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By Kenneth C. Wilde


     Elisha Walling was born July 27, 1708, in Providence, Rhode Island (1). The family had moved from Providence, Rhode Island, to Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey, by January 7, 1718 (2). Elisha and his brothers appeared on the 1733 tax list for Monacacy Hundred, Prince George County, Maryland (3). In 1745, he appeared in Lunenburg County, Virginia, where he patented 400 acres on Cherrystone Creek. He later patented lands on Irwin and Smith rivers and lived at a place called the Roundabout (4). In 1748, he as appointed constable in Lunenburg County, Virginia, on Smith’s River and the Wart Mountain. This area was later in Henry and Patrick Counties, Virginia (5). The July 17, 1767, List of Tithables taken by Peter Copland, Gentleman, for Lunenburg County has Elisha Wallen, Sr., his sons Joseph and James Wallen, and Captain William Blevens (6). The 1767 list taken by Robert Chandler shows Elisha’s son Elisha Walling (7), and the 1767 list taken by Hamon Critz shows Elisha’s son Thomas Walling (8).

     There has been much confusion in determining which Elisha was the Long Hunter who, with a party of hunters out of Walling Station (a hunting camp) in present day Lee County, Virginia, hunted in what is now Carter’s valley, Hawkins County, Tennessee, and who hunted on the Clinch and Powell Rivers, and went as far as Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, Kentucky, from 1761 to 1763 (9). (See Emory L. Hamilton’s sketch, “The Long Hunters,” in Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, March 1970, pages 29-61, for an excellent description of the Long Hunters.) Some sources have Elisha Walling, born July 27, 1708, as the Long Hunter and also have the oldest Elisha as marrying a Mary Blevins. (10)

     Colonel Redd, who knew the younger Elisha personally, verified that it was the younger Elisha who was the Long Hunter and the one who married a daughter of “William Blevins.” Redd stated that he became acquainted with “Walden” in 1774 when “Walden” was about 40 years of age. (11) This shows Elisha was born circa 1774 (The older Elisha could still have married a Mary Blevins.) The younger Elisha is alleged to have married Katherine Blevins. There is a tradition that the Elisha, born 1708, joined the Blevins family in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and migrated with them to Lunenburg County, Virginia. (12)

     There are at least three different traditions as to how Walden’s Ridge received its name. The most common one is that it was named for Elisha Walling, the Long Hunter, who hunted on the ridge. (13) The next most common one is that the ridge was named for John Walling, son of Elisha Walling, Sr. The account is as follows:

     In the early part of the century, John Walling with a posse of men came from Virginia to what is now Hamilton County in pursuit of Indians, who had captured and carried away as prisoners two white women. The place of capture is known as “Walden’s Ridge,” near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mr. Walling built a fort on this ridge, which they occupied for some days. Supposing that the Indians had become reconciled to the loss of their captives, they returned home and restored the women to their families. The Indians followed, however, and killed Mr. Walling while he was plowing in his field.” (14)

     Although there may be some truth in this tradition, John Walling did not die until April 22, 1836, in McMinn County, Tennessee, and the records do not show anything about his being killed by the Indians, especially at that late date. (15) This account may be confused with John Ish who is buried in the Ish Cemetery near Fort Loudon Lake, across a narrow arm of the lake from Friendsville, Tennessee. John Ish was killed while plowing his field in July 1794, by a party of Cherokees. He left a widow, Elizabeth. (16)

     The third tradition is that Wallin’s Ridge was named for a Wallin who was probably Alice Walling, born July 27, 1708. The account goes as follows:

     There are several versions of the story or account of Walling’ death. On their return to camp the other men saw blood on the snow and found the remains of him and his companion; some say that Walling’ dog led them to his body while others say that his dog stood over the bodies, protecting them from wild beasts. At any rate these men had been killed by Indians and it is the first known death of a white scout to be scalped in Harland County. The ridge where they camped, the creek and the town of “Walling” were named for him.” (17)

     It should be noted that the Washington County, Tennessee Court Minutes for August 2nd Monday, 1789, show Alice Walden as exempt from payment of public tax, over age. At least two pertinent questions arise: How old did one have to be to be exempt from public tax? (This could have been Alice, born 1734) When was the Walling scalped in Harlan County, Kentucky?

