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B.4.b. Francis Berry {B.4.b.}

 
     Francis Berry was born in 1755. His birth place was probably Augusta County, Virginia, since his parents were, in all likelihood, living in that part of Virginia at the time. Although it is not known with certainty when Francis’ father, Francis Berry Sr., first arrived in Augusta County, analysis of the records of Francis Berry Sr.’s father, the elder John Berry, shows that he (John Berry), probably accompanied by his youngest son, Francis Berry Sr., arrived in Augusta County after 1742 and before 1753. Consequently, based on this bracketing of their move to Virginia and the documented 1755 birth date of Francis Berry, it appears that he was born, and grew up, in Augusta County, Virginia. By 1774, at the age of 19, Francis Berry had joined the wave of English settlers migrating into southwestern Virginia, where he served in the Fincastle County militia during the Point Pleasant Campaign. The following year he married Sarah Sharp, daughter of John Sharp, and over the course of their marriage they had ten children. The Sharp family, along with the Duncans and Laughlins, all, of whom, were originally from Ireland, were intricately related through multiple marriages. After living in central Pennsylvania since the early 1740s this group of families moved to the Augusta County area in the 1760s, then on to southwestern Virginia with the general migration of English settlers in the early 1770s. Some members of the Duncan-Laughlin-Sharp family group, which now included Francis Berry by marriage, moved to the Bluegrass Country of Kentucky in the late 1770s. Thomas Berry, who was probably a younger brother of Francis Berry, was also a member of this great migration and accompanied this group of pioneers to Kentucky. In 1780 the Shawnee in affiliation with other northern tribes and their British military advisors, invaded Kentucky and attacked the Ruddles and Martins Stations, which were fortified private villages where the Duncans, Laughlins, Sharps, Berrys and others lived. While some of the prisoners were killed immediately after the surrender, the bulk of them, including the Berrys, were taken northward into British territory, where they remained prisoners for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Upon release in late 1782, most of the families, including Francis, Sarah and the two children they had at the time, one, of whom, had been born in Canada, returned to southwestern Virginia. While Francis Berry seemed to have experienced a run of bad luck up to this point, it did not end there. Francis along with several other of the former prisoners, tried to reclaim their lost property, which included land, possessions, and, in some cases, slaves. At least in the case of Francis Berry, Solomon Litton and John Duncan, their efforts proved futile, and they found that they had lost everything with no hope of compensation, which must have been immensely frustrating. Francis and Sarah settled down, at least for about 15 years, until 1798. After that time, no trace of Francis Berry can be found in the records, so the date and place of his death are not known. Sarah, on the other hand, moved to Whitley County, Kentucky, just west of the Cumberland gap by 1825, and passed away sometime between 1830 and the spring of 1834.969

 

Timeline of Francis Berry and Sarah Sharp

 

18 Jan. 1754576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Sarah (Sally) Sharp in Pennsylvania
1755576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Francis Berry in Augusta County, Virginia
1774885 Lord Dunmore’s Little War of 1774, His Captains and their Men Who Opened up Kentucky & the West to American Settlement, by Warren Skidmore with Donna Kaminsky
Fincastle County Militia
This company participated in the Battle of Point Pleasant
Captain: Evan Shelby (from present day Scott County)
He was paid 46 2sh for 123 days at 6d per diem.
Lt: Isaac Shelby
Sgts: Robert Trimble, Valentine Sevier, William Moffet, John Douglas, James Robinson, John Findley
Fifer: John Williams
Privates:
James McAnair; James Shelby; John Sayers; Daniel Mongle; Frederick Mongle, George Brooks; Isaac Newland; Abraham Newland; William Tucker; John Fain; Samuel Vance, Samuel Samples; Arthur Blackburn; Robert Herrall [Handley]; William Casey; Conrad Ki [Nave]; John Findley; Henry Spaw [Shaw, Span]; John Carmac [Cormick, or Jon McCorm wounded]; Andrew Terrence; George Riddle; Emmanuel Shoat; Groves Morris; Abraham Bogard, Peter Terney; Samuel Hensley [Handley]; George Armstrong; Mark Williams [killed]; Ric Burk; John Riley; Elijah Robinson; Reese Price (wounded); Richard Holloway; Jarret Willi; Julius Robison; Benjamin Gray [Grayum, Graham]; Andrew Goff; John Stuart (wounded); Benja Lucas; Francis Berry; Samuel Fain
1775885 Lord Dunmore’s Little War of 1774, His Captains and their Men Who Opened up Kentucky & the West to American Settlement, by Warren Skidmore with Donna Kaminsky
Fincastle County Public Service Claim
Francis Berry
By 16 days driving cattle
1775576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp

Marriage of Francis Berry and Sarah Sharp

20 June 177630,576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of John Wesley Berry in Fincastle County, Virginia
10 Mar. 177830,576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Isabelle Berry in Washington County, Virginia
Mar. 1779577 Land Acquisitions in the Region of What Would Become Bourbon County, Virginia (Kentucky) 1779-1780
Francis Berry and family moved from Washington County, Virginia to Coopers Run in Kentucky County, Virginia
15 Jan. 1780577,968 Land Acquisitions in the Region of What Would Become Bourbon County, Virginia (Kentucky) 1779-1780
Kentucky District, Virginia
At a Court Cont'd & held at Bryants Station on Elkhorn Creek for adjusting Titles to unpatented Lands by the Commissioners of Kentucky District this 15th day of Jan'y 1780 Present Wm Fleming Stephen Trigg & Edmund Lyne-Gent'n
Cert issd for 400 fees &c pd D. D. to Jas Dunkin, Francis Berry by John Haggen this day claimed a preemption of 400 Acres of Land at the State price in the district of Kentucky lying on the Middle fork of Cuppers (Coopers) run about 1 Miles up the s'd Fork by making an Actual settlem't in March 1779 Satisfactory proof being made to the Court they are of Opinion that the s'd Berry has a right to a preempt. of 400 Acres of Land to include the above location & that a cert. issue accordingly.
15 Jan. 1780968 Early Certificates of Settlement and Preemption Warrants in Kentucky County, Virginia
Preemption Warrant Number 2438
Kentucky County
We do hereby certify that Francis Berry is entitled to the preemption of four hundred acres of land at the state price in the district of Kentucky on account of making an actual settlement on March 1779 lying on the Middle forks of Coopers Run about one mile up the said fork
Given under our hands at Bryants Station on Elkhorn Creek this 15th day of January 1780
Willm Fleming
Stephen Trigg
Edmund Lyne
John Williams junr clk
No. 2438
Francis Berry Preemption
The warrant for this certificate to be entered with the County Surveyor on or before the 26th of June 1780.
Francis Berry
Money
Auditor’s Office
May 8 1783
Rec. the Treasureres Note for one hundred and sixty pounds for the within preemption
Sharp
15 Jan. 1780577 Land Acquisitions in the Region of What Would Become Bourbon County, Virginia (Kentucky) 1779-1780
Solomon Litton--(p. 140) January 15, 1780: (Cert issd for 400 fees &c pd D. D.) Solomon Letten this day claimed a preemption of 400 Acres of land at the State price in the district of Kentucky lying on the Middle fork of Coopers run above F. Berrys claim to lands by making an Actual settlem't in the Month of March 1779 Satisfactory proof being made to the Court they are of Opinion that the s'd Letten has a right to a preemption of 400 Acres of land to include the above location & that a Cert issue Accordingly.
15 Jan. 1780968 Early Certificates of Settlement and Preemption Warrants in Kentucky County, Virginia
Kentucky County
We do certify that Solomon Litten is entitled to the Pr eemption of four hundred acres of land at the state price in the district of Kentucky on account of making an actual settlement in the month of March 1779 lying on the Middle fork of Coopers Run above Francis Berry’s claim
Given under our hands at Bryants Station on Elkhorn Creek this 15th day of January 1780
Willm Fleming
Stephen Trigg
Edmund Lyne
John Williams junr clk
13 Mar. 1780560,578 George Rogers Clark and His Men: Military Records 1778-1784
Militia at Martin’s Station March 13 to June 26, 1780
“A payroll of Capt. Charles Gatliffs Company of militia Martin’s Station, Kentucky County for the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty (1780)”
Charles Gatliff, Capt, John Machan, Lieut, Solomon Litton, Ens
Samuel Vanhook, Sr. Sgt, George Loveless, Sgt
Privates:
Thomas Machan, William Machan, William McGuire, Thomas Berry, Frances Berry, Patrick Machan, William Leforce, Thomas Foster [discharged June 20], William Foster, Iky Rice [discharged June 12], John Dunkin, Samuel Vanhook, Jr, John Loveless, Peter Fore [discharged June 1], Hesekiah Fore, John Fore, William Hurt, David White, William Whitesides, John Hargis, Thomas McGuire, Samuel Porter, Joel Hill, Ransom Tinsley, Joseph Hilsmon [discharged June 20]
(signed) John Mahan Leiut.
22 June 17801010 Abstract to the George Rogers Clark Papers, Microfilm # 5
James Trabue certified several soldiers and had provided their own rations of corn, salt while on service at Martins Station.
Names: Joel Hilsman, Ransom Finsley, David Tanner, Samuel Porter, Francis Berry, Thomas Berry, John Lovely, John Duncan, William McGuire, Thomas McGuire, Patrick Mahan, Thomas Mahan, William Mahan, Jol Morrison, and William Laforce.
24 June 1780579 List of Captives, Martins Station, Bourbon County, Virginia
Francis Berry, Sarah "Sally" Berry, Isabelle Berry, Lewis Berry, Thomas Berry, James Breckenridge, Elizabeth (Alexander) Dunkin, John Dunkin, Eleanor Nellie" (Sharp) Dunkin, Elizabeth Duncan, John Duncan, Jr., Margaret "Peggy" Duncan, Joseph Duncan, Mary "Polly" Duncan, Sarah Duncan, Anne Duncan, Faithful Duncan, Eleanor Duncan, Hezekiah Fore, Elizabeth Fore, Mary Fore, Nary Fore, Dosha Fore, Judith Fore, Mary "Polly" Fore, Martha Fore, Keziah Fore, John Fore, Judith Fore, Silas Foree, Christiana (McGuire) Gatliff, John Speed Gatliff, James Gatliff, Cornelius Gatliff, Reece Gatliff, "Sis" Gatliff, John Hargis, William Hurt, Solomon Little, Martha Litton, John Litton, Thomas Litton, Burton Litton, Solomon Litton, Jr., Elias Litton, Agnes (Moseby) LaForce, William LaForce, Anne LaForce, Judith LaForce, ? LaForce, John Loveless, Rachel Loveless, George Loveless, Isabel Loveless, Sarah Loveless, John Loveless, Nathan Loveless, ? Loveless, William MaGuire, Mary (Shirley) MaGuire, Michael MaGuire, Thomas MaGuire, Thomas MaGuire, Patrick Mahan, Isabella Mahan, Jane Mahan, Agnes (LaForce) Mahan, Rene LaForce Mahan, Elizabeth Mahan, Thomas Mahan, Isabella Mahan, William Mahan, Elizabeth Mahan, James Morrow, Sr., Margaret (Mahan) Morrow, James Morrow, Jr., Samuel Porter, Jr., Elizabeth (Dunkin) Porter, Margaret Porter, Hugh Porter, Samuel Porter, Jr., Ransom Tinsley, Samuel Van Hook, David White, Sr., Susannah White, ? White, William Whiteside
1 Mar. 1781580 The Life and Times of Solomon Caleb Litton Sr
Urgent Dispatch Shannee Town near ye Fort Detroit In Providence ye Canada 1st ye March 1781
To my Kinsmen at ye Fort Elk Garden in ye Washington county Virginia. John Litton, Father & James McLaughlin, Brother in Law. xplaining my long absence of communicay due to being taken from the tilling of my field, by several breeds of savages on ye 26 June 1780 as a captive of the Shawnee's commanded by Brit. Gen. Harry Bird, under His Majesty out of ye Canada. My family all were marched foot, 300 miles to ye Fort Detroit where I was sold to a savage called Big Fish as a slave, is my reason. I have been seperated from my family not knowing hence they were being held. I am fearful of their demise? The urgency of this dispatch, if delivered, o have you take power of attorney to save and secure my property together with that of Captain John Duncan, also a prisoner of the enemy in ye Canada, from sezure by ye Commonwealth of Virginia for taxes. I had in ye spring marked out 400 acres joining Fran Berry on ye Cooper's Creek near ye Fort Martin. I am now fearful of sustaining it due to my absence. Present this dispatch to ye Attorney at Law at Abington or Blaksfort and take what ever steps needed to secure our Estates there. Ruddles and Martins forts were cannoned balled and after surrender most inhabitants were massacred. Brains of infants on trees, some crushed under cart wheels. Ye older inhabited were gutted and drawn to the pleasure of ye spectators. Ye lassies were raped and scalped by ye savages. Fort burned and stock and fowl slautered. A horrible massacre not yet equaled in this country. On ye 27th June we marched down ye Licking 70 miles to ye big Miami (down ye Ohio) thence, up ye Miami to ye head of, thence over land 18 miles to ye Glaise [Auglaize] thence down it ye Lake Erie, put aboard ye boat Goge, floated across to ye River Detroit thence put aground at ye Fort Detroit. At which place I was taken to ye Shawnee Town, twenty miles distant. Of the 300 marchers taken 90 were count of reaching Fort Detroit. Me thinks Gen. Geo. Clark will be pursuit and liberate us?
Please respond by same messenger to Major DePayster at ye Fort Detroit, a friend of the captives.
Your Kinsman & Patriot
Lt. Solomon Litton
Letter written by Solomon Litton, who was related to Sarah (Sharp) Berry by marriage and one of the Martin’s Station captives. The letter was presented at court in Washington Co, VA in order to secure protection for his holdings in Virginia.
20 Mar 178156 Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769 - 1800
At a Court continued and held for Washington County
On motion of James Laughlin & John Litton by the consent and Order of the Court they are appointed Guardians of the Estate of John Dunkin and Solomon Litten prisoners with the Enemy in Canady and to use all legal methods for saving and securing the said Estate whereupon they together with Eilliam Davison and John Vance entered into and acknowledged their bond in the sum of Eight Thousand pounds for the faithful performance of Same.
2 Nov. 1781576,146 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Lewis Berry in Montreal, Canada
4 Oct. 1782146,579,581 Rebel Prisoners at Quebec 1778-1783: Being a List of American Prisoners Held by the British during the Revolutionary War
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Return of Prisoners sent from Niagra & Arrived at Montreal
this 4 Oct 1782
Name When and Where Taken
Isaac Riddel 24 June 1780 Virginia
Elvrah Riddell
John Riddell
Elizabeth Riddell
George Riddell 24 June 1780 Virginia
Dosia Riddell
Sarah Riddell
Henry Duitt
Mary Duitt
Saml Porter
Eliz Porter
Margt Porter
Hugh Porter
Saml Porter
Frans Berry
Sarah Berry

Abigail Berry
Lewis Berry
Jno Dougherty
Eliz Dougherty
Jesse Dougherty
Critaine Gatliff 24 June 1780 Virginia
Corns Gatliff
James Gatliff
Thomas Berry 24 June 1780 Kentuck
25 Oct. 17821104 The British Invasion of Kentucky, With An Account of The Capture of Ruddell and Martin’s Stations, June, 1780 by J. Winston Coleman, Jr Litt.D, Winburn Press, Lexington KY, 1951
“Governor Benjamin Harrison relayed these facts to General George Washington, calling attention to an existing cartel for the exchange & relief of prisoners taken in the Southern department, by which these poor people [the Kentuckians] have a just cause to their release. However, nothing came of the matter until a preliminary treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States was signed at Paris, France, on November 30th, 1782. Under this treaty, the prisoners taken at Ruddell and Martin's stations were finally released. On December 7th, 1782, Governor Harrison wrote that the Virginia Assembly had made an appropriation for the relief of 200 men, women & children, taken prisoners from Kentucky, who were now on their way home.”
~1783576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Mary Berry
8 May1783968 Early Certificates of Settlement and Preemption Warrants in Kentucky County, Virginia
Francis Berry
Money
Auditor’s Office
May 8 1783
Rec. the Treasureres Note for one hundred and sixty pounds for the within preemption
Sharp
12 Nov. 1783560 George Rogers Clark and His Men: Military Records 1778-1784
Payroll of Lieutenant John Mahan
A pay roll for ten prisoners that was taken at Martin’s Station in the year 1780 June 26 and was exchanged and sended on East bay the 6th day of November 1782 - John Mchan Lieu., Thomas Machen, William Mchan, William McGuire, Frances Berrey, Thos. Berrey, William Leforce, John Dunkin, John Dunkin Jr, Samuel Porter -----------(signature) Charles Gatliff Capt
John Mchan Lieut, 29 month 11 days at 6/s 240:19:8
Thomas Mchan do 58:14:8
William Mchan do 58:14:8
Francis Berry do 58:14:8
Thos. Berry do 58:14:8
William Laforce do 58:14:8
Jno Dunkin do 58:14:8
Jno Dunkin, Jr. do 58:14:8
Council Chamber Nov. 12, 1783
The auditors will settle the payroll hereto annexed agreeable to law.
Amt. Pay roll 769.11.8
(signature) Benj. Harrison
We do certify that Capt. Charles Gatliff at the time the {illegible} was setting to settle the {illegible} for the Kentucky District was gone to Meat his wife and children that was taken in Martin’s Station on the 26th June 1780 and for that Reason Could not attend the Commissioners Appointed for that purpose Given under my hand this 7th day of August 1783
(signature) Jn Bowman
(signature) John Edwards
30 Jan. 1785576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Benjamin Berry in Kentucky
27 Oct. 1786576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Elizabeth Berry in Virginia or Sullivan County, Tennessee
17871054 North Carolina Land Grants in Tennessee 1778 - 1791, transcribed by Virginia L. “Ginny” Keefer
File No. 279, Francis Berry (Warrant No. 443)
Years: 1780, 1787
Index Terms Geographical Names
Sinking Creek (Tenn.)
Personal Names
Sharp, John
Berry, Francis
Note: Warrant originally issued to John Sharp.
Land Grant Information
Acres: 10
Grant No: 418
Issued: Aug. 9, 1787
Surveyed:
Warrant No: Entry No: 443
Entered: Apr. 22, 1780
Book No: 61 Page No: 437
Location: On both sides of Sinking Creek
9 Aug. 17871055 Sullivan County North Carolina Land Grants
Sullivan County 1787
Warrant Number/Name
1383/Francis Berry
9 Aug. 1787582 Sullivan County, Tennessee Deed Book 2, page 242
Land Grant No. 418, 9 Aug 1787

State of North Carolina No. 410
To all to whom these presents shall come greeting Know ye that we for and in consideration of the sum of fifty shillings for every hundred Acres hereby granted paid into our treasury by Francis Berry Have given and granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the said Francis Berry a tract of land containing ten acres lying and being in our County of Sullivan on both sides of Sinking Creek between the Great Knobs Beginning at an Elm and sycamore by the Creek at the foot of a knob and Runing south forty seven west eleven poles to a hickory and buckeye at the foot of the Knob north fifty six west forty seven poles along said kob to an ash and hickory North thirty six west ninety five poles to an ash and hollow at the foot of sd knob north Eighty one East eighty poles to a white walnut at the foot of the opposite knob thence along said kob south forty five and a half East one hundred and thirty six poles to the beginning as by the plat hereunto annexed Doth appear together with all woods waters mines minerals hereditaments and appurtenances to the said belonging or appertaining to hold to the said Francis Berry his heirs and assigns for ever yielding and paying to us such sums of money yearly or otherwise as our general assembly form time to time may Direct provided always that the said Francis Berry shall cause this grant to be Registered in the Registers office of our said County of Sullivan within twelve months from the Date hereof otherwise the same shall be void and of none effect in testimony we have caused these our letters to be made pattent and our Great Seal to be hereunto affixed Witness Richard Caswell Esquire our governor Captain General and Commander in Chief at Kingston the ninth Day of august in the XII[?] year of our independence and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ---
By his Excellency Comd.
J. Glasgow Secretary
Rd Caswell
Nov 26th 1787 Regt Exd.

22 Aug. 1787997 A Report of the Causes Determined by the late Supreme Court for the District of Kentucky and by the Court of Appeals, in which Titles to Land were in Dispute, by James Hughes
Francis Berry enters 400 acres of land on a pre-emption warrant, No. 2,438, on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, about one mile up the said fork, including his improvement in the center of his survey, to run at the cardinal points.
6 April 1788547,583 Sarah Sharp (Berry) Dryden Obituary
Birth of Sarah (Sally) Sharp Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
9 July 1788582

Sullivan County, Tennessee Deed Book 2, page 275
This Indenture made this Eleventh Day of march in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty between Alexander Laughlin of the one part and Francis Berry of the other part both of the County of Sullivan and state of north Carolina witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of sixty pounds current money of said state to him the said Alexander Laughlin well and truly in hand had at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the Receipt whereof the said Alexander Laughlin doth hereby acknowledge have bargained and sold in fee simple and confirmed unto the said Francis Berry his heirs Extr Admr and assigns forever one certain tract or parcell of land containing one hundred and forty eight acres more or less and lying in sd County of Sullivan on both sides of Sinking Creek a branch of holston river including the plantation whereon sd Berry now lives and bounded as follows Viz.

