John Brown Killed in Cumberland Gap

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, page 105.

Colonel Joseph Martin, writing from Long Island to Colonel Arthur Campbell, on 22nd of April, 1781 (1), mentions:
John Brown killed in Cumberland Gap, and in a post script to the letter, he says: I am told there was a woman and child killed on Lick Creek last week.

A company of militia was organized on January 1, 1781, by Colonel Campbell and ordered to patrol Powell's Valley under command of Colonel Joseph Martin and Major Aaron Lewis. As this company of troops proceeded on their outward trip, they discovered a large body of Indians in Powell Valley. The Indians discovering the presence of Major Lewis, made their escape, but several traces of smaller parties, all making toward the mouth of Powell River were discovered, and the one that appeared the freshest was followed by Colonel Martin and his men, for about thirty miles below Cumberland gap, where the Indians were surprised and surrounded, but the cane was so thick they could not easily be detected or pursued on horseback. Thirty guns at least were fired upon them, and, while it was thought that some of them were wounded, there were none killed or left upon the ground. Martin's militia captured a number of shot pouches and blankets, upon one of which was found the name of "John Brown" written in full, the said Brown having been previously killed in Cumberland Gap. (2)

(1) Calender Virginia State papers, Vol. II
(2) Summer's History of Washington County and Southwest Virginia, page 348.



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