xt7tqj77tf2n https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7tqj77tf2n/data/mets.xml Ellet, E. F. (Elizabeth Fries), 1818-1877 1856  books b92f476e4518562009 English Charles Scribner : New York Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Women --Ohio River Valley --Biography. Frontier and pioneer life --Ohio River Valley. Northwest, Old --Biography. Ohio River Valley --Biography. Pioneer women of the west . text Pioneer women of the west . 1856 2009 true xt7tqj77tf2n section xt7tqj77tf2n 



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An appropriate supplement to the memoirs of the " "Women of the American Revolution," is the story of the wives and mothers who ventured into the western wilds, and bore their part in the struggles and labors of the early pioneers. Indeed, so obvious a consequence of the Revolution was the diffusion of the spirit of emigration, that the one work naturally calls for the other, tho domestic history of the period being incomplete without it, To supply this want, very little published material existed, and that little in the shape of brief anecdotes, scattered through historical collections made in several Western States, and scarcely known in other parts of the Union. But a vast store might be yielded from the records of private families, and the still vivid recollections of individuals who had passed through the experiences of frontier and forest life, and it was not yet too 

late to save from oblivion much that would be the more interesting and valuable, as the memory of those primitive times receded into the past.

Application has been made, accordingly, to the proper sources throughout the "Western States, and the result enables me to offer such a series of authentic sketches as will not only exhibit the character of many pioneer matrons   characters that would pass for strongly marked originals in any fiction   but will afford a picture of the times in the progressive settlement of the whole country, from Tennessee to Michigan. To render this picture as complete as possible, descriptions of the domestic life and manners of the pioneers, and illustrative anecdotes from reliable sources, have been interwoven with the memoirs, and notice has been taken of such political events as had an influence on the condition of the country.

All the biographies, except those of Mrs. Boone and Mary Moore, have been prepared from private records, furnished by relatives or friends, and in two or three instances by the subjects. I do not except those of Mrs. "Williams and Mrs. Bouse, for which I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. S. B. Hildreth, though they appeared in a more extended form many years since, in a Western periodical of limited circulation. My grateful acknowledgments are due to Mr. Milton A. Haynes, of Tennessee, 
   I'EEFACE. Vli

for the memoirs of Mrs. Bledsoe, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Shelby, written for this work; and also to Mr. A. ~W. Putnam, of Nashville, Tennessee, for those of Mrs. Sevier and Mrs. Sparks. Both in Tennessee and Ohio I had access to valuable manuscripts belonging to the Historical Societies, and to letters in the possession of individuals. For most of the sketches illustrative of Michigan, included in those of Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Bryan, Mrs. Bumsey and Mrs. Noble, I have pleasure in acknowledging my obligations to an accomplished friend   Miss Mary H. Clark of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The published works from which extracts have been made, are generally mentioned, and a repetition of authorities would be unnecessary. Flint's Life of Boone, Dr. Hildreth's Notes on the Pioneer History of Ohio, Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, and Lanman's History of Michigan, have chiefly aided me, though a vast number of other books have been consulted.

A word may be permitted here as to the proprietorship of memoirs prepared from original materials derived from private sources. It seems reasonable that the exclusive right shoidd belong to the one who procures and works up such materials ; and that no other person can, without a violation of the principles of common justice, make use of the memoirs to such an extent as to inter 
   Vlii PKEFAOE.

fere with the interests of the original work. This remark is called forth by the fact that a volume was published in Buffalo, in 1851, entitled "Noble Deeds of American Women, with Biographical Sketches of some of the more prominent"   in which thirty-eight sketches prepared entirely from original manuscripts, (the sxibjects not even named in any other published work,) were taken from the volumes of " The Women of the American Bevolution," twenty-six of them being appropriated, in an abridged form, without the slightest acknowledgment.

E. F. E. 

I. Mary Bledsoe,....... 13

II. Catharine Sevier,   ...... 29

DX Rebecca Boone,...... 42

Mrs. Mason,....... 58

Anna Innis, 61

Sarah Combs,....... 62

IV. Charlotte Robertson,..... 63

Mrs. Dunham........ ^5

V. Jane Brown,....... ^9

Sarah Wilson,...... 106

VI. Mart Moore,....... 110

Mrs. Denis,....... *"

Mrs. Clendenin,...... *"

Mrs. Cunningham,...... H3

Mrs. Scott,....... H5

Mrs. Glass,....... H8

VLL Ann Haynes........ 1*5

VHI. Ruth Sparks,...... 
   ' '   mm___ "'iiMlt^f"'