Beginning at a white oak on a ridge Wm. Kings corner and a [?????] S. 27. E. 18, poles to a white oak S. 34. E. 64. poles to a red oak and white oak Willoughbys Corner and with his line N. 58. E. 154 poles Crossing the Creek to a white oak and hicory sapling S. 82. E. 32 poles to two white oaks N. 19. E. 54 poles to two white oaks N. 67. W. 176 poles leaving said Willoughbys line and Crossing the Creek to a chesnut and white oak by a path on the said mentioned Ridge thence a straight line along sd Ridge to the beginning together appurtenances thereunto belonging with all Rents and Reversions of Rents and all other with all houses fences ways waters water courses orchards & all other the estate Right & title that may now or for ever after appertain to the same f[ore]ver from all hindrance of any person whatever Lawfully claiming the same To have and to hold all and singular the aforesaid lands & Premises with every part & parcell thereof from all incumbrances of mortgage Dower & Revertions by or from me the sd Alexander Laughlin or any other person or persons whatever & to be to the only use of him the sd Francis Berry his heirs Extr Admr and assigns for ever & lastly I the said Alex Laughlin do hereby covenant & agree with the said Fra. Berry his heirs Extr Admr & assigns that I have full & the only right title and lawfull authority to Sell and Convey the aforesaid land and premises and will at any time at the Reasonable Request and proper charge of him the sd Francis Berry make any other conveyance or assurance that be by law required to pass the fee simple estate of the aforesaid land and premises from me to the said Allex Laughlin to him the said Francis Berry his heirs Extr Admr and assigns forever In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal the day and year above written.
Signed Sealed and Delivered
Alex Laughlin (seal)
in the presents of
July 9th Regd 1788

24 Sept. 1789576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Marie Ann Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
7 June 1790576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Ann Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
14 Oct. 1791576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Francis Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
11 Jan. 1794582 Sullivan County, Tennessee Deed Book 1, page 655
Deed of Warranty
Andrew Willoughby & Elizabeth, his wife, of Washington Co, VA
To: Henery Jones of Sullivan Co, Western Territory South of the Ohio 45 lawful money of VA for 70 acres in Sullivan Co., Beg. at the knobs ... crossing Sinking Creek ... “in his actual possession now being” ....
Andrew Willoughby (seal)
Elizabeth Willoughby (seal)
Wit: Fras. Berry, Sarah Berry
Prvb: By Francis Berry, Mar Sessions 1794
Test: Mattw. Rhea, CSC
Reg: 16 Apr 1794
23 Jan. 1794576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Dale LaFayette Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
7 Oct. 1794576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Lucinda Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
26 Mar. 1798576 Family Record of Francis Berry and wife Sarah Sharp
Birth of Louise Berry in Sullivan County, Tennessee
Mar. 1798997 A Report of the Causes Determined by the late Supreme Court for the District of Kentucky and by the Court of Appeals, in which Titles to Land were in Dispute
At the March term of the district court, held in Paris in the year 1798, the following decree was pronounced:
By The Court.-In this cause the court are of opinion, that the testimony exhibited by the complainant sufficiently establishes the spot described by him in his certificate of pre-emption.
It is therefore decreed, that his survey be made in the following manner: His pre-emption of four hundred acres shall be surveyed in a square with lines to the cardinal points, and including the improvement established by the complainant in the center; and as the location with the surveyor is in conformity to this opinion, it is further decreed that the defendant convey to the complainant the land included within such survey and which may be within the survey of the defendant. Order of survey, etc.
6 April 1799123 Washington County, Virginia Will Book 2, page 235
Know all men by these presents, That I, Francis Berry senior being in my right sences do make my last Will and Testament and do therefore appoint James Crow and James Trimble for my executors therefore if Samuel Dunlap does not pay for the land which was formerly my property purchased from me by said Samuel Dunlap before mentioned before my decease I do therefore authorize and impower said James Crow and James Trimble before mentioned being my executors, to receive ninty seven pounds lawful money of the currency of the State of Virginia from the said Samuel Dunlap above mentioned due to me by the said Samuel Dunlap for the ??? before mentioned sold by me to said Samuel Dunlap and when payment is made, the said James Crow and James Trimble is to give a right of said land to the above mentioned Samuel Dunlap an d likewise to deliver up the bonds of said money, Above mentioned at the time of payment, And when I live and die I do therefore allow them to be reasonably and fully satisfied for the trouble and care they took of me during the term of time I abode with them. As for my son Francis I rest assured and am satisfied in my mind that he has received plenty both for the trouble he was at with me and his legacy likewise and I do then think proper to leave him in this my last Will and Testament one dollar and the remainder of my children namely Elizabeth Gibson and Thomas Berry to each one twenty shillings and my other three daughters namely Mary Johnston Rachel Trimble and Easter White the monies then remaining to be fairly and equally divided among them and do therefore acknowledge and certify this said Will and testament to be my true and genuine last Will and Testament and all other former Wills before made or caused to be made by me Francis Berry to be void, and this only to be my legal right and lawful last Will and testament as given under my hand and seal In the presence of John Ryburn John Trimble this sixth day of August one thousand and seven hundred and ninety nine 1799 by Francis Berry
Witness present
John Ryburn
John Trimble
James Trimble, Jr.
October 1799997 A Report of the Causes Determined by the late Supreme Court for the District of Kentucky and by the Court of Appeals, in which Titles to Land were in Dispute
October Term, 1799
McClanahan v. Berry.
Thomas Mcclanahan v. Francis Berry.
In Chancery.
This was an appeal from a decree of the Paris district court.
The suit had been brought in the supreme court for the district of Kentucky, and removed on the erection of the district into the State of Kentucky, to the court of appeals for trial, but not having been tried when the original jurisdiction of the court of appeals was taken away, it was again removed to the said district court.
Francis Berry, on the 15th day of January, in the year 1780, obtained from the commissioners the following certificate for a pre-emption of 400 acres of land, to-wit:

" Francis Berry, by John Haggin, this day claimed a pre-emption of 400 acres of land at the state price, in the district of Kentucky, lying on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, about one mile up the said fork, by making an actual settlement in March, 1779. Satisfactory proof being made to the court, they are of opinion that the said Francis Berry has a right to a pre-emption of 400 acres of land to include the above location, and that a certificate issue accordingly."

But before he could obtain a pre-emption warrant, he was taken prisoner by the British and Indians at Martin's station, on the 26th day of June, in the year 1780, and detained in captivity until some time in the year 1784.
His agent, on the 22d day of August, in the year 1787, entered the said complainant's pre-emption warrant with the county surveyor, in the following words, to-wit:

"Francis Berry enters 400 acres of land on a pre-emption warrant, No. 2,438, on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, about one mile up the said fork, including his improvement in the center of his survey, to run at the cardinal points."

Daniel Wilcoxson, on the 10th day of January, in the year 1780, obtained from the commissioners the following certificate, to-wit:

" Daniel Wilcoxson this day claimed a settlement and pre-emption to a tract of land in the district of Kentucky, lying about eight or nine miles from Bryan's station, on the dividing ridge between the big fork of Elkhorn and Cooper's run, a branch of Licking creek, including a sinking spring, by settling in the country in the year 1777, and residing ever since. Satisfactory proof being made to the court, they are of opinion that the said Wilcox- son has a right to a settlement of 400 acres of land, to include the above location, and the pre-emption of 1,000 acres adjoining, and that a certificate issue accordingly."

And assigned the same to Thomas McClanahan, who on the 3d day of February, 1780, entered the certificate with the county surveyor in the following words, to-wit:

''Thomas McClanahan, assignee of Daniel Wilcoxson, enters 400 acres in Kentucky, by virtue of a certificate, lying about eight or nine miles from Bryan's station, on the dividing ridge between the big fork of Elkhorn and Cooper's run, including a sinking spring."

And having obtained a pre-emption warrant, entered the same with the county surveyor on the 26th day of April, in the year 1780, in the following words, to-wit:

"Thomas McClanahan, assignee of Daniel Wilcoxson, enters 1,000 acres, by virtue of a pre-emption warrant, joining his settlement on the dividing ridge between Elkhorn and Licking, about seven miles from Bryan's station."

The said Thomas McClanahan, also, on the 20th day of December, in the year 1782, made the following entry on treasury warrant, with the county surveyor, to-wit:

"Thomas McClanahan enters 2,230 acres of land on two treasury warrants. Nos. 7,725 and 7,731, adjoining his settlement and preemption as assignee of Daniel Wilcoxson, on the dividing ridge between Elkhorn and Licking, on the west side of said settlement and pre-emption, beginning in his military line, and running with the said military line, also with the settlement and pre-emption line north or northward as far as will, at right angles to the west, give the quantity required."

The appellee, who was complainant in the inferior court, alleged in his bill that he made an actual settlement on the land he claims in March, 1779, and was about to survey within the time prescribed by law, but was forbid by the said Thomas McClanahan, who obtained a legal title and prayed for a conveyance, etc.
The said McClanahan, in his answer, denied that the said Berry had any improvement on the land he then claimed, and alleged that the land for which the certificate was granted to him was held by Thomas Whitledge, by virtue of a certificate for a settlement and pre-emption granted to him by the commissioners.
He stated that, believing John Kellar's pre-emption of 1,000 acres to be a better claim than his, he purchased of John Craig and Robert Johnston, assignees of the said Kellar, seven hundred acres thereof, for which the has obtained a conveyance.
The following connected plat, No. 36, was returned in this cause, of which the following is an explanation:
abed, the complainant's pre-emption of 400 acres, as directed to be laid down by the district court. The 'Ws, McClanahan's settlement and pre-emption as assignee of Wilcoxson. W W M M, Thomas McClanahan's 300 acres on military warrant. The Ms, Thomas McClanahan's 2,230 acres on treasury warrant. The square figure with dotted lines, Thomas Whitledge's settlement. The parallelogram with dotted lines, Kellar's pre-emption. 1, John Verdiman's dwelling house. 2, a spring on the east side of the creek. 3, a spring on the edge of the creek, said by Thomas McClanahan to be Solomon Litton's spring. 4, a sugar tree claimed by Francis Berry as the place where he improved. 5, Strother's spring, shown by Francis Berry as the place where Solomon Litton improved. 6, Strother's dwelling house. 7, a sink-hole spring. 8, McGee's spring. 9, Grotz'spring. 10 to 11, the East fork of Cooper's run. 12, the head of the Middle fork of Cooper's run. 13, the head of the North or West fork of Cooper's run.
The following is a summary of the testimony:
John Haggin deposed, that he had been acquainted with Cooper's run from the year 1775 to that time.
That he had always heard the most noted branches of that run called by the names of the South fork, the Middle fork, and the West fork.
That what was known by the name of the Middle fork was that on which Strother lives.
That that branch obtained the name of the Middle fork until its junction with the West fork, and below the junction it was known by the name of Cooper's run.
That in the spring 1779, Francis Berry, being then at Riddle's station, requested him to inform him where he could get vacant land; and he then informed him of the Middle fork of Cooper's run, as above described, and went with him and others to that fork, where he understood he made an improvement.
That, at the request of the complainant, he laid in his claim before the commissioners, and the Middle fork, called for in their certificate, was intended by him, by that location, to describe that branch of Cooper's run on which Strother lives, above the mouth of the West fork.
That when he put in the complainant's claim before the commissioners he was informed of Thomas Whitledge's claim, and supposed it lay on what he called Cooper's run, below the mouth of the West fork, and that he located the complainant's claim upon the Middle fork, above the mouth of the West fork, that their claims might not interfere.
That he hath never, from 1775 to this time, heard the branches of Cooper's run called by any other names than those mentioned above, and thinks it highly probable that he was instrumental in giving them these names, as he was among the first adventurers in that part of the country.
That he believes that Solomon Litton was in company with the complainant at the time he understood the complainant made his improvement on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, as above stated.
Solomon Litton deposed, that some time about the month of May, in the year 1779, he, together with the complainant, John Haggit, Richard Davis, George Lovelass, and several others, went from Riddle's station with the intention of making improvements to secure land.
That they struck a branch which John Haggin informed them was the Middle fork of Cooper's run, and that, after having having proceeded about half a mile up the said branch, the complainant, on the recommendation of the said Haggin, who informed him that if he improved there he would probably keep clear of other claims, got down and made an improvement.
That the said improvement consisted of a brush heap, or heaps, and the marking the two first letters of the complainant's name.
That they saw no spring at or near it, but expected to get water within the bounds of the land, as it was near the branch. That the company then proceeded up the branch, and he made an improvement for himself about half a mile up, on the left hand side, near where Thomas Strother now lives. That he was present when the claim was granted by the commissioners, and that it was granted for this improvement, and that it was the only one the complainant claimed. That the complainant, in the winter 1779, removed to Martin's station in order to make corn near the land.
Richard Davis deposed, that some time in the year 1779, he, in company with Francis Berry, Solomon Litton, John Haggin, Benjamin Cooper, and some others whose names he does not recollect, went from Riddle's station to improve lands. That the first improvement they made was for him, at a spring now called McGee's spring, on a branch of Cooper's run.
That they went from this spring through a part of what they understood to be Whitledge's claim, to a branch which is also a branch of Cooper's run. That when they came to this branch Haggin told Berry this was the land he designed for him, and told him to improve there.
That he asked why they would improve there when there was no spring at the place. Haggin told them not to regard a spring, they would find one afterward. Upon this Berry got down and blazed a white ash or hickory, but which of them he can not be certain, and cut the two first letters of his name and blacked them with powder, and cut down and threw together a few brushes.
That while Berry was marking this tree he sat down at the foot of a small sugar tree and chopped a hole with big tomahawk in the root of it, and that at the place where Berry made his improvement the branch made a bend like a horse shoe. That he hath been in the neighborhood of this land since that time, but has never been at the improvement from the time Berry made it until last week; the tree on which Berry made the improvement was cut down, but the stump remained, but was in a very decayed state. But the sugar tree which this deponent chopped the root of, was still standing, and the mark of the tomahawk at the bottom of it was still perceivable, though it had grown up very much. That they then crossed the branch at Berry's improvement, and went up it, leaving the branch to the right hand, until they came to a spring, which he considered as the head of the branch.
That when they got to this spring Litton blazed a large ash tree, and put the two first letters of his name on the blaze with powder, and he is not certain whether he made any other cutting there or not. That the improvements which were made on that day were made with an intention and for the purpose of giving them a claim to land in consequence of such improvements. That the spring at which Litton made his improvement is in a field, and within about forty yards of Strother's house. That they supposed at the time that Litton made his improvement it was about half a mile from Berry's, but he now thinks it is hardly as far.
He is well convinced that the places seen by him last week, and described by him above, are the places on which Berry and Litton made their improvements at the time above mentioned; that he can not be certain as to the time of year the improvements were made, but thinks it was before Bowman went against the Shawnee towns. That he understood that Berry and others attempted to build a station at McGee's spring, and that he was not at the sitting of the commissioners.
Jezereel Ellis deposed, that he had been well acquainted with the Middle fork of Cooper's run, as also the place now claimed by Francis Berry, ever since the year 1784, which was before any settlement had been made up the said run.
That he was well acquainted with the place now claimed by Francis Berry, and never saw any sign of improvement at the said place. That in the summer 1785 he made that branch his road and hunting ground, and thinks that few trees passed his notice near the branch and place now claimed by Francis Berry, and that he was very particular in observing for landmarks as he went up and down said run. That he had heard of Francis Berry's claim, and where it was said to have been proved by Richard Davis; he went on the ground, and near about one hundred yards above Robert Johnston's field or fence, and there carefully searched for the signs of improvement, as also the mark of a tomahawk in the root of a sugar tree, but could not find either. That he saw a sugar camp at the place, and sundry sugar trees chopped in the body as usual, but not one in the root, and they seemed to have been chopped with a large axe, and all at one time. That this place is on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, and about one hundred and fifty poles below the defendant Strother's house, and about two and a half miles, or three-quarters, above the mouth of the Middle fork, where it mouths with the East branch of Cooper's run.
Benjamin Cooper deposed, that some time in May, 1779, he, in company with Solomon Litton, Francis Berry, Richard Davis, John Haggin, and others, started from Riddle's station with a design of exploring the country and making improvements, and went to Cooper's run, and struck the same about the fork. That from thence they went up the left hand fork a small distance, and then the company parted, and that Solomon Litton, Francis Berry, himself, and some others, went up between two forks of Cooper's run to the dividing ridge between said run and Elkhorn, and thence crossed said ridge to Elkhorn. That he did not see Francis Berry make any improvement on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, nor Richard Davis at the Rocky spring, now called William McGee's. That neither Richard Davis or John Haggin were with them as they went up between the forks of Cooper's run.
Samuel Tharp deposed, that he had been well acquainted with the branch and place where Richard Davis, by his deposition, swore that Francis Berry blazed an ash tree or white hickory, and cut the two first letters of his name and blacked them with powder, in the year 1779. That he never saw any blaze on any tree at or near the said place, and the sugar tree sworn to by Richard Davis, in his opinion, had been chopped long since the year 1779, and that it was not in the root, as Richard Davis had sworn, and it appeared to have been chopped by a large axe, and not a tomahawk. Therefore, it was his opinion that Richard Davis' testimony could not be the truth.
Peter Moore deposed, that in the year 1785, and ever since, he had been well acquainted with the branch and place where Richard Davis, by his deposition, swore that Francis Berry blazed an ash tree or white hickory, and cut the two first letters of his name and blacked them with powder, and that the sugar tree alluded to by the said Richard Davis he never saw any chop in until since Richard Davis' testimony, which chop he believed to have been made long since the year 1779, as sworn to by the said Richard Davis, and that the chop is not in the root, as Richard Davis set forth, nor did it appear to have been done by a tomahawk, but by a large axe, as plainly appeared. Therefore, he was of opinion Richard Davis' testimony could not be true.
Samuel Elgin deposed, that he was present at Lexington some time in September, 1795, where there was a land dispute to be determined between John Brown and Thomas McClanahan, and heard John Haggin called on by the said Brown to prove his entry and survey, and that the said John Haggin then made oath that he, the said Haggin, made John Brown's entry and directed the survey thereof, and that he entered the same on the head of Cooper's run, and that he always conceived the same to have been the main fork until lately.
That the entry and survey claimed by John Brown is where he now lives on that fork, which John Haggin now calls the West fork of Cooper's run.
Thomas Jones deposed, that about the 29th day of August, 1795, James Logan, who then acted as agent for Francis Berry, produced an order of survey from the Kentucky court of appeals, directing him, as surveyor of Bourbon county, to survey and lay off the lands in controversy between said complainant and said defendant, as either party should choose, and said James Logan conducted this deponent to that fork of Cooper's run that runs down on the east side of Thomas Strother's plantation, and on the west side of Thomas McClanahan, Jr.'s, house, and about one hundred and sixty poles below the defendant Strother's house, and showed him a sugar tree on the west side of said run, and he understood by said Logan that that was Francis Berry's improvement.
That he saw no chops in the root of the said sugar tree, but he saw a notch that had been cut in the body about sixteen inches from the ground, but there was no mark of an axe or tomahawk in any part of the roots perceivable. Some conversation passed between McClanahan and said Logan at the time, about the chop in the sugar tree, which made him search the roots of the said sugar tree with great care. That he saw several trees notched about the same place, and stumps of trees that had been cut down which had the appearance of an old sugar camp.
That the chopping, both in the sugar tree showed to him by said Logan and some other sugar trees within five or six poles of said sugar tree, was done with the same axe and about the same time. That he saw no appearance of any old improvement near the sugar tree showed him by Logan except an old sugar camp.
Edward Bradley deposed, that he knew nothing of Francis Berry's claim further than by his entry; that he is well acquainted with the Middle fork of Cooper's run; and that, in the year 1775 he came to this country (Kentucky), and that he made an improvement on the East fork of Cooper's run; and that Thomas Whitledge made an improvement on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, about half a mile up the said fork; and that, in the year 1779, at the court of commissioners for the district of Kentucky, Thomas Whitledge's claim was laid in by Richard Henderson, and that he was then called on to prove the said claim ; and that he then did consult with John Martin to know of him what he called the branch where Whitledge's claim lay, and that he said it was the Middle branch of Cooper's run ; and then he proved the same to be on the Middle branch of Cooper's run.
That the mouth of the Middle fork must be where it mouths with the East branch, and that it is about three miles below Thomas Strother's. That the Middle fork hath another branch coming in about one mile and a half up the said branch, which he called the Upper fork, and some called it the West fork; and if Francis Berry makes his survey above the said fork it must be contrary to the distance that he calls for by his location.
Thomas McClanahan, Jr., deposed, that he had been well acquainted with the branch where Richard Davis swore that Francis Berry blazed an ash tree or white hickory, and set the two first letters of his name with powder.
That in the year 1787 he erected a sugar camp at the place, and that the white hickory stump, which he alludes to by his deposition, he had cut down for the use of the camp, and that there was not any blaze then perceivable, nor any letters, as he sets forth, and that the sugar tree standing by the white hickory stump, alluded to by Richard Davis' deposition is not cut in the root as he hath sworn, neither doth it appear to be chopped by a tomahawk, but by a large axe, and, he believes, some time since the year 1779, and that the testimony of Richard Davis could not be the truth.
The following entries and surveys were read in evidence, to-wit:

" September 19, 1780. John Brown, assignee, etc., enters 400 acres upon a treasury warrant, on the head of Cooper's run, on the dividing ridge between Elkhorn and Licking."

" December 2, 1785. Surveyed for John Brown, assignee, etc., 400 acres of land, situate on the head of Cooper's run, and on the dividing ridge between Elkhorn and Licking, including the head spring of Cooper's run in the center, by virtue of a treasury warrant, No. 1,384, and entered the 19th day of September, 1780. Beginning at A, an elm and sugar tree and blue ash trees, running from thence west, 253 poles, crossing two small branches of Cooper's run to B, a sugar tree, ash, and hickory; thence south, 253 poles, crossing two small branches to Gr, two hickory saplings and box elder on high ground; thence east, 253 poles, crossing three small branches to D, a hickory, ash, and walnut trees; thence north, 253 poles, to the beginning."

" September 19, 1780. John Haggin enters 500 acres upon a treasury warrant, on Cooper's run, a branch of Licking, to include a cave spring and his improvement, where he began to erect a station, and to join Benjamin Cooper's pre-emption on the north, and to run west from the spring for quantity."

"January 16, 1783. Surveyed for John Haggin, assignee of Samuel Bryan, 500 acres of land by virtue of a treasury warrant, No. 2,684, situate and being in the county of Fayette on Cooper's run a branch of Licking, bounded as follows, to-wit: Beginning at A, an ash, iron-wood and buckeye; running from thence east, 332 1/2 poles, to B, a buckeye and two box-elders; from thence south, 240 poles, to C, an ash, buckeye, and sugar-tree; from thence west, 333 poles, to D, a hickory and walnut tree; thence north, 240 poles, to the beginning."

At the March term of the district court, held in Paris in the year 1798, the following decree was pronounced:

By The Court.-In this cause the court are of opinion, that the testimony exhibited by the complainant sufficiently establishes the spot described by him in his certificate of pre-emption.

It is therefore decreed, that his survey be made in the following manner: His pre-emption of four hundred acres shall be surveyed in a square with lines to the cardinal points, and including the improvement established by the complainant in the center; and as te location with the surveyor is in conformity to this opinion, it is further decreed that the defendant convey to the complainant the land included within such survey and which may be within the survey of the defendant. Order of survey, etc.

