The interview is written in the person of Jacob Stevens. The interviewer (Shane) has included indexing notes and his own comments (clarifications, corrections, etc.) in the right margin.
The interview is transcribed as literally as possible. I have not altered the spelling of any words, expanded abbreviations, or altered any punctuation. Any such changes would involve some degree of subjective interpretation. Where the interviewer has used editing marks (carets) to indicate that text is to be inserted, I have inserted the text where indicated. The interviewer uses abbreviations throughout the text, and usually follows an abbreviated word with a colon (:) This usage is preserved in the transcription. The meaning of most of these abbreviations is usually self-evident.
The only comments I have added to the interview are enclosed in square brackets, [like this]. I have also used underlining to indicate illegible writing or words I can not decipher with some certainty. Everything else, including quotes " ", parentheses ( ), and double parentheses (( )) are transcribed as they are written in the interview.
For the convenience of the Yoakum/Yocum researchers reading this, I have put references to this family in bold face print. But don't stop there! This is fascinating history!
This transcription was made from photocopies from microfilm of the original manuscript, both in the collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. If you can correct any errors in transcription, or provide any missing words, please contact me at GBROWN1@UNL.EDU
or by mail at:
10800 West Mill Road
Malcolm, NE 68402
This Page Last Updated/Edited
Sunday, February 11, 2001 12:12 PM
No. 5. J. Stevens
Jacob Stevens, near Slate, 1 ½ mi. to the left
of Jeffersonville: was born in Bedford Co: Va. in 1761.
In 1778 or 1779, some indns: came on
Roanoke, 14 or 15 ms this side of Botetourt C. H. [Court House], and scalped 3 children
all of whom got well. Some of them were Rayburns. This was in the summer. The people were
gathered for about 4 weeks and forted at one Peter Dierlys, ¾ of a m. from
Rayburns, right on the bank of the River. This was all the place there was any
forting in that country.
(Rayburns children on Roanoke Va.)
|In 1775, we moved on to Muddy Creek, running
into Greenbriar. Before we came, John Kenneys fort, on the Muddy Cr. was attacked by
the indns: We were not forted in Greenbriar. We staid there 3 years, then in Botetourt 3
or 4 years, and then came to Ky. In 1781. The 1st visit was in May, 1781, as
one of 300 of the Greenbriar Militia, under command of Major Hamilton of G.; John Woods,
[blank space] Armstrong, and Jas: Gilkerson, being Captains. The design was to have joined
a body of troops (that was to have come down the river) at Cincinnati, and gone on to take
Detroit. We stopped at Clarks S. [Station] in Lincoln, till July, when we heard
there were no troops to meet us, and returned. The indns: stole some three of our horses,
on the Cumberland, and put off in the roughest mountains, so that they codnt
(Major Hamilton, with 300 volunteers from Greenbriar, for Detroit) (for Clarks interviewed Detroit Exped.)
|2nd: time I came out, was in Sept. 1781. Rolly
Madison, (bro: of Thos: and George Madison & Gabriel M. from Bottetourt off Roanoke)
drove out his cattle, and hired me. There was no family in Company, and just 4 or 5 of us.
Rolly M. settled at the Cove Spring. When I got here, I went to Matthias
Yocums Station, at the head of Shawnee River, 4 ms. From Harrodsburgh, where I staid
|As I came out, I saw defeated camps, between
Yellow Creek, and Cumberland River. Perhaps it was in 1784 or 5. (not until after 1787).
One Shelton, a preacher, was killed, after this: the last one I ever knew to be killed on
the Wilderness road. On the 19th day of August, 1782, was the battle of the
Blue-Licks. Jesse Yocum (now in Texas, if alive,) and myself, went from
Yocums Station. From McGarys Station, Hugh McGary, Capt. (since
General) Ray, and Hugh Cunningham went from Harrodsburgh. From these, Frank and Jas:
McBride, were killed. Of these, one man and a boy only escaped. Major Bulger, Si Harlan,
Geo: Corn, Jimie Hays, and myself, were the 5 spies that went ahead. When we got to
the top of the river hill, at the Blue Licks, on the top of the other hill on the opposite
side, we saw two indns: walking back and fore on the (top of the) ridge. The knob on this
side was made bare by the treading of buffaloe. The great body of the indns: were
concealed, just over the ridge, in a body of fallen timber, "were over the turn of
the hill, right in the fallen timber." We now stopped till the main army came up;
when a council of war was immediately called.
