Dial and Thomas Killed In Tazewell

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 153-154.

Benjamin Thomas settled in the year 1773, near the forks of Clinch River, in what is now Tazewell Co., VA, and was a near neighbor to Captain Robert Moffett whose two sons were captured by the Indians in 1782.

Pendleton, History of Tazewell County, page 459, states:

On April 11, 1786, two men were killed by Indians within half a mile of William Wynnís Fort at Locust Hill, and near the forks of the Clinch, about one and a half mile east of Tazewell.

Matthias Harman and Benjamin Thomas were returning from a scouting expedition, as there were reports current the Indians were prowling around the neighborhood. The scouts stopped at John Peeryís near where a man of the name of Dial was living. Dial, it is said, had liquor for sale, and he, and Thomas and Harman imbibed so freely that they became intoxicated. Harman and Thomas had come from their scouting expedition very hungry, and they requested Mrs. Dial to prepare dinner for them. Dial and Thomas started to the woods to get the fuel, and when they got to the end of the lane, about two hundred yards from the house, they were fired upon by six or seven Indians, who had been lying in ambush. Three balls entered Dialís body, but he was able to run to his house, pursued by one of the Indians, who was anxious to kill and scalp him. When they got near the house, the Indian saw other men there and he ran swiftly back to his companions. Dial fell against the chimney corner from exhaustion and died in a few hours from his wounds. Only one of the Indians shot at Thomas and he was so close that Thomas struck the gun up when it was fired. The ball struck an oak tree several feet above Thomasí head. He was knocked down by a war club by one of the Indians, and was scalped and left for dead. Harman, a son of old Henry Harman, ran out of the house, mounted his horse and pursued the Indians for some distance. He dared them to stop and fight, but they were too near Wynnís Fort to accept the challenge, and made their escape as rapidly as possible.

Thomas was supposed by Harman to be dead, and was left where he had fallen until the next morning, when he was found by the kind old Quaker, William Wynn. Thomas was taken to Wynnís Fort and every effort was made to save his life, but he died after lingering several days.



This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

Additional Information has been submitted by Dorsey Jude, Jr. regarding this incident. from the book "Archives of the Pioneers of Tazewell County, Virginia" by Netti Schreiner-Yantis page 83, Tazewell County Order Book No. 1, October 1807: "(271) It is ordered to be certified to the Register of the Land Office that Polly Dials is the youngest child of Andrew Dials, Dec'd. and that she is now 21 years of age and that the said Andrew Dials was killed by the Indians in the year 1787."



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