertinacity to the love of times past with their associations. Indeed he had in his composition a good deal of the old English aristocracy which would occasionally leak out and prided himself much on being a Saxon.
    With his equals and inferiors he was easy, sociable, jocular, convivial even to volubility. With superiors, grave, dignified, commanding. He was temperate in his habits; ate less than almost any man, drank no ardent spirits at any time beyond a social glass, so called, and for many years of his after life, none at all. Was never intoxicated in his life; not profane; had the finest flow of health and spirits, no pains, rarely ever sick, never had his skin cut with a lancet, and died without the loss or defection of a single tooth. When a boy, he was large, rude and ungovernable; could not be kept at school; would often run off and spend his time in the neighborhood with idle boys, so that he got but little education. And such was his reckless disposition that his father, with all his energy of character, could not govern him. He finally bound him out to learn the carpenter's trade. This however was too limited a sphere for his ardent temperament, and he ran off from his "Master," and went and joined the army at Ft. Pitt; now Pittsburg. This was during the war '56, and here I will digress a little from the thread of the narrative, in order to bring in an anecdote, showing in a small way something of the features of the times; for it is by smalls that you get a whole. My father in his raising among other boys of the same temperament, became associated with Tom _____, General Sumpter [NOTE 4], who so distinguished himself as the partizan chief in South Carolina during the war of the Revolution, and went with him to the war. Behold these two hapless youths, those turbulent spirits that could not be tamed with the ordinary pursuits of civil life, rushing along like water seeking its own level, four or five hundred miles through mostly a wilderness interspersed with hostile savages in quest of aliment that might satisfy their craving appetites. Little did they, or any body else think at the time, that these were some of the rising spirits that were to lead in the revolution which afterwards gave liberty to this country. How long they remained in the army or the part they acted there, is not known, though it is thought a good while. Sumpter returned first. My father, on his return, found him in jail at Staunton, Virginia, for debt. He obtained permission to lodge a night in prison with his friend. In the morning, when he went out he left with Sumpter his tomahawk and ten guineas, and with one or both of which he escaped from prison. Soon afterwards he went to South Carolina, changed his course of life and became distinguished, as is known to all who have read the history of the Revolution. Thus were they separated for many years; and until at length my father was at Richmond, Virginia, a member of the legislature; Sumpter was a member of Congress, and on his way home called at Richmond where they met for the first time in more than thirty years. What a meeting this must have been! to talk over old matters and things! They had both now become old and highly elevated in the temple of Fame. What proud satisfaction they must have felt in the retrospection! Before they separated Sumpter handed my father twenty guineas--having reference to the prison.

    My father now returned home, or rather to the country where he had been raised, matured in manhood and in the vices common to the times, with the exception of drinking, and a great proficient in the science of gambling. His father was now dead, having left him a small patrimony. This he soon wasted in riotous living, and in addition became much involved in debt, as did several others of his associates engaged in this crusade of ruin. They finally concluded to break up, separate, and reform, of which there was little hope while they kept together. This they did, most of them going to the south, where they did well. One of the number was Col. Benjamin Cleveland, one of the "Heroes of King's Mountain." [NOTE 5]

    My father about this time married, poor and embarrassed as he was. He was now twenty-two years old. My mother was of the first order for her station in life, she was also poor.

    He now seemed to feel the responsibility of his station--a family to provide for--betook himself to industry, tried to work, but made a poor hand at it; his restless spirit could not be patient at the plow.