IX. Sarah Shelby, . X. Rebecca Williams, Louisa St. Clair, Mrs. Lake, Sally Warth, . Jane Dick, Mary Heckewelder, Ruhama Greene, XI. Rebecca Rouse, XTT. Sarah Sibley, . XUT. Mary Dunlevy, XP7. Ann Bailey, XV. Elizabeth Harper, Sarah Thorp, . Mrs. Walworth, Mrs. Carter,

XVI. Elizabeth Tappen,

XVII. Rebecca Heald, Mrs. Helm, Mrs. Snow,

Mrs. Lemen, Mrs. Edwards XVIII. Abigail Snelling, XIX. Mary McMillan,

XX. Charlotte A. Clark, Charlotte Geer, Mrs. Clark,

XXI. Sarah Bryan, . Sylvia Chapin, . Mrs. St. John, Mrs. Lovejoy,


162 171 178 185 191 193 193 196 199


226 245 254 266


272 274 281




305 338 350 357 359 3G1



Lucy Chapin,.....

Mrs. Anderson,...... 3173

Eliza Bull, Mrs. Harazthy,    .... 374

XXII. Mary Ann Rumsey, .... 373

Ann Allen...... 3gi>

Elizabeth Allen,..... 3go

XXHI. Harbiet L. Noble,  .... 388

Frances Trask, .      .      .      ...      t 39*

Mrs. Scon', Mrs. Talbot, Mrs. Goodrich, . 400

Mrs. Comstock, ..... 4QJ

Mrs. Woodward,     .... 402

XXIV. Journal,........403

XXV. Elizabeth Kenton,..... 42g 



" Men's duo deserts each reader may recite, For men of men do make a goodly show; But women's works can seldom come to light, No mortal man their famous acta may know; Few writers will a little time bestow, The worthy acts of women to repeat; Though their renown and the deserts be g^0ttt',

The poet's complaint might be made with peculiar justice in the case of American women who followed the earliest adventurers into the unknown forests of the "West. One of their own number often said   " A good Providence sent such men and women into the world together. They were made to match." Such a race will probably never again live in this country. The progress of improvement, art, and luxury, has a tendency to change the female character, so that even a return of the perils of war, or the necessity for exertion, would hardly develop in it the strength which belonged to the matrons who nursed the infancy of the Republic. They were formed by early training in habits of energetic industry, and familiarity with privation and danger, to take their part in sub- 

duing the wilderness for the advance of civilization. Though their descendants cannot emulate their heroic deeds, it will be a pleasing task to call up recollections of them ; to observe their patient endurance of hardship, and to compare their homely but honest exterior with the accomplishment and graces of the sex in modern days.

A large portion of the history of the early settlers of the West has never been recorded in any published work. It is full of personal adventure, and no power of imagination could create materials more replete with romantic interest than their simple experience afforded. The training of those hardy pioneers in their frontier life j the daring with which they penetrated the vrilderness, plunging into trackless forests, and encountering the savage tribes whose hunting grounds they had invaded, and the sturdy perseverance with which they overcame all difficulties, compel our wondering admiration. It has been truly said of them, " The greater part of mankind might derive advantage from the contemplation of their humble virtues, hospitable homes, and spirits patient, noble, proud, and free; their self-respect, grafted on innocent thoughts ; their days of health and nights of sleep; their toils by danger dignified, yet guiltless; their hopes of a cheerful old age and a quiet grave."

But less attention has been given to their exploits and sufferings than they deserve, because the accounts read are too vague and general; the picture not being brought near, nor exhibited with lifelike proportions and coloring. A collection of memoirs of women must of necessity include some reliable account of the domestic and daily life of those heroic adventurers, and may perhaps supply the deficiency. Commencing with the first colonists of Tennessee, which claims priority of settlement, we light upon a name associated with its early annals, and distinguished among pioneers   that of Bledsoe. But before entering on a sketch of this family, a brief new may be given of the general state of the country.

