Email from LouAnn Blakely:
John asked that I share some information on the death of James
Henderson who died in 1793. Last year after corresponding with F.
Robert Henderson,I ordered a document from the NC State Archives that
you are all probably familiar with. It was the case of Avery vs.
Walker, in which James Henderson of Sevier County, TN gave a
deposition. This record told of another James Henderson, who
killed by Cherokee Indians in 1793,while a member of Col. Doherty's
Troops as they were fighting the Indians in an area along the
In doing some reading at the Salt Lake Family History Library where I
do my weekly research, I came across a book, "Haywood's Civil and
Political History", Copyright 1891. In this book I read extensively
about the Indian Wars in the area of Greene, Sevier and Knox Counties.
The accounts of the 1793 Indian massacres in Greene County, along the
south side of the Nolichucky River were most interesting, since this
is where my James Henderson lived. The activities of Col.
troops were quite well documented during that period of time.
Then on page 305 of that record, there is an account of an attack made
by the Indians on Henry's Station, near the Tuckasejah River. An old
map listed this fort as being in Sevier County. A Lt. Telford was
taken prisoner and killed there in the skirmish with the Cherokee.
This attack took place on 29 August 1793. Then a statement was made
that greatly interested me - - "A man of the name of Henderson
also killed." Since the time period was right and the location was
accurate, it seems that there is a very good possibility that this is
indeed James Henderson, whose will was published 15 Aug 1793.
REASON FOR THE DOHERTY RAID
From: John Nash
There were several Cherokee villages in the Great Smoky mountains south
of the Nolichucky River, not all that far from where James and
Henderson lived. There had been some controversy over a period of years
concerning where settlers could move, and to end the strife some rules
had been implemented by the government. One of the rules was a
proscription against the settlers attacking the Cherokee villages.
I read the microfilm copy of the "Knoxville Gazette" for 1793. It was a
weekly newspaper starting in 1791, and quickly became an important
newspaper. All through 1793 there were articles about Cherokee
depredations in the valley and several shootings of the Cherokee by the
settlers, including the shooting of an unarmed Cherokee man on the
grounds of the governor's mansion in Knoxville. The following article
was printed July 13, 1793, page 2,3.
"Saturday, July 13. On the 29th ultimo, a party of Indians went to ____
Cloyd's plantation, on the south side of Nolichucky river, about eleven
miles from Greene court-house, killed two children, and wounded a third,
whose recovery is doubtful. They also carried off the wife of Mr. Cloyd
about half a mile, where they put her to death, with the tomahawk,
stripped her, ripped open her bowels,and otherwise mangled her in a
manner too shocking to relate. Mr. Cloyd being on the plantation, near
the house was fired at, but escaped unhurt. Monday the 1st instant the
Indians burnt two houses on the plantation of Mr. Hogg, on Baker's
creek, 24 miles from this place, in which all his household furniture
and a quantity of flax were consumed; the family having removed to a
neighbouring blockhouse. The same night they destroyed a quantity of
corn belong to Mr. Logan. The following night, at Kelly's station, 11
miles from this place (Knoxville), they cut up a plough belonging to Mr.
Conner and carried off the iron; they also robbed a milk house near the
same place. On Wednesday the 3d inst. Ensign Joel Wallace was fired on
by six Indians, at the head of Pistol Creek, 15 miles from this place;
one ball struck a large knife that was flattened to the belt of his ???
bag, and shattered the handle to pieces, some of which cut his breast.
Last Tuesday three head of horses were stolen from Capt Menefee's
station, on Beaver creek, eight miles from this place. In consequence of
the depredations committed by Indians, in Wear's cove, as plublished in
our last, a number of the inhabaitants, alarmed by these enormities,
assembled together to consult for their comon safety, to condole with
eaadh other on their sufferings, and to lament the too long neglect of
succour from the general government of the United States; when they
concluded to follow the trail of these daring barbarians and discover
from what source their miseries originated. About 60 men met, chose
their officers, placed Col. Samuel Wear at their head, (which was given
up by Lieutenant Henderson, who had the command of a party of
that neighborurhood, by order of the government) and with a
determination to check these villains, marched to the mountains, where
they discovered several trails, winding various ways, which as last
terminated in one plain, beaten path, leading to the Tillassee, a town
situated in the mountains, as inaccessable to the white people. Near
this town, they overtook a number of Indians on the North bank of the
Tennessee, when a heavy fire began on both sides; but the Indians soon
leaped into the river, on which the whites ran to the bank, killed
fifteen fellows, and took four squaws prisoners, which they have brought
in with them, and wish to exchange for the property taken from them.