    About this time, the relations in England who had inherited the immense family estate, to the exclusion of my grandfather, wrote over that if some of the family would come there, they would divide the inheritance. My father was appointed to go; arrangements were made, and a passage engaged on a certain vessel. But something prevented his getting to the wharf in time, and she sailed without him. The vessel was finally lost at sea, and all on board perished. He nevertheless had to plod at this kind of servility, as it was, to his aspiring genius. He still engaged in his favorite practice of gambling--more for the sake of gain than anything else--and by it realized much--turning all to advantage and having now become provident. In gambling, in addition to being master of the art, he always kept sober (though often feigning drunkenness), and his superior physical powers and resolution (for in fighting he was the terror of the country), gave him a decided advantage over others. At this time peltry was in great demand. Many were in pursuit of the article, and my father determined to engage in it--the Indian war being over. He accordingly joined with others and went far beyond the frontier, then a hundred miles in advance of where he lived. The custom was to spend six or eight months on a trip, and return loaded with deer skins and furs, which brought a fine price. He followed this for several years, with the profits of which and what he made by gambling when at home, he became able to disenthrall himself of the debts which had so long weighed him down. He now considered and felt himself a freeman. It may be remarked that although he had long indulged in some of the grosser vices, he was considered honorable, and had the friendship of many of the best men in the country; and notwithstanding he was called the great bully of the county, he was by no means quarrelsome, but on the contrary, good natured and conciliatory. He continued his long hunting trips for several years, and improved his circumstances. In his wilderness-roamings he discovered Powell's Valley--a body of extremely fertile land, with which he became much enamored. And whether he foresaw that the time was not far distant when the mighty emigration, then pouring to the west, would reach that point, although a hundred miles beyond the settlements, and that a location would in after time give preference, or whether he, contemplated making a permanent stand there, is not known. Be it however as it may, he determined to make the venture. By this time he had become distinguished as a daring, enterprising back-woodsman; and then, as ever, he had a commanding influence over those
    with whom he associated. He soon, by the allurements he held out, engaged a number of men--say twenty or thirty--to go with him. They accordingly went and made their stand in the valley, at a place afterwards known by the name of "Martin's Station," on the great thoroughfare leading to Kentucky. Here they cleared land and planted corn and other vegetables. In the latter part of the surnmer the Indians broke them up, and they abandoned the enterprise and went home. This was about the year 1768 or 1769.

    This valley consists of a long reach of unusually fertile land, adjoining the Cumberland mountain on the east side, embracing Cumberland Gap, notorious in Western history. The principal part of the valley is now in Lee county, Virginia. I have said above that my father discovered this valley in his western rambles. It may not be improper to explain a little more on that subject: not with a view to biographical notice, but as you are in pursuit of the Legends of the West, it may not be uninteresting to know the history of the case I am about to relate-known to very few now living, even by tradition, viz:

    About the close of the French war, or perhaps a little later, a treaty was made with the Cherokees at Fort Chisel, New River--now Montgomery county, Virginia--then a frontier. Colonel Byrd was English Commissioner, and the "Standing Turkey" principal Indian Chief. In this treaty it was provided for some of the Chiefs to visit England; Dr. Walker, a gentleman of some distinction, living in Albemarle, and neighbor to my father was appointed to go with them. This he did. On his return he accompanied them home. On their way, the Indians being the guides, they passed through this same Powell's Valley: At the place now called Cumberland Gap they discovered a fine spring; and still having some rum left, they drank the health of the Duke of Cumberland with whom Walker had become acquainted in England while there. This gave rise to the name of Cumberland Gap--Cumberland mountain and Cumberland river which rises in Cumberland mountain. It may be remarked that the Cumberland mountain is impassable for a horse for more than twenty miles immediately before reaching the gap referred to. That circumstance has given rise to its great notoriety. Walker, on his return, told my father of this valley and represented it in such terms as induced him to go as above stated.

    He now quit his western rambles and concluded to try the soil; but, having no land of his own, he engaged as overseer for a rich relation by the name of Minor, and here he lived for three years. By this time he had by great industry improved his circumstances so as to purchase a good tract of land, which he did, in Pittsylvania County, adjoining North Carolina, to which he removed in the year 1773. This county was divided in a few years after, and the new county within which it fell was named Henry, and it was the first new county laid out in the State after they had struck for Independence. The next year, 1774, the great Shawnee War, so called, broke out, with an immense frontier exposed, and he engaged in the war and was long from home. About this time, 1774, Henderson and others, a company associated for the purpose, purchased of the Cherokees the whole, or nearly, the whole of the western part of Virginia and North Carolina (not before relinquished), as those States then claimed, a great part of which is now embraced by Kentucky and Tennessee.
    A history of this transaction, which gave rise to such mighty results as have followed from it, may be seen in "Haywood's History of Tennessee.." This book; although quite imperfect in some respects, and in others light and trifling, nevertheless contains a good deal of matter essential for the book you are engaged on. The particulars I allude to mostly, are Henderson's Purchase, so called, and that of the State of Franklin. I refer to these upon the presumption that you are little acquainted with Tennessee; and may not have heard much of the cases I refer to, or if you have, it may not have been from the best sources. (You will know how to excuse my frequent digressions from the story I have undertaken to write out--I know it is presuming pretty freely on the patience of a stranger--my motive is to assist you as far as I can, and if I fail in this, accept the will for the deed.) Above I have spoken of Henderson's purchase. My father was appointed Entry-Taker and agent for the Powell Valley portion. He and others went on in the early part of the year 1775 (at the same time Kentucky was settled), and made their stand at the very spot where he had made corn several years before. This was fifty miles in advance of the then frontier; and on the road or path to Kentucky. Here they made corn that year.