And at the July term of the said court in the same year, the decree was made final, from which decree the defendant appealed.
And at this term the argument of this cause came on.
Brown for the appellant .- I will commence the examination by an inquiry into Berry's right, for if his claim is substantiated, I admit it to be better than McClanahan's.
This claim was granted for making an actual settlement in the month of March in the year 1779, and of course to support it, the testimony must prove the settlement to have been made at that time, and also the place where it was made.
I will first examine the calls of the certificate, for the entry with the surveyor not having been made until 1787, the certificate can neither be explained or aided by it.
I will be bold to say, that one mile above the mouth of the Middle fork of Cooper's run, is the only call in the certificate.
There is no call for the improvement, and it was settled in the case of Bryan and Owings v. Wallace, that a call to include the location was not a call for the improvement.
That this call is not supported will appear:
First. By a view of the plat.
Second. By the testimony.
The call for the distance will not answer, unless the mouth of the Middle fork is at the junction with the fork called by Haggin the West fork.
That is a middle fork which lies between two other forks, and from an inspection of the plat, it appears that the fork from the mouth of the East fork up, must be the Middle fork, for it lies between the East fork and Grotz' fork which is properly the West fork.
John Haggin is a solitary single individual to prove the other to be the mouth of the Middle fork, and the named he says, he was instrumental in giving the water courses.
And he contradicts himself by locating on what he calls the East fork, by the name of Cooper's run, by Brown's location; he is contradicted by Jones', Elgin's, and Bradley's depositions, and he is opposed by Whitledge's certificate.
From the mouth of the Middle fork to the improvement claimed by Berry is 800 or 900 poles, therefore, this only call is not established.
There is a great deal of testimony introduced to prove the improvement, but I conclude it can not be attended to, because it contradicts the certificate, and in this the case is like that of Myers v. Speed.
There are two witnesses to prove the making this improvement, and neither of them are deserving of much credit, Davis and Litton.
Davis recollects every thing, he went through Whitledge's claim, a village right then not located, heard a conversation with Haggin about the spring, cut a hole in the root of a sugar-tree, near a horse shoe bend, and then went up to Litton's improvement without crossing the branch.
In this he is inconsistent with Haggin, who knows nothing of the improving but only showed them the fork; with Cooper who went with Berry and Litton up between the forks, and says they made no improvement, and with the plat which shows he could not get up to Litton's improvement without crossing a branch, and the improvement was made in May when the waters were likely to be flush.
And as to the chop in the root, he is opposed by the testimony of Ellis and McClanahan, Moore, Tharp and Jones.
Litton's situation is such, Berry and he having swapped depositions, that little credit at all events would be given to him, but to his testimony there is the same objection as to Davis'.
Breckenridge for the appellant. - The allegata; and probate in this cause do not agree. I do not mean to impeach the certificate granted by the commissioners, but to inquire where was the actual settlement made in March, 1779, for which it was granted.
The allegata is, that in March, 1779, they made an actual settlement, and the proof is that in May, 1779, a tomahawk improvement was made at this place. It is not McClanahan that impeaches the certificate, but their own proof.
This kind of testimony cannot be received: in Consilla v. Briscoe it was determined, that proof could not be received to contradict an entry, but to support it. And in the case of Myers v. Speed, the court said, because the proof did not agree with the certificate, that they would not presume the improvement to be the one for which the certificate was granted.
So here the court can never presume, that the commissioners granted the certificate upon the proof now produced; if they have an actual settlement made in March, 1779, let them show it. Beside this, the improvement wanted that notoriety essential to the support of such claims.
Mukray and Hughes for the appellee. - There are three objections made to the decree of the district court. It ought not to have been given says the appellant.
First. Because the location is not established.
Second. Because the proof does not correspond with, but contradicts the certificate.
Third. Because the improvement was not notorious.
As to the first point John Haggin's testimony must be conclusive, he is a man of fair character wholly unimpeached, and supposes he gave the name to the water courses.
The proof produced to contradict him, only shows that he has in his own location and on another occasion called a branch of Cooper's run, Cooper's run.
There is nothing improper in this, for although the branches had particular names, they were all Cooper's run, and calling for them by the general description does not prove that they had not at that time a particular name.
But the plat itself shows, that to the mouth of the West fork is properly the main fork, and it is proved also by the evasion of the answers calling it above the mouth of the West fork, the upper fork.
Davis and Litton identify the spot, and there is nothing to impeach the credit of either. Davis swears he made a small chop in the root of a sugar tree, and to contradict it, McClanahan shows one of the chops in the body of a tree made at a sugar-camp; this is certainly not the chop of which Davis speaks, nor is it strange that the kind of mark made by him could not be seen by the other witnesses, they perhaps never examined the right tree, for it is not in proof they were ever there with Davis.
Litton is a competent witness, or he would have been excepted to as John Martin was, and his testimony strengthens that of Davis. Besides by Steele's plat which is the only one on which the water courses are laid down from actual survey, it appears there is a horse shoe bend in the creek at Berry's improvement.
As to the second objection: It is settled by the case of Consilla v. Briscoe.
There the commissioners having certified that the improvement was made in 1775, although the proof was of making it in 1776, the court said they must consider the improvement as having been proved to have been made in 1775.
So here the court will take the certificate as proof that our improvement was made in March. It is the spot only it is necessary to show, the making the improvement is proved by the certificate.
In the case of Myers v. Speed, the court would not presume what they must have known, that the commissioners granted to Edward Davis a pre-emption for an improvement made for him by Azel Davis and David Pindley; and it is contended, that in this case as the improvement we show is said to have been made in May, the court ought not to presume it to be the improvement for which the certificate was granted, and this it is said is not impeaching the certificate.
It is true, it is not directly impeaching it, but it is indirectly destroying it, and such was the case in Myers v. Speed.
There can be no doubt, no one does doubt, that this certificate was granted to Berry for making what was called a tomahawk improvement, and it is admitted that no inquiry ought now to be made, whether the commissioners ought to have granted their certificate for such a service.
So that it is contended the court ought (while it is admitted they have no power over the commissioners' acts) to prevent the effect of their certificate on a difference of opinion as to the construction of the law.
But this question can not at all events be inquired into here, for the complainant alleged in his bill, that he made an actual settlement in March, 1779, the defendant admits it, but denies this to be the place.
If claims of this description are to be lost, because the improvements were not notorious, we can only lament it. But confident we are that neither the letter or the spirit of the land law required that notoriety.
By The Court. - In this cause it appears, that the appellant has relied solely on his legal title to the land in contest, which was obtained subsequent to the certificate from the commissioners on which the appellee founds his claim. So that if the locations contained in his certificate from the commissioners, and his entry with the surveyor, do in substance agree, and are such as the land law requires, his claim ought to prevail.
To these points, therefore, the court has principally directed its inquiries; and the court finds that it is not necessary to determine whether the locations of the appellee do, or do not agree with each other; inasmuch as on consideration of the testimony adduced none of the precise calls in those locations seems to be satisfactorily identified, which is essential to a claim depending on a location made with a surveyor, if not to one made with the commissioners.
But be this as it may, the court is decidedly of opinion, that the place shown for the improvement of the appellee as called for in his locations, had not that notoriety when the locations were made, which the land law and the reason of the case requires. And as none of the other calls therein, are in themselves precise and unequivocal, that the appellee hath not made out either a legal or equitable right to recover any land from the appellant. Wherefore, it is decreed and ordered that the decree of the court for the said district in the said cause rendered, be reversed and held for naught, with costs, etc.
Note. - An attempt was made in this cause to impeach the character of Richard Davis, which produced a great many depositions to contradict the facts with which he was charged, which they did completely and satisfactorily.
The depositions together with that of the witness who impeached Davis' character are omitted, because the attempt was unsuccessful, and the charge not insisted upon at the trial.
October 1799997 A Report of the Causes Determined by the late Supreme Court for the District of Kentucky and by the Court of Appeals, in which Titles to Land were in Dispute
October Term, 1799
McClanahan v. Solomon Litton
In Chancery
This was an appeal from a decree of the Paris district court.
The suit had been brought in the supreme court of the district of Kentucky, and removed on the erection of the district into the State of Kentucky, to the court of appeals for trial, but not having been tried when the original jurisdiction of the court of appeals was taken away, it was again removed to the said district court.
Solomon Litton, who was complainant in the inferior court, on the 15th day of January, in the year 1780, obtained from the commissioners the following certificate for a pre-emption of 400 acres of land, to-wit:

"Solomon Litton this day claimed a pre-emption of 400 acres of land at the state price, in the district of Kentucky, lying on the Middle fork of Cooper's run above Frances Berry's claim to lands, by making an actual settlement in the month, of March, 1779. Satisfactory proof being made to the court, they are of opinion that the said Litton has a right to a pre-emption of 400 acres of land to include the above location, and that a certificate issue accordingly."

But before he could obtain a pre-emption warrant, he was taken prisoner by the British and Indians at Martin's station on the 26th day of June, 1780, and detained in captivity until some time in the year 1784.
John Martin, on the 13th day of January, in the year 1783, entered the said complainant's pre-emption warrant with the county surveyor, in the following words, to-wit:

" Solomon Litton enters 400 acres on a pre-emption warrant, 'No. 622, lying on the Middle fork of Cooper's run, about a mile and a half up said fork, and running up both sides of the fork for complement, including two springs, one in said creek, and the other on the east side of the same."

And the said Solomon Litton was prevented from surveying the same, by the defendant, Thomas McClanahan.
The appellant claimed as in the former suit under the settlement and pre-emption of Daniel Wilcoxson, the pre-emption of Kellar, and his treasury warrant of 2,230 acres.
The complainant alleged in his bill, ho did make an actual settlement at the place claimed by him in March, 1779, and prayed for a conveyance.
The defendant McClanahan, did not deny the making the actual settlement, but contended that the place claimed was not the one called for by the certificate and entry.
The annexed connected plat, No. 37, was returned in this cause, of which the following is an explanation:
The Ws, McClanahan's settlement and pre-emption as assignee of Wileoxson. W W M M, Thomas McClanahan's 300 acres on military warrant. The M's, Thomas McClanahan's 2,230 acres on treasury warrant. The L's, the complainant's pre-emption according to his certificate. The L's, do., according to entry as directed by the district court. The square figure with dotted lines Thomas Whitledge's settlement. The parallelogram with dotted lines Kellar's pre-emption. 1, John Verdiman's dwelling house. 2, a spring on the east side of the creek. 3, a spring on the edge of the creek, said by Thomas McClanahan to be Solomon Litton's spring. 4, a sugar tree claimed by Francis Berry as the place where he improved. 5, Strother's spring, shown by Francis Berry as the place where Solomon Litton improved. 6, Strother's dwelling house. 7, a sink bole spring. 8, MqGee's spring. 9, Grotz' spring. 10 to 11, the East fork of Cooper's run. 12, the head of the Middle fork of Cooper's run. 13, the head of the North or West fork of Cooper's run.
The following is a summary of the testimony produced in this cause:
Francis Berry deposed, that some time in the month of May, in the year 1779, he and a number of others were living at Isaac Riddle's station, and he went from thence in company with John Haggin, Richard Davis, and the complainant, Solomon Litton, with several others, with an intention of making improvements.
That they struck a branch no great way from the mouth of it, which branch John Haggin then called the Middle fork of Cooper's run, and after having proceeded half a mile up the said branch this deponent made an improvement for himself.
That they then proceeded about half a mile farther up the said branch, and came to the place on the left hand of the branch, as they were going up the same, where there were two springs about four or five poles asunder, where the complainant, Solomon Litton, marked the two first letters of his name on a tree, which, as well as this deponent recollects, was an ash tree; that this tree stood within half a pole of that spring, which rose farthest from the branch of the two springs above mentioned, which spring is about four or five poles from the house in which Thomas Strother now lives.
That when the complainant, Litton, made the said improvement, he declared he did it with a view of obtaining land there, and that he intended removing his family to that place; that the complainant, Litton, removed his family to this country in the fall, 1779, and carried them first to Riddle's station; that he afterward removed to Martin's station, with a view of making corn there the next year; that it was nearer to his improvement on the land in dispute than Riddle's station, and that the said complainant, Litton, was taken prisoner at Martin's station, in June, 1780.
That he has always, from the time of making said improvement by the complainant, Litton, as aforesaid, heard him claim the same as his, and declare that he intended to lay his claim upon it; and after he had obtained his certificate, heard him say that that was the place for which it was granted, and he is well assured that the complainant, Litton, removed to Martin's station that he might be more convenient to the said improvement; and that he doth not know or believe that the complainant, Litton, ever claimed any other land, by virtue of any improvement made in this country, but the land in dispute.
That he was not in any way interested in the event of this suit; he can be neither gainer or loser by it, let it be decided in any manner whatever.
John Martin deposed, that he had been acquainted with Cooper's run, which empties into Stoner's fork of Licking, from the year 1775 till that time; that he has always heard the most noted branch of that run called by the name of the South fork, the Middle fork, and the West fork; that that which was known by the name of the Middle fork is that branch on which the defendant, Strother, now lives; that that branch obtained the name of the Middle fork until its junction with the West fork, and below that junction it was known by the name of Cooper's run.
That he hath never, from the year 1775 until some time in the present year, and then only from the defendant, McClanahan, heard the said branches of Cooper's run called by any other names than those mentioned above.
That he was present when the complainant laid in his claim before the commissioners, and understood it was intended to lie on what he now calls the Middle fork, and that he also made the entry of the said complainant with the surveyor, and that he intended by the said location to locate the said land on the Middle fork, on which the defendant, Strother, now lives, and called to adjoin Berry, which call he inserted from an inspection of the commissioners' books, and his own knowledge of tho claims, although Litton's entry with the surveyor was made before Berry's.
Peter Verdiman deposed, that he knew nothing of Solomon Litton's claim further than his entry, but that he is well acquainted with the Middle fork of Cooper's run; that in the year 1784, he purchased a claim of Thomas Whitledge, where he now lives, about one mile and three-quarters up the said Middle fork from its mouth, where it mouths with the east branch, and at the springs, where this deponent now lives, there was and is sign of settlement by blazes on trees near two springs, one rising up within the banks of the said creek, the other to the east and on the east side, running into said creek about one mile and three-quarters from its mouth, and about one mile and a half below Thomas Strother's, which said spring seems to answer the description of a location made by one Solomon Litton with the surveyor of Fayette, and that he never saw any sign of settlement by any mark of chops whatever any higher up the said Middle fork than those already mentioned, and that if Solomon Litton makes his survey higher up than those springs already mentioned, in his opinion it will be contrary to his location.
John Haggin deposed as in the suit in which Francis Berry was complainant, except as follows, to-wit:
That he was present when the complainant put in his claim before the commissioners, and understood that he meant to lay it on that branch of Cooper's run, which he had shown him for the Middle fork, and to adjoin Francis Berry, being on that branch on which Thomas Strother lived.
That he had shown that fork to the complainant to improve on, and understood that he did improve there, and that Francis Berry was with him when he made the improvement.
Peter Moore deposed, that in the year 1785 this deponent was with Thomas McClanahan, Jr., when he settled at the spring near Thomas Strother's, in the field which Richard Davis in his deposition saith that Solomon Litton blazed an ash tree, and set the two first letters of his name in the blaze with powder in the year 1779.
That when Thomas McClanahan, Jr., settled at the said spring, in the year 1785, that there was not any blaze on any tree at the said spring, nor any sign of any tree being cut down ; therefore, it appeared to him that there was not any truth in this part of Richard Davis' testimony.
Samuel Tharp deposed, that in the year 1785, he was with Thomas McClanahan, Jr., when he settled at the spring in the field near Thomas Strother's house, where Richard Davis, by his deposition swore that Solomon Litton blazed an ash tree, and set the two first letters of his name in the blaze with powder, in the year 1779.
That when Thomas McClanahan, Jr., settled at the said spring, in the year 1785, that there was not any blaze on any tree at the said spring, nor any sign of any tree being cut down; therefore it appeared to him that Richard Davis' testimony could not be true.
Thomas McClanahan, Jr., deposed, that in the year 1785, when he settled at the spring in the field near Thomas Strother's house, where Richard Davis swore that Solomon Litton blazed an ash tree, and set the two first letters of his name in the blaze with powder, in the year 1779, there was not any tree blazed at the said spring, nor the sign of any tree being cut down, therefore it was his opinion that Richard Davis' testimony could not be the truth. And that he was not interested in his father's suit with Litton.
The other depositions wore the same as in the suit preceding this.
At the March term, in the year 1798, this cause was argued in the district court, and the following decree was pronounced:
By The Court.-In this cause it has been strongly contended, that the proof adduced to substantiate the claim of the complainant varies essentially from the proof required by law, as the ground on which the court of commissioners proceeded to grant certificates of pre-emption. In answer to which the court embraces this early opportunity to declare that they will repel every effort to destroy the efficacy of those certificates granted by the commissioners. They are of opinion that it is too late to investigate the grounds on which the commissioners proceeded, and conceive that a certificate granted by the commissioners is conclusive evidence of title; and that although a variance may appear in identifying the spot designated by the certificate, if the identity is established no injury shall accrue to the party.
The court is of opinion that the testimony exhibited by the complainant in this cause sufficiently establishes the spot designated by him in his certificate of pre-emption.
But the complainant in his entry with the surveyor has made such a variance from the certificate as will justify this court in decreeing that his survey shall be made in manner following: His pre-emption must be first laid down in a square, with lines running to the cardinal points, and including the spring near Strother's house in the center of his survey, conformably to his entry with the commissioners.
The complainant shall then lay down the survey of his preemption, commencing with a line at right angles from and across the general course of the Middle fork of Cooper's run, so as to include the aforesaid spring one pole within the survey; thence extending the body of the survey up such Middle fork in a square, so as to include therein equal quantities of land on each side of the said Middle fork. Having thus laid down the surveys agreeably to the different entries with the commissioners and surveyor, such part of the complainant's pre-emption as will be covered by both the above surveys, and within the survey of the defendant, shall be conveyed by the defendant to the complainant. Order of survey, etc.
And at the July term of the said court the said decree was made final; from which decree the defendant appealed, and the cause having been argued in the court of appeals at this term, the following decree was pronounced :
By The Court.-In this cause it appears that the appellant relies solely on his legal titles, and the appellee on his locations with the commissioners and surveyor, which are of prior dates to the titles of the appellant; therefore that the investigation of the court may be confined to those locations, as the appellee was complainant in the original suit, and as it appears that the location of the appellee with the commissioners is materially different from that of the surveyor, it seems by the land law he is authorized to rely on his last choice, and is thereby restricted to it; and that his location with the surveyor can not be aided by his location with the commissioners, farther than they agree with each other. And it may be added that in this case the restriction might have been advantageous to him, but can not be injurious, inasmuch as the court is decidedly of opinion that the place of the actual settlement called for in his location with the commissioners (to say nothing of its want of notoriety) has not been satisfactorily identified.
In his location with the surveyor (the Middle fork of Cooper's run having been called for) the expressions " including two springs, one in the said creek, and the other on the east side of the same," is evidently the leading or principal call therein; it being the one which is not only the most certain and definite, from the nature and situation of the objects it specifies, but also the call which from any rational construction of the location must govern all its other calls, so as to ascertain the exact situation and form of the land.
These springs not having been shown by the appellee, the court is of opinion that his claim to any of the lands of the appellant can not be sustained. And that his pre-emption, for which he obtained a certificate from the commissioners, and paid the price thereof to the commonwealth, is unluckily lost by the mismanagement of himself and his agents.
Wherefore it is decreed and ordered, that the decree of the court for the said district in the said cause rendered, be reversed and held for naught; and that the said appellee pay unto the said McClanahan (appellant) his costs in this court expended. And it is further decreed and ordered that the original suit of the appellee in the said district court be dismissed by the same, with costs, etc.
30 April 1825584 The Kentucky Land Grants, Vol. I-II
Whitley County, Kentucky
Sarah Berry
Acres: 50 Book: T
Survey Date: 4-30-1825 County: Whitley
Water Course: Watts Creek
1830586 Federal Census Whitley County, Kentucky
Sally Berry
1 female 70 – 80      Sally (Sharp) Berry (76)
1 male slave < 10
1 male slave 10 – 24
1 female slave < 10
1 female slave 10 – 24
1 female slave 24 - 36
30 June 1830585 Whitley County, Kentucky Will Book 1, page 46
May Term County Court 1834
July the 30th, 1830
By the Grace of God Amen, I Sarah Berry fourth with transmits my last will and testament. I do in the first place unto all my children I bequeath my Special Blessing.
In the second place my household furniture and cash is to be eaqually divided between my Daughters, my two daughters Ann & Lucinda one each to receive a good cow or ten dollars as an equivlent to be reserved out of the cattle, & the balance of my property & to be eaquel amonst all my heirs, yet not so to separate Nell and her child, And is also my last request that she may have her choice of Masters and also the balance of the blacks (or servants) be not sold to strangers, but retained amongst the heirs. I do also appoint John Berry my oldest son and Lafayette Berry my youngest son to administer and carry this my will into affect.
As witness my hand and seal.
Sarah Berry X
John Berry
Lafey Berry
Attest
13 May 1834585 Whitley County, Kentucky Will Book 1, page 46
We the undersignies John Berry and Lafayette Berry being present at the last secteness of Sarah Berry Dec. do state that it is her request that Nell her black woman be freed; and the Lilbern her youngest son be given to Betsy Charg (Probably Sharp) as her part.
Lafayette Berry
John Berry
July 1834585

Whitley County, Kentucky Will Book 1, page 48
Inventory and Appraisal of Sarah Berry by John Berry and Dela F. Berry, execrs.

Signed by John Berry and Lafayette Berry

25 Feb. 1845587 Draper Manuscripts Accounts Relating to Ruddle's and Martin's Forts
from the Lyman Draper Interviews: Draper Manuscript Collection 29J:21
Maj. Ben Sharp, of Pickney, Ind, wrote me Feb. 25, 1845:
"I never understood that any were killed at Riddle's Station. The British planted their artillery against the fort, and summoned them to surrender. The men at once saw that they could not defend the fort against the British Cannon; they therefore stipulated for protection against the Indians, and surrendered to the British officer. The number taken, I never knew. My brothers-in-law who were taken, with their wives and families, were Capt. John Dunkin and Francis Berry." See American Pioneer, I, 359, which mentions particularly that the Mingo Chief, Logan, was with Bird's army.
1845969 Samuel Hervey Laughlin Diary, 1845
My mother, at the time of the captivity of the family, was about seven or eight years old and retained to her death a distinct recollection of the capture of the fort, given up by what was suspected to be Riddle's treachery, and of the voyage down Licking, down the Ohio, and up the Miami, and across the wilderness. She perfectly recollected the clear, limpid water of the lakes, and of the appearances of the Canadian population, their customs and manners, and much in regard to the shipping on the lakes, and of the surprise with which she passed through Philadelphia, and along Market Street on their return home, it appearing to her youthful and backwoods imagination that Philadelphia was surely the largest city in the world at that time. She lived afterwards, however, to be extensively read, even in her younger days, in history, geography, travels etc. and when I was a child, often recounted all the adventures of this captivity, with her fears, feelings, etc. on the various occurrences of the scenes through which the family passed. Capt. Francis Berry, married to a sister of John and Benj. Sharp, was one of the captives. The Sharp family, John having married my grandfather Laughlin's sister, as before stated, consisted of three brothers as far as I remember, John, Thomas and Benjamin.
1845969 Samuel Hervey Laughlin Diary, 1845
My grandfather considered Riddle, not Ruddle, as his name is commonly written, as a bad man. When confined on parole, or in close prison at Montreal, he often saw Riddle, who was his senior officer in the station when it was surrendered, walking the streets, finely dressed, and under no restraint, or associating with British officers. On the march to Canada, and at Detroit and Montreal, he often saw among the Indians and associating with the British officers of rank, the renegade and incarnate Devil, Simon Girty. This demon in human shape dealt large in the scalps of American men, women, and children bought and paid for by the British authorities. Girty's influence among the Indians was very great. In history his name desends embalmed in the execrations of all mankind. A Mr. Samuel Porter of Russel was married to a sister of my grandfather Duncan-so was Capt. Francis Berry to a sister of my grandmother Duncan (Eleanor Sharp). Mr. Porter had a numerous family of sons, several of whom lived in Rutherford County, Tenn. Among these, as I remember, were Samuel, Hugh and James, the latter a Methodist preacher. They lived on Bowley's fork, near the place where Bradyville now is. About the year 1830, they removed to Missouri. Another brother of their's, a Methodist preacher, a man of much worth, married the widow of Thomas E. Sumner in Williamson Co. Tenn. He afterwards died at Galveston, Texas, about the year 1839. He was a worthy man, but was persecuted by Gen. John L. Russwurm, the mercenary nephew of his wife's first husband, who left a large estate and no child-Russwurm being the principal heir at law.