Until the year 1700, the territory of North Carolina and Tennessee, and an indefinite region extending south-west and north-west, in the language of the royal British charters, to the South Seas, was known aa " our county of Albemarle, in Carolina."   Even as late as 


1750, the country lying west of the Apalachian mountains was wholly unknown to the people of the Carolinas and Virginia. When, a few years later, the British army under Braddock crossed the mountains from Maryland and Pennsylvania, and marched to Fort Du Quesne, that march was described by the writers of the times as an advance into the deep recesses and fastnesses of a savage wilderness. At that time the French owned all the Canadas, the valley of the Ohio and all its tributaries, and claimed the rest of the continent to the confines of Mexico, westward from the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The old French maps of that period, and the journals and letters of French traders and hunters, together with the traditions of the Indians, afford the only reliable information in relation to the then condition of the country now composing Kentucky and Tennessee. In the French maps of those times, the Kentucky, Hol-ston, Tennessee, and Ohio are laid down. The Kentucky is called Cataway, the Holston the Cherokee, and the Little Tennessee the Tanasees. This river, after the junction of the Holston and Tennessee, is called Ho-go-hegee, and the only Indian town marked on its banks is at the mouth of Bear Creek, near the north-west corner of Alabama. There were forts which were little more than trading posts, at several points on the Ohio and Mississippi; Fort Du Quesne, where Pittsburg now stands, and one at the mouth of the Kenhawa river; another at the mouth of the Kentucky, and Fort Vincennes, near the mouth of the Oubach, or Wabash ; Fort Massac, half way between the mouth of the Ohio and the Tennessee, on the Illinois side, and another on the Tennessee, twelve miles above its mouth. They also had a fort where Memphis now stands, called Prud'homme; another at the mouth of the Arkansas, called AckensS.; another near Natchez, and one at the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, called Halabaraas. South of these last forts, the Spaniards had possession in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. The greater part of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Western Virginia, was represented on these maps as wholly uninhabited. Certain it is that not more than a dozen years afterwards, when the pioneers of Tennessee and Kentucky first explored that region, they found th   


banks of the Watauga, Cumberland, and Kentucky, with their tributaries, in this state. It was all one vast wilderness, into which hunting parties of Indians from its distant borders entered and roamed in pursuit of game, but in which they mado no permanent lodgment. Numerous warlike nations lived south, west, and north of this wilderness, and hither it was that the lion-hearted pioneers of the Cumberland and Watauga came, with axe and rifle, to subdue at once the savage and the forest.

In 1758, Col. Bird, of the British army, established Fort Chissel in Wyth county, Virginia, to protect the frontiers, and, advancing into what is now Sullivan county, Tennessee, built a fort near Long Island, on the Holston or Watauga. There was not then a single white man living in the borders of Tennessee. The year before, Governor Dobbs of North Carolina had, at the request of the Cherokee Indians, built Fort Lowdon, and the Indians agreed to make grants of land to all artisans who would settle among them. Fort Lowdon was on the Little Tennessee, near the mouth of Tel lico river, in the centre of the Cherokee nation, and about one hundred miles south of the fort at Long Island. Between these forta were the first settlements, which struggled for several years against the fearful ravages of Indian wars, before the beginning of the Revolution.

At irregular intervals from 1765 to 1769, came pioneer parties from Virginia and North Carolina, forming " camps," " settlements," and " stations." Some of the earliest emigrants were from Raleigh and Salisbury, and settled upon the Watauga. The first settlement attempted on the spot where Nashville now stands, is said to havo been in 1778, the " French Lick," as the locality was named, having been discovered, according to Haywood, in 1769 or 1770, by a party of adventurers, who were descending the Cumberland on their way to Natchez, to dispose of articles which they had, and purchaso others which they wanted. They saw an immense number of buffaloes and wild game. The lick and adjoining lands were crowded with them, and their bellowing resounded from the hills and forest. The place had previously been visited by French hunters and trap- 


pers from the north. The surrounding hills were then covered with cedars, whose foliage deeply shaded the rocky soil from which they sprung, and there was no appearance of former cultivation. No prospect spread before the eye but woods and cane, inhabited by buffaloes, elks, wolves, foxes, and other wild animals. Not deterred by the neighborhood of these, or fiercer savages, the new comers here erected cabins, constructed a stockade fort, and maintained possession against several attacks by the Indians.