    The next year the great Cherokee war, as it was called at the time, broke out, and it may be remembered that the Cherokee was then a great and powerful people; their strength unbroken and living not far from Powell's Valley; and being incited by British agents sent among them commenced a sudden devastating war on the whole frontier border, with the ferocity common to barbarians. Powell's Valley felt her full share of this mighty onset, and the whole settlement was broken up. This happened in June of that year, 1776. My father now returned to his home in Virginia, raised and commanded a company of men, and joined a campaign planned against the Cherokees commanded by Col. Christian. This campaign of two thousand men marched against the Cherokees in the autumn of that year; laid waste a great part of their settlements, and returned, having met with but little opposition. On the return of the army it was disbanded, with the exception of a few companies posted on the frontier; one of which my father commanded. In the spring of the next year, 1777, the Indians sued for peace. In June following, a treaty was held at the Long Island of Holston, which was the extreme frontier, and one hundred and twenty miles from the nearest Indian settlements. By this treaty the Indians relinquished title to a large boundary of country embracing the Long Island. This Island, however, was reserved as neutral or common ground, to be claimed specifically by neither party, but considered peace or beloved ground; that, whether in war or peace, the parties might meet here without fear of molestation; and under no circumstances was blood to be shed here. It was stipulated also that the British agent should be expelled from the Indian country, and one appointed by the United States to superintend, &c., and that he should reside on the Island of Peace ground. This Island is now in Sullivan county, Tennessee (named for General Sullivan of the Revolution), is four to five miles long, of variable width, in no part exceeding one mile and is quite fertile. At this treaty my father attended with his company as a guard. The character which he had by this time made for himself, called the attention of the government to him, and he was appointed agent of the Cherokees-an office then considered of great importance. He settled on this Island where he continued in the same capacity without intermission until the year 1789-say twelve years. His situation at times was critical, as the Indians were frequently at war, occasioned mostly by the encroachments of the whites, their convenience to transcend them. This brought on frequent conflicts, and placed the agent in a delicate situation. But such was his tact and energy of character, that he sustained himself throughout; often having to go to the nation through great perils.

    Once he came in personal contact with the British agent there, and with the influence he ever maintained with the Indians, finally expelled him from the country. Here was an occasion which called forth his superior powers with advantage to the country (for this was the darkest period of the Revolution) and afforded an opportunity for that gallant host that fought and conquered at King's Mountain (and which event gave the first favorable turn to our arms in the Southern States) to leave their homes in safety. For it may be remembered that a great proportion of the force that fought then were frontier men. Thus did he, in the main, retain the confidence of both parties. No other kind of man could have done it. And here from a combination of peculiar circumstances, he was placed in a situation in which he could render, and did render to the country (which required at the time the action of her whole strength) better service than any other in which he could have been placed. The war over, he continued in his situation, by the time surrounded by a dense population. He had become very popular, and though still agent, engaged freely in all the political affairs of the country; was a justice of the peace, and was frequently elected to the legislature of North Carolina. In the military line, (militia) he was promoted from one grade to another until he was appointed Brigadier-General. He frequently joined campaigns against the Indians, and once commanded a large army against them.

    In 1783 he was appointed commissioner with Shelby, late of Kentucky, and Donaldson, father-in-law of General Andrew Jackson, to hold a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians at French Lick--now Nashville.

    And I will here remark that those Indians always regarded the provisions of that treaty, and were ever afterwards friendly to the white people.

    In 1785 he was appointed commissioner with Pickins and Hawkins to treat with the Cherokees and Choctaws at Hopewell, These appointments go to show the high confidence the government had in him after so many years in its service.