||(Defeated camps. See again p. 17)
(Shelton, a preacher)
(Blue Lick defeats)
(spies named 5 of them)
(position of the enemy)
|The army marched in three columns, headed by Hugh McGary, Col. John Todd, and Stephen Trigg. That order was formed not until after we had crossed the River. We palled the Lick, & then, after forming, up the hill. In the Council, McGary, who was only a private, wanted to know by Godly (as he wod say when he was in earnest) what we came there for? They said, to fight the indns: By Godly, said he, then why not fight them: "Then lets fight them: they that aint cowards follow me." We were then about ½ m. from them. After we got over, we lit and just left our horses standing, and forward behind saplins within 20 steps of the indns: and then fired: the indns: waiting our fire before they broke silence.||(council)
(former march of the army)
(went right thro the Lick. A dead Buffaloe was lying in it. One mans horse scared, & throwed him. We had marched before forming in single columns, and wt. A commander "crossed the River", and having for mis, "went right through the Lick & then up the hill.")
|Early in the firing, Geo: Corn was shot right in the mouth, taking away all the upper and lower teeth of his right jaw. I saw him spit the ball in his right hand, and thot he was shot in the breast, and was leaning over such was the quantity of blood, and didnt know of the bullit till he told me (showing it).||(Geo. Corn)|
Jim Hays, on the other side of me, said he be d_ _d [damned] if he didnt shoot one. I told him to take care or he wod get it next and had scarce said it, when he received a shot in the collar bone. Both of them fell down, and as soon as they cod, crept back, got on horses and got to Bryants S. that same day. I had fired 3 times, and was just priming for the fourth, when the word was given for to retreat. The indns: rose in a body all in front of us, seeming to me 7 or 8 deep and screemed and rushed on. There were 550 of them, including 50 white men, and only 170 of us. Some said Trigg never got off from his horse, or attempted to form his men; and laid the blame of the defeat on him. ((This is clearly Mr. Stevens refuge.))
["d_ _ d" is as it was written by the
interviewer...apparently he did not want to write "damned"!]
|When I turned to get my horse, he was gone. I
didnt wait to go to the ford, ((if it was safe to do so)) but plunged in higher up,
above the ford, where the water came up to my neck. I was determined to save my gun, or I
had swum. When I got over, I stopped and drew off my buck-skin breeches, and the bullits
all the while showering round me, one passing through about the middle of the britches
thigh as I held them in my hands.
|Jesse Yocum, who was one that was made
prisoner, saw and knew them, and had made[*] sure that I was killed, till he got home 12
mos: after. The buckskins, when wet, were so heavy we couldnt run, having
them on. I then had on my short-leggings, moccasins, and shirt. On the top of the hill, I
fell in with a man who had red leggings on; (and I was told only the Company from
Lexington had on such leggings) and we ran on together about a m. from the river, the
indns: pursuing and firing on us at every hollow, till my companion gave out. I asked him
what I should do. He said, make your escape, and stood snapping his gun, (which had gotten
wet, as well as mine, so that we codnt get them off,) till the indns: came up
and took it out of his hands. It was supposed he was killed next morning. The indns:
stood, and signed, and pointed up to me, waiving their guns in a circle, as a token that I
was given up. I had proceeded but a little way when I fell in with [space]
Barber, Henry Wilson, (from Wilsons S. on
Salt River,) and a boy named Nase Coombs, (from Harrodsburgh, and the only person perhaps
that got back to that station.) Nase Coombs was so overcome with fatigue that we had to
rest him, and feed him with Myrhh (sweet anise) that we dug up on the way; and thus worked
him along. By this time, I hadnt a stitch on me, but a shirt and pair of moccasins.
The nettles were green, and breast-high. Barber gave me a linen hunting shirt to tie about
me, to keep the nettles from killing me. The next day, about 12 oclock, we got to
Bryants Station. The next morning, says John McMurtry, they took a no. of prisoners
aside, and killed all that were there together, but himself: ((leaving him for witness, or
having made out the compliment of scalps, before they reached him.)) Suppose they took as
many s they had lost, for satisfaction.
||Jesse Yocum, a prisoner 12 mo.
[* I assume, from context, that the interviewer meant to write "been" instead of "made" here!]
Barber, Nase Coombs in fight
(gets to Bryants S.)
|Old Henry Wilsons brother John ? was pursued and killed on the trace, 15 ms. From the battle grounds, so he sd. to me. It was supposed about half the whole expedition was cut off; being either killed or taken. 12 that were taken prisoners, got back in just 12 months. Among these were Jesse Yocum, saved by them, perhaps, because he was so swift a runner. Hugh Cunningham, Lewis and Martin Rose, brothers, from Fromans Station and John McMurtry, from McMurtrys Station, at the mouth of Dicks River, (where Shakertown now is.) He was killed in Harners or St. Clairs defeat. When the indns: got with them to Detroit, they got drunk, took the prisoners and hid them. Hugh Cunningham and his wife were both right Irish. Hugh had been gone so long, his wife had made another engagement and was just about to be married on the eventing succeeding Hughs arrival; and perhaps to a much younger and likelier||(pursue 15 ms. On the trace. John Wilson.)