Two brothers of the name of Bledsoe   Englishmen by birth,    were living in 17 69 at Fort Chissel, then upon the extreme border of civilization. It was not long before they removed further into the wild, and they were among the earliest pioneers in the valley of the Holston. This portion of country, now Sullivan county, was at that time supposed to bo within the limits of Virginia. The Bled-soes, with the Shelbys, settled themselves about twelve miles above the Island Flats. The beauty of that mountainous region attracted others, who, impelled by the same spirit of adventure and pride in being the first to explore the wilderness, came to join them in establishing the colony. They cheerfully ventured their property and lives, and endured the severest privations in taking possession of their new homes, influenced by the love of independence and equality. The most dearly prized rights of man had been threatened in the oppressive system adopted by Great Britain towards her colonies; her agents and the colonial magistrates manifested all the insolence of authority; and individuals who had suffered from their aggressions bethought themselves of a country beyond the mountains, in the midst of primeval forests, where no laws existed save the law of nature   no magistrate, except those selected by themselves; where full liberty of conscience, of speech, and of action prevailed. Yet almost in the first year they formed a written code of regulations by which they agreed to be governed ; each man signing his name thereto. These settlements formed by parties of emigrants from neighboring provinces were not, in their constitution, unlike those of New Haven and Hartford; but among them was no godly Hooker, no learned and heavenly-minded 


TTaynes. As, however, from the first they were exposed to the continual depredations and assaults of their savage neighbors, who looked with jealous eyes upon the approach of the white men, it was perhaps well that there were among them few men of letters. The rifle and the axe, their only weapons of civilization, suited better the perils they encountered from the fierce and marauding Shaw-nees, Chickamangas, Creeks, and Cherokees, than would the brotherly address of William Penn, or the pious discourses of Roger Williams.

During the first year, not more than fifty families had crossed the mountains; but others came with each revolving season to reinforce the little settlement, until its population swelled to hundreds. During the Revolutionary struggle, that region became the refuge of many patriots driven by British invasion from Virginia, the Caro-linas, and Georgia, some of the best families seeking homes there. Patriotic republicans who had sacrificed everything for their country, hoped to find in the secluded vales and thick forests of the West that peace and quiet which they had not found amidst the din of ciril and foreign war. But they soon experienced the horrors of savage warfare, which swept away their property, and often robbed them of their wives and children, either by a barbarous death or slavery as captives dragged into the wild recesses of the Indian borders. They took up their residence, for mutual aid and protection, in clusters around different stations, within a short distance of one another, and many lived in the forts. Notwithstanding the frequent and terrible inroads upon their numbers, they increased to thousands within ten or fifteen years.

Not long after the Bledsoes established themselves upon the banks of the Holston, Col. Anthony Bledsoe, who was an excellent surveyor, was appointed clerk to the commissioners who ran the line dividing Virginia and North Carolina. Bledsoe had before this ascertained that Sullivan County was comprised within the boundaries of the latter province. In June, 1776, he was chosen by the inhabitants of the county to the command of the militia. The office imposed on him the dangerous duty of repelling the 
   mart bledsoe.


savages and defending the frontier. He had often to call out the militia and lead them to meet their Indian assailants, whom they would pursue to their villages through the recesses of the forest. In this month more than seven hundred Indian warriors advanced upon the settlements on the Holston, with the avowed object of exterminating the white race through all their borders. The battle of Long Island, fought a few miles below Bledsoe's station, near the Island Flats, was one of the earliest and hardest fought battles known in the traditionary history of Tennessee. Col. Bledsoe, at the head of the militia, marched to meet the enemy, and in the conflict which ensued was completely victorious ; the Indians being routed, and leaving forty dead upon the field. This disastrous defeat for a time held them in check ; but the spirit of savage hostility was invincible, and in the years following there was a constant succession of Indian troubles, in which Col. Bledsoe was conspicuous for his bravery and services.

In 1779, Sullivan County having been recognized as a part of North Carolina, Governor Caswell appointed Anthony Bledsoe colonel, and Isaac Shelby lieutenant-colonel, of its military company. About the beginning of July of the following year, General Charles McDowell, who commauded a district east of the mountains, sent to Bledsoe a dispatch, giving him an account of the condition of the country. The surrender of Charleston had brought the State of South Carolina under British power; the people had been summoned to return to their allegiance, and resistance was ventured only by a few resolute spirits, determined to brave death rather than submit to the invader. The whigs had fled into North Carolina, whence they returned as soon as they were able to oppose the enemy. Colonels Tarleton and Ferguson had advanced towards North Carolina at the head of their soldiery; and McDowell ordered Col. Bledsoe to rally the militia of his county, and come forward in readiness to assist in repelling the invader's approach. Similar dispatches were sent to Col. Sevier and other officers, and the patriots Were not slow in obeying the summons.