John Berry and Lewis Berry, two of the sons of Francis Berry, removed to Kentucky, Knox County, while my father lived there. John settled on Spence Creek, above Arthur's mill, and one of his sons, Dr. Berry is now married to a daughter of my cousin Thomas Laughlin, and lives at Philadelphia, Monroe Co. Tenn. Lewis removed to Dickson Co. Tenn. after he married, and, I believe, died there soon after the late war.
1893146,590 An Account of Our Ancestors on Trip to Canada as War Prisoners
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1st Letter
Sept.11, 1893
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Dear George:
Your papa's [Dixson Duncan] grandfather and grandmother, John and Nellie Duncan, and grandfather and grandmother, Frank and Sally Berry [Adelaide’s grandparents] moved from Virginia during the Revolutionary War to Kentucky. I don't know just where, but it was somewhere in the best part of the state. There was quite a little colony of them but I do not know the names of any except these families. They took up claims of land and complied with what was necessary to secure their claims. I don't know what it was nor how long they had been there til they were compelled to move for safety to a fort or blockhouse where they were taken by British officers and soldiers who had Indians with them to whom the British gave all their household goods except two suits of clothes and two blankets to each man and the same to each woman.
I remember hearing my grandmother [Sarah ‘Sally’ (Sharp) Berry] tell how the Indians would toss the pillows in the air after they had ripped the ticking to make the feathers fly in the wind and how they would laugh. They wanted the cloth but not the feathers. They then started on their march to Detroit, where they stayed awhile and then on to Montreal where they stayed until peace was declared. They were liberated to get back as best they could.
There was one family along who had a young woman - a daughter who complained of a toothache for some weeks , when someone examined her mouth and found a cancer had eaten through her cheek, all but the skin. She died soon after and the officers only allowed them to stop long
enough to pile up a few rocks on her body. Charles Gatliff was her father's name. He came back to Kentucky and I saw him after he was eighty years of age. I also saw his sons: Moses, Aaron, Riece, Jim and Cornelious. I also saw two of his daughters: Betsey Martin and Sally Faris. I suppose Joe remembers having seen one of his grandsons, Charles Gatliff, who moved to Missouri a short time before we left Iowa for Princeton. His wife was papa's cousin, Polly Early, and your uncle, Harvey Green Duncan, married their daughter Lillian.
I heard grandmother [Sarah (Sharp) Berry] say she saw the Indians kill two children. It was very cold for part of their journey and once when a great fire of logs was burning where they camped, an Indian picked up a child that was standing near and threw it in the fire. No one dared to try to get it out. On another occasion, a woman was carrying a little babe, and she was almost exhausted, when an Indian jerked it from her arms and thrust his tomahawk in its head, threw the child to one side of the road, and drove her on.
While they were in Montreal, the men were made to repair the Englishships and the women cooked and washed for the English officers. On one occasion, the men found a case of wine on the ship and drank the wine. The officers put them in prison or the guard house and my grandmother Berry [Sarah (Sharp) Berry] went to the guard house and begged for their release until they were released.
I don't know what their punishment would have been. I don't know if any of the young men were put on the English ships to make them fight against their own country or not, but your grandfather Duncan [John Duncan Jr] and four other young men were going to be put on a man-of-war in the morning and your grandfather's oldest sister [Elizabeth Duncan. b. 1762] baked bread and fixed up some provisions. They stole a canoe and crossed the St. Lawrence to the American side and got away. They traveled through the hostile Indian country till they reached the settlement in Pennsylvania. In the outskirts of the settlement, they found a deserted place, an iron pot and a potato patch. I heard your grandfather [John Duncan Jr] tell how they boiled potatoes and ate with such appetite. Your grandmother Duncan [Mary ‘Polly’ Laughlin] told me that their friends did not know till after peace and they returned from Montreal, whether these young men were drowned in the St. Lawrence, whether they were killed by Indians, whether they were lost in the wilderness and perished, or whether they were safe. She did not know the name of a single one of her husband's companions, and I never heard her say who they were. I am very sorry that I did not ask your Uncle Harve Duncan for he may have known. I do not know whether there was any fighting at the fort or not, in Kentucky, or whether they surrendered to the greater number without fighting
All the way, I can approximate the time they moved from Virginia to Kentucky. My Grandfather Berry fought in the battle at King's Mountain and he was also a scout before they moved to Kentucky [The Battle of Kings Mountain took place on 7 October 1780. Francis Berry and family were captured at Martins Station on 24 June 1780, so Adelaide's grandfather, Francis Berry, was not a participant at Kings Mountain. Research shows that Adelaide's grandfather, Francis Berry, was in Capt. Evan Shelby's Militia Company which took part in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant. It is most likely that this important pre-Revolutionary event became garbled in the oral family history of the descendants of Francis Berry & his wife, Sarah Sharp.] After my papa [Lafayette Berry] got to practicing law. He got a pension for a Duncan McFarlain, who was a scout with my grandfather [Francis Berry, Jr.] I remember how the hair seemed to stand on my head as I lay in my trundle-bed and listened to McFarlain tell papa of their exploits. At one time he and Charles Miller ran, with the Indians after them, thirty miles to a blockhouse.
As the prisoners were leaving Canada, they crossed some lake in a ship which was very crowded and manned by French-Canadian sailors. A storm arose and the sailors got frightened, and quit work. They started to pray, and cross themselves, when an Englishman, perhaps an officer, came on them and cursed and swore and ripped and tore around and kicked them, and made then get to work. Finally they got safely to land. I remember hearing my father tell of hearing his father laughing about it. Grandmother [Sarah (Sharp) Berry] said there were piles of feathers floating in the eddies on the lake shore that looked like houses - the shedding of many waterfowls on the lake.
My uncle Lewis Berry [son of Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp] was born in Montreal. He died in the American army in the War of 1812. As our ancestors were coming home they passed near Niagra Falls. All heard the roar and some of the men went to see it but the women and children were too weary to go. They went back to Kentucky to where they had been captured and found men on
their claims. Both your greatgrandfathers, John Duncan and Frank Berry, sued at law for their claims but lost their suit. Berry's long tongue made him say the judge was a perjured scoundrel. The judge sued him for slander and got judgment of eight hundred dollars. Then, the poor weary souls went back to Virginia where they had lived before they went to Kentucky and raised their families there. Quite a number of the children afterwards moved to Whitley County, KY where your papa and I were born and raised and married. My grandmother Berry [Sarah (Sharp) Berry], in her old age, came there and died in 1834.
I only remember of having seen your grandfather Duncan [John Duncan Jr] twice . Alec Laughlin, your papa's cousin, married in Whitely County, and moved to Tennessee where his daughter Eleanor Litton was born. He came back on a visit and stopped at his uncle's (your grandfather Duncan's) and they both came to Watt's Creek where my papa [Lafayette Berry] and your papa's uncle, Thanny Laughlin, lived. They stopped at our house, and it was a hot day, and your Aunt Candace and I had taken off our dresses and were running around in our Chemises, which were long and long-sleeved. They came on us unaware and we went to the back of the house and sat on a chest, while they laughed at us. I remember how your grandfather's [meaning John Duncan Jr] shoulders shook. He was very much the make and size of your papa but his hair was black and I think his eyes were blue. I afterwards saw him riding past our house on a white horse. He wore a high bell-crowned hat, and a blue jeans frock coat. (I have seen the hat and coat after I was married and have ridden the white mare, it was, whose name was Ginger). He was a dear nephew to my grandmother [Sarah Sharp Berry, whose sister Elinor "Nellie" Sharp was the mother of John Duncan, Jr.], and I know she loved him, and I know my papa loved him. He [John Duncan, Jr.] died from dry salivation by taking a dose of calomel measured out on a case knife blade by an old woman who had more confidence in herself than good sense. I remember when word came that Johnny Duncan was dying, my papa hurried off and took a handful of nails. Mama asked him what he did that for. He said to put in the coffin. Years afterwards I learned that was an old country superstition but its meaning I never heard. He got there in time to write his will before he died, and he moved him after his death. He had been dead six years when I and your papa were married - that would make his death to have occurred in 1832. Your papa [Dixon Green Duncan] and I lived with your grandmother [Mary "Polly"(Laughlin) Duncan] the first year after we were married and she loved to talk about him. She said he was a remarkably strong man for his size. When he was a young man, it was the custom for the neighbors to all unite and help each other cut the small grains with sickles and the young women would do the cooking, and sometimes they would go to the fields and use the sickles to good purpose. Then at night they would have a dance. Your grandmother said your grandfather worked all day, and danced all night, for two days and two nights, without any sleep. I don't believe his sons or grandsons, or great-grandsons could do that, even if they can ride a bicycle.
I don't know whether the Gatliff family moved from Virginia or Tennessee to Kentucky, or not. I only know that they were together in their captivity. I don't know whether the British gave them any money to get home or not. My grandfather Berry never paid that eight hundred dollars. He somehow got a farm in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where his family were raised, but it was always in the name of Billy King, grandmother's sister's husband. [Sarah (Sharp) Berry’s sister, Elizabeth Sharp who married William King.]
My papa [Lafayette Berry] said your grandfather Duncan [John Duncan Jr] was so near gone when he got there that he was in no condition to make a will, but your uncles Harvey and Joe Duncan said for your grandmother's sake, to have it done, to not add to her distress by breaking up her home, by taking two-thirds of everything and dividing it amongst the children, as they knew your uncle Joe Sullivan [the husband of Narcissa Duncan] would insist on doing if there was no will. So the will was written, giving your grandmother everything - the farm, the Negroes, and everything else, as long as she lived, and at her death all to be divided equally amongst the children. I guess it was pretty hard for Sullivan to not to try to break the will, for after I was married I heard your Aunt Narcissa say: "The children ought to have had the little that was coming to them a long time ago." But he knew that your Uncle Harve and Uncle Joe would not give him any child's play if he undertook the law with them. They were the executors.
If I were back to ten or twelve years of age, and knew more than I did then, how I would ply my grandmother and parents with questions. I guess I will close my pioneer stories. Nellie Duncan and Sally Berry were sisters. Sharp was their name before they were married.
Much love to all.
Mother
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2nd letter
Sunday P.M. Sept.17, 1893
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Dear George,
In looking over your letter, I find I did not answer all your questions. I don't know whether your grandfather Duncan [John Duncan Jr] was much of a woodsman, or not, nor whether he was much of a hunter or not, but I don't believe he was much of a hunter for I think I would have heard talk of it, if he had been. Your grandmother [Mary (Laughlin) Duncan] Duncan's oldest brother, Johnny Laughlin, was a great hunter. His children used to sit on the woodpile when he went out with his gun, and listen to hear a shot, then each would claim separate parts of the deer, such as the milt, the heart, or the ribs. Isaac King, his son-in-law, told this and said he neglected his cornfield to hunt, like my papa did. I don't believe your grandfather Duncan did that. (Note: Isaac King married Jane Laughlin and John Laughlin was her uncle, her father being Thomas Laughlin, who was the oldest brother of Mary "Polly," so there is some question as to which man was the hunter referred to. Violet M. Pilcher, typist of this copy of the letter.)
I don't know how long they were in the wilderness, nor whether the family got together in Kentucky or not till after the old folks went back to Virginia. Decatur Dryden's mother [Sarah Sharp Berry, b. 1788, d/o Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp, who married William Dryden. s/o Barbara Berry/David Dryden Jr] was the first child my grandmother Berry had after her return from captivity, [Adelaide must mean that Sarah Sharp Berry was the 1st child born when BERRY/SHARP returned to Washington Co, since a daughter Elizabeth was born 1786 which is after release from captivity] and it may be he has heard her tell things she certainly heard her mother talk of.
Before our ancestors moved to Kentucky [prior to 1780/81], they in Virginia had to seek safety in a blockhouse. Your grandmother Duncan [Mary "Polly" Laughlin] told me of this after I was married. She was a little girl and was drinking sweet sap that was dripping from a sugar tree near her father's house. She had left one shoe and stocking in the house. A runner came galloping by, calling out: "To the blockhouse. The Indians are coming!" Her father [John Laughlin Jr] picked her up, and poor lame man that he was, carried her in his arms. By the time they got pretty near the blockhouse, there was quite a crowd of neighbors, and they stopped to drink at a little stream, and your grandmother's little tin cup that she had in her hand was all they had to drink out of; only one woman pulled off her shoe and gave her children drinks out of it. I don't know whether your great-grandfather Duncan's family was in the blockhouse or not, but my grandfather and grandmother Berry [Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp] were, as also Billy King, whose wife was Betty Sharp [the sister of Sarah Sharp] before she married.
There were five men killed by the Indians while they were staying in the blockhouse. The men would go out to their fields to get food, and those inside would hear the shooting, and after awhile go out and bring in their slain friends. They tied their feet together, also the hands, and to a pole, then two men would carry them. Your grandmother told of one poor German woman whose son Fritz was all the family she had. He was brought in that way. Your old grandmother would choke and stop, and tears run down her cheeks when she told me of how this poor woman would wring her hands, and say: "Oh, my Fritz, my Fritz!"
This Billy King [William King married to Elizabeth Sharp, sister of Sarah (Sharp) Berry] was the one who afterwards held the deed to granfather Berry's farm. I heard mama say he was as faithful as if grandmother Berry's children had been his own - never took any advantage of them. Your grandmother told me that one Sunday morning in the blockhouse, he dressed in his clean white flax linen pants and hunting shirt, and laid the corner of his hunting shirt across his knee, and took Isaac, his baby on his knee. The baby had bowel complaint and stained his hunting shirt. He jumped up, and tore around as if the Indians had him, and my grandmother Berry and his wife flew at him and got the baby away and the hunting shirt off him, for he took out his knife and they had work to keep him from cutting off the corner of the shirt that was so badly spoiled. Did any of them think that any of their descendants would write this down more than a hundred years after it occurred? Your grandmother [Mary (Porterfield) Duncan] said to me: "Your grandmother [Sarah (Sharp) Berry] was a beautiful woman then."
Isaac King moved to Kentucky, Whitely County, before papa [Lafayette Berry] did, and he lived four miles from where I was raised. I remember when I was a little girl, of riding behind him to Williamsburg on a big white stable horse. We were going to a Presbyterian preacher, and I was going to ride behind mama, and Ellen Carr behind papa, when he said: "Put her behind me." I was so much afraid of him and of the horse too that it was anything but a pleasant ride to me. We crossed the Cumberland River which was pretty full too.
Decatur Dryden's grandmother Dryden was a Berry. I think my grandfather's sister, but perhaps a cousin. [Decatur Dryden was a son of Sarah Berry/William Dryden. William Dryden was a son of Barbara Berry/David Dryden Jr. Adelaide is saying her grandfather, Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp was related to the grandmother of Decatur Dryden, Barbara Berry Dryden. Barbara Berry and the Francis Berry who married Sarah Sharp were cousins, not siblings.] Your grandmother Duncan's mother was Polly Price before she was married to that lame weaver, Luke Laughlin. [John Laughlin Jr]. She is the only one of your ancestors whose nationality I do not know. When your grandmother [Mary (Laughlin) Duncan] was a little girl, this Polly rode a fine young mare that was a great favorite in the family some miles to a neighbor's, and as she was coming home, a bull was roaming in the woods and took after her. She ran the mare and got home safe and she wanted to keep the mare put up until the bull left, but no, her husband would turn her out, saying the mare could keep out of the bull's way; but the next day they found the mare dead, gored to death by the bull. I tell this so his great grandsons may know to heed their wives.
With much love to all.
Mother

 

Analysis of the Timeline

 

     Family history records document the birth of Francis Berry in 1755, and based on the estimated dates of arrival in Augusta County, Virginia of his father (Francis Berry Sr.) and grandfather (the elder John Berry) sometime between 1742 and 1753, it seems quite certain that young Francis was born and grew up in Augusta County. The first actual appearance of Francis Berry in source records, however, occurred in 1774 when, at the age of 19, he served as a private in the Fincastle County militia under Captain Evan Shelby. The presence of Francis Berry in this militia unit clearly indicates that he had left his place of birth in Augusta County and had already moved to southwestern Virginia by the summer of 1774. While the exact date of his move from Augusta County cannot documented, there are some intriguing clues that suggest he probably arrived in southwestern Virginia by early to mid 1772. Many settlers from Augusta County, and elsewhere, had been moving into the Holston and Clinch River valleys between 1769 and 1771 despite the prohibition against English settlement in the area. Basically, they were squatters, looking for fresh, unoccupied and free land where they could start a new life in less crowded conditions than the territories where their families had lived for about a generation. James Trimble, who married Francis’ sister, Rachel Berry, first moved to the Holston River area in 1771, taking up land on the south side of the South Fork of the Holston River. He, and all or most of the other settlers in the area were then forced by Shawnee raiding parties to abandon their new home sites and flee to the safety of the older settlements back east by late 1771. When the security situation improved, by early to middle 1772, many of the previous white settlers, plus many new ones, re-entered the lands of southwestern Virginia. Francis’ brother in law, Jim Trimble, returned to the area during this resettlement period, and, conceivably, Francis Berry could have accompanied his sister’s new family, since many of these pioneers moved together as extended family units. From indirect analysis of the general movement of Scotch-Irish pioneers into the area, and, specifically, from the movements of his brother in law, mid 1772 is probably a fair approximation of when young Francis Berry first moved into the Holston River valley from his home in Augusta County. At the time Francis must have been 17 or 18 years old, so, still being somewhat young, it’s not inconceivable to assume that he traveled to the area with family members.

 

     Where Francis Berry moved when he left his Augusta County home can also be surmised indirectly. In the summer of 1774, when the Virginia militia was called up to support Lord Dunmore’s Campaign against the Shawnee, Francis Berry enlisted (or was drafted) as a private in one of Virginia’s Fincastle County militia company. In particular he served in the unit commanded by Captain Evan Shelby. (Figure 65) The common practice of the time was for militia captains to form a company of soldiers composed of settlers who lived nearby. Captain Shelby was born in Wales in 1719, and moved with his parents to Frederick County, Maryland around 1758. In 1771 he moved with his wife and family to the Holston River, where he erected a fort on a hilltop above Beaver Creek. This stockade, known as Shelby’s Fort, was located at the modern day location of Bristol, Tennessee. At the time, however, it was considered to be part of Fincastle County, Virginia. In order to serve in that militia unit, Francis Berry must have been living in the area, presumably farming a piece of nearby land as a squatter or maybe living near his sister’s family. While there is no primary source documentation to specifically track the movements of Francis Berry during this time, he clearly traveled with the militia to and from the Point Pleasant battle site and participated in the battle, so by tracing the overall movements of the militia units and the details of the battle, some indirect information on what Francis Berry experienced during this part of his life can be ascertained.885,970,972

The Battle of Point Pleasant - 1774

     In 1774, the territory between the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers was claimed by both the Pennsylvania and Virginia colonies, and Dunmore’s War, a short campaign against the Shawnee, was fought as much to protect the settlers on the frontier from the Shawnee and their Mingo allies as it was to ensure Virginia’s control over this area. The Shawnee were also responsible for many of the attacks on settlers in southwestern Virginia, so the militia units from these areas were also called up to participate in a campaign against their Shawnee tormentors. In fact the 1771 attacks that drove settlers from the Holston and Clinch River valleys were believed to have had heavy participation by Shawnee warrior groups.885,895,896,897
 

     The post French and Indian War era in this part of the country was one marked by westward expansion by English settlers, and one of increasing concern by the Iroquois Nation. Several legal agreements and documents provided a legal basis to justify the actions of both sides. In the first place, the Proclamation of 1763 by the English king George III forbade English settlers from expanding westward from the headwaters of rivers that drained into the Atlantic. This was intended, primarily, to mollify the tribes by officially decreeing that all English settlers must keep out of Kentucky, since the Iroquois Nation objected to further colonial expansion into territories they considered to be theirs. On the other hand, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix of 1768 between the English and the Iroquois, subsequently re-established the English/Indian (Iroquois) boundary at the Ohio River, thus, tacitly allowing the white settlement of Kentucky with the hope of keeping the inevitable tide of invading humanity out of the Iroquois homelands north of the river. The English settlers mostly ignored the 1763 line and the Shawnee mostly ignored the Ohio River boundary line, thus setting the stage for the next phase of the conflict. By the late 1760s and early 1770s, English settlers and surveyors from Pennsylvania and Virginia were venturing beyond the 1763 line, and roving bands of Shawnee and Mingos were regularly and with increasing frequency, attacking these outlying isolated settlements, as well as the surveying crews below the Ohio River. Raids, cross raids and hideous atrocities conducted by both sides, quickly caused events to spin out of control by mid 1774.885,895,896,897
 

     The settlers in the area appealed to the Virginia government for military assistance. Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, alarmed by the escalating frontier violence, and invested with a desire to confirm Virginia’s territorial claims, sought action. By mid July the House of Burgesses granted approval for him to mobilize the militia and prosecute a war against the Indians, and with this approval, Dunmore quickly developed a plan to bring the fight to the enemy. He raised two militia armies, composed of a northern and southern command (Figure 91). The northern command was composed of elements from the local counties in the West Augusta District of Virginia (approximately the area of modern day northern West Virginia), as well as from affected areas in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and was to head west and south from their base at Fort Pitt. Dunmore, himself intended to lead this group. The southern command, composed primarily of Virginia militia units from Fincastle, Botetourt and Augusta counties and led by Col. Anthony Lewis, a French and Indian War veteran, was to march down the Kanawha River valley. Here both armies intended to combine, then tackle Cornstalk’s army of combined Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware and Ottawa warriors.885,895,896,897

 