     The Bible of Sarah Catherine Gilbert, wife of Thomas J. Walling (born March 12, 1849), son of Alice, son of Thomas, son of John and Elizabeth Roberts Walling (The John of Walden’s Ridge), has the following account written by Thomas J. Walling on February 9, 1884, which seems to confirm that Alice Walling, born July 27, 1708, may be the one who was killed by the Indians on what became Walled’s Ridge in allegedly Harlan County, Kentucky.

     February the 9 1884         Family Record         The first of Walling that immigrated to this country was Alice Walled refugee from England & was Englishman who was killed by the Indians shortly after the Revolutionary War his body was found whence allmost decayed recognized by the buttons on his clothes. Elishias son John Wallin was bornd in VA his second wife was Nefsey Roberts     John died in McMinn County Tenn near Athens 1839     Johns son Thomas was born in Va 1800    Lived in Va Illinois Tenn & N. C. and his first wife was the daughter of Joseph Duff to wit (Nancy Duff) who emigrated to America with her father in early childhood & was first by Ireland and said Thomas Wallin moved to Madison Co., N. C. & maired Betty Rice after the death of his first wife who died in McMinn County, Tenn and he lived in Madison Co., N. C. till the Dec 25 A D 1873 and his last 7. 2 wife died at the same place on Big Laurel? are buried there. Thomas Wallins son Elisha was born in White Co., Tenn? Maired Nancy M. Ramsey daughter of Job Ramsey Madison Co., N. C. and Elisha died in prison Feb. 1869 (sic) in the Civil War of 1864 at ?Armys? Camp, N. Y. Elishia was committed to Christianity about 20 yeas of age & lived all life a Christian man

     The Bible record has at least one error. Elisha Wallin didn’t emigrate from England. He was born in Rhode Island. Another possible error is that, according to a widow’s Declaration for Pension dated August 25, 1892, the younger Elisha Wallin was a Union soldier in Company A, 2nd N. C. mounted Infantry and “died while in service, at Andersonville prison” in February, 1865. The pension was denied by the War Department. On October 4, 1892 because “The name Elisha Walling has not been found on the rolls of the 2nd N. C. Mtd. Inf.”

     It is almost as difficult to identify Walden’s Ridge as it is to determine which Walling or Wallings it or they were named for. It appears there are at least two Walden’s Ridges, one runs along the east side of the Sequatchie River in Hamilton, Sequatchie and Bledsoe counties, Tennessee. This is the one allegedly named for John Walling. Another one, now spelled “Wallen” Ridge, is in Lee County, Virginia, and runs along the east side of Powell River. Harlan County, Kentucky, is very near there and this may be the one allegedly named for the Wallin who was killed by the Indians, probably Elisha, Sr. There is also a Wallen Mountain on the east side of Holston River in Hawkins County, Tennessee. This is very near Bays Mountain and probably named for Elisha Walling, as an Elisha Walling of Hawkins Co., TN, sold land on the north side of Bays Mountain, on Fowlers Fork of Beech Creek to Patrick Kelley on June 4, 1792. (18)

     John Walling (son of Elisha, Sr.) In March 1811 was declared as having known the area around Black Water at the Flat Lick (now Duffield), Clinch River, for nearly 50 years. (19) This would put him as knowing the country almost as early as 1761, probably 1762. At that time John would have been only twelve years old. That the Wallings continued to live to the east, in what became Henry County, Virginia, is verified by the 1767 Pittsylvania County tax lists and by the fact that Elisha, Jr. was elected captain of a company of militia for Pittsylvania County in 1767. (20) It appears that John learned the country while accompanying his brother Elisha, Jr. on his long hunts and it is likely that all the males of the family who were old enough were long hunters, including Elisha, Sr. By 1771 Elisha Walling, Jr. and his brother Joseph had moved westward to the New River area of then Botetourt County, Virginia. (21) By 1772, they were joined by their brother James Walling (22) and, by 1773, by their brother Thomas Walling. (23)