While the British" Colonel Ferguson, under the order* of Corn-


warns, was sweeping the country near the frontier, gathering the loyalists under his standard and driving back the whigs, against whom fortune seemed to have decided, a resoluto band was assembled for their succor far up among the mountains. From a population of five or six thousand, not more than twelve hundred of them fighting men, a body of near five hundred mountaineers, armed with rifles and clad in leathern hunting-shirts, was gathered. The anger of these sons of liberty had been stirred up by an insolent message received from Col. Ferguson, that " if they did not instantly lay down their arms, he would come over the mountains and whip their republicanism out of them ;" and they were eager for an opportunity of showing what regard they paid to his threats.

At this juncture, Col. Isaac Shelby returned from Kentucky, where he had been surveying land for the great company of land specula-tore headed by Henderson, Hart, and others. The young officer was betrothed to Miss Susan Hart, a belle celebrated among the western settlements at that period, and it was shrewdly suspected that his sudden return from the wilds of Kentucky was to be attributed to the attractions of that young lady ; notwithstanding that due credit is given to the patriot, in recent biographical sketches, for an ardent wish to aid his countrymen in their struggle for liberty by his active services at the scene of conflict. On his arrival at Bledsoe's, it was a matter of choice with the colonel whether he should himself go forth and march at the head of the advancing army of volunteers, or yield the command to Shelby. It was necessary for one to remain behind, for the danger to the defenceless inhabitants of the country was even greater from the Indians than the British ; and it was obvious that the ruthless savage would tako immediate advantage of the departure of a large body of fighting men, to fall upon the enfeebled frontier. Shelby on his part insisted that it was the duty of Bledsoe, whose family, relatives, and defenceless neighbors looked to him for protection, to stay with the troops at home for the purpose of repelling the expected Indian assault. For himself, he urged, he had no family to guard, or who might mourn his loss, and it was better that he should advance with the 
   mart bledsoe.


troops to join McDowell. No one could tell where might be the post of danger and honor, at home or on the other side of the mountains. The arguments he used no doubt corresponded with his friend's own convictions, his sense of duty to his family, and of truu regard to the welfare of his country ; and the deliberation resulted in his relinquishment of the command to his junior officer. It was thus that the conscientious, though not ambitious patriot, lost the honor of commanding in one of the most distinguished actions of the Revolutionary war.

Col. Shelby took the command of those gallant mountaineers who encountered the forces of Ferguson at King's Mountain on the 7 th October, 1780. Three days after that splendid victory, Bledsoe received from him an official dispatch giving an account of the battle. The daughter of Col. Bledsoe well remembered having heard this dispatch read by her father, though it has probably long since shared the fate of other valuable family papers.

When the hero of King's Mountain, wearing the victor's wreath, returned to his friends, he found that his betrothed had departed with her father for Kentucky, leaving for him no request to follow. Sarah, the above mentioned daughter of Col. Bledsoe, often rallied the young officer, who spent considerable time at her father's, upon this cruel desertion. He would reply by expressing much indignation at the treatment ho had received at the hands of the fair coquette, and protesting that he would not follow her to Kentucky, nor ask her of her father; he would wait for little Sarah Bledsoe, a far prettier bird, he would aver, than the one that had flown away. The maiden, then some twelve or thirteen years of age, would laughingly return his bantering by saying ho " had better wait, indeed, and see if he could win Miss Bledsoe who could not win Miss Hart.'' The arch damsel was not wholly in jest; for a youthful kinsman of the colonel   David Shelby, a lad of seventeen or eighteen, who had fought by his side at King's Mountain   had already gained her youthful affections. She remained true to this early love, though her lover was only a private soldier. And it may be well to record that the gallant colonel, who thus threatened infidelity to his, did 


actually, notwithstanding his protestations, go to Kentucky the fol lowing year, and was married to Miss Susan Hart, who made him a faithful and excellent wife.

During the whole of the trying period that intervened between the first settlement of east Tennessee and the close of the Revolutionary struggle, Col. Bledsoe, with his brother and kinsmen, was almost incessantly engaged in the strife with their Indian foes, as well as in the laborious enterprise of subduing the forest, and converting the tangled wilds into the husbandman's fields of plenty. In these varied scenes of trouble and trial, of toil and danger, the men were aided and encouraged by the women. Mary Bledsoe, the colonel's wife, was a woman of remarkable energy, and noted for her independence both of thought and action. She never hesitated to expose herself to danger whenever she thought it her duty to brave it; and when Indian hostilities were most fierce, when their homes were frequently invaded by the murderous savage, and females struck down by the tomahawk or carried into captivity, she was foremost in urging her husband and friends to go forth and meet the foe, instead of striving to detain them for the protection of her own household. During this time of peril and watchfulness, little attention could have been given to books, even had the pioneers possessed them ; but the Bible, the Confession of Faith, and a few such works as Baxter's Call, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, etc., were generally to be found in the library of every resident on the frontier.