     Upon gaining political top cover, Dunmore immediately headed west, and by early September was at Fort Pitt in the final phases of a treaty with the Delaware and Six Iroquois Nations, which not only protected his flank during his attack on the Shawnee, but was also intended to lay the groundwork for ensuring Virginia’s claim on the West Augusta area. Both the treaty of Stanwix, and the Dunmore accord, with the implicit agreement of the Native American parties involved, specifically omitted the Shawnee and their allies, who actually occupied and therefore technically owned the areas under contention. The Iroquois essentially sacrificed their Shawnee brethren in a series of ultimately unsuccessful strategic moves that were intended to deflect the inevitable European expansion away from their homeland, while the British successfully used the strategy of “divide and conquer” to isolate the Shawnee. When Dunmore went after the Shawnee, it was with the full knowledge that they had been hung out to dry and no opposition would be expected from the Iroquois Nation. As soon as the treaty was signed he hurriedly marched his army south and west along the Ohio to meet up with Col. Lewis. The latter had been concentrating his militia at Camp Union, located near the present site of Lewisburg, West Virginia, and, by mid September, was proceeding to the designated meeting point at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. On 6 September the first group composed of about 600 men and led by Col. Lewis’ younger brother left Camp Union, followed a week later by Col. Lewis with the remaining 500 men. Col. Christian with an additional force of 200 men from Fincastle County were slated to arrive at Camp Union on the 26th of September and join Lewis’ forces at the mouth of the Kanawha.885,895,896,897 (Figure 83)

 

     When Col. Lewis arrived at the designated meeting point, he received orders to join Dunmore, who was located about 50 miles to the north near the mouth of the Hocking River. Cornstalk, most likely realizing that he was seriously outnumbered, decided that his best hope for success was to strike each army separately, before they were able to combine. Consequently, on the night of 9 October, his warriors crossed the Ohio River to prepare for the attack. The army of the southern command was at that time encamped on the point of land between the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, known as Point Pleasant. A well timed assault on this position would find them in a very vulnerable position - with their backs to the river. The next morning, 10 October 1774, as Col. Lewis was preparing to break camp and march northward to merge with the northern command, Cornstalk’s warriors began the attack as the sun rose. The initial action was focused on a small detachment of about 150 soldiers, which took heavy losses, but the engagement soon escalated into a full-scale assault. The fighting continued throughout the entire day, becoming increasingly intense and desperate, and characterized at times by vicious and desperate hand to hand combat. As the day wore on Cornstalk’s warriors seemed to be gaining the upper hand, but the overwhelming firepower of the Virginians proved to be very effective. In order to relieve the pressure of the attack, some of Col. Lewis’ men, led by Isaac Shelby who would eventually become the first governor of Kentucky, were sent on a successful flanking maneuver along the east side of Crooked Creek, a Kanawha tributary. Cornstalk misinterpreted the movement as representing the arrival of Dunmore’s reinforcements, and broke off the fighting in order to avoid further losses, which were already quite severe. By nightfall, the Indians gave up the attack and withdrew across the river, dumping the bodies of their fallen comrades into the river to prevent mutilation by the soldiers. Losses on both sides were quite significant. Dunmore, learning of the outcome of the battle, moved the bulk of his force close to the Shawnee village of Chillicothe, established temporary quarters, which he named Camp Charlotte, on some open ground along the Scioto River in modern day Pickaway County, Ohio, and ordered Col. Lewis to meet him there with 100 men. A treaty was quickly reached with the Shawnee, in which they ceded their claims south of the Ohio River.885,895,896,897

 

Back to the Timeline

 

     On the 17th of August 1774 Francis Berry’s Fincastle militia unit mustered at Shelby’s fort, then marched to the New River valley where they joined up with Col William Christian’s militia units (Figure 91). One of the other privates serving in Francis Berry’s company was George Riddle, who would be taken prisoner with Francis Berry in Kentucky six and a half years later by a combined British and Shawnee force. Another was Robert Trimble, a relative of the James Trimble, the husband of Rachel Berry, Francis’ sister. After their rendezvous with Col. Christian, these citizen soldiers continued on down the New River Valley to its juncture with the Greenbrier River where they headed upstream to Camp Union near present day Lewisburg West Virginia. Here, they spent the rest of August and nearly the first two weeks of September waiting for militia units from the surrounding area to gel into the force known as the southern command. Throughout the trek and the subsequent wait, parties of hunters were sent out to hunt in order to provide the soldiers with food, and others drove the cattle herd. After the battle, a commission was established to provide an accounting of the costs, and Francis Berry submitted a claim for 16 days of driving cattle.970,971

 

     When the troops had reached a sufficient strength level, they were ordered to march across the trackless countryside through the steep mountain gorges of the Kanawha valley with the ultimate purpose of uniting with the northern command and attacking the Shawnee villages in present day central Ohio. That this was a long, tedious slog is shown by the fact that this segment of the trip took 25 days of slow, difficult marching through the rugged mountains. By 9 October the southern command had reached the Ohio River, and were immediately ordered to head north to unite with the northern command. Very early the next morning, while it was still dark, two hunters from Captain Shelby’s company stumbled upon the main mass of hostile Shawnee and the battle began. From dawn to dusk, Francis Berry’s life that day consisted of intense, desperate and sometimes most likely seemingly hopeless, life or death combat in what has come to be known as the Battle of Point Pleasant. In an effort to flank the Shawnee attackers, Captain Shelby’s company, Francis Berry undoubtedly among them, was one of the units instructed to advance up the Kanawha River and occupy some high ground above and behind the enemy position. The maneuver was carried out quite successfully and soon the soldiers were streaming deadly fire into the rear of the Shawnee lines. This turned out to be a pivotal point in the battle, since the Shawnee leader, known as Cornstalk, mistook them for members of the northern command providing reinforcements to the besieged militia. Five men from Francis Berry’s unit, probably men he knew fairly well, were among those killed during the day long battle. For several days after the battle, as peace negotiations were being carried out in Ohio, the men that remained at the battle site buried the dead, cared for the wounded and built a small fortification. It appears that Francis Berry should be counted as one of the militia soldiers who stayed behind during the peace negotiations to clean up the battlefield. Eventually, the army marched back to Fincastle County and the men returned to their homes. Francis Berry, like all of the others, soon found himself back “home” in southwestern Virginia by late October or early November 1774.9970,971,973

 

     The next pivotal event in Francis Berry’s life was his marriage to Sarah Sharp, daughter of John Sharp and Jane Hamilton. John Sharp had been born in Scotland, and by 1740 had arrived in the American colonies, settling in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where most, if not all, of his children were born. Sarah Sharp was born there in 1754. In 1766 the Sharp family, following the general current of Scotch-Irish migration, headed to the frontier of Virginia. The Sharps first arrived in southwestern Virginia in 1765, when the brothers John and Thomas Sharp planted a crop, then headed back to Pennsylvania. They returned with their families a year later, settling between the North and South Forks of the Holston River in or near the area that eventually would become part of Sullivan County, Tennessee. The geographic proximity of Francis Berry to the Sharp family no doubt was instrumental in the accident of history that brought them together. Since their first child was born in 1776, it seems very likely that they were married in late 1774 or early 1775. So, not long after his return from the battle of Point Pleasant, Francis Berry was married, and not long after that he and Sarah began building their family. A son, John Wesley Berry, was born in the early summer of 1776 and a daughter, Isabelle, was born in the spring of 1778. Since they lived in the southern part of the Holston River valley at the time, this area was part of Fincastle County, Virginia when their first child was born. Washington County was formed from part of Fincastle County in 1777/1778, so when their daughter was born, even though they had not moved, they were now living in Washington County, Virginia. Very little primary source data is available for Francis Berry that could document his life from late 1774 through the spring of 1779 when he moved to Kentucky. There is, however, a rich historical documentation of events that occurred in the area where this Berry family lived, so, in order to gain an understanding of their life during this time period, those historical events must be examined in detail.30

 

The Cherokee Uprising - 1776

 

     While the Battle of Point Pleasant was far from an overwhelming victory for the encroaching white settlers, it brought a temporary and uneasy peace to the region. Taking advantage of the lull in fighting, surveyors flooded Kentucky, marking the best land in the rich Bluegrass Region for the war veterans of Virginia. It was in the fall of 1774, not long after the Battle of Point Pleasant, that James Harrod led a group of Pennsylvanians into the area and began building a fortified station, the first European “town” in Kentucky that would soon become known as Fort Harrodsburg. The fall of 1774 also saw Richard Henderson begin negotiations with the Cherokee on a private purchase of Kentucky lands. In the spring of 1775 the deal was sealed at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River, a tributary of the Holston River in modern day Tennessee, and, immediately thereafter, Daniel Boone led a group of North Carolina and Virginia families weaving their way through the Holston, Clinch and Powell river valleys between the elongated ridges of what are now known as the Great Smoky Mountains to the Cumberland Gap. From there they headed northward and westward to settle at a place they called Fort Boonesborough in the middle of the Bluegrass Island on the south side of the Kentucky River. Following closely behind, Benjamin Logan led another group of settlers, but, just south of Boonesborough, they veered off toward the Ohio River to create a settlement at what would soon be called Logan’s Fort near Dix/Dicks River, a southern tributary of the Kentucky River, rimming the extreme southern edge of the Bluegrass Region. The first three villages settled by Europeans in Kentucky came one after another – all in the Bluegrass area and all in 1774 and 1775. Squatters, surveyors and hunters flooded into Kentucky through the rest of 1775, and by the winter unrest between the Shawnee and the new white arrivals erupted into another round of violence that lasted several more years. The flavor this time, however, was somewhat different in that the British now aided and advised the Indians in their attacks on the western settlements.858

 

     The Shawnee weren’t the only annoyed natives. After suffering significant manpower losses from a pivotal territorial battle with the Chickasaws along the western edges of their territories in 1769, the Cherokees found themselves in a very weakened position, soundly defeated by Indian competitors and forced to negotiate territorial claims with the Europeans encroaching from the east. The result was a treaty with the British government in 1770 that re-established the boundary between white and Cherokee lands, moving it significantly west of the line established by the Proclamation of 1763. That proclamation by the King of England stated that all English settlers were restricted to the river basins that drained into the Atlantic Ocean, and this westward extension clearly represented an abandonment of that political understanding. The Holston, Clinch and Powell valleys of southwestern Virginia ultimately drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Not unexpectedly, this sparked a rapid influx of European settlers, mostly from the North Carolina and Virginia colonies. These new immigrants created numerous settlements and fortifications in the Holston, Clinch and Powell valleys, with cabins and defensive fortifications appearing southward as far as present day northeastern Tennessee. The bulk of the immigrants settled in the Holston valleys (the North, Middle and South forks of the river), since it was larger, provided more opportunities for settlement, and was typically the first valley encountered by the new European settlers streaming in from Virginia. A significantly smaller number of people settled in the Clinch valley and only a few made it as far west as the Powell valley. The peak year of settler influx was 1773, followed by a drop off in 1774 as hostilities between whites and Indians grew. After the Battle of Point Pleasant in the fall of 1774, where the Shawnees from the north were defeated, there was another, albeit much smaller influx of new settlers.462,570,865,866

 

     The change in the political situation generated a great deal of resentment on the part of the Cherokees and Shawnees. In the early 1770s, resistance to white encroachment primarily came from roving bands of Shawnee warriors from north of the Ohio River, but the Battle of Point Pleasant in the fall of 1774 effectively, albeit temporarily, greatly diminished Shawnee efforts to stem the tide of European migration. The Cherokees were slowly regaining strength through the early to mid 1770s, and became increasingly involved in the efforts to thwart the European advance. It was the American Revolution, however, that provided them with the impetus to execute their goals of territorial reoccupation. Through the early to mid 1770s, relations between the American colonies and Great Britain rapidly deteriorated to the point of open revolution. By the time war finally broke out, the British had instigated a strategy of using British and Loyalist troops to attack the rebels along the coastal plain and piedmont east of the Appalachian Mountains while simultaneously taking advantage of their already aggrieved Indian allies to pressure the American rebels from the frontier. Consequently, numerous British agents visited the western tribes with arms, supplies and cash, inciting them to take up arms against the English colonists. The Cherokees, being eager to regain their lost territories, readily agreed and became increasingly aggressive. This, of course, greatly alarmed the settlers in the Powell, Holston and Clinch valleys of Botetourt and later Fincastle counties, who responded by organizing into militia units.462,570,865,866
 

     In July 1776, as open conflict between the American rebels and the British homeland erupted, the British, along with their Indian allies, developed a plan to eradicate settlers from the Holston, Clinch and Powell valleys once and for all. An assembled force of 700 warriors, predominantly Cherokee, but also including Shawnee, Delaware and Mohawk fighters was split into two groups. The dissident Cherokee chief Dragging Canoe was to attack the Nolichucky and Watauga settlements with half of the warriors while Raven was to lead the rest up the Clinch and Holston valleys to break up those settlements. Getting word of the impending attacks, the southernmost settlements along the Nolichucky River were abandoned and the refugees fled northward to the protection of the only nearby fortified positions - Eaton’s Fort near the Long Island of the Holston River and the fort on Watauga Creek (Watauga Fort). Finding the Nolichucky settlements abandoned, Dragging Canoe split his force again, sending Old Abram to lead an attack against the settlements on the Watauga Creek while he took the bulk of his force, nearly 200 warriors, to assault Eaton’s fort. (Figure 66) At this time the North Carolina settlements were governed by Virginia authority, so they looked to their neighbors in Fincastle County, Virginia for assistance. As the Nolichucky refugees poured into the two fortifications, word of the Indian onslaught was sent out to the nearby Virginia militia units at Thompson’s Fort, Edmiston’s Fort, Cocke’s Fort, Shelby’s Fort and the settlements near Wolf Creek. The next day, 20 July 1776, 170 members of the Virginia militia from in and around these locations quickly concentrated at Eaton’s Fort. Rather than wait for the inevitable defensive battle, or worse yet, sitting behind walls as the Cherokee looted their properties and killed stragglers, the militia army opted to go on the offensive and attack the approaching force. Two divisions marched toward Long Island, about seven miles away. Several miles short of their target a small group of Indians, loaded with plunder was encountered and attacked. As the Indians fled back to the nearby main Cherokee force, the militia, expecting a quick attack, fell back about a mile toward high ground. The counter attack came quickly as the main Cherokee force soon caught up with the settlers. Finding the settlers in apparent retreat, the Indians attacked, expecting an easy victory from an enemy that appeared to be in retreat already. The militia quickly formed a quarter mile long line of battle along the crest of a small ridge as the Cherokee attacked their center and left flank. The fighting soon devolved to bitter hand to hand combat, lasting from 30 to 45 minutes, but ending as quickly as it began with the rapid withdrawal of the Indian force. The militia suffered no losses and only two four minimally wounded men, while Indian losses were somewhat higher, with at least 13 known dead and many more wounded. Dragging Canoe was seriously wounded during the clash and soon withdrew his force form the field. Meanwhile, after an initial unsuccessful assault on Fort Watauga, Old Abram’s force settled into siege, but failed to overcome the fort’s defenses, and after two weeks, gave up. This battle of Long Island Flats, was the first clash of the Revolutionary War that took place west of the mountains and, especially coupled with the follow-up campaign, was considered to be an overwhelming victory for the settlers.462,570,867

 

     The militia returned to Eaton’s fort immediately after the battle, but with Raven’s force wrecking havoc in the lower Holston and Clinch River valleys, the Virginians quickly headed back to defend their homes and families. The only safe zone in the vicinity was now Black’s Fort, situated where the present city of Abingdon, Virginia is now located. For the next few days, Raven’s warriors killed and scalped settlers, looted and burned their homes and scattered their livestock, as they made their way through the area, eventually reaching as far north as 7 Mile Ford. Refugees from the affected areas streamed into the fort and on the eve of the battle of Long Island Flats, at least 400 men, women and children had left their homes for the safety of the fort. The Cherokee were mostly an unorganized force, roving the countryside in small bands, and one such band that was busy burning and plundering homes in the Wolf Hills settlement about eight miles south of the fort was attacked by Virginia militia members that had ventured out from the fort. Eleven Indians were killed in the encounter and their scalps were brought back to the fort where they were attached to a tall pole at the gate of the fort.462,570

 

     Eventually, after the Watauga siege was lifted, the Cherokee withdrew from the area, and the settlers quickly reoccupied the territory. Col. Christian, leading a force of 1,800 Virginia and North Carolina militia, soon launched a punitive raid against the Cherokee, loosely coordinated with similar raids by the North and South Carolina militias. From October through December Col. Christian’s army marched southward into the heart of Cherokee territory, burning villages, destroying crops, capturing British supplies and killing livestock as a force of North Carolina militia and another force of South Carolinians, approached from farther south and to the east, doing the same in a giant pincer movement. All of the major Cherokee towns were destroyed in the process with obviously devastating effects due to the oncoming winter season. Another, much smaller punitive expedition was mounted in April 1777. The Cherokee sued for peace, which ended the expedition, and made additional territorial cessions that were formalized in a treaty with the North and South Carolinians in May 1777 and the Virginians in July 1777. In these agreements, the Cherokee gave up all of their claims to contested lands in the Nolichucky, Watauga, Holston and New River valleys in addition to other territorial cessions with North and South Carolina. Col. Christian’s casualties were very light, resulting in only one killed and several wounded, with several of the latter being Berry men. At the close of the campaign Col. Christian withdrew, stationing 600 men at the Long Island of the Holston and 80 men at Rye Cove for longer term defensive militia duty. The rest were mustered out of service. A hostile element of frustrated and disgruntled Cherokee, led by Dragging Canoe, broke away from the main group of Cherokee and withdrew to the Chickamauga Creek area in the vicinity of modern day Chattanooga, Tennessee, located at a well known British trading post. From this base they continued to be supplied with arms, especially after the Georgia colony fell to British troops in late 1778, and this allowed them to continue hostile actions against the settlers.570,868,869,870

 

Back to the Timeline

 

     It seems highly unlikely that Francis and Sarah Berry would have been unaware of Richard Henderson’s purchase of Cherokee lands in Kentucky and of the early settlements that were springing up in the Bluegrass region during the short lull in violence that resulted from the Point Pleasant battlefield victory. Henderson, previously a North Carolina judge, and acting outside the authority of both the North Carolina and Virginia colonial governments, had negotiated a private treaty with the Cherokee to purchase a huge parcel of land in order to make a privately-owned colony – much akin to a feudal kingdom. The deal was signed with great pomp and ceremony on 17 March 1775 at Sycamore Shoals, a well known ford on the Watauga River not far from where Francis and Sarah lived and, from all of the first-hand descriptions of the event, it generated a major festival-like occurrence for the area. Furthermore, many of the Fort Boonesborough and Logan’s Fort settlers, who then populated this newly acquired land in Kentucky, were people who lived in the Holston and Clinch valleys and Francis and Sarah probably knew some of the Kentucky-bound settlers or, at the very least, knew people who knew them. Furthermore, they lived nearly at the epicenter of the events that occurred during the violent British-stirred backlash by the Cherokee that occurred in the summer of 1776.976

 

     While the exact site of Francis and Sarah Berry’s settlement at this time is not known, it was most likely not far from the modern town of Bristol, Tennessee, since that is where Captain Evan Shelby had built his fortification (Shelby’s Fort). It was in that general area that the Sharp family had settled, and was within the range of militia members serving in Captain Shelby’s company. When Dragging Canoe assaulted Eaton’s Fort, located on the South Fork of the Holston, not far from where it merges with the North Fork, Virginia militia units from the surrounding forts, including Shelby’s Fort, were sent to assist in their defense. They participated in the decisive Battle of Long Island Flats, so it can probably be safely assumed that Francis Berry took part in this action.976

     Adelaide Berry Duncan, a granddaughter of Francis Berry, told the following story, which may constitute a family oral tradition of events during the 1776 Cherokee uprising.146,590

 

Before our ancestors moved to Kentucky, they in Virginia had to seek safety in a blockhouse. Your grandmother Duncan (Mary "Polly" Laughlin) told me of this after I was married. She was a little girl and was drinking sweet sap that was dripping from a sugar tree near her father's house. She had left one shoe and stocking in the house. A runner came galloping by, calling out: "To the blockhouse. The Indians are coming!" Her father (John Laughlin Jr) picked her up, and poor lame man that he was, carried her in his arms. By the time they got pretty near the blockhouse, there was quite a crowd of neighbors, and they stopped to drink at a little stream, and your grandmother's little tin cup that she had in her hand was all they had to drink out of; only one woman pulled off her shoe and gave her children drinks out of it. I don't know whether your great-grandfather Duncan's family was in the blockhouse or not, but my grandfather and grandmother Berry (Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp) were, as also Billy King, whose wife was Betty Sharp (the sister of Sarah Sharp) before she married.

 

     A note about state boundaries seems necessary at this point. At this time the Virginia/North Carolina boundary was only approximate, and many settlers who thought that they were Virginians ended up being residents of North Carolina after the boundary lines were settled several years later. That was precisely the case with the settlers living around Shelby’s Fort, who, at the time, considered themselves to be Virginians. A subtle irony is that many of these Virginians who came to the assistance of their North Carolina brethren, eventually, by state level agreements, became North Carolinians themselves.
 

     With bands of hostile and aggressive Cherokee warriors roving through the countryside, murdering unprotected settlers and plundering their property, the few fortifications must have served as relatively safe refugee camps. Consequently, these forts must have been characterized by the primitive sanitation and food conditions one would expect when a large numbers of refugees are crowded into small spaces. Add to that a basic fear for your life and you have a fairly desperate situation. It had to have been a major morale boost when Dragging Canoe was defeated at the Battle of Long Island Flats and when the Cherokee siege against the nearby Watauga forts failed. While there are no lists of militia members who participated in these events, it seems highly likely that Francis Berry must have been an active participant in the Long Island Flats battle, and his family was probably part of the refugee crowd at Shelby’s Fort. Whether he was involved in Col. Christian’s subsequent punitive campaign against the Cherokee is even more murky, but there is certainly a considerable probability that Francis Berry was a player in that event as well.976

 

     In 1777, not long after the conclusion of Cherokee Uprising and the follow-on events, Francis Berry Sr. (the father of the Francis Berry who married Sarah Sharp) left his home in Augusta County and moved to the Wolf Hills area near modern day Abingdon, Virginia, which is where most of the other Berry family members had settled. Coming with Francis Sr., presumably was another son, Thomas Berry, who would eventually accompany his brother Francis Jr. and family to Kentucky in the late winter or early spring of 1779. There is no direct information that can provide any light on the life of Francis and Sarah Berry from 1776 through the spring of 1779 when they left for Kentucky, but an analysis of the movements and intermarriages of the Sharp, Dunkin and Laughlin extended families sheds a great deal of light on how and why Francis Berry ended up in Kentucky in 1779. Members of the extended family group that he married into appear to have migrated together to the Kentucky frontier.