     The New River area became Montgomery County, Virginia, in 1777 and John Walling appears on the undated list of Elk Creek District under Lieutenants John McKinney and William Walling. The date appears to have been about 1782. (24) On November 11, 1782, a survey was made for John (appearing as John Walton) for 200 acres on Nob Fork of Elk Creek, branch of New River, Montgomery County, Virginia. (25) His brother, James, had a survey made on Fox Creek Branch, New River, on March 26, 1783, and his brother Joseph had a survey on east side of New River, May 10, 1784. (26)

     The following account describes the attack of Benge, reputedly a half-breed Cherokee, and his band of Indians upon John Walling (son of Elisha, Sr.):

     Sometime in the year 1789, John Wallen built a small cabin at the mouth of Stock Creek where Clinchport is now situated. He located his cabin on the Kentucky Path and, no doubt, helped to entertain some of the hundreds of settlers who were at that time emigrating to Kentucky over the Wilderness Road. Wallen was not left long in the peaceable enjoyment of his new home in the wilderness. Benge and his bloodhounds soon found his cabin. One morning just at daybreak, his wife, on opening the door, was shot by an Indian and slightly wounded. Quickly closing the door, she barred it to prevent its being forced. Wallen, who was yet in bed, then hastily arose and snatching the gun from the rack, shot and killed the Indians nearest the door. The other Indians then rushed upon the house, trying to effect an entrance, nor did they retreat until Wallen had killed three of them. After driving the Indians away, Wallen and his wife went to Carter’ Fort, eight miles distant. (Thomas Carter’s letter, Draper Manuscripts). (27)

     John Walling’s wife during this attack was Elizabeth Roberts whom he had married on February 18, 1786. (Re: Widow’s Declaration for pension, January 27, 1884, in McMinn Co., TN) That Wallen was attacked was also confirmed by the letter of John Anderson to Col. Arthur Campbell on May 17, 1789:

     Dear Sir: I wrote you a few days ago, wherein I informed you respecting Mr. Wallen’s being driven from home. Wallen lived at the mouth of Stock Creek. (28) (Now Clinchport)

     There is also an account that John Walling’s first wife, name unknown, was scalped in an Indian attack. (29) Another account adds that she was scalped at the spring. (30)

     The case, McKinney vs Preston, shows that Thomas “Wallen,” brother to John, was driven from the Black Water, at the Flat Lick, Clinch River area about 1775/76 by Indians, but returned about 1799. (31) Thomas was also a member of the Halifax County, Virginia Militia in September 1758. (32) This appears to establish him as one of the older sons of Elisha, Sr.

     John Walling (son of Elisha, Sr.) In his Revolutionary War Pension application of June 3, 1833, in McMinn County, Tennessee, stated that he was born in Henry County, Virginia, year unknown, but believed he would be 83 years of age on “July 27th next.” This places his birthdate as July 27, 1750. He also stated that he “lived in Wythe County, Virginia when called into service, moved from Holston to Clinch River near the Flat Lick at which place declarant lived near 40 years from thence he moved to Illinois, from thence to Kentucky, Casey County, from thence to McMinn County, Tennessee where he now resides - and has done so for the past 10 years.” (While in Illinois he lived in Jefferson County.) In a declaration dated September 4, 1832, he stated he enlisted in Wythe County, Virginia, at about 21 years of age in a company commanded by Captain John Cox and Lieutenant Alexander Cox and served six months. He enrolled a second time in Wythe County, Virginia, and served for 3 months in a company commanded by Captain John Bryson, Lieutenant Alexander Bryson, and attached to Colonel William Campbell’s regiment where they rendezvoused at “one Captain Enoch Osborne’s on New River high up and marched from thence to North Carolina near the Hanging Rock with an intention of aiding the American Army at that place against the British and Tories, but was met by an express with the news of the defeat of our forces there, when within a few miles of that place, and received orders to retreat, which was done...” John must have been in error on his age at enlistment. If he was 21 years of age, he would have enlisted in 1771 which was before the Revolutionary War began. At any rate, his pension was allowed. (33) The battle of Hanging Rock occurred no August 6, 1780/81. (34)