    In 1782, my mother, by whom he had seven children, died; and in 1784 he again married a young woman-Susanna Graves--by whom he had eleven children. About the year 1785, he was one of six commissioners appointed by the legislature of Georgia to form a settlement in the bend of the Tennessee river, then a part of Georgia; and to layout and organize a county, open a land office, sell land warrants, &c. After much preparation in procuring goods with which to quiet the Indians, engaging men, &c., they went on by water next year, and made their stand accordingly. But soon it was discovered impracticable to sustain themselves against the growing hostility of the Indians with whom they were surrounded. They therefore broke up, returned, and reported the result, and for which service they were authorized to enter five thousand acres of land each as indemnity. This, in addition to his Indian agency, made a great part of his time, during many years that he was in the public employment of one kind or another; for such was the versatility of his talents and composition, that he could turn his hand to almost anything.

    In 1784, the question about the State of "Franklin" arose, and caused much confusion. The people were much divided--some for, and some against the new State. On this question my father was in the negative, with his usual decisiveness on all public matters--for he was never indifferent in any matter on which he might be called to act.

    In 1788, he was a member of the Convention of North Carolina for the adoption or rejection of the Federal Constitution. This convention rejected it, though my father was in favor of ratification. Another convention met the next year and ratified it, and of this my father was also a member.

    He now, this year, resigned his Indian agency, and removed to the old home in Henry county, Virginia, from which he had never removed his family, but visiting them occasionally, after having spent the greater part of the preceding twenty-five years of his life in the western country, and half of that time in public employment.

    It is singular that a man of his enterprising spirit, with the advantages he had had in the west, had not located himself to advantage there, rather than return to the country from which he had been so long absent, and towards which he was almost a a stranger. But he knew how to make himself known to advantage anywhere. For he was pretty much like the Apostle Paul in one particular, viz: he soon became "all things to all men." Nor have I ever seen any man who possessed this talent in so high a degree as he did. And it never seemed to cost him any labored effort.

    To most of the incidents referred to in this narrative, from the time of my father's settling in Powell's Valley, the second time, viz: 1775, I was myself cognizant--having been much with him in the west. But when he returned to Virginia we parted. The particulars of his after life I have received from others mostly.

    Soon after his return to his old home in Henry county, Virginia, he was elected to the legislature of that State, and was continued in that service until he himself thought he was by age unfit for usefulness, and declined. Here he acquired a high sta

    Joseph MARTIN had the following military positions: Captain of the Transylvania Militia, elected in 1776; Major in 1779 and Lieutenant Colonel in 1781. He was elected Brigadier General of North Carolina by the Legislature on 15 DEC 1787 and commissioned Brigadier General of the 20th Brigade of Virginia Militia by Governor Henry Lee on 11 DEC 1793. His brother John "Jack" MARTIN also had unions in the Cherokee Nation and was the ancestor of the prominent MARTIN family. Elizabeth (Betsy) WARD and Brig. Gen. Joseph L. MARTIN had the following children:



    Nancy MARTIN.



    James C. MARTIN.

    Elizabeth (Betsy) WARD and Daniel HUGHES were married about 1786 in ,,Cherokee Nation East (now ,,TN).5 Elizabeth (Betsy) WARD and Daniel HUGHES had the following children:



    Rachel HUGHES.


    By Dallas Bogan

    Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan. 

         The year 1775 had been a peaceful one along the western waters of Virginia, with not a single recorded incidence of Indian violence. This year of peace had been brought about by Lord Dunmore's War against the northern Indians with the end of the Point Pleasant Campaign. 1776 dawned with a fury of Indian depredations hitherto unknown from the Cherokees whose proximity to the western settlements made them a more formidable foe than the Shawnee, although the Shawnee attacks did not cease. The Revolutionary war was raging and the western settlers were faced with an enemy to the east, one to the south and another to the north, with British agents abetting and arming the hostile Indians, and in the midst were Tory traitors waiting and ready to strike.
        Indian foraging parties, both large and small, were constantly prowling along the rivers and valleys of the Clinch, Holston and Powell Rivers. Not only were their sudden and unexpected appearances dangerous, but not knowing when and where they would strike next the settlers were forced to live in the forts the entire spring, summer and fall, thus preventing their growing any crops and suffering was perhaps more acute in this year than any along the western waters. Official records and contemporary writings of that time give an inkling of the situation on the frontiers in the many appeals for flour and ammunition which had to be sent in from the east by pack train and heavily guarded by troops through the dangerous gaps and valleys of Southwest Virginia.