 

     The Dunkin, Sharp and Laughlin families all originated either in Scotland or northern Ireland, and emigrated to the American colonies. Both the Dunkins and Laughlins arrived in 1740, while the emigration date of the Sharp family is not known. Whether or not they traveled together is not known, but all of these Scotch-Irish immigrant families ended up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and based on the intermarriages that occurred among them, once they arrived in Pennsylvania they probably lived near each other. While still in Pennsylvania John Dunkin, the only son of Thomas Dunkin, the original Dunkin emigrant, married Eleanor Sharp, a daughter of John Sharp, the original Sharp emigrant. John Dunkin’s sister, Mary Jane Dunkin, married James Laughlin, a son of John Laughlin, the original Laughlin emigrant, and James Laughlin’s sister, Elizabeth Laughlin, married John Sharp, a son of John Sharp, the original Sharp emigrant. It should also be noted that two of John Dunkin’s other sisters married men who later emigrated to Kentucky and were captured during the attack on Riddle’s and Martin’s Stations. Elizabeth Dunkin married Samuel Porter and Martha Dunkin married Solomon Litton. The high degree of intermarriage among these families, as shown in Table XL, strongly suggests a close geographic connection of the original Scotch-Irish emigrant families once they got to Pennsyvania.969,973

 

Table XL

Intermarriages of the Sharp, Dunkin and Laughlin Families

 

Original Emigrant Second Generation Married Couples
John Sharp Elizabeth Sharp   John Sharp II
Thomas Dunkin John Dunkin Mary Jane Dunkin  
John Laughlin   James Laughlin Elizabeth Laughlin

Original emigrants are listed in bold type. Under the "Second Generation Married Couples" heading,

married couples are identified in the vertical columns, so Elizabeth Sharp and John Dunkin represent a married couple.

 

     During the mid to late 1760s these families, not to mention most of the other siblings and their families, began migrating southward to Virginia, many of them eventually ending up in southwestern Virginia. In 1764 John Laughlin II, another son of the original Laughlin emigrant, moved to the Fincastle area in Botetourt County, then on to the Holston Valley in 1773. John Sharp II moved to the southern part of the Holston valley with two brothers and their families in 1766 and John Dunkin with his wife and family, as well as his brother in law, James Laughlin, moved to the Elk Garden, a fortified station in the lower Clinch River valley. Even though they were somewhat spread out, this related group of families must have kept in fairly close contact, since the move to Kentucky, very clearly, was a coordinated action. The following description of the early settlers to the Holston Valley, which further substantiates the date and place of origin of several of the families here examined comes from a Campbell family historian writing in the early 1900s.969,973,974,975   

 

 

Some account of the first settlers of old Washington County, Virginia, would, no doubt, be interesting to many of the readers of the Virginian, and I could tell them something on that subject, if I had the resolution to write it down, but on that point I have some misgivings. I will, however, try. Hunters visited the county as early as 1745, but no families came and settled permanently until about 1767 or 1768. In two years from that time many emigrated, so that in 1770 the county was dotted all over with improvements. The first great migration was from Augusta County, but the spirit was immediately caught, and large numbers of families, and, indeed, whole connections, came from Frederick County and the Valley - from the Augusta line to the Potomac - from the upper counties of Maryland and from Pennsylvania. Botetourt and the country on each side of it sent members. The first large connections were the Edmondsons, of whom there were ten or twelve families of the same name. Then the Vances, Newells, Blackburns, and several others of that connection; the Campbells, five or six families, the Davises, four brothers - Nathaniel, John, James and Samuel Davis, the Craigs, three brothers - David, Robert and James Craig, two or three families of the Colvilles, and the same number of Briggses, two families of Logans, John and Benjamin Logan, a large number of Buchanans, and several families of Beatys and their connections, the Rayburns and Dysarts, also a large connection of the Berry family; five or six Lowrey families; the Sharps and Laughlins, a large connection, including the Kings and Youngs. These Youngs were not the German family, they were of Irish descent. I have named such as occurs to me, but that the reader may know who were the heads of families that composed the Rev. Charles Cummings' congregation at Sinking Spring, in the Grace Spring neighborhood, I will give a list of their names, and it must be remembered that they were all Presbyterians.

 

    By the late spring of 1775 the first three white settlements had been established in Kentucky – all in the Bluegrass region - and people began pouring into Kentucky. Primarily, they were land speculators, surveyors and settlers who quickly set to work hunting the wildlife, marking off chunks of prime land, building cabins and planting corn crops to secure their land claims. Unsurprisingly, this “invasion” of Kentucky by “foreigners” sparked the next round of guerilla warfare between the settlers and the tribes living north of the Ohio River. Spurred by British advice, aid and arms sales, and most likely coordinated with Cherokee assaults to the south and Iroquois attacks to the north, the Shawnee made life very miserable for any settlers south of the Ohio River, nearly depopulating Kentucky by late 1777, the peak year of violent incidents.968,969,973

 

     While the violence never fully disappeared during the rest of the 1770s, it diminished sufficiently for settlers to venture back into Kentucky by late 1778 and early 1779. Among the many people venturing into Kentucky frontier was a band of extended family members led by John Dunkin. Sometime in 1777 he had first traveled to Kentucky to identify his territory in the area known as “the forks of the Licking”, which was an area in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky where the Licking River, a major tributary emptying into the Ohio River, split into two major forks (Stoners Creek and Hinkstons Creek). In 1778 he is reported to have built a cabin and planted a crop of corn not far from where the Licking River split into the Stoner and Hinkston forks, thus legally establishing a land claim. In the spring of 1779, along with numerous other settlers, he returned with his family accompanied by his two sisters and their husbands, Solomon Litton and Samuel Porter, as well as a number of other related families, including Francis Berry, who had married his wife’s sister, and a number of other families. From Kentucky land records, shown in Table XLI, it can be seen that many of these extended family members, as well as other nonrelated settlers, arrived in the forks of the Licking River area and established their land claims in March and April of 1779. Apparently, George Riddle, who had served in Francis Berry’s militia company during the Point Pleasant Campaign and who probably, at least in 1774, lived near Francis Berry in the Holston valley, had established a settlement and made qualifying improvements in 1777, probably along with Isaac Riddle and possibly accompanied by John Dunkin on one his earlier trips to the area. Quite clearly then, neighbors and extended family members of the Dunkin – Sharp – Laughlin clan and other family groups acted together, many of them most likely traveling together, in a rather cohesive emigration to the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.968,969,973

 

Table XLI

Certificates of Settlement and Preemption Warrants in the Forks of the Licking

 

First Name Last Name Acres Watercourse Settlement Date
Francis Berry 400 Coopers Run March 1779
John   Duncan 400 Hinkston Creek March 1779
Peter Fore  400 Licking Creek April 1779
Thomas Foster  400 Licking Creek March 1779
Charles Gatliff 400 Hinkston Creek March 1779
Joel Hill 400 Licking Creek April 1779
Solomon Litton 400 Coopers Run March 1779
John Loveless 400 Coopers Run March 1779
John Mahan 400 Hinkston Creek 1776
Thomas Mahan 400 Coopers Run March 1779
John Mahan 1000 Hinkston Creek 1776
John Martin 400* South Fork Licking Creek 1775
John Martin 1000* Licking Creek 1775
Iky Rice 400 Licking Creek April 1779
James Riddle 400 Licking Creek April 1779
Isaac  Riddle 400* Licking Creek (Flat Run Br) 1777
Isaac Riddle 1000* Licking Creek 1777
John Riddle  400 Licking Creek April 1779
George Riddle 400*  Licking Creek 1777
George Riddle 1000* Licking Creek 1777
Samuel Van Hook Jr 400 Blue Licks March 1779
James Duncan * Elkhorn Creek 1778

* Certificate of Settlement for the 400 acres, Preemption Warrant for the 1000 acres
 

     Due to the ever-present Indian danger at this time, these frontier settlers built their cabins within a few miles of privately built fortifications called stations. Quite often they actually lived at the forts. The structures could be a cluster of cabins, or when more formally constructed, built in the shape of a parallelogram with closely-spaced picketed logs forming a solid wooden wall about ten feet in height that was resistant to bullets and arrows. In many cases, at each corner there was a bastion that provided a protected, elevated platform for providing flanking gunfire onto any approaching enemy. When word was spread among the settlers warning of the presence of hostiles in the area, the families would quickly make their way to the safety of these well fortified stations, if they were not already living there, to protect their lives and possibly some of their possessions. This had been a very successful tactic of settlers intruding into contested territory for some time, and one that greatly frustrated the Native American attackers. Ever since Fort Boonesborough, Logan’s Station and Fort Harrodsburg had been built, multiple unsuccessful, sieges had been attempted by the Shawnee to reduce these forts. The Riddle family, including Isaac, John and George Riddle, built one such station, called Riddle’s or Ruddle’s Station, located about three miles below (i.e. downstream of) the forks of the Licking River. Joseph and John Martin built another such station, Martin’s Station, about five miles up (i.e. upstream) from the forks of the Licking River on the north side of the southern fork, Stoner Creek. According to the Settlement Certificates and Preemption Grants issued to them by the Virginia Land Commission, both Isaac and George Riddle established their corn and cabin rights on lands where Ruddle’s Station would eventually be built by 1777. James Dunkin, a brother of John Dunkin, had established his land rights on nearby Elkhorn Creek as early as 1778, and John Martin’s Settlement Certificate indicated that he had been in the area as early as 1775. Consequently, when the John Dunkin party arrived in the area, they were coming to a place where not only did they have kin who had been working the land, but some of their neighbors had also been in the area for some time.773,968,976

 

     In March of 1779 Francis Berry left the Holston valley for Kentucky with a group of settlers, probably consisting only of men and mainly his brothers in law at that. Their intent was to select some open land for settlement then bring out their families in the fall. Most likely they followed the newly blazed Wilderness Trail to Logan’s Station (Figure 92). Since it is known that George Riddle led a party from Logan’s Fort in the spring of 1779 to the forks of the Licking River, where he and his brother had been doing work on their station, it seems logical to assume this is the route the John Dunkin party took, and it may well have been their party that he was referring to. A few months later, in May of 1779, several of these men, led by John Haggin, who knew the area, trudged upstream from Riddle’s Station to Coopers Run in order to make settlement claims on what they thought was open land. Francis Berry, Solomon Litton, John Loveless and Thomas Mahan headed up Coopers Run to establish their claims (Figure 93).Not far from where Coopers Run emptied into Stoners Creek, not far from where Stoners Fork and Hinkston Creek merge to form the South Fork of the Licking River, John Martin, about the same time, built a fortified station called Martin’s Station along a well traveled Indian-buffalo trail. He had selected the site on previous trips the area as early as 1775 or 1776. Thomas Foster, Joel Hill and Iky Rice picked out properties near John Martin’s station along the southern fork of the Licking, Stoner Creek, while John Dunkin, Charles Gatliff and John Mahan selected lands near each other and along Hinkston Creek, the north fork of the Licking. The central point for all of their lives was Martin’s Station. Documentation by Solomon Litton, who also accompanied this group, indicated that they returned to the Holston and Clinch valleys in the fall of 1779 and brought their families out to either Riddle’s or Martin’s Station for permanent settlement, and it makes sense that Francis Berry would have followed the same pattern. Sometime between the fall of 1779 and March 1780, many of these families, including Solomon Litton and Francis Berry, moved from Riddle’s Station to Martin’s Station to be closer to the lands they were trying to claim.148,250,313,968,969,973,976,977,978

     For some reason, Francis and Sarah's oldest son, John Berry, was left back in Washington County with relatives, so they did not bring both of their children out west. The reason is unclear, but the obvious answer that arises is that there could have been some health concerns with their first born child. In order to accomplish their emigration feat, they, the only logical option would have been to travel at least a portion of the Wilderness Trail, recently “blazed” in the spring of 1775 by Daniel Boone as he led Richard Henderson’s settlers to establish Fort Boonesborough on the Kentucky River. For much of their trek, Daniel Boone and his company of axmen, in blazing this pathway, had followed a series of ancient buffalo trails that directed these herds of herbivores between salt licks and grazing grounds. The Shawnee and Iroquois used the same pre-existing trails as their trade routes and war paths, so the European settlers utilized firmly established lines of communication that existed from the intermountain valleys of southwestern Virginia, through the mountains and northward to Ohio. Samuel Laughlin, a grandson of both John Duncan and John Laughlin, in his 1845 family history document, identified the route that his grandfather, John Duncan took from Virginia to Kentucky:

148,250,287,313,968,969,973,976,977,978

 

He and his family with many of their relatives removed to Kentucky by way of Cumberland Gap and Crabb Orchard, and settled in the country around about where Lexington now stands …

 

     At the time that Francis and Sarah Berry used this road it was not yet able to accommodate wagons, so all of the household gear that they planned to bring with them to the frontier had to be loaded onto the backs of a train of pack horses. With the dangers involved in such a journey through rough terrain inhabited by hostile Indians, a slow-moving pack train, hauling heavy gear and accompanied by a human caravan ranging in age from young children to elderly parents, would have been a tempting target for plunder. Consequently, to guarantee their security, these early settlers, mostly extended family members, must have traveled together in a convoy bristling with well armed men. Francis and Sarah Berry’s journey would have begun along the Holston River near modern day Bristol, Tennessee and headed toward one of the two major gaps in Clinch Mountain, a line of tall mountains starkly delineating the western edge of the Holston valley. The closest, Big Moccasin Gap, which was used by Daniel Boone’s trail-clearing crew intent on establishing Fort Boonesborough, lies straight west of Bristol. However, they could have used Little Moccasin Gap, which lies north and west of Bristol and straight west of Abingdon, Virginia, since they probably had to travel first either to William Russell’s station at Castlewood or to the Elk Garden station. John Dunkin, the leader of the expedition, along with his family and elderly mother), and his brother in law, Solomon Litton, who soon settled adjacent to Francis Berry on Coopers Run, lived at or near the fortified station of Elk Garden. Samuel Porter, another brother in law of John Dunkin, appears to have been living close to Russell’s fortified station at Castlewood. From the Holston Valley, both stations can more easily be accessed via Little Moccasin Gap. Since the Riddle family appears to have arrived in the forks of the Licking area around the same time, it seems logical that suspect that George Riddle, who, at least in 1774, lived near Francis Berry, could also have accompanied this caravan. From either Castlewood or Elk Garden, the large pack train, now most likely consisting of the extended families of John Dunkin, Solomon Litton, Samuel Porter and Francis Berry, plus, quite possibly a number of other families, such as Thomas Mahan, John Loveless (Lovelace), Thomas Foster, Samuel Van Hook and Charles Gatliff although many of these families certainly could have traveled in separate groups and met at Logan’s Station. In addition, there also appear to have been some African slaves, owned, most likely, by John Dunkin, and there certainly could have been some livestock. All of the latter men and their families settled in the forks of the Licking in March of 1779 (Figure 92).
 

     From either Elk Garden or Castlewood, the armed convoy would have slowly wound its way south and westward along the ancient Indian and buffalo pathways along linear mountain valleys and across gaps between mountain ranges toward the Cumberland Gap – the entrance to Kentucky. About twenty five miles before reaching that gap, though, they most likely would have stopped at Martin’s Station, the last safe haven and source of supplies for westward bound emigrants. After continuing on, the party would have passed through Cumberland Gap along the well worn buffalo and warrior pathway northward to where the Cumberland River passes through another line of mountains at Pine Mountain Gap then onward to Big Flat Lick. Here, the Boone party had steered away from the buffalo-warrior trace in their trail-blazing efforts. Rather than following the relatively easy trail to the northeast, they headed northwestward into a rugged, hilly countryside filled with thick woods and underbrush and steep ravines. Even today this is a very isolated and remote part of the country, now designated as the Daniel Boone National Forest. After reaching the Rockcastle River they crossed over the last of the mountain wilderness and entered the edges of the Bluegrass region where they, once more, encountered easy to follow buffalo traces across gently rolling, forested and grassy countryside. One branch of the Wilderness Trail led to Fort Boonesborough, while the other led to Logan’s Fort and Fort Harrodsburg. While it is not clear which direction this party headed, it is known that George Riddle led a party from Logan’s Fort in the spring of 1779 to the forks of the Licking River, where he and his brother had been doing work on their station, so it seems logical to assume this is the route the John Dunkin party took (Figure 92).148,976,977

 

     The large human, animal and supply caravan arrived in the forks of the Licking in the fall of 1779 after having made the strenuous overland journey along the Wilderness Trail from the Holston and Clinch valleys of Virginia. Rather than fanning out to their individual settlement sites, the families appear to have settled at one of the stations – either Martin’s or Riddle’s Station, and, since subsequent court documents indicated that at least for Solomon Litton and Francis Berry, no cabins had been built at their chosen settlement sites yet. In the spring, weather permitting and, more importantly, safety-permitting, they could begin the tedious process of clearing the land of underbrush and trees, constructing a cabin and probably livestock pens, as well as planting corn and other crops, seeds for which they must have brought with them.997

 

     The next record for Francis Berry documents his appearance before the Virginia Land Commissioners on 15 January 1780 to present his case for obtaining a patent on the land that he and his family had been occupying since the previous spring. To deal with the flood of settlers streaming into Kentucky and squatting on any lands of their choosing, the Virginia General Assembly in Williamsburg, the colonial capital of Virginia, developed a land patenting process that sanctioned land ownership for the many families who were squatting on what they thought were open lands, while at the same time honoring the Treasury Warrants that had been issued by Virginia to veterans of the French and Indian War. Settlers living in Kentucky County who could prove that they had made an improvement (built a cabin) and planted a crop there before 1 January 1778 were allowed to purchase 400 acres around their settlement site by means of a Certificate of Settlement with the option of purchasing an adjacent 1000 acres using a Preemption Warrant. The cost was 2 for the 400 acre settlement site and 400 for the adjacent land. Those settlers who arrived in Kentucky County after 1 January 1778 and before May 1779, the date the land law was written, and who met the same improvement and crop requirements, were allowed to purchase a 400 acre Preemption Warrant for the land on which their improvements had been made. The price for this land, however, was 160. In addition, in order to allow the recipients of Settlement Certificates and Military Warrants first choice of land, recipients of Preemption Warrants could not enter their land until 1 May 1780. In the fall of 1779 land commissioners were sent out to Kentucky County to document and settle the tangled legal mess. The commissioners met at Logan’s Station on 13 October, at Harrodsburg the next week, then at the village at the falls of the Ohio (Louisville) by 16 November. On 18 December they moved to Boonesborough and on 3 January 1780 they began meetings at Bryant’s Station. By the time the commission’s work was done they had adjudicated over 1300 claims involving just over 1.3 million acres of land. Later court documentation indicates that Francis Berry did not make a personal appearance before the Land Commission at Bryant’s Station on 15 January 1780. Instead, John Haggin acted as his agent. Apparently he successfully presented his case and Francis Berry was granted a preemption warrant for 400 acres surrounding his settlement site, indicating that he had provided evidence that he had arrived in Kentucky County sometime between 1 January 1778 and May 1779. The certificate issued to Francis Berry noted that the settlement had been made in March of 1779, several months before the final deadline, and that a warrant for the certificate had to be entered with the county surveyor on or before 26 June 1780.968,976,991,997

 

     In March of 1780, two months after Francis Berry’s preemption certificate approval by Virginia Land Commission at Bryant’s Station (near modern day Lexington, Kentucky), a militia company was formed at Martin’s Station in order to provide for the common defense against the Shawnee threat. It may actually have formed prior to that date, but the date of the list is given as March of that year. The militia company undoubtedly required the membership of all able-bodied males in the area to provide for the communal defense, so an analysis of these names should provide an understanding of the composition, structure and origin of the families that chose to settle in the vicinity of Martin’s Station along and near the south fork of the Licking River. The people of European origin who settled the forks of the Licking in the late 1770s were a somewhat diverse ethnic and religious lot. There were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, German (probably Protestants) and French Protestants who started their migration into the Bluegrass area of Kentucky from the valleys of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia and the coastal plains of Virginia and North Carolina. Many of the militia members had recently acquired preemption grants from the Virginia Land Commission, and can be documented as owning land within a few miles of Martin’s Station. The overwhelming majority of the militia men at Martin’s Station were related to other militia members, so, obviously, many of the families were related, but they were related in clusters – many to each other but none to all. For example, Solomon Litton, Thomas Foster, John Dunkin and Francis Berry, were part of the John Dunkin extended family group which had recently traveled together from the Holston Valley. The Gatliffs and the McGuires were also related by blood and marriage as were the Fores/La Force/LaFarces and Mahans. There were also the Van Hook and the Loveless families, who, though not related to each other, or to other militia member families, were nevertheless comprised distinct and multiple families. Some of the militia members eventually submitted applications to the federal government for pensions based on their Revolutionary War era service, and their first-person accounts provide a rich historical basis for understanding the caste of characters living in the forks of the Licking. Other militia members can be shown to be related through birth and/or marriage, so genealogical investigations of those families has provided the documentary evidence for their connectivity. The bottom line is that this militia list represents the male side of several family groupings that had arrived in the area separately, from different parts of the colony and stemmed from ethnically diverse origins. This small population of European settlers came to occupy the same space in an accident of geography and then, through an accident of history, ended up sharing space in the pages of revolutionary American history. The individual stories of where they came from and how they got there provide an interesting backdrop for understanding the events that happened during and after the combined Shawnee and British attacks on Ruddle’s and Martin’s Stations.

