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Mrs. John Wallen Killed in Powell Valley

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 133-134.

Arthur Campbell writing to Governor Patrick Henry, on march 26, 1785 (1), states:

...Since the murder of Mrs. Walling (Wallen), which I mentioned in my last (letter), a Mrs. Cox was shot at by the Indians, but happily escaped.

Col. Joseph Martin, who had built Martinís Station in Powell Valley, and who lived in Henry Co., VA, wrote the Governor of Virginia, from his Henry Co. home on March 26, 1785, (2) saying:

I have enclosed a letter from Ellis Harlin, who is just Chicamauga. On the 17th instant a party of Indians came to the house of John Wallen, killed and scalped his wife, about 15 miles from my Station (in Powells Valley), and I further expect every hour to hear the people there are all murdered.

Despite the fact that the Wallens were a large family on the frontier in very early days. I have been unable to find any details of the killing of Mrs. John Wallen. Some of the name still remain in the area today. Colonel Martin says she was killed about fifteen miles from his Station in Powell Valle, which would put their place on residence in the vicinity of the present Rose Hill in Lee Co., VA.

Elisha Wallen, the Long Hunter, and he for whom Wallenís Ridge in Lee Co., (VA) was named was perhaps living in the Valley at this time, but what connection he was to John Wallen I do not know. Perhaps they were father and son, or maybe brothers.

In his letter to the Governor on march 26, 1785, Col. Martin continues:

The Indians have attempted to take satisfaction at the house of one Cox, near the end of Clinch Mountain, where an attack was made the 10th instant. The damage done there was one horse killed.

Col. Martin in the above is referring to the same Mrs. Cox that Arthur Campbell says "was shot at, but happily escaped". Martin locates their abode as near the end of Clinch Mountain, but does not say whether in Tennessee or Virginia. Both Campbell and Martin write of the Cox and Wallen episodes in the same letter, and while the two events were separated in time by seven days, there seems to be a vague suggestion that they might be related in some way. Whether Martinís statement of "taking satisfaction" is an archaic way of saying the Indians made an attack, or whether they were seeking revenge is unclear.

(1) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 20
(2) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 18-19
NOTE: One John Wallen was living in Clairborne Co., TN on 19th January 1839 when he made a supporting statement to pension claim of Alexander Ritchie, Jr.

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

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