About the close of the year 1*779, Col. Bledsoe and his brothers, with a few friends, crossed the Cumberland mountains, descended into the valley of Cumberland River, and explored the beautiful region on its banks. Delighted with its shady woods, its herds of buffaloes, its rich and genial soil, and its salubrious climate, their report on their return induced many of the inhabitants of East Tennessee to resolve on seeking a new home in the Cumberland Valley. The Bledsoes did not remove their families thither until three years afterwards; but the idea of settling the valley originated with them ; they were the first to explore it, and it was in consequence of their report and advice that the expedition was fitted out, under the direo- 


tion of Captain (afterwards General) Robertson and Col. John Donaldson, to establish the earliest colony in that part of the country.* The daughter of Col. Bledsoe has in her possession letters that passed between her father and Gen. Robertson, in which repeated allusions are mado to the fact that to his suKcrestions and counsel was owing the first thought of emigration to the valley. In 1784, Anthony Bledsoe removed with his family to the new settlement of which he had thus been one of the founders. His brother, Col. Isaac Bledsoe, had gone the year before. They took up their residence in what is now Sumner County, and established a fort or station at " Bledsoe's Lick"   now known as. the Castalian Springs. The families being thus united, and the eldest daughter of Anthony married to David Shelby, the station became a rallying point for an extensive district surrounding it. The Bledsoes were used to fighting with the Indians; they were men of well known energy and courage, and their fort was the place to which the settlers looked for protection   the colonels being the acknowledged leaders of the pioneers in their neighborhood, and the terror, far and near, of the savage marauders. Anthony was also a member of the North Carolina Legislature from Sumner County.

. From 1780 to 1795, a continual warfare was kept up by the Creeks and Cherokees against the inhabitants of the valley. The history of this time would be a fearful record of scenes of bloody strife and atrocious barbarity. Several hundred persons fell victims to the ruthless foe, who spared neither age nor sex; and many women and children were carried far from their friends into hopeless captivity: The settlers were frequently robbed and their negro slaves taken away ; in the course of a few years two thousand horses were stolen; their cattle and hogs were destroyed, their houses and barns burned, and their plantations laid waste. In consequence of these incursions, many of the inhabitants gathered together at the stations on the frontier, and established themselves under military rule for the pro-

* For an account of this expedition, and the planting of the settlement, 6ee the memoir of Sarah Buchanan,    Women of the American Revolution. Vol. iii. p. 310. 

tection of the interior settlements. During this desperate period, tho pursuits of the farmer could not bo abandoned; lands were to be ourveyed and marked, and fields cleared and cultivated, by men who could not venture beyond their own doors without arms in their hands. Tho labors of those active and vigilant leaders, tho Bledsoes, in supporting and defending the colony, were indefatigable. Nor was the heroic matron   the subject of this sketch   less active in her appropriate sphere of action. Her family consisted of seven daughters and five sons, the eldest of whom, Sarah Shelby, was not more than eighteen when they came to Sumner. Mrs. Bledsoe was almost the only instructor of these children, the family being left to her sole charge while her husband was engaged in his toilsome duties, or harassed with the cares incident to an uninterrupted border warfare.

Too soon was this devoted wife and mother called upon to suffer a far deeper calamity than any she had yet experienced. Anthony Bledsoe had removed his family into his brother Isaac's fort at Bledsoe's Lick. On the night of the 20th of July, 1788, a number of Indians approached, and placed themselves in ambush about forty yards in front of a passage dividing the log houses occupied by the two families. To draw tho men out, they then sent some of their party to cause an alarm by riding rapidly through a lane passing1 near. Roused by the noise, Col. Anthony Bledsoe rose and went to the gate. As he opened it, he was shot down, the same shot killing an Irish servant, named Campbell, who had been long devotedly attached to him. The colonel did not expire immediately, but was carried back into the house, while preparations were made for defence by Gen. William Hall, and the portholes manned till break of day. The wife of Isaac Bledsoe suggested to her husband, and afterwards to her brother-in-law, in view of the near approach of death, that it was proper to make provision for his daughters. He had surveyed large tracts of land, and had secured grants for several thousand acres, which constituted nearly his whole property. The law of North Carolina at that time gave all the lands to the Bons, to the exclusion of the dau