 

     Charles Gatliff, who had served as a hunter for both Riddle and Martin’s Station, as an agent sent out to gather information on Indian movements (usually referred to as a spy in the records) on several occasions, and assisted in the construction of Riddle’s Station, was selected as the captain of the Martin’s Station by the members of militia company. He had married Christiana McGuire who was a sister of both William and Thomas McGuire, also members of the Martin’s Station militia company. According to McGuire family history, William McGuire participated in the initial construction of Martins’s station in either 1775 or 1776, which was located near a major buffalo and Indian trail. The site was enlarged and improved upon when permanent settlers finally arrived in 1779. At the time of the attack on Martin’s Station, Charles Gatliff was on a hunting expedition, gathering food supplies for the fort, and even though he was listed as a private, according to family stories, William McGuire was left in command of the militia at the station in Gatliff’s absence.979,983,987

 

     The brothers John and George Loveless were also militia members. John Loveless, the father of both men, lived about 12 miles from the modern day town of Abingdon in the Holston valley of southwestern Virginia prior to emigrating to Kentucky. In 1777 he was drafted for a six month tour in the Holston militia under Col. Bowman to protect the settlers from Indian depredations and to relieve the Shawnee siege of Fort Boonesborough, but his son, George, was his substitute. On this tour George served as a pack horse guard on the trip out to Kentucky, and his militia unit traversed the Wilderness Trail to relieve the Shawnee siege of Fort Boonesborough. After the siege ended, he served sentry duty and went on hunting and scouting parties for the duration of his tour, so he was able to explore the countryside. He was discharged in late October 1777 and marched back to the Holston area. In the spring of 1778 he once again went to Kentucky as a militia member, and was also able to plant a corn crop on a plot of land he had selected as he and his fellow soldiers were guarding settlers in the area. His intent was to move his father and the rest of his family to the property he had started improving, but, for some reason, they were unable to make the trip that year. Early in the spring of 1779 he again planted corn and joined a party of local militia volunteers that participated in a campaign against the Shawnee towns in Ohio. On that raid the militia had stolen the best property of the Shawnee, along with many horses, and, to secure the enemy’s losses, they burned their town. Despite the fact that it was only marginally successful, it did cut down on Shawnee predatory attacks that year, which was when Francis Berry and his family were emigrating into the area. He was again discharged and returned to the Riddle’s Station area to take care of his corn crop. In the fall of 1779 he returned to Virginia and brought out his father and family and about 19 other families then assisted in the construction of Martin’s Station.980

 

     Peter, Hezekiah, Silas and John Fore, and probably William LeForce, all brothers and, except for Silas, privates in the Martin’s Station militia company. All were descendants of French Protestants (Huguenots) who had been forced to flee France in 1700 because of religious persecution. The family first migrated to Virginia, settling in Henrico County, and their name soon became anglicized to such variations as Ford, Fore, Foree, La Force and LeForce. Peter Fore, originally Pierre Faure, one of the sons of the original immigrant, as were Hezekiah, John and William, moved to Kentucky during the winter of 1779, accompanied by a rather large brood of siblings, children and grandchildren, and settled near Martins’ Station. Based on marriage records, however, they appear to have first moved to somewhere in the valley of Virginia – probably in Botetourt County, which is where the Mahans come in. Patrick Mahan and his wife, Isabella ? (unknown last name), were both born in the 1730s and originally from Scotland. They had migrated to the forks of the Licking from Botetourt County along with three of their sons, John (and his family), William and Thomas, as well as a married daughter Margaret Mahan Morrow and her family. Their oldest son, John Mahan, had married Agnes la Force in Botetourt County, Virginia in 1778. Thomas, William and Patrick Mahan were privates in the Martin’s Station militia, while John Mahan was the Lieutenant.981,984,985,986

 

     Samuel Van Hook Sr. and Samuel Van Hook Jr. were both members of the Martin’s Station militia. Samuel Sr. served as a sergeant while Samuel Jr. was a private. Samuel Sr. was born in New Jersey in the 1730s, and since his father had passed away, accompanied his uncle and family when they moved to North Carolina, eventually ending up in the north central part of the state. Samuel Hook Jr. was born in the 1750s, possibly while the family was till in New Jersey. In the spring of 1779 Samuel Sr. migrated to the forks of the Licking River with his family, living first at Ruddle’s Station, then moving upstream to Martin’s Station where his wife was killed by Indians in March of 1780.982

 

Historical Background - The Kentucky Frontier from 1777 to 1780

 

     As the Revolutionary War began heating up east of the Appalachians, Henry Hamilton, the British Governor of Canada who was headquartered in Detroit, initiated a campaign to use the tribes living north of the Ohio River to drive out the American settlers streaming into the Kentucky frontier, as well as to place pressure on the rebel American government by opening a western front in the war. Consequently, he enlisted the aid of the Shawnee, Wyandotte and Mingo tribes, the native groups most affected by the American invasion into Kentucky, by supplying them with arms and ammunition and promising security of their lands if they would launch attacks on these invading settlers. As a result, 1777, a year after the American Revolution began, was a particularly brutal one in Kentucky, being marked by numerous successful raids on the Kentucky settlements. These actions thoroughly shocked the settlers, who began abandoning Kentucky for safe refuge in the settlements farther east. To counter this threat, Lt. Col. George Rogers Clark, who had recently been promoted and placed in charge of the Kentucky militia, embarked upon a campaign with the overall goal of capturing Detroit. This would eliminate the combined British-Indian threat, stem the exodus of settlers from Kentucky and relieve the pressure from the west. The first step in this campaign was the capture the far western British outposts such as Kaskaskia and Vincennes, which controlled the entire region, and by the fall of 1778, these operations were successfully completed. In late December 1778, though Gov. Hamilton recaptured Vincennes, but two months later, both he and his army were captured by Col. Clark’s army in a surprise raid. While Col. Clark continued operations in the region, Detroit remained in British hands for the rest of the war.858,976,990
 

     By early 1779 the Northwest Territories had been permanently secured for the American government, but, since Detroit had not been taken, surprise hit and run raids by heavily armed warriors continued to inflict devastating losses against small, isolated and outnumbered groups of settlers. On the other hand, there were some successful elements in the defense of Kentucky, perhaps the most important, of which were the fortified positions that began springing up throughout the Bluegrass area. Despite numerous assaults and sieges against them, none of the sieges were successful. There were actually two types of these fortified positions being built in Kentucky. What was typically called a fort, for example, Fort Harrodsburg, was characterized by a large, walled defensive structure, composed of logs, and occupied by a somewhat large and diverse community. A station, on the other hand, such as Martin’s Station, was typically built and operated by a private community, or, more explicitly, a group of extended families. Both types of fortified positions were designed and constructed to efficiently resist attacks by warriors armed only with rifles or bows, and their placement at or near a water supply provided a great deal of immunity to sieges. Furthermore, attacking such fortified positions was an element of warfare quite unfamiliar to the Shawnee. These stations served as the core linchpins in the successful defense against the organized assaults of the Shawnee and their allies, and the back of Kentucky resistance could not be broken if these fortified positions remained securely in the settlers hands. While hit and run tactics were successful against small isolated groups, successful siege warfare against such fortified positions required the use the use of artillery, and that could only be obtained through joint operations with their British allies.858,976

 

     Another successful element in the defense of the Kentucky settlements was the availability of military relief and reinforcement. Many of the settlers who remained in Kentucky during this time became organized into militia units, especially when they lived at or near a fortified station. When they found themselves under siege, they were quite often able to send individual runners to make the two hundred mile trek to southwestern Virginia for militia support. The Holston militia is a term broadly used to define the Virginia militia companies populated by men from the Holston, Clinch and Powell River valleys of present day southwestern Virginia. One such unit of Holston militia, under the command of Col. John Bowman, arrived at Logan’s Fort in the late summer of 1777 to relieve a siege. A smaller unit of North Carolina militia also provided assistance, and soldiers were left at Fort Harrodsburg, Fort Logan and Fort Boonesborough to ensure local security.858,976,989,990

 

     In the fall of 1777, the murder of a Shawnee chief, Cornstalk and his family, ignited another round of bloodshed. Cornstalk was widely viewed as a leader of the peace movement among the Shawnee, so his murder particularly enraged many Shanwnee warriors, and another series of raids against the settlers was initiated. A siege of Fort Booneborough in 1778 lasted for three weeks, and immediately following that event, Logan’s Fort experienced a series of attacks, followed by relief from the Holston militia. Responding to these raids, Col. John Bowman (the first military governor of the newly formed Kentucky County) and Benjamin Logan (the military leader of Logan’s Fort) led a punitive expedition in the summer of 1779 against the Shawnee settlements, using both local and Holston militia units, and the limited success of this operation resulted in a temporary lull in Shawnee attacks. Raids and counter raids, accompanied by atrocities and counter atrocities, what would most likely today refer to as war crimes, coupled by an absence of complete victories on either side served only to fuel the fires of revenge for both the settlers and the Indians.858,976,989,990,996

 

     When good weather returned in the spring of 1780, the British launched a campaign to recoup their recent territorial losses in the west. A large force of soldiers was to sweep down the Mississippi valley from northern Michigan and meet up with another force advancing northward from the Gulf. Simultaneously, Captain Henry Bird was to move from Detroit through Shawnee territory with 1,000 men, capture the fort constructed by Col. Clark at the falls of the Ohio, then subdue the Kentucky settlements, and a fourth force was to advance from Chicago into the Illinois River area. Learning of the plan, Col. Clark rushed to St. Louis and rebuffed the British force that was intended to recapture the Illinois valley, then, learning of Captain Bird’s expedition from prisoner interrogations, he immediately headed up the Ohio River to intercept them. Meanwhile, Capt. Bird’s progress had been slowed because of the two cannons he was bringing to reduce the fortified stations. When he had reached the Ohio River, the bulk of his force, many, of whom, were Shawnee warriors, refused to move downstream to the falls at modern day Louisville, since they had heard Col. Clark was in that area. After two days of arguing with them, Capt. Bird altered his mission, directing an attack on the easier targets located on the Licking River. In his original plan, Captain Bird had indicated that attacking the lesser forts first would lead to a failure in the overall mission, since their ammunition would be used up, and the Indians, experiencing success, would be inclined to abandon the project. As predicted, after taking Ruddles and Martin’s Stations, and encumbered with the humanitarian issue of caring for a large number of prisoners, the expedition stalled and headed back north, first passing through the Shawnee villages. The Shawnee kept about 200 of the prisoners, while Capt. Bird continued on to Detroit with 150 of them. Based on Daniel Boone’s period of Shawnee captivity a few years earlier, it was found that prisoners who exhibited such traits as bravery, strength, good looks or congenial personalities were adopted by the tribe. Men with bad tempers or were hostile, on the other hand, were typically sold to the British, which might explain which group Captain Bird was able to bring back to Detroit. By late July, Col. George Rogers Clark had organized a force of almost 1,000 men to pursue Bird’s retreating forces and punish the Shawnee. Reaching their villages at Chillicothe, he burned buildings and destroyed crops, then continued on to Piqua where he was able to force the Shawnee out of their own fortifications with his cannon before eventually withdrawing his force. During the attack, however, the Shawnee executed many of the prisoners that they had captured at Ruddle’s and Martin’s Stations.858,990, 991,992,996

 

Ruddle's and Martin's Stations Captivity
 

     In 1779 Isaac Riddle, who was married to Col. John Bowman’s sister, leading a group of mostly German settlers, reoccupied and fortified a station on the north side of the South Fork of the Licking River, which soon became known as Riddle’s or Ruddle’s Station. The site originally consisted of a number of cabins built in 1775 and 1776 by John Hinkston alongside a buffalo trace and later abandoned due to the Indian threat. Isaac’s brothers James and George Riddle followed soon thereafter. In the same year, and using Logan’s Fort as his jumping off point, John Martin, who had earlier spent time at John Hinkston’s Station, led another group into the same area to establish what became known as Martin’s Station, which became populated primarily by Scotch-Irish settlers, about eight miles upstream from Ruddle’s Station on the north side of Stoners Fork where a buffalo trace crossed the southern fork of the South Licking River. Most likely, the John Dunkin group of Holston and Clinch River settlers were part of this group.560,578,968,991,993,996
 

     Captain Henry Bird’s army consisted of about 200 British and Canadien troops of the Eighth Regiment of his Brittanic Majesty King George III’s forces and, ultimately, 850 warriors comprising a rather large mix of tribes living near the Great Lakes, eventually including many Shawnee as they passed through the modern day state of Ohio and a small number of Tories, including Simon Girty. The first leg of this journey took them south from Detroit, traveling by sailing vessels, bateaux (flat-bottomed boats) and canoes, to the mouth of the Maumee River, then upstream to a rather difficult portage that took them over to the Miami River. From here, they returned to their boats and traveled downstream to the mouth of the Miami River. After settling the dispute on the direction of the campaign with his Indian allies at this point, the force turned upstream on the Ohio River toward the mouth of the Licking River, then proceeded up that stream to where the South Fork split from the main branch. Storing supplies in some quickly constructed huts, they left the river and proceeded overland, along the east side of the South Fork, widening a buffalo trace to accommodate their cannons as they went. They crossed over to the south side of the Licking River at a ford that is still known as Bird’s Crossing, then crossed back over, farther downstream, to the east side of the river south of the present site of Cynthiana, Kentucky. From here they were able to confront their first target – Ruddle’s Station (Figure 94).994,995,996

 

     In a letter written by a granddaughter of Francis and Sarah Berry, a daughter of Frank and Sarah’s son Lafayette Berry, to her son, George, in 1893, relayed some of the family stories she had heard as she grew up.146,590

 

I don't know what it was nor how long they had been there til they were compelled to move for safety to a fort or blockhouse where they were taken by British officers and soldiers who had Indians with them to whom the British gave all their household goods except two suits of clothes and two blankets to each man and the same to each woman.

 

     George Loveless, who had served in Holston Militia and was a member of Col. Bowman’s militia expedition to punish the Shawnee in the summer of 1779, was living near Martin’s Station in the spring of 1780. He noted that a number of small skirmishes occurred that spring, and in late March a large body of Indians assaulted Martin’s Station in a surprise attack. Several settlers were killed and wounded, his father, John Loveless, being one of the latter. The militia members in the station at the time, about 25 men held off the attack. Eventually the Indians moved off and assaulted Bryant’s Station with the same results. After that, they roamed the countryside in small squads, killing people and destroying property. This hostile activity in the spring of 1780 probably prevented the families in the area from developing their land claims and remaining confined within the safety of Martin’s and Ruddle’s Stations.146,590,980
 

     On the morning of the 22nd of June 1780 the attack on Ruddle’s Station began during a drenching rainstorm. As the cannon were being emplaced a few rifle shots were exchanged between the attackers and the defenders. The first cannon fired a round that embedded itself into the wooden wall of the station, doing little damage, but a single shot from the second cannon, a larger wheeled gun, shattered the north wall of the structure with one shot. Immediately, the defenders realized their stockade was an inadequate defense against this weapon, and terms of the surrender were settled in negotiations held outside the gates. Captain Bird agreed that the men would be taken prisoner while the women and children would be allowed to safely travel to the nearest settlement. Realizing that this agreement deprived them of the opportunity to avenge the recent burning and pillaging of their villages, some, of the perpetrators probably being in the station, and, more importantly, comprising the majority of the attacking force, the warriors refused to comply with the agreement. As soon as the gates opened, they stormed in, seizing prisoners (which they referred to as slaves), plundering the cabins and killing many of those who were old, frail, ill and very young. Reports vary, but as many as twenty four people were murdered during this stage of the operation. Years later, the exposed, scattered bones of these victims were buried in a mass grave.994,995

 

     Fortified by their success, and against the wishes of Captain Bird, who appears to have been disgusted by the behavior of his Indian allies, the warriors opted to move on to Martin’s and Bryant’s Stations, appearing in force before Martin’s Station on the morning of 26 June 1780. Silas Fore wrote in his pension application that all of the people at Martin’s Station could hear the firing during the attack on nearby Riddle’s Station, and prepared themselves for the inevitable attack on their station, which occurred two days later. They dispatched two men to run for reinforcements, but one of them, William McGuire, was captured. When the British officers discussed the surrender terms with the Martin’s Station defenders, William McGuire was brought along to help convince them to comply with the demand. The entire fort was then surrendered without firing a shot, including men, women and children, as well as the luckless William McGuire. In his pension application, George Loveless noted that when Captain Bird’s artillery-supported force stood before Martin’s Station, the settlers accepted the terms of surrender offered by Capt. Bird, which stipulated that they would be considered Prisoners of War and held by British forces. They lost all of their property upon surrender, including their clothing, and all of their papers were burned. Sarah Berry told her family that, after the fort surrendered, each person was allowed to keep only two sets of clothes and two blankets. All other belongings were taken by the Indians. She also noted that the Indians, wanting only the cloth from their bedding, ripped the pillows and tossed them in the air, scattering the feathers as they laughed at the spectacle.146,590,980,983,985

 

     Sarah Berry described to her granddaughter some of the pillaging of the fort that occurred after the surrender:146,590

 

I remember hearing my grandmother [Sarah ‘Sally’ (Sharp) Berry] tell how the Indians would toss the pillows in the air after they had ripped the ticking to make the feathers fly in the wind and how they would laugh. They wanted the cloth but not the feathers.

 

     She also noted that after the fort surrendered, each person was allowed to keep only two sets of clothes and two blankets. All other belongings were either destroyed or taken by the Indians.146,590, 969,980,983,985,998  
 

     While still in captivity, Solomon Litton provided the following description of the attack and the aftermath in a letter to his family back in Virginia.580

 

Ruddles and Martins forts were cannoned balled and after surrender most inhabitants were massacred. Brains of infants on trees, some crushed under cart wheels. Ye older inhabited were gutted and drawn to the pleasure of ye spectators. Ye lassies were raped and scalped by ye savages. Fort burned and stock and fowl slautered. A horrible massacre not yet equaled in this country.

 

     The campaign ground to a halt after Martin’s Station was reduced, and, after gathering up all of the prisoners, burning what they could not carry, and loading up their confiscated loot, this large contingent of humanity began a slow withdrawal, retracing their path northward, the prisoners being forced to carry household goods, plundered from their own cabins. Samuel Laughlin, a grandson of John Dunkin, made the following statement in regard to the immediate aftermath:969

 

The prisoners taken at Martins were united to the prisoners from Ruddle’s. There was understood to be an agreement between the British and Indians that the prisoners taken at Ruddle’s should belong to the Indians, and those at Martins to the British.

 

     Unfortunately, in their initial excitement, the Indians had indiscriminately slaughtered all of the settler’s livestock, which forced Col. Bird into a serious logistical corner. The victorious army, consisting of over a thousand attackers, was deep in enemy territory, and now encumbered with several hundred captives laden with booty from their own cabins, and without a sufficient food supply for such a large group of people. There was a great deal of ground to cover to reach the safety of British controlled space, and knowing that Col. George Rogers Clark would soon be in hot pursuit, Captain Bird was forced to drive the prisoners along as quickly as possible. Mrs. Wilson, a daughter of Patrick Mahan, both, of whom were taken prisoner at Martin’s Station, described conditions on the northward trek:146,590, 969,980,983,985,1003

 

As we were traveling in, Captain Byrd [Henry Bird] was very ungenerous to us. He measured out to the men only a cup of flour, and the women and children only a half cup. Nor would they allow back rations. They travelled by water, or when by land, had to walk. They were longer on the road, and missed a day's rations. Mahon, the brother, said "Captain Byrd, I suppose we may expect back rations today." Byrd replied-no such indulgence would be given prisoners.

 

     In a letter to his superior, Major DePeyster, written on 1 July 1780, Captain Bird described some of his logistical challenges from his point of view:100

 

"I marched the poor wemen & children 20 miles in one day over very high mountains, frightening them with frequent alarms to push them forward, in short. Sir, by water & land we came with all our cannon & c., 40 miles in 4 days ... rowing fifty miles the last day -- we have no meat and must subsist on flour if there is nothing for us at Lorimiers (Lorimers)."

 

     Mrs. Wilson made note of some of the property stolen by the Indians:1003

 

Saw an Indian riding a saddle I had, and one of my father's horses. Said "good Kentuck for me." There were 3 Indians on the horse. Another fine mare my father had, they had to crist-shoot here, before they could catch her. The Indians asked my brother whose horse that was. My brother replied it was his. The Indian said it was a lie, for it was his.

 

     She also described some of the severe treatment of the prisoners by the Indians:1003

 

The Indians killed and scalped a number of children because they could not keep up on the march.

 

     Adelaide Berry Duncan also noted that her grandmother, Sarah Sharp Berry, had witnessed the death of several children on the trek northward.146,590

 

There was one family along who had a young woman - a daughter who complained of a toothache for some weeks , when someone examined her mouth and found a cancer had eaten through her cheek, all but the skin. She died soon after and the officers only allowed them to stop long enough to pile up a few rocks on her body. Charles Gatliff was her father's name.

I heard grandmother (Sarah Sharp Berry) say she saw the Indians kill two children. It was very cold for part of their journey and once when a great fire of logs was burning where they camped, an Indian picked up a child that was standing near and threw it in the fire. No one dared to try to get it out. On another occasion, a woman was carrying a little babe, and she was almost exhausted, when an Indian jerked it from her arms and thrust his tomahawk in its head, threw the child to one side of the road, and drove her on.

 

     The unwieldy crowd of captives, soldiers and Indians headed northward on foot until they reached where the South Fork branched off from the main Licking River. At this point their boats had been cached, so they could switch to another means of conveyance. The Shawnee split from Captain Bird’s main force at this time, taking around 200 prisoners from Ruddle’s Station with them. The remaining British forces transferred the plundered goods, the prisoners, which numbered about 150, their military stores and the cannons to the boats and continued their original trip in reverse, arriving in Detroit on 4 August 1780 (Figure 94).985,992,1006

 

     In his Revolutionary War pension application, George Loveless described the next leg of the trip:980

 


From our place of capture we were taken and carried prisoners by the British detachment down the Ohio River to the mouth of Big Miami; then up the same to a carrying place to M___ (Maumee River); then down to Lake Erie and thence to Detroit suffering the severest fatigue, hunger, and cold and wet having lost all our property, clothing, and papers burnt and destroyed after our surrender. He, the said George, with many other of the prisoners was kept prisoner of war until in the year 1784

 

Solomon Litton also described the route:580    

 

On ye 27th June we marched down ye Licking 70 miles to ye big Miami (down ye Ohio) thence, up ye Miami to ye head of, thence over land 18 miles to ye Glaise [Auglaize] thence down it ye Lake Erie, put aboard ye boat Goge, floated across to ye River Detroit thence put aground at ye Fort Detroit. At which place I was taken to ye Shawnee Town, twenty miles distant. Of the 300 marchers taken 90 were count of reaching Fort Detroit.

 

     Adelaide Berry Duncan gave the following account of this segment of the trip:146,590

 

They then started on their march to Detroit, where they stayed awhile and then on to Montreal where they stayed until peace was declared.

 

     John Dunkin’s descendants have recorded his documentation of this part of their journey in captivity. One important item is the site of the expected resupply post, Loromer’s Station, that Captain Bird referred to in his report.1006

 

June 26, 1780 I was taken from licking creek in Kentucky county by Captain Henry Bird of the 8th Regiment of His Majesties’s forces in conjunction with about eight hundred Indians of different nations -vix. Mingos, Delawares, Shawnees, Hurons, Ottaways, Taways and Chippeways. We marched from our village the 27th being in number 129 men, women, and children. We marched down Linking about 50 miles to the Ohio and from thence up the Big Miami river about 170 miles to the Standing Stone, and from thence up said river to Larramie’s (Lorimer’s) store 11 miles on the head of the Miami: and from thence across by land 18 miles to the landing on the river Glaise - and from thence down said river passing a Taway village and to the mouth of said river about 80 miles at a small village of Miami Indians on the river Miami: from thence down said river about 40 miles to an Indian village called Rose De Boo - and from thence down said river about 18 miles to Lake Erie. Where we went on board the Hope. Mounted six pounders. Captain Graves commander: and so across the said lake to the mouth of Detroit river, and 18 miles up to the same to the fort and town of Detroit, which place we arrived at the 4th of August, 1780 …

 

     Upon their arrival in Detroit, the captives were split up further, with some forced to work on farms in the Detroit area as servants and slaves and the rest eventually sent by boat to Montreal. In his documentation, John Dunkin noted that about three weeks after their arrival in Detroit they were moved by boat to Montreal:1006

 

… where we were kept until the 24th when 33 of us were put on board the Gage. Captain Burnit commander. Mounted 8 guns and from thence to Fort Erie - and thence in battoes 18 miles the river Niagara to Fort Slusher, at the head of the Great Fall - and form thence in wagons, 9 miles, where we again went in battoes down said river to Fort Niagara at the mouth of said river on the 29th: and on the 5th of September we were again put on board the Ontario, Captain Cowan commander, and sent off down the Long Sac and into Sandijest lake, and so down rapids into Grand river and through a small lake and so the Qlasheen. From thence by land 9 miles to Montreal on the 14th of September, 1780. And on the 17th we were sent into Grant’s Island and remained there until the 25th of October, when we were again taken back unto Montreal and billetted in St. Lawrence suburbs. I was put in confinement in the long gaol September 1st, and remained in close confinement until the 17th day of October. When I was permitted to go and live with my family with privilege of walking the town and suburbs.

