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Killing of Captain Isaac Newland's Family

By Emory L. Hamilton

From the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 197-198.

Charles B. Coale, "Wilburn Waters", states: (1)

In 1778, a predatory party of Indians came in from the Rockcastle hills in Kentucky, and made their appearance at the cabin of Isaac Newland, on the North Fork of Holston, some eight miles north of Abingdon. Mr. Newland and his son were at work in a clearing nearby, with no one at the cabin but his wife and her infant. The Indians captured the mother and her infant, burned the cabin, and hurried away with their captives directly through the mountains toward Russell (County).

The alarm being given, Jacob Mangle (father of Col. Abraham Mangle who gave these facts to Coale), being the nearest neighbor, gathered a company in as short a time as possible and took the trail, which had been plainly marked by Mrs. Newland, who had the presence of mind to break twigs by the way and leave other signs. After reaching the valley in which Lebanon is now situated, and fearing the powder in their flintlocks had become dampened in passing through the thick undergrowth on the mountain, they discharged their guns for the purpose of reloading, in order to make sure they worked should they overtake the savages, but it unfortunately so happened that the Indians had halted, and hearing the report of firearms took the alarm, murdered their victims and made their escape.

A few minutes after, the pursuing party came to where the mother and child were lying, the latter not quite dead. They brought them back to the settlement, Jacob Mangle carrying the infant, which died in his arms on the way.

Coale is certainly in error on this happening, both in the date and the number of children, as can be proven by a letter written by Henry Smith, County Lieutenant of Russell Co., VA, to Governor Randolph, dated July 4, 1790, (2) wherein he states:

Early last month (June) a party of hostile Indians crossed through this narrow county and fell on the house of a certain Captain Isaac Newland in Washington County, near this county line; plundered his house of all that was valuable that they could carry, and took his wife and three children prisoners, but being quickly pursued and like to be overtaken, they killed and scalped the woman and children in this county and made their escape.

The records of Washington Co., VA, show that Isaac Newland owned a tract of 234 acres of land on the North Fork of Holston River on Meadow Branch in Rich Valley, which was surveyed for him September 1, 1781, and upon which he had settled in 1772. (3)

(1) Coale, Wilburn Waters, Reprinted Summer's Annals of Southwest Virginia, page 1578.
(2) Calender Virginia State Papers, Vol. V, apge 180.
(3) Washington County Land Entry Book 1.
NOTE: In 1786 Isaac Newland bought 234 acres on Meadow Branch in Rich Valley from John Kinkead (Deed book 1, page 40, Washington Co.) And sells some on October 1l, 1790 to William Richardson & Robert Glenn (Deed Book 1, page 346, Washington Co.) He married as his second wife, Martha Hawkins 16 March 1793 by Rev. John Frost. Martha was a niece of Henry Dickenson. Abraham Newland, brother of Isaac, was in Kentucky in 1788 and sold his own land to John Hawkins and his wife Elizabeth (sister of Henry Dickenson and mother of the 2nd wife of Isaac Newland), Deed Book 1, page 779, Washington Co., CA.

This file contributed by: Rhonda Robertson

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