(return of 12 prisoners.)
(John McMurtry, and his station)
(Hugh Cunningham and w.)
|man. With feelings of bitter disappointment, therefore, she saluted him, coming in "Well Ugh, are you alive yet? Hugh kicked at the reception, crustily replied, "Yes you damn fool, dont you see I am?"||((not concealing her d: as she might or should)) ((the
return of Hugh, therefore, would be no little inside of ___quietude,
although altogether un_pp___ and abrupt.)) ((___ 45;26. Person retd that had been
thot dead; as Jacob ______))
|Matthias Yocum, from off Roanoke, came to Ky. In the fall of 1779. In the spring of 1780, he moved out with his family to where his station was formed. There was no one with them that year, and nothing transpired at the station, except perhaps that horses were stolen. In the summer of 1781 John Barnett ((from off Roanoke)) (son of Capt. Jas: Barnette, residing at Big-Spring, on Roanoke) living at Yocums Station, and Edmund Tolbert, went out about 4 ms. beyond Jas: McAffees, on Salt River, to hunt. I was to have gone in company, but couldnt get my horse. As they were riding along the indns: shot 2 balls into John Barnett. E. T. turned his horse, and galloped off. When the party from the station arrived, they had to punch Barnetts dog before they cod come nigh his master to bury him, and then he remained by his grave, howling over his interment. The indns: had left his dog and horse, and taken all his clothing except his shoes and hunting shirt, only leaving a musket gun and taking his, which was an excellent rifle, in its place.||Yocums Station
Yocums f. died in old Va. Bottetourt Co: Never came to Ky. M. Y.s children,
|Barnett was split open in his breast, and when we found him the yellow jackts and flies were creeping over his heart. I drew two balls out of the musket that was left. This incident transpired the latter part of the summer, lat in Augt. 1786 while I was at McGarys Station.||Y. S. see part__ p. 17|
|Hugh McGary married Caty Yocum, my
wifes sister. Gen? Jas: Ray, married another sister. Jas: and Wm Ray were
step sons of Hugh McGary. McGary had a place 4 ms. from Harrodsburgh, aftwds called
McGs Station, which he was improving, ready for sugar making. Jas & Wm Ray, and
an old Irishman, living at McGarys, were out in the fields woods (not afraid
that they were speaking it) when the indns: killed Wm Ray. Jas: made his escape to
the fort at Harrodsburgh, and the Irishman hid behind a log where the party found him
sound and secure, when they came from the fort. Next day Harrodsburgh was attacked. McGary
killed an indn: that he found had his step-sons shirt on, and cut him up and fed him
to the dogs. The same year that Barnett was killed from Yocums, (summer of
1781,) John Hinton, of McGarys S. was killed, at what was called Hintons
Spring: his face being found in the water. It was allowed he had lain down to
dring and in that attitude had been shot by the indns:. He was out hunting his horses. We
lived there a year or two aftwds. It was near McGs S., back of one of the fields, on
No one was killed at McGs the summer of 1780, and nothing happened, without it might be that horses were stolen.
[three paragraphs below are an extensive margin note...difficult to decipher]
McG lived at Harrods old town before he went to his S. never heard of his having a S. at Hdsgh. McG aftwds: lived (before he arrived to hdsbhg: ) at Shelbyville; then moved to Hdsbhg: - Stevens to Red-Banks; others has died. Never lived at any other place on the River.
Ambrose Coffee, that died over ___ ___ , says he was in the attack on Busligh: [Hardsbgh:?],
made next day, & that Harrod when wounded, ran & cried "Old Old Old? O
|((Dates are, of all statements, most likely to be confused. I
did not see it at the time. ___ ___ p. 14. 17.))
McGarys S. & Yocums S. were both on head springs of Shawnee ___ mi_ & with 4 ms. from Hdsbgh:
|Jacob Fromans Station, was about a
m. from Yocums, towards Danville. Capt. Isaac Hoagland, from this station
went with some men down to Louisville. On his return, he was attacked on Binson, and he
and one of his men were killed. The camp was attacked in the night. Hoagland got about 100
yds: from the camp. When found, the ravens had ____ out his eyes and the wild beasts rent
& torn him. The other had gotten off into a tree top, where the indns: found him in
the morning. Shot 5 bullits into him, and broke his thigh.
(Capt. Isaac Hoagland.)