 

     To summarize, from 24 June to 4 August 1780 the captives were on the move, traveling by foot and by boat to Detroit. After a brief respite, they were once again forced to travel. On the first leg of the trip they traveled by boat to Fort Erie, located at the head of the Niagara River. From here, they traveled by bateaux down to the limit of small boat travel at Fort Slusher, located just above Niagara Falls. At this point they were transferred to wagons for the short trip around the falls, whereupon they returned to boat travel, reaching the mouth of the Niagara River on 29 August 1780. On the last leg of the trip they traveled mostly by boat, finally reaching Montreal on 14 September 1780, 80 grueling days later and hundreds of miles from where they had been captured.1006,1008

 

     Lewis Berry, the third child of Francis and Sarah, was born on 2 Nov. 1781 in Montreal. On 4 October 1782 a listing of American prisoners, who had traveled via Niagara to Montreal, was entered in British records. Francis and Sarah Berry, as well as two of their children, Isabelle and Lewis, were included in the list.146,579,581

 

     Adelaide Berry Duncan relayed her grandmother’s description of their captivity in Montreal:146,590

 

While they were in Montreal, the men were made to repair the Englishships and the women cooked and washed for the English officers. On one occasion, the men found a case of wine on the ship and drank the wine. The officers put them in prison or the guard house and my grandmother Berry (Sarah Sharp Berry) went to the guard house and begged for their release until they were released.

 

     By the late summer of 1782, negotiations, or at least discussions, were underway for the release and return of the American prisoners captured in Kentucky several years earlier. Col. Benjamin Logan, the founder of Logan’s Fort, began the conversation in a letter to the Virginia governor, who then passed the information on to General George Washington, the commander of the American Army. Apparently the exchange was not formalized until the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the war, was inked by both sides in late November of 1782. At that time, the Virginia Assembly appropriated funding for bringing the prisoners back home.1104

 

31 August 1782
Colonel Benjamin Logan, County Lieutenant of Lincoln County KY, advised the Governor of Virginia of the remaining Kentucky prisoners, stating that "many of the men were taken to Detroit & their wives retained among the Indians as slaves. Some of the men are now at Montreal and others in different parts toward the [Great] Lakes.

25 October 1782
Governor Benjamin Harrison relayed these facts to General George Washington, calling attention to an existing cartel for the exchange & relief of prisoners taken in the Southern department, by which these poor people [the Kentuckians] have a just cause to their release. However, nothing came of the matter until a preliminary treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States was signed at Paris, France, on November 30th, 1782. Under this treaty, the prisoners taken at Ruddell and Martin's stations were finally released. On December 7th, 1782, Governor Harrison wrote that the Virginia Assembly had made an appropriation for the relief of 200 men, women & children, taken prisoners from Kentucky, who were now on their way home.

 

     On 12 Nov 1783 Francis and Thomas Berry, along with John, Thomas and William Mahan, William LaForce, John Dunkin and John Dunkin, Jr, all members of Martin’s Station militia company back in 1780, were listed as being recently exchanged prisoners and, based on their capture at Martin’s Station while serving in the militia, were awarded back pay by Col. John Bowman, the head of the Kentucky militia. From this it can be seen that sometime in the fall of 1783, not long after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, the captives were finally released in a prisoner exchange that took place at a place called East Bay. That bay is located on a small embayment of Lake Ontario. From their exchange point Francis and Sarah returned to their home, with one leg of their trip involving travel on a lake ship crewed by French-Canadian sailors, and Adelaide Berry Duncan recorded Sarah Berry’s remembrances of part of that trip:146,560,590,1009

 

As the prisoners were leaving Canada, they crossed some lake in a ship which was very crowded and manned by French-Canadian sailors. A storm arose and the sailors got frightened, and quit work. They started to pray, and cross themselves, when an Englishman, perhaps an officer, came on them and cursed and swore and ripped and tore around and kicked them, and made then get to work. Finally they got safely to land. I remember hearing my father tell of hearing his father laughing about it. Grandmother (Sarah Sharp Berry) said there were piles of feathers floating in the eddies on the lake shore that looked like houses - the shedding of many waterfowls on the lake.

 

     Since the ship appears to be commanded by British officers, this part of the journey probably represents the trip across Lake Ontario, so it must have been immediately before they were exchanged at East Bay. From there, they must have proceeded overland to the Niagara falls area, as evidenced by Adelaide Duncan Berry’s narrative:146,590

 

As our ancestors were coming home they passed near Niagra Falls. All heard the roar and some of the men went to see it but the women and children were too weary to go.

 

The Aftermath

 

     No information had been found that can document the activities or location of Francis and Sarah Berry between their release from captivity in the fall of 1783 and the birth of their first child born after being freed in the early winter of 1785. In fact the location of that child’s birth is not known with certainty. By the fall of 1786, however, they were finally back in the vicinity of Sullivan County, Tennessee, as they attempted to put their lives back together.

 

     A fairly detailed account of the events involved in Francis Berry’s attempts to acquire land in Kentucky can be reconstructed based on court records from the Kentucky Supreme Court, Virginia Land Commission records and Washington County, Virginia court records. In May of 1779, John Haggin led Francis Berry and several other men staying at Riddle’s Station to the Middle Fork of Coopers Run so they could select settlement sites on what they thought was unclaimed land. When the Virginia Land Commissioners met at nearby Bryant’s Station several months later, in mid January of 1780, John Haggin, acting as an agent for Francis Berry, testified that Francis Berry had met the settlement requirements two months earlier in March of 1779. The Land Commission accepted the evidence and issued a certificate to Francis Berry for a 400 acre Preemption Warrant, stipulating that he must submit payment for the Preemption Warrant and order a survey through the county surveyor by 23 June 1780. A few days before the entry deadline, Francis Berry was taken prisoner by a Shawnee and British force, and held as a Prisoner of War until 1784. In the meantime, one of the prisoners with whom Francis Berry had been captured, Solomon Litton, had written back to his family at the Elk Garden Fort in the Clinch valley of Virginia, explaining his absence and asking them to secure his land claim on the Middle Fork of Coopers Run, as well as for John Dunkin, who was also a prisoner. Based either on word of mouth or possibly a similar letter, albeit unpreserved, from Francis Berry, his family back in the Holston valley found out about his predicament, and took steps to secure his preemption on Coopers Run. In early May of 1783 some named Sharp, most likely Sarah’s father (Francis’ father in law) paid 160 for the Francis Berry preemption. In 1784, after the war ended Francis Berry was released from his POW status, and he and his family made their way back to the Holston valley. Whether or not they traveled through Kentucky and stopped at their property along the way is not known, but in the late summer of 1787 Francis Berry, through an agent that he had hired, entered his preemption with the County Surveyor, which is most likely when the survey was ordered. While Francis Berry had been held prisoner, however, Thomas McClanahan occupied what appeared to be open land on the Middle Fork of Coopers Run, so when the surveyors attempted to define the property, Thomas McClanahan, denied them access to the area, and no survey was completed. Not long after that Francis Berry must have filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of the Virginia District of Kentucky. In 1792, when Kentucky became a state and a Kentucky District Court was established, the case was moved to the Court of Appeals. However, since the case had not yet been brought to trial, it was referred to the new District Court to be tried. Six years later, sometime in 1798, a court judgment was made in favor of Francis Berry and a survey was ordered to define the 400 acres surrounding his improvement site. Thomas McClanahan immediately filed an appeal, and in the fall of 1799, that court made its decision - reversing the decision of the lower court. While only a brief summary of the decision of the District Court case is currently available, the entire case summary for the appeal has been published, and it reveals an immense amount of information, not only on the details of the case itself, but also of the events leading to the time when Francis Berry made his settlement attempt.

 

     The basic legal argument made by Francis Berry was that had been taken prisoner before he could file his preemption warrant in 1780, and when he attempted (in 1787) to conduct a survey within the time frame prescribed by the law, he was prevented from doing so by Thomas McClanahan, who could demonstrate that he legally owned the property by means of a Certificate of Settlement and a Preemption Warrant that he had purchased from the original certificate holder. Several of Francis Berry’s points seem to be at odds with the facts. First, when he had been issued the Preemption Certificate, the Land Commission also stipulated that he had nearly five months to enter a warrant and order a survey in order to maintain a legal hold on the land. The argument made by Francis Berry was that he was about to complete that step, but he was captured by the British and the Indians at Martin’s Station, and thus, through no fault of his own, was unable to complete the required actions. Ruddle’s Station was attacked on 22 June 1780 and nearby Martin’s Station surrendered two days later on 24 June 1780. The Ruddle’s Station attack, which was a complete surprise, occurred only four days before Francis Berry’s deadline to complete the next required step in his land acquisition process. If he really intended to file the paperwork, he was nearly out of time anyway when his situation was rendered it impossible. If he, indeed, intended to file the paperwork, why in the world did he wait until the last minute? Several men who became prisoners at Martin’s Station, John Loveless, Thomas Mahan and Solomon Litton, had already filed their paperwork. In addition, several men who were taken prisoner at Ruddle’s Station also managed to file their paperwork on time – John Burger and John Conway, Jr. and there may have been others. Furthermore, John Haggin, who led Francis Berry to Coopers Run also successfully completed the process. It’s difficult to accept Francis Berry’s claim of being interrupted in the process of executing the necessary paperwork when several other men at both stations, some of whom were also taken prisoner, met the same requirements in a timely fashion. A more logical explanation to Francis Berry’s dilemma is that he failed to take the necessary steps in the time period, then used his prisoner status to explain the failure. Since the paperwork was not filed on time, the land was considered by the Commonwealth of Virginia to be open, and was quickly snatched up by Thomas McClanahan. The second point, that Francis Berry attempted to conduct a survey within the time frame prescribed by the law, it seems clear that he grossly overstated the legal time frame, which had actually expired several days after he was captured and, consequently, several years prior to 1787. His survey attempt was conducted far beyond the legal time frame.
 

     As the judge in the final court case explained, there were several other legal problems with the case. One was a variance between on the timing of the improvements. The Preemption Certificate was granted by the Land Commission for a settlement made in March of 1779, but all of the witnesses noted that the actual date of the improvements was two months later in May of 1779. Based on a precedent set by previous court case, however, the judge was able to legally allow the difference in the time frame. The other two problems were whether or not improvements had been made and the exact location of the improvements. Base don the evidence presented in the trial, the judge determined that there was a problem with the decree of the lower court. The location was not firmly and definitively established, and the fact that an improvement had been made could not be demonstrated to the court. The only definitive location information the judge had to go on was wording that said the settlement had been made about a mile above the mouth of the Middle Fork of Coopers Run. The judge also came to understand that the location of the improvements contradicted the claim in the certificate – that they, in fact, were not made a mile above the mouth of the Middle Fork of Coopers Run, as claimed. While John Haggin had testified that he had showed Berry, Litton and the others the correct fork, he testified that had not accompanied them when they made their settlement markings, so he didn’t see if they made any markings or where they might have been made. Richard Davis testified that he had observed Francis Berry make his improvements. The testimony of Benjamin Cooper, however, was particularly damning. He noted that he was with Berry, Davis and Litton and did not see ANY of them make any markings. He further stated that Davis did not accompany him, Berry and Litton after they had passed Davis’ selected site, and when they parted company with Haggin, Cooper, Berry and Litton proceeded directly to the top of the drainage divide with Elkhorn Creek. Consequently, the only witness to Francis Berry making any kind of improvement was negated by eye witness testimony. Another element was the actual location of any potential improvement. None of the other witnesses noted any of the improvement markings described by Solomon Litton and Francis Berry in the places that they were supposed to have been made, so the obvious conclusion was that if any improvements were, indeed, made by Francis Berry and Solomon Litton, they were not made at the locations prescribed in their Preemption Certificates. The case, therefore, hinged on the precise location of Francis Berry’s improvements. Since he could not definitively show where his improvements had been made, the case was decided in favor of Thomas McClanahan. Furthermore, the judge ordered that all court costs be paid Berry, and that they also lost the investment of 160 which had been paid for the preemption warrant. In Solomon Litton’s case, the final court order further noted that all court costs associated with the first case would also be paid by Solomon Litton, so, it can probably be assumed that this was also the case for Francis Berry. Not only had Francis Berry lose all of his earthly possessions, he also lost his land and a fairly substantial sum of money, some, if not all, of which, he no doubt owed to his father in law. Adeliade Berry Duncan, a granddaughter of Francis Berry, in a letter written to her son, George Duncan, in the late 1890s, told the story of Francis Berry’s unsuccessful legal battle after he returned from captivity and provides a glimpse of his utter frustration with the entire affair when the final court judgment was made:146,590

 

They went back to Kentucky to where they had been captured and found men on their claims.
Both your greatgrandfathers, John Duncan and Frank Berry, sued at law for their claims but lost their suit. Berry's long tongue made him say the judge was a perjured scoundrel. The judge sued him for slander and got judgment of eight hundred dollars. Then, the poor weary souls went back to Virginia where they had lived before they went to Kentucky and raised their families there.
My grandfather Berry never paid that eight hundred dollars.

 

     Francis Berry and his family were released from British custody in 1782, and at some unknown point, they returned, probably on foot, to southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee, where they were presumably reunited with their oldest son, John, as well as the rest of their respective families. Whether or not they stopped in Kentucky along the way is not known. They did visit the area at some time, as noted by Adelaide Berry Duncan, but the timing of their visit was not noted. What is quite likely, though, is that they fully expected to eventually settle on their Coopers Run settlement site in Kentucky. Sarah gave birth to their next child, Benjamin Berry, in the winter of 1785, and although the place of of birth is not known with certainty, it was probably Sullivan County, Tennessee. Another child, Elizabeth Berry, was born in the fall of 1786, and her birth place, although equally undocumented, probably took place in Sullivan County, as well. The family bible records for all of the children they had between 1785 through 1798 show them being born in Kentucky. Deed records, however, document the fact that they actually lived in Sullivan County, Tennessee from at least 1787 through 1794, and the bible records used for reference were actually hand copied from the original Francis Berry/Sarah Sharp bible. Consequently, some transcription errors were certainly possible, and the records could actually represent a third or fourth generation rendition of the original record. Such a record does not actually constitute a primary source record, but it is, nonetheless, an important source document. In August of 1787 Francis Berry purchased ten acres of land on Sinking Creek in Sullivan County, Tennessee that had originally been issued to his father in law, John Sharp. Sinking Creek is located just east of present day Bristol, Tennessee. Later in the same month he made his first attempt to reclaim his Kentucky property on Coopers Run by filing his preemption warrant with a Virginia County Surveyor, and it certainly could have been at this time that they discovered that someone else had claimed their Coopers Run lands. In April of 1788, Sarah gave birth to another daughter, Sarah Berry, and in July of that year Francis purchased a 140 acre plot from Alexander Laughlin that was adjacent to his 10 acre tract on Sinking Creek in Sullivan County, Tennessee. John Duncan, Francis Berry’s brother in law, settled on Spring Creek, not far away, according to John Duncan’s grandson, Samuel Laughlin. From 1789 through 1794 four more children were born, Marie in 1789, Ann in 1790, Francis in 1791 and Dale LaFayette in 1794, all born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, since, in January of 1794 both Francis and Sarah Berry were witnesses to a Sullivan County, Tennessee land sale. Two more children were born in 1794 and 1798, Lucinda and Louise, respectively. In 1798 the first court case on the recovery of his Kentucky land was decided in his favor, but the following fall, in 1799, the final resolution of his Coopers Run land ended in not only failure, but a major financial setback. The previous April 1799, his father, Francis Berry Sr., made the following cryptically negative statement about Francis:576,969

 

As for my son Francis I rest assured and am satisfied in my mind that he has received plenty both for the trouble he was at with me and his legacy likewise and I do then think proper to leave him in this my last Will and Testament one dollar

 

     This brief diatribe suggests that Francis Jr. had probably borrowed money from his father and never paid it back, and/or possibly caused other uncomfortable family issues. At the very least, he appears to have caused a lot of trouble for his father and was a source of major disappointment for him. Francis Jr. must have deeply angered his father, since the latter emphasized it so markedly in his will.
 

     When they returned from captivity, Francis and Sarah settled on a farm in Sullivan County, Tennessee, not far from modern day Bristol, and, as it turns out, not far from where John Duncan, Francis and Sarah’s brother in law, settled after his return (Figures 95, 97, 98 and 99). Samuel Laughlin, a grandson of John Duncan, noted this about his grandfather’s demeanor after his captivity:969

 

My grandfather on returning to Virginia, settled on the north bank of the south fork of Holson river, above the mouth of Spring Creek, just above an island where he died about the year 1818 his wife having died in 1816. By negligence in attending to his head-right or occupant claim for his land in Kentucky, it only requiring his personal attention to identify it which he never gave, he lost it. In fact, after his captivity, he never seems to have recovered his previous energy of character.

 

     Adelaide Berry Duncan made the following comments on the question of her grandfather’s (i.e. Francis Berry’s) Tennessee land ownership situation:146,590

 

He somehow got a farm in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where his family were raised, but it was always in the name of Billy King, grandmother's sister's husband.

 

This Billy King (William King married Elizabeth Sharp, sister of Sarah Sharp Berry) was the one who afterwards held the deed to granfather Berry's farm. I heard mama say he was as faithful as if grandmother Berry's children had been his own - never took any advantage of them.

 

     From the deed records available, however, it seems that Francis Berry’s land along Sinking Creek was actually recorded in his own name, but both land acquisitions appear to have some connection to Sarah’s family. The 10 acre plot he first acquired was originally in the name of his father in law, and the adjacent 440 acre tract was purchased from Alexander Laughlin, who was most certainly related to the deeply interconnected Sharp-Duncan-Laughlin family group that Francis Berry had married into (Figures 95, 97, 98 and 99). It certainly gives the appearance that he depended on assistance from his extended family. Both John Duncan and Francis Berry seem never to have achieved their previous level of personal wealth, energy and enthusiasm after the personal property losses they experienced from their capture, their lengthy and, apparently, uncomfortable and stressful war time detentions, and the failure in their efforts to retain their Kentucky land claims. In the case of Francis Berry, his behavior angered the Kentucky judge and his life choices and behavior seem to have cast him into a position against his own Berry family or at least in the relationship with his father. In 1799, at the age of 44, after the court battle and the mention in his father’s will, not only do he and Sarah have no more children, Francis Berry completely disappears from any records. Adelaide Berry Duncan’s comments about Billy King taking care of Sarah and her children seem to indicate that Francis Berry was not around the family. The obvious conclusions are that he passed away, or left, but a divorce between Francis and Sarah does not seem out of the question.

 

     From 1799 through 1825 there is no documentary evidence for either Francis or Sarah Berry, but some indirect information on family movements can be obtained from some of their descendants and relatives. Adelaide Berry Duncan, a grand daughter of Francis and Sarah Berry, noted that Isaac King, a close relative, moved to Whitley County, Kentucky at some point, and that her father, Dale Lafayette Berry, moved there afterwards, settling just a few miles away. She also noted that several other members of the Berry family eventually moved there, as well as her grandmother, Sarah Berry. In fact, Sarah Berry eventually passed away there. No mention was made of her grandfather, Francis Berry, though, so it’s probably safe to assume he was not part of the family picture then.

 

Isaac King moved to Kentucky, Whitely County, before papa (Lafayette Berry) did, and he lived four miles from where I was raised.

 

Quite a number of the children afterwards moved to Whitley County, KY where your papa and I were born and raised and married. My grandmother Berry (Sarah Sharp Berry), in her old age, came there and died in 1834.

 

     Samuel Laughlin, a grandson of both John Duncan and John Sharp, also provided some information on the move of Francis and Sarah Berry’s children to Kentucky, and, although he noted that two of their sons moved to Knox County, there was no suggestion that either Francis or Sarah Berry moved there with them.146,590,969

 

John Berry and Lewis Berry, two of the sons of Francis Berry, removed to Kentucky, Knox County, while my father lived there. John settled on Spence Creek, above Arthur's mill, and one of his sons, Dr. Berry is now married to a daughter of my cousin Thomas Laughlin, and lives at Philadelphia, Monroe Co. Tenn. Lewis removed to Dickson Co. Tenn. after he married, and, I believe, died there soon after the late war.

 

     Whitley County, Kentucky was formed from Knox County in 1818, and, at the time of the 1810 federal census, Isaac King and John Berry were already living in Knox County not far from each other, as well as close to Samuel Laughlin’s father, John Laughlin. Dale Lafayette Berry was born in 1794, so, in 1810 he would have been about 16 years old and not nearly old enough to have his own household. His brother, John, did not have any 16 year old males in his household in the 1810 federal census, so Dale Lafayette Berry most likely was still back in Sullivan County, Tennessee with his mother. Isaac King, John Sharp, Jr. and John Berry were all living in Whitley County in 1820, two years after it had been carved from Knox County, and, at this time, there was a male in John Berry’s household in the 26 to 45 year old category, which could have been 26 year old Dale Lafayette Berry. Deed records show that Sarah had moved to the Whitley County area at least by 1825, since she bought some land at that time (Figure 96). By the time of the1830 federal census, Dale Lafayette Berry was definitely in Whitley County, since he was enumerated living next door to his elderly mother. Isaac King also lived nearby, as well as Dale’s brother John Berry, all, of which, supports both Adelaide Berry Duncan and Samuel Laughlin’s family history information. Sarah Berry’s census records in 1830 show that her household consisted of five slaves, none being older than 36 years of age. In the early summer of 1830 she wrote her will, stipulating that her female slave, Nell, as well as all of her other African slaves, not be sold to strangers, but divvied up among her children. She also identified her oldest son John and her youngest son Dale, and named them as administrators of her estate. She passed away sometime between the 30 June 1830, when her will was written, and 13 May 1834, when her sons presented her will in court. Sarah was buried at the Berry Cemetery near the town of Williamsburg in Whitley County, Kentucky.146,590,999,1000,1001

 

notations in red are by the authors

 

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