During the engagement on the North, a sharp fire ws kept up by the
Indians from the south side of the river. It is to be regretted, that a
squaw was by accident kille in the water. We are happy to add that not a
man belonging to this scout was hurt. And it is to be remembered that
goveernment had limited offensive operations to the North Bank of the
The Cloyd home was ten miles from Greenevile, and that is the same
distance as the Henderson home, although it may have been in
direction. It obviously stirred the settlers sufficiently to go on at
least two illegal attacks against the Cherokee - the Col. Wear raid
reported here, and the Col. Doherty raid reported in my next message.
I do not know if "Lieutenant Henderson" was our
James. I do know there
were more than one Henderson on these raids, and I know our
some "scouting", enough to be referred to in some old papers as a
Col. Wear's raid was illegal. It is the next raid, the one by Col.
George Doherty, when James Henderson was mortally wounded.
The Tennessee State Archives have no information on these raids because
they were illegal. I looked for some historical information concerning
George Doherty, but I found none. Perhaps I missed it, but I found very
little published information on this conflict.
THE DOHERTY RAID
This is the story of the 180 mounted men who rode into the mountains
with Col. George Doherty in response to the depredations against the
local settlers. The following account was found in the Knoxille Gazette
for August 27, 1793, p. 3; col 2 & 3. This newspaper is on microfilm at
the Calvin McClung Collection in Knoxville, TN.
"Knoxville. Tues. August 27, 1793. On
Sunday the 4th instant [meaning
August] a volunteer company consisting of one hundred and eighty men
from the counties of Knox and Jefferson under the command of Col. George
Doherty assembled at Gambles Station, on Little River, for the purpose
of marching into the Cherokee towns, and on the same day crossed the
Tennessee. The next day they marched to Big Tellico where they killed
two fellows and a squaw and took one squaw prisoner. On Tuesday they
crossed the mountain to Tynoita, a town on the Highwassee River, wounded
one fellow and a squaw, took nine prisoners, burnt the town and
destroyed a large quantity of growing corn. After interrogating a
prisoner, the company proceeded to the Big Valley Town, putting several
small villages on their march, which they burnt and destroyed the
growing corn. On Wednesday morning the Indians fired on a party of white
men in view of their camp and wounded Aremould Lackey. The same day a
party of forty spotted themselves in the gap oif a mountain where the
white men had to pass, and on their approach fired on them, the white
men returned the fire, killed three Indians, wounded several, and put
them to flight. The next day the Indians fired on their rear, and
wounded one man. The same day the Company took six prisoners at a
village gathering provisions, and towards the close of the day they
killed four fellows and a squaw, and wounded several others. On
morning, the 10th (before day) a party of Indians fired on the white men
in their encampment and wounded JAMES HENDERSON,
Nicholas Davis and John
Frame. On Monday the 12th instant, the volunteers returned to their
settlements, by way of Big Pigeon in Jefferson County..... The party
killed in the whole of their rout nine Indian men, and, by mstake, two
squaws, and bought home seven women and children prisoners....."
The remainder of the article lists more incidents between the settlers
and the Cherokee.
A few months ago Lou Ann Blakely brought to my attention a book by John
Haywood, "Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee from its
Earliest Settlement up to the year 1796." This book was published in
1823, but there is a 1969 re-print available.
Haywood adds a few particulars, but garbles the wounding of James
Henderson. p. 303 says, "Col. Doherty was positively ordered to desist
from marching against the Indians. He did not obey the orders, but
marched into the Indian country with one hundred and eighty or one
hundred and nine men."
P. 305 refers to a August 29th raid by the Cherokee on Henry's Station.
It says, "A man of the name of Henderson they also
We know from deposition that is in circulation, that James Henderson
"mortally wounded" and placed on a "bier" [stretcher], and taken home.
Either the "Henderson" mentioned in Haywood is a
different Henderson, or
he got his battles mixed.
My reading of the maps of the area suggests that the place where James
Henderson was mortally wounded was somewhere in the vicinity of Bryson
City, NC. Likely in the mountains north of there.
The newspaper story says they left the mountains by way of Little Pigeon
River on August 12th. That brings them out of the mountains about where
Gatlinburg TN is located. They had about 15 or 20 miles to get to
Gatlinburg, and about 35 miles going north east to the James
home on the Nolichucky. His will was signed on the 15th August, which
means he was either home or on the way.
Also, there are some Greene County documents that refer to James
Henderson as "spy". I think a modern rendition would be "point
the man who leads the way for the mounted riflemen. There were two men
named James Henderson who were on that raid. They were not
I do not know which was the "spy."