(see further, p. 19)
|The fall after Blue Lick Battle, Nov. 1782, a
company to the No: of 1100, rendevouzed at Cincinnati from above, and built a block-house
in the bottom, on the indns: side
opposite the mouth of Licking. ((a little below, in the flat.)) Our Company went down form Lexington, and crossed on the lower side of Licking. At this block-house, some baggage, with a few sick & disabled soldiers, were left behind, till our return. The expedition was continued to the Miami towns, about 70 miles in the interior. These were taken and destroyed: the inhabitants having time to make their escape. In the upper one, rather an extension of the lower one, and about a half a mile above it, was a Frenchman who had a trading house. We took and pillaged it, leaving him there. The camp was formed in a hollow square round the lower town forming on the river bank. Our mess was the 2nd from the river. We had lit up our fires (and were preparing our suppers) when the indns: formed on the opposite bank, and shot - firing a whole platoon at once ((Perhaps wounded one man)).
|(Clarks campaign 1782, to the Miami-towns.)|
|Capt. McCracken, of the light horse, went out
next morning. ((I was on the sentry as he passed through, and just out side in the bushes
watched a whiteman.)) McC., as he passed, inquired, boys, have any of you seen my horse?
Yes here he is, said this white-man. McC. Looked up and saw him, and as he approached, the
man shot ((right in the left arm)) him. Some men who were near, ran to the place, but it
was very bushy and he could not be found. McC. died, coming down the hill, at Cincinnati
and was buried just beside this little cabin; a log heap being burnt over the
grave to conceal its location.
|Perhaps on this same morning, an indn: hallooed
from a cabin that was about 400 yards distant, in the open prairie. He had a great voice
like a bull and at the end of every halloo would give a hoo-oo-oo uh. Clark
told them "to bring all the indns: in hell; they were ready for them". At the
same directing a six-pounder towards the cabin. The ball went right by one door and
through the opposite side, cutting the poles of the cabin on both sides, as clean as a
chisel. This ended the conversation and without hurt that we could see any sign of.
While we there also the indns: formed in view and would parade their horses in battle array, right towards the town as if they were going to rush to a conflict. Clarke sent 300 men up the river, 1st crossing onto the other side, and then recrossing again, and coming on their rear. In the rout, 13 were killed, and we saw no more of them.
[below is another extensive and difficult to read margin note:]
Year little over a year at the _____ side of Ky. Came over there in 1784 from Chissel's Mines ___ there . ___ ___was that we went to be formed to Madison, it dont ____ how seem ___ to Madison has.
Early spring, 1787,
removed. Spring 1785, removed to McGarys S. 1783, married. 1786 the
season on the banks of New River, at Yellow Cr: Chissels mines were troublesome.
___ ___ ___ gone from Madison. The indns: for fear they wod be robbed. They had of
us & went to meet them, as they setd: Sam. Ri__, a militia Capt. headed a corp.
(a corp: comp: fr: Chissels Mines)
"Tomorrow we will give you plenty of it."
|In 1785, I went to McGarys Station, and
from there in 1787 to Madison. It was while I was there in Madison that we went to
Chissels mines. And it was in going there, that I saw the defeated camps between
Yellow Creek and Cumberlands.
(Defeated camps, see p. 14)
|My wifes bro:, the 1st
season they came out here, found a skull, near Harrodsburgh, with an arrow-head pierced
into the temple. The spear was sticking there, and the temple was split open
horizontally around as if he had attempted to take it out by drawing down, and the arrow
had broken off while the skull also split. Jas and Hendrick Hutton, brothers, were
living at Yocums Station, in the year 1781 the 1st year any body
was living with Y. John Hutton was killed as he was fishing down on the river,
above the mouth of Shawnee River.
||(Skull, near harrodsburgh)
(Yocums Station, fr. p. 16.)
|We heard that there was a party of Tories, that
had collected at Raindowers Mills [?] in N. Carolina, 1780, the year before
we came to Ky. Col: Hugh Crockett, (Jas Barnett was our Capt: - f. of this B.
spoken of as killed out here.) (B on Roanoke) raided a considerable corp: and went to
disperse them. They were defeated & scattered before we got to the place [illegible
insert]. On our way, we camped at these mines a day, right on our way, on the banks of New
River. They made lead there, in the very early times, for the Revolutionary War. This was
in the spring of 1780 the year before I came to Ky. In the suburbs of Carolina,
there were marshes, thickly covd in service berries (may berries, wild) that were
just ripe. This was in May.
|___ Hoagland came, a widow, with 2 sons. Isaac had been killed: but Richard was taken and carried away to the towns, & burned. Jns: Gritten a brother in law to Capt. Isaac Hoagland. Our hunting grounds, in the earliest times, were over this side on Glenns, Grichs, and Clear Creeks. Geo: Summit, John Summit, and John (Peter?) Snapp, his bro: in law, with a boy named McNeile, were out on this side hunting (from Fs S.) when the men were all killed.||(Hoaglands S. fr. P. 16)
(Summitts and Snapp)
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