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Surnames: Fraley

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Posted by Patrick O'Kelley <> on Mon, 08 Mar 1999


On this day of June 1834 personally appeared before the undersigned one of the 
Commonwealth, Justice of the Peace, for said County, James Fraley, resident of 
Lawrence County, Kentucky. Aged 75 years of age who being first duly sworn 
according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to 
obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832.

That he entered the service of the United States and served under the following 
named officers; Colonel William Camel, Captain Snody, for 9 months as an Indian 
Spy in the County of Washington, and the State of Virginia then was the 3rd of 
March 1779. His employment was as a Scout and Spy. He served with no Continental 
Officers of Militia Regiment during the period of his tour, and traveled and 
spied during that year on the frontier of the state bordering on the Clinch River 
Settlement in the County of Washington.

The Spies did not go all together, by twos and by fours, chiefly by two. He 
marched and spied during the months of April, May, and June, not far from the 
fort on the Clinch River known by Moores Fort situated about a mile from the 
Clinch River. In this fort there was constantly about 20 or 25 men besides the 
Spies. The indians were not so troublesome in the immediate vicinity of Moores 
Fort, but they were more troublesome lower down on Clinch and Powell's Valley.

In August the Wyandots from the north appeared in our vicinity. When out he saw 
indian sign, 3 persons only were killed in his neighborhood. To wit John 
English's wife, Molly and two of her little boys.

The Indians retreated down Sandy and they were pursued by the Spies as well as 
the others who remained in the Fort to guard it. They were unable to overtake the 
Indians. They had stole some horses. These are the particular circumstances that 
I now recollect of. The Spies had particular sections allotted to them, where the 
war parties of the indian sign passed, and some time we would not return unless 
indian sign was seen, for a month.

That in August and September the indians were always most troublesome in 
stealing, murdering, and burning. The Spies before had a running fight with the 
indians and they retreated. This was with the lower squads. He received his 
discharge sometime about the 10th of December, 1779 for 9 months served, he 
thinks it was a kind of recommendation and stated his service to get his pay. He 
has never seen it since. The man who spied with him this year was Lazarus Damron.

In April, the date has escaped him, 1780 he enlisted for one year in the County 
of Washington and state of Virginia as an indian spy under Colonel Camel, Captain 
Snody again, and Lieutenant Cowan to spy in the same section. The Spies were to 
be recollected to find themselves. They lived on venison and bear meat. Early in 
June the indians made their appearance in his quarter of Washington County. They 
first stole two girls, to wit, Ann and Mary Bush, and made off for Canada. They 
succeeded in getting down on the waters of Sandy with them as far as Jurney's 
Creek in Floyd County, about 12 miles from the court house.

At that time there was not a single white person living in Floyd County. It was 
entirely indian country then. Our Company came up to the indians when they were 
in the act of skinning a buffalo they had just killed. Our men fired on the 
indians and they retreated to the camp about 200 yards distant, and as they ran 
by they tomahawked Ann Bush. Mary jumped down the bank and escaped any violence. 
Ann Bush got over it, and afterwards married and was again tomahawked by the 
indians after that time and still survived. 

Our Company lost in the running fight only one man, James Coyle. When the indians 
retreated from the camp he followed and as he now recollects, shot only once. One 
indian stopped behind a tree top, fired, and mortally wounded him. He was carried 
back to Clinch river and died at Moore's Fort. The father of this applicant was 
the surgeon that extracted the bullet.

He served with no Continental Officers of Militia Companies. He marched and spied 
in the same section of the county that he did the year previous. When the Spies 
enlisted, they enlisted under this kind of arrangement. They then could be 
retained for one year or discharged at 9 months in January. At the end of 9 
months we were all discharged. The Shawnee indians had killed several persons 
down the river. The lower settlements were in a bad situation in that fall as 
Colonel Camel had taken many of the frontier men with their rifles to King's 
Mountain. Some of which had to break up their forts and come further up to the 
north fork of the Holstein.

This he believes are chiefly the circumstances as he now remembers them that 
occured during the year 1780. Colonel Camel was the Colonel of Washington County, 
but he was never in company with Spies, but it was under his orders his Captain 
acted. Camel was killed and Colonel Henry Smith succeeded him, as he now 
remembers. During this service Lazarus Damron who enlisted the second time when 
said Fraley did, again spied as his comrade. The Spies were divided out in twos.

The first day of March 1781 he again enlisted for 9 months in Washington County, 
Virginia to spy that season under Colonel Smith, Captain Cowan. His range was 
changed. He and Samuel Auxier spied together that nine months on the headwaters 
of the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers. The Shawnee came up there the most 
frequent, and portions of the county he spied in is now Perry County, Kentucky, 
and Harlan county, Kentucky. It was all Virginia then. This year the Shawnees 
done more injury than any year since 1775 or 1776.

When the Cherokee attacked the Clinch river forts in his neighborhood they killed 
Colonel Hendrick. They ran him into Clinch river and shot and killed him in the 
river. The men from the Fort sallied out then got Kendrick's body in the river, 
and took him and buried him in Beckley's Fort. They also killed the wife of John 
Carter and four of his children and set the house on fire and burnt them up in 
it. From August till the leaves were pretty near all fallen down indian sign was 
fresh and they killed, burnt and scalped a great many persons that fall down 
Clinch and Powell's river and valley. 

He thinks that there was another murder that year committed by the indians. One 
Ally's daughter, but it might have been the year after. He received his 
discharged for nine months service.

He then in the month of May 1782 was again engaged for a Spy for nine months in 
the same county as stated before. He was to get 5 shillings per day and spying 
was a good business, as the state paid her spies in good money. Colonel Smith was 
still the Colonel and Captain Charles Beckley was the Captain of the Spies. Cowan 
was made Major. He was transferred from Moore's Fort to Beckley's Fort, but he 
served a portion of his time at Blackamore's Fort. His range this year was from 
Elk Garden, down as far as usual in that section of the country.

The indians came more than usually early and the circumstances of his service and 
the county that transpired during 1782 are about there. He spied altogether on 
the Clinch water course, and generally in Virginia. Our settlement was attacked, 
and the indians killed Thomas Osburn, and Minny his wife, which he helped bury in 
the same coffin. They took two girls prisoner, to wit, Lucretia Osburn, the niece 
of Thomas Osburn, and Betsey Wall. In spite of all that could be done they took 
off the girls to Canada and kept Lucretia Osburn four years. Betsey Wall the 
indians killed by beating her on the head. He learnt Lucretia Osburn was 
exchanged and brought to Detroit. She then married one Armstrong, who brought her 
back to Virginia, and from whom he learned the fate of Betsey Wall. About 9 June 
or a few weeks after they killed Mary Hamlin, wife of Henry Hamlin and one Isaac 
Newland. These are not half the murders, only those in his range during the 

He states he is the identical man that killed the celebrated murderer and Indian 
Chief Bench. He states that he fought the indian in 1777 and 1778, but he is 
informed it was under no organized Corps.

He is now very infirm in body and is unable to attend our Court. He never took 
any care of his papers, and therefore his discharges have been lost for a great 
while. He submitted his declaration in Floyd County in March. He could not get 
any person there to do his business...He has no documentary evidence in his 
favor. He has always lived in the backwoods and as a hunter he never served with 
any Continental Officers, nor did he ever see one to his recollection. He was 
born in North Carolina in Rowan County. He hereby relinquishes his pension or 
annuity, and he declares his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any 
state. Sworn to and subscribed to me this 23rd day of June, 1834.

his mark 

Daniel C. Hage, Esq.