The Sugar Hill Massacre

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 156-157.

John English settled on what is now known as "Sugar Hill" overlooking the town of St. Paul, VA, in the year 1772, the first known person to make a home in the present bounds of Wise Co., VA.

English’s home was attacked by the Indians on Christmas day 1782, but apparently none of the family were killed. Outside of this event he seems to have lived a peaceable life until tragedy struck him some fifteen years after he had established his home on the North side of Clinch River. In his Revolutionary War pension claim filed in Floyd Co., KY, James Fraley says that the Indians killed Molly (Mary) English, and her two little boys, which he does not name. His statement is borne out by a letter written by Alexander Barnett, County Lieutenant of Russell, to Governor Edmund Randolph, on March 26, 1787, (1) in which he tells the Governor: That on the 8th day of the present month (March), the Indians made an attempt on Cassells Woods, on Clinch, and killed a woman and two children, and made their escape in such a manner that they could not follow with any certainty.

Again on May 19, 1787, (2) Barnett wrote to the Governor saying:

No invasion of the savages since that of the 8th of March last, an account of which has been given. The last information is that John Inglishe’s family, killed in Cassells Woods, on Clinch, in March last were scalped, and that their scalps were carried into one of the towns on Highwascy (Hiwassee).

On the 17th of March 1787, (3) Col. Arthur Campbell writing to the Governor mentions this same incident, but gives the date as 9th of March. He says:

On the 9th instant the Indians killed three (3) persons in a settlement called Cassell’s Woods, near Clinch River. The enemy appeared to be few in number and went off in great haste, without attempting to carry off horses or other kinds of booty.

Very little is known of the personal life or connections of John English. The name, in early records, is variantly spelled English, Inglish, Inglis and Ingles. It is probable that this John English or Ingles may have been a brother of Capt. Thomas Ingles whose family were taken out of Burke’s Garden in 1782, since this Thomas had a brother John.

John English, himself was dead prior to August 22, 1797, the date of probation of his will in Russell Co., VA. He had a daughter, Mary, who had married Jessee Fraley. Mary English Fraley was dead circa 1794, (4) and her husband, Jessee Fraley died in June, 1801 (5) They left at least two children, James and Jessee Fraley, Jr., who were "bound out" to their Uncle James Fraley, in October, 1802. (6)

(1) Virginia State Papers, Vol. IV, page 262.
(2) Ibid, page 288
(3) Ibid, page 257
(4) Will Book 2, page 15, Russell Co., VA
(5) Court Order Book 3, page 148, Russell Co., VA
(6) Court Order Book 3, page 230, Russell Co., VA



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