     There was an Elisha Wallen who served with Alexander Ritchie as an Indian spy during the American Revolution. Per Ritchie, he “and his contemporaries William Condray, Elisha Wallen, William Steward, and others - waded through blood for many years for the protection and settlements of the frontier.” (35) Elisha Wallen, Jr., born 1734, died 1814 in Missouri. (36) Apparently the Elisha, Revolutionary War soldier, had testified sometime prior to March 22, 1841 (definitely after 1814), as to the military service of Alexander Ritchie. (37) The Elisha Wallen, Revolutionary War soldier, applied for a pension while living in Claiborne County, Tennessee, November 4, 1828. He was born March 6, 1760, in Henry County, Virginia, and he stated “my uncle Joseph Wallen lived in Hawkins County, NC (now Tennessee) at Long Island in 1791.” (38) This shown that Elisha was a grandson of Elisha, Sr., as Joseph Walling was a son of Elisha, Sr. Elisha, Revolutionary War Soldier, is believed to be a son of Elisha, Jr. (39) Without further information, it would be difficult to determine which Elisha was the one who had land on Fowlers Fork of Beech Creek, Holston River, Hawkins County, Tennessee, as both Elisha, Jr., born 1734, and the Revolutionary War Soldier (son of Elisha, Jr.) may have been of Hawkins County, Tennessee, in 1790. (40) Per Col. Redd, Elisha Jr., in 1776, lived on the Holston about 18 miles above “where Knoxville now is... A few years after this he moved to Powell’s Valley, remained there a short time, removed from there to Missouri and settled in the very extreme settlement up the Missouri river.” (41) Fowlers’ Fork of Beech Creek is about 80 miles northeast of Knoxville. Powell Valley appears to be about 40 miles west of Fowler’s Fork.

     James Walling, son of Elisha, Sr., lived in Montgomery County, Virginia, and served in the Navy on an armed boat called “Rattletrap” on an expedition to New Orleans in 1777. His will was executed December 3, 1785, and he died March 28, 1786 - both in Montgomery County, Virginia. (42)

     The William Walling who was a Lieutenant in the Militia for Elk Creek District, Montgomery County, Virginia, was probably a son or a grandson of Elisha Walling, Sr. He appears on two militia lists (both undated) but they were taken between 1777 and 1790. (43) On one list, he was under Lieutenant John McKinney. (44) At the court held for Montgomery County, March 5, 1782, “John McKinney recommended to his Excellency the Governor as a proper person to serve as First Lieutenant of the Militia of this County.” Charles Morgan was listed as Captain of the Militia for “this county” on the same date. (45) In the minutes of March 6, 1782, it was “ordered that William Walling be recommended as a proper person to serve as Second Lieutenant in Captain Morgan’s company of militia.” (46) The other undated list of Montgomery County, Virginia, Militia shows William Walling as “Lieut., General Muster.” This list was “returned by me Chas. Morgan.” (47) This definitely establishes Lt. William Walling as being in the militia in 1782. William must have had some previous military experience in order for him to have been appointed Second Lieutenant. I believe he may have been the William Walling who “was at King’s Mountain and served 24 months between 1777 and 1781, being pensioned in Sullivan County, Tennessee, in 1832, when 73 years old. After the Revolution, he served 18 months against the Indians.” (48) This could also be the William Walling who married Mary Rogers, daughter of Elisha Rogers of Lee County, VA, and had a son Andrew Walling, born ca 1804 (possibly April 15, 1804), who married Drucilla Hartman, daughter of Jacob Hartman of Stringers Ridge, Hamilton County, Tennessee. (49) William Walling, however, who married Mary Rogers is claimed to have moved to Stringers Ridge in 1827. (50) This would conflict with the William Walling who was pensioned in Sullivan County, Tennessee, in 1832. As to their being the same man, that is an issue that still needs to be resolved. In the court case McKinney vs Preston, a William Walling, born ca 1761, made a deposition that he knew the Black Water at the Flat Lick, Clinch River area in 1778. (51) This is undoubtedly the Lt. William Walling, born ca 1759, of the Montgomery County, Virginia Militia.