         In the spring all of Powell Valley had been evacuated and the forts closed with the settlers moving into the forts further into the interior. The Battle of Long Island Flats (near Kingsport, TN) fought on July 20, 1776, and the Cherokee Campaign under Col. William Christian in the fall, somewhat relieved the dangerous situation, but not a single year passed from 1776, until the half-breed Chief Benge was killed in Wise County, Va., in 1794 without settlers along the frontier being killed and captured.
        John Anderson of near Long Island, (Kingsport) Sullivan Co., TN, who settled there in the year 1773, sums up very well the frontier situation of 1776 in his unpublished memoir.

         The Cherokee Indians in the year 1776 came with a force of three or four hundred to within ten miles of my father's house before they were repulsed. The spys came in great speed and the news was given. (We could) hear their voices and our men and boys went out to meet them and they had sixteen or eighteen killed, and the number wounded not known. Our people had three wounded, none killed, notwithstanding we had 150 and the Indians more than double that number.
    The author of these remarks recollects well to have seen, on the next day or two, after the battle, the scalps taken by some of our boys. He remembers to have seen one of the said scalps in the hands of a certain Mr. Moore, who took it off himself. My father and his family was then in Shelby's Fort (near Bristol) where there was at that time, upwards of 100 families in Shelby's Fort.

         Immediately after the battle aforesaid the Indians traveled all over the country in small parties aiming to do us all the harm in their power. They killed a considerable quantity of people in different parts of the country that would venture out of the forts to get something to subsist no. After my father and his family had been at Shelby's Fort a number of days, we went back to Looney's Fort, that being more convenient to our home than Shelby's Fort. We continued at Looney's until an army commanded by Col. Christian went against the Cherokee Nation. Shortly after the army passed our fort we moved home, and nearly all the families that was in said fort, which was a large quantity. Several men was killed there during the time we was forted and some wounded.

    Adventures of Gen. Joseph Martin.

         In speaking of the conditions at Martin's Station (in now Lee Co., VA) in 1776, John Redd, who had come to that Station with Col. Joseph Martin in January of 1775, from Henry Co., VA states:

         In May, 1776, General Martin returned home, (to Henry Co., VA) promising to return in four weeks. The four weeks expired and we heard nothing from General Martin. The settlers from Priest's and Mump's Forts had all left, and some of our men. Days rolled on and we could hear nothing from Martin or the settlement. We became alarmed at our situation. We knew that something of great moment had taken place or Martin would have returned or sent a messenger out to let us know why he did not come at the appointed time. As our number had decreased to about ten (men) and we could not hear from Martin, we held a council, determined to remain three days longer, and, if we could hear nothing from the settlement in that time, to start home.

         The day we held our council, William Parks, one of our number, insisted on going some eight miles below the fort, and put up a few poles in the shape of a house, kill some trees, dig some holes in the ground, and plant some corn, so as to secure a "corn-right", and return the third morning time enough to start with us if we should leave for the settlement. We very reluctantly gave our consent. On the same evening, Parks, his nephew Thomas, and his Negro man set out to secure the corn-right. The third morning after Parks left, the day he promised to return, to our great surprise young Parks came and informed us that his uncle had left the evening before to kill some meat. Shortly after his leaving he heard him about, and had heard nothing from him since. I, and two others set out with young Parks, and, on arriving at his cabin, he showed us the way his uncle went. We found his track and followed it with great care. After going about one mile we came to where some Indians had been lying among some limestone rocks on the Kentucky Trace.

         About fifty yards from where the Indians had been, we saw old Parks lying dead on his face. On examining him we found he was shot through the heart. From his tracks he must have run some thirty yards from where he was shot. He was scalped, and a war club left sunk in his brain. We skinned some tough bark and with it lashed old Parks to a pole, and two of us, with an end of the pole on our shoulders, carried him to his cabin and buried him.

         The same evening we returned to the fort. On arriving there, we found an express sent out by General Martin, informing us that the Indians (Cherokee) had declared war, and were doing a great deal of mischief. The morning after the arrival of the express we broke up and came to Blackmore's Fort on Clinch River. At this fort, we found the greater part of the men who had left Mump's and Priest's forts.

         (This article was taken from the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, by Emory L. Hamilton)

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