     In summary, the known children of Elisha Walling, Sr., were: (52)

     Elisha Walling, Jr., born ca 1734, married Katherine Blevens.

     Thomas Walling married Mary Cox

     James Walling married _____ White

     Joseph Walling married Milly Jones

     Margery Walling married Isaac Rice

     Elizabeth “Betsy” Walling married William “Will” Roberts

     Sarah Roberts (Walling?) Married Clement Lee

     John Walling, born July 27, 1750, married 1st _____ unknown, 2nd Elizabeth “Betsey” Roberts.

     BIBLIOGRAPHY: (1) National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 1966, V 53, p. 100 (2) Historical & Genealogical Miscellany, Early Settlers of New Jersey and their Descendants, Vol. V, by John E. Stillwell, M. D., p. 236 (3) Letter of Edna Walling Newhauser to Kenneth C. Wilde, September 7, 1971 (4) The History of Pittsylvania Co., VA, by Maude Carter Clements, p. 43 (5) Ibid, p. 50 (6) Ibid, p. 281 (7) Ibid, p. 279 (8) Ibid, p. 282 (9) “Walling” by Maudie Walling, p. 3 (10) Ibid (11) Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 338 (12) Maudie Walling, p. 4, and letter from Edna Walling (Mrs. F. G.) Neuhauser to Emory L. Hamilton, July 27, 1971 (13) Maudie Walling, p. 3 (14) ibid, p. 24 (15) John Walling’s Revolutionary War Pension file W171, BLT 27690-160-55 (16) The Knoxville News Sentinel, Sunday, May 22, 1977, p. C-4 (17) A History of Harlan County, by Mabel Green Condon, p. 49 (18) Hawkins County, Tennessee, Deed Book 2, p. 12 (19) Augusta County, VA, Chronicles, Vol. 2, by Chalkly, p. 227. (20) VA Magazine History & Biography, Vol 23, p. 378 (21) New River Tithables 1770-1773 by Mary B. Kegley, p. 11 (22) Ibid, p 17 (23) Ibid, p 32 (24) Militia of Montgomery Co., VA, 1777-1790, by Mary B. Kegley; and Annals of Southwest Virginia, Part 1, by Lewis Preston Summers, pp 759, 760 (25) Summers, p. 900 (26) Ibid (27) History of Scott Co., VA by Robert M. Addington, pp 125-126. (28) Ibid, p. 97 (29) Maudie Walling, p. 24 (30) Ida Walling, p. 4 (31) Chalkley, p. 227 (32) Statutes at Large by William Waller Hening, Vol 7, p. 220 (33) John Walling’s Revolutionary War Pension File (34) The Loyalists in NC During the Revolution by Robert O. DeMond, p. 231 (35) Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Pub No 12, 1978, “Samuel Ritchie of Scott Co., VA,” by Emory L. Hamilton, p 26 (36) Letter of Mrs. H. B. Wilde to Kenneth C. Wilde, October 8, 1981 (37) Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, 1978, Hamilton, p 27 (38) Some Tennessee Heroes of the Revolution by Zella Armstrong (39) Mrs. H. B. Wilde (40) Armstrong and Henry County, Virginia, Deed Book 4, p 133 (41) Virginia History Magazine, Vol VI, p 339 (42) Maudie Bolling, p 5 (43) Militia of Montgomery County, Virginia, Kegley, p 25, 48 (44) Ibid, p 25 (45) Annals of Southwest Virginia, Vol. I, Summers, p 756 (46) Ibid, p 760 (47) Militia of Montgomery Co., VA, 1777-1790, Kegley, p. 48 (48) The Kings Mountain Men by Katherine Keough White, p 244 (49) Letter of Taylor Walden to “Chattanooga news,” date undetermined; and the 1850 Walker Co., GA Census, Household 1706, Andrew & Drucilla Walden (50) Taylor Walden (51) Chalkley, p 228 (52) Maudie Walling, p 3; Ida Walling, p 4; and Neuhauser to